Umbridge – episode two

February 15, 2018

An everyday story of extraordinary country folk

Episode Two

The story so far:-

Young John Farmer arrives home from University to find that all is not well at Rookfield Farm.  The prize boar Quinton, is unwell and will not touch its daily ration of Old Bart’s Triple X Special Bitter.  In fact, the pig will not eat or drink anything except lemonade.  Later that day, in the public bar of the ‘Chick Inn’, John is horrified to find that his father, Loon E Farmer, is unable to drink his pint of Old Bart’s beer and instead asks for a glass of lemonade.

Now read on:-

It was three days later and Jack Door, the landlord of ‘The Chick Inn’, was back behind the pumps when John Farmer entered the public bar carrying a large empty rucksack on his shoulder that he set down on the bar.

            “Good morning, Jack,” he said.  “Could I have four pints of Old Bart’s and four bottles of lemonade to take away please?”

            “Certainly, lad.  And ‘ow be things at Rookfield Farm?”

            “Oh, things are a lot better.  We’ve heard from the Lab and they’ve found out what’s wrong with Quinton.  Apparently what he’s got is caused by a very rare virus called Triple X Lemonade Disease.  Mr Marriot says that the only way to cure it is to drink pints of shandy and then to slowly decrease the lemonade content.”

            Jack scratched his head.  “Aye, they be clever people those scientists at that Lab.  And ‘ow’s yer Dad?”

            “Oh, he’s at home in bed.  Mother says that once we’ve cured Quinton we can then start treating Father.”

            Jack nodded in agreement.  “That be very wise.  It would be a shame to loose a fine hog like Quinton.  Is that beer and lemonade for ‘im?”

            “That’s right could you put it in the rucksack for me?”

            John left the pub with the laden rucksack on his back and started along the road towards Rookfield Farm.

            “John!”  The cry came from behind him and he turned.  It was Grace, the fifteen stone daughter of the Reverent Philip Ourchurch, on her new bicycle.  She rode up to him and stopped.  “Hello, John,” she said.  “I heard you were home.  I thought you didn’t recognise me.”  John stood and stared.  She smiled and said, “I was a little girl when you left home.  Now I’ve grown up.”

            John swallowed hard.  “You certainly look amazing, Grace,” he remarked.

            “Do you like my new bicycle?” she asked.

            “It looks very nice.”  He paused and seemed uncertain.  “Actually, Grace, I wonder if I dare ask you something?”

            “Certainly, John.  What is it?”

            “It’s rather embarrassing really.”

            “Go on, John,” said Grace.  “You can tell me.”

What does John want to ask Grace?  Is there romance in the air or does he simply want a go on her new bike?  Will Quinton and Loon survive the dreaded Triple X Lemonade Disease.  Find out in the next exciting installment of UMBRIDGE.

Advertisements

Umbridge – the birth of a literary career

February 8, 2018

In the early 1980s, I and a colleague started a workplace newsletter at the then MAFF Central Veterinary Laboratory where we both worked.  The CVL changed its name in the 1990s, MAFF has become part Defra and the CVL is now a UK Government Agency.  To fill the scant newsletter content and to assure readers that the newsletter would be published each month, I started a quiz and a regular comic serial.  The serial had a veterinary agriculture theme and was inspired by the long running BBC radio soap, The Archers.

The serial developed a cult following among some of its readers and some years later I published it on various writing websites under the penname of Jack Lindsey.  Later it inspired the publication of my first novel, Cogrill’s Mill.  Followers of my blog and those of you who have bought and enjoyed Cogrill’s Mill might like to read the work that inspired my first forays into publishing so I have posted Umbridge’s first episode below.  If it proves popular, I propose to post the remaining six future episodes each week over the next six weeks.

The ebook of Cogrill’s Mill is currently on promotion on the Amazon Kindle Store and is available for £0.99/$1.37 at:
http://amazon.com/dp/B005NACKBY.

Keith Jahans


Umbridge – episode one

February 8, 2018


An everyday story of extraordinary country folk

It was a bright sunny day and the birds were singing.  Young John Farmer got off the bus at the gate to Rookfield Farm and made his way across the muck-filled yard, a suitecase in either hand.  Little did he know what lay in store for him.

            The farm-house door was opened by Mrs Stitis the daily-help.  “Why, Master John!” she exclaimed joyously.

            “Hello, Ma,” said John.  “I’m home from university.  Is Mother home?”

            “She be out back strangling the chickens.  Come in !”

            Meanwhile, down at the pig-sty, John’s father, Loon E Farmer, was examining his prize boar Quinton, with the local veterinary surgeon.  “It be like this, Mr Marriot,” he was saying, “‘E’s off ‘is food an’ won’t perform wi’ the gilts.  Not only that – ‘E won’t touch ‘is daily ration of Old Bart’s Special Bitter.  ‘E won’t drink nothing but lemonade.”

            “I don’t understand it,” said the vet scratching his head, “but I’ve taken a couple of samples and will send them off to MAFF.  If anyone knows what’s wrong they will!”

            “I s’pose it could be worse.  ‘E could be drinkin’ larger.”

Marriot left in his car, whistling the tune to ‘All Things Bright and Beautiful’, and Loon Farmer made his way to the farmhouse.  When he entered he was greeted by his wife and son.   “Look, Loon,” beamed his wife, “our John is home!”

