A flash fiction short story by Chorley Writers author Clive Barker (no, not that one.)
“Phew, what a scorcher’’, thought Clive, congratulating himself as he closed the final page of his no doubt soon to be latest best-selling novel.
Was it only three years since he had nervously entered the meeting room of Chorley and District Writers’ Circle, one cold wet dark November evening?
As on most occasions in his life, Clive had arrived early, to be greeted by Dave, the chairman, and two jolly middle aged ladies to Dave’s left, joking light-heartedly. Then Greg, the treasurer, appointed [apparently] for his ruthless efficiency, bade his welcome too.
Clive had recently retired from his main job, and at last he had time to do other things. He had been a member of a writers’ association twenty years ago, self-publishing an amateur effort to describe the ups and downs of his life and work thus far. Now, he thought, it was time for an update, but little did he realise that his passion would be reawakened, and not just because of the flame red haired goddess who joined the group sitting to Dave’s right, effusing poetry at every possible opportunity.
This first recent project had been enjoyable and educational, but it wasn’t until his second attempt won a prestigious national competition that Clive knew he had at last found his true calling. ‘Sex and drugs in an anonymous Lancashire town’ was fought over by agents and publishers alike. Within weeks it was flying off the shelves, and Clive lapped it up. With income he’d never dreamed of, he went on a spending spree akin to one of his childhood heroes, George Best, who said “I spent my money on booze, fast cars and women. The rest I squandered”. He was on a constant high.
Soon, however, the money ran out, bringing Clive back to his reality. “Got to get back to basics’’, he thought, hence the different writing environment chosen. A sparsely furnished room, with only a small window which didn’t open, no phone nor internet, no distractions. He spent most of the hours of his day there, thinking, and writing.
Just as he’d completed his manuscript, a knock at the door. “Clive, time for your medication” Clive left his desk and precious work and let the nurse in. He obediently popped the round and oval pills in his mouth, and pretended to swallow. He grimaced at the taste, and the nurse turned and left, shutting the door quietly behind her. Clive took the pills from under his tongue and crushed them in the rubbish bin, just like all the others which had been emptied with the discarded balls of paper with his earlier writing drafts on.
He returned to his desk. All he needed was a title. This will indeed be an international blockbuster, he smiled, about a brilliant author who was unjustly detained under a Mental Health Act section in a psychiatric hospital, supposedly diagnosed with delusions of grandeur and mania, and how he came to be rescued by his friends from the Writers’ Circle.
Aware, our yearly anthology of Circle members’ writing.
Aware 2016 is available as a free .pdf document. It contains the winning stories from our 2016 short story competition, and work by Circle members.
Aware edition 11 is a substantial booklet and we’re pleased to be able to offer it in printed form, available from www.lulu.com. The price is £6 plus postage, with a donation from each copy sold going to the Circle’s chosen charity for 2015/2016; Cats’ Protection.
Aware is also available free of charge to download.
CAWDC member Jeanette Greaves has a short story (The Eight Pane Sash) in ‘Hauntings – An Anthology’, the next publication from North Manchester micro-press Hic Dragones. The book is out now – Hauntings
CAWDC members Cathy Lennon and Jeanette Greaves each had their flash fiction published online as part of the 2014 Flash Flood event, run by Flash Flood Journal. Cathy’s story, ‘The Engine of Desire’ and Jeanette’s story, ‘The Cove’ which can be found here
Elle-Marie Hinchcliffe – winner of Lancashire Authors 2014 Mercer Cup for her short story, ‘Skin Deep’.
John Winstanley has just published his book by Paragon Publishers, ‘Unsigned Unscene’ which champions local bands and artists in Chorley, Blackburn, Preston and Lancashire that never made it past their hometown fanbase …and a few that did. After attending Chorley Writers Circle John said it gave him the final urge to get his book sorted!
See all members’ work in our annual publication, Aware
Chorley writer’s thriller chart joy – Dave Harrison is one of the Circles most prolific members and it was winning a competition with us that inspired him to success.
Waste management consultant Dave Harrison has made the top 10 in the Amazon thriller charts with his first published book.
Father of four Dave, 64, of Astley Village, who writes in Due Diligence about Manchester accountant Jenny Parker and how taking a bribe leads her into untold danger and mayhem, has been writing in his free time for several years.
But it was winning a prize in a national short story competition held by Chorley and District Writers’ Circle in 2010 which put him on the path to publication.
Dave, who runs Arley Consulting, St Thomas’s Road, Chorley, said the competition, which was independently judged, made a big difference to him.
He added: “I felt much more confident about my writing and I determined to focus on it.”
Dave engaged local editor Dea Parkin, of Fiction Feedback to edit Due Diligence after meeting best-selling thriller writer Stephen Leather at a crime-writing conference last summer.
Stephen read Dave’s book, loved it and supplied an endorsement for the front cover.
It was after this encounter that Dave decided to live his dream and learn more about the publishing business.
This year he set up his own publishing company, Open Circle with a team of people, including his wife and business specialist Anne Marie Nissen and daughter Emma Nissen Rutter, an artist and graphic designer.
Due Diligence, published as both an ebook and a printed book in April, peaked in the charts at eight then settling at 13 for a while – above thrillers by household names Lee Child and James Patterson.
The book also reached the top hundred of books sold overall by Amazon, with over a thousand copies of Due Diligence sold in the first week of May. Due Diligence is for sale as a printed book (£7.99) through Ebb & Flow, Gillibrand Street, Chorley, or can be bought from Amazon as an ebook.