Remember to acknowledge those who matter. And remember, everyone matters.

Although I understand the meaning behind the saying The Lord helps those who help themselves, I believe it is equally important, if not more so, to ensure you help others along the path of your journey and hopefully, they will still be there so’s you can give each other a leg-up when you come across the inevitable obstacles along the way.

It might seem trite to say authors make a publishing company but  make no mistake, it is no less true that a good publishing company can make an author; a symbiotic relationship that requires constant nurture to ensure healthy growth.

Literary agents and Publishing Houses refer to the large amount of manuscripts they receive as the Slush Pile, and it is not difficult to imagine an agent trapped somewhere behind this small mountain of words-on-paper.

It is also not that difficult to imagine the frustration agents feel having to wade through hundreds and hundreds of Introductory Letters and partials; the term to denote a partial manuscript.

And this applies to email submissions as well. I shudder when I open my email after a couple of days and find 231 unread messages and alerts from Word Press. I have to wade through all that?

And I’ll be honest, on occasion I don’t. Click, Select All. Delete. I know, Terrible, isn’t it?

So what, I wonder, is it about a submission that would suddenly captivate a literary agent or publisher enough to suddenly scream, “Stop the Press!”, “Eureka!”, or, ‘Who the hell is Harry Potter?”

Honestly? I haven’t got a clue.

I mostly write comic fantasy. I laugh at my own writing. Maybe even more so than those who read my work? Probably because I know all the gags and all the subtle references. And in the words of Terry Pratchett’s famous witch, Nanny Ogg, ‘’double intenders’’.

This occasionally worries me. Is my ego taking over?

I also find it a bit disconcerting that I hardly ever come across fiction in Blogland that I can relate to.

But I remind myself that while I consider Sir Terry Pratchett a brilliant author I have never been able to really enjoy the first two Discworld novels, The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic.

Yet, his 25th novel, The Truth is my favourite book of all time.

Which adds some credence to the tagline, “opinions are so often subjective…” at the bottom of form letters literary agents often send out.

All this makes it more special that a publisher would take me under their wing and publish my work.

Even though it was not a smooth ride, and occasionally it caused sleepless nights, I still smile every time I take my first novel from the bookshelf and simply hold it, or flip the pages through my fingers, or look at an image of the cover on the internet.

And the thought comes, unbidden, ‘I wrote this. Me. My words. My story. My book.

I believed in it enough to see it through to the finish, but it was my publisher who believed in it enough to bring it to life.

Don’t stop believing. Maybe you will find a publisher like mine?

Thank you, Lyz.

Go visit P’kaboo and say hello. Or visit Lyz personally. She’s a fine writer in her own right, and here in Blogland.

http://skrikvirniks.wordpress.com/

http://www.pkaboo.net/

DSP.

Book Extract – Almost Dead in Suburbia.

almost dead2

Chapter 1

Not Really Dead

‘Eighty-three,’ the squeaky voice called out.

Thirty-three heads dropped to stare at the numbered ticket each person clutched for dear life.

‘Nope,’ said a voice from behind. A heavy sigh was the response from the woman sitting two seats away.

‘Fookin’ ‘ell,’ – an erudite outburst from the back of the room.

There was also a small cheer. Someone got up and disappeared beyond the temporary partition for a few minutes; then reappeared, all smiles, holding on to their prize and giving a fleeting look at the poor sods that remained before making a beeline for the exit.

And so it went on. Funny that, Ralph thought, we’ve all been here the best part of an hour and yet every time the secretary or tea lady of whatever she was entered the room and called out a number, every single person looked at his or her raffle ticket.  You would think after sitting in the same position for so long everyone would remember their ticket number.

His reaction was no different from the rest of them.  His head went down just like theirs every time the tea lady (he had decided to go with this option) walked across the grubby black-and-white linoleum floor, stood in front of this small gathering, and recited.

The response was usually the same.  Nope, Sigh or Fookin’ ‘ell.  There had been a fourth respondent previously sitting in the chair directly behind Sigh.  He alternated between ‘shit’ and ‘shoot’, but had left in a fit of pique after having his number called out whilst he was not in the room.  Leaning forward, he had tapped Sigh on the shoulder, and as she turned said in a hoarse whisper ‘I’m just popping into the corridor for a smoke.  I’m dying here without a ciggy.  Wave if my number’s called, okay?  I’ll be able to see you through the glass.’

She nodded dumbly.  Trouble was, Shit/Shoot was in such a rush to have his ‘ciggy’ that he forgot to tell her his number.

When he re-entered, leaving behind a cloud of smoke, Sigh beckoned him over and whispered.

