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.

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BetrayalBetrayal by Sharon Brownlie
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a gritty story, covering the difficult topic of child abuse. Helen King is a heroine user and prostitute, living in Gloucester. One day she happens to overhear her old teacher saying she is returning to Edinburgh. All the horrific memories from her childhood return and she vows to take charge of her life and take revenge on all those who betrayed her as a child.
Parallel to Helen’s story is the police one, investigating Helen’s trail of horror. It is run by Belinda and Renton, the latter happening to be a childhood friend of Helen.
Putting aside that there are some typos, this is a compelling story, well told. The writer takes you into lives and experiences that may be unpleasant but are fascinating.
This is not a ‘whodunnit’. It is an exploration about how a severely damaged person fights back so that she is no longer the victim. The Inspector, Belinda, also appears to have a nasty side to her, but as the story progresses you feel sympathy for both the protagonist and the antagonist.
The author stirs the emotions by having well drawn characters. I recommend this as a book you shouldn’t miss.

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TF CoverToday I woke up to find this fabulous review of my young adult novel, The Truth Finder.

5.0 out of 5 stars An enthralling read, 21 Feb. 2015
By
Lesley Hayes (Oxford, UK) – See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Truth Finder (Future Earth Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
Knowing this book was primarily aimed at young adults, I wondered how much I would enjoy it, but within a very few pages I was gripped by the narrative. Although the story in this future world is set in the fifth millennium there are fascinating parallels with our modern age. I couldn’t help feeling that Vrail’s gift (which doesn’t always seem such a gift to him, especially when he first recognises its wider impact) is almost a natural extension of the instant connection we have now via social media, where in a sense we do constantly ‘read each other’s minds.’ In this future world there are other unusual talents that have possibly developed from brain experiments conducted in the ruined past: a growing number of ‘visualisers’ can shape-shift and create deceptive illusions for others. Those who have been born with this gift are feared, exploited, and persecuted in a world still not ready to accept the potential transcendent leap. I loved the curious juxtaposition between a reimagined antediluvian civilisation that has grown out of the ashes of a destroyed 21st century world, and a futurist society which has retained many of its technological advantages while functioning within a largely feudal system. Penny Luker manages with great skill to pull this off without too many obvious flaws of logic – or perhaps I was so enthralled by the story that I threw logic to the wind and went with the flow. The character of Vrail is superbly drawn. He grows into adulthood retaining the integrity he has developed as a child, learning at his father’s knee the responsibility that comes with his telepathic powers. I felt for him, having lived my own life as something of a truth finder. Intuition can be a double-edged sword, and Vrail’s talent is in demand by the forces of both the good and the powerful. Seeing into the perverted depths of an evil mind while assisting in the pursuit of a particularly vile criminal takes Vrail to some dangerous edges, both mentally and physically, and these events are well drawn, realistic, and beautifully written. The storyline presents a number of dilemmas for Vrail, which are cleverly resolved by the end. Nevertheless, as a reader there is relief in realising that in some ways his story is only just beginning. This is the first book in what I guess could be as long a series as Penny Luker’s imagination can stretch. I feel certain that any young adult who reads this will be eager to read more. I am impressed, and highly recommend this book.

***

I’ve read one of Lesley Hayes books called Oxford Marmalade. There’s a link to that book here. You can find my review on this blog. I was so impressed with the writing, the characters and the stories and I’m looking forward to reading more from this author. It’s great when you find a new author, whose writing you love. Do check out all her books on Amazon. I’ve added a few more links below.
The Drowned Phoenician Sailor
Round Robin
Without a Safety Net

Oxford MarmaladeOxford Marmalade by Lesley Hayes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a beautifully crafted book of short stories, but it is unusual in that one or more of the characters you meet in one story, crop up in the next.
All the stories are character led and set in and around Oxford. The tales cover marriage, betrayal, love and communication – or lack of it.
It is a short book, well-written and presented. I would have loved to have known what happened to a number of characters, e.g. Piers, who was a reserved perfect gentleman, but had an underlying and unspent passionate side. The fact that the author has left this reader wanting more is a credit to her excellent storytelling skills.

