Friday Feature – Persuasion by J.L. Campbell

Greetings!

Welcome to my very first Friday Author Feature. I’m excited to showcase talented authors each week and even more excited to introduce my first very special guest, J.L. Campbell, the author of the new novel Persuasion.

Hi, J.L. We’d all love to get to know a little more about you so let’s start with a brief interview.

What hobby would you get into if time and money were not an issue?

I’m not sure travelling can be described as a hobby, but if I had lots of time and even more money, I’d travel through the Caribbean, South America, and Europe.

What are some small things that make your day better?

A cup of coffee to start the day, a delicious piece of fruit, laughter, and a chance to interact with friends on social media are things that make each day that much better.

Do you listen to music while you write? If so, who is your go to band or artist when you can’t decide on something to listen to?

Music serves as a distraction when I’m writing,  but what’s weird is that I keep the television on to provide background noise. In terms of inspiration, I do have specific recordings in mind for each book I write, I just don’t play them while I’m writing.

Where did you get the idea for your latest book, Persuasion?

Persuasion came about as a natural progression from the stories that went before it. The main characters in that novel were simply telling me it was time for them to step onto the stage and into the light.

If you could offer one piece of advice to an aspiring writer, what would it be?

Having a basic grasp of English and going on to learn the craft of writing is integral. Every profession calls for some kind of apprenticeship. Knowing and being able to use the tools that go into crafting a book is extremely important.

Great advice! So, let’s learn a little about Persuasion

 School. Music. Blogging. These are Yolanda Charles’ priorities. She likes life simple and is content to hang around her step-sisters. That’s until she admits she’s attracted to Gary Cheung-See, a web developer who exemplifies the strong, silent, and surly type.

Each time a bug hits her website and social media accounts, Gary helps with solving her issues. Despite his good looks and brilliance, Yolanda is undecided about her feelings for him and suspects he might be the culprit trying to ruin her life and reputation—no matter what her heart says.

Gary is from a dysfunctional family and refuses Yolanda’s help with bridging the gap between himself and his father. When a life-threatening illness hits the person he cares about most, he is forced to reassess his stance on forgiveness, while Yolanda has to decide whether Gary is friend or foe and if she can trust him with her heart.

You can purchase a copy of the book by clicking HERE.

J.L. Campbell is an award-winning, Jamaican author who writes romantic suspense, women’s fiction, new and young adult novels. She has written sixteen books, seven novellas and two short story collections.

Her novels include the Island Adventure Romance series, which currently has five exciting, stand-alone stories and features feisty women and determined men. Campbell’s mission is to write stories that entertain and educate readers. She is a certified editor, who also writes non-fiction.

Find J.L. Campbell on the web at www.joylcampbell.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jlcampbellwrites/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jl.campbell/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JL_Campbell
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/thewriterssuite

Thanks so much for joining us today, J.L.!

Want to be featured as a guest on my blog? Fill out the contact form HERE.

Thanks for reading and see you next week!

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Looking for Authors and Great Reads

Are  you an author promoting a new book? Looking for new readers for an existing book? If yes, then I want to feature you on my blog!

Beginning soon, once per week on Fridays, I would like to open my blog to help my fellow authors gain exposure for their work. Whether you prefer to do a feature on your new book, an author interview, a guest post, or a combination of the above, I’m excited to post it.

To get started or to ask questions, fill out the form below and we’ll get something scheduled at a time that fits your needs beginning as early as next Friday:

#AtoZChallenge Who Are the Ghosts in My Attic? Caroline.

Beautiful ghost girl in white dressA cool breeze floated over me and despite the warm evening air, I was grateful I’d grabbed a jacket before leaving the house. The sweat from my run served to cool me even faster so that my teeth chattered slightly and goosebumps covered my flesh.

I stood at the edge of the property looking up at the big, old Victorian house and shuddered, this time having nothing to do with the temperature. In one of the upstairs windows I imagined the little boy, Benjamin, who had cried in my arms. I thought he peeked out at me, secretly waving and smiling. I gave him a little wave back, careful not to draw attention, not because I was worried about the neighbors, but because I was worried about the man who had frightened him so much, the man who had taken his young life. Over and over the little boy would be forced to relive that pain and suffering. It hardly seemed fair. The afterlife overwhelmed me and even my run hadn’t managed to ease my anxiety about who I would encounter next.

Just as I was about to go inside, movement from the back of the house caught my eye. As I refocused my attention, I realized the figure of a young woman floated soundlessly across the yard. I glanced at my watch. My visitor of the evening was early. My post-run shower would have to wait until after I’d had the opportunity to speak to her.

