Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Wishing you a happy (poetic) New Year!


Finally available! The Literary Hatchet #10! Three of my poems are included within this bumper 224 page issue of fiction and poetry so plenty to keep you going over the New Year or if you get snowed in. (It's snowing here now!)  It's a FREE download so you have no excuse! Enjoy the read and have a fabulous New Year!

Saturday, 20 December 2014

'Twas "The Night Before" the apocalypse... Doomed wins again!

december5rgb

Wow! Here's the best news I've had all month!

Super artist Jamie Noble hosts The Author of the Month competition on his blog The Noble Artist. Jamie selects one of his artworks each month as a visual prompt for a 500 word story. The December work is a chilling scene; at first you might think it's a pretty Yule-tide picture fit for a Christmas card but when you look more closely you see Zombies and a satanic Santa type driving his sleigh at a deadly pace through the darkest night.
At least I did and from it came this months winning story The Night Before, a tale of Zombies doing what they do best. Enjoy the read and when you're done check out the rest of Jamie's work - it's amazing!

 
 

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Window on the Weird!

Now you too can see what I learned from Cult TV! Take a trip back in time, follow the link to Fox Spirit Books blog and see what sparked my imagination as a kid and influenced my taste in stories!

Friday, 24 October 2014

I'M JOINING A CULT (TV BLOG)!

TV is one of those things I love to hate - I'd rather be reading a book any day! That said, there are those programmes that have had me hooked! Can you guess what they are?

Remember, remember the 15th of November!
What I learned from Cult TV!

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

The Castles of my Heart.

There's something rather engaging about castles. I have visited many over the years and have my favourites of course. Warwick Castle has to be at the top of the list of complete castles and then Sandsfoot Castle at Castle Cove in Weymouth is at the top of the ruins list. I spent many a summer running about the beautiful gardens imagining all kinds of battles and adventures! Corfe Castle follows a close second. All of them remind me of childhood vacations and escaping reality.

Now I live in the shadow of another castle, Trikala Fortress and would love to share some of its mystery with you all. The local Council has recently built a brilliant raised walkway all around the hill on which Trikala Fortress is located. 
If you want to get a better idea of what you are looking at in terms of the fortress itself, check out my latest translation on Trikala Fortress via Kastrologos at Kastra.eu. If you are a resident or visitor and haven't yet taken the time to investigate please do! The walk affords amazing views of all parts of Trikala and there is a host of wild life to see if you are stealthy and quiet. It makes a lovely, short stroll.
Happy wandering!

Monday, 8 September 2014

Reflections Cover Art and something more.

Fox Spirit released the cover art for the rest of the Fox Pocket series today so I can reveal the haunting cover of Reflections which features one of my short stories 'Tickets to Ride', a tale of no regret. This anthology is due for release in 2015.

I received my copy of The Girl at the End of the World 2 today in which 'Vanquish' appears! (I love this cover!) If you too would like to obtain a copy, click here to get the paperback and here to get a Kindle version.


Sunday, 7 September 2014

Poetry Feast!

Isn't so true that just when you think that things are down or that when you aren't thinking about things at all that something lovely occurs! I am very please to announce that I have had not one but three(!) poems accepted for publication in the next issue of The Literary Hatchet. More on this as and when...

Sunday, 31 August 2014

In the Fox Spirit!

Imagine my joy on learning that Fox Spirit Books chose my suggested slogan 'Top notch and bushy tales!' along with that by Vick Linde 'Ad captandum vulpes'.  Thank you!


Wednesday, 20 August 2014

(De)composing - A Composting/Writing Synergy!

I am a keen gardener (not necessarily a great one though!) and today I completed one of the most satisfying tasks in the garden; mulching with homemade compost. This freed up the sacks for the leaves that are already beginning to fall from the cherry and greengage trees. (I put to good use those horrid non-biodegradable ones that toy stores always have. The one in the picture is on its 6th year!)  I find sacks are better for leaves and bins for household trimmings. If you are lucky enough to have a garden make your own compost, it's easy!
First, fill the bag with leaves.

Then roll the top down and put a brick on the top to keep it closed. Leave it for two or three months.

What you'll find when you open the sack is gorgeous black soil rich in nutrients!

Put it in your planters or on the garden.
(This is my Japanese Maple Acer just beginning to put on its autumn cloak.)

