Help support Southcart Books

Recently my local bookshop Southcart Books have come close to closing due to no fault of their own, after a successful online petition the shop has been granted a short reprieve. Here’s the latest news from owner Scott Carter…

we have managed to secure a short reprieve from our landlords if we can hit financial targets they have set us ( better than being kicked out friday ) , what that means in real time is that over the next 6 weeks we have got to sell a mighty amount of books(good job we have 1000s in stock) , so please think of us for your book buying needs either in the shop itself or via our online buying platform , please visit our eBay store below , this is a slight weight off our shoulders but now the real hard work begins

or you can kindly donate directly via this link

Sign and share the petition to save the shop and show your support by clicking here

I would like to add myself that Southcart is a huge supporter of the arts in my home town, hosting free poetry and authors events. I’ve launched books at the shop as have others and I can honestly say that without the shop the town and the artistic community they support will lose out. Please help if you can.


Hopeful Dreams and Damaged Nightmares – a chat with Paul Morris

The cover to Paul’s new book

Walsall poet and storyteller Paul Morris is set to release his new collection of poetry and stories “Hopeful Dreams and Damaged Nightmares” on Saturday 24th February at Southcart books. The event is part of a triple book launch including my own book and one from Matt Humphries, with that in mind I thought it might be fun to sit down with Paul and get some more details about what we can expect from his new book and more.

Q. Hi Paul, tell me about your new book, how did you come up with the title and concept?

A. Hopeful Dreams and Damaged Nightmares, is my debut book. It’s a collection of the poetry and the very short stories I’ve written between late 2016 and mid 2017. It’s quite emotionally charged, dealing with feelings and mental health issues, but, I hope that’s a good thing.
The title relates to the fact that releasing a book was a ‘hopeful dream’ whilst representing the ‘damaged nightmares’ that I experience. I also felt the title sounded like a name for an album chosen by a rock band. I think it’s cool.

Q. What can readers expect to find inside your collection?

A. Emotive poetry, focussing on the negativity of life and mental health issues, interspersed with words of love and passion. The short stories are in the same vein. I write emotionally, about my feelings and am not afraid to convey them. I hope the emotional imagery transmits through.

Q. If you had to pick a favourite piece from the book, what would you choose and why?

A. The piece, ‘In My Arms’. It’s a poem written about and to my Wife. Contextually, it focusses on the pain I once felt and the love I now cherish.

“I am whole when I am with you,
for your light drowns out the darkness,
forcing my static heart to beat loudly,
I evolve in a love so true.”

Q. Can you give readers a glimpse inside your head of your writing process, how do you put your poems together, what inspires you to write and how long does it take you to put a typical poem together?

A. My mind is quite a complex matrix of emotional wiring, I’m not sure readers would welcome a journey there lol. I write my poetry from the heart. It’s either fuelled by dark emotions, relating to my negative proclivities or, words of love. I’m not afraid to speak out about my mental health, so, will share the landscape of my world in verse. It’s a great form of therapy and the key source of my inspiration. Depending on my mood, I can create a piece within minutes, or, it takes days to complete. Sometimes, my poetry ideas, present themselves as inspiration for stories.

Q. After the launch what are your next creative plans?

A. 2018 is going to be a busy year for me, which I’m delighted about.
Currently, I’m compiling and publishing the charity poetry anthology ‘Within Darkness & Light – Volume 2’. I’m also editing and publishing the book entitled ‘Us Too’, which is a collection of real life / horror stories, dealing with experiences of abuse. This is quite a challenge but, it’s worth it, because it’s to raise awareness of abuse and the impact it has on both women, men and children. Proceeds from the sale of both books will be donated to charity.
I’m also currently writing two dark fiction / horror novellas. I might finish one of them this year, maybe.
Poetry is constant for me and I’m always writing. I’ll never stop.

Q6. Where can folks find you online?
Pretty much everywhere lol. Start at and work onwards from there, if interested.

Thank you

Editors note – the great cover for Paul’s book was done by Andy lee from Darkslide Photography.

