Category Archives: Short Story
A mysterious house. An old journal. A dusty chest holding more than secrets.
Each talisman found in the chest grants the chosen a gift, a unique ability.But with that power comes a burden–the duty of The Order.
Something is coming.
And it’s up to The Order to stop it.
The Talisman Chronicles – All Six Episodes Available for the First Time in a Single Volume
Six short stories, all centred around a house and a mysterious chest. This is T. M. Franklin at her YA Paranormal/romance best!
I originally read this when it was first released, and this is my review from back then (I will edit at the end)
The touch of paranormal to what is a seemingly normal house makes for an interesting story. Chloe has always been linked to the house and the picture window in the living room. It shows her things. Thinks of the past, the present, and what could be.
Chloe, apart from her gift, is your average teenage girl who isn’t part of the ‘in crowd’ at school, preferring to spend her time with her best friend Miranda. Ethan, the boy who lives across the road whom she has a crush on, used to be their friend, but became big man on campus and decided to hang with the popular crowd. Chloe and Miranda are fine about this, until the house shows Ethan in danger.
What follows is a very sweet story about friendship and caring for others and hilarious Twitter conversations. Without spoiling the story, I will say it took me about an hour to read it and I loved every minute. The characters are likeable and relateable, even with the gift Chloe has, and the reader cares about them just as much as the house does.
I want a house like that, that makes me feel warm and fuzzy
The way Franklin has extended and adapted this story to make it the beginning of a series is fantastic as she hasn’t lost the soul of the original story. It smoothly leads into the next without any hitches!
Following on from the first book, Wren is new into town. After Chloe and Miranda become friends with her, and she’s having weird dreams about Chloe’s house, she begins to embrace her destiny – afterall, that is what it is.
By the end of this book, it’s still not completely clear why these things are happening to the teens in their town, but Franklin’s effortless writing style makes you want to keep reading until the very end so you have all the answers.
I think Beck, the main in this episode of The Talisman Chronicles, is my favourite character. He’s focussed on doing well at school and with his swimming, but there’s something about him, a serious side that is so endearing. What we don’t know, until this episode, is about his sister, and the crap he and his dad are going through with her and Beck’s mother.
While all that is going on, Beck is brought into the fold with the others and the prophecy. His destiny is explained to him, and it takes him a while to get used to it and his relationship with Wren. He’s a strong character with flaws that make him all the more relateable.
I have to admit. This episode was my last favourite (which I still enjoyed), but I can’t work out why. It still had the action and a lot more resistance from Maia to everything happening. She was the first to not just blindly accept what was happening to them all. I liked that about her as it made it feel that little more realistic, but there was something a little… off about her episode.
While a lot of questions left open by the previous episodes are answered in this book, more are created by the end of it which is frustrating in such a good way!
Dylan has been a character readers have met a couple of times due to his knowing Chloe and Miranda at school, and then his dad becoming involved with the Order. When Dylan is given his gift, his dad wants nothing more to do with them, and orders Dylan not to either, but the draw is far too strong, for them both.
Dylan defies his dad and puts himself in danger, but eventually his dad realises he needs to do this, they ALL do.
Once again, Chloe is the main in this episode, but by the time this one comes around, we can see how much stress she’s under and how tired she is by everything. All she wants to do is protect Ethan and others not in The Order while The Order prepare for the big fight.
Sadly, it seems that not everyone will survive the battle and this is weighing on Chloe and her friends worry about her.
Are The Order strong enough to band together and do battle?
All in all, this series is fabulous, and I couldn’t put it down. Not one episode slowed the flow of the entire story, and there were a couple of moments that shocked me as I hadn’t seen them coming. I’ve miss T. M. Franklin’s writing, and as ever, I need more!
Xs: THE INTERVIEW
by TJ Chapman
Publisher: PGP Liquid Gold
Genre: Erotic Romance
Content Warning: 18+
His name is whispered behind the hands of many gossiping women.
The way he pleasures a body leaves you craving his touch, his words, and his breath. The way his eyes bore into yours, you want to look away, but you can’t. He controls every part of your being while you’re in his domain. And when you leave, you feel bereft, but sated.
Who is this man they speak about?
Megan Brayer has the chance to interview this elusive gentleman. Will the answers he gives to her questions satisfy her curiosity?
This is the first book of many short stories. Each story will tell its own little story and can be read as stand alone.
“First of all, thank you for taking the time to let me do this interview. I’m going to jump right in because your secretary said you didn’t have much time today. To start easy, the first question is why? Why did you choose this as your profession?” It was the one thing that puzzled Megan.
“My time today is yours, I’ve made sure of that; and to answer your question, why not? I have the means, and motive as it were. I gain pleasure by giving it. I get paid to help these people, to give them what they want with total anonymity. It’s not dangerous or stupid, and I certainly know I’m mature enough to cope with each situation that comes to me. I don’t care about their history, their backgrounds. I get a little peeved if they’re married or have a partner, and I do try in all instances to persuade them not to come to me, but it is what it is. I’ve had several couples come to me, so it can’t be all that bad.”
“So you do it to gain pleasure? Surely you could go to a bar each night for that, or has it got something to do with money?” Megan had a nagging thought that he was just a typical player who was in it for the money as an added bonus.
“Miss Brayer, my first paid ‘job’ was just before my eighteenth birthday. I had a student in the grade above me begging for my help with her English. She didn’t have much money, but came up with the idea that she could give me a blow job as a payment. Crude, it seems, but as a young man, I was up for it. At the time I was still the gentleman my parents raised me to be, so I did hesitate. However, the girl was one step away from not graduating and by the end of the week, I caved. After I’d helped her with the work she was set, she offered me the ‘payment’, but I could see it in her eyes. Fear and nerves. She didn’t want to do it just as much as I didn’t want to use her for my own horny satisfaction.” He picked up his tall glass of iced water, took a sip, and smiled at Megan as he sat it back down on the crisp white tablecloth.
