February’s Guest Storyteller, Ana Spoke

AnaSpokeAna Spoke is a self-published author and an unbridled enthusiast. She currently calls Australia home, but you can always find her on anaspoke.com

FINAL COVER September 5

Sarah says: I’m delighted to welcome Ana as this month’s guest storyteller to share with us a snippet from her hilarious chic-lit novel, Shizzle, Inc.

Here are a few comments from my review of her book on Goodreads and Amazon, where I awarded it five stars.

This  humour novel is quite different from my normal reading material, but then that’s probably because it is quite different, full stop! …Initially, I decided to read it because the author connected with me via blogging and I admired her sense of direction re Indie publishing. …This début novel is the first in an intended series and I fully confess to looking forward to the next of Isa Maxwell’s escapades. …Shizzle, Inc kept me so fully engaged for a long train journey, that my fellow passengers failed to annoy me with their mobile phones and loud talking. Normally, I get very easily distracted and tense under such circumstances. Instead, I ended up smiling … a lot. 

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Fifteen minutes of fame is all Isa needs to win back her boyfriend and pay her debts. She might just get it. It might just kill her.
 
Extract from Shizzle, Inc

 

That should’ve been the end of this story, but God bestowed me with a third miracle that day. This one came in the form of a huge trash pile.

That particular stretch of the highway shoulder happened to be the city’s most popular illegal dumping spot. Over the years, it had become a landmark, with locals giving direction to their homes as “the first exit after The Tip”. The Tip was enormous. Its humble beginnings were in just one man’s refusal to pay for municipal services, but it grew quickly, as others used the excuse of “everyone’s doing it”.

At first, the city council kept trying to clean up the mess, but this only encouraged residents to dump again. Fines didn’t work either, as the officers trying to issue them were regularly assaulted, pelleted by rotten tomatoes, or even thrown into the trash pile. The city tried to organize a volunteer clean-up program, but nobody volunteered. The problem was exacerbated by the homeless, who took up residence in the valleys of The Tip and adamantly protected their territory.

On the day when I flew head-first into the sprawling landscape of mattresses and garbage bags, the city was trying out a new “zero tolerance” policy. The idea was that after a few weeks of living with a stinking fly- and rat-infested pile, the locals would come to their senses and start using dedicated bins. The exercise proved yet again how out of touch the government was with their constituents. The locals objected, staged protests, signed petitions and condemned the council officers as ‘dirty pigs’, but did not stop dumping. In the end, I owed those council pigs and stubborn citizens my life. Thanks to the extra layer of freshly deposited garbage, I did not break my neck and got away with just a concussion and severe blood poisoning.

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You can find the links to previous guest storyteller posts at 

April’s Guest Storyteller, Gary Bonn

Gary 2 290x290Gary Bonn, me … a bio. Shouldn’t be hard. Men like talking about themselves, don’t they?

I live in Scotland, write books, short stories, edit other people’s books and … oh, wot? … this is harder than I thought.

I’m delighted to have had two books published, and there’re more on the way. I like to write in as many genres as I can. This is more or less down to my friends at WriterLot, who challenge me with, “Gary, you haven’t written from the point of view of a frog”, write a story named “The Girl, The Kite, And The Broken Gate” and, “How about a sweet little vampire story too?”.

I baulked at the last and wrote the book, “Expect Civilian Casualties” instead. Why write about vampires? It’s been done.

Actually, WriterLot is a laugh. The members ensure that a new piece of writing goes up every day. We’re always happy to include guest-writers’ pieces, so feel free to contact me through garybonn.com.

If any of you are short of reading material, do visit writerlot.net and garybonn.com. It’s all free.

A big thanks to Sarah for inviting me to this blog!

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Sarah says: You’re most welcome, Gary. It’s always a pleasure having you visit my blog and grace the place with your originality and wit. As for your story below — that wry take on the inefficiency of road maintenance in the UK (both North and South of the border) — all I can say is LOL! And so, a warning to fellow bloggers, do not read what follows while holding a beverage anywhere near your computer keyboard for fear of spillage.

