No Cure for Shell Shock Giveaway

Yes you read right, everything must go! And by ‘everything’ I mean as many copies as possible from an endless, intangible pool of eBooks. Until the 24th of March you can download No Cure for Shell Shock for free via Amazon. As with all these promotions the small price I’ll ask you to pay is to review it (on Amazon or Goodreads) and, if you can, share it via your social media outlet of choice. I say it enough for it to be my mantra now but just for good measure – every share, every review, every recommendation and every mention helps immeasurably and is very appreciated.

Anyway, grab your copy now and hope you enjoy.



Beirut and Paris

It’s a couple of days after another mass murder in Paris. I wanted to write something about it, some prose or poetry to try and comprehend or frame the event with what I consider to be sanity, but then I realised I have nothing left to write. After Boko Haram undertook a slaughter in Nigeria I wrote something, after the attack on Charlie Hebdo I wrote something, after the Saudi bombing of Yemen and the numerous attacks in Afghanistan, I wrote something. This time though I’ve nothing new to add in abstracted attempts at communication. No new defence of humanity or appeal to our better natures. Because this feels more like a tired repeat than anything. And the same goes for the reaction to it. Continue reading “Beirut and Paris”

No Cure for Shell Shock Update

Just a quick update to say that NCfSS, my upcoming collection of short stories and poetry, is well on it’s way to completion. Currently it’s being reviewed and edited with cover art being worked on too but, for the most part, the writing bit is done. Unfortunately I still can’t give a firm release date but early November is looking increasingly likely in both eBook and paperback formats.

I’m also planning to release a separate collection of short pieces around the same time which won’t be tied together by any particular theme. That’s an as yet untitled side project but it does mean that it’s going to be a busy end to the year, so hopefully lots to look forward to. If you want to be kept in the loop then I’ve included the sign up form for my newsletter below or you can follow me on Twitter @dylanorchard.

I’ll finish up with the brief outline of NCfSS that I put up a few months ago, as well as some links to excerpts which have already been released…

It’ll be a very different piece from either Crashed America or Laikanist Times. The style is far more ‘literary’, for what that label’s worth and given the subject matter it’ll be a far heavier read too. Which, hopefully, is no bad thing. A mix between micro-fiction, short stories and poetry it’s a collection rather than a single coherent story and in case you hadn’t guessed it’s about war. Not about the conflict itself but about the human result of it, the instances and effects that the individuals involved endure.

I’m not writing from experience here, nor am I aiming to present any ‘truth’ from the subject. Instead I’m trying to present potential ways to understand those experiences which lie so far beyond the normal realm of human life as to be incomprehensible. It’s an outsider’s attempt to make sense of what is so easily judged and so seldom understood about the frayed edges of human experience. I feel that personal ignorance is worth stating more than once. With everything human the only real representation is the original, everything else is an aspiring imitation polluted for better or worse by the creator. And hopefully with NCfSS my polluting touch leads to something worth understanding, or even better, just worth thinking about.

Preview pieces:

Immaculate Fracture
Forgotten Light

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Grown Children

I’m tentative to write anything serious about war in any form but poetry more than most. There’s plenty of real War Poetry out there from people who have some actual idea of what that actually means and people like me have no more right to comment than politicians do with their sound-bites or armchair generals do when they indulge in cheap jingoism. But given the time of year I thought I’d make an attempt at ignoring my reservations and try to get something down. Although I do so fully aware of my ignorance and urge everyone to look to what’s been written by those with real understanding rather than paying attention to my, or anyone else’s, notions of something we haven’t experienced – and hopefully never will.

Johnny was a five year old
playing football in the yard
Ivan was a teenager
flirting badly, trying hard
Tariq was the nerdy kid
sitting lonely in the house
And Saeed was the sporting star
endless trophies still to count

But when the bullets hit them
shells exploding on the ground
the Generals smiled and called them men
sure to hold their ground

Flags were flown at half mast
from Boston to Baghdad
the children they had sent off
made them proud and made them sad

Politicians, they saluted
Passers-by all stopped to weep
Such brave young men they declared
may our kids all be like them

But while a child changes
and grows beyond the games
They weren’t the men we wanted
when they lost their chance to live

Because I still remember Johnny
playing football in the yard
Ivan chasing all the girls
trying far too hard
Tariq learning not to hurt
friends made in lonely times
And I still remember Saeed
always winning from the start

Because they were all still children
and at the final mark
the bullets that destroyed them
sent them nothing but the dark

I shot a man yesterday…

I rarely like poetry. Too much of it, even among the pieces held up as worthy by those supposedly in the know, is far too self indulgent. Writing might have therapeutic side effects, but it still isn’t therapy. Anyway, here’s one of the exceptions…

I shot a man yesterday
And much to my surprise,
The strangest thing happened to me
I began to cry.

He was so young, so very young
And Fear was in his eyes,
He had left his home in Germany
And came to Holland to die.

And what about his Family
were they not praying for him?
Thank God they couldn’t see their son
And the man that had murdered him.

I knelt beside him
And held his hand–
I begged his forgiveness
Did he understand?

It was the War
And he was the enemy
If I hadn’t shot him
He would have shot me.

I saw he was dying
And I called him “Brother”
But he gasped out one word
And that word was “Mother.”
I shot a man yesterday
And much to surprise
A part of me died with Him
When Death came to close
His eyes.

By James Lenihan