The Runaway Umbrella has a page at BookHippo….

Yes BookHippo has the book listed at with the cover image and some bio about me. If you click on the Kindle button it will take you to the amazon page to download a sample or to buy the e book. Magic huh!

I’ve had my first review on amazon (from Sandy)- which is a lovely review. He writes:-

“A very well written children’s story full of imaginative twists and turns that carry the reader to the final sentence. The brilliantly whimsical illustrations compliment the story perfectly. An excellent book for any child.”
I am really pleased to complete this project and get the book out there. Now I can move on to think about a) my upcoming Flash Fiction collection with Chapel Town Books due out fairly soon;  b) what my next project after that is going to be? Possibly a YA novel set in Edwardian times in Bingley where I live.
Having learned a lot about KDP recently, I feel tonnes more confident about uploading say a collection of short stories (all text no illustrations) on my own without the huge amount of input my tech wizard husband has given to the Umbrella project.

Good News at Easter….

lots of good news writing wise this Easter- over the bank holiday weekend we’ve successfully uploaded ‘The Runaway Umbrella’ via Amazon KDP- as a draft, it will go on sale at on Saturday 22 April.

To my delight I’ve won the latest Flash Fiction comp- run by with ‘Mermaid’ ( a story in 80 words) – which is a cash prize and inclusion in a mini anthology further down the line 🙂

Thanks again to blogger/writer Patsy Collins for the heads up via her blog for this free comp.

Three Drops Press has put their web journal (issue 14) out online and it includes my story ‘Belladonna’ – you have to click and flick through the interactive journal to read.

Three Drops and their editor Kate Garrett have been a really supportive lovely website/publisher to deal with – always prompt too.

Revving up….

yep things are revving up big style after a lull- I’ve had 2 stories accepted for pub- one from horror press who’ve accepted a longer version of my Gothic story ‘Mother Love’– and Digital Fiction Publishing Corp (based in Canada) who were asking for reprints have accepted ‘A Gift for Krampus’ (contract and all). Stuart Conover at\ Horror Tree has taken a drabble of mine for pub in April.  I am chuffed. It balances out the rejections I’ve also had lately but don’t publicise as much.

Meanwhile back here chez maison Rhodes, husband and I are doing final edits and plan to upload onto Amazon Kindle my story for children ‘The Runaway Umbrella‘ over the Easter break. This project has been on the back burner for a few months now.  This story I originally sent to Oxford Uni Press many many moons ago and they liked it enough to hold onto it but in the end didn’t publish it. I have rewritten it since, and commissioned some illustrations off a very talented artist/illustrator student Chandni Soren, which look amazing and I am hoping it will be a good combo of her pics and my story.

Gill James of Chapel Town Books and me are doing edits of my Flash Fiction collection as well- the stories are now placed in an order with 5 sub sections within the main collection and I’ve got to come up with a title- not that easy to do-. It will be fantastic to have a book of my flash fiction in my hot little hand.



Keeping at it….

I’ve had a rather quiet time of it writing wise lately- but I’ve just heard from editor, Rosemary Kind that she is publishing 2 out of the 3 short stories I sent in to her-The Resurrection of the Reverend Greswold and Never Judge a Book by its Cover which is set in the nearby world heritage site Saltaire and Leeds.

I am delighted 🙂 because I’ve rewritten both stories a few times and thought I had improved them; this validates my efforts. I find writing 2-4000 stories hard/tricky – both because of the length and the structuring and keeping it interesting- so I take hours and hours to put one out there. My output is therefore quite small.

Patsy Collins, super duper blogger and short story writer, tipped me off about a free Flash Fiction comp at The Third Word (80 words is all you have to nail your tale) which runs bi monthly comps- I’ve had a go with one called Mermaid.

I’ve also rejoined the WEA Otley creative writing class run by poet/tutor James Nash after a break of several months. I hope it will re energise my writing juices. The group is supportive and fun, a lovely bunch of people Believe me not all writing groups/classes are like that!

I’ve also been reading horror short stories from the magazine Supernatural Tales edited by David Longhorn which you can buy for 99p off amazon kindle or sub to the mag-. The stories are all well written, some are just brilliant, the scope of imagination and chills is wide and effective- it’s my current fave.

Here’s a 100 worder :-inspired by me singing Faure in Lancaster Priory on spec- but I didn’t see a ghost that day.


Standing at the rear of Lancaster Abbey, together but apart, we absorb Faure into our beings. The white gowned choir’s voices soar as one harmonious entity. Enthralled, you start to float upwards while the Requiem reaches its crescendo. Tugging at your hem, I fail to bring you back to earth. I know the congregation will notice you soon. You hover above the choristers’ heads, mouthing the soprano part you learnt in life. Oh my love, my Joy it is time to let you go. One of the boys looks up, sees your white shroud poised above him, screams and faints.


