Coming Soon! Jimmy Cricket

The newest title from Black Pear Press, Jimmy Cricket, will be published soon, so watch out for the launch date.

Jimmy Cricket front cover

Jimmy Cricket by Kevin Brooke is about that exciting and yet terrifying time in life, the early-to-mid-teens. Seen through the eyes of the main character, Jimmy Latham, this story shows how teenagers can, with the right support, survive just about anything.  Set soon after Jimmy’s fifteenth birthday and a year after the death of his parents in a car accident, his life is in disarray. He joins a bereavement club with a difference, where they play cricket as a form of emotional release, and he’s given the chance to focus on something positive.

Feedback from readers of the story so far includes:

‘A gripping read, I was drawn into the character as if I knew him. Very descriptive, thrilling and in some parts humorous. I would recommend this to my friends. Can’t wait for the next book (no pressure Kevin).’ Tom Bailey, aged 14

‘From start to finish it was exciting – I was desperate to read on. The main character was fun and mysterious.’ Genevieve Brown – aged 12

Although aimed at teenagers, Black Pear Press are convinced ‘Jimmy Cricket’ will be successful as a crossover book, a spokesperson said, ‘It’s a rare opportunity to support a local author who knows his target audience so well. When we read ‘Jimmy Cricket’ we couldn’t put it down, it has great ‘PTQ’ (page turning qualities).

Watch this space!

Jimmy Cricket front cover

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Portraits of Prose

PoP Front Cover

Portraits of Prose Andrew Owens

Portraits of Prose is a collection of compelling short stories, each with the power to draw you in and leave a lasting impression. Each tale is concise, unique and well sustained and there is sincerity and feeling in every word. Whether it be the emotionally driven ‘30 Seconds’, the intense and disturbing ‘Sinister Justice’ or the touching and tender ‘Like Mother, Like Daughter’, there is something for everyone in this book. With their lovely easy to read style, these insightful stories engage the reader from the first paragraph to the last.

‘Delightfully impish’ – Glenn James co-founder of 42 Worcester (‘No Strings Attached’)

‘Concise, atmospheric, and with three twists, it engaged and was pretty much a case study in how to get it right’ – Gary Longden behind the arras (‘Bootleg to Paris’)

“Memorable, witty and highly amusing” – Fergus McGonigal (‘Between Friends’)

‘A creepy story with a very surprising twist in the tail’ – Jill King Worcester Writers’ Circle (‘While We Were Out’)

If you’d like it as an eBook click here

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The Not So Stories

NotSoStories

Prof Rod Griffiths has always admired Kipling’s Just So Stories. Kipling was expansive in his style and enjoyed playing with words. For example, we are told that the Whale:

“ate the Starfish and the Garfish, and the Crab and the Dab, and the Plaice and the Dace, and the Skate and his mate, and the Mackereel and the Pickereel and the really Twirly-Whirly Eel.”

Rod continues, ‘It is charming and quirky but hardly punchy. My stories are shorter. They have been developed in performances at story-telling gigs where time and word counts are limited. I aim to be at least mildly funny because in live performances laughter works so much better than tears.

‘Some of the charm of Kipling’s stories is in his use of simple questions: How did the tiger get his stripes? How did the camel get his hump? Kipling did not exhaust all such questions, so I thought it might be fun to explore a few more, like “Why do swallows sit on phone wires?” and “Why pigs don’t fly”. I have tried to imagine explanations that are vaguely plausible, though clearly impossible. None of these stories are true, or at least not completely true, hence they are Not So Stories.

‘In another departure from Kipling, I have to say that these are not children’s stories, though they are not about what is commonly called adult material; they are simply a little more complicated or in some cases require some background knowledge before the reader is likely to get the point. In some cases the logic may appear a little twisted or even quirky.

‘There are other stories, some of which have a common theme; “String Theory” three stories, “Zombies” four stories and “Gordis Thriff” five Stories. A little more background to these is included at the start of each of those sections. Two of the String Theory stories also fit the “Why Do…” format, but are included in the String Theory section.’

To purchase your paperback copy of Not So Stories from Amazon click here

If you’d like it as an eBook click here

 


Aimless Fear

Aimless front cover

Get it now from Amazon, UK customers click here

Non-UK customers can get it from Amazon too click here

eBook: click here

Rod Griffiths acknowledges ‘the fine folk who run NaNoWriMo each year. It may seem like a daft idea to write a novel in a month, but it is fun and it got the first draft of this book written.’

Professor Rod Griffiths CBE lives in Gloucestershire UK and spends his time making up stories and trying to convince people that they might be true.
Some of the material in the book draws on his experience in medicine and public health, the rest is pure imagination.

