Excitement mounts in Whittlesey as the town’s senior writing group awaits proof copies of their latest outstanding collection of stories and poems.
We can do no better than to show you the back page blurb:
Well, well, well, the Whittlesey Wordsmiths have done it again.
They keep producing such fine work that it would almost be a crime not to publish more. With fabulous poetry and wonderful stories, this latest collection will thrill and surprise, make you gasp and chuckle, sometimes even in the right places, and for the right reasons!
For those readers who have experienced the talent of the group before, you will be delighted to hear the Wordsmiths are back, having added to their number, and for those of you who are new to the collections, you have a real treat in store, and you are very welcome.
You are guaranteed to enjoy it.
“Amazing they are still writing at their age,” Becky, age 12.
“What, again? Really?” Their families.
“You will still keep taking your pills, won’t you?” Their doctors.
Whittlesey Wordsmiths’ new book, “Three Sheets to the Wind” is nearing completion and will be published soon. As a small taster here is a shortened version of one of the stories, if you want to read the full version you will find it in the book. Don’t worry we will let you know when it’s available.
We have revised the front cover see the new version in the picture below.
An unusual job for a woman.
Written by Philip Cumberland
The guided bus was an unlikely getaway vehicle but it had served her well in the past.
“It’s their vanity that makes them vulnerable,” she thought.
She had been glad to get out of her waitresses uniform and into something less conspicuous. What politician full of their own importance could refuse a honorary doctorate from one of the World’s leading universities.
“More wine Mr Ambulant? Yes the glass is a bit dirty I will fetch you a clean one, it was the Chardonnay wasn’t it?”
Fortunately she was in the kitchen when he collapsed, nowhere near him. When they all rushed to see what was happening she was in the ladies, changing into jeans and a tee shirt. Then nipping out through the Masters Garden, a bit naughty really but not as naughty as poisoning someone. Thank goodness for the tourists it was easy to get swallowed up by the crowds. The bus was waiting in its bay when she arrived at Drummer Street. Some of those academics can be a bit handy when a girl is carrying a tray of drinks, the women were the worst, and she wondered if she had been missed yet. The Park and Ride is very useful you can park for free get into the middle of Cambridge then back to pick your car up. The luggage lockers are useful too, the jiffy bag was waiting for her, Sheila; would count it later no doubt the next job was in there too. The policemen standing waiting by her car was a surprise; she noticed them as she closed the locker door, always sensible to park near the bus shelter. Fortunately the bus was still waiting to move on, she climbed back on flashed her day rider ticket at the driver then found a seat next to the emergency exit.
As she left the bus at Huntingdon she thought it was always good to have a plan B. The elderly Renault Clio was inconspicuous and could be left anywhere there wasn’t yellow lines or parking restrictions and not arouse suspicion.
She drove to her cottage in Wistow, it wasn’t her main address but somewhere out of the way when life got complicated. There was a wry smile on her face as she opened the Chardonnay and poured herself a glass, then reached for the Jiffy bag. There was a few hundred in twenties and tens for expenses the lottery ticket was there too, the photograph of her next target was a bit of a surprise. He was nasty and odious enough but well connected. He must have really upset someone Sheila thought, then remembered a story, well a rumour of a story circulating, that would explain it. No matter how big a bully you are there is always someone bigger and nastier.
Right, London on Monday to claim her lottery prize and perhaps a call to Grandmother. The Sunday papers headlined Ambulant’s sudden death, a heart attack was the suspected cause, hopefully the college had secured his endowment before his demise.
Sunday passed quietly and it was the eleven thirty train from Huntingdon that delivered Sheila to Kings Cross. The newsagents was small scruffy and inconspicuous, located in an anonymous side street.
The newsagent, certainly the man behind the counter was elderly bald and stooped, his nicotine stained fingers suggested that a few years ago a cigarette would have been between his lips. He took Sheila’s blank lottery ticket and took it into a back room, returning after a few minutes he inserted it into the lottery machine. The tune from the machine announced it was a winner,
“Congratulations young lady five numbers and the bonus ball, £180,000 and 3p. You will have to contact Camelot, keep your ticket safe.”
Sheila called Camelot’s special number using her mobile phone, identified herself, scanned the QR code and arranged the transfer of the winnings to her bank in Switzerland. She left the newsagents with a copy of the Times and found a call box.
The call was answered on the third ring by an elderly male doddery voice,
“Hello, who is it?”
“Yes,” the voice had changed to something younger, no longer doddery.
“Its Little Red Riding Hood, can I speak to Grandmother please?”
“Grandmother’s familiar voice was calm as usual,”
“Hello my dear, what can I do for you?”
“I am a little concerned about my next job.”
“He has got a history of heart problems, you are an attractive young lady and very clever.”
“There were two policemen waiting by my car at St Ives after Mr Ambulant died.”
“You should have a list of your next targets engagements in your pack; you need to be very careful about how you manage things.”
“I am a little concerned about how quickly the police were onto my car.”
“The payment for the next job will be a lot higher; a million from the Euro-millions draw there is less interest in those winners.”
“Who else knows about me and the next target?”
“Just Mr Woolf, the Woodcutter and myself.”
“What about the Witch?”
“Okay then, I will do it but won’t notify you first, once I have done the job I will phone you.”
“That’s absolutely fine my dear, we know you well enough by now.”
Whittlesey Wordsmiths are working hard to have their latest collection of short stories, poems and limericks, ready for publication in the autumn. There will be one more month of submissions; then the final editing, cover designs to be finished, together with illustrations and title selection. We are working towards a September or October launch in time for our fans to buy copies as Christmas presents or as a special treat for themselves.
