“Twisted family dynamics.
A woman desperate to erase her past.
Secrets that someone goes as far as murder to protect.
All this is Black Souls, a gripping psychological thriller.”
“Twisted family dynamics.
A woman desperate to erase her past.
Secrets that someone goes as far as murder to protect.
All this is Black Souls, a gripping psychological thriller.”
Happy 2020 everybody, I know it feels like we entered the new decade ages ago but it was only 12 days ago and as you can see, we already managed to inspire a poem.
Good old nasty Clara, has not only been the object of my rants but also the muse of my dear friend, Darren Hobson (darrenhobson.wordpress.com).
After a short period when we all thought her incontinence was under control, in fact, here there was an outbreak. Nappies were not working and neither the vet’s magic potion . Then, after she wet our bed for three nights on a row, not even my marriage was working very well either. The travelling husband, who unfortunately was not traveling, had decided that I was responsible for all our dogs’ bad habits.
OK, I can admit there might be some truth in this urban myth that I’m too soft with our four legs but , still, I felt it was my duty deny his ridiculously allegations and even more to oppose his insulting idea to lock Clara in the cage, or cosy pen as some would call it, overnight.
Me stamping my feet was useless, but she, into the crate, was nonsense.
Clara never considered the training cage as her cosy pen, not even when she was a puppy, and exactly like when she was a puppy she barked and growled through all the night.
” She just needs to get used to it. and when she will realise even if she narks nobody will go to open her then, she will stop and give in”, the husband said on the second sleepless night.
The second night, things didn’t improve. Maybe Clara is a bit slow(and I doubt it), but the message that even if she barks nobody will let her out didn’t quite reach her conscience. Her barking, instead, reached everybody’s nerves in the house, included the travelling husband that was probably so regretting his nights in boring lonely five-star hotels. Of course he wouldn’t say a word and stick with the cosy pen/crate.
The third night of this Calvary I went to bed early, with the only intent to get some sleep before he locks her in the cage and would come to bed too followed by her barking. And I did; I managed to fall asleep but a sudden metallic noise woke me up.
“what are you doing?”
“I am dismantling the bloody cage. She is coming up and she better keep that nappy in place”
Well, hard not to, as he had tied a band around the nappy that makes it m possible to slip off.
Could he have not thought about that before?
Well a week later, the husband is happily back travelling, my bed is happily back to stay dry, and Clara is happily enjoying her 15 minutes of fame.
After fighting a very strange flu for two weeks, I had to succumb and take the evil antibiotics. The good news is that those horrible aches and pains all over my body and the fever had gone, but as usual, that tedious medications gave me insomnia and nervousness.
Crankiness apart, I am soon fully back on my feet.
No more excuses for keeping the morning dogs walk short, even because I don’t think that big ears german could cope with another day without a proper walk. He loves the couch, but he equally loves galloping on the beach and eats seaweeds like there is no tomorrow.
The sun is shining, and after a satisfactory walk we go back to the car.
Kurt jumps straight into the car boot, as soon as I open it, and waits not really patiently for his after walk treat; Clara, who waits with the same greediness for her treat, needs instead some help to get in. I help her, and while I bend to lift her back legs, I smell a nasty odour. Presumably it comes from the dog poo bag I’m still holding in my hand.
I am right , but the problem is that the bag had somehow popped and the poo was leaking on my boots: “Shit”, I think and say. And never a word was more accurate.
I slammed the tailgate closed and run to the first bin to throw the bag in. Afterwards, I go back to the beach and walk into the sea to clean my boots.
Back to the car, I notice that a piece of Clara’s lead is sticking out from the boot. In a rush, I must have close it through.
I try to open the boot but it won’t. I unlock ,lock and reunlock the car but still nothing.
The lead jammed in the tailgate must prevent the lock from working.
I push down the back seat so to access the boot from inside the car and check what the real problem is. As guessed, the problem is the lead stuck inside the mechanism that makes the tailgate open and close.
I try to pull it out, but it doesn’t move an inch.
