Tag Archives: fantasy

A Lovely Review on The Mouse and the Microlight

Some friends of ours recently bought The Mouse and the Microlight for their Grandson, Corban, who is eight.  A big thank you to you Corban for taking time to write this great review!

‘I liked it when Mouse Four left home and how he got his name. Also the chapter where he first flew and the last chapter when he jumped out of the microlight and landed in front of his family. We read the book over several weeks when I visited Grandads house. I found it a very exciting story and each time we finished a chapter, I would try and guess what was going to happen next. I also enjoyed looking at the pictures and enlarging them to see Mouse Four. Thank you.’

A picture from the book

E-book or Paperback

 

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Reincarnation … Choose carefully!

A Short Story

The five garden gnomes had cheery faces and rosy cheeks. Painted-on happiness. But it was a thin veneer. Their little group was arranged in a semi-circle under the bird bath in the corner of the garden beside the apple tree. Autumn was developing her favourite colours and splashing reds and oranges on bushes and trees. The blackberries were ripe on the brambles growing over the garden wall and the apple tree was laden with fruit – which the blackbirds kept knocking off.

‘Damn!’ cursed Harry, who was on the end of the semicircle, as an over-ripe apple hit the ground with a thud and tore towards him like a missile. It missed him by inches. His eyes fixed themselves on the blackbird that had flown down to check out his prize. ‘Feck off!!’ he shouted. But the bird couldn’t hear him and busied itself pecking at the apple.

‘It’s just a bird Harry,’ mumbled Bill who was two gnomes to his right, ‘There’s no need to get so angry.’

‘He’s not angry at the bird,’ said Snowy who was to the right of Bill, ‘He’s angry because he can’t accept his new incarnation.’

Mutters of agreement went along the line.

‘Well it’s not fair!’ said Harry, ‘I didn’t ask to be a stupid gnome – one that can’t move anything but its eyes!’

‘You probably wanted to be a famous footballer or a film star, that was the trouble,’ said Bill, ‘You were too fixed in your choice and there were obviously no vacancies for the rich and famous when you snuffed it, so that’s why you came back as a gnome. What did you want to be?’

‘None of your business!’ muttered Harry angrily.

‘No good sulking,’ said Tubby, the portly one, who stood next to Harry, ‘You need to accept it because you could be here for years.’

Much mumbling of agreement along the line.

‘Years!’ Harry’s voice had risen a few octaves in abject horror. ‘How long do you gnomes live then?’

We, you being one of us,’ said Tubby pointedly, ‘are not exactly sure. Long enough that we’ve forgotten when we were born.’

Harry started to cry softly. Tears dribbled down his cheeks and found little pathways through his beard. They dripped onto a dandelion that had started to grow between his boots.

Little coughs of embarrassment came from the others as they listened to him wailing.

‘So where did they buy you from?’ asked Snowy, hoping a change of subject might help.

Harry stopped wailing and lapsed into silence.

Stavros, from the other end of the line chipped in: ‘We all came from different places. Henry, the kid who lives here has started to collect gnomes. I came from the Fork-in-Hell Garden Centre.

‘I was in the Call a Spade a Spade, there were lots of us there,’ said Bill.

‘I came from Tesco,’ said Tubby.

Tesco!‘ Harry seemed so appalled by the idea that he shrugged off his misery. ‘At least I came from John Lewis!’

‘Well, maybe your up-market attitude is what got you here in the first place,’ chuckled Snowy, ‘Henry rescued me from a skip in the village.’

‘Well all you lot must have wanted to be famous, like footballers or movie stars, or prime minister, or you wouldn’t be here either,’ retorted Harry.

Silence. Small coughs and the clearing of throats.

‘So,’ began Harry, pleased that he’d caught them out, ‘How long do gnomes really live? You must have some idea?’

‘No one knows how long gnomes live, or even what causes them to die,’ said Bill as he watched the blackbird attacking the apple with gusto, ‘I ended up next to an old second-hand chap made of stone in Call a Spade a Spade and he reckoned he’d been about in all sorts of different gardens over his years. He had a date stamp on the bottom of one of his feet, I saw it when he got knocked over one day, and it said 1929. He was nearly ninety. Of course stone lasts for years, there was none of your old plastic rubbish back then.’

‘Nearly ninety!’ Harry’s eyes started rolling around and around and around in his head.

‘What are doing?’ asked Tubby, he could just make out Harry’s right eye doing circles as he peered sideways at him.