As I jogged closer to the overgrown garden area of the backyard, I noticed that the young woman wasn’t merely out for a stroll in the lovely spring evening. She paced frantically, twisting her hands together, seeming to be talking but as far as I could tell, she was alone.

“Is everything alright?” I asked as I approached her cautiously. She didn’t even acknowledge my presence, continuing to pace back and forth, running her hands through her smooth, black hair.

When she switched directions again so that she was coming toward me, I was certain she would see me but instead she kept walking, almost moving right through me. I felt the chill circle around me again and I folded my arms over myself to keep warm.

“I would like to hear your story,” I said even though I didn’t expect a response.

I sighed and moved to sit on a an ornate cement bench to ease my tired legs. I imagined Agatha might have sat on this very bench on one time when she had been tending her garden. It must have been beautiful back then. I made a mental note to start clearing out the dead plants and weeds before spring really got into full bloom. Although I would never manage to restore it to what it may have been like long ago, I would look forward to spending time just as Agatha had, growing my own flowers and vegetables.

“I don’t know where to go. I can’t keep hiding like this.”

The sound of her voice startled me out of my daydreams and it took me a moment to realize that she’d stopped pacing and spoke directly to me. She hovered just above the ground and I remarked at how truly beautiful she was. She couldn’t have been older than mid-twenties and she had wide dark eyes that reminded me of Benjamin.

“You are Benjamin’s mother,” I said softly, mostly to myself. The resemblance between them was uncanny.

“Yes, I am Caroline. Can you help me? I’m afraid he will kill us both.”
I sighed sadly. I didn’t want to be the one to inform her that she was already dead. There was nothing I could do to change that.

“Who are you afraid of?” I asked.

“It’s Victor. He’s gone mad. I am certain he’s already killed a man and I believe he’s capable of killing again. Benjamin isn’t safe here. You have to help me protect him and get him out of here.”

Caroline melted to her knees, her white dress flowing around her as she did. Her eyes filled with tears as she reached one elegantly slender arm toward me. Her icy hand touched mine and I shuddered again.

“I don’t know how I can help.”

“I have nowhere left to turn.”

“There is no one who can help you? What about Benjamin’s father?”

“Victor is his father and there is no one else left.”

“Why would a man want to kill his own wife and son?”

“I am not his wife.”

“Ohhh,” I said.

“I didn’t want him to find out about Benjamin but now he knows the truth and he will kill us both.”

“Surely there must be some other way?”

I watched her rise to her feet and resume her pacing, twisting her hands together again, and mumbling incoherently.

“Maybe I can talk to Victor,” I suggested hopelessly. I knew it wouldn’t change the past but maybe I could help to give peace to their restless souls. Suddenly a purpose filled me. Perhaps it had been preordained that I should inherit this house? Perhaps fate brought me here for a reason?

“NO!” Caroline shouted. Her form shot up into the night sky and blazed through the trees. The chill wrapped around me again, this time squeezing me tightly until I could hardly catch my breath. I tried to move but I was frozen in place, shivering uncontrollably.

When she finally let me go, I fell off the bench and staggered forward, gasping for air. She materialized in front of me again looking serene and beautiful but in her eyes still raged a storm.

“Victor is mine and you will never have him,” she said.

“I don’t want Victor.” I struggled to my feet feeling confused and brushed myself off. One moment she was pleading for my help and the next she was threatening me?

“He is my only love. We will be together one day, you will see.”

“What about his wife?” I dared to ask.

“She won’t be a problem much longer.”

I shuddered again.

“And when he meets his son…” Her voice trailed off and she looked into the distance sad and lost.

“He will threaten to kill you both,” I whispered too softly for her to hear.

The look in her eyes changed to fear and she began pacing again. I simply stood and watched her as the anxiety gnawed away until finally she faded into the night.

No matter how long I stood in the shower letting the hot water pour over me, I couldn’t erase the deep chill that had settled into my bones that night.

**

Click HERE to check out posts from the other A to Z Blogging Challenge participants.

#AtoZChallenge Who Are the Ghosts in My Attic? Benjamin.

Shadow Figure Walking Up StairsFrom where I stood at the bottom of the staircase, I could only see the simple wooden door that I knew would open into the attic. In the three months since I inherited the old Victorian and set about in my attempts to restore it, I still hadn’t found the nerve to climb those steps to discover what treasures from my family’s past may await in the most mysterious of all the rooms in my new home. The closest I had come to venturing into that space was the day I made the decision to invite the spirits down to tell me their stories.

Eventually, I would need to succumb to the curiosity that filled me, walk up those dreaded steps, and turn the knob to the other side. I needed to understand the house and my history as much as I needed to understand the other inhabitants of it.

