Of Mice and Men – how we all wish it had ended.

Having just taught Of Mice and Men for twentieth-ish time since I began teaching, I could bear the trauma no more. I’m not suggesting this is how Steinbeck should have ended it – because that would make his whole message pointless – it is just how I wish it had ended for George and Lennie and all the others. I haven’t proof read either, so forgive any typos – I just needed to exorcise my OMAM demons!

For all the traumatised students out there, I give you:

Of Mice and Men – The Optimist’s Ending 

 

George wiped his forehead with an old towel and looked around the kitchen. A slow but steady grin spread across his face. Old Candy had a rich stew bubbling gently on the stove, the chickens were fed and fresh pail of creamy milk stood in the corner. Crooks, having finished his chores was sitting in the shade of an old cherry blossom just talking and talking and talking, while Candy sat beside him carefully listening and occasionally nodding off. Lennie was in the rabbit run again, lifting one rabbit after another and holding them against his cheek.

‘Gently, Lennie,’ George called over, more out of habit than anything else.

‘I… I’m being gentle George. I’m being real gentle!’ Lennie placed a white and brown rabbit back by the hutch as if it were made of the thinnest glass. His hand hovered just above the fur in an impression of stroking. George chuckled and stretched contentedly.

Before he could sit, there was a sudden noise. Someone banging on the door. Lennie, Candy and Crooks turned six eyes to George in surprise.

‘We ain’t expecting no-one today,’ Candy said, raising his bushy eyebrows.

George sighed, ‘Guess I’ll get it then.’

He opened the door just as Slim was raising his hand to knock again.

‘Slim!’

‘Well hey George, thought I’d call in and see how you guys are getting on.’

‘Come in… come in and see for yourself. Candy, Crooks, Lennie… look who it is!’ George waved Slim through the farm house, delighted to see his old friend again. Slim’s steady brown eyes took in the cosy front room with four armchairs arranged by the fireplace; the kitchen with its huge wooden table and welcoming warmth; through to the garden with peach trees and orange trees, a duck pond and brood of chickens; and the three happy faces of Candy, Crooks and Lennie, all too delighted to show him where they belonged.

‘Okay, okay, give the guy his arm back!’ George laughed as the others shook Slim by the hand eager to point out their own favourite parts of paradise. ‘Here Slim, set down here and I’ll fetch you a slug of whisky’. George placed two chairs in the shade of the tree and he and Slim sat and took a drink in companionable silence.

‘Well this is really something.’ Slim gazed around appreciatively before turning to look at George. ‘You don’t know where there’s another little place like this do you?’

‘’You serious? Happens I do.’ Slim turned to see if George meant it.

‘Our neighbours up the valley a little. They’re selling up and moving North to live with their daughter. I wondered if we could get it ourselves, it’s so close, but we don’t got no need for more land. This here is perfect. Why are you asking Slim? You got a stake together?’

‘Sure have. I met a girl some months back in town. Sweetest thing you ever seen and clever too. Reads all the time, can set an’ talk about real stuff, you know?’ George nodded, although he wasn’t too sure himself. ‘Anyway, she’s got a little bit of money come to her and I’ve been saving my wages. We got enough between us to swing it. She don’t want no big, fancy wedding or party. She just wants us to have our own place.’

George nodded with more conviction. ‘Congratulations Slim, she does sound pretty swell.’

‘Yeah I got lucky alright. Life on the ranch hasn’t been much fun since you guys left. You know Curley’s wife up and left him?’

‘What a tart!’ Candy mumbled as he shuffled past to refill his glass.

‘Well, I don’t know Candy. Selina was alright. Just made a few bad choices.’ Slim’s comments fell on deaf ears as the old man kept shaking his head.

‘Selina?’ George asked.

‘Sure. That was her name. Now she’s Selina the Silver Songbird! Turned out she had a great voice and the next time the travelling show came through, Selina threw a few things in a bag and stole out at night. She ran after that show and sang for the manager there and then. He loved her! She’s top billing. Curley’s so mad, you can’t even imagine!’

George exploded with laughter. ‘Oh I can Slim, I sure can,’ he managed at last. ‘I suppose show folk don’t care if she’s married, single or what. As long as she’s pretty and can hold a tune folk’ll pay to see her. They don’t live by the same rules that the rest of society do.’

