Sunday, 28 October 2007

An Extract For You

Below is by far the most courageous blog I have posted to date. It is a short extract taken from Chapter two in my novel about a client's visit to the main character of the book. I hope you will enjoy it and remember to keep an open mind throughout. If you wish to comment, please be honest!!


My client arrived on a windswept Wednesday night, too many clouds in the cold night sky shading the moon from its silvery glow. It could have been a little more atmospheric as Teresa Tate closed her car door. I welcomed her into my home. The heat from the Aga beckoned her to remove a quilted jacket from her back.




“No thanks.”

I could sense she was somewhat nervous as she watched tentatively while I filled the kettle. She was eager to get started. I needed to calm her, offer her a little psychological friendship. There was nothing worse than an over enthusiastic client, forever expecting Spirit to appear.

“Let’s sit down for a while,” I suggested, placing two mugs of hot tea on the kitchen table. Mrs Tate’s chair scraped across the tiled floor as she anxiously perched herself upon leather seat. I looked at her. Perhaps I should have offered her a brandy.

“Before we start the reading, I would ask you not to give me any names of family members, or indeed those departed. Should we be fortunate enough to connect with Spirit tonight, I shall give you confirmation of this by giving you information about them. But please don’t be disappointed if no one comes through. It doesn't always happen. We can not order the Spirits to connect, it is their wish only.”

I think she understood. It was time we moved into the reading room, my peaceful space where I would welcome Spirit into my home. This woman had come to me specifically to contact her husband. I knew this the moment we walked into that little room. He stood by the window. His hands stroked the velvet curtains in his bid for me to mention them. He had only eyes for his wife. I might not have been there but for my ability to communicate with him. I could not see his feet, his legs ended mid calf as he appeared to float several inches above the floor. A stocky man, tall and broad shouldered. Grey hair, a few strands of which lapped over his head. His eyes were kind. He wore a black suit and tie, typical funeral attire.

“Sit down, Teresa.”

"I'm a bit nervous," her voice almost gave way to a fraudulent laugh.

“I want to ask you a few questions about your husband.”

“Is he here?” Her sensational enthusiasm overwhelmed me as I tried hard to keep the connection. Trying to ignore her I continued.

“I feel you buried your husband in a velvet lined coffin."

“He’s here isn’t he? Please tell me he’s here.”

“I do believe he is. But please stay calm. Let me see if I can make a better connection.”

The Spirits could often be deterred by anxiousness. I so wanted Mrs Tate to go home that night, content that her husband had visited her and satisfied that the work I offered was legitimate. Sniggers and negativity no longer worried me. I had learned to live with it over the years of my mediumship, but I, like anyone, felt happier if my clients believed my power to communicate with the departed.

Mr Tate stepped forward. Cut off legs hovered above my Axminster carpet as the rest of his body moved to stand beside his wife. He continued to stare at her. He placed his hand on her shoulder. She shuddered.

“Your husband is at your side.” I psychically encouraged her not to move. He was ready to communicate.

I looked up at him. So did she. Her eyes scanning the corner of the room. She believed he was there, even though she could not see him. I knew I could communicate now, they were both ready.

His voice, strong and deep, emitted in my head. As his lips moved, the sound could only be heard by me, the sound of his breathing as he spoke. If he had not spoken I would have confirmed to his wife that he was happy and well. His eyes told me as much yet now I was hearing his words.

“Your husband wants you to know he is no longer suffering. The cancer has gone and his body feels young again.”

My client began to cry. I should have known she would. It can be a very traumatic time to know a loved one is still around, even though they have left the physical world.

“Teresa?” I asked, with care, my hand resting on her arm. “Why did you put the clock in the hall?”

“He bought me that, just before he died. I wanted to look at it every day so I moved it near the front door.”

“He wants you to replace it with a picture. He does not want you to be upset each time you use the front door.”

