28 August 2018:
Come along to Rawtestall Cricket Club, Lancashire, at 7pm to hear my interview with local journalist Catherine Smyth about Rawtenstall's 1948 murder, as featured in my book ODD MAN OUT - A Motiveless Murder. Tickets will be on sale soon in Rawtenstall.
2 December 2017:
I'll be signing copies of my latest book 'ODD MAN OUT - A MOTIVELESS MURDER?' at Gerrards Cross Book Shop, 11am-3pm. Also present will be Joan Brant, signing copies of her debut book 'Homes for Heroes - Memories of Life in a 1940s Prefab'. Scoff chocs and chat books. Would love to see you there.
Catch my talk ;A Wistful Eye on Titanic' for the Belfast Titanic Society at the Royal Belfast Academical Institution at 7.30 pm on Monday 13 Nov. I'll be signing copies of my best selling novel 'A Wistful Eye - The Tragedy of a Titanic Shipwright'.
BOOK LAUNCH of 'Odd Man Out - A Motiveless Murder?' - I'll be signing copies of 'Odd Man Out' just a few feet from where the murder of Nancy Chadwick occurred, at The Weavers' Cottage, Rawtenstall, Lancs., from 11 am till 5 pm on Sat 7 and Sun 8 October, when the centre hosts its annual Craft Fair.
Also, catch my talk about the murder at Burnley Literary Festival on Mon 9 October, when I'll be signing copies of my book at the festival's pop-up venue in Burnley's Charter Walk Shopping Centre at noon.
WOOBURN LITERARY FESTIVAL 18 Sept - 21 Oct 2017: Catch my talk on Buckinghamshire Spies & Subversives at Bourne End Library on 21 September at 7.30 pm. Tickets £5 from the library and there will be copies of my book available to buy on the night at discounted price.
The release is imminent of my latest non-fiction, 'ODD MAN OUT'. This tells the true and tragic tale of Margaret 'Bill' Allen, a transgendered bus conductress, hanged in January 1949 for the 1948 murder of a woman she scarcely knew.
Look out also for Joan Brant's book 'Homes for Heroes', her memoir of life in a 1940s prefab, ghost written by me.
7.30 pm Mon 10 April I shall be talking about Bucks Spies & Subversives to Flackwell Heath Local History Society at their community library.
12.30 Tues 11 April is my interview with BBC Three Counties Radio on the Nick Coffer Show.
Weds 12 April 2pm come to St Andrew's Hall, Gerrards Cross, for Afternoon Tea and Cake and my talk on 'The Famous and Infamous of The Chalfonts & District'.
My new book 'Odd Man Out' is completed and will be published soon.
20 March 1960's pop idol Jess Conrad joined me at Gerrards Cross Book Shop for the re-launch of my book 'The Famous and Infamous of the Chalfonts & District.
My screenplay 'Odd Man Out' is completed and ready for submission. Now working on the book to accompany the film.
Saturday 17 December 2016:
I shall be signing copies of my books at GERRARDS CROSS BOOK SHOP 11am till 1pm. Join me for a mince pie.
Saturday 3 December 2016:
Today sees the launch of She Voices anthology 'Notes on a Page', at RICHMOND LIBRARY (extension) 2-6pm. Tea, cake & music plus readings. See you there.
Saturday 15 October 2016:
I shall be speaking at the CHORLEYWOOD LITERARY FESTIVAL. Do catch my talk on 'Buckinghamshire Spies & Subversives' at 2pm at The Junction. Tickets available from Chorleywood Book Shop or Gerrards Cross Book Shop. Tea and cake included.
Thursday 6 October 2016
Come and join me on my 'Graveyard Walk & Talk'. I shall be taking a small party of people tripping around the headstones in St Peter's Garden, Chalfont St Peter, at 10am and we shall hear about some of the famous, worthy and interesting people who lie there. Tickets from Gerrards Cross or Chorleywood Book Shops.
