Tag: book excerpt

Season’s Greetings! It’s time for a holiday #bookexcerpt!

To kick off this holiday season, I thought I’d bring a little bit of joy and happiness through a full chapter excerpt from Before the Flood set on Christmas Eve 1947. It features a very special Christmas song, Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, featured in and written for the 1944 classic Meet Me in St. Louis starring Judy Garland and Margaret O’Brien.

People during the Second World War and well into the postwar era identified with the song so well because it was meant to be cheerful during a time of uncertainty. A time when people were missing loved ones away at war or missing family members that never came home. Many of us are missing loved ones either through lockdowns and social distancing restrictions, and a number of families across the globe are missing loved ones who have passed. The lyrics back then were “We’ll have to muddle through somehow” and gosh, if that doesn’t describe this year, I don’t know what does.

But enough of that. Pour yourself a glass of eggnog like the Bainbridge clan does or your favorite mug of cocoa, cider, or wine and enjoy a trip back in time.


From Before the Flood, Book Two of the Laurelhurst Chronicles saga. All rights reserved. Copyright Kellie Butler

Lydie was a bundle of nerves Christmas Eve morning. She was making toffee as a hostess gift for the Bainbridge family gathering.  She hoped she remembered everything Sister Clara had taught her. Sugar had been in short supply during the war, but they made treats like toffee at Christmastide. Henry had said it would be just them and a few friends, but she wondered how many were a few? He hadn’t quantified it. Hopefully, the batch of toffee would be enough for two tins: one for the Bainbridge house and one for the Millers downstairs.

Hours later they hailed a cab to St. Paul’s chapel for Christmas Eve candlelight mass. Lydie wore a simple green wool frock by Claire McCardell and Edward wore his best suit from Papa’s old tailor back in London. Lydie loved how the chapel’s warm colors that reminded her of an old church in Florence.

After the mass, they rode in another cab back to the Bainbridge’s townhouse.  She clutched the tin in one hand and tried to readjust her coat with the other.

“Stop fidgeting, Lydie.” Edward glanced over at her and she stopped.

Edward turned away and glanced out the window, as if steeling himself for the evening. Lydie knew he had reservations about attending tonight, but he was doing it for her. She reached over and clasped his hand to show her appreciation for his gesture.

Upstairs in the house, Hyacinth Bainbridge was having reservations of her own. She’d hoped to have a small gathering this year, just the family with Kate’s recovery, but Henry surprised her by inviting guests. The last time he brought people over to a family gathering, he was dating that girl back in medical school with the crooked teeth that drove her crazy.  She loved her boy, but sometimes he needed to learn that he couldn’t rescue everyone.

“I’m not sure why we had to invite all these people. I’m not in the mood for it tonight. Not after that child in front kept crying in church. Why couldn’t the parents take it out?”

“Hyacinth, it’s just the Mortons and the Caverts. May I remind you that Jesus was born in a manger? I’m sure he was crying too.”

“I can’t stand the Mortons. I only tolerate them because they make me look better. Why do we invite them every year?”

“Such charity on Christmas Eve. And the Caverts?”

“Who are they?”

“Friends of Henry. I understand they’re from England.”

“Oh, how charming. Are they husband and wife?”

“Brother and sister. Dr. Cavert works with Henry.”

“I don’t know why I chose this dress tonight. It makes me look frumpy.” Hyacinth readjusted her long black velvet frock. She wasn’t sure why they still had this gathering. It used to be fun when children were smaller, but now every time their friends come they brought pictures of their grandchildren and she couldn’t bear it.

Downstairs Henry and Kate waited for their guests to arrive.

“Do you think I look pretty, Henry?” Kate fingered her red wool dress.  She’d turned down all invitations this autumn, trying to stay on the wagon. It was hard for her because the old Kate wouldn’t have needed an excuse. Her friend Gwen had been bitterly disappointed. She had never imagined her best friend of several years could have turned so cold towards her.

“You always do, Katie.” Henry straightened his bow tie and checked his hair. He hadn’t felt this excited about a girl in ages.

“I hope so. I’d like for Edward to like it. Lydie will be here too.”

“Yes, she’s quite a girl, isn’t she?”

“Yes. I’m sorry about what I did to her. I was atrocious.”

He shook his head. “I hope Mom is on her best behavior tonight.”

“Me too. It’s going to be hard not to have a drink tonight. If she acts out, I don’t know how I will handle it.”

“You can do it. We’ll be here to support you, Katie.”

“What do you think would happen if we arrange our own affairs? Would it send Mom off her rocker?”

“Who knows? Let’s focus on the positive.” Henry walked over to the sideboard and checked the eggnog. He put a small tipple of rum in and stirred with a crystal ladle that matched the large punch bowl before dipping some into a cup for Kate.

“Here, have a taste and tell me what you think.”

Katie took it and smacked her lips after taking a sip. “Did you put anything in it?”

“Just a bit of rum. It isn’t too strong, is it?”

Kare took another sip. “No, it’s wonderful. I’ll have to nurse this cup tonight.”

