I started writing again just over 10 years ago. Not really sure what sparked it. I hadn’t written since I was in my early (troubled teens). Suddenly, when I hit my fifties, stories began flooding my brain and screaming to be let out. The first story to emerge was “Guy at the Bar”, which brought back lovely memories of a small village in North Yorkshire called Brompton on Swale. Tears flowed as I wrote about my parents, how I miss them. If there really is an after life, they’ll be looking down at me and shaking their head and saying, “Our Sandra, a rebel to the end.” Guy at the Bar wasn’t a best seller, but it piqued my interest and more stories followed. I recently re-wrote Guy at the Bar, and bundled it into a collection of short, slightly scary stories, called “Ghosts on the Sand and other chilling tales.” It’s still for sale on Amazon, along with my second book “Dead of July.” Ghosts on the SandDead of July – Amazon Now I’m retired and have a little more time on my hands so I’m writing again. I’ve just finished a Children’s book, inspired by my daughter’s pup Tess. I took care of Tess for a short time while my daughter and her husband vacationed in Japan. I never knew dogs could be so funny, or have so much character. I adjusted my mindset to write for children. I also had to think like a puppy. It was a blast to write. “Princess Tess and her Mess” will be published sometime this year. The pictures above are my mum and dad. I never stop missing them. On the right is the King William IV, where Guy at the Bar came to life. Writing makes me happy!
Yesterday I got my manuscript back from my editor. She has completed the first set of edits. For some reason I love reading through the stories again in edit mode. Not sure why. It gives me more pleasure with red lines and dots that it ever did when I read it prior to sending to her. Maybe I’m reading the story in a different way. Maybe subconsciously I’m happy it’s on its way to being finished. Or maybe I’m just a freak, yes, I think thats more likely. This book has been fun to write. I enjoy writing short stories, and this was surprisingly easy to pour from my brain onto the keyboard. Tess is a real living dog. She’s cute and funny, which coming from a “cat person” is a huge compliment. I hope to follow this first book with two more, and then what? Do I return to fantasy/thrillers? Or do I write another children’s series? It remains to be seen!
My move to Italy slowed down my writing a little. Settling into a new routine took a while. Finally I’m there. As many of you know, writing isn’t something you can force yourself to do. It has to flow. As I re-read my book I realize I’ve rambled a little to much, it needs to be trimmed to 10,000 words or less, I’m currently over 11,000. Short stories have to be just that, short! I’ve also changed the name. Originally it was “Queen Tess – a Short Shaggy Dog Story”, but after chatting to my daughter (Tess’s Human), I’ve decided the book will be called “Princess TessMess”. This is a much better title. Tess is a bit of a mess and “Princess TessMess” is perfect for a children’s book. Stay tuned, my work is progressing! Writing will never make me rich, but it does make me happy!
I started writing when I was in my early teens. It helped me get through some very tough times. My early childhood was terrifying, but thats a story for another day.
I was born with at turn in my eye, I didn’t even realize I had it when I was a young child, but as I got older, it began to ruin my life. Back in the sixties there was a TV series called Daktari, which was about a vet in Africa. One of the animals in the series was a lion called Clarence It was crosseyed. As an eleven year old girl I remember the boys in my village chanting “Daktari” every time I walked by. They never used my real name when they talked to me, but called me Clarence like the lion. It broke my heart. Luckily for me, during a routine visit to the doctor, he noticed the turn in my eye. “Wouldn’t you like to get that fixed?” he asked. “Yes please!” I had the operation just before I started High School. Of course some of those kids still called me Clarence, but it didn’t really matter anymore because the offending eye had been straightened. My eye was red and scarred for a couple of months. The scars on the inside were there for a lot longer. Life never lived up to my expectations back then and I rebelled against everything. I was obviously a troubled teenager, but back in the sixties in rural northern England, you just had to grin and bear it. Thats when I started to write. I wrote a different life for myself. I don’t have any of those stories now, but remember them well. They weren’t all about love and happiness, but they were about me, and I was strong. Writing is my therapy. I’ve written a couple of books I’m fairly proud of, with three more in the works. I’m an old girl now so I hope I live long enough to finish them all.
