What is a writer supposed to do with bits of story, backstory and such like left over after publication?
Deliberately Left Over Story
A few years back I was working on what turned into “The Uncovered Policeman; Made For TV” when I discovered a chunk of the story was going in a different direction to the main narrative. I cut it out and dumped it into a separate file, summed up three thousand words in five lines and carried on.
Three thousand words, it was a lot of work, I wasn’t going to waste it, surely? Certainly not.
I added a few characters and followed the narrative. I ended up with one of my longer stories, “While Bees Sleep.” A story described by one reviewer as “a fine contribution to the literature of the body-positive movement.”
My last novelette, D-Day for Ruth is very much a one Point of View (PoV) piece. However, there are other characters in the book and to make the story work, they need a backstory.
One of the backstories developed into an interesting narrative of its own.
I was tempted to write it into the timeline of the existing story. I soon realised that it would involve extending the story beyond the ending as it exists. Effectively, it would become a different story.
I think it may appear as a second story however, it lacks an ending … Perhaps, one day!
The Unfinished Book
A third type of left over material is the incomplete work.
I have a half finished science fiction book. I think it has a rather good plot. I’d got to an ending … except as an early reader pointed out I give away the ending on the third page! That, he pointed out, makes reading the book rather pointless.
On re-reading after that blow, I discovered that I also break an established rule of the universe I set it in, which was very silly.
I still hope to return to this one and straighten out the mistakes.
So, No Waste
As you’ll see from the examples above I hate waste! It doesn’t mean that I don’t have old ideas, half paragraphs and unfinished stuff floating around. While some writers may discard work, I don’t; everything is recycled eventually.
Several people have asked about the setting for many of the
Uncovered Policeman stories, L’Abeille Nue. It is entirely fictitious. The
location as described in the book “Goodbye Blues.” The stream, the orchard, the
buildings and the pool exist only in my imagination now that I have lost the
sketch map I made when I started the story. I could take you there I know exactly
where it is but you would be disappointed.
The spirit of L’Abeille Nue is based on fact. During the
early years of the last decade, Mrs Bun and I managed the Quinta da Horta, a
naturist place in the south of Portugal.
The fabric of the resort was on its very last knockings.
Held together by the paint we lashed onto every surface. The water pipes burst
with alarming regularity. The roofs leaked when it rained and the drains were a
total mystery, the man who had dug them had died taking their secrets to the
No matter when the sun shone the place had a beauty and an
atmosphere of peace. The wonderful guests and the volunteers that stayed
created a buzz about the place. They would paint murals and pictures. Translate
jokes from one language to another and laugh at the retelling.
We would all dine together under the night skies several
time a week. Then play guitars (and for two weeks the accordion) and sing songs
late into the night.
You see now the spirit of L’Abeille Nue, all it needed was decent,
solidly constructed buildings. In an arrangement that would work better than
the random dotting of old farm buildings, converted to cottages. Oh’ and a good
electrical and water supply, drainage and for the twenty-first century proper Wi-Fi
Rags and Bea were luckier than Mrs Bun and I were, they got
the perfect set up! While we now have the small but perfectly form L’Olivette …
Where Chas and Di entertained guests in “In and Out of the Blues” and in “When the
Music Stops: DC al Fine.” So we are good.
June 2020 will see me in print in three different places!
1 Dark London
Dark London is a two volume anthology of stories drawing on the darker side of the Capital’s streets and the people that fill them.
My story that lurks between the covers of Volume 1, hidden between stories by Jess Popplewell and Anne-Marie Ormsby (The Tower) and a safe distance from the foreword by Alice Castle (The London Murder Mysteries)
December Fog is one of those stories that floated around in my mind for several years with no natural outlet … until Dark Stroke came up with this collection.
A period piece set back before the Clean Air Act, in a time when heating was by coal and gas lighting was pretty high tech stuff!
The tale follows one man and his … No, that would give too much away!
I wonder … will you find the contemporary political joke in the tail?
The list of authors includes some fabulous writers:
Miriam Drori Jess Popplewell Ted Bun Anne-Marie Ormsby Kate Braithwaite Donna Cuttress Sue Barnard Sam Hall Cathie Dunn
And there are more stories in volume 2
Featuring tales by these talented scribes:
Angela Wren Chris Dommett Alice Castle Richard Savin Alan Taylor Marie Gault Tom Halford Denise Bloom Harper Channing
All the royalties from the sales of these books will go to The London Community Project and Centrepoint.