“We have cider as well. Uncle Mike’s orchard had a great crop this year.”

“Sometimes I don’t know what I’d do without you.”

“Don’t get too sentimental, Katie.”

“Henry, I wish you would smile like you used to. I suppose that’s my fault.”

“How?”

“I dashed both our chances for romance. I should thank you for being so good to me after I wrecked your date with Lydie. I’m sorry I’ve only thought of me all these years. I stopped you from being happy, too.”

“Well, maybe that’ll change. You never know.” He winked as he stirred the eggnog again, waiting for their guests to arrive.

Outside, Lydia and Edward waited with a middle-aged couple holding a bottle of wine. Lydie should have thought to bring wine. The older couple broke the ice. “I’m George Morton and this is my wife, Miriam. A pleasure to meet you.”

“Pleasure to meet you as well. Edward and Lydia Cavert. We’re friends of Henry and Kate.”

“Well, isn’t that wonderful? Henry’s a good boy. His father and I went to Cornell together. Our daughter Frances recently had a baby. Sweetest as she can be. We’re so proud.”

“As you should be. One of my school friends is a midwife.” Lydie smiled.

“Is she now? Great profession. My daughter loves children. I suppose you’ll be having some of your own soon?”

“Well, perhaps  when I meet a nice man of my own.”

“Oh, I’m sorry. I assumed you’re married with the same name. You are siblings then?”

“Yes.”

Edward barely kept a smile on his face. Was it a mistake to come here tonight? He was saved by Agatha opening the door. The Mortons entered first with Lydie and Edward trailing behind.

“Hello, Henry. Hello, Katie. Don’t you look lovely tonight?”

“Thank you, Mr. Morton.” Kate blushed.

“We’ve brought our usual holiday offering. Where are your parents?” George continued. Lydia wondered if Miriam ever got a word in with him..

“They’ll be down shortly,” Kate said.

“Good evening, Kate. You look radiant,” Edward said as he followed the Mortons into the parlor.

“Thank you, Edward.” Kate smiled and twirled around. “Do you like my dress?”

“It’s lovely.”

Edward and Kate moved towards the punch bowl, and Henry offered his hand as he greeted Lydie. “Good evening, Lydie. Don’t you look lovely.”

“Good evening, Henry. I like your tie.” Lydie blushed.

“Why, thank you.” Henry winked.

They stood there for a few moments before Robert and Hyacinth interrupted.

“This must be the Cavert siblings. We’re so glad to have you here. Henry, pass around the eggnog,” Robert said.

“Yes, Dad. Would you like some, Lydie?”

“I would love some, thank you.”

“Pour some for the young lady, Henry.” Robert smiled.

“Here you are. Mrs. Foster’s famous recipe.” Henry handed Lydie a cup.

“Thank you.” Lydie takes a sip. “It’s delicious.”

“Good evening, Dr. Cavert. I’m Henry’s mother.” Hyacinth offered her hand.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mrs. Bainbridge. Thank you for inviting us.”

Kate smiled. “Edward and Henry are colleagues, Mother.”

“Yes, I’ve heard. How fascinating. I should greet the rest of my guests,”  Hyacinth turned away quickly.

The others exchanged glances, stunned at Hyacinth’s rudeness.

“My wife isn’t feeling her best tonight, Dr. Cavert. Please excuse her. We’re glad you and your sister are here.” Robert shook  Edward’s hand.

“We all have those times. It’s a pleasure to be here.”

Hyacinth turned to the Mortons. “Good evening, George and Miriam. How are you?”

“Doing well, Hyacinth. Your family is looking lovely as always.”

“I suppose you have more pictures of your granddaughter?” Hyacinth feigned a polite smile.

“Yes, we do. Would you like to see them?”

“I’m sure you are beaming with joy. Thank you, but no. At least your child gives you grandchildren.”

“There’s still plenty of time for that, Hyacinth.”

Henry offered his mother some eggnog. “Mother, would you like a cup?”

“Thank you for considering me, Henry. I see you gave that young lady one first.”

“I’m serving our guests first. You taught me that.”

“Yes, I did. Thank you, my darling boy. I see one of my children behaves.”

“Eggnog, Mr. and Mrs. Morton?” Henry turned to his parents’ old friends. His eyes diverted quickly towards Kate as he checked on her, then fastened his gaze on his guests.

“Yes, please. How’s the medical world, Henry?” George asked.

“Never a dull moment. They keep us busy, don’t they Edward?”

“Oh, that’s for certain.” Edward agreed.

“You know, we should have some music,” Robert said.

“That’s like a lovely idea, Robert. Kate, why don’t you sing for us? You took all those voice lessons,” Hyacinth said as she settled onto the sofa with her cup.

“I don’t think I remember anymore.” Kate frowned.

“Surely you can think of something to entertain our guests?”

Sensing Kate’s apprehension, Henry turned to Lydie. “Do you remember me asking you to play the piano for me the night we went to the Philharmonic? I’d love to hear you play now.”

