National Short Story Week on Kindle – Amazon

It is National Short Story Week on Amazon Kindle. So, to celebrate this wonderful event, I have reduced my anthology of short stories to $0.99 and £0.77 (or the equivalent in other Amazon territories)

 Glimmer_Cover_for_Kindle

Glimmer and other stories is a collection of seven compelling and darkly humorous stories that deal with obsession, loss, redemption and hope.

In these tales of mysterious liaisons, supernatural intrigue, deathly hauntings and disturbing fixations, characters reveal hidden secrets, forbidden urges, untold yearnings and skills in necromancy.

Also, I thought you might like to read the beginning of one of my  unpublished stories that will be included in a second anthology – all based on paintings from Marc Chagall, Pablo Picasso and Edvard Munch.

The Shivering Oak was inspired by Chagall’s painting called Autumn in the Village

 marc-chagall-autumn-in-the-village

 

Coward.

To hide up a tree like a rat.

I am not concealed.

I am here for all to see. Lounging larger than the roof I recline upon. Or so it seems to me from my high vantage point.

Weakling.

You are not invisible. I know where you are, and I can wait.

I shall not grow tired or hungry. I am nourished by the warm May winds that tickle my flesh and brush against my lips, which are red. I painted them the colour of blood. But, now that I glance at my reflection in the darkened window of the house opposite, I think they resemble the hue of the roses on my dress. Or perhaps they are nearer the shade of the berries on the holly bush that grows below your dangling feet.

Perhaps I should let Genghis off his leash?

No, I will wait and watch you struggle to maintain your position whilst gripping onto your fiddle. The same violin you used to seduce me at last years Christmas concert, even before we officially met.

The village hall was crammed. I was forced to stand at the back and peer over the shoulders of the tall men. I didn’t mind though. It was good to be in the hub of things after so many years cooped up with Dad. The lights came up and I saw you standing stage right next to the accordion player. You were staring at the ceiling, instrument tucked under your arm. When it was your turn to play, you seemed to be switched on by an invisible flick. How you came to life. I may have drooled when your fingers slid right to the top of the neck of the violin. The shrill, and lilting notes you played made my backbone dance involuntarily and I almost fell.

I wonder when you will fall. Because, fall you will.

The tree is shaking. You are loosing your footing. I hear the crack of branches snapping. This young oak cannot hold your weight. Not that you are heavy. You are not. I should know, I picked you up as though you where a cloud that time Genghis ran into your backside. The crunch your bone nose made when it met the pavement outside the village bakery resounded all the way to the church. Father Laurence made a rare visit to the outside world to see what the commotion was all about. Laura, your sister, Howard, the police constable, and several other members of the village parish council, made a ring around your fallen self and all, except for me, tutted and shook their heads. Father Laurence mumbled, “Ah, Peter, Peter, drunk again and so early in the morning?”

You gargled a bit then tried to stand, but fell again emitting another squelching sound, this time of gristle. I, all heroine-like, fluttered down to your level and offered my clean handkerchief. You took it in your left hand and held out your right for me to take. I did and felt the softness of your palm, a stark contrast to the thick-skinned roughness of your fingertips. I pulled you up as though you had no weight. You blinked and stared into my eyes and gave a little smile. I flushed at such an intense stare, then you snotted out some blood and my mood changed somewhat.

“Yeah, thanks. I don’t know what happened. I felt a thud and there I was flat out sniffing up dirt,” you said and tried to push the soiled kerchief back into my hand.

“No, no, you keep it.”

 “Sure?”

“Positively.”

“Well, thanks again.”

“Come on Peter, you are making a fool of yourself,” Laura said.

“How? I fell over, so what?” you said, your voice becoming shrill.

The gathered people began to murmur and look at each other as if to say, “He is always getting into trouble. Typical musician, they’re all bad.” I gave them a nasty look, and when Genghis tugged on his lead they shuffled away; remembering the devastation he caused the last time he broke free.

To get your copy of Glimmer and other stories, please go to these Links:

http://www.amazon.com/Glimmer-Nicola-McDonagh-ebook/dp/B00H89AN1M/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1408436081&sr=1-2&keywords=glimmer+and+other+stories

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Glimmer-Nicola-McDonagh-ebook/dp/B00H89AN1M/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?

Chocolate and tax Returns

I was doing my tax return. Sifting through receipts to see which ones I can actually use.

I came upon a rogue purchase bill amongst the genuine ones. It was for three bars of very expensive chocolate.

My mind said, ‘I can’t put that through.’ My mouth said, ‘Yes I can. I just have to think creatively.’

I’ve receipts for magazines, publications to do with writing, books, inkjet cartridges, paper, pens, paper and all manner of products that pertain to my self-employment as an Art Practitioner.

 How ambiguous is that?

So, I went to the cupboard in the kitchen and rooted through the sugar, baking powder, flour, vanilla extract and maple syrup, and found the treasured confectionary. Three blocks of  ‘Willie’s Cacao.’Image

 I ate half a bar.

This chocolate is the best chocolate I have ever tasted. Sure it is pricey, and I can only buy it in Britain’s most expensive Supermarket, that takes me forty-five minutes to drive to.

 But I don’t care.

 I ate the other half and began to see things differently.

Image

 So, back to my dilemma. How can I justify putting chocolate through my books?

 A flash of inspiration.

 I can say it helps me with my creativity. When I eat it I become more productive and my writing improves.

 Do you think I’ll get away with it?

 This is what I wrote after my eyesight returned to normal

 Image

Lightning Brood

They come down from the clouds when there is a storm.

We, the children left behind by those less brave,

catch them in our mouths.

 

Once inside, they sputter like fire crackers,

burning our tongues with a taste

of something primal.

 

The adults don’t understand our tight-lipped quiet

and shout for us to hide. To get away from the rogue

bolts of electricity.

 

To run from the bangs and crashes that whoosh around

our heads. But we just stare at them

with big button eyes, all innocence and light.

 

One by one we move our limbs and go into  

an unmeasured dance, wild,

some would say chaotic.

 

But they’d be wrong. Each step we take

is perfectly choreographed to keep in time

with the boom, boom, boom. 

 

Breathless we gulp in static and sulphur. 

Our bellies bulge with a glut of spark and fizz;

and we slap our hands

 

upon our distended stomachs echoing

 the drumbeat thumps.

Until, we can stand no more.

 

Lungs fill with heavy air, our faces turn red.

So we tilt them up and scream.

Their offspring spurt out,

 

carried away on our ear-splitting howls.

The rumbles die away, the flashes weaken 

Exhausted, we lie

 

on our backs and watch them wave to us

as they fly towards the boiling sky.

Returning to their mothers and fathers.

 

We wave back and let the grown-ups shake their heads

and think us mad.