Congratulations to Rolan Twynam, who has just self-published his novel On The Other Side.
When Brendan and Anna O’Neil arrive in New York from Ireland in 1889, their dreams of a new life are crushed within hours. Attacked and robbed of their money, implicated in the death of their assailant, the young couple flee — with a Pinkerton agent on their tail. Forced to work in an anthracite mine with little money and less food, Brendan risks their precarious life for the sake of shooting a rabbit for Anna’s pot. When a benefactor recalls them to New York, they have no choice but to face up to American justice. Will this young couple from Donegal get the chance to start again?
Being isolated at home for any length of time can be a trial but with a full programme and a steady repeatable daily schedule the time passes well for any productive writer.
If you believe in your own talents and want to push on with the next project without worrying about agents and publishers’ commissions then go for it. There will be many alternatives for publishing your book or whatever when finished and if not the magazine article market is still out there hungry for online contributors even during the lock-down.
Take regular breaks from using IT media. Work 2 hours max per session. Then stop, relax take a stroll in the garden or your special space.
Jan Johnstone, writing as Jan Davies, has self-published her novel, Promise of Tomorrow, and its available via Amazon in both digital and paperback format.
‘Promise of Tomorrow’ is the story of five generations of the Greenwood family who lived in and around Shropshire’s Coalbrookdale area, birthplace of the Industrial Revolution, during the construction of the world’s first iron bridge. Beginning in 1759, each generation relates the story of their lives and their efforts to better themselves, whilst other family members, friends and enemies, also add their recollections to the ongoing Greenwood saga.Can this family succeed in bettering themselves against all odds, despite the hardships they encounter at every turn? This is a story of class inequality, hardship and love as the Greenwood family battles to achieve their dream of the ‘Promise of Tomorrow’.
The coppers came to the house quicker than I expected. A stern, frowny detective with a scraggly beard, wearing a shiny grey suit, and a woman in bulky uniform that made her look fat. I had to go to the station for an “informal chat”. Not sure what they meant but Mam always told us to say nowt to the coppers. They asked her to come with me but she had one of her headaches – she was pissed – so my social worker’s here instead.
“Rose, could you tell us what happened down by the rockpools?” asks the policewoman with a smile.
I think she’s called Tracy, or maybe Macey, I wasn’t really listening when she told me. She’s trying to make me feel comfortable, make me think she’s my friend. She’s got the same cheesy smirk my social worker uses all the time.
Amelia’s crying wakes me. The red eyes of the clock say 12.45. For a couple of minutes, I ignore her in the hope she’ll go back to sleep. She turns up the volume.
‘Don’t you know I have to be up for work in six hours?’ I mutter, dragging myself along our skinny corridor.
There is an unfamiliar, plastic-y smell. I want to investigate, but Amelia’s cries are growing louder. The neighbours have never complained before but it would bug me to be woken by someone else’s bawling baby: my own is bad enough.
‘When’s this going to stop? I need to get you off the breast; you’re sixteen months… shush, sweetheart, shush….’
Rat-a-tat! Rat-a-tat! The Ladies are here again. And it’s different today; I’m down in the hall and Mother’s upstairs. It’s the first time I’ve been this close to them, but I had a feeling they were around our area and my feeling was right – they’re just behind the door.
The Ladies come every few weeks or so. Not regularly enough to guess exactly which day, though. I’ve never seen them in person, but I always know it’s them at the door; their rat-a-tat, rat-a-tat is different from any other knock I’ve heard. But even when I hear them, I’m never near enough to answer. Until today.
A scarf of red silk drapes over my legs as I work. My stitches are small but no longer invisible as they once used to be. I work quickly, repairing trousers for Freydo and Pav before tonight’s show. If only my fingers could work to repair our tent, but alas I do not have the skill or the material to fix what is needed. The tent continues to leak and lets in much light, even on the darkest of days.
I reach to the table to pull yellow silk to my workspace. I mend Freydo’s yellow trousers with red cotton because I have to make do with what I have, not what I would like. I do not notice Freydo approach the open door to my van. He coughs gently to alert me and I look up and smile. I break the red cotton with my teeth and drop the silk to my knee.
“The trousers are ready?” he asks.
“And the tops are almost done. Sit with me, Freydo,” I ask.
I glance at my watch counting down the time remaining until, once again, it will be over. Out of the 168 hours in each week this is the only one that matters, each minute as precious as a droplet of water to a parched desert-traveller.
Apart from me, the room is empty. Three easy chairs crouch round a watermarked coffee table and I perch on one, mindlessly ironing my skirt with my sweating palms. Looking around, everything I see is shamelessly functional: cream woodchip walls, cheap floral curtains, and serviceable carpet tiles contribute nothing to homeliness and if it were possible, seem to become even less welcoming week by week. Clearly, whoever designed this space believed that those who have to come here deserve nothing more.
The door opens and Myra’s face appears, creased but comforting like a well-used road map. “Ready, Eva?”
I feel like the richest man in the world on bright days like this, though others beg to differ. I’ve seen ‘em, wrinklin’ their noses and muttering under their breath while they’re passing by, showing their ignorance. Druggy indeed; vagrant – cheeky beggars. I’ll have them know I have a place of my own and it’s finer than theirs, I bet. There’s wrought iron gates with fancy scrolls, and a flagged path what’s knitted together wi’ moss right up to my place; 32 Ivy Close. You should see the flowers arranged around it, and the pretties that take pride of place on my shelf. If any cared to look, they’d see that they’ve no room to turn their noses up. Still, they can think what they want if they leave me in peace.
Ah, the paper shop. I’ll cross the road while it’s quiet and have a sit down and a read afore I go to see our lass. She’s not been right well, you know, and it’s been too long since I saw her.
‘Promise of Tomorrow’ is the story of five generations of the Greenwood family who lived in and around Shropshire’s Coalbrookdale area, birthplace of the Industrial Revolution, during the construction of the world’s first iron bridge.
Beginning in 1759, each generation relates the story of their lives and their efforts to better themselves, whilst other family members, friends and enemies, also add their recollections to the ongoing Greenwood saga.
Can this family succeed in bettering themselves against all odds, despite the hardships they encounter at every turn?
This is a story of class inequality, hardship and love as the Greenwood family battles to achieve their dream of the ‘Promise of Tomorrow’.
The 2018 Bristol Short Story Prize has been launched and the details are as follows:
The closing date for entries is midnight (BST) May 1st 2018.
The maximum word limit is 4,000, there is no minimum.
Stories may be on any theme or subject and entry can be made online or by post.
There is an £8.00 entry fee for all stories submitted and entries must be previously unpublished.