Month: May 2015

The junk seller

Martin Blake cut through the city using back lanes and empty streets. He was rushing from his apartment on the east side of the city to his office. He crossed down a dirty alley where water ran down the center in a thin gutter. A woman sat leaning against a building watching the man as he rushed by.

“Excuse me sir, would you like to have a look at my goods and see if you would like to buy anything?”
“I haven’t got time, and it looks like you’re selling a load of rubbish.”
“Some of it is good, look at this…” the woman picked up a brown box and rattled it. It sounded like there were coins inside.

“What is it?” Martin stopped, intrigued by the box, forgetting for the moment that he was late.

“It is a box that has an endless supply of coins. Simply turn it upside down and every time you shake it, a coin will come out.”

The woman shook the coin and some silver came out, she shook it again and a gold coin fell out.

“Let me see it,” Martin demanded and snatched it from the woman. He crouched down and shook it until a small pile of silver and gold lay at his feet. He scooped the coins up and put them in his pocket. He looked at the woman. “How much?”

“I only want two hundred dollars, you’ll soon make it back.”
“Why would you want to sell it?”
The old woman was silent.

Instead of waiting for the answer, Martin turned and ran, carrying the box with him.

Martin laughed to himself as he walked into his building. It was busy and people were all rushing to work. He was not too late. He tucked the box under his arm and headed for the elevators. As he waited alongside half a dozen other people an elevator door slid open and Martin rushed in, pressing the button for the twentieth floor. Hew looked about. None of the other people waiting with him came on board. They must not have noticed. Martin laughed again and pressed the door close button. Slowly the elevator ascended and then, with a grinding of steel, it stopped moving.

“Fuck this,” Martin swore and pressed the buttons. Nothing worked to move the machine. He pressed the emergency button but it did not work.

The man sat in corner and looked at the box. “It’ll get going soon,” he said to himself. He gave the box a shake. A dozen coins fell out, each one beautifully designed and each of pure gold. Martin yelled out in joy and shook the box again. This time hundreds of coins came pouring our, sliding into piles all around him. The coins spread all over the floor and glinted beautifully in the electric light. Martin tipped the box up right but the coins kept coming, spurting out of the box like water from a fountain. The coins became deep, pushing up the walls of the elevator. Martin stood up, the coins covering his feet. He grabbed the box and tried to stop the hole on top with his fingers but nothing would stop them pouring forth. A fortune was building up on all sides of him. The elevator groaned, the coins continued, then with a terrific snap, the cables broke and the roof of the elevator tore away, and Martin fell down the shaft and was dashed on the ground below.

When the rescue services found him, he was alone in the elevator, crushed under machine and building debris. What had caused the elevator to malfunction was never discovered.

Through the field behind the house

Simon Gatterly bought a large house on the corner of Plimpton Road and Lake Street. It was a new home on the edge of town. Behind it was a wide field that ran to a forest.

One day while sitting on his back deck watching the sun come down, an old man came out of the forest and made his way through the long yellow grass. The man came up to the back fence, climbed over it and walked up to Simon. Simon sat quietly as the old man approached.

“Hello,” Simon said.

“Hello,” replied the old man and kept walking up the back steps and into the house.

Simon stood up and went after him. “He must be lost,” he said to himself as he followed the old man into the house.

Simon looked about for him but he had disappeared. He looked in his bedroom to see if the old man was hiding in there. Simon found him. The old man was lying in bed falling asleep. The covers pulled over him. Simon was shocked. The old man who was covered in mud and filth, was falling asleep in the bed.

“What are you doing?” Simon yelled and pulled the covers back. The old man was still fully dressed and wearing his boots.

“Go away, I am sleeping,” the old man cried and tried to pull the covers up.

“No, come out of the bed!” Simon grabbed the old man by the arm and pulled at him, trying to force him out.

“Please let me sleep, let me sleep.”
“Come out old man, I’ll call someone to come and get you, come out of the bed.”
Simon forced the old man out and dragged him into the living room and put him on a chair. The old man was almost black with dirt. His hands were clodded with filth, his nails were black.

“I’ll call your family, what is their number?”
The old man gave the number and Simon called it.

“Hello?” Simon spoke into the phone. “What’s your name?” he whispered to the old man.

