Come and check it out! :)

the red ant

If you want to see some highly excited authors:

The Facebook Share Contest is now live.

This gyp has been working herself to a standstill (threatening to lose my bohemian status any time soon) to get it polished, shiny and UP THERE!  And now it is!  So, go on, friendly watchers of the little renegade publisher P’kaboo:

Click the link!!

(You might find yourself at the loaded end of a free ebook, or, if you do it really well, an author-signed paperback.)

My next move:

There is a lovely little writing club in my daughter’s class.

P’kaboo is writing out a writing contest for teenagers.

… watch this space….

(ok you can stop watching this space for a second and get some coffee first, but then come back and watch this space…)

coffee

Lastly:

Thank you all you wonderful interesting and interested people, for coming to look at our Facebook Page…

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Book Extract

akhenatenhat

This is from the third book, The Nine Amendments, in the Mining of Lif Trilogy.

(which we are going to be publishing sooner rather than later…I sincerely hope)

I was reminded of this particular scene while reading blogpal Argus’ latest offering about certain things eye-talion…here…

Incidentally, the title, and in fact the core of the book; the ‘flash’ that occurs inside a writer’s mind sending him or her scurrying to a word processor, or in days of Yore, pencil and paper, owes its very existence to a conversation between myself and a dear friend, who is always referred to in any sort of literary forum as Mrs. Aaargh – who has just become a mum,by the way, and will soon be introducing to the world at large, Miss Catherine.

Anyhow the conversation…

At one time, Mrs. Aaargh was attending a bible class, and me being fascinated by all such things, asked her how it was going one evening over dinner. 

She expressed enthusiasm. Mindful of the warning looks from the Missus on the other side of the table I asked what she was currently studying?

 “The Nine Amendments,” was her slightly flustered but nevertheless enthusiastic reply.

This, as you can imagine, was greeted with Stone Cold Silence from all.  But as is dear, sweet Mrs. Aaargh’s unpretentious nature she recovered gallantly, laughed and said, “The…Ten (pause) Commandments.”

Only then were we able to laugh about it, and to this day it remains one of her ‘classics’.

So, for that, bless her,  she got the dedication as acknowledgement that without her bible studies this book would unlikely have been written, 

Here’s the extract…

‘The palace, like every Royal Residence before it here at Memfis, is built on an area known as the Land of Grace. It originally started life as a simple two-up, two-down affair with brick-outhouse. But over the millennia, it has become what it is now.’

An almighty pain-in-the-bum, thought the man hurrying along the wide, rose-quartz and marble passageway.

The tour-guide came out of her practised routine just long enough to feign a gasp. The heavy door at the end of the thoroughfare closed with a loud thunk as the man disappeared inside the chambers beyond.

‘Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls. We are truly blessed this afternoon.’

The small group looked at her with expressions varying from mild curiosity to indifference.

‘That was the King. He’s in the building!’

Their response to this announcement was equally as animated.

‘Mummy, I need a pee. Mummeee!’

‘Where are the ducks? You said there were ducks. You promised.’

‘Scluze me? You makey plicture of wife an’ me? Yes? We stand here, an’ when you leady we say, Camembert, alrighty? You sketch vely klickly.’

‘I thought this was supposed to be one of the Wonders of the World? Doesn’t seem that wonderful to me,’ complained a man wearing a knotted handkerchief on his head.

‘We were offered a trip to the Hanging Gardens of Turkeystan,’ his wife reminded.

‘Pah! What would I want to go and pay good money to see them for? Port o’ Bill has its own hanging gardens behind the cathedral. I can visit them any time I like. And they give you peanuts.’

‘I don’t think it’s quite the same thing, dear,’ said his wife.

‘Well I thought the Learning Tower was more wonderful than this place, even though I didn’t learn much. Other than how not to build a tower.’

‘I’m sure it is called the Leaning Tower’ his wife said, fanning herself vigorously with a tour program.

