Sunday, 27 December 2015

Cake and Eating It!

I've always believed that if you work hard, you should be able to enjoy the fruits of that labour, but these last two months have stretched me like I've breached an event horizon. I've had a zillion obligations to fulfil (no exaggeration - really!) and I haven't written much at all. I'm even wondering if I'll get much beyond this blog... No fear,
(T-shirt a Green Mile promo gift from Penguin Books, from my bookseller days.)
The end of the year, that is. I've achieved many of the things I was aiming for and failed in others, but that's okay! (Cue voice of self-hypnosis recording.) I know that I've spread myself too thin and I can't go any further.

Time for a break and am I looking forward to the New Year! Remember, you can pick up any or all of the anthologies I've participated in this year for stocking fillers and gifts! It'd make me so proud! (Yes, a writer does feel rather like a parent whose kid gets the lead role in the school play.)  So, a little retrospective for you (indulge me please).

I managed to achieve the Light Ray Award for 2015 over at Write 1 Sub 1! That means I've had a dozen stories published/accepted, admittedly half were flash fiction and unpaid, but I did it! Check out Once Bitten, Hides the Dark Tower and The Denizen's of Steam. The latter two are up for the Editors and Preditors Reader's Poll which you too can vote for, just follow the link! I am still thrilled to have made it into such notable anthologies on either side of the Atlantic; Once Bitten from the UK and Hides the Dark Tower from the US. 2015 also saw me trying my hand at editing with The Denizens of Steam anthology (this is a FREE download). Then there's a plethora of flash fiction pieces you can read up at 101 words.org. All topped off with two competition wins and a reprint, more of which you will see in 2016.

This year I had several firsts: Other than a joint editing role in Denizens of Steam, which was also the first self-published wiork I've taken part in (the team work didn't make it feel self-published at all!), I did an on-line book launch for Once Bitten which was graciously hosted by Steven Chapman and my first interview with Poseidon's Scribe, Steven R. Southard and guest blogged for the first time at Rie Sheridan Rose's blog.

So what does 2016 have in store? Let's get there and I'll show you! In the meantime, take a weight off, sit back and enjoy the read!


Friday, 30 October 2015

Full Steam Ahead!

So many things to blog about today so let me start off small. You can read Jack Be Nimble a short Halloween themed horror story at 101words.org today.

I am also guest blogging on fellow author, Rie Sheridan Rose's blog, about 'Core Craving' my story in the 'Hides the Dark Tower' anthology.

Then there is the wonderful news that Shark Nose, a horror story set in WWII, has come third in the Rambunctious Ramblings Publications horror contest and so will be published early in the New Year. Woo Hoo!

Finally, comes a book launch which all started off with a nice cup of tea at the first year anniversary party at the Scribblers' Den with one of those throw-away comments, "We could publish the stories in an anthology." I said and now here it is. Two months and a lot of tea, discussion and editing later, here it is!

Denizens of Steam is available through Smashwords and should have formats compatible with most e-readers. Best of all it is absolutely FREE as we want it to promote our work and the Scribblers' Den/Steampunk Empire Community. So get your copy and read and review it! We want to make noise all over the net!
 
Have a Happy Halloween!
 

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Planners vs the Pantsers: the NaNoWriMo challenge!


This doodle-in-poor-taste came from a throw-away comment someone made!

Attack of the Pantsers
*the slow, grinding caterpillar treads of procrastination and the occasional barrage of inspiration*

NaNoWriMo* came into my vocabulary around the 20th of November last year, and not having a clue what it was I Googled it but discovered I was too late to sign up for 2014 challenge. Being able to get 50,000+ words down on 'the page' by the end of the month was not a possibility. However, I vowed that 2015 would be the year, so, I did it. I 'm there. I signed up mid October. But what the hell am I going to write about? A novel, duh. This is, after all, *National Novel Writing Month (get it now?) But 50,000words in 30days? That means a religious 1,664 words per day. Doesn't seem like much but I know there will be days when I just wont look at the Work In Procrastination and it will become no more than a pipe dream, smoked for a momentary pleasure of what could have been.

