fiction and other writing

The Mermaid has a new cover! I love it and hope you do too. The cover is a design made by Sharon Brownlie and I cannot thank her enough. The paperback version will also have this new cover but it may take up to six weeks.

If you are an author looking for a well designed cover, why not head over to Sharon Brownlie’s book cover facebook page and see some of her amazing work. Her facebook page link is here.

The Mermaid is a book of short stories for adults and has a wide and diverse set of short stories for adults, for you to enjoy. One of the stories was a prize winnnng stort for the Chudleigh Phoenix Competition a few years ago. You can buy it here for $2.99 on Amazon’s Kindle. It’s £1.99 to buy on kindle in the UK.

Here’s a taster story for FREE

Killer’s Lost Bark

Killer looked at the bowl of heaped food in front of him. He couldn’t believe Wayne was giving him such a treat. It was a shame that he’d tied him in the yard again, as not being able to wander where he wanted, took the edge off the joy of the big meal in front of him.
“Guard the house, Killer,” Wayne called as he went through the back gate and into the alley.
The words Wayne had said meant nothing to Killer, but he recognised his name and understood that Wayne was going out. He might as well eat the food. There was nothing else to do. When his belly was full he lapped up some water and settled down on the warm tarmac for a sleep. All seemed well with his world.
The next day dawned and Killer drank the rest of his water. There was no food in his bowl, but he often missed a day’s food when Wayne forgot to feed him. The sun grew hotter. He decided to bark in the hope that Wayne had come back and would remember to feed him. He barked until his throat hurt and then Mrs Nosey Parker (that’s what Wayne called her) poked her head over the fence and shouted at him. He understood that she was cross so he dropped down flat on the ground and she went away.
It was a long day. He panted to try to cool off but there was no shade until early evening. As the temperature dropped he started to pace the yard, back and forth. He was bored. He barked a little but Wayne didn’t come out of the house. He tugged at the chain, until his neck became sore and then sank to the ground.
During the night he slept fitfully. Mrs Nosey Parker’s cat came and sat on the wall and grinned at him in that unkind way, which said, ‘you can’t chase me’. Strangely he welcomed the company. He let her know he was hungry and thirsty but she just shrugged. There was nothing she could do about it.
Dawn came again. Killer was hopeful that this day would bring Wayne back. He was now very hungry and thirsty. He didn’t get up or bark as it seemed to make the hunger worse. Mrs Nosey Parker looked over the fence, but unusually she didn’t shout at him. The sun burned down onto him and his thirst was dreadful. Sleep came and went and he was aware that the cat came and sat quite close to him, but she wasn’t tormenting him anymore.
The evening brought a down pour. Killer stayed where he was. There was no shelter he could reach. His coat became heavy and drips fell off his nose, his ears and lots of other parts of him. Then he started to feel cold and shiver. With his body shaking he finally gave in to feeling dejected and miserable.
‘Where was Wayne?’ He knew he annoyed Wayne from time to time, because he’d get a belt across his back or a kick to the legs, but he’d never been this thirsty or hungry.
In the morning he woke to silence. Then he heard the cat mew. She was sitting by his water bowl. He lifted his head, which felt unusually heavy. Someone had filled up his bowl. She ran off as he crawled over to it and drank and drank. ‘How wonderful was water,’ he thought. Feeling a little better he checked out the food bowl but it was still empty.
