Factor Fiction & Friends @ States of Independence

States of Independence is our favourite local book festival, and this year we’ll have a stall.

INDEPENDENT PRESS DAY

Free of charge | 10.30am – 4.30pm | Open to all

Clephan Building, De Montfort University, Oxford Street, Leicester LE1 5XY

Workshops | Readings | Panels | Seminars | Book launches

Bookstalls | Independent presses | Regional writers

Fiction | Non-fiction | Poetry | Plays | Artist books | Magazines | Journals

We’ll have stock of a variety of our publications on the stall. Including:

Cover by Jay Eales

A zine raising money for HOPE not hate and including prose, poetry, comics and more by lots of local Leicester writers.

Two new collections of Lee Kennedy’s autobiographical comics.

We’ll also have a handful of copies of the latest book that includes short stories by Jay & myself:

That night I dream about Whitby. 

It’s the place that Effie says I belong to. I’m sitting in a cosy room, with a small window overlooking a storm-lashed town. I can hear the sea, an endlessly restless noise. The fire crackles in the grate and I’m sipping a very sweet and delicious drink from a tiny glass. The woman called Effie is sitting across the room from me, but goodness – she looks ancient. She’s like a wizened old hag sitting there. 

Effie is talking in between sips of sherry and she’s making plans. Plans of action, of attack. We’re involved in a kind of… yes, series of adventures. She’s talking like the whole world is depending on our working together to foil not one but several kinds of evil menace.

What a bloomin’ palaver! 

Nine brand new stories about Brenda and Effie’s adventures in Whitby by Greg Maughan, Jay Eales, Tony Jones, Andrew Lawston, Matthew Bright, Morgan Melhuish, Neil O’Brien, Nicholas Campbell and Selina Lock, with a prologue by Paul Magrs.

Also available to order from Obverse Books

We’re also hosting some friends’ books on the stall:

Purple Prose: Bisexuality in Britain is the first of its kind: a book written for and by bisexual people in the UK. This accessible collection of interviews, essays, poems and commentary explores topics such as definitions of bisexuality, intersections of bisexuality with other identities, stereotypes and biphobia, being bisexual at work, teenage bisexuality and bisexuality through the years, the media’s approach to bisexual celebrities, and fictional bisexual characters.

Filled with raw, honest first-person accounts as well as thoughts from leading bisexual activists in the UK, this is the book you’ll buy for your friend who’s just come out to you as bi-curious, or for your parents who think your bisexuality is weird or a phase, or for yourself, because you know you’re bi but you don’t know where to go or what to do about it.

Also available to order from Thorntree Press

Plus this novel by local author and fellow Speculator Daniel Ribot:

Ludmilla Vatinashkaya already struggles to balance the challenges of marriage and family with her promising career as a captain in Stalin’s army when she is ordered to direct Vampsov, a covert unit created to fight the most implacable enemies of the Soviet Union: vampires. Astonished and initially skeptical, Ludmilla takes her unit on a thrilling and violent trail of destruction as Vampsov hunts down the blood sucking enemies of Socialism. With the help of Vassily, a dark and brooding creature who denies his very nature for his love of the fledgling Soviet state, they confront the most notorious monster of all in his Transylvanian lair.

Vampsov 1938, brings to life in luscious detail the Stalin-era Soviet Union. Daniel Ribot has beautifully navigated this turbulent page of history to create an an edge-of-your-seat thrill ride that’s hard to put down and impossible to forget.

Also available to order from Amazon

Hope to see some of you there on Saturday!

‘Do Something’ charity zine – Events

Cover by Jay Eales

Cover by Jay Eales

‘Do Something’ – Official Leicester Launch

Upstairs at Firebug (1 Millstone Lane, Leicester, LE1 5JN)

3-5pm, Saturday 3rd December

There will be a panel discussion, raffle and readings, and fine company. Also, cake.

Several local contributors will be taking part in the launch, including Rod Duncan, Jay Eales, Jenny Walklate, Ambrose Musiyiwa, Will Ellwood, Penny Jones & Cynthia Rodriguez.

The cake will be free, but the zine will cost you a fiver.

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1678502645705533/

‘Do Something’ at Astral Gypsy (Coventry)

Astral Gypsy comic shop (Unit 2E, Fargo Village, Far Gosford Street) in Coventry.