For now, I was content to allow them to come to me. I’d been left with mixed feelings after my encounter with Agatha. I wasn’t sure I was ready for the stories the others might tell me. But as the minutes crept onward, my anxiety slowly changed to disappointment. Tonight’s visitor only had a twenty minute time frame to show himself and that time was quickly dwindling.

So here I stood staring at the mysterious door and wondering if I dare open it when suddenly the sound of giggling interrupted my thoughts and made me jump. I spun around on my heels to pinpoint the sound of the laughter.

“Try to find me,” said the voice of a little boy.

“Who is there?” I called out. My question prompted more giggling. I followed its sound down the long, dimly lit hallway until I reached one of the last bedroom doors on the right. It was partly open so I only needed to give it a gentle push.
Benjamin sat on the floor with his legs criss-crossed He looked up at me with large, dark eyes and an endearing smile. He couldn’t have been older than four.

“Do you want to play?” he asked me.

He was referring to the train set laid out at his feet and despite the fact that I knew I was communicating once again with one of the deceased, it was difficult to refuse his invitation. I joined him on the floor and reached out to push the little train engine as I made choo choo sounds. This delighted him and he giggled and rocked back on his heels clasping his hands together.

“It’s been a long time since someone has sat to play with you, hasn’t it?”

“Yes,” he said, suddenly sad and serious. His essence once bright and clear started to cloud and distort. “When Mommy went away, I had no one left to play with me.”

“You lived here with just your mommy?”

“No, I didn’t live here,” he said shaking his head until I feared it would roll from his shoulders.

“Oh. I thought maybe Agatha may have been your mommy?”

Benjamin stood and studied me with very curious, distrustful observation.

“I wasn’t allowed to live here,” he said at last, so quietly that I almost didn’t hear him.

I took a deep breath as I planned my next question but Benjamin took off running before I could have the chance to ask it.

“Wait,” I called out to the flashing ball of glowing light, “I thought you wanted to play?”

“Find me!” His voice echoed through the empty rooms, bouncing off walls and surrounding me. “You’re it!”

“Hide and seek,” I said with a sigh. Sadly, it was a game I’d never been very good at and I felt that Benjamin had an unfair advantage being a ghost.

I opened doors as I frantically searched the entire length of the long hall. Each room greeted me with emptiness with only the ethereal sound of giggling filling my head from somewhere in the distance. I cursed under my breath when I glanced at my watch and realized I only had about five minutes until our time was up.

“Benjamin, where are you?” I called out.

“Shhhh…” Benjamin said as he materialized before me with his index finger over his lips for emphasis. “He’ll hear you and get angry. He can’t know I’m here.”

“Who, Benjamin?”

“Come with me.”

I felt his small hand, icy cold, as it slipped into mine. It barely had substance or weight but his will pulled me forward and I let him lead me down the main staircase and around the bend. We stopped short in front of the grand piano that had been here before I moved into the house.

“What is it you want me to see here?”I whispered. I looked down into his tear-filled eyes and my heart broke with the pain of his pain.

“Mommy, wasn’t here to make him stop,” he said.

“He found you,” I said, realizing in that instance that this is where the inevitable had happened.

Benjamin nodded in affirmation and as much as I could manage, I knelt down to try to gather his little body to mine, to hold him close, and to take away that pain.

“And I know he is the one who made Mommy go away, too.”

I shuddered as fear shook through me. Benjamin wavered and slowly disappeared right before my eyes leaving me alone. The piano began to play a slow, sad song and not for the first time since moving into the big, old house, I wondered if I had made the right choice.

**

Click HERE to check out posts from the other A to Z Blogging Challenge participants.

#AtoZChallenge Who Are the Ghosts in My Attic? Agatha.

Who Are the Ghosts in My Attic?

Happy April and Welcome to the Blogging A to Z Challenge! I have, somewhat foolishly, accepted the goal of writing twenty-six blog posts in a single month. If you’ve visited my page recently, you know that my theme for the month of April is the ghosts in my attic.

Each day I will blog one ghost in alphabetical order from A to Z. He or she will tell a story that I hope will entertain. Please keep in mind that in order to keep up with a post a day (except Sundays), I’m writing quickly with very little opportunity to edit before clicking go. I apologize in advance. Nevertheless, I hope that what I share will be as enjoyable for you to read as it is for me to write. There is no telling how crazy and far-fetched things could get by the end of a crazy month!

Let’s have some fun, shall we? 🙂

**

old abandoned  Scary Haunted house
The kettle screamed, breaking the silence that had fallen over us.

“Do you take sugar?” I asked.

“No, dear, black is fine, please.”

I poured the boiling water over the tea bag, watching as the water turned into a muddled brown. Carefully I set the mug in front of Agatha and I returned to my seat across the table from her. My hands shook so badly that I considered it a miracle that I hadn’t spilled the tea everywhere.

