London. I love the U.K. in general but I absolutely adore London. I’ve been there four times and will be heading back this December. One of my favorite visits was when my husband surprised me with a trip to the London Star Trek convention for my birthday. We’d already been twice before and done most of the mandatory touristy things like Buckingham Palace, London Eye, the arts museums and the Tower of London so the vacation was just about the convention.
But, when you’re in London or its outskirts there is always something amazing to see or do just around the corner. “Oh look! Across the street from our hotel is an eleventh century church, partially destroyed in 1941. Let’s take a look.” You can’t trip over a Tribble without landing on a piece of history when you’re in London.
London, like NYC, my second favorite city, feels instantly familiar because you’ve seen it in movies and read about it in books. It doesn’t take much to see beyond the modernity and know you’re walking the streets Charles Dickens, George Orwell, Virginia Woolf, and so many other writers have traveled. The city and its energy are so inspiring and have indeed influenced my writing, particularly in my Lizard Queen fantasy series.
I would say that my favorite area is the West End. Besides hosting some of the best theatre in the world, it’s also jammed with wonderful restaurants and shops. The best part, for me anyway, is that the West End is an excellent place for people watching. Just find a pub - there are plenty of those as well - and look out the window.
I can’t wait to go back!
Date of Publication: June 7, 2017
Number of pages: 340
Word Count: 122,743
Cover Artist: Keri Knutson
Curtis Aisling has literally dodged a bullet. At least he thinks he has. But he wonders whether that bullet still has it out for him when he leaves his ex-fiancé and Los Angeles behind for Coronado, New Mexico to borrow some much-needed money from his sister.
The small dilapidated desert town of Coronado has exactly one mansion, belonging to 92-year-old Veronica Meeks. Curtis’s sister, Dia, and her partner, Araceli, are Veronica’s live-in caretakers and while they are delighted to have a visitor, Veronica doesn’t even know he’s there.
In the final stages of what the locals call “the reminisce,” she is no longer aware of her surroundings. But when Curtis starts seeing things that no one else does, he’s not convinced that the old, unresponsive woman is as disconnected as everyone thinks. At times what should be empty rooms within the huge house appear filled with furniture, and music emanates from a dusty radio that has been packed away for ages. Tales of Veronica’s associations and connections with the occult lead Curtis to believe she is causing the ghostly occurrences.
But when people begin to appear in those phantom rooms—people from her past including Veronica herself—he’s no longer certain it is her doing. Each vision pulls Curtis further and further back, each one detailing a consequential moment in Veronica’s long life, until he begins to fear he could become lost in her past. And then there’s that bullet…
Dia returned her attention to the old woman and took her bony, veiny hand. “Veronica, honey, this is my brother Curtis. You’ve seen his picture in our bedroom, remember? He came for a visit.” She looked up at Curtis. “Veronica was quite smitten with you the first time she saw your picture. Couldn’t take her eyes off it and she would just smile and smile.”
Curtis knelt next to his sister. Greeting the old woman seemed pointless, since it was obvious by her vacant stare that she wasn’t aware of her surroundings. But his sister was right; introducing himself was the proper way to behave regardless of her condition. “Hello, Miss Meeks. I’m Curtis Aisling.”
The old woman’s wispy gray hair was short and pulled back by small butterfly barrettes. Her thin face was pinkish-white, wrinkled, and haloed with brown age spots. The eyes that seemed to be looking at something no one else could see were a cloudy gray-blue. Her small frame was covered in a clean pink nightgown and she wore blue slippers.
“How old is she?” Curtis asked.
Dia stood up to help Araceli gather the tray with Veronica’s barely touched lunch on it. “Ninety-two.”
Remaining crouched before her, Curtis continued to look at the old woman. He found it difficult to imagine that the slack face in front of him had once been young, but he searched for signs of it anyhow. If there was life in her dull gaze, Curtis was sure he would find it there. A strong hot breeze rattling the palm fronds behind the gazebo hit him in the back. That’s when Veronica blinked and looked right at him.
“Finally,” she whispered.
About the Author:
H.L. Cherryholmes, author of The Lizard Queen Series, The Reminisce, Come Back for Me, and A Slight Touch was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico but has spent most of his adult life in California. He has a BFA from University of New Mexico and a Master's degree in Playwriting from the University of California, Los Angeles. Currently, he lives in SoCal with his husband, Ron Cogan.
5 ebook copies