Thursday, 22 December 2016

Soul Connection

Over A Spitfire is a story of forbidden love during World War Two. LGBT relationships weren't as accepted in the 1940s as they are today and so Ava and Will's love was a secret, a secret cut short by Will's death. We follow her to the afterlife and feel her despair at being witness to Ava's developing romance with Henry, but Will has plans to return to earth...
During the writing of Over A Spitfire I had an idea to have Will's reincarnated character trace her family but didn't know where it would fit in so I decided against it. Some weeks after publication I was watching a TV programme about reincarnation where people with feelings of deja vu had traced a family from a previous life. In the sequel this is what Will's reincarnated character does.
For anyone who's read Over A Spitfire and enjoyed it I'd like them to read the sequel as in it the character finds closure. It is only a short novella and for that reason I've kept the price low at 99p. I hope you enjoy the stories. If you have, a review would be very welcome. Thank you.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Film Rights

Film rights. Is it a dream all we authors have to see our stories on the cinema or TV screen?
As I write my stories I can see my characters come alive before my eyes as if on a screen, I can hear their voices as they love, fight and make up, as they laugh, cry and just live.
Do we all have those dreaming moments when we are in repose, twiddling our pens, staring blankly at our computer screens?
How do other authors see their stories on screen? Would you want them adapted into film or would you prefer to keep them as they were in your head and let the reader keep them as they see them?
I'd like to see my Willow's Dip series as a Sunday evening TV series. Aidan Turner (Poldark) would have been fabulous for my Nathaniel O'Keefe but he's much too big a star now for my little story. I'd love Over A Spitfire, my wartime reincarnation story and its sequel with the family ancestry theme to become either a film or a drama. I can see those wonderful Spitfires in action, hear the memorable wartime songs that my parents used to sing, and the 60s songs I grew up listening to. I can see the mods with their Vespa scooters and the 60s fashions, hear the jukebox playing in the little cafe the teeneagers hang out in in my story.
All I need is that element of luck - don't we all - for my story - any of my stories - to be seen by the right eyes, to be in the right place at the right time.
I can but dream...

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Billy's Dream

An excerpt taken from The Author, The Gardener and The Woman What Does
(The title is purposely grammatically incorrect.)

Billy was dreaming, a lucid dream, he knew it was a dream. He’d half woken at 5:30 a.m. turned over and fallen back into a doze.
He was working on a landscape of a large garden backing onto dense woodland. A movement at the perimeter caught his eye and made him look up. There, standing barefoot and wearing only his white shirt which fell to the top of her thighs was Anita. He knew she was naked beneath it, her nipples poked out through the diaphanous cotton material and he could just make out their dark circles. His eyes fell lower to the triangle of her pubic hair, which flashed tantalisingly as the light breeze moved the fabric. There was the trace of an enigmatic smile on her lips as she stood with her legs slightly parted, beckoning him with a crooked index finger.
As if mesmerised he dropped his spade and followed her as she led him slowly into the woodland. In among the trees she stopped and turned to face him. Wordlessly she placed his hands on her breasts and he could feel her nipples thrusting into his palms, and his own arousal.
Slowly she began to unbutton the shirt allowing glimpses of naked flesh to peep through. His hands moved inside the shirt, thrilling at the feel of her skin, then they moved down over her belly to that now forbidden place.
She let out a moan as they sank down onto the soft woodland floor and his fingers caressed the most sensitive part of her. It felt good, it had been a long time since he’d had sex and he was unaware of removing his own clothes but in that dreamlike state they were both naked and moving in perfect time against each other.
As their passion mounted he couldn’t see her face, it was hidden beneath his shoulder but suddenly, as she cried out his name he looked at her and it wasn’t Anita’s face that looked back at him but Tess’s.
He woke with a start, bathed in sweat, got out of bed and headed for the bathroom. As he stood beside the toilet the whole erotic scene played out before him as if it was a movie projected onto the walls.
Where had it come from and how could your mind play such tricks on you? He didn’t want to make love to Anita, but if she walked into the room at this moment wearing nothing but that transparent shirt he knew he would. And Tess. Where had she come from? He realised if she were to materialise before him wearing the shirt he would tear it off her where she stood and follow his instincts.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

A Taster of a Christmas Journey

This is a short excerpt taken from the title story from my collection The Journey. It's not a metaphor but a story based on a journey I might have taken had life followed a different path. It is part fact and part fiction. Some people wrong others. Some people have to pay....