‘You forgot to tell me your ticket number, dear.’ Shit/Shoot mumbled ‘Shit,’ and when Tea Lady reappeared he enquired about the last couple of numbers. Lo and behold, one of them had been his. A few words of pleading, followed by a brief heated outburst containing several more colourful expletives, did not produce the desired result: that of being bumped up the queue.

Losing his temper with Tea Lady wasn’t winning him any friends among the others in the room either. She would not budge.  He had missed his turn, and that was that.  She tore off another raffle ticket, which she handed to him and indicated with steely grey eyes that he should take his seat once more. Shit/Shoot nearly had a fit, screwed up his ticket, then unscrewed it and tore it into little pieces right under Tea Lady’s nose.

Her response appeared practised.  ‘Security,’ was the call.  Tea Lady didn’t even raise her voice.

Shit/Shoot stormed off in a rage, banging into the metal waste bin as he turned, and hurting his right knee in the process.

Seems it’s true: smoking is bad for your health, Ralph thought.  Then, just as he felt the impulse to smile, he received a murderous glance from Shit/Shoot and quickly rearranged his expression into the one that said, ‘I’m a moron just like the rest of us here.’

Forty-seven minutes and eighteen seconds later Tea Lady called out number ninety-two and Ralph leaped out of the plastic seat, went into the available cubicle, handed over his receipt and was issued with his new passport. When was that, he wondered?  He couldn’t remember.  It wasn’t important.  Not any more, anyway.  Dead people don’t need passports.  So why had he been thinking of the passport office?

Then he got it.  The raffle tickets.  He imagined wherever it might be he was heading to would have a similar character who would call out his number when it was time for him to ‘go’.  But go where?  That was the question he was waiting to be answered.

Ah, here it comes, the tunnel, the bright light.  This must be it.  He had heard or read something about people who claimed they had died and afterwards . . . what was the term? Came back to life?  Resurrected?  Anyway, all had said that this was how it was.  For some reason he felt that the opportunity to confirm the story to anyone would not present itself.  Unless, of course, he found a way to communicate from the ‘other side’.

He began moving towards the bright light.  Not too far now, he thought, although there was no real sense of distance.  The light just seemed to swell around him until he became immersed in it.  His final thought before crossing over: ‘Hey, just think, I get to meet God and Jesus.’ From a self-confessed atheist this was quite ironic. Suddenly, he was back in the real world, whatever that was.  The tunnel had gone, the bright light had vanished, and he was standing outside a suburban house at the scene of an accident. At first glance it looked as though an ambulance had rammed into a car as it was reversing out of a driveway. What the hell! Then he realised where he was, and what he was looking at.   The car was his, the house was his – well, rented – and the unfortunate victim lying on a stretcher by the damaged blue BMW was himself.

Almost Dead in Suburbia©DSP

Published by P’kaboo South Africa

http://www.pkaboo.net/

Same rain falls on you…Muslim or Christian Weather?

In the book, Almost Dead in Suburbia, there is a local village pub called The Coach and Horses.

These short pieces are loosely based on this pub, and a few of the regulars.

How’s the weather?

Alf was supping his pint as Bert walked in and joined him at the bar.

Trevor, the barman, nodded and began to pull a pint of bitter.

‘Lo’ Alf,’ Bert said.

‘Af’noon, Bert,’ Alf acknowledged.

‘How was that weather last night?’ Bert asked.

Alf frowned. ‘T’were raining cats and bloody dogs.’

‘Yes, I know. But I meant the weather on the telly. Did you see it?’

‘No I didn’t see it. I was in it. Helping the vet deliver a calf. Was up half the night with the cow,’ said Alf.

‘How is your mother-in-law by the way?’ Bert asked, his face a picture of innocence.

Alf grinned. ‘So what weather did I miss on the telly, then?’

‘They got a new weatherman: Ishmael’s cousin, Fazel,’ Bert said.

‘Really? ‘S’one of them eyefirmative action things is it?’ Alf asked.

‘No. Ishmael says his cousin went to meteorological school and everything. Knows his stuff, apparently.’

‘Wonder if we’ll get better weather, then?’ Alf asked.

‘Doubt it. I asked Ishmael the same question and he says the weather is in the hands of Allah,’ Bert replied.

‘Maybe we should ask Ish if he could get his cousin to put a word in. What with him being so religious and all that. If it don’t stop raining soon my taters are going to be ruined.’

‘Won’t happen, Alf, the weather’s the same for them as it is for everyone else. And in this country it’s either Sunni or Shi’ite.’

Douglas ©DSP

Say Hello to Arkenaten’s Coffee Maker.

me by pool

Hello.

My name is Douglas. Pleased to meet you. Some may say, at last!

I wish to thank Arkenaten, who has been blogging for ages, on and off, for his continued support and encouragement and allowing me the opportunity to host my own  site.

Among other things I am a writer. But then, aren’t we all?

So let’s write something, shall we?

DSP