This is the second edition of Aimless Fear, a modern thriller with a supernatural edge. A modern thriller with a supernatural edge. Sam Diglis, a village bobby with an interesting past, has to deal with the aftermath of a series of fatal accidents. Each time an unlucky individual is overwhelmed by a bizarre fear, the consequences are fatal for someone. Trying to deal with a steady accumulation of widows in the village Sam comes to realise that each event lies on a ley line, clearly marked by standing stones and old burial mounds. These lines have existed since ancient time and no one knows for sure what they can do. The mystery deepens when he discovers that all the victims have blue eyes. What is the source of this aimless fear and how can it be stopped? When Sam finds out his own life is in danger.

 

Girl’s Got Rhythm

The latest edition of Polly’s first collection ‘Girl’s Got Rhythm’ is available.

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Girl’s Got Rhythm takes us on an urban journey with Morning Town Ride. Feel the emotional directness of Illumined. He Sits and Waits highlights the sadness of dementia.

See the homeless in Spilt Milk. The Silence of Emptiness expresses lovelorn loss.

Chill to the vampirical He Drinks Blood. Lamb and Hollyhock Noir revel in things of beauty.

A four-year-old speaks of injustice in not sorry yet.

There is humour, honesty, sunshine and sadness in this first collection of poetry.

‘Polly Stretton is a luminary of the Worcester literary community and her writing, whether prose, or poetry, is always worth listening to. Her poem of a tube ride on a sticky day with its onomatopoeia driven structure is very satisfying, whilst Across the Timeless River, “Five past six, light bright evening across the wrinkled river” does for the River Severn what Waterloo Sunset did for the Thames.’ Gary Longden (https://garylongden.wordpress.com)

Polly said ‘How delightful to have been given the opportunity to reprint ‘Girl’s Got Rhythm’. Like many poets, as I read and edit my work, I can’t resist tinkering to improve them – it’s not often that I’d call a poem ‘finished’ – though as some will recognise, lots of them are finished as they form on the page. I hope you enjoy reading this collection – I’ve loved creating it.’

 

The Girl From Midfoxfields

The Girl from Midfox outer cover set

Michael W Thomas’s latest collection of poems is available in both print and eBook versions from Black Pear and Amazon.

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Also available from Amazon. For a paperback copy click here. For the eBook click here.

About the Author

“Since 2004, Dr. Michael Wyndham Thomas has helped develop and spearhead the workshops for the Key West Robert Frost Poetry Festival. His hands-on teaching skills make poetry exciting for even the novice; his depth of knowledge is impressive.

Because he has endeared himself to everyone associated with the festival—and to many others who live on this island at the southernmost point in the United States—Michael is fondly referred to as the Poet at Large in the Conch Republic Navy”– Barbara Bowers, writer and journalist.

Many thanks from The Robert Frost Poetry Festival Committee, Key West, Florida.
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Michael Wyndham Thomas is an Irish-British writer and lived in Canada for a number of years. He now lives in Worcestershire. He is an internationally-known poet, fiction-writer, dramatist and musician. His poetry, prose and scripts have appeared in Critical Survey, English, The English Review, Fire, The Interpreter’s House, Iron, The London Magazine, Other Poetry, Pennine Platform, Stand, Staple and The Swansea Review (UK), as well as Poetry Salzburg Review and The National Gazette (Tirana), Alive!, From the Horse’s Mouth, Grain and Reflections (Canada), Etchings (Australia),The Black Mountain Review and Irish University Review (Ireland) and The Antioch Review, Magazine Six, Modern Haiku, Muscadine Lines and The Secret of Salt (USA). He also reviews for Other Poetry (Durham, UK), Poetry Nottingham (UK), Under The Radar (Rugby, UK) and The Journal of American Haiku (Toronto). His most recent reviews have appeared in The London Magazine and the TLS.

Since April, 2004, Michael has been poet-in-residence at the annual Robert Frost Poetry Festival, Key West, Florida. In consequence, he is Poet-at-Large in the Navy of the Conch Republic of Key West. Other recent events outside the UK include readings at Linnaeus University, Sweden and at Tampere University, Finland. Most recently, he gave the keynote address at Poems Are Being Written, a conference on contemporary poetry at the University of Portsmouth, November 2013.

Michael’s novel Pilgrims at the White Horizon was published by TQF, September 2013, and his poetry collection Batmans Hill, South Staffs was published by Flipped Eye International editions, December 2013.

He is available for readings, workshops and seminars on both the practice and the theory of poetry writing.

Website: www.michaelwthomas.co.uk

E-mail: michaelw.thomas@btinternet.com
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What the critics say about Michael W. Thomas’s poetry:

‘Michael Thomas’ poems are rich with the details of past and present lives.  They explore the wildest possibilities of those lives with passion and humour.’
–Alison Brackenbury.