She looked disappointed. Perhaps a little annoyed. I begged this soul to relay more information. I needed something to make his wife smile again. Something she could tell her children when they asked about her reading with the medium. Spirit showed me a picture of their wedding day. A black and white photograph in which they looked blissfully happy. I gave her this information, at last making her lips turn up, her eyes sparkle. And then he showed me another photograph. Of a baby. Their baby. A daughter, born to them thirty years previously. I told her about the baby photograph. The smile vanished as quickly as it had appeared.

“Why is he showing me this photograph?” I asked myself, silently. I did not want Mrs Tate to tell me, even though, as the question had appeared in my mind, I knew there was something sinister in her husband’s confirmation.

I looked at my client. Her face ashen, she looked at me. Her arms folded. Her legs crossed. Spirit took a step backwards. He no longer wanted to comfort his wife. He no longer wanted her to feel his surrounding energy. His eyes had become harsh and the answer was staring me in the face.

“I couldn’t tell him.” Mrs Tate sobbed as we made our way back to the kitchen. Spirit had left the room. Communication had ceased. The reading had drained my energy, taken my soul and used it to punish this woman who wanted so much to make contact with her departed husband.

“Would you like some more tea?”

“No, I need to go home. How much do I owe you?”

I did not read for an individual in order to take money from their trusting hands. It was not my way. I had given this poor woman only half an hour of my time and she stood before me with an open purse. I refused her money. And she changed her mind about the tea.

“It can sometimes be a relief to talk to strangers about your inner most feelings. Your husband will visit again, of that I am sure.”

“The child is not his.”

It was no surprise. The look on Spirit’s face as he backed away from his grieving wife told me why he had come to see her. As he left, he impressed thoughts upon me. Thoughts I was certain would cause more pain for Teresa Tate after she had obviously been through so much already. Had he not been away at sea those thirty years ago, his own brother would not have felt compelled to care for his sister-in-law. She may not have been tempted therefore, to conduct an affair with her brother-in-law of which resulted in the birth of a child. And of course, for three decades, Teresa Tate had allowed her own husband to live as the child’s true father. My vow never to judge remained and I sat down at the kitchen table that night, until 1am, listening to a total stranger reveal the truth about her life as Mrs Tate.

©Copyright CJ 2007


  1. wow. i would definitely read more.

    and it is brave of you to do this. but i, for one, am happy to be a guinea pig for you.

  2. Beautiful piece. I'd happily read more of this. You know your subject well, it seems. That's exactly how a spirit communicates, showing pictures and giving impressions of thigs.

    I did have trouble with the overly descriptive first paragraph, though. The writing settles down after that.

  3. Oh my! It drew me in and I'm sitting here wishing for more. How brave of you to post this, but how down right inconsiderate to leave me hanging like that! (smiling) You're an amazing writer and I look forward to your completed work.

  4. Ooh Crystal! I like it very much! Thanks for sharing some of your work with us - now I'm eager for more.

  5. Stunning piece of work, simply stunning.

    You've got me. More please, when you are ready.

    Thank you for sharing.


  6. This is convincing writing Crystal, it really hooks the reader.

    I think I agree with leatherdykeuk about the description in the first paragraph, your subject matter is strong enough not to need so much decription, it just appears a little out of character with the rest of the piece.


  7. Hi Crystal - first of all, I admire you SO much for the stamina and determination it takes to get the words on paper! Way to go!! You definitly have something here.

  8. Laurie - Thanks for being a guinea pig!

    Leatherdykeuk - I hope I know my subject well... Comment on first paragraph noted - many thanks.

    Woolyworks - So sorry for being inconsiderate!

    Tina - I might post some more one day!

    Suzy - Nice to welcome you.

    Cathy - Again comment noted. I will definitely give the first paragraph a re-write.

    Thank you for all your comments, this is why I have posted this extract. Crystal xx

  9. Leatherdykeuk & Cathy - I have taken out a sentence in the first paragraph. I was never happy with it anyway!!

    Crystal xx

  10. You had me hooked all the way through, the only thing I didn't like was the womans name ? you give an accurate description though of what the spirit world is like. Very brave of you to put it up for inspection, keep going.