Charge of the Plan Brigade
*Trumpets sound*
In order not to make a right old fool of myself(if I haven't done so already with the doodle), I am attempting (in a haphazard pantsery sort of way) to plan my novel and thought I'd let you in on my thought processes purely for your own entertainment! (Feel free to mock, but don't do it to my face until November is up cos I'm likely to bite your head off until I've got this damn book down!)

THINGS ON TO-DO-LIST DONE:
  • Got my word per day ratio. I will probably use it for counting how much I am lagging behind but at least I knew I had to monitor it.
  • Built a history for the world created. There was mention somewhere of needing 100 years of history before the time you are writing in! (A-hem...)
  • Formed clear blurry character profiles. I know if they are good guys or bad, but that might change in the middle of the story, it depends. Their reactions in different situations? What food they eat? Their habits? Let me get some life into them first dammit!
  • Have one or two (or even more) bits of action that I want to include, written in notes. Boy meets girl and falls in love. There is conflict between them. It is resolved. THE END. No, I'm not writing a romance, but I figured that if Mr Gaiman can claim that all his stories are about love, (see the foreword to Smoke and Mirrors) I thought I'd do the same and see if his talent and luck rub off on me.
Um...I think I actually have quite a good idea (that's far from objective, of course). This story, which has a working title of 'Island Hopping...'on the NaNoWriMo site, has been in my head for far longer than I like to admit. Every summer, my key writing time, I attack it again and hope to wrestle it into something that resembles a novel. This summer I dealt with a smaller chunk and turned it into a short story which then went on to win RRPI's Deserted Island Contest. That's given me the incentive to finally tackle the bomb blasts of inspiration that litter the battlefield like 7,000 word corpses and see if I can breathe some life into them. (Are you sick of the battle analogies yet?) So the crux of this is, I shall be posting my joy and sorrow here over the coming month, all moral support welcome. I have never written anything this long, this fast before so let's see what happens...

Other news:

My award winning story 'The Night Before' has been accepted for the Far Horizon's anthology 'Forever Hungry'! Very excited about that!

If you want a small fright for Halloween look out for 'Jack Be Nimble...' coming to 101words.org on Friday 30th October. 101 words of horror!

Fox Spirit Books, publisher of 'The Girl at the End of the World' which includes my story 'Vanquish', was awarded the Best Small Press by the British Fantasy Society this week! Go Fox Spirit! You deserve it! Look out for more of my work in Fox Spirit in the New Year in the Fox Pocket 'Reflections'!




 

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Hides the Dark Tower - Available Today!

Hides the Dark Tower, the long awaited anthology from Pole-to-Pole Publishing is available from today! So if you haven't already placed an order for your copy, why not do so? It is a stunning collection of creepy and enchanting tales all about towers. From the dark and scary to the fairytale kind, there is something for all readers of dark fiction. Of course, there's also my tale Core Craving. So if you have an insatiable reading appetite you cannot satisfy, you know what Hides the Dark Tower!
 Also available from the following vendors
 Kobo
Oyster
Scribd
Tolino
Page Foundry
 

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Scatterbrained reading habits, unfinished writing projects and ignorance.

Scatterbrained reading is my worst habit. If you look at my reading list on Goodreads you'll see what I mean. I've recently updated it, but I bet I still haven't included all the books I've got on the go. My target of 26 to be read by the end of the year, is a realistic number of those I'll complete, although I'll start three times that number. Some I've had going for years and others for days, some I finish in an afternoon. I have been wondering if this a reflection of my disorganisation in general or a reflection of the writing I choose to read or perhaps I have undiagnosed AADD? (This is not meant to be a flippant or disparaging comment, I seriously wonder if I do.) My writing flows a similar route; I currently have in the region of 30 projects on the go and flit from one to the other adding, tweaking and amending. There is order and purpose but my muse is mercurial and likes to wind me up.

