Grrrrr, snarl… The dog spat nastiness from its slack mouth filled with crooked, yellowing teeth. Tess and Sandra walked even slower. The menacing dog moved slowly, in time with them, but on the other side of the fence.Tess stopped in her tracks and looked at Sandra. Finally, Sandra was able to see the backyard gate, which was wide open. “Oh, dear, Tess, this ugly old dog could have a collar on that keeps in in the yard, or it could come out and bite me.” It would bite me first… Sandra picked up Tess, who was shaking a little. “Let’s go home!” Good idea. Tess watched over Sandra’s shoulder until the snarling, growling creature was out of sight. I like rabbits better!
My first Children’s book is finished. A short story about a small pup called Tess. A cute, but comical pup. My editor said the book made her laugh out loud in places. My daughter, who is the loving owner of this little bundle of cuteness, likes the story so much she is going to add some illustrations. Hopefully it will be published by the summer, so stay tuned. This is the first in a series of three short stories about Princess Tess. Children’s books are fun to write.
I started writing my children’s book in March 2020. At the time I wasn’t sure why. Princess Tess is cute, funny, and it was definitely fun looking after her, but why did I write about her? Looking back, I think I have the answer. The world, as I knew it, was beginning to fall apart. The coronavirus was slowly rearing its ugly head. My husband was in Italy, and I wasn’t sure he’d make it back, luckily he did. As the year continued, the US suffered the worst racial problems I’d ever witnessed, and being married to a Jamaican, that worried me. I was scared for my husband and for my daughter. I’d never seen such hatred displayed in public. It was ugly and terrifying. Last, but not least, there was Brexit, which threatened our move to the Italy as British Citizens. We hadn’t planned to move until 2022, but Brexit forced our hand. When I look back at last year, and the stress of it all, I wonder how I survived. With the help of some great friends and colleges, I made it through some very tough times. We sold our family home, which to my surprise and horror, was snapped up quickly. We gave away, sold and donated all of our furniture. I left a job I loved and moved to Italy. Most of this was condensed into three months. So why did I write a children’s book about a funny mixed up pup? It was my great escape! Watch out for “Princess Tess Mess”, which is currently being illustrated by my daughter.
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.
“Tess, good girl, you peed. Good girl.” Oh Lordy, of course I peed, don’t make such a fuss. Does anyone make a fuss of you when you pee? They continued to walk. “I could get used to this, it’s nice having company while I walk. Wait, what are you doing now? Oh no, dog poop.” Tess squatted a little and did what all good dogs do at least once a day. She looked up guiltily, or was she smiling. Sandra put her hand in her pocket and pulled out the special green plastic bag that was used for this purpose. She gingerly scooped up the fresh poop, tied a knot in the bag and held it at arm’s length. “Oh no Tess, its warm, let’s get rid of this now, yuk, it smells.” Tess stood still and looked up at the dangling bag of poop. Lady, I just pooped, isn’t that why we came outside?