Keep it together (Revised edition)

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The summer of 1977, in the middle of a heat wave; the estranged children of the eccentric Van-Blacks all gather at the infamous Nova-Manor to discuss recent family developments over Fourth of July weekend. Their father is dying, & now wishes to build some bridges with his children before he shuffles off the mortal coil. Things begin to take an unusual twist with the arrival of Miss T., a Jamaican fortune teller who sweeps in under an air of mystery to perform a séance.

Secrets and truths slowly unravel, helped along by the butler Mr Perkins, who knows more about the past then perhaps he should. Ghosts, storms & mysteries in the attic all explode over the holiday weekend along with the fireworks. With a body on their hands & new truths revealed, they are all forced to question whether they can live with the knowledge that someone they love is a capable of murder. Independence comes at a price, & not everything is what it seems as they try to keep it together.

Book cover - keep it together

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The ballad of Nancy Stokes

Clouds rolled in, all over the small town.
The air alive with the smell of chip shop grease and cheap aftershave.
Saturday night, alive and loud.
But not Nancy.
At least not by the end. Down in the canal.
Left to be found by old Mrs Clarence, off to the shops on a Sunday morning.
Her small dog Terry, sniffing at the banks where poor Nancy rested.
Her head covered in an old Tesco carrier bag.
But that night before, she’d dressed up to the nines.
No Tesco tiara threatened her styled hair.
Scraped back with mouse and anticipation.
For the dancefloor awaited, and the eyes were wet.
Leary sockets soaked in her moves.
The jostles and gyrations of decade old motions learned to entice.
To ensnare.
Those oiled men, with receding hair.
Nancy left her friend, who’d found Jesus in the bottom of a vodka bottle.
And then in the stall of the toilets which stank of desperation and piss.
With sticky kebab hands soiling her jeans and soul.
Where Nancy went, nobody knows.
But they left her her clothes at least.
Soaking in the green waters of the canal.
Where Mrs Clarence found her.
Nancy Stokes. The 40 year old girl who loved to dance.
But never learned to swim.