fiction and other writing

Welcome

Thanks for visiting this site. I hope you enjoy the writing here. There are stories, poems and reviews.

What you’ll find on this website are often first drafts and I’d be happy to receive your comments. One of the pages contains the first chapter of my children’s book, The Green Book. You can get a hard copy from Amazon (including kindle) or Lulu. I have revised the cover because I wasn’t quite happy with it, so if you’ve already bought it, I haven’t changed the content. The story is suitable for children from about 4 – 11. It’s about a magic book that helps Alana through the trials of everyday life. You get to know her family and friends. There are twelve short stories that make up the novel and it’s suitable to ‘share read’ with reluctant readers. The next in the series, ‘Tiny Tyrannosaurus‘ is now published and is available from Amazon (inc Kindle) and Lulu. Again the first chapter is included in one of my pages.

If you’re interested in poetry I’ve just published, ‘Nature’s Gold‘. Many of the poems celebrate the beauty of our world, but there is also a mixture of humorous and serious (but not heavy) poetry. It’s written to be accessible to everyone. I hope you enjoy it. Poetry is a particular passion of mine.

The Mermaid is also available from good bookshops and the above online retailers. It’s a book of short stories, which I hope you enjoy.

It doesn’t seem fair that if you’ve bought the book you should have to pay to read it on your kindle, so I’ve made my books free on kindle if you’ve purchased the paperback book.

Do get in contact with your feedback. I’d love to hear from you.

Check out Lulu
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Smoke and Mirrors and other stories is a small book of a dozen stories. Each story takes you to a different time and place, which is a strength of the collection. The stories have strong, diverse characters and many of the plots have an interesting twist.

Product DetailsI’m not going to go through each story; enough to say there are many different genres from thriller, chick lit, sci fi, and more. Each genre is written skillfully and some of the stories have been previously published in anthologies or won a prize.

If I have any criticism of the book it is that perhaps the first story should have been a novel, but it still makes a cracking good short story.

I won’t spoil the book by giving away too much, just to say I think it would appeal to both men and women and all ages. Quite a few of the characters are young, which leads to lots of action.

My favourite story was Mary had a little gun. I think I identified with the protagonist in so far that… but I can’t tell you or it would ruin it.

Smoke and Mirrors is well written and presented and can be bought from Amazon kindle for £1.83. I’ve added a link here. Anyway if you read it, let me know what you think. Tom Benson has published several novels and a number of poetry books. Titles of novels include: Amsterdam Calling; Beyond the Law and Ten Days in Panama. You can find out more about this author here.

Book Review Site

TT cover kindleMy second children’s book, ‘Tiny Tyrannosaurus’ has just been reviewed by a blog site that does lots of detailed book reviews. There’s a link to the site here.

The reviewer, Paul Ruddock, gives a flavour of the book he is reviewing without giving away any of the secrets of the story. He reviews all sorts of genres, so if you’re short of an idea of what to read next, pop over to his site and take a look.Obviously the link I’ve posted is to my book, ‘cos I’m selfish like that.

He also runs a facebook review page for writers who want to review or have their books reviewed. I’ve several books on my reading list from there.

Tiny Tyrannosaurus is available from Amazon for £4.99 and on Amazon Kindle for £0.88. If you buy the paperback you should get the kindle version free. There’s a link to Amazon here.

The writing task was to take a well known story and write it from the point of view of the villain. I chose to skip the part that we’ve all seen at the pictures. This task was given to the writing group by Elizabeth Horrocks. (Winsford Writing Group.) Why not have a go yourself and pop it in the comments.

‘Bloody dogs,’ Cruella spat as she cradled her ankle.
All she’d been doing was carrying home the Sunday joint from the butchers, when the two Dalmatian dogs had attacked. One bit her ankle as the other leapt up and grabbed the meat.
‘I’ll get you, you bloody spotted vermin. If it takes the rest of my life, I’ll get you all and make your smelly hides into a freaking coat.’
Her voice petered out as she watched the two dogs disappear round the corner. She sat on the ground distraught. It didn’t matter that it wasn’t her fault. The fact was the joint was gone. Mother was going to be annoyed but father…
She shuddered. The bruises on her back hadn’t healed yet from last week.

***

Thirty Years Later

‘Well Ms Deville, now that you’ve been sentenced for dognapping, do you regret your actions?’ asked Doctor White.
‘Of course I do. I got caught. But if I’d had just one more day those rotten little pests would have been a spotted coat and maybe a matching handbag. Why did God give them spots if they weren’t meant to be a fashion accessory?’
‘Now Ms Deville, did you ever think how sad the people would be who lost their dogs?’
‘They shouldn’t be allowed to spoil our planet. Bloody poop machines.’
‘You know there are people for whom their dog is their only friend. Some think of their dogs as their surrogate baby. Can you imagine the distress they feel at losing their dogs?’ said Doctor White.
‘Sad gits,’ said Cruella. ‘They need to get a life.’
‘So, who is in your life Cruella? Who loves you?’
‘No-one and certainly not a bloody dog.’
‘Well I can see we’re not making progress here. Anyway, what I’ve decided would be the best therapy for you, is if you worked in a dog rescue centre and I’ve arranged that for you, starting tomorrow.’
‘You’re joking, right?’
‘Now let me just remind you Cruella that if you want early release, you won’t harm these dogs and you’ll treat them properly.’
‘Oh I’ll do whatever I have to do, but you won’t change my opinion of stinking mutts.’

