It was a chilly Monday morning when the man in the dark trench coat, limped up the garden path to deliver the news. I stood at the kitchen window with a steaming cup of black coffee in my hand. I watched as he unlatched the garden gate and opened it with a squeal of protesting hinges. I watched as he carefully closed it behind him and started his slow progress to my front door. I watched as he noticed me watching, I saw it in his eyes, and it was then that I knew that my wife was finally dead.
“A long time ago, in the very depths of Earth’s winter, we had a festival. People sang carols, ate delicious food and exchanged gifts, and it would snow.”
“Snow?” The child’s eyes were wide as she gazed at her grandfather.
“Yes, snow; pure white, cold as ice. It fell in pretty flakes from the sky and settled until the snow was thick and blanketed everything. Every house, every road, every field, every tree, until the whole world was pure white.” He sighed. “It was just beautiful.”
“Do you miss it Grandpa? Earth I mean?”
The old man could only nod.
So, it is here… Rather than mess about giving it a big build up… I’ve just sent you the order page… Do with it as you will…
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Invisible Shores: South AmericaPaperback – 13 Nov 2015
by Oliver Kennett (Author)
Winter has certainly come. I had to break the ice on the toilet this morning and snap several unfortunate dogs off lamp posts.
I know I keep saying this but, the book is nearly here! But it is this time. The proofs arrived yesterday and today I will be posting them out to a lucky few, who I will then hound mercilessly to read and check for any overlooked errors.
I do have a book cover but, well, I think you can wait a couple of weeks. It looks fantastic, or so I’m told. It’s very exciting.
If I’m honest, I wasn’t too bothered about the whole, holding the final book, thing. A lot of authors say that it is a great feeling to touch something which they have created, a conceptual concept made physical. My thinking was, well, I could be holding any book but, as usual, the world prooved me wrong. It was good to know that weight in my hand was a real book which I had created. I assume it could be compared, though distantly, with holding your child for the first time, though this papery sporn is quieter and smells better.
I’m also looking to do the audio book. I’m tossing up whether to have a professional read it for your listening pleasure or to do it myself. I’d rather do it myself but my reading speed in brail isn’t great so I’ll have to have a think about how I can make it work. I’m sure there is a way.
Until next time, which I hope will be the announcement that the book is now available to buy, keep warm, keep safe and keep reading.
All is going to plan with Invisible Shores and it should be out by the end of the month and, ofcourse, I’ll keep you updated. Until then here is a little story I wrote a couple of years back.
It’s always struck me that murder would be most easily done at this time of year, for who suspects the slumped corpse on halloween or the percussive crack on bonfire night?
This will be a little dark, and will be a little twisted. Hope you enjoy.
It came in the instant between now.. and now. The man in the dark suit did not see his attacker and by the time the needle was pulled from his arm, the paralysis had spread.
He is no more than an Armani clad puppet that lolls and flops as it is dragged from the alley. I observe, I see all, and will claim all, so, in this moment, I follow the stooped silhouette that is stark against the street light.
I follow now, I have business this night. Above rooftops, the sky is brilliant, great spreading pools of colour, explosions like gods applauding, that is, if there were any gods apart from me.
An engine thrums to life, headlights swing across a shop front, the mannequins appear startled in the harsh light, before the blush of night reclaims them. The rear lights of the Renault lure me on.
Through this night of sparkling stars we speed, phantoms of our own devising. The hedgerows sweeping past, their branches are uncertain claws. The car slows, turns, and this is the field. A great bonfire roars in its centre.
The embers fly, fading from white, to silver, to gold and orange before fading to the sly red of a dragons eye. Small, gloved fingers clutch a spitting, hissing wand of light. “J”, an “a”, an “m”, an “e” and finally an “s”. And now, there is a scream.
The rocket slips the grasp of gravity and hurtles towards the stars. It’s flight slows, and now slower, and now slower still. Gravity reaches high with invisible hands to reclaim the fugitive, which suddenly bursts into sound and light until gravity’s hands clutch only a charred husk.
Other hands have been busy, on the rear seat of the Renault sprawls a life sized doll; an absurd, bulging creature made of sacking and straw.
Polished shoes poke through the bottom of the baggy trousers, while clumpy gloves complete the arms. The head, a balloon, it swells and contracts, swells and contracts… “I’m back!” The man shouts.
Children surround him. “Have you got him, have you got the Guy Fawkes?” He kneels to hug the enquiring child. “Shall we throw him on?” It is a stage whisper and the children shout: “Yes, yes, yes!” While a silent voice screams: “No, no, no!” , “Let me!” the man intercepts reaching hands, “I’ll take him.”
He stoops, and rises with the guy in his arms. He capers, the children laugh, “Its not that heavy,” observes a girl in a pink bobble hat, “he’s just made of straw.
