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The Redemptive Power Of Words 101

(And the magical places they lead you to when you most need 'em)

It’s Tuesday, and you know what THAT means, true believers. It means it’s time for me to gather a few thoughts and put some words together for the Newsletter.

As it happens (‘HURRAH!” I hear you shout) I do have a couple of ideas so I’ll kick off with the redemptive power of stories and even just the occasional well-crafted bunch of sentences plus novels, of course, but primarily short stories, and maybe some songs, too.

This came home to me yesterday when Mike excitedly called for me to go check my emails. Here’s what I found: “This is the most awesome review piece yet on Rob Shearman’s book,” Mike’s email read . . . and believe me, there’s been a goodly few hunks of similar praise and bonhomie. Click on the link below and then we’ll reconvene.

CLICK HERE to hear the podcast

There are about five minutes of Beowolf at the beginning and then a full 15-20 minutes of WE ALL HEAR STORIES IN THE DARK which pretty much concentrates on one element of Rob’s book and its relationship to one of the pod-casters in particular—Andrew Male—and the way it so affected him. It’s very moving indeed.

All of which hit me big-style when I recalled a very depressing time in my life when I was very anxious to leave my job at one of the UK’s financial institutions.

Now let me tell you, working in the financial sector—wherever you hang your hat, be it here in the UK or across in the United States, and I mean WHEREVER, it’s not rewarding work. Oh, you get paid—cos if you didn’t, Bro then you and me need to pull up a couple of chairs and sort things out. But things were increasingly going south big time and I was only barely managing to pull myself back to the surface.

But this deep-set downer that I was suffering—and this was before PS Publishing—saw me hit a desperate gloom for several days reading and re-reading several John D MacDonald novels cos . . . well, cos I loved ém, sure I did, but also and even mainly cos I desperately wanted to live with Nicky, our two boys (Oliver and Timothy) and Molly, our springer spaniel, all of us safe and happy on the Busted Flush, Travis McGee’s 52-foot barge-type houseboat tethered at slip F-18, Bahia Mar, Lauderdale. Hell, I loved that boat and I loved McGee almost as much. And so it was that, when the weekend came, Nicky presented we with a red plastic boat complete with plasticine figures of herself, me, the boys and even Molly. The next day, I was cured. The gloom had disappeared completely. I wish I still had that plastic red Flying Dutchman boat and its set of figures but, alas, like so many things dear to your heart you lose them forever.

Same thing happened when I developed a nasty dose of Campylobacter and spent a day and a half splitting time between bed and the bathroom reading in its entirety Stephen King’s HEARTS IN ATLANTIS . . . which starts thus:

Hearts can break. Yes, hearts can break. Sometimes I think it would be better if we died when they did, but we don't.

As opening lines go, that one’s unbeatable . . . at least when you know what’s coming. And here’s a regular opener that forever presents itself in whatever I seem to be doing and that then kicks me off:

First of all it was October. A rare month for boys.

And if you need me to tell you where that baby’s from then you’ve stumbled into the wrong Newsletter.

Which brings me back to Andrew Male and his summation of Rob Shearman’s WE ALL HEAR STORIES IN THE DARK . . .

. . . sometimes the opening line in this story, sometimes the opening line to that story. Of course, it doesn’t even need to be an opener. It can be from wherever and even from a song such as The Beach Boys’ Long Promised Road

Long promised road/
trail starts at dawn/
carries on to the season’s ending

and even poetry, like this from the magnificent Weldon Kees:

All day the phone rings. It could be Robinson/
Calling. It never rings when he is here.

I’ve been back and forth to Rob’s book, sometimes cheating and others playing strictly by the rules.

WE ALL HEAR STORIES IN THE DARK plays havoc with its myriad tonal qualities hiding first there, behind the sofa, and then whoa, over there, beneath the kitchen table, whispering like a confusion of echoes.

I’ve told you about this book before and while there’s still one or two of you who haven’t succumbed. Come on, guys!

Now let’s go across to Nicky and the Newsround. Go for it, Nicky.

Nicky's Newsround

It’s been a busy old week as usual. We have now sent out the signed editions of Eric Brown’s and Keith Brooke’s final volume of the Kon-tiki Quartet ITERATIONS and I’ve also put together all the orders for the complete set of the four signed and numbered copies that were on offer a while ago.

The trade paperback edition of BEST NEW HORROR# 30 arrived at the unit today. We’ll be putting together your orders this weekend ready for Carole to wrap and pack.

Everything else that you have pre-ordered is still moving along the production line. We keep in regular contact with the slipcase manufacturers and Biddles who tip the signing sheets in. They are working away to make sure they get the books and slipcases to us as soon as possible.

We’ve been receiving regular email updates from Royal Mail to say that they have been having difficulty delivering to certain areas in the UK and I have heard from one or two of you that the parcels are taking longer than they should be to reach their destination. This is most probably due to the new lockdown rules or it could be that track and trace is causing more staff to self-isolate which then has a knock-on effect. So I guess we are just going to have to be patient again.

Yikes! I’ve just realised that when you read this it will be Friday 13th November.

‘Lucky for some’ as some people say. I do have a customer who asks me not to send him #13 on his books so he obviously feels the opposite.

And talking about ‘Lucky’, that’s me as Pete has just walked in with a cuppa and a biscuit which I think might be a chocolate one! Yummy! I’d better take it off him so he can go back to the screen and sign off. Toodle pips!

Thanks, Nicky.

It’s crazy here by the sea—so much so that I have half a mind (but you know that already) to go for a swim in the sea. Mmmm . . . maybe next week. Watch out for new announcements. Until then look after each other. Watch out for the virus news. Happy reading one and all.

Hugs from the greensward.


PS Publishing

Grosvenor House, 1 New Road, Hornsea
United Kingdom

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