‘Learning, Leaning. Who cares? I only went to see it because I thought that stupid woman at the tour agency said pizza. But they didn’t give us nowt to eat. Not that I could have stomached anything by the time I got to the top. Thought I was gonna throw up. I’ll bet this lot don’t even have cold beer, either.’

‘I thought you preferred warm beer, Reg?’

‘Y’can’t get warm beer here, Doris.  This is forun. How many times must I tell you? Don’t you remember anything? I think this heat is making you doolally.’

 *

   King Toot at the Moon, the fairest one who is sun, stars and moon, the most powerful god of all gods who shall rule for eternity, or until *bitten in the ass,  for ever and ever Amen Corner, sighed.

What a mouthful, he thought. What possessed his old man? Why didn’t he give me his name, like every royal male stretching back to gods know when?

Ramsy.  One name. Straightforward. Thank you very much.  Nothing you could make of a name like that. If you tried to shorten it, what did you get? Ram. Nothing wrong with that, either. Good strong name. Okay, so one of them went down in history as the ‘Old Goat,’ but so what? He was, wasn’t he?  Anyway, they practiced animal-husbandry differently in those days.

Then he recalled that his name had been shortened. Unofficially.

Snatches of whispered conversation, overheard while shuffling aimlessly around the palace, had revealed he was now Toots the Fair O, or just plain Toots. But he had an inkling this was in reference to his penchant for sundowners which he had begun to overly-indulge in of late. But who could blame him? The economy was going to the dogs, crippled by the war. Rampant unemployment was spreading like a plague. Ten plagues, even, with some new industrial-action brought to his ‘Royal Attention’ almost every day. What was it this morning, he mused, taking a long sip of his drink. Regarding the half-empty glass, he tried to recall the name of the cocktail, his mind drifting down a different path.  Oh, yes. Slow Comfortable Screw that was it. Considering how fast I’m getting through these things these days, perhaps it should be renamed, Wham Bam, Thank You Ma’am, he thought. Smiling ruefully, he downed the contents in one swallow.

‘Either one I haven’t had since I can’t remember when,’ he announced to no one in particular.

‘Beg pardon, Your Majesty?’ a patient voice enquired.

‘Ah, nothing, Horus. Just an old fool rambling.’

‘Another drink, sir?’ the butler suggested.

‘The N.S.C.’

‘Excuse me, sir?’

‘The Night Soil Collective. That was the latest bunch that paraded in front of the palace this morning, waving all those placards.’

‘Ah, yes, sir. Striking for more pay. Difficult situation, sir. Not the most pleasant of occupations, Your Majesty.’

‘Pleasant, Horus? It’s a shit job.’

‘Quite, sir.’ Horus didn’t even smile.

‘They deserve more pay. I wouldn’t work for the wages they receive for hauling off all that…’

‘Crap, sir?’ Horus offered.

‘Indeed,’ the king agreed, slumping back in his chair.

‘I am sure that it will all sort itself out, sir. It usually does.’

The king sighed. ‘I hope you’re right, Horus. I really do. I’m going to turn in. Perhaps an early night will do me good?’

‘A good idea, sir,’ Horus agreed. ‘Tomorrow is likely to be a busy day.’

Toot at the Moon shuffled off to his bedroom. Horus trailed in his wake, picking up various items of clothing.

When he reached the bed Horus held out the king’s nightshirt.

‘Thanks,’ he said pulling it roughly over his head as he climbed under the sheets.

Horus arranged the mosquito net then waited.  ‘Will there be anything else, tonight, Your Majesty?

The king appeared not to be listening. His eyes took on a glazed appearance. He remembered it all started with . . .

Some translations say, bitten by the asp.

Copyright ©Douglas Pearce

P’kaboo Facebook Page

the red ant

It’s finally up.  I was scared for years of putting a page up for P’kaboo because… I know Facebook.  It’s like a spiderweb.  Once you’re in there, getting out is not so easy.  And who wants to look at a dead abandoned page?

