The Three Bears

Front Cover Three Bears

by Derec Jones

This is a courageous novel – a story told through seemingly random glimpses into the mind of the unnamed narrator as he tries to decipher his life.

It’s about memories, about aspirations, about failure, and ultimately it’s about truth.

It’s a book of death and nightmares, of love and light, and the eternal search to find meaning in the chaos of existence.

In the end it all has to make sense. Doesn’t it?

But where did it all begin?

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Some reviews and comments

I feel like I’ve just gotten off a roller coaster.

Everything works. This is outstanding!

Unique in voice, courageous in execution.

Literary fiction can often be dense and off-putting, but this is both brisk and involving . . .

Awesome stuff.

more comments after the excerpt

Excerpt:

Preface
Before you think I’m going to continue rambling in this irrelevant way, don’t worry, I’m not, and anyway these rambles are not irrelevant, otherwise they wouldn’t be here, would they? I’m just trying to tell you that the last two or three years of my life have been hard – very hard. I’m only just beginning to realise what stress I’ve been under. And before you think this is just a diatribe from a moaning old git, I have to tell you that there are other people involved, people I love who have suffered more than I have.

But that’s all by the by. This is a story after all, and you are a reader and there are certain expectations, certain rules that have to be obeyed if our relationship is going to have any sort of validity. I’m telling you a story so I have to obey the rules of story-telling, otherwise you’ll get bored or frustrated or just plain pissed-off and I know how bad that can be, so I’m with you there.

So, this story has to have a beginning, middle and end. Fine, I can go along with that, especially now the beginning’s done, well, it’s begun anyway. The middle? Not too difficult – just throw up a few obstacles, write around them or through them or over them and, and well it sounds easy doesn’t it? It probably is easy, relatively easy; when compared to what I’ve been through over the past two or three years.

Normally I’m a man who can handle everything; it’s a curious mixture of Eastern mysticism and Western machismo. Come on you bastards, throw it at me. I can take it. I can take the deadliest disease in your power and absorb its evil energy. I can use my intelligence and charm to avoid the maddest madman. I can sit and smile with equanimity while discussing the utter meaninglessness of existence and the complete irrelevance of the whole of human history in the scheme of things, while blissfully tuning into the absolute oneness of so-called love that is so-called God. But these last two or three years have been a mare, a fucking nightmare.

OK, enough digression for now. I’d better get the beginning of the story started before you piss off and re-read Jane Eyre or something else, equally mind-numbingly mainstream. Mainstream, mainstream, bollocks.

c h a p t e r  o n e

It’s over. Her face sinks slowly into the black pool. It’s the end.

But where did it all begin?

~

I look at her and wonder what it is that has kept us together all this time. I wonder whether she thinks the same way.

“Is everything all right?” I ask.

“How do you mean?”

“You know, we haven’t had much chance to talk lately, what with your work taking it out of you, and most nights you’re too tired to talk and the television is on all the bloody time, and on the weekends I’m pretty useless.”

“Well, I’m here now, I’m talking now. What do you want to say?”

“I thought you said you wanted to talk to me?”

“OK then, tell me about Annie.”

“Annie’s dead,” I say.

“Yeah, but what about when she was alive? You haven’t been the same since she died. Was there more to your relationship?”

“What?”

“You and Annie, was there more to it?” There is a distant chill in her voice

“Well no, not really, not at all.” I feel myself flushing red. I look at her and I think: Who is this woman?
She looks determined; as passive as a statue, yet as unchallengeable as an angry gorilla. I stand up, it’s a natural reaction to threat I suppose, I’m bigger than her, taller and fatter and heavier and I’m a man for fuck’s sake.

“Sit.” She says.

I sit.

“It’s obvious there was something going on – obvious.”

“She was just a friend, just another fucked-up human being who I met along the way, someone to share a coffee with now and again, that’s all.”

“I don’t believe you.”

“I never did anything, we were just friends.”

“You’ve always been the same, looking for someone else; I’ve never been enough for you.”

“What’s going on? Are you all right?”

