Tag Archives: Writing

Queer as Folk. Book Launch

Queer as Folk short stories

stories to give you a giggle, a sigh or a shudder

Queer as Folk

A new collection of short stories launches on 31st March in Kindle format. Pre-order is open now. A paperback version will be available in April. As with her first collection of stories the author focuses on what makes ordinary people do extraordinary things.

The author? The author? Why am I writing in the third person? Weird, huh? Just one example of why we do queer things.

I’m taking over now. First person from now on. Bugger tradition.

In Arse(d) Ends, my first collection, I used words ending in the letters a.r.s.e. as a queer and quirky link with the narrative. In Queer as Folk each story is subtitled by a profound saying, well-known or otherwise.

For example, in January Girl I chose the following:

The worst loneliness is not to be comfortable with yourself.

Mark Twain 1835-1910

For the story, Yorkshire Grit I chose:

Life does not cease to be funny when people die any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh.

George Bernard Shaw 1856-1950

How queer am I?

Oh, I’m queer. So are we all. Life makes us that way. Maybe our lives are all about following our paths to un-queer ourselves. Perhaps at the end we can count ourselves lucky if we came through having coped with the journey the best we could with whatever resources we possessed.

One of my resources is a particular kind of sense of humour. I have a penchant for dark tales. I mean, I’m into tales of revenge where it backfires or accidental comeuppance for the nasty perpetrator who has made a telling mistake. For me, humour is a way of expressing hope. I want to give my readers a sense of satisfaction at the end of my stories that everything worked out just the way it should.

In Queer as Folk there are 21 stories, 1 poem and a 14 Tweet story I posted live on Twitter (told you I was queer).

As with my first collection some stories are longer than others. I like that variety. Sometimes shorter narratives pack quite a punch. It all depends on the subject matter.

I hope you enjoy this new collection. Here’s a link to my author page on Amazon UK.

Don’t forget to keep in touch. I love to hear from you.

 

Hello, Stranger. How’s your CRPS?

It’s been a while. I haven’t written a new post since May. If you’ve read previous posts on the pain of CRPS you’ll know how it sometimes affects my creativity.

Chronic pain knocks the stuffing out

It’s like there’s no energy left for anything other than crawling back into bed. With an extra pillow to support the throbbing arm. With a hot water bottle to ease the painful shoulder. With a heated lavender pack under your neck. Sexy, huh?

In the early days my hand was swollen. If you Google images for a CRPS hand guess whose comes up?

CRPS hand

yes, folks, that’s me

I found I could use the keyboard with one hand but sitting at the desk in constant pain didn’t get my head in the right place for writing, especially the kind of fiction beloved by women’s magazines. Besides, my head was in a fog most of the time due to side effects of various medications. But I could edit. So, little by little I managed to get my first two novels out.

Oh, that seems so long ago.

CRPS beginning

CRPS beginning

Where my CRPS is now

The swelling has gone now. Thanks to early intervention my claw of a hand is more user-friendly. (You cannot peel a potato with one hand, not to mention putting  on a bra!)

Now I can do most tasks beyond my capabilities at the outset. And I’m grateful for that. I still drop things and take twice as long as other people at the supermarket cash desk but if I have a word with the cashier beforehand they’ll go more steadily for me. Top marks to Tesco on this one – always happy to help.

tesco

top marks for Tesco

But it seems my CRPS has spread to other places in my body. It’s gastro-intestinal stuff now, people. Look away now if the subject is too distasteful.

I have cyclical vomiting and diarrhoea. And it’s becoming more frequent. I’ve tried to ascertain which foods might be culprits and I know now to avoid heavily fatty meals but, still, some days the cycle begins without any reason, it seems to me.

I have an appointment to see my doctor next month which, by coincidence is CRPS awareness month.

crpsawarenessmonth

CRPS awareness

My doctor knows how I feel about taking medication. I control the amount I take. Rigorously control. However, as I realise I’m a candidate for osteoporosis due to the CRPS I’m going to ask for a Vitamin D check. If I can avoid further damage to my bones by taking a vitamin supplement, I will swill it down gladly.