Now, for the Facebook Share Contest in which we all are hoping to get 50 shares on each of the 7 chosen novels, of course I had to put the page up.  Here it is:

https://www.facebook.com/pkaboo.net

And many many thanks to Marie, from Kvenna Rad, for putting content up there.  She’s been busy as a bee, doing everything from updating the header pic and avatar to keeping the flow of ideas happening.  And Paul from Bookseeker Agency, our partner in UK, created the collage of titles that is now the page header.  (Image above)

We did already have the P’kaboo Book Club going, for quite…

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Book Extract

 

From the fourth book (work in progress) in the Mining of Lif series.

At a young age, Probly Bettys made a promise: If he had to go through life with such an odd name he would definitely make a name for himself.

He would have made the promise to his parents, if he’d known who they were.

Probly was an orphan, left on a church doorstep in a wicker basket with his name, “The Nipper is Probly Bettys” written on a scrap of card pinned to his nappy.

The church, The Economical Order of Little Fishes, was one of many offshoots that sprung up after the collapse of the Church of the One God.

At first glance, one could be forgiven for thinking the Economical Church of Little Fishes looked very much like a fish n’ chip shop, and in truth it did sell fish and chips. Also the occasional meat n’tater pie and bang-up mushy peas

(The shop sold a lot of pies, actually. Occasionally they contained meat).

But there were clues as to the true nature of the ‘shop.’

Such as, the wooden benches set out in rows facing the deep-fat fryer.

These had been liberated from a much larger church a few blocks down the street.

Then there were the religious pamphlets, cleverly disguised as menus, and said to contain secret spiritual messages.

And of course the dead give away…

‘The Church Coughers. Or, ha ha, the Methylated Spiritualists, as I sometimes like to think of them. My boy, never forget they are part of our salvation,’ explained Reverend (self-ordained) Dribbly Tailgater.

‘I thought we were supposed to be their salvation, Reverend?’ young Probly asked the first night he had been on kitchen duty.

‘Of course, of course. That’s what I meant,’ Reverend Tailgater replied, colouring slightly.

Probly looked out the shop’s back door into the alley at the line of elderly, expectorating derelicts queuing for ‘slurps’: a “highly nutritious bowl of soup and bread”.

A prerequisite of receiving their only meal of the day was that each derelict had to hand in a minimum of one empty bottle, for which they received a penny per bottle.  Ostensibly this was to help the “poor unfortunates” rid themselves of the scourge of drink.

It wasn’t difficult to see the flaw in this argument.

Probly’s first duty of every morning was to take the empty bottles to the small factory two doors away. Here, the glass bottles were pulverized and then by some magical process made into new bottles.

Probly did not understand the process but he knew it was called recycling. He guessed it had something to do with the forty or so child-peddled static-bicycles that turned the large belts which powered the jackhammers.

The money that The Economical Order of Little Fishes received helped, amongst other things towards the purchase of Reverend Tailgater’s holy water. Something he called “The finest single-malt ever distilled. Ah!”

Many years later, the fish and chip business began to flounder. Mainly because of a complete lack of flounder. A freak tsunami destroyed Judysear’s entire fishing fleet, leaving the industry high and dry.

The Economical Order of Little Fishes switched to eggs. This made the country’s foremost egg farmer, Frau Gottlaid, very happy. And rich. But it devastated Reverend Tailgater, who although extremely depressed, put himself on a course of self-preservation. Beginning with pickling several of his internal organs with ample quantities of his holy water.

For Probly Bettys, this was the last straw. Un oeuf was un oeuf.

He decided to become a missionary and spread the word of the ECOF to those less fortunate souls who had not discovered the Good News about fish, the humble chip, mushy peas and other spiritual matters.

The Royal Society of Veteran *Plorers, or RSVP, was, that very evening, giving a lecture: “Freeca: The final frontier. Guest speaker, Arvid Deadrock.”

Probly held the invitation pamphlet (which stated that booking confirmation was not essential) with a feeling verging on rapture.

Freeca, he thought, a beatific smile on his lips. Land of mystery, intrigue, fabulous riches, (“Diamonds? Ha! Got ‘em lyin’ all over the ground. And gold! Even the bleedin’ Hippos ‘ave gold fillings, let me tell you.”) Strange animals and exotic birdlife.