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Mermaid Front cover

Do you enjoy short stories? If so, my e-book, The Mermaid, is free tomorrow and Monday. Get yourself a coffee, sit back and relax. The book contains a variety of genre, has varied settings, so there should be something for you to enjoy.

Prefer a paperback copy? Well you can order a copy from here. It will only cost you £6.00.

Here’s a review of the book from Amazon.
5.0 out of 5 stars A box of nibbles of human goodness, 29 Jan. 2015
By
Felipe Adan Lerma “artist / writer / dancer (… (Austin, Texas) – See all my reviews
This review is from: The Mermaid (Kindle Edition)
The Mermaid is a wide ranging diverse group of well written shorts with two things in common.

One, each story, whether essentially flash fiction or a fully fleshed tale, is about relationships. How essential our desires for or our involvement in relationship are. Whether as a man to a woman, a woman to a man, a child to an adult, or even from an animal to a person. This short book is dense with the possibilities.

Second, directly or indirectly, each story carries the weight of the belief in human kindness and good.

Sometimes that weight is is heavily unearthed by caring inspectors catching a serial killer. Other times the separation is but gauze glittering between two searching hearts. Always, its reminder for me was, human goodness exists, and manifests more often than sometimes thought possible.

The varied stories can be read in one sitting. Or sipped and gulped, like I did, like essential nutrition for my soul.

Lovely work.

Not a term I easily or normally use. But totally accurate of my reading experience of almost all these stories by Ms. Luker. Recommend without reservation.

The Institute (The Institute #1)The Institute by Kayla Howarth
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Institute is a place where Defectives live out their lives away from the rest of the population. Many Defectives are aggressive so it is thought safer to isolate them in this way. Allira’s brother, Shilah, is a Defective. He knows the future before it happens and Allira and her father are determined to keep Shilah out of the Institute. Allira wishes her mum was around but her mum has been missing for years and then her best friend Ebbodine, also goes missing.
School friends Drew and Jax have a car accident and Allira rescues them. Jax dies and Allira becomes friends with Drew.
In this story all children have to visit the Institute once a year. When the next visit occurs it is announced that every young person will be given a blood test, which will show whether or not they are a defective. Allira is frightened for her brother, but is that her only problem?
This is a well written tale of the future, where the characters are clearly drawn and the places are easy to visualise. The reader gets a profound sense of the injustice of the treatment of Defectives.
The author has written an ending that sets up the continuation of the story in book 2, The Resistance.
I highly recommend The Institute as a great YA novel.

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One Night in the Hill CountryOne Night in the Hill Country by Felipe Adan Lerma
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a quick read as it is a novella and yet it covers some important social issues, such as child abuse and discrimination against immigrants.
Sam, a recently ex-police officer, is called by Katarina because her son Zilker has lost a kitten. Although Sam knows there’s little chance of finding the kitten, she offers to take Zilker and his brother to Central Texas to search for it, and she ends up taking their two cousins as well.
It is a pleasant day out and the party bump into Sheriff Mike Sullivan, who is relevant later on in the story. Continuing with their search for the kitten, Sam and the children visit Rolf and Tara’s vineyard, but all is not what it should be and they are in great danger.
This story is well told and the author has a confident ‘voice’. The characters and places are clearly drawn and some of the events make you hold your breath.
One Night in the Hill Country is an excellent book and I recommend it as a ‘must read’.

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The English SombreroThe English Sombrero by Doug Goddard and Anthony Randall
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The English Sombrero by Doug Goddard and Anthony Randall

This is the story of a self-absorbed, twenty six stone man, who ignores his wife’s concerns about his health, but takes on a £250,000 bet with a stranger to run a half marathon in the following year.
He has to give up smoking, lose half his body weight and achieve the marathon in less than an hour and a half. I feel at this point I should write, ‘Don’t try this at home’. Don Simmons, the main character, however has help in the form of advice about his diet, a personal trainer and has a doctor on hand, once he starts the running training. He also takes a year off work, moves to Spain and leaves his three children at home with his wife, who unbelievably just carries on adoring him.
There are some pretty far-fetched events that happen on his journey but I won’t tell you about them in case I give too much away. Nevertheless this is a well written and compelling tale and the reader does come to care whether or not Don will be successful.
I’m happy to recommend this book which will give you a light-hearted and enjoyable read. I particularly like the title.

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