Creative #Punbelievable

Hey everyone. Hope you’ve all had a wonderful weekend. I’ll be putting up details of my second book in my next post, but as a thanks to you who have been so supportive of my writing I wanted to share one of the short stories here. Please enjoy, and feel free to add any comments on the story below.

Punbelievable

Finley Waters: Man, what a day. Thanks for choosing this restaurant Robin. It was very tweet of you to remember it was my birthday.

Robin Foxton: I saw a blog review that said it ofishially has the best seafood section in town. Would have been shellfish not to share it with you.  Especially as we haven’t met up since your business trip to Swimapore.

Finley Waters: It shore looks a good plaice. As I was heading out of the office, my colleague looked envious and said “Let minnow what you order.”

Robin Foxton: It’s been ages since they sat us down. Service cod be a lot better.

Finley Waters: Service bad, food great. That’s what I’ve been herring from everyone. I’ll sea if I can get that waiter’s attention. Done! Eel be right over.

Waiter: (comes over) Welcome to The Eating Among the Fishes restaurant. I’ll be your server today. Sorry for the delay. It sardinely got very busy. Water day! I had to clam a few people down. They were getting a bit crabby. Our reservations system had some problems. Thankfully, it’s going swimmingly now.

Robin Foxton: Let’s have a bottle of your finest house white. Just for the halibut. And no need to debait this. I’m having the lobster paella.

Finley Waters: I don’t need to mullet over either. I’m having the sea bass, fish cakes and tuna salad.

Waiter: Grilliant choices. I’ll be right back. (leaves)

Robin Foxton: I swear, that waiter looks like Salmon Rushdie!

Finley Waters: He really does. I wonder if he gets that when he’s trout and about. I was just wondering whether to perchase one of his books. Funny old world. Any fin is possible.

Robin Foxton: Ah nice, I’ve been reading a bit recently. Catfish 22. If you get the opportunaty you just have to read it. I’d add Metamorfifish, Wuthering Pikes and the Jaws of Perception too.

Waiter: (approaches) Here is your bottle. It’s dolphinately a fine choice (pours both glasses and then leaves).

Finley Waters: So how are things at work? That new guy sounds useless. Like he was lost at sea and completely out of his depth. And how are things with your new gillfriend? Come on, don’t be koi. All I know is that she’s a dog lover.

Robin Foxton: Ah yes, Pawline. Mutt have been fate. It’s not like I’ve been active on the dating scene. I’ve been doggedly after that promotion.

Finley Waters: I know! You’ve been alsationable on that score. I’ve not seen you in weeks.

Robin Foxton: Sorry about that. I guess my inner ambition was unleashed after that work trip. Working those long hours has been ruff. I wasn’t the only one trying to move up. Would have made a dramatic dogumentary. Real dog eat dog stuff. Being hounded all the time. But since meeting her it doesn’t seem to matter. I was probably the underdog anyhow.

Finley Waters: Did you and the mastiff dog lover meet at your vet practice?

Robin Foxton: No, I was on a quick lunch break and literally ran into her at the supermarket. You know me, always dachshund around.

Finley Waters: So, what happened after? Pup and running from the get go?

Robin Foxton: We agreed to go to this fancy Italian restaurant. She was late as she had left her handbag behind and had to go back so she could retriever purse and stuff. Almost made her late for the reservation. I was thinking: “Howl late will she be?”

Finley Waters: People being late. That’s my pet hate.

Robin Foxton: It was worth it, though. She looked so fetching. Real elegant restaurant too. The pianist even played Poochini.

Finley Waters: Fur real? That is classy.

Robin Foxton: It turns out we’ve a really similar sense of humour. She’s a big fan of Eddie Lizzard, Tuna Fey, Jelly Seinfeld Anchovy Chase.

Finley Waters: Well she’s got my seal of approval. What does she do?

Robin Foxton: She’s a freelance fundraiser for various animal charities and animal shelters. She does so much. She even organised a huge event to save some rhinos at no extra charge. And she’s so romantic. She’s got into the rabbit of baking me animal-shaped cookies. As the weather has been so much otter recently, she’s been doing jungle ones.