If this is not enough to throw me in despair, just this morning I decided not to use the extendable lead for Clara. I simply slipped the ordinary no pulling lead through her head and so now the poor thing is stuck to the tailgate too.
Ten endless minutes and a few attempts from Kurt to hop his sister later, we are parked in front of the house.
I go grab a pair of scissors and free Clara, who is so happy that she even run towards big german ears, wagging her tail.
A mistake only caused by the fact that she couldn’t see him. And in fact, shortly after, I can hear a massive growl followed by big ears german crying.
Now that the dogs are more or less safely inside, I can go back trying to sort the car boot out.
I try again to pull the lead, and again with no success. Discouraged I think about poossible ways to tell the travelling husband that most likely this week end he can’t go hunting because he can’t put the dogs in the boot that won’t open because his wife, after leaking dog’s poo on my boot (boot that he gave me last Christmas), had slummed the tailgate close with the dog’s lead, (lead that is his favorite).
Now, because the human mind works in very strange ways, while I have already the phone on hand to call the car assistance, an idea popped into my head: what if I go for a drive at high speed, the pressure might cause the tailgate to pop open.
A bit risky, but it can work! Except what most likely will happen is instead that it won’t work and I will end up with a speeding ticket. Alternatively, it might work, but not without making me lose control of the car ….then a broken tailgate would be the least of my car’s problems.
As I said the human mind works in very strange ways but not always are clever.
I am kneeling inside the bloody car boot for over twenty minutes now, with my bottom up and half sticking out of the car. I need to shift position, and I am starting to wonder how many of the neighbours are having a good laugh at me.
Not that we have many neighbours that can see me, but the only who can, is usually quick to take pics of odds happenings.
The car boot has now became a sort of cosy place where to spend my morning. I hopelessly look at the jammed lead and the stuck tailgate. Of course, I don’t believe that keeping staring at them will magically fix them, but as they say, hope dies last.
To be honest, faith is not my strong point, but because I am Italian, I grew up hearing people saying “God helps those who help themselves” , and so I start kicking the boot.
one, two, three: kick
one ,two, thre kick
one, two, thre kick….
and magically the boot opens.
Black Souls is a gripping journey inside the human mind.
A lake holding more secrets than any family can bear.
A trail of blood running from Dublin to a little touristic paradise in the Italian Dolomites.
Two detective racing against time to stop a savage killer.
Sunday afternoon, I am still feeling miserable with aches and pains all over my body and paranoid about typos, when the radio started to play a lyric that immediately captures my attention. I let myself to be transported by the music until I suddenly realize that I know that lyrics and I know the artist.
I am now transported to this incredible singer and songwriter’s house. I have the clear image of him, his daughter and son playing and singing. Then the wife comes along and started to sing along too. How nature had allowed so much talent in just one family, I still don’t know, but it did. I, on my side, feel quite privileged because surely is not an everyday thing to witness the creation of art, and neither is an everyday thing listen at the radio to a song you know who belongs to.
So, in the excitement of been able to say I know that man whose song is now playing on the radio, I just felt I had to write something because good artists deserve to be heard and shared.
If you love music like I do, (and when I say music I mean good music), and if you like to support arts check this incredible composer and singer-songwriter: Hugh Doolan
While I spent the week feeling miserable for myself, my gang spent it instead badly concealing their satisfaction in seeing me incapable of verbally giving out.
Last Sunday, I woke up aphonic. Two fireballs had moved in inside my throat and still seemed to have no intention of moving out. On top of this, aches and pains spread all over my body.
Spending the week feeling physically miserable in some way brought me to feel psychological miserably too. I was overwhelmed with things to do for the release of the new book but I was also overwhelmed by the comparison between this book and my debut novel.
It is no secret that every novice has some faults, but the mistakes I realised I did are haunting me, starting with trusting some so-called professional for its proofreading and publication.
I won’t hide that over the months it became an obsession. I walk around the village feeling the eyes of the local on me saying, “here it is the sloppy author. what an idiot!”