Then, on a FB forum I frequent, the question posed was 'Is there a book that you've started and never finished?' It begged a kind of judgemental answer that I happily capitulated to giving. I've since seen two other bloggers following suit this week. So, I'll throw in my tuppence worth to this as well but that is not all!*

Some contributors on the aforementioned forum, claimed they would never again pick up a book once they had given up, I am not that type. I may put a book down again and again, but I will finish it eventually, even years after I have started it. Is this determination or pigheadedness, you decide. In each point of view, there is something to be gained.

On the forum, I mentioned The Mists of Avalon as being one such book that I came back to again and again until I finally did finish it but there were many titles I could have used as an answer. The ones I struggle with are some famous and others obscure. Is it because the prose is bad? Or perhaps outmoded or, as one blogger friend suggests, the author was writing when there was nothing of its kind against which it could be compared and, though he didn't say it, got published on a novelty vote? But that begs the questions what makes a trashy best seller bad prose but a good read? Or why are some classics the toughest books to get through?

My reading habits are lessons for my writing; when I do put a book down and change to another one, I have to ask myself what made me do so? Equally, a I ask what made me want to read more of the ones I finish in a day? More often than not I find grammar errors annoying but not off-putting. (Something much more frequent with the increased popularity of self-publishing). Rich vocabulary is invigorating but one can go over the top. Repetition has to be the real killer for me. If characters are forced into recurrent situations and little or no progress is made then I plod through the book. The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant is one such case. I consumed the first trilogy with glee but by the second book of the second trilogy I was struggling and now I see there are another four books of which I knew nothing! The second trilogy still sits on my shelf some twenty years later. I will read to the end eventually just in case there's a surprise in store and to see if poor Thomas is finally cured of his leprosy. (No spoilers please, I will read even the newer books eventually just find out!)

So why is it that these stories do not grip me in the same way let's say Harry Potter does? I am reading the full set back-to-back with my kids at present and it feels like talking to an old friend. Voldemort can fail to kill HP over and over but it doesn't bother me, why? Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles are the same for me. I love Lestat's lamenting! These books may not be eveyone's cup of tea, but they are examples of what doesn't bore me.

With that said, my theory is that it is actually just that - the cup of tea thing. It is the reader's state of mind which plays a huge role in enjoyment of a book. Books I read in my teens, not all teen fiction I must assure you - one of my favourite books was a collection of essays by George Orwell, do not appeal to me now. The ones that I shunned at Uni are now my favourites. We change as people and evolve and so, of course, do our reading habits and tastes.
So it would seem that it is important not to be elitist or judgemental of the writer quite so much as the reader. Anyone who can write, should write, but that doesn't mean she or he will become successful nor does it mean that those who do, always deserve to. As a writer, try another genre, play around with style, who knows what you will achieve? Anyone who can read, should read and any kind of reading gives a little something.

One of the trends on the Net are lists. We have become crazed neo-Victorians, trying to categorise the infinite realms of information available to us, shamelessly pushing all our prejudices and idiosyncrasies to the fore in the name of order. You have surely seen those must-read lists popping up on social media; 'How many of BLAH genre have you read?' Implying that quantity is quality and that whatever is omitted from said list just doesn't make the grade. We gladly tick off the titles and feel satisfaction, for it is an opportunity to gloat and count ourselves 'in' or collate a list of the books we just have to read. For the record, I do check my score but I am usually disappointed and left feeling somewhat lacking.

As a reader, I turn back to the cityscape of books around my house and the burgeoning Kindle app on my phone and wonder if I will ever be knowledgeable enough, well-read enough and able to walk the thoroughfares oft frequented by the cyber intelligentsia with my head held high? As a writer, I wonder if my work will ever be subject for discussion or if I will find one of my humble stories on a must read list? But I fear not, being a philosophically positive type, I like to think of something not done or achieved as a future goal to be obtained, and I keep in mind my favourite quotation.
 
"Εν οίδα ότι ουδέν οίδα."
(I know one thing: that I know nothing.)
Socrates

* N.B. Due to a fickle muse, I have been writing this post on and off for the best part of six months so please don't feel I am flogging a dead horse. I hope you will see that my theme has another direction eventually!
 

