At last, I'm pleased to announce that the contract for the original edition of Waterlines which bound me to Amazon Kindle has now expired. As a result, I have just published it with Smashwords and this means that - sometime in the next two or three weeks - you can download your copy from Apple or Barnes & Noble, in addition to Smashwords, Sony, Kobo and Diesel.
I have to say that I'm relieved and very pleased about this - I doubt whether I shall ever bind myself to a restricted deal like this again. It was an experiment, and all part of a writer's learning process.
Just in case you're wondering, I'm still working hard to get Waterlines 9 out as soon as possible - we're nearly there with the first draft, but it will need some heavy revision before I'm prepared to release it to the public.
... and here's the first couple of pages of one story in the first issue, just to whet your appetite:
Pictures of Janet
Copyright 2012 C.P. Waterman 2012
We were young soldiers – all just 18 or 19 years old, both men and women – we’d finished our basic training, and had been sent to a new camp where we were to be trained in office admin skills. Before coming here, the girls had all trained together at their own camp and, by now, knew each other pretty well. But most of us young men had come from other regiments – with an assortment of different badges and colours to our uniforms – and we had to take time to get to know one another. The girls had to wear their hair up with their uniforms, in accordance with army regulations, and it was interesting to see them express their own individuality through the different styles they used to keep their hair off the collar. By the end of the third day, we had all got the measure of each other; one of our number had already struck up a friendship with one of the girls in our class.
After his evening with his new girlfriend, we asked him all about her and whatever he could glean about the other girls.
“They all get on with each other, except for one,” he began. “Janet – the tall blonde – is not very popular with the rest of them. She likes to show off her body, and has a range of expensive lingerie that she displays. She’s more often undressed than dressed when she’s not working. But that could just be the other girls being bitchy about her.”
“Do you think she’s a lesbian, out to attract other women?” we wondered.
“No. Linda – my girl – reckons that Janet’s had plenty of boyfriends in the past, but she never keeps them for long. Her sole topic of conversation with the others is how to attract men and get them turned on.”
We chuckled, recognising there might be an open opportunity for any one of us to make inroads with Janet. She seemed a very well-spoken girl, self-confident and well-groomed. She rarely smiled but, when she did, her face lit up and everything around her seemed brighter. She had a kind of magnetism that was difficult to define; although people were initially attracted to her, she kept strangers at bay. We agreed that it wasn’t shyness. When I first met her, I wondered if she was out-of-place in our environment; her father was a doctor, and mother was a solicitor. What was she doing learning to be an office clerk in the army? Since the course was to last eighteen weeks, there should be plenty of time for us to find out all about each other. The boys all looked forward to that prospect; I’m sure the girls did too.
The following day, I rang my sister at home to let her know how I had settled in.
“Look, Alan, with all those strangers on your course, why don’t you get out your camera?” she suggested. “Whenever I meet a new bunch of people, it’s a great ice-breaker to start taking pictures of everyone. And they can copy them and download them and send them off to their folks at home too.”
I thought it was a great idea. I fished out my camera and got it ready to use the following day.
After lunch, we had half an hour to spare before the afternoon lessons began. We were enjoying lovely weather that week in June and we assembled on the lawn outside the classroom, sprawling ourselves around in a lazy fashion. I brought out my camera, and started taking pictures; there were plenty of smiles, and clusters of students wanted to pose in their own groups with pals from the course. Not Janet. She remained on the lawn, adopting a sultry posture; as soon as I pointed the camera in her direction, her thighs opened to reveal the tops of her stockings and her underwear.
I paused for a moment, hardly believing my luck, and moved to click some pictures of other people. Fuck it, I thought. She’s obviously inviting me to take pictures of her, so why not? After each click, she altered her pose, flashing her legs in other directions. And she changed her facial expression every time she moved. She’s behaving like a real fashion model, I thought. I don’t know how many pictures I took; I just couldn’t stop myself.
I looked round at the other students; the girls were embarrassed, and had engaged the guys in conversation in an effort to distract them from this wanton exhibitionism.
When I was taking snaps of the group, several of the students asked to see how their picture had turned out. But not Janet; she wasn’t interested. And I wasn’t going to show her poses to anyone else today. I wanted them all for myself; I would examine them in my own privacy that evening.
During the afternoon session in the classroom, I found it difficult to concentrate; I was thinking only about Janet and her stocking-tops, and the pictures I would be enjoying all by myself that evening. I’d have to find somewhere special where I wasn’t going to be disturbed.
After our evening meal, I downloaded all the pictures from my camera on to my laptop – apart from those of Janet, which were for me alone. Anyone who wanted copies of pictures of themselves were welcome to them. I was still waiting for Janet to ask me for copies of her poses.
We were required to do some preparation work for the following morning; I rushed through mine, and then considered where I could sneak away to view Janet’s pictures.
“We’re going off to the bar in a minute,” one of the students asked me. “Are you coming?”
“No, I don’t think so. Maybe I’ll catch up with you later.” If he had an idea why I wasn’t inclined to come out, and what I wanted to do, he kept it to himself.
I reached for a book – one of Dan Brown’s thrillers – and buried myself in its fantastic world until the last man left the barrack room.
Then I grabbed the camera, copied Janet’s erotic portfolio on to a data stick, and carried my laptop to a quiet place where I wouldn’t be disturbed or discovered.