2 Murder in the Nudist Colony
A second Short Story in a charitable anthology.
Murder in the Nudist Colony, not a very PC title but it was chosen deliberately using the antiquated term “nudist colony” for a slightly retro, humorous touch. All the stories feature a murder in a place used for naturist recreation. The original idea was to have all the stories called “Murder in the Nudist Colony” but that was abandoned as too silly. Except …
My story is called “Murder in the Nudist Colony” and is set in a very British Nudist venue of considerable vintage. The crime is however very contemporary.
The other stories by such luminaries of naturist fiction as Paul Z Walker, Wallace Greensage, Robert Longpre, Matthew McDermott, Will Forest and Jacob Drake.
As well as new comers to the genre James Gault, Stan Muir, Adreas Nudetzki, Ana Juric, Hannah Steenbock, Gregg White and Robert Payne.
The collection sit behind a superb cover illustration by Fabien Barabe
Diverse, humorous and dark … read it! It is fun.
Royalties from this collection will be going to Médecins Sans Frontières (aka Doctors Without Borders)
3 The Last Day of June
A serious tome, for me. Hence it is published under a different name, Edward Yeoman and not Ted Bun.
Once again it is a story with a very long period of gestation. It started back in 1974, when I heard Al Stewart sing a song with a similar title. I kept returning to the idea’s and images the song had brought to mind and eventually I started to write the story in summer 2019.
The tale starts in 1934, when the last day of June was the last day of life for a lot of people. Taking three different view points the book sweeps through Europe and European History to the conclusion in 1974.
“I started to read it and couldn’t put it down!” Robert Whiston-Crisp
According to Robert’s wife, “He sat out in the garden and started reading it. He didn’t move until four o’clock when he went to the loo, came back and kept reading!”
A tale of two sisters,
one her father’s joy, happy go lucky take each day as it comes, nearly
thirty-year-old Erin. The other, her mother’s little girl, sugar and spice and all
things nice. Married, a baby on the way, a part time teacher life is perfect
for Amanda, until she discovers that her husband has been secretly visiting the
same café as she does. Just a little lie … that is the first of many.
As Amanda’s life is shredded,
Erin’s wobbles but they find they need each other.
A good read, stretching
the credulity a bit far in a couple of places.
Born in the Wrong Body (The Nudist Series)
An interest read about
a woman born in a male body and her struggles to be accepted and to escape.
Just a little bit too
Fools and Their Toys
Not Michael Beyer’s
best by a considerable distance. It takes a different view point on the events
in the earlier Sing Sad Songs.
I found the timeline
confusing, which made it very difficult to follow the narrative.
The author indicates at
the start of the story that he intends to meld the two books into one at some
stage. Fools and Their Toys will benefit, I’m less sure that Sing Sad Songs
Mortal Blow (Wilson Book 12)
If you have waded
through the 11 books to get here, you’ll know about the Circle. You’ll know
about the corruption in the Police Service of Northern Ireland.
You may have heard of
the Panama Papers
Well Sammy Rice’s foot
turns up and all hell breaks loose.
A fabulous Finale.
Border Badlands (Wilson Book 11)
DS Wilson is sent to
the South to help with a brutal murder, the powers that be know that the
killers and the motive are in the Northern Ireland even if the crime wasn’t.
A bit of a pot-boiler
there to convince the reader that he deals with other crimes beyond the Circle.
Good detective story if
a little lackluster for the series.
A Field Guide to Fauns
Fifteen-year-old Devon Martinez is a very damaged and abused young man. He has been rescued by his father and is taken to join his step-family. Step-Mum is a beauty, her twin daughters are as like physically as they are different behaviorally. Devon is an introvert drawn to drawing pictures of Fauns, in fact his only friend is a faun!
Now they are all going
to have to accommodate Devon’s problems and issues as he comes to terms with
the abuse from his dead mother and coming to live in a naturist park.
Michael Beyer’s years
of teaching enable him to get right beneath the skin of his characters and
imbibe them with real traits, emotions and responses.
One to read.
Book of the Month
Super scientist, Professor Theo Cray, gets drawn into a murder case.