Saturday 21 May 2016:
Admission is FREE to the WRITERS' CAFE & POP-UP BOOK SHOP event organised by the Chalfont St Giles & Jordans Literary Festival. I and 7 fellow authors will be at The Reading Room, Chalfont St Giles, to chat informally to visitors on how to get inspired, get writing and get published. Teas, Coffees & delicious home-made cakes on sale and lots of books to browse while you sip. See you there.
Saturday 16 April 2016:
A most enjoyable day was had by all at the DOWNLEY LITERARY FESTIVAL, Bucks. The speakers were No 1 bestselling author Elizabeth Buchan; writer, editor & literary agent Jemima Hunt, hugely succesful short story scribe Tracy Baines and 'Frost Magazine' editor and ace blogger Catherine Balavage. All proceeds went to the charity for wounded ex-servicemen WORDS FOR THE WOUNDED.
I am thrilled to announce that Buckinghamshire Spies & Subversives was the year's no 5 best seller of 2015 at Gerrards Cross Book Shop, beating Girl on a Train and Go Set a Watchman.
2 December: I'll be having a book signing at Gerrards Cross Book Shop 6- 8.30pm during the GX Christmas late night shopping event. Do pop in and say 'hello'.
12 December: I am one of 10 guest authors honoured to have been invited to participate with top booksellers at the KENSINGTON BOOKSELLERS FAIR in Kensington Town Hall 10.30-4.30. You'll find us near the entrance to the cafe.
On the evening of Weds 18 Nov I'll be giving my talk 'Buckinghamshire Spies & Sunversives' to HEDGERLEY HISTORICL SOCIETY.
'BUCKINGHAMSHIRE SPIES & SUBVERSIVES' IS CURRENTLY AT NO 9 IN THE TOP 20 BEST SELLERS AT GERRARDS CROSS BOOK SHOP AND NO 1 BEST SELLER AT ONLINE DISTRIBUTOR.
Weds 1 July 2015:
COME AND MEET ME AT GERRARDS CROSS BOOK SHOP THIS WEDS BETWEEN 6 AND 9 pm. I SHALL BE SIGNING COPIES OF MY JUST RELEASED BOOK:
'BUCKINGHAMSHIRE SPIES AND SUBVERSIVES'.
Wednesday 3 December 2014:
Come and meet me at GERRARDS CROSS BOOKSHOP CHRISTMAS LATE NIGHT SHOPPING EVENT where I shall be signing copies of my latest local history book 'The Famous and Infamous of The Chalfonts & District'. 6.30 till 8.30 pm.
Thursday 20 November 2014:
RICHMOND LITERARY FESTIVAL: Catch my talk on 'Achieving Success as an Indie Author' at The Tea Box, Paradise Rd., Richmond, kicking off promptly at 7pm.
Sunday 16 November 2014:
I will be signing books and meeting folks at the INDIE AUTHOR'S FAIR at CHORLEYWOOD LITERARY FESTIVAL, British Legion Hall, Chorleywood 2-5pm Admission FREE, talks, books, tea and cakes - what could be nicer on a Sunday afternoon?
Saturday 26 July 2014:
I'll be signing copies of THE CHALFONTS AND GERRARDS CROSS AT WAR and chatting to customers at Gerrards Cross Book Shop.
My Book 'The Chalfonts and Gerrards Cross at War' has just reached the number 3 spot in the TOP TEN BEST SELLING BOOKS bought at online book supplier FeedARead:
And my novel 'A Wistful Eye' just reached the no 7 spot, too.
I am thrilled to have been commissioned by Titchfield Festival Theatre to adapt my novel 'Running with Crows' to a 3 act play. The completed script of 'Death of a Tan' is currently with them and they hope to produce the play in the spring of 2015. I cannot wait to see it on the stage. I have also prepared a synopsis and treatment of the story, should any film production company be interested ....
15 June 2013:
GLAD Productions will be presenting a theatrical adaptation of my book 'Running with Crows' at the Dunlavin Arts Festival, County Wicklow. I am thrilled and shall be there to see it.
