Friday, 22 February 2013

FREE PROMOTION ON AMZAZON THIS WEEKEND



Hi there!  Just a quick post to tell y’all my collection of flash & shorts is on free promotion this weekend over on Amazon!  It’s in Kindle format (no dead wood version) and it’s absolutely free all weekend!!  Go on, give it try – it’s got a bunch of 5 star reviews and very complimentary they are too!



The links are below:


And if you don’t have a kindle you can get a free reading application to mount on your PC, iPad, or Android here:

 
Enjoy, and don’t forget to go back and leave a review and hit that like key!

Go and read a sample on an earlier post, A snippet, a taster, the teeniest, tiniest morsel....

Monday, 4 February 2013

Should we accept what happens in the World, or try to make a difference?





"We are all visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow… and then we return home"








This is an Aboriginal proverb. These are wonderful words. They have a unique grace that really resonates for a lot of people. How about you... how about me?

I see the beauty of these words, I appreciate the timeless grace they invoke but... the passivity, the disinterest, the apparent acceptance that an individual cannot make a difference - is something that jars with me.

Do you have a view?  Tell me...

Friday, 7 December 2012

Christmas is coming...

and just look at that fat goose!

I am looking forward to Christmas this year.  For the first time in a very long time I am not responsible for my Christmas.  We are off to a hotel for a few days and spending The Day with my sister-in-law.  Bliss!  No getting hot and sweaty and frazzled, banished to a cooking hell while others guzzle canap├ęs, champagne and the Quality Street.  I shall arrive cool and fragrantly scented at the venue, bags of presents in my hands, make-up intact and clothes unspotted by cooking juices.  

Hell I might even get around to applying some slap and varnishing my nails!  (Decadent thought)  

The one cloud on my horizon will be whether or not I'll be hearing from the S&H (son and heir).  He's spending the holidays in Cambodia with Uni friends, at the home of one set of parents - brave couple!  I think he might even be planning to be on the beach at Kampot.  But of course he'll call I'm telling myself...

Anyway here's a couple of small presents from me to you for Christmas.  They are short stories about... well you'll see.  They are from my collection of 140 short and short-short stories, A Plate of Bits available to buy on Amazon.  It will make a wonderful Christmas present for all your friends, so go and check it out!

For the US link go here and for the  UK link here.

Enjoy!

On the Road Home

I revisited our old stomping ground last week, before we set out on this trek; remembering all the good times we’d had there, and no mistake. Maz’s always been one for a good time, you know?
“Jezza,” she’d say to me, “You are a one, so you are.”
And we’d roll in the sweetly scented hay, stifling our laughter with kisses.
But that was BC – before conception. When she fell, she told her parents she was still a virgin; swore blind we’d never done it. Well, she’s a good girl, isn’t she? We didn’t want people to think she was a slag, y’know? A miracle they all said. I went along with it; stood by her. They were suspicious, but I was clear of any dog–house.
Then some old bastard passed that law about the likes of me and mine returning home to pay my taxes.
So here we are on our way back, with Maz sitting on a donkey that’s on its last legs, and her bulging fit to burst. God knows if we’ll make it all the way before the baby comes. To make it easy, we're just following that new star in the east; even a sightless gimp could follow that all the way home.
And then when we do arrive, what’s the betting there’re no rooms to be had, anywhere? S’pose in the end we’ll be grateful for a stack of hay in any old stable. Mind you, I’ve got very fond memories of Maz in stables; know what I mean?
Last night she turns to me, with a big goofy Madonna–like smile plastered all over her face, and says:
“Don’t worry; we’ll get through this Jezza. And then the baby’ll be born... We’ll be a proper family, then.”
Now there’s blind faith for you. Women – eh?


