Saturday, 29 October 2016

The Veil - Flash Fiction for Halloween.

To celebrate Halloween, I wrote a Flash Fiction, intending it to be a slightly different type of "Ghost Story."
Initially, I was asked if I had anything suitable for a Halloween cabaret that my good friends at Circle of Spears Productions were performing in Boscastle.
This was the result, it was well received on the night and I hope you like it.

The Veil.

To the children, he was just the old man who lived on his own; he had become an object of fun. They would laugh at his shuffling gait and threadbare clothes; taunt him as he walked to the shops. For days he was invisible; the windows of the house remained heavily curtained, black eyes staring out on an empty world.
For a dare the children would run up the path and ring the bell; or rattle the letterbox, sometimes the braver ones would sneak down the side of his house and tip his bins over. The children, being young, had no interest in anyone old, and they had no respect for his struggles, no understanding of the things that he believed.
He would shout and wave his stick at them, driven to despair. Alone behind the door, he spoke to his wife, “What can I do, they won’t leave me alone.” He was sure that she would hear and help him, for all those years they had helped each other, now he needed her. And they had made a pact; the first to pass through the veil would come back if they could. He believed in the veil, and in the realm beyond, but she had never returned.
On the other side of the veil, his wife heard the words, but could do nothing. She was no further from him in death than in life, she saw his suffering but the veil was too thick, she had no power to help. She could send him little signs; move things a few inches, break light bulbs, hide his socks. Yet despite her promise, he never realized it was her, he thought it was just his age, his mind playing tricks, thought that he was going crazy in his grief.
Both he and the children understood Halloween in different ways, they viewed it in the earthly, materialistic way, and they saw it as a chance to make his life even more of a misery. They planned all sorts of things, under the guise of “Trick or treat.”  There would be no treat, of that they were sure, and the trick would be theirs to play on him.
Meanwhile, he viewed it in the old way; he knew that she would be closer to him on that night, and he was sure that she was trying to keep her promise; if there was only some way to reach out.
For as he knew, the veil thins on All Hallows Eve; his wife knew that too. She could see everything from her side and could feel his pain and anger. Daily her strength grew, fed by her love, she was determined that his time apart from her would not be spent in misery.
She decided that, on that night, she would act. She would make him notice; she would go back and do what she had promised. Then when he believed, he would be reassured. She was not alone. On her side of the veil, many were preparing to visit, to spend a little time where they once had been, where they would be again. They had spoken to each other and she had finally learned how.
As darkness fell, he sat in his chair, half asleep. Using all the power she had, she finally pierced the veil and came to be with him. Outside the children prepared for the trick.
“Is that you my love,” he thought, as at last, he could feel her with him.
Without speaking she softly replied, “yes, I’m here with you, I’m always with you.” Her words and voice were clear in his head.
“Help me,” he pleaded.  There was a crash from outside as the first bin was toppled. He cowered. She became angry, she saw a handsome youth in the broken old man, could see what they were doing to him, what right did they have to scare her soul-mate? In her rage her power grew, she had pierced the veil; the wall would not be a barrier to her.
Sniggering, the children turned to run down the alleyway, they stopped still as she appeared in front of them, bright as day, a blazing, righteous angel. As one they screamed, fighting each other to be the furthest away from her. But there was nowhere to hide.
Inside the man was confused, half-asleep, there was a lot of shouting, he had felt her with him, heard her speak, was this all a dream, what was happening?
The sound stopped, all was quiet. He relaxed in the chair and she was beside him once more.
“They won’t bother you again,”
Her warmth comforted him, he could feel her love, she was young again beside his aged shell. “Stay with me,” he thought.
“Come with me,” she replied.

© Richard Dee 2016

Saturday, 22 October 2016


We've been away for a few days in Kent, seeing Elsa and Maeve (and their parents), hence the lack of activity on the blogging front. I know I could have scheduled a post but I only thought of that when I got home.

And there they are! Maeve is very nearly walking now and her house is starting to get the tide-mark that I remember from when her mum was that age. Everything is being moved out of the range of little fingers.

And here are their mothers at about the same age, eerie isn't it! ( and I don't mean the wallpaper, it was the eighties after all).

and now.

It's always a surprise to see how much faster life is in Kent, maybe I'm just getting old but I find myself more attuned to the speed of things in Devon, (about as fast as a cow moves since you ask). And I think that suits me just fine!

We had Yvonne's cakes as well, with Clotted cream and they were superb (of course!),

And there was a touch of frost this morning, just enough to  whiten the grass for an hour or so until the sun got up.

We had a very nice day out on Dartmoor, and a picnic, more of that next time.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Two Anniversaries

Last Saturday was a special day in two ways.
First, it was the 41st anniversary of me joining my first ship, the Oil tanker Talamba in Lake Charles, Louisiana.
It was all a new experience to me and I left my camera in my bedroom in the flurry of packing and regret it to this day.

The second anniversary was that of the Battle of Hastings, no I wasn't there, but I did write a short story about it in the collection 1066 Turned Upside Down.  The collection actually reached number 1 in the kindle charts yesterday as well.

