Monday, 28 September 2015

Book Review - War 2.2 by Jim Webster

This is the second book in the author's Tsarina Sector series and while I enjoyed the first book a lot, this one outshines it by quite some margin! As with the first book this story does an excellent job with the world. Many sci-fi stories fall for the trap of shoehorning technology in to make it more spacey, but the setting is so naturally described that the technology just slots into place.

More importantly it's a believable world that the author creates. In many ways it doesn't feel like a sci-fi story simply because of how easily everything slots together. I enjoy hard sci-fi and can happily enjoy reams of technical data this is more easily accessible and is something I think the genre needs more of.

Marvelling at the world building is one thing, but if there isn't a decent story in there then it becomes a dry exercise. Thankfully the story is excellent and flows at a decent page. The insurgency has a Vietnam war feel (the French one) that is well captured. There's either some personal experience or effective research here as it all feels quite authentic for the action and military sequences.

It isn't all about the troops on the ground though, there's also an investigative thread that adds background. The characters are all well drawn with some new faces along with those from the previous book. The reporter carries most of the story and I did eyebrow raise a few moments of how he flitted from one role to the next he carries the central role well.

It's at this point in the review that I talk about the bits I didn't like and to be honest I'm having to dig deep here. The first is something that I rarely comment on and that is the cover. This is definitely a case of not judging a book by its cover as it really doesn't really reflect the quality of the story or the writing. So if you are a reader who's usually put off by this type of thing then don't be in this case.

The other issue was a few proofing errors, there aren't many and to be honest I'm scraping the barrel to counter how much I enjoyed this book! For me this is a solid five star read and a second book in the series that surpasses the first. I can't wait for the next in the series to be released.

Click on image to buy from Amazon

An action packed investigation, from Delta mud to the palaces of Merchant princes, Haldar is back in War 2.2

Haldar Drom is starting to worry. The long running insurgency in the Zala Delta suddenly starts to spiral further out of control. Who is arming the insurgents? How and why? Then a leading local politician who is using his influence to try and keep things calm is threatened with assassination. It's obvious that things are moving to a climax.

All Haldar has immediately available is a third year university student who gets given a dissertation project she'll never forget; young journalist who he convinces to investigate the situation of the ground; and a retired marine librarian whose job is to keep the politician alive. As the investigation proceeds, from the mud of the Delta to the luxurious surroundings of the Drake Islands, Haldar comes to realise that he may be facing Wayland Strang's counter-attack. Faced with a coup d'├ętat spearheaded by off-world mercenaries Haldar has to react quickly to stop a major war.


Click here to buy War 2.2 from Amazon (and it's a brilliant military sci-fi read!)

Currently Reading - American Coven by Amy Cross

Click on image to buy from Amazon

He kidnapped three women and held them in his basement.

He thought they couldn't fight back.

He was wrong...

Snatched from the street near her home, Holly Carter is taken to a rural house and thrown down into a stone basement. She meets two other women who have also been kidnapped, and soon Holly learns about the horrific rituals that take place in the house. Eventually, she's called upstairs to take her place in the ice bath.

Over time, however, Holly learns about a mysterious power that exists in the basement, and which the three women can use as they struggle to escape. When they finally manage to get through the metal door, however, the women have no idea that their fight for freedom is going to stretch out for more than a decade, or that it will culminate in a final, devastating demonstration of their new-found powers.


Click here to buy American Coven from Amazon

Sunday, 27 September 2015

September Short Fiction Contest Winners


That fun time of the month has arrived and I have picked the three winning stories for September's Short Fiction Contest and for the first time a poem has won the competition! I say this every month, but this month's image by the wonderfully talented Luciana Nedelea (check out her other amazing artwork here: https://www.facebook.com/LucianaNedeleaArt) attracted an impressive variety in stories. It's not an easy task to pick just three winners, but it's also an enjoyable one!

Before announcing the winners I'd like to thank everyone who entered and to everyone who helps support this monthly contest by reading and sharing.