  11. Very good.... And you left me wanting more...xx
    We are going to try to get to alnwick taking in lots of relation visiting on the way.. Hope to see you xx

  12. Hi crystal...gosh you are brave ..its a bit like showing everybody a new baby for the first time ....agree with Sally though...found the name Teresa Tate took me to 'older' name perhaps?
    keep it coming Crystal

  13. Hi Crystal,
    It's really fascinating, more-ish.
    I'm a real bookworm, if I like a book I can't do a thing until I've finished it and I would like to read more of this.

  14. Really enjoyed that, Crystal, thanks for sharing it with us. You certainly know your subject matter well, am looking forward to more, soon??

  15. Certainly had me hooked! Good luck, let me know when the book is out!

  16. It drew me in Crystal, I have to say. Would be interested to read more.

  17. Lovely. Will you post more for us? I'd love to find out what happens next!

  18. I would love to read more. This is so good for a first draft.

  19. Hi Crystal
    Thank you for sharing your work.
    I found your writing convincing and gripping. I enjoyed the way the woman's past unravels slowly. I agree, the description is too wordy in the opening.
    I'd definitely read more of your work and admire your guts in showing it here. Thank you.

  20. Goosebumps...amazing writing as usual!

  21. Sally - I always find names difficult, there's so many of them.

    Bodran - Enjoy Northumberland, it's wonderful.

    Snailbeach - Emmerdale? I know what you mean. However, the setting of the book is focused around village life. Then again.

    Casdok - Slow down woman!!!

    Frog - I think it's easy to write a book. It's keeping the reader hooked that's the difficult part.

    Cowgirl - I've got a lot of work to do before I show anymore, but thanks.

    Bradan - If (when) the book is published, rest assured, you, my blogging friends will be the first to know.

    Faith - I intend it to draw you in, so I am pleased about that.

    Kaycie - I will post more, but when I feel confident enough!

    Withy - A very rough first draft!

    Leigh - That first paragraph is descriptive. I have re-read it often, changed it, added, taken out text. I appreciate your advice.

    DJ - You are very kind. Don't get goosebumps though. It's only a rough draft. I hope the final version will give you the goosebumps!!

    Thank you all for your very useful comments. I very much appreciate you taking the time to read my post and I especially appreciate your honesty.

    Crystal xx

  22. excellent Crystal - keep going. I'll certainly read on with baited breath!

  23. Pondside & Flowerpot - Thank you for your kind comments, Crystal xx

  24. Wonderful piece, Crystal. Certainly had me hooked.

  25. I love it- you are a very talented lady!

  26. I'm late to the party as usual Crystal, I'll have to stop having these 'no computer' weekends! I thought it was really really good. I drew me in, sounded very convincing and exacly how a medium communicates, and it left me wanting to know more. Clever you (and very brave!)

  27. Cor blimey I loved that. And I just realised I was holding my breath whilst reading it!

  28. spooky & brave of you, why were his legs cut off though?

  29. Marie - That means a lot from an established writer as yourself.

    Kelly - Thanks! Blush!

    SM - Better late than never though!

    Helen - You can breathe now! But that's the reaction I want!!

    Muddyboots - Legs cut off; sometimes it is not possible for a Spirit to manifest itself fully because their energy might not be strong enough. It takes a lot of surrounding energy for a Spirit to manifest which is why the feeling of being drained (tired) is often experienced afterwards.

    Thank you for all your comments, they are very much appreciated.

    Crystal xx

  30. Late here too but I certainly wanted to keep reading.
    Well done for being so brave:-)

  31. Great description of the medium and the message, you know your stuff, but, that said, this is the public's perception of how it works as well.

    Is the Tate character to be a further part of the story? If so, there's too much detail at this stage about the child being the brother-in-law's and not her husband's. Not too sure about the short sentences, either. And, being really nit-picky, do you offer someone sugar for their tea before you've even put the kettle on?

    I agree with the others about the first paragraph, too flowery compared with the spare & economic remainder, which is much better.

