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Another Year is Over; Another Year Has Dawned

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  As the old year passed into the new, last night, I celebrated by cycling along the seafront. It was a warm, dry evening, and half the city, it seemed, had turned out for a giant, midnight beach party. There were bonfires on the shingle, and family groups of revelers stretched out along the prom. In the minutes coming up to midnight, faces glowed in the darkness in phonelight anticipation as people checked the time. Then, in an unsynchronised fashion, rockets began shooting skyward over the sea. Across the Solent, as if in response, the sky above the Isle of Wight was filled with bursting bouquets of light. And at the stroke of twelve the boats in the black water that divided us from them sounded their horns in a discordant and mournful drone. Were they crying out in celebration? Or were they grieving over another lost year? Once more, a new year has crept through the dark days of December and taken me by surprise. Only yesterday, it was Christmas. And a week before that it was Bonfir

Post-Publication Whirlwind

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The past few weeks, since the publication of Missing Words , have been a bit of a whirlwind and I am struggling to keep up with everything that is happening at the moment. A few days after the online launch with my cohort from Fairlight Moderns I had my very first LIVE book signing at my local independent bookshop – the fabulous Pigeon Books . Even though Covid restrictions have been almost entirely lifted here in the UK, many people – myself included – are not ready throw themselves into a crowded indoor space just yet, so the book signing was a good alternative to a full-on event with a book reading and clinking glasses of champagne. For three hours, I sat as if enthroned in the comfy chair in the window of Pigeon Books while a surprising number people trooped through the door and asked me – ME – to sign copies of my book. It was a wonderful day, with time to chat to friends I hadn’t seen since pre-Covid days, including some I hadn’t seen for years. And more thrilling still were the

Review: Only About Love by Debbi Voisey

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Could he pull it off? This relationship thing? He could see the future stretching out before him like a never-ending ribbon of time and he wondered, for the first time, if he could navigate it and make it to the end, and be happy along the way. Frank is the seemingly confident front man in a local rock-n-roll band, but when he meets his future wife, Liz, he is momentarily disarmed. Something about her is different from the groupies who clamber around him at the end of his gigs. When things begin to look serious, Liz puts her foot down. She won’t put up with any nonsense, she tells him. He’s going to have to behave. In chapters that move back and forth in time, Debbi Voisey’s beautiful novella gives us snapshots of Frank throughout his life: as he will be, as he was, and as he is now. In quick succession, we see him at the end of his life – confused and infirm, followed by images of him as a much younger man – vital and charismatic. We see him as a loving father to two young child

Book Launch: The Morning After the Night Before

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I’m pleased to announce that Missing Words was published yesterday, and last night it was sent into the world with a fabulous (if virtual) book launch, hosted by Emma Timpany, author of the award-winning novella Travelling in the Dark . All four of the authors published this summer by Fairlight Moderns took part in the event, reading from their books and answering questions. Covid has changed a lot of things, and book launches are one of them. But you know what? Having an online launch was okay. In fact, it was better than okay. Anyone who knows me, knows that I’m not a schmoozer. I hate crowds, and I hate social events where I’m expected to ‘mingle’ and make small talk. Worse yet, is talking about my book (note to self: I really must get over that). So last night’s virtual event came as something of a relief. Sure, I had to provide my own champagne, but I was very happy to stay home where my internet could unexpected go down if I started to panic. But the main thing that made the

Review: Blue Postcards by Douglas Bruton

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None of these stories are to be trusted, for they are stories of the dead told by the living and the living always lie. Leafing through a box of postcards at a Parisian market stall, the narrator of Douglas Bruton’s exquisite novella finds a distinctive blue postcard which he recognises at once. The colour is International Klein Blue (IKB), created by the avant-garde artist Yves Klein, and the postcard is an invitation to a 1957 exhibition of his monochrome paintings. Such a seemingly simple postcard, but within it is a marvellously intricate meditation about the way memory reshapes itself over time and how truth is often found in fiction. Bruton weaves together three fragmented narratives to create a story filled with passions that are never fully realised: that of the narrator, and his fascination both with Yves Klein and the colour blue; the lonely tailor, Henri, who sews a string of twisted blue Tekhelet threads into a seam in every suit he makes to bring the wearer luck; and Yves

Interview: Loree Westron, Author of Missing Words

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  After my interview with Fairlight Books author, Douglas Bruton , discussing his latest publication, Blue Postcards , and his approach to writing, he turned the tables on me and posed some questions of his own. Here, we continue our discussing about reading, writing, and my literary novella, MissingWords , which will be published on 5 th August. ~ Douglas:   I tried writing in my teens and then again at university – nothing I wrote was worth the ink. It was not until I got a computer (aged thirty) that I found a way to write that worked. When did you know you could write and that it was something you wanted to do? Loree:   I remember dreaming up stories a lot when I was a kid. I’m an only child, and spent a lot of time entertaining myself. I know that I wanted to be a writer long before I ever wrote anything down on paper. In that way, I think I was very typical of a lot of the students I’ve worked with who want to write, but don’t yet have the tools to do so. I did English a

Review: JT Torres' Novella, Taking Flight

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  ‘Is it enough to be remembered? Or do you have to be the one remembering?’ Bit by bit, Tito is fading from existence. He has lost weight, and he is shorter than he was. Sometimes his body flickers like the pictures on an analogue TV. And sometimes he disappears altogether. At home in Miami, Tito’s young life is in turmoil. Each of his parents seems to have rejected him, letting him know his birth was ‘an accident’ and referring to him as ‘your son’ when they argue. Finding refuge with his Cuban grandmother, Nana, he begins to learn about magic and the art of creating illusions. Illusions, she tells him, are meant to do good – to help others or oneself to see a situation more clearly. She warns, however, that there is also potential to do the opposite and to cloud or confuse a person’s ability to see at all. ‘In America, as an immigrant, we had to be invisible.’ Tito’s greatest desire, like that of any child, is to feel loved and valued. But his parents are distracted by press