16 June 2013:
The Irish Book Launch of 'Running with Crows' will take place at the Dunlavin Arts Festival in Co Wicklow. I shall be giving a talk and slideshow about the Milltown Murder case; meeting local readers and writers and exploring the location of the murder which is the pivotal incident in 'Running with Crows'. I cannot wait to explore this beautiful corner of Ireland.
12 June 2013:
I shall be giving a slideshow presentation about the Mitchell case at the Irish World Heritage Centre in Manchester (my home city). The show kicks off at 7.30pm and there will be signed copies available of 'Running with Crows'. A big 'thank you' to Arts & Cultural officer Rose Morris for arranging this and also for reading and reviewing 'Running with Crows'. I'm so looking forward to being back in my old north Manchester neighbourhood.
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Come and read my blogs at:djkellyauthor.wordpress.com
I spied a lone seashell beneath my bed,
A squat, brown, limpet-like cone.
Baffled, I bent down to inspect,
Grasping it in hope of hearing the sea.
It turned to powder in my hand.
Creation of a nocturnal sand artist,
Or a runic sign left by dancing fairies?
Maybe a tiny tornado’s detritus?
So neatly piled and perfectly formed,
And yet, the same timber hue as my bed.
‘Anobium Punctatum’ said exterminator,
‘Common furniture beetle, to you and me,
Ate his way out after three years’ cosy feeding,
Flew new-winged towards the light to find a mate.’
We found him dead and virginal on the sill.
Bore-dust vacuumed, Boron applied,
My big sleigh bed was soon reclaimed.
That night however I slept but little.
So long had literary-sounding larva slept beneath,
Wriggling, munching, growing, listening.
While I was breakfasting in bed, so was he.
When I in slumber lay, he slept too,
And listening to my love life all the while.
Not exactly my kind of threesome.
Not my usual choice of bedfellow.
Beloved rosewood bed, Indian import,
Sacred, pristine-sheeted womb of refuge.
How extensively did he mine your heartwood?
And was he but a lone traveller from Madras,
Or do structure-weakening siblings burrow still?
NO TURNING BACK
Body battered, bruised and bloated.
Hormonal tsunami disgorges
Irrational fears and nightmares;
Yet my innocent babe lies sleeping.
Demons await outside the door;
Disease, debt, disappointment,
A thousand hurts and stings.
How shall I keep them from her?
Yet my unworldly babe lies sleeping.
Awesomeness of responsibility
Dawns in fogged maternal mind.
And what of her mental agility?
How to tell if all is well?
Yet my perfect babe lies sleeping.
Pangs of self-doubt grip my soul;
A lifelong duty of protection,
Monitoring every inaudible breath,
Each tiny stir and gentle murmur.
Yet my contented babe lies sleeping.
No turning back; from this day on
The course of my life irrevocably set,
And yet, a sudden love-rush overwhelms
All trepidation; all’s forgot now, for,
Hush, my beautiful babe is waking.
Emanueline palacios in shabby livery;
Republican yellow or Royalist pink,
Cling to the city’s improbable inclines
In the hot haze of a summer afternoon,
Like beer-breath man on station bench.
Varicose blue Tagus winking all the while.
Stately cruise ships plough westward to the sea,
Beneath the despot’s red-spanned Bridge;
Long-faced, long-haired, spike-heeled girls
Totter down loose-cobbled avenidas to tree-
Shaded, hot-coffee-shot terrace cafés.
Jacaranda blue Tagus winking all the while.
Businessmen, jackets shoulder-draped,
Brown arms free to smoke and gesture,
Shamelessly eye the girls, gazing too
Intently for subtlety, long enough to offend,
Suggestive stares with empty intent.
Iris blue Tagus winking all the while.
Beneath the statue of a long-forgotten king,
Sons of empire shine shoes in the shade;
Maimed heroes of lost colonial wars,
Echo the Fadistas’ mournful song,
Begging escudos - Ultramar to infra-dig.
Ultramarine Tagus winking all the while.
In Alfama’s ancient alleys, dwells Necessity,
The mother of pavement cooking.
Wrinkled women from unplumbed tenements
Pound laundry at the public washhouse,
As their ancestors did in Moorish times.
