I am enjoying my retirement by writing. My favourite genres are science fiction and horror and I have have had some success with my short stories.
I began reading Ray Bradbury while still at school and became besotted with Dr Who from the first moment I watched the programme back in November 1963. Each incarnation is my favourite until the next one but I have to admit to preferring Matt Smith's version to any other.
My specialist subject on Mastermind would most likely be 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy'.
Born to be Naughty (Hanna the Guardian of Nature Book 1) by Hina Nauman
A delightful story for 7 to 12 year old children.
Hanna is really a kind-hearted little girl, but she is lonely and because she is lonely and has no one to play with she gets into all sorts of mischief.
Hanna is a strong-minded little girl who lives in Pakistan with her mother and father. She has an assortment of relatives and woe betide any relative she doesn’t care for. Her antics will make you laugh out loud.
Hanna shows her kind and caring side when she finds an injured bird. With her mother’s help she nurses it back to health. She needs to spend so much time looking after the bird that it seems her naughty days are over. That is until ….!
I won’t spoil the story. You must buy the book if you want to know what happens. I guarantee you will enjoy her antics.
A lively book where the culture shines through allowing me an insight into Hanna’s life.
There will be a new horror anthology by Corona Books in the autumn. The Fourth Corona Book of Horror Stories is out on October 1st and is full of exciting new stories by up and coming writers as well as those branching out into new territory. Check it out and be sure to be ahead of the queue.
Things seem to be getting back to some sort of normal in my little world. On Saturday I attended my first book sale since covid struck.
Covid has had a specific effect on the sale of my first novel due to the fact that it was published by a company called Corona Books. The name had been chosen long before the corona virus struck but it had connotations and life slowed considerably.
St Andrew’s church in Porthill, Stoke-on-Trent hosted and warm and friendly event. I sold a number of books, renewed an acquaintance (I hesitate to say ‘old’) and was able to chat with new ones. And to top it all there was tea and cake!
There will be more such events, it will be lovely to see you there.
‘There’s too much flesh,’ I mutter as I survey my handy work.
‘You should have thought of that,’ my husband tells me in that “I told you so” manner he has that I have grown to loathe. ‘If you’d have thought things through properly you would have taken that into account.’
‘Yet who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him?’ I moan.
‘Show off. You always thought you were so much better than me.’
‘Never,’ I correct him as I study the body before me.
‘At least I know you’re quoting Lady Macbeth. Which, if you ask me, I find very apt.’
‘You can shut up. Shut up!’ I stamp my foot, but the warm sticky blood reduces the effect I had hoped for. ‘If you’d shut up in the first place I wouldn’t be in this mess,’ I tell him.
‘You’re in a mess? What about me? At least your mess will come out in the wash which is more than can be said for me.’
‘O that this too too solid flesh would melt,’ I sigh.
‘Good God! Am I to become a Shakespearian tragedy?’ he snarls. ‘That would just suit you, wouldn’t it?’
‘As you won’t melt, I suppose I’ll have to cut you up. You won’t fit in the freezer in this state.’
‘If it was up to me, I wouldn’t choose to go in the freezer in any state,’ hubby whines.
I leave my husband lying on the floor of the blood splattered wet room and go in search of some sort of blade. The one I stabbed him with isn’t strong enough for sawing through bone and sinew. I find nothing suitable.
‘Where have you left the saw, you miserable old bastard?’ I weep.
‘As if I’d tell you,’ he sniggers. ‘You’ll only saw me up for dog food if I did.’
‘You never put anything away. You just leave your stuff around and then pinch mine from my hobby bag. The freezer’s too good for you.’ I am crying openly now.
‘You should have put your tools ready before you started the job,’ he quotes me at me in a put-on whiney voice. ‘Isn’t that what you are always telling me?’
That really makes me see red. The claw hammer is to hand so I smack it into his mouth to stop the prattle. Then I smack it into his eyes so he can’t see what I’m doing. I just hammer away at him because he has annoyed me so much. I hammer away until I feel all my frustrations leak over the floor and mingle with the blood drying on the tiles. I hammer away until I am exhausted and empty. I drop the hammer and head towards the kitchen where I flick the switch on the kettle. If I do something different – take my mind from the task – I might remember where the saw is hiding.
A nice cup of tea will help.
This is Day 1 of my diary, and not, as someone will surely, remind to me, Day 1 of the drama that is going on around the world.
I don’t get out much. You may big ah if you like – okay then.
My joints have long outlived my brain function and decided eons ago that they’ve had enough of my overly active lifestyle. Over the years my knees and shoulders took the brunt of falls from horses, out of trees, exuberant children and energetic folk dancing on a Saturday night. They now complain painfully when I try to walk more than a few feet, so it’s taken a little while for me to realise the effect of this social isolation the younger folk find themselves in. Mostly, it’s been just like a normal week for me apart from more than usual phone calls. Thank you, everyone I do appreciate our chats.
That said, I normally attend my local church on a Sunday morning, so today is the day the effects of social isolation kicked in. Instead of going out I watched a virtual service with two dogs at my feet and a cat snoring in front of the screen. And, if it’s not too much information, I was not struck down by a bolt of lightning for being in my nightie, so I shall do that again.
I have a plan. It’s no different from last year. I shall be growing my own veg in my adapted garden in order to have enough to eat when the apocalypse does arrive. I intend to intersperse the gardening with writing in order to give my joints a rest when they complain, hopefully, ensuring a productive day and a relaxed attitude to what the virus intends for my age group.
Christmas is a religious festival I know; the clue is in the name. However, whatever we believe in, how many of us enjoy a good ghost story when the nights turn cold and dark?
It’s the best excuse ever for curling up near a warm body – or fire if you’re not so lucky to have a spare body to hand, lights low and a favourite drink to hand.
If you fancy a change from the old much-loved but well read tales it’s time to try something new. Something for the twenty-first century, perhaps.
Okay, so I tend to favour the seventeenth century and will be heading there, no doubt in December but I have been lucky enough to have been allowed to read some of the newest and most exciting ghost stories submitted to Corona Books this year. The result being The Corona Book of Ghost Stories.
If you like ghost stories, or know a man/woman/person who does, why not treat them to a copy for Christmas? Books are so easy to wrap! What are you waiting for?
Have you ever wondered about the origins of Halloween?
Samhain is a ancient festival marking the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter. Traditionally, it is celebrated from 31 October to 1 November, which is roughly halfway between the autumn equinox and the winter solstice.
Samhain is believed to have Celtic pagan origins and there is evidence it has been an important date since ancient times. It was the time when cattle were brought back down from the summer pastures and when livestock were slaughtered for the winter. Special bonfires were lit with protective and cleansing powers providing the rituals involving them were followed.
Samhain was seen as a liminal time, when the boundary between this world and the Otherworld could more easily be crossed. The souls of the dead were also thought to revisit their homes. Feasts were had, at which the souls of dead kin were invited to attend and a place set at the table for them. Ghosts and ghostly tales abound at this time of the year.
Mumming and guising were part of the festival, and involved people going door-to-door in costume (or in disguise), often reciting rhymes in exchange for treats. Rituals and games were also a big part of the festival and often involved nuts and apples, plentiful at this time of the year.
The Christian Church put a new spin on the idea as a means to remember the dead, both those who achieved sainthood (November 1st) and mere mortals (November 2nd). The evening before the religious festival, October 31st was known as All Hallow’s Even. This gradually became shortened to Halloween.
Do you recognise any of this?
If you fancy a good fright this Halloween why not try one or all of the books below. You won’t be disappointed.
See what happens should you find a strange box on your window sill.