In the meantime, cyclical vomiting permitting, I continue with my writing endeavours.

The Sandman and Mrs Carter is under review with a publisher. I’m also revisiting Queer as Folk, my second collection of short stories.

And I’m getting my orange outfit ready for CRPS Awareness Day.

crpsawareness

CRPS awareness

Daring not so greatly

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/2015/08/12/daring-greatly/

Maybe we don’t realise how daring we are being when we write.

We just sit down and write words, don’t we? We write them in such a way as to make an entertaining story for our readers. We have a market in mind. There’s a particular women’s magazine that likes to see short stories about ordinary people with problems to face and how they overcome them. Another magazine prefers stories with a hopeful ending.

Blog readers want to read about the subject we’re known for. So we write blogs on topic and perhaps we do it with some humour and we add photos and memes and illustrations to make the whole thing attractive to the eye.

We want to connect

With our readers. With the world. We give of ourselves in our writing, not in a conscious way, I believe, but without deliberation. We are who we are and we give it. Give ourselves.  And by doing this we are exposing our vulnerabilities.

daring to be

daring to be

We give our opinions. We can’t help doing that. We don’t want to lecture but it’s almost impossible to write without giving opinions. They’re there in our writing whether we like it or not. Even when we don’t realise it, our opinions are hiding in the spaces between the words, between the lines.

My subtitle under the name of my website is ‘write from the heart’. It used to be ‘writer in Languedoc’ because I’d fallen in love with that part of France and couldn’t wait to write about it. I’d given my heart to a man and his son and moved there with them. After ten years he replaced me with another woman.

But I still love Languedoc and want to continue writing about it. I’m not strong enough to do that yet. Imagining the places I loved visiting or looking through my photographs still hurts me so I avoid it. I can’t write my Wicked Stepmother Chronicles now either because as well as losing my partner and my home, I’ve lost my stepson as well. Only insofar as I don’t get to see him everyday, though. When he comes to visit family in England he comes to see me too. So, you see, I wasn’t really Wicked. I made jokes about our differences. I gave my opinions on too many hours spent online gaming and the harm I thought it was doing. And my stepson understands this. He knows I was doing my best to help him make healthy choices. But it hurts that I can’t write either my Wednesday Vine Report or my Wicked Stepmother Chronicles because I’m somewhere else.

So today I’m writing something that isn’t hurting me.

daring courage

daring to be courageous

But it’s still from the heart. According to Brené Brown writing from the heart makes me courageous in the original sense of the word. I feel the things I write. And that makes me vulnerable. Here’s what Brené says:

She is FABULOUS. Watch all her videos. We can all learn from them. We can learn that it’s okay to be vulnerable. That it’s a necessary part of being human to feel our emotions. It saddens me that there are people who don’t have the opportunity to feel; people who are not only wearing shields or armour to protect them from their emotions but simply do not feel them in the first place. Or they experience emotions only in a shallow and fleeting way and to them vulnerability is the greatest weakness of all.

When I’m not writing posts for my website I’m writing about the people I’ve just described. I’ve known one intimately. He almost destroyed me. I thought I was weak, faulty, deficient in many ways. I was not enough of the things he wanted and too much of the things he came to despise. I know different now.

daring vulnerability

daring to be vulnerable

But I’m keeping my silence on the subject here on my website. For now. The book is coming along nicely and one day I’ll publish. Writing the book is giving me an inner strength and, encouraged by Brené Brown’s research, I know I’m doing the right thing.

daring strength

daring to be strong

It takes nerve to be vulnerable. It makes you nervous. You’re taking such risks in being human. Opening yourself to all manner of manipulation by deceitful people. But I have always been one who could cope with whatever life throws at me. I just wish it wouldn’t throw so much my way. Well, I’m still here. I’m still writing.

