Another chance to see…

It is a truth almost universally acknowledged that dragons have a strong affection, not to say penchant, for recycling. We Somerset dragons are no different from this normative conclusion. We have therefore looked back through the mists of time to see what we were writing and posting here on our blog in the long distant, oft forgotten, past – of April 2017.
Each of us dragons have chosen one post from that month.

We hope you enjoy our choices.

*****

Chosen by Lois, written by Richard 18th April 2017

ikea-1376853_960_720

The International Kollection of European Art.

The hanger. Creative non fiction.

I drove into the cavernous car park below the hanger. There was still room for several cars. It was dark. The steel beams were painted a drab grey. The high tensile bolts joining the steels glinted in the minimal yellow sodium lighting. Some had been tightened more than others during the initial assembly, depending on their loading. They feel this is unfair and still torque about it.

There was no escaping it. It had to be done. We were all determined not to fail this time. We had prepared. We were ready. I stopped the car. We all got out. I dropped the seats to give more room in the load space. We closed the doors, the boot, and I pressed the zapper to lock the car. This was essential here.

We walked over to the massive lift. ‘Maximum 25 persons or equivalent’ it warned sternly next to the poster prohibiting smoking. What is the equivalent – 4 cows, a small car? There was no minimum warning so we went up with the lift mostly full of empty, but it seemed pleased at the light load. It rumbled happily up from the car park as it fulfilled its destiny. There was no choice of destination – it was top or bottom, just a binary decision. The lift dreamed of being promoted to a new life, a new title  – perhaps a freight elevator – perhaps in New York, in one of those modern warehouse flats or even a high speed  elevator, with a carpet and a mirror, carrying rich business types up to their offices on the 51st floor of a skyscraper. Even lifts have dreams.

The doors opened automatically at the entrance into the brightly lit hanger. Here there was a lingering smell of something familiar – formaldehyde? What would we find here? Would they still be here? Had they all been taken away – disappeared, never to be seen again?

We followed the marked route of huge, coloured arrows on the floor. it was forbidden to deviate from this route, some had tried but…We stayed together for safety. No one wanted to get lost in this huge space. No one wanted to get separated from the group, there was safety in numbers. We were watched over by the black and orange coated guards in everything we did.

There were pallets and crates piled high. We could not see what we had come for. They must still be here. We could not bear to come here again. There were two bedrooms. There was no one sleeping. We did not intend to stay for the rumoured teenager sleepover, we are too old. There was no privacy. Then we saw a lurking trolley. We grabbed it and pulled it along with us. It had rear steering which made it hard to control. We turned it and pushed it backwards, that was easier, not out of control any more, we were now in charge. We knew we would need it. They were going to be heavy, we knew that, we had planned for it.

I looked up at the hidden space far above us in the near darkness, through the false ceiling. It was painted black, hiding the cable trays and ventilation ducts hanging from the concrete roof in the gloom. What was up there that they didn’t want us to see? What was hiding above the pretend ceiling, why was it so brightly lit?

We were now in the kitchen area, no comforting smell of food. Simple rations were available from the industrial style canteen further along the route. Food was only allowed on completion of a mission. The set menu was meatballs today – with optional gravy.

We turned the next corner. There was a computer on a stand, set high above the floor. One of us logged on, entered the index number and looked at the cross reference to the storage bay, 52B. We checked the on-line floor plan, we now knew where to look. We set off along the route. We followed the arrows on the floor, urging us on in our quest. We passed some Venetians. Why had they come all this way, only to see nothing?  Then there were rows of plants. Huh! Did they think we would be fooled into thinking this was a garden – in a hanger?

We finally got to the storage bays. We could see them marching away from us , safe in their orangeness, strong and solid, secure in their strength, dominant in the gloom. We searched. Where was 52B? Here was 27, now 36, now 47, getting closer. There it was, 52B. There were still some there, as the computer had promised – I don’t always believe computers. We wanted two. We helped each other to lift down two from the gantry and loaded them on to the trolley. We turned the trolley, it was now too heavy to push and steer backwards.

We were stopped at the barrier, we had to show a membership card to show that we were authorised and scan the bar codes, to keep the computer happy and ensure it would not start telling lies. We were released. We had got through. Back in the lift. Still no smoking allowed. A heavier load this time but still lighter than 4 cows, or a small car. Then descent with a gentle regretful sigh – no New York today. The doors opened, we were almost free. We thanked the lift for its service.

