Well, I did it – just. I got my three Witch’s Dog stories up there on Smashwords in time for Halloween. By a stroke of luck, while hunting for the missing box of Halloween decorations in the loft, I came across a box of old CDs. Amongst them was one with copies of many of my old stories. De-Witched and Witching Again were there, so saving me several hours of scanning the books in. Huzzah!
The Witch’s Dog I’ve already blogged about. It’s now sold 605 copies through Smashwords and is 27,044 in Barnes and Noble Nook Book sales rank. (My non-Halloweeny ebooks Oh Gran and Escape the Volcano are at 12,332 and 17,034 respectively.)
De-Witched, which got its name when the pop group B*witched was in the charts – just a few years ago now! – follows on from The Witch’s Dog. Cackling Carol the witch gets taken into care by well-meaning social workers. Deposited into a squeaky clean flat and with ten years of old age pension to get through (Carol has lied about her age, she’s in her 400s by now!), our witch discovers shopping and the cinema and turns her back on her witchy life – but more importantly on Big Roddy and Broom. What will they do?
Then comes Witching Again. This final story in the trilogy sees the three friends reunited, just in time to battle with the evil Blue Wizard Egbert again. It’s a tough fight which sees Broom turned into a floor cloth and Big Roddy into a toy dog. Has Cackling Carol got enough magic left to turn her companions back?
The covers are the best I could do in the time and I think are adequate for a free ebook whose main role, apart from providing some free entertainment, is to start getting my name as an author out there. Nessie was slightly more co-operative than when I did The Witch’s Dog pictures. They demonstrate that the books are in a series and give a nice image of a friendly witch’s dog, which is what Big Roddy is.
Did you check out my Halloween poem here?
Below are two stories that any youngsters in your household might enjoy. Change the character’s name if you like. Webmaster Chris will be putting a selection of my stories to personalise up on this site very soon, so do watch out for those.
The Witch’s Broom
“That’s it! I’ve had enough of being a witch’s’ broomstick!” spluttered the angry broom.
It was the morning of Halloween and he had just come back from a quick warm-up flight with his witch. The broom’s witch was called Witch Ella. Most of the other witches called her Witch Ellaphant, behind her back, of course . She was a very tubby witch and every year she got even tubbier because she ate too much pumpkin pie.
“Huh!” said the cauldron. “You say the same thing every year. I don’t know why you make you such a fuss. You only work one night a year, after all. Now, I work every single day. If it’s not stew she’s cooking in me, then it’s some horrid potion or other. And all day long I sit over the hot fire. I really have got something to moan about.”
“Yes, yes, yes,” muttered the broom. The cauldron was right. The broom did complain every year. Well, this year he would do something about it.
He hopped down from the shelf and shook his bristles. Several spiders plopped onto the floor and scurried away in alarm.
The broom made his way stiffly to the door of the cavern.
“You really off, then?” asked the cauldron in amazement.
By the door the broom stopped to tickle the cat’s ears with a bristle.
“I’ll miss you, Puss,” he said.
The cat opened one eye and purred a farewell, then went back to sleep.
The broom looked at the stretch of countryside before him. He had never seen it in daylight before. It looked beautiful. There were rolling hills, wooded valleys and even some snow-topped mountains far away. The broom’s gaze fell on a dark forest in the distance.
“That’s where I’ll go,” he decided. And at once he leapt into air the and streaked through the cool morning breeze. How pleasant it was to fly without the Ellaphant!
On the way to the forest, the broom flew over a village of white houses with thick, thatched roofs. Every house had a neat garden filled with late blooming flowers. How much nicer than Ella’s scruffy yard!
“How lovely!” exclaimed the broom. He glided down for a closer look. He had just made himself comfortable against the wall when a woman bustled up and grabbed hold of him.
“Come on, broom! Lots of work to do,” she panted and dragged him indoors. “Got to clean up before the children have their party tonight.”
For the next hour the Broom didn’t stop. He was stuffed into dusty corners and poky cracks. He swept cobwebs down and rustled and hustled all around the house.
At last the woman stopped.
“Well,” she exclaimed. “I need a rest before we start on the paths.”
“What!” gasped the broom. “More sweeping No thanks!”
He leapt out of the astonished woman’s hands and sailed into the sky. He didn’t stop until he came to the forest. He plopped down into a clearing and was surprised to find a row of brooms there. They were leaning against a wooden stand with a notice that said ‘FIRE BROOMS’ above them.
