Indie Author Spotlight – “Scrawling” by Jonathan Gould

Indie Author Spotlight – “Scrawling” by Jonathan Gould

 

 

 

 

I’m thrilled to introduce another fantastic indie author – meet Jonathan Gould!

jgould

 

Jonathan Gould has lived in Melbourne, Australia all his life, except when he hasn’t. He has written comedy sketches for both the theatre and radio, as well as several published children’s books for the educational market.

He likes to refer to his stories as dag-lit because they don’t easily fit into recognisable genres (dag is Australian slang for a person who is unfashionable and doesn’t follow the crowd – but in an amusing and fun way). You might think of them as comic fantasies, or modern fairytales for the young and the young-at-heart.

Over the years, his writing has been compared to Douglas Adams, Monty Python, A.A. Milne, Lewis Carroll, the Goons, Dr Seuss, Terry Pratchett, and even Enid Blyton (in a good way).

You can follow him at his blog, Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.

And his book is “Scrawling”

Scrawling-Cover Kindle

 

Neville Lansdowne drowned in a sea of words.

Of course, he didn’t really drown. You can’t actually drown in a sea of words. But you can sink a long way down into its depths, and that’s exactly what happened to Neville.

Deep down in an undersea world constructed entirely out of words, Neville meets some peculiar new companion and soon finds himself in the middle of another strange and wholly unexpected adventure.

You can buy it, right now, on Amazon!

And here’s an excerpt…

After sitting for several minutes, thoroughly bewitched by the changing patterns of the words, Neville made another discovery.

He wasn’t alone.

Amidst the stream of words, he began to notice more substantial shapes emerging. Initially, he assumed these were merely slightly more substantial words. But on closer inspection, he detected the blinking of an eye, the swishing of a dorsal fin, the shimmering light reflected from scales. This sea was full of fish.

Of course, as this was not a normal sea, these were not normal fish. It was a sea of words, so these fish were fish of words. As Neville looked closely, he could see how the interlocking letters had combined to create the various piscine shapes. Here, a D had been contorted to form a set of gills. There, a B had been extended into a long fluttering tail. Neville was reminded of the alphabet soup he quite liked to eat, only this was more like an alphabet aquarium.

By this time, Neville’s eyes were adjusting to the dim half-light, allowing him to discern the movements of the fish more clearly. As they glided around him, sometimes singly and sometimes in groups, the words arranged and rearranged themselves in all sorts of ways, creating instantaneous sentences that seemed to say everything and nothing at the same time. The general effect was a bit like looking through an ever-turning lexical kaleidoscope.

As Neville grew more aware of the fish, so they were starting to notice a visitor in their domain. Several swam right up to him, carefully inspecting him from top to toe. Others spun around in wordy whirlpools, causing Neville to become quite dizzy. Finally, one of them—a large fish that seemed to be composed of every letter in the alphabet—broke away from the rest and hovered directly in front of him.

“Don’t slouch,” said the fish.

“I beg your pardon?” said Neville.

“Don’t slouch,” the fish repeated. “Stand up straight. Shoulders back.” For a moment, the actual words seemed to take form in front of Neville’s face. Then they were washed away, disappearing into the general flurry of words.

“You can talk?” said Neville. To his amazement, he could see the words floating out of his mouth as well. Then, they too were gone. Several resolved themselves into tiny anchovy-like fish, while the rest quickly dispersed.

“Of course I can talk,” said the fish. “What did you expect?”

“I don’t know,” said Neville. “I’ve never seen a talking fish before. But then again, I’ve never seen a fish made out of words either. I’m more used to fish made out of…I don’t know…fishy stuff.”

“Well, obviously that’s the reason,” said the fish, in a voice Neville thought sounded rather pompous and bossy.

“I’m not sure I catch your drift,” he said.

A couple of the other fish giggled, sending lettery laughs swirling around Neville’s head.

“That’s quite enough of that,” scolded the talking fish. “We’ll have no bad undersea puns here.”

“I’m sorry,” said Neville. He hadn’t even been aware he had made a pun, let alone a bad one, although on reflection, he could see the problem. “I guess I don’t quite understand why it should be obvious, that’s all.”