I zapped the car. It winked back at me in silent recognition. We would soon be free. We loaded both of them into the car, flat in the loading space. One of us closed the boot. Another reversed the trolley back towards the lift, a brave move – a trolley with steering learning difficulties. The rest got in the car. I started the engine. I locked the doors. We were ready. I started off. I drove up and out of the car park, away from the big blue box. I accelerated. We drove around the roundabout. We were now on the M32. We all gave sighs of relief and shared high fives. We had done it. We were free. We would never dare to go back. We needed something, coffee perhaps, but alcohol would be better, after we left the hanger behind us, to mitigate the trauma. Now for a drink in the Hen and Chicken.

Mission accomplished.

We were the proud owners of two bed side cabinets from IKEA – flat packed of course.

 

© Richard Kefford                                                                                 

My books are on Amazon – Here

*****

Chosen by John, written by Gillian 23rd April 2017

coffee-842020__340

TWO LIVES

A ticking clock the only sound
The staleness of an unaired room.
Brass elephants march across the mantle
Heavy curtains block the sunlight
Spotless nets add to the gloom.

Uneasy chairs, hard wooden backs,
Woolwork seats in pinkish hues
Stand to attention on a carpet
Vaguely Turkish in design
With geometric sombre shades.

A lacy mat exactly centred
On a gate-legged bamboo table
Supports an empty Chinese vase
Brought back from visits to the east
By a long-dead merchant Uncle.

The works of Charles Dickens braced
Side by side behind glass doors.
Never opened, but their presence
Adds a gloss of education
To the polish on the floors.

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

Warm scones from the oven, oozing butter,
A dipping finger in the mixing bowl.
Coffee always at the ready, “sorry though
It’s only instant, there’s the biscuits”.
An ever-ready smile to lift your soul.

A Grandad who just loves to feed the ducks
And has a bag of bread crusts at the ready,
Doesn’t mind a hopping, skipping grandchild
Ever asking questions, never stopping,
Until “Whoa there, my lovey, take it steady!”

Family members always welcomed,
Little time for fancy frills or dust.
The china rabbit living on the windowsill
Lost an ear from over-loving fingers,
But still he’s fondled, loved and fussed.

© Gillian Peall

*****

Chosen by Richard, written by Gillian 18th April 2017

biscuit-2081710__340

THE VILLAGE FETE 

I told the Vicar last year I wasn’t going to do it again.   I wasn’t getting any younger, I said, and its time some of the more agile ones took over.   All that setting up and taking down, it’s too much, me with my legs.

So he thanked me very nicely, and even mentioned how hard I’d worked when he gave the notices out on the Sunday morning.   Well, so he ought, but it was good of him, I must say, even though I doubt anyone heard it through the clatter those kids make as they all go out.   That Jason Thomas, I swear he kicks the pews on purpose, in my young day we’d have got a clip round the ear as soon as we’d gone into the school room, but now of course you can’t touch them.

Where was I?   Oh yes, the Church Fete.   Well, this year, the Vicar, I mean, he caught me just as I had my hands full of wet daffs, ready for the Easter decorations, dripping all over the aisle, they were.

“As you feel you can’t organise the fete this year, Mrs. Stringer, I thought I’d ask Mrs. Mullins if she would do it, though I know she’s busy with the Mothers’ Union, plus that poor old uncle of hers”.

Well, I scarcely knew what to say!   That Rose Mullins to take over my Fete, she couldn’t organise the tea tent last year, they ran out of tea bags halfway through and young Gary had to get on his bike and rush down to the shop.   I couldn’t see her getting everything done by the time they’d brought our Mr. Middleton in to open it.   I say “our” because he’s our MP, lives up at what used to be Hogg’s Farm until old Charlie Hogg died, and his boys sold it to the Middletons.   Course they did it all up, the Middletons, I mean, sold some of the land, and called it Yew Tree Cottage.   I must say, he always makes a pleasant little speech, being a Conservative he speaks quite nicely, though I’m Labour myself, and he and his wife always go round the stalls and buy things.

But I digress!   So I said to the Vicar, “Vicar”, I said “Maybe I was a bit overtired last year, with all the rain and that, and that poor Rose Mullins has her hands full with her old Uncle Jim, and it wouldn’t be right to ask her, with him in his condition, as you know”.

The Vicar looked a bit embarrassed, well, he would, being single and that, and said how much he appreciated what I did.   So I took the daffs down to the front of the church, and started trying to get all to face the same way.   But I was still seething inside, I can tell you!   Rose Mullins, indeed, she’d have all her cronies from the Mothers’ Union on the stalls, and then where would my ladies be?