“Arthur Pirdty.”
“Hello? Yes. I have had an old man wander into my house and his name is Arthur Pirdty. He gave me this number, do you know him?”
Simon listened to the answer and his mouth dropped open. “Dead? Buried a month ago?” Simon turned to look at the old man sitting next to him and screamed. He dropped the phone at his feet.

In the chair sat a corpse, the skin coming away from the bone, the mouth open in a silent scream.


Pick up a copy of my debut novel The Bomber, it will be released on June 24th. Check it out at  in the USA

or in Australia

Michael D’artilo*

Nymphs and Satyr  *oil on canvas  *260 x 180 cm  *signed b.l.: W-BOVGEREAV-1873

Nymphs and Satyr
*oil on canvas
*260 x 180 cm
*signed b.l.: W-BOVGEREAV-1873

The other day I was lucky enough to speak to Michael D’artilo at a local writers festival. D’artilo is the author of many books including; ‘Burying three dogs does not equal a man’ and ‘The monkey in my raincoat’. He was very busy but I managed to ask him a couple of questions.

1. How did you begin your career as an author?

I was a small child, alone at the time, sitting in a brightly lit room, the sun fell through the window in heavy slabs of yellow. A Satyr entered the room and stood by me. In his hands he held a pen. Today, if people see a Satyr they instantly think of the devil or demons but they are ignorant to the world of the gods.

The Satyr, using both hands, placed the pen in front of me. He smiled and leaned toward me, still I was not afraid. He said: “Pick up the pen and choose which hand you will write with, but listen, if you pick the pen up with the right hand you will be blest with perfect and beautiful handwriting, you will meet a woman when you are still young, fall in love, have children and live a happy contented life. If you pick it up with the left I will make you an artist and you will earn the insatiable desire to write and you will write fiction well. But you will be lonely and no one will be able to enter your world, set apart as it will be. Choose now”

I looked from the Satyr’s face to the pen and without thought or control, my left hand shot out and grasped it. The god before me laughed and winked in glee, making a terrible hooting noise and then rushed to the door and left. From that day I have been creating stories and all he said was true.

2. What did the Satyr look like?
What a foolish childlike question. What does a dream look like? I have had many people to whom I have told that story ask me what it looked like and I laughed at everyone of them. His appearance changed every time I looked at him. But I can tell you what you want to hear, and that is he was tall, covered in hair with curly horns, longs fingers covered in hard lumps with long sharp claws on the ends. His eyes sparked and his mouth leaped, his tongue curled like the snapping of a snakes back. If you have never seen one then you have not looked. I will answer no more of your questions.

Thank you to Michael D’artilo.

If you get a chance please have a look at other writings on and follow the links regarding my new novel



*This is a work of fiction.

Night story

I live in a small apartment that looks out over the back lane and tall brick walls. At night the streets lights glow a pale yellow and I can secretly watch the strange people who walk up and down the lane. I have no need to turn my television on, my next door neighbor, a fat lonely woman who hates company but can be very kind, has her television on all he time, turned up loud. Our walls are very thin so I hear what is happening in there. I hear the news, the movies, the dramas, I hear her rise from her chair and cross to her bathroom, I hear her urinate.

Some nights are busy, some are quiet. Homeless people sleep in the rubbish and doorways below my window. I am glad to be on the high floor so they cannot come too near, but I can still see them. Sometimes, when the moon is pale in the city sky and no one moves about, cats dance on the road below, they sing and leap about. I drop food to them and they look up in thanks.

At night it is just me, my neighbor’s noise, and God. We are all in the tiny room together. I leave the lights off and sit still and breath, witnessing the city wail like a lover, watching the brick walls and on the right morning, I wait for the garbage truck that comes grumbling and screaming at six am to empty the bins and remove the trash. I wonder what the homeless people do on that day? They must know thursday morning belongs to the garbage man.

Some mornings after having sat with the darkness all night I will go to bed and sleep a few hours, but usually I like to walk down to the park, cross the bridge over the lake and visit the gardens they have built along the eastern edge. The gardens represent different places in the world. For England they have grown a Shakespearian garden and that is my favorite.



Why own things?

Why own things?

Why collect?

When you are gone they are left

to be torn apart by hungry hands

that in turn will cease

and these things will be left again

to be torn apart by hungry hands.

Books decay

their pages mold

the ideas fade

new books are printed

and sit along shelves

too heavy to take to your new city

too heavy to be carried to the grave.