And now for the winners:

 - First prize of a £50 Amazon or PayPal prize goes to R. Judas Brown for his poem 'Mary, Mary'
 - Second prize of a £20 Amazon or PayPal prize goes to Pete Fisher for his story 'The Last Child of Eden'
 - Third prize of a £10 Amazon or PayPal prize goes to David J Wing for his story 'Entrenched'

Congratulations to the winners and here are their stories:

Mary, Mary by R. Judas Brown

https://twitter.com/RJudasBrown

Mary, Mary, dead 'n buried,
How does your garden grow?
With tainted blood and bone-rich mud,
Skulls leering in a row.

Parents weep, their sons asleep,
Why did you take them so?
Their souls have left their bones bereft,
I tried to tell them no.

Can you blame the touch they gave,
Did your dress lead them on?
Not their's to own, nor their's to touch,
Now they are dead and gone.

What is solved by blood and tears
This world will never see?
For these young men, it changed all things,
They hurt none after me.

The Last Child of Eden by Pete Fisher

https://www.facebook.com/petefisherauthor?ref=hl

The light had been sucked from the land many years ago. Plump flesh that was once warmed by the Sun was now just a distant memory and the stuff of tales that had, upon a time, been told by the Grey people.

“Draw closer, my child,” a bony hand extended from the ragged cloak. The child turned its head towards the sound of the voice; eyes closed where vision no longer remained, and nostrils expanding in the hope of smelling food.

The fire was leaping into the sky, revered by all. It had become the sun, the moon, the stars the giver and the taker of all things.

“Hold my hand child, I will tell you the story of warm sun, green fields, full bellies and water that flowed in rivers and streams that had not been tainted with the taste of death.”

Paper-thin flesh stretched over fragile bone that could hardly feel the sensation of a touch. The nerves that would transmit these senses to the brain were dying; a merciful relief from the torment of pain, but a cruel deprivation of the touch of love.

“Can you feel that, Child?” A thorn was slowly pushed into its hollow cheek.

“It feels like a kiss. Is it a kiss?”

“It is whatever you want it to be my child. Remember this: all the while that you can hear me, and your mind can conjure the images from my words, I can take you to those lands of long ago. To that place where a child like you was the hope for the future instead of the legacy of the curse from the past.”

A rain-stick was held to the child’s ear and it sounded like cool water tripping over river stones. A cloth bag filled with the dust of long forgotten flora, and yet still holding the scent of meadow flowers, was held to the child’s nose.

A tapestry of images was weaved in the child’s mind with words well measured and chosen, and the child smiled. “It is beautiful. It is beautiful … never before have I seen it so vividly. Will I soon feel the warmth of the sun on my skin?"

The child was lifted and cradled in bony arms and they moved into the fire. Its flames, for a moment, bowed before them and then closed them in its embrace.

“I can feel the sun, I can feel it upon my skin. It is wonderful. Will you walk with me in the summer meadow?”

“It will be my honour to do so, for you are the last of your kind,” said Death.

Entrenched by David J Wing

davidjwing.wordpress.com

…and there he stood, immobile, seized by the forest floor and pulling with all his might and mind to escape. The scars ran the length of the sky, reaching up and scoring with dark fingernails, deep. His feet; entrenched in skull and calcium of all shapes and sizes begged for freedom. Stretching out his arms and flailing, he grasped at the air and wrenched forth only coal; pitch that stained his hands and chalk that drenched his calves.

The creature, for that was all it could ever be, beckoned.

A silhouette, hunched and black. Blacker than the night’s cloth, it must have seen him, though he couldn’t know for sure. The last vestiges of light ran from those spindled tree fingers and he could all but make out the sound of a sigh in the far distance.

It was the feet, or lack there of that frightened him so. They vanished into the ground and clung. Their dark trails spread, like water on a canvas and diluted the forest carpet from ashen white to cinder oven grey. Then it came; fluid and frantic in equal measure.

The faces on the stumps watched, leered on, stared at what he knew would be, and could only be. He tugged. His sunken limbs flailed and ripped at the ground. For a moment he thought he felt something moving beneath; a worm maybe? Each time he looked back it felt as though the spectre paused. He could all but feel its smile creeping out from the dark and taunting him.

There it went again; the squirm, the slither…no, a tug. His right foot edged closer to the surface, his left still staunch and onward came the dark.

The soil, sodden and yet frozen, the air, heavy but still open. He could feel the hope crawling up his spine, like a wish set free…and then the right loosed. His shoe lost below, but his foot felt the surface once more.

