Sunday, 31 July 2016

Innocence Exploded by Edmund Gubbins

Innocence Exploded is the sequel to A Ceremony of Innocence by Edmund Gubbins continuing the conflict between the two brothers Mark and James.  Having left the sea for a career in the City of London, Mark still lives for the chance to have pleasure with disregard to any consequences.
Having broken off his relationship with his long term girlfriend Sue Maunder, Mark Brookes sets out to begin  a relationship with Jane who he had met in Nottingham. Her father offers him a job in his company in the City of London and a chance to attend college to gain further qualifications. If he agrees it will result in him leaving his life at sea. It also opens up the question of whether he has been offered the job because of his relationship to Jane or on merit.
He is reminded of why he split with Sue when he gets the chance to make love to Jane's sister. He realises that it is a part of his nature to grasp any opportunities of making love which come his way. He tells himself that if Jane does not know, there is no chance of her being hurt.
His innocence is exploded on one fateful day.
When tragedy strikes will Mark accept James' help?

Extract of the moment when Mark knows he is going to make love to his girlfriend's sister Sarah even though he knows it is not right.

' They were sparing now, Sarah not wanting to say what she really wanted, Mark unable to read her mood or follow her thoughts. Their conversation continued like this for a while, not saying anything important or alighting for long on any specific topic.
Sarah got up from the arm of the chair and took Mark’s glass. She was humming to herself as she refilled it. While placing the glass on the table next to Mark, she lent over such her breasts were plainly visible to him where the cross over top fell away from her body. She stayed bent over staring into his eyes. It was a clear invitation. He smiled back then kissed her inviting lips quickly before taking his drink from her hand. He reached round her back and squeezed her bottom in answer to the look she was giving him. All the while he was smiling sweetly.
Sarah smiled back conspiratorially and resumed her seat on the arm of the chair. Leaning back as though to watch the television, she let her arm slip around his shoulders. Before long her head was resting against his and he moved to place his arm around her waist. At the pressure of his arm, Sarah sighed happily.
Deep down something suggested to Mark what they were doing was wrong. He knew he should resist the temptation Sarah presented. The truth was he could not resist taking advantage of any opportunity that occurred. Since he had overcome his shyness when in the company of women which had often prevented him from progressing even when his instincts told him there was a clear invitation, he had never been able to pass up any chance of sex. He  caught a vision of Jane working away in her digs and not going out so that she would have the time free to come down to London and be with him. It was the way Jane came willingly and made love which should have left him completely satisfied. In fact in many ways making love to Jane at the weekends did leave him satisfied. Since she had arranged to see him every other weekend, he felt none of the compunction to chase after women which he had when going to sea. 
His life had slipped into a pattern over the last months.  During the week he went to college to attend lectures, made time to go to the office to help with the research and spent the rest of the time at the flat doing coursework when not socialising. At times Mr Willis would be there, others Mrs Willis but at others her would be alone. Many evenings he did not arrive back at the flat until quite late when he had been socialising with friends. It was a way of life he was starting to enjoy.
Every other weekend things were different. On Friday evening he would meet the train at St Pancras to see Jane arriving from Nottingham. When alone in the flat, they had made love in the afternoon and evening. During the days they explored London and gone to the theatre. All the time they were happy and content just to be in each others company. Sunday evening she would go back to Nottingham but the knowledge that in two weeks time they would be together again meant their parting was never sad. It is a good life, Mark thought squeezing Sarah’s waist. It is something I should not jeopardise. If I am serious, I should treat her like a brother and tell her I am off to bed by myself.
As though anticipating what Mark was thinking and what he was about to say, Sarah raised her head from his  and swung her legs across the chair. Cuddling down, she let her arm slip from his shoulder to the back of the chair. From this position she could look into his eyes and when she did, he knew he was lost. 

Cupping her chin in his free hand, he kissed her properly, gently moving his tongue against hers. His hand left her chin and caressed her breast through the fabric of her top. Easing his arm out from around her waist, he found the buttons and unwrapped her top. Her small round breasts were still hidden by her bra but they appeared to spring towards his fingers. He squeezed the nipples before slipping off her bra. Now the top part of her body was free.'

Available from Amazon and as a paperback, Kindle and as an ebook for downloading to most ereaders.