Sunday 4th December, 1.30-3.00pm

Astral Gypsy are kindly hosting us (Editors: Jay Eales & Selina Lock) for the afternoon to sell copies and chat about the zine.

We will hopefully be joined by local creator Yen Quach. Each copy of the zine comes with a free print of an illustrated poem by Yen.

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/226533384445814/

Do Something is a zine that came about as a result of the EU Referendum and the rise in hate crime that followed.

We sat in shock for a few days, and wondered what if anything we could do. We saw others in our social media feeds who seemed similarly lost. We put out a call to arms to the writers, the artists, the poets and comic creators. The political cartoonists. Many from Leicester, but also from much further afield. We called and they answered. Leicester based novelist Rod Duncan. Political cartoonist for the Morning Star, BlueLou. Mike Carey, writer of X-Men and The Girl With All the Gifts. What we originally expected to be a 24 page photocopied effort ended up a professionally published 72 page beast.

For the Table of Contents – see our previous post.

All profits from sales of Do Something go to the charity Hope Not Hate, which sums up the ethos of the project. It may not be a big thing, but as the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu said “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”. We hope that you will join us in adding to the sum of Hope and tipping it away from Hate.

The event ties in with the ‘HOPE not hate’ weekend of action.

If you are unable to join us for an event, but would like to buy a copy of the zine then please PayPal £6.50 (includes UK p&p) plus your delivery address to selina.lock@ntlworld.com

‘Do Something’ – how to mail order

Cover by Jay Eales

Cover by Jay Eales

Do Something – a charity zine to raise money for ‘Hope not hate‘ was born.

This was our response to the Brexit referendum vote and rise in hate crime in the UK.

Zine is 72 pages, perfect bound with some colour illustrations.

Do Something – Contents:

  • Cover by Jay Eales
  • Introduction by Jay Eales & Selina Lock
  • Illustration by Dave Windett
  • The Cleansing by Mike Carey/M.R. Carey (new short story from best-selling writer of Girl With All The Gifts)
  • #DrawTogether #Pinclusive illustration by Emma Reynolds
  • Pin Money by Penny Jones (short story)
  • Spread Jam illustration by Patrick Scattergood
  • Beyond Each Blue Horizon by Andrew Hook (short story)
  • The Man Who ran Through the Tunnel by Ambrose Musiyiwa (poem)
  • But One Country by Rod Duncan (poem)
  • Song of Defiance (for William Blake) by K. A. Laity (poem)
  • Cartoons & Comic Strips by P. B. Rainey
  • Five Years (Lyrics by Alan Bennett) by Paul Magrs (song lyrics/poem)
  • I Saw Life Jackets on the Beach by Emma Lee (poem)
  • Smiling in the Slaughterhouse by Cynthia Rodriguez(poem)
  • Walls (after Bobba Bennett) by Cynthia Rodriguez (poem)
  • Anti-homophobia quote from Nottingham LGBT Switchboard (non-fiction)
  • Extracts & Photos from the Leicester Hate Crime Project– compiled by Selina Lock (non-fiction)
  • Illustration & Comic Strips by Vicky Stonebridge
  • Rose-Tinted Spectacles by Jay Eales & Peet Clack (comic strip)
  • Hope Remains by Mike Jennings (non-fiction)
  • Migrant/Bird Illustration by BlueLou
  • Lurid Sky by Jen Walklate (short story)
  • Weyland Street by Will Ellwood (short story)
  • Internationalist Manifesto by Simon Bennett (non-fiction)
  • Project Indigo – Daughters of War by Alasdair Stuart
  • The Gospel on How Not to Build a Tolerant Society compiled by Ambrose Musiyiwa (poem)
  • To Leicester Where We Belong by Farhana Shaikh (poem)
  • What’s In a Name? by Penny Jones (poem)
  • PLUS – A5 print of an illustrated poem by Yen Quach

TO ORDER in the UK:

Paypal £6.50 (£5 per copy plus £1.50 p&p) to selina.lock@ntlworld.com

Profits will be donated to Hope Not Hate

For overseas orders please contact us for a price via jay.eales@googlemail.com

do-something-photo

Lee Kennedy Collections & Do Something @ThoughtBubble

Thanks to our friend Regie Rigby of Desination Venus Comics (Harrogate) you’ll be able to buy our newest publications at their table at Thought Bubble this weekend.

They are at Stand 1, Royal Armouries Hall.