The December sunshine slants straight in through my windscreen as I turn the key in the ignition. I’ll be heading west so I suppose it will sear into my eyes until it sinks below the horizon, then the resulting sunset will brighten my journey and add to the suffusion in my soul as I savour the purpose of my impending visit. I am exacting retribution. I don’t consider myself evil or vindictive but this scab has been picked at at every milestone in my life. I was robbed and someone has to pay.
I have made every preparation for this; no I is left undotted, no T left uncrossed, right down to my physical appearance. I’ve been to have my roots done to blend away the grey and keep the dark colour, as those morons will remember me. I don’t want them to mistake who I am for a second. My eyebrows are shaped, my clothes crisp, most important to look the part when the shock registers on their faces.
Children are coming out of school, laden with Christmas decorations created by their own tiny hands and there is an excitement in the air as they are now on a four day countdown to hanging up their stockings. The traffic is heavy as I intersperse with the school run. After that I might make good progress for a while until the rush hour starts. A stupid time to travel I know but I want my arrival timed to achieve maximum impact, a sadistic bedtime story.
I don’t like to think I’ve allowed the issue to fester and rot away my peace of mind but I suppose it must have done to some extent. I believe in being fair, each person having what they deserve, what they’ve worked for – what is their birthright. I was denied mine.
I’ve left the village on the North East coast that has been my home for many years behind me and I’m heading for the motorway, well the A road first, a dual carriageway; it’ll be about an hour before I reach the M62 which will take me in a South-westerly direction. My destination is The Midlands, Newcastle under Lyme where I grew up.
It could never be said that my childhood had been unhappy, quite the contrary. I don’t suppose any marriage is perfect but to my child’s eyes my parents’ was. They were in tune; each personality balanced the other. My father was easily irritated, had an effervescent temper, but just like an exploding soda bottle his fiery fizz soon calmed as it flowed into the placid waters of my mother’s gentle nature. In turn, she would worry about any tiny detail.
“If two flies are crawling up the wall your mother will worry about which one will get to the top first,” my father always told me.
His take-it-or-leave-it attitude counteracted her worries and he was able to rationalise them. Their characters complimented each other. I knew nothing of soulmates at the tender age of ten – indeed I have never met mine – but I understand it to mean now that two souls are one half of the other and they are only complete when they are together.
Soulmates. I ponder on them as I negotiate a roundabout. I would love to have found mine. My marriage was based on physical attraction. John was the man I wanted at the time and for a few years we were happy. We had two fine sons, now grown and flown but our marriage crumbled long ago. I will not be controlled by anyone. Maybe some people are happy with that but I couldn’t accept it. When I was contemplating divorce I was given a piece of sound advice.
“I’d rather be on my own than with someone I don’t want to be with.”
I acted upon those words and they stay with me to this day.
Maybe I’ll find my soulmate in the next world. Some people believe we live through many lifetimes on this earth. Some believe that in each lifetime we find our soulmate and travel these lives together as twin flames, or is your twin flame the one you meet in your last earthly life? I don’t know, or what I think of it. It would be a pleasant thought I suppose, but my mind has wandered from its purpose.
The earth has turned and the sun has left our Northern Hemisphere for this day. The sky is streaked with lavender clouds and outside the warmth of the car I know there will be a chill in the early evening air. Snow has been forecast overnight but I will be in a comfortable hotel by then. No immediate need to travel back home tomorrow, as long as I am back to spend Christmas with my boys and their families. I have a Christmas present of my own to deliver first and that little flicker of satisfaction slumbering within me becomes a flame and a smile touches my lips in the darkness. Subconsciously my hand finds its way to the inside jacket pocket of my smart work suit and gently, fondly caresses the envelope nestled there, close to my heart. I press the accelerator pedal and join the motorway.....