Let go

sit in the garden

spend idle hours in the sun.


Check out my debut novel The Bomber by clicking the link just to your right.


New Author Spotlight: Mike Hansen

The Published Pen

Mike Hansen| Marketing Executive and Author | Pen Name Publishing and French Press Bookworks

Mike Hansen first joined our family as our new Marketing Executive. He’s been workign hard with our authors on both Pen Name Publishing and French Press Bookworks. Having Mike on board has been a fantastic experience and we are so thankful for how close he is with our authors!

Mike also has a degree in Creative Writing and sent us a great piece we couldn’t pass up, When Life Hands You Lemons.

Here’s how Mike describes himself:

I was born on December 26th of 1980. I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago in an ordinary house, on an ordinary street, in an ordinary sub-division of an ordinary town.  I started writing early, maybe as therapy, maybe not. I always thought I would be a good artist. It turned out that I couldn’t draw.

I graduated from Purdue University in 2003 with a degree in Creative Writing and Film Studies. Let’s throw a…

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Author short story: Anxiety

My short story, Anxiety

The Published Pen


It’s We’re Writing Wednesday – Short Story Edition!

This merry month of May, the prompt is anxiety. It always seems like May gets people in a rush with the oncoming summer break, travel plans, and the oncoming heat.

Today, we are sharing a little treat from Australian author David O’Sullivan. David’s debut novel, The Bomber, releases on 6-24 and is currently up for presale where ever you prefer to buy your books! You can also watch David read the first chapter of his book on Youtube by following the link


Rick came home three weeks ago from the hospital. He did not look different but people were saying he was different. I saw him the first time standing outside what used to be the bowling alley but while he was away they had gutted the building and reopened it as the town’s unemployment office.

“Hey Rick,”…

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Why reading THE BOMBER is so important

In these early decades of the twenty-first century, literature has been highly entertaining but stagnant. Barriers are not being pushed, some critics feel literature has no where to go.

The twentieth century delivered amazing leaps forward, with society being questioned on all contentious issues, such as race, sexuality, warfare, belonging and mental health. In all these, fiction was at the forefront of one of the most memorable and violent centuries. The nineteenth century was the mother of twentieth in many ways, including the way we read and write fiction.

THE BOMBER is the grandchild of two hundred years of modern literature, but it is deeply rooted in this modern time. It is the story of a man, recently returned from an impotent, profitless war and he finds the society to which he has returned unaccepting, violent and apathetic. This main character named Joseph finds his best friend and fellow veteran Jessica unwell and in a loveless marriage to a cruel man. Meanwhile her brother is consumed in thuggish street behavior, he is a thief and homeless.

When Jessica is murdered by her husband in a brutal fashion, Joseph, uncertain on how to react decides to descend along the worse course possible, he decides to plant a bomb and destroy the killer.

When this bomb explodes, Joseph achieves his revenge but also kills many innocent people and he has to live with these results which almost drive him insane. He meets a young woman and with her help, they both steer away from the deadly brink of destruction.

I wrote this novel because it is a story from real life. Of people being isolated by society and turning to violence. It is no one person who is at fault, it is not one government. This society of violence is a combination of factors, human apathy toward the poor and vulnerable, deep inbuilt hatred of the strange, a vast human history of aggressive behavior, all these things are occurring on our streets at this moment and the most canny of police forces cannot stop these dangerous behaviors, where the gun and knife are to the poor what wealth and greed are to the rich. I needed to create this story because there is nothing else like it available. I was sick of reading fictional stories set fifty or more years ago, I was tired of paper thin ideas that had no impact on me.

When I began seeking a publisher for this novel, I wanted a publisher who was not afraid to take risks, who was not averse to new ideas and did not want the same formula that was successful last season. I wanted a publisher who like me, wants to write literature that deserves to be created, that will enter people’s minds and challenge them or comfort them depending where they stand. I chose to submit my manuscript to Pen Name Publishing because they gave me a sense they were looking for new writers with new things to say.
Pen Name Publishing received my manuscript and soon saw the potential in the work. They made me an offer of publication which I accepted and now, on June 24th 2015, the end result will be available. My editor is extremely helpful, she facilitates my writing process, offers me complete support and encourages my creativity.
This is a novel of this generation, it steps beyond what has preceded it and adds to the vast collection of English literature.
I hope you will read my debut novel.