Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Next Best Thing.

There’s a blogosphere meme going around called ‘The Next Big Thing’ and Lee Moan tagged me as one of his next ‘Big Things’ which was a surprise because I did tell him that the naked photograph I sent to him of me was a private matter… but he must have been so impressed that here I am…

And here are the questions:

1) What is the working title of your next book?

Well, I’m working on a few titles at the same time but the one I’d like to finish and get out there as my many fans *cough* have demanded that I do is called ‘They Made Monsters’ and is the follow-up book to my ‘Flames of Herakleitos’

2) Where did the idea come from for the book?

The ‘Monsters’ idea came from the fact that there were plots in ‘Flames’ that begged to be continued. Although ‘Flames’ can be read as a stand-alone novel the end does hint at a sequel.

3) What genre does your book fall under?

Most definitely Dark Fantasy, although there is a smattering of SciFi in there too.

4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Well the main character, the heroine is Lucy, a young woman haunted since her childhood by the death of her father, through spontaneous-human-combustion, which she witnessed. But it wasn’t SHC as such, it was a rift in space/time through which something appeared and stole his soul. I could see someone like Gina Carano playing her. Someone who won’t take any crap from anyone. Someone who is probably tougher than her partner and other main character, Raven.

 Raven is a fanatical sword-freak, a Goth, a horror film-star who doesn’t quite understand that the parallel world he follows Lucy into is playing for keeps, it’s not a movie. Chris Hemsworth with long dark hair and tattoos would fit the bill.

On the parallel world they befriend an old sword master, Raven’s kindred spirit. His name is Pieter, I see Jean Reno with long grey hair tied back in a pony-tail with a katana slung over his back, pommel rising to one side of his head. Yeah!
Main bad guy is Luther Krell, a mage and a bloody nasty one. Cold and calculating, the quiet power of Terence Stamp is my pick.
Krell’s sidekick, another baddy is Davvid. A wannabe mage held back by his master. Billy Zane would fit just right.
Another bad guy (who I actually imagined in my mind when writing him) was Vincent D’Onfrio for the part of Sarreg an over-weight, over-indulgent mage who wants to be leader of the senate and will stop at nothing to be so.

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

“In a parallel world, where stolen souls are used to power golems, a young woman from ours continues her battle for vengeance on those who killed her father.”

6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

‘Flames of Herakleios’ was published by Screamingdreams, as of yet ‘They Made Monsters’ hasn’t really been touted around. I want to finish it before I do so.

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

It feels like all my life, and it’s still not finished!

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Phew… None really, I don’t think anyone’s come up with the same idea. I suppose, as parallel worlds go and the idea of falling from ours into another to do battle against evil then perhaps, Donaldson’s Thomas Covenant story? But that is very, very, cheeky of me. Donaldson is a giant; I am the ant he just stepped on.

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Me, myself, I. It’s one of the many that’s inside my head trying to eat their way out. I just hope I can write them all before they succeed.

10) What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?

I don’t keep my money in a bank but bury it in a hole somewhere. I might leave clues throughout the book and perhaps a map… (Insert tongue firmly in cheek here)

Now I have to pass the baton on to other writers who are The Next Big Thing and I suggest you check out:

Rhys Hughes.
Another writer from my home town of Swansea but of an entirely different cut of cloth to me. I’m perhaps a sort of osnaburg which is a coarse linen or cotton (much like my writing) whilst Rhys I would say is more of a chenille, which is a lot posher and described as: velvety silk, wool or cotton fabric with protruding pile. He’s definitely velvety with his prose, has the quality of silk etc, and has been to see the doctor about his protruding pile…
Rhys is an absurdist writer with over 600 tales under his belt… tales I said, not tails.
He can be found here:  http://rhysaurus.blogspot.co.uk/
I’m not going to list his books because he has too many!

Jo Thomas
Also known as Journeymouse writes Speculative Fiction and enjoys swordplay (keep out of her way if she is attempting to do both at the same time)
She’s in an anthology called Outlaw Bodies which can be found here: http://www.wizardstowerbooks.com/products/outlaw-bodies-lori-selke-djibril-al-ayad
And here:

Or a sample of her writing can be found for free over at The Hub
And at Crossed Genres
Her website is here: http://journeymouse.net/wp/

Last but not least is Kristine Ong Muslim
Kristine hails from the Philippines (I’ve listened out of my window but can’t hear her) but there’s plenty to read as Kris is the author of the flash fiction collection We Bury the Landscape (Queen’s Ferry Press, 2012), the poetry collection Grim Series (Popcorn Press, 2012), and several chapbooks.
She’s also the poetry editor of LONTAR: The Journal of Southeast Asian Speculative Fiction, the quarterly literary journal published and distributed by Math Paper Press in Singapore.
Kristine’s website can be found here:
And her book ‘We Bury the Landscape’ containing 100 short stories and prose can be found here:

Well, in the words of that insouciant lagomorph… ‘That’s All Folks!’