“Oh, I suppose I could,” Lydie said brightly and she went to the piano and sat down.

“You will find our piano is well-tuned, Lydia,” Hyacinth said. “Kate,  why don’t you sing with her?”

Kate shook her head no, so Lydia sat on the tufted bench and played a few bars of ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’. Gaining her confidence, Kate joined her and began to sing. Soon everyone else joined in except Henry.

“Not singing, son?” Robert leaned over and asked.

“I’d rather listen,” Henry whispered as Lydie played.

“That was lovely, Kate. Let’s have something else,” Robert said as the song ended.

“Maybe I should play for a while,” Lydie offered.

“Henry plays, you know. Let’s see if I can get him up here.” Kate whispered in Lydie’s ear while glancing over at her brother.

“I don’t want to put him on the spot.”

“Nonsense. Watch.”

On a mission, Kate went over to her brother.  “Go play with her.”

“In front of everyone? Are you kidding? I’m better off where I am.”

“Someone else needs to get up there and I can’t keep singing. Go impress her! Now’s your chance.” Kate pushed him forward.

“All right, we’ll call ourselves the Bainbridge Family Quartet.” Henry quipped as he slid off the sofa,  went to the punchbowl, and filled another cup. Strolling over to the piano, he sat down next to Lydie on the bench.

As he pressed the cup to her lips, he whispered, “Something for the pianist. I thought you might be thirsty.”

“That’s so sweet of you, Henry,” Lydie took a sip and continued to play.

“You didn’t tell me played this well. Keep it up, and we’ll book you for every family gathering from now on.” He chuckled and she giggled.

Setting the cup down on the piano, Henry flexed his hands, found a moment where he could come in, and began playing the bass clef. The cuff of his dark jacket brushed against her bare arm. Grinning, he winked at her before he sang in a lovely tenor voice. Lydie’s eyes widen in surprise and she let him take the lead.

“What a nice evening. Henry hasn’t played or sang for us since high school.” Hyacinth shook her head in amazement.

“A man will do many things when he’s in love,” Robert said.

“I think you may be right. I haven’t seen him this happy in years,” Hyacinth agreed.

“We used to look at each other that way. Do you remember?”

“Yes, we did.” Hyacinth looked down.

“It must be off between Katie and the young Englishman,” Robert observed.

“It’s on between Henry and the young lady. What is her name again?”

“Lydia.”

“I always liked that name. I think my great-grandmother was named Lydia.”

Robert shook his head and watched the pair at the piano.

Kate stood next to Edward. “It must be the mistletoe I hung up in the front entryway that has them like that.”

He shook his head. “Henry is good for Lydie.”

“Listen, I know I ruined things between us, and I spoiled everything for them. I was a mess, and I want to tell you I’m sorry. I wish I could go back and be a different girl for you. Something like that.”

“Well, it’s all done now. I’m sure you’ll be a lovely lady for someone.”

“I am getting better, Edward.”

“I hope you continue to improve.”

“Thank you for not putting me down. You’ve been nicer to me than I’ve been to myself.”

“You’re welcome.”

They sat in silence for a while.  Kate wished she could be with Edward the way Henry was with Lydie. “It’s adorable the way he holds the cup to her lips as she plays so she won’t get thirsty.”

He shrugged.“Henry is an excellent chap. I’ve known that since day one. Why do you think I let him around her?”

At the piano, Henry leaned over and whispered to Lydie, “Why don’t you rest? I can play. Relax and enjoy yourself.”

She smiled. “I’m happy where I am.”

“Me too, but you’ve been playing for a while now. Why not get yourself another cup of eggnog?”

“If you insist.” Lydie was enjoying playing a duet with Henry so much she didn’t want to leave his side. It brought back her feeling from that date to Carnegie Hall again.

“I do. Rest. I’ll play for a while. Besides, my mother is stunned and I’m rather enjoying it.” He winked at her again.

That twinkle could make Lydie do a lot of things, so she got up and filled a cup of eggnog for Henry. She reciprocated his gestures by returning to the piano and held the cup to his lips. Their eyes were twinkling when they met, the kind of special smile that eyes have when two people are in love.

Over on the sofa, the Mortons and Robert and Hyacinth observed this exchange.

“Robert, I think you ought to see if the church is free back in Ithaca. I’ve got a feeling about those two,” George said.

“Why Ithaca?” Hyacinth demanded. “A well-bred girl like Lydia would most likely want a city wedding. The bride gets to choose, after all.”

Robert raised his eyebrows. “Are you merely looking after her wishes or your own, dear?”

“Well, I can’t fathom her wanting to get married in Ithaca. She hasn’t even seen the place yet. No, she’d much rather have a wedding here in the city. Much easier on planning, too.”

“Don’t put the cart before the horse, Hyacinth. Just let the couple enjoy this evening.” Robert reproached her and she turned away.

Close to midnight, they left the piano and stood next to a tall fir tree trimmed with red and gold ornaments.

“It’s getting late,” Henry said.