And now I can stop beating myself up. I’ve made my decision. I’m more informed. I’m not walking away from all the things that ‘give purpose and meaning to living’. I give of myself. It’s who I am. I want to continue loving life. I want to continue loving people.

daring to love

keep on loving

And keep on daring to be vulnerable.

 

FOLLOW CELIA for updates on new posts. Don’t be shy, leave a comment. Thank you for visiting. Hope to see you again soon.

For the love of writing. Plans for 2015

thinking about writing

getting your thoughts focused

I have to get my love of writing head back on my shoulders. Christmas and new year celebrations are finished. The decorations come down this weekend. The house will look bare and I know I’ll have an urge to go round cleaning everything. The fridge needs sorting out – I’ve forgotten what’s in there. There’s a heap of washing and ironing left over from before Christmas and then we got French electricity tariff ‘red days’ and I couldn’t do it anyway without running up a huge bill.

So there’s plenty of housework type stuff to do. I’ll do it. Slowly. Don’t talk to me while I’m doing it because my head will be somewhere else and I won’t answer you.

I’ll be organising my love of writing thoughts. Making plans.

thinking about writing

getting thoughts organised

Because I must write. Without writing I’m not myself. Something’s missing. When I drift off into that thinking-land you might as well talk to the wall because I’m not in. Celia is in her head but she’s not in the room.

But why must I write? Oh, that’s a good question.

writing

that’s how I feel

love writing

the temptation of words

It’s more than that, though. It’s so much more than slotting into a comfortable routine. So much more than any other thing that you fit into your normal daily activities. Writing is not in the same category as sweeping the floor or making the beds – small jobs which, for me, do carry a trace element of a sense of satisfaction when the job’s done.

Writing is not even in the same category as eating or sleeping – bigger jobs that are absolutely vital to your well-being.

Think about the need to breathe and you’re getting close.

Writing is as much a part of me now as is the CRPS I was diagnosed with last year. CRPS is why everything I do is now done s-l-o-w-l-y. It hurts to move. It hurts more to stretch. Constant pain saps energy and leaves you feeling very low. There are times when I feel I’ve completely lost the creative spark to begin something new. But on good days?

desire to create

the greatest love story in the world?

I have that desire. Sometimes it feels more like an affliction. It’s an itch that must be scratched. A hunger that must be fed. It’s selfish and unreasonable and is not open to negotiation.

Sorry chaps, but it’s better than sex. Or chocolate.

It is an all-consuming passion that teases and tempts. Sometimes it abandons you or flatly rejects you. Slaps you in the face and makes you feel a fool.

Sometimes, though, it loves you back.

It’s for these moments you carry on. You make your plans. You do your research. You find things you never knew. You find things about yourself you never knew.

love of books

the love of books

I’m making plans for my writing in 2015. Books Two and Three of Trobairitz are in outline only. A second collection of short stories is further along the pipeline. ‘Queer as Folk’ should be ready in spring and features more ‘quirky’ short stories about ordinary people in extraordinary situations.

I’d like to make more effort keeping in touch with online writing groups but if I can’t I won’t beat myself up. On good days I have to write.

Thank you for reading my Random Thoughts page. Feel free to message me with your own thoughts. I’m on Twitter @cmicklefield and have a FB author page.

May you love and be loved in 2015.

TROBAIRITZ the Storyteller

Publication of TROBAIRITZ the Storyteller goes ahead. Here’s the front and back cover.

Trobairitz the Storyteller

publication November 28th 2014

What does the cover of TROBAIRITZ tell you?

First, I want it to have  warmth. A satisfying, bread and butter sort of comfort. A cover that does something to your senses, even makes your mouth water.

A cover that says it’s not quite in the world you know. An imaginary world. Almost dreamlike.

I hope it makes you ask yourself questions.

Why is it a picture of a village?

Where is it? Does it look like England? No.

Why are there no people in the design?

What does the word Trobairitz mean?