My pen name is Richard Dee and I did a time-travel piece involving the battle.
I found a couple of reviews that I thought you might like to see (big excuse for some promotion), and the links are included if you want to read the full review.

 Here goes:-

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If You Changed One Thing by Richard Dee

Richard Dee was another new author for me, but his submission stood out for a couple of reasons. Unlike his fellows, Dee put a bit of a sci-fi twist on 1066 and wrote a story that is set largely in the modern world. It was a dramatic shift and it threw me at first, but looking back I think the submission one of the strongest pieces in the anthology. I thought it was fun, I thought it was creative, and I liked how it allowed the reader a unique vantage point and perspective.

The biggest surprise (in two ways) came for me during the May/June 1066 story by Richard Dee. It is called "If You Changed One Thing" and dealt with time-travel. That was the first surprise. The second surprise was that I enjoyed it. I would have to say this might be my favorite story of the whole collection, which is kind of a big deal because they're all great and all have many strengths. This story is told from the perspective of a teacher talking with his students. They are discussing 1066 and the idea of going back in time to change the outcome, but then how that might impact their lives, if they would exist - basically the Butterfly Effect. A boy in the class says that his father's work involves a time machine and he would be able to go back to that fateful battle. His teacher does not believe him...and I will not spoil the rest. Just know that it has the perfect outcome, which also makes it a most-favorite.

And on the Goodreads page for the book I found these gems:-

Anne Harvey said, Or perhaps someone went backwards in time to change events? (Loved the twist in the tale in this one!)

Tricia Preston said; Moving on to the authors who are totally new to me, I found the inclusion of a story from Richard Dee, of the science fiction genre, a masterstroke and a worthy contribution. 

Pardon me for feeling pleased by those comments, I had wondered how a sci-fi writer would fit in with Historical Fiction, especially given the calibre of the other authors, it seems from these comments that I held my ground.

In other news, Yvonne has finished another square for Lovequilts, another space themed one

and we're off to Totnes Good Food Market shortly, Steak and Cake today!!!!

Monday, 10 October 2016

Life goes on

Sorry for the delay in posting, I heard some tragic news from where I used to work, one of my ex-colleagues was involved in a fatal accident last week and it made me stop and think for a while. 
Without going into too much detail, it was never a safe job but I think we all accepted the risks. It's at times like this when you're reminded.
In a way, it almost seems trivial to be blogging, we went over the moor to Tavistock last week, there are few fences on Dartmoor, which means that you can be stopped by a road full of livestock, like this lot,

Once we got there we had a good day, including a Donkey shaped biscuit with our afternoon tea!

And in writing news, I'm preparing for the November writing challenge that is NaNoWriMo where the idea is to write the first draft of your novel in a month. I've had both success and failure at this.
This year I thought that I had it all worked out, then one day last week I took a lunchtime walk along your favourite coastal path and had an idea. When I left the house, I thought that I had a simple choice of two prospective novels for this year's NaNoWriMo and I was busily getting them sorted in my head, which one I would do and what I wanted to achieve. And then it happened.
To say I ended Jungle Green (currently in edit), on a cliff would be technically inaccurate but you get the sentiment, what was going to happen next? How would everyone get out of the situation I had put them in?
It was screaming out for a sequel. I ended it the way that I did to provide a sort of symmetry in the story (you'll understand when you read it, next year hopefully), and yesterday's walk provided me with a way out, and a great start for the next phase of the Balcom saga that started in Ribbonworld.
By the time I got back home, I had a third contender. And not just in a vague sort of way, no this was the first 100 pages of an idea.
Now my mind is awash with plot development and I think that I might have to change my plans for November.
If only it had been raining life would have been so much simpler!

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Yvonnes latest cross stitch project

A bit of a departure, not wordless Wednesday today but instead I'm showing off Yvonne's work for Lovequilts. Here is a screengrab of their homepage, explaining what they do,

here are Yvonne's projects so far,

and here they are on the website, ready to be made into a quilt. I'm so proud of what she has done, I just had to show you, she has finished another square, it's ready to send off and I've managed to get a couple of pictures in time to post this.

Looks pretty good to me, it will soon be appearing on her page on the Lovequilts site

Sunday, 2 October 2016


Not a lot to report today, I'm waiting for several things to happen, to cap it all I've hurt my back so can't do much. I can type but I have to keep moving around and changing from standing to sitting to lying down. Still, it's making me relax so I guess it's not all bad.

I first hurt my back years ago, I leant over the worktop to turn the kettle on and coughed. And that was it! The doctor told me coughing was one of the most violent things you could do to your body, and if you happened to be in the wrong posture, then muscle damage could happen. Since then, it happens once or twice a year. And it's usually caused by some innocuous movement. It always takes a week to sort itself out, so I should be alright on Thursday.

I did manage to make some seeded rolls and a loaf,

and I've been writing as well, I have two novels on the go at the moment, it looks like I might have three to publish next year, as well as a few new short stories.

Yvonne has finished another square for Lovequilts, and she's halfway through the next one as well.

She's doing a great job with them and it's for such a good cause as well.
Not much else to report, I had hoped to have had some big news but maybe next week.