Breaking Through!

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I’d almost given up on myself. I love to write, been doing it since I started High School. I wrote when I was unhappy. I wrote when I was happy. So much in my head! I’ve only published one novel I’m proud to admit is mine. It’s never going to be on the best seller list, but I’m not ashamed of it. It was my introduction to publishing.

Dead of July – Amazon

I have three more stories finished and ready to put into a compilation, “Ghosts on the Sand and other Chilling Tales”. Whats holding me up? My last story “The Engineer”. This story started with nothing but a title floating around in my head. At first it was set in Northern Italy, but it moved across Europe to North Yorkshire, before getting lost in my brain. The Engineer is back now, struggling to be free,  hammering at my temples, scratching the back of my eyeballs, fighting his way out. I need to get his story finished before he finishes me. I’ve heard he drinks blood!

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Brompton-on-Swale

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I’d planned to have this book released by Christmas 2017. I know, it didn’t happen. I love writing so much I don’t have time to publish, and I certainly can’t afford a publisher. Oh well, when it eventually does get released later this year it’s going to be a bargain book for those of you who love England, especially the north-east. The stories packed into this book include;

Ghosts on the Sand (set in Blackpool)
Guy at the Bar (set in Brompton-on-Swale and Richmond)
Camera (set in Brompton-on-Swale and Richmond)
The Engineer (set in a fictitious village in County Durham)

Why are most of my stories set in the North East? Because it’s the best part of England. Northerners are genuine, down to earth and fun!

I was born in Bishop Aukland, lived in Shildon until I was 4 years old. I then fled with my mam to Etherly and Butterknowle to escape my violent dad. Mam finally found a job and house in Summerhouse, county Durham, where we lived until 1967. When she remarried we moved to Brompton-on-Swale, the village that shaped my life. Even though I live in the United States now (well until I retire to Italy), Brompton-on-Swale is on my mind a great deal. I wish I could become a famous writer. If I did I’d make sure to let everyone know where I came from. I’d tell them about that down to earth little village, where everyone knew everyone else and looked out for their neighbors. Many folks were born there and never moved away. They are the lucky ones. My wandering spirit won’t let me stay in one place too long. I pop back every now and again. Yes, it’s changed, but I still think of it as home.

TV Zombie

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Norah whispered softly to her pup as she carried her home.
“Please don’t die on me. You’re my baby, you got me through college, and law school. I need you.”
Lacie’s breathing was shallow, she no longer whimpered, and her little body was limp.
“Almost home baby, almost safe.”
Why aren’t the lights on along the driveway?
She thought of calling John again, but changed her mind. As she stepped onto the asphalt driveway, the lights came back on, dimly at first, slowly growing brighter.
Must have been a power cut.
Then lights became abnormally bright and one by one, as she passed them, the bulbs exploded. Holding Lacie close, she continued slowly towards the house.
Somethings wrong here, very wrong.
A strange blue light spilled from the open drapes in the living room window. She left the path and walked across the lawn to see what it was. Peering into her own house she saw the silhouette of her husband John. He was standing in front of the television, staring at a screen that showed nothing but blue static. Norah watched him for thirty seconds or more. He began to speak, but not in his normal voice. The words were monotone and in a language she’d never heard.
What the hell is going on here?
Her husband turned around and walked towards the window. Nora held
her breath.
Don’t let him see me!
Why was she suddenly afraid of her husband? His face was blank, expressionless.
Did he see me?
He closed the drapes, shutting her out. The static grew louder, it surrounded her. Norah became dizzy, she wanted to throw up.
I have to get Lacie to the vet.
A loud pulsing buzz erupted from Norah’s hom. It made the air feel heavy and oppresive.
Lacie whimpered weakly, spurring Norah to take action, but two steps were all she managed before her legs gave way. Norah’s brain switched off moments before her body made contact with the soft wet grass.

Street Talk – A Christmas Story

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The office of Street Talk Magazine sat on the edge of George Street Memorial Park in a small town in Northern England. The Park was named after George Street, founder of Street Talk Magazine. It was dedicated to him in 2001 after he and his wife were killed in a car crash. The drunk driver, who hit them head on escaped unhurt, so did Valerie, the Street’s ten-year old daughter.

