I slot the key into the lock and turn it. With my foot on the bottom of the rotten door frame, I push open the door, and step into the shop. The post under my feet crunches. I shut the door and crouch down to scoop them up. Tentatively I weave my way through Betty Boop statues, and Bamboo side tables to the back of the room, where I place the post on the till, which leaves my fingers coated in grime.
My phone bings. I swipe up the screen. Name: Dani. I put the phone to my ear. ‘Hello.’ I say.
‘Hi’ Dani says. ‘Can you see me?’
‘Now, later, tonight. Whenever.’
‘I can’t, really. I have a doctor’s appointment, then I go to the council, and the Jobcentre. Then I have to do some shopping.’
‘OK. See ya when I see ya then.’
I scratch my shoulder, pulling the vodka out of the plastic bag I bought in with me. I take out the plastic cups, and rip off the wrapping, slipping a cup from the bottom of the tube. My hand shakes as I pour the vodka into the cup, and put the bottle down on the till, sliding a small bottle of lemonade from the bag, and topping it up.
A carriage clock ticks. Ominous. I can’t stand the ticking of a clock. I will have to find a way to silence them. All of them. My eyes run along the shelves of clocks: glinting silver, and gold soldiers.
Thanks for reading. I hope you took something from it. Drop me a comment below, let me know if there’s anything of yours that you have published recently because I am always up for reading new stuff;
Verve Poetry Press are accepting collection and pamphlet manuscripts from Sunday the 17th of May until Saturday on the 20th of June. There is no fee.
Wild Pressed Books are open for pamphlet length manuscripts of prose or poetry until the 30th of June. They do ask for you to purchase one of their titles before sending your work.
Broken Sleep Books are looking for full length poetry collections. There is no fee.
Platypus Press’ The Broken River Prize is an annual poetry book contest. The Closing Date is July 31st. There is no fee.
Marble poetry. Poetry pamphlets.
Nightingale and Sparrow. Full length manuscripts. Closes on the 17th of May.
The majority of these publishers do not have a reading fee, which is cool but if you can buy one of their books, it helps. Independent publishers do not get the backing that larger one’s do and book sales are important for them to move forward.
I think poetry and books make the world go round, so I don’t need much prompting in purchasing new reading material.
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie 4/5
Can you imagine how fun it must be (I’m kidding) sitting down and imagining … these murder scenarios? Do the writers fox themselves? Because characters, even if we do ultimately control them, still do what they damn well like.
I also love Agatha Christie’s dialogue. I think I have said it before in a review, but I bloody love good dialogue. It’s like music to my ears, when you read some dialogue and it has a bit of bite to it and a bit of humour. It’s pleasing. Roddy Doyle is another author that I like for dialogue.
I think I want dialogue to mirror real life. Which is why there are no rules to writing. You would have dozens of editors complaining if how we spoke to each other was put in our stories. It wouldn’t make sense. Unfinished thoughts, talking over one another, repetition, some coarse language. Of course, accents and dialects too. Do you feel perhaps in stories we try to replicate the perfect scenario? Isn’t that why we read stories, we expect a start, middle and end. I personally love reading stories that don’t really have a story, more happenings. I read a book a couple of months ago like that. It was Keith Waterhouse’s There is a Happy Land. It’s a beautiful book. I probably read it once every couple of years. I don’t have my own copy of it. I know where it is in the public library and I pluck it off the shelves periodically. Pluck is the wrong word. The shelves are packed tightly in my public library and it’s more of a shuffle, tug, pull, shuffle, break a nail and a yank. Then you realise it’s the wrong book and not what you want after all and have to get it back in.
Anyway, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd was a hit with me. It’s all very clear and obvious whodunnit by the explanation at the end, isn’t it?
Another mystery I read was
Hate Bale: A Rural Cosy Mystery by Stephanie Dogg 3/5
Hate Bale is very cosy. It has romance, humour and its setting and characters were different (depends what you’ve been reading, I guess) The murders though are brutal, when you think about what you are reading. The ending was wordy, and it went from 60 to 100 in the space of 3? chapters. I felt the plot and the pacing could have been tightened. It did meander, not that I mind a meander. Other readers may not.
Not a bad read though. I liked it.
The brilliant Selcouth Station have released three new titles. As well as publishing chapbooks, they publish content on their blog, and have a resource for writers to find other publishers. You can find that here
Their website address is https://www.selcouthstation.com/
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