“I suppose it is.” Lydie agreed.

“Did you take a cab?” He inquired.

Lydie nodded.

“I’ll drive you and Edward home.”

“I’d hate for you to go out of the way. Aren’t you staying here tonight?”

“No, it’s a holiday and I’m on call. I need to be closer to home. My home.”

Lydie was about so say something when Hyacinth joined them. “I hope you won’t mind Henry’s long hours at the hospital. Don’t let him neglect you, my dear. You work too much, Henry. Take care of this young lady.”

“I’m used to that, Mrs. Bainbridge. My brother is a doctor and so was my father.”

“A family of doctors! Well, you have more fortitude than me.”

Henry glanced at the clock. “Lydie, it’s about time to head back, isn’t it? Edward’s on call too.”

“Yes, I’m afraid so. Not everyone gets to stay home for Christmas,” Edward said as he overheard the exchange.

“Lydia, it was a pleasure meeting you, my dear. Come back and visit.” Hyacinth kissed her lightly on the cheek.

“Thank you, Mrs. Bainbridge. I had a wonderful time.”

“Lydia, you’re booked to play from now on.” Robert nudged Henry a little as he joined them.

“Thank you, sir. I had a lovely partner tonight that made it easier.”

“Well, shall we go?” Edward asked.  Between Kate’s attempts to ingratiate herself and Mrs. Morton’s medical inquiries he’d had enough. The goal had been to keep his sister’s mind away from that Reggie fellow and it had worked.

Donning their coats, Henry, Lydie, and Edward prepared to venture out into the night.  Lydie and Henry stood underneath the doorway as he took his hand. “Shall we go?”

“Henry, you’re forgetting something!” Kate pointed to the mistletoe above them.

Henry shook his head, bent down, and kissed Lydie on the nose before he helped her down the slippery steps frosted with snow to his car parked right outside with Edward right behind them. Henry helped Lydie into the backseat and the two men climbed into the front.

“It’s already coming down. I’ve got a feeling we won’t be enjoying Christmas dinner at home tomorrow night,” Edward said.

“Yeah, I think you’re right,”  Henry agreed. “Although this is nothing compared to the kind of snow we get in Ithaca. We’re used to two feet easily.”

“I can’t imagine what Londoners would do with that much snow.”

“They would carry on like they always do,” Lydie replied.

“Quite right. I’m speaking badly of my native city.”

“They’ll forgive you this once,” Lydie teased.

“Lydie, there’s a blanket back on the floorboard if you need it, although I think Edward might need it more. You’re rubbing your hands a good bit, my man.”

“Thank you, Henry. Pass it this way, please, dear sister,” Edward said. “I forgot my gloves because Lydie took too long getting ready this evening. I had to hurry her out the door.”

“Thank you, Henry. You’re such a gentleman. Blaming it on me, are you, Neddy?”

“But you’ll forgive me, won’t you?”

“Just this once,” Lydie teased. “Isn’t it lovely? We’re going to have Christmas snow.”

“It will be lovely if I don’t have to get out in it tomorrow,” Edward complained.

“Spoilsport.”

“You get out in it then,” Edward said.

“You get to wear trousers. What are you complaining about?”

Henry chuckled as he listened to Edward and Lydie’s banter. He would love to get to know Lydie much better after tonight. Maybe the new year might bring another chance at love.


Thank you so much for reading. If you’re interested in reading the full novel, you can purchase it here (available in Kindle and paperback formats):

Author Spotlight: KT King

Today on my blog, I welcome author KT King as she introduces her Little Eden series and the inspiration behind it, and two lovely excerpts! Welcome KT!

The Little Eden Series

Little Eden – A Magic Book – Book One

Released 2018 eBook and paperback

A Magic Book opens the heart and expands the mind.

2012. Little Eden, London, England.

The beautiful sanctuary town of Little Eden is under threat.

Human greed, selfishness and disregard are about to turn the last 1,000 years to dust.

Robert Bartlett-Hart must make a choice.

With the help his friends (plus plenty of tea and cake), Robert learns that there is more at stake than just Little Eden.

Something lies at the heart of Abbey; something that stands between mankind and Armageddon.

The friends must navigate past lives, other dimensions, and even Heaven itself, to find a way to save Little Eden and themselves.

Will Little Eden survive to usher in a new age, or will humanity perish with it?

Little Eden, Another Magic Book, Book Two

Released 2020 eBook and paperback

A Magic Book opens the heart and expands the mind.

The story continues…

2012. Little Eden, London, England.

The beautiful sanctuary town of Little Eden is still under threat of sale and demolition.

The friends must re-awaken the past to change the future. But when the spirit world comes closer to help them, there is a price to pay that no one could foresee.