Monday, 21 September 2015

Afternoon Tea Anyone? And a quick catch up on news.

As you know I've been doing the Steampunk thing in a big way of late and this weekend I participated in my first on line tea party!  The Scribblers' Den in the Steampunk Empire celebrated it's 1st Anniversary on September 19th. The event was hosted on line with lots of witty banter, tea & cakes, tea duelling and of course, a short story competition! All of the entries are available to read here at the moment, but the Denizen's are toying with thee idea of an ebook to be made available at some time in the near future. My story 'Walk In The Park' got lashings of praise so I was very pleased especially as it was something I rushed off in a couple of hours!

Rambunctious Ramblings Collective Ramblings: Volume One, which includes my winning Steampunk story 'Synchronysi', is available for pre-order through an indiegogo campaign. Please sign up to get your copy!
This weekend 'Hides the Dark Tower', which include my story 'Core Craving', has gone up for pre-order on Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and i-Tunes. The full list of contributors is as follows:

Laura Shovan, A.P. Sessle, Larry C. Kay, Jeremy M. Gottwig, Richard Chizmar, Steven R. Southard, Rie Sheridan Rose, Kelda Crich, M. J. Ritchie, Edward McDermott, Brad Hafford, Jeff Stehman, Andrew Gudgel, N.O.A. Rawle, Meg Belviso, Daniel Beazley, Jonathan Shipley, Briana McGuckin, Robert E. Waters, Kane Gordon, Kelly A. Harmon, Evan Dicken, Anatoly Belilovsky, Vonnie Winslow Crist, G. Scott Huggins, Ray Kolb, Alex Shvartsman, Jeremy Zimmerman, Peter Schranz

 

 

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Island Hopping from Steampunk to Synchronysi

Don your goggles, I have some Rambunctious news!
 

But first things first, if you do not know what Steampunk is let me take you on the adventurous voyage I took to Steampunk and hopefully you will learn a little more!

I was a Goth. I say this in all seriousness but with the sly smile of one forced to join AA but with no will to do so. Meaning I still have a Bauhaus moment or two and although I no longer practise Bela Lugosi's Dead on my double bass, you will hear me screaming along to the Cult Revolution or prancing about to Sisters of Mercy Temple of Love.

Goth, as I know it, has nothing to do with Emo. I do not, and never did, mope around in cemeteries, although I do have a strange admiration of Victorian funerary art. Neither does it have anything in common with Black Metal or devil worship. That said, I love dark fiction and movies related to these things and I am not at all creeped out talking about death and what it might mean (if anything)!

So how does this get to Steampunk? The answer is simple; I get German Goth magazines Zillo and Orkus because they have free Cd's! (That's as modern as my car music system gets!) My knowledge of German is nil, which you'll know if you've visited here before, but the magazines include fantastic photography of all those Goth festivals such as Wave Gotik Treffen where you can see the most amazing costumes! As one of the many jobs I've had was as a theatrical costume designer I was captivated, especially by the Victorian inspired ones.

Then, a lot later, through the group Write 1 Sub1 that I joined to encourage myself not to procrastinate too much in my writing aims, I met (as one does in cyberspace) Beth Cato who, besides making delicious cakes and biscuits, better yet also writes fabulous stories to read while you are stuffing your face! She shot to fame in 2014 with  The Clockwork Dagger which was quickly followed up by the ebook The Deepest Poison and in the summer of 2015 The Clockwork Crown all of which are Steampunk stories. So, having read those, I started to gen up on Steampunk and all that it encompasses.

During my Research I discovered that many of the commercial movies I love are considered Steampunk by some. Wild Wild West being one of the first. (Who cannot love Kenneth Brannagh as the evil Dr. Arliss Loveless or Will Smith as the steaming hero, Jim West?) Van Helsing and The Prestige both staring Hugh Jackman, Sherlock Holmes and Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter.

