Monty, Rosie and Jeff-Dog are Susan’s Border Collies – they keep an eye on her artwork to make sure she keeps earning kibble, and they have woofs with her if she’s not busy writing her books the rest of the time; every now and then they round up all the news of both and post it to her blog…
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I am resurrecting my newsletter and sent out the first stirrings of it last night – one of the (fabulous) replies I received was from the wonderful artist Anna Vanover whose pic to the right represents her reading one of my novels (no – it does – really).
What a great pic! What a great thing she is doing with her page, too – RISE for Wildlife – raising dosh for wildlife rehabilitation – where, on donating, one of these limited edition prints becomes yours! This is an opportunity not to be missed!
I knew he waited for me out there. His patience was endless. He would stalk me until I was exhausted, until I lost my concentration; when the opportunity arrived for him to strike, he would leap out and I’d be mincemeat. I winced with the imagined pain his newly sharpened weapons would inflict.
I sensed him watching me. He was well camouflaged in the shadows. He could see me, but I couldn’t see him.
The air shimmered in the heat. My throat was dry and sore with thirst; my eyes had dried out from not blinking enough – they felt like hot pebbles in their sockets.
I mustn’t let my guard down or he’d have me.
Cautiously I edged forward through the undergrowth. Tough grasses twisted around my ankles, trying to ensnare my feet, trying to trip me and make me fall, as if they were on his side. Once down I wouldn’t stand a chance. I must keep my balance, keep moving forward, keep my head. I must not give way to terror. I’d be lost if I did.
Clouds of insects swarmed and buzzed around my face. They landed in my eyes and my mouth. They made my scalp itch, but I couldn’t scratch. It would make too much noise. Some of them, I was sure, flew up my nose and were now crawling around inside my lungs. I could hardly hold back the shrieks at the thought.
The smell of decay hung in the air making me want to retch.
Earlier, I’d heard him preparing his arsenal. The sounds of it had clattered through the air; they’d magnified in my head – rasping and sawing and silencing all the other creatures that lived here. Not a thing dared move or chance bringing itself to his attention.
Hardly breathing, moving statue-slowly, I lifted my foot and tried to put it down soundlessly. The air was so still, the quiet so heavy, that any movement seemed to resound around the clearing as if through amplifiers.
Luckily, I looked down first and found to my horror that I’d been about to step on a previous victim of his. The bones looked pathetic and fragile, dwarfed by their surroundings – a scene of unimaginable terror and death.
Just in time, I stopped myself screaming. I twisted away and, before losing all sense of balance, managed to plant my foot safely clear of the remains. But then I stood awkwardly, my back to him, asking for trouble. I felt exposed and weak and, despite the heat, suddenly cold with fear.
I could feel his eyes boring through me, and his breath, hot and fetid on my neck. I whipped around, only just managing not to yell out in terror. But it was my fearful imagination that had conjured him up so close – it was just a warm breeze, not his breath at all.
He wanted to pierce my skin, draw blood, shred the meat from my bones. I slapped vainly at the insects. Maybe they’d suck me dry before he could get me. That might be preferable.
I could hear a heavy body moving, the undergrowth seemed to shiver, the ground to shake as each deliberate footfall landed on its cracked surface, the very air stilled, no birds sang. I was conscious of my breath dying away, my heart galloping wildly in my chest. I could just make out his terrifying face through the undergrowth, mouth open, incisors glinting. Ready to tear me to pieces. His breath, reeking of previous kills, blasted over me, making me feel faint and sick. His eyes were the worst thing of all. They pierced through to my soul, weakening me, draining me of courage, almost hypnotising me into defeat. I couldn’t keep looking at him. I had to drop my gaze.
Dread shot through me and I knew I was in deep trouble. Maybe I could scream for someone to come and get me out of danger. But maybe my yells for aid would make him spring. I might shout and there’d be no-one there anyway, so I’d annoy him for nothing.
I didn’t want to annoy him. I wouldn’t shout. Just as soon as I decided, I knew he knew I’d given in. I was dead meat.
He snarled, the most bone-disintegrating, bloodcurdling noise I’d ever heard – and launched into his attack. I tried to run, but he was too fast and I was merely human. My flesh cringed but couldn’t get away from the pain that exploded through me as his fangs sank into my shin.
As I fell to the ground, I knew my mistake – I really should have mown the lawn more often. If only I had, then Tiddles wouldn’t be able to pretend he was a big, bad tiger in the long grass.
This post is to say that I’m starting up my newsletter again.
It’s about time!
I am hoping to send out a newsletter at least once a month to announce news of books – novels and artwork, large print, illustrated doggerel etc.
If you wish to sign up for my newsletter – and it would be fab if you did – please use box below.
We do not use your details for anything other than the newsletter, and you can unsubscribe whenever you want – although we hope you won’t want to.
I’m planning to make this a year full of new books!
Gonna hafta shut shop to get my writing done! This year has been one of those in particular that’s involved running like mad and never catching up… (An unsympathetic PupperJack says: Run faster, Hoomun!)
‘My ribbon! Mine!
A Welsh corgi dog and a tricolour Cardigan corgi engage in tug-of-war over a piece of wrapping ribbon. They are lying in a bed of tinsel near the Christmas tree.
This is an original mini painting aka an ACEO – art cards editions and originals or an ATC – artist trading card.
A friend of mine has macular degeneration. This has made me realise how fab modern technology is for those with low vision. It has also made me realise how little there is for those who don’t like modern technology. So I have brought out some books in Very Large Print.
There are two word search puzzle books – (one of which isn’t in this pic) – that one is a book of the 48 counties of England with snippets of information for each county as well as the list of words to search for. The other word search puzzle book is in the pic – it is based on The Natural World. There is also a sudoku book for keeping one’s brain exercised, and two short story books.
One short story book is ‘Sweet Peas and Dahlias’ (and other stories), and the other is ‘Burglars R Us’ (and other stories). Both these books are illustrated to provide another ‘texture’ to reading the books.
The illustrations in the short story books are in black and white, and the fab reviewer who has just kindly left a five star review has said she is going to colour them. What a great idea!!! Multi-multi-functional books!
This is exactly the cold unfriendly weather in which a dachshund is better off snuggling down into his blanket and staying home!
This dachshund is not even gonna think about going out in this!
PupperJack has an exceptional tail. It’s so exceptional it is longer than he is tall. This means he sometimes leaves it lying around further from his face than you’d think possible.
On this fateful occasion he was going downstairs. I was following. Somehow my foot got on his tail just as he jumped to the stair below and didn’t quite make it because he was anchored to the stair above by his tail. Under my foot. Oops!
Poor PupperJack. He’s been looking at me accusingly ever since.
Top pic is PupperJack’s exceptional tail. Bottom pic is the face of a dog betrayed…
Oh, yes. It’s time we got to grips with the old dog and cat and books website and blog again. So here we are – surrounded by mountains of Christmas cards. The ones that other people send out (rather than ones we have received)…
Like these ones…
Click on the headline to visit my blogspot.