Today I’m pleased to welcome crime author Juliet B. Madison, creator of the DI Frank Lyle Mystery Series, to Reflections of Reality to talk about her latest project.
Over to you, Juliet ...
My latest DI Lyle related project is something everyone can participate in.
I’ve come up with the idea of a fan fiction anthology to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support, a charity close to my heart. Therefore I want everyone to have a go at writing their own story using characters from the DI Lyle series.
You can find out everything you need to know about the terms and conditions here.
You can learn about the wonderful work that Macmillan Cancer Support does here.
Incidentally, I contacted Macmillan through their Facebook page to tell them about the project and they are behind it. If you tweet, PLEASE use the hashtag #AlternateVoices and they will retweet. Given that they undoubtedly have thousands of Twitter followers, any tweet has the potential to reach several thousand people.
Other than my own contribution, Sudden Impact, I have received three wonderful stories so far. I’m incredibly impressed by what the contributors have done with my characters, so I thought I’d ask them all to contribute a bit to this post by answering the question as to why they chose to participate. I have asked each contributor to share a brief summary of their story and a brief excerpt to give your readers a flavour of what they might expect.
First we hear from my good friend Tricia Drammeh, author of the NA fantasy Spellbringers series.
I decided to participate in the anthology for two reasons. The first is that, like most of us, I know people who have suffered from cancer. My grandmother had cancer, and I have two close friends who are cancer survivors. The second reason that I decided to participate is because I've read and enjoyed every book in the DI Lyle series.
My story is called A Change of Heart and it focuses on Sarah Lyle, the ex-wife of DI Frank Lyle. In this story, Sarah faces up to some of the mistakes she's made as a wife and mother, and she re-evaluates her relationship with her son James. An excerpt follows.
Sarah flinched, remembering the cruel words she’d said to her son James. She hadn’t meant it at the time. She’d just been shocked and upset. She realized now how wrong she’d been, but she could never take back what she’d said.
Now we hear from my editor and good friend, Katrina Bowlin-MacKenzie. Katrina has chosen to write her story in American English, but I don’t mind because it’s the writer’s interpretation of the characters that matters.
Since I edit the books, I felt I knew the characters well and thought it would be fun to take them on an adventure.
In my story, doing what Thomas does best, he and James help out a young girl who has been hurt and needs help to cope with her situation. Here's a short excerpt:
Pulling up to the curb at the homeless shelter, James was appalled at the condition of the street out front. Litter covered the asphalt and sidewalk. The alleyway next to it had several thugs obliviously doing drug deals. Used needles and empty plastic baggies were strewn about the alley. Definitely not a good place for a young girl to be, much less stay. James sensed that Thomas was furious. Entering the rundown shelter, the odor of marijuana and rot assailed them as they approached the dilapidated desk.
Now let’s hear from Caroline Lee. Caroline is also doing some black & white sketches which will be used as illustrations throughout Alternate Voices.
Reasons why I decided to participate:
1. I think it's a very worthy cause and I am proud to participate.
2. I have read all of the DI Lyle books to date and it was fun being allowed to play with the characters.
3. I don't usually write in this genre, so it was fun giving it a go.
In my story, Angels & Demons, the Lyle and Fox families enjoy a delayed birthday treat for Jasmine who has recently turned seven. Soon the pleasant evening is interrupted by some sinister discoveries. The following excerpt is from DI Frank Lyle’s POV.
Barry returned to help in the ghost train. I told him I would join him after updating DCI Lawson. He explained that a major crime team from Reading would be here shortly and that they’d ask for me. I joked that when this was all over I could even look forward to a cup of coffee at the station and we both knew how horrid that stuff was.
Finally, we hear from Amazon bestselling author Gerry McCullough. I have not actually received Gerry’s completed story yet so this is as new to me as it is to everyone else.
I decided to participate in this anthology first of all because Juliet B. Madison is a good friend of mine and I wanted to contribute to this excellent idea of producing an anthology in support of a great charity, and secondly, because I was curious to find out if I could do it!
My story is about a series of warehouse robberies in Ashbeck culminating in a murder, and about a new recruit to Ashbeck CID, her contribution to solving this crime, and how she gets on with the other coppers, in particular DI Frank Lyle whom she falls for straight away. This is an excerpt from the first part.
Unfolding a strong plastic bag, the thief began to cram it with as many as possible of the small objects. A sudden, tiny noise impinged on the silence. The thief’s head shot up. What was that? Was someone coming? The best thing was to drop the bag out of the window and follow it as quickly as possible. But before the plan could be carried out, a creak sounded from the door. A thin sliver of light shone through the gap as the door opened a fraction. Then the light grew as someone pushed the door fully open and came in.
As you can see, all the contributors so far have done a wonderful job with my characters.
In my story, Sudden Impact, James Lyle takes his boyfriend, Thomas, to visit his step-brother, Jez, in prison. The visit goes well, but an incident on the way home causes Thomas to once again face a demon from his past.
“You know where to go from here, Mr Lyle?” the guard asked.
Well, I hope that this will give readers an idea of what to expect from Alternate Voices. There is still a month to get your stories to me. The Alternate Voices anthology will be released on 23 September 2015, which is the seventh anniversary of my boyfriend David’s death from renal cancer. That’s a bad week for me, so I wanted to give myself something positive to focus on.
Alternate Voices links:
Alternate Voices Official Facebook Page
Alternate Voices Facebook Event
Rukia Publishing Newsletter feature
Alternate Voices on Rukia blog
DI Frank Lyle efanzine feature
Bookaholics guest blogpost
Library of Erana guest blogpost