I’m writing this blog to share some of my writing. You’ll find stories, poems, reviews and updates on my books. I hope you enjoy reading these as much as I’ve enjoyed writing them. Do leave comments and I’ll try and reply.
Pablo the Storytelling Bear is free as an e-book from the 6-8 May. It’s about a magic toy bear, who tells stories about a bear in the wild and one in the zoo and there’s a touch of magic thrown in. It’s a great book which touches on environmental issues and kindness.
Also free from 6-8 May are Picnic in the Park and Desdemona the Dragon without any friends
They are both picture books.
If you like fantasy stories, try The Truth Finder which is the story of a young man called Vrail, who can read minds. This incredible talent also puts Vrail at risk from unscrupulus people. It’s a great read about how he finds his path in the world.
If you enjoy poetry, you might enjoy this little collection called A Patchwork of Poems. It’s a clearly written book of verse with diverse poems in both content and form.
Finally here’s a book of short stories to enjoy. Lots of variety. Download a free copy of Pebble on the Beach to read and enjoy during the long weekend.
I hope you can find a free book for yourself or family and remember all of my book are free on Kindle Unlimited.
Short Stories and Flash Fiction
I love writing and reading short stories. I also love reading and writing novels, but sometimes you just want to read something short before you go to sleep, and I always find if you’re travelling it’s harder to concentrate on a novel. With short stories you have to capture the people and places quickly and get on with the plot. Often magazines and competitions have word limits and that’s an added challenge but helps keep brain cells working.
The other day I realized I was working on my sixth book of short stories. My first book was Missing. It raised lots of money for Wateraid through the Soroptomists, when it was first published and will always have a special place in my heart.
My second book is Pebble on the Beach I enjoyed writing these stories and have been back to them and rewritten some of them and changed the cover so many times, but now I’m happy with it.
My third book, The Mermaid is special because it contains a prizewinning story and it was my first book with a professionally produced cover, by Sharon Brownlie of Aspire Books . I love the cover and have re-visited this book over the years.
My fourth book is The Lady in the Woods ( Picture at top of page.) This book is my best seller, so of course is important. Perhaps by the time I wrote this one I actually felt like a writer. Of course I was a writer before this one, but I feel now I have earned the title. I especially enjoyed writing about Inspector Winsford. It’s actually quite hard to write a detective short story and get enough detail to hint at reality.
My fifth book, The Child of Time is a little different. It’s a small book and only contains ghost and paranormal stories. Do I believe in ghosts? Perhaps not in the strictest sense, but when you visit a place that was special for you and someone you love, sometimes your memories can be strong, and what about dreams? My dad has visited me in dreams several times and they’ve seemed so real. Whether you believe or not, exploring, ‘the beyond’ in fiction is great fun. Why not take a look?
All my short story books are free on Kindle Unlimted and paperback versions are available. I’d love any feedback or reviews if you are kind enough to read them.
Perhaps this story will appear in my next book. Who knows! Let me know if you think it should. It first appeared in the March edition of Moms Favorite Reads – a free online magazine, available through Amazon (although sometimes Amazon add a price).
Liam stood at the top of the bridge and looked over the side. The question was, could he do it? Could he climb over the side and throw himself into the water?
It was dark and the light of a half moon, reflected into the water, indicating the height of the bridge. Liam wasn’t good with heights and to be honest, he felt that he wasn’t good at anything.
He’d been living with Rachel for five years and thought everything was going well, then out of the blue, she’d left him for a computer salesman. The man had been at school with Liam and had always been a selfish, know-it-all. He was devastated that Rachel had left, but even more so that she’d left for the likes of Dan. Nobody would miss him, he thought. His friends all had other friends and his parents had two other children. He needed to be strong for once and get on with it.
He shivered and started to climb out onto the rusty blue iron railings and took a deep breath and then he heard a whimper. For a second, he wondered if he’d made the noise himself, but there it was again. He peered deeply into the darkness and gradually made out the outline of a dog.
Now, he didn’t know what to do. The dog was on a ledge below him. Could he even reach him?
I suppose I’d better try and rescue him, he thought.