And also, the Tsetse fly, innumerable other poisonous insects, several highly venomous snakes, treacherous jungles and one or two of aforementioned strange animals that would think nothing of taking a pseudo-religious half-wit like Probly Bettys as an hors d’oeuvre.

However, as much as these thoughts banged on the mental door of common sense, the happy, evangelistic travel-brochure of the mind would not allow admittance.

Probly attended the lecture and missed almost all of it. Oh, he was there. Front row, in fact. However, as his mind was still in ‘travel-brochure’ mode it automatically ‘switched off’ whenever phrases such as, “Bloody savage little bastards”, and “Quite lethal in actual fact, old chap. Bit ‘im right in the meat n’ two veg. No sir, he died. Couldn’t find a single blighter who’d volunteer to suck out the poison. Dashed shame, what?”

And because much of the lecture was regaled with such tales, Probly walked out of the auditorium feeling somewhat bemused. Though not disillusioned ….

There was a cheese and wine party in the foyer.

Probly spied Arvid Deadrock amid a small gathering of adoring, chaste young women from the Church of The Ironclad Knickerbocker: Glory-be!

Or the K.G.B. as they were affectionately known among religious circles.

Deadrock had the cunning, calculating look of a Big Cat. A Big Cat whom, if he played his cards right was soon going to get his hands on the kitty. Or at least, a kitty.

‘Excuse me, Mister Deadrock. Might I have a word, please?’

Probly’s interruption may have earned him the ‘Glacial Look Of The Year Award’ from Deadrock, but it also inadvertently saved a lisping young woman from complaining the following morning that she was “Thaw”.

Probly was well-known for his attempts as proselytising, and the women, who also knew a thing or two about Reverend Tailgater, excused themselves politely and drifted away.

A short while later, in the cigar lounge of Deadrock’s gentleman’s club, Probly sat comfortably ensconced within the folds of a worn leather chair pleading his case for a place amongst the plorer’s next expedition to the Dark Continent.

‘So, young feller m’lad. Interested in the Back Passage are yer?’ Deadrock asked, in reference to the name given to the route to Freeca.

He held Probly with the same riveting stare that had caused the occasional simian to drop, mesmerised from a baobob tree.

‘Er … I am looking for a position as a missionary, actually, sir,’ Probly ventured.

‘Ah! Missionary position. Good man!’

Then he frowned, bringing his eyebrows together to form one thick band. It gave the appearance of a hairy caterpillar clinging to his forehead.

‘No place in the ranks for a giggle-oh, what?’

‘What?’ Probly said, completely thrown by Deadrock’s remark.

‘No wimmin, y’see. Can’t have memsahibs clutterin’ up the place, stringin’ pieces of … of, er … string, about the place.’

‘String?’ Probly echoed.

‘Right. String. Twine or whatever it is they use to hang their … their … smalls.’

‘Small what, sir?’

Probly noticed a fine sheen of sweat form on the man’s face. His somewhat scruffy handlebar-moustache began to twitch.

Deadrock pulled the meerschaum out of his mouth. He’d been biting it so hard he almost removed his dentures at the same time.

‘Lishen, yungsh fellah,’ Deadrock protested, while pushing his false teeth back into place, ‘Enough of this malarkey, d’yer hear? Y’want the job or what?’

‘Well, yes, sir. I do.’

‘Good. In that case, we’ll be leaving on the mornin’ tide, day after tomorrow. And don’t be late. We won’t wait for tardy risers. Understand? No time for slackers. Got it?’

‘Yes, sir. Got it. Thank you, sir.’

Deadrock relaxed. Then, after a few thoughtful sucks on his pipe, he leant forward, adopting a conspiratorial tone.

‘So, tell me young fellah m’lad. What’s it like?

‘Like, sir?’

‘Bein’ a giggle-oh, what?’

‘Er … funny?’

*Plorer. And adventurer who came back as opposed to an ex-plorer who didn’t

Copyright© DSP

Wimmin’s rights! Yeah, right!

wimmin

 

While reading a few posts in The Ark Stealth mode I came across this piece on Holly’s blog and it reminded of something that I wrote ….