Friday, 29 July 2016

A Ceremony of Innocence by Eddie Gubbins

The novel is set against the background of the Thatcher years in the UK. Some people are making a great deal of money, industries are closing putting workers out of a job and criticism of those out of work is rampant. 

Two brothers are at home on holiday much to the delight of their mother. It is the first time they have been at home together for several years.Their father is a union convener in the local shipyard and while the brothers are at home, he leads the shipyard workers out on strike against the redundancies proposed by the  groups' central management. Though on the surface both brothers support their father, underneath the surface there simmers the stew of disagreement. Mark, the older brother is home fresh from travelling the sea as a ships officer and refuses to compromise his upwardly mobile life for the sake of family harmony. He lives for the moment and grabs any opportunity for happiness. Jim is freshly graduated from university and supports his father passionately without question.
Can the brothers find a way to compromise their positions and fulfil  their mother's wish for a few happy weeks? Will their anger boil over into open conflict and a family break up?

As this extract shows, anger and resentment causes damaging rifts between the brothers much to the sadness of their mother. To Jim it is all about family loyalty 

' Jim came home shortly before dinner, sourly greeted Mark and his Dad before going out to the kitchen to speak to his mother. His attitude left Mark in no doubt as to how he felt about what had happened the night before. The family sat down to dinner all together as Joan had imagined when she thought of them all being home at the same time but silence reigned around the table as all her men were lost in their own thoughts. They were content to let her chatter away about Monday's ceremony, about what she should wear and who would be there as honoured guests. Her conversation then turned to the dinner at the school, as she began speculating that it must have been a grand occasion and wondering whether their pictures would be in the paper. By her innocent monologue, she inadvertently hit upon a subject that rubbed the raw nerves of Jim's passion. Jim rushed down the path she had opened for him like sheep seeing the open gate, quick to grasp his chance and oblivious to his mothers needs for a quiet dinner with all her family round her.
" I hope his won't anyway, “ Jim said bitterly.
Joan frowned at Jim across the table.  " Now, now, “ she said quietly. " I don't want any remarks like that at my table. We are having dinner together as a family and hopefully we can get through our meal without harsh words."
" It's not that easy mum, " Jim continued his voice angry and aggressive. " Do you want to know who Mark took to the dance last night? " Jim pointed his finger dramatically at Mark, who sat frowning watching Jim closely.
" That girl Sue wasn’t it Mark? " Joan asked innocently as though she was not aware of any tension between Mark and Jim.
" Yes, “ Mark replied, he sounded defencive in anticipation of what Jim was about to say. God, thought Mark, is Jim going to use Sue to try to get Mum and Dad against me?
" Are you going to tell them her surname or am I? " Jim demanded his tone heavy with sarcasm, his eyes boring fanatically into Mark's.
" Susan Maunder, " Mark replied, shrugging his shoulders as though to show that it was of no importance to his parents.
" Susan Maunder, " Jim breathed the words as though they were a blasphemy. Turning dramatically to Charlie, he almost shouted in triumph.  "Doesn't that name ring a bell with you Dad? A son of yours, at this of all times, walking round in public with the managing director of the yards daughter. It is laughable or would be if it were not so serious. Think of what the papers could make of this! "
Charlie deliberately put down his knife and fork, looking across at Mark with a puzzled expression. "  Is it true? "  he asked Mark quietly.
" Yes it is true, " Mark replied equally quietly. " As you know I have been going out with Sue on and off since before I left school and, by chance, we met again the other day when I was in town."
" Why didn't you tell me? "  Charlie asked.
" I didn't make any secret of the fact that I had met Sue again, “ Mark replied evenly.
" But you never explicitly told me, “ Charlie countered.