( I wrote a post on who the Trobairitz were. Here is a link to that post. You can go to the Categories section on the right sidebar and in the drop down box choose Trobairitz for all my posts on this subject.)

So, the Trobairitz were female troubadours of the 12th and 13th centuries. What has that got to do with my new novel set in present day Languedoc?

Bringing the past into the present

Trobairitz were bringers of news and storytellers. They sang, too, to their own accompaniment and their themes were often about current affairs and romantic love as well as traditions and the place of women within values and attitudes of the times.

My 21st century Trobairitz is a truck driver. At an overnight truck stop in the heart of Languedoc, Weed tells a story. The themes of tradition and women and relationships are woven into the tale she tells but in her real life those are the very things that cause her problems.

The fact that Weed’s story is set in a circulade is also relevant. A circulade is built in the shape of a snail shell. Curving rows of houses surround and protect the church on top of the hill. They’re designed to confuse raiders. Even today it’s possible to lose one’s way in the maze of narrow streets and alleyways.

In TROBAIRITZ the Storyteller, the shape of the village is reflected in the stories Weed tells. There is a central theme, hiding under the archways, shrinking back into narrow passageways, revealing itself only gradually. I like that kind of a tease in books.

I decided to lighten the appearance of the cover for this first of the TROBAIRITZ trilogy. The original was too dark and didn’t give the right feel. You’ll see there’s still a bit of darkness hovering in the background and, as in real life, there will be episodes of darker happenings as Weed’s story progresses.

I deliberately chose not to have people and/or faces in the design. When I’m reading I like to make up my own images of what the characters look like. I especially don’t like those front covers showing ladies clad in silks and satins etc. which bear no resemblance to the actual story. You might want to read a previous post about book covers.

Why did I make Weed a truck driver?

Our resident teenage online gamer, aka Gollum Boy gave me the idea. We were eating dinner one night and I said,

‘What kind of a job would a woman have where she travelled about to different places all the time?’

‘That’s easy,’ he said. ‘She drives a truck.’

Volvo truck

Duh. Why hadn’t I thought of that? I love trucks. I think they’re the sexiest vehicles on the road. GB’s suggestion was perfect for the character I had in mind: a feisty lady who knows how to handle working in a man’s world, a woman who enjoys men’s company but has issues with commitment.

Why does she have issues with commitment? And why is she called Weed?

Ah. TROBAIRITZ the Storyteller – book one of the trilogy is available next Friday 28th November. Just in time for Christmas stockings!

Finding my author brand

You’ve got to have an author brand. Here on the Huffington Post they tell you why you need one. See, you have to stand out. There’s a lot of competition out there. How is an author to attract buyers to his/her work when there are so many other writers with similar appeal?

Author brand

standing out from the rest

I used the word ‘buyers’. See what I did there? Not readers. BUYERS. Because when push comes to shove, as authors we are in the business of selling whether we like to think about that or not.

In a former life I learned a bit about selling. I demonstrated product at trade shows and discovered that potential customers respond well to a smile and a friendly approach. I had the advantage of that brief face to face meeting and the product at hand for them to see and touch and listen to me talking about it. The product and I made a lot of sales.

So how can I get to the people who might want to buy my books? I can’t meet them face to face and smile at them. I can’t demonstrate that this is exactly the book they want to read next. I can’t make them feel they’re dealing with a supplier who has a professional approach and will deliver what they’re looking for.

But I have to try.

Selling my writing is no different from any other market place.

Author brand

what’s the purpose of your author brand?

No different from selling toys at the toy fair or bullocks at the cattle market. There are sellers and there are buyers. I just have to find the right buyers. They are out there, but they won’t come looking for me.

So, what is the purpose of a brand? With cattle, it’s about who they belong to. It’s a recognisable mark that shows who is the owner. How can I apply that thinking to my books?

The internet is full of advice about marketing yourself and your books:

Know your audience

comes out very high on the list of things to consider when building your author brand.

Question: Who is most likely to want to read my novels?