His joy immeasurable until he looked back.

The dark lunged and dowsed his left leg in an acid heat. The night’s steam scolded and tore it from him. The scream shook the forest and seemed to destabilize the moon. A shaft fell to the floor and revealed the bloodied stump but also a desperate chance.

With one leg he flew forward and down. His nails tore at the lichen and swam in the earth. With every “step” he edged farther and farther from the dark. He could see the Sun, edging higher over the mound. A chewing sound echoed in the back of his head. As his palms warmed in the morning heat, he stole a glance back.

Dark dined well.

Sun Dragon on Kindle Countdown Sale

In preparation for the impending launch of the Tau Ceti Mission (more news on this coming very soon!) Sun Dragon is on Kindle Countdown sale for the next week. So until  October 3rd you can pick up the Kindle version for only 99p or $0.99!


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): http://amzn.to/ZRrQ5v
Buy now from Amazon (UK): http://amzn.to/12zV5eX

Follow on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheCultofMe

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Book Review - The Cage by David Haynes

David Haynes ranks as one of the few authors whose work I'll immediately pick up and shoots to the top of my TBR list once they release a new book. Of course there's always the worry that the latest release doesn't match up with the expectations engendered from the previous books. Thankfully all remains well with this latest book.

It was the Victorian era horror that first attracted my attention, but his recent books have been more contemporary and The Cage follows that trend. In some respects the story follows a familiar theme, there is an ex-detective who is tormented by the demons of his past and he enters a new situation seeking to expel them.

One of the reasons I enjoy the author's stories so much is that he can take the familiar and add a new cast to it. He also knows how to maintain a mystery and the core of the story is kept hidden throughout, yet tantalising with its darkness. There's a blend of physical and supernatural horror here, with some very sinister characters.

The characters are well drawn, the lead character has astounding depth and the two brothers are great. The writing is well crafted and the pacing is finely balanced. All in all this is a superb horror read and a recommended read for any fan of the genre.


Caged inside Ted Armstrong’s mind are memories of his old job as a police detective: the victims he saw, the helplessness he felt.

Caged within the Hotel Cromwell is a history of horrific murder, turned into a tourist attraction by the identical twins who maintain their family business.

Caged below the earth is the evidence that Ted has been sent to discover, a legacy of blood-soaked atrocities as dark as his own past.

Caged by snowdrifts and cut off from the outside world, the hotel echoes with terrified screams, hissing voices, and the screech of tortured metal…

…getting closer and closer.


Click here to buy The Cage from Amazon (and it's a fantastic horror read!)


Just Started Reading - War 2.2 by Jim Webster

Click on image to buy from Amazon

An action packed investigation, from Delta mud to the palaces of Merchant princes, Haldar is back in War 2.2

Haldar Drom is starting to worry. The long running insurgency in the Zala Delta suddenly starts to spiral further out of control. Who is arming the insurgents? How and why? Then a leading local politician who is using his influence to try and keep things calm is threatened with assassination. It's obvious that things are moving to a climax.

All Haldar has immediately available is a third year university student who gets given a dissertation project she'll never forget; young journalist who he convinces to investigate the situation of the ground; and a retired marine librarian whose job is to keep the politician alive. As the investigation proceeds, from the mud of the Delta to the luxurious surroundings of the Drake Islands, Haldar comes to realise that he may be facing Wayland Strang's counter-attack. Faced with a coup d'├ętat spearheaded by off-world mercenaries Haldar has to react quickly to stop a major war.


Click here to buy War 2.2 from Amazon

Monday, 21 September 2015

Book Review - The Smoke in the Photograph by Kit Tinsley

There are a few indie authors who I keep an eye out for new releases from and Kit Tinsley is one of them. He writes horror stories based in his home county of Lincolnshire and based on his stories I'm not sure why anyone would want to live there!

This latest release blends two familiar tales - that of a serial killer and a haunted house and the two entwine as the story progresses. While both threads are equally well crafted I preferred the haunting thread, simply because it enjoys a bit more of a build up and also because I enjoy a good ghost story.