Then I came across many sites on the subject. I will mention a couple that have given me not only more idea about the genre, but also help and support in my writing endeavors. First and foremost, The Steampunk Empire whose Scribbler's Den denizens, amongst others, are the friendliest bunch I've met steaming through the Aether. I would also like to put in a good word for Beyond Victoriana who are forging the way for racial equality in the world of Steampunk.

Still feeling in the dark? If you have read H.G. Wells' 'The Time Machine' etc. or anything by Jules Verne then you will have some idea how the Victorians saw the future. Now imagine an Empire melded with that future but as reality, add to it a measure of the tech we have now (steam powered of course) plus a good dash of racial and gender equality not found in the British Empire, a few fantastic weapons and a splash of villain, a dash of magic and some airships/spaceships/submarines. Don goggles and/or a corset and voila! You have Steampunk!

In terms of writing, Steampunk is a genre that I have been travelling oblivious for, well, quite a while! I started a story years ago (I won't divulge just how many but where I come from we say donkey's years!) that was Steampunk all along but I never knew it. Andromeda Stowe is a feisty female character who knew where she was going and what she was doing even though I didn't. She's been trapped in the Aether until now. Rambunctious Ramblings Publishing Inc. host a quarterly short story contest and the last one was on a Deserted Island theme. Thanks to an encounter with an overly large spider and being stranded up a mountain by a fallen tree (for all of half an hour!) Andromeda Stowe has started and awesome new adventure to 'Synchronysi' which you will be available for your enjoyment in Collective Ramblings Volume I in 2016 and perhaps there will be more Island Hopping adventures to come...

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Where do you get your ideas?

Ask a 1000 writers and you'll get a 1000 answers. It's one of those bug-bear questions. When I get something published (hooray!) I try to tell the story behind the story but it ain't always easy (and sometimes I simply don't want to share!) In this post I thought I'd let you into my thought processes.
 
This is a gorgeous treasure chest that sits just inside the front door of my godmother's house. I've always loved it as it's got gorgeous colours and seems pretty old - about a century if I were to hazard a guess.
Due to the fact that it is a delightful hiding place for palm-sized hairy brown arachnids it has never really been used for more than dumping empty carrier bags. This summer I thought I'd do it up so that we could use it for storing winter blankets.

The brass plate at the front has been painted with horrid poo-coloured gloss which I have no idea how to remove but the paper lining, which was all torn, was a much easier challenge so I decided to replace it. To get the perfect finish I had to smooth the surface. As I scraped off the old paper that lined it I found this label.
It reads:
Z D Mr Dyer
Station: Stolpen (Sao**an)
3 Nov 1924
(Make out what you will, the original isn't much easier to read!)

Now this set me wondering all kinds of things: Who did it belong to? Z.D. Dyer? If so, who was Dyer? Why was he/she travelling from/to/in Germany? (My knowledge of German is zero.) What did the trunk contain? Why was the label on the inside of the trunk? OK, I admit this last one is fairly easily answered; as the label was sideways on the inside, the wood that made this chest was second-hand and had probably been used for packaging something else. This still leaves the question: what? Finally, why is the parrot in the left upside down?

With a little Google Research I discovered that Stolpen is a city in Saxony, Germany on the borders with Poland with a rather beautiful castle. It's famous as being the birth place of the Dolls, a circus family, and it has a Basalt rock formation which bares striking resemblance to the Meteora in Kalampaka not far from where I live.

This is fuel indeed for a story! Here's one scenario off the top of my head: A circus family has something to hide (treasure/family skeleton/real skeleton!) sends it in a trunk to Greece because they have a family member there who will guard it. Perhaps this person is a monk in one of the Meteora monasteries or an acrobat/escapologist cousin who is attempting some crazy feat of daring on the Meteora rocks. Of course the plan must go awry either through sabotage or by accident and then all the characters will have to set matters straight again. I could throw in a love interest and add something related to the parrot design, perhaps as a clue to finding the treasure or solving the mystery.