The man continues to smile, and totter beneath the burden, the children laugh again as they follow him to the dancing flames. “After three?” “One …” The children say, “two” they cry, “Three” they scream … The clothes of the guy catch quickly, flashing from dull brown into flickering orange, and then something beneath the sacking begins to crisp.
I look down on the blackening guy. The rubber of the balloon has melted. I can now see the shape of the secret hidden within..And now, to business.
I need to begin by apologising for my prolonged silence. My book writing has been on hold for a time whilst I’ve been focused on other ventures. Last you probably heard was that ‘Invisible Shores’, the book about myself and two friends travelling around South America, was on it’s way… That was well over a year ago, maybe two.
Now, it really is on it’s way. After incessant bullying from friends and family it has been dragged out of storage and beaten like a ginger… Uh, rug. Yesterday it flapped off to be proofed and laid out for printing. It will be out by the end of next month. Of course, I’ll let you know closer to the time and pray that you buy it and read it with a favourable eye.
Thanks for sticking around. I promise not to abandon you again.
This week I have mostly been ranting about God… A terrible and ill advised habit of mine. That reminds me of a book I was going to right for people addicted to nuns, ‘kicking the habit’… Anyway, I digress. It all started with me reading A prayer for Owen Meany, a book which I highly recommend. It deals with faith, friendship and errant baseballs.
I am not a religious man, but what this book made me think was that faith is it’s own reward, to understand that we are small, we are insignificant and yet we are part of something great and huge and full of wonder, well that’s pretty cool. There are many routes to this of course, science is one, to be fascinated by everything in our existence from small to huge, well that’s going to give you the view that there is something behind it all.
It’s mbar isn’t it? I am so affected by books or films… I watched Ironman and thought myself to be some multimillionaire genius… Which I’m not, despite the rumours. I read a book about friendship and faith and now I’m galavanting about making friends and blathering about God and what it is to believe… You should have seen me after I read The devil wears Prada…
Aside from preaching at people about some invisible rubbish… I fell out of a sink… I’d like to elaborate, but I feel you may judge me harshly dear reader… The book cover is also coming along. I’m starting another project, I’ll let you know about it soon. Have a good weekend. O
So hi everyone! I do realise that I have been a little erratic with my blogging, with eight posts in 43 seconds and then slow millennia pass while I am otherwise occupied. My declaration to you, my promise dear reader, is to attempt to possibly maybe write every Friday to fill you in with stupid events in my life, keep you up to date with work and generally wile away at least a few minutes where you would usually be watching the clock and thinking of the weekend.
I have been working hard on the bookInvisible Shores, working out a spectacular cover for you, writing blurbs and tag lines, discarding said blurbs and tag lines and rewriting them. I’ve also been looking at the marketing aspect of things, a far more daunting process than I first anticipated. The hope of any author who writes anything that they are proud of is that it’s pure genius will do all the marketing one needs, word of mouth, celebrity endorsements the pages of the book becoming enchanted with their own superiority and merrily flapping away and into expectant hands… Strangely enough, this is not the case, a lot of blood sweat tears and possibly other fluids have to be put in to get even the most pitiable ‘buzz’ going. In light of this I have been tossing a few ideas around with friend, thinking of photographs and blind people taking them. Possibly a pointless activity but could have hilarious results.
This is me attempting to capture the sunrise… I hope… obviously me messing around with photographs could lead to some very awkward, very embarrassing results. For example, I thought it was hilarious to snap two female friends as they were deep in conversation and put it on Snapchat, only to discover afterwards that they were having a deep and meaningful conversation involving tears and many hugs. I wasn’t so popular. Still, it could be an interesting experiment to host on my Facebook page which you should like if you haven’t done so already.
It has been a strange week. I have a terrible tendency to watch box sets of series back to back, for example I watched the entirety of 24 in six hours… This week I finished the eighth and final season of Dexter, which was terribly disappointing. If you’ve not seen the series, do so, but don’t hold your breath for a good ending.
Utterly unrelated to being a serial killer with a conscience like Dexter, there are more people back in Polzeath now, mostly tourists from London. Myself and one of my best friends, Philippa, affectionately known as Hippo, found ourselves drinking with some London lawyers on Wednesday night and a very generous bunch of gentleman they were. This is one of the best things about this place, it brings all sorts of people together, a qualified teacher working in a restaurant, a well respected employment barrister and a writer with secret plans for world domination all sat at the bar, discussing learning, politics wisdom and that Philippa should probably be the face of this book… I’ve not got a photograph and wouldn’t want to put you off your mid afternoon snacks anyway… (shh, she’s pretty, but don’t tell her).
