‘Myths and Tales’ a series by Leo St Paul. Based on the works of Vivika Widow. Starring Simone Connelly as Vivika Widow.

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Author of ‘Maestro’, ‘Red Snow’ and the highly anticipated ‘Conflict’ graphic novel series offers a candid interview with Amy Irons of STV news as she discusses the building her charitable foundation Ragdolls UK

For more information on the Ragdolls UK foundation and their work with children with genetic disorders visit www.ragdollscharity.com 

I’m the girl who wears star wars T shirts, collects movie memorabilia and has more comic books than I care to mention. I think it is fair to say that I am a geek girl. It’s something I am never going to grow out of and given that it has brought so much joy to my life I don’t really see why it should.

I was going through one of the most difficult periods of my life so far and late one night whilst the rest of the household slept I sought some solitude in television. Star Trek TOS happened to be on. I found so much comfort in the whining and beeping noises, the soothing sixties colouring and the escapism of the whole other world. I was hooked. There was plenty Sci Fi shows I enjoyed before then and plenty more since but for me it pin points a particular reason why I love indulging in collecting and discussing so much.

It is for this reason when I was told that my MYTHS AND TALES collection was being brought to the convention circuit I couldn’t contain my excitement. Not only does it give me the opportunity to see all the amazing things conventions has to offer it also honours me with the opportunity to be part of it all.

Details will be announced soon but for now I can’t wait to bring the quirky, sometimes nasty, often enjoyable MYTHS AND TALES to my fellows in the geek world.

I look forward to seeing you all there!

For more details of convention appearances visit Torrance Global. Subscribe to the page for more news and updates!

We were locked in the room together. There was only the faint light from a single high window.

What are you doing here Maddy?” I asked.

I was worried about you,” was her reply. “The police were asking about you. Theresa is dead and suddenly it was though you had vanished into thin air. I had a sense you would be here. I had to find you.”

When I had told Madeline that I was investigating the Knock, Knock club she had said very little about it. Even after I had brought Theresa here just before her murder.

Do you know what goes on here?” I had to ask.

They use their connections to get away with murder. They make themselves rich by killing people and sharing the spoils. Usually they are also paid handsomely for it too.”

I was furious. Anger had been building in me given recent events.

Why didn’t you say anything to me? Why didn’t you warn me? If you had said something I never would have brought Theresa here and she might still be alive.”

Madeline gave a heavy sigh. “I wanted to warn you but I couldn’t say anything.”

I was still frustrated. “Why not?”

I’m a member,” she explained.

***

I had known Madeline for years. I considered her one of my closest friends as did Theresa but even when you are so close to someone there is still a deeper part were the true person lies that no one will ever know. Its that same part that in the absence of any rules or laws would run amok. The club played on this part of people, flattering them into believing they could get away with anything the wanted.

It had happened before I met Madeline. She was a young girl on her college path towards a career in journalism. Her life plans were upset when she found herself in the family way. Whilst she pondered over her future the father never gave so much as a backwards glance. Madeline’s prayers were answered when out of the blue she was approached by a handsome, charming man named Dennis.

I know a girl in trouble when I see one,” he had remarked with a smooth smile she found quite appealing. It had been the only kind words anyone had uttered since discovering her pregnancy.

It’s quite unfair that the father would get to trot off whilst the mother shoulders the responsibility alone. It is an injustice that even in today’s modern society stands to be corrected.”

Madeline was so drawn to him she found herself discussing her predicament with a stranger she had only met a few moments before when he joined her on the bench at the park where she had gone to clear head.

Dennis explained, “I’m a member of an exclusive club. If you were a member your baby would be taken care of until such times as you were ready to take her back. We’ve only just managed to pull ourselves out of a financial recession and it looks like we are headed towards another. It hits everyone hard but it must be an especially powerful blow to a single mother.”

Maddy sobbed and ran her hand softly over her womb. “I can’t.”

