Break Time

Just to let you know I am taking a break for a month, from today and all through November. I’ll be back in early December so don’t go too far away!


The Thirsty Flowers cover
proof copy
in my hands.
‘The Thirsty Flowers’ becomes




and filigree,
more skilfully crafted
than by human hand.


Today I am reblogging my friend Freya Pickard’s post about the launch of her new poetry book which shares her journey through cancer from diagnosis to recovery. Please check it out.

Dragonscale Clippings

Today is a very emotional day for me…
Today I am launching my first poetry collection!
Insides is my journey through cancer, surgery and chemotherapy.
The process of writing it was initially a therapy for myself but I also wanted to comfort other cancer sufferers as well as trying to convey to those who have no experience of the disease, what it means to have cancer.
From darkness into light, from the depths of exhaustion through a slow rise to recovery; this is a very personal journey.
Will you join me?
In this collection I’m not hiding behind any of my fictional characters such as Dracomagan or Parsley. This is me on a journey I will never, ever forget.
It is available at Amazon UK and Amazon US.
At the moment, it’s only available as an e-book – the paperback will be released in 2017.
And I’ve also produced…

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Second Bloom



Springtime azaleas
flowering in Autumn;
second bloom.


In the silence,
the sound of the drips
of raindrops and leaves
from the trees.

Coming Soon

It has been a long time in the making but my new book is coming soon. It is an illustrated story for approximately 3-6 year olds.

The Thirsty Flowers coverI first wrote this story in the late 1970’s as a bedtime story for my nephews who were living in Nigeria at the time. We used to send cassette tapes backwards and forwards (yes tapes, no Skype in those days) and it occurred to me that it would be nice to have something specially for the children to listen to. My husband read it on the tape. I then looked for something else to do with the story and submitted it to the BBC for their ‘Listen With Mother’ radio programme. It was accepted and  broadcast on 26th April 1978, under my maiden name and with a repeat at a later date. Unfortunately this previously daily programme is no longer broadcast as children’s TV has taken over.

After that I gave the story very little thought until, a couple of years ago, a friend of mine paid an illustrator and published a story she had written, mainly to sell to friends and relatives. She followed this up with a sequel. This set me thinking about my old story; surely I could do the same. I have to say it took me some time to find the story as I have changed computers several times since then and couldn’t find a print-out. Happily I did eventually find it on an old floppy disk, from my ‘Word Processor’ days (between typewriter and computer), after ‘borrowing’ the technology from my local IT shop to see what was on the disk and retrieve it! I have brushed it up a bit for this first printed version of the story.

My two previous poetry books had been entirely self-produced and all the net profits from the sales I donate to children’s charities. I also want the net profits from this book to go those  charities. I had done most of the black-and-white illustrations myself for the poetry books, but this book was different – it needed to be well illustrated in full colour to a standard that I felt was beyond my ability. I knew my friend had paid quite a lot for her book to be illustrated, virtually wiping out any hope of profit and this I wasn’t prepared to do.

So I placed an appeal on my local community Facebook page, explaining the situation and appealing for an illustrator. I had several responses and amongst them was a very talented young lady called Kerrie Mccauley, who hopes to be a children’s illustrator. She seemed to understand what I wanted and was also happy to do the work as part of her CV for her University applications – this was round about a year ago and she started University this autumn. We have had some ups and downs along the way and it has taken rather longer than I had hoped but it has been a learning curve for both of us as I had never produced this kind of book before either.

At last we are on the final straight, there are just one or two minor tweaks to be made to a couple of pages then we should be all set to present it to my local printers. I had done a lot of research on printing costs for the book, which were bound to be more than my previous poetry books, and in fact my local printing firm (which was where my friend also had her books done) proved to be the most reasonable. With a bit of luck the book will be ready in time for us to benefit from some Christmas sales so watch this space. A soon as it is finally at the printers I will set up a pre-order system.


Goodbye to summer days,
welcome treetops autumn blaze,
chilly mornings, misty haze;
the turning year’s new phase.

The Rusalka Ritual – paperback!

It should be a Small Stone day today but I have decided to share this post from my friend Freya as it follows on neatly from my Monday post about Short Stories.

Dragonscale Clippings

It’s 7 weeks since I launched the e-book of The Rusalka Ritual and I am pleased to announce that the paperback is now available at Amazon!
In case you missed the original post, the collection consists of five tales giving the reader an insight into Dracomagan’s life after Dragonscale Leggings. The stories portray my heroine from varying viewpoints and deal with redemption, disappointment, dark enchantments and a morning of golf! I’ve made a video about it at TRRAOS!
I hope you enjoy reading the collection! Please feel free to share and re-blog this post!
Freya Pickard 2016

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Short Stories

As writers we are always being told that no-one wants to publish short stories these days, unless you are an already established writer. There is supposedly no demand for them. In the next breath we are told that short stories are a good way to hone your writing skills. The limited length focuses the mind on what is important and encourages the writer to include only what is necessary to further the tale – all attributes of a good novel too.

At one time there were many magazines that welcomed short stories but not any more. There are, however, a vast number of short story competitions available which offer publication for the winners either in a magazine or a special competition booklet. Many of these competitions are advertised in such periodicals as Writing Magazine and Writer’s Forum amongst others. But what can writers do with their short stories if they don’t achieve publication this way or write stories that do not suit the competitions in question?

Well, I’m not convinced that there is no demand for short stories. Personally I enjoy reading them. If you only have a few minutes available a short story often fills the bill, you can read the whole thing in one sitting without having to try to tear yourself away from the text in order to get on with something more pressing. When reading a full length novel there is always the problem of thinking you’ll just take a peep at the next chapter, read the next page…and the next…and the next…

One option available to writers of short stories is to publish their own as e-books. These days it is relatively simple to produce a book on Kindle and there are some excellently written self-published books out there so I thought I would share with you some e-books of short stories that I have enjoyed in recent months, all available from Amazon.

Circle SpinnerCIRCLE SPINNER  and other tales: by Elizabeth Baxter

Anyone who knows me knows that I love to read fantasy. Elizabeth Baxter is a wonderful writer of fantasy and this collection of short stories is second to none. Each tale leaves you wishing for more. This is a must read collection for anyone who loves this genre.



The Rusalka RitualTHE RUSALKA RITUAL: by Freya Pickard

Yet more fantasy. This collection of stories tells some further adventures of Dracomagan, Freya’s feisty heroine from her novel Dragonscale Leggings. It helps to have read the novel first (which I thoroughly recommend and is available in both paperback and now as an e-book from Amazon) but this is by no means essential.



The Camel in the GardenThen just to prove that I don’t only read fantasy here are two books of modern, true life short stories by my fellow writer’s group member Jenny Roman. These are haunting, but ultimately uplifting stories of life, loss, love death and family.

THE CAMEL IN THE GARDEN – three short stories about loss, love and family. Three wonderful life-affirming stories all of which were originally published in magazines.


Beyond Words

BEYOND WORDS contains twelve stories about love, death and deception. These have all either won, placed or been highly commended in a variety of competitions. There is a list of the where and when of these competition successes in the back of the book. It is Jenny’s hope that it will help to give others some idea of what makes a successful short story.



This list is of course not exclusive and there are many other wonderful short story collections out there. Maybe you have some recommendations of your own. Meanwhile I hope you check out and enjoy some of these. If you wish to know more about the writers and their books just click on their names above.


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