Answer: Women like me. Curious women. Not necessarily my age.

Question: What purpose does my novel serve?

Answer: To meet emotional needs.

My author brand must give my readers a warm feeling. I want them to look at the cover of my novels and know they will be going on an emotional journey which, although there will be heartache, there’ll be some kind of hopeful denouement.

And when they have read and enjoyed their first book by Celia Micklefield, I want them to know they can expect a similar experience from the next one. There will be characters they can care about. In the plot there will be shocks and twists and tragedy and successes.

author brand

warm coloured cover

And when they turn the last page I’d like to give them that momentary sense of sadness, that small bereavement of having finished with those characters and their story. I want them to want more. So they’ll go and buy the next one.

My author brand must show in my Tweets and on my author FaceBook page and here in my posts on my website. I’d like to have book covers that say ‘Ah, another story by Celia Micklefield’

I’m working on it.

Thank you for reading my posts. Don’t forget to FOLLOW CELIA.

How sad is ‘The End’ ? Missing your characters.

 

The End of the book

image from ‘The Guardian’

Some people feel sad when they finish reading a book or a series. There’s a new hole in their lives, they say, when the last page is turned and the characters they’ve come to know and support fade away.

Here on Reddit, there’s a discussion about how finishing a book causes sadness.

Bailey laments the coming to the end of a series in 2013 in her BookBlogging blog.

In Yahoo answers the discussion mentions sadness at finishing a book because the reader has become so attached to the characters.

On GoodReads, too, there are readers who explain how they feel sad when they’ve finished reading a book they’ve really enjoyed.

So how do writers feel when they’ve finished?

If you can feel sad when you’ve finished reading a book, how much sadder are you going to feel when you’ve finished writing one?

The writers at Jungle Red discuss it here. Most writers feel something of a kind of emptiness but deal with it in different ways. Some jump straight back into the next novel. Others enjoy taking a break.

Flaubert said this –

I love my work with a love that is frenzied and perverted, as an ascetic loves the hair shirt that scratches his belly. Sometimes, when I am empty, when words don’t come, when I find I haven’t written a single sentence after scribbling whole pages, I collapse on my couch and lie there dazed, bogged in a swamp of despair, hating myself and blaming myself for this demented pride which makes me pant after a chimera. A quarter of an hour later everything changes; my heart is pounding with joy. Last Wednesday I had to get up and fetch my handkerchief; tears were streaming down my face. I had been moved by my own writing; the emotion I had conceived, the phrase that rendered it, and satisfaction of having found the phrase–all were causing me to experience the most exquisite pleasure.”
-Flaubert

He must have been depressed beyond imagination when he actually finished.

I admit I’ve made myself cry

when I’ve killed off characters. I’ve got myself all riled up during arguments between my fictitious people and found it difficult not to take sides. I’ve felt for myself the heartwarming/heartbreaking bits, but the act of finishing, actually coming to ‘The End’ has been a very strange feeling indeed.

When I finish a short story, I can’t wait to submit it and see if a magazine is going to take it up. I don’t grieve for the fact that story is finished. I’m not so invested in the characters. I’d be wrung out like a rag if I became so deeply involved as with the characters in a full length novel.

So, now I’m missing the characters in Patterns of Our Lives. They’ve been a part of my life for so long. The best I can do for them now is market the book and find ways to promote my work and persuade people to read it so they can come to love Sandra and Jean, Polish George and Ronnie Logan and all the others. Like grown up children, they have to go out into the world.

I’ll leave the final words to the Bard:-

Juliet:
‘Tis almost morning, I would have thee gone—
And yet no farther than a wan-ton’s bird,
That lets it hop a little from his hand,
Like a poor prisoner in his twisted gyves,
And with a silken thread plucks it back again,
So loving-jealous of his liberty.

Romeo:
I would I were thy bird.