Dennis leant forward. She caught the scent of tobacco and whiskey from him. “Do the sensible thing kid,” he urged. “You won’t be giving up any rights to the child or anything. You would simply be making sure they were sufficiently taken care of.”

He gave her an invitation to the Knock, Knock club and a lot to ponder. Madeline was alone, desperate and financial straits. Giving her baby up was her only hope. She became a life long member that day. I met her the following year and no word of the little girl passed her lips.

***

Do you know where your daughter is now?” I asked.

She shook her head. Tears were beginning to form in the corners of her eyes.

I asked, “What did they want with a new born child?” I wished I hadn’t because the thoughts of what could be possibly happening to the babies flashed into my mind. It sent a violent shiver down my spine.

I’m so sorry,” Madeline cried.

You should be,” I groaned. “Because of what you did Theresa was murdered and a little girl who didn’t ask to be born has probably been subjected to a life of unimaginable cruelty. That is if she is unlucky enough to still be a alive.”

Take that gun. Kill me. It’s the only way out.” She pointed a shaking finger at the table.

I shook my head. “We’re getting out of this,” I assured her.

It’s impossible,” she insisted. “You couldn’t shoot your way out. They will have only loaded one bullet.”

Neither of us are dying in this hole,” I stated, hoping that my words would be final and she would stop feeling sorry for herself.

I don’t deserve to leave this place. I handed my child over and never looked back. The things I did. The things they made me do.” She stood and began to pace the small room.

What else aren’t you telling me?”

She became hysterical. “You can get out of here. Make sure everyone knows what goes on here!”

She was screaming. I tried to grip her shoulders to calm her down but she lifted the gun and leapt back before I had the chance to. She put the gun into her mouth.

No!”

I tried to stop her. She pulled the trigger and her body fell limp to the floor.

Madeline had known about the Knock, Knock club. If her daughter was still alive I would find her. My wife, my best friend and any future I ever had were all gone. It made me more determined than ever to expose the club for what it was and all of its members.

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Check out the story from the beginning:

Knock, Knock (Episode 1): Welcome to the Club

Knock, Knock (episode 2): Don’t Come Knockin’

Knock, Knock (Episode 3): Sleep Tight Sam

Knock, Knock (Episode 4): Take A Bow

Knock, Knock (Episode 5): Big City Kid

Knock, Knock (Episode 6): Picking Up Strange Women

Knock, Knock (Episode 7): A Night Cap At The Club)

Knock, Knock (Episode 8): Just A Quick One

Knock, Knock (Episode 9) The Daddy Of Them All

Knock, Knock (Episode 10): Calling Last Orders

Knock, Knock (Episode 11): A Room with a View

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KNOCKKNOCK_vivikawidow_Blurb

In the not so distant future, news had been flashing ceaselessly on television screens around the world. For the first time nations shared a common ground. World leaders and others of importance were being killed indiscriminately. It was still unclear who was responsible but the west began looking to the east and the east to the west and tensions were high. Because of the widespread nature of the murders it wasn’t easy to point the heavy finger of blame in any particular direction. The killings were different each time and despite many militia and terrorist groups laying claim to the assassinations, the culprit was thought to still be on the loose. CIA, FBI, NSA and all the other lesser known government agencies had been searching for the killer or the group offering him the opportunities. The terrorist cells responsible were particularly difficult to place because they seemed to have no real motive. There was no political statement made and no payments demanded. Many terrorist groups throughout the world were claiming the killings as their own but their claims were always found to be without merit.

President Philip Owen had been stirred from his bed as new news was emerging of yet another death.

“You must come immediately,” said the emotionless voice over the telephone. His entire body leapt from sleep to wake in cold shakes. He looked to his wife Jackie lying beside him. The phone was still buzzing on the night stand so he switched it off and without turning on a light he left his wife sleeping and made his way to the Oval Office, pulling a green sweatshirt over his pyjamas to try to make himself more presentable at such an ungodly hour.