‘Michael W. Thomas’s poetry shows a real sense of exploration and discrimination of fine states of feeling…. Thomas cuts away all dead weight, creating a sense of economy with richness, and is not afraid of using a phrase that in a lesser craftsman’s hands would bring a sneer…. His language is vigorous and street-wise and his poetic tools work on experience in Coleridgean mode, dissolving, diffusing, dissipating in order to create a surprising world.’
–Peter de Ville, Poetry Salzburg Review.

‘Thomas is a poet who deals with the muscular and descriptive qualities of language…. The poetry often launches itself at the reader in a way that is both terse and direct [and] perhaps more sensory than sensual. Metaphor is often employed in a strange and imaginative way. Many of the poems deal with the domestic sphere, but Thomas also writes about unusual or imagined scenarios [and] is not afraid to write about many different subjects.’
–Maria Taylor, Under The Radar.

‘What is this man doing to me? I want easy references, polite allusions. I don’t want my thoughts to be shattered, to fall down like a wet wave! Michael Thomas tears the traditions of metaphors and similes apart. One feels each word took him hours to select before he cemented it in place; he has complete control of his medium. An American poet would shun some of his subjects—but I know my blood ran cold and then hot when I read [the poems] carefully. For me, they tossed Eliot’s spoonfuls on the rug and announced the new ‘Howl!’ Always his language is terse and efficient. No words are wasted on poetical indulgences.’
–Kirby Congdon, US poet, dramatist, editor and associate of the Beat Poets; author of Selected Poems and Prose Poems and New Mystic, Connecticut, Sixty-Five Years Ago.

‘The language throughout has a grit and tactility that seems distinctly British to this American ear. It has a bite which is, however, always without animus, ironic rather than sarcastic. These are poems that show abundant compassion, feeling for family, and affectionate regard for all the various characters Thomas encounters and describes.’
–Barry George, US poet and haiku master, author of Wrecking Ball and Other Urban Haiku, instructor at Spalding MFA Summer Residency, Louisville, Kentucky.

 

Chatterton

Chatterton Front Cover–Stretton

GREAT NEWS! Chatterton is out as an eBook! To read on Kindle and other platforms click here.

A limited first edition of 50 copies of this pamphlet signed by the author. PAPERBACK VERSION–SOLD OUT!

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Black Pear Press published ‘Chatterton’, a series of poems about the 17 year old starving poet in a garret, Thomas Chatterton. Did he commit suicide or was it an accidental death? You decide.

Polly Stretton has created a series of poems about Thomas Chatterton from the viewpoints of those who loved or were somehow influenced by him, gathered around the foot of his deathbed, remembering and commenting on his life.

Polly says, ‘I’ve loved the Henry Wallis painting (shown on the pamphlet cover) since I studied the pre-Raphaelites – it’s been the inspiration for this series.’

Award winning novelist, Carrie Rubin said, ‘Chatterton – A Series of Poems explores loved ones’ possible reactions to young Thomas Chatterton’s death, using Henry Wallis’s painting Death of  Chatterton as a launching point. The verses are wonderfully visceral, and I enjoyed learning about this tragic young lad. The poem by “The Mother” about broke my heart. Only Ms. Stretton could get me to read a collection of themed poems. And I’m so glad I did!’

Chris Moran wrote to say, ‘Just to let you know your books arrived and I have totally devoured mine! I shall read it again and again. I’m looking forward to sending it to my friend in America…’

Poet Alex Carr-Malcolm said, ‘If you haven’t already ordered a copy, I can thoroughly recommend this collection. What a unique idea to look at many viewpoints. Each with their own take on the life and death of Chatterton. Beautiful poetry, an anthology that you will delve into again and again. Thought provoking and profound – a must for every collection.’

Writer Jenifer Granger said ‘This series puts me in mind of Russian poetry, in the best possible sense.’

Chatterton was performed by writers at 42 Worcester 30th April 2014, at Coach House Writers 1st May 2014 and by writers from Worcester Writers’ Circle 12th June 2014.

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Polly Stretton is a member of Worcester Writers’ Circle and part of the Worcestershire Literary Festival team. She has performed her poetry at spoken word events such as Worcester SpeakEasy, 42 Worcester, Mouth & Music, and at The Poetry Place in Covent Garden. Her writing has been published in many anthologies, most recently, Slants of Light, The Paragram Poetry Prize Anthology in which she was shortlisted with her poem Latent. Last year she was published in The dVerse Anthology: Voices of Contemporary World Poetry. Polly released the first edition of Girl’s Got Rhythm in 2012 and the second edition in 2014.