Juliet:
Sweet, so would I,
Yet I should kill thee with much cherishing.
Good night, good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow,
That I shall say good night till it be morrow. [Exit above]

Romeo And Juliet Act 2, scene 2, 176–185

The End

farewell my friends . . .

Which characters are real?

Characters for your fiction are everywhere

even here at the clinic. This is where I’m at 5 days a week, all day being bent and stretched, but that’s no excuse for not doing any writing.

 characters at the clinic

even clinics harbour characters

There’s no shortage of characters in this place. It’s called ré-éducation this teaching your limbs how to work properly. It’s a bit like re-hab except most patients are over 50. Make that 60.

There are bad legs and bad arms, slings and crutches enough to make you wonder if there are any uninjured people left in this part of France.

On the residents’ wing patients are recovering from operations, strokes, heart attacks and nasty falls. In the day clinic where I’m an outpatient there are some young people and they are mostly ski-ing accidents.

Stories just waiting to be written

The Queen of Andorra is here with her fabulous jewellery and stunning outfits. Not for her the yoga pants, trainers and sloppy tees. Her shoes are handmade pumps to match her numerous ensembles. I expect she wore high Jimmy Choos before she bust her leg ski-ing in the Pyrenees so now she’s had a bunch of flatties  made to fit her slim but extremely long feet. (Feet are the only thing I’ve got smaller than hers)

She drives to her physio sessions in her Porsche. On the front there’s a regal looking car badge.

Andorra character

I didn’t realise Andorra is a Principality!

It’s hard to tell where the guys are looking when she rolls up.

She’s got a fantastic figure (except for the feet) and is a natural beauty. Plus, she knows how much jewellery to wear.

CopyCat characters

When she first arrived she unwittingly started the ‘bling’ competition among the other women, yours truly excepted. I can’t get my hand round the back of my neck to fasten jewellery anyway. So, it was an experience for me to sit there with my notebook and watch and listen, and take my notes.

Another ski accident has recently arrived. Her eyes are sunken and dark-rimmed. She’s in a lot of pain. I haven’t seen the ghost of a smile on her face.

The other ski accidents are men. One is a leg; one is an arm; another is both legs and one arm. He is one of the most masculine types: square jaw, chiselled features, all that good stuff. He isn’t the best-looking though. That title goes to the 6ft 4″ proprietor of the local archery club who one day let fly an arrow with such velocity it pulled his shoulder out. He has a physique so tight you could play bongos on his buttocks. Actually, I’d like to.

bongo characters

beat the bongos

Then there’s Mister Bean. In the pool, where we have our Balneotherapy, he will not listen to our instructor’s advice. Mr Bean is a character who wants to do everything his own way. He’s all arms and legs going in every direction at once so I can’t tell which part of him was injured. He behaves like he’s fifteen. He’s 70 if he’s a day.

There’s a left shoulder who looks like Gaylord Focker and a right shoulder who looks like Spencer Tracy and then there’s two Spanish old boys who sound as if they’re speaking their mother tongue even when they’re speaking in French. I don’t understand a word so I nod and smile a lot at them.

The newest guy lives at the Naturist colony in Cap d’Agde and his name is Monsieur Le Coq.

The Lady in Black has left. Every item of clothing she wore, everyday was black: trousers, skirts, blouses, jackets, knitwear, socks, hairband, spectacle frames. Everything. But her shoes were white. Work that one out.

Mouse Lady and Bird Lady have also finished their treatments. They left on the same Friday and brought cakes and drinks and a whole feast of goodies to say goodbye to the rest of us. Then I felt mean for giving them such dismissive nicknames.

There’s Marie Louise who works for Air France. She’s always making coffee and asking if anybody wants one.

AirFrance character

Air France logo

There’s Giselle with teeth like piano keys and Corinne who has a different car with a different man in it come to pick her up at the end of each day. Maybe they’re her clients waiting for her hip to get better.

Plenty of characters, you see? I could base my fictional characters on any of these. Stories are coming out of my pores as I sweat out the pain of having my elbow pushed, my shoulder hoisted, my wrist twisted and my fingers pulled.