Waiter: (enters) Here sir, is your lobster bisque. And also, the sea bass, fish cakes and tuna salad. We’ve recently added the collieflower to the dish, so any feedback at the end of the meal would be most welcome. (leaves)

Robin Foxton: It’s only my second time eating lobster. I won’t be wolfing this down! But yeah, things have been going super well. Just remembered. At canine pm, the local store closes and I need to pick up a few things.

Finley Waters: So, pug in the gaps for me. What do you two talk about?

Robin Foxton: She just loves dogs. But she used to have all kinds of pets growing up. Now she has two dogs, Bark Twain and Droolius Caesar. Funnily enough, she also has a cat that shares your birthday.

Finley Waters: You’re kitten me?

Robin Foxton: Yeah, pretty ameowsing really. I’m feline good about this. I think it’s meant tabby with this one. If anything, I’m worried it’s going too purrfectly. But enough about me. I heard there was a bit of a catastrophe on your trip.

Finley Waters: Yeah, we got Cat, our next door neighbour Cat to keep an eye on the house when we were away and water the plants in the house. You know my wife and I went to a tour of Italy for a break. Real romemantic place.

Robin Foxton: I guess once you’re Turin there you forget about life back home.

Finley Waters: Genoally, the best country I’ve ever visited. You have to go. You’re messina out otherwise. Turns out, the neighbour had left the water running. The florence all flooded. Quite a lot ruined. I wanted to give her a pizza my mind. But amid all the comotion you realise it was an honest mistake. Her parents have agreed to cover the repair bill. No point making a fountain out of a molehill.

Robin Foxton: You do live life a lot more Capri spirited than I do. House it going with the recovery?

Finley Waters: You know I believe in karma. If you don’t act kindly now, you’ll pompeii for it later. Yeah, we got all the new stuff fine.

Robin Foxton: That’s wonderful to hear. It will be our six month anniversary tomorrow so I got all this cool stuff booked well in advance, including the biggest bouquet of flowers you’ve ever seen. Didn’t want to leaf it until the last minute.

Finley Waters: Great to see you this happy. You had some tough break ups back in the day. There was Rose, Jasmine, Daisy, Poppy, Violet, Olive, Flora, Iris, Holly, Ivy, Heather and, what was her name again? Oh yeah, Lily. Her mum Hyacinth was always so nice to me. Didn’t Lily go abroad after you broke up?

Robin Foxton: That’s why we broke up actually. She was an environmentalist. I wanted to sweep her off her feet but that relationship was just littered with mistakes. We’ve both moved on now though. She’s dating a farmer. I always knew someone who worked outdoors would a tractor.

Finley Waters: Awesome. Let’s get the bill. Hang on, where’s my wallet. This scampi happening. Oh wait, there it is. Freaks me out when I change pockets.

Waiter: (approaches and takes plate) You enjoyed the dishes? I have to ask. The head chef has been grilling me. I said I’d kelp out by finding out what you thought of the new salad? He’s been fishing for compliments all day.

Finley Waters: I did. Ah yes, your spacific request. Yeah, all great. Nothing to hake at all. If you can bring over the bill as well please. (waiter leaves) Oh before I forget. Did you know I can jump higher than a house? Because houses can’t jump (laughs).

Robin Foxton: (rolls eyes) You and your wordplay. You’d never catch me doing that.

Announcements: A quick update on my book

I’ve been delighted with the support from you all for my first book The Summer of Madness.  It’s meant so much. As such, I just wanted to give a quick update. Sales have been going well, both in digital form and in paperback. It’s such a wonderful feeling to know the story has connected with people.

You can read the reviews so far, including a rather amazing one from a blogger whose site I have admired for years. Beetley Pete has had a very entertaing life, full of anecdotes and adventures. You’ll love his blog.

Thanks again to you all 🙂

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Announcement: Exciting News. First Published Story.

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In the summer of love, or rather of madness, a whole set of stories are emerging. But there is one that has got everyone talking. When Kurt Vannes decides to win back his ex-girlfriend with the help of a literary classic, he sets off a string of events that will build to a dramatic finale.

