FINDING NEW VOICES
DEFINING NEW GENRES
Because life is for living…
When Mavis’s husband dies, her safe and comfortable life is thrown into disarray and she feels anything but marvellous. But instead of wallowing in despair, Mavis packs up her things and embarks on the adventure of a lifetime, travelling to glamorous New York and throwing caution to the wind.
Along the way she will make new friends, discover new horizons, and realise just how truly marvellous life really is…
Marvellous Mavis is Lotte Moore’s inspiring, funny, moving and heartfelt tale of embracing life whatever it throws at you.
The full colour colur novella also includes original illustrations from renowned artist Philip Hood.Read More
Arnold Appleforth claims getting old is all about attitude. And if that’s the case he needs all the attitude he can get, because his journalistic career is on life support, his sex life non-existent (except for a recent regrettable incident at a well-known chain restaurant), his financial position precarious and his alcohol consumption prodigious. Add to that his abysmal parenting of his three (or is it four?) children and the biohazard status of his flat, and life isn’t a bed of roses.
So Arnold decides to keep a diary, a daily dose of inspiration to keep his blood pumping. It’ll deal with his own life with intimate, eye-watering honesty and also include pungent political comment on the disgraceful state of contemporary Britain. With a view to publication of course – who wouldn’t want to enjoy his wit and wisdom?
So join Arnold as he drops pearly bon mots before swine and makes one last grab for literary immortality. And struggles to survive in a sadly unappreciative world….Read More
A serial killer is leaving a rather horrible trail of messy murders across London and William Shakespeare, crime scene cleaner, is on his tail, armed with a mop, determination and an inquiring mind. After cleaning the room in which his half-brother, Kit Marlow, had been knifed to death, Shakespeare starts up his own crime scene cleaning business, Incarnadine, picking up know-how from the net and on the job.
Following a series of clues gleaned from other crime scenes, Shakespeare is soon piecing together suspect profiles and likely modus operandi. Out Damned Spot! has our hero cleaning up after every crime committed in the works of William Shakespeare but given contemporary settings. The masterminds behind the actual crimes are based on the writers whose stories Shakespeare ‘stole’……needless to say it’s a comedy crime thriller!Read More
‘A promise of relentless energy, noise, a lot of madness and probably a lot of drugs, which luckily is exactly what Simon Wan delivers. Bar the drugs’ –RANKIN (the photographer)
‘He goes way beyond passion’ –Fearne Cotton, television and radio presenter
‘I said he should write a book, and he did’ –Eva Pope, actress
‘The big boy with the big bike standing over me had heard I couldn’t feel pain because my Dad was from Hong Kong. I had some kind of invincible power. He’d heard that I really liked hanging out with girls, Chinese burns didn’t work on me, pulling my hair was pointless and if you bit me you’d get soy sauce in your mouth. If I was in his shoes, I admit I’d have been curious as well. Whichever way you looked at it I was going to have to play kiss chase later. The cute brunette girl with the orange walkman knew it, the third prettiest netball player knew it, even the dinner ladies knew it. There was going to be a fight.’
Such is the life of our hero as he negotiates the triple threat of trying to becoming a cheese ball superstar, finding his cartoon princess, and bringing her home for a perfect Christmas roast potato. It’s a life tale of comic disasters, sex (lots of weird sex), relationship nightmares and discovering your nakedness in a world full of people wearing the same old clothes. Honest, warm, funny and very hip, this is David Nicholls with the tears, the pain and the naughty bits put brazenly on display for the world to see.
I thought she looked French. She had a certain swish about her that made me feel funny in my guts. The other boys in my class said they wouldn’t go near her because she’s young and won’t know what to do. I wonder what they thought we should be doing at thirteen years old in the 80’s. The options were yo-yo’s, skateboards, neon laces or Police Academy. Or there was the park. The park after school. I got teased by so many of my friends because I’d want to walk home with girls. The boys wanted to talk about football or fight. I hated football and they were always scared that my secret Chinese mixed blood would equal martial arts death if they messed with me so it was boring and they all smelled musty after a day running around chasing balls.
The young man holding her hand had only allowed me one single frame of existence. It must have been a strong grip. A secret grip of a young man who knows he is about to lose something incredible. I had stolen one single frame of existence and that was all I needed. In that one frame I saw the most beautiful smile I have ever seen. It was as if every single cell in her body was beaming. That single frame was a stolen moment. In that moment she told me her whole life story, what she loved, what she hated, who she wanted to be and that she would fall in love with me the instant I found her again. That single stolen frame of existence was all I needed to be one hundred percent certain that this girl would one day be my wife. I had to find her. My life depended on it.