“Never been better. All these years I’ve looked after us; looked after you, and now I realise you’re not worth it. You’ve never been worth it. I’ve given up my life for you. The things I’ve done for you, don’t you see? Can’t you see?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“It’s too late anyway. Too late.”

~

Or did it begin here?

Cardiff, 1971. Somewhere in Canton, a side street off Cathedral Road. I’m not sure who’s living with me, not sure if I pay the rent. There’s something about Hendrix’s death, or an anniversary of Hendrix’s death. It could be 1970; I’ll have to work it out one day.

I’m 18, sharing a house with a few others. There’s one or two Cardiff boys and one or two Llanelli boys. Perhaps I’m crashing on the floor in Mike’s room.

Been here for a while, a few weeks at least, because I know I’m claiming the dole, ambling down to somewhere near Westgate Street once a week or whatever frequency it is now, popping into the chemist on the way back for cough medicine, or nicking a pint of milk off a doorstep.

Living on chips and cornflakes; chips, cornflakes, cough medicine and stolen milk.

# # #

More reviews and comments

This is brilliant.

Excellent book.

wonderful writing

Anyone who fails to appreciate the quality of this is either not paying attention, or just plain dense. It’s the kind of writing I can read to music and shut out the outside world. The rhythm, the dialogue, the little segues into second person, just great.

It’s bloody brilliant.

Oh my God, ‘proper’ literature that breaks rules and creates new ways of doing things and pulses off the page – I need to lie down now.

Seriously good stuff.

A superb piece of writing, a joy to read.

a unique voice-one of the most original, full fat, piece of writing I’v read in a long while. Great, great stuff

this is the most unique voice I’ve possibly ever read.

fast-paced and wonderful, but at the same time confusing and scary. It’s great.

What a fantastic and compelling story

Gritty, realistic and darkly humourous

It’s really really good stuff

sucks the reader in from the first sentence

There is something mesmerizing about this

I love this, and I hate it. I hate it, because it’s making me aware, more than most, of my mortality and of how crap life can be. I love it, because the narrative is raw, the writing raw, right into the nerves.

one of the most unusual things I have ever read

Everything fits. I haven’t read such a clever book in a long time and I love it. There is madness, lots of it, lots of pieces that shouldn’t add up – but they do. And when they do, they make sense – perfect sense.

‘Wood shavings spilling out like a soldier’s guts’? A flawless line! This is a bold book, no doubt there, and all the stronger for it. The descriptions are tight but perfectly worded to put you in the narrator’s head.

this is just amazing

Fast paced, clever, witty

this just blows me away

I was going to say how much I enjoyed it, but ‘enjoyed’ is a mild word for experiencing a human mind taking itself on with bare knuckles.

a really refreshing piece of writing

this is a wonderful book

This is fantastic.

what it is is a work of art, in the fullest sense

Cheats and Liars

Cheats-and-Liars-FrontEveryone’s a cheat or a liar, or both. What happens when the Greatest Living Artist in Wales decides to stop playing the game?

Brian Llewelyn is an artist at the peak of his powers, in fact he’s the Greatest Living Artist in Wales. Despite his success, or perhaps because of it, his life seems worthless. He decides to redeem himself by investing heavily in a community arts project.

Following this altruistic path exposes the fragile foundations his success is built on. His life disintegrates and his career evaporates as the corrupt liars and cheats propping him up turn on him.

Cheats and Liars is an exploration of success and its fallout set deep in the psyche of Brian Llewelyn, The Greatest Living Artist in Wales.

Published as a paperback and for the Kindle at all the usual places

More about Cheats and Liars

by Derec Jones

Vegan Grub

vegan-grub cover idea 1-webCOMING SOON . . .

A stunning new collection of wonderful vegan recipes from Rhian Jones. Based on decades of front-line vegan cooking experience both professionally and in the family home, these recipes will satisfy at every level.

Vegan Grub is a treasure trove of vegan delights, from simple everyday recipes like scrambled tofu and mushrooms, via satisfying family meals like hearty continental lentil moussaka, and on to fabulous gourmet creations that will do justice to the poshest dinner parties.