Four events, four days, one tired but happy poet

So this last – extended – weekend has been filled with poetry, I went to four events and had a great time. Let me tell you about them all….

performing at Caffe Del Nino, photo by Scarlett Ward

On Thursday 25th I was honoured to be the guest poet at Caffe Del Nino open mic in Cannock. Run by the wonderful Scarlett Ward this was a night of great poetry and stand up, poets came from all over the West Midlands and the evening was filled with marvellous verse. Ninos is a wonderful coffee shop right in Cannock town centre and if you can make it I thoroughly recommend adding it to your poetry circuit.

At the Lych gate tavern, photo by Grace Dore

Friday 26th saw me in Wolverhampton at the opening event for the Wolverhampton Literary Festival, a cracking open mic run by Autumn Aldous. We had poetry and music and a great night all round, plus we were in a real ale pub which was a fine bonus.

At Southcart Books, photo by Amy Carter

On Saturday 27th I was back in my home town of Walsall to run the regular open mic at Southcart Books. This was another fine afternoon with a few new poets joining us making for a brilliant and highly emotional day when they shared their work, one of them for the first time.

at Poets against Racism, photo by Jason N Smith

Last but by no means least Sunday 28th saw me back in Wolverhampton taking the stage alongside some superb talent as part of the Poets against Racism open mic. I felt privileged to be invited to perform at such an event where we raised money for Care 4 Calais.

All in all a busy but excellent weekend!

Creative Waste is on the way

I’m very pleased to announce I’m launching my new book of poetry “Creative Waste” on Febuary 24th at Southcart Books in Walsall. I’m even more excited to announce that my fellow poetry chums Matt Humphries and Paul Morris will also be launching their new books alongside me making the event a triple spectacular. More details and interviews with Paul and Matt to come nearer to the time.

Books are my Bag

When I was a child there was a way
To make my little face light up.
That was simply to let me enjoy
Reading one of my favourite books.
From toddler to balding parent
From big books to small.
I’d while away any spare time
Trying to read them all.
Sadly as I got older I became fickle,
My love of print began to dwindle.
I fancied a new cheap thrill,
So I began an affair with a Kindle.
She was willing I have to say
We’d be at it every night.
My eager finger tracing her slim lines,
As we frolicked in her dim electric light.
But flings like this never last,
I longed for something finer in my hands.
My forgiving books welcomed me back
I knew they would understand.
They didn’t care I’d been unfaithful,
That for years I’d not given them a look.
I swore we would never part again,
As I was reunited with my books.
So from that day forward,
Though I don’t really like to brag.
I’m doing a book a day or more,
At last books again are my bag.

Support your local independent bookshop, I’m supporting Southcart Books.

Diverse Verse 2 sells out again at Southcart Books

It seems I just can’t print copies of Diverse Verse 2 fast enough because as soon as I get them to Southcart Books they’re sold out and I have to order some more. I shouldn’t complain though as that’s more money plus what will be made this month in digital sales that can be donated to Cancer Research UK.

Part of this success story is due to Southcart itself, this is a shop that supports local authors, writers, musicians, photograhers and more. They have a local author table and shelves full of great works by talented folk from Walsall and beyond plus they hold a regular open mic. ( Last Saturday of the month but the next one’s on the 1st July.)

If you’re a local author, poet etc with a book or CD out then you can’t go wrong getting in touch with Scott and Amy who run the shop ( and see what they can do for you. Even better why not pop along with your books to the next open mic and give everyone a taste of your work. You’ll be glad you did.

Diverse Verse 2 is launched and ready to buy.

I open the event with a reading of one of my poems in the book.

Yesterday the poetry book I’ve compiled for charity “Diverse Verse 2” was launched at Southcart Books in Walsall, and I’m pleased to say the event was a roaring success.

20 poets including myself turned up to read and with the audience that came to support the launch and enjoy the great poems at times it was hard to move. The book’s sales will support Cancer Research UK and yesterday we raised £115 and sold every single copy I’d had printed.