I hope it is clearer how the things I do/see/hear/read can inspire a story. My scenario, based on the input, might be very different from one you came up with. I've been going through a big Steampunk thing recently (more on that another time) and all my stories are leaning that way of late! You will probably have interpreted the material to fit the genre you feel most comfortable writing in.

Needless to say, I have not finished renovations on the chest (hairy arachnid has a winter home for another year) but the story has taken root in my head. I will let you know what comes of it, if anything ever does!

P.S. If you happen to know Z.D. Dyer or the origins of this chest I'd be delighted to hear about it!

 
 

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

August Horror Update!

It's been a cool summer in many ways and now that August has rolled around I've started thinking autumn! I know most of you probabaly equate August with holidays and heatwaves, but not me. (It's a cool 35°C as opppsed to 45°C of last month.) I can feel the nip in the morning air, the first leaves are fluttering listlessly on the breeze and thunder storms are churning the night sky.
Last August gave me my first competition win with Hot Air Balloonimg on 99 fictiom.net (check the link on the right if you haven't read it). This year I have my first online book launch for Once Bitten! Join me and a host of other horror writers on Facebook on Saturday 15th at 6pm GMT for giveaways, excerpts and whole lot more.


Here is the final cover for the digital version of Hides the Dark Tower.

As you can see there are some pretty good writers included. I am (as yet!) not well known enough to make it to the credits on the front cover but am still honoured to have my story inside a book that is shared by so many other well-known writers of creepy tales! Remember the book will be available for sale in October, just in time for Halloween!

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Once Bitten - Get your copy now!

If you are looking for something to get you through those lazy days of summer then here it is! The super new anthology from Knight Watch Press Once Bitten, edited by Steven Lewis. It includes my story Thrill of the Chase as well as a whole host of thrilling tales from Jacob Prytherch, T. Fox Dunham, Martin Nike, James Park, Elle Joyce, Nic Martin, John R. Fultz, Sheldon Woodbury, Spencer Carvalho, Michael Seese, Ian Faulkner, Steven Chapman, James S. Dorr and Tim Jefferys.
 
Click on the links to order your Copy:
 
 

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Hides The Dark Tower Art Work Reveal

I'm really pleased to be able to reveal to you the art work for Pole to Pole publishing's "Hides the Dark Tower" anthology which includes my story "Core Craving".


It has been rumoured that my story will be rubbing shoulders with some well-known names in the horror genre. (I am very excited!) I am waiting for more details on the rest of the contributors before I reveal all, so watch this space!

Friday, 5 June 2015

Chain Links

'Wrapped In Chains' is the second story I've written from a dream. (The first will be published early in 2016 in the Reflections Fox Pocket anthology from Fox Spirit Books.) The story doesn't have much to do with the dream (which was quite boring as dreams go) but the song does! I woke up with this refrain in my head and thought it must be some old pop song that I'd forgotten but when I Googled it there was nothing to be found so it became the inspiration for this dark little tale instead!

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Those Who Can, Do on 101 Short Stories!

Did you ever get told that 'Those who can do and those who can't teach'?

I heard it a lot when I was in my late teens and it's kind of haunted me since then and even more so since I took up teaching a few decades ago! It always wound me up because there are so many brilliant teachers out there who devote their lives to chivvying reluctant youths through a very limiting and limited education system, trying to get them to see that they are super creative individuals who are bursting with potential if they can only learn to channel that energy in the right direction. There are also so many kids who struggle with the system's clear biases and rebel and lose out just because they can't be judged by the standards through which 'education' operates.

'Those Who Can, Do' (101 version) describes the awful (possible) consequences of when this system fails not only the student but the teachers too. There is a longer version in which it is clearer that the teacher goads the child to breaking point in an attempt to set them both free in a kind of ritual sacrifice. This story will perhaps one day see the light of day too.

(Note: I don't endorse the actions of the kid or the teacher in this story but I understand how they could develop in any school at any time.)

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

A SANTA STORY ISN'T JUST FOR CHRISTMAS

Today sees "Santa Workshop" up on 101 Short Stories - I love this site - they like my work! The story behind this one came around Christmas time of course, although it's theme is timeless.