Monday, 26 September 2016

BOOK LAUNCH Newcastle Staffs Library

From Monday 26th September to Monday 3rd October 2016 Newcastle library are very kindly organizing a book launch for me for my latest release OVER A SPITFIRE. As it's set in World War Two it will be a part of their local and community history festival. I originally approached them to ask if I could donate a hardback copy of the book to their stock and Terry Heath the activities officer agreed, with also a copy for Kidsgrove library.
Terry asked me if I'd like to come in and give a talk on the book and self publishing, which I would have loved to do but as I suffer from M.E my health is very unpredictable and I can never guarantee being well enough to be anywhere at a given time so although I would have loved to do that - I do like to talk - I had to decline. That was when Terry said they could arrange the launch, for which I was very grateful.
I am however hoping to be well enough to pop in on Saturday 1st October for a short while, around lunchtime, thanks to my son and his fiancee doing the driving, which I struggle with now, so if anyone is around then it would be great to meet you. I apologize if I'm not well enough to go but I've got everything crossed that I will be. Hope to see you there and if not there are always signed copies of the books.

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

The Germination of Over A Spitfire

The Germination of Over A Spitfire

Summer 2011

“I’ve got a great idea for a book for you,” my son Mark stated as soon as I’d got my bum on their settee, “it’ll make you a fortune.” (Ha, we wish!) He continued. “You’ve got a couple, he dies, then comes back reincarnated and they meet again.”
“I’m not writing that!” I said aghast. “It’s tempting Fate.”
“You can’t think like that or you’d never write anything.”
“They’d be different ages.”
He shrugged. “Well think about it.”
I did. My stories have a habit of happening. I’m very wary of killing characters off. I wrote about a car accident, it happened to Mark, although fortunately the outcome wasn’t as bad as in the story. My village was called Willow’s Dip. Some years later Mark and Harriett moved into Willow Drive. I wrote about breast cancer, a friend told me she had it.
“I can’t tempt Fate,” I said to Ellis as we lay on the lawn one sunny Saturday and I told him of his brother’s idea.
“You could make it a gay couple,” he replied drowsily, “we don’t know anybody gay so that wouldn’t be tempting Fate.”
I didn’t know anyone gay at that time but I’ve known a few people since. Thankfully they are fit and well and untouched by my scribings.
When Ellis left I set about a plot. What era would it have to be for a realistic relationship into a subsequent life? I thought about World War Two. I’d recently seen a programme called Spitfire Women about pilots in the Air Transport Auxiliary and it fascinated me. 
I’ve always loved Spitfires, proud to be Stoke-on-Trent born like Reginald Mitchell. The first one I’d actually seen was in The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery in Hanley, my local town many years ago when the boys were small and we’d gone for a visit in the school holidays. I thought it was such a marvellous machine as I climbed the steps and looked at the cockpit from the viewing platform. I always felt very patriotic on Remembrance Sunday when one flew over the Cenotaph at 11a.m even though the war ended ten years before I was born. I used to see my dad there and Remembrance Sunday always reminds me of him. It was my parents stories of the war years that I grew up with. 
I always had a notion to fly when I was young but sadly it was a dream that was never realized, I’ve not even flown as a passenger but the reason why is another story. Perhaps I was Will, my character in the book in a former life. Maybe that’s where this story has come from. Who knows? It is neither a lesbian nor a heterosexual romance, more a story of two souls connecting across time and realm regardless of their gender.
As I progressed I reported the regression idea I’d had to Mark and Harriett.
“I’d start it on the hypnotist’s couch,” said Harriett, so I did.
Two years later Ellis met Holly, who told her pupils that she didn’t like the word ‘said,’ there are many more interesting words to use, so I’ve kept it to a minimum.
I knew I wanted a Spitfire for my cover and a young woman of that era, preferably in ATA uniform, but I’m paranoid about breaching copyright so I decided to use a photograph of my mum. I’d followed The Cover Collection on Twitter and they’d followed me for some years so I contacted them and Debbie created this fabulous cover for me. I hope you can see why I love it.
I’m also thrilled to bits with the fabulous promotion video done for me by Rachel McGrath. It really captures the essence of the story.
If you download the book, a huge thank you. If you like it could you just take a few moments to review it on its Amazon page please, it will be a massive help. Can I ask you not to do the review as invited by Amazon at the end of the book as they don’t appear on the Amazon page for some reason, they vanish into cyberspace, but instead use the link I’ve added which will take you straight to the page.
Many thanks.