What does this have to do with writing you might be wondering and rightly so. Well it's simple; sometimes writing doesn't flow or you get little ideas and you don't know where to take them or even worse you have bits you like the sound of but you've had to prune them from a story even though you don't want to throw them away. All these things are kept in a deep, dark corner. Then a couple of months or even years later you take a peek and low and behold there is a story there, rich in twists and turns, dialogues flourish and perhaps that missing 'je ne sais quoi' has materialised at last!

This happened with Earthbound Angels Return I had 3/4 written in 1997 but didn't finish it till fifteen years later! I couldn't find an ending that I liked and that would tie all the characters together but I knew that somehow they were all working towards the same goal!

My work this morning also inspired my shortest story yet, only six words in length!

Compost heap. Dead matter. Living entity.

So there you have it composting and writing produce great results!

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Soaring

Imagine my joy when I finally got into my email (new phone - epic story) and discovered that my flash fiction piece 'Hot Air Ballooning' has won the 99fiction.net July competition! Not bad for an evenings work! It's only the third time I've entered too! Hot Air Ballooning




 

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Vanquish: to conquer or subdue; to be victorious over

 
The title sums the story up and says so many things about how it came into being. I work a lot from mental images and this was one of a great wall of fire, probably sparked by the numerous wild fires that occur in Greece during the summer months. I drew on teenage angst I had over a variety environmental issues that were and still are relevant (the issues not the angst!) and my eternal disgust at how senseless some things humans do are. (I do not claim to be a great activist by the way - I do what everyone can easily do!)
 
This was a tough story to write, I wanted to get just the right doses of rage and despair and hopelessness into the mix to make it potent. It has taken little over a year from its conception to coming to print and although it's the third story to see print it was the first accepted for publication, so it is rather special.
 
Want to read it?  Click here! for
 
 
 
 
 
Just as a post script; Fox Spirit has accepted another short story of mine, 'Tickets to Ride', for its Fox Pockets anthology 'Reflections'. Look out for this in the near future!

Sunday, 13 July 2014

'To ride a bicycle

is in itself some protection against superstitious fears, since the bicycle is a product of pure reason applied to motion. Geometry at the service of man! Give me two spheres and a straight line and I will show you how far I can take them. Voltaire himself might have invented the bicycle, since it contributes so much to man's welfare and nothing at all to his bane. Beneficial to the health, it emits no harmful fumes and permits only the most decorous speeds. How can a bicycle ever be an implement of harm?' Angela Carter, The Lady of the House of Love

In reading the story collection The Bloody Chamber (which if you haven't read yet, I encourage you to do so!) I came across this extolment of the bicycle. My family and I go everywhere on our bikes, shopping school, work, swimming, basketball etc... If you haven't got a bike, buy, (beg, or borrow) one! (We all ride IDEAL bikes, mine is a Multigo, made in Greece - there's no better time than now to support local Industry.)
So leave your car at home, get off the bus or the tube and feel like you are flying! Cycling is the greatest pastime. It leaves you free to think, you are higher up than most cars so you get a better view, in the city you are certainly faster than any other means of transport and in the countryside you do not miss all the beauty around you. I must admit that where I live it is incredibly easy - there is relatively little pollution and virtually no hills - which is perhaps why Trikala has more bicycles per capita than any other in Greece (I surmise - I have no evidence but it seems that way when looking for a free bike stand).

That still leaves the question: Can a bicycle ever be an implement of harm? There is a story in there somewhere...

Thursday, 26 June 2014

The End is Nigh!

Look out for Girl at the End of the World towards the end of July. My story 'Vanquish' appears in Vol 2. Specific publication dates and ordering details will come in a future post! It will be available as a print and e-book. Here is the other cover as a taster!
 

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

The Art of Translation.

I am a translator not by any official definition, I do however have a love of both the English language (and so try not to murder it too often) as well as a love of art. The translations I have done are Press Releases for a local Gallery, Art Alma.

I think that Greek is an amazing language that I can only dream of mastering fully (sadly I lay no claims against my culpability in the slaughter of Greek!) However, I love its translation into English, especially where texts pertaining to artworks are concerned; it is like straightening boiled spaghetti with the intention of returning it to its packet. In Greek sentences can be infinite but in English the structure is more rigid. Greek has so many words which to my mind are rarely used in everyday life but I come across them and only wish I could remember them all! (Unfortunately my brain is already working on capacity overload.)