A former student has been killed within a few miles of a place he is visiting.
Then the body count
starts to mount, as armed with his computer modeling software he deduces
deaths, murders, almost too many to count.
skills enable him to detect bodies under the ground from the clues left by
The problem is the cops
don’t believe him. He has to catch the serial killer on his own.
Clever, well written
and blood soaked.
5 Stars (just)
The Reed Ferguson Series: Books 7-9: A Private Investigator Mystery Series – Crime Suspense Thriller Boxset (The Reed Ferguson Mystery Series
Reed Ferguson and his
team of social misfit helpers blunder around 3 more cases aided by the glamourous
Girlfriend and slightly hostile lady cop.
Fun light and not to
serious even though the body count starts to stack up.
And … If the computer
guy can hack everyone else’s mobile phone records in stories 1 – 8 why is it
down to Reed to find a number noted somewhere in Case 9 before he can make
progress … Just Askin
Enjoyable light reading
by R A Dee
An amusing like
variation on the ‘Deep Space Asteroid Miner’ genre of sci-fi. Joe Tide is in
deep space with is eccentric ship board computer, when he gets a Mayday from a
pleasure yacht. He ends up stuck for the entire journey home with the man
hating Professor Melissa Scrivener.
This book adds little
to the sum of human knowledge or understanding but that is not what it about.
As I say amusing, fun and easy reading.
Now, Then, and Everywhen
(Chronos Origins Book 1)
by Rysa Walker (author)
Time travel in short
installments all vaguely linked …. A cast of hundreds all called Kate.
historical content on the early days of the American Civil Rights movement and
the early days of the Beatles
It all got to confusing
and little got resolved.
As a fan of good
science fiction … I was disappointed.
Paul Kater’s book Time
to Time (Reviewed in January) was a much better stab at time travel fiction.
Started the month looking forward to meeting my American family in Florida. The month ended locked down in France, plenty of time for reading and writing.
Dorelle’s Journey (The Cloud Lands Saga Book 1)
A nice tale of a warrior girl (Dorelle) and her fighting, talking and thinking dragon.
Dorelle is a Dragon Rider, Mashira is her dragon. They have a different concept of duty to the commander of the Wing they belong to. To save Mashira’s life they have to run. Then things get worse, safety or duty?
A nice read, nothing deep, no hidden messages but fun
Magical Miss Morgan
Miss Morgan is one of those teachers that inspire, that is until the Wee People from the Kingdom of Tellosia turn up. Then things go to pot!
Attempts at getting her sacked and physical threats. A conflict with her boyfriends daughter. And fairies.
The Norwall Pirates, are there to help of course, this is a Michael Bayer book! Even if their involvement is always positive!
Fun easy reading, with lots of little moral messages either hidden away or slapping you around the face.
The Imposter’s Inheritance (Glass and Steele Book 9)
Maybe this should be a Glass and Glass book … Miss Steele has been Mrs Glass for quite a while.
Matt and India become embroiled in the theft of a magical gold coronet and the machinations of Lord Coyle. There are plenty of suspects for the crime all with good alibis for the time of the crime. After a lot of investigation they manage to solve the crime … and Lord Coyle?
Nice writing lots of little sub-plots with well drawn minor characters to help keep you reading. I rather enjoyed this one
This Won’t End Well
by Camille Pagán
Spoiler alert … it did.
Written as a diary with e-mail correspondence between the characters this story is about a failing human, in a failing romance, part of a failed family. Annie Mercer loses her job after complaining of sexual harassment. Annie’s best friend becomes obsessed with selling health supplements, instead of being a pal in her hour of need. Her boyfriend hightails it to France when they should be wedding planning.
Enter a new neighbour, followed by a detective, a violent lover … or is it. Annie has a new interest in life … Even Annie’s depressed mother has a new interest in life.
The plot swings between obvious to rather silly as it goes along. The only character that you really get to know is the rather wobbly heroine, Annie. I am sure in real life the other people in the story have more depth than gets into the diary.
Fun but rather empty.
I’ll give it 3 Stars
The Harlech Beach Killings: A Snowdonia Murder Mystery Book 2
The Snowdonia Killings: A Snowdonia Murder Mystery Book 1
by Simon McCleave
DI Ruth Hunter, a refugee from the Metropolitan Police (a London cop) takes up a new job in Wales, or a fictional country that has Welsh named places randomly distributed (and sometimes randomly spelt) across the landscape.
