Monday, 22 September 2014

Guest Author Interview - Marilyn Peake

Marilyn Peake joins me in this week's guest author interview to discuss her latest release 'Shade'. Discover more below:

Click on image to buy from Amazon

Please introduce yourself, who are you and what do you do?
Thanks so much for this interview! I’m the author of both novels and short stories. I also love traveling and photography.

What first inspired you to start writing?
Literature and writing are something I fell in love with at a very early age. In elementary school, I loved the art of storytelling. In high school, after taking English Literature, Honors English, and Creative Writing classes, I fell head over heels in love with both reading and writing. I was inspired by writers I read in high school. I started to read different types of literature on my own. One of my favorite authors in high school was John Steinbeck. I read everything by Steinbeck that I could possibly find. One of my favorite poets was Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Two of my favorite plays were THE CRUCIBLE by Arthur Miller and THE GLASS MENAGERIE by Tennessee Williams. Every work was so unique and beautifully written, I felt inspired to begin trying my hand at writing in high school.

And what motivates you to keep writing?
Now I’m motivated to keep writing by the experience of beginning to get an idea for a story, having the details take shape in my mind, and then at some point in the actual writing process, a door to an entire world suddenly opens and I get to step inside and finish creating the rest of the story. It’s an exhilarating experience! I’m also motivated to keep writing when I hear from readers that my writing has touched them in some way—that’s incredibly motivating for me.

Which author do you most admire and why?
That’s a tough question because I admire so many authors! I have a great deal of admiration for Hugh Howey. His WOOL series is phenomenal, as is his success in indie publishing. Not only has he succeeded beyond most writers’ wildest dreams, he never forgot his early days as a struggling writer and continues to offer advice and opportunities to other indie authors.

Where do your best ideas come from?
Many of my best ideas come from the news. Destructive world events really get to me and I frequently find myself writing a fictional story based on events in the news.

What unique characteristic do you bring to your stories?
I’d say adding unique fantasy and science fiction twists to real-world events. For example, in response to the near collapse of the worldwide banking system, I wrote a short story titled OCCUPY FAERIE, in which an evil faerie teams up with a corrupt politician and works to undermine the Occupy movement.

What was the last book you enjoyed reading?
Hugh Howey’s WOOL series.

What are you working on at the moment?
I was so fired up reading Hugh Howey’s WOOL series that when I found out Amazon had opened up fan fiction opportunities for the WOOL series, I sketched out an idea for a story, contacted Hugh to ask his permission before proceeding, and am now about three-quarters of the way through writing a story set in the WOOL universe. I’m very excited about this project!

Tell us about your latest release and how we can find out more.
My latest release is SHADE, a Young Adult Mystery novel with Paranormal elements. I’m delighted with how well SHADE has been received. There have been a few times I’ve actually welled up with tears, reading a review in which the reviewer mentioned being deeply affected by the story and the main character, Shade.

Here’s a summary of SHADE:

Thanks to her offbeat mother, Shade’s full name is Galactic Shade Griffin. Having a name like that while being the new girl in school is pretty much catnip for bullies. The summer before Shade’s junior year of high school, her mother breaks up with yet another boyfriend and moves them once again to a new town.

This time, they move into a dilapidated old house where Shade has an entire attic bedroom to herself—at least until she discovers it’s haunted by the ghost of a teenaged boy named Brandon Yates. When Shade’s best friend goes missing, her life becomes even more complicated. With the help of Brandon who’s struggling with his own issues in the world beyond, Shade faces the question of whether or not she has what it takes to become a true hero.

Although this novel deals with a number of serious issues—drug and alcohol abuse, cutting, and disturbing world events—it's primarily a novel about a teenaged girl finding out who she really is and that she's capable of so much more than she ever thought possible.

Here’s the Goodreads page for SHADE:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21941910-shade

And here’s a link to my website:

http://www.marilynpeake.com

Click here to buy Shade from Amazon US / Amazon UK

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Tales of the Imp - Duck Face


The latest drabble from the Tales of the Imp series has been posted in the Indie Book Bargains newsletter and the little devil has made himself a new friend!

If you've not read the previous drabbles in the series then you will find them all here:

http://thecultofme.blogspot.co.uk/p/tales-of-imp.html

Duck Face

Sweet Jesus what had the yellow horror done now! I ran in the room and discovered feathers and blood all over the room. My lovely sitting room with my expensive new TV all covered in gore. I’d heard a strange commotion moments before, quacking and screaming like nothing I could have imagined and now I saw why.