We wandered around the city chewing sunglasses, following smoke trails and hiding our giggles until it was night. Time flies when you’re flying. In a blink we were standing in front of a boarded up carousel in the centre of the city. A loosely tied rope our only barrier into an unknown realm of firetrucks and one seat jumbo jets. We had to get in. The street lights shone just bright enough through the thin tarpaulin. The world outside forgot it existed. Everything glittered. The diamond shaped bulbs that lined every surface were singing to us. We crammed our bums into any seat that could take it and we became rulers of the secret fun fair, the King and Queen of the merry go round. We knew we couldn’t stay forever. Surely, someone would be coming soon to evict us and put end to our acid adventure so we decided to escape. Summoning the courage to leave and saying goodbye to our favourite funny cars we ran out, tarpaulin flapping behind us. We both stopped dead. We were trapped in a beam of light.
I was a heart broken cheesy rave MC who wanted to be an even cheesier pop star. I decided that flying solo for a while could be good. Get my head down, make the connections. Life was more important then girls, kissing and even love. All love did was fuck you up. I became as jaded as my lucky rabbit. I scoffed at couples. I squeezed my sauce at every pretty girl that had chips to offer and I was greedy. My attitude towards life was “Eat Me”. I was Bart Simpson. I was loose mouthed, annoying, a skateboarder and yellow.Read More
“Close of Play is a wonderful English drama, combining moments that are touching with others that are laugh-out-loud funny.”
John Challis, ‘Boycie’ from Only Fools & Horses and The Green Green Grass
“I stood, entranced, holding the card as I re-read it and gently traced my forefinger over the signature, enchanted at receiving such a rare gift. For a brief, beautiful moment I imagined being there with her, walking on the bleak sandy beach, shaking the sand out of our walking boots and tidying our tousled hair. The sensation disappeared rapidly and all I had was the card, which I placed on the mantelpiece.”
Brian Clarke has an ordered life, a life of village cricket, solid principles, and careful interaction with those around him. He is resolutely fending off advancing middle-age with a straight bat, determined to defend his wicket against life’s occasional fast balls. Then he meets Elizabeth – a gentle, caring, genuinely selfless soul who is a glowing bloom amongst the ordered hedgerows of his existence. As Elizabeth demands Brian’s interest…and breathes hope into his heart…he must reassess his self-defined role as the lone batsmen and fight to find the courage to fall in love. Or risk losing her forever.
Close of Play is a thoughtful, funny, beautifully honest story of love and manners. It’s a tale of missed opportunities and a chance at redemption – and the fear of opening our hearts to another when we think we’ve forgotten how to love.
“I loved this. As with Outside Edge, it’s not just the cricket, it’s old life itself. Will happily commend Close of Play heartily. Howzat?” -Robert Daws, actor
“A refreshing romance; gentle, insightful and very heartwarming. The novel deals with very real people, full of flaws and foibles and combines this with a lyrical style that moves between poetic and comic in turn. I have to confess, I am not a cricket fan, but found the cricket element engaging and actually quite illuminating- who knew sedate cricketers felt like that in bat! This was a thoughtful, feel good read, perfect for a summer’s read on the grass (hopefully with a glass of Pimms!).” – P.K.Church
“I found Close of Play by P.J. Whiteley an absolute delight – such an understated and decorous review of a jolly good, well written book; quintessentially English in an understated way; don’t you know. If you didn’t know small English country towns, if you didn’t know of English eccentrics, country folk, village idiots, the range of pubs they love or avoid, or should avoid, if you didn’t know cricket, especially cricket clubs, first, second and third teams (who play away, always), and how serious cricket is, you will still love this tale as it paints a captivating picture of a myriad of characters all recognisable as absolutely English in their stiff upper lip views, as varied in their bias as much as their intransigence, and their rules of life, sporting etiquette, social manners, and how to court a woman, or not, as the case may be. I leaned into you for a kiss. Did you, I thought you were falling over…the humour is simply to die for darling. I am a city man, generally unnerved in the countryside, especially when faced with ‘good’ English country folk and their manners, but I love cricket and felt safe in Whitley’s expert hands; I could lie back and think of England and enjoy the kaleidoscope of characters in this novel, and their stories. Even if you were an