I’m on a winter break at the moment working on the sequel to my fantasy Christmas novel, The Sleighriders. But I also recently prepared The Sleighriders for self-publishing in paperback and was so excited to get my proof copy arrive a few days ago, – just ready for going live for Christmas. So I’m shamelessly posting in hopes that some of you somewhere may have a son or daughter, niece or nephew, who may like a book for Christmas! It’s a full length fantasy novel, 442 pages, full of elves, trolls, magic, strange creatures, and adventure.
So here it is and thanks so much for having a look. If you should decide you may like a copy then you can find it here on Amazon. It’s also available as an eBook.
Apologies to those who follow my Author blog, this is a re-blog of a recent post! I’ve recently got back to writing a few short stories, I hope you like this one!
Under cover of darkness Marjorie Butterworth slipped out of her back door. The night was starless and the autumnal fog hung low as she scurried along the road. She pulled the hood of her hoodie further down over her face whenever she passed a lighted window, head down and hands deep in the pockets of her camouflage trousers. Mrs Butterworth was nearly seventy and not a hoodie or a camouflage type of person, she was in fact an upstanding member of the community and a member of the parish council. But she’d been pushed too far.
The recent council meeting had done it. George bloody Blair! Again! Mrs Fairweather, the butcher’s wife, had brought up the subject of dog-fouling and ways of controlling it, and Blair, the pompous old sod, had jumped in and raged on about dog owners, and why did they want dogs anyway, all they did was shit and bark, and little old ladies should have budgies if they wanted pets instead of rats on strings! The chairman had looked suitably miffed at the outburst and George had sunk back into his tweed waistcoat and wound his handlebar moustache back in.
Marjorie became more furious as she made her way through the churchyard. How dare that bastard allude to her dear little Binky, a most beautiful pekingese, as a rat on a string! George Blair needed to be taught a lesson, him and his unbending, bombastic, military attitude. He was intolerable and intolerant. He’d recently tried to stop planning permission for an extension on a cottage in the village simply because the owners were gay, and now refused to buy his papers from the village shop because the new owners were Indian. The man was a dinosaur.
Marjorie hurried down Brook Lane, George Blair’s house was at the very end, a lovely old Cotswold stone building with wonderful views of open farmland – except he’d only be able to see them from upstairs. The back garden was surrounded by high walls, with ivy trailing over the top. If Marjorie’s plan was to succeed she had to get into that garden. Her cunning plan was to raid George’s pumpkin patch. The old blighter had done nothing but brag about the pumpkin he’d grown for the Harvest Festival Pumpkin Competition and at every parish council meeting his pumpkin got bigger, and was now apparently a pumpkin of Olympic proportions. Marjorie was going to prick his balloon. By way of nabbing his pumpkin.
Blair’s side gate creaked hideously. Marjorie held her breath. The mist swirled around her. After a minute she continued on tiptoeing up the path to the tall arched doorway that opened into the back garden. At least she needn’t worry about a dog hearing her. The big old wrought iron handle on the door was well-oiled and turned easily. She pulled the heavy door open and slipped inside, quickly taking in the perfectly mowed lawn, edged with flowerbeds, and at the far end of the garden she could make out a good sized potting shed. Keeping to the edge of the lawn and ducking under various small trees she hurried down to the shed and dodged behind it. To her delight she found she was standing in the vegetable garden right next to the old git’s pumpkin patch!
Best check all was clear before she got to work. She peered round the shed. A downstairs light had come on. Not a worry. Probably having one of his hideously expensive whiskies he was always bragging about. ‘Give me a pint of Guinness any day,’ she muttered. Marjorie dug in her pockets for her little penlight torch. The small beam quickly picked out an enormous orange blob in the middle of the patch. ‘Good lord!’ she muttered when she stood beside it and took in the size, ‘The mother of all pumpkins!’ Blair hadn’t been exaggerating after all. It wasn’t going to be easy getting this monster home, in fact it was going to be nigh on impossible without a wheelbarrow, and she only had a sack. There was no way she could carry it. But she could still ruin his day. In a few minutes she was getting down and dirty beside the pumpkin with her penknife, carving out an enormous wedge. The moon slipped out from behind a cloud as she manhandled the pumpkin piece into her sack, stood up, and slung it over her shoulder. She was just going to set off when she thought she heard a cough. She froze. Had she imagined it? Cautiously she crept back to the side of the shed and peered at the house. Across the lawn the patio doors were open and the downstairs light was still on. But no sign of anyone. She decided to get out now. Leg it!
Marjorie pulled her hoodie well down over her face and taking a firm grip on her sack she launched herself from behind the shed.
She collided heavily with a tall blonde woman coming from the opposite direction.
‘Aagh!’ they both yelled.
Marjorie, who had lost her balance, and ended up on her ample backside, peered up from under her hood at the blonde in the moonlight. She didn’t get it. Blair had never talked of a wife or girlfriend. The dirty old sod had kept this quiet! The blonde was looking equally shocked. Marjorie noticed she was wearing a bright pink ballroom dancing dress and silver high heels. Her gaze travelled up to the woman’s face – a dreadful make-up job from what she could see between the strands of long blonde hair. Two puddles of black mascara and … a handlebar moustache!
‘George?’ gasped Marjorie in amazement.
George Blair grabbed at a set of earphones which snagged in the blonde hair and whipped the wig off with them. Marjorie caught a few brief strains of James Last’s ‘Somewhere My Love‘.
‘Please Marjorie, I’m begging you!’ George’s voice was stricken with panic.
Marjorie got up, smiling. ‘Dancing round the garden in drag to James Last George. What will the neighbours think?’
‘Please! … Marjorie! … I’ll do anything!’
‘I’m sure you will George. From now on I’m sure you will!’
Marjorie picked up the sack and slung it over her shoulder, the pumpkin would make a nice bunch of pies for the Harvest Festival.
Hello to all my lovely fellow bloggers, and apologies for not keeping up with your posts recently. I have been on a mission to publish my e-books as paperbacks and so have entered the world of self-publishing, attempting to get my head around words and terms that I’ve never heard of. It’s sometimes hard work trying to learn everything from the internet, and from forums. But I’m not one to give up and my rather aged brain has been put to the test and forced down paths that it’s never been down before. I’m getting there! Slowly! But now I have to have a break and go and visit my much loved brother who has recently had a stroke, so blogging is yet again on hold. In the words of Arnie … I’ll be back!
The photo below is how I imagine my brain to look after days and days of research, as I went around in ever decreasing circles, sometimes lost, sometimes baffled, and sometimes ecstatic when at last I understood a problem. I’m not sure which the ecstatic bit is! 🙂
For the last week I have been creating a new blog to showcase my ebooks and illustrations, and hopefully connect with other authors, illustrators, and photo-editors. I started writing when we retired to France back in 2004, my first book was what I would describe as a true romantic adventure. I hoped that this book would help anyone who was ‘stuck’ and feeling low about their self-image, and inspire them to believe that change is possible; that the door is never shut to a new possibility. And when that possibility comes along don’t be afraid to grasp it and see where it takes you.
My second book was a fantasy novel, with elves, trolls, animals, and an elf girl heroine. I’m currently making some small changes, and creating a new cover, and will then re-publish this book on Amazon Kindle.
Most recently, last week in fact, I published The Mouse and the Microlight on Kindle. Thanks to all those lovely followers who helped me decide on the fonts for the cover!
I’d love your opinions on the new blog!