Friday, April 30, 2021

A Place to Be

 

In this haunting collection, one of Jesse Falzoi’s characters imagines the word “Wuthering” means “From all directions and never the one you anticipated.” Using this definition, these are Wuthering stories, coming at life from many angles, each one full of surprise and illumination. Falzoi’s characters thrum with yearning—for connection, for meaning, for a place to be, to belong. They will find a permanent home inside your heart.

RRP £8.00

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Jess Falzoi’s A Place to Be is a collection of stories that burn in you long after you have read them - be prepared to be haunted by a strong voice, a strong sense of place and a strong energy driving each story. Falzoi is a hybrid AS Byatt and Raymond Carver - she combines an urgent, existential stark Minimalism with a complex tapestry of rich inner lives of her characters. Each story is a lattice, a delightful,  delicately woven fabric where relationships are held together by the finest of threads. These stories are sensitively told, emotionally taut, the words  explosive, the form inventive. A Place to Be is Einstein's cottage in candlelight, a chance encounter in the back seat of an ex-pimp's car in a barren nowhere place in Northern California, being barricaded with a mother and her children in an apartment in a post apocalyptic black out: these stories will surprise and dance in you, and burn their way into your heart.

Paul Williams 

I find reading a short-story collection is far more exciting than opening a box of assorted chocolates. After all, there is a guide on the lid so you can leave the ones you're not keen on for your boyfriend and eat all the cherry and strawberry soft-centres for yourself; it's not what I call an assortment. They are fixed and predictable. In this anthology, all you know is that you will enter worlds which seem understandable at first but will confound your expectations In 'When the Curtain Closes', the setting is a typical first-world city of supermarkets, schools and fully-equipped apartments where, in one, a mother whose husband is away on business tries to keep her two children calm, clean and fed during a catastrophic power failure. However, the more you read, you realise their lives, while seemingly normal with homework and teeth-brushing eating sandwiches and pasta is unreal. Could this be the Apocalypse or perhaps a metaphor for a marriage-breakdown? And then the lights work. This is not a let-down ending as I still can't stop thinking about it. Each time I read it, I found something new. And so it is with all these stories. Here's another example. 'The Last Planet' opens with a couple eating in a restaurant and the man says that he wishes to end their relationship. Only, the heart of the story is how that man looks after a younger - a stranger – he meets on a bus who has drunk too much and has been sick all over him so he takes her home and meets her younger brother and much, much more.

That's why I love literary fiction and why it always intrigues me. It's never boring or predictable. If I offer a small caveat it's that many of the stories read too much like American creative-writing class exercises, such as writing from the second-person viewpoint or using the vocative case. Having said that, keep your eye on Jesse Falzoi. I like her style and expect to read more.  

Sally Zigmond

Ich habe diese tolle Kurzgeschichtensammlung regelrecht verschlungen und kann sie absolut empfehlen. Es sind sehr tiefgehende, nachdenklich stimmende Geschichten, die mich zum Teil auch noch längere Zeit nach dem Lesen ganz schön beschäftigt haben.
Die zwischenmenschlichen Beziehungen zwischen den Protagonisten,
die mal zufällig und mal weniger zufällig aufeinander treffen, sind sehr fein und sensibel nachgezeichnet.
Eine klare Empfehlung für LeserInnen, die gern Kurzgeschichten lesen und auf der Suche nach wirklich interessanten und berührenden Stories sind, die unter die Haut gehen und einen so schnell nicht mehr loslassen.
  

 

ISBN: 9781907335655


Thursday, April 29, 2021

The Best of CafeLit 8

 


We asked those writers who were published in The Best of CaféLit 7 to vote for their five favourite stories published on the CaféLit web site in 2018. These are the stories that received the most votes.

Each story in this little volume is the right length and quality for enjoying as you sip the assigned drink in your favourite Creative Café. You need never feel alone again in a café. So what's the mood today? Espresso? Earl Grey tea? Hot chocolate with marshmallows? You'll find most drinks in our drinks index.

RRP £8.00

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'The short stories in this collection are all very different in tone and content. Always well written and thought-provoking, they will make you laugh or weep and experience all emotions in between. An easy collection to dip into when you have a spare moment. I enjoyed reading all the stories but, if I had to select my favourites, I would say A Walk in the Woods by Jo Dearden for its beautiful descriptions, Induction Day by Janet Howson as I could emphasise with the main character and Rose Tinted Glasses by Linda Payne for its dry or unconscious humour. '
 
 
Contributors
Jim Bates, Mehreen Ahmed, Peppy Barlow,  Penny DaleRobert Daley, Jo Dearden, Jacqueline Ewers, Alyson Faye, Laura Gray, Richard Hough, Janet Howson, Gill James, Pat Jourdan, Caroline S Kent, Shawn Klimek, Dawn Knox, Kim Martins, Linda Payne, Paula R C Readman, Hannah Retallick, Allison Symes Lisa Williams, Robin Wrigley.

