Talking a night off to talk about ME!

I was born in 1957 in Bishop Auckland County, County Durham. My father was a violent man and beat my mother while I watched. I was only four when he gave her the beating that scared her so much she left him for good. She took hold of my hand and we walked out of the house with nothing more than the clothes we on our backs. We never looked back. She raised me on her own, working as a housekeeper in a large farm-house in Summerhouse County Durham. Although this photograph was taken recently, this is where I lived until I was ten years old.  Lovely isn’t it?

We found a home of our own.

We found a home of our own.

I saw my first ghost when I was five years old. I saw a relative who had died as a child. It really scared me, mainly because I was confused.

I had my first premonition when I was seven. My short story ‘Girl on the Beach’ is based on my first premonition.

When I was ten years old my mother re-married. My step father was a good man, but I resented him because I was no longer the center of my mother’s world. I became a troubled teen.

Girl on the Beach Cover Art Flat with Title (Small)

 

I had many strange unexplainable encounters during my teenage years. I saw my granddad after he died, before I even knew he was dead. He visited me in my bedroom just after he committed suicide.

“Granddad, if you can see me, I did what you asked me to do. I hope in heaven you don’t have Parkinson’s disease anymore. I never knew you well but the smile in you lively blue eyes was beautiful.”

At the age of seventeen I was chased home from my local pub by a nasty man who had lecherous thoughs in his head. He was twice my age. I based my short story ‘Guy at the Bar’ on this experience. Guy at the Bar (Blue Text)[11]

I didn’t trust men very much when I was young.

I was only 20 when I got married to a British soldier. My life changed a great deal. We moved around the country and I made many good friends. My confidence returned. I still had premonitions. I often had visitations from the deceased. My husband even experienced them. None of them were scary or threatening. A little inconvenient sometimes. They certainly scared our neighbors.

In 1984 my husband was posted to Dortmund, West Germany (the Berlin Wall was still firmly in place). We had a blast in Germany. I loved living in a foreign country.

‘Dead of July’ is written about my time in Germany. It is my first full length novel and is due to be published in the fall. I am very proud of this book. It is with beta readers now, prior to being edited. I know this story off by heart and have lived it several times. It may never be a best seller, but it took my three years to write and to me, it’s a masterpiece.

‘Girl on the Beach’ and ‘Guy at the Bar’ are no longer for sale, as I am re-writing them both and having them edited. As I write more (yes I have another book in the works), I want each story to be perfect. Both of these short stories will be available before Christmas. They tell you how I became who I am. I hope you enjoy them.

Now its time for me to say goodnight. It was nice to share a little of ‘me’ with you all. I may not be Stephen King, but I still tell a good tale.

 

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Pigeons, Time and my Life Fly By

Wood PigeonI am awakened by the sound of Wood Pigeons. I smile and roll over snuggling into my warm bed. It’s Saturday so I am in no hurry to move.

No school today. My mum only works for a couple of hours on a Saturday morning and will be home soon. We always enjoy breakfast together before getting ready for the one o clock bus into Darlington.

Saturday is shopping day. First stop is ‘Pietro’s’ where my mum gets her hair fixed. Pietro is a very handsome Italian, he makes my mum blush, and that makes me laugh. Next stop Woolworth’s, where I always get a treat. We wander around the ‘covered in market’ for Yorkshire Curds, meat and whatever else takes our fancy, and we finish up in the Co-op.

Sometimes we buy fish and chips and eat them on the way home.

Yes, I like Saturdays.  CIMG0145

I like shopping with my mum in Darlington. I love the little village of Summerhouse, my home.

Finally I open my eyes, ready to enjoy the day.

Something isn’t right. I rub my eyes and look again.

This isn’t my cozy bedroom in Summerhouse. It’s a lovely room, but not mine, or is it?

I see white wooden shutters on the windows with a green and gold chaise beneath them. I look towards the double doors leading out to the stairs, and the vaulted ceiling of the room beyond.

This is a lovely house, but it isn’t Summerhouse, this is Colorado.

It’s not 1963 anymore and I am not six years old.

In what seems the ‘blink of an eye’ the years flew by. Where did they go?

The year is 2013 and I am old. My mum passed away a long time ago.

The Wood Pidgeon is still outside, but I think he is mocking me now.