Hot off the presses you’ll be able to purchase:

The first two volumes of the Lee Kennedy Collection.

lee-books

leebookluluinnercitypagancover_edit7

leebookluluwageslavecover_edit7

Inner City Pagan collects strips from Lee’s small press Inner City Pagan comics plus extra material. With a foreword by Zograf.

Wage Slave collects strips from Lee’s small press Wage Slave comics plus extra material. With a foreword by Roberta Gregory.

Each volume will be £10 each.

You’ll also be able to pick up copies of Do Something! our charity zine in aid of Hope Not Hate. This will be the perfect bound edition with some  colour illustrations and a free A5 print of an illustrated poem by Yen Quach.

It includes a brand new short story by Mike Carey, illustrations by Dave Windett, Emma Reynolds, BlueLou and comic strips by Vicky Stonebridge and Paul Rainey. For full table of contents see our previous post. They will be £5 with profits going to the charity.

do-something-photo

So pop along to see Destination Venus Comics at Stand 1, Royal Armouries Hall.

‘Do Something’ – charity zine

Cover by Jay Eales

Cover by Jay Eales

Ten days ago Jay and I were feeling powerless and angry about the current state of the UK, especially the reported rise in hate crime. So we decided to do something we know how to do – make a zine.

Do Something – a charity zine to raise money for ‘Hope not hate‘ was born.

Many thanks to all our contributors for such a quick and supportive response. Many thanks also to Jay, as he enables me when I have mad ideas and then does all the production work!!

Do Something

Contributions from:

  • Cover by Jay Eales
  • Introduction by Jay Eales & Selina Lock
  • Illustration by Dave Windett
  • The Cleansing by Mike Carey (short story)
  • #DrawTogether #Pinclusive illustration by Emma Reynolds
  • Pin Money by Penny Jones (short story)
  • Spread Jam illustration by Patrick Scattergood
  • Beyond Each Blue Horizon by Andrew Hook (short story)
  • The Man Who ran Through the Tunnel by Ambrose Musiyiwa (poem)
  • But One Country by Rod Duncan (poem)
  • Song of Defiance (for William Blake) by K. A. Laity (poem)
  • Cartoons & Comic Strips by P. B. Rainey
  • Five Years (Lyrics by Alan Bennett) by Paul Magrs (song lyrics/poem)
  • I Saw Life Jackets on the Beach by Emma Lee (poem)
  • Smiling in the Slaughterhouse by Cynthia Rodriguez (poem)
  • Walls (after Bobba Bennett) by Cynthia Rodriguez (poem)
  • Anti-homophobia quote from Nottingham LGBT Switchboard (non-fiction)
  • Extracts & Photos from the Leicester Hate Crime Project – compiled by Selina Lock (non-fiction)
  • Illustration & Comic Strips by Vicky Stonebridge
  • Rose-Tinted Spectacles by Jay Eales & Peet Clack (comic strip)
  • Hope Remains by Mike Jennings (non-fiction)
  • Migrant/Bird Illustration by BlueLou
  • Lurid Sky by Jen Walklate (short story)
  • Weyland Street by Will Ellwood (short story)
  • Internationalist Manifesto by Simon Bennett (non-fiction)
  • Project Indigo – Daughters of War by Alasdair Stuart
  • The Gospel on How Not to Build a Tolerant Society compiled by Ambrose Musiyiwa (poem)
  • To Leicester Where We Belong by Farhana Shaikh (poem)
  • What’s In a Name? by Penny Jones (poem)

We will have 25 photocopied versions of the zine for sale at Small Press Day at Forbidden Planet Leicester, 2-5.30pm, Saturday 9th July.

Over the next few weeks we will also look at making the printed version and a PDF version more widely available for sale. Watch this blog for updates…

A cartoonists reaction to 7/7

The anniversary of the London bombings on 7th July 2005 reminded me that Lee Kennedy created a diary comic about her reaction to the bombings which we ran in The Girly Comic. I think Lee’s strip encapsulates the feelings of helplessness and the need to escape the news that many of us often feel (see below).

I can’t imagine how those directly affected by the bombings are feeling and our thoughts and wishes go out to them.