This snippet is from book IV with the current working title of Oh Little Town of Brothelingham, of the comic fantasy series The Mining of Lif  

The King of Sunniclimes, Infidel Castrol read the latest construction reports. He was fuming.

This current bout of ‘down-time’ was costing him a fortune.

And more importantly, time. He wanted to see the train; his train pulling into the newly-constructed station at Menfis.

It was delay after delay after delay.

The line was originally supposed to have run direct from El Stan-Bull to Menfis. The route would have meant it passed through Mount Horibilis.

The King saw no problem with this. In fact, he quite liked the idea of a fifty-kilometre tunnel.

However this idea was metaphorically burnt at the stake when it was pointed out that Mount Horibilis was of great religious significance.   Many people believed Mount Horibilis was also the legendary Mount Sinaisitus, where the Prophet Mo Sez was supposed to have met the One God.

As Mo Sez was held in high regard by several nations, and revered by some it was deemed unwise to ruffle any theological or political feathers.

King Castrol had no feelings either way regarding prophets. Although, he had very definite views when it came to profits.

Nevertheless, he was advised not to go making holes in things that were already considered holy.

The outcome being, that the railway line would now follow a route around the mountain…

‘Besides, Your Majesty. The phrase, she’ll be coming round the mountain has a certain poetic and timeless quality about it. Whereas, she’s coming through the mountain just doesn’t have a ring about it.’

‘She? Who the hell is she?’

‘Why, the train, sire. The engineer is emphatic that a thing of such beauty could only be a she, sire.’

‘So, what’s the damn problem this time,’ King Castrol asked.

‘The employees are demanding wages, uncle.’

‘What the hell are they?’ yelled the king.

‘I believe they’re a form of remuneration for work,’ replied the king’s nephew, Shane Guava.

‘I know what wages are, you half-wit. I was referring to employees. Since when do I have employees building my railway-line? They’re slaves.’

‘Oh, right. Since last week, apparently.’

‘Apparently! Apparently! The king bawled. ‘You’re Senior Overseer, for crap’s sake. Just execute a few of them.’

‘Could prove awkward, uncle. They’re organised,’ Shane tried to explain.

But the king was having none of it and vented his anger with a string of invective that included a suggestion that eyes would be the first organ he would have removed if the building of his railway was not back on track immediately.

‘They have an agent provocateur. A woman.’

King Castrol knew what a woman was. He wasn’t sure about the other person: this agent provocateur. But he didn’t really care.

‘So what? Execute them as well. Execute ‘em all, if necessary. We’ll get more.’

‘It’s Emily Pankreas, Uncle.’

A small frown creased the king’s brow.

‘The name rings a bell. Isn’t she a notorious leper or something?’

‘A suffragette, Uncle Fiddey.’

‘Same thing, isn’t it?’

Shane sighed. ‘She campaigns for woman’s rights, amongst other things.’

‘Women’s rights, women’s rights,’ the king mused trying to recollect where he had heard the term. ‘Isn’t that one of those hideous cloth things they use when…?’

‘No, uncle. It’s not,’ Shane interrupted. ‘It’s about equality and the right to vote.’

The king had a vague notion about voting, having heard the term mentioned by several of his wives. It had something to do with scissors paper and rocks and whose turn it was to share the royal bed. The thought of sharing anything, let alone his bed with a creature as hideous as Emily Pankreas was enough to make him shudder.

He focused on the word equality.

‘Equal rights for what?’ he asked suspiciously.

‘To be treated the same as men, uncle,’ Shane explained patiently.

‘You mean standing up to pee, farting and belching. Things like that?’

Shane gave up.

‘The thing is, we can’t get rid of her. She’s here to emancipate the slaves and she won’t go until this happens.’

‘With all the bananas and rice they eat I would have thought they were emancipated enough already.’

It took a few seconds.

‘Not constipated, uncle. Emancipated. She says they should be free.’