 The Angel on the Tree

The little Angel sat on a sturdy branch half way up the biggest tree in the little wood – despondent. The persistent rain drizzled down the back of her best white gown. She hated rain – it made her wings moist, and she abhorred moist wings; they were so restricting. You couldn’t get a good soar going with moist wings.
She gazed around her wood, and mentally marshalled her silent troops. She often visited them, just to keep in touch. It wasn’t really her wood; it was just her job to look after it. It wasn’t really a wood, more a line of trees at the back of a country Inn. But she had been given the responsibility to protect these beautiful trees. The little angel quietly chatted to the trees in her coppice:
“Right chaps, we got through it last year! And now we have to gird our loins for this next one,” She murmured softly. There was an interested rustle in response.
Last year had been her first year as guardian, and in their defence she’d managed to transport a flight of Urania butterflies from the Amazon for those couple of hours in early December – just long enough for the locals to be amazed and so put a stall on the annual seasonal cutting. Ok, when she’d got the flight back to their rightful home, they had been a little frost–bitten and even more than a little confused…but no real harm was done.
Well, she’d thought so; but her immediate boss hadn’t appreciated her ruse. No flash methods this year, she’d been told. Just good old fashioned guarding; easier said than done.
“It had worked though,” she muttered a little sulkily, “and isn’t that what it’s all about?”
There must be a way; she sat and considered, glumly.
No flash. No ruses.
When the idea hit her, she nearly fell off her branch. It was so simple! So beautifully simple – and she was sure this would save her trees forever. All she needed was an event to make special – and she knew just how to make it special. Any event, and she would be home and dry; which was more than she could say about herself now! She would have to keep her eyes peeled.
When it finally happened on Christmas Eve, she’d almost given up; had so nearly run out of time, she’d even thought about cheating again, and to heck with the consequences. It was so close to the wire, she could hear the axes being sharpened, in the barn over the road – even as the tired young woman had eased her swollen body down into the soft hay in one of the outhouses of the Inn. The baby boy had been born very soon after midnight early the next day.
At the very time of the baby’s birth, the little angel launched herself into the air and, whirling at terrific speed, shone mightily onto the trees below; her trees, her beautiful trees that she wanted so much to protect.
After all, she reasoned, it had worked 2000 years ago. She remembered this from her training in Angelic Matters: How to Manifest to the Populations of Earth. So, no reason to think that this time would be any different.
And do you know, she was right?


Cornbread and Candy Sauce

Big, fat, flakes tumble down, covering everywhere – deadening sound and softening contours. An icy wind flaps in from the north causing some flakes to swirl and dance on their way down from the leaden sky.
Snow is falling hard; the blizzard has been raging all day. And now the barn has a drift stacked up against the lea–side. Inside, flakes flutter through the cracks in the boarding – to flurry in a spiral and sprawl untidily over the floor. They lay where they land, no warmth melts their hearts. The quiet is like a presence – heavy and waiting.
Back and forth a rope swings slightly, a tiny occasional creak the only indication of the weight it holds.
Drip.
A viscous, crimson plop.
A furry scurrying tells of interest from some hidden inhabitants. But the long rope, attached to the rafters, swings lone and inaccessible. Experience has dictated the position.
Drip–drop.
Dark red, thick, mixes with the snow covering the iron ground.
Suddenly a crack of yellow light from the door; foot stamping and hot breath blowing on hands. Ma shines the lantern on the rope’s bottom. They both stand and admire the plum–bob weight – Christmas dinner.
“Sure is a big ‘un.”
“Sure is.”
“How’d ya catch it?”
“Same as usual – cornbread and candy sauce… gobbled it right up. And then – thwack!!”
A mime matches the words; a hammer blow to crack a nut.
“When’ll ya draw and dress it?”
“When time’s right. Waddaya think?”
“20 minutes a pound’ll be a long cook at that weight! Best not stuff it – it’ll take forever to roast, else.”
The lantern’s light wavers and recedes; voices dim and fade out. The latch is closed.
Plop–plop.
Thick blood drips down stiff fingers and onto the floor, covering the wristwatch, obscuring the dial.
Not everyone eats turkey at Christmas.

                                      Ho! Ho! Ho!
Please…
I pray whilst listening to the racket coming in through the open bedroom door; my eyes squeezed tight shut.
… just go to sleep. It’s half past two in the bloody morning and the twins will be awake in an hour or so for their early morning snack.
This is not a good Christmas. Jimmy is working nights – again. The twins may have the snuffles, but their appetites remain; and despite being six months old they still stubbornly insist on an over–night top up. And Johnny – Johnny is on top note.
Maybe if I just ignore him, he’ll go to sleep now?
It's been all go since eleven – getting him a drink of cold water; taking a blanket off his bed; taking him to the toilet; putting the blanket back on five minutes later; getting him a drink of warm water – and on, and on. I pull the pillow around my head in a futile attempt to muffle the constant noise; for a good five minutes I allow the endless whine from the next–door bedroom to wash over me. As each minute ticks by it saps my seasonal spirit yet further.
“Mummy what time is it? Has Father Christmas been yet? Has he brought lots of presents? Can I get up now?” He loops round and round and round and…
Finally, I snap and yell at the top of my voice:
“Johnny, for the very last time – If you don’t go bowbies right away… Father Christmas… Will… Not…. Come.”
At last – blessed silence from my eldest son. Ah! Peace and goodwill to all.