I started to believe that nobody will buy any other of my books and that my reputation was ruined. As more pleased I grow with Black Souls and the beginning of vol 1 of The Seacross Misteries, and as more, I feel in need to justify myself in front of my readers and explain things as they are about Fields Of Lies. Sabina the writer has been contaminated by Ortensia the queen of the bad typo. I had to do something, mainly after I soooo much enjoyed my fifteen minutes of fame and glory during the super fun interviews with Dominique (3Cstyle.com) and Victoria (raynotbradbury.com). No denying it, I felt a real VIP…. until reality stroke. But can I let my mishap ruin all the work I ‘ve done so far? No, no and no. I have a five years business plan. One/ books a year and if nothing happens, I can always go back to be a desperate housewife, that if only would be like the one of those living in Wisteria lane, it might be much busier and criminal than in any book. But that only tv, I am walking my dogs for nearly twenty years and i still never found one single cadaver on our way. Come on, every dog walker find at list a corpse in his life according to the movies. Maybe I walk the wrong paths.
Anyway back to my torments, the decision was taken, I unpublished the book and with the help of a friend I started to re-proofreading the whole fecking thing as obviously amending mistakes here and there, when they spotted, as I’m doing for nearly a year, doesn’t work.
At the end of a week of physical and psychological burden, I publically acknowledged my faults and my naiveness, in the hope that honesty pays back. I went to the doctor too, and guess what? I ‘ve nothing that some paracetamol and rest can not cure.
Being astrologically speaking a Taurus, first I acted and then I asked for advice.
They say never ask a question you might not like the answer……nothing is truer and, in fact, the travelling husband didn’t agree with me.
“No honey, you deny, always. Till the end”, his actual words.
I blamed his attitude to the fact that he is the CIO of an international insurance, and God only knows what kind of things happen in those offices. Still, his words threw me back in the anguish I had eventually gotten rid of, after my “coming out”. I mean I know it might sound unprofessional, but everybody makes mistakes, the important thing is to learn from them.
That evening I went to bed troubled, and in the middle of the night, I woke up in cold sweat. I looked at the man lying beside me, and I suddenly wondered what he really meant by “deny till the end”. Should have I read more in those words? Actually, that is exactly what a long-time friend of ours did when caught cheating by his wife, he denied the most obvious of the evidence.
Those words in the mouth of an Italian middle age man can only be suspicious. Even more suspicious, if I thunk at his tendency to buy identical shirts in style and colours, and socks all of one colour. In twenty years of marriage I actually never thought anything about this peculiarity of the travelling husband, until last week. Last week when I was on my own and in desperate need of distracting myself with some tv program that didn’t require much brain activity to be understood and whose dialogues could be easily read through lips as mu cough covered most of the sound, I watched this movie about a love triangle. The protagonist, in his tidiness, always changed his shirt before going back home to the wife, who never noticed and suspected a thing because he only wore shirts of the same style and colour. He kept a few spare at the mistress’s place and that was it.
Fields Of Lies is suddenly not my worry anymore, besides I am fixing it for good, and neither is the launch of Black Souls. I only have one concern now: my marriage.
“Honey do you have a mistress?”, I asked after gently pinching the husband on the arm to wake him up.
“No, silly. That would be far too complicated. I have no time for this stuff. Can I go back to sleep now?”
What a relief, now I can go back to sleep too and keep worrying about Black Souls being typo-wise impeccable and my readers still trusting my writing and all those little things normally crowding into my head.
Happy Week End Everybody.
Every year Nona comes over for daughter number one’s birthday, and this year is not an exception.
This year is also a special one because she will come with two of my cousins and the birthday girl will officially be a teenager.
The cousins are much younger than me (around twenty years), but they are also two of my favourite persons in the world, if not for one little detail: they inherited my mum’s cinderella syndrome. Yes, the cleaning freak gene had skipped a generation, mine, and went straight to them. This means that besides the excitement of having them over, I am also under tremendous pressure. Not only I have to pass my own mother’s inspection but also theirs.
They are coming on Wednesday evening, so I carefully planned my days before the arrival.