Slim nodded sagely. ‘You got it George. She escaped when she saw her chance. I think seeing you four fellas make a go of this place made her even more determined. Now old Curley stomps around the ranch like a bear with a sore head. He’s so angry he’s going to make himself sick.’

‘How’s his hand?’ George asked, a shadow flickered briefly across his face as he remembered a darker time.

‘Pretty useless,’ Slim replied, ‘like its owner but his Father’s planning on retiring soon and leaving Curley in charge, so I guess he’ll feel better when he’s the big boss.’

‘You need to get out before that happens,’ George commented.

The two men shared a nod of agreement. ‘I’ll go speak with your neighbours on my way back,’ Slim confirmed.

‘You’ll stay for a bite to eat first though? There’s plenty.’

‘I will George thanks, it smells mighty tempting,’ Slim settled back comfortably in the garden chair.

‘Yeah, old Candy said he could cook and he wasn’t lying!’

George looked out over the farm. Lennie chuckled as rabbit fur tickled his nose and Crooks snored gently in the peace of the moment. The only other sound was Candy humming happily to himself in the kitchen. The setting sun sent a golden glow over the farm and bathed everything in shades of apricot and peach. And life was good.

 

sunlight

So, there you go – a tongue-in-cheek, how-I-wish-it-had-ended version. Hope it made you smile and helped to deal with the scars of English lessons past 🙂

And may all your dreams come true!

Another school year

Over year since my last post and I haven’t really changed much! Another house move managed to grind us down a bit. It wasn’t our choice. Tenants have little to no rights in the UK – estate agents can smile and nod and say it’s long term, then bang! Twelve months later the landlord wants to sell and you’re packing boxes again. Just the way it is.

Anyway, the first book of the new murder mystery series is nearly finished so it’s not all bad! The new school year is under way and it’s all go. Will try to update more often.

Much love!IMG_2287

Time flies!

Well, I seem to be averaging two blogs a year at the moment! Not brilliant for a writer. In my defense, we have moved THREE times this year and I’m mindbogglingly shattered. Still, I am writing – plowing on regardless – but it’s slow process. I’m still working through book 1 of the murder mystery series and trying to find new ways to promote the trilogy. If anyone fancies reading and reviewing any of the Eshla books, please let me know. I’m happy to send a free mobi file, for use on kindles, or a pdf.

It hasn’t all been hard work though – got in a few good days at the beach (with best friend in picture below) and an amazing 12 hours on the flying Scotsman in vintage luxury (strictly for historical research you understand!).

The new cover is here!

‘The Lost Heirs’ finally looks like a real book thanks to the wonderful Renee at The Cover Counts. http://thecovercounts.com/

The whole process was so simple and affordable, I really recommend this company. They offer a range of prices, depending on what you need and you can completely personalise your package. I probably wasn’t the easiest customer as I had such a strong idea of what I wanted, but Renee was able to work with that and produced the cover that was in my head! It was certainly worth it – I feel a lot more confident about promoting my novel now. I’m getting the second book’s cover done next month, exciting days!

So, now I’m just waiting for the Amazon review process and then there’ll be no stopping me!

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Independent authors

One of the best things about WordPress so far has been connecting with other indie authors and experiencing their work. This is something I definitely want to continue doing.

So far, I’ve read the brilliant ‘Tissue of Lies’ by Carole Parkes and am half way through ‘Xoe’ by Sara C. Roethle. I can recommend both books, though both are very different genres. I’ve got Grady P. Brown’s ‘The Young Guardians’ book waiting too – my reading list has never been so packed and I can’t help feeling that my own writing is improving by reading different styles and genres. It’s also been great getting feedback on my own book from another author, I recommend the process to anyone. If any other authors out there want to book swap and review with me please send a message.

Meanwhile, if you’re looking for a gripping, suspense-filled thriller, try ‘Tissue of Lies’, available here:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Tissue-Lies-Carole-Parkes-ebook/dp/B00PCNYB7S/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1415637824&sr=8-1&keywords=Tissue+of+Lies

or for fantasy/horror, try ‘Xoe: or Vampires, and Werewolves, and Demons, oh my’ – the first half of which has been very enjoyable:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Xoe-Vampires-Werewolves-Demons-Fantasy-ebook/dp/B004ZMVQRU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1415638010&sr=8-1&keywords=xoe

Happy reading!