Here’s some photos from the event and after them I’ll let you know where the book can be bought from.

Paul Elwell reads his poem “When I Was.”

Carole Howard reads “Lesson from a Tree.”

Rick Sanders with impeccable comic timing reads us poems on snooker and Goldilocks.

Rick Sanders also wrote a review of the event on his blog which you can read by clicking this link.

Ian Henery reads to us about Walsall in the Civil War

Nina Lewis reads “Tidal mark.”

Al Lane tells us of the horrors of the morning after the work Christmas party.

Interestingly I first came across Al’s work online, click this link to go read his blog.

Scarlett Ward reads “Wordless”

Janet Jenkins reads “Umbrella Time”

Samatee tell us about the very last Dodo

Of course there were more readers and plenty more photos all available on Southcart Books page here.

These poems come courtesy of Elaine Christie and Scott Carter

Speaking of Southcart Books I will be having some more copies printed soon and delivered to the shop, keep an eye on their Facebook page if you are local and want to reserve one. Price will be £8.

Or if you can’t make it to the shop copies are now available to buy online, click this link here to take you to Lulu Publishing.

I’d just like to say a massive thank you to everyone who supported this book, all who sent in poems, Southcart Books for allowing me to use their open mic as a launch, everyone who read or came to listen at the launch and everyone who shared the book’s details via social media and more. Now to get working on my next book and who knows maybe Diverse Verse 3 soon?

Diverse Verse 2 cover reveal

So Diverse Verse 2 the poetry collection for charity I’ve been working on is now out and available to buy.

It will firstly be available at Southcart Books from today onwards towards the official launch this Saturday,then online for everyone who can’t make it to the shop.

Pictures taken by Scott Carter.

Diverse Verse 2 is ready for launch

Late last year I launched a call for poets for a poetry anthology for charity entitled “Diverse Verse 2.” I’m pleased to say the book is at the printers and we have a launch date.

On the 27th May as part of Southcart Book’s open mic “Diverse Verse 2” will be launched. The official Facebook event is here if you are interested, it should be a great day with lots of superb poets reading and hopefully I’ll sell a few books for charity.

Help Support Southcart Books

Southcart Books my local bookshop and supporter of the arts in Walsall needs your help. I’ll let them explain and introduce Project Mayhem.


Right then here we go with an explanation , apologise for it being overlong but I feel a proper explanation is needed.

Here at Southcart books we have constantly been bombarded with stock both paid for and donated and we feel it’s getting out of control , I’m giving 100s of books away every month & we still can’t cope , we now have about 3 times as much books in the storeroom & kitchen than whats on display on the shop floor & we would love people to eventually get to see them , no good having all those books if they can’t be seen is it ?

What we would like to do is open 3/4 of the storeroom (an extra 200sq ft ) , to customers as additional shop floor space , as you can imagine this comes with considerable cost so we are hitting it 3 fold.
1. a long running online sale to raise extra capital
2. seeking community based funding from the government ( blood out of a stone I know )
3. launching a crowdfunding scheme to raise capital.

What the money would be spent on…we have a couple of plans depending on how much we get.

Low funding…block off the kitchen and fill the storeroom with bookcases.

Medium funding…make the storeroom look the same as the main shop floor , bookcases plus all the additional trimmings.

High funding…remove part of the shops wall to really open up the shop space.

We are not asking for money off you directly in this economic climate and we fully understand that some people do not agree with crowdfunding businesses so if you can’t help us financially we would really appreciate you sharing our ideas and funding links.

If you can help financially we are offering you stock for pledges like we did last summer plus people/businesses can sponsor areas and bookcases.

Many thanks for reading & we always encourage your feedback , here is the link.

plus here is the link to our online sale with up to 95% off some higher priced items…

So can you help? You don’t have to donate money – though that would be cool – even if it’s just liking the Facebook Page and spreading the word every bit helps. At the same time why not support your local independent book shop, pop in and see what you can offer.