‘I’m trying to see what I’m made of! Why can’t we move anything but our eyes!’ yelled Harry in frustration.

‘You’re made of resin,’ said Stavros.

‘Resin? How do you know?’

‘You have a chip on your shoulder, I noticed it when the boy brought you home and got you out of the shopping bag.’

‘How long does resin last?’

‘Forever.’

‘No!’

‘Certainly does, probably as long as stone.’

If Harry’s face could have gone white with shock it would have, but being resinous he stood straight with his never-ending grin plastered across his face.

Halloween October 31st 11pm

The teenage trick-or-treaters, slightly worse the wear for a half a bottle of vodka liberated from a parent’s kitchen cupboard, and a quantity of cider purchased by an older brother, were on the rampage. They preferred tricks to treats and spotted the little group of gnomes in the corner of the garden.

‘Less kidnap the gnomes!’ slurred a lad wearing a Frankenstein mask.

‘Yeah! Gnome-napping! Less-do-it!’ cackled his mate in a werewolf costume.

‘D’you think you should?’ giggled their girlfriends in matching witch outfits.

But the boys were already over the wall and stumbling drunkenly across the garden, laughing helplessly, minutes later scrambling back with four of the gnomes, one in each hand.

‘What you going to do with them?’ asked one of the witches.

‘Throttle them Precious!’ growled Frankenstein, trying to sound like Gollum, and he took off up the street and stopped by some bins. Holding Harry by the neck he made strangling motions, then he opened the bin and chucked him inside. Next was Snowy, by which time the werewolf had caught up and was waving Tubby about.

‘The fat bastard just had a heart attack!’ he yelled, dumping Tubby over the edge. Last to go in was Stavros after the werewolf had murdered him with a viscous bite to the neck. The bin lid was slapped shut. And Halloween continued.

November 1st, Early Morning

The bin men reversed their truck up to the bins. With a clang and a bang the machine picked up each bin and dumped the contents into the stinking cavity, then the hydraulic press came down and crushed it. No mercy was shown.

In the garden Bill stood alone, wondering where the others were. No doubt they’d be found and brought back and the thieves would be punished. But no gnomes were returned. Henry came over to Bill with tears rolling down his cheeks.

‘I’m sorry Bill, but your friends have been stolen. I’ll get you some new friends, Mum says we can go to the garden centre at the weekend.’

On Sunday afternoon Henry came tearing across the lawn with a shopping bag. He carefully extracted a fat female gnome with a big nose and a red apron.

‘Here’s a new friend for you Bill!’ he said, delighted, ‘I hope you like her, I’ve named her Sharon.’ Then he dropped his voice to a whisper, ‘She looks like a girl in my class at school!’ He stood Sharon so the two gnomes could look at one-another, then he heard his mother calling him in for tea.

‘Hello Sharon,’ said Bill.

‘Feck off! And DON’T call me Sharon!’

Bill knew that voice. It just didn’t fit the face. ‘Harry?’ he said in astonishment, ‘Is that you Harry?’

‘Of course it’s me!’

Bill couldn’t believe it. ‘What happened? Where are the others? Why are you … different?’

‘I’m different because there were no male gnome positions left!’ cried Harry in a disgusted voice. ‘And what happened was we all got dumped in a bin the other night and crushed to death the next morning when the bin lorry came round. Then Stavros and Tubby and Snowy got the reincarnations they wanted, but I didn’t. It’s SO unfair.’

‘What on earth did you want to be?’

‘The same thing as last time, and all the other times. I wanted to be a dinosaur,’ cried Harry.

Bill thought for a minute, ‘May I ask how old you were when you died, all those times ago?’

‘I was six, I was in a car accident.’

‘And how many times have you requested to be a dinosaur?’

‘Every time! But next time I’m definitely going to choose something else.’

‘Yes,’ said Bill carefully, ‘And I’d also try and avoid sabre-toothed tigers, woolly mammoths, dodos, and great auks. You can’t come back as something that no longer exists!’

Beware the Dust Bunnies! (a short story)

June 2017

Canada:

It started suddenly without rhyme or reason. No one knew why. It was like the beginning of life, when the first creatures crawled out of the sea. Only this time they were born from dust.

Every night it grew. The whispering. Every night as Teresa slept. It was so faint that even the the old dog and the ginger cat couldn’t hear the dust bunnies communicating their terrible message under the bed.