“What have you done?” I asked him.

He turned to face me and I beheld the true horror of it. He wore a duck’s face stretched across his own. The beak flapped as he spoke.

“I have a duck’s face,” he told me.

Short Fiction Archive

I'm fortunate that there is a lot of great short and flash fiction (especially drabbles) on my blog. Some of it is written by me and others submitted through the monthly short fiction contest I host. Up until now these have been spread throughout the history of my blog but from now on I will add any new items onto this new archive page.

I've organised the page so that the stories are listed by title and grouped by author. So take some time and read through the stories on offer here. There's some great stories to be enjoyed.

If you have a story that you'd like featured on this blog then feel free to get in contact and I'll take a look!

Stories Listed by Title


Stories Listed by Author

Short Fiction - My Father, The Clown by Darren Grey



Darren Grey's story 'My Father, The Clown' won third prize in February 2014's short fiction contest.

My Father, The Clown by Darren Grey

http://twitter.com/dgrey0

My psychiatrist keeps telling me I should talk more about my father, be open about what happened, and about why I behave as I do today.

It's not easy though. So often I wake up at night in a cold sweat, remembering the children screaming, the smell of rubber from twisted shapes of animals, the horrible laughter piercing through all other sounds. I can still remember so vividly my father’s eyes, painted in sadness as he laughed like a maniac. It chills me.

All my friends were afraid of him. He would try to play with them, forcing them to sit as he enacted his gross “entertainment”. His daubed visage leered before them, their young faces twisted in horror and revulsion beyond their years. They hated him, and in turn grew to hate me.

The red nose, the blanched face, the garish clothes. They hover before me in my dreams, pushing on top of me, smothering me till I am forced to accept them, to smile and laugh with them, even though I'm crying inside.

I stand in front of the mirror, painting a forced grin on myself, my eyes still sad as I decorate my body in multi-coloured clothes. I stare at my reflection, wondering is this really myself? Why do I do this? As I affix the red nose I ask myself, why have I become the thing I hate?


But my psychiatrist tells me it’s normal for those who were amused as children to go on to be amusers themselves.

Short Fiction - Smiles on a Screen by Daniel Richardson



Daniel Richardson's story 'Smiles on a Screen' won second prize in February 2014's short fiction contest.

Smiles on a Screen by Daniel Richardson

http://danwhofilms.tumblr.com/

My name is Emily and I have a very strange problem. There is a man who watches me from my television set. Well, not a man, but rather a clown. I noticed him one night while I was brushing my teeth. I had the bathroom door open and in the mirror above the sink I could see the television in my room.  I was watching some advertisement for a new soft drink but the image flickered away into silence, and then he was there. The white figure of his shaven painted head lit up on the surface of the black screen. He smiled at me and watched. Just watched.

His wide, yellowed eyes scanned my body up and down invasively with a frantic nature that froze me to the spot. I stared back at him through the mirror and as my eye line met his, he stopped still. His pupils expanded in an almost hungering manner. Red lips slowly parted to reveal a grimace of rotten teeth. The wet pink of a tongue flicked out between the gaps of his grin smothering the makeup on his upper lip as he licked his mouth. That was enough to snap me out of it. I spun round as fast as I could, not wanting to take my eyes off him for a second, but when I turned, he was gone. In his place a smiling lady who’d just livened up her party with the introduction of the drink from before. Had I imagined the whole thing? It seemed real enough. I knew there was a horror movie marathon coming up on this channel so possibly the clown had been some kind of viral marketing thing for it. I swear he looked me right in the face though.  Not wanting to take any chances I went straight over to the television set and turned it off at the mains and, being admittedly a little frightened, I took the extra pre-caution of turning it to face away from my bed.

I don’t remember when it was I finally fell asleep but I do recall when I woke up. At first I thought I was having a nightmare.  When I woke up the room seemed darker than it had ever been. I looked over at my clock but there was no digital red numbers flashing on its L.E.D display. It was the breathing that scared me though. Long and loud breaths came from the foot of my bed. The noise seemed to come from behind my TV. I walked over slowly. Each step brought me closer to the deep, long and exaggerated exhales. I noticed the TV was plugged in again. My trembling fingers crept over its sides. With a twist I pulled the screen to face me and…nothing. The screen was blank. The breathing kept going, though I wasn’t sure where from. Then the warm hair hit my ankle. Followed by the spider-like grip of a make-up covered hand. I looked down. He smiled.

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