More information and sample recipes coming soon.

secondary character

secondary-character-front-coversecondary character and other stories

from the Welsh Short Story Network (WSSN)

Cover design and photo by Jo Mazelis

After the Cardiff readings of the WSSN last Summer we got together with Barrie Llewelyn and put a call out for short stories from the writers of Wales.

We were delighted with the response and with the quality of the stories submitted, many from established writers and some from those dipping their toes into publication for the first time. We’d love to have published every story but after a long and careful selection process the editor chose 28 stories for this collection.

UPDATE SEPTEMBER 2015

Now available in paperback: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Secondary-Character-Other-Stories-Wssn/dp/1904958583/ and http://www.amazon.com/Secondary-Character-Other-Stories-Wssn/dp/1904958583/

Also the ebook for the Kindle: Details here

UPDATE: August 2015

We are delighted to announce that the first book of short stories from the Welsh Short Story Network – ‘Secondary Character and other Stories’ edited by Barrie Llewelyn will be launched in Swansea and Cardiff next month.

Published by Opening Chapter with a beautiful and evocative cover design by Jo Mazelis the book features twenty-eight stories from twenty-eight writers and is a snapshot of the amazing range of short-story writing talent active in Wales today.

Launch Details

* FREE ADMISSION *

Each launch will consist of two 45 minute sessions separated by a break.

There will be readings from the stories and opportunities to chat and network

Swansea

Mozarts Bar and Venue
Wednesday September 9th 2015 at 7.30pm

followed by a special performance by acoustic trio Anni Wall

* Anni Wall are the renamed fabulous Dead Surf Country with Nico as lead singer and the addition of Anna on harp and accordion. 

Links to YouTube videos of Dead Surf Country
https://youtu.be/3LF4uxUX_t0
https://youtu.be/-Z78NeQBc2c

Mozarts
76b Walter Road
Swansea
SA1 4QA

Mozarts Facebook Page

more details soon . . .

Cardiff

First Space at the Chapter Arts Centre
Saturday September 12th 7.00pm

NOTE: This event will begin promptly at 7pm, there will be opportunities during the break and after the readings to network in Chapter’s spacious café-bar.

Chapter Arts Centre
Market Road
Cardiff

Chapter’s website

more details soon . . .

BOOK DETAILS

The twenty-eight stories collected here offer a wealth of both connection and contrast in plot, theme and style. By its nature the short story is capable of leaping into the reader’s imagination to vivid and startling effect, as demonstrated here; from the supernatural in ‘A Ghost May Come’ to the psychologically charged in ‘Marco’s Eyes’ to the poignant ‘Theft’ each story in this diverse anthology plays with both the everyday and those profound and life changing emotions of loss, jealousy and regret.

Among the compelling characters to be found in these stories is a young woman in the boot of a car, a man embarrassed by an inexplicable wound, a WWI infantryman about to meet his fate and a girl fascinated by bells… all proving that it’s very hard to make rules about what constitutes a short story.

LIST OF AUTHORS

Kay Beechey
Susmita Bhattacharya
Justine Bold
Carole Burns
Luned DeSimon
Karl Drinkwater
Frances Hay
Nic Herriot
Carly Holmes
Nigel Jarrett
John Lavin
Malcolm Lewis
Barrie Llewelyn
Jo Mazelis
Shelagh Middlehurst
Elizabeth Morgan
Lynda Nash
Kate North
Bethany W Pope
Diana Powell
Whyt Pugh
Colum Sanson-Regan
Gareth Scourfield
Danny Shyla
Thomas Stewart
Christina Thatcher
Rhys Thomas
Susie Wild

Made in Roath – Volume One

Made-in-Roath-Volume-one-cover-frontThe book Made in Roath is a snapshot of some of the creative talent associated with the area of Cardiff known as Roath. It is a record of some of the activity and work made during the festival of the same name.

Edited by Christina Thatcher and featuring the work of 40 contributors.  (**scroll down for a list)

The book is available as a paperback – 6″ x 9″, 150 pages, containing prose, poetry, observations, and black and white photographs.

