THE GREAT ESCAPE!

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.

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.

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!

Home Alone!

“Tess, where are. You?”
You just shooed me away, now you are calling my name. I’m going back to bed.
Sandra worried when she couldn’t see Tess anymore and finished her shower quickly.
“Oh, there you are. Sleepy dog!”
I’m not sleepy, I’m bored.
“I need to get ready for work.”
I’ve heard the work word before, I don’t like it.
“OK time to make the bed and get the spare room ready for you, I really hope you’ll be alright on your own all day.”
Once she’d covered the bed with Tess’s fluffy blanket, she threw toys around the room and made sure Tess’s bowls contained enough water and dried food to last the day.
I know what’s going on now, you’re getting ready to leave me alone aren’t you. Just me, with no Fendi to keep my company, just me. All alone!
“Oh dear, I don’t like doing this! Come on Tess, one more quick walk before I go.”
Rabbits! Let’s find some rabbits!
It was a very quick walk because Tess watered the grass as soon as they got outside.
“Good Dog! Now I really need to leave for work.”
I don’t want to go back inside. I want to play with rabbits.
Tess had to be coaxed back through the front door.
Sandra found one of the puppy toys you could hide treats in and put something in the shape of little chickens inside it. Tess picked up the scent immediately and followed her closely, until the got to the stairs, and then she had to be carried.
“Oh Tess, I’m sorry I have to do this.”
Sandra rolled the treat filled toy across the room. Tess ran after it immediately. Sandra shut the door and hurried downstairs.
Silence!
“Phew.”
She got into her car and went to work!

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!

Alone?

Dead of July (Small)

I sat on the bed in our empty flat and cried. I was five months pregnant and my emotions now affected the precious bundle I carried. When I cried it moved around inside me, letting me know it didn’t like that state of affairs. I hugged my stomach.

“Sorry, I’ll be brave, I just don’t want your daddy to be away for a month. I don’t want to be alone.”

But I’m not alone am I baby Thompson? I have you!

Then I heard a voice as plain as can be, “And you have me.” The voice had a strong Russian accent, it was cold and menacing.

“Stop, you can’t hurt me, you’re dead! Go away and leave me and my baby alone.”

This is an extract from a book I’m currently working on. It’s the sequel to Dead of July, my first novel. Ghosts on the Sand is a collection of  short stories. I love to write, and I’d love you to read, and enjoy my stories.

Dead of July

Ghosts on the Sand

Nightmare!

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You know when you wake up and something’s just not right? Was it a nightmare? It felt way too real!

Jess woke up with a start. disoriented! His mind was foggy! Sunlight streamed though the crack in the curtains.
Where am I?
“Jess, Jess, wake up!”
“What? Where am I?”
The door opened a smidge and Ralph’s face appeared.
“What do you mean “where am I?” you’re in bed,” and its way too late to be sleeping. I’ve packed food and pop, we’re going for a walk remember.”
Jess swung his legs out of bed, but didn’t stand up right away.
“I had a nightmare! It seemed so real. I was scared.”
“C’mon, let’s go, we all have nightmares. I’ll wait for you downstairs, your mom just went to work. She said make sure to lock the front door on your way out and leave the key under the kennel.”
It was too real to be a nightmare!
Jess washed and dressed quickly and then joined his new friend downstairs. It was his second week in Colorado, they’d moved there with his dad’s job. Funny really as his dad was still in London, selling their house. His mum had managed to get a transfer with her company, so the move was smooth. Jess had the summer off to explore before he started school. Ralph, his new friend was cool, and fun, reminded him of one of the characters in the movie Goonies. Everyone he’s met in Colorado reminded him of a movie character. It was the Hollywood effect. Jess locked his door on the way out, and put the key under the kennel. One day, they may even get a dog to occupy it, and guard the key.
“Where are we going today Ralph?”
“I’m going to take you along the old railway line, show you some of the old Gold Mines. They’re haunted, I hope you’re not a cry baby.”
“Cool, as long as we don’t have to go in any tunnels, I don’t like tunnels!”

ENDLESS TUNNEL

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“Hey Man, no more climbing, let’s go through the tunnel”
“I don’t like tunnels?”
“We’ll run all of the way, won’t take us more than five minutes.”
“I don’t like tunnels!”
“If we climb the hill It’ll take us all day, and it doesn’t look safe, come on.”
Ralph headsed to the entrance and began to jog, not easy for him, he hated exercise. Jess followed reluctantly.
“Wait for me, don’t leave me alone, I really don’t like tunnels.”
Ralph soon slowed to a fast walk, jogging tired him quickly.
“C’mon Ralph, I don’t like it in here!”
Ralph picked up the pace and walked a little faster, but couldn’t jog.
“I’m coming, hold up.”
Jess waited for him.
“We’re not getting any closer to the other end, we should go back, I don’t like this.”
Ralph turned, “We’ve come a long way, we’re exactly in the middle, look”
Jess turned around, they were indeed an equal distance from either side. They kept going, focusing on the light ahead of them, the light that never got any closer. The light that seemed to get smaller.
“Ralph, I’m scared.”
His friend Ralph didn’t answer, Jess turned around.
“Come on, let’s go back.”
Ralph was gone!

Dead Of July

Ghosts on the Sand and other Chilling Tales

I do love to write! Ghosts on the Sand, my latest book, is available on Amazon. It’s a compilation of short stories. The sequel to my first novel “Dead of July” will be available at the end of this year. Its called Lingering Evil, watch out for it.