Monthly Archives: April 2014

Matt Thurston, ear-stroker

Moth Girl Episode One Cover_ImageI thought you might be interested to see a few comments that listeners have made to us here at Hairynose Press about Matt Thurston, the reader of the Moth Girl audiobook:

“He really draws you into the story.”
“His voice is like he’s stroking my ears.”
“The bit where he suddenly switched into Thea’s English voice was ace.”
“I’m a big fan of classic radio serials, and it really reminded me of that. I’m certainly hooked!”
“I could fall in love with this voice.”

You can get your ears stroked HERE.

Red and Gold

Here’s a tale by Ellie for consideration by #J.A.MesPress for their forthcoming ‘Rebirth’ anthology. I think it’s rather special, but then I would, wouldn’t I? Smile

Title: Red and Gold, 999 words
Author: Ellie Cooper
Book: Yes

file0001611567713The young girl gazed across the field. Dusty red poppies swayed steadily in a tired breeze. Swallows dove joyfully like ribbons across the land, barely touching the bobbing heads of the sorrowful watchers. From a bramble-wrapped stone wall a bashful brown rabbit darted, and scurried through the long, tan grass leaving a wistful peace behind. Above the green dome-like hills an orange sun blushed with pink slowly sank beneath the horizon, milky trails of colour washing across the surrounding landscape.

The girl tilted her head, her blonde hair catching the last of the sun. She clutched a basket of blackberries, freshly picked. She would present them to her mother on her return, and consequently a sweet dessert would follow, much to the girl’s delight. This was the first time she had been sent to gather berries. The task usually fell to her older brother, a source of wisdom the young girl had always admired. But today, her mother had sent her.

She had been watching her mother make the dinner. It smelled lovely, triggering delicious anticipation of something nice. Her mother wore her pretty bright blue dress, her golden hair scraggily pinned up and eyes that the girl so vividly remembered and had inherited. Lovely, grey eyes. Her mother had looked across and told her that now she was five, she was old enough to gather the blackberries.

Thrilled at this new responsibility, she had eagerly run from the house, barely hearing her mother’s warnings to be careful. She needed no directions as many a time she had followed her brother, sneaking from the kitchen.

Now the girl remembered those times and knew where the best berries grew. She had chosen the finest berries, not resting until she reached one at the top of the bush, though it had resulted in a grazed elbow. The girl hadn’t cried, though she had wanted to for her arm hurt fiercely, but she was a big girl now. Five years old, and she was growing up.

But the girl didn’t remember this place. A field full of lovely red poppies. She liked poppies; her father had told her about them many a time. These reminded her of a song with which her father used to sing her to sleep. A song of colours and corn, of deeper, darker meanings that the girl did not yet understand.

As she watched the poppies dance in the corn, a surge of inspiration hit the girl’s mind. She would take some of the flowers for her father. She placed her basket down on the track and lithely climbed over the gate. She decided to pick five poppies, one for each of her years. That way, there would still be plenty left for anyone else to pick them for their father. As she picked five of the best blooms around her, the girl remembered something her mother had told her. That tomorrow was a special day. A special day for fathers, when their children gave them gifts. The little girl smiled. What a perfect gift for her father. Five poppies from his daughter.

Soon, satisfied with her bundle, the girl clambered back over the fence and collected her basket. The sun was almost behind the hills, and she knew her mother would worry, but the girl was too happy with her gift to mind. She happily skipped home humming the song that her father sung to her so often, and picturing his face when he saw the poppies.

Upon arriving home the girl hurriedly placed the berries on the great wooden table, ignoring her mother’s questioning glances, and filled a jug with water. She carefully carried it up the stairs and tentatively opened the door to her parent’s room. She placed the jug on the table next to her father’s bed, and dropped the five poppies into it. Once finished, she stood back to admire the present and smiled. The flowers seemed to light up the room, blooms of crimson amongst the browns, like splashes of blood. The girl delved deeper into her thoughts than she had ever done before, and for a brief moment the words of her father’s song were no longer just a swirl of words, but something that had meaning.

Her mother’s shout startled the girl from her trance, and the song again became just that; a song. Forgetting all she had been thinking the girl ran back out of the room and again became a carefree five-year-old.

***

Her father never forgot the day he woke to find a jug of five poppies next to his bed. Neither did his daughter, for each year poppies yet again appeared at his bedside, though each year as the girl grew older an extra poppy appeared in the jug. No words were spoken between the two about the gifts, for none were needed, but the special bond remained. As the girl grew and learned more about the world, her father revelled in the sight of his little girl who left poppies at his bedside becoming a woman, finding a job and a perfect man, and having two children of her own.