His fear of heights left him as he climbed over the structure and made his way downwards. When he reached the petrified animal, he carefully lifted him from the ledge and tucked him into his fleece, partly zipping it up to keep the dog safe. This meant that both his hands were free to climb back up, which was much harder than the climbing down had been.
The moon seemed higher in the sky and two jet black eyes peeped at him from his jacket. The smell of the dog wasn’t wonderful; a bit like the stench from a rubbish tip on a hot day. For a moment Liam thought about putting the dog on the ground and getting on with his plan, but he could feel the dog still trembling.
Liam set off for home with his little bundle, stopping off to get some dog food along the way. When he got indoors, he could see the answerphone was flashing, but ignored it and headed for the bathroom. He gave the dog a warm bath and wrapped him in a fluffy towel.
I’ll call him Chance, he thought. It was only by chance I was there tonight and he’s going to have a second chance at life.
When Chance was fed and warm, he settled down on the towel and went fast asleep, so Liam listened to his phone messages. The first was from his mum.
‘Come over for Sunday lunch, Liam. Your brother’s coming down from Liverpool and we’d all love to see you. Hope you can make it. Let me know.’
He thought of his family and how lucky it had been that he’d found Chance. They would have been devastated if he’d gone through with his plan. What had he been thinking? Of course his family loved him. He was sure they’d adore his new companion. The second message was from his friend Andy.
‘Hi Liam, I was thinking of going for a hike on Saturday, ending up at The Plough for lunch. Going to ask Wilf and Tom too. It’d be great to have a catchup. It’s been so hectic at work lately. Give us a call.’
Over the next week Liam was busy. He took Chance to the vet to check if he had a microchip and if anyone had reported him missing. The vet gave the dog a check-up and apart from being a bit underweight, pronounced him healthy. He thought of Rachel a couple of times but Chance kept him busy with walks and snuggles. The pair enjoyed rambling along the river and Liam was surprised how many people stopped for a chat, particularly other dog walkers.
Liam phoned back both his mum and his friend, accepting their invitations and explaining that Chance would be coming along too. Both were excited to meet his new companion.
On Thursday evening, Liam was surprised when he heard a key in the door. Rachel entered the room as if she’d never been away.
‘Hi Liam, I’ve decided to come back. Dan was a bit of a jerk, actually and he always wanted me to pay for everything.’
She put her bag down on the sofa. Chance looked up hopefully, wagging his tail as he approached her. Rachel took a step back.
‘Good grief, what have you brought home? I’m sorry but I’m really not living with a hairy, smelly mutt. I can’t go round covered in dog hair. I’m afraid it’s either the dog or me. You’ll have to make a choice.’
‘There is no choice,’ said Liam and Rachel smiled, until he held out his hand. ‘I’ll have my front door key back. The lease is in my name and I’ve always paid the rent.’
In one movement, Rachel slung the key on the floor, picked up her bag and left, slamming the door behind her.
Liam expected to feel the sadness overwhelm him again, but instead he felt relief. He sat back down on the sofa and patted the space beside him for Chance to hop up. Chance snuggled in and looked up to Liam with adoring jet-black eyes.
‘Thank you for saving me, Chance. You’re such a good boy, and Chance thumped his tail repeatedly on the sofa cushions.
Magical children’s chapter books
These children’s chapter books are great for bedtime stories, assemblies in school, or for journeys. Each chapter contains a mini story within the bigger story and in this series there is a touch of magic, to make the reading fun for readers.
Why not download them onto your child’s e-reader or treat them to the paperback version.
The Green Book
Pablo the storytelling bear
Here’s the first chapter of Pablo the storytelling bear.
Bill wanted to play football but the day was too hot. His grandparents had bought him a cuddly toy for his birthday, but he’d been hoping for a goalie outfit. Pablo, the fluffy white polar bear, was cute but Bill was seven years old.
He wasn’t too upset though, because there was a massive chocolate birthday cake for tea.
At bedtime he climbed up to his bed to discover the little polar bear already tucked in, but what he hadn’t expected was that the bear was snoring.
Bill backed away and looked all round his room. He suspected Emily, his sister, was hiding somewhere and playing a trick on him.
‘Are you in bed yet, Bill?’ called his dad.