The fiery Nina, sleigher of drunks and handler of mad bitches, (she has a doggy) and the bar manager for the pub in which we were drinking had her parents down.
“Meet mi parents…” She instructed in her broad Essex accent.
“I’m not so sure that’s a good…” My arm was seized and I was dragged across the pub, she was surprisingly strong for a woman eight inches smaller than me and half my weight. I glanced over my shoulder attempting to make eye contact with Philippa but she was busy eating her twenty-fifth bag of crisps and blowing crumbs in a poor Australian’s face as she told him what she thought of Australians.
“Mum, Dad… This is Ollie.”
I smiled weakly and cursed the Lawyer for getting me so inebriated.
They introduced themselves. I shook their hands, forgot their names and slumped into a chair. There was an uncomfortable silence.
“Uh,” I tried. “Everyone likes Nina…” I cursed myself for starting off with a lie. “She’s always really nice to me…” Sod it, another one. “She’s polite.”
I may as well have told them I was blessed with super powers, never the less they smiled and seemed pleased.
“Do you like boat!” I suddenly burst out… “Boots… Boats I mean?”
“Fish!” I shouted. “You like fish!”
This time their response was a little more hesitant.
“You should buy fish, you should buy it with chips and fish…” They were silent now. “We call it fish and chips sorry I need a wee bye.”
And with that I sprang from my seat, bounced into the bar and hid in the bathroom, splashing cool water on my face… Despite being thirty-two, I still couldn’t speak to my friends parents? This was stupid but I had an overwhelming feeling that I was doing something wrong, I would be caught out and told off. It was like i had regressed to the age of six and nearly been caught clambering through the upper shelves of a friends parents wardrobe. I think I must have been caught a lot to create this overwhelming feeling of dread.
Probably my worst parent catch was after staying in a friends garden in a tent. I was seven, I was urinating on some flowers, they may or may not have been roses… I called to my friend:
“Oy Will, look how far I can wee!” Such things being a great badge of honour at the time.
Instead of my friends sleepy voice emerging from the open tent flaps a voice thundered from on high…
“What the bloody hell you doing you little sh*t! Stop pissing on my garden.”
So this is probably the reason I am still afraid of friends parents.
What about you? When have you been rumbled by friends parents? What were you doing?
It is hard being a writer, learning to play tiny violins whilst pouring out self pitying lamentations to anyone who is unlucky enough to come across our blogs…
Okay, that was a bad start, there are far harder, far more noble callings than a person who sits down and writes about what is currently in their head. I suppose what I should have said was, ‘creativity is a hard tool to wheeled’. It is not something that can be summoned like a genie from a lamp, it must be teased out, stroked and cooed to.
I’ve been thinking about book titles… I’ve been thinking about a book title pretty much solidly for the last month and it’s really, really difficult… A few little words to grasp a potential readers attention, to reach out and seize something within their soul.
By Comparison writing a book is easy, it’s just typing a load of words one after the other. In a 70 k word book it is okay when some words, some sentences or even some passages are not up to scratch because the book is a dilution of an idea, a title is not.
The tile for, ‘the travel book’ that I have been so imaginatively calling it, had to express the main themes of the book, to boil down the ideas into a tough little nugget of emotion. Of course, I needed to include the fact that the book is about some guy who goes travelling across South America and it just so happens he can’t see, but I didn’t want to make a big deal of that because the book isn’t about me being blind, it’s about travel, friendship and a lot of rum. Saying that, I know people are interested in the fact that I can’t see and want to know what it’s like which, in a way was how the book came to be.
On friday, after a bathtub of coffee and a mental work out that left me bleeding coffee from the ears, it came to me. It was not in some revelation, it was no epiphany, an angel didn’t come to me… Personally I think I had thought of every other title and this was the only one left… I’ve changed my mind, creativity is not a hard tool to wheeled, she’s a bitch of a mistress…
Let me know what you think in the comments.
As I was poking through my lack of messages, emails, tweets, snapchats, whatsaps, audio boo and Facebook notifications… I found the recently demised game, flappy bird. Naturally, I can’t play it and it was utterly pointless in my downloading it. The only benefit I can see is to invite friends over for a big flappy bird party where they all squint at a tiny screen while I smile benevolently at my dear, bribed peers. Who’s keen?
As it’s Friday, I’ve made one of my stories free on kindle. Hit it up here. A little twisted piece about death and mini cheddars. As you will guess from the title, I just killed a man, it is about a man who just killed another man. You see how clever I am with these titles? In his final hours of freedom he worries that he won’t have mini shedders in prison. I’m not sure why I chose mini cheddars, I don’t particularly like them but I also don’t have a taste for killing people, currently.
What would you miss most should your liberty be removed? A pet? Your space hopper? Flappy bird?