" This is absurd, " Mark said. " Why should I tell you explicitly as you say? Do I have to come home at my age and say please Dad can I go out with Sue Maunder? Come off it Dad. You have been so tied up with the strike, you would not have noticed who I was going out with. "
" You could have had some thought for my feelings. " Charlie was obviously confused and at a loss for how to handle his sons but he doggedly persisted with his argument.
" Regard for your feelings! "  Jim exploded with anger. " He has no regard for your feelings or anybody else for that matter.  Do you know what I think?  Mark takes what he can from life and does not care who he hurts in the process."
" What do you mean? " Mark was fighting to keep his temper under control, to keep his voice calm and to keep the atmosphere around the table low key.
" Just that you could steer clear of Sue Maunder while there is trouble at the yard. Anyway, I can not see what you see or find attractive in that stuck up little bitch. "  Jim was bitter, wanting to hit out at somebody to relieve his conscience over the trouble he had caused his father. By trying to genuinely raise the issue of Sue, he was trying to push the odium of being disloyal onto Mark. Deep down he knew it was untrue but in his heightened sense of anger, he did believe that Mark had deliberately gone out of his way to flaunt his friendship with Sue before Jim and his friends the night before.
" You didn't say that when she came here before going to the States when I was on leave, " Mark said evenly. Turning to Charlie, he went on. " Dad I am not being disloyal. Sue is my friend, as you know. God you never said anything when she came her before. Though I have a lot of sympathy to your cause, my going out with Sue has nothing to do with your dispute. We don't work in the yard and have nothing to do with shipbuilding. She has only recently returned to the UK and it is only by chance that she is living with her parents. Lets face it, we are both well off enough to buy a place of our own but we choose to live at home because we both like living with our parents. You have to face the fact that I like Sue and there is nothing sinister in our relationship."
" All right son, I hear what you are saying," Charlie smiled at Mark. " All I can ask is that you stop seeing her while this trouble lasts so that the media cannot get to me through you. When it is all over you must bring her around here again. I must admit from what I remember, I liked her when she visited us before."
" No, “ Mark replied emphatically.  " She is a part of my life at the moment and I will not stop seeing her as you put it. I only have a few weeks more leave and then I have to go back to sea and I will not be able to see her for at least four months. I cannot bend my life to your instructions. This dispute has nothing to do with me and Sue."
Charlie regarded Mark for a moment, then shrugged his shoulders, picked up his knife and fork and continued with his meal as though the subject was closed. Joan looked from her son to her husband, a worried expression on her face but she chose to remain silent as she also continued her meal. As she ate, she recalled Sue so pretty in a summer dress, sitting at this table, so young and so bubbly, slowly relaxing as time went by until she appeared to belong. I remember thinking, as mothers do, what a lovely wife she would make for Mark.
Her thoughts were interrupted by a snort of anger from Jim. " Is that all you are going to say to Mark? " Jim snarled at Charlie. " Christ he is knocking off the bosses daughter, flaunting his association with her in front of our faces and all you can politely ask him is to be careful! "
Mark felt his grip on his temper slipping. " Watch it! "  he shot back at Jim.
" Watch it! " Jim shouted angrily causing Joan to wince inwardly. " God you have got as nerve. I would not mind if she was the only girl you have been screwing since you came home on leave.  What about Clare?  What about Jane waiting down there in Weymouth having given up her virginity to the alter of your ego?  Do they mean nothing? I bet Sue doesn't even know they exist! "
Mark deliberately pushed back his chair and stood up. Joan winced as she thought her son was about to walk out of the room but Mark planted his palms firmly on the table and lent forward until his face was thrust at Jim. He said, slowly and carefully with his very hard eyes boring into Jim's, ignoring his parents, isolating the two brothers. " One more word out of you, Jim and I will come round this table and shove your teeth down your throat. "