Monday and Tuesday I’ll work on the book and Wednesday I ‘ll dedicate the whole day to clean the house and groom the girls and myself, as I forgot to mention the two cousins not only are picky cleaner, but they are also a hairdresser and beautician and share their aunt hate for anything shabby and unkempt.
Unfortunately, as often happens in Ortensia’s world, her plans go basted.
The mechanic rings to say that my car won’t be ready until Thursday, that means I have to collect my guests with the travelling husband car.
Nothing wrong, it also much bigger but because it is the car I use to transport the dogs and he uses to go hunting, it is too much stinkier, and they will have to lay their perfectly packed and clean pieces of baggage on a mucky boot.
As on Tuesday afternoon, I have to wait for an hour daughter number two to finish art class that the perfect time to bring the car to have inside-out wash. All sorted; except after I drop CG to art class, the car won’t start.
Sure it is not the battery because everything electrical works but oil the dashboard display it mentions something abbot the steering wheel locked.
I decide to leave it to rest for a while, believing that cars are like computers: you just have to switch them off, wait and switch them back on, and everything will be sorted.
I soon discovered that the switch off and back one technique doesn’t work with cars. Now, daughter number two had finished art class; daughter number one is at the train station waiting for me; it is dark, and nearly everybody had already left the parking.
The AAA number is engaged, my friend who lives nearby and that I usually call when I run out of petrol doesn’t answer( not on purpose if you are wondering…..I think), the travelling husband is travelling, and I start to panic.
There are only two cars now outside the art centre, one has nobody inside, and the other is about to leave. I have to act quick. I get out the car and jump in front of the poor guy who brakes to avoid to run me over.
He is puzzled and refuses to roll down the window, despite my desperate knocking, ( or maybe because of my desperate knocking). I keep blabbing about my car not starting, and the poor guy eventually convinces himself I might be a lunatic but not a dangerous one.
He gets into my car, turns the key and voila” the engine is running.
I felt dumb and dumber all in one person. The guy looked at me like I was a total idiot but what matters is that not even twenty minutes later I am safe at home with both my girls…..In the warmth and cosiness of my living room….Not that, I wish it. The electricity was in fact gone for most the time we were out, and the house is freezing.
Wednesday is the day of the guests’ arrival.
I drop the girls to school, walk the dogs, and go straight home. The cleaning awaits me. I decide to work my way up.
The ground floor is done, and candles are spread all over the kitchen in the hope, with the cooperation of the curry I’m going to cook for dinner, they will camouflage the wet dog smell. The weather is horrendous, and it never stopped raining g since the previous night.
Time to take care of the upstairs. As the cousins will take over the guest bedroom, Nona will have to sleep in the daughter’s number one room. That means I had not only to change the bedding and accurately hoover and dusting, but I also have to remove everything that can affect her asthma…..basically half of the items in the room as the new teenager is notoriously a hoarder.
Once that is done, I pass to daughter number two’s room, and there is where things get complicated. The two sisters will have to share the place for the coming days. Not a problem as they often do on Saturdays night, but sharing the bed. This time as they will have to sleep in the same room for a few days on of them will sleep on the sofa bed we recently bought. Well, I bought it, as the travelling g husband was sceptical and afraid it would take too much space. Of course, I ignored his worries. CG’s bedroom is a big room, and I took precise measurements before proceeding to the purchase.
Or so I thought because it turned out that once opened the bed doesn’t really fit in the room as it is.
There is only one way: I spin around myself and turn into wonder mom, and I moved furniture around for the next hour.
Now have you any idea what effort it takes to move a wardrobe from one side to the other of a room alone? I can tell you, the same effort that it takes to move a desk, a bed, a chest and drawers. My back still hasn’t completely recovered but it worth the pain as now, with the new bedroom layout once the sofa bed is fully opened, you can not only walk around the room….you can dance!
House is done, deep cleaned and tied, now it is the girls’ turn.
By 4:30 pm they are showered and in their pjs so that I have the time to give the bathrooms one last clean before I eventually go to have my hair done.