Although Killer felt less thirsty, he was still very hungry. Then Mrs Nosey Parker came in through the gate. He really couldn’t be bothered to get up and greet her, but he lifted his head and made a little bark. It came out as a bit of a whimper, which surprised him. She stared at him for a minute and then shook her head. He couldn’t help feeling so ill. He’d have given her a proper bark if he could’ve managed it. It didn’t look like Wayne would be back today. Luckily he wasn’t feeling bored any more. He was just tired, so he settled down for a nap.
Time passed but Killer didn’t know how much time. He heard people talking on the other side of the fence and one of them was Mrs Nosey Parker. Then she opened the gate again. In she came with a woman in uniform. He tried really hard to lift his head and greet them but his head had become too heavy.
There was some more talking and then his chain was being unhooked from the pole. Suddenly the uniformed woman was lifting him in her arms.
“Come on Killer,” she said. Her voice was gentle and soothing. Mrs Nosey Parker gave him a stroke on the back. ‘Well, that’s a first,’ he thought. He rested his heavy head on the woman’s soft front, until she settled him into a cage in the back of a van. She smelt of roses.
The afternoon went by in a blur of people. Gentle hands probed and prodded him. His eyes and teeth were looked at and then a smelly sticky stuff was rubbed into the back of his neck. He managed a few greetings but for some reason his voice had gone quiet. He was wondering what had happened to his beautiful bark when suddenly a wonderful food smell wafted through the air. A bowl was put down in front of him, containing some sludgy looking, mud coloured stuff.
‘Not my usual biscuits,’ he thought, ‘but food was food. It was smooth but not as liquid as water.’ Although he felt tired he licked the bowl clean. Then he was stroked and patted. Soon he fell asleep on a soft rug. Fleetingly he wondered if Wayne was around but then he thought of the lovely tastes in his mouth.
Within a few days he was going out for walks on springy fresh grass. He could smell the tantalising odour of other dogs, but couldn’t see any, although he could hear them. Killer met lots of new people and felt much better now that he could say hello to them properly. His bark was back. He wondered if anyone was going to shout at him or give him a kick but nobody did. He couldn’t believe all the strokes he was given and the food was delicious. He licked his lips just thinking about it.
Lots of people came and looked at him, but one day a boy called Will peered into his kennel. Will reached through the gate to stroke him. He liked Will’s scent so he gave him a big lick. Will came over to him and spent time hugging him and patting him. Killer couldn’t believe that anyone was a lovely as Will and enjoyed chasing him and following him around the field.
Killer liked everything about Will. He liked his size and his voice; he liked his scent and he loved the cuddles. Before Will left he gave him another big lick and enjoyed listening to Will giggling.
Although he fell asleep happy he wished that he could spend more time with his new friend. Had anyone ever been so friendly to him? If they had, he couldn’t remember it. Several days later Will turned up again and attached a lead on his collar. He wasn’t sure what was happening as so many people patted him, but eventually he was sitting on the back seat of a car, next to Will.
Somehow Killer understood that he was going to spend a lot of time with Will in the future. Happiness washed over him. In the back of his mind he knew he’d lived somewhere else, with someone else, but the memory of Wayne had faded.
‘It’s amazing how good life can be,’ he thought as Will tickled him behind the ear. He rested his head on Will’s lap in perfect contentment.