Merry Christmas!



Friday, 30 November 2012

It does work...

I had a dressing down last weekend by some author chappie who took exception to my free promo on A Plate of Bits. available on Amazon.co.uk backon that link there - or on Amazon.com here.

He wouldn't shut up about how I was letting the side down, giving my work away for free, aligning myself with the worst elements of wannabe bad self-published authors who wouldn't know the different between a semi-colon and a lower portion of the digestive tract if it slapped my face. (Actually that was my analogy not his.  He was just rude, slighting, condescending and extremely patronising) 

So after bandying various emails, which got ruder and ruder, he tried to switch the tables and accuse me of harassing him because every time he administered a slap, I had the... temerity to answer back and defend my writing and  actions.  In the end I just had to keep repeating to stop emailing me - he took the hint in the end.

The promo went really well, I had a lot of downloads.  It has garnered me more sales in it's wake, and some more 5 star reviews on Amazon - what more can I hope for?  Major sales and a take off like Fifty Shades of Grey, yes.  Okay, I admit that hasn't happened - but neither did I expect it to.  Being a new voice breaking into an arena is tough.  Any and all (legal) promotional avenues should be considered and no-one has a right to put another author down for doing something they would not.

But back to my original grip.... I'd like to know - who died and made him head monitor?

Friday, 23 November 2012

Today is the day!

My collection of short stories, A Plate of Bits, is on free promo today (Saturday 24th November) for 2 days.  Why not go to Amazon (links below) and grab a copy?  It's not only a great Kindle filler, but is a great read, too.  Well that's what all the 5 star reviews are telling me.

It's a stonking 326 pages with over 140 stories crammed in there.  Okay, yes it's on Kindle only - but don't let the fact you don't actually have a Kindle stop you.  Because you can download a free reading App for PC, MAC, iPad, or Android from Amazon and read it there.  You don't actually need a Kindle! Cool, eh?

Have a look around the posts below for a couple of tasters of the stories.  But hey - when do you get stuff for free?  Not often - so fill your boots, dip your bread in, snatch this offer with both hands and other phrases of similar ilk.  And don't forget to tell your friends - all and sundry, friend and foe, nearest and dearest, great and small, nearest and farthest, big and small, here and there - hell  EVERYONE!  Even the good, the bad and the ugly!


Now I'm pooped out with assembling all those hack phrases, but why not put this event on your calendar, print it in your diary, stick a note on the fridge, write it on your hand... okay I'll stop.


Links for downloading are:


For A Plate of Bits on Amazon.com go here, and for Amazon.co.uk go here.


For the free reading App from Amazon go here


I hope you enjoy the book, and I'd love to hear back from you about which is your favourite story.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

A snippet, a taster, the teeniest, tinest morsel...

Here's one of the stories from my short story collection A Plate of Bits, I hope you enjoy it.

 

