Ma’s Weird B****cks!

Normally I write books adventure stories, tales of daring-do with soldiers, woodsmen and assorted heroes and villains, but these are proper books with things like chapters and a large word count. They take me a while to write, mainly  because I am incapable of writing to a plan, I have enormous admiration and not a little envy of those authors who have a detailed guide to what they are going to write, it all set out chapter and verse  (yeah…sorry about that, I couldn’t help myself) , I know how my books start and I have a vague idea how they will end, but the journey from one to the other is an exciting adenture in re-writes as I try to make sense of the fun stuff my brain comes up with.

But. there is another side to my writing, what my darling children refer to as “Ma’s weird bollocks.”  Seriously, all those school holidays when I managed to keep my hands from their throats and this is the thanks I get, however  MWB as we shall now refer to it, is my short story addiction.

I love writing short fiction, for me it’s the petit fours with coffee part of the writing menu…. home made chocolate truffles, tiny macaroons, smooth soft fudge….damn, now I’ve got to wipe the drool off the keyboard….back to short fiction, sometime it’s serious, if you look around this blog you will find some of it, but mainly it’s MWB, my tales of the paranormal, of ghosts and mediums. of the fae and the shadow you see out of the corner of your eye, but is gone when you turn around.

I blame J. , I sure it was him who gave me the Dracula graphic novel to read before I got into double digits, frightened the life out of me and left me with a supernatural itch I have to scratch. I got the Wiccan bug as well, but that is another story.

Back to MWB…I like to plant the weird in the every day, in the kitchen and in the garden, with the jobs women have done down the centuries, the dairy, the laundry and the still room and with the bobbin, the needle and the loom.

Not to decry these jobs, with the exception of laundry which I most definitely don’t love, I enjoy the rest, I like to cook and make jams and pickles,  and I like to sew and about once every five years I convince myself I like to knit, it usually doesn’t last long, but like flu, I have to odd attack. I’ve even had a go at the dairy stuff, I can make a nice soft cheese, butter and yoghurt and I have an enormous fancy to make my own clotted cream.

All these things go into MWB stories. I’ve set one in a diary, another in a kitchen and two involve gardening, Someone once said food and water are a regular theme…quite right I say, you can’t live without either.

You can find those stories here in “A Solemn Curfew and Other Dark Tales”. Title “A Solemn Curfew” is about mushrooms and the name comes from Shakespeare “….to make midnight mushrooms, that rejoice To hear the solemn curfew; ..”

https://tinyurl.com/y4e3oxny

I have recently branched out and taken MWB to another arena, the 1930’s. That gloriously named organisation The Occult Detective Quarterly have given a home to Mrs Lillicrop, a mysterious and elegant lady with a talent for the weird and dealing with the unsettling. Her first appearance c.1934 “Mrs Lillicrop Investigates” appears here

https://tinyurl.com/yxemgvrn

Mine is just one of many in this book and I am both proud and humbled to be amongst such talent.

The next instalment will be “Mrs Lillicrop’s Trip to the Highlands“, it is still 1934, but “Mrs Lillicrop Intervenes” is underway, the year in 1935 and war is coming. I will let you know when Mrs L. comes to the light.

In the mean time, I’ve a couple of novels in my head, I suppose I better get on with things.

 

 

Advertisements

Soldier, Soldier!

Judging by the number of people who have liked my FB page recently, this title will go straight to their hearts. Yes, I like soldiers, but, as I have said on many, many occasions, this does NOT mean I stand on street corners near barracks swinging a handbag and asking passing squaddies if they are looking for company, it means I feel a deep respect for those who put on a uniform in defence of their home and a deeper respect for their courage in being willingly doing so.

I discovered this Affection for the military mainly through reading, but I am of that generation whose grandfathers fought World War One and whose fathers fought World War Two.

My first “date” was inevitably with the likes of Harry Smith, Johnny Kincaid and Sir Arthur Wellesley, you can’t be a teenage girl, read all those Regency Romances without wondering why all those young men went off to “The Peninsula,” …well I suppose you could, but I’m not made like that, I read and I read and I read, so when I met my husband and we had our first date and he found not only did I know about Elizabeth Longford’s “Wellington : The Years of the Sword”, but I’d read it and could talk. without sounding like an idiot, on the Napoleonic Wars, he tells me he was hooked. I think we knew we were made for each other even before we had agreed on the superiority of square over column, although it might all have fallen when he kept referring to my beloved Rifle Brigade as “cocky little bastards in green uniforms”. He still does it and I grit my teeth.

So we got married and I learned more than I wanted to know about “The War of the Spanish Succession” , but never enough about The H.E.I.C and The Indian Army. In time I came to write stuff and inevitably soldiers became a part of much of what I wrote, even the paranormal stories, which my adoring family refer to as “Ma’s weird stuff”…seriously,  eleven hours in labour and this is the respect you get. My  lady occult detective, Mrs Lillicrop” is the wife of an Indian Army officer, even though no-one yet knows what has happened to Major Lillicrop, maybe I’ll tell you one of these days.

I wrote a book called “Jabin” which is stuffed with soldiers. It is currently out of print, but I will get around to re-publishing it soon. Amazon frightens the life out of me and I need to build myself up to the trauma of adding a book, it always ends with me in tears and wailing for help from several long suffering friends.