Christmas gets lost in shopping fever and gift giving is a capitalist's dream. It's also a time when everyone suddenly gets charitable and donates to the cause of their choice. This set me thinking about someone who wanted to donate more than their cash. This year, my Children reached the stage where they are beginning to question the existence of Santa too. These things combined put me in mind of perhaps, a retired gentleman who wishes to relieve the suffering of child labour in sweatshops. Now what if he, running on the premise that Santa is a good guy and that all children love Santa, cultivated his look to resemble Santa? He'd have in mind those Christmas card images of Santa bouncing kiddies on his knee, no doubt. There are children who have know idea who Santa is or even who he is supposed to be. What if those forced to create plastic Santas day-in, day-out, were confronted with the real thing? I think being faced with a real life Santa would be a nightmare come true.

I hope I haven't fallen into the trap I wanted to highlight; that we all too often view the world around us clouded by our own cultural perspective and more importantly, it is vital that our own desires are not fulfilled at the expense of others' freedom.

Friday, 10 April 2015

Dirt Won't Hurt!

Here's a quick read for you on 101 Word Stories, Dirt Won't Hurt. Share it with your friends!

It's one of those stories that came in a flash (pun intended). But it's true. I woke up at about 3am with that well-worn phrase that all mums use, rolling around in my head and the story flowed straight out after! In a few minutes I had it down on paper. Of course, there was a little tweaking to get it exactly 101 words!

I've had more than one suggestion that I expand this but where to go? Positive, hybrid super human? Or negative, end-of-humanity? Perhaps something else entirely...

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Flash News!

I'm pleased to report two items of good news: First, I got an email to say that one of my flash fiction pieces "Dirt Won't Hurt" will be published on the 101 word short story site next week. This is part of a competition voted in 'shares' on Facebook and 'tweets' on Twitter so be sure I will be getting in touch about that when I know more!

Secondly, I am up for Author of the Month again (!) over on The Noble Artist's site. There are excerpts from my story and those of some other top stories by Angel M. and Roh Seymour on Facebook.

Don't forget that the "Once Bitten" anthology is out on April 11th from KnightWatch Press!
 
Busy, busy, busy!


 

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Boudinot's key to success? Publicity...

I happened upon an article in The Stranger while perusing the Web a few days ago. If you are a writer, you know the one; it has caused scandalised reactions from the writing community. It amounts to little more than outright insults dressed up as 'home truths' for a career in writing but it's one hell of a marketing ploy.

I too, like those who are not so fortunate or lucky to have the time or money to devote every moment of my life to writing, also got more than a little riled at the position of Mr Boudinot, ex MFA tutor. That said, every free second I do have goes in that direction. If I were to do as he advised my family would starve. His comments are not only ageist  but also anti-family, I was going to write sexist but there are many dads out there who write and whose financial input is earned from jobs other than writing and is required to keep the family going.

I think the majority of writers write not with the idea of fame at the forefront of their minds but because it is hard not to do so. Sure the dream lingers in the background, after all there are very few who do not want public recognition for their work. Speaking for myself, it's like an addiction or an itch I can't help but scratch. It doesn't matter if I am good at it or if is good for me, it is simply something I cannot resist. I am happy to know that my stuff gets published. I don't mind that I didn't publish for years - it doesn't mean I wasn't writing - I simply wasn't submitting. I'm not bothered that it hasn't made the top ten of anything either. Who knows, maybe one day it will.

Mr Ryan Boudinot has earned himself a lot of publicity through his article. There are many who will snap up his books now just to see what he can do now he isn't teaching or look into the Seattle City of Literature Project which he's currently involved in to see if they can confront him in person. Just for the record, I will not be one of them. My curiosity is aroused but I will not fall into his wily marketing ploy (and I live far away from Seattle). I have plenty of other books to read and more importantly, I have little enough time as it is to devote to my own project - writing.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

First I would like to thank...