‘Yes, almost,’ said Bill.
He picked up the little bear and moved him over to one side so that he could get into bed. By the time his dad came to kiss him goodnight he was snuggled down. Once the door had closed again, he heard a voice.
‘You woke me up,’ said the little bear. ‘I was having such a lovely dream’.
Bill sat up. ‘You talk?’
‘Of course, I talk.’
‘Well, most bears don’t talk and most toys don’t, so how do you?’
‘It’s a long story. You see I was once in the family of a little girl, called Jenny, who was very ill. She couldn’t do much. She would lay in her bed day after day, with just me for company. She was so bored and so unhappy and that’s when it happened.’
‘Gertrude Hermione Humbug happened. She just appeared like magic. Jenny had fallen asleep, but I was wide awake and I said to the little lady that there was nothing I could do. I couldn’t talk at that time, but she read my thoughts. I told her how awful it was when someone was left lying in bed, sometimes in pain, with nothing to do. She agreed and said something must be done. I asked if she was going to cure Jenny and she said she’d have to work on that, but in the meantime, she’d give me a gift.’
‘What was it? I wanted a goalie outfit for my birthday.’
‘Well, that wouldn’t have helped Jenny much, would it?’
‘I suppose not.’
‘What she gave me was a head full of stories. Of course, I couldn’t tell Jenny the stories without being able to talk, so really, I had two gifts.’
‘That’s wonderful,’ said Bill, ‘and did she like your stories?’
‘She loved them and they made her feel so much better. After several months she was up and about again. I was so happy.’
‘So why aren’t you with her now?’
‘You do ask a lot of questions, don’t you?’
‘That’s my job. I’m a child,’ said Bill and the little bear laughed.
‘I was so happy she was well again. I really was. At first, she took me with her. Then sometimes she forgot, until eventually I slipped down the side of her bed and she never thought about me. Then her mother cleaned her room and took me to a car boot sale.’
‘That’s terrible,’ said Bill. ‘Still, you wouldn’t be with me now if she hadn’t done that.’
‘True. I just hope Gertrude Hermione Humbug doesn’t come and take my gifts away.’
Writing Challenge (including short story).
A friend of mine gave me a writing challenge. Thank you Elizabeth Horrocks. It was to write a story or poem including the following:
I’ve completed this challenge and will post my writing within the next week. Why don’t you give it a go as well? Send them to me in the comments and I’ll upload so that others can read them. Obviously I won’t publish any that are unsuitable. It’s a great challenge and certainly makes you think.
I’ve left it a few days before posting my attempt. It is a work in progress. I hope you enjoy it.
The Winter of 1942
Tommy let himself into the house after school. His mum thought that he went to Auntie Vera’s down the road and that she fed him a sandwich, but she said she wasn’t wasting her rations on him. At such a tender age he didn’t realize that his mum was paying Vera to keep an eye on him, so at eight years old he was quite resourceful. He had to be.
In the Summer it wasn’t too bad. He passed the allotments on the way to school and often went in and helped himself to a few carrots or runner beans. It wasn’t hard because the gates and most of the fencing had been taken away. In the Autumn there were apples to scrump and blackberries growing in the hedges. In Winter things were tougher. He didn’t like doing it, but sometimes he pocketed a bun from the corner shop. Bread wasn’t on ration and he’d have paid for it if he’d had any money. He wondered what would happen if Mr Jones ever caught him.
Tommy’s mum worked at the factory and although she didn’t earn much, some of his friends were worse off than him. One of his friends didn’t have any shoes. Dad was away. Mum never talked about him and if his name cropped up Mum would start to cry. She also cried when letters arrived from Japan, with big black lines on them. He didn’t know what they said because they were in a scrawling, spidery writing.
The war had been going on for as long as Tommy could remember. They lived on the outskirts of the town and Tommy knew that when the big sound sang its ugly song, he had to go into the shelter at the bottom of the garden, whatever he was doing. He didn’t like it in there, especially on his own, because it was cold and dark and had the most awful smell. Mum had put a blue blanket in there to keep him warm but it was damp and rough.
