Friday, 18 April 2014

The Two Lands - Chapter One

The Two Lands | Fiction: fantasy
by Paul Purday

Peter Freeman was running furiously, breathlessly. Fifty metres behind, a bunch of young thugs appeared to be closing in on him; he was not a coward but he knew the odds of six to one were not positive.
With his sense, sharpened in the adrenalin rush of the hunted, he found himself thinking clearly – in fact not unlike someone who is drowning – his mind was as crystal and his life flashed before him. Like a gazelle side-stepping a cheetah he ducked through gates; swerved down side-turnings and then thought – Whitefoot Lane! Quiet and hedge-lined with no entrance from the road he was on. A large oak planted nearby concealed a gap in a garden hedge. He was able to squeeze one-side of the oak and nearly fall through the narrow gap that he had observed there in the past. Hopefully his pursuers (who were not reviewing their lives) would pass the oak on the easy side and would not realize his short, diagonal cut across a well-manicured lawn into Whitefoot Lane. Frantically, wrecking another hedge he fell into the lane and listened to the satisfactory diminishing of his pursuers’ cries.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Serendipity - The Camel’s Story

Serendipity – A miscellany of short stories | Fiction: Short Stories
by John Butler

Reincarnation! Surely, that was for Buddhists or Sikhs, or stupid women who think they might have been Cleopatra once. Not so, apparently! One minute I had been a man, then the heart-attack and now I was being considered for reincarnation. I was hopeful. Maybe I’d be sent back to earth as someone young, rich and handsome or a pop-star or a footballer. What the heck! I’d even settle for back as me…
“Stttttttttt,” the Thatcher look-alike, hissed out of the screen. She explained the system to me.
“All creatures move up or down in their next life according to how good or bad they have been.”
“Up or down?”
“Well for example, ‘down’ for a man would be a next life as one of the larger quadrupeds, say an antelope, bison, gazelle…that kind of thing.”
“I can see that but surely man is at the very pinnacle of the animal kingdom so I don’t quite see the other alternative. What is up? What could he possibly become that is better than being a man?”
“A WOMAN! you idiot!” She glared then continued … “

Paperback | Waterstones | Amazon UK

Friday, 11 April 2014

An ardent reader's review of the Julius Falconer’s detective mystery novels.

FIVE STAR Review by Samuel Aina*
As a river springs from a mountainside, the author Julius Falconer – himself a fountain of knowledge – spurts out amazing stories which keep his reader spellbound. And like a meandering river finding its way through uneven landscapes, the chronicler appears to ramble through intricately woven cases without overlooking even the tinniest detail. Quite often he is able to show that a tiny speck of information which the un-initiated investigator would happily have discarded turns out to be the key to unravelling a case.
The chronicler has a penchant for information gathering which is the greatest tool in investigating any crime as evidenced by cases handled in all of Julius Falconer’s novels. Hence, with an incredibly high degree of perseverance, resilience, and patience he squeezes out information ‘in dribs and drabs' from reluctant informants. With these bits and pieces, he believes he will in the end get to the root of the matter.
Like a river is fed by its tributaries the chronicler pays due respect to the contribution made by his assistants in achieving the overall objective. The investigator gives a pride of place to his professional assistant with whom he converses day by day. His cliché ‘be firm but not hectoring’ was one way of training his professional assistant. Anyone being interviewed in connection with a crime must be firmly handled but not tortured.
In all the cases handled, he pays due respect to his wife Beth who was always there to chip in an advice when analyses became difficult. Thus he said in one case, “Beth’s late hint salvaged the investigation.” Beth herself once said, “what you need is a woman’s guidance.” How true!

*Samuel Aina is a Chemical Engineer with a degree from the University of Leeds. A life long reader, now retired after decades of work in academia and the engineering industry.

Paperback | Waterstones | Amazon UK

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Chester to Chepstow - January 2006

Chester to Chepstow | Travel
by John Davies

There was an old man from Glamorgan
Who could not play a tune on the organ
So he got on his bike
And round Wales did hike
Till he returned once again to Glamorgan

Quite unexpectedly on a dreary January day my son, Ian, said to me, “Hey Dad, what about that bike ride you’ve been talking about? When are you going to do that?” Good question, when am I going to do it?
It’s something I’d thought about for many years, but other things kept getting in the way. It lodged in my mind though, so after a few days gestation I decided to start planning for it straight away. After all, at 57 years of age with the old knees playing up, if I left it any longer I’d probably never do it.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Gift Horse - Chapter One

Book Title: Gift Horse
Genre: Fiction / Romance
Author: Polly Morten

‘I don’t believe it.’ Sarah dropped the letter on the breakfast table, and the colour slowly drained from her rosy cheeks, leaving her freckles standing out like a splatter of cold tea across her snub nose.
‘What’s up sunshine?’ Paddy put down her spoon, pushed her fair hair out of her eyes, and looked up from her bowl of cornflakes. The expression on her cousin’s face was so strangely out of character, that, for a moment, she didn’t look like herself at all.
‘My sainted mother.’ Sarah’s voice hardened, and the black Labrador at her side put a sympathetic paw on her knee. Her hand automatically went to his head to knead the comforting silky velvet of his ears.
‘What about her?’

Monday, 31 March 2014

OTOLI was recently entered in The Wishing Shelf Awards, this is what readers thought...

OTOLI | Fiction: Children/YA, Bullying
by Bryony Allen

The readers thought the beginning was very powerful, pulling them into the story. Many noted that the author really seemed to understand what it is like to be the victim of a bully. They sympathised very much with Alice and her journey through the story and they also thought that you dealt well with ‘onlookers’ who feel sorry for the victim but do nothing. They also liked the cliffhanger at the end of the book.
A number of the boys felt the book was a little slow. They wanted (I quote) ‘More magic, wizards and cars.’ (Typical boys!)

STYLE 9/10
Excellent flow to the text. Speech worked particularly well. Character descriptions were superb but a few wanted more setting description. The teachers noted: ‘The vocab was perfect for this age group.’

The children discovered no spelling or grammatical errors.

From the feedback , the children (particularly the girls) loved this book. Really, it was only the cover which let it down. Might be worth re-doing it. From other feedback, kids always seem to love books with a picture of the characters on the front.

‘A thoughtful, well-crafted story. Perfect for any child battling with the up and downs of school life.’ The Wishing Shelf Awards

Paperback | Waterstones | Amazon UK

Friday, 28 March 2014

Two Dachshunds at Troy - Chapter One

Two Dachshunds at Troy | PETS
by Jeremy Lousada

This is a dog’s tale, or rather a tale of two dogs, small dogs. Those of you who keep and love pet giraffes, baby crocodiles and cats need read no further. Small dogs they may be, and perhaps like Pooh, of small brain, but few can have had such adventurous lives. They were almost certainly the first dogs ever to cross Europe by water from the North Sea to the Black Sea, they walked on the same stones the Turkish fleet was tied on before Lepanto, they chased baboons in Africa, hunted rabbits in the High Jura and lizards in the ruins of Troy. What they thought of it all we cannot be sure, communications were generally good but not perfect. In some cases, such as Rommel’s perplexity with sea water, the thought processes were obvious, in others the nuances of thought were beyond our communication levels and I have had to use some poetic licence. But let me start at the beginning.