6:00 pm I’m back from the hairdresser and ready for a coffee with my feet up before starting dinner…..No, not really as I realised the plants I bought for the garden are still there waiting to be planted. I had totally forgotten about them. They can wait for another day, you might think, except I told my mother I planted the winter flowers a week ago.
Torch on one hand and spade on the other I’m pottering away under the rain……..and when I’m done there is nothing left of the professional blow and dry I had paid like gold but, at least, the mushroom hat the hairdresser blew on top of my head had flattened.
8:20 pm, I just collected my guests from the terminal, and we are heading home ready to enjoy four days of pure fun.
Black Souls is done. Only a few technicalities to look after but nothing major and so eventually the high pressure is off.
Ortensia can go back to a sort of routine.
The last three weeks her alter ego, in the person of the murder mystery “writer”, Sabina Gabrielli Carrara, possessed her entirely and kept her prisoner of the editing cave.
The midterm had passed without me enjoying any lazy late morning or useless afternoon, but as they say duty first.
This week eventually, life had started to go back to a bit of normality, except for the fact that now every spare time that I have must be used to pick up the knitting needles.
Daughter number one, who is still possessed by her new “ME”, needs gloves, hat and scarves. Winter had arrived, but apparently, she can’t use any of the dozen she already has to go to school .
“Just wear your stripy scarf honey, and you’ll remove it when in the school premises,” I suggested, at the best of my Italian “let’s sort it out some way attitude”.
“I cant. Mrs P said that when we wear the uniform, we represent the school and we must be impeccable.”
She left speechless. Also, she made me feel a bit lousy in my values, but most of all, she scared me.
I had a vision of an army of girls in their clean and perfectly ironed green and blue tartan uniform, all assembled in the school hall and trained by a Mrs P looking like Sgt Gunny with long hair.
“Plus now I am class prefect, and that makes me even more responsible for the name of the school. I have to give an example!!!!” she then added, while I was still standing mute and humiliated, and she was done another vision appeared in my head:
Reese Witherspoon in the “the election”!!!! And suddenly I imagined my daughter technology teacher as Mathew Broderick and me baking thousands of cupcakes to bring to school because obviously after running for class prefect she will want to run for school prefect right?
Now I only have to hope that this vision won’t come back to me when ill go for the parents-teachers meetings, because I am not sure I will be able to hold myself from laughing.
That’s the story of why I got back out my knitting needles and spent a fortune in wool yarns of a shade of blue and green that perfectly match my daughter, the class prefect, as the badge she religiously wears every day, reminds us all.
As strong as the new “me” is, unfortunately, for daughter number one, the old one is still living somewhere inside her. The other morning I had to go to rescue her at the train station, where I had dropped her ten minutes earlier because she realised she had forgotten her train card.
“Pew”… I thought in the greatest relief ……she is still infallible mainly considering we this is already her second train card, because of the first one she had lost it a couple of weeks after school had started.
Tea is served…enjoy a cup, relax and take a peek at Black Souls’s Synopsis :
“Lola never met her father, and her mother took her own life when she was still a toddler. Raised by her aunt Mara, a callous woman who never showed any affection towards her niece. As soon she turns 18, Lola moves to Malta where she meets her future husband, Fergus. The two of them will ultimately build their dream life in Ireland. Lola’s past seems forever forgotten, until the day her aunt Mara dies under suspicious circumstances and her cousin Giulia vehemently discourages her from being involved. Uncertain about what to do, in the end, Lola flies over to Ponte Alto with her husband.
The old town had not changed much, and neither had the twisted dynamics inside the Kopfler family. Lola is transported back twenty years, and the ancient feeling of being an outsider is back. But that is not all: her presence is a threat to someone; someone who doesn’t hesitate to leave a trail of blood behind to keep their secrets safe.
The events unfold a spiderweb of evil acts, lies, and a truth that is far crueller than anyone can imagine, and soon Lola and Fergus find themselves at the centre of a killer hunt. What they cannot imagine is that the search for the truth will bring them back to Dublin. The vicious attack of their neighbour and friend, in fact, is some way connected to the savage murders in Ponte Alto, but how?