Inside the Oval Office a member of his staff had already switched the television on in anticipation. A news report was being carried out by a young journalist wearing a long black coat and a smug expression. President Owen had seen his face so often recently as he kept the world up to date with the exploits of the ‘Chaos Killer’. He was an American reporter named Jaimya Van Hols and he always managed to get himself the exclusives on the murders. People were dying but he could only offer a small amount of care because it was causing his career to flourish. Words scrolled underneath which read ‘Chaos killer strikes in the Middle East’. His Highness Mohamar Al Sayeed Ambhad, a Saudi Arabian prince had been found hanging from the ceiling by his feet in his stately room in the palace. His throat had been cut in a ceremonial way and when his security happened upon his body, blood was still dripping from the wound. Someone had managed to make their way in and back out of his chambers with the swiftness of a cat but no money had been taken and there was no sign of a struggle. It almost seemed like he had gone willingly to his death. Amateur footage that had been taken earlier showed Mohamar hanging and his distraught attendants weeping close to his body.

Prince Mohamar Ambhad had been a pioneer in building relations between his country and the rest of the world. He was beloved by his people and respected by his counterparts in the west. He had no known enemies and his death would only hinder progress.

President Owen dropped his head into his hands and brushed his dark brown hair back, which was gathering more grey as the death toll increased. He reached out to take some water but his hand was met by an empty glass. Jackie appeared in the doorway still in her nightdress.

“Another killing?” she enquired. Philip looked back at the screen without replying. “They will find the one who is doing this.” Whether as a wife, mother or politician Jackie was always found the same way. Her optimism was why the American people loved her.

Philip had met Jackie at a political conference back when they were both starting out in their careers. Both of them hailed from old political families. Their parties were in direct opposition so when their union was announced the nation rejoiced because it meant that the entire spectrum of American politics was brought to the centre. Jackie’s grandfather had been a man of great influence in political circles but Jackie was not without her own astuteness. She was a caring wife and mother but also an excellent partner. They would be married twenty years the following Tuesday and Philip didn’t know how he would have handled the past few weeks without her.

Beside President Owen the faint buzz of the telephone sounded again. It was hardly noticeable to him because the ringing had begun to merge with all the thoughts calling out in his mind. It wasn’t until a commotion erupted in the corridor outside, as the Secret Service agents on staff began to discuss the latest killing that he finally answered.

Please hold for the Prime Minister, sir,” said the sweet voice of Emily Miller, the secretary for the Prime Minster of England. The voice was very familiar to Philip Owen although they had never met in person. She was always pleasant and he had come to know her so well over the telephone that he had sent her flowers of condolence when her mother had died recently.

Soon her sweet voice was replaced by that of the Prime Minister, Selena Samson. It was harsher and much less formal. “Another one Philip,” she greeted.

The President fell silent for a moment. “They will be lucky if they do find the killer. Already half of Europe is looking for him not to mention Australasia and still nothing concrete has turned up. He has been wanted by Interpol since the first.”

It had all began when Jacques Marlode, the prime minister of Belgium, was found in the bathrooms of The Hague. His body was trapped inside the window where the authorities believed he had been trying to escape his attacker. Jacques’ body was intact but his head had been taken cleanly. This was followed closely by Antonio Romero of Italy, who was discovered in the back seat of his silver car with diplomatic license plates showing no discernible cause of death. Arnold Grigsom, an Austrian official, had been murdered on his favourite golf course on the outskirts of Vienna. A cart carrying his body came crashing into the club house where guests were being served lunch. His torso had been torn and his heart removed. The assassinations had caused such an upset that the tabloids had dubbed the assassin ‘The Chaos Killer’. The latest killing in Saudi Arabia showed the assassin was continuing on his murderous rampage and they were no closer to finding him.

“He is definitely a professional. He has found his way into some of the most secure locations,” Selena was saying. “You and I seem to have been kept safe enough though. If I didn’t know any better I would swear it was one of us.”

