April Newsletter 2020

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April Newsletter 2020


The Story Mint is a vibrant and
inspirational community of writers who celebrate one another's successes. 


Welcome to the April newsletter. 
Lock-down restrictions are starting to relax and with this comes a sense the world is waking from a long and troubled sleep. Welcome back everyone. 
We hope you are all safe and well.
The time in lock-down has given some of us time to explore our creativity. As a result, inspired chapters have poured in.
A new serial has started running with a preface by Jasmine Groves (Australia), Broken Heels and Broken Hearts. Will a day's shopping really mend Lucy's broken heart?
Sameer Nagarajan’s (Dubai)  chapter 9 for Waterfalls sends Detective Inspector, Karen Simonivic to Huka Falls to check out an old haunt of Annie Banks’. Who is Anni Banks and what does she have to do with the hit and run murder of a young boy? 
Prof. Long is trying to work out why the climate exchanger doesn't work in Hemali Ajmera’s (India) amazing chapter 5 for Ripped from the Headlines where the race to Mars is on and causing some shady deals to go down.  
In Jasmine Groves’ (Australia) chapter 5 for The Spirit of Pythagoras Nick frets over where Michelle has disappeared to. Who is the ghostly figure she and no-one else can see. Ken Burns’ (NZ) author only serial 50:30 touches on life, with Stephen issuing Amanda an invitation to his birthday party.
The starter by Suraya Dewing (NZ), No Good-bye is booking up. Why did Becky’s father turn of her mother’s life support?
There is much more to read.

Being in lock-down has also brought out a decided sense of unease about the world. Below is a poem by Anna Zhigareva (Scotland) which captures that feeling.

A Picnic
It was I thought
A day of new beginnings
He came with us
His angel didn’t
‘Twas more his demon
Who sat 
And scowled
Into the brilliant sun
She prodded him
A joke, a joke it was
A little laugh
He swore and cried
And manifested all his will
To scorn
And mow her down
With garbage words
Not fit for lines
Or family life
My mother

Gentle soul and fun
Revoked her promise
So he beat her down
Right then and there
Amidst the gory rays
Of setting sun
I sat in silence
Then I whimpered
But no one heard
She disappeared
Her gentle smell
Decay replaced
When he was done
I started howling
Until he left
There I sat
And waited for her
My whimpers silent in her ears

We wish everyone safety and peace.

Happy writing, and all the very best to you and your families and friends in these uncertain times.
Suraya and The Story Mint team.

You need to know when an idea becomes viable and ready to pitch...[that is] ready to write. 
Larry Brooks
Great stories don't write themselves


Broken Heels and Broken Hearts (new)
Starter by Jasmine Groves (Australia)
Ripped from the Headlines
Chapter 5 by Hemali Ajmera (India)
The Spirit of Pythagoras
Chapter 5 by Jasmine Groves
Chapter 9 by Sameer Nagarajan (Dubai)
50:30 (single author)
Chapter 3 by Ken Burns
No Goodbye
by Suraya Dewing (booking)


Who to send your starters and chapters to:
If you have a starter send it to: suraya@thestorymint.com
If you've written a chapter send it to donnamct@gmail.com
Book Reviews

When reading books is part of your Job.
A few of us are lucky enough to have reading books as part of our jobs. So, sitting down with a book is just an excuse to do some work – how lucky is that?

Mary-Liz Corbett
Matakana Village Books, New Zealand

by Colum McCann 

The definition of Apeirogon is “a shape with a countably infinite number of sides”. An apt title for a book that is a complex mix of fact and fiction.
Apeirgono is inspired by the real life events of two men, Rami Elhanan, an Israeli and Bassam Aramin, a Palestinian who are joined together by grief. Both men are the fathers of teenage daughters killed by a suicide bomber and a soldier. They now travel the world speaking about grief and healing. “I don’t have time for hate any more,” says  Aramin. “We need to learn how to use our pain."
Interspersed among Rami and Bassam’s stories is collection of related fragments. This is in no way a “normal “linear novel but is a compelling read.

Redhead by the side of the road
by Anne Tyler

From the beloved Anne Tyler, a great novel about the power of human connection. Micah is  forty something, a creature of habit - Monday was floor mopping day,  cautious  - when driving he liked to believe in an all-seeing surveillance system he called Traffic God who comments on his driving, he has a woman friend (he refuses to call anyone in her late thirties a "girlfriend") but a series of events are starting to cause him problems. If you loved Elinor Oliphant's, Completely Fine then you will love Micah who at times finds those around him a little bit out of reach.
The Motion of the body through space
by Lionel Shriver.