Inspector Furio Zamparelli and Detective Enda McCarthey will have to join forces and start a race against the clock to stop the killings.
The deception of the powerful Kopfler family had started. There is no coming back: Will Lola be spared? “
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Time had certainly flown by in between travelling back and forth to Italy to sort some family business, then Nona came to visit and soon all my spare time went writing. Without me even realising it, weeks had passed without Ortensia been able to sit behind the desk.
Actually, the plan was to go back blogging last week, but an injured husband and some unexpected DIY job got in the way.
Last Saturday, the travelling husband and daughter number one went out to the lake for the day, while I and daughter number two went to the shopping center to buy a birthday present. With the start of the school, in fact, you are inevitably trapped in the terrifying and expensive spiral of the birthday parties.
By 5:00pm, father and daughter were surprisingly back already.
Daughter number one came in first and immediately warned me that the travelling husband could be slightly cranky because he missed a few birds that, apparently, were a child play.
I said nothing, as I learn to joy inside every time a poor animal is spared and won’t end up in my freezer.
As soon he stepped into the house too, I noticed there was something odd but I couldn’t quite figure out what it was.
Then I realised that his head was completely tilted on one side.
Because his face is asymmetric, he always keeps his head slightly bent, but this was different. His right ear nearly touched the shoulder.
“What had happened”, I exclaimed.
“Well, you know the little pain I felt this morning when I got up?”
“Well it got worse, and the wind on the boat didn’t help.”
“Defo”, I said, still incredulous that he managed to stay out all day and drive for over two hours with that stiff neck. I also thought that the pain he had this morning must have been far worse than he said and that he had been a total “moron” to go hunting anyway, but, once again, I kept it for myself.
Then, I thought of what daughter number one said about her father shooting badly, and I really hoped she had said nothing to him because then, I bet he was cranky. How he could have only held the gun is still a mystery to me. An other mystery is how she had not noticed that there was something strange in his father head. I suppose this is what they mean when they say that teenagers live in their own world.
Anyway the poor man was in real pain, but not enough to stay put . He managed to open a bottle of red wine and pour himself a glass with the intention to sip it while watching TV from the couch.
I purposely said “with the intention” because while the husband reached the couch, the glass never reached his lips; instead it reached the sofa, the wall, the floor and everything around the area.Now you would think that is not a big deal, a wet cloth and everything is wiped off. Nop, red wine is lethal, and after I spent half an hour scrubbing walls, floors, rugs, books etc etc, still one side of my kitchen sofa has reddish dots all over. The paint on the wall , on the other end, got entirely corroded. So guess what I did the following morning instead of blogging? I painted under the supervision of the man with the tilted head. He still had not realised how lucky he was that my big chopping knife was in the dishwasher and nowhere at hand reach.
Of course, the evening was not all wasted, and in the end, I did sit down and enjoyed my dinner with a glass of wine that I carefully made sure to bring straight to my lips. All the previous mayhem was forgotten.
Peace and quiet at last….until the door open and daughter number two comes in carrying a tray with hers and her sister leftover dessert. It all happened in a fraction of second, so fast that I didnt even had time to realise what was coming until Clara the dog skids away, Carla the kid stumbles, the tray flys in the air and its content lands on the floor and a bit all over any surface of my kitchen.
I scream, daughter number two screams, Clara runs, daughter number one-half steps into the kitchen with a face saying “not my fault” and the travelling husband stands up to his feet to turn his entire body in the attempt to position his head in the right trajectory to have a clear view. Kurt, stays put on the coach, for once he is not involved in the mess!
What happened is soon explained, Clara the dog who is now completely blind, bunged into Carla, the kid who, been already prone to trip, had stumbled and dropped the tray. Outcome: three broken plates, two chipped glasses and whipped cream splattered all over the kitchen cupboards ,my new lovely fridge, the bookshelf beside it and of course the floor.
Here you go woman, get that mop back out and kneel down to scrub.