...the competition organiser, the publisher and the artist who inspired this story. I would not have this award if it were not for him! (Wipes tear, exits stage left.)

Read "The Night Before" here and like Jamie Noble a.k.a. The Noble Artist on Facebook!
 
 
 





Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Once Bitten!

The first acceptance of 2015 is a rather special one for me; "Thrill of the Chase" will be published by the UK horror publisher KnightWatch Press in their "Once Bitten" anthology due in spring this year.

Cover art for "Once Bitten" by Stephen Cooney
"Thrill of the Chase" is one of those stories that has lingered in the recesses of my mind since I was a teen but never made it to the page as more than an odd scene or trail of dialogue until recently.

I always found the process of falling in love, the angst and anticipation, the heartache and self-doubt so much more alluring and intriguing than actually being in love. (I had far too much else on my mind to be bothered with all the hassle and demands which that put on my personal freedom. Now older, wiser and less impatient, I can see the benefits of the long haul!)

Still, is it not true that the pursuer often becomes the slave of her desire? Didn't your mother warn you be careful what you wish for because it might come true? If you go looking for love you may get more than you bargained for. But that of course is the "Thrill of the Chase" !

Saturday, 3 January 2015

CRYSTAL BALL FOR 2015

It's that time! Teetering on the cusp between two years, I'm looking back at what has gone in 2014 and looking forward to what will become in 2015! And of course, the essential resolutions, which for a writer, are hopefully concrete goals.

2014 was fantastic! Although it wasn't the year of my first writing success it's the first year I consistently wrote and submitted stories and poems. This process was helped by the on line group inspired by Ray Bradbury's determination Write 1 Sub 1. Here I found a very supportive gathering of like-minded authors and writers of all levels of success. If you are a budding writer check them out! I never even made the Light Ray Winner! as I only had 7 pieces published since joining the group but I had 11 in total. (One short of the goal of one piece per month.)

The thing that surprised most of all was that all the poems I submitted were accepted! I have never really considered myself much of a poet but it seems others think differently. Three went to The Literary Hatchet alone! The other, "Bondage" a critical look at consumer society, (in case you dared not read that far) along with "Passerby" made it into the "Darker Times Collection" but are now only available on line. Of course, "Earthbound Angels Return" inspiring the cover of "Fever Dreams" was an honour! Thanks to Peter and Stephanie Bennett for that. Amongst the other stories I had published I had two competition winners. One in July with "Hot Air Ballooning" on 99fiction.net which I found out about while on holiday and really made my week super! 99fiction.net is 'a quirky Social network' where writers can post and discuss all the questions and queries in great company. And then there was "The Night Before" on The Noble Artist as Author of the Month for December, which made Christmas perfect! This was another discovery made via social networking - this time a discussion group on LinkIn.

One of the collaborations that crosses over the two years is that with Fox Spirit Books, an independent Publisher based in the UK. They really started the ball rolling when they accepted "Vanquish" for the "Girl at the End of the World" anthologies, published in May 2014. My piece on how I was influenced by cult TV was added to their blog in November and next year will see the publication of "Tickets to Ride" in the Fox Pockets anthology "Reflections". Not only that but I have reviewed several of their books and will be adding these to this site in the near future.

So to the future and those resolutions...

First and foremost is to find the time to write every day, not always an easy thing to do with day jobs and a family taking priority.
Second: I'd like to become at least a Light Ray Winner on Write 1 Sub 1 and get 12 pieces published this year. (A Ray Bradbury Winner is 52 - one per week - I can dream of this!)
Third: Sure, I'd love to have a whole book with my name on it! Will I venture into self publishing on the Web to do this? I don't know. I think you have to be real certain that what you write is in demand. Am I?
Fourth: I have a secret project I want to complete and if it comes to fruition you will read about it here soon enough!
Fifth: I'd like to write more about the writing process and the thoughts I have on it here in the blog - rather than just advertising! With that go the book reviews I mentioned earlier.

So after my first year of this writerly blog all that remains is to wish you a happy and inspired 2015!