Welcome to Stitched Smile’s glorious Friday the 13th weekend! Today it’s the turn of Ash Hartwell – Stitched Smile recently released his debut novel Tip Of The Iceberg. Tip Of The Iceberg is set on board RMS Titanic’s maiden voyage and follows crew and passengers alike as the struggle for survival. The iceberg is the least of their worries!
Here is a little excerpt to start you off…
The rich aromatic smoke formed a heavy veil obscuring the features of the two rough-looking men sitting opposite Patrick McGowan. He shifted slightly in his seat, taking one last glance at the cards in his hand before placing them face down on the curiously stained and deeply scratched table. Lady Luck had favoured him this night, and he sensed he was about to overstay his welcome in the Belvedere Arms. A small lamp hanging above the table cast shadows across Patrick’s only remaining opponent, a wizened old sailor, whose facial features gave him the gnarled appearance of an ancient wizard. He leant forward saying, “Okay, Belfast Boy, let’s see what thee has.” His voice was deep and harsh, the words creaking like an old schooner’s rigging. “I’m from Dublin,” Patrick replied coldly, flipping his cards over and fanning them out in one smooth motion to reveal four jaded kings. “And I’m not a boy!” An awkward hush descended across the room. It started with the small group huddling around their table, and like ripples on a pool after a stone is cast into its depths, spread outwards through the squalid dockside pub. The wizened old sailor remained hunched forward, looking down at the cards laid out before him as if unable to trust his tired, old eyes. Then, twitching his tobacco-stained moustache, he threw back his head to emit a deep roar of laughter, his deep-set eyes sparkling as they caught the light of the gas lamp overhead. His laughter immediately defused the tension in the room as people returned to their own private conversations. Throwing his cards down to reveal a pair of aces, he watched as Patrick gathered his winnings. “You’re a bloody good liar, Belfast.” Waving away Patrick’s attempt to correct him, the sailor continued, “and I’ll wager, thee’s in town to gain passage to the land of opportunity in search of your fortune?” Fixing Patrick with an inquiring stare, which made the younger man feel uncomfortable, the weatherbeaten sailor searched Patrick’s face for answers. After a short while, the sailor leant back in his chair, obviously content with his findings, and uttered, “and I fancy you’ll find it, too.” Patrick nodded respectfully to the man, aware this might be his opening gambit in an attempt to win back his money. Taking care not to give too much away, he replied, “Indeed, it is true that I plan to travel to America and the point of that endeavour is always to be seeking a fortune. But you knowing these facts hardly qualifies you as a mind reader. We are in Southampton the night before a ship sails for New York, and I’ll warrant she’ll be full of immigrants.” Patrick flashed the old sailor a warm smile. “If you hanker after a chance to refill your pockets, old man, then you’ll have to engage me better than with a cheap trick and lame flattery.” Patrick got to his feet and was busy stuffing the meager collection of coins that constituted his winnings into his pockets. As he bade his host a good day and was turning to leave, the old man’s voice boomed across the crowded bar.
Also available on Nook and other EBook retailers.
“Ash Hartwell has a poetic rhythm to his prose and a confidence in his vocabulary that sets him apart from the majority of authors currently writing horror. Tip Of The Iceberg is a fantastical genre mash up of both high and low culture. A sprawling Dickensian-esque tale of complex human relations clashes headlong with the rising hordes of the undead, all set to the backdrop of the Titanic’s ill-fated maiden voyage.”
JP Park (author of Punch)
Here’s what readers are saying about it…
★★★★★ – A fantastic read from start to finish. The plot is great and not what you may be expecting, it moves along nicely with enough detail to fire your imagination and give you a real sense of place and events with no unnecessary detail – some writers go for far too much detail telling you just what colour blue the sky is and how high the clouds are etc!! – The characters are great and the ending …. well, you will just have to read the book to find out!!
★★★★★ – Got through the first half of this book in one sitting last night. Fast-paced, intriguing storylines and brilliantly written. A tale of the Titanic for fans of the film who thought it needed a bit more horror than thousands of people drowning in the North Atlantic Ocean, and wanted more juicy bits than Kate Winslet’s heaving bosom. (💗😘) For enthusiasts of the actual disaster who not only want a detailed description of what actually happened but also want a detailed description of what didn’t actually happen too.