 

 

Rehab for ‘Guy at the Bar’

It’s time!

My first short story describes the events that happened after a young girl met a stranger in her local pub. He was called Guy, hence the name ‘Guy at the Bar’.

I had a lot of fun writing and then publishing this story, but now, with three stories under my belt, I know it needs some work. I re-read it a couple of weeks ago, editing it as I went along. There was a lot of editing which tells me that it’s time to send Guy to Re-hab.

Re-hab means spending time with Amy Eye my trusted and patient editor. I didn’t know much about editing when I released my first story. I just wanted to be a writer.

‘Guy at the Bar’ will be back next year, and it will be the story I intended it to be.

This story is set in the early seventies in a small village called Brompton-on-Swale in North Yorkshire.

 

 

 

 

‘Dead of July’

What can I say other than I am proud of this book, which will be published in March 2013. Almost there!

‘Dead of July’ happened in Dortmund, Germany. It is set in the early eighties and is and exciting story with a paranormal twist.

 

 

 

 

 

This book has had some great reviews and will remain on Amazon for a little while longer before I take it down and have my editor do her magic with it.

Girl on the Beach (UK)

Girl on the Beach (US)

Below is one of the reviews I received for this book. Not bad for a novice.

A good story, told very well. Sort of a ghost story, without being macabre or creepy. As another reviewer mentioned, you can see early on what’s going to happen, but you don’t mind because it is so well-crafted and paints such a vivid picture of the author’s childhood. I highly recommend it.

‘Girl on the Beach’ starts in Blackpool, Lancashire and then moves to ‘Summerhouse’ county Durham. Time period is the mid sixties.

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Writing is a hobby, which I would like to turn into a career. Since 2009, when I started publishing my books, I have learned a great deal and when ‘Dead of July’ is published, I will be proud to put my name to it.

Ghost Story Reviews

As I wondered what to blog about on this sunny Sunday morning,  I looked through my files for inspiration. Look what I found. 

I launched my first short story a little over a year ago. I was proud of my book, but also a little naive. This modest short story could have been better edited, but I was still learning the ropes. Editing is the MOST important part of being a writer, I know that now. 

Below are just a few of the wonderful reviews I received on Amazon. I thank these lovely readers for taking the time to write these reviews. Their kind words gave me encouragement and I am now in the process of having my first full length novel ‘Dead of July’ professionally edited.  It will be released later this year.

The following reviews were kindly written about my first short story ‘Girl on the Beach’

1.     This is a pleasant journey through a few ordinary days with a not-so-ordinary 7-year-old girl. It starts with an unusual incident she has on a beach during her last day of summer vacation, and you spend the rest of the book waiting for the other shoe to drop. When it does, towards the end, you won’t necessarily be surprised but it is very well done and will leave you feeling satisfied with the hour you’ve spent listening to her tell you her tale.

M. Weisbeck – Blackhawk

2.     A good story, told very well. Sort of a ghost story, without being macabre or creepy. As another reviewer mentioned, you can see early on what’s going to happen, but you don’t mind because it is so well-crafted and paints such a vivid picture of the author’s childhood. I highly recommend it.

(Buglady)

3.     I really enjoyed this story, its supernatural feel, its sense of mood and foreboding, and I loved this special little girl who broke my heart. I really felt I got to know Sheila, everything about her, and I found her charming and endearing. The author completely put me into the mindset of this seven-year-old child. And several times, Sheila actually had me tearing up. I knew what she would soon be facing, and it’s always heartbreaking to see a small child face tragedy.

This story is written in such a gentle and natural way, every word smoothly and easily flowing to the next, never sounding forced or hurried. With well-chosen words, this author made me a picture of summer and sand and of a little girl so happy on her holiday. The author then breaks this idyll with feelings of dread, juxtaposing the brightness of summer with the dark foreboding of death.

Told in first-person from Sheila’s point of view, this story is well-written and thoughtful, with the author showing and never telling the story, allowing the reader to experience all that Sheila feels. And you will feel many different emotions, from sadness to happiness, from dread to hope. Even suspecting the outcome of the story, I still felt the chilling beauty of it.

S. Richards – Deep South

4.     This is a very short book and it isn’t so complicated you won’t be able to pick it up and put it down frequently without losing track of what is going on in the story. I wouldn’t call it a thriller or a mystery or a horror story, I am not sure what genre this has been placed in but it’s just a nice little story.