“You were telling me about the accident,” I said, prompting her to continue. I was caught between dread and curiosity, wanting to know but not wanting to know at the same time.

“Yes, the accident,” she said giving the mug a forlorn look.

I didn’t know why she’d requested the tea. Agatha is a ghost and as far as I know, ghosts can’t drink tea. Perhaps it was simply a reminder of the life she once lived.

“Not everyone believed it was an accident,” she said sadly, folding her hands together in her lap, twisting them together as her focus moved away from me and away from the tea she could never drink, downward to some despair I couldn’t see. “With good reason, I suppose.”

I didn’t know what to say so I waited for her to continue. It wasn’t often that I entertained those from beyond the grave so even though there were a million questions swarming my head at that moment, I couldn’t settle long enough to focus on just one. I let her steer the conversation, as I suppose any good host should.

Agatha was the first of what promised to be a long month of ghostly entertainment and I had yet to determine what to think of this. I’d heard the footsteps over my head in the big, old mansion where I lived for several months now but it wasn’t until today that I’d opened the attic door and invited any of them down. It seemed only right that if were to share the space, we should get to know one another.

Why were there so many, I wondered.

I cleared my throat and indicated the clock hanging on the wall beside the long oak table. Agatha’s strength allowed her only twenty minutes of visibility in my world before she would disappear once again to her own. Each second that ticked by was precious.

Agatha glanced out the window to the darkness of night as if the past would come alive for her – a sea of ghosts going about their world as though we didn’t even exist.

“I always loved to play in the garden,” Agatha said with a wistful sigh, “Edgar accepted that when he married me. As long as the summer went on, he knew where to find me, there, planting, tending to my flowers. I had the best vegetables in the neighborhood. Sometimes he liked to boast about that,” she paused and wiped away a stray tear.

“But then there was the accident,”I said.

“It was late July,” Agatha said with a nod, “and I had just picked several large tomatoes. They were beautiful and I couldn’t wait to show Edgar. We were planning to have fresh tomatoes in our salad that night for dinner.”

“Yes, but what about the accident?” My patience had never been a strong point and I immediately regretted my tone.

“They were all ruined. A perfectly good salad gone to waste. But I never intended for it to happen that way.”

“The salad?”

“No. The accident.”

“But you did intend for it to happen?”

“It was so hot, unusually hot, even for July. Even misting myself didn’t help and the heavy dress I wore clung to me with the dampness of my sweat.”

I realized that the dress Agatha was wearing that day was probably the same one that she appeared to be wearing now as her image wavered in front of me. I blinked a few times to be sure that it wasn’t a trick of my eyes the way parts of her seemed to disappear and come back again and finally, I settled my gaze on the table, aware that I was staring in a way that in any polite conversation would be considered rude.

Agatha didn’t seem to notice, however, but when I glanced up again, she’d moved away from the table and was standing soundlessly looking out at the midnight sky. The clouds broke revealing a crystal full moon suspended between them, a sight both breathtakingly beautifully and bone-chillingly creepy.

“I lost count of how many times I hit him with the gardening shovel,” Agatha whispered as though the burden of the memory was too much to bear. “The blood was everywhere.”

“You hit him? You mean, Edgar?” I struggled to make sense of the words as they’d taken an unexpected turn. “But I thought you were going to tell me about the night that you died?”

Agatha turned back to face me and I could tell that her pale white face was soaked in tears.

“I mean Roger.”

“But who is Roger?”

“The man that Edgar never knew about.”

“Oh, I see,” I let out a slow breath as the weight of her words sunk in. I didn’t really understand at all.

“When Edgar came home and found me bent over the lifeless body, he knew that he had to do something. No one could ever know the horrible thing I had done.”

“You murdered someone, Agatha.”

“If I hadn’t done it, someone else would have, sooner or later. Edgar never asked any questions. He trusted me. I don’t know why, but he did, and he would have done anything for me. He spent the whole night digging the hole in my garden where we hid Roger’s body.”

“Did anyone ever find out about it?” I glanced at the clock knowing as her image faded that our time together was nearing an end.

“Life went on like normal for a while after that,” she said, “but once you have done something so hideous, the gods have ways of punishing you for it. Yes, others found out and peace and tranquility was never our friend again.”

I sat for a long time staring wide eyed at the space that Agatha had occupied before I got up to dump the mug of tea chilled by time and the icy presence of my strange new friend. Then I looked out at the way the moon illuminated the vast grounds surrounding the large house.

Somewhere down below lay the rotting corpse of a man that I knew I would eventually meet.

**

Click HERE to check out the posts from other challenge participants.