Soda blue Tagus winking all the while.
Yellow struggling trams scale city heights;
More hills than Rome – seven times seven;
River ferries, sardine-packed with commuters;
Better-heeled shoppers are taxied, then
Entrained, to cooler, coastal Cascais.
Atlantic blue Tagus winking all the while.
The sun sets crimson over the river of Lisbon.
Traffic abates and the darkened Tagus sleeps.
Sweet charcoal aroma of sizzling sea bass
And Vinho Verde chilling on crackling ice,
Lure laughing couples to riverside restaurants.
Starry white streetlights blinking at the night.
THE BEETLE IN THE BROWNIE
Recollections seen through nostalgic haze,
Summers longer then, warmer perhaps.
Those nineteen fifties’ Kodachrome days,
Recalled in curling black and white snaps.
A time when I felt safe and loved -
All gone now.
Municipal park, picnic on tartan rugs,
Egg sandwiches wrapped in waxed paper,
Sweet milky tea in enamelled tin mugs.
A sweetie now - if you brush your teeth later.
A time when happiness was cheap -
All gone now.
It was Daddy’s beloved old Box Brownie
Preserved memories of days like these.
With Mummy’s warm arms wrapped around me,
I happily grinned the big “cheese!”
A time when cuddles were enough -
All gone now.
I recall what’s normally ephemera,
A Beetle, living where no beetle oughta,
Sealed up ‘neath the lens of that camera,
A marvel, without food or water.
A time when marvels were many -
All gone now.
Fifty years on, that beetle lives still
Within the old camera’s sealed aperture.
Whilst beloved faces remain but on film,
The beetle’s image still evades capture.
A time when my parents smiled for me -
All gone now.
And now my grandchildren, over for tea,
When fidgeting, fretting and frowning,
Are diverted, seeing one even older than me;
The beetle that lives in the Brownie.
A time to excite new wonder -
Before I’m gone.
THE NEARLY DEAD POETS’ SOCIETY
In the damp-decay odour of old village hall,
They gather with peppermints and portfolios.
The wind-slammed door sheds a topcoat of dust
From neglected rafters onto grey heads below.
Walking sticks and fleeces festoon the Coat rack.
Damp dishcloths desiccating on the radiator.
When chair-scraping and throat-clearing ceases,
Septuagenarian chairman calls the group to order.
‘Who’s first on the roster to read a chosen piece?
This week’s selection is on remembering.
‘Damn!’ declares deaf Doris, ‘I forgot mine.’
Man in Quentin Crisp hat guffaws at irony.
‘Never mind, dear, you can always resort to
That old chestnut: I Remember,
I Remember, The little House Where I Was Born.
Scornful, they all cluck, like chickens in a barn.
I hope nobody notices red-faced newcomer
Slipping Thomas Hood back into my pocket.
Roneo-ed sheets are distributed, never enough
To go round; I get to share with halitosis man.
Gloria kicks off with travel SAGA: Greek Odyssey,
Then Harry is Walking in the Schwarzwald.
‘Can’t imagine either of them making it that far.
‘Speak up!’ Doris interjects mid-stanza.
Time for tea; another tussle erupts over turns
For washing up the cheap chipped china.
As new girl, I volunteer, and am beamed upon
By a dozen sets of tea-stained dentures.
Next is the feared own composition ordeal,
Followed by group critique, polite enough at first,
Then things get savage over metre and rhythm.
To the sound of multiple arteries hardening
My turn now, recounting an afternoon’s passion,
In free verse, in a rainstorm, in a garden shed.
‘Went down like a bunch of lead balloons.
‘Not sure they’re ready for my kind of stuff.
LAND OF GIANTS [a wee bit o' doggerel]
The Land of the Giants, that’s Ulster,
Since Finn McCool made Man of Neagh
And mincemeat of any auld monster
Whom he’d chase o’er the Sheugh and away.
Did ye hear tell of Lemuel Gulliver
Who kept all them Tigers at Bay?
Born in Lilliput Street, he travelled over
To Brobdingnag and back in a day.