'I'm late! I'm late!' said the White Rabbit.


I recently sent off one of my short stories to Toynbee Studios London who were looking for Dark Fairytales for their 'Are You Sitting Comfortably' evening of performances Friday evening 30th November. The stories will be performed by White Rabbit
who are described as being: 'A unique story-telling cabaret event' and who have toured to many spectacular venues in the UK including National Theatre, Thames Festival, Diamond Jubilee Pageant, Toynbee Studios, Wandsworth Arts Festival, Islington WORD2012 Festival, The Basement and Jackson's Lane.
Anyway, my story 'Dawn's Kiss' was accepted for performing and I was invited to London for the performance (a condition within the brief) however, as some of you may know, my damn kidney is playing up again and I'm not really fit enough to travel all the way to London from Swansea, especially if I end up in agony and ultimately in A&E like the last two times! Therefore, unfortunately the story couldn't be used for the evening performance. But there is an up side to this and that is White Rabbit enjoyed the story so asked to make it into a podcast and will be featuring it on their site and on Itunes once the performance in Toynbee is done, 12pm 30th November.
Here's a link to where it will be available: Podcast
And the Itunes page: Itunes download

Artsadmin site

 News from the burrow (White Rabbit site)

Remember, these link won't be live until 12pm 30th November 2012. I hope you enjoy my story :)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month

Mother please don’t cry for me, for I have gone.
My pain’s embrace has left, though you feel it still.
Turn your anguish to joy, for I am at peace.
In our trench’s arms I lie; a sweet release.

And softly then the tender rain falls like blood,
Upon our upturned faces that see no more.
Lovingly sweeps the red mud from sightless eye,
With purest tears wrought from God’s own summer sky.

And our trench fills with a profuse torrent then,
Carries remains of its hopeless protection.
Earthen walls, sandbags and bodies, everyone.
Seeks to escape the carnage we have become.

We’re but empty vessels of our former selves,
The flow that seeks to wash away our remains,
Blushes as it turns an even redder hue.
Shamed witness of those, who know not what they do.

Mother, the foe were like us; all someone’s child.
No malice in their hearts; there was none in ours.
Around their feet I beg you, let no blame, pool.
Cheap were our brief lives; sent here by those who rule.

We were as but leaves on a great tree grown old.
But as the leaves fall, so shall the strong oak too,

Weakened, helpless to stand against folly wind,
Roots consumed from within by men who have sinned.

Leaders who knew the cost in our blood and lives,
At their spotless boots must all blame be now piled.
Vain, they called the piper, bade us pay the tune,
In granite should their shame be forever hewn.

So to grave we go; I hope for the best cause.
As symbols of the imprudence of conflict,
Peacefully safe with our friends, men, brave and true.
War that took so many……
                                     . . . .  Begun by so few.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Free Halloween Story - One Last House


Halloween morning:

‘Please don’t ask me again. You’re the child, I’m the parent and that’s that. What I say goes, there’s no discussion. Now drop the subject or I won’t even allow you to go trick or treating.’ Elaine’s mother, Glenda, emphasised her statement by tapping her foot and shaking a finger at her daughter. Elaine’s face reddened and her eyes began to glisten with the promise of tears. ‘And if you start crying again it will only confirm that you are still too young to understand and perhaps it would be best if I did keep you in tonight.’ With a superhuman effort the little girl bit back on the sob that threatened to escape from her tight throat, nodded and went up to her room.
     ‘Glenda, you can be hard on times,’ Elaine’s father, Jim said looking up from his paper, his breakfast finished.
     ‘Listen, she’s too young. Once she’s of an age to understand the dangers out there then I’ll let her do what she wants. It’s different from when I was a child. Things were safer then, I could go out dressed up and knock on strangers’ doors, but times change. It’s not safe.’
     ‘You don’t have much faith in our daughter,’ Jim said folding the paper carefully.
     ‘It’s not a matter of faith. It’s just Prudence.’
Jim closed his eyes for a moment. ‘Of course, sorry.’
     ‘That’s ok; you know how I get this time of year. I’ll never forget.’
     ‘But you’ve said that was a long time ago dear.’ Jim rose and gave his wife a hug.
     ‘Yes, that’s just what I mean. People are more aware nowadays.
     ‘Ok, perhaps I’ll have a quiet word with her too,’ he said.
Glenda nodded then gave her husband a peck on the cheek. ‘Thanks you know she listens to you more than me. Daddy’s little girl.’
Jim smiled, looked at his watch and said, ‘I’ve just got time before going into work.’ Then he shrugged on his jacket and went up to his daughter’s bedroom.