Reviews for The Little Eden Series

Book Two has just come out so here is the very first review of Book Two by unseenwritings…

I loved reading Little Eden so much that I couldn’t put it down…It felt like KT was weaving a beautiful tapestry of magic rather than writing a novel…I enjoyed the mix of all types of spirituality and loved the way ME/CFS was presented. This book deserves all of the stars. Five just isn’t enough…

What readers are saying about Book One…

Magical…My heart is singing…Cosy and delicious….I literally couldn’t put it down…Quirky…Thrilling…  Captivating…Enchanting characters…A rollercoaster ride…I was always on tenterhooks…Charming…

A great escape…I opened it and blue sparkles flew out…It really is a magic book…

To purchase Book One and Two as Kindle or paperback just click on my linktree https://linktr.ee/ktkingbooks

Little Eden Books thrillingly combine the supernatural and spirituality in a magical mystery set in the cosy, idyllic and ancient sanctuary town of Little Eden. The hero, Robert Bartlett-Hart, goes on a journey of self-discovery and enlightenment with the help of his friends and plenty of tea and cake! The novels are a comical yet genuine look at the spirit world based on the work of psychic, healer and ascension coach, KT King.

Excerpt from Book One:

Chapter 1

~ * ~

   It was a sad beginning to 2012 for the residents of Little Eden, and as it would turn out, it would not be a good year for the rest of mankind either – but more about that later!

   First things first…

New Year’s Day was almost over as Robert Bartlett-Hart sat alone in his library sifting carefully through the mounds of newspapers which were strewn all over a capacious mahogany table. The sombre shadow of dusk began to seep into the clear blue January sky, and all at once multifarious reading lamps, scattered randomly amongst the furniture and piles of books, turned themselves on, in perfect unison. Robert poured another cup of tea from his Kyushu and sighed. He fought, ineffectually, with the oversized, dry, rustling broadsheets, trying to tame them by folding and flattening them the best he could. For posterity, Robert attempted to glue the numerous obituaries into the Little Eden archive (a huge, slightly musty, leather-bound book), but the scissors kept losing themselves amongst the unruly sheets and little scraps of paper kept sticking to his hands; no matter how much he tried to shake them off, they just re-stuck somewhere else!

Robert’s silent contemplation was suddenly shattered by the brusque opening of the library door and his mother’s voice slicing through the peaceful air.

“Did you find the obituary I asked Lancelot to put in the Kolkata Times?” Jennifer Bartlett-Hart asked him. She went straight to the large mirror which hung majestically over the sideboard and began adjusting her black, feather-laden hat. She caught sight of a picture of Lilly on the front page of Tatler magazine which lay amongst many others on the table. The magazine was running an old photograph of the glamorous stage star, Lilly Rose, from 1964. Lilly was posing in a ‘Vivienne Westwood’, wearing white go-go boots, long curling fake eyelashes, and her blond hair was peeking out from beneath a jaunty velvet cap.

The headline read:

“A celebration of the life of a Parisian Diva who became a very English Rose. Lilly Rose D’Or. Her life in pictures: pages 10 – 14.”

Jennifer turned away to look in the mirror again. “Lilly hasn’t been Lilly Rose, star of stage and screen, for decades!” she huffed.  “I doubt she even has any fans left who remember her! All this fuss and for what? She owned a Café for most of her life for goodness sakes and put on far too much weight eating all those afternoon teas. I don’t think that is much of anything to shout about.”

Robert sighed and ran his fingers through his brown tousled hair. “Thousands of people come every year to her charity concerts, Mother, you know that,” he replied. “And she has been a Trustee with us for over twenty-five years, and a friend to us – all my life at least. I don’t know what we would have done without her all these years.”

“I was the most beautiful woman in London once upon a time,” Jennifer replied, tilting the brim of her hat this way and that to make the most of her features. “I don’t suppose I will be on the cover of a magazine when I die. I had to give up any chance of fame to marry your father and have you boys.” Absently, Jennifer picked up a couple of newspaper clippings and added, “I hope you are nearly ready to go? Collins will be here any minute. Did you hear me Robert?” Jennifer looked admiringly at her long, manicured nails. “It’s just one funeral after another these days. It could just have easily have been me.”

“They say only the good die young,” Robert said under his breath, trying, in vain, to get the glue off his hands.

Jennifer took off her hat and rearranged her hair again, scowling into the glass. “I don’t see why your father insisted Lilly be buried with our family. Lillianna Rose D’Or or whatever she wants to be called this season is not family and never will be, and it is embarrassing for me! Your cousin Lancelot insisted on it. He can find a legal loophole when it suits him – but not when it suits me it seems.”

Robert sighed again. “It was in father’s will, Mother; you know there was nothing anyone could do. We have been over and over it.”

Jennifer grimaced, and wiggled her hips to prevent her black skirt from riding up her long, slender legs. “Your father went on about Lilly endlessly whilst he was alive; I never understood it. We always had to do whatever he wanted! What did he ever care about Little Eden? Off he goes to America with that floosy, Christabelle, without as much as a by your leave! Well! I am not going to go to this sham of a ceremony. The whole thing is just to embarrass me!” With that, she launched herself out of the room and slammed the door behind her.

Robert shrugged, and raised a resigned eyebrow as he dolefully drank the rest of his, now cold, cup of tea, and continued to cut and paste. 