One day Tommy was very hungry. He’d given his lunch to Daniel, who hadn’t had any breakfast and was sitting crying in the playground. Daniel’s feet looked a mixture of blue and mauve. Tommy pulled up his warm, long woollen grey socks. They may have lots of darns in them but he didn’t care. Some of the others had been picking on Daniel, and Tommy had felt sorry for him.
It was cold and after school it started to rain. He slipped into the corner shop to keep dry. He was standing just inside the door when he heard Mr Jones being threatened by a young man.
‘Give me the money in the till or I’ll beat you up,’ said the man.
Tommy saw Mr Sikes, the local policeman, on the other side of the road. He slipped out of the shop and ran over to him. Soon they both returned, and P.C. Sikes arrested the young man.
‘Well now Tommy, you must have a reward,’ Mr Jones said, handing him a bun. ‘You can pick anything you want.’
Tommy saw a pair of soft red woollen gloves on the counter. They were on a pile of gloves in a box marked for the Land Girls.
‘My mum would really love those red gloves. They’d keep her warm when she does her volunteer work at the soup kitchen. I could give them to her for Christmas.’
Mr Jones hesitated for only a moment and Tommy sunk his teeth into the bun he’d been given.
‘Well, Mrs Jones knitted them with her special alpaca wool which she’d been sent by her brother, who was travelling in Peru, before this awful war. I’m sure she won’t mind my giving them to you after what you did today. I never thought they were suitable for the Land Girls anyway.’
‘Oh, thank you,’ said Tommy. ‘I hope they’ll make Mum happy until Dad comes home. She cries whenever his name is mentioned.’
‘Hmmm,’ said Mr Jones, not looking at all confident about the gloves keeping Tommy’s mum happy.
‘You know young man, if ever you’re at a loose end after school, I’ve always got a few jobs you can do in exchange for a mug of tea and a bun. We need smart young men like you around.’
Tommy left the shop almost skipping home. The rain had stopped. He had a lovely gift for his mum for Christmas and he could earn his buns in future
Take a fantasy break.
This trilogy is about special powers, magic and intrigue.
Earth in the fifth millennium is a dangerous place. Some parts of Earth have become contaminated by wars and pollution. Genetic experiments and evolution have given a few humans special powers, but even these make the person vulnerable to kidnap, exploitation and incarceration.
Why not explore this strange world of the future, full of love, fear and passion with these three engaging characters, Vrail, Seek and Aley.
The Truth Finder is £1.99/$1.99 on Kindle.
The Visualizer is £1.99/$2.71 on Kindle.
The Healer is £1.99/$2.74 on Kindle.
All of these books are FREE on Kindle Unlimited and paperback versions are available.
Do you enjoy poetry?
A Happy New Year to everyone. Let’s hope 2023 brings peace, time to read and take a moment.
Above you will see all my poetry books. My aim is to write poetry that is accessible to everyone and that will touch your emotions. Hopefully you can find poems in these books that will make you laugh, or give you pause for reflection.
The Shadows of Love is the only themed book, but it’s about all forms of love – some more comforting than others. My latest book, A Patchwork of Poems, is written largely from writing prompts, but also contains some pure observations of life, some fantasy ideas and some humour. Nature’s Gold and Autumn Gold both have poems celebrating the joy of nature and a mix of other poems.
All my poetry books are £5 for the paperback and FREE on Kindle Unlimited.
I hope you can find something you can enjoy.
The Shadows of Love
A Patchwork of Poems
New Release – A Patchwork of Poems
A Patchwork of Poems is now available on Amazon. It is a small book of diverse poems in different formats, covering a wide variety of subjects. This book is free on Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited all the time, but it’s also FREE on Kindle from 18-23 December 2022, as a little Christmas Pressie.
Normally it’s £2 for the e-book and £5 for the paperback in the UK.
In the US, it’s $2.43 for the e-book and $6.07 for the paperback.
You can download or buy it here.
If you read it please leave a review and let me know which is your favourite poem. I hope you enjoy it.
Happy Christmas to everyone
The Child of Time
I’m thrilled that The Child of Time has won a silver award in the paranormal/suspense category of the Reader’s Choice Awards in the Connections eMagazine. It also came seventh overall. Thank you everone who voted.