Halloween Evening:

     ‘Are you sure you’re going to be warm enough?’ Glenda asked her daughter as she fussed with the little blue jacket the child was wearing.
Elaine rolled her eyes and sighed. ‘Yes, Mum. Will you stop fussing? I’m going to be late.’ She picked up her plastic bag which contained the canister of silly string for her ‘tricks’ and plenty of room for her ‘treats’.
     ‘Ok, ok, go, enjoy,’ her mother said as she ushered her child out of the door and into the chilly night. The street outside was already thronged with a plethora of ghosts, ghoulies, vampires and all other manner of fancy-dress costumed children. One, a mummy, trailing an unravelled piece of bandage from one leg, approached Elaine and the two children walked off excitedly into the night. Jim came from the living room and put his hands on Glenda’s shoulders.
     ‘Looks like she’s one of the very few without a costume,’ he said.
Glenda turned. ‘Perhaps next year.’ She glanced out once more for a final look but the children had already gone from view. Reluctantly she closed the door.

     ‘Have you got it?’ Elaine asked Rachel, her mummified friend.
     ‘Of course, you didn’t think I’d let you down, did you?’ Rachel mumbled through the bandages over her mouth.
     ‘Cool!’ Elaine replied excitedly and just checked they were out of sight of her house before delving into Rachel’s bag and extracting the clothing. It was a witch’s costume, complete with pointy hat, false wart-covered nose and broomstick. ‘Great, I thought you looked really scary in this last year, thanks for letting me borrow it.’
     ‘S’ok, doesn’t fit me anymore anyway,’ Rachel said as she helped Elaine get dressed. ‘What’s the matter with your mum? Why won’t she let you dress up?’
Elaine shrugged. ‘Something to do with her sister, my aunt. She died. A long time ago though and mum won’t really talk about it.’
     ‘Oh,sorry,’ Rachel said as she straightened Elaine’s cloak, ‘there, you look fab. I’m really scared, that nose looks horrible, all those ugly warts and veins.’
     ‘Har har, I haven’t put it on yet!’ Elaine said testily.

The two friends commenced their tour of the small town. Before long their plastic bags were weighed down with loose change, sweets, an apple or two and even a piece of homemade cake. Rachel’s canister of silly string had been exhausted and consigned to a wastepaper bin but Elaine shook hers. ‘Plenty left in mine yet.’
     ‘You’re just not nasty enough to be a witch,’ Rachel commented. ‘I emptied mine ages ago.’
     ‘Yeah, I noticed,’ Elaine said as she pulled clumps of the silly string out of her hair. ‘I’m bound to need this here anyway,’ she motioned towards a dark house set back from all the others. A single light from a naked bulb shone from an upstairs room.
     ‘Old Man Robinson? They say he was a preacher, you know, before he got kicked out of the church,’ Rachel said looking warily at the shadowy house.
     ‘I heard he was a surgeon who lost his licence for cutting off a man’s leg,’ Elaine replied.
     ‘Aren’t surgeons supposed to do that, anyway?’ Rachel turned towards Elaine and tilted her head.
     ‘Yes, but they’re also supposed to cut off the bad leg, not the good one...’
     ‘Yes, ohh... Anyway, whether he’s a mad preacher or a stupid doctor I bet he won’t give us any treats, so he’s going to have this! The rest of the canister!’ Elaine said brandishing the silly string.
     ‘I don’t know, it’s getting late. Perhaps we should go now,’ Rachel said glancing at the house again.
     Elaine tapped her foot mimicking her mother’s actions flawlessly. ‘Late? You’re just scared, big baby.’
     ‘Not scared, it’s just late. Come on we’d better go, don’t forget you’ve got to change too.’
     ‘You go then; I’ll catch you up and meet you at the corner again where I changed into the costume. I want to finish off my silly string. Just one last house.’
     ‘And what if Old Man Robinson gives you a treat instead? Are you going somewhere else then to use it up? You could be out all night!’
Elaine frowned. ‘Didn’t think of that.’ She scrutinised the dark house. ‘Bugger it, even if he does give me a treat he’s gonna get stringed. Anyone with a creepy old house like that deserves a good stringing.’
     ‘Potty mouth. Ok, go do your dirty deed, I’m off. I don’t want my legs sawn off.’ Rachel said and shambled away glancing once over her shoulder as Elaine approached the shadow-filled porch to Robinson’s house.