ISBN: 978110542453


 










 

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Nativity

 


Many of the stories in this collection take place at or near Christmas time. There are stories of new births, of rebirths, of new beginnings, and there are a couple that deal with the joys and sorrows of the annual Nativity Play.

Again this year it was difficult to make the final choice. There are so many skilled writers out there. There was little wrong with any of the writing we read but in the end we went for the strongest stories and for those tales that best interpreted the theme.

There are some familiar authors in this volume and also some new writers. We treasure them all.

 

RRP £9.00

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'I thoroughly enjoyed this collection of short stories which range from traditional to dark, from comedic to heartfelt and everything in between. Don't let the title put you off - these are not traditional nativity stories - far from it! They are stories with a nod to the nativity some more solid connections than others but at the heart of this collection is life and life in abundance.There really is something for everyone, I particularly enjoyed Drawn by the Sea by Jeanne Davies and New Shoes for Christmas by Nicole Fitton. A great collection of shorts that will not disappoint.'

 

'The stories are so varied, dramatic, melancholic, dark and comedic, there is a story to suit everyone.
My particular favourites were Emmanuel by Steve Wade and Entranced by Margaret Bulleyment, both very different yet heartwarming and enjoyable to read. '

 

'This collection of nineteen separate short stories centers around the themes of birth and rebirth and the idea of new beginnings. It is not specifically a group of Christmas stories, although Christmas is a key feature of several of the entertaining and evocative tales.'  

 

Contributors:

Sally Angell,Jim Bates, Margaret Bulleyment, Finn Clarke, Elizabeth Cox, Jeanne Davies, Alyson Faye, Nicole Fitton, Linda Flynn, I L Green, Vanessa Horn, Janet Howson, Doug King, Dawn Knox, Joy Mawby, Maeve Murphy, Aqsa Mustafa, Adrian Naylor, Paula R C Readman, L F Roth, Nicolas Siregar, Dianne Stadhams, Allison Symes, Steve Wade   
 
ISBN: 9781907335761
 
 

 

 

 

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

The Basilwade Chronicles

 

The Basilwade stories were originally published on the CaféLit website, where you can access short stories that go nicely with a cuppa. We even suggest a drink! Dawn Knox’s stories contain characters and situations that may seem a little larger than life at first glance but we can soon see that everyone involved is very human. And don’t we all recognise the quirkiness of village/small-town life?

RRP £9.00

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'Great to see an author with an innate eye for humour in the daily lives most of us lead. OK, so it is exaggerated to bring it out, but if you belong to a club, go to a wedding, ever been speed dating, you will recognise the characters, the dilemmas, the laugh out loud situations in this book.
What I particularly enjoyed was the character links between each story, the flow that means each fresh chapter was about someone you had met previously and, very gradualy, the whole community was revealed in all its hillarious normality.
Following the more serious 'The Great War, 100 stories in 100 words, and the speculative, 'Extraordinary', this book represents a breadth of writing imagination that is rare in one writer, Well done Dawn Knox.'
 
'Love this book! The characters and their escapades are so funny. Bought this during lock down but only recently got round to reading it and wished I had read it earlier. Didn't last long though as book was so good only took me a couple of days to read it all!'
 
I've just finished reading this book and I found that once I'd started I couldn't put it down.
It never ceases to amaze me the amount of different subjects that Dawn can write about whether it be romance, science fiction, history or anything else.
This book had me laughing with every page I turned and I was quite disappointed when I had finished it. I hope there will be a Basilwade part two.
I look forward to Dawn's next book whatever subject she writes about.
 
 

Monday, April 26, 2021

The Power of Love

 

 

The stories in THE POWER OF LOVE are quite simply about LOVE of all kinds. If you like romance, then these short stories are written just for you as well. There is plenty of that! The huge clock on Waterloo station acts as catalyst for that. But the collection also shows us other sorts of love: family ties, enduring love, old love, forbidden love, mended love, children’s love for their parents, parents’ love for their children, a love for old buildings, and love between animals and humans.

RRP £8.00

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'This collection of eighteen different stories show love's "infinite variety."'
 