So I began marshalling my forces.   Ethel Willard always takes the cake stall, it being one of the biggest, and certainly the busiest.   She reckoned on clearing it within half and hour, bar the tarts and fancy cakes which always linger a bit.   She’s very quick with money, having been the cashier at the Co-op for so long, and she won’t stand any nonsense from the customers.   She brought those four boys up on her own after Bill died so suddenly, and everyone of them a credit to her.   “I must make sure Joan Hibbert doesn’t make those rock cakes this time” she told me “We had to put them in a carrier bag and give them to Fred for his pigs last year”.

I knew I could trust Ethel with the cakes.   Little Mary Wright was another stalwart, she always takes the fancy goods – knitted bits and pieces and tray cloths and the like.   The elderly folk like things like that.   Anything left over she takes to her niece over Winsford way.   She’s with the Methodists there and puts the bits and pieces in their fete.   They are far enough away for no-one to recognise their stuff, you see.

The Guides and Brownies do some of the sideshows, guessing how many sweets in a bottle and the weight of a cake and that sort of thing.   We always weigh the cake, but I just say pick a number in the middle for the sweet jar, no one’s going to argue.

The Scouts do the silly things like throwing wet sponges at someone and chucking balls at crockery, it mostly keeps them out of mischief, though the Scoutmaster, John Norris keeps a good eye on them – he has to after what happened a couple of years back.

I wish we could have a tombola or a raffle, but Arnold, the Churchwarden is adamant such things are unbiblical or something and the Vicar’s always nervous of him, so we never have them.   Its no good arguing, he’s on the parish Council, and we always have the fete on the Recreation Ground, and have to get the Council’s permission, so that’s that.

Philip Munroe does the bookstall, but then he’s got that second hand bookshop over Knutsford way.   He always gives us a tidy sum, but I’m sure he takes the good ones for his shop.   Still he’s got a van, and those books are heavy, so I don’t enquire.

By the time I’ve got everyone sorted, they all know exactly what they are doing, and when, and all that.   Vi’s army, people call them.   I like people who co-operate with me.   I’ll not have that Rose Mullins pushing in with her Mothers’ Union cronies.   A Mrs. Sandford, from those new houses down by the water meadows – real damp they’ll be in the winter – came to see me and suggested having a Fortune Teller!

“Mrs. Sanders”, I said, coldly like “This is a Church Fete and the Bible specifically warns us against such things”.   She look a bit confused, as well she might, as to my certain knowledge she’s never set foot in the church since the Carol Concert.

I don’t know though.   It’s a lot of work, and hardly any thanks.   There’s all the clearing up – the Scouts go round picking up litter and bits, but they fool around so, you can’t trust them.   Last year a man with a metal detector thing said could he run it over the ground – he found about £10 in various coins, but I made him give it into the Fete fund – that’s church money, I said, you can’t just take it.   Don’t think he’ll come this year, muttered something about finders being keepers, and dodged off when the Vicar came up.   Some folk’ll try anything to line their own pockets.

Maybe I’ll give it up, it’s a lot of work, like I said.    But I’ll keep my mouth shut till I’ve had a bit of a break – that Rose Mullins isn’t going to take it, over my dead body!

© Gillian Peall

*****

Chosen by Gillian, written by Lois 29th April 2017

95dd7f057485a7473d4a57eec1ccb6a6

Writes of Spring

Some thoughts about writing your first story…

You’ve decided to write a story…
…. Have you got story to tell?
.…or do you just like writing?
Writing is a craft which has to be practised and experimented with. A story has to be worked on and polished as a gem cutter might polish a precious stone, or a jeweller buff up a piece of jewellery, or a wood-carver rub beeswax into a carving.
Some people are lucky enough to be able to just sit down and write but even they ‘dry up’ sometimes.  Like many creative activities writing really is 10% (or less) inspiration and 90+% perspiration.