American and had no inkling of cricket, this would be a good introduction to a game that can last forever, a lifetime in some instances, and where you play in a team can often define who you are, or what your nickname says who you are. And then there are the womenfolk and the extended families; not there to watch the grass grow but fully formed characters, most certainly not looking on from the boundary. Close of Play is a love story of a repressed couple, both approaching middle age with their own unique fears, and for their own completely different reasons have emotional baggage to sort; Elizabeth surprises at every turn and is a contrast to what many would call the dullard life of Brian, or is it Colin (Cowdrey), he’s good with the quicks, don’t you know. Elizabeth and Brian are two ‘jolly’ good chalk and cheese souls, both scared in their own way and for different reasons, swimming their lonely lives in the choppy waters of entrenched social moirés, each with their role to play, each with mysteries to reveal, and as these come to light you feel they will not, should not, under any circumstances, be together, but, there is the yearning behind the facade, the cunningly disguised need to be together; oh the pain, it is exquisite. And the ending is as surprising as it is heart warming, and as an inveterate weeping man, I enjoyed shedding more than one tear as I avoided eye contact in my corner of the pavilion. Whatever your usual tastes in books, I recommend wholeheartedly Close of Play, as engaging as it is enchanting, the characters all playing their parts and described in a tantalising way that suggests we may see more of this part of the countryside; treated to more voyeuristic insights into English country life. For me, I would like to hear more of Godfrey, the Vicar who is nervous of revealing just how clever he is, and his lack of appreciating a good nickname, and now, I cannot go into a church without first assessing if the aisle will take spin, or be good for pace; cricket is not a game, it is a way of life…it’s not the winning that counts, nor the taking part, it’s the making fun of everyone…Owzat; who said that?” – Pete Adams, Author of the Kind Hearts and Martinets series
Last night I was breaking all the rules, making up new ones.
Me, a wild bunch of one, trailing a blaze of glory, saying, yes, tonight, I’m living on a prayer. I was winging it, squaring off with fate, dialling my date with destiny, letting my ego write the cheques, going eye to eye, punch for punch, drink for drink with the ruffian that is life.
And when I was done, there was no need to look back in anger, because when I was done I couldn’t look back at all.
Meet Samuel Grant. He’s trying to work a few things out.
Remember that time when Twitter sounded like an insult, no one had a Facebook page, and Britney Spears still looked innocent in pig tails?
Remember to Breathe is a rom-com trip set to a retro beat, for anyone who’s ever partied like it was 1999. And woken to realise that the last tequila was unwise.
Remember to Breathe invites you to enjoy the highs and lowly lows of Samuel Grant’s life as he ushers in the new century in his own inimitable style. Join Samuel as he feels the rhythm of London’s pulse, and often finds he dances with two left feet.
Do you want to meet Samuel Grant? You might even like him. Here are what we’re lovingly calling our favourite ‘Samuel’s’ – pearls of wisdom on just about any subject:
It was the tequila that did it. Tequila is spiteful, two-faced, sweet as pie when you’re saying hi, paying your monies and throwing ‘em back, but nasty in a metal fangs kind of way when last night’s fun-lovin’ fast-forwards into next day’s buggering regret. I tell you, Tequila is unwise.
It’s like everyone’s occupying their usual temporal plain, and then there’s Me, Outer Limiting, tingling away, a slight flush-on, occupying a dimension just out of synch with everyone else. I wonder, could I walk through people if I tried? Shall I give it a go?
Man, I would so love to introduce the smell of napalm on a Monday. Such a shame I can’t order in the jets, put All These Feckers out of their unrealised misery. Venue: Meeting Room 9, and instead of Agent Orange, just a serious ordering of Brutal Truth: Mondays are one seventh of my life. If it is bollocks on which the world turns, I fear we may have reached a point where perhaps we are all just spinning in the void, riding this one big revolving testicle.
Friday’s “Working Lunch” is at The Avenue on St James’s Street. It’s a bit like eating in an art installation, a White-Out affair that tries for a So-Serious NYC feel, but is occupied by Daddy’s Girls wearing pashmina’s and too many Pin Stripes worn by too many people called Hugo.
There’s a bit of Samuel Grant in all of us – find out how much by taking the Samuel Grant questionnaire now and win your very own copy of the book.
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