Ruth is on the run from the horror of London crime and the loss of her lover, who got on a train and is never seen again, despite checking the CCTV at every station.
Her partner in crime solving is an alcoholic Detective Sergeant with a huge need for a vodka breakfast that no one has noticed …
Both stories are Murder whodunits that lay lots of false trails about and are fundamentally good stories, except our damaged twosome manage to destroy rather of innocent(ish) lives as they bark up the wrong trees.
In the second story Ruth has a new relationship … but I guess it is doomed as she is still in love with her missing partner.
2 Star pot boilers
THE SPICE MAN OF CASABLANCA (Tea and Scones at the Canal Side Cafe’ Book 1)
by Maggie Morley
Two interchangeable young girls go on a cruise. One pulls the Third Officer, the other the man from the British Consulate. How did the man from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office get involved? The Spice Man deals in other things.
Sadly there is little more to the plot. There are lots of changes of clothing, a plentiful descriptions of items on the menu and people who get introduced and disappear for ever.
Not that Hollywood, the one in Cumbria. For that matter, it isn’t the famous Hattie , Hattie Jacques either. Although, Hattie Mulberry is a larger, voluptuous and sexually aware lady of a number of years life experience too. She has been married twice, once to an Italian and then more recently and, all too briefly, to Hugo. Hugo had a massive heart attack, Hattie was sat at the Captain’s table on a cruise with him at the time.
Hattie comes to Hollywood to collect on an inheritance,
Holly Cottage, which has been left to her by an aunt. The day she arrives there
is a funeral next door at Holly House, preceded by a loud argument between two
The next day with her furniture in the cottage and Alf, and his dog Ness, set to work tidying the dilapidated garden, Hattie decides to call at the big house. Where she meets the recently widowed Daphne, a far from merry widow. Daphne’s husband, a popular man with the gang at the pub, apparently committed suicide. Daphne describes him as a happy man. A man who wouldn’t have left her in a parlous financial state by breaching the terms of his life insurance.
Alf is a gardener and handyman who worked at a ‘hotel’ a short distance from Hollywood. Hattie had met Alf when she been employed at the ‘hotel’ before marrying Hugo. There is much more than a bacon sandwich and a roll-up to Alf and the ‘hotel’ might deserve the inverted commas!
Stop her from getting bored in her new rut, it is Alf who suggests that Mrs Mulberry should become the village Miss Marples. Her first case awaits.
The cast of village characters are nicely drawn, pencil
outlines where that is all that is needed, watercolours where colour is needed
and just a few detailed portraits. It is a well-balanced piece of writing in
this respect. Just enough to make the difference between the vicar’s hippy-dippy
second wife and the nosey shop keeper very clear.
The randy pub manager is one of Hattie’s big fans, although
it would appear that most of the pub regulars are victims of her undoubted
charms. As you would expect from a village crime story, the pub, the shop and
vicarage are all frequently visited locations.
The plot is a simple vehicle to enable the likeable and less
pleasant characters to interact with Hattie. Only the out and out baddies are
not redeemable in this light story.
All you have to do is get yourself a nice cup of something, a packet of your favourite biscuits, sit in your favour fireside chair and turn the pages while smiling at these delightful characters. Well, that is what I did.
Oh, and did I mention Drake? I should have mentioned Drake, too late now you’ll have to read the book to find out!
Abbie is the Restaurant Critic for the New York Sentinel and she has the body to go with it, after a life time of indulging in the finest food available. So much so she is no longer able to go ‘undercover.’ The restaurants know her and she is starting to get special treatment!
As a result, she is replaced by Barry and demoted to a once a week column until she loses some of her identifying weight.
Why is she so addicted to food? Her Grandmother, Gigi, who taught her to cook to keep her away from her warring parents? Her parents? Social pressure?
sometimes indirectly, by the males in her life she sets about rebuilding
read, however I found the detailed recipes that ended many chapters an
affectation that cost the book a whole star and her girlfriend, Jess just
Stars – 1 for the cookery lessons.