It’s been a pleasure to share with you my favourite literary works since creating the blog, but this time I have very exciting news. This is my first ever short story published and something I had to share with you all. I’ve long been a fan of short stories and it’s wonderful to finally have something of mine within the genre in print.

If you want to find out whether Kurt’s big gesture does win her back, it’s available here in both Kindle and paperback form.

The Summer of Madness

Line(s) of the Day #Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl

And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.

One of the writers I read most as a child, Roald Dahl (1916 – 1990). My fondness for Dahl has been obvious from posts where I rate him as one of my favourite short story writers, have a soft spot for his TV show and have mentioned him in award posts when talking about reading influences.

Line(s) of the Day #DorothyParker

Dorothy Parker

PLEASE, God, let him telephone me now. Dear God, let him call me now. I won’t ask anything else of You, truly I won’t. It isn’t very much to ask. It would be so little to You, God, such a little, little thing. Only let him telephone now. Please, God. Please, please, please.

If I didn’t think about it, maybe the telephone might ring. Sometimes it does that. If I could think of something else. If I could think of something else. Knobby if I counted five hundred by fives, it might ring by that time. I’ll count slowly. I won’t cheat. And if it rings when I get to three hundred, I won’t stop; I won’t answer it until I get to five hundred. Five, ten, fifteen, twenty, twenty-five, thirty, thirty-five, forty, forty-five, fifty…. Oh, please ring. Please.

The opening two paragraphs of ‘A Telephone Call’ by renowned writer and legendary wit Dorothy Parker (1893 -1967). You can read the rest of the story here.

The Liebster Award

One of the many benefits of blogging is the people you run into, and when those people rate your blog as highly as you rate theirs, is an added bonus. I am honoured to accept The Liebster Award especially from such a great site. Taken by the Lapels has been running around 3 weeks which tells you just how highly her blog is rated. It’s spontaneous, fun and with a personal and engaging tone.

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Here’s how the Leibster Award works. Those nominated are blogs with tons of potential, but with less than 200 followers. If you’ve been nominated, and you choose to accept here’s the scoop:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and link to their blog
  2. You must answer the 10 questions given to you by the nominee before you
  3. Nominate 10 of your favorite blogs with fewer than 200 followers and notify them of their nomination
  4. Come up with 10 questions for your nominees to answer
  • How did you pick your blog’s name?

Alex is my first name, Raphael my middle name. Raphael is my reminder of my half Latin background and my more creative side.

  • What would your Superhero name be?

Adrenalin. Though I’m quite happy to read for hours or sit and watch a film, I have bursts of energy which could be put to good use.

  • What’s your favorite TV show?

Frasier and Seinfeld. Comedy genius that will never date.

  • What are three things on your bucket list?

Finish and publish my novel, enter a high stakes poker tournament and visit more of the US.

  • Who is your favorite fictional character?

From books Sherlock Holmes. From TV Jerry Seinfeld. And from Films Ferris Bueller.

  • What is your most prized possession?

Some really striking film posters by a friend who is a graphic designer. They were never available in the shop and he know longer does them.

  • Describe yourself in three words.

Adventurous. Creative. Raconteur

  • What is your guiltiest pleasure?

Mint choc chip milkshakes from Baskin Robbins. Perfect after a film in central London. Ahhhh, who am I kidding? They’re perfect anytime.

  • What is your proudest accomplishment?

Qualifying for a local elite level poker tournament

  • What’s your favorite post that you’ve written? (Link, please!)

Gr8at – Short Story writers Short stories are a huge passion of mine and it was an early example of what I wanted the blog to be about.

In alphabetical order, a gr8at of very awesome blogs that I really recommend you look at.

Anna Grimoire

Audrey Hepburn Books

Darkpink

Eye of Lynx

J James Reviews

Klling

The London Scrapbook

Wide Awake But Dreaming

10 Questions

What is the nicest/most memorable thing someone has said in your blog?
How different is your blog to how you planned it?
Which literary character do you most identify with?
Which piece of art would you most like to have on your wall?
Who are you most like in your family?
Which celebrity would you most like to meet?
What is your favourite drink/cocktail?
Which sporting event would you most want VIP tickets too?
What was your favourite book as a child?
Which country which you’ve not already been to would you most like to go to?

