Richard and Maria Trilogy


Richard and Maria – Books 1 & 2

Three Against the World: A Waif, a Stray, and a Romance?

How complicated can one man’s life become in a matter of hours?
Very, if you happen to be Richard Carpenter. It began on the last Monday in October, but as our American friends will know, Halloween doesn’t usually start before dawn. That is when thieves are on the prowl, and Richard forgot to bolt his front door. Not that the intruder picked the lock carefully; he wasn’t good at it. Next, Richard switches on the fax machine at the bank where he is the manager and discovers the branch is closing, along with two hundred others, so he’s out of a job. He is supposed to be going to the golf club Halloween dinner dance, but dare he? Angry customers will be there, but he’ll be in costume with a mask. His fiancé, who isn’t wearing a mask, discovers from furious people who guess who he is that he’s unemployed and throws his ring at him. Richard is better off without her, but he doesn’t see it that way. Home, alone but for Ben, his Jack Russell, he resorts to brandy. After a day like that, I’d resort to brandy, but there are twenty minutes to go before his horrible Monday is over, and the doorbell rings. Outside, is his ex-wife Naomi, with teenage Maria, a daughter Richard didn’t know he had. “I’ve looked after her for fourteen years. It’s your turn now.”

Book 2 – Pre-order available – click the cover to go to Amazon.

Two Face the World – Marry in Haste…

Marriage with a twenty-one-year age gap -particularly after Richard treated Maria as the daughter DNA proved she wasn’t for three and a half years – was never going to be easy. Richard intended to wait until Maria completed a university degree – Richard often has sensible ideas. The women in his life have never cooperated, and Maria is no exception, but his feisty bride turns out to be only one of his problems.

Marry in haste, repent at leisure? Somebody intends to split Richard and Maria apart, but why? What could he or she have to gain? As Maria herself says, “the past has a nasty habit of coming back to haunt you” Is she right, or does one of the girls at The White Hart, the pub where he entertains the clientele for his friend, “Mr Pickwick” Bill Hamilton, want Richard for herself? How he or she attempts to shatter the marriage is  no-holds-barred and increasingly unscrupulous.


Spoiler Warning!

For readers of “Three Against the World: A Waif, a Stray and a Romance? 

Richard and Maria’s story ended with Richard promising Maria an engagement ring for her eighteenth birthday, but he was in shock after Valerie’s rejection, so does she get one? The relationship almost founders when he vanishes all day on June the tenth, which is the day. However, Bill – you remember “Mr Pickwick”, landlord of The White Hart? – attempts to push them back together, literally. This is Richard’s chance to propose, but will he when he’s committed to entertaining the pub clientele until midnight?

Check back regularly for more. The first correct guess at the song title I’ve used for that chapter wins a free copy of Two Face the World: Marry in haste…

Well, with a title like this one, somebody got married, and it doesn’t take much to guess who, but this is Romantic Suspense, so it isn’t all over with the confetti. The question is, what when wrong first? The past, as Maria says, has a nasty habit of coming back to haunt you. Clue! What is the one word she could say to our gentle, loving, Richard, which would make him lose his temper?

Guesses in comments – free copy to anybody with the correct answer –  please say which question you are answering!

Lesley Hayes – Making Her Entrance Again With Her Usual Flair.

I confess to being addicted to Ms Hayes’ writing, and I’m delighted to say her new release has done the impossible – exceeded all the brilliant novels that came before.

The sixties and seventies come to vivid life, and three teenage girls are drawn together by – wait for it – their differences. They grow up in a period of swift change in attitudes to sexuality, politics, and violence – everything from still-legal marital rape to the shooting of JFK.

Cordelia is the dreamer who goes to India to “find herself”, but what does she find? Surely a First from Cambridge University will please Beatrice’s family, but does she get one? Rosalind is one of twins, and her charismatic twin is trouble!

I recommend Exits and Entrances to readers who enjoy literary fiction, family sagas, romance – anybody willing to lose themselves in a good story that leaves them satisfied whilst looking forward to the sequel.

Now, a fascinating insight from the author on how this book came to be written and the planned development of the trilogy.

One day they suddenly manifested in front of me – three schoolgirls, clamouring to have their stories told… one shy, one feisty, and one decidedly cynical. Was it a waking dream, or one of those strange events that occur when the muse is tapping at my door, demanding entry? I could see them so clearly in my mind’s eye, and felt I somehow already knew them – Cordelia, Rosalind, and Beatrice… aged fourteen, dressed in their Blackheath High School uniform, so brashly innocent of all that was yet to come that it touched my heart… Their school motto ‘Knowledge is now no more a fountain sealed’ was bound to prove prophetic, had the Public Day School Trust but known it, having been taken originally from the highly erotic Song of Songs and referring to carnal knowledge.

I won’t describe the girls because if you’ve begun to read Exits and Entrances you’ll already have formed your own idea of what they look like. They kept visiting me, sometimes speaking to me at inconvenient moments (often in the shower) insisting that I recorded accurately whatever it was they were telling me. They each had a different voice, and a different story. They wanted me to be their scribe, but I still hadn’t decided whether I would take them on. And then a peculiar twist occurred. I saw them all not at fourteen but at seventy – the same girls, but women now, facing all the things that women face in later life. They were talking together, quite ignoring me. They had already solidified from their original ghostly forms and taken on flesh and bones. They had grown. They had aged. They had evolved enough to discount me. They had a lifetime of history. I finally submitted. They knew their life stories, but I didn’t yet. There was only one thing to do – write it.