‘Grow!’ breathed Fred gently, he was the biggest and hairiest of all. And at his command tiny particles of fluff and dust and hair gravitated towards them. And they grew bigger.

France:

The woman of the house had become obsessed with writing and for too long had ignored the housework. The vacuum cleaner, unemployed for weeks, had allowed the dust-bunnies to congregate. They had received messages on the air. Messages from the grand master hundreds of miles away in Canada. Now they grew softly, surreptitiously, under the beds, couch, and easy chairs, pulsing gently, whispering. Spiders gave them a wide berth, terrified of being caught up and fluffocated.

Australia:

Bruce lived alone in the outback. He was a simple man with simple ways. His ancient broom was dragged out every so often to do a minimalistic sweep around the kitchen while his arthritic knees defied any attempt at cleaning beneath anything. His guests, only one or two old mates a year, were hardly going to be peeping under the furniture. The dust bunnies picked up Fred’s message which reached them on the Australian breezes. The grand master must be obeyed.

Two years later

And so it was nearly everywhere in the world, under anything that could harbour them, the dust bunnies waited. Inconspicuously and stealthily they listened for the call. Compacted now, condensed, and hidden, crammed under any available shelter, they were ready.

In Canada Teresa had just got up when it happened, it was eight o’clock and she was sipping her first coffee. In France it was five in the evening and Jude was on the computer trying to think of a plot for a short story. In south-west Australia it was eleven o’clock and Bruce was sitting on his porch, eyeing the stars, his old sheepdog by his side and a cold beer in his hand. They all stopped what they were doing at the same moment and listened. A strange groaning was sounding throughout their houses, a creaking and a stretching and then the sharp splintering of wood. The dust bunnies were free at last.

Bruce glanced back over his shoulder at the open front door, wondering what the noise was. His jaw dropped. All he could see was grey fluff – a huge compacted writhing ball trying to force its way out onto the porch. His dog whined and cowered beside him. Bruce got unsteadily out of his chair, wondering how many beers he’d had, and backed across the yard, eyes glued to the front door.

The monster bunny was squeezing and squeezing, pulsating and pushing. Suddenly it burst forth and rolled out into the yard, rocking gently and expanding by the second to astronomical proportions as Bruce stared up at it. ‘Christ! It’s breathing!’ he said. It could engulf his house! But it didn’t. It suddenly took off, rising fast into the night sky, as though pulled by some unseen force, and in a flash it was gone. Bruce shook his head. Had he been on the whisky before the beer? Had it been a bad dream? He walked cautiously back to the house, put the TV on and sat down. The TV was showing a news bulletin; film of large balls of something in the sky, videos shot with mobile phones from all over the country. Then the newsreader was back, animated and excited.

‘These same sights are being reported from around the world. From just about every corner of the earth we are witnessing enormous balls of something, initially thought to be fluff, bigger than houses, travelling across the sky. Reports would suggest that they are all heading towards north America but nobody knows why. Fighter aircraft, scrambled in the U.K the U.S, here in Australia and in a number of other countries have reported that the balls don’t in any way appear to be dangerous – unless they fall on you!’ The newsman chuckled at his own joke. ‘Stay on this channel for further reports on what are being called the ‘Behemoth dust bunnies!’

Bruce was right, he hadn’t had too many beers! And it hadn’t been a bad dream.

Teresa, bare-foot, stepped through her shattered front door and gazed up in horror at the thing that had obviously been lurking under her bed – now overturned in a corner of the bedroom. It hung in the sky, a pulsating hairy monster, expanding by the second, blocking out the morning sun as it grew. All the neighbours were out gawking. ‘Mrs Clean’, as she was known, from three doors down, was in the street staring up in fascination.

‘Looks like a dirty great dust bunny, to me!’ she laughed, ‘I wonder where it came from.’

Apparently you could eat your supper off ‘Mrs Clean’s floor, it was that clean.

‘Who knows,’ muttered Teresa. Certainly not from under your bed she thought. She went back into the kitchen and picked up her phone. The front door needed fixing where the monster had burst through it. She watched the news on the TV in the corner while she waited.

The Breakfast News had just started.

‘The Behemoth Dust Bunnies appear to be heading right here!’ said the newsreader, ‘Reports say they are joining together at times to form even bigger balls.’ And almost as she said this the light faded. Screams from outside made Teresa drop the phone and rush to the door. Bumping and crackling sounds were coming from the sky as more giant bunnies came in fast from all directions. Open-mouthed the people in the street stared up in stunned silence as the new arrivals merged with Fred the master. And they kept coming. And a great shadow fell over the earth. And there was darkness.