After the stomping and the banging of doors had finished, he could hear the sound of his brother, Collins, calling jovially from the hall, “Are you ready?” he called, “Varsity says we’ll be late if you don’t hurry.”

“Varsity can wait!” Jennifer shouted down from the landing. She came tottering back down the stairs wearing a different hat and stiffly kissed her son on both cheeks. “Whoever thought of a memorial service in the evening? I ask you!” she complained.

Jennifer stood on the bottom step of the stairs and started to rearrange her son’s clothing, brushing fluff off his black suit. “This is off the peg!” she said, in disgust. “Where did you get it? The fit is terrible!”

“It’s ‘Lanvin’, Mother,” Collins replied. “Varsity picked it out.”

“I don’t care!” Jennifer replied, straightening his tie. “You have perfectly good bespoke suits. Go upstairs and change. You left an Anderson-Sheppard here last week. Go and put that on. If only Robert had your looks and you had his sense of style – I would be less embarrassed to be seen with you both!”

Collins smiled, and kissed his mother. “The fit is perfect, Mother. Only you would ever notice, no one else will.”

Jennifer snorted. “Well those Lawrence girls certainly won’t notice such details. Lucy dresses dreadfully! They were far too self-confident when they were little girls and I don’t see much improvement over the years.” Jennifer fussed with Collins’ mop of blond hair and he tried to get away from her, afraid she might pull out a hanky and start dabbing his face at any moment! “Robert tells me Sophie isn’t feeling well and is staying at the Café indefinitely. She has some sort of fatigue. I ask you! Tiredness is an illness now, apparently! As if we are not all tired all the time! They are as bad as Lilly and your father with their freedom of speech and their women’s liberation and all that environmental nonsense.  Robert’s in the library. There’s caviar on the sideboard – your favourite.”

Collins nonchalantly kissed his mother again, flung open the large panelled door into the library and headed straight for the champagne and canapés. Collins admired his appearance in the mirror and then, turning to the table, he poked at the papers whilst he munched his aperitifs.

“What’s all this?” he asked, in his usual casual manner.

“The obituaries,” Robert responded, without looking up.

“What all of these? Good god! You would think the woman was a saint.” Collins laughed, nearly choking on a piece of crostini.

“I think she was,” Robert mused. “Or she should be!”

Collins smirked, and looked at Robert in the mirror’s reflection. “I suppose I quite liked the old girl myself,” Collins admitted. “Baked a damn good cake! Shame she’s dead.”

“Shame?” Jennifer retorted, marching through the doorway whilst pinning her third choice of hat on her head. “It’s no shame!” she said, pushing her son aside with her hip. “Move, Collins, I need to look in the mirror! Now, perhaps we can have some of the family money to spend for a change?”

Collins downed another quick glass of champers and said, “Talking of money, Mother, I’m a bit short this month.”

“So am I, my dear. Ask your brother! He holds the purse strings around here. He is the one who won’t let us have our own money! Always spending it on the poor or giving it to a charity. Well! Charity begins at home!”

Wearily, Robert pulled on his long cashmere overcoat and replied soberly, “This is not the time to talk about money.”

“Oh come on Bobby, old boy!” Collins said. “With Lilly out of the picture you can hand out the family fortune a bit more. I promised Varsity she could…” Collins paused and grinned, “F**k! Varsity! I left her in the car. She is probably steaming by now!”

Jennifer surveyed herself in the full-length hall mirror. She smiled at herself again in the looking glass but only until she caught sight of Varsity, who was walking up the front steps wearing a magnificent silver fur coat and looking as if she had just finished a photo shoot for Vogue. Collins rushed out onto the porch, put his arm around his wife’s tiny waist and hastily ushered her back into the car.

Robert escorted his mother to the Bentley. Jennifer slid onto the leather seat and into her best finishing school position. She greeted Varsity with a ‘good evening’ and a ‘you look awfully nice.’ She couldn’t help pouting at Varsity’s youthful beauty. To comfort herself, she checked that her finger nails were still in perfect condition.

As the car passed by the end of Adam Street, the ice on the road was treacherous and Dyson, the chauffeur, was taking it slow. By the time they had reached the old Assembly Rooms, on the corner of Knight’s Walk, Jennifer had run out of things to say, so she began rooting about in her handbag for her hanky, pretending she was unable to find it, whilst Varsity occupied herself by refreshing her lipstick.

Eventually, the car pulled up outside the gates of the graceful gothic Sainte Chappelle. It was a dark winter’s eve, but the street lamps gave a cosy glow to Dovecote Street and softened the harshness of the icy chill in the air. As Jennifer stepped out of the car she cockled over on the curb. Robert caught her just in time before she landed face down on the cobbles! She had expected to see some famous guests outside the Chappelle, but looking anxiously around she was relieved that no one was there. She took Robert’s arm and paraded up the lantern-lined path, to be greeted by the singular Reverend Sprott, who was looking rather chilly, but who had been determined to wait outside, in the high and very ornate porch, to meet and greet the Bartlett-Harts. Robert gladly gave his mother over to the Reverend Sprott’s care.