For the serial killer it provides the meat of the story and I'll confess that I was a little disappointed as I thought I had it all figured out. It turned out that while I did work out most of it there was a surprise revelation at the end. I enjoy a story that surprises me, especially one where the indications were there, so as well as a strong ghost story this book works well as a thriller.

As with his previous books the writing is strong, and I did recognise an improvement in the author's talent. The plot felt tighter and more nuanced than his previous work. There is some real horror here, which is well paced with the story's progression. As with his previous books I'd recommend this to any fans of the genre.

Click on image to buy from Amazon

A SUPERNATURAL THRILLER FROM THE AUTHOR OF ‘BENEATH’ AND ‘THE WILDS’

Julia Draper, an artist recovering from a nervous breakdown, moves into a new home with her surgeon husband. The house was once the scene of a brutal murder. Is there a presence in the house trying to make contact with Julia? Or is she once more on the edge of losing her mind

D.C.I. Sam Fluting is a desperate man. For years he has been trying to catch the, seemingly unstoppable, serial killer dubbed ‘The Lincoln Ripper’. With each new murder the media, the public and his superiors lose more faith in Sam’s ability to finish the job.

As the killer taunts Sam at every step, the presence in the Draper’s home offers Julia warnings for her own safety. As Julia and Sam’s stories become more entwined the stage is set for a terrifying, and violent showdown.


Click here to buy The Smoke in the Photograph from Amazon (and it's a decent horror read)

Sunday, 20 September 2015

October Short Fiction Contest


For this month's contest image I've decided to go for something a little more whimsical and not so overtly dark!

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 November 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 October 18th 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.

Old Ones Productions - A Store is Born


I'm very pleased to announce the start of my new venture - Old Ones Productions. The idea for this came from having artwork commissioned for a book cover for a book I'm planning to write next year called 'The Space Inbetween'. It's an epic tale of cosmological horror inspired by the writing of John Milton and H P Lovecraft. It was also the design currently being tattooed on my back!

The image was painted by the very talented Luciana Nedelea and I was struck by the detail of it and wanted to do more with the image. Not so coincidently I'm a fan of all things Cthulhu related and purchase a great number of t-shirts related to the mythos. None of them matched what I saw in that picture.

So Old Ones Productions will bring a range of t-shirts and other apparel and licensing some incredible artwork. The first product released is the image for 'The Space Inbetween'



The t-shirt is available now in a range of sizes and you can buy it here:

http://www.oldoneproductions.com/collections/frontpage/products/the-space-inbetween-t-shirt

As well as clothing there will be custom chess sets that I create, I have a Cthulhu themed set currently in production. It will also support future products for story related merchandise - first startibng with the Tau Ceti mission launch, more on this will be revealed soon!

You can keep up to date with the latest developments on the Old Ones Productions website here:

http://www.oldoneproductions.com/

And come and like our Facebook page here:

https://www.facebook.com/oldonesproductions


Book Review - God's Demon by Wayne Barlow

I discovered Wayne Barlow through his artwork, in particular the imagery of Hell he created for this book. When I discovered that he wrote a book involving those characters I immediately bought it. The book draws a great deal of inspiration from Paradise Lost and the Divine Comedy. As anyone familiar with me knows that I'm a huge fan of Paradise Lost. I also enjoy people's different interpretations of it and this is a good one.

The author's realisation of Hell is outstanding with a great attention to detail. As can be expected it is a brutal domain, but it's a cold and unfeeling Hell. Hell existed with its own denizens before the Fall and the arrival of the cast out angels and condemned human souls transforms the landscape.

Beyond the well crafted setting there's the core story of the search for redemption with one of the Demon Lords wanting to return to Heaven. It's a grand quest and one that involves the first true war in Hell. The campaign follows a familiar path, however there are some twists and turns and imaginative use of the demons and souls abilities to keep things interesting.

The tale is told from a few different perspectives, each carrying a different theme. Lilith's is a fascinating story, mainly because it differs from the others considerably. She's also the only female character of any significance in the story.

While I enjoyed the story a lot it does have some issues. The first is that the author doesn't wield words quite as well as paintbrush and the writing has a ponderous feel to it. It captures the scale of the events, but provides a bit of barrier for the first few chapters.

Considering the subject matter I expected more on the philosophical side and in particular more about the war in Heaven. It's mentioned as background and Lucifer is portrayed as the bad guy - he takes no part in the story directly though. He has mysteriously disappeared and I hope there is a future book revealing more about that.