Former Lay-Preacher Ezekiel Robinson put down the book he was reading and sniffed the air. The hairs on the back of his neck stood on end and he frowned. When his doorbell rang he just nodded as if confirming to himself that his premonition had been correct, then he raised his wiry frame out of the threadbare chair and went down to confirm his suspicions.
     ‘Trick or treat, sir?’ The little witch asked him when the door opened and he stood there open-mouthed, hardly believing his luck.
     ‘What?’ He managed to mumble finally.
     ‘Halloween, trick or treat,’ Elaine faltered, Robinson seemed mesmerised by her, ‘sir...’
His face brightened. ‘Of course, Halloween. Come in, child, come in.’ He stepped to one side and motioned for Elaine to enter the dimly-lit hallway.
Elaine swallowed nervously. She hadn’t expected an invitation to go into the old man’s house. She looked around quickly, but Rachel had gone. She hesitated.
     ‘The treats are in my study, please, do come in,’ Robinson repeated and before Elaine knew it the man had gripped her shoulder. He urged her inside.

Glenda paced back and forth in the passage way. ‘She should be back by now.’
     ‘You know what kids are like; she’s probably playing with Rachel. It was Rachel in the mummy costume wasn’t it?’ Jim asked.
     ‘Of course,’ Glenda replied and then sighed as the doorbell rang. ‘She’s back!’ She pulled the door open and looked past the little mummy-figure expecting to see the blue-coated shape of her child. Elaine wasn’t there. ‘Where is she? Rachel, where’s Elaine?’
The mummy shuffled uncomfortably and dropped the plastic bag. Out spilled an apple, some sweets, a piece of cake, loose change and the sleeve of Elaine’s blue coat.
     ‘Talk, now!’ Glenda commanded and Rachel spilled the beans. She told Glenda everything, unable to do otherwise.
     ‘Preacher Robinson, shit. Of all the damned places to go into alone. Jim, take Rachel home.’ Glenda picked up Elaine’s coat and narrowed her eyes. ‘I haven’t finished with you yet, Miss,’ she said softly to Rachel and the child’s blood seemed to freeze in her veins. ‘She’s wearing your costume, too?’
     ‘Yes, it was too small for me, a witch’s costume,’ Rachel stuttered.
     ‘A witch’s costume...’ Glenda echoed and Rachel nodded glumly.
     ‘Ok, Rachel. Let’s get you home,’ Jim said and patted the child’s head. ‘You want the car?’ He asked Glenda.
She raised an eyebrow at him. ‘No... I’ll be fine.’
     ‘Just be careful,’ he said.
     ‘Obviously,’ Glenda replied as she pushed him out of the door and went back to the kitchen and opened the tall cupboard.

Gloominess shrouded the porch to Preacher Robinson’s house. A gloominess that seemed to emanate from the small child that sat sobbing quietly on the door step. She fingered something wet and slimy at her side and jumped when a rustling from nearby bushes startled her. ‘Who’s there?’
     ‘Your mother,’ replied Glenda as she stepped out of the foliage, brushed herself down and looked around suspiciously. ‘Are you all right?’
Elaine nodded. ‘Yes. I didn’t expect him to invite me in. I didn’t expect him to do what he did. I’m sorry, mum, I really am. I should have listened to you. The costume too...’
     ‘So, what happened?’ Glenda asked as she approached the step.
     ‘I asked him for a trick or treat and I sort of got dragged into his house. The door closed and...’
     ‘...and?’ Her mother prompted.
Elaine shivered and motioned to something on the step next to her. ‘And...’
     ‘That’s the trick? Or is it the treat?’ her mother asked as she picked up the slimy toad and examined it.
     ‘That’s... Old Man Robinson,’ Elaine replied.
     ‘Ah...’ nodded her mother, ‘he perceived you then. He saw you for what you really are. I feared as much when Rachel said where you were... and just look at you. Why don’t you just wear a great big placard too?’
     ‘I didn’t think...’
     ‘Undoubtedly, that’s why I’ve been so protective of you. Not everyone is capable of perceiving us, but some are. He’s one.’ She nodded at the toad which squirmed in her grasp. ‘But, on the plus side, you did very well. Transfiguration isn’t all that easy, yet you’ve done a fine job. Unfortunately we can’t allow him to revert back. It just wouldn’t be a good idea at all,’ Glenda said as she closed her hand and the toad exploded with a wet plop.
     ‘Sorry, mum,’ Elaine said reaching up for her mother.
     ‘That’s ok,’ Glenda replied as she picked her child up and carried her to the bushes, ‘perhaps it’s time I told you about Aunt Prudence and what happened to her in 1780. We thought the witch hunts were over, we were wrong then and many of us have been wrong now. They still remember. Some still perceive us. We have to be more than careful now. There aren’t that many of us left.’
     ‘Is daddy mad?’ Elaine asked.
     ‘Of course, dear!’ Glenda laughed. ‘What sane man would marry a witch? But, that’s beside the point. Now, jump onto my broom and let’s get home. By the way I like what you’ve done with your nose...’