The Chappelle was full of shadows – peppered with sudden bursts of flickering candle light. The glorious gold leaf of the majestic pillars seemed to be on fire, and the towering cobalt blue windows shimmered in a heavenly dance. The delicate, sweet scent of pale pink roses played amongst the deeper, muskier odour of beautiful bright white lilies. The melange of ancient church odours – a faint dampness of stone, wood polish, and carnal fresh flowers – invoked a shiver of ancient memories in the mourners.

Tonight, this holy and most sacred palace of light played host to the friends and family of Lilly D’Or. Not least, to her two beloved nieces, Lucy and Sophie Lawrence, who were standing by a small table which was covered in flowers, bottles of water and a mound of pink crystals. The sisters had been greeting the many mourners for at least half an hour already.

Excerpt from Book Two

Chapter 8

~ * ~

Thunder rumbled over the Sainte Chappelle. As she became aware of her surroundings, Sophie was overwhelmed by the scent of damp earth and fresh roses. Oh crap, she thought. I’m in another time portal. Wake up before something horrible happens! But Sophie didn’t wake up

Five nuns stood, like sentinels, gazing into the stone font in silent prayer. An ivory talisman, carved with the scene of the crucifixion, shimmered beneath the holy waters. In the shadows Sophie couldn’t quite make out the faces of the sisters. She wondered if they were the ones in the photograph, or perhaps they were the saints from her vision dream, but she had a strong feeling this was a different time in history. A bolt of lightning flashed through the cobalt blue windows illuminating the hallowed scene with an unearthly aura. The nuns were unsettled and on edge. Sophie had an uneasy feeling that there was something clandestine about their gathering.

“There will come a time when Little Eden is under threat of being raised to the ground,” Mother Superior said softly to the others. “Not from plague, not from fire and not even from the Kings men, but from the Devil himself.”

A deafening thunder clap rumbled directly overhead and a flare of lightening was hard on its heels, flashing midnight blue, wildly through the Chappelle. The nuns crossed themselves. “The true faith is lost here in England,” Mother Superior continued. “Jesus Christ has replaced the protection of the Holy Mother. The spells of the crucifixion are used to perpetuate the evil men do. They build a false Heaven in the astral realms and it will be too late for those who follow the counterfeit God – they will find themselves trapped in an alternate spirit world instead of released into the arms of the Angels.”

The other nuns tried not to appear frightened, but as another thunderous roar rolled ominously overhead, a sharp fork of lighting pierced the gloom, and the fresco above them was thrown into sharp relief. The face of Jesus loomed down upon them from his cross – watching them with an evil eye. “One sacrifice to end all sacrifices,” one of the nuns muttered.

“If we deny our own sacrifices and follow blindly the King’s priests, we will never find our own way. The responsibility for our soul remains in our own hands, now and forever,” Mother Superior said as she rolled up the wide sleeve of her habit and plunged her hand into the icy water. She pushed aside the ivory plaque and delved deeper into the font. Pulling a leather bag out from the concealed central hole, she shook the water from it and placed it on the stone rim. “Even in our own church, if we do not have the courage to look the Devil in the eye, we will never see the truth,” she said. Thunder boomed as if it were in the room with them – rattling the towering glass and shaking the pillars. The full force of the following lightening fired up the Chappelle with an incandescent blue flame.

They all gasped in fright, including Sophie!

Raising awareness for National ME Awareness Week 2020

Imagine if the self-isolation and social distancing you have been experiencing these last few weeks was going to continue for the rest of your life?

That’s right, for the rest of your life – without let up, without reprieve, without end.

On top of being stuck inside, unable to shop, see your friends, go on holidays, go to the pub, a café or the supermarket, you feel as if you have the flu 24/7. Your body won’t function. Everything aches. You find even the smallest tasks, like taking a shower, cooking a meal or reading a chapter in a book take all your energy.

Millions suffer from this misunderstood illness worldwide but there is little research and no known cause or cure. The World Health Organisation has registered it as an epidemic but governments are still not helping those affected.

It can happen to anyone at any age.

Living in isolation, often bed and housebound, without an income or state support, without medical help or carers, sufferers of ME are forgotten by society and rely on family charity to survive.

We were never supported on TV, by our neighbours or communities, the NHS or carers, we were not given mental health support or had our wages paid at 80% when we had to give up work or lost our businesses. Most of us live in poverty, forgotten and blaming ourselves because no one believes us.

When you return to normal, we will still be in in lockdown without hope.


KT King has suffered for over 27 years with the chronic and invisible disability called Myalgic Encephalomyelitis also called Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. She is trying to help raise awareness for this terrible, debilitating and life destroying disease.

The main heroine of Little Eden, Sophie Lawrence, also suffers with CFS but she is still a heroine none the less.

