Anne Bonny #News from @ObliteratiPress #GuestPost by @daveocelot #DebutNovel The Baggage Carousel – Why I Travel. . . . .

TBC cover
The Baggage Carousel by David Olner

Dan Roberts has a troubled past, anger management issues and a backpack named after an abducted heiress. A chance encounter with Amber, a free-spirited Australian girl, seems to give his solitary, nomadic life a new sense of direction. But when she doesn’t respond to his emails, the only direction he’s heading is down…

Guest Post:

Why I Travel

It was Dumaguete, The Philippines. It was a Sunday morning and felt like it, hot and hardly worth bothering with. I was hanging out of my arse like a prolapse. Staring morbidly at a breakfast burrito in the outdoor seating area of a faux-Mexican cantina, poking it periodically with a fork in the hope it might deflate. Across the road, the snuffed-out neon signage of the “Why Not?” nightclub served as a dulled reminder of my most recent fall from grace. It takes a lot to get thrown out of a nightclub in the Philippines, but I had somehow managed it just a few hours earlier, for reasons I did not, or chose not to, recall.
The looped mariachi music scraping against my brain was punctuated by a beeping horn. I registered it dully at first, thinking the track was segueing into a mash-up. But when I looked up from my plate a Geordie bloke I vaguely remembered doing shots with the night before had pulled up on his scooter. He was wearing one of those striped blue and white t shirts that people always seem to wear when they ride scooters abroad. He looked entirely too healthy and well-adjusted to fit into my vista and I wanted to wave him off to one side, so I could better take a mental photograph of my latest, self-imposed hell.
“Howay, man,” he declared stereotypically. “I’m off to buy some pork. Landlady’s gonna make lechon. Wanna come?”
I looked at him, looked at the burrito and looked at the sign across the road.
“Why not?” I replied.
We got lost on the way, nearly hit some churchgoers who got to practice their genuflections early, only made it to the fabled pork district of the city when most of the carcasses had already been ravaged. Out of all the roadside stalls, the only thing left was a single pig’s head that smiled up at us beatifically, as though we had come to deliver it from the flies.
“This is the very best part of the pig for making lechon,” the stallholder insisted.
“How come it’s still here, then?” asked the Geordie.
The man shrugged and plucked a stray hair from the pig’s face, blew it from his finger and wished us away.
We paid for the head, like a lot of men do in the Philippines. Got lost again on the way back, ended up blocked in by a crowd of local blokes heading to the cockfight arena.
“Wanna go?” the Geordie, whose name I couldn’t and still can’t remember, asked.
“Why not?” I said.
We sat in the arena, pretending to savour warm, wet beers that made us dry heave, the men looking over at us and winking as they washed their cocks. Then we watched magnificent birds set against each other like gladiators in a manky coliseum, biting and scratching each other to near death to appease the bloodlust of these men. Between us, on the rough wooden bleachers, was a smiling pig’s face in a plastic bag. Throughout the slaughter I would set my hand upon it occasionally, to steady myself. As though I were a pensive Hamlet, regarding Yorick’s skull.
“How’s the head?” asked the Geordie.
“Fine,” I replied, not knowing if he was enquiring after the pig’s welfare or mine.
Whenever people ask me why I travel, this is the first thing I think of. But I don’t tell them about it. I think of something prettier. Angkor Wat at dawn, maybe, or that herd of elephants crossing the Luangwa river at sunset in Zambia. The young calf falling back, lost in the new joy of swinging its trunk in the shallow water, until an elder doubled back and hurried it along. That Sunday morning in the Philippines wasn’t the most edifying experience of my life. Looking back on it now, it was actually fairly horrendous. But it was about doing something different, something ludicrous, even. It was about inhabiting a particular moment in a particular place, a moment that couldn’t be replicated anywhere else. A moment you wouldn’t find if you stayed at home, binge-watching box-sets on Netflix and waiting for the Ocado driver to finally get out of his fucking van that’s been parked at the end of your driveway for ten minutes and is making your UPVC windows rattle to deliver the salted caramel lamb cutlets that Jan from work posted pictures of on Instagram and buying more and more things to better pad your beautiful cell. Saving all your money to upgrade that thousand-inch flat screen into a two thousand-inch curved screen and covertly praying they never invent a 360 screen. Money that could be much better spent pissed up a wall in a skanky nightclub in the Philippines, or on fly-blown pig’s heads or cockfights.
It was about saying, “Why not?”

David Olner
Obliterati Press website

#GuestPost @ObliteratiPress by @MWLeeming @NathanOHagan


Okay, so look…as far as publishing in the UK is concerned, I’m not the only one who takes a dim view of the mainstream literary equivalent to Muzak that gets spewed out by big name publishing companies, right? Hell…let’s have it right. Some of this guff isn’t even as good as Muzak. A lot of it is the literary equivalent of fingernails on a chalkboard, man. I’m surely not the only one who thinks this..? That – despite a few notable exceptions – the mainstream industry has a slavering appetite for the kind of brightly packaged, two-inch thick hardback story of whatever surgically reconfigured Z-list celebrity is currently winning people over with their bleached-white smiles, right?