So if you want to peruse my translation portfolio, feel free! You can also learn more about some of the artists mentioned in the texts via the links below (it would not be proper to show their creative work here) and I recommend you do. Why not pay a visit to Alma Art Gallery in Trikala http://www.galleryalma.com/el/ or at Art Athina 2014 which opens today! http://www.art-athina.gr/

Dimososthenis Kokkinidis (This link is a bit of a cheat - apologies to all until I find an official page.)
Theofilos Katsipanos
Angelos Antonopoulos
Michalis Manousakis
Tassos Missouras
Kalos & Klio
Konstantinos Papamichalopoulos
Nikos Moshos
Yannoulis Chalepas


 

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Feed back...

I've said before that I feel like I'm in a bubble sometimes. You know, that work-home-work motif that becomes ingrained. I escape into a fictional world, either by writing it down or day-dreaming (about what I'm going to write!) When you read my work you enter that world too. Now I know that world isn't so vast (although I have plans for expansion) but sign up in the visitor book - let me know if you enjoyed your trip.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Keep an Eye on Fever Dreams

I am very proud to reveal the new cover of FEVER DREAMS e-zine. It's First year birthday issue cover was inspired by my story EARTHBOUND ANGEL RETURNS. Follow Fever Dreams and check out my story.
 
I have to say a huge thank you to Peter Bennett, his wife Stephanie and the Fever Dreams team for putting my words into pictures and print! 
 

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Eternity and the End of the World

I live in a bubble far from the rest of the world, or so it seems most of the time. I sit and wait the eternal wait of any writer who's submitted work. Sometimes beautiful things will drop into my mail box. Others are ugly little critters that don't like the way I look but I grin and bear them whilst mumbling to myself that they don't know what they're missing! After much activity in the New Year, all is quiet and I'm looking inward and getting maudlin with all those niggling doubts. I saw an interview with Ray Bradbury voicing exactly the same sentiment - it's nice to know that even the greats had these moments!

I have so many stories that I work on at any time some blossom others stagnate then I find that jewel of imagery or that character or symbol and off we go again roller-coaster ride. Vanquish was one of these. The stock cubes were the jewel...

So here is one of the beautiful things: the cover of Girl at the End of the World Volume Two. I should have shared it when I first saw it but I was saving it... Thank you Fox Spirit!!

 
 

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Darker Times Collection Volume Two

 
Here you will find 'Passerby' a flash fiction story and 'Bondage' a poem by me, plus lots of other super stories and poems! The collection is available from Amazon. Click on the link http://www.amazon.co.uk/Darker-Times-Collection-Volume-Two/dp/149737099X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1395605757&sr=8-1&keywords=darker+times+collection+two
 

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Inspirational views

I found this great little video of the village that inspired the end of Vanquish, Girl at the End of the World (Fox Spirit) and thought I'd share it. (Sorry if the subtitles are all Greek to you!)
No publication date as yet but it will be soon now as the final edit has been completed.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J3OWBjVzc6A

Check out one of my poems, about the less therapeutic side of shopping, on Darker Times Fiction where it got a runner up slot. www.darkertimes.co.uk/winners.aspx Both this and Passerby will be included in the Darker Times Collection Volume 2 soon to be available via Amazon as an ebook and a paperback.
 

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Darker Times made my day bright!

Great news for a little story. 'Passerby' got an honourable mention in the Darker Times Flash Fiction January 2014 Competition.
http://www.darkertimes.co.uk/winners.aspx
 

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Salient Test of Description

I was thrilled to hear that my sci-fi story Earthbound Angels Return is inspiration for the cover of the forthcoming issue of Fever Dreams E-zine but that set me thinking.

This is actually a test!

I have distinct images in mind when I write, like I'm watching a movie in my head, so I try to get the words to describe what I see. Will others have seen the same thing?

Friday, 24 January 2014

Kind words go a long way!

How I just love it when I check up my email and I get a positive comment from a publisher, even if my manuscript 'isn't for them' or 'not what they are looking for at present'. It keeps me buoyant in the tide of rejections to know that my 'premise proves interesting' and 'my writing is near poetic in places'!!

 
What is even nicer are the snippets of constructive criticism. Like the nuggets of gold that they are, publishers and editors use them sparingly it seems!

 

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Girl on Top of the World!

                                     GIRL AT THE END OF THE WORLD BOOK 2
                                                             www.foxspirit.co.uk


It began with a vision of a wall of flame which grew with a summer vacation to a tiny Greek mountain village and drew on a seriously dark period of contemplation and now Vanquish will be in print!

After far too much procrastination, many disappointments and several near misses, I've got my toe in the door!