I have to admit that I don’t love all of Lionel Shriver’s books.  Nothing seems to match We need to talk about Kevin but she does tackle difficult topics and in this one she takes on the new religion, extreme sport.
Serenata appears a totally self sufficient woman – she does voice over as her profession and is very successful, she has always been a solitary exerciser, running, swimming, cycling.  However, she now needs a knee replacement.
Remington is her husband who has recently been made redundant and has never exercised in his life. With time on his hands he decides to run a triathlon   Serenata is less than enthusiastic. In fact, she is downright anti the whole thing. Enter Bambi Buffer the triathlon trainer. Their children are Deacon (son) who probably deals in drugs and Valeria their daughter who has moved into a born-again Christian group.
This book is just like watching a slow-motion car crash. Lionel Shriver does dysfunctional families better than anyone else and it was a nonstop read.
The Disappearance of Stephanie Mailer
by Joel Dickec

Not available until May.
This is a translation from French. Huge book,600+ pages and a good page turner. Joel Dicker writes mysteries, his previous ones that have been translated are The Truth about the Harry Querbert Affair and The Baltimore Boys. Both have had great reviews and been big sellers.
This is also a mystery. A quadruple murder in small town NY is solved back in 1994. But in 2014 a journalist - Stephanie Mailer – who is looking into the case and thinks the wrong person was convicted – goes missing. The original detectives take up the case again to find out what they missed. Many twists and turns keep you reading and guessing to the end.

the everrumble 
by Michelle Elvy 
This is a magical story created by a magical mind. No-one other than author Michelle Elvy could have created the everrumble. It is unique.
    In order to simply enjoy how the author casts words and creates worlds a reader must suspend all expectations of a linear story. This is a book of prose that follows no traditional structure but rather creates its own.
    A child closes the world out by hiding under a woven blanket and she stops speaking. We suspect a terrible trauma causes this, but it is not spelt out, not dwelt on. Instead we enter her world and see, hear, smell it through her heightened senses.
    We get a sense of the trauma, but it is not dwelt on. Instead the reader is taken into a wonderland of the imagination.
    The reader is never certain whether Zettie chooses to never speak or something physiological has taken her voice. But the fact that she never makes a sound and only speaks using words on a page encourages the reader to engage all the other senses with her. We hear sounds and they come to us from far away. Our minds circumnavigate the globe with Zettie. We hear ocean sounds, voices from the earth and the songs of creatures bursting through the baobab. (103)
    The book is written as a diary with dates for each story. However, like everything about this book the layout contradicts the true definition of a diary. The pages are not in date order but appear to be randomly uplifted from a previous record. This creates a sense of each piece being especially gift wrapped for the reader. 
    Every piece of prose is no more than three pages in a slim volume giving the reader time to savour the word crafting and the ambience of the book. 
Purity for example is just a bit over a page long. 
    This is an extract:  Have you ever heard the sleep of a child? It is the colour of soft melon, the smell of freshly mown grass. (85)
    This made me think of a sleeping child in a completely new way. Surely, the role of the true artist is to do just what Michelle Elvy has done – open the reader’s mind to seeing the world in a new way.
    Along with the pieces of prose there are intricate pen and ink drawings by Eyayu Genet from Ethiopia. They add a mystical mood to this delightful book.

Review by Suraya Dewing

Title: the everrumble
Author: Michelle Elvy
Publisher: Ad Hoc Fiction
ISBN: 9781912095735
RRP: $27.99
Available: Paper: https://www.nationwidebooks.co.nz/product/the-everrumble-9781912095735; ebook for kindle via Amazon

Membership News
A writing competition members might be interested in entering.

The Cambridge Prize for Short Stories, 2020

  • Submission Period: 15th April 2020 – 15th June 2020
  • Word Length: 2,500
  • Entry Fee: Early Bird (until midnight on 14th May) £8; £9 thereafter. There will be a limited number of free entries for those in economic hardship – full details tbc.
  • Prizes: £1000 (1st)  £300 (2nd)  £200 (3rd) and all remaining shortlisted will be awarded £50.
  • Other Details: All writers will be published online across 2020.
  • Judges: Katy Darby



Membership Benefits
As a member you get these great membership benefits.
We edit manuscripts for members and prepare them for publication. We also publish and promote their books on social media.

Unlimited use of Stylefit™, a writing edge you will get nowhere else.
  • Belong to an international writing community
  • Your writing promoted to over 25,000 online readers when you write a serial chapter
  • Have one of more of your chapters published in our Anthology, Everyone Has a Story
  • Special member rates for editing, assessment and personalised feedback on individual pieces of writing
  • Promotion to agents/publishers

To join, go to membership
Happy writing!

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