Some things to consider:

  • Inspiration – you have a brilliant thought, an idea – but how does it start?
  • Your readers – consider who you are aiming your story at, even if it’s only yourself, you want to read the best story you can write

Decisions, decisions…

  • Narrator – who is telling the story? A disinterested, objective observer? A third person telling it from one or several characters’ point of view? One of the characters?
  • Introduction or opening of your story – you might want to work on this once you’ve finished the whole thing, but it is really important!
  • Setting – you know what your setting is, make sure you bring it alive on the page!
  • Characters – your reader wants to know what they look like, and what their personality is… the first has to be considered early on, you may want to real the second only gradually
  • Plot – don’t make it too complicated, but make sure it is intriguing!
  • Language – how are you “speaking” to your reader? Is it your own voice you are using, or one of the character’s, or is it a particular writing voice?
  • Research and Observation – the internet gives you a massive resource, but just watching people in the real world, at bus stops, on stations, in the pub, in the street… that will bring your characters to life
  • Endings – no whimpers allowed, only bangs!
  • The end…   or not! – does the narrative conclude, or is there an open ending, can the reader continue the story in their imagination after the book closes?

© Lois.         My books are on Amazon, here  Lois

 

 

Advertisements

73:27 FAQ’s – some answers (i)

Recently, as part of our 73 blog challenge, I shared a list of frequently asked questions I’ve received about writing. It occurred to me, that having posted these questions, maybe I should answer them, or at least some of them! I am fascinated by other people writing, and enjoy reading people’s accounts of why, and how they write, so I hope others might be interested in my take on it:

  1. Why do you write? Writing has become more than a habit, it’s become almost a compulsion. I always have to have something to write with and something to write on, like a security blanket I guess. If I don’t have at least a pen or pencil with me (I can always find scraps of paper to write on, till receipts, the actual back of  envelopes – but no longer ‘cigarette packets!) if I don’t have something on which to write I have a little low-level anxiety. With modern technology, people always have their phones, and I have started making notes on mine. This is drifting away from why I write; I see things which intrigue or interest me, I have spurts of inspiration, I hear snatches of conversation, or see scraps of words – headlines, graffiti, torn newspapers… However, the stories I write are there in my head, the people leading their imaginary lives (imaginary to me, not to them!) Does that make me seem very eccentric… maybe!
  2. How do you think of something to write about? See question 1 above! Once I have started a story, I do sometimes come to a part where I don’t know what is going to happen or how a situation will resolve; then I carry the puzzle around with me and gradually work out what will happen next – sometimes the solution comes through pushing myself to continue, even when I’m not sure where I and the story and my characters are going!
  3. How do you (i.e.’one’) start writing? Imagine you are telling your story to someone else – a partner, a friend, an anonymous person you get into conversation with on a train, in a pub, standing next to them in a queue. Just write it down – when it is there on the page, then you can go back and change it or play with it or refine it and bash it into something. If you wanted to start running you would expect to set yourself an easy target – to the end of the road or round the block, and you would expect that at first you wouldn’t be much good – you might be out of breath or your breathing is wrong or your muscles complain, but as you do it more and practice, you overcome these difficulties – it’s the same with writing!
  4. Do you have a special place to write? In the smallest room in the house – no not the bathroom, but the smallest upstairs room which has become my study/workroom. However, I can write anywhere; because my handwriting is so terrible I don’t usually write on paper unless I have to, but I take my laptop whenever we go away.
  5. Don’t you get fed up with writing? No, never!

Here is a link to my books – I would be really pleased if when you have read them you leave a comment on my Amazon page! Thank you so much!

https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=lois+elsd

LYING ON MY BACK (as a child)

I looked at the sky – what did I see?

An infinity of space without end;

A depth of blue, whose arms

Could take me up and whirl me away

Past hidden stars and other worlds

To an end that never came.

 

I looked at the sky – what did I see?

I saw castles with towers, and mountain peaks,

Purple with thunder and edged with gold.

Or scampering animals, fluffy and white,

A whale, or a cat, a unicorn.

 

I looked up to the sky – what did I see?

I saw birds so high, on outstretched wings.

Could they see me down there on the ground?

Did they know, did they care, they were birds?

If I wished hard could I fly, too?

 

I looked up to the sky – what did I see?

I saw the bombers, beating their way

In neat formation and an endless flow.

Lancasters, Wellingtons, Halifax’s, Stirlings,

Throbbing their way across the sky.

 

And in the morning we’d see them return

With gaps like missing teeth, where once had been

Brothers, and uncles, and cousins.

Halting engines, tattered wings, could they ever make it?

 

My eyes would fill, I couldn’t watch,

I’d take my mother’s hand and go indoors.

When does childhood end?

© Gillian Peall

You can’t tell a book by its cover..?