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YAAD

Bill Wild is acting a little odd today. The lashing sleet rattles his hi-vis jacket, but utterly fails to wipe the smug grin from his face.

With the ease of many years’ experience, he winches the generator from the glistening road and secures it on the back of his lorry.

A passing car slows and the driver’s window slides down. The driver shouts to Bill, ‘Thank the bloody gods. How long have these roadworks been here?’

Bill, given more to economical truth than downright lies, shrugs and says, ‘It’s been a while, hasn’t it?’

The driver goes on, ‘But what did you actually do? I didn’t see anybody working all these months.’

Bill shrugs again. ‘Dunno. I’m just the bloke that puts up the traffic lights and sets the cones out.’

The driver, under pressure from traffic behind, moves off into a flurry of wet snow, tyres hissing and squelching in slush.

Bill collects the last of the cones, stashes them lovingly, even patting them and muttering his thanks, and climbs into the cab.

He shrugs off his jacket and takes a moment to enjoy the way the warning lights on his lorry sweep swathes of yellow light, gilding the dripping trees and banks of bracken.

He’s looking forward to the headline news tomorrow. All it needs is one anonymous call and some photos plastered over the internet.

As Bill revs the motor; the lorry trembles and shakes like a wet dog.

A woman, half-hidden behind the wind-whipped foliage at the side of the road, lowers her camera; a mute witness of Bill’s triumph.

He says to his phone, ‘Call the headquarters of “For No Good Reason”.’

As he pulls away for the last time, a woman’s voice comes through the speakers. ‘Mr Wild, we are honoured to receive you into the ranks of the élite. A year and a day. Well, well, who’d have thought no one would question why roadworks sat there so long without anyone actually working? You are our first official Year And A Day member.’

Bill replies, ‘Thank you, Mary. But there’s more to this day, for me, than my becoming an élite. No way will Mac be able to top this. It’s a double victory for me. We had a bet on.’

‘You had a bet with Mac? That’s courageous.’

‘The loser gives all his traffic equipment to the winner. He can’t afford new stuff. He’s a goner.’ He smirks, cuts the connection, and turns the radio on.

After the booms of Big Ben, come the headlines.

‘The Queen’s Flight, carrying members of the Royal Family on their way to Balmoral, has been forced to divert to the only other open airport in the British Isles, Dublin. Prestwick Airport has been closed due to the inexplicable, overnight appearance of roadworks on the main runway.’

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https://sarahpotterwrites.com/2013/12/16/gary-bonn-talks-about-writerlot-where-im-guest-storytelling/

https://sarahpotterwrites.com/guest-storytellers-2/

 

 

   

My Sick Computer Has Gone to the Vets;-)

This morning my computer went to the veterinary hospital. That’s what I told my dog anyway. How else does a person explain to her chief supervisor — Ms Labrador — the removal of such an important fixture from the house?

This is my interpretation of how our conversation went.

Dog: “My vet is a woman. That nice smiling man at the door who‘s come to collect your sickly PC can’t be a vet.”

Me: “Remember we met Mrs PC Fixit yesterday. She told us she needed to take my computer to the surgery for full diagnostics and treatment. You washed her face as your seal of approval.”

Dog: “What if this man at the door doesn’t bring your computer back?‘

Me: “Of course he will. It‘s the same as when you were an in-patient at the vets after that Alsatian bit you and the poison needed draining out of the wound. You were there overnight and then allowed home.”

Dog: “But will the PC be in pain and have stitches that need cleaning twice daily with a stinky pink liquid that smells of hospital?

Me: “No, but it will be dusted more regularly and I won’t ever again go fiddling with code in its terminal, giving it a mega dose of worms.”

Dog: “Will it need worming tablets once a quarter?”

Me: “Talking of tablets — thank heavens for small mercies. At least while I‘m computer-less I can still actively engage with the blogging community via my Asus tablet.”

Dog: “That explains it. Your PC is sick because it gave birth to a puppy out of the wrong orifice.”

Me: “Ms Labrador, I think your ears need cleaning. I did not say an**.”