Children’s Book – Tess Mess

Here she is! This little scoundrel inspired me to write my first Children’s Book. Finally it’s finished, edited, illustrated and ready to sell.

Now I’m terrified.

This was fun to write, and the idea of making kids happy with this story thrilled me…now comes the test. Will anyone want to read it?

Watch out for for Princess Tess and her Mess on Amazon in the “Children’s Book” category. It will magically appear before the end of June.

Below is a little bit about silly old me!

Sandra Thompson

Sandra was born a very long time ago in the North East of England. She was outgoing and adventurous child with an overactive imagination. From a very early age her brain silently recorded the story of her life as it happened. At the age of thirteen Sandra realized she needed to write that story down. She’s been writing ever since. This is her first children’s book, but I know it won’t be her last.

Sandra is retired now and living in Italy, but still writing.

The Game!

257_pokershuffle-940x626I slid out of the van into the cold dark night. My bravado had faded. I looked down at my high heeled boots and tugged on my ridiculously short skirt in an effort to cover up legs. Why didn’t I wear tight jeans? The effect would have been the same. Larry felt my hesitation. “Come on, you can do this. Too late to turn back now.”

“I know,” I replied, “I’m more worried about Jack than myself, I just feel awkward. I’m not used to dressing this way.”

Larry gave three sharp raps on the graffiti covered door. An eye appeared at the little peephole briefly, and then the door opened. A big guy let us in. He shook hands with Larry. It was one of those weird handshakes that I’m sure meant something. A secret handshake. A guy thing! “This your daughter Larry?”

Larry put his arm around me and said “Seriously, do you think I’d let my daughter go out dressed like this?”

I giggled and kissed his cheek.

“Didn’t think you had it in you old man, enjoy yourself.”

Larry took my hand and squeezed it as we walked a long a dimly lit passageway. Same process at the next door, three raps and then another guy let us in. No handshake this time. He brushed a little to close to me as I passed him by. I shivered! Not sure which made me more nervous, the implication or the cold metal that touched my thigh. I knew one thing for sure, I was going to stick to Larry like glue.

A poker table took up most of the small room. The game had not yet started, but a couple of men were already drinking, preparing for the game. On the far wall there was a small bar. A couple of girls in skirts shorter than mine sat there, well on their way to being drunk or stoned, or both. I didn’t blame them. I guessed what the night had in store for them.

Larry found a seat at the table. As he sat down he slapped me on the butt “Go get yourself a drink honey, I’m going to be busy for a while.” I wanted to slap his face, but it was all part of the act. I bent over and whispered in his ear suggestively “Don’t ever do that again.” No one heard but him, and he laughed and blew me a kiss.

I grabbed a beer from the ice box at the end of the bar and sat down with the two girls. They acknowledged me as I slid onto my stool, but didn’t show much interest in. Probably a good thing. Jack and two the nameless guys entered and took the last three seats at the table, making seven players.

“Okay guys, time to play poker.” This announcement was made by a wiry nerdy looking man who’d been sitting with his back to us when we entered. He looked like and accountant. Huge glasses, short black hair, plain pale face. “Keep the drinks flowing Petal.”

Right on cue the girl next to me slid off her bar stool and took an unopened bottle of whiskey to the table.

When she came back I leaned over to her and said “Hi Petal, I’m Sheila.”

She gave me a weak smile, nothing more.

The door behind me opened. I saw the reaction on Jack’s face and knew it must be Janie. He stood up quickly, almost tipping his chair.

Oh dear god  please don’t give the game away. 

Larry stood up too!

Shit, this isn’t good!

“You OK Pal?” the accountant asked?

You could have heard a pin drop!

“Looking for the bathroom old man?” Larry asked.

Jack recovered quickly. “Yes, don’t want to get up after the game’s started, don’t trust you guys.”

“Through the door at the back, turn right” Larry said as he sat down again.

Janie looked into my eyes briefly and then looked away. Make up barely covered her bruises. Her clothes barely covered her body. The look of fear in her eyes was raw and real. She crossed the room and sat on a chair by the door.

“Meet Rosie, she’s here to please the winner.” the skinny guy said. He leaned back and touched her leg, sliding his hand way too high on her inner thigh. “Rosie is a little wild, but after a few pills she’s a real sweetie. Show us your breasts honey.”

Rosie didn’t move.

“Come on lets play,” Jack said, “I have no time for women.”

“What, you gay old man?”

“No, just want to take your money.”

The game began, Janie looked at me across the room. There was no hope in her eyes, only fear.

 

 

 

This Way Madness Lies

I’m reading the last couple of chapters of a book by Thomas William Simpson entitled ‘This Way Madness Lies’. This book was loaned to me by a friend and fellow writer. I’ve never heard of Thomas William Simpson, but am captivated by his unique writing style. This is one of the best written and most intriguing books I have ever read. It’s amusing and clever. I would recommend it to anyone.

Stephen King’s new novel, Mr. Mercedes is tantalizingly waiting for me on Kindle. Usually I drop whatever I am reading when a new Stephen King book arrives, not this time. I have to see how this book ends.