2008-04-11-london_bomb_day_1

2008-04-12-london_bomb_day_2

2008-04-13-london_bomb_day_3

2008-04-14-london_bomb_day_4

2008-04-15-london_bomb_day_5

2008-04-16-london_bomb_day_6

2008-04-17-london_bomb_day_7

The League Against Santa Claus

The League Against Santa Claus

by Selina Lock

The blue-hooded figure stepped up to the podium. His long, grey beard looked in need of a good trim, but his beady eyes took in the motley crowd before him. He banged his staff on the wooden floor and the murmur of voices slowly faded.

“I call to order this meeting of The League Against Santa Claus” he said in a voice that filled the village hall and made the straggly tinsel and foil stars sway slightly.

“First order of business is a battle plan to destroy that lowly upstart Santa Claus!”

This produced a ragged cheer from the crowd, with a crashing of chains from the hairy, cloven-hoofed beast in the far corner. The beast’s long red tongue lolled out of his mouth in a sinister smile.

The bearded man banged his staff again and started detailing his battle plan. After about forty five minutes of this, the Yule Goat spat out the fake Christmas tree branch he’d been idly gnawing and bleated for attention.

“I was promised biscuits and akvavit. Bring on the nibbles!” the goat demanded. The hooded man glared at him. The goat stared back, chewing the cud calmly before speaking.

“You know we’ll just follow your lead Odin. No need to bore us all to death with the details.”

“Boiled adzuki beans done yet?” two men in identical ogre masks and straw capes chimed up in unison.

Odin banged his staff on the floor again and stalked off stage.

“Fine, the nibbles are at the back” he said.

The Yule Goat ambled after him.

“Who invited the two namahage?” he asked Odin, gesturing with one hoof towards the men in the ogre masks. “They’re New Year demons. We don’t want them muscling in on our territory.”

Odin sighed. “We’re a bit short on troops this year and they did make a compelling argument that Santa had nicked their naughty kids shtick.”

They all got stuck into the stollen, Christmas themed beer and akvavit. The party was very convivial until Krampas attempted to dance on one of the tables. They decided it was time to take him home before he hurt someone.

Odin surveyed his troops. The drunken beast, the masked twins and the abnormally large goat. He wished Thor hadn’t been too busy in Hollywood to attend this year. He banged his staff again and the other members of the League rolled their eyes at him.

“Remember, we meet at the North Pole at noon on Christmas Eve. Anyone who needs a lift can hitch a ride with the wild hunt.”

On Christmas Eve they gathered on a snow-packed peak overlooking Santa’s grotto. Odin was sporting a shiny new blue robe, had combed his beard for the occasion and was sitting astride his eight-legged horse Sleipnir. Krampus had polished his chains and the Yule Goat was sporting one of those red Scandinavian style scarves that were all the rage. The namahage were jigging about and grumbling about the cold. Behind them, the ghostly horses of the wild hunt stamped their hooves, while their riders waved their spears and bows.

Odin’s ravens Huginn and Muninn could be seen flying above the grotto, scouting out the territory. They returned a few minutes later to make their report. Odin trotted forward and addressed his troops.

“It appears Santa got wind of our assault and has recruited a couple of security yeti, but we mustn’t let that stop us. This is our year! Ready your weapons.”

The riders, demons and beasts shifted around and tensed their muscles. Odin turned Sleipnir to face the grotto and raised his staff.

“Charge!”

The strange crew thundered down the bank towards Santa’s workshop. An answering roar was heard, as lumbering yeti appeared, reindeer bolted out of the stables and the jolly man in the red suit rallied his own troops.

As the two sides got nearer, Odin released the first snowball, which hit Santa square in the chest.

“First point to us” Odin shouted in triumph.

Then the Yule Goat locked horns with Rudolph, the wild hunt went up against the other reindeer and Krampus and the namahage twins targeted the yeti. The snowball fight began in earnest.

The noise from the fight caused Mrs Claus and head Elf Freda to come running out of the house, where they’d been having a well-earned hot chocolate break. They skidded to a halt, as a snowball landed at their feet. Mrs Claus shook her head.

“Every year, every damn year this happens. He promised it wouldn’t interfere with loading the sleigh, but oh no, they have to have their fun. Men!”

She threw her hands up in the air and Freda patted her on the shoulder, not easy when you are an elf of restricted stature.

“Good job we organised extra elf shifts, just in case.”

“You’re a life-saver, or a Christmas saver in this case Freda” Mrs Claus replied. “Come on then, let’s get that sleigh loaded.”