Line(s) of the Day #TheMenRunningPast

Contemplation

If we happen to be walking along a street at night, and a man, visible already from afar — because the street inclines gently uphill in front of us, and there’s a full moon — comes running towards us, then we will not grab hold of him, even if he’s feeble and ragged, even if someone is running after him, yelling, but rather we will let him run on unmolested.

For it is night, and it is not our fault that the street in front of us in the moonlit night is on an incline and, moreover, it is possible that the two men have devised their chase for their own amusement, perhaps they are both in pursuit of a third man, perhaps the first of them is being unjustly pursued, perhaps the second means to kill him and we would become accessory to his murder, perhaps the two of them don’t know the first thing about one another and each one is just running home to bed on his own account, perhaps they are two somnambulists, perhaps the first of them is carrying a weapon.

And finally, may we not be tired, and have we not had a lot of wine to drink? We are relieved not to see the second man.

The full story of ‘The Men Running Past’ by Czechoslovakian (now known as the Czech Republic) Franz Kafka, from the collection Contemplation (1913)

Line(s) of the Day

Long after Midnight

The police ambulance went up on to the cliffs at the wrong hour. It is always the wrong hour when the police ambulance goes anywhere, but this was especially wrong, for it was long after midnight and nobody ever imagined it would be day again, because the sea coming in on the lightless shore below said as much, and the wind blowing salt cold in from the pacific reaffirmed this, and the fog muffling the sky and putting out the stars struck the final, unfelt but disabling blow. The weather said it had been here forever, man was hardly here at all, and would soon be gone.

Taken from the short story Long after Midnight (1977) by Ray Bradbury

For more on Ray Bradbury click here

https://alexraphael.wordpress.com/2013/09/08/best-short-story-writers/

The Things they Carried – Review

The Things they Carried

There have been so many classic war novels, covering all the multifarious method and madness the genre inspires in its writers, that it takes something pretty special to stand out from the crowd, let alone revolutionise the genre.

In his Pultizer Prize nominated sixth novel The Things They Carried, Vietnam veteran Tim O’Brien, raised all kinds of questions about the legacy of war on those whose lives it had come into, pushing the boundaries of metafiction. Published in 1990, it continues to enthrall.

With 22 different short stories working as a loose structure, O’Brien examines the lives of the soldiers of Alpha Company, looking at the influence their past lives have on their experiences of war. There is an unusual energy to the stories with O’Brien performing the difficult feat of keeping a reader engaged in a text with no unifying linear narrative, partly through the device of recurring characters. The continuing plight of vulnerable Lieutenant Jimmy Cross, Kiowa with his unshakable faith as well as our reflective author himself, who appears as a character, ensure that our fascination with the book never wavers.

The title is inspired by the unifying idea that each soldier takes something precious with him to war. From the mosquito repellent and pocket knives they all have to more personal belongings, such as a Bible, tranquilisers or a memento from a girl. And then there are things they didn’t know they were carrying; fear, naivety and loneliness.

The focus on the essential vulnerability of the men is explored with more depth in stories such as “Love” and “Sweetheart of the Song Tra Bong”. We are reminded of the polarisation within characters required to kill yet full of youthful romantic innocence and how the two can never be reconciled. With “Enemies” and “Friends” and then with “The Man I killed” and “Ambush” O’Brien goes on to give a powerful war narrative before going on to look at the same events from different perspectives.

And it is through this that we really get to the heart of things. Though O’Brien is an undoubted specialist in writing about Vietnam, what he achieves here is something unlike any of his other works. By playing around with the structure, narrative, tone and character involvement we are able to see the horror of war on different levels. How regular thought is impossible, how guilt mixes with practicality when dealing with a comrade’s death, the conflicting emotions felt when coming across any enemy corpse and how though they are all together they are in effect on their own.

And as with all the literary greats, the ending is just as provocative and evocative as you would expect. O’Brien goes right back to a time which has nothing to do with war, focusing instead on a childhood memory. O’Brien knows that life is never as simple as war and peace, for those who have been through a war the two are, and will forever be, entangled.