And here I am, settled in my forever home. It looks like a fairy tale village doesn’t it. Yes I’m retired, and although it’s taken me a while, I’m settled. Changing a routine of a lifetime doesn’t happen overnight, but I’m getting there. Time to write! “Princess Tess and her Mess” is almost ready to publish. The book cover is getting its final tweak. Can’t wait to see what everyone thinks. Supernatural/Ghost Stories and Children’s books are very different, but variety keeps me youthful (I hope). In the meantime I’m going to combine my travel blog https://travelwithsandra.wordpress.com/ with this blog and re-name it. Not quite sure of the name yet, but I’ll let you know when I’ve decided. This is an exciting venture for me. I get to write about the things I love to do in one place.
I started writing again just over 10 years ago. Not really sure what sparked it. I hadn’t written since I was in my early (troubled teens). Suddenly, when I hit my fifties, stories began flooding my brain and screaming to be let out. The first story to emerge was “Guy at the Bar”, which brought back lovely memories of a small village in North Yorkshire called Brompton on Swale. Tears flowed as I wrote about my parents, how I miss them. If there really is an after life, they’ll be looking down at me and shaking their head and saying, “Our Sandra, a rebel to the end.” Guy at the Bar wasn’t a best seller, but it piqued my interest and more stories followed. I recently re-wrote Guy at the Bar, and bundled it into a collection of short, slightly scary stories, called “Ghosts on the Sand and other chilling tales.” It’s still for sale on Amazon, along with my second book “Dead of July.” Ghosts on the SandDead of July – Amazon Now I’m retired and have a little more time on my hands so I’m writing again. I’ve just finished a Children’s book, inspired by my daughter’s pup Tess. I took care of Tess for a short time while my daughter and her husband vacationed in Japan. I never knew dogs could be so funny, or have so much character. I adjusted my mindset to write for children. I also had to think like a puppy. It was a blast to write. “Princess Tess and her Mess” will be published sometime this year. The pictures above are my mum and dad. I never stop missing them. On the right is the King William IV, where Guy at the Bar came to life. Writing makes me happy!
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!
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.
Wow! For a few minutes this morning I have time to sit and reflect on my life. I’m 63 and a budding writer! I was born in County Durham, raised in North Yorkshire (Brompton on Swale). When I was 20, I got married and moved to Dorset. In my late thirties I moved with my husband and daughter to Colorado. Now this old girl is retiring and moving to Abruzzo, Italy! I’ve been around a bit! In a little over a month I’ll be sitting at the kitchen table of my new home, looking at the view and easing another story from my old, but overactive brain…I hope you’ll read it.
I have so much trouble focusing these days. I say this because I’ve written nothing in a couple of weeks.
“Lingering Evil” lingers without much progress!
It isn’t deserted or forgotten, but when writing is a struggle, you have to leave it until it flows.
My day job keeps me busy. My home in Italy is always on my mind. It’s the “Holiday” season in the US so there is always something going on.
Longing for the day I retire. I can rise early, drink my cappuccino and look out of my window at the beautiful village of Colledimezzo. There is no question in my mind that this will inspire me to write. I think a lot more stories will emerge too!
I’ve been reading Stephen King as long as I can remember. From his very first story to his very last, and enjoyed ever single one. His last book, The Outsider, may have been my favorite. I say that and then I remember the Mr. Mercedes trilogy, and Dr. Sleep. Oh and then there are his novellas. His writing changed to suit the era, but I was drawn into every single book. When I read Stephen King I don’t open a book, I reconnect with old friends.
Why am I telling you this? Because I’ve been quiet for a while! My brain has been active though, and now, its ready to go. I’m writing for 1984, the era, the style, the times. My Dead of July sequel is progressing. You can’t rush, or force a good story. It needs to flow naturally. I want my readers to put it down, take a deep breath and think about me. I’m not Stephen King, I’m Sandra Thompson, but I want folks to remember what I’ve written, from Dead of July to….wherever it ends.
Ghosts on the Sand (Art by Kara Boulden)Strangers emerged from thin air, running toward the fire, shouting to one another in a language I didn’t understand. The watery inferno illuminated their fear-stricken faces. Shadowy figures floated slowly toward the shore, bobbing up and down grotesquely in the shallow water.
Trembling, I closed my eyes and prayed. Was this a nightmare?
Kara Boulden is an exceptional artist and she has agreed to produce a fabulous book cover for me. This is where we are so far. What do you think? I LOVE it.
Juggling work, home, chores and life with my next book release is tough, but I can do it.
Ghosts on the Sand (and other chilling tales) will be released late 2017 or early 2018. It will be a compilation of three or four short stories at the bargain price of $99 for the eBook.
I’m excited for you to read my next venture, and encourage feedback (good or bad), its how I become a better writer. As I head down the road to retirement I realize I’ll never truly retire, so writing will be my new and very pleasurable job.