31 August 2013

'Out of the Frying Pan' - A short story set in the World Trade Center

The Derby Telegraph invites readers to submit short stories. Here is a piece by Neal James, titled 'Out of the Frying Pan'
MARK knew that he was for the high jump as soon as he got the summons to head office from Burt Travers, the head of corporate HR. He had failed on a number of potentially lucrative contracts and the work required to seal each deal had been neither complicated nor time-consuming.
Now it was time to face the music and, as he sat in the company's reception area of the 38th floor of the World Trade Center in New York, he started to worry about how he was going to explain things to his wife Selma. They had been married for 22 years and, although they had no children, his was the only source of income and they had a hefty mortgage to pay on their Philadelphia home. It was a riverfront property off St Columbus Boulevard and he had gambled on his commission to pay off the interest on the loan. He was snapped out of his reverie by a call over the reception intercom.

29 August 2013

Magical Stories Full of Mystery & Humour

Aliens and Angels: Three Stories For Christmas
By Sue Hampton
 
With illustrations by children from schools Sue has visited, this is a book to make you smile at any time of year.

The school Nativity play has been cast and Robbie would rather be an angel than a spotty, hopping globalob, but no one seems to understand. A wilful donkey called Trouble has his life transformed by a baby, and a girl who feels alone on Christmas morning finds a reason to smile again.
Sue Hampton captures the spirit of Christmas with three warm-hearted stories full of humour, mystery and magic. ....Find out more

 

27 August 2013

A light-hearted detective story in the Julius Falconer Series

The Bite of a Mad Dog: A Country Parson’s Curious Tale
By Julius Falconer
 
 It is the summer of 1728, and we are in the village of Sherburn, in the West Riding of Yorkshire. A conspiracy is in the wings, this has worrying, and sometimes hilarious, consequences for the hapless vicar, whose meagre detective skills are stretched to their limit. Both the squire and Sir Ralph are only too happy to leave it all to the vicar – until, that is, the vicar is arrested for gun-smuggling and the squire disappears.
This neat tale both faithfully recreates the atmosphere of an eighteenth-century Yorkshire village and offers the modern reader rare entertainment....Find out more

 

22 August 2013

A Stirring Tale of Love, Heartbreak and Religious Sectarianism Set in Ireland and Canada

Between Two Dusks
By Annie Coyle Martin
 
This heart-tugging story closely recreates the atmosphere of 1950s Ireland and is the sequel to ‘To Know the Road’ published in 2011.

It is the 1950s in Dublin, Protestant Lizzie Wynne meets and falls in love with Finn, a young Catholic doctor, they are confident that religion will be no barrier to love in a changing Ireland. But the past has a way of catching up with you when you least expect it. Finn discovers Lizzie’s past and family background, unknown even to her–it changes everything.
Lizzie escapes to Canada in search of a new life, but questions about her past remain and only a trip back to Ireland may resolve them. Will Lizzie ever discover the truth about who she really is?
....Find out more 
 

20 August 2013

A Provocative Story of the Paranormal

Harley House
By Fred Maddox
 
Assume Nothing!
Peter Grice was your average kind of guy, an ordinary man, down-to-earth, simple and certainly not superstitious. He was a sceptic and dismissed stories of ghosts, ghouls and little men from Mars as nonsense–a figment of the imagination. He disregarded stories of the supernatural, and scoffed at people who related such tales. This was until he moved to a new town and met Greg and his three friends in Harley House.
The sequence of events which followed his encounter with them would shake his view of the world to the core and when he meets the ‘operator’ – his perception of the life is dramatically altered forever....Find out more
 

15 August 2013

Author Spotlight - Chris Pownall on Morgen Bailey Writing Blog

Author Chris R. Pownall, who now resides in Nottinghamshire England, was born in 1943 in the rural Cheshire village of Bosley. He has an older sister Cynthia Edwards, who also has ambition to become a published author.
Their parents, Robert and Lucy Pownall were hard working and caring individuals, whose standards and values were, rooted in the future lives of their two children. Sadly Robert died prematurely, leaving Lucy to complete the parenting of Cynthia and Chris who were 17 & 9 years of age respectively, at the time of his death.
Chris failed his 11+ examination and received a secondary modern school education, leaving full time education at 15 years of age, with no academic qualifications to his name. He managed to secure an engineering apprenticeship at a nearby mill and attended Macclesfield College of further education, studying mechanical engineering until the age of 22 years.

13 August 2013

Once Upon a Game: an extract from Derrick Knight's Ramblings Blog


Today I finished reading my friend Michael Kindred’s autobiographical work, ‘Once Upon a Game’, being a description of his ‘precarious career as a games inventor’.  For two reasons I am mightily relieved that I can wholeheartedly recommend this entertaining book.  The first is because Michael is a very good long-standing friend and, in the world of cryptic crosswords, colleague.  The second is that I feature as one of his collaborators.
Michael’s capacity to entertain is at least twofold in this piece.  The first strand of this talent is in his descriptions of the process of creativity from the, sometimes failing, germ of an idea to the shop shelves.  I found his story of how the very successful board game ‘Bewitched’ came into being fascinating and provoking of much admiration.  Without giving too much away I can record that his observation of a discarded but saved ‘just in case’ magnet from a kitchen cupboard door mechanism, led to an idea for the game that produced a surprise element that immediately captivated the minds of the Waddington assessors.

8 August 2013

"This is definitely a book young people in their teens will find very rewarding"

A review of Pomp and Circumstances by Hazel Ward, a former school teacher

The Review
"I so enjoyed the way Sue Hampton sets the young lives of James, his sister Faith, Olly and Hema against the pomp of William and Kate’s royal wedding. The circumstances they find themselves in and the decisions they take on this day shape and drive the novel. They have to deal with loss, take responsibility, dare to be different, take control, and try new boy/girl relationships. All the characters live in their own right, yet gently weave different cultures, class and gender together. Even their parents are vivid and the adult world full of humour. This is definitely a book young people in their teens will find very rewarding – even those well out of their teens!"
Hazel Ward (Former school teacher)
 

6 August 2013

Spooky Tale by author Neal James on the Amber Valley Info Site

Excerpt
“Mummy! Mummy look at this. Dad says I can’t possibly wear anything so hideous tonight. You said it would be alright didn’t you?”

Melanie came racing down the stairs and into the lounge, her face red with indignation. Pauline looked slowly around the room and stood in complete silence as she came to terms with events of the past few moments. They had all reeled as the heavy glass object crashed into the far side of the mirror, and she had stepped forwards as the figure of Melanie disappeared backwards in the foggy air generated by the explosion of fragments into the Colmores’ lounge. She reached out automatically but the hand of Maria prevented any further movement and the entire scene vanished before her eyes.

Now she was standing in the lounge of her own home all those years ago with her twelve year old daughter before her with arms folded and shoulders hunched in an all too familiar pose. Derek took great delight in winding Melanie up at the drop of a hat, and in this instance it was clearly something to do with the clothes which she proposed to wear after coming back from her friend’s house where she had stayed the night.

“Mummy? Mummy, you alright?”...
 

Neal James is the author of five books: 'A Ticket to Tewkesbury', 'Short Stories - Volume One', 'Two Little Dicky Birds', 'Threads of Deceit' and 'Full Marks'.

Published: Short Stories - Volume One
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