ISBN 10: 1-904958-46-X, ISBN 13: 978-1-904958-46-8

All for just £7.99

Get it on Amazon UK or Amazon US

Made in Roath, the festival, is an artist-led, free event which aims to take art out of the gallery and into the wider community, allowing a larger and broader audience to access the wealth of creative talent in our neighbourhood whilst maintaining a standard of excellence, reflecting the contemporary art scene in Cardiff and South Wales.

It showcases the work of emerging and established artists, makers, musicians, writers and performers, who use the whole of Roath as the venue, including domestic, commercial, public and overlooked or disused spaces.

Made in Roath offers residents and visitors an opportunity to engage in the arts through a dynamic programme of exhibitions, residencies, collaborations with community groups, workshops and performances.

For more information please visit the Made in Roath website http://madeinroath.com/. You can also like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter or just come along to their next exciting endeavour in Cardiff.

** List of contributors
Adam Rees
Andrew Jones
Angela Lester
Bill Trezise
Cameron Loxdale
Christina Thatcher
Clare Charles
clare e potter
Daniel-Wyn Jones
Dave Daggers
Deborah de Lloyd
Fran Smith
Helia Phoenix
Heloise Godfrey-Talbot
Janna Grace
Jill Berrett
Jodie Ashdown
Jon Doyle
Julie Primon
Karl Price
Laura Amy Liderth
Mab Jones
Mark Blayney
Mark Lowes
Nia Metcalf
Nigel Pugh
Owain Hopkins
Paddy Faulkner
Rachel Helena Walsh
Rachel Simons
Rebecca Roy
Rhys John
Rosey Brown
Sara Bellanpo
Simon L. Read
SophChei/
Sophie Hickson
Stevie Stabbers
Susanne Koenig
Uschi Turoczy
Will Ford

Infinity

The stunning debut novel from Kiára Árgenta

infinity-CS-Cover-front-web

*** Now available – Amazon UK, Amazon US

“You will end up killing each other. It will be disastrous. Stop this relationship now with this volatile man and find someone who is normal and nice, Kiára. Find a stable rock of a man who is not a volcano. Listen to my advice, for God’s sake.”

I should follow this advice as the shrink knows what he is talking about. But damn the rock. I rip up the guidebook and the map and plunge into the forest of thorns for pleasure and pain. Obsessive love and hate know no limits and the spikes of their extremes propel me into eternity.

I want to flat-line but I can’t. Not now I have met István, the first king of Hungary.

I want to stop the bright colours and sharp edges that make us Kiára and István. I want to trade in the swirling dizzy vortex of Italian Futurist art for the softness of a Monet. Just for one day I want to live without this bipolar illness which has dragged me into the Heaven and Hell which is my Hungary.

Maybe you waited a thousand years for me as you said, István. Maybe it is all a myth. I only know there is no end for us, no rest and no escape.

There is only infinity.

infinity-CS-Cover-full-web

Gather Gold and Other Stories

Gather-Gold-Cover-Final-FRONT-Lo-ResWe are delighted to publish this wonderful collection of short stories from Barrie Llewelyn, a writer who creates a unique narrative landscape from the rapport and conflict between her American origins and her adopted homeland of Wales; and all told through the voices of her fascinating and very real characters.

A true original.

Women who should know better, but don’t.  Characters who occupy both urban America  and rural Wales – sometimes at the same time.

Mothers and daughters; husbands and lovers – these are some of the tensions and fusions explored in this surprising collection by Barrie Llewelyn, a writer who is interested in the way each authentic voice can be startling and, sometimes, disturbing.