They turned back towards the workshop, with whoops and yells ringing in their ears.

“But if he thinks he’s sleeping in our bed tonight he’s very much mistaken” Mrs Claus muttered as she went.

Naughty or Nice?

Naughty or Nice?

by Jay Eales

“You remember the rules, right?”

“Jawohl, mein Kapitan.” Carol gave a Hitler salute, with a mocking grin.

Rather than the desired effect of lightening the mood, Kristian’s expression grew grave.

“Indulge me.” He looked at Carol seriously, as though he was about to tell her the cat had been run over. Carol sighed, and played the game, rattling through the rules by rote, just as Kristian had relayed them to her: “No smoking. No drinking. No swearing. I thought this was supposed to be fun?”

“It better be. It cost me a packet to ship that crate all the way from Lapland.”

“I’d have been happy with a week at Centerparcs.”

“I can take you to Centerparcs any time of year! Where’s your Christmas spirit?”

“Under lock and key in the drinks cabinet until after Twelfth Night, apparently…”

“If you think my dad will stop smoking those evil Christmas Cuban cigars of his just because of some rules you’ve made up, you don’t know him as well as you should.”

“I didn’t make the rules. Rare Exports Incorporated do. I had to sign a contract before they’d even agree to let me buy one.”

“In… blood?”

“Might as well have been. I felt they’d charged me a pound of flesh. But, it’ll be worth it. This is gonna be the best Christmas ever, babes. Trust me. It’s all for you. Your dad will understand. Tell him we’re not smoking in the house any more, or something.”

“Careful, tiger! Isn’t lying on that list of rules somewhere too? Can I take a peek at this mysterious crate, at least?”

“Don’t be so impatient! Christmas Eve is just a few hours away. You’ll have to wait.” Kristian seemed to have cheered up a little at least. He’d regained some of his playfulness. It was a relief, as Carol thought he’d had it all knocked out of him with all the extra hours at work. A fat wallet was all well and good, but not if it meant losing the cheeky man-child she’d fallen for. Hadn’t she worked just as hard to keep up with the Joneses; live the dream; a top-flight career and a life?

“Can I at least have a teensy bottle of Grolsch tonight? It’s not Christmas yet. You haven’t even let me trim the tree. You and your family traditions. Look at the poor thing sitting there in the corner all naked and green. By the time you let me decorate it, the needles will have started to drop off. Come on, big boy! Just a beer and a bauble… I won’t tell.”

“You can’t.”

“But…”

“He’ll know.”

“Oh, for God’s sake, Kristian!” Carol was growing just a little tired of her boyfriend’s inflexibility. What good was Christmas if you couldn’t let your hair down? Eat too much, drink too much and go a little wild. Let the credit card take the strain and repent at leisure when the New Year was safely begun. Kristian took a sharp intake of breath, “Careful… Do you want to be naughty or nice?”

“Oh, I like this game! Naughty, every time! It’s a fair cop, guv! Put the bracelets on. I can’t promise I’ll come quietly, though.” Carol pantomimed the universal invitation to put invisible handcuffs on her wrists, a prelude to a better end to the evening than its beginning, she hoped. Hope that was instantly dashed when she saw the horrified look on Kristian’s face.

“He’ll put you on his list.”

“He can check it as many times as he bloody well likes. The day I’ve had, I’m having a drink. Join me or don’t. And I’m opening the gingerbread packet. Don’t even try stopping me.”

Kristian knew he was on a hiding to nothing. When Carol set her mind to it like this, nothing short of coshing her over the head and dragging her from the house would change how this would turn out. He considered it.

The funny thing was, Carol did get her way and decorated the tree that night. Not in a modern style, though it could be described as ‘traditional’. When both sets of parents arrived for Christmas dinner, punctual as ever, Carol’s father stubbing out his filthy cheroot in the snow outside the house on the instructions of She Who Must Be Obeyed, they could see the tree glistening through the window first of all.

When they finally gained entry, it was the splintered crate they saw next, quite empty. Their calls to Carol and Kristian went unanswered. Confused that they might have missed a phone message cancelling dinner, they wandered about the house, finally arriving in the lounge to finally witness the tree in all its glory. Not a scrap of tinsel on the tree this year. Slippery red ropes strung about the tree, and those were definitely not baubles. Ho. Ho. Ho.

 

This story is a homage to the film Rare Exports & is not intended to infringe copyright.