Available ebook formats: epub mobi pdf lrf pdb txt html
'Riders of the Purple Plain' was a story I wrote when I was ten years old. I sent it to my Dad who was probably in Northern France having taken part in the D-Day landings. I have joked that he would have preferred to face the German machine-guns than read my story! It was my Dad who read to me; told me stories of his own boyhood escapades and lots of jokes which probably set me on the path to my love of books and writing…that ******* Adolf Hitler has a lot to answer for!
My next literary success was at Grammar School. For English homework we were asked to write a poem…I wrote two! My mate hadn't done his homework so I gave him the 'frivolous rubbish' one I had written about head-scarves which were the 'cool' fashion for girls at the time…and you thought that society hadn't made any progress! I also wrote a 'deep soulful poem' which must have been good because it was difficult to understand. 'My mate's poem' was published in the School Magazine while mine went to that great waste-paper bin in the sky.
I also wrote a poem about my dog which won a competition (the poem not the dog) being run by the local newspaper. I didn't think mine had a chance of winning and writing poetry is…well…a bit…girly. So I put another mate's name on the entry. Again my mate was puzzled when a reporter turned up at his door with the glad tidings. He had every right to be puzzled as he didn't even have a dog! I was easily tracked down and my prize was a trip in a car to the local park for a photo-shoot .Unfortunately, my dog had fits and scrabbled and raced around in the official car being sick! Still it is rather a nice photo!
Apart from another deeply philosophical poem which got into the college magazine, my writing career juddered to a halt when I started teaching. I did use my stories to start off English assignments but that was all…
Fast forward forty years. I had retired from teaching and began to write short stories which I occasionally sent to publishers only to receive the inevitable…'this is the greatest story since Bill Shakespeare was writing his stuff but…' I went to Doncaster Central Library and asked if they had a Writer in Residence. They no longer had but sent me to the Doncaster Arts Centre which was at a former school in Bentley. There I met Ian MacMillan who was the W-in-R. Ian read some of my stuff and advised me to have an on-going project at which I could 'work' when the Muse was absent. I wrote about my two years National Service experience in the Army. He also advised me to join a Writers' Group so I joined Rossington Writers where I have been a member for almost twenty years.
I have had a few minor successes, winning a few local Poetry Competitions and a couple of one-act play competitions. I had a 'rap' called 'Geriatric Jive' performed on John Peel's Sunday morning magazine programme and a humorous poem read out live on the B.B.C.'s coverage of the Chelsea Flower Show.
I have written stories for all my grandchildren. When my oldest grand-daughter was small and I was taking her somewhere in the car, she used to say, "Tell me a story Grandad." The most difficult subjects she gave me were…a blanket and a hedge! Imagine trying to drive and making up a story about a blanket or a hedge! Then she came up with…'A Princess in a Bubble'. I must have thought of something but, later, I thought this was a great idea and wrote the 'Bubble Trubble' story for her.
When she was at university she designed a cover for this story and I tried to get it published but again…'this is the most wonderful children's story we have ever read etc but…'
Last year I read in the South Yorkshire Arts magazine about Storm Rhino Publishing and they did a brilliant job on this book.
Here endeth the lesson!