You can follow the global campaign called MillionsMissing and/or KTKing on Twitter.

http://bit.ly/KTKingTwitter

For more information please visit the ME

Association website https://www.meassociation.org.uk/about-what-is-mecfs/

A bit about the author KT King

Many may wonder how I can write novels if I have ME/CFS. I am able to write when I don’t need to do  anything else. The fluctuation of the illness baffles everyone as does the resolve of those with it to battle on trying to make a living. I lost my home, my income and my independence in 2012 coming back to live with my elderly parents on whom I now rely for physical daily help and financial support. By age 40 I had lost the battle with ME.

Writing too much gives me migraines so I can only write a few days a week for about an hour at a time on what is called ‘a good day’. I write through chronic pain and fatigue but it keeps me alive and it keeps me sane.

Mental and emotional health deteriorate for all of us because we can rarely socialise or see friends. We feel we have no purpose or usefulness and many of us are in terrible pain 24/7 with Fibromyalgia which often accompanies ME.

We can either give up or we can try to do something even if it’s just a little thing on ‘a good day’.

Becoming a published writer is a lifelong dream come true and escaping into Little Eden helps keep the suicidal thoughts at bay. I hope it’ll be a beautiful escape place for you too. One of the main things readers say is that they would love to live in Little Eden which makes it all seem worthwhile!

I’m an indie author, using my savings from before 2012 to publish. I can’t meet deadlines of publishers or do the usual sales promotions.

I can spend months, even years unable to get out of bed so I need all the help I can get spreading the word about my books, especially from kind book bloggers like Debbie.

I find crafting is good for mental and emotional health so when I can I make handmade jewellery to give to friends and to sell in my Etsy shop where all the gifts inspired by Little Eden. I rarely have the energy to bake but now and again I manage to make a cake or some cookies! Some of my recipes have made their way into the novels.

Come and browse in my little Etsy shop http://bit.ly/KTKingShop

Both novels have recipes at the back based on the delectable delicacies served in the No.1 Daisy Place Café-Bookshop such as Strawberry and Cream Shortbreads, Late Night Cheesecake and Over the Rainbow Cake. The Ebooks have wiki-links and links to Utube for the soundtrack. You can find everything Little Eden on KT’s Blog www.ktkingbooks.wordpress.co.uk

Look out for…Little Eden, Book Three, Haunted or Not…Available (hopefully) 2021

Thanks for sharing with us, KT!

Teaser Tuesday!

We’re only a couple of short weeks away from the release of The Broken Tree, so it’s time for #teasertuesday!

From The Broken Tree Copyright 2019 by Kellie Butler. All rights reserved.

As they approached the old blackened oak, both Chester and Minstrel stopped abruptly.
“What’s going on?” Henry nudged Chester, but he wouldn’t budge.
Lydie shook her head. “I don’t know. They won’t go near that tree.”
Remnants of the tree lay broken like the remains of a skeleton long forgotten. It’s bare branches reminded Lydie of arms and fingers. Underneath, the ground had withered despite that the surrounding heath was covered in purple flowering heather. Even a few passing birds seemed disturbed by the old tree and refused to take refuge from their flight in its branches.
“They certainly don’t like it.” Henry said.
“I’ve heard about this. There’s something about this tree that no living thing will go near. Don’t you remember me telling you about it before we married?”
“Vaguely, now that the you mention it.”
An overwhelming sense of sadness seemed to emit from the tree. “I’m going to investigate.” Lydie hopped off her horse.
“Lydie don’t,” Henry called but it was too late. “All right, I’m going too.” He dismounted and followed her.
Lydie walked slowly towards the old oak allowing Henry to catch up with her. “I just want to see what’s making the horses so upset.”
“It looks rather sinister to me.”
“An inanimate object, Henry? I’m surprised at you.”
“I’ve heard of a tree like this back in New England. There’s one in Pennsylvania or Delaware called the Witch’s Tree. According to legend, a witch’s soul will take up residence in a dead tree, hence why living things won’t go near it.”
Lydie shook her head. “I would have thought a man of science like you wouldn’t believe old tales. It sounds something out of the film.”
“Yes, but I’m not liking this tree one bit. Look at its trunk.” Henry gestured to the split trunk.
“It appears as if it was struck by lightning.”
“I think you are right. Look at that burn mark. “Henry traced his gaze upwards towards the canopy. “It must be several hundred years old from how massive it is. Look at those limbs down on the ground.”
“They look like fingers coming out to grab you.”
“Lydie, you and your imagination.”
“It’s so silent around here, Henry. Listen.” The haunting sound of the wind rolled across w the deserted heath. She bent down to touch the black bark of the tree.
“Don’t, Lydie. Don’t touch it,” Henry said.
“What is it going to do? Grab me?”
“No, but I’ve got a bad feeling about this.” Henry glanced back at the horses, who pawed at the ground. “Look, the horses are getting antsy. We need to get going.”
“Yes, I think you’re right. That bark is just so odd. Do you see how it appears burnt from the inside out? I can’t describe the markings.”
“Lydie, let’s go, okay? Come on, I’ll help you mount.”