He settled next to them and closed his eyes for a nap. He was very weary. But suddenly the broom woke in alarm to find the air filled with thick, choking smoke. People were shouting! “Fire! Fire! Get the brooms! Beat the flames out!”
For the second time that the day the broom was grabbed.
He was crashed down onto the red, licking flames, again and again. The heat singed his bristles and the smoke made him sneeze. He was covered in ash.
“Frogs legs!” he yelped. “I hope this doesn’t go on for too long!”
At long last the fire was out. The people sat down for a rest. The broom decided it was time to leave. He didn’t want to go through that again!
He swooped into the sky and headed quickly for home. Today had shown him that being a witch’s broom wasn’t such a bad thing after all.
Ella was out in the yard looking for him. Puss purred happily when she saw her friend again.
“Aha!” Ella croaked. “I thought you would be back. It’s nearly time to go”.
She glanced up at the clock’s skeleton hands. “But there is just time for a couple of spells. First of all, broom, you need to be spruced up. And then I need to be slimmed down. I’m not surprised you flew away. I hadn’t realised what a lump I’d become! You’ve taught me a lesson!”
Side by side, they waddled into the cavern. The broom was looking forward to Halloween after all!
Patrick and the Giant Pumpkin
It was nearly Halloween. Patrick was very excited. He was jumping around in the hallway, waiting for Mum to come home. She had gone to town to buy a pumpkin. Mum had promised to buy an enormous one.
At last the car drew into the driveway. Dad and Patrick opened the door and watched as Mum opened the boot and lifted a beautiful orange pumpkin out. The only trouble was – it wasn’t very big at all. It was a tiny little pumpkin!
“I’m sorry,” said Mum, seeing Patrick’s sad face. “It was the only one I could find. All the shops have sold out of pumpkins. But look. It’s a lovely, round one. We’ll be able to carve a super scary face onto it. We’ll do that tomorrow.”
Mum put the pumpkin on the kitchen counter. Patrick kept running in to look at it, hoping it might have grown a bit more. But it stayed the same size. Patrick decided it needed some help.
First he decided to water it. He knew that watering plants helped them grow. Mum was busy in another room, and Dad had gone out so the coast was clear. Patrick quietly pulled the stool over to the sink. He got a jug out of the cupboard, then climbed onto the stool, turned on the tap and filled the jug. Next he pushed the stool over to where the pumpkin was and poured the water over it. The water sloshed all over the pumpkin and the counter and the floor and Patrick. But the pumpkin didn’t get any bigger.
Next Patrick decided to feed the pumpkin. He’d heard Dad talking about feeding his plants in the garden. But he wasn’t quite sure what they liked to eat. He went to the fridge and looked inside. There was ham and liver and butter and cold sausages and bacon. Patrick didn’t think the pumpkin would like those very much because he didn’t. But there was some lemon jelly and chocolate mousse. The very thing for a pumpkin! Patrick got them out and helped himself to a few licks! The jelly and mousse went all over the pumpkin and counter and the floor and Ruadhri. But the pumpkin didn’t get any bigger.
The only other thing Patrick knew was good for plants was soil. He couldn’t go outside on his own so he went into the lounge. There were three pot plants in there. He carried them into the kitchen very carefully. He pulled the plants out and put them in the sink on top of the washing up to keep them moist. Then he tipped the soil out of the three pots. The soil went all over the pumpkin and the counter and the floor and Patrick. But the pumpkin didn’t get any bigger.
Maybe he should just leave it for a while. That might do the trick. So he went to his room to play.
While he was playing, Dad came back. He’d been to the greengrocer’s shop in the village. He’d seen some pumpkins there. He’d gone out and bought a much bigger one than the one Mum had got.
He took his pumpkin to the kitchen. He gasped when he saw the mess. He nearly started shouting because he knew Patrick had done it. But then he realised what Patrick had been trying to do. He chuckled. So he cleared the mess up off the counter and the floor and repotted the plants. Then he put his pumpkin where Patrick’s had been. He hid the little pumpkin in the cupboard. Then he went off to find Mum.
Patrick decided it was time to check his pumpkin. He could hardly believe his eyes when he saw how much it had grown. Wait till Mum and Dad saw it! He was about to rush off and tell them, when he stopped. Seeing that just a little bit of water and a little bit of food and a little bit of soil had made it grow this much, well, just imagine how much bigger it would get if he used more water and more food and more soil. And there was plenty of water in the tap and loads of food in the fridge and lots more potted plants round the house.
Patrick rolled his sleeves up. He was going to have a very busy afternoon. He loved Halloween!