Connections is a quarterly online magazine that has short stories, serials, recipes, articles about authors, new releases and much more. For authors it’s a great place to submit stories, new releases and freebies and for readers there’s a wealth of content. There were loads of excellent books amongst the finalists of the competition and I’ve printed the top ten listed in the magazine for you below. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it!
I’m so thrilled that my book, ‘The Child of Time’ is a finalist for the Reader’s Choice Awards with Connections eMagazine. Thank you to whoever nominated the book. You can vote in this competition until 23 July 2022 and you’re allowed to vote once a day.
I’d love you to vote for The Child of Time here
The Child of Time is a collection of ghost and paranormal stories, which explores the possibilities of things we may not know about our world. It’s pure escapism and if you have Kindle Unlimited you can read ir for free or you can buy the ebook from Amazon for £1.99/$2.99 – paperback for £5/$6.64.
Connections E-Magazine is a free quarterly magazine run by author Melanie P Smith and Rhoda D’Ettore. It contains articles, short stories and information about books and new releases. It’s also completely FREE. It’s a great magazine, which has lovely graphics and loads of information about books, which we all love.
If you love short stories don’t forget my other books: Lady in the Woods The Mermaid Pebble on the Beach and Missing
I’m hoping to get another book out before Christmas. There are just so many stories that need to be written and do let me know if you enjoy any of the books.
Do you like fantasy?
When I started writing this trilogy, I intended it to be a young adult novel, but analysing who reads it, it was read by all age groups. It tells the tale of Vrail in the fifth millennium. He can see what you’re thinking and as he’s left on his own at a young age he has to find his way in life.
Life is dangerous for those with special gifts, as many want to exploit them, others want Vrail to spy on their loved ones, but he has to find ways to use his gift for good.
This is a quote from one of the reviews.
“Having raised four daughters who now have teenagers of their own I am always searching for books I feel would be suitable for them. I read many and most I reject – either I think they are simple or they do not hold my attention. THE TRUTH FINDER is on my A list and highly recommended. It is thought provoking, stimulating and futuristic with enough modern touches to make it feasible. Mind reading, telepathic powers, villains, all combined into one good story that is guaranteed to keep a young mind wondering and turning the pages. Enjoyable.”
The second book, The Visualizer is about Seek. She has the gift of being able to visualize objects, such as a butterfly and transform into one. She learns to do sky writing and to fly.
The world in the fifth millennium is unstable and the city of Mizair is at risk of being reclaimed by the evil Ruler Gettison. Seek tries to find a way to bring peace to the city.
This is a quote from one of the reviews.
I loved reading the Truth Finder (book 1), so when I heard about book 2 – The Visualiser, I couldn’t wait to read it. Just like the first book, I really enjoyed the second. It’s a great book with well developed characters. I particularly liked Seek. She’s a very strong character.
The final book in the series is The Healer. Aley lives in a world that has beeen partitioned into habitable and unihabitable, but he believes that the uninhabitable part may be healing from the effects of war and pollution. He sets off to discover the truth using his healing powers along the way.
Here’s a quote from one of the reviews
The Future Earth series is a fantasy that so well-grounded it’s believable… or it is while you’re reading. “The Healer” is Aley. He ventures into the unknown world beyond the three cities most people believe are all that remain after nuclear war, and what he finds is fascinating.
Penny Luker truly “gets under the skin” of every character. There’s love, hate, fear, bravery, jealousy, generosity, corruption, friendship… and a dog called Spike.
Thank you to my lovely reviewers, Robert, Lacey and Sarah and to all the other wonderful people who have left reviews for my books. You truly brighten my day.
The Truth Finder is FREE on Monday 2.5.2022 and Tuesday 3.5.2022 You can get it here. It is also free on Kindle Unlimited. £1.99/$1.99 to buy the e-book and £8.20/$7.64 for the paperback.
You can pick up The Visualizer here. It is free on Kindle Unlimited. £1.99/$2.71 to buy the e-book and £8.20/$8.56 for the paperback.
If you’d like to read The Healer, you can find it here. It is free on Kindle Unlimited. £1.99/$2.74 to buy the e-book and £7,00/$9.62 for the paperback.