When, at last, tired of roaming, and ill,
To Belfast he beat a Swift retreat.
He took a wee kip on Cave Hill
And he died, with the Mournes ‘neath his feet.
Both Samson, the Herculean figure,
And Goliath, though a real Philistine,
Were certainly a whole lot bigger
Than any Antrim forbears of mine.
Though Samson defeated an army,
Armed only with an ass’s jawbone,
Big Goliath got felled by wee Davey
With just a wee sling and a stone.
Now when Samson boxed at the Oddyssey,
A faithless young tart with some scissors
Trimmed his hair to a bit of an oddity
Cos he wouldn’t make her his missus.
When he’d done singing “why, why, Delilah?”
He hadn’t the strength left to fight.
Wondering just what he’d done to rile her,
He sat by the Laggan all night.
Then Goliath, his ex-warrior chum,
Nursing the bump on his head,
Says to Samson “now the fightin’s all done,
Let’s find something aysier instead.”
In a month, his sore head had mended,
And Samson grew back his lost locks
And, as Harland and Wolff’s had intended
Replacing the cranes at the docks,
So they gave the two big lads employment
Standing fernents Laggan Water,
Painted yellow for tourists’ enjoyment -
An emblem for Titanic Quarter.
I JOIN THE LIBRARY [a personal memory]
It came once a week to the end of our road
At six pm prompt every Friday
A blue and white caravan carefully towed
Manchester Corporation’s Mobile Library
So on Fridays, my book-loving, Ulsterman Dad,
Released from the factory noises
Would put his six books in a carrier bag
And go to make new reading choices
Then all weekend long my thrill-seeking Dad
With his books and his tea would retire
By sea to Shanghai or train to Leningrad
And all from his chair by the fire
A cool High Plains Drifter, so lean and so true
An iron-masked prisoner of Zenda
Whilst facing the Hun, the Zulu, the Sioux
His slippered feet upon the fender
He craved only peace to enjoy a good read
As armchair adventurers do
But the three-year-old me would pester and plead
“Daddy PLEASE, read ME a story, too!”
Though engrossed in his reading, ‘twas clear he had heard,
For, on return from his factory endeavour,
He now taught me each evening the written word,
Just to prove his wee daughter quite clever
Then, one rainy Friday, for literary leisure
We both went to library heaven
But to sample those wonderful, tax-funded treasures
It turns out, alas, I must be seven
“Thiz no way she’s seven” says library lady
“Well, that’ll do me,” explodes Dad
“Though slow to grow, aye, she may be,
But to ban her from readin’s too bad!”
“Denyin’ her access to books, cos she’s wee
Is unforgivable, prejudiced, unfair.
Tho’ undersized for her age, can’t ye see
In her smart little head, she’s all there.”
“Though wee, for her age,” he lied, “she's bright for a wain,
Cud ye not be more egalitarian?
For many a wee body belies a big brain,”
Says my dad to the red-faced librarian
“Tho her legs mebbe short, her interest’s not
“Gi’ her books and her mind’ll grow bigger”
I stood on tiptoe, undeniably a tot,
But I tried my real best to look bigger
Incensed readers gathered defensively by us,
Most of them fathers and mothers,
“What’s all this fuss on the library bus?
T’kid deserves same chance as t’others”
“She’s a right to enjoy literature, just as we do
Regardless of *clemmin’ an’ rickets!”
The librarian wilts, midst the hullaballo
And writes me out 2 library tickets
Antrim Dad directs me to the junior confines
The corner that’s kids’ reading heaven
“Don’t forget, pet,” he winks to remind,
“If anyone asks, then yer seven.”
The shelves bore every conceivable tome
Of imaginative children’s writing
And, joy, I could now take some of them home
Edward Lear, Eleanor Farjeon, Enid Blyton.
The lie that secured me my library access
Was the spark that kindled a flame
Which no corporation Jobsworth could suppress
And now, at fifty, I still retain
The lesson I learned from my Dad’s fierce attack
The day the librarian came a cropper
That whenever bureaucracy’s holding you back
Just speak out, and tell them a whopper!