George and Ethel Street had only one child and thankfully they’d left a very detailed will to make sure she was taken care of. All profits from the thriving magazine went into to a trust until she was old enough to make decisions. The Magazine was run by a trusted team of long time employees in the meantime and continued to be successful. After the tragedy, Valerie fell off the face of the earth. Local media were interested in her for a while, and tried to track her down, but they soon lost moved on to other stories.

*************

It was a cold December morning. Small particles of ice fell from clouds that looked so full they wanted to burst.
“Snows coming!”
“What, oh Morning Ian, I thought you were on vacation this week.”
“Should be, but our new CFO needed me here to go over some figures for last year.”
The two Street Talk employees hurried through the park, clouds of breath escaped their mouthes as the talked.
“Jesus its cold!” Gina said “Look, that homeless woman is under the bridge. Surely she’ll die out here.”
At the edge of the park, on the cold stone ground, sat the solitary figure of a woman. Her hood was pulled over her face. Neither Ian nor Gina knew what she looked like. They knew she was female because of her voice.
“I’m going to give her enough money to go and buy breakfast somewhere, she needs to get out of this cold.”
Gina took a ten pound note from her wallet. Crouching down she handed it to the pitiful figure. A grateful voice floated from the hood of the old coat she wore. “Thank you and God bless you”
“Here, take my coffee, I haven’t touched it” Ian said as he gave her his Starbucks.”
The woman looked up at them and for the first time they saw her face. It was grimy and tired looking, but it was young. They were both taken aback.
“Merry Christmas!” She said.
Neither of them spoke until they were out of earshot.
“She’s our age, ” Ian said. “I wonder what happened to her.”
A voice from behind interrupted them, loud and thoughtless
“You shouldn’t give money to street people, they’re likely to have all sorts of diseases. I’m going to call the Tim in Security and see about getting here removed. She has no right being here. It’s a disgrace. They should find a place to put people like her.”
It was Desiree, the new CFO. She bulldozed past them, her expensive high-heeled boots piercing the morning silence as they stabbed the ground.
“Bitch!” Gina whispered as the followed her into the building.
“Careful, she’ll hear you, she already fired her analyst for less.”

All about me!

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I’m the one in the middle. Always ready to laugh, always ready for fun. As a kid I was ALWAYS in trouble. I turn every situation into a story.

Other than my family, the important things in my life are writing and visiting Italy. I  finally realized my Italian dream and bought a house in the small village of Colledimezzo, which is in the Chieti province of Abruzzo. I’m just as pleased as punch. I have another dream to fulfill now, to make it as a writer.

I’m still working on my next book, “Ghosts on the Sand” and I have one last short story to write before it’s done. Each story is based on events in my past. “Guy at the Bar” is a tongue in cheek thriller based on a man who tried to hit on me back in the seventies while I was having a quiet drink in “The King Bill” which was a pub I frequented in Brompton-on-Swale, where I used to live. “Ghosts on the Sand” was written about five years ago and it is based on my tumultuous childhood. My dad (by blood) was a bully. Mean, lazy and extremely scary. He beat my mam regularly. I have no good memories of him. This story starts after we left him for good. It talks about a little girl who had premonitions. I do still have premonitions, very accurate ones.

There are also two very short stories in this book.They both just popped into my over active brain. “Camera” is total fiction and set in Brompton-on-Swale and Richmond, North Yorkshire. Its a short, fast paced thriller. My editor couldn’t stop reading it, which meant it was edited super fast. I think that’s a good thing. My final story “The Engineer” isn’t written yet, but it is set in Italy. Total fiction and a kind of black comedy.

Hoping to release this novel for public consumption before March. Can’t wait to hear what you all think.

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Cottage in the Woods

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Sam sat in the pub alone, his beer didn’t taste the same without conversation. He looked at his watch. Dirk was thirty minutes late, never been late before.

Lily, the waitress, came over with a menu. “Eating alone today Sam?”

“No, I’m waiting for Dirk, not sure where he is, he’s never late.”

“Oh you missed him, he was here earlier, dressed up special he was. I asked him if he was going on a date or something. He cleans up well.”

“What time was he here?”

“A little after one I think”

“Did he say where he was going?” Sam asked.

“No, I didn’t ask either, we were really busy. Didn’t eat, just had a beer and a Whiskey chaser. Seemed in a good mood, really chirpy he was. I’d best be getting on, are you ready to order?”