 

‘You can’t tell a book by its cover,’ can you? I don’t know who first said this but it is patently untrue. Just walk in Waterspoons and look at the shelves, groaning under the weight thousands of books, paperback and hard back. Every hardback has a loose cover that has been meticulously designed by a graphic artist and the same goes for the front cover of a paperback. Just think, if you were publishing a book and you could make more profit by leaving the outside presentation of a book just the woven cloth look with no design or extra printing costs, just a single colour, you would do it. So why does everyone go to so much trouble?

Because the cover and the title are what make most people decide to pick and have a look at the book. Then they might read the ‘blurb’ on the back or about the author on the back flap and perhaps something about the plot on the front flap – only then will they open and have a look inside the book.

Hopefully I have convinced you that the cover design is just as, if not more, important than the writing – as far as your book sales are concerned.

So I have collated some covers that have been designed by different people for our books, along with a short blurb for each.

We welcome any comments you may have, which ones you like and perhaps why and then ones you are not so keen on.

I have also added the links to Amazon where our books are for sale. I hope you have been sufficiently enthused by the covers have a look and maybe even buy one.

*****

Books by Lois

Radwinter series

Radwinter – Thomas Radwinter goes in search of his family roots; using the internet he traces his family back to war-torn eastern Europe, and follows their journey across southern England in the 1830’s. The more he finds out about his family’s past, the more he sees his own family differently.

51vCqA0LbZL._AC_US218_Cover designed by Lois

*****

Magick – Thomas Radwinter investigates his maternal line, starting with the mysterious and alcoholic Sylvia. His genealogical searches take him into the tragic histories of his family and other ordinary people working in the appalling conditions of the Victorian age. A friend begs him to trace her long-lost daughter, who does not want to be found. Her request leads him into danger.

51l30OyF6mL._AC_US218_Cover designed by Lois

*****

Raddy and Syl – Thomas Radwinter continues his journey into his ancestor’s history; he is commissioned to find a woman who vanished seemingly into thin air, and he tries to solve the mystery of the Moroccan an elderly female client brought back from a cruise…

5185zVc6qXL._AC_US218_Cover designed by Lois

*****

Beyond Hope – Thomas Radwinter tells his three brothers what he has learned about their parents and his revelations threatens to break their family. Thomas also investigates who leaves lilies on a grave an elderly client visits, and tries to solve the  a mystery of a Tibetan lama who has a dangerous power over a hard-working teacher and devoted father.

610+QQek8ZL._AC_US218_Cover designed by Lois

*****

Earthquake – a new arrival in Thomas Radwinter’s family puts extra pressure on them all. A commission to investigate a mysterious death at a little boarding school in 1931 seems intriguing and harmless, as does a haunted hotel he’s asked to visit. However, during his investigations he confronts a violent verger, an unbalanced conchologist and a very strange friend from the past…

5188-m8khqL._AC_US218_Cover designed by Lois

*****

Saltpans – Publishing date summer 2018, cover not yet available

*****

The Easthope novels

Farholm – Deke Colefox is determined to find out all she can about the man she married, who died unexpectedly and visits his family home on Farholm Island. Dr Michael Cabus also visits the island; he too wants to find the truth about a beloved stranger.  Deke and Michael arrive on the same ferry as a beautiful girl who disappear… as did two other young women were found horrifically murdered the previous year.

41PkelBJA3L._AC_US218_Cover designed by Lois

*****

The Stalking of Rosa Czekov –. Rosa is a very  private person, and unwelcome publicity following a bank siege attracts a stalker who brings her to the verge of a breakdown. Her cousin, Tyche Kane, has a mission to discover who is tormenting Rosa and bring him or her to retribution but  her quest not only puts her own life at risk, but endangers Rosa’s friends and family and leads to the murder of someone very close to her.

41BJILctygL._AC_US218_Cover designed by Lois

*****

Night vision – Beulah and Neil Cameron return to his childhood home of Easthope to try and repair their damaged marriage. Neil is profoundly and wrongly jealous of Beulah’s best friend; but he has his own secrets which may damage their marriage more permanently.

51f-ZvUx7GL._AC_US218_Cover designed by Lois

*****

The Double Act – Genet and Lance McCauley and her friends lead lives almost unchanged since they left school. Their friends call them the great double act; but then the McCauleys have new tenants in a property they own.Is it a coincidence that as the enigmatic Dr Herrick and his disabled wife arrive in the small town, a series of acts of vandalism and arson is committed? Small, petty events, which seem to centre on the group of friends soon escalate to violence and attempted murder.