I mean…I know it’s not all like this. But Jesus…! There does seem to be good grounds for arguing that the perception (at least) is this: there’s an awful lot of books by an awful lot of awful television personalities whose transient popularity on reality TV seems to mean more to the world of mainstream publishing than publishing good stories written by good writers. Because – at the risk of sounding snobby here – most of these here-today gone-tomorrow television personalities haven’t yet convinced me that they possess a particular aptitude for stringing a coherent sentence together when they open their gobs, let alone the skill required for writing a good book. Granted…most of the time we see them, they’re completely shit-faced and grunting some sort of belligerent abuse at other reality TV stars, whilst prancing about half-naked in front of ‘hidden’ cameras.

Katie Price, for instance, has a ton of books to her name having signed large publishing deals to enlighten the world of her life’s experiences in some grotesque carnival celebration of name-dropped, shit-stirring and confessional tattling that really has all the literary appeal of rubbernecking a motorway pile-up. But she didn’t write a single one of them. Hell, her nine-year-old daughter has a book deal. And this is infuriating, right? I’ve been working hard at honing my abilities as a writer for over twenty years. I’ve gone through all the usual experiences a writer goes through. Setting aside the time to write, even if it means sacrificing something else, which quite often in my case was a social life. Living with characters and plots and multiple worlds unfolding within the TARDIS-like dimension of my creative mind in a manner that often interferes with my ability to function as a regular human being with regular human being commitments. The frequent anguish that lurks deep in the writer’s brain like an ever-present demon with a flair for sadistic haranguing; taunting you that the work you’ve written is rubbish. That it’s pointless, and no-one is ever going to take you seriously as a writer. Asking you why you even bother.

I’ve spent many sleepless nights splurging stories on to my PC screen or the nearest available scrap of paper, or staring at the ceiling muddling through tricky plot elements. I’ve devoted years to crafting novels which, when completed, still don’t feel completely complete and upon which I have to make harsh, disciplined decisions and just finally draw a goddamn line beneath. I’ve spent hours and hours drafting covering letters to agents and publishers and eagerly refreshing my email inbox with an obsessive compulsion that borders on maniacal fanaticism. I’ve received countless rejections, countless “it’s very good but…” responses, which as any other writer will know, are agonising in their tantalising and soul-crushing finality.

But all this…this is how one learns to truly write. Not by having someone write your life story because you’re the next plastic-faced gobshite dominating our TV screens.

Hell…I know that this is all an exaggeration. The mainstream publishing industry does put out some damn good books, and it would be rotten of me not to acknowledge this. But the perception is there. And I don’t think I’m the only one who is feeling it.

So thank God for small presses, right. Because they’re able to take a risk on lesser known writers who seem to be faced with the impossible task of having well-crafted work noticed. And yes, that means writers have to work a bit harder once their book is out. Small presses lack the clout and the resources of the Big Boys. So they’ve got to roll up their sleeves and muck in. But it seems most authors are doing that any way. A social media presence is pretty much vital these days, so in many respects small presses aren’t asking above and beyond what has fast become a social norm anyway.

Having experienced all this for ourselves, Nathan O’Hagan and I spent a lot of time discussing the viability of bringing a new small press into the world. Starting up a new venture is scary, but after all the inevitable can-we/can’t-we back and forth, we decided yes…we can. And we would. Because as authors published through a small press, we recognised that the uphill struggle to get noticed by the Big Boys wasn’t necessarily because we can’t write. We’re pretty damn happy with our literary efforts and have received some really pleasing feedback from people. But had it not been for a small press recognising our abilities, we’d probably still be banging our heads against a brick wall seeking the attention of the Big Boys. And we both know that there are loads of other writers out there having the same experience.

The small press is able to buck the trend. We feel proud to be doing our bit to bring some attention to writers whose work may have been overlooked and stories that shine a light on under-represented issues.

The first book we’re releasing is by Richard Rippon, a very talented story-teller from Newcastle, whose novel “Lord of the Dead” is something like the hybrid offspring of the movie “Seven”, Thomas Harris’s “The Silence of the Lambs” and Peter James’s “Detective Roy Grace” novels. The lead character is an unconventional psychologist with cerebral palsy, an issue that became somewhat contentious with the Big Boys who’d first expressed some interest in his novel. Rather than change this element of his main character – who is placed alongside a strong female lead – we believed that Rippon had a unique story with unique characters and I can vouch for Nathan here when I say that we’re both thrilled to have had the opportunity to work with Richard on this.

The next book we will release is by David Olner, who writes with a keen perceptiveness and a caustic wit. His prose is full of dark, melancholy humour, playful and poetic prose and brooding introspection. “The Baggage Carousel” is essentially the story of two young travellers from opposite ends of the globe (Dan and Amber) who meet in South Africa whilst travelling the world to escape their troubled lives back home. Their brief and intense romance ends with a sudden jolt, leaving them both to make the inevitable and necessary confrontations with their own problems.

Written by @MWLeeming

For further details of what we’re doing, please check out our website at

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