If you want to read something a little different, try ‘This Way Madness Lies.’

This way madness lies

The Winslow clan of Far Hills, N.J., is your not-so-average dysfunctional upper-crust American family. The current generation includes Mary, a historian who communicates with ghosts of the family’s ancestors; Henry, who’s spent 21 years posing as his twin brother, Bobby, who switched places with him and got killed in Vietnam; Ginny, an emotionally ravaged failed actress; Barton, a closet homosexual sculptor and recluse; and Joseph, a Colorado cocaine playboy. “Wild Bill” Winslow, their father, a blustering 70-year-old real estate tycoon whose first wife died 15 years earlier falls down the stairs but doesn’t die, disappointing his gold digger second wife Bettina. He asks that his children be called home; it takes nearly 100 pages to convene the scattered siblings, partly because their ancestors, from colonial times to the near-present, are very much part of the action as both seen and unseen presences. Another Winslow scion, psychotic, estranged Edward, is a loose cannon, providing an element of suspense. A writer of great originality, first novelist Simpson creates scenes of dramatic power and fine ironic humor. Ultimately, however, the fatalistic connections between ancestors and living family members seem imposed and artificial. Literary Guild alternate. 

 

And then there is my humble first novel!

One day I’ll be famous!

http://amzn.to/1aXh4Md

Dead of July by Sandra Thompson

Three Ghosts – Part Two – My Second Visitor

Dad1

I sat down in my quiet home, feeling a little more calm, but melancholy. Families fade away so quickly. I was used to being along. My husband travelled with work, but I’d had a bad day. My daughter busy with her own life , so I sipped my wine and gazed out of the window, watching the orange sun slide behind the mountains.

A noise I hadn’t heard in a long time broke the silence. It was the sound of a cigarette lighter, followed by the smell of smoke, not just any old smoke, but the smoke that came from strong unfiltered ‘Players Navy Cut’, my dads favorite brand of cigarettes. I smiled. “You know you shouldn’t be smoking it the house,” I said, talking to a man who’d been dead for over twenty years.

“Don’t tell your mum!” Players Navy Cut

I laughed out loud, now I was losing my mind!

“Dad?”

“I hear you’re having a bit of bother at work. Do you remember when I sorted your boss out. You were working at the Angel Hotel in Catterick Village? He was a nasty piece of work he was. I put him in his place didn’t I?”

“Yes dad you certainly did.” Could I see smoke rings hovering above the arm-chair? I loved it when my dad blew smoke rings.

“Who upset you this time? Do you want me to handle him for you?”

I laughed hard and loud at the thought of my dad walking into the Law Firm  where I worked and taking on my boss.

“Dad, you don’t need to do that.” I couldn’t see my dad, he wasn’t there, but I could feel his smile and I felt loved. “Well if you’re sure.” he said ” I don’t want anyone being mean to my little girl. If you want me to give him ‘what for’ I will.”

He continued to talk, but his voice faded away, as though someone had turned the volume down. The smell of smoke faded with him. “Bye dad, I think my mum’s waiting for you, I love you.”

I head my mum’s voice again. “Wilf, tea’s ready.” she said.

The house became silent, I was alone again, but not for long.

http://amzn.to/1aXh4Md

Dead of July by Sandra Thompson

 

 

 

 

 

Clearing the Demons – A Ghost Story

GraveyardWas the sun rising or setting? How long had I been here? What was I doing? And then I remembered talking to the old lady in my local pub. I didn’t know her, but felt her watching me. Eventually, feeling uncomfortable, but curious about her fixation, I ordered another drink and went to sit beside her.

“I haven’t seen you here before, but I feel your eyes on me. Do you know me?” I asked.

“You called me.” She said in a quiet voice that sounded like footsteps on dry twigs.

“Called you? I don’t even know you,” I replied, something wasn’t quite right here.

Old woman

“Oh you called me, it was just a whisper, but I heard you. What do you want from me?” She asked.

“What does she mean?” I thought to myselfI began to feel uncomfortable and troubled as her piercing old eyes stared into mine, reading my mind, no reading me. I felt I may faint. She looked away and the feeling passed.

“You are troubled my child. All is not well with you. You need to clear your Demons.”

“Clear my Demons, what do you mean?” I asked, but I knew she was right. For the last year I had been haunted by thoughts of hurting myself, even taking my own life. I was in my early thirties, but felt life had already passed me by. I was an outsider looking at the life other people lived, feeling excluded, sad, different.

She cackled but it wasn’t an angry mean sound, it was just an old woman’s laugh. “Go visit your mother.”

“I’d love to, but my mother is dead.” I replied angrily.

I looked down at my drink, not wanting her to see me cry. I wiped away the tears that rolled down my cheeks before looking up again, when I did, she’d gone. Good riddance, I thought.

I finished my wine and went back to the bar to get another glass. “Who was that old lady?” I asked Gina, the barmaid as I gestured in the direction of the table at which we’d sat.

“Old lady? What are you talking about? You were alone. You looked like you were talking to yourself. I hope you don’t want another drink, I think you may have had enough.”

Was I losing my mind? 