'Here are some heart warming stories which are very readable. They are just right for downloading to a Kindle or smart phone to grab a quick read during a spare moment. The author has a knack for holding one's attention to the end of each short narrative which leaves the reader with the feeling of a time well spent. I recommend this work to anyone who enjoys short fiction. '
'If you're looking for short stories to read then look no further. These are great reads from Phyllis. The stories are tender, loving and well-written. From a little boy's wish to have his parents re-unit, to a troublesome brother banning his sister her true love, to an upset at a funeral, Phyllis captures all forms of love in up-to-date situations. I'd recommend these stories to everyone.'  
 
ISBN:  9781907335723
 

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Tales from Where the Wall is Cracked

 

 

In this debut collection of short stories Paul Bradley takes a look at how extra-ordinary everyday life can be. Kitchen sink realism, magic realism and humour are deployed to present a variety of characters, many of whom live on the margins and cannot or will not fit in. In these pages you will meet a walrus man, a mynah bird called Hitler, Kendo Nagasaki, gypsy Romana, a lonely signaller and many others in an eclectic variety of edgy tales from where the wall is cracked. Wherever possible, light shines through.

RRP £ 7.00 

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ISBN: 9781907335747

Saturday, April 24, 2021

A Most Amazing Zoo

 

What happens when the Queen visits Zedgate Zoo? Well she meets a lot of amazing animals and finds out a lot of amazing facts about them.

This delightful story is told through a series of colourful and entertaining pictures and a lively text. There is plenty of extra story in the pictures for the child who has the book read to them, and the text is of an appropriate language level for the emergent reader.

RRP £6.50

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'This is a beautifully presented book and the story is both fun and packed with facts. The illustrations are amazing, the animals' characters shine through and there's lots of fine detail and humour.'
'This is a beautiful book...wonderfully written and illustrated. Both the writer and Illustrator manage to capture children's imagination brilliantly!
Our Grandkids love it!'
'Thoroughly recommend this fantastic and fun book. Younger children will journey around the zoo with the Queen, as many animals and fun facts are introduced and there are a host of things to spot and talk about in each picture. It is also a great for a reading child who loves animals and a comical bedtime story. '  
 
 

Friday, April 23, 2021

Theme and Variations by Vanessa Horn

 



Theme and Variations is a collection of sixteen flash fiction stories with music – some of it harmonious, some discordant – running through them.

  • A participant in an internalised music scheme chooses to ignore what he assumes is just a glitch…
  • A story vending machine provides more than just a good read for an apprehensive job applicant…
  • When God decides that the Ten Commandments are outdated, how will Saint Peter manage the re-write…?
  • A silent child finds his own way to communicate…
  • A woman’s music competes with her boyfriend for her affections…

Although fictional, these stories also contain many elements of realism. After all, music will always be with, around or in you.

RRP £6.00 

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Thursday, April 22, 2021

Last Chance Salon

 


When Rafe Bunce takes over a run-down hair salon in Penge, he hopes to make a success of his life at last. Not content with improving his own fortunes, he is soon meddling in his customers’ lives, too – with bittersweet results.

The stories in Last Chance Salon touch on the hopes and dreams, big and small, which we all carry inside us.

RRP £7.00

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ISBN: 9781907335785

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Days Pass Like a Shadow by Paula R C Readman

 


Within the pages of Days Pass like a Shadow are thirteen dark tales covering the theme of death and loss. At the centre of every story is a beating heart. For the reader to make the journey to that centre, along the flowing veins of the words, all they need is a few minutes during a lunch break, or at the end of the day. The reader will be introduced to a rich and diverse collection of characters - a gardener, a serial killer, a time traveller, a sleepwalker and many more.

On the Streets of Kabul, which is set in Afghanistan, a soldier faces a life-threatening situation while searching for his missing comrade and childhood friend among the narrow alleys. Perfect Justice finds a secretary planning a murder. Shelved takes a reader into the unusual librarian's office, while Burning the Midnight Oil has a son uncovering the truth about his dying mother.

So put your feet up, relax with a cup, or glass of your favourite beverage and let's begin with The Meetings...

 

RRP £9.00

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Thirteen very different stories, each in its own time and location, but all connected by death and loss. There is something here for everyone. I enjoyed each and every story. You are pulled in from the very first word. The New Comers was a particularly powerful and heart rending tale, thank fully it ended on a lighter note.  
A super collection of stories with a fab cast of characters. Characters for me make a story (or break it) but all of the stories in this collection are winners. I enjoyed this immensely. 
 
Loved reading Days Pass Like a Shadow!
There was enough intrigue to keep reading on! The characters just grew loved every story and the bread crumbs that was left to make sure that I kept going turning the pages. Well written loved every single story.  
 
ISBN: 9781907335808 
 
  

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Wilma's Magic Hat

 


Wilma’s efforts often end in disaster. Her spells come out all wrong. The other witches laugh at her. She has to watch them performing fantastic tricks. However, one spell that goes wrong has surprising consequences and Wilma gains a valuable ally.