***

The day after fifty poppies filled the father’s room a funeral procession took place in the church in the nearby town. The girl, now a woman, stood at her father’s grave. Family and friends surrounded her, her own little five-year-old clutching her skirts uncertainly. Then, as the poppy-red of the sun slowly disappeared, the girl began to sing the song that her father had sung to her all those times. It would always be so special to her that she would pass it to her own children, to be sung evermore in the family line. Now the girl understood the deeper meaning of the song, but in her heart the words would always be simply of colours and corn, and a bright field full of new poppies swaying on a fresh autumn evening, calling her father back to life in her mind, reborn.

Ahoy, shipmates

Here’s a selection of possible titles for the Pirate Tales anthology that I am currently putting together. Do me a favour, mateys, and vote for your favourites. You can add your own, if you have a better idea than these five.

(Update – the ‘write-in’ suggestions so far are ‘North Star Plunder’ and ‘Buccaneer Wanted’, both of which are pretty good, actually. Thanks to whoever suggested those. If you want to vote for them, write them in the ‘Other’ box)

 

Whores and French Women

Howdy, folks. This here’s an excerpt from my Western yarn ‘Blood on the Ground’, which you’ll find in the rip-roaring anthology ‘Soul of the Universe’. Folks who know about these things reckon it’s as fine as cream gravy, or “a stunning collection” as they put it.

The protagonist, Rence, something of a chancer and a ne’er-do-well has sneaked into an Indian camp in order to purloin whatever the hell takes his fancy.

The next tipi was the same: a right lot of clutter but little of value. He did pick up a beautifully decorated stick, some three feet long. It was decorated with odd carvings, notches and feathers, with an eagle claw fixed to one end. He figured that he’d likely manage to sell it for a pretty price to some unsalted dude visiting from the East, and slipped it into his bag, tying a beaded decoration to the bag-strap so that the stick would not fall out.

He was readying to move on to the next tipi when he heard loud female laughter from outside. He threw himself into a dark corner, hastily pulling up a blanket to cover himself and hauling his boots under it.

Four laughing Crow women ducked into the tipi, yammering away nineteen to the dozen. The woman at the rear, a little older than the rest and ugly as a mud fence, said something in Crow that caused her companions to burst into wild laughter. She reached down and caressed the buttocks of the young girl nearest to her, who smiled.

God damn.

The girl turned and pulled old Plain Jane to her, moulding their two bodies together, swaying. Rence had never seen the like. He had heard of such fancy goings on back East, but had imagined that they were confined to whores and French women. This was…

God damn.

The two other women approached the pair and stooped to lift Plain Jane’s dress over her head. She swayed naked in the dim light.

Rence stifled a gasp. Although her face looked like the hindquarters of bad luck, her body was something else. He stared for a spell while kissing and, well, other things went on. Then, as much as he wanted to stay and watch the other women get unshucked too, he got set to make tracks. He was not such a fool as to ignore such an ideal opportunity to leave undetected.

He edged quietly towards the entrance, silent as a bone orchard. Silent, that is, until the purloined stick poking out of his bag clattered against a large pot.

Iaxassee bacheé!” screamed one of the women. Rence leapt to his feet and legged it out of the tipi full chisel. He sprinted lickety-split towards the wolf’s head rock. Screams and yells rent the air behind him. A swift arrow whipped close by his ear, and a dog snapped at his heels as he vaulted astride Red’s ready back and spurred the horse into action. They rode like Sam Hill himself was after them, away from the hollering camp”

You can buy ‘Soul of the Universe’ from Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada… hell, every kind of Amazon you can think of.

On Rhyming and the Nature of Plants

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As I sat on the Welsh hill called Blorenge
Someone said there was no rhyme for ‘orange’.
I said “What you lack
Is the fact that the sac
Wherein spores are made is a sporange.”

Rude awakenings

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When you wake up at entirely the wrong part of your sleep cycle and for the next hour feel like you’re wearing an invisible balaclava that was knitted by your Nan in the Fifties using itchy wool that was too heavy and needles that were slightly too large, so that your eyeballs themselves ache with longing for the loving arms and tender lunatic dreams of Morpheus, then it becomes problematic in the extreme to post a coherent status that makes sense without rambling on until the last syllable of recorded time, like a runaway train of the mind on which the brakes have failed and all the thoughts and ideas that are passengers thereon die screaming as the hard granite surface of the end of the sentence finally smashes into them.

Think I’ll have a nap.

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