Overall I liked it a lot. There are some flaws with the book, but it's a fine and imaginative read.


Lucifer's War, which damned legions of angels to Hell, is an ancient and bitter memory shrouded in the smoke and ash of the Inferno. The Fallen, those banished demons who escaped the full wrath of Heaven, have established a limitless and oppressive kingdom within the fiery confines of Hell. Lucifer has not been seen since the Fall and the mantle of rulership has been passed to the horrific Prince Beelzebub, the Lord of the Flies.

The Demons Major, Heaven's former warriors, have become the ruling class. They are the equivalent to landed lords, each owing allegiance to the de facto ruler of Hell. They reign over their fiefdoms, tormenting the damned souls and adding to their wealth.

One Demon Major, however, who has not forgotten his former life in Heaven. The powerful Lord Sargatanas is restless. For millennia Sargatanas has ruled dutifully but unenthusiastically, building his city, Adamantinarx, into the model of an Infernal metropolis. But he has never forgotten what he lost in the Fall--proximity to God. He is sickened by what he has become.

Now, with a small event--a confrontation with one of the damned souls--he makes a decision that will reverberate through every being in Hell. Sargatanas decides to attempt the impossible, to rebel, to endeavor to go Home and bring with him anyone who chooses to follow . . . be they demon or soul. He will stake everything on this chance for redemption.


Click here to buy God's Demon from Amazon (and it's a riveting read)

Just Started Reading - The Cage by David Haynes

Click on image to buy from Amazon

Caged inside Ted Armstrong’s mind are memories of his old job as a police detective: the victims he saw, the helplessness he felt.

Caged within the Hotel Cromwell is a history of horrific murder, turned into a tourist attraction by the identical twins who maintain their family business.

Caged below the earth is the evidence that Ted has been sent to discover, a legacy of blood-soaked atrocities as dark as his own past.

Caged by snowdrifts and cut off from the outside world, the hotel echoes with terrified screams, hissing voices, and the screech of tortured metal…

…getting closer and closer.


Click here to buy The Cage from Amazon

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Book Review - The Way of Wyrd by Brian Bates

I first discovered this book through one of my favourite albums of all time - Dreamweaver by Sabbat - which quite simply pure poetry with racous guitars and drums. The album is based on this book telling the story of Wat Brands' quest to discover the secrets of Saxon beliefs.

Naturally the book covers a lot more detail than the album and that extra richness adds a lot to the story. This is a fascinating journey, not only of very different faiths, but also differences in mindsets. The exploration of the less familiar Saxon faith is portrayed in a vivid style, colouring the world with its viewpoint.

As interesting as the journey is, it's the style of writing that elevates it into an excellent read. Although the one slight downside is also evident here. Generally speaking the quality of the writing is superb, with some exquisite turn of phrase that really draws you into the wonders and terrors the young monk faces. It is a bit uneven though, in patches the prose is simply workmanlike, although that does provide an accent to the pacing of the story.

It's a hard book to place in any particular genre, it's a spiritual journey, yet also a historical record. In many ways it also reads like a fantasy tale, albeit one based within a genuine belief structure. in some ways its also a horror tale with some very dark moments. I like a book that doesn't settle easily into standard definitions and the imagination and emotion of this story is something I'd recommend to anyone.


Sent on a mission deep into the forests of pagan Anglo-Saxon England, Wat Brand, a Christian scribe, suddenly finds his vision of the world turned upside down. The familiar English countryside is not what it seems: threatening spirits, birds of omen and plants of power lurk in this landscape of fallen terrors and mysterious forces. With Wulf, a sorcerer and mystic, as his guide, Brand is instructed in the magical lore of plants, runes, fate and the life force until finally he journeys to the spirit world on a quest to encounter the true nature of his own soul.