I think what I enjoyed most about it was that it was written from the point of view of the little girl. I enjoyed seeing things through her eyes. It was descriptive and simple but effective.

SurprisingWoman Utah

5.     This short little book was very enjoyable. A seven-year old girl narrates the story of her vacation to Blackpool. The Amazon book summary may give you a different impression. I wasn’t sure if it was going to be a tragedy that was dark and depressing or a mystery… It deals a bit with the subject of death and souls, but I viewed that as a secondary storyline. The main part was more a story of a young Irish girl and her mother during a brief part of her life. It has parts that were touching and others that were funny. All told, the author allows you a glimpse into her life, both her joys and her difficulties. 

One review gave it 1 star saying it was too easy to figure out what was going on. I don’t think this book is meant to be a mystery. I recommend reading it for the story and let it unfold naturally.

Kindle Reader 7

6.     This was a book that I couldn’t put down. It kept me in suspense. I loved the main character and the supporting characters as well. I guess the little girl had a special gift and she could see deceased people and have premonitions. I really enjoyed it!

Nicole

7.     I really liked this story. It was well written and even though I knew pretty early on what was going to happen, I still couldn’t put it down.

Steph

8.     This was a well written short read. With the author’s power of description, I felt as if I was there. Good characters, good atmosphere and just the right length. If you want a well written short read, I recommend this.

Lucy PA

Below are links to my two short stories as well as previews. You can also  Follow me on Facebook  for updates.

(Preview) Dead of July

(Preview) Girl on the Beach

(Preview) Guy at the Bar

Girl on the Beach (UK)

Girl on the Beach (US)

Guy at the Bar Amazon

Guy at the Bar Amazon UK

Sheila’s Story – The Whirlwind!

In 1963 Sheila sat in one of her favorite places in the little village of Summerhouse. It was a small platform where the milk cans would be placed for pick up, but they had been collected and it left a lovely little observation platform for a small child to sit on. It was a warm summer’s day, maybe a little too warm. The air felt full of moisture, even though it was not raining.

Sheila sat and watched the cars pass by. The road was not busy in 1963, and most of the cars that passed were driven by locals and waved or tooted when they saw Sheila on her perch. Johnny Conner, the crazy man on the bike, passed by. Sheila froze. He had a metal plate in his head and he was a little unpredictable. That is what her mum told her.  As he passed he looked up at Sheila. “Something is coming, you had better hide”.

Sheila just laughed as he disappeared down the road. He certainly was going fast. It was one of his crazier days.

Then she heard another noise. It sounded like a train was coming. No trains in Summerhouse. A sudden wind started to blow. Sheila climbed down from her observation platform and crawled underneath it. Maybe something was coming. It sounded like a Ghost Train.

Then she saw it. A big white funnel. A whirlwind. It bore down on the village, right down the middle of the road. It passed by her, scaring her half to death, she couldn’t move or take her eyes off it. It made huge a huge whooshing noise as it passed by. She felt it tugging at her. It wanted her. Sheila was scared now. The whirlwind turned off the road and enveloped the house on the green. Sheila watched as the roof was raised a few inches. Then the whirlwind moved on by. It crossed the road gobbling up the farm buildings. Bales of hay flew into the air. Sheila saw a face in that wind. A face with a hungry mouth that was eating things as it passed by. What was that, did it pick up a cow?

She clung on to the post that held up the milk platform, terrified that the hungry wind would come back to get her.

Finally the wind disappeared in the distance, but Sheila stayed put. She was too afraid to come out of her hiding place.

A big lorry pulled up beside where she hid. It was the man who returned the empty milk cans.

“Help” she said weakly.

He stopped and listened.

“Help” she said again.

He bent down and looked under the platform. “Sheila” what are you doing under there?” he said.

“Hiding from the hungry wind” she said. He laughed at her. “Come on let’s get you home” he said as he took her hand and walked her across the road to her house.

Crazy Johnny almost ran into them on his bike as they crossed the road “All Clear, all clear, danger over” he shouted as he passed by.

Sheila looked at him thoughtfully. Maybe he wasn’t quite so crazy after all.

To read more about Sheila and her adventures, premonitions, and encounters read my two short stories. They are both available as E-Books, as well as paperbacks from Amazon.