 

Gadgets, gizmos and contraptions…

In the world of Eshla, the flora and fauna have special properties which are harnessed and used in a similar way to the way we use electricity and chemiacls on earth – but much better! Therefore the inhabited parts of Eshla are covered in shiny copper pipes, cogs, wheels and carefully constructed contraptions to provide heat, light, communication and even translation! One challenge for me is describing and naming these machines and the plants without sounding repetitive or overly technical. I tend to use welsh words a lot, what do other authors do when they have to invent words?

gadget

“Quickly checking his shoes for mud, Eric decided to keep to the darker red rug that ran the length of the hall. He was aware of a hum again: a gentle, non-invasive hum that he had heard at the meadow. It warmed him inside and seemed to welcome him into the room whilst remaining in the background. He realised it came from the copper pipes that ran along the walls ending, every now and again, at machines of varying sizes which were nestled into nooks in the wall – whirring, spinning, pumping clusters of cogs, pipes, wheels, tubes and pistons. Eric longed to ask what these fascinating, works of art did but he knew there wasn’t time. Some were obvious – he could see pipes that led at regular intervals to glass bowls held on the walls by brass fixings. They were filled with brilliant golden particles that swirled around in the glass creating a bright but toasty light.

As they proceeded down the hallway Joel followed Eric’s gaze to neat little machine perched on a shelf. It was essentially a wooden box with a large trumpet emerging from the top. Lattice work in the front of the box showed a collection of cogs and pistons working away furiously inside and a fine pink mist occasionally escaped.

‘That’s where our heat comes from,’ Joel explained, ‘the leaves of the Ignis plant, when pulverised, create a tremendous heat which is carried around the room by pipes under the floor and blasted out into the air via the trumpet. The crushing process releases pollen which is pushed up and out of the castle via the main duct. The wind catches it and carries it back to Jarmuthe where it takes seed and grows more Ignis. So we never run out!’”

New followers and Indie authors!

Seven little emails pinged into my inbox yesterday informing me I had some new followers – very exciting. I’ve just spent a pleasant hour looking at the profiles of people who’ve looked at mine! The most interesting part of the process is discovering the blogs of new and new-ish authors, like me, who have self-published and are now trying to find their readers. I now have on my half term ‘to read’ list; ‘The Young Guardians: Genesis Spell’ by Grady P Brown, ‘Tissue of Lies’ by Carole Parkes and ‘Xoe’ by Sara Croethle. I’m going to be busy!

I think the real challenge for all indie authors is how to let the right market know that your book exists? Reviews seem a good way to go, I’m also searching for forums and facebook pages on topics or themes that match my novel (steampunk/time travel/fantasy adventure etc) where I’m trying to politely mention, ‘The lost Heirs’ without spamming or flooding the pages with annoying adverts. I’ll post about how I get on 🙂

In the meantime, if you have found this blog and have the time to read ‘The lost Heirs’ for me I would really appreciate a review on Amazon. I’m happy to gift the kindle edition for free (which I’m assured can be done via a little yellow button) in return for a review. Just email your details to amandacmoran@gmail.com and I’ll figure it out. x

http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Lost-Heirs-first-Adventures/dp/1502369052/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1414053724&sr=8-1&keywords=The+lost+Heirs

 

Free read?

So, if you happen across this blog and fancy a free read… contact me! I am looking for people will to read and review ‘The Lost Heirs’. If you have the time and inclination, let me know and I will gift you a free book through kindle. In return, I just ask that you leave a review on amazon. Many many thanks x

Paperback!

So, today I used Createspace to make a physical edition of my first novel available to the public. The royalties are much lower with a physical edition – 70p per sale compared to £1.25 for the kindle edition. For some reason though, it’s the actual hands on paperback edition that I’m more excited about – the thought of someone sitting down with a physical copy of my book. I’m not sure why this is; financially it doesn’t make sense. I suppose it’s a combination of nostalgia, the idea that electronic literature could never replace the good old smell of a paperback, and the increased sense of accomplishment that you get from holding your glossy book in your hand.
Either way, either version, the next step for me is marketing: how to find the right audience for ‘The Lost Heirs’ and persuade them to buy (and review) it?