The world held its breath. And then light, faint at first, started to return as the dust bunny as big as planet earth itself slowly rose, higher and higher, way past the clouds, further and further. And then it suddenly it gathered speed and in a flash it was gone.

Teresa stared up in awed relief as the sun fell on her face. She brushed some fluff off her bare feet and cursed the dog for nicking her slippers again. Then she went back in to phone the repairman.

Six Months Later

Teresa put her coffee on the table and switched on the TV. Someone was interviewing an astronomer called Bill Moon.

‘And you discovered this last night?’ asked the interviewer eagerly.

‘Yes, yes! It’s quite phenomenal,’ said Bill who was being photographed next to the biggest telescope in the world, ‘I’m really just an amateur, but sometimes I do get lucky and spot something really good. I discovered it last night, right at the end of the Milky Way. It’s the fluffiest planet I’ve ever seen! I got some rather amazing close-ups.’

The TV camera zoomed in and Bill’s close up filled Teresa’s TV screen.

‘It appears to be made of fine hairs, feathers, cobwebs and many other fibres,’ said Bill, ‘What I’m not sure about are those two small, but prominent, bright pink protrusions on the left hand side there.’

The camera zoomed in for an even closer shot.

Teresa sat bolt upright, and nearly spilled her coffee.

‘Those are my frigging slippers!’ she cried.

The Stowaways – Live!

My Stowaways proof has arrived from CreateSpace! The second book I can be thrilled to put on my bookshelf with a sense of pride. There was one error in the book – a new chapter that I had somehow not started on a new page, and a picture that needed to be lightened. The edit took a few minutes to update and I re-submitted the file. Twenty-four hours later it was done and approved. I’m now happy to say The Stowaways is live on Amazon.

It’s been a long, and fun journey with the two books about Mouse Formidable, which started out as a blog where I posted a chapter a week. It was a great way to write because it started as pure fun and there was no pressure. After I published both books as e-Books on Amazon Kindle I discovered early this year that I could publish in paperback with CreateSpace with no up-front costs to myself. It seemed like a great idea and so I set off on another journey with rather a large learning curve attached. It’s certainly been worth it.

If anyone is thinking of publishing with CreateSpace and has any questions I’d be glad to help if I can.

Ferns made me think of ideas!

Have you ever walked in the woods in spring and noticed the ferns? They’re coiled, so tight that their new offspring leaves look like tiny fists.

Little hands gripping secrets.

And then, slowly, warmed by the sun they gradually, oh so gradually, unfurl.

The tight little fists of the ferns unfurl into leaves.

Until the creation is complete.

Just as our minds unfurl their ideas into creations and some of us create books!

New Book!

I’m really pleased to announce that yesterday I published the sequel to The Mouse and the Microlight as an e-book on Amazon. It’s called The Stowaways. I originally wrote both books as blogs, putting up a chapter a week with illustrations. I decided some time ago that they would convert very well to e-books and went ahead with The Mouse and the Microlight. It worked well and so I set about doing the same for The Stowaways (originally called ‘When the Hangar Came Down’). A complete edit was needed, all the artworks improved and resized, a table of content created and of course a cover which is always a favourite job.

This is about the book as published on Amazon:

The Stowaways is the second book by Jude Thompson about Mouse Formidable. In the first book, The Mouse and the Microlight, Mouse Formidable refuses to follow wood-mouse ways. He moves into a barn and builds a nest under the back seat of a microlight. He’s accepted by the couple who own it and he starts to go flying with them.

The Stowaways find Mouse Formidable getting home one day to find his beloved flying machine gone. And then the Louds (the name wood-mice have given humans) start dismantling his barn. With his whole world collapsing he stows away in their car and travels with the Louds into their world. Little does he know that someone is travelling with him. At the Louds house fantastic discoveries are made, but then Formidable is caught in a trap. Will he be found before it’s too late, and will he ever go flying again? In the meantime, many miles away, back in the wood where he was born, a fire starts. Mouse Formidable’s family are in terrible danger. With nowhere to run who will save them? The Stowaways is is a story of exploration, discovery, daring and friendship.

My next project, now that all my books are published e-books, is to go for paperbacks. It may take a while as all the e-book files have to be converted and made suitable for book publishing. Lots of research and trial an error I think! More about this in a later post.

Lastly a BIG thank you to those of you who have bought The Mouse and the Microlight!

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