    As for the name, Teresa Tate, it's the onomatapaeia that's slightly off-putting - you could always just leave her as Mrs Tate, and if she becomes a character later, she could say, "Please, call me Teresa, Mrs Tate sounds too formal,". That way, the two names don't run together and jar.

    Are you putting more on Novel Racers?

  32. This is a great piece of writing. So often people contact their relatives with entirely straightforward results, but this piece turns it on it's head.

  33. Jackofall - Thank you for this invaluable feedback. It seems like Teresa Tate's name does need looking at. I have named her Mrs Tate, thought about exactly what you said in so far as her first name being revealed later in the book. Good suggestion.

    The post is just a short extract. A first draft. I like short sentences.

    Perhaps some people do offer sugar with their tea before putting the kettle on - a personal choice.

    I visit NR daily. I have created a new blog which consists of further extracts of my work with the hope of having them read and possible feedback which I think as a novice writer is paramount.

    Again, thank you for taking the time to read this post and comment accordingly. I hope you will be able to read more of my work as and when I post it.

    Crystal xx

  34. Lane - I'm glad I was brave because I have had some excellent feedback.

    Beverley - Hi, welcome to my blog. Thank you for reading.

    Thank you too, for your very welcome comments, Crystal xx

  35. Crystal, I was totally involved, loved it. I agree the first paragraph just didn't seem natural, the rest flowed beautifully. x

  36. I stumbled upon this blog while bored and strangely curious about other bloggers who also claim to like "The Russia House" in their Blogger profiles. I became completely and instantly involved in this post/excerpt.

    Thanks for sharing it with the world wide web.

    I am no longer bored. You have inspired me to continue work on my promised online excerpt.

    Sorry for the intrusion (but I will probably return for more reads).

  37. SEM - Thank you so much for the feedback.

    Tiffani - Welcome to my blog! I am so happy you were bored. Please come back whenever and never feel you have intruded! That's what blogging is for, I think. Mine is anyway!! And I do love The Russia House, one of Connery's best I always think.

    Marla - I will definitely keep going!

    Thank you for your kind comments, Crystal xx

  38. I found your link over at Flowerpot's place. Glad I came!

    You're so brave putting this out a wannabe writer myself, I imagine it feels like standing naked in the street.

    I absolutely loved it and would definitely read more. I'm as intrigued about Mrs tate as I am the medium. There are already so many questions I want answered. Does the child know who her father is? Does he? Is he married? Etc etc. I can see a lot of suspense ahead.

    Just for the record...if I offered you tea, I'd ask if you took sugar before I left the room to put the kettle on.

  39. wow! Late as usual but very've inspired me to continue with my "novel" (I've put it in quotes because I don't think it's much cop yet!)....can't wait to read my excerpts

    NMO x

  40. Oh Crystal. I want more!


    You should be so very proud of yourself.

  41. Excellent writing Crystal,

    The story definately draws one in to reading. Forgive me, but not sure about Christian Name of character to Tate, but Jacko has raised this I believe.

    Have you thought of a title yet, or do you think this will appear to you perhaps later? Keep at it Crystal you have nothing to lose. Love your vivid imagination all good material for a book.


  42. Excellent writing Crystal,

    The story definately draws one in to reading. Forgive me, but not sure about Christian Name of character to Tate, but Jacko has raised this I believe.

    Have you thought of a title yet, or do you think this will appear to you perhaps later? Keep at it Crystal you have nothing to lose. Love your vivid imagination all good material for a book.


  43. My apologies Crystal, seemed to have entered twice. Hope I have not taken up too much space.


  44. Love it. Great building of tension, interesting and very evocative. Definitely want to know more about your characters. Where is the first chapter? What is the name of your other blog?

  45. Oh come on! I need more you got me hooked! :D

    I love it, definately writing about what you know.

    p.s. Sorry it took me awhile to find time to read it.

  46. I have goosebumps. I waited to read this till I had the time and proper frame of mind. I am so glad I did.


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