Gracie's Gift

Today has been a lovely day; a hint of spring hanging around. I took a long walk in the sweet smelling air, a tender breeze riffling my hair, as though an invisible hand was stroking my head.
I remember when Granny Gracie used to do that when I was a little girl. I’d sit beside her chair on a small stool, and she’d stroke away; there was no need for any words between us. We were silent companions, watching the early evening telly together; just us two eating supper.
She lived alone – had done for years. She used to tell me Granddad had long since departed – to a better place she’d say with a snort. I thought he’d died, but I found out when I was older he’d been in Luton all the time, living with another woman – his Fancypiece.
As I grew older Granny Gracie wasn’t so well; she’d get mixed up, forgetting my name; who I was; where she lived. One time she confused me with Granddad's girlfriend.
“What’s she doing here?” She hissed, pointing a quivering finger accusingly at me. “Why isn’t she with your Dad? She always was a brass–faced one, she was. Fancypiece."
She spat this epitaph out as one would a mouthful of poison, glaring at me – as though her stare could have the power to melt me into a puddle on the spot. But at other times I was still her tea–time pal.
Granny Gracie died years ago, now. I was sad when she did, but it was a blessed release – or so the vicar said at her funeral. She’d had cancer for the last few months – well she’d had it for years we found out in the end, but had kept quiet about it until she couldn’t cover it up anymore. She hadn’t wanted anyone to pity her.
“I had enough of that when He went – y’know?”
Everyone had nodded when she told them this, looking bored and embarrassed. After so many years people seemed to think she should have gotten over the fact her husband had left her and moved on; of course no one said that to her face. Well they didn’t want to give their heads for washing voluntarily, did they?
She asked me to visit her, one Easter when I was home from Uni for the holidays. We had steaming cups of tea and a shop bought lemon cake, cut into large wedges; well as Granny Gracie said – no use her looking after her figure now, and I was still young enough to run it off. At the end of that visit – a saying goodbye visit I realised afterwards – she gave me her engagement ring. The one He had given her before they were married as a promise for forever. She set no store by that now; but thought I might like it as a keepsake.
“Don’t tell your Auntie Pam,” she whispered over the teacups, grasping my hand in her smooth–skinned claw and shaking it. “She’s always wanted it for your cousin. But it’s mine to give… and I like you better.” Then she’d folded my fingers around it and added. “Look after yourself and be a good girl. Don’t do anything that’ll make your mother worry about you… and keep your knees together until you get your own ring on your finger.”
The next time I saw her she was laid in a box, looking a lot smaller than she ever had; but neat.
Now, I wrap my arms around my belly and hug my secret to myself. Nobody knows yet – but if it’s a girl, I’m going to call her Gracie.


And here's another:

War of the Roses

Well here it was.
She’d been expecting this letter for six weeks. Decree absolute. Her not-really-learned-to-function, lasted–less–than–a–year marriage had finally been put out of its misery; it was over, dead. She felt sad, defeated… responsible; guilty. After all, if she’d been the wife he’d wanted; if she’d transmuted her very soul into what he needed - wife, whore, mother, nursemaid; if she’d become a quiet biddable doormat, then maybe they would be together still.
But she’d always been a goodtime girl; housework? Pah! That could wait for a rainy day.
Or perhaps they’d met too young, shacked up together too soon, so when they’d finished growing up they were different people to the ones they’d been at the start; ones who wanted very different things from their life–partners?
No matter. She shuddered, sighed and folded the pages together again, carefully inserting them back into the envelope. She’d file them for future reference. Keep them in her records to negate the beautifully copper–plated marriage certificate that should never have been written in the first place.
If she were honest, the union had been dead in the water before it had started.
They’d been under siege from all sides; her parents didn’t approve of him, and his parents – well his dragon of a grandma – wanted a church wedding, and there was no way that was going to happen. Opposition only strengthened their resolve to see it through their way; like children being forbidden a treat, they just wanted it all the more.
The registry service had pleased nobody, the photographs were evidence of that. Glum faces stared out of the frames; smiles had been hard to find, that day.
The only cheerful splash had been the gorgeous flowers the wedding party had pinned to their lapels. Sprays of gardenias and baby’s breath for the women, and roses for the men. Not clinical, passionless standard roses, but heavily scented, old–fashioned heads. They’d filled the chamber on that June day with a heady mix of traditional rose perfume. Delicious.
Now, a small smile hovered around her lips. It seemed that the Pennines weren’t the only block between a Lancashire lass and Yorkshire gent’s wedding. Nobody had ever guessed what she’d done.
Of course she’d been aware of the old rivalry from an early age; royal houses, cricket, cities and everyday folk. The two teams that showed up for the wedding that day backed either the white rose of York or the red rose of Lancaster. And she was a good Mancunian. So when it fell to her to order the corsages, she’d ordered white roses for the men. All but the groom; she’d ordered him a red rose.
And he’d thought it was for love…


Now go and buy it! For UK sales go here, and for US sales go  here.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

A freebie for 2 days, so here's the promo bit

Come this Saturday, the 24th, my short stories collection A Plate of Bits is on a two day free download at Amazon. I hope everyone will make good use of this and grab a copy.  After all it's free!  The fact that it's got over ten 5 star reviews must tell you something, too.

And peeps - don't forget to tell everyone you know - all and sundry, friend and foe, nearest and dearest, great and small, nearest and farthest, big and small, here and there - hell  EVERYONE!  Even the good, the bad and the ugly!

And it doesn't matter if they don't have a Kindle because they can download a FREE Kindle App for PC, Mac or other device from Amazon and then read it.  Neat, eh? Go here for US link, and here for UK link. 

Just to recap, A Plate of Bits FREE on Amazon this 24th and 25th November.  Put it in your diary and grab a copy when you can.