“Barrie Llewelyn’s stories are beautifully observed: they’re exact and patient in evoking the humour, the sadness and the uniqueness of each ordinary life, and they stay with the reader for a long time afterwards.” Emma Darwin

“A moving and powerful collection of human moments. Love, loss, family, friendships: all life is to be found in these stories, and Llewelyn writes with a quiet elegance reminiscent of the best of Amy Hempel or Raymond Carver. Sublime.” Mike Thomas

“The stories are tightly crafted and have an immediate and intriguing voice, which is no mean feat given the range of narrators used. Characters are heart-warming and deftly built; we warm to them right away and are left in each case with an intimate, shared sense of their individual losses, achievements, worries and hopes. The settings are interesting and intensely relevant, capturing the modern notion of shared identity known to so many of this world’s itinerant, diverse people. It’s thought-provoking and engaging! Buy a copy people!!!” Tom Anderson

Available now

Amazon UK £7.99

Amazon US $11.99

or – get a signed copy at the

BOOK LAUNCH
Y Galeri Caerphilly, November 29th 2015, 2.30pm – 4.30pm

Fragments

Fragments is a sequel to Infinity
but can be read as its own story

fragments-CS-Cover1-front-smallby Kiára Árgenta

‘She is a true ice princess. Beautiful and delicate, but her heart doesn’t seem to be warm. I have visions that it is not even beating, that I have imagined she is real and she is just a figment of my distressed imagination. It is the first  unravelling I have experienced. Sure, I fell apart after Kiára’s death and I existed in a mist until I met Lilla but this is a splintering feeling. As though I am cracking like a mirror and shards of my personality are starting to fall to the ground.’

Two years after the death of the love of his life, István cannot move on. He is ill with bipolar disorder and is convinced the answer is to find the image of his dead love in someone else. He meets Lilla on a Budapest street; young, fragile and impressionable and he is desperate to possess her. However, Lilla has her own darkness and over time, István’s jealousy, his anger, and his violent obsession turn her into someone who carelessly smashes his heart into fragments.

For the Time Being

ForTheTimeBeingDWJ-createspaceBook-webStories, poems, reflective pieces.

*** UPDATE: Paperback now available

Amazon UKAmazon US

A coming together of new and some old but previously unpublished work. Scraps, odds and ends, unedited, partially edited, abandoned work in progress – and some highly polished works.

Just something ‘For the Time Being’

Expected publication date late October / early November 2014

*** UPDATE *** weirdly this has come together ahead of schedule and will now be published on October 5th 2014. It may take a few days after that for physical copies to arrive.

Here’s  couple of bits from the book to give a little taster of what’s to come:

The Black Sheep
He wasn’t much of a ram, small and weak, with no possibility of siring any of the sumptuous ewes that shared the lush green hillsides. He didn’t mind, he had his darling girl. She was tall and thin on her two legs, her hair as black and as thick as his fleece. He knew he was her favourite. Today, she hugged him longer and harder than usual and her eyes were wet with tears. Then she vanished. Later, the big man came back, grabbed his black fleece and dragged him into the back of a lorry.

————-

Visitors

The fucking mice are back. I know they’re there. They’re crawling under the fucking floorboards. The cheeky fuckers are even hiding under the settee. I saw one last night, a dark beige flash, zipping from the side of the settee towards the hole in the floorboards. It’s my own fault. There shouldn’t be a hole in the floorboards. It’s as easy as that; all you’ve got to do is give them a fucking excuse and they’re in. It doesn’t have to be anything major, a little gap in the bottom of the back door, a small crack in the floorboards, and that’s enough; that’s all they need . . . . . . . . . . (more)

Being Air Under Sky

From the deep, enigma
the source of the river
springing, sparkling
spreading its dream
flowing, glowing
a growing stream
Through the long, dilemma
the course of the river
shoaling, shining
shedding its blood
splashing, flashing
a dashing flood
To the wide, conundrum
the force of the river
scouring, scumbling
scuttling its breath
flaring, glaring
a sharing death

Dead Flowers

dead-flowers-cover-front-webA collection of short stories from Derek Wynford Jones

What does the richest man in the world want more than anything else?

How do you cope when your loved ones are blown up by a bomb?

Is it such a bad thing to break the rules?

These questions and more are dealt with in this collection – a special mix of stories selected to blend and bounce off each other and portray the amazing complexity of life as a human being on this crazy, cruel planet.

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