‘Free?’ Castrol frowned once more then quickly brightened, a smile spreading across his bearded face. ‘But that’s exactly what I want!’

‘No, no. That’s not…’

‘And what about the other one?’ the king interrupted.

‘Other one?’ Shane replied. Now it was his turn to frown.

‘The agent provocateur. What about him?’

Shane took a deep breath, shook his head then tried another tack. He hated it when his uncle tried to be devious. He was easier to deal with when he was merely losing his temper.

‘Never mind him for now. The point is, before I left, she lay down in front of the train and chained herself to the tracks. She is refusing to move unless we free the slaves and begin treating them like human beings.’

‘Lay down in front of the train, you say?’ The king had a calculating look in his eyes.

‘Yes, uncle.’

‘Good,’ Castrol said triumphantly. ‘Run over the bitch!’

Shane was almost at his wits end.  ‘We can’t. She is the Queen of Judysear’s cousin.’

The king sobered very quickly after this announcement. Anything royal-sounding would mean an entourage. He never travelled anywhere without at least fifty people in his retinue.  ‘Ah,’ he said nodding his head and rubbing his scruffy, tobacco stained beard. ‘So it’s political.’

At last! The Old Fart gets the picture, thought Shane.

But alas, the mighty ruler of Sunniclimes, His Majesty King Infidel Castrol thwarted his nephew yet again.

‘So build the track around her,’ he said with finality. ‘There. Sorted.’

Shane cradled his head in his hands. His shoulders shook.   He might have been laughing or crying. It was difficult to tell.

Shane had already considered this option but Emily Pankreas had promised to kill herself if they attempted to bypass her. And manhandling a cousin of the Queen of Judysear was asking for trouble. Even if they succeeded, and she refrained from killing herself he suspected she’d probably find some way to lie down on the track again. In his mind, Shane tried to imagine what several hundred kilometres of railway line would look like with Emily Pankreas-shaped diversions every few hundred metres.

Copyright DSP

Letting off steam, and full steam ahead.

“You can’t expect to become a good lover if you only have sex vis yourself, dear.”

Mildred Gottlaid

And some might say a similar analogy could be drawn with writing and self-publishing.

If you don’t have a ‘proper’ publisher your writing isn’t worthy of being in print.

It was certainly something I used to think was probably true: of both examples. But while I would wholeheartedly agree with Frau Gottlaid I’m not so sure these days about self-publishing.

Does the flood of amateurs using  digital cameras diminish photography?

Personally I don’t think so. I believe it has unleashed a creative  flood. A quick romp around blogville will reveal an abundance of breathtaking photographs which means somebody is behind them. And most, from what I can gather, are amateurs. Not all are Lichfield or Bailly but there are some damn good photographers out there, make no mistake.

“Writing a novel without being asked seems a bit like having a baby when you have nowhere to live.”

Lucy Ellman.

Maybe not any more, Lucy.

Digital publishing has allowed the means for writers to publish and offer their work for sale in a market that has traditionally been,  well, a closed book.

Sure, not everything that goes digital is going to be a Hemingway, or Dickens. But there might just be one such talented writer out there who, having been kicked in the metaphorical teeth just one time too many by agents and publishers and is about to throw in the towel, is handed a lifeline in the form of digital self-publishing.

The only issue that remains constant, whether one publishes traditional or digital is marketing.

And what is good marketing?

This is the grey area. All fifty shades of it. And no matter how good the story is, (or bad) if it isn’t punted noone is going to read it.

”Publishers have been having hard time of late. They are desperate to find authors who can break through the barrier of inertia  that surrounds the book trade but they are more worried than ever about risking their money on unknowns. ”

Barry Turner

This sounds so familiar. But this quote makes me smile broadly  and I try to take the whole thing with a pinch of salt.

Why? Because Turner wrote this in 1987.

So, while I recently let out a huge sigh of relief after overhauling several of my books that I intend to self-publish I got a heads-up from a publisher that another of my books is now under serious consideration for publication. Guess who’s smiling?

Funny old world, isn’t it?