Princess Tess and her Mess

Princess Tess

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.

About Editing!

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!

Last Minute Nerves – A Writer’s Tale

My first children’s book is finished. I didn’t think about it much, just wrote. Finally finished it and re-read it, then I edited it and re-read it again…you see a pattern here? Finally I decided to jump in with both feet and send it to my editor. She responded immediately with
“What age group is this for?”
“What?”
I’d never given it a thought. I just wrote.
What was I thinking writing a children’s book? What do I know about children’s books. I was hit with about twenty minutes of nail biting anxiety. Then I took a deep breath and asked myself some questions.
1. Did I enjoy writing the book? – YES
2. Am I expecting to sell a million copies? – NO
3. Why did I write the book? – Because I had a story in my head that needed to get out
If nothing else, in years to come when I’m dead and gone, my daughter will be able to tell people I wrote a book about her cute little dog.
Writing is an addiction, but not a bad one.

Princess TessMess

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!

Writing for Sanity!

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.

Stay safe everyone, and always be kind!

Queen Tess – The Story Evolves

This is my first children’s story. Inspired by Tess, a cute pup that belongs to my daughter and son in law. I looked after her for three weeks back in January 2020, before the world was turned upside down. It was an experience for me, never having taken care of a dog before. She won my heart and I found myself leaving work as early as possible because I worried about her.
COVID/Trump/2020 sucked me dry. I had no imagination left. What spare time I had was spent getting my US house ready to sell. My heart ached because, although I really wanted to move to Italy, I was sad to leave my daughter and her pups behind. I was sad because I would be leaving my job and all of my friends, but it was time.
Now I’m writing again and as I re-read Queen Tess – A short Shaggy Dog Tale, I realize I wasn’t capturing her character. She was a baby when she stayed with me. I had portrayed her as a much older dog. Now, as I re-write the story, I’m making her childlike, which of course she is. The re-write is fun. I laugh out loud sometimes as I remember the things she did.
When my book is finished, what next? Who knows, maybe back to thrillers, or perhaps a travel story.
Thanks for stopping by, I hope you’ll visit again! Stay safe.

Queen Tess – The Story Continues…

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!

Queen Tess – A Short Shaggy Dog Tale

“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?

Footprints in the Snow – A Christmas Ghost Story

Christmas day in all its glory had been enjoyed by all. We relaxed by the fire, almost comatose, watching movies. We were too stuffed to move or even talk. Uncle Fred was snoring, his party hat rising and falling over his mouth as he breathed. It was a good day.

I forced myself to move and went into the kitchen to empty the dishwasher (again). Someone had to do it. I glanced at the back door as I walked past. Was someone standing there? I heard a light tap on the glass. I opened the door a crack and saw a young woman standing on the step. She was shivering as snowflakes fell around her. “Please come in, you must be cold. Are you alone?”

She was pale and thin. “Thank you for your kindness” she said as she stepped inside. “I lost my dog, I was looking for her, she’s old”

“What’s her name?” I asked

“Sandy” she said “Her name is Sandy and I’m afraid I won’t see her again”

“You aren’t from around here are you? What makes you think you will find your dog here?”

“She got out of the car whilst my husband was changing a wheel. I didn’t see which way she went.”

“I’m sorry, I haven’t seen her, but you look so cold. Don’t you have a coat?”

“I left it in the car when I ran after my dog. Sorry to have troubled you, I must be going.” She turned around. “Sandy” she shouted to no-one.

I grabbed an old cardigan from the coat rack in the hall and turned around to give it to the cold young lady, but she was gone. She had faded into the snowflakes leaving no trace, not even a footprint. Odd!

Snowy night

I couldn’t get the young girl out of my mind. She looked so cold and sad.

December 26th was a bright clear morning. It was beautiful. No one else was awake so I enjoyed the tranquility of the morning. A welcome relief after the chaos of Christmas. I switched on the television and watched the morning news in the kitchen as I drank a steaming cup of coffee, lovely.

One of the reporters was covering an accident that had happened less than half a mile from my house. I froze! A young couple had stopped at the side of the road to change a tire and were rear ended by a truck. They were both killed instantly, a tragedy on Christmas Day. They weren’t locals and their family had not, as yet been located. The face that looked back at me from the television was that of the young girl that had tapped on my door on Christmas night. How could that be? Then I remembered there were no footprints in the snow. I shivered and put down my coffee as I headed to the back door.

I did see footprints in the snow now, but not human footprints, they were paw prints. The paw prints came from the trees at the back of my house directly to my front door. It looked like an animal had laid there for a while.

Golden retriever

“Sandy” I yelled instinctively. I heard a low whining sound and a golden retriever walked slowly into view. She looked tired and cold as she came to me. I knelt down and felt for a tag on her collar. I found it. There was no address, no phone number, just a name. ‘Sandy’

I hope you enjoyed my Christmas Ghost Story. Check out my short story while it is still on Amazon. It will be available for another month or so (for free) until it gets a facelift in the spring.

My first full length novel ‘Dead of July’  (Preview) Dead of July will be published in March 2013. For updates Follow me on Facebook.

I am very excited about this novel and know you will love it. Check back for updates.