51cMw2RMu3L._AC_US218_Cover designed by Lois

*****

Lucky Portbraddon – A few days before Christmas, as the Portbraddon family gathers at their grandmother’s big house up on the moors, the last of the cousins drives through a blizzard to join them. A near-death experience is not an auspicious start to their holiday but they determine to celebrate as usual. In the new year it seems their good fortune has changed – an unexpected death, a descent into madness, betrayal, attempted murder… but there’s also love, a new home, reconciliation, a spiritual journey, music… Whatever happens between them, family is family, family first…

516L2slVPkL._AC_US218_Cover designed by Lois

*****

Other novels

Loving Judah – After the tragic death of Aislin McManus’s step-son Judah his father, Peter, blames Aislin almost breaking her heart. Her attempts to mend the breach between them are failing and when Aislin meets someone else who is blamed for the death of his best friend she resolves to do everything she can to reconcile him with his family, even though she puts herself in danger by doing so.

51hFuq48SnL._AC_US218_Cover designed by Lois

*****

Flipside – Jaz moves from Bristol to be with her recently widowed brother taking a temporary position in a challenging school in the north of England. She unexpectedly finds the love of her life but is she in danger from a man who may be a murderer?

512J+y49MEL._AC_US218_Cover designed by Lois

*****

Books for reluctant readers, those who can but don’t!

Run, Blue, Run! – Blue arrives at the caravan park where he lives to find his trailer has been trashed and the owner’s sons, Timmy and Tommy Goode are after him with baseball bats… It’s pouring down with rain and he’s told three men in black are asking for him… Run, Blue, run!

41FoFWYuN4L._AC_US218_Cover designed by Lois

*****

Screaming King Harry – Jo-Jo Glass witnesses the popular head of English, Henry King, exchanging money for a mysterious package in her dad’s pub… A man with a gun is looking for her… and he’s not afraid to use it!

41qaX6wqy+L._AC_US218_Cover designed by Lois

*****

The Story of Rufus Redmayne – publishing date summer 2018 – cover not yet available

*****

Telling Tales…

So You Want To Write (Telling Tales… Book 1) – So you want to write but don’t know how to… Your head is empty, your imagination stalled… How to begin? What to do? ‘So You Want To Write‘ takes you from the first page to the last of your own story – beginnings, endings and the bit in between. The 6 P’s are all covered – plot, people, point of view, place, purpose and pace, all taken care of.

Cover designed Amazon / Lois

 

All Lois’s books can be seen here Lois

 

***** *****

Books by Richard

Tales from the Strangled Ferret

A couple of years ago – or an eternity, there was a referendum on certain matters of national and European significance. These were discussed, debated and argued across the land, in homes, in the street, at work… and in the pub. Never since Cromwell was there such a kerfuffle… and kerfuffle well describes what happened in the Strangled Ferret over pints of Old Mouldy…
The chronicles of the Ferret Saga, including the horrific zestination episode, are now revealed, made public in one complete volume… Our investigative reporter, Richard Kefford has been on the case, peeled back the untruths and fabrications, squeezed the story until the pips squeaked and can now reveal the bitter truth…’

The Strangled Ferret.  Cover design by Hannah Tobin

*****

Tales from the Strangled Ferret – alternative cover.

41lM-CL8fgL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_  Cover design by Amazon / Richard

*****

Two boys from Brighton – A novel to be published in 2019.

Edit 3  Cover designed by Rebecca Sherratt

*****

Distance and other poems.     A  poetry collection

Distance Final  Cover designed by Rebecca Sherratt

*****

Hydraca – The Mountain Monster – My first book in the “Grandchildren series” These are personalised books that have the Grandchildren as characters. They are not publicly available but if you are interested in have personalised books for your children or grandchildren, where they are named as the characters having the adventures – please get in touch via our e mail address on the CONTACT page.

Final 1  Cover designed by Rebecca Sherratt

*****

Krakendraca – The Loch Naver Monster – My second book in the “Grandchildren series”

Final K  Cover designed by Rebecca Sherratt

Rebecca is in the throes of designing another cover for me for the third book in the Grandchildren series. The title is not yet finalised  – nor is the cover design but here is a first sketch from her for one of the characters – The Princess.

1Evie

Rebecca is a student who is completing her MA in writing and illustration.
She runs a web site called Woveneclipse and is open for commissions. Why not pop over and have a look at some of her work?

*****

Namaste – a diary of a trek in the Himalaya. A Dad and his two boys take a once in a lifetime trip to the Himalayan Mountains

Screen Shot 2018-03-29 at 16.09.53 Cover design by Amazon

*****

Entertainment on the train – A collection of 25 short stories to entertain you while on the dreary commute.