Sam shook his head, “No Lily, I’m not hungry anymore, thanks though.”

Sam sat for a while and thought about what Lily said. He’d know if Dirk was sweet on someone, the old fool couldn’t keep a secret, or so he thought. He was wrong though, Dirk did have a secret. Where had he gone? Then it dawned on him! 

Sweet Jesus he’s gone to see the old hag in the woods, he wants to be young again!

He finished his pint in one gulp and hurried out of the pub. He took the path by the river towards the old woods. Dark clouds gathered, and the first drops of rain fell as Sam took the path that forked left, away from the river. The trees seemed closer together than normal and very little light penetrated their thick branches. Day light turned to darkness in just a few short steps. Sam shivered.

Sammie, come on, hurry. I’m waiting for you Sammie!

“Sadie, is that you.”

He knew it couldn’t be, she was long dead, but he heard her voice clearly.

“I’m coming.”

He quickened his pace and walked deeper into the woods, it was quiet, too quiet. Sam didn’t notice though, Sadie’s voice echoed in his head. It was enticing. His heart ached, he’s missed her so much.

He aroma of a log fire tickled his nostrils. The smell made him nostalgic. They’d spent their honeymoon in a cabin in the New Forest. A November wedding had meant it was cold and they’d snuggled together by the log fire, young and in love. A lifetime ago.

Sammie, I’m cold, come and keep me warm!

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If you like my blogs, support a budding artist by watching out for my upcoming book, which is a compilation of short stories and will be available soon on Amazon. Watch out for  “Ghosts on the Sand and other Chilling Tales”

My first book is available on Amazon by clicking on the following link.

Dead of July – Amazon

 

 

Shadows on the wall

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Sam teased Dirk, but he didn’t seem to mind. He was distracted, excited and even a little giddy. Sam enjoyed seeing his old friend look so happy, but he was afraid it would end badly. The old witch had obviously drugged him and made him believe things. Could she really still be alive?

Sam sat alone in front of the fire in his little two up two down home. The home he’d lived in for fifty years. He’d bought it just after he and Sadie were married, raised the twins there. He didn’t want to be young again, not without his wife, life was lonely without her. Cancer had taken her ten years ago and now the only thing that kept him going was her memory. His heart ached when he thought about her, he was ready to leave this world and join her on the other side. Maybe then they’d both be young again and live in eternal bliss.

Sam, Sammie, wake up

“What? Who said that?”

Sam shivered, the fire had died and was nothing but glowing embers. It was dark. He was disoriented, sure he’d heard his wife’s voice, she was the only person who ever called him Sammie.

“You’ve had too much to drink old man.” he said to himself as he climbed the stairs to his bedroom, “and that old fool filled your head with witchcraft.”

He got into bed and pulled the blankets tightly around him, he was cold, deathly cold. Shadows danced on the wall. Shadows that looked like long bony fingers. Fingers that wanted to reach out and probe him, delve into his parchment thin skin.

Take a life, give a life! 

“What, who said that?”

Sammie, Sammie…

Sam closed his eyes and thought of Sadie, he missed her.

Camera!

She’d just gotten to the other side of the road when she heard him call.

“Hey, you left your camera in the car.”

“What? That’s not mine.”

“It must be yours. I haven’t picked anyone else up today.” He shoved it into her hand and walked away. The leather strap felt slick, slimy, but worst of all, it felt alive. Lucy shuddered and almost dropped it.

Camera is a bonus short story in my upcoming book “Ghosts on the Sand”. Watch out for it it’s COMING SOON!

Ghosts on the Sand

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I opened my mouth to speak, but something was wrong. My lips wouldn’t move. I couldn’t even swallow. The wrinkled face seemed to be a long way above me. It turned fuzzy and started to fade like an old photo.

What was wrong with me?

It took every ounce of energy I possessed, but I forced myself to speak.

“A lime split and a 99, please,” I whispered. But no one heard me. The ice-cream van had disappeared, leaving me alone on a desolate beach.

Falling to the ground, I gasped for breath. My chest was tight and my head throbbed. The air around me was heavy and oppressive. Except for the drone of a single plane, the world was completely silent.

The sun no longer warmed the earth. It had been replaced with a blanket of darkness.

Where am I?

Watch out for my new compilation of Chilling Tales. Coming soon!
Book cover by the amazing Kara Boulden