“I told her that she didn’t have to do anything and that I wouldn’t pressure her, but she wouldn’t take no for an answer. We talked for a long time. At that point in my life, I had no clue how to please a woman. One minute we were talking about the stresses of being teenagers and the next, she was showing me how to please her. I was curious and very much willing to learn, so over the next few months I helped her catch up with her work and she taught me the art of pleasing a woman.”
Megan snorted a little. “That’s a bit one-sided, don’t you think? She got the education and the pleasure, too.”
“Not at all. I got an education also, and even if it was one-sided, what horny teenage boy would say no to free sex and a pair of boobs to play with?”
“True. So what happened after you left school?”
“Well, that’s when my education really kicked off. I took a few psychology classes to help both me and women. I went to clubs, all different ones. Early on I learned the more I pleasured a woman, the more I got from it. I observed them constantly. Some women gave away what they wanted from the beginning, others were more reserved. It was almost like I was power hungry. The more I watched and learned, the more a woman would writhe under my control, and the harder I came. I didn’t even have to have sex with them. I could give them pleasure all night and then go home to finish myself off. Those were always the best nights.”
“Power hungry to give pleasure. That sounds pretty strange.”
“Not really. Miss Brayer, take away the fact that we have morals, societies, et cetera, and what we’re left with is nothing more than basic human instincts. Animal instincts. Men still like to congregate around a fire. We’re the heads of our households and when it comes to the bedroom, our instincts really come out. Do you know why most women like their hair being pulled?” he asked, and Megan shook her head, trying not to be pulled in by the feral look in his eyes as he gazed at her over the small table.
TJ Chapman hates talking about herself in third person…
Living in small villages and towns for most of my life, you would have thought that it would get boring as hell. Fortunately for me, I loved it. I got to know a lot of people and when you take the time to ‘people watch’ as a child, your mind can run at a mile a minute.
I often let my mind wander into the lives of these people. That old lady down the road, well, she could have been a spinster witch. The pub owner who looked very shifty, well… He could certainly be up to no good with things in his cellar. You get my point.
I love writing almost any genre and most of my stories are based around the small villages and towns I grew up in, in Kent, UK. Humour, Supernatural, and Romance are my main focus, but if I get a good plotline in my head, my fingers start typing.
“Mr. John, it is good to see you.” She looked into his bloodshot eyes and noticed the circles of fatigue beneath them and the general pallor of his skin. “Still haven’t heard from the VA?”
John shook his head and took another bite. After he finished chewing and taking a swallow of coffee, he cleared his throat. He hadn’t talked much in days and hoped his voice was still working. “You have a good memory. I haven’t been here in three weeks. Thank you for the service you offer. The food, shower and clean clothes make me feel almost human.” Having run out of things to say, he took another bite as he watched the kind face framed in black.
She smiled. “It is a skill that comes naturally to me, thank you. But it isn’t perfect. I have forgotten your last name, if you’ve ever shared it, but do remember you saying you were a SEAL in Afghanistan and have worked in a similar but non-military position after that. I can surmise you are now homeless due to your PTSD?” She looked at him for confirmation and waited until he gave a curt nod. “The wheels of the VA move very slowly. Too slow for the people who need help. I also have noted, when speaking to you, that you are intelligent, educated, and I know the longer you stay on the streets the greater chance you have to die early. It would be a real waste.” She smiled and patted his hand. “Son, I’ve some news for you. A new clinic has opened its doors. I’ve watched them to see if they are legitimate and to see the quality of their care. It’s called The Destiny Clinic, and it is going through the paperwork to be recognized as a VA-affiliated treatment center. Instead of cash, the price for treatment is to help the community in whatever capacity you can, and if that is beyond the patient receiving services… it is free. The funding comes from a local company who made its money making prosthetics and body armor. This is their way of supporting the wounded veterans.” She handed him a card. “Here’s the address. It isn’t far, and they have several treatment programs and therapy strategies. The day is still young. You can go there after your meal. You’re a good man. Let them guide you back to us. Our city, our country needs quality people like you.”
He looked down at the card and back up into the kind eyes. “You don’t know me or what I have done, what I’ve seen. Those things return in my nightmares and in sudden sounds. Terrible flashes of memories. The military and later…” John’s voice dropped to a near whisper as he lowered the coffee mug to the table. “The CIA gave me a structure and purpose until I became broken and a liability to them. But you’re right. Living on the streets and under the overpasses is a game of Russian Roulette. Thank you for your kindness.” Pocketing the card, John picked up his empty plate and cup. He stood and looked down into the lined face of the nun. “Sister, I don’t know your name.”
“I’m Sister Mary Rebecca.”
“Thanks, Sister Mary Rebecca. My name is John Easton.” He gave her a nod of respect, then with a small smile he touched his forehead in a salute. He left his dishes in the pan beside the kitchen and stepped out into the late spring day.
|A Beltane Gift ✯ The Tin of Honey ✯ The Dragil: Broken Magic ✯ The Battered Ball|
Holly’s world is shaped by her love of family, the beauty of the natural world and an irrepressible creative drive. She has always been curious and sees life through questions. These four characteristics color her writing voice and her stories frequently evolve from her asking “What if….?” Her tales tend to have non-urban settings with nature contributing to the plot, building discordant themes inside a seemingly peaceful refrain.
Her motto: Weaving Alternative Worlds with Threads From Today.
HEADS & TALES
GENRE: mixed collection of flash and short fiction