“No, I don’t want another drink. I have an appointment. Happy New Year,” I said to the bemused barmaid as I left. I didn’t care that she thought me crazy. I walked towards the cemetery, the old lady’s voice echoing in my head, “Go visit your mother,” she said. I decided to take her advice.

How does this story end? Check back in a couple of days to find out!

My new novel, Dead of July, is available on Amazon. 

Click on the link below for more information.

A German Ghost Story

A German Ghost Story

 

The Journey of an Indie Author

Reading-a-book-001

We pick up a book and we read it. It takes us away from reality. It’s an escape, an adventure. Until I became a writer, I never realized just how much was involved in putting together that escape. The adventure doesn’t just happen.

In 2009 I started writing my first novel, which I originally referred to as ‘A Walk in the Park’ because the story started with a walk in the park. As I continued to write, the title became, ‘The Evil Russian’, but that didn’t do my story justice either. Eventually, with the help of a friend, I named my story ‘Dead of July’. Yes the story is set in July and the title just fit.

When I finished writing I sent my story to an editor. Unfortunately one year (and six hundred dollars later) she wasn’t even half way through. What a shame, I trusted her. I learned my lesson the hard way, but managed to find a wonderful content editor I knew I could trust. She managed to edit my book in a couple of weeks, and did a GREAT job. I took her advice and used more colorful words. I brought the characters to life.

After re-reading I send my manuscript to two beta readers. The story was still a mess, but they waded in and gave me a report on what they liked and didn’t like about my story. I studied their comments and made the necessary changes.

Next the book went to a copy editor. He made short work of reading the manuscript and fixing typos, grammar etc., and sent a lovely neat manuscript back to me. What next? Lay out of course. I burned the midnight oil as I worked with my patient publisher. She was patient and a great teacher. She made my book look pretty with different typefaces. It took a while, but we got there.

Ready to publish…..NO!

Next the book had to go to a proof reader. A lovely lady who said my story was just wonderful. We got together and went through all 256 pages to make more grammatical corrections. I re-read the book and still found typos. Was I bored yet, was I over it? NO! I was loving it. I was turning my manuscript into something beautiful, something to be proud of.

So when I was finally happy with the layout and the book cover, the time had com to load my manuscript onto ‘Create Space’, my paper back was ready to go. Was I done? NO! I had to send the pretty new manuscript to the nice man who did the eBook layout. When he was finished, I was SO nervous about screwing things up, I had him load it onto Amazon for me.

The whole process of producing my first novel took over three years. Everyone who read my book during the editing, beta reading etc. told me just how much they enjoyed the story.

Now I need to convince the world it is worth reading…..my next adventure is MARKETING. Not sure how to get everyone’s attention, but I am certainly going to try. If you want to give an Indie Author a leg up…..BUY THE BOOK and then give me a lovely review on Amazon.

I worked very hard on this book, not just for me, but for you. I love reading a good story, escaping into a different world and I hope when you read my book, you will find yourselves in the head of a young British Army wife living in Germany in 1982. I hope you feel fear, pain and laughter. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

amzn.to/1ci8iX3 (eBook $4.99)

amzn.to/1hFBT45 (Paperback $14.99)

A German Ghost Story

A German Ghost Story

PS. It would make a great stocking stuffer!

 

Stephen King taught me to Read!

Well not quite, but he certainly made reading a lot more interesting. I can’t wait for each new book he releases.  As I got older (yes I’m in my fifties), reading became more difficult. Working at a computer all day and then working on my own novel at night, meant my eyes were pretty worn out and not able to read. Then this wonderful invention called ‘The Kindle’ came along. It enabled me to make the words bigger, I could read again!!!!

Last week I was lucky enough to see Stephen King himself. He came to the Chautauqua Auditorium in Boulder to talk about his life and promote ‘Dr. Sleep’, the sequel to the Shining. What a wonderful evening . He was very amusing and soon you fell into his talk, just as you all into his books. Boulder Colorado is where Stephen King lived while he wrote ‘The Shining’ so it was a fitting place for him to talk about its sequel. I am currently reading ‘The Shining’ for the second time. The last time I read it was 1977 and I wanted little Danny (Doc) Torrence to be fresh in my mind when I read about him as an adult. Can’t wait to start it.

Stephen King encourages aspiring authors, like myself, to read as much as possible. ‘How can you write if you don’t read?’ he said.

Below is a link to ‘The Daily Camera‘ and a review of the evening with Stephen King.

Stephen King in Boulder

His words truly inspired me. My own novel is almost finished. It’s nowhere near as good as any of Stephen King’s novels, but I have to start somewhere.

Dead of July (Small)

As I walked past the doorway to the landing, I heard movement. I froze. Who could be outside our door at this time of night? No one lived on the top floor but us. If someone was on our landing, it was not by accident.

A floorboard creaked outside.

This definitely wasn’t a stray cat. I pressed my face up against the door and peered through the little peephole. I jumped back quickly when I saw someone looking back at me. I began to shake. I couldn’t be imagining things . . . or could I? I plucked up courage and looked again. The eye was still there, startlingly wide, almost like it had been magnified. I screamed.