Life Sentences #shortstories #anthology

I’m preparing another anthology of short fiction based on pieces I’ve written for this blog, competitions and guest posts. It’s time to decide on the cover. With the three previous anthologies, some part of my head appears on the cover. This is an example, from the 2017 collection Life In A Coversation

This time these are the possibilities for Life Sentences and I’d welcome your thoughts

Cover One

Cover Two

Cover Three

Cover four

And while you mull your answers, here’s one small piece from the collection to whet your appetites

The Immorality Of Rocks

Plinth the Undulating watched them approach. A girl, pebble-young in white, eyes lowered, nervy; a woman, nicely strata’ed, also in white, talking softly. Sodding devotees, that’s what they are, he thought. A novitiate and her minder. She’ll want to light the bloody candle, too and that wax would play havoc with his fissures, sticking the planes together when they should be easing – gloriously, inevitably – apart as the rain permeated his corporeal magnificence. That said, he mused, but for all the wax that had dripped down his flanks over the centuries, he’d be gravel by now, washed to the river and out to sea. Yuk. The idea of being completely granulated jarred like an earth tremor. Boulder had wanted that, hadn’t he? He’d been convinced he’d be at peace, in the swish-swosh-swirly currents. Bloody fool of a rock.

He’d had millennia to ask why. Why had they chosen him? Why had those stupid, simple minded druids decided he was divine? He was just an ordinary stone; not once of them Sarsen poseurs, but big enough to stand feature on their maps. The others, granite and grit alike, said it was his uncommon smoothness, the sheen of his flanks much admired amongst the Alluvial Set. At one point those lumps had tried to grind each other, the vanity of abrasive emulation blinding them to the reality that all they achieved was an accelerated erosion. Boulder had said they were flakes. Wise conglomerate that Boulder.

He’d not been immune, of course. He’d lost a couple of meters to floods and shakes before that little ape first appeared. Of all the warm-bloods, the bipeds, with their knowing eyes and chants and, especially those pointy tools, were the worst. It had been just another day, warmish with a chance of occasional storms later when that nosey little vandal appeared. Plinth saw in his eyes he was captivated by his curves. Then those strokes – they were nice – and how he’d titled his head better to see the way the sun reflected back off the sheen of the piece of polished quartz that had just been exposed by another flaking. It was then Plinth knew things wouldn’t be the same. The grubby little mammal had fallen to his knees.

Plinth watched in disbelief as this oaf, this ‘artist’ brought others to look, to stroke, to sigh and to chant. Then they started chipping. Chipping! The indignity. The discomfort. After their first efforts the other rocks started calling him ‘Uneven’ rather than ‘Undulating’ because of their ham-fisted carvings. They planted a tree which was all he needed, sheltering him from the rain and absorbing the water table before it could crumble him from below. And then they’d gone.

But relief was short lived. Every two centuries or so another group would find him, swoon, stroke his sides, see the old chip-scars and start their own chipping and chanting. Swirls and crosses, spikes and shelves; he had had them all. The candles came, what, five hundred years ago and hadn’t stopped.

The flame flashed and Plinth screamed; sadly he screamed at a pitch that the bipeds didn’t register but it caused the nearby limestone outcrop to wet itself again and another cliff fall ensued. How bloody long was he going to stay like this?

The girl scorched his surface with her clumsy match. It wasn’t her fault – she looked terrified. One day she’d be that woman with another clumsy little pyromaniac. He looked up at the sky, at the gathering clouds and felt the steamy heat. He’d have his revenge.

The pair finished their ceremony and kissed him, like it made things better. He watched them go. One day, one day soon enough they will be a reckoning, he thought. Go on, melt the ice caps, morons. That’s what always happened before the next ice age. Then we’ll see who’s best equipped to handle all-terrain glaciation. Oh yes. You’ll need a bigger candle then, he thought.

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published several books: a four book series following Harry Spittle as he grows from hapless student to hapless partner in a London law firm; four others in different genres; a book of poetry; four anthologies of short fiction; and a memoir of my mother. I have several more in the pipeline. I have been blogging regularly since 2014, on topic as diverse as: poetry based on famous poems; memories from my life; my garden; my dog; a whole variety of short fiction; my attempts at baking and food; travel and the consequent disasters; theatre, film and book reviews; and the occasional thought piece. Mostly it is whatever takes my fancy. I avoid politics, mostly, and religion, always. I don't mean to upset anyone but if I do, well, sorry and I suggest you go elsewhere. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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54 Responses to Life Sentences #shortstories #anthology

  1. I like Cover 1 best……. and your story

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ritu says:

    I like the first or the last!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Chel Owens says:

    #2. I’ll be odd man out, especially since you didn’t listen last time and still went with the bubbles escaping your head…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Suzanne says:

    Cover 4, less distracting and clear. You are on a roll and a wonderful idea to collect all the good blog bits, there are some gems in there.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. In my humble opinion i would prefer the first cover design. A great piece you shared. xx Michael

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I like cover two because of the clever way the words ‘life sentences’ appear as a woven fabric in the background. Of course, I was not too fond of that balloon stuff coming out of your mouth the last time, so my choice is probably doomed. My second choice would be cover 1

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I like Cover One the best

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Darlene says:

    I like cover 1 as I like the black bars the best. A clever idea.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. petespringerauthor says:

    Cover one or two are my favorites. My first inclination was #2, as I like the shade of blue. If you are trying to draw attention to the bars as your title suggests, go with #1.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. On balance, I’d go with number 4, though I think I’m in a minority on that one. As for the story, I’d have loved to hear what Sue Vincent had to say about it…

    Liked by 1 person

  11. The concept is excellent. I go for 4

    Liked by 1 person

  12. willowdot21 says:

    I like cover three and four 💜

    Liked by 1 person

  13. KL Caley says:

    I like #4 👍.KL ♥

    Liked by 1 person

  14. JT Twissel says:

    I like number one the best. Plinth is quite the character!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. trifflepudling says:

    2 !

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Number one, because the bars are all straight-lined. I don’t like the ‘rip’ effect of the bars on the other covers. But I’d move your name up, so it’s opposite the name of the book, change the colour of the font to black and have it as part of the righthand bar (like ‘Life Sentences’ does).

    Liked by 1 person

  17. TanGental says:

    Exactly so. Having your thought process helps clarify mine


  18. I like the first proposed cover best, Geoff.

    Liked by 1 person

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