Whilst writing I had the idea for my reincarnated character to trace the family from their former life but I thought that it would make the story too complex and I didn't know where it would fit in. A few weeks after publishing I watched a TV programme about reincarnation where people had done just that! Hence the idea for a sequel was born!


The sequel is finished! It will be called
Over A Spitfire II
The Sequel
for ease of finding it because it is a little something extra for readers of Over A Spitfire, just to trace the character's family from their past life. It is an ancestry story with a difference where past links are rekindled and new relationships made.
I am just waiting for the cover to be designed then I can publish so I'm hoping for maybe Christmas time or early 2017.

Friday, 15 April 2016

Excerpt: The Author, The Gardener And The Woman What Does

The following is a humorous excerpt from The Author. The white jeans and the mud are anecdotal. I decided I'd give Tess my embarrassing moment but make it a touch more embarrassing for her by its not going unnoticed. Both she and I were a spectacle in the petrol station after the event!
(The title is grammatically incorrect on purpose. In The UK people who have a cleaner often say, 'I have a little woman what does.')
Chapter 12
Dawn Hills were fresh and washed clean by the morning’s showers as Tess walked the dogs on the Friday lunchtime. The sun had come out making sparkling diamonds of the raindrops dripping from the leaves, and being July, it was hot, vapour rising from the ground like a steam press as it dried. She was wearing white jeans and T shirt; she did wonder if it was a reckless choice of colour for dog walking, splashes might speckle the jeans, but it was summer and she felt the need to lighten her mood after the grey skies of the morning, and the thoughts of Kacey and Billy together still pulling her down.
As she walked the threads of her mind were knotted together like a badly knitted scarf. They were irrational she knew; she couldn’t have Billy for herself so why begrudge Kacey? Goodness knew the woman had had a tough enough life bringing up two children alone, surely she deserved a little happiness. But hang on a minute she chided herself, you’ve got them down the aisle and married, and it wasn’t as though Billy had asked Kacey out. She’d offered to do him a favour in return for dinner. As far as she knew that’s all it was to Billy. Anyway it was none of her business; there was nothing she could do about it so she must put it out of her mind.
The dogs taking off after a squirrel, which scampered with effortless agility up the trunk of a horse chestnut tree distracted her and she took in the beauty of her surroundings. Branches of trees linked arms across the path forming a green, leafy archway and birds flitted to and fro, some still feeding hungry chicks. As she circled down through the woodland and back to the car she felt invigorated with the exercise, gave the dogs their drink then locked them in the car whilst she went to feed the ducks.
The lake was only a few metres in front of the car park with benches dotted around it so that people could sit and enjoy the view. Two women sat together chatting as Tess walked past holding her bag of bread. The grass slope leading down to the lake was slippery after the rain and liberally spotted with duck doo – or more aptly, goose doo – and Tess trod carefully, trying to avoid stepping in any in her white ballet pumps. She raised her eyes momentarily to see a pair of swans gliding towards her with their brood of fluffy cygnets, and in that second, her feet shot from under her and she slid gracefully down to the lake on her bottom, through all the mud and duck doo. She went sailing past startled ducks, bemused at this creature in their midst traversing the mud, clutching desperately onto what they knew was their food.
As soon as her feet found purchase, she scrambled to them hastily with as much dignity as she could muster, not daring to even cast a furtive look at the two women on the bench, who must surely be in fits of hysterical laughter at her spectacle. She broke the bread for the ducks as though nothing was amiss and it was perfectly normal to do such a thing in pure white jeans caked in mud to the knees and across the backside, and white ballet pumps with their bows encrusted with it. As she broke the next piece of bread having eye contact with no-one save the birds, a soft male voice at her elbow said, “Are you all right? Can I be of assistance?”