Celia Micklefield

Short Stories:
September 2018: A Practical Woman
2019 Short Story Contest (Will be posted after the winners are announced in August 2019)

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Bio:

Celia Micklefield is my maiden name. I used to think it was a good idea to use it as my author name but now I know how difficult it is to fit long surnames onto a book front cover! 

I first began writing in earnest after I retired from teaching and went to live in the south of France. I sold short stories to a UK women’s magazine and was offered a contract by the first literary agent who read samples of Trobairitz the Storyteller, my second novel. Unfortunately it didn’t work out. I was so disappointed I decided to continue self-publishing as I had with my first novel, Patterns of Our Lives. I suppose you could classify my work as Women’s Fiction but they’re all different sub genres: a saga set partly during WW2, literary fiction, a psychological mystery, dark humour. I love reading a variety of genres and I think I’d be bored if I had to write the same kind of book every time. 

When I started out I knew nothing about book bloggers, blog tours and the like and just kept writing not really going about marketing my work in any sort of sensible way at all and missing out on building important relationships. A series of difficult circumstances brought me back to the UK to live with friends where I wrote my only non fiction book, People Who Hurt, abusers and codependents looking for answers, a book to help others understand the nature of toxic relationships.  

Now I live a quiet life in Norfolk near the east coast of England and I’m content looking after my vegetable garden and writing, albeit slowly. I have a neurological condition called CRPS (Complex Regional Pain Syndrome) which developed while I was living in France after I was hit and knocked down by a careless driver. My bones mended but my central nervous system didn’t. Pain is my constant companion but I’ve learned how to deal with it. On low pain days I write as much as I can.  

I have a website www.celiamicklefield.com and a Facebook author page in my author name. You’re very welcome to visit and maybe leave a comment. 

My three novels and two collections of short stories are available on all Amazon platforms. I hope to make a better job of marketing my fourth novel, A Measured Man when it’s ready. It’s an unsentimental not-so-romantic comedy aimed at mature readers who understand that at a certain age most single men are looking for a woman to come home to whereas women are looking for a man to go out with! 

You’ve got to laugh. I think that should be my motto. 

September 2018: A Practical Woman
Dream in a Pragmatic Way – Aldous Huxley 1894-1963

The cutting from the tidal river ran right up beside the cottage. Sylvia
stood on the decking out front with her coffee and took in her surroundings:
Norfolk in winter. Above, pale blue sky streaked with filmy clouds stretched
lazily beyond reeds and a stand of scrubby trees on the far bank of the river.
The tide was changing: water lapped at the hulls of boats moored along the
cutting; halyards slapped at masts with a tinkling sound. A haven of peace.
An escape from everyday life. A sanctuary. A solitary cup of coffee while she

attempted to clear her mind.

 

He would love this place, she thought.

He would love to be beside the water surrounded by nature like this.
And therein lay the reason she’d rented the holiday cottage for a week
alone. The midwinter off-season ensured there was hardly another soul to

be seen.

Soul: a word she’d paid little attention to throughout her life, not least the
question of her own soul, her own deepest feelings and needs. Life always
got in the way, didn’t it? There was always work, always so much to be done
it left little time to consider one’s spiritual well-being. Now that retirement
beckoned she’d have all the time in the world for things that brought her

pleasure, satisfied her yearnings. Wouldn’t she?

“I think it’s wonderful you’ve met someone, Mum,” her daughter Libby had

said when she’d first mentioned Gordon by name one Sunday lunchtime.

“Tell me about him. Come on.”

Sylvia hadn’t known where to begin. Truth be told, she hadn’t expected
any new beginnings that included a man. She’d contemplated: a house
move, a sensible downsizing to reduce bills; maybe joining one of those
scholarly-type trips abroad to learn about other cultures. India, perhaps,
New Zealand even to see where they’d filmed Lord of the Rings. In her
imaginings she’d always travelled alone. Her plans for the rest of her life

included her daughter and grandchildren. But a man?

Gordon had been such a lovely surprise. Comfortable with one another
from the outset they’d fallen into an easy friendship with a remarkably similar
sense of humour and a shared love of music. And how they talked! They

could talk about anything and everything with openness and true sincerity.

“He sounds just right for you,” Libby had said. “What are you worrying

about?”

“Am I worrying?”

“Yes. Look at you. Your eyes are all screwed up and your mouth is doing

that thing you used to do when I was a girl in trouble for being naughty.”

“I’m not doing that. Am I?”

“Mum, give him a chance. What have you got to lose?”

A heron swooped past and landed on a nearby tree stump. With his
neck arched like a question mark, his head lowered, he scrutinised the dyke

below him with yellow eyes sharp as pins and burning with intent.

Sylvia watched and waited. She didn’t take risks. It simply wasn’t in her
nature. Like the heron, there had to be a good reason for whatever she
did. A single parent since her thirties she was always careful, determinedly
making plans and seeing them through. She’d lived a life not without its ups
and downs but in the know-ledge, she’d be able to cope with whatever fate

sent her way.

Gordon was a different kind of future from the one she’d imagined. A
spiritual man, happiest working outdoors, a lover of animals and his young
grandchildren he was comfortable in his skin. He was able to articulate his
emotions. He had an easy-going nature fluid as the water in the cutting, able
to flow this way and that. He was like no other man she’d ever known. Her

confidence faltered. Fleetingly she wondered whether she would be enough.

In a flash of white and with a splash of silver the heron made his strike.

There now, she thought as the heron flew off. He got what he came here

for. But what if he’d missed his target?

She laughed aloud as the answer burst into her thoughts. Energy fizzed
through her limbs and fired her nervous system. Warmth pulsed in her veins.
Confidence restored, she recognised her body’s reactions as a sense of
sheer joy. All anxiety fell away as she understood the reality of her new way
of thinking. It was simple! Even if he’d failed to catch his meal, the heron
would still be a heron. He wouldn’t worry about failing the next time. He
wouldn’t be afraid of trying again. Surely his very existence depended on
him being himself, doing his heron thing fishing for his sustenance, taking

the risk of a possible further loss.

She brought her cup to her lips. Her coffee had gone cold. No matter.
She’d make another, but she had a call to make first. Sometimes you had

to take risks.

She went indoors to get her phone. The drive would take him four hours.
It would be dark by the time he arrived. Tomorrow they would stand together
to face the future and watch the tide change.