As always happens when I come to the end of writing a novel, I am already grieving for the loss of the characters I have come to understand so deeply. They are real to me. I have felt their pain (which as any writer will confess is also my pain, indelibly entwined in theirs.) I have watched them struggle and learn what it means to pay the price of being human, just as we all do. I have resisted rescuing them from their inevitable disasters and transgressions. My task is merely to record how consequences transpire from the choices they make. They are as much at the mercy of fate and karma as any of us. There is a natural trajectory in their paths and all I need to do is follow it. And that is as much of the process of writing as I’m able to describe. To go further would be like pulling the wings off a butterfly. I know when stories begin and I discover how they end, and the journey that takes me there as a writer goes far deeper than I can explain.

This book, and the two that will follow to complete the trilogy, feels important to me. It is written for women of every age, and the men who love and strive to understand them. Each woman’s personality is complex and unique, and yet aspects of her experience will resonate whatever her individual story happens to be. It is also written for men, whose social roles and identity have changed a great deal over the last six decades, and who struggle in other ways to survive life in this turbulent society. The old adage asserts that if you remember the sixties you weren’t really there, so whether you were around then or not, Exits and Entrances will give you an idea of what it was like – not for everyone, of course, but for these three girls in particular who so insistently stepped forward into the limelight of my imagination to reveal how it was for them.

As always with my books, I welcome feedback, whether in the form of a review or a simple message to let me know what it meant for you. And if you have reached the end of it and have enjoyed it so much you are eager to know when the next one will be published – be patient. Cordelia, Rosalind, and Beatrice are still telling me their stories, one revealing chapter at a time.

Why Write?

Found it – the reblog button.
I can empathise with almost everything!

Depositphotos_2488689_original typewriter3

Well, what to say here? This is an article I wrote back in 1995 for no other reason than that it was the very first piece of writing I ever had published (3rd prize in a competition for which I was awarded the princely sum of £20). I’ve tidied it up a bit since then, but the text essentially remains the same 


                             Why Write?                                                         


Why Write? An interesting question you might agree, but one with a multitude of answers. The same question could well be asked of those who follow other creative pursuits. What compelled Van Gogh or Gaugin to paint, despite their sufferings…

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National Rat Day – Rat Tales short story collection …

I’m reading this… slowly. Not because I wouldn’t LIKE to read the lot, but I’m editing and this is my treat for the great publication day.


Rat Tales is Book One of a three-book collection, titled …

The Creature Tales.

Books Two Three, scheduled for publication, early 2019.

Rat Tales    Book Trailer …

Click HERE for UK Amazon buying link – Click HERE for link


Rat Tales

A Mischief of Little Horrors 


Had your rabies shots yet? The rats are loose!

Rat Tales. Twenty-four ‘rat’ themed short stories, and the first book in a three-book collection, The Creature Tales. 

Many of the stories here are traditional blood and gore filled horror, but several venture slightly into the realms of science fiction and the supernatural.

Within this collection, the reader will find every rat incarnation imaginable, from the super strong and ultra intelligent to bloodthirsty and seemingly immortal. 

While every story has been written to stand alone, several are loosely inter-connected with an ongoing reference to the future. Among…

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Character Interrupted. An interview BY Jean Lee

Very interesting. Reblogged.

shehanne moore

#Author #Interviews: #historicalromance #writer @ShehanneMoore discusses #character development, #series #writing, #research, & starting a #smallpress #publisher

Jean Lee – Let’s first begin with what you write—smart, sexy, historical fiction. You delve into various time periods with your books, such as the 9th century in The Viking and the Courtesan and the 19th century in Splendor. What process do you go through when choosing the right century for a story’s setting? That is, if Splendor took place in another century, would it still be the Splendor we know?

Probably not. The stories are influenced by the time, the characters too, although they don’t always abide by the constraints of them. Mind you Splendor would be a shopaholic , running up debts galore in any time because some things are timeless. She’d be having to manage everything too. So I guess a bit of both would be true. I generally stick to the Georgian/Regency period—it’s a sort…

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5 stars – Sarah Stuart

Mia is a cancer survivor still struggling to ditch her medication and care for her four-old-daughter alone, when she faces every woman’s worst nightmare, an internet stalker. “He” claims to be her Number One Fan and Mia, a successful novelist accustomed to such approaches, replies briefly to his first email – a mistake that delights “Him”.

As always with John Nicholl’s inspired psychological thrillers, the killer is hidden from his potential victims in plain sight of readers. Powerless, they can only watch as “His” actions escalate until they rule Mia’s life and threaten her daughter, Isabella. Even their flight to Mia’s parents’ Italian villa leads to tragic failure; “He” is there.

DCI Gravel, affectionately known as Grav, facing a choice of retirement or a desk job, becomes involved when Mia appeals to him as a family friend. How far will he go to help her when his own daughter, Emily, receives a horrific gift from the killer?