            “Hello, Father.  I’ve got a first-class degree in Agriculture with distinction.  I can be a great help to you on the farm!”

            “Aye lad, tomorrow you can scrap the muck off the yard and then you can feed the pigs.  Come!  Let’s be down to the pub while your mother gets the dinner.”

            A little while later, Jack Door the landlord of the ‘Chick Inn’, was pouring both father and son two pints of Old Bart’s Tripple X Special Bitter.  Loon gripped one of the glasses in his hand, blew the froth off the top of the beer and took a sip.

            Suddenly, his face went white and his hand shook as he put the glass back down on the bar,

            “Are you all right, Father?” asked John with concern.

Loon could scarcely speak and when he did his voice was very faint.  “Jack,” he said, “could I have a glass of lemonade?”

            “My God!”  exclaimed Jack in horror.  “Loon!  What be wrong?”

Yes, what is wrong?  Will MAFF find the answer?  Does anyone realise the full significance of Ma Stitis on Rookfield Farm.  Find out next month in the next exciting episode of Umbridge!

 


Book Promotion – getting the price right

October 19, 2015

For a publisher setting the price of a paperback book is not complicated. The cost of printing and distributing is easily calculated and all that remains is to add a sufficient sum to gain enough profit from which to pay the bookseller, the author’s royalty and running costs. But, the situation with ebooks is more complicated.

The first Peatmore Press book, Cogrill’s Mill, was first published as a pdf in the days when ebooks were unheard of. There was little in the way of production costs as the novel was available as a download from the Company website (www. Peatmore .com) or distributed by CD. Now so many multinational companies such as Amazon and Apple have entered the ebook market and, since the biggest seller of its ebooks is Amazon, the Cogrill’s Mill ebook is now exclusively offered for sale through the Kindle bookstore. Thus practically zero production costs are incurred by this publisher. Amazon take 65% of the book sales, the remaining 35% goes to the publisher / author.

In the days when it was available as a download the price was set at £4.00 which was half the cost of printing and distributing the paperback version and was considered to be a good rule of thumb. A search of the Amazon bookstore has shown that the ebooks on sale there vary greatly in price. Amazon seem to benefit greatly from the number of free ebooks on its Kindle store but a small publisher is only able to offer its books for free in a promotional deal for a limited time.

It is said that offering a book at too low a price can devalue it in the eyes of both the seller and buyer. Thus setting the value may affect sales. With this in mind, Peamore Press has decided to bring the charge for the Cogrill’s Mill ebook into line with best selling books of a similar length in a similar genre. It now remains to be seen if this will help its sales or whether the price will have to be altered again.

Keith Jahans
Peatmore Press

cover

Cogrill’s Mill by Jack Lindsey is available as a paperback from
http://peatmore.com/cogrills.htm
or as a Kindle ebook from
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Cogrills-Mill-Jack-Lindsey-ebook/dp/B005NACKBY


Last Words

October 18, 2012

A best selling writer of fiction will often strive to end a narrative with some memorable sentences in an attempt to entice the reader to come back to his or her work for more.  But the ending of a novel very often does not stick in the readers’ mind.  They might reflect that the story turned out well or there was a sad conclusion.  However, it is not unusual for a story to be inconclusive and in that way it may reflect life itself.

I know one reader who likes to read the last page of a book before buying it.  But like many people I hate it if the ending is given away.  Fortunately it is often impossible to understand the full significance of last sentences.  Some examples can be found at http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_8181000/8181968.stm

I was planning to cite some examples from the published works of Peatmore Press but for the reasons given above thought it may be counter productive to give too much away.

Perhaps the best way to understand whether the last words of a narrative should have any bearing on a story is to look at the final utterances of real people.  Often they are banal and even humorous but it is questionable if they truly reflect a person’s life.  To find examples click on http://listverse.com/2007/08/22/20-famous-last-words

No one novel can give everyone a satisfying reading experience so finally to fully understand the frustration that can result from a story not having a proper ending click on the link below.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S5WIBZBSbAQ


Peatmore Press Marketing

October 5, 2012

To celebrate launch of 2 new social networking sites at http://tinyurl.com/9zr7zf7 & http://tinyurl.com/8s53xcd Peatmore Press offers free ebook at http://peatmore.com


Book Art

July 3, 2012

A book with its cover, contents and the advertising campaign that surrounds it is a complete artistic experience.  The author that produces it can have complete control when self publishing.  The downside is that the self publisher will have to bear the mistakes and the costs.  However, the pleasure at producing a work of art can more than compensate.

Books can be viewed in the same way as music albums.  The cover, the texture and the notes on the jacket can bring pleasure in themselves.  Vinyl records of 60s, 70s and 80s added visual and textural appeal to the music inside.  The smaller CD and the digital download have greatly lessened the effect.  It is still there but the influence of the complete package has decreased.

Digital ebooks have suffered the same.  However, the short-run paperback version can bring back the glamour previously shown by pulp fiction.  Shelves of nicely jacketed books can enhance its décor and bring interest to a room.

In the same way the video can promote interest, the book trailer can have the same effect and a well produced book trailer video can be a piece of art in itself.  Thus the book, its jacket and video trailer becomes an artistic composition of which the self publishing author can be proud.

                     

Click here to view trailer                       Click here to view trailer