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The Travels of Herbert T. Eustace - Quentin Cope

This is the story of a time and place many of us would wish to recognise, but have never experienced; a place where time and distance are often unreliably fluid. This is also the story of a relationship, a very special relationship between one man and a dog. Easily described as a cross between 'Animal Farm' and 'Wallace & Grommit' the two main characters, Herbert and Grumpy, become lost in a unique series of travel adventures; adventures that force them to confront prejudice and inequalities in a sometimes confusing world, a world where animals and humans are able to communicate at an equitable level.

Herbert T. Eustace is single and of indeterminate age. He lives in a particular historical space, perhaps even a future space, where Nations are at peace with one another and 'pollution' is a word of the distant past. Animals and not humans are now in control of planetary destiny, ruling with a quiet, conflict free even handedness. Grumpy the dog is a companion to Herbert and in command of most proceedings making up their day to day existence. So when an unusually independent decision is made to go travelling by Herbert, Grumpy makes sure he is included in his plans. Being a qualified traveller, and having a certificate and a badge to prove it, Grumpy is sure there will be no unforeseen circumstances capable of fazing such a very capable individual. Herbert, however, is no quite so sure.

The choice of direction by the two travellers to destinations north, south, east or west becomes influenced by media opinion and pre-conceived ideas about the social and physical environment they wish to explore. However, as Herbert and Grumpy investigate the world that truly surrounds them they are often surprised and sometimes confused by the actual reality. The morals and politics of life in other lands are revealingly dictated by the environment, the myth and even the magic of individuals in a time where fake news still runs rife and a traveller's lot is often a very precarious one.

With Herbert suddenly confronted by a substantial financial windfall and links to a wealthy benefactor he had previously known nothing about, he becomes involved with high level politics and a bid to become President. However, now target for a disgruntled ex-employee, Herbert survives a particularly close assassination attempt. However, this has only come about with the bold and fearless intervention of his friend Grumpy and the assistance of a donkey called Dudley. Having taken a bullet for the Presidential candidate, the dog's life hangs by a thread and the event gives cause for much reflection by Herbert.

Fortunately, Grumpy recovers over a period of time with Herbert resolutely by his side; someone not only turning his back on any ambition to become President but giving his substantial fortune away to a newly formed charitable foundation. But will the adventurous pair ever go travelling again, especially with a new and most entertaining friend named Dudley on board?

Released January 2020

                                                            Em - A day in the life of a Northern girl - Quentin Cope

'Em' will introduce you to Emily Macklam, a tenacious nineteen year old, struggling to hold together the remnants of a family despite attempts to suck the very life blood from her as she works and schemes to keep food on the table. She is forced to manage her young life around a poorly functioning but calculating alcoholic mother and a defiantly delinquent teenage brother, someone determined to plot a life path in partnership with dangerous, criminal company. This determined young lady is therefore left to fight each day for her sanity and the ability to facilitate her dream of finally moving away from a clinging dysfunctional family and creating a new life in London, a place she feels sure is filled with limitless opportunity for a determined working girl.

Emily's father has never been anything more than a memory to her. Having died when she was only four years old, from diseased lungs chocked with coal dust due to a lifetime working at the coal face, he leaves the Macklam family with nothing more than a small, inadequate miner's pension. Emily, from her early teenage years has therefore been forced to take up the role of carer to her mother, a role she knows she will end up playing for the best years of her life if she doesn't simply plan to escape!

This story is written in twenty four chapters, one for each hour of just one day in the life of Emily Macklam. Minute by minute we see her day develop from struggling to raise her sickly mother from her bed, fighting off the unwelcome advances of an amorous boss, tackling a determined shoplifter, standing her ground against overzealous, hackneyed social workers and finding a hurried, slightly desperate physical love in the embers of a fiery night out with 'the girls'.

This sometimes sad but often amusing story, with witty dialogue and carefully constructed conversations, is set in the 'here and now', opening up the life of Emily and providing an insight into her daily struggle, coping simply with living on the one hand and revealing her innate northern wisdom and wit on the other. This story is therefore an observation, a narration exposing the gritty reality of walking in the footsteps of our heroine ... and surviving, for just one particular day; one day in the life of 'Em' ... a 'Northern Girl'.

Released April 2019

The Murder of Maddi Brown - Quentin Cope

Buying a seat belt doesn't mean you have to necessarily crash the car, but someone forgot to tell a determined ex-Inspector Paul Devereaux. A presidential assassination, a complex political conspiracy and the murder of a data manipulating genius named Maddi Brown eventually combine to expose a group of powerful conspirators. Alison Zeigler is a maths prodigy who stumbles across a complex assassination plot when she works out what happened in Dallas on November 22nd, 1963, the day President Kennedy is murdered. So what is the link between a recognised mathematical genius, American citizen Alison Zeigler and Canadian fast food waitress Maddi Brown? Maddi proves to be a reported suicide victim in the small town of Penhold, central Canada and a case being investigated by Inspector Paul Devereaux, a policeman with a chequered past who has only weeks to go before retirement.

Convinced there is more to the Maddi Brown situation than suicide, Devereaux investigates further, eventually discovering a hidden computer disk at her apartment. Perhaps at this point the frustrated but determined detective should have walked away, but as the days pass, the opportunities to do so decrease with every new discovery. Teams of assassins from the shadowy group known only as Division 5 are now on the loose. They are confident about the outcome of their various murderous missions, never considering that one of their number may be captured ... alive!

This remarkable, well detailed story inspired by real events, provides action and intrigue from the very start with a carefully crafted plot presenting some surprising twists and turns. The story of Maddi Brown, her life as Alison Zeigler and her eventual murder will not fail to capture the imagination. Through the lives of some strongly presented characters, a tale is told; a fascinating tale packaged in a period of history forcing change on a world reluctant to let go of the past.

Released January 2019

                                              Anthology 2020 - The Hartlepool Writers Group

Anthology 2020 showcases an eclectic mix of writing from participating members of the Hartlepool Writers Group (HWG). From Flash Fiction to Fantasy and Poetry to Romance the author/contributors to this fascinating 2020 Anthology are proud to present a series of work where hopefully every reader will find some particularly absorbing subject matter.

The need to write; the need to explore our minds and take ourselves to a different place on occasions is within all of us. The HWG is a collection of individuals who have a need to write; a need some would perhaps describe as a passion. By getting together once a month, and guided by HWG Facilitator Denise Sparrowhawk, members of the group are able to share their ideas, exercise some basic techniques and most importantly of all seek critique of their work from other members.

As more and more processed entertainment and thought divergence advertising bombards our modern lives, it is often difficult to consider starting the writing process. The pressures of caring for a young family perhaps leave little time for embarking on laying down a measured number of words; words that would be the beginnings of that elusive novel which is supposed to rest within the soul of all of us. Being a member of a writing group, such as the HWG, provides support, encouragement and most of all the confidence to grab any spare minute you can to get your thoughts down on paper.

So, we hope you will enjoy this varied anthology, provided without the use of hard and brutal editing. The poetic words, heartfelt emotions, spirited actions and possibly amusing storylines that lay between the pages of this book are those provided by the contributors as written, and we expect this to be the first in a series of annual productions.

Released July 2019