President Owen immediately became defensive. No matter how late the hour, he would always be alert enough to return a challenge. “Something like this would never be funded on US coin!” he said. He had been particularly edgy lately.

Selena began to laugh, easing the tension. “Of course not. I’m just saying what others are thinking. Something has to be done so I’m calling an emergency summit. We will meet in the coming week or so.”

“A summit at this time?” He felt his people would feel safer if he remained in the United States at the present time.

“What else do you suggest? We wait around to see who is murdered next? None of us are safe you know. We had a break in at number eleven last week. We thought we had him at first when MI5 took him into custody. After hours of questioning it seems he was just an enthusiast.”

President Owen sighed. “I guess we have no choice.”

“My office will co-ordinate with yours,” said Selena. The President agreed and just when he was at the point of disconnecting the call she added. “Oh and Philip… Keep safe.”

President Owen’s eyes were immediately drawn back to the screen. Now the report was showing a large map of the earth with red markings on the places in the world that had been affected by the recent killings. South America and Canada had been touched but so far the U.S. had managed to evade attack.

“I don’t trust her,” Jackie was saying to her husband, stirring him from his swimming thoughts. “She is a little too ambitious. She would knife your back as soon as sit you on a pedestal.”

“I don’t trust her either but she is the Prime Minister of England and a good ally for us,” Philip assured.

“Doesn’t anyone think that having all the world leaders in one room together gives the assassin ample opportunity? It doesn’t seem likely he would make an attack in such a public area but you can’t be too careful.”

President Owen shrugged his shoulders. “Security will be very tight.”

Jackie Owen pursed her lips tightly. “I was in Saudi Arabia last month. I was on a diplomatic mission but it took me several hours to get through that security. This killer managed to get in and out without anyone noticing. Security doesn’t seem to concern him.”

Philip looked at his wife. He was used to having debates with her; it gave him well rounded opinions to take to his cabinet. They always argued over their political differences but this time she was genuinely concerned.

If I’m called I can’t refuse to go. We need to show that we are doing everything possible. Besides, it might draw the attacker out. With so many people there it might cause him to make a mistake.”

“I am going to make a few phone calls,” she told him. “I’ll send for some coffee. I think it’s going to be a long night.”

“Send for water instead,” Philip called after her pushing the empty glass away from him.

Philip Owen laid his hands on the desk that he had fought several years to sit behind and for the first time in his political career he had no idea what to do next as the world began to wake to the terrible news.

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COMING SOON as a graphic novel!

We are pleased to present the cover art for novels, short stories and graphic novels from Vivika Widow.

Presented by Torrance Media and designed by Leo ST Paul.

Take your pick of thrillers, adventures, black comedy and fantasies.

Which is your favourite? Comment below and let us know.

Sales from all Vivika Widow work supports Ragdolls UK (charity reg SC043805)

 

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COMING SOON from Torrance Media: The Myths and Tales web series!

 

1- ALL IN A NAME

Main character Dorian was named after ‘Dorian Gray’ from Oscor Wilde’s ‘Picture of Dorian Gray’. Incidentally the short story also features a Professor Wilde.

2 – MENTAL HEALTH DISCUSSION

Vivika believes in the importance of discussing mental health issues and opening up discussion about depression. Exploring this the reader is lead to wonder what may have happened if Dorian were to talk to his loving mother about the issues he was facing.

3 – DEMONS IN US ALL

Throughout the story Dorian is plagued by demons. His depression and his guilt has manifested itself into a form he recognises.

4 – COLLEGE CLASSMATES

Dorian’s room mate, Kelsey, is a medical student. It is mentioned that he borrowed an anatomy text book from one of his fellow medics. This fellow medic who climbed to a B grade in a relatively short space of time is Tracey Campbell who features in the Confessions series. (Confessions of an Anatomist, My Silly Little Confessions). The same university was also attended by Vincent Baines and Daniel Weir (Maestro).

5 – WHO’S TRULY TO BLAME?