My first full length novel, which follows Sheila to Germany in the early eighties, will be released in Spring. Sheila fights for her life as she encounters evil in many forms. 

 

 

Sheila’s Story – A village in County Durham

This is the farm-house where I spent many happy days as a child. It wasn’t my home, but it felt like it was at times. My mum was employed as a housekeeper. It was a lovely warm place.  The large family that lived here had a dog called Simon. A black Lab. I used to sit by the stove, in the warmth of the kitchen, snuggled up next to Simon.

The family who lived in this house was very good to my mum, they treated her more as an equal than an employee and we felt like we were part of the family. It took my mum a little longer to be accepted by the rest of the villagers as she was going through divorce. In a small village in County Durham, in the early sixties, that was quite a scandal.

There weren’t many young people living in that village, so I didn’t have many playmates. I spent a lot of time alone. I used to walk Simon, the black lab. I would mix with the farm workers, who always had time for me.

I often went for long walks on my own, picking mushrooms, which flourished in the  field where the cow grazed.

I loved to sit in the field next to our house and imagine I was in fairyland.

This wasn’t difficult because the field was full of cowslips, milkmaids, soldiers buttons and  cowslips, to name but a few of the wild flowers that bloomed in spring and summer each year.

Milkmaids

Soldiers Buttons

Buttercups

The other thing that made it easy for me to imagine I was in Fairyland, was the light that flitted around that field at night. I tried to see it during the day, but it was never there. At night, from my bedroom window, I saw it often. 

The light wasn’t bright, but it was there, dancing across the field leaving ribbons of pink in its wake. The dancing light made me think of ‘Tinkerbell’ from the Peter Pan, and I wished I could fly. It was a happy light and when I saw it I didn’t feel so alone. I wish I could still see it now.
To read more about Sheila and her adventures growing up, click on the links below and read my two short stories.

These book are available in paperback and as E-books in France, Italy, Spain and Germany as well as the US and the UK.

Follow me on Facebook  for updates on my upcoming novel ‘Dead of July’, a story about a Sheila in her mid twenties, and the trouble she got into in 1982 whilst married to a British Solder living in Germany.

Summerhouse – Sheila’s Story

While I stayed with my Gran in Butterknowle, I became very close to her. She told me stories about her younger days. Yes my Gran was young once. She told me funny stories about my mam, who was also young once….imagine that.

One of my favorite stories was about the time my mam was in her early teens and made stew for dinner. It was her turn to cook and she made a wonderful stew, cooked it slowly and for a long time. While it was cooking, my Gran came in and asked her if she had seen the bag of daffodil bulbs that had been on the counter top. “I thought they were onions” my mam had said as she looked at the simmering pot of stew. Gran had laughed and said “don’t tell anyone, they will never know”. When they sat down to dinner that night, everyone enjoyed the stew. My Gran was right they never knew….what a delicy….daffodil bulb stew.

We found a home of our own.

Although it seemed like we stayed in Butterknowle for an awful long time, it really wasn’t that long at all. My mam had been riding her bike for miles and miles, trying to find a job that would enable us to move into a home of our own.

I enjoyed staying with my Gran, but my mam had felt she had out stayed  her welcome with her older sister Norah. Aunty Nora could be very difficult at times. She had a grandson called John. John ‘walked on water’. He was the ‘Golden Child’ and the only child that Aunry Nora liked. Her daughter (Golden Childs mother) was the headmistress in the school in Butterknowle. I really hoped we moved before I started school because I didn’t want her to boss me around. Golden Child’s Dad was really nice though, he was a footballer and I like him a lot. He was fun.

We did move. My mam got a job as a housekeeper in a lovely big Farmhouse in a nearby village. I was very glad. I don’t actually remember moving to Summerhouse, it was as though I woke up one morning and we were there. I loved it.

We moved to Summerhouse in 1961. This photo was taken in 2011, but this is the house we lived in. It hasn’t changed much at all.

I lived in Summerhouse (although I changed the name) in my ‘Girl on the Beach’ story. Check out the links below and either download a free copy from ‘Smashwords’ (US) or purchase a copy for $0.99 from Amazon.  It’s all about Sheila and her mam. It is the beginning of Sheila’s life of premonitions and visitations. From an early age Sheila heard ‘Words from Beyond’