The Girl From the Sea – Chapter 1

Welcome to the first installment of The Girl from the Sea by me!  It’s the result of lots of inspiration going back several years; a couple of short stories; and a lot of hard writing!  It is a children’s adventure story based at 7 to 10 year olds and has a brilliant and courageous young heroine who witnesses a horrible crime. Her longing to escape to see lead her on a terrible and exciting adventure!  Tune in every Thursday for the next installment. 


The Girl from the Sea – Patricia Chubb

Frankie hitched up her trouser legs and waded out of the river with a clutch of trout in her grasp. A good day’s fishing always brought a smile to her face. It was so peaceful along the river and none of the boys bothered her. They were used to her by now. She headed home whistling a jaunty little tune. Her hair was piled up under her father’s second best cap and she wore her brother’s old clothes rolled up to the knee and a shirt rolled up to the elbow. It was so much more practical for fishing than a dress!

She burst through the front door with her prize. “Fish for dinner Ma!”

“Frances Louise!” The exclamation brought Frankie up short.

“What on earth are you wearing? Where is your dress? Please tell me that nobody saw you outside in that condition!”

“Only the fish!” Frankie retorted.

“That’s enough cheek out of you miss. I’ve just about had enough of this nonsense Frances. Go upstairs and take Anthony’s clothes off. Wash off that dirty river water as well. Anyone would think you were a boy with all of the nonsense that you put me through.”

“But…” Frankie interrupted.

“Don’t but me. I’m fed up with it. I had hoped for at least one of my children to be a girl and the one girl that I do have is a worse behaved boy than the real boys! I cannot worry about you, wondering where you are every second of the day, while you’re traipsing around the countryside without a care in the world. I’m tired of it Frances. You are a young lady and it’s about time that you started behaving like one.

“Perhaps it’s my fault and I’ve been too lenient with you all these years – letting you play rough with the boys.” She paused as if she was expecting Frankie to interrupt her. Frankie knew better than to say anything.

“Frances, I want you to have the best opportunity of improving yourself, of making something of yourself, so I would like you to consider going to stay with Aunt Margaret and cousin Cecily so you can have some female influence over you. It’s not forever, but at least for the holidays.”

Mother paused again. Frankie’s mind was whirling. She couldn’t bear Sissy or Aunt Margaret. Sissy was a pristine china doll with perfect hair and ribbons which stayed in. To spend the whole of the holidays with them would mean tea parties and sewing. Sissy had a tutor in the holidays too which meant study. No outdoors, no fishing, no fun! She couldn’t see a way out of it. She needed to buy some time. Mother was looking at her expectantly.

“You want to get rid of me?!” exclaimed Frankie, putting a quiver in her voice and a tremble on her lip.

“On the contrary, Frances, I want you to make the most of yourself, and don’t think that the fake waterworks will work on me. I know that you don’t cry.”

“But I can make the most of myself here,” she protested without any sign of tears.

“No, absolutely not. My mind is made up. I obviously don’t have the correct influence over you.” Ma sounded sad, but Frankie hardened her heart – Ma obviously didn’t want her around any more and was sending her away. Away from everything she loved. She tried one last time.

“Ma, I’m sorry that you’re disappointed in me. I will try harder – please don’t send me away.” Begging was her last resort.

“I have tried, Frances. Again and again, but you don’t listen to me – only to your brothers. You need to be away from here and away from their influence. You’ll never learn to be a lady from them – you may learn how to keep a boat clean and tidy but not a house.”

“There are worse things I could learn,” thought Frankie who had been out with her older brothers on their fishing boat several times already. Her brain was churning with thoughts about how to get out of this – she needed time.

“Can I think about it at least Ma?” she implored.

“Very well Frances. I shall expect your answer in the morning. Upstairs, now and for goodness sake put something else on before the boys get in. We’ll have your fish for our tea – your last catch for us!” Mother’s eyes glinted with success – she thought she’d won.

Exciting News!

I just wanted to mention to everyone that I’ve finished my first novel!  Yes it’s done (fist pump and celebratory dance!).  Absolutely blasted it out in about a month…I guess that once the idea came it just came. So I’m not laying myself open to criticism or anything like that but in the spirit of getting the words out there, I’ve decided to release a chapter a week to you lovely people on a Thursday.  Tune in next Thursday for the first instalment of “The Girl From the Sea”.  Pop your email in the box on my page to receive the notifications.  

A person with a very excited expression, holding her hands to her face in excitement

Bursting with excitement

(Photography by Carine Roberts)


The first thing that comes to mind when I think of geography in a novel is the fantastic map at the start of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ trilogy.  I have to say that I’m not a natural cartographer though (as far as I know!), so I’m not sure if I could create such a work of art. 

Geography and maps

Geography and maps

So how do you set about creating your world.  A very useful mind map which came from my crime writing course was all about location and sense of place.  Is it going to be a real place or made up?  Does it evoke any emotion in me or the reader?  Is it a place that lots of people will know?  Can the reader visualise what you’re describing? 

Location and Sense of Place

Location and Sense of Place

I seem to have started with bits and bobs from my travels which inspire the stories themselves.  So I’ve taken the quayside from Venice, transported it to a beach in West Wales and added the town in.  My novel is turning into a bit of a murder/adventure story which involves sailing, so there will be a fair amount of coastline to consider, which in my mind is currently the south coast of England.  There will have to be the girl’s home town which she runs away from and the place she ends up.  So we need to factor two towns/locations in.  I don’t envisage these places being hundreds of miles apart though – I would like them to have the same sort of feel to them.  Perhaps, identikit fishing villages along the Cornish or Devon coast?   

What I am finding though is that I’m having to move people around a lot in my head so I think it might actually be easiest to draw a physical map just so I can see where each character is at any given time – I wonder if this is what Tolkein realised??  Has anyone tried this??  Maybe it would be like those old WW2 movies, moving planes around with a pointer 🙂

Beginning a Novel – Barafundle Bay

“Let’s start at the very beginning…”

I thought I was starting at the beginning but it hasn’t worked out that way at all.  After my first burst of inspiration for beginning a novel came in Venice, my next came on a trip to Pembrokeshire and a walk at a glorious beach called Barafundle Bay.  Continue reading

The Skeleton Danced at Midnight

The Skeleton Danced at Midnight

This is another writing challenge which I started for the Daily Post and has ended up being a slightly spooky image of a fairground.  I have always found fairgrounds and circuses to be rather odd and intriguing places. 
The challenge was to use five nouns from the following list:  The lake. The night. The crickets. The ravine. The attic. The basement. The trapdoor. The baby. The crowd. The night train. The fog horn. The scythe. The carnival. The carousel. The dwarf. The mirror maze. The skeleton.  

The skeleton danced at midnight with the melody of the carousel reverberating through his hollow bones.  He yearned to touch the carnival animals again and jest with the dwarves.  His life of skin and flesh had been full of colour, light and music and how had he loved it!

Skeleton Danced at Midnight

Skeleton Danced at Midnight

The crowds spun through the circus screaming with laughter and candy-floss induced mania.  It was a sugar-spun world.  The fat lady solemnly ate her way through fifteen courses; the bearded lady combed her hair and the iron man lifted trucks to practice his art.  Animals preened in their cages and the big top shone like a beacon in the night sky.

The carousel had been his creation with the pretty horses with their painted tails flying.  How he loved their graceful motion.  Up and down and round and round.  They never stopped their flight until that fateful day when he lost his footing and fell under the painted horses’ hooves.  He lost his flesh to the carousel but honoured it with his bones.