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Darkly Wood 11 draws the reader back to the terrifying wood with old characters and new ones. Holly and Charlie are skirting the wood, when Holly decides they will go in and explore. It all seems harmless enough to start with and that is the skill of this writer. He builds suspense expertly. There are lots of side stories, which help the reader build up what has happened in Darkly Wood in the past and why it is, as it is, now.
The significance of Holly is that she is Daisy May’s granddaughter, so Daisy May and her daughter decide that they must go and rescue Holly.
Daisy May has been told that what she thinks happened in the wood all those years ago was just a bad dream, and although Daisy May knows the truth in her heart, she has always wondered. Back in the woods again, she meets Woody and a new monster, but there is also Wormhold to deal with and he is far more threatening.
This is the second part of a trilogy, written with such skill that the story will stay with you long after you’ve finished the book. Highly recommended.

Darkly Wood 11 is FREE on Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited and £2.40 on Amazon’s Kindle. You can find a link here.

Here’s a link to The Mermaid.

The Mermaid is a book of short stories for adults. It’s usually £1.99 on Amazon but from 4th May – 7th May 2018 it’s reduced to only £0.99. Why not download a copy while the price is so low?

Here’s one of the reviews posted on Amazon.

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent storytelling
By Mr. T. Benson on 24 October 2014
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
These stories are all crafted with the skill of the practised storyteller. It is a treasure chest of entertainment. There are 20+ stories, several of which are better described as flash fiction rather than short story, but more importantly they feature a wide variety of genre.
As a writer of such tales myself it gives me even more pleasure when I read something that has been crafted to within a useful word. The author demonstrates not only a vivid imagination, but eloquence. She shows here an attention to detail that is sometimes absent in this type of work.
Having already been impressed by Penny’s novel writing and now enjoying this collection, I will make a point of locating more of her work. My original intention was to save these stories to read during breaks, but I read the entire book in one sitting. I recommend this anthology not only to readers, but also to those writers who would like to see how the shorter short story is written. A hugely entertaining read.

I’d love to hear from you about which stories or genre you liked best.

This a delightful book, written in rhyme, for the younger age group. The mindful monsters are the colours of the rainbow, each bringing gentle messages to help children live full and happy lives. At the end of the book the mindful monsters have games and puzzles, so the children can interact with the book. I loved the jokes. Throughout there are charming illustrations. Highly recommended.

Mindful Monsters is £4.00 to buy in paperback and £1.50 on Amazon’s Kindle. It’s free on Amazon’s KU. The link to Amazon is here.

This is told as a story, written in the first person, about what life was like from the Ice Age to the time when humans became farmers. Really it’s a factual book written in a way to make the information easily accessible to young children. It is a short, clearly written book with good illustrations, which will help children’s historical knowledge. I think that children from 4-8 will enjoy it the most. Highly recommended.

The paperback version is £7.25 and on Amazon Kindle it is £4.67. Free on Amazon’s KU. Link to Amazon here.

Reduced from £2.39 to FREE, this weekend only.

The Truth Finder is a fantasy/sci-fi novel about Vrail, who can read minds. The time is the fifth millennium on Earth and those with special gifts, run the risk of being exploited, hunted or imprisoned. Much of the Earth has been damaged through war and poor environmental choices. Each of the last three cities finds its own solution for survival.

Although this book was designed as a young adult novel, many adults have enjoyed it as a quick and enjoyable read.

The paperback book cost £6.99. You can find a link to it here.

If you download and read The Truth Finder do let me know what you think.

Here’s a review that’s been posted on Amazon. Thank you Maria

5.0 out of 5 stars The Truth Finder.
By Maria on 12 March 2015
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
4.5 rounded to 5.
I really enjoyed this YA fantasy. I thought the tone and writing was perfect for the age group targeted, it was a great story with interesting characters.
I especially liked that although it was set in the future and there had been disastrous wars making areas of earth inhabitable, it was not too bleak with people living as savages, like many other books in this genre. Humanity and civilisation survives. There are schools and employment in the new cities and the farmers work with scientists to increase yields on the land that can still be farmed. There are tyrants but people try to get on with everyday life.
A lot of thought went into creating this “future” world and events appeared logical within it. There were a couple of little touches I particularly liked, especially as they were referred to without over labouring the point –
The ‘visualisers’ were forced by the government to create the illusion that the city was far smarter than it was and to hide the derelict, run down buildings.
Most people thought the ‘life device’ they wore was a good thing as it did things like detect illnesses early on. A few thought they went against civil liberties.
The central character, Vrail was believable and likeable as he struggled with his gift of being a truth finder and works out the best way to use his power for good. He was a loyal,brave and thoughtful character with a supportive group of friends.
The writing is straightforward with clarity. The story is entertaining and complete but also introduces a range of characters, giving the author plenty of scope to make this into a series.
An enjoyable read. I’m looking forward to the next book in the series being released.

I was so pleased to be invited for a chat with Frank Parker, The author of ‘Summer Day’, which I recently reviewed on this site. You can see the review in a blog post below. He has also written: Honest Hearts, Strongbow’s Wife, Transgression and A Purgatory of Misery.

His chat with me is called, ‘A date with Penny Luker’ and you can read it on Frank Parker’s website here.

If you visit his website you can read his dates with other authors, as well as lots of information about other books and historical themed blog posts. Well worth a visit.

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