Sunday, March 9, 2014

'Finding My Escape' by Fran Veal


Hannah Jordan's life is shattered when she walks in on the double homicide of her parents. She wakes up in the hospital with no recollection of what transpired…until the nightmares begin. Hannah desperately seeks a way to escape the pain of remembering by running the beautiful mountain trails behind her aunt's home. When she meets seemingly perfect Josh during one of her runs, she believes she has finally found her safe haven. Or has she?

As Hannah's mind compels her to relive that night, she is disturbed by the idea that she is forgetting something important. Aided by her best friend, Matt, she begins to uncover clues indicating that what she had believed was a simple home invasion was actually something much more sinister. And the killer is still out there.

FINDING MY ESCAPE is a 55,000 word young adult novel mixing romance with suspense and a twist of the paranormal.

Read an excerpt:

A twig snapped behind me. Jerked out of my thoughts, I jumped up and spun around. My heart stopped. Before me hair gleaming in the sun, stood an angel. Okay, slight (and I do mean slight) exaggeration.

He was tall with muscles that rippled under his red T-shirt. His hair was blond and tousled, with one wave flipped just above his eyebrow. He stood there, staring at me with eyes as deep and blue as the sea. I forgot to breathe.

Then the angel frowned.

“What are you doing here?” he asked. Okay, so he was also self-absorbed, stern and nosy.

My chest started to hurt, and I realized I was holding my breath. It came out in a rush. Who did he think he was, anyway?

“What do you mean, ‘what are you doing here’? I was here first.” I stood, planning to have it out with Mr. Perfect.

“I’m sorry,” he said politely, “Let me rephrase that. What I meant to say is that I’ve never seen you here before.”

His sudden change in demeanor gave me whip-lash. I tried to hold my cool under his steady gaze. I struggled to think of something brilliant to say, but I was, at the moment, absolutely speechless.

The angel seemed to be studying me as if puzzled. Finally, he spoke. “You seem real enough.” He paused, brows furrowed, “I’m… Joshua, but you can call me Josh.”

The sound of his voice was soft, lyrical, mesmerizing. He looked straight into my eyes without flinching or glancing away. My anger melted away. I had to shake myself to clear my head.

I was torn between being captivated and scared out of my mind. He might look like he’d stepped off the pages of a magazine, but for all I knew, his looks were the only good thing about him. I stepped back cautiously, eyeing the trail to my left.

“And you are?” he asked, stepping toward me.

“Leaving,” I started to back up, but a strong hand grabbed my wrist. My heart was pounding as I struggled to break free.

“Hold up. What’s your hurry?”

He was so close, I could smell his cologne. Part of me just wanted to stand there and take it all in, but the part that had just experienced major trauma wanted to run away.

“Back off,” I warned.

“Okay, okay,” he dropped my arm and backed up a step, “I won’t hurt you, scout’s honor.” He held his hands up in surrender. “I just want to talk to you. Look, I’ll chain myself to that tree.”

“That won’t be necessary. Just back up another three feet, and we should be good.”

He deliberately took three steps back.

“Better?” he grinned.

“I guess,” I said rubbing my arm. I wasn’t completely convinced, but I felt more comfortable with the distance between us. At least I could breathe again.

We stood there for a moment, studying each other. I finally broke the silence. I was still a little annoyed, but my instincts were telling me that the guy was basically harmless.

“You know, you could try to come off as a little less menacing. Didn’t anyone ever tell you that it’s rude to go around scaring people like that?”

“My apologies,” he said in a southern drawl, “I really didn’t think you would react like that.”

“Apology accepted.”

“It’s just that this is the place I usually come when I want to think. When I saw that there was someone else here, I was surprised, that’s all.”

“By the way, what did you mean when you said that I ‘seemed real enough’? That’s kind of a weird thing to say.”

Josh laughed and shook his head.

“I guess it must have seemed strange to a newcomer. It’s just hard to tell the physical entities apart from the spirit ones.”

Okay, so the guy was a head case.

“I don’t follow,” I said, inching toward the trail.

“You really don’t get where you are, do you?” He stepped closer.

“Let’s see,” I said, heart pounding, “I’m standing in the middle of a clearing, in Summer Cove.”

He laughed and shook his head.

“I’m not in Summer Cove?” I asked sarcastically.

“No,” he said, “You’re dreaming.”

I closed my eyes and shook my head.

“You’re crazy,” I said, opening my eyes.

I found myself lying on the grass in the clearing. Josh wasn’t there. Puzzled, I stood, walking cautiously toward the trail.



“This isn’t funny.”

Had I really been dreaming?

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Fran Veal fell in love with the book Little Women in the third grade, and that was the spark that ignited her desire to write. If Jo could write then she felt she could, too. Her first attempt at writing stories was in the fifth grade when she began writing and drawing a cartoon for her friends. The drawing, to be honest, was terrible, but the stories must have been pretty decent because a friend recently informed her she'd kept some of them because “she always knew Fran would be a writer someday. Fran graduated to writing romance in ninth grade, which was more interesting and, no, there were no pictures (much to the readers' relief).

It wasn’t until Fran had a teen daughter of her own that she actually began writing again. Finding My Escape was her debut novel. The sequel, Finding My Way Back was released August 23, 2013 with the third and final book in the series coming out in early 2014. She’s also working on a comedy geared more toward adults, Five Strikes, with fellow writer, Bryden Lloyd.

Fran currently resides in the beautiful city of Murfreesboro, TN with her husband of twenty-seven years, fifteen year old daughter, and one extremely snarky cat.

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