Click here to buy The Way of Wyrd from Amazon (and it's a fascinating read)


Just Started Reading - The Smoke in the Photograph by Kit Tinsley

Click on image to buy from Amazon

A SUPERNATURAL THRILLER FROM THE AUTHOR OF ‘BENEATH’ AND ‘THE WILDS’

Julia Draper, an artist recovering from a nervous breakdown, moves into a new home with her surgeon husband. The house was once the scene of a brutal murder. Is there a presence in the house trying to make contact with Julia? Or is she once more on the edge of losing her mind

D.C.I. Sam Fluting is a desperate man. For years he has been trying to catch the, seemingly unstoppable, serial killer dubbed ‘The Lincoln Ripper’. With each new murder the media, the public and his superiors lose more faith in Sam’s ability to finish the job.

As the killer taunts Sam at every step, the presence in the Draper’s home offers Julia warnings for her own safety. As Julia and Sam’s stories become more entwined the stage is set for a terrifying, and violent showdown.


Click here to buy The Smoke in the Photograph from Amazon


Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Book Review - C is for Cthulhu by Jason Ciaramella

This is an ideal book to help teach young children their first letters and words. It is a sturdy board book suitable for young fingers with bright, bold text and charming illustrations. From the front cover you can immediately tell that this is wholesome book, full of charm.

Perhaps signing my name in blood in the 'This Book Belongs to' box wasn't the wisest move as the trouble started soon after.

As I read the words of the book aloud, I discovered with the first letter that A was for the man who had written the book - Abdul Alhazred. Despite the simple words, designed to be grasped by even the youngest of minds I found it difficult to concentrate. There was a tic, or more like a sound distracting me. At first I couldn't perceive it and it teased me until I discerned a gibbering. It was the twisted laugh of the mad, of someone who had seen sights that mortal men should never witness.

And it was always behind me...

With each page I beheld fresh horrors, from strange dimensions beyond time or space. My eyes pained me as they tried to make sense of cyclopean architecture. Amidst the ruins terrors lurked and hungered with unnatural lusts.

Since the words of the last page imprinted into my fevered mind those same creatures have haunted my dreams. I have seen too much and what has been seen can never be unseen. I fear for my sanity and for my very soul.

A cracking read - 5 stars!


C is for Cthulhu is a gorgeously illustrated alphabet board book inspired by the work of H.P. Lovecraft.

C is for Cthulhu is available from Amazon.com: http://amzn.to/1gpayVk


Sunday, 13 September 2015

Last Week to Enter September's Short Fiction Contest

Painting by Luciana Nedelea - https://www.facebook.com/LucianaNedeleaArt
We've entered the final week for September's Short Fiction Contest, so if you have entered your story yet then now is the time to do so! To enter you simply write a story of no more than 500 words based on this month's image painted by the talented Luciana Nedelea and submit it through the contest page here:


There is no entry fee and the following prizes are available:

 - 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

If you haven't read the winning stories from August's contest yet then you will find them here:

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Festival of Drabbles 2015 - Drabble Books

As part of the Festival of Drabbles I will showcase as many books featuring drabbles as I can. To start that process this post will collate the drabble books that I'm aware of in this post. I'm sure I won't get them all in the first pass, so if you know of a book about, or containing drabbles then post the details in the comments below.

If you've not joined the Festival yet then you can do so here on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/events/375605662648575/

Or on Goodreads here:

https://www.goodreads.com/event/show/970201-festival-of-drabbles-2015

I'll start the list with one of mine :-)

Click on image to buy from Amazon

An Odd Quartet is a collection of four dark short stories, each with a twist in the tale.

The Yellow Lady

A grave robber encounters a ghost from a story he was told as a child.

This Empty Place

At the heat death of the universe, the Grim Reaper contemplates his existence.

Forced Entry

A special forces team enters a suburban house to rescue a family taken hostage, they encounter more than they were trained for.

The Reluctant Demon

A young demon prepares to take his possession exam.

This Drabble Enhanced edition also includes some of my favourite drabbles (100 word stories).



Click on image to buy from Amazon

100 Nightmares by K.Z. Morano is a collection of 100 horror stories, each written in exactly 100 words, and accompanied by over 50 illustrations. Inside, you’ll find monsters—both imagined and real. There are vengeful specters, characters with impaired psyches, dark fairy tales and stories and illustrations inspired by bizarre creatures of Japanese folklore.

Click here to buy 100 Nightmares from Amazon


Click on image to purchase from Amazon


A drabble is a complete story told in precisely 100 words. 100 Percent Drabbles is an collection of one hundred such stories.

