P is for Paul


Well, yesterday was a mix of outside and inside, but this one’s very much inside. In fact it stays on the sofa all the time, where Paul is in the company of two cats and Caroline, divine creatures all. And Three Goddesses is the title of Harriet Springbett’s story in Cat Tales, the anthology drawn from last year’s Book a Break short story competition.

But believe me, a lot can happen on a sofa. Why, I’ve seen Sam and Sam get up to all sorts of mischief, but I’d better not go into that here. Paul and Caroline have only just met, so the sofa activity goes no further than coffee, cigarettes and cats.

Paul perched on the edge of Catharine’s leather sofa. A ball of striped fur with two heads reclined on the armchair opposite him. He stared at it, puzzling where one cat ended and the other began. He hadn’t been so close to a cat for years, not since his tabbies had disappeared.

He leant back, stretched out his legs and pulled the packet of Marlboros from his jeans pocket. Catharine was taking her time making the post-restaurant coffee. Perhaps she’d slipped out of the kitchen to check her make-up. Was she tidying her bedroom? No, she was a real classy girl. She wouldn’t be thinking about that. There was something mysterious about the way she held herself back, something aloof, as if she was used to this game and didn’t really care whether it worked out or not. On his other eHarmony date, with the girl in red stilettos, he hadn’t made it to the coffee stage.

No murder or mayhem in this one then, it’s all quite restrained. And yet there’s suspense in a way, because that first date… you know what I mean? Well, of course you do, better than I do in fact, because we don’t really bother with all that palaver. A bit of circling and sniffing and it’s straight down to business – never needed eHarmony myself. But things aren’t quite so straightforward for Paul and Caroline, which is where the other two goddesses come in. What could be more banal, you might think, than a couple of cats on a sofa? Well, I invite you to read Three Goddesses. You’ll see.

And when you do, chances are you’ll want to read more of Harriet Springbett’s writing. In which case, you’re in luck, because her novel Tree Magic was released earlier this year. I haven’t yet read it myself but Curtis has. When I asked him if it was good, he said, ‘Well, after Three Goddesses, I knew it would be good. But even so… Wow! Do yourself a favour, Smith. Read it.’

The proceeds from Cat Tales go to two charities, Cats Protection and the Against Malaria Foundation. So please don’t hesitate to spread the word and help us raise as much as possible. And of course, if you click on the button yourself, you can find out if Paul and Caroline ever get further than the sofa. Thank you!

In a special promotion deal, the price of Cat Tales is just $1.99 for the whole month of April. Available as a PDF (or epub / mobi) complete with colour illustrations directly from this site* by clicking the button below. Also available in print (black & white, $9.50).

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*You can buy from Amazon here, but buying from this site results in $1.61 after the PayPal commission, as opposed to just $0.70 from Amazon. An insecticide treated mosquito net, which protects on average 2 people for 3 to 4 years, costs $2.50. PLUS, if you buy from this site, you’ll get a personal message of thanks from Curtis along with a short story of his own (in which Nibbles the cat, I’m sorry to say, comes to a rather unfortunate end).