Philippa Rae's delightful children's story is enriched by a series of colourful illustrations by artist Ashleigh James.

 

RRP £6.50

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'I found this to be funny and engaging for Adults and Children alike. I laughed out loud several times. the kids like to hear about Wilma's attempts at magic that don't quite work as intended. I highly recommend reading and following this particular writer. All her books to date have the same hilarious and quirky line of humour that you'll enjoy as well. as your young ones. The Illustrations by Ashleigh James are wonderful, full of colour and really help to bring the story to life. I look forward to seeing more of her work in the future. my niece loved the bright lively pictures.'
 
'This is a fun, charmingly illustrated, entertaining tale for children - perhaps aged about 7 upwards, though adults can read alongside or out loud to help as well. There is a lovely use of onomatopoeic language too, for children to join in and some fun spells to chant. Wilma is a very endearing witch, who isn't very good at magic so she makes lots of mistakes. The dancing frogs' legs in the restaurant scene was particularly amusing. The illustrations burst with colour and fit the story well. '

Monday, April 19, 2021

Transforming Communities

 

Transforming Communities is the theme of the 2020 Waterloo Festival Writing Competition. It is also the title of the e-book that contains the winning entries. We chose these because they tell a good story, have a strong voice, and are imaginative in their interpretation of the theme. The writers present us with characters that are believable and rounded. The stories all contain a pleasing narrative balance.

Entrants were asked to produce a short story or a monologue in 1,000 words or fewer. Less is certainly more here. Style is diverse and each story is completely different from the others.

This delightful English language anthology of literary fiction comes to you for under £2.50.

RRP £2.36 - but often on offer

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Contributors

Mehreen Ahmed, Gail Aldwin, Christopher Bowles, Maxine Churchman, Jeanne Davies, Jo Dearden, Linda Flynn, Anne Forrest, Dawn Knox, Rosaleen Lynch, Paula R C Readman,
Hannah Retallick, Theresa Sainsbury, Allison Symes

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Drawn by the Sea by Jeanne Davies

 


You will find in this collection a mixture of themes and genres. There are brushes with the supernatural, an exploration of human emotions, history, love and loss, and also a firm sense of time and place.

Jeanne Davies thinks up her stories whilst walking for miles in the countryside with her Labrador companion at her side. Wandering along the seashore with the serenity and chaos of the ocean inspires and gives her peace.

RRP 7.00

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'I bought this book on the recommendation of a friend. I'm so glad I did as it has reignited my love of reading. If you don't get a lot of "me" time like myself because of a busy lifestyle, these short stories are a great answer. Each story is unique and well written. The more I read , the more I kept jumping to the next story and the harder I found it to put down. I would highly recommend.'
 
'Couldn't put this book down! A beautifully written collection of short stories that gave me goosebumps on many occasions. The writer has an amazing way with words and stunning imagery. Would thoroughly recommend!!'
 
'Having enjoyed some of Jeanne Davies’ short stories in the past, I was delighted to read this anthology. As usual she entertains with vivid description to hold your interest and her choice of subject matter is varied and written with her usual poetic flair.'   
 
ISBN:  9781907335822
 

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Matters of Life and Death by Philip Stuckey

 


Matters of Life and Death is a collection of stories that examines, in different ways, the many insecurities we experience whilst navigating our way towards the inevitable. Whether it is a fear of the unknown, the burden of loss, or the joy of first love, each of us shares a meandering journey of the unexpected that ultimately defines who we are and how we connect with the universe that created us.

These stories suggest that we are all seeking something. Maybe it is something eternal, as yet undiscovered or perhaps something lost. Could this common endeavour, this restless search, be the golden thread that links us all? Or is it our emotions, the raw energy that fuels the journey: sorrow, joy, anger, fear and love.

These ‘matters of life and death’ have been expressed in stories that share those emotions, take a glimpse into the lives of others, and invite the readers to consider the true nature of our world and their place in it.

RRP £7.00 

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'I have just had the pleasure of reading Philip Stuckey’s debut Matters of Life & Death, which is a book of short stories. Philip is already a prodigious singer/songwriter, now I can confirm that he is also a phenomenal author.'
 
'This is a great book, full of mysterious, questioning depth. It is a book of stories to be read again and again.
I wholeheartedly recommend this book.'
 
'Couldn't put it down this book kept me captivated throughout. Looking forward to more from Philip Stuckey.'   

Glit-er-ary

    This glittery collection of glit-er-ary tales will add some sparkle to your life. You will meet all kinds of interesting characters fac...