This is a snippet of a new story based in wartime London that I plan to post in the spring. It's different from anything that I've tried before, so it would be interesting to get some feedback.
“I heard when they dug out Mrs Jones; she had no head,” said Sammy.
“Really?” I pulled a face but soon joined him laughing at the poor woman’s misfortune. It was how we coped at the time; we meant no harm. Mrs Jones was a nice lady; she was the green grocer’s wife and she knew my mum. Their house had been hit the day before, killing her and her husband while they were in bed. It took several hours to dig them out of the rubble, and apparently, according to Sammy, she had been decapitated. I don’t know why we laughed, because it wasn’t funny, but I think that it helped us cope with the horrors that we were witnessing every day.
There was no room for sadness or compassion. Thousands were dying all around us; people that we knew. Neighbours, relatives, friends, old people, our mates from school, young children and even babies. The bombing was indiscriminate, and when someone we knew was killed, it was a case of rather them than us. We grew up very quickly that year and in more ways than one.
We were walking to his house. It was Sunday; my only day off from work, and I had skipped church to meet Sammy at the market.
“Where are you going later,” he said and when he turned his head, I caught that sparkle in his eye as it briefly met with mine. It was accompanied by a faint, but telling grin that warned me of his intentions and started a familiar butterflies in my stomach.
He lived about a mile from me, but the Germans, had recently cut the journey in half by bombing the milkman’s house at the end of his road. We lost our delivery, but gained a useful, if precarious short cut across a mound of rubble, timber, and broken glass that was once his home.
Most of his furniture of any worth had gone, either removed by his family or looters, but the rubble was still littered with personal items that were either too damaged to be of any use or that nobody wanted. The two story house had been reduced to one, and we threaded our way through the remains of what looked like his upstairs bedroom. Underneath, was the living room, where they had found his body, and to one side was the staircase. It was the only part of the house still standing and attached to a small broken section of wall. It looked funny, a staircase going to nowhere, but the stairs often survived along with the chimneys.
If you like hysterical, oh, I mean historical romances then you might like something I've been writing. I started writing it last year but got bogged down in too many other things and wanted to finish The Seashell first. With that book finished I was able to add Souvenir back into my writing rotation.
The story is a first person narrative in a diary style similar to Brandon Smiling and that's done purposefully. If you follow Brandon then you might enjoy Souvenir all the more for reasons you might catch as you read this memoir of Lord Cedrick Temple, Duke of Buckingham.
I've tried to write this as a period piece with the time period covered being just before and during World War I in England. The language may be a little challenging, but hopefully enjoyable. It's a challenge to write but fun too.
So, without any further adieu I bring you:
By Timothy M.
This story topic is for AC Benus' historical Christmas Holiday Novella about Saint Louis' most prominent department store Famous-Barr.
The first story is being posted:
Katie's Sketchbook - Christmas at Famous-Barr 1976
and you can learn more about Famous-Barr and enjoy pictures in AC's blog and gallery. I would never have thought reading about the history of a department store could be so interesting. As one of the comments said: "Now You are being a Living Encyclopedia." But I guess it's not the first time AC has awed his readers by the depth of his research and attention to historical facts and details.
If you're ready to get into a holiday mood or want to follow one of AC's amazing love stories, check out Katie's Sketchbook. I promise you won't be disappointed.
And join us here to discuss themes and topics of the Novella.
Casey at the Bat, the poem by Ernest Lawrence Thayer, was first published in the San Francisco Examiner 125 years ago today.
The Outlook wasn't brilliant for the Mudville nine that day:
The score stood four to two, with but one inning more to play.
And then when Cooney died at first, and Barrows did the same,
A sickly silence fell upon the patrons of the game.
A straggling few got up to go in deep despair. The rest
Clung to that hope which springs eternal in the human breast;
They thought, if only Casey could get but a whack at that —
We'd put up even money, now, with Casey at the bat.
But Flynn preceded Casey, as did also Jimmy Blake,
And the former was a lulu and the latter was a cake;
So upon that stricken multitude grim melancholy sat,
For there seemed but little chance of Casey's getting to the bat.
But Flynn let drive a single, to the wonderment of all,
And Blake, the much despis-ed, tore the cover off the ball;
And when the dust had lifted, and the men saw what had occurred,
There was Jimmy safe at second and Flynn a-hugging third.
Then from 5,000 throats and more there rose a lusty yell;
It rumbled through the valley, it rattled in the dell;
It knocked upon the mountain and recoiled upon the flat,
For Casey, mighty Casey, was advancing to the bat.
There was ease in Casey's manner as he stepped into his place;
There was pride in Casey's bearing and a smile on Casey's face.
And when, responding to the cheers, he lightly doffed his hat,
No stranger in the crowd could doubt 'twas Casey at the bat.
Ten thousand eyes were on him as he rubbed his hands with dirt;
Five thousand tongues applauded when he wiped them on his shirt.
Then while the writhing pitcher ground the ball into his hip,
Defiance gleamed in Casey's eye, a sneer curled Casey's lip.
And now the leather-covered sphere came hurtling through the air,
And Casey stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur there.
Close by the sturdy batsman the ball unheeded sped —
"That ain't my style," said Casey. "Strike one," the umpire said.
From the benches, black with people, there went up a muffled roar,
Like the beating of the storm-waves on a stern and distant shore.
"Kill him! Kill the umpire!" shouted someone on the stand;
And its likely they'd a-killed him had not Casey raised his hand.
With a smile of Christian charity great Casey's visage shone;
He stilled the rising tumult; he bade the game go on;
He signaled to the pitcher, and once more the spheroid flew;
But Casey still ignored it, and the umpire said, "Strike two."
"Fraud!" cried the maddened thousands, and echo answered fraud;
But one scornful look from Casey and the audience was awed.
They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his muscles strain,
And they knew that Casey wouldn't let that ball go by again.
The sneer is gone from Casey's lip, his teeth are clenched in hate;
He pounds with cruel violence his bat upon the plate.
And now the pitcher holds the ball, and now he lets it go,
And now the air is shattered by the force of Casey's blow.
Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout;
But there is no joy in Mudville — mighty Casey has struck out.
By Sasha Distan
So, book covers. so those of us looking for images to represent our work it's a big deal. even more so if you're looking to self-publish and do the whole deal yourself.
We all know you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover (or a pub by it's signs) but I have this sneaking suspicion that we all do. I know i do. I bought Drawn Together almost solely on the awesome cover. i still haven't bought Code of Conduct for the exact same reason. i do not like that cover one bit.
Fess up, do we judge?
Also, for those of you looking for covers, what do you do? I went to art skill so i have a *small* set of skills with which to create and a starving illustrator friend who will do anything for rent money. I've gone to artists on Etsy for covers and done them myself.
getting photos off the web is a no go, and most sites like stockphoto are only good if you're not using the image on a product you are going to re-sell. so no good for us.
and as my little aside: fonts. some fonts should never be seen on or in books, hands up for the haters of comic-bloody-sans? *paw in air*