My Flash Fiction ‘Sober Sixty’

Libby Sommer and 'Grieve" anthology

Have a read of my flash fiction ‘Sober Sixty’ first published in the Grieve Anthology, August 2020, Stories and Poems of Grief and Loss.

Sober Sixty

Samantha’s single women friends were envious, although she assured them Johnny wasn’t perfect. Mood swings, challenging stuff like that.

Nobody messed with Johnny. Nobody knew better than he did, he was always watching YouTube and learning new facts and figures. Also, he rode a motorbike and practiced shooting at weekends. There were Facebook groups for bike riders and a rifle range nearby. Johnny was proud of being a rev-head and a good shot with his gun, and not many people could disagree that he had unusual interests for a man his age.

Sober since forty and counting, he said about his sobriety. They didn’t talk about his twenties and thirties.

There’s a photograph of the two of them from Christmas day. Johnny had tried to lower himself to Samantha’s height for the photo so they’d be on the same level. Stand up tall, she’d said. Stand to your full height. That’s right, he’d said. You like things big.

What does ATP in ATP Cup stand for? was the type of thing Johnny would call out while she poured him a glass of water before setting out on a stroll around the block.

Samantha thought she knew the answer, but didn’t want to risk being wrong. She’d learnt to tiptoe around his wildness and dreaded the fighting when she wasn’t attentive enough to his needs. Dry drunk, AA called it. The unpredictable rages were doing her head in. She knew she needed the courage to walk away.

Now she’s getting by a day at a time.

Her friends say she’s one of the lucky ones. She’s dodged a bullet.

Copyright Libby Sommer 2020

Grieve 2020 Anthology available from Hunter Writer’s Centre website or Booktopia https://hunterwriterscentre.org/bookshop/

Dyslexia

October is Dyslexia Awareness Month worldwide.

Albert Einstein, Walt Disney and Leonardo da Vinci are some of the many famous people diagnosed with dyslexia. Others include Jamie Oliver, Richard Branson, Whoopi Goldberg and Steven Spielberg.

Dyslexia is described as a persistent challenge with acquiring and using written language and is often found to be hereditary. Children struggle to read, don’t want to go to school, feel stupid. Many end up in jail. Apparently, it is fixable, with the right teachers.

My debut novel, ‘My Year With Sammy‘ tells the story of one child’s struggle with severe dyslexia and the effects of her battle on the world around her. The book was Pick of the Week, Sydney Morning Herald and winner of the Society of Women Writers Fiction Book Award 2016.

Story Mosaic

Famous in India! That’s me holding my book, ‘The Crystal Ballroom’. My stories ‘Aravind’ and ‘Aravind Again’, included in Agathokakological Aussie Summer story mosaic, are self-contained chapters from ‘The Crystal Ballroom’. A great review of the story mosaic is in Indian national newspaper, News Mania. Well done to editors Sharon Rundle and Indranil Bengal Halder

Agathokakological Aussie Summer is an Australia – India collaborative online story mosaic. All free! Enjoy the stories at:

www.sharonrundle.com.au/aussiesummer/start or

https://aussiesummer.com.au

Just press a star to begin.

A box of books has arrived

Big news! My new book, LOST IN COPPER PARK has just been released by independent award-winning Ginninderra Press. Just in time for Christmas. Huge thank you to my wonderful publisher Stephen Matthews. The book is available direct from www.ginninderrapress.com.au or print and ebook editions from Amazon, Book Depository and other online booksellers, $27.50 or ask your bookstore to order it in ISBN 978 1 76109 042 4.

Cover image by Russian contemporary artist, Zoya Kriminskaya.

Bring on the celebrations.

Back Cover Blurb: ‘Lost in Cooper Park’

I’ve been slaving away trying to write a good blurb for my soon to be released by Ginninderra Press new book, ‘Lost in Cooper Park’.

Writing a blurb is hard hard work. There are no shortcuts or easy answers. Anyway, after a chat with a close writing friend, this is what I’ve put together for the back cover.

The story begins when, after a fierce storm, Gypsy, a golden Labrador, goes missing in Sydney’s Cooper Park.

A bittersweet comedic account of mistakes, misconceptions and reconciliations in the lives of a disparate group of urban men and women.

There’s Crystal, who wants stability with her eight-year-old daughter and new partner.  

Crystal’s ex, searching for the meaning of existence.

Doctor Sarah wanting a new beginning in France.

Rosemary and Philip who want their daughter to walk again.

Crystal’s high school sweetheart who wants another chance.

And the Homeless Girl hiding in Cooper parklands.

And then there’s the cruelty, unpredictability and beauty of life.

Back cover blurb: ‘Lost in Cooper Park’ by Libby Sommer

Tell me what you think? Would you be interested in reading this book?

Perinatal Mental Health Week 2020

Do you know that it is Perinatal Mental Health Week 2020? A time to raise awareness and collaborate to ensure that parents in need know they are not alone.

1 in 5 mums and 1 in 10 dads experience perinatal depression and anxiety, which is 100,000 Australians each year.

pmhweek.org.au

Australian writers tell the truth about perinatal anxiety and depression in poetry, fiction & essay in the new anthology, Not keeping mum, edited by Maya Linden, published last month. I was honored to have my short story, The New Baby (first published in Quadrant magazine) included in this important anthology.

Heartfelt, at times confronting and occasionally funny, this collection gives insight into how women navigate the profound changes that occur in their bodies, relationships and lives when they become a parent, and how they find the light at the end of the tunnel.”

Anne Buis

All profits from the sale of this book go to PANDA (Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Australia).

The 2020 Grieve Anthology

Libby Sommer and 'Grieve" anthology
I received my contributor’s copy of the 2020 Grieve anthology from the Hunter Writer’s Centre today. Stories and Poems of Grief and Loss. My short story ‘Sober Sixty’ is part of the collection.
The back cover reads,
‘2020 is the 8th year of the Grieve Project. Since 2013, Australians have submitted poems and stories about their experience with parental grief, sibling grief, loss of a home and numerous other forms of grief and loss.
‘2020 was a year of collective grief for Australia and the world. Yet the telling of grief here is much the same as in previous years. While tales of devastating bushfires and the crippling consequences of the coronavirus do feature in this anthology, its core remains unchanged: grief is universal arising from a multitude of experiences and we express it in myriad ways.
‘Writing about grief is a most notable expression. This anthology exposes that nobility and humility. It also gives us, the readers, hope.’
I feel honored to be part of this book.
Available from Hunters Writer’s Centre website or Booktopia