Screen Shot 2018-03-29 at 16.13.04 Cover design by Richard

*****

The moving dragons write – an anthology of the three dragon’s work. There are contributions here from the three dragons of the moment who run this blog. We are now four dragons.

Screen Shot 2018-03-29 at 16.25.53 Cover deign by Amazon / Lois

*****

A first selection of surreal short stories. I have been told that I write in a surreal way. I wonder if you agree?

Screen Shot 2018-03-29 at 16.27.32 Cover design by Amazon / Richard

*****

Science fiction and a little steam punk. A collection of short stories – mostly science fiction but with some steam punk and humour.

Screen Shot 2018-03-29 at 16.29.43 Cover design by Richard

 

Richard’s books can be seen here Richard

© Richard Kefford 2018

 

 

 

 

HOOKY RUGS

Our past is a hooky rug of memories,

Events cut up and knotted

through the canvas of our minds,

To make the pattern of light and shade

we see as the truth.

Others would change the shades,

More of the deep sea green,

Move the dark red to the right,

Leave out the grey,

Until the same events, joys and traumas

Weave something quite different.

© Gillian Peall

I have to point out that the picture of the rug is not “hooky”, but stitched.   I couldn’t find a picture I could use of real “hooky” rugs!    But the photo is correct in that it uses odd bits of material!

 

 

Seventy-three blogs… #26 FAQs and why is the sky?

Why is it that when you want to know something about an item you have bought, or  a website you’re wrestling with, or an account you are trying to set up, and you go to the FAQ’s, Frequently Asked Questions, there is never the question you want to ask? It’s a conundrum.

One of the best questions I ever heard asked was when I was flying back from Ireland. There was a little boy in the seat behind me with his dad. He sounded a nice little boy, chatting away with his daddy, asking all sorts of questions. I couldn’t see them but they were looking out of the window – there was nothing to see because we were flying so high. The little boy said “Daddy, why is the sky?” His father replied “Do you mean why is the sky blue?” “No. Why is the sky?” “Do you mean why are there clouds in the sky?” “Daddy, I mean why is the sky?” I don’t know what the answer was but I’ve chuckled over it many times – that was definitely an infrequently asked question!

Because writing is my favourite thing, and as I’ve said before it’s what I do from first thing in the morning, sitting in my nightie, to last thing at night, way beyond bedtime; I often get asked questions about writing and my writing… so here is a selection of frequently asked questions why I get:

  1. Why do you write?
  2. How do you think of something to write about?
  3. How do you (i.e.’one’) start writing?
  4. Do you have a special place to write?
  5. Don’t you get fed up with writing?
  6. Can you teach me to write?
  7. Do you plan your stories?
  8. Do you write character profiles?
  9. Are your stories true, or based on real things?
  10. Do you have time-lines?
  11. Do you write by hand and then type it up?
  12. Do you do a lot of research?
  13. Do you work out your plot before you begin?
  14. Do you write women’s romances?
  15. Do you know what the ending is going to be when you start?
  16. Do you start at the beginning of your story when you are writing or do you write the exciting bits first then join them together?
  17. Are your stories based on real people, places and incidents?
  18. How do you think of your stories?
  19. Do you write chick-lit?
  20. How long does it take to write a book?
  21. What is a blog?
  22. Do you want to be famous?
  23. Who (which other author) do you write like
  24. How do you self-publish?
  25. I’ve got a really good story, do you want me to tell you then you can write it for me?
  26. When did you start writing?
  27. Where do you write?
  28. Do you travel to all the places you write about?
  29. What sort of books do you write?
  30. Which other writers do you admire?
  31. Are your stories any good?

Here is a link to my books – I will be rally delighted to answer any of your questions, even if they are FAQ – talking baout writing is the next best ting to doing it!

https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_3_6?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=lois+elsden&sprefix=lois+e%2Caps%2C138&crid=39LUBHUGIKQ3

 

Time travelling

This is the third part of a story I have been sharing –

Parts 1 and 2

In the first story Clare had got lost during a walk and found herself near an old mill being restored. She met the couple who owned it and discovered that Clare and the woman, Jenny-Lee had been at school together. Jenny, however mistook Clare for another girl at school, Clare Cherry and for some reason, Clare said nothing…

In the second story, Clare is haunted by memories from her school days when she knew Jenny. She was a small child and was badly bullied by the others in Jenny’s group; she had been nick-named The Button and while going through some old papers found she had kept notes the bullies had written – and some of her replies, which she had never sent –