On the first day of her work experience she was supervised by Sharon. She had to clean the litter trays and change the water in each kennel. Most of the dogs ignored her as she didn’t talk to them or stroke them, but one shaggy white dog, called Moppet, rushed up to greet her.
‘Go away mutt,’ she said as she performed her duties.
For the next few weeks this scenario was repeated, but as time passed Moppet’s greeting became more subdued, until one day she lay on the floor and lifted her head to look at Cruella, looked quizzically and rested her head back down on the floor.
‘What’s up with her?’ Cruella asked Sharon.
‘She’s depressed. Nobody wants her, because she’s not very pretty and although she likes you, she knows you don’t like her. Still there’s nothing we can do about that.’
Sharon walked off to prepare the other dogs’ food.
Cruella looked at Moppet, who had closed her eyes and put a paw across her face. She walked over to her and sat down beside her.
‘I don’t know how Sharon can say you’re not very pretty. I think you’re the best looking dog here.’
Tenderly she stretched out her hand and stroked Moppet. After a few moments Moppet started to nuzzle up to her and soon she laid her head on Cruella’s lap.
Sharon watched from a distance and smiled to herself.
The next day Cruella said to Sharon, ‘When I get out of here, I’ll take Moppet. Will you keep her for me?’
‘I thought you weren’t too keen on dogs.’
‘I’m not, but Moppet’s different.’
‘Well I’ll see what we can do.’
Cruella went over to Moppet’s kennel and she jumped up, wagging her tail.

At their next meeting, Doctor White said, ‘Do you now understand how important a dog can be to someone?’
Cruella bit back a rude comment. She wanted Moppet to come home with her when she left.
‘I suppose I do. I won’t take anyone else’s dog, but I do want Moppet and she wants me.’
‘So I’ve heard,’ said Doctor White.

And so it was that one of the most hard- nosed dognappers can now be seen walking with her dog, Moppet, through the woods early every morning, and if you peeped through her window later in the day, you might see them sharing a sofa and a meat pasty, watching the television.

Read my blog on ATG

Today on ATG, an e-zine that I contribute to, is one of my blogs. If you’ve got a minute, do head over there and leave a comment. The link is here.
The blog is about how many chemicals we put on our skin. I’ve written it to start a discussion.

Mum came to school the other day.
Teacher said that I’d been bad.
I listened to her rant for ages
and mother looked so sad.

But when the teacher tried to stand
I couldn’t help but giggle;
I’d stuck super-glue to her chair
which made her knickers wriggle.

She sat there while my mother smiled
and said sorry for her plight,
but when unstuck and free to walk,
I decided to take flight.

This was a writing exercise in our Winsford Writing Group. The leader of the session, Elizabeth Horrocks, said to write something using naughty, but not obscene words as children liked that. The above is my effort. We only had 10-15 minutes to write. Why not have a go and put it in a comment here?

This is the story of a powerful international company, who seem to have good intentions. They provide excellent medical care for their staff and talk about the importance of a good work-life balance.

Through the main character, Mae, we are drawn into, ‘The Circle’ and its philosophy. Is the company gradually taking over everyone’s lives or is it genuinely trying to provide a healthier and safer environment?

This book will challenge you to think about privacy issues. How much information do you give away for free online and how will that information be used in the future?
It will make you aware of how many times you check if your post is liked or shared on social media.

The campus of The Circle is cleverly drawn and I could picture it clearly. The plot is creepy, because although it’s about the future, you will recognise some of technology is already in use and all of it is just a step away.

I have to be honest that I didn’t like or empathise with most of the characters in the book, which was a disappointment, however it’s a good story, well told and a page turner.

Do I recommend this book? Most certainly.

Will I read more from this author? Most probably – after I’ve recovered. ;-)

You can buy The Circle on Amazon Kindle for £5.99. It is published by Hamish Hamilton.
Other books by this author are:
A Hologram for the King
What is the What?
You Shall Know Our Velocity.

Please let me know if this review is helpful. Your opinion matters. (Creepy)
How many likes and frowns have you sent today?

Three Hearts

This week I went on a ‘Relax and Write’ writer’s weekend at Gladstone’s library, where Alison Chisholm gave us writing tasks. For one task she dealt out a pack of cards and each of us took one card. I had the three of hearts and this is the light-hearted (sorry about the pun) poem I wrote from that prompt.

Three Hearts

She loved him with her simpering heart,
and sent him gifts and money.
She phoned him in the dark small hours,
and called him, ‘dear, sweet honey’.

He loved the man who made his suits;
the gentle voice entranced.
He loved the skill the man displayed
and even how he danced.

The tailor loved his Labrador,
and gave his heart completely.
She was his life, his everything.
She begged for food so sweetly.

This triangle of hoping hearts
fluttered on throughout the year.
Love flowed and ebbed its complex path,
showing neither favour or fear.

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