Lost in Time
The stories of two women living centuries apart, but through the actions of others, in the same region of France.
is apparent from the very beginning that both of the women are trapped. Only
one has the power to set them both free and she doesn’t know it.
older story set in the time of Charlemagne offers a tale of blood, violence, and
feuding. The heroine, although loved by father and her future husband, is
treated as a chattel battered to please the King. Forced into an arranged
marriage to man she hardly knows sent across the country from Vaulun to the
citadel of Carcassonne to marry the Count.
other contemporary woman, Madie, has been left a house by her estranged. Francophile,
mother. Not that she wants to keep it, do it up and sell it; get back to
Newcastle and her life as an academic, that’s her plan. Her mother it transpires
had other ideas. Trapped in the house, she finds herself the focus of attention
from the locals, in more ways than one.
there is the mystery of her father …
she is best known as a writer of historical romance, the story set in
contemporary time is an elegantly written and realistic romance.
his written a delightful piece of time travel fiction. The main character
Cordelia Brown used to (or is it, she will?) work for a company that makes time
machines. Until, it all goes to pot one day and she escapes in an unfinished
time machine. When we meet her she is building a new life in the past, has a
boyfriend in a different country but in contemporary time.
All is going well until, agents from her time appear
and … the rest you will have to read for yourself.
A fun uplifting tale, cleverly plotted.
The Real Story Of The Boat That
The story of Radio Caroline, written
by someone who was there, for part of it. A well written book sprinkled with
dozens of amusing, scary and totally mundane anecdotes collected from former DJs,
the Owners, office workers and supporters of Britain’s first commercial radio
The book covers the heady early days
of the Station in the 1960 through the low times, the shipwrecks being
impounded, to the modern day.
Radio Caroline still transmits to the
East of England, 24 hours a day- everyday, on the medium wave and to the rest of the
world via DAB and the Internet. They use the Radio Caroline ship, the Ross Revenge
(a record breaking trawler before she became a broadcast ship) for a monthly
broadcast under the guise of Radio Caroline North.
The book is illustrated with a
selection of photographs, many of which unless you are a transmitter-mast nerd,
look much the same.
I found it to be an interesting read.
Two worlds are suddenly linked, ours
and one where the Church has developed mental powers. Powers that they need tortured
souls to sustain. Guess who’s souls they are after.
A Murder and a spate of disappearances bring Detective Chief Inspector Seamus Brogan to a remote part of the countryside outside Dublin. Where he finds himself driving off the road, literally the road has disappeared. He has crossed into the other world.
Can he save himself, the rather
attractive woman who was with him and the rest of our world?
A cleverly constructed tale. I
enjoyed turning the pages.
A Friend in Need
Elizabeth M. Hurst
A second story set in the same
village and involving characters we met in Siren Spirit.
Once again we have a well written and
engaging story of spirits trapped in a place beyond their time, while people
try to deal with the issues in their own lives.
The representation of Selena’s
depressive illness and behaviour is one of the best I have encountered in
A likeable story, a good fireside
read for a cold winter’s evening … or maybe on a sun lounger by the pool.
A Wife and a Bisexual Husband
A novel, written in a woman’s voice, about
her coming to terms with her husband’s admission that he is bisexual. Not only
is he bisexual he is also impotent, which of course brings, Kate, the wife’s sexuality
This is a patchy exploration of the
doubts and uncertainties Kate experiences along the way to her new life. Some of
her internal conversation repeats several times, others are almost glossed
over. While in her life she struggles with some small steps and at other times
she makes huge bounds almost without thought.
For the patchy nature.
Who Kills a Nudist
A complex story of interwoven crimes
in the English county of Cornwall, a spiritual home of smuggling of all types.
The trigger for the tale is the death
of rather gentle pensioner, a man who was found naked in the sea. He had been
sexually assaulted and violently killed. (That is about it for nudists as far
as this story is concerned!)
Enter Detective Chief Inspector Neil
Kettle, a man with enough on his plate already. Widower of 3 years, his only
real friend his father-in-law who was also a heroic thief taker in his days in
A plot that has more elements than
the periodic table (not really but it is a busy story) the Cornish Detective
could be a series to follow.
A Village by the River
A story from the Nudist Series that
Marin Brant has created.
Jonathon, a born hiking enthusiast,
decides to abandon his damp, clingy clothes, one afternoon when out hiking and
has an epiphany.
The rest of the book concerns his
relationship with Patricia, a girl he encounters while on a naked ramble and
trying to get his friend Timothy, to join him.