Time

Clare wandered through Camel Wood; she had started by taking one of the guided paths, but then left it just to meander beneath the trees. She reflected that when she walked through these woods last time, any thoughts of her past, of the time before, had been a million miles away. The time before… She didn’t want to think about it – it – she had spent years learning first to forget it, then to deal with it and then to forget it once again, forget it forever. Now unexpectedly, right on her new doorstep she had walked right back into it.
Jenny-Lee Harper… Jenny-Lee… how could she have possibly confused her with Clare Cherry? Clare had been Jenny’s best friend ever since Clare had arrived in the third year… third year, it’s year nine now… times change…
Who had been Jenny-Lee’s friend before? Jenny was the sort of person who always needed a close confidante – maybe Darius was that now… Darius… he seemed like a decent man, a nice man, he’d been so friendly until the mistake had been made.
So who was the best friend before Clare Cherry…? Hazel, Hazel the name escaped her but she could remember her now. She’d not thought of her for years and now she remembered Hazel, very tall, almost black hair in a Cilla Black style, back combed high, and two pointed wings emphasising her cheek bones… Now she thought about it, Hazel was stunning. Of course, Jenny-Lee would only have beautiful friends… she had a beautiful husband now.
So when the two Clares had arrived at the school, Clare Cherry quickly replaced Hazel who was left alone and lonely, outside the group… Clare Mason was in the group, but only as the whipping boy, whipping girl… nicknamed the Button…
Clare walked really quickly, angrily, memories flooding… She wanted to go back in time, reach back to the Button, reach back and stand up to Jenny-Lee and to tell Clare Cherry all the things which had burned in her heart.
She came to a stop. She was in an abandoned quarry, so long abandoned that many people wouldn’t have realised what it was, except now it had a shiny new information board with a time-line. Clare stopped and stared at it, the line drawings, the tables, the paragraphs of details of the history … Carboniferous Limestone, Quartzitic Sandstone, Dolomitic Conglomerate and various Lower and Middle Jurassic limestones… the words swam before her eyes.
This was no good.
Clare stood still, closed her eyes and breathed, calming her monkey mind.

She stopped for a drink and then climbed over the fence onto the unpaved road and headed down as she had known at the back of her mind she would since she parked her car and started her walk.
She was going back to the water mill.
Instead of cutting through the trees she followed the road to go in at the gate. The gate stood between gateposts but there was no wall or fence on either side; it was a totally redundant gate. It made her smile and she walked back a few paces to take a photo to share on Instagram.
As she edited the photo, a red car suddenly shot out of the gate and drove too quickly down the track. Jenny was driving it, Clare knew even though she hadn’t seen her. Should she go to the mill anyway, pretend she didn’t know Jenny-Lee was absent, get into conversation with Darius, find out why he hated Clare Cherry?
She wandered to the gate and dithered… maybe this wasn’t a good idea, maybe this wasn’t the right time…
“I say! Are you one of us?” a cheery voice called.
A group of middle-aged women were approaching.
“Here to visit the mill?” the cheery voice, belonged to a stout woman with very yellow hair. “Come along then! Sorry we’re a bit late!”
Clare hadn’t actually replied but she was swept along with the half dozen friendly women and one solitary rather spindly man. As they walked down to the mill it seemed to levitate from behind the slight rise in the track, its lichen covered roof seeming to rise from the ground – a different perspective from when she had visited before.
There was another group of people, mainly women at the doorway and Darius was there chatting…
Clare ducked behind the spindly man.
All here? Can everyone here me? Welcome Easthope U3A, to Wolfston Mill! I am Darius Mapp and I am going to take you on a trip through time! We shall go back to the Romans, because, yes, I believe there was a watermill here in the days of Hadrian, and maybe even Trajan! We shall start there and as time travellers we will follow the story of Wolfston Mill, through the times of Arthur the King, Ingar Silverskin, and the great Alfred, until our people were crushed beneath the heel of the Normans…”
Good grief, thought Clare, staring at the blue anorak of the spindly man… good grief…

© Lois Elsden 2018

Here is a link to my published books – I hope you will enjoy them and i will be so grateful if you leave me a comment or review! Thanks – and as they say in restaurants these days, ‘Enjoy!’

https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_1_9?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=lois+elsden&sprefix=lois+elsd%2Caps%2C144&crid=2OKDOK4OIPXIW