But which of these characters do you think are real? I’ve changed names and embroidered a bit as writers do, but, go on, which ones are real? Have a go.

You can leave your comment at the top of the page. I’d love to know what you think.

2014 for writer in Languedoc. Be careful what you wish for . . .

In 2014 writer in Languedoc is having problems already. Writing plans are delayed.

writer tools

learning to type with just one

On December 14th a car hit me from behind and knocked me flying. I don’t remember falling. That part of the experience is a complete blank. I remember my head bouncing on concrete and I ended up lying on my right side cradling my left wrist. Both my head and wrist were hurting like crazy. I knew I was in trouble and lay very still.

Christmas and New Year were non events for me. I was out of it much of the time, spaced on painkillers and sleeping my way through nightmares. But here I am today, typing with one hand a little at a time. My wrist/arm is broken in 2 places. I have a full arm cast which gets in the way and is very heavy. I can’t sit at my keyboard for long because I can’t get in a comfortable position.

Be careful what you wish for

Do you remember my post from the Wicked Stepmother where I planned a crafty coup for time off from kitchen duties?

Oh, how I wished for a break from all that cooking.

Well, look what happened!

A break in two places.

I won’t be able to peel a potato for months.

But I’m a writer. Somewhere I’ll get a story out of it.

Arse(d) Ends. Great reviews on Amazon

Mick’s crowing about his latest reviews for Arse(d) Ends, his first collection of darkly comic stories. I have a soft spot for the old boy, so I thought it might be an idea to give him a little update on MY website.

Arse(d) Ends

I know it’s a weird title. I know some people don’t like it, but Mick does and he’s sticking with it. You can’t deny the title suits the mood of each story. Mick is Celia’s alter ego. Remember him? You can find out more about him here.

One reviewer, Juliet on Amazon.co.uk has said the stories in Arse(d) Ends are ‘ a cross between Alan Bennett and Tales of the Unexpected.’

Wow!

We like that. A lot.

Arse(d) Ends story collection

comedy with a twist

There aren’t many words in the English language ending with the letters a.r.s.e. Mick took six of them as inspiration: Parse, Sparse, Enhearse, Coarse, Unrehearse(d) and Hearse.

These are stories with a twist. Humour with a hidden dagger. (Metaphorically speaking)

Mick says,

Even good people have a dark side that comes out every so often.’

Of course, Mick is more highly tuned into the things that are likely to go wrong, so while Celia moves on with her women’s fiction, Mick gets free rein in his own favourite shadowland.

The Dark Side

We’re not talking horror or fantasy or sci-fi. No. It’s more fantastical sic-fic. (I just made that up. Do you like it?)

Real life settings with real life characters but with some very odd situations – just like real life where dark and light and funny and sad can happen all at the same time.

So there are some unusual combinations in Mick’s stories.

Feral cats,

Arse(d) Ends feral cat

watch out!

and deadbolts feature in one story in the collection.    According to Mick, it’s often these unusual combination of elements that make for the liveliest stories.

Arse(d) Ends deadbolt

In another of Mick’s stories, Ted is sick to death of his wife’s hobby – making Teddy Bears. Who knew Teddy Bears could be so offensive?

Arse(d) Ends teddy bears

dangerous?

A reviewer on Amazon France says there’s something Dahlesque about the tales in Arse(d) Ends. A wonderful compliment, but if you don’t believe me, the review is there for all to see on Amazon. fr. It’s a pity all the reviews don’t show across each platform so that whether a customer is buying from .com., .uk., or any other Amazon site, they’d be able to see all the reviews if they wished.

Here’s a link to the Amazon UK page where you can click to read a sample of the first story.

Alternatively, you can listen to a short reading here.

Should I mention Arse(d) Ends would make a lovely stocking filler?

Oh, go on then.

Arse(d) Ends would make a lovely stocking filler.

Till next time,

Cheers!

Celia