These and books from other local authors will be available at Whitt Litt 2
This will be our third annual collection, our fifth if we include last year’s two Christmas collections. We are thinking of offering our three major books as a boxed set (probably without a box though) or possibly all five as a set. We welcome people’s thoughts and suggestions.
One of our writing group members, Stephen Oliver, has achieved publishing success with his new novel Paranormal City. It has been very well received and attracted 5 star reviews on Amazon:
“I survived the Dark City and found my way home. I bought this book from the author at a book signing. I was intrigued and when I started reading it was instantly drawn deeply into this strange world. His descriptions of the people inhabiting the dark city and descriptions of Hell are absolutely amazing, I thoroughly enjoyed every bit of this book. It appealed to my darker side. Congratulations Stephen Oliver, I look forward to the next one.”
Stephen Oliver is a prolific writer of short stories most of which occupy the Science Fiction and Fantasy genres.
Shuttlers is his first full length novel. I was privileged to read it prior to publication and enjoyed it thoroughly. Stephen is the consummate story teller the book is imaginative, original and not to be missed.
After reading the manuscript as it was then, I gave him my order for the first paperback print copy. If you can’t wait for the print edition the ebook is available now on Kindle,
Trouble is brewing across the Multiverse, and Justin Wilson, a young inter-reality smuggler, is in the thick of it. Alternate versions of the Earth are being raided, plundered and even accidentally destroyed, by Shuttlers, beings like Justin who can slip between realities with ease.
The story begins when Justin is arrested for smuggling forbidden books from his world into another by Pol Atkinson. Pol is a patrolman of the Sidewise Directorate, the organisation set up to prevent further damage to all these defenceless worlds. Justin eventually decides to work together with Pol to avert a conspiracy from gaining control of all of Earth’s alternate realities everywhere.
Forget about reaching for the stars, which may be impossible, and explore the infinite variations of our own world, where anything can and will happen!
If you’re after something different from the ‘run of the mill’ crime thriller , this is the book for you. Set around Cambridge and the Fens, we are introduced to D.C.I. Cyril Lane, affectionately known as Arnold, a likable quirky character , who surprised me nearing the end by showing a lovely sensitive side. A mixture of science, history and time travel, an interesting and entertaining read. I do hope this isn’t the last we hear of Arnold, this is crying out for a sequel.
If you live in Whittlesey this book is available at Parker’s Newsagents.
Out in the fens we pay little heed to the passing of the seasons and for us older residents we have some difficulty even with the passing of the days. Knowing where we are in the week is a task often fraught with difficulty, a calendar is a useful tool.
Early in the new year before Father Christmas had settled down for a good sleep. Whittlesey Wordsmiths resumed work on two Christmas collections.
Jingle Bells and Tinsel Tales for younger readers or listeners and Windy Christmas for the grown-ups.
The books are authored by the talented bunch of writers known as Whittlesey Wordsmiths.
The children’s book is illustrated by Jane Pobgee, both books were edited by our resident wizardess Cathy Cade.
The covers are a joint effort with contributions from Stephen Oliver, Cathy Cade, Val Chapman, Jane Pobgee, Wendy Fletcher and Philip Cumberland
The covers are complete and these excellent books should be rolling off the presses within the next few weeks.
This piece is by Tessa Thomson and tells of her love for a favourite book.
After my mother died, when I was about 3 years old, I was discharged from the hospital where I had been since contracting septicemia at 9 months. I was taken to live with my grandparents. When I was about 8, I was introduced for the first time to my two half-sisters, Margaret and Anne, who were twins and had been living up to that time in a children’s home. They had reached 16 and their time at the home had come to an end, and they were now to fend for themselves. They stayed with my grandparents for a very short time but both were quite wild and wanted to be up and away to the bright lights of London. From photographs that I have found over the years, it seems that the twins did visit my grandparents during their time at the children’s home and the group photos show me to be about 4 or 5.
I had no more contact with my sisters until I was about 12 when Margaret came to see my grandparents. Margaret, by now 20 was living and working in London although I have no idea at what. But amazingly she bought me a book. It was called Trilby and was written by George Du Maurier. My grandparents home was devoid of books unless you count my grandfather’s Zane Gray western paperbacks.
It was a substantial book for a 12-year-old and it took some years before I appreciated its dark overtones. The cover of the book was a luscious green and the pages were edged in gold. It had a few illustrations. One I remember to this day was of Svengali, the one character in the book that stirred my young imagination the most.
Trilby was one of the most popular novels of its time. It was originally published serially in Harper’s Monthly from January to August 1894, then in book form from 1895. It sold 200,000 copies in the United States alone.
The book is set in the 1850s in an idyllic bohemian Paris. Though the book features the stories of two English artists and a Scottish artist, one of the most memorable characters is Svengali, a rogue, masterful musician and hypnotist.
Trilby O’Ferrall, the novel’s heroine, is a half-Irish girl working in Paris as an artists’ model and laundress; all the men in the novel are in love with her. The relationship between Trilby and Svengali forms only a small, though a crucial, portion of the novel.
The novel has been adapted to the stage several times; one of these featured the lead actress wearing a distinctive short-brimmed hat with a sharp snap to the back of the brim. The hat became known as the trilby and went on to become a popular men’s clothing item in the United Kingdom throughout various parts of the 20th century.
The book became my constant companion. Every few months I would dip into its pages. When I was older Rebecca, by Daphne du Maurier became another treasured book and my favourite film. Asked by my family what I wanted for my 70th birthday, I remembered seeing an advertisement for a watch called Rebecca made and styled by Ben Du Maurier, George’s great-grandson.