A very American book, many of the cultural
references … factory dormitories, for instance, are outside of British
experience. So learnt something as well as enjoying a gentle stroll through
Americana with out my clothes.
Rags finds himself surrounded by strong, caring and supportive women; most of them strongly influenced by Bea. All wanting the very best for a man they all view as someone very special, Bea’s influence at work again?
If you remember how he left the after party following the final, farewell performance of the Unknown Twins. How he returned to his hotel and he sat and talked the night away. Then you might have an idea where this story starts.
Death Beside the Seaside (A Lady Hardcastle Mystery Book 6) by T E Kinsey (author)
Tiny Flo’ and Lady Hardcastle are back!
On holiday in wonderful Weston, the dynamic duo find themselves embroiled in a multiple murder, spy, hotel mystery. Lots of murders, most of the guests at the hotel involved in espionage and the biggest mystery … who are Chub and Perch or is Antelope and Gazelle? Maybe Flo was correct to name them Leftie and Rightie after their gun hands.
An other rollicking adventure, revealing more of the past adventures of Lady H and her tiny companion, that bustles along like a hat in the breeze along Weston Promenade. At least it prevented Flo’ getting bored waiting for the tide to bring the sea to her!
As ever another fun read, just pipped to book of the month.
A fabulous read 5 Stars
The Reed Ferguson Series: Books 1-3 & Books 4-6 by Renee Pawlish (author)
A couple of box sets, the start of at least 18 stories featuring “not quite a rich boy anymore” detective Reed Ferguson. (Book 5 reveals why!)
The cast of characters are laid down in book 1 and they remain very true to themselves throughout, no sudden super-powers … then with Goofball Brothers as main support players; you wouldn’t expect them too. The plots are all different even if Reed’s technique, a bit like Dick Francis’s detective Sid Halley’s “crash about a bit until someone beats me up”, approach.
I found them to be easy to read and kept me turning the pages.
Good reads 4 Stars
See You at the Bar (A Harry Gilmour Novel Book 5) by David Black (author)
Harry Gilmour continues to fight his war beneath the waves of the Mediterranean. Except in this story he is on the surface of the sea much of the time. His would be nemesis, The Bonnyboy, is still trying to kill the one and only officer who knows the truth about his final patrol.
A less tension riddled tale than earlier books. Instead you worry for poor Harry’s mental and physical health and that of his crew as the submarine is pushed well beyond the normal deployment.
A bit weaker than normal from David Black
A final fling, 3 (+1/2) Stars
The Prisoner’s Key (Glass and Steele Book 8) by CJ Archer
This is really a Steele and Steele book, picking up the story soon after Matt and India return from their honeymoon. A metal magician wants to work with India to create new spells, then he becomes embroiled in a murder. India, Matt and the rest of the crew set out to provide the police with the identity of the real killer.
If you have enjoyed the previous seven stories, you’ll like this one too. It doesn’t, however, give you a reason to read on if you have lost enthusiasm for the series.
A fun read 4 Stars
The Last Dance (The Near-Earth Mysteries Book 1) by Martin L. Shoemaker
The Captain of a ship on an endless voyage is charged with mutiny by the military forces under the control of BIG money. The very junior Inspector General, Park Yerim, is the only inspector available in the narrow time frame available to conduct an independent investigation.
Park gathers testimony from the diverse crew, painting a complex picture of Captain Aames’s character: his heroism, his failures, even his personal passions. As the investigation unfolds, Park finds herself having to hold off powerful interests, each pushing and pulling her in a different direction to the one she wants to pursue. Corruption, conflicting loyalties, and clashing accounts make it nearly impossible to see the truth in fifty million miles of darkness, and Park faces danger from every direction. All eyes are on her: one way or another, her findings will have astronomical implications for all involved
A classic country house style mystery, just the country house is missing. A well-told, enthralling story.
Undoubtedly The Book of the Month 5 Stars
Other Halves (Hannah series Book 2) by Nick Alexander
A typically well crafted book by Nick Alexander. A marriage falls apart when Hanna leaves husband Cliff for his brother James. Cliff then has to struggle, coming to terms with suppressed feeling from his teenage years. In the middle of this turmoil is Luke, the only child and weapon of choice for the warring couple.