Some say Jessica should not have allowed herself to lose contact with her son. If she hadn’t tragedy may have been avoided. Others feel that Dorian’s interfering friend Juliet is responsible and there are some who believe that Dorian alone should have reached out for help.

6 – HAND WRITTEN

Like many Vivika Widow novel, ‘The Grip’ was completely hand written prior to being published.

7 – THE GRIP

The title comes from the depression that has gripped Dorian so tightly he is unable to shake it off.

8 – COUSINS

Dorian’s girlfriend, Juliet, is a cousin of Daniel Weir (Maestro)

9 – JESSICA FEATURES IN MAESTRO

The bus trip that Jessica takes to the university after receiving the tragic news is the same bus trip Catherine Beckingridge makes from her boarding school (Maestro). In Maestro, Catherine takes note of a distressed woman travelling alone who has tragedy written on her face.

10 – AWARD WINNER

‘The Grip’ is short listed for the Costa Coffee short story award!

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THEGRIP_blurb_PROMO

 

There were no features on the image, just the outline of a woman’s frame. Black and white except for the prominent red rose that the silhouette held in her hand. Helena had only been a maid at Castle Kroestov, in the snow covered land of Navaria, but a few weeks so she was still acquainting herself with the many paintings that graced the walls.

The silhouette didn’t look towards the artist. Instead she offered a delicate profile with a soft outlined nose, long elegant neck and slender, statuesque frame. She reminded Helena of the old queen – Francesca. Having been dead many years Helena had only seen her in pictures but the resemblance to the silhouette was incredible. A title beneath the mahogany frame read ‘Dust and Devotion’. No artist laid claim to the work.

Helena smiled. Never before coming to Castle Kroestov had she been surrounded by so much beauty. She reached out and graced the intricate pattern carved in the frame before wiping it with her dusting cloth. She then drew her finger softly over the head of the silhouette and down the face. She felt a sharp pain fire from her fingertips to her head. In her mind’s eye she saw Francesca. She was on horseback, her long flowing black hair caught in the wind. Her blue eyes raged with anger but her lips held a serene smile. The scene appeared to be set on the outskirts of a village, at the very edge of the forest. Francesca was surrounded by adoring villagers but a man was before her who didn’t share their admiration. A thick rope was tied around his neck. His hands and feet were bound and the ropes were harnessed to three horses. He said nothing but his eyes were leaking emotion.

Declare your dedication to me,” spat Francesca. “Or be returned to the dust of the earth.”

The prisoner shook his head. “I will never devote myself to a witch.”

Francesca removed herself from her horse. She pushed into the crowd and drew a little girl from amongst them.

Eleanor!?” gasped the prisoner, recognising his daughter.

Francesca gripped the girl close to her side with one hand and wove the long fingers of the other through the girl’s fair hair. “Daddy thinks he is above the rules I have set forth,” said Francesca to the girl. “Isn’t that rather naughty?”

Eleanor nodded her head in agreement.

Do you think I should have him torn apart for such defiance?”

This time the child did not answer. She stared at her father with a torrent stupefaction only a child unschooled in the cruelty of the world could muster. “I don’t want my daddy to die!” she sobbed.

Francesca tightened the fingers that were in the girls hair and pulled at it. “What did you say?” she asked with a severe snarl.

The little girl began to cry. She tried to pull away but Francesca’s grip was too strong. The tearing at her hair was a numb pain compared to seeing her father captive.

You will watch the horses tear your father to pieces and then you will be next.” Francesca looked behind to her people. “Pistol!” she barked the order. One stepped forward without hesitation, placing a pistol in the hand Francesca had freed. She thrust it towards the little girl. “Horses don’t like the sound of gunshot. It frightens them and when they are frightened they run with all their might. You can pull the trigger.”

Annabelle, Francesca’s closest friend, had been standing close by watching the scene unfold. Becoming frustrated she snatched the gun and fired it into the air. The horses that the prisoner was tied to screamed. They reared and dashed in opposite directions. The prisoner was dragged across the rocky floor briefly before his body was torn. Francesca’s supporters held her horse as tightly as they could so he wouldn’t run too.