Submitting to alfie dog….

Today I was rather pleased with my writing push because I tidied up and submitted 3 short stories to Rosemary Kind’s downloadable paying short story website– for her consideration. Last year I was so delighted when she accepted my story for teens to put on her site and I think through practise and more practise I’ve got better at self editing, dialogue and content. It’s a long path though with a way to go.

The three stories I sent in were :-

  1. The Resurrection of the Reverend Greswold
  2. Never Judge a Book by its Cover
  3. Lost Property.

One is a murder, one is a ghost story and one is a feel good life after divorce piece set in Saltaire. Fingers crossed that Rosemary will take one of them- her window for subs closes on 1 April- so not long left to wait to find out.

I went to see the huge gazillion budget ‘Beauty and the Beast‘ last night starring Hogwarts star Emma Watson, not my idea of the lead role but she did a sterling job after all. It looked stunning of course, lovely songs, touching story, a baddy to boo and a hairy hero with problems who just needs to be loved. I floated out of the cinema. It took me back 40 years to 1977 and going to see ‘The Slipper and the Rose’ with my mum. An all star British film, directed by Bryan Forbes- a  version of Cinderella starring Richard Chamberlain and Gemma Craven. Similar frocks, much singing and dancing, lots of starry turns, (in support were the likes of Kenneth More and Margaret Lockwood), an abundance of warm fuzzy feelings and romance by the bucket load. I absolutely adored that film when I was 10 or 11 years old, and desperately wanted to be Cinderella. Sadly my mum died a good few years ago but she would have loved the B&B reboot.



Writing is not always fun is it? 10% inspiration, 90% perspiration didn’t someone say? Well I concur. I have had a Flash fiction piece accepted by for their online web journal-due to be published in April- see above for title.

It is a fantasy mystical piece but with a crime in it too. I have rewritten the piece several times, over several weeks- though I have stuck with the same title which came to mind quite quickly. I have changed the ending about 4 times too! Endings are the fictional bane of my life.

I love the first idea when it is taking root and the avalanche of words that follows, but have to say the rewriting/editing process is not as exciting to me. Though contrarily at the end of it- well you’ve never really finished with a piece it’s more like it walks away from you into the literary horizon- I feel a sense of satisfaction when it is stronger.



Haikus and singing…..

A somewhat quiet week on the writing front due to much activity elsewhere – volunteering and singing- got a little gig on this weekend with a few others outside Leeds. However Haiku Journal emailed me to say my winter themed Haiku is in issue 49 of their mag and there will be a paperback copy too (how great is that?) and I am top of the list for the month! A little bonus!

Morgen Bailey, blogger and writer, awarded me Highly Commended in her monthly 100 worder competition for my piece, ‘Requiem’ which was inspired by me singing ‘Faure’s Requiem’ a couple of years ago  in the gorgeous surroundings of Lancaster Priory. Morgen will also give me feedback on another piece of my fiction, which is fantastically useful.

I would recommend Morgen’s free entry monthly comps-

Deborah Bennison at Bennison books got in touch to say she would be including one of my poems in their charity anthology, The Book Bus out soon. Bennison books have published collections by 2 poetesses in my Otley WEA class. The links on amazon are below, both are brilliant and hugely talented at drawing word pictures with their imagery.

Otley writers group book launch:-

Well the launch of the group’s anthology, ‘The Pulse of Everything’ went really well. It was held at Otley Courthouse (the arts centre). Each of us stood up to read a short extract of our work; the audience were very supportive and the evening was led by the class tutor and poet, the charismatic James Nash. It was great to see everyone there and listen to their work. There is a lot of talent in that room and so much enthusiasm for the written word. I must mention John Ellis’ new thriller out on Kindle and in paperback, set in Yorkshire- available on Amazon to buy. It is well worth checking out.

The Body in Jingling Pot: The First Detective Chief Inspector Oldroyd Yorkshire Murder Mystery Kindle Edition

by J R Ellis

Words, Women in WW1 at Bradford Cathedral for Int. Women’s Day:-

a one woman show performed by writer Irene Lofthouse in the Cathedral in Little Germany, highlights the forgotten poetry/memoirs and war efforts made by a handful of Yorkshire women; one who fought as a soldier in Serbia, another who drove ambulances and died in a bombing raid in France, one who worked as a VAD; one who was friends with Arthur Conan Doyle- all wrote prose/poetry which has been ‘lost’ in the intervening century but was popular at the time. Interlaced with contemporary songs performed by Irene, this was an inspiring and engaging show with great research and use of primary sources.