Jim recoiled back into his chair, aware in that instant that his brother of whom he had always thought was soft, was quite capable of carrying out his threat without another thought. Indeed, so confident did Mark appear of being able to carry out the threat, Jim knew that he had done this kind of thing before. God, Jim thought as he warily stared at Mark, I don't really know you at all. I thought you were so mild that any threat and you would try to calm things by talking. It is obvious that in the mysterious world in which he works, actions speak much louder than words. When did he change?  He has always appeared so shy and correct with women when we have been together when I was younger.  Now I find he beds anybody he can get his hands on. Not only that but he has the strength to threaten anybody who does not agree with him. This is not like at the university where harsh words during a discussion are soon forgotten. He has changed and I no longer know what he is thinking. Jim shook his head to clear his mind, smiled weakly at Mark but did not reply. Mark smiled cruelly back, resumed his seat and continued eating.'

This novel contains some explicit sex scenes.
Available from Amazon as a paperback and kindle and as an ebook.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Labour Party Suicide

Are the UK Labour Party about to put themselves in opposition for the next 15 years?  It is as though they have not learnt the lessons of the early 1980's. Electing a hard left candidate opens them up to the hard left taking control of the party organs. This means putting forward left wing policies that the majority of the electorate do not want. They ignore what has happened in countries when they have been taken over by  the hard left. There is always the danger that the hard left are so doctrinaire in their beliefs they will not tolerate any dissenting voices or criticism's thought that in order to put into legislation the party's policies, they have to win a majority of the electorate is ignored.
This is happening now when the hard left group in the Labour Party are questioned.
I discussed this very theme in my novel An Ordinary Life:

 After the vote Mr. Reynolds moved a point of order. “ Are we quorate? There don’t seem to be many people here.”
“ Of course we are quorate,” Dave Dowling now back in the chair snapped. “ I would not have taken a vote if we were not quorate.”
“ Another thing,” Stan persisted. “ Why was such an important item placed towards the end of the agenda? A lot of brothers and sisters left before we got to that business.”
“ They knew what was on the agenda so it is their fault they were not here for the vote.”
“ Who draws up the agenda?” Stan asked not giving up.
“ The committee, you ass hole!” Dave Dowling snapped.
“ There is no need to call me that. I was asking perfectly valid questions,” Stan stood his ground.
“ No it wasn’t a valid question. The committee draws up the agenda from all the business that needs to be discussed. That is the trouble with the party. We have to keep faith with members like you and your wife. You are from the past. You want to be civil with all sides. You believe in decency and equal opportunities. Redistribution of wealth but not getting rid of those who exploit the working class. Christ, you should not be in the party. We need to turn back to a Marxist agenda. Nationalise all the means of production, finance and business. The best thing you two could do is to leave the party to the likes of me and Mike.”
“ That is not right. My wife and I have been working for the party for years and years. We have supported it through the good times and the bad.”
“ Look old man. Go home and leave the proper politics to those who know what they are doing. You are not wanted. You are part of the problem.”
Tom could see they were almost in tears and reacted angrily. “ There is no need to insult these good people, Dave Dowling. You might think that your education and ideas are superior to theirs but they are only ideas. Leave them alone.”
Dave Dowling smiled cruelly. “ What do you know of working people, Tom Houseman? You are the product of an elitist system. You went to grammar school and then to university. You work in a university now. What do you know of struggle?”
“ Coming from you that is rich,” Tom laughed. “ My father is at least a working man. Yours was a school teacher just as you are a school teacher. My convictions come from a deep rooted source. I believe in equality of opportunity and redistribution of wealth. But there has to be the creation of wealth in the first place. People have to earn money before they can pay taxes.”
“ But as is shown in Russia, there can be wealth without exploitation.”
“ Rubbish! Which is the richest country on earth?” Tom asked. “ The United States.”
“ But they exploit the poor unlike in Russia.”
“ Rubbish again. In Russia they put people in Gulags who disagree with the government. In the United States you are free to criticise the government. You can vote out those in office.”
“ To help the working class we have to have a left wing agenda.”
“ To carry out your agenda you have to get elected.”
“ With a left wing agenda and ideas, there are more working class than the rest, so we will get elected. The trouble with this government is that it is not radical enough.”
“ Now you are either being silly or you have your head in the clouds. With a programme like Mike is always advocating there is not a cat in hells chance of this party getting elected. Hopefully the Tories have shot themselves in the foot by electing a woman as leader. If Jim Callaghan goes to the polls this autumn, we have a chance but not with a manifesto like you are going to advocate at the party conference. Now you leave these good people alone in future. They have a perfect right to be here and a perfect right to ask questions. If you are so unsure of your position that you have to insult life long Labour members, there is something wrong with your arguments. Come on Mr. And Mrs. Reynolds. I will give you a lift home.”
“ Don’t you dare call me a coward, Tom Houseman!” Mike exploded. 
“ Mike grow up and start acting like an adult. You are going to put this party in a right mess if you are not careful.” Tom grinned. “ The next thing you will do is start to advocate  locking up anybody who disagrees with you. All you have to do is look at dictatorships down the ages to see where that leads. Even better, go and buy a copy of animal farm and read that if you can read and understand what it is saying. It will save you a great deal l of heart ache in the future.”
Tom ushered them out of the building and into his car.
“ Thank you for standing up for us,” Mr. Reynolds said as they arrived at his house. “ I don’t know what the Party is coming to when people treat other people like that.”
“ We have to make a stand against the bullies of the left,” Tom smiled in reassurance. “ Lets make sure we are there next time.”

An Ordinary Life by Edmund Gubbins available from Amazon and as a paperback.
From Amazon and Kindle as an ebook for downloading to most ereaders