Francesca threw the little girl to the ground, sobbing in horror at what she had just bore witness to. Francesca’s lip curled as she stared at Annabelle. Annabelle could feel her breath struggle to gather in her chest. “How dare you interfere like that,” said Francesca. “I was amusing myself.”

Annabelle could feel a tight grip from inside her chest. Her heart pushed against it as best it could. “That man was never going to change his mind. We were wasting a beautiful morning,” she gasped.

Francesca’s nose crinkled. The pain in Annabelle’s chest seared. Blood began to pool in her mouth. “One way or another he was ending this day a corpse. You still have the daughter. She is ready for a lifetime of torment,” Annabelle managed. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry.”

Francesca looked at the Eleanor still sobbing on the ground. She laughed and released her hold on Annabelle. The little girl was dragged onto her feet by an invisible force that Francesca summoned. Her face was awash with tears. “I’m going to take you to a new home,” Francesca warned the little girl with venom. “Perhaps I will eat you slowly. One little bit of flesh at a time.” She pushed Eleanor back into the arms of Annabelle. “Bring her with us,” ordered Francesca. She turned her gaze to Annabelle and spat, “I’m not done with you yet!” She climbed back onto her horse. Her followers lingered behind as they made their way back home.

Annabelle pushed Eleanor in front of her. “Move!” she barked.

Helena stumbled back from the silhouette. She couldn’t decipher whether the scene she had relayed in her mind had been real or if the gloomy castle was causing her to imagine things. She stumbled from the dream. She looked at the silhouette again. It was serene, silent. Black and white except the blood red rose. The silhouette had quite a tale to tell…

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I know as you read this you will find my predicament quite silly. After all, who in their right mind would want to be made of cheese? I certainly didn’t. It was quite accidental. I’ve just had to learn to live with it. The magic I possess has been passed down to me through the generations of women in my family. Dad was a little weary of it, especially when he had to spend a week with an extra head. The extra head was great for heightened senses but not so good for his job as a buttoned down insurance salesman. Poor dad struggled to converse with his clients. Not everyone was accepting as we were. Even with the second head and other little magic mishaps, dad loved mum all the same.

As I grew older the magic became strong in me. Every time I sneezed I would set fire to the coffee table. We would chuckle and put the fire out. Not necessarily in that order.

The magic was difficult to control and when it was mixed with a clumsy gene it was positively dangerous. It was actually written somewhere that my great grandmother – a well respected witch – had been asked by the villagers for help to make their crops grow. Grandmama was only too happy to oblige. Soon the village had more food than they could eat but poor Grandmama had blown herself up in the process, which brings me to my current situation.

Most witches opt for a black cat as their familiar. Sometimes an owl or even a raven – so I have been told – will do the trick. I had opted for three white mice. That was my first mistake.

Squeaky, Screetchy and Clive – that would be the mice – were the best familiars any witch could ask for. They were cute, fun and always greeted with a squeak and a smile.

They loved cheese as most mice do, at least in cartoons. (I’m sure you can see where I’m going with this). One day the local store was out of the brand the mice liked best so I thought I could save myself some money and make my own cheese. Now, not every girl has a cow at home and even for those who do, who has time for all that churning? Not me! I would conjure the best cheese my little mice ever tasted.

I had everything I needed. The mice watched in eager anticipation from their cage. With a sway and a swoop, a jump and a loop I set about making my magic cheese. That was when it happened. In my nostrils I felt a tickle. I tried to hold it back, I really did. A loud sneeze escaped me and the whole thing back fired. Instead of a mountain of tasty cheese for my mice I instead became cheddar.

Its taken some adjusting, like keeping myself constantly refrigerated. I had a boyfriend who was allergic to dairy. Needless to say that didn’t last very long. But my mice are happy. In fact they are positively giddy when they see me…

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COMING SOON as a Torrance Media web series.