“Of course it’s obvious,” said the fish. “All fish can talk. It’s just that not all fish talk in words.”

“Of course,” said Neville, who still didn’t understand but found this fish’s authoritative tone extremely difficult to disagree with.

Agreed with or not, this fish was clearly used to lecturing, because it went on regardless. “Now you say that the fish you’re used to are made out of…fishy stuff.” The fish curled its lip, clearly finding Neville’s expression to be somewhat crude. “Naturally, those fish don’t speak in words, they speak in…fishy stuff.”

“Naturally,” said Neville, still disinclined to disagree. “I guess if I taught myself to speak fishy stuff, I might understand them.”

“I sincerely doubt that,” said the fish.

“If you say so,” said Neville. “But why is it I can understand you?”

“Once again, the answer should be obvious. We are not made of…fishy stuff, and therefore that is not the language we speak. We are, as you have stated yourself, made up entirely of words. It should come as no surprise that we speak in words.”

“No surprise,” Neville echoed. As the words literally swam before his eyes, he was beginning to lose track of the subject of conversation.

“Are you listening to me?” said the fish.

“What? Oh yes,” said Neville, snapping back to attention. “I was thinking you sound an awful lot like someone I used to know. I’ve got it. You sound like one of my old teachers from when I was at school.”

“Of course I sound like a teacher,” said the fish. “I am a teacher.”

“You’re a teacher?” said Neville. “I’ve never heard of a teacher fish.”

“A few minutes ago, you’d never heard of a talking fish or a fish made out of words. I don’t see why you should be so surprised.”

“I suppose not,” Neville concurred. “It’s all a bit new to me at the moment. I think I’ll just have to go with the flow.”

The circling fish giggled again until they were met with a fierce glare from the Teacher Fish. A glare which it quickly turned back onto Neville.

“I’m sorry, again,” said Neville. “I had no idea I was going to say that. Everything is a bit overwhelming. I feel like I’m in way over my head.”

Neville’s comment was met by another round of giggles and an enraged shriek from the Teacher Fish.

“Stop those puns at once. I’ll have no playing with words in my classroom.”

“Oh dear,” said Neville. “I had no idea I was going to say that either. The words just slipped out.”

“Then slip them back in again,” ordered the Teacher Fish.

Neville tried to grab the offending words so he could return them to his mouth, but they were far too slippery. Every time he thought he had one, it slid out of his grasp. Apparently, even in this undersea world of words, what had been said could no longer be unsaid.

The Teacher Fish watched Neville’s clumsy attempts at word retrieval with growing irritation, especially as Neville seemed to be swatting most of the words directly towards it. Eventually, it waved them away with an impatient fin.

“Are you quite finished?” it said.

“I’m not sure,” said Neville. He checked himself, just in case another bad pun was about to escape his lips. As he seemed to be safe, at least for now, he continued. “So you’re a Teacher Fish?”

The Teacher Fish nodded.

“And this must be your school.” Neville pointed to the group of smaller fish swimming around. “I get it. A school of fish.”

“Congratulations, you seem to be making some progress at last,” said the Teacher Fish.

“Thank you,” said Neville, pleased to have received some positive feedback for a change.

“Nevertheless, I would suggest you join the rest of my pupils at once.”

“Oh.” After his brief moment of glory, Neville felt somewhat crestfallen. “You want me to join your school?”

“I think it would be for the best.” said the Teacher Fish. “Your previous comments have indicated you have a lot to learn. But better late than never—that’s what I always say.”

“That’s exactly what my other teacher used to say,” said Neville.

He flapped his arms and kicked his legs and discovered he was able to attain some level of buoyancy, so he swam over to join the rest of the school. Splashing for all he was worth just to stay level with them, he made quite a contrast with the other fish floating easily and effortlessly beside him. Still, they seemed happy to accept him into their ranks.

Neville turned to face the Teacher Fish. Suddenly finding himself in an undersea school with a class of fish made out of words was strange and unexpected…but also a little exciting. Neville wondered what he was going to learn.

 

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