Yes, I’m finally writing again! I must finish this Children’s book. It’s dedicated to my beautiful daughter, her husband and TessMess, the fluffy bundle of cuteness that is part of their family now. Fendi, the older, smarter and not so patient pup in chief, should get a mention too. I usually write supernatural thrillers, but this is fun! Below is a taster of Queen Tess – a short shaggy dog tale.
An irresistible aroma wafted into Tess’s nostrils. She stood motionless, watching the slim slivers of delicious meat being peeled from the plastic. Hey, I’m right here, right next to you, don’t forget me. Tess stood on her hind legs, but still wasn’t able to reach the countertop. Hello, puppy dog eyes, right below you. Look at me. “Perfect, I feel like I’m in Italy again.” Sandra said as she wrapped the meat and put it back in the fridge. Tess rubbed against her legs. Hungry pup down here. “Tess you can’t possibly be hungry!” Why not, you are. Woof! “Hey quiet, no need to make a fuss. OK, just a bit though, I’m not even sure if you can eat prosciutto. Don’t want to make you sick.” Tess, who had already gone through the motion of sitting and lying down, now stood on her hind legs and placed her front paws on Sandra’s knees. Her mouth was wide open in anticipation. gimme, gimme, gimme Sandra put the prosciutto back on the counter top and carefully tore a couple of small, thin slivers from the meat. She dangled them above Tess’s nose before letting them drop into her mouth. “You are a good little pup aren’t you!” You’re not so bad yourself lady!
Wow! For a few minutes this morning I have time to sit and reflect on my life. I’m 63 and a budding writer! I was born in County Durham, raised in North Yorkshire (Brompton on Swale). When I was 20, I got married and moved to Dorset. In my late thirties I moved with my husband and daughter to Colorado. Now this old girl is retiring and moving to Abruzzo, Italy! I’ve been around a bit! In a little over a month I’ll be sitting at the kitchen table of my new home, looking at the view and easing another story from my old, but overactive brain…I hope you’ll read it.
Woah, what do I smell, sniff sniff… What’s that? If I stand perfectly still, it won’t see me. Now I’m going to walk very slowly and maybe I can catch that fluffy little thing. It isn’t paying any attention to me at all. Alright here I go. Ahhhh!
Sandra tugged on the leash, “Come on Tess, we’re out here so you can pee, not bother the rabbits.”
Rabbit, that’s what it’s called? Alright, be quiet now, I’m going to play with the rabbit, slowly, slowly…going to get you…
Tess launched herself like a missile. Who knew the chubby bundle of silliness could move SO FAST!
“Tess, stop, I almost let go of your leash. I’d be in trouble if you got away.”
Tess watched in dismay as the rabbit disappeared into the thicket. It turned around to look at its pursuer.
“Ha ha, can’t get me now can you?”
I nearly had you.
Yes, I know, this isn’t my usual demented ghost tale, bit I see a story in everything. From the time I get out of bed in the morning, my world is a narrative, so writing about my experience with taking care of Tess came natural. I really hope someone enjoys it. Children’s stories are fun.
I decided to amuse myself and write a children’s book while taking care of Queen Tess…lets see how it goes.
A Shaggy Dog Tale
Tess is a champagne colored bundle of fun. She’s a little chubby (puppy fat), and very young. Tess uses her big dark puppy dog eyes to her best advantage, and they are almost impossible to resist, even if you’re not a dog person. She lives with Fendi, Jo and Christian. Fendi is a pensioner in dog years, very smart, but a little grumpy and doesn’t have much patience with young Tess. Jo and Christian work very hard and every so often need a vacation. They love their pups dearly, too much to leave them with strangers, so when they decided to go on a Ski trip to Japan (who knew you could ski in Japan?). Tess, and Fendi got a vacation of their own. Fendi went to Steamboat Springs to stay with Christian’s parents, and Tess went to stay in Franktown with Jo’s mum, also known by both dogs as “The Treat Lady”.
I have so much trouble focusing these days. I say this because I’ve written nothing in a couple of weeks.
“Lingering Evil” lingers without much progress!
It isn’t deserted or forgotten, but when writing is a struggle, you have to leave it until it flows.
My day job keeps me busy. My home in Italy is always on my mind. It’s the “Holiday” season in the US so there is always something going on.
Longing for the day I retire. I can rise early, drink my cappuccino and look out of my window at the beautiful village of Colledimezzo. There is no question in my mind that this will inspire me to write. I think a lot more stories will emerge too!