Thursday, 21 May 2015

Drabbles of Art - Untitled by Zdislav Beksinski

Finding the pictures for the Drabbles of Art series is a lot of fun and sometimes I receive some excellent recommendations and last week it was suggested that I check out Zdislav Beksinski and this untitled piece immediately grabbed my attention. I wasn't sure what the story would be at that point, but that didn't take long to come.

If you want to read the previous drabbles in the series then you will find them all here:

If you klnow of a piece of art you'd like me to consider featuring then leave a comment below and I'll take a look.

Untitled by Zdislav Beksinski

Even in Hell you can find love, and perhaps that is the greatest torment of all.

Alone the pain is endless. The scorching dust shrivels the flesh and desiccates the soul. There’s no respite, but eventually you almost grow accustomed to it.

Then I met her. Another traveller in this desert of suffering. In the howling gale we couldn’t talk and never even learned each other’s names. Small comfort came from holding each other close, entwined in limbs as dry as sticks.

Alone I endured, but watching the constant despair in her eyes my pain is magnified a thousand fold.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Drabbles of the Gods - Toyotama-hime

"Edmund Dulac-Urashima Taro-1916" by Original uploader was DreamGuy at en.wikipedia
In this week's Drabble of the Gods we travel to the far east and meet the dragon of the sea - Toyotama-hime.

If you want to read the previous drabbles in the series then you can find them all here:#


In the gaijin tongue she is the lady of the bountiful soul, the dragon of the sea. She fell in love with the mortal fisherman Hoori and they lived beneath the waves. In time he yearned to return to the land above and despite her pregnancy she agreed.

They lived in harmony until the time of their son’s birth. She bade her husband to leave them unobserved for she knew that only in her natural form could she give birth.

He allowed curiosity to overwhelm his promise and ashamed that he’d seen her true form she fled into the sea.

Monday, 18 May 2015

Sun Dragon Featured in SpaSpa Book Awards Long List 2014

I'm very pleased to reveal that Sun Dragon has been listed twice in the SpaSpa Book Awards 2014 long list. The first entry is in the science fiction category and it's also been listed in the best cover category. You can check out the all the listed books here:

While you're there why not sign up for the newsletter with dailt Kindle book bargains and a drabble?

2012: NASA's Curiosity Rover lands on Mars to search for signs of whether microbial life existed on the planet.
2018: The first alien lifeform, a simple wormlike creature is discovered, gripping the world's imagination.
2022: The first manned mission to Mars begins the longest and most dangerous journey ever undertaken by humankind.
From hundreds of potential candidates, six astronauts from countries around the world are selected to crew the historic mission. Led by Commander Samantha Collins, they must travel across the gulf of interplanetary space, over 150 million miles from home and help. Their mission is to investigate alien life, but what they discover is far beyond what anyone ever imagined...

Review Highlights
"The crew went to Mars to find a small worm, evidence of life outside of earth. What they found was amazing. I love this premise and the uncompromising way it played out for the rest of the book."

"At the very end, there is one description that is so stunning that it left me with a great sadness, but also with a great sense of beauty and hope, and it is what Sun Dragon is, really. Look beyond the words, read the book with your imagination."

"I thoroughly enjoyed this. The level of detail about space flight is astounding and for someone, like me, who has fantasised about being an astronaut since I was a lad it's riveting."

Buy now from Amazon (US):
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Guest Author Interview - Tony H. Latham

I am joined by crime fiction author Tony H. Latham in this week's Guest Author Interview - discover more below:

Click on image to buy from Amazon

Please introduce yourself - who are you and what do you do?
For most of my adult life, I was a Conservation Officer charged with enforcing laws protecting wildlife in the wilds of the western United States. In the U.S. the job is colloquially referred to as a game warden. (If there are similar, law enforcement jobs in the U.K. they are probably assigned to the Wildlife Crime Unit.)

The job involved patrolling for poachers, initiating overt investigations taking on long-term undercover assignments and making arrests. I hung up the gun and badge in 2009 and retired. I really loved it. Given another life, I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

What first inspired you to start writing?
In the early part of my career, I was assigned to infiltrate a group of crooks that were trafficking in wildlife. For six months I worked the group in an undercover fashion and lived, “played,” drank, and broke the law with them. It turned out that this group went far beyond wildlife crimes, and I was shocked by their ludicrous depravity. Rape seemed to be part of their culture. Thievery and violence were part of their chosen life styles.

It was my first undercover assignment, and I found the role I took was twisted; one big walking-talking lie. It was contrary to my law enforcement training and the way I was raised.

For eighteen years, that investigation haunted me. I knew there was a book inside me that wanted out. With retirement, I didn’t have an excuse. Curiously, the book helped me put things to bed that had been walking in my sleep for a long time.