However,,,should you feel like seeing if I can handle the military successfully, may I point you in the direction of “The Lord of the Faran Hills“, a tale of muskets and mercenaries.

https://tinyurl.com/yyzd7hve

I am currently working on a new Mrs Lillicrop story and at the back of my mind there is brewing a new book, Time will no doubt bring both to the front if this irritating fatigue lets up, it is one of my the main bug bears of the embuggerance, this feeling of being sand bagged every now any again, however, we will not allow it to stop the advance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Occult Detective Quarterly

Hi everyone, sorry I haven’t been around for a while, but here we are again.

There are in this wicked old world some publications with the most delicious names, but few can match the delightfully named “Occult Detective Quarterly”.  This journal makes no attempt to hide its content, it does exactly what it says on the cover.

To quote its own web site

OCCULT DETECTIVE QUARTERLY MAGAZINE is devoted to those intrepid investigators who investigate the weird, exotic and bizarre. These are the people who explore the darkness, both within and beyond, often to their own peril and the expense of their very lives and sanity.”

As some of you know, when not writing scific/fantasy novels packed with soldiers and young heroes of dubious morality, I like to indulge in writing short stories of the weird and wild and wicked, some of you will remember the man who had sex with his garden pond and the one about the mushrooms.

If you also feel the need to have fingers crawl up your spine and to check behind the curtains every time a draft makes them move, I’m sure the contents of the quarterly will be just the thing to interfere with your sleep pattern.

If you are interested, may I direct you to John Linwood Grant’s excellent blog where he talks about the OCD and about his beloved long dogs (lurchers). There are links to were to obtain copies of The ODQ as well.

greydogtales.com

 

So far I’ve not had the honour of being published in the journal, but I am to have the privilege of being part of their first anthology.

No automatic alt text available.

There I am, first on the list 🙂

I’ve mentioned before my occult detective, Mrs Lillicrop, and this will be her first outing. I hope it won’t be her last. The story is set in the 1930s and Mrs. Lillicrop may or may not be, a war widow. She lives in Chelsea and it is important to note that she doesn’t knit.

 

 

 

Mercenaries, Muskets and Monkeys.

I will be honest, I added the “monkey” bit because it sounded good, but there is a reason for the mercenaries and the muskets.

NEW BOOK!

Huzzah!

Currently with Dave, my lovely editor and undergoing his rigorous scrutiny is my next offering “The Lord of the Faran Hills”.

This is a bit of a departure for me, because it is fantasy, although fantasy without magic, I reserve magic for the weird stuff like in “A Solemn Curfew”, but it is fantasy and not science fiction.

However, I am returning to a favourite theme…soldiers. I have a soft spot for all things military, having been married to a military historian for quite a few years. Normally my soldiers are regulars, but this time I wanted to explore the world of the soldier of fortune.

Normally these guys get a very bad press and rightly so, but there are many who don’t deserve it. They are men who fight and defend a foreign power in exchange for a salary like The Swiss Guard who look after the Pope and The Gurkhas who serve with the British Army, technically these guys are mercenaries, but their honour and reputation is well established.

The same is true for the ones in my new book.

And then there are the muskets. I’ve has so much fun researching muskets. More of that next post.

The book will be out soon I hope and I hope some of you will find it as fun to read as it was to write.

 

Going Home

I haven’t posted a short story in a while, so I thought you might like this one.  My large extended family lives on each side of the Atlantic and even after all the years, there is still a fine thread which goes back and forth across the ocean joining us together.

My Aunt Jean was one of my grandfather’s many sisters, she followed a brother and a sister to Canada in the 1920s. She always said you have to go back before you really know where you belong. Her life in Canada was the subject of many, many family stories, some of which might possibly have been true.

The picture is because “moose in the lake” was one of my favourite of all those stories, along with black bears in the trash bins and mistaking a skunk and babies for the family black and white cat and her kittens.

 Going Home

The wind ripped the handkerchief she had been waving from her fingers and carried off high above the liner’s bows.

Despite the cold she could not bring herself to go below, she stood by the rail and watched the shore slipped further and further away as the evening tide carrying them out. She knew when she came on deck tomorrow green waters would have turned to blue and the land would be a memory.

She had always promised herself she would go home, go back to her mother and all her brothers and sisters. Every part of her had ached for the familiar faces and familiar places of home.

Eventually she could bear the aching need no longer and she had packed her case and fled back to the land of her birth.

Once there, softly and quietly the familiar had wrapped itself about her. Remembered sights and smells and sounds had woven in and out of her senses, drawing her back to the places she had left when she had begun her great adventure.

She had come home and home had welcomed her with open arms, but now she was leaving them again, crossing back over the great ocean.

As the light finally faded and she could no longer see the dark shadow of the land, her thoughts turned to the wooden cabin by the lake.

The fruit harvest would over and soon the trees would blaze with the colours of autumn, heralding the promise of the long white winter to come.

He would be there, waiting.

When she left, she believed she was going back to where she belonged, but now the ship was carrying her back to him and to the land she knew she would now forever more call home.

 © Bev Allen 2015