I found that I really enjoyed writing, Trafficking, a Memoir of an Undercover Game Warden.

And what attracted you to writing crime fiction?
Some of my earliest memories are of jumping on my bicycle and heading to the library. I must have been around ten when I started those crosstown road-trips. I’d check out five or so books and by the end of the week I’d haul them back and check out another bike load. Invariably, those early books were from the Hardy Boys mystery series. I recall at some point in my youth being chilled by The Hound of the Baskervilles. In telling this story of my youth, it makes me wonder if my early reading didn’t have something to do with my crime fighting days. Or was it always in me?

After my memoir was labelled a success by readers and reviewers, I hungered to write another book. But what? Although I had been involved in many other investigations that had affected me, I felt that none of them had the depth needed to form a novel-like story. I didn’t have another Trafficking in me.

To this day, my go-to reading genre is mystery. I love Michael Connelly’s, Harry Bosch Series and James Lee Burke’s Dave Robicheaux series and of course Tony Hillerman’s tales.

So how can a burgeoning author write anything other than what he loves to read? Thus, my debut crime fiction became Five Fingers which is a story about a small-town game warden chasing an extra-evil bad guy.

If you could spend a day with anyone from history, who would it be and why?
As we say on this side of the pond, it’s a no-brainer: Jack the Ripper. How would I respond to a monster? How human was he? What created him? Would I change history? Would we have closure? Or would my blood end up on the cobblestones of London? It’d make for one hell of a day.

What was the last book you read?
I just finished Gettoside: A True Story of American Murder by Jill Leovy

I’m currently reading Stephen King’s Mr. Mercedes.

Where do you like to write?
I have an office that my wife calls the Growlery. She says there are voices that echo from the room when the door is shut. I explain it away by telling her that dialogue doesn’t pass muster without hearing it first. I think there’s truth to that.

What is your favourite word?
I’d have to say that it’s ludicrous. I had so many absurd experiences in my undercover days that the word has just stuck with me.

What are you working on at the moment?
It’s a stand-alone sequel to my debut novel, Five Fingers. I had so much fun creating the characters in that book that I just had to find out what happened to them. At least the ones that I didn’t kill off. And of course it gave me license to create another evil bastard. It’ll be titled Seven Dead Fish and will be available early this summer.

Tell us about your latest release and how we can find out more.
Five Fingers is a tale about a game warden stationed in a small town in the western U.S. He’s trying to solve a string of night-time deer killings. His investigation leads him to conclude his perp is involved in a burglary and stolen firearms. What he doesn’t realize is that the guy has a much darker plan for a two-legged victim. If you’d like to find out what it’s like for a backcountry lawman to be chasing meth-fueled psychotics in the middle of the night, give it a go but keep the light on. You can read more on my webpage at

Click here to buy Five Fingers from Amazon

Sunday, 17 May 2015

June Short Fiction Contest

By Cyberjunkie (Own work) via Wikimedia Commons
Quite often it can take ages to find the image for the next month's contest. This month's proved an exception. I'm sure that you'll agree that this is quite an awesome door! It might be a bit much for my house but it does make a good piece for inspiring June's contest submissions. I wonder what lies behind that door...

As always the stories can be of any genre. They just have to be inspired by this month's image and no more than 500 words.

Entry to the contest remains free and there are prizes for the three winners. I will also feature any of the stories that don't win but I believe are worth showcasing on this blog.
  • First prize is a £50 Amazon gift card or PayPal prize
  • Second prize is a £20 Amazon gift card or PayPal prize
  • Third prize is a £10 Amazon gift card or PayPal prize
The money for the prizes come out of my own pocket, although I do make a little from advertising on this blog. So if you see something of interest then feel free to click on the links and purchase away! If you haven't tried my books yet then check them out at the top of the page, as well as buying a good read you'll be helping this contest.

Please make sure to check your story for typos before submitting. I don't mind a few errors, but my enjoyment of a story is diminished if I have to wade through too many.

I'll post the winning entries by July 1st 2015.

As with everything in life there are a few rules:
  • Only one entry per person.
  • The story must not be longer than 500 words.
  • Closing date for submissions is June 21st 2015.
  • By submitting the story you grant me a non-exclusive license to post the story on this blog. I do ask that I post it here first.
  • You also grant me a one time non-exclusive license to include the story in an e-book release.
  • The judge's decision is final.
Use the form below to enter your submission. After you've submitted please leave a comment on this page stating that you have submitted. And please help spread the word. Great stories deserve great readers!

As well as comments section below you can chat about this competition in any of the threads I've listed below. If you don't know the sites then entering the competition is a good way to introduce yourself. Note that these sites are not affiliated with the competition in any way!

If you've started your own thread or discussion somewhere about this month's competition then let me know and I'll add the link to this page.

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