These tales traverse a diverse range of genres and themes and many have an unexpected twist up around the 95-word mark.




Welcome to the wonderful world of drabbles!

A drabble is a piece of writing precisely 100 words long. A challenge to write, but fun to read, they often tell a tale with a twist or encapsulate an idea or emotion.

In this collection, perfect for dipping into in a spare moment, you'll experience the full gamut of emotions, amusing and shocking twists, several mini-series of drabbles, and a surprise or two along the way.

And, true to drabble rules, everything in the book is exactly one hundred words in length, from the stories themselves to the foreword and this blurb!

A flavour of what's inside:

The Understudy

Night after night after night for six weeks I had played the silent shopkeeper. I knew the lead role inside out, back to front, and upside-down. Yet the leading actor, so sickeningly good in the role, seemed resistant to any form of ill health or injury.
His face was a picture when he walked into his dressing room and saw me standing there in his Act One clothes.
"What the...?"
"I thought you were indisposed this evening," I clarified.
"Why would you think that?"
I didn't give him the chance to even glimpse the knife before it penetrated his abdomen.

Jump

I stand high on the motorway bridge, watching the cars speeding to and from work. I am taken back to my childhood and I see myself standing over my play-mat, toy cars spread out at my feet. I think of family and friends as I sway in the wind. I can hear sirens. And now I can see flashes of blue. For just a second, I myself consider jumping, unable to process what I have just witnessed. I look down again, see the dark unmoving shape at the side of the road. I hadn't been able to talk him down.

A Young Man's Concern

I inspect myself in the mirror, checking for blemishes and admiring the bulges beneath my tanned arms. My smile fades as the niggling thought resurfaces. What if 'it' happens? But they're waiting; no backing out now. I quickly adjust my hair (as if that's what they'll be looking at!) before dropping my boxer shorts.
I enter the room and breathe a relieved sigh, for the wrinkled faces that peer round easels belong to bodies at least thrice my age. I assume my position, safe in the knowledge that my blood supply will not be taking any unwanted diversions this afternoon.


100 One Hundred Word Tales is available from Amazon


http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00GUSUFKG/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1634&creative=19450&creativeASIN=B00GUSUFKG&linkCode=as2&tag=phasespacenet-21

The world of drabbles awaits you!

A drabble tells a story in precisely 100 words, and this book is packed with drabbles that will move, shock and entertain.

'Beyond 100 Drabbles' features 120 new miniature works, written by two of today’s most formidable drabblers. Jonathan Hill and Kath Middleton showcase some of their finest drabbles here, resulting in a collection that demonstrates the indisputable power of this popular flash fiction form.

The authors cover a plethora of genres and even take the drabble one step further by interacting in a series of ‘challenge drabbles’.

The stories are ideal for reading back to back, or individually in spare moments. The question is, can you stop at just one?


Beyond 100 Drabbles is available from Amazon (and is an excellent read)



Welcome to my world of Drabbles* and Short Stories. My anthology of short fiction is certain to entertain you with its diverse range of genres.

Some will make you smile!
Some will make you sad!
Some will make you think!
Some will make you blink!
But all will keep you interested, for there is something for everyone!

So why not Buy – Read and Enjoy?

*Drabbles are little gems. Short stories of exactly 100 words.

Click here to buy Drabbles 'n' Shorts from Amazon


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Welcome to my new world of stories. As before this anthology covers a wide range of genres but with the emphasis on more Shorts and fewer Drabbles. It is bigger and better than before.
Some will make you wonder.
I say with a little wink.
And as you sit and ponder.
Take a sip of a well earned drink.
So put your feet up, open the book and let the magic of my imagination entertain you.

I know that you won't be disappointed.

Click here to buy Shorts 'n' Drabbles from Amazon


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The stories contained in this volume are a collection of 100 word shorts known as drabbles.
What exactly is a drabble?

Noun
drabble (plural drabbles)

A fictional story that is exactly 100 words long.

The purpose of a drabble is brevity, testing the author's ability to express interesting and meaningful ideas in an extremely confined space.

I hope you (the reader) enjoy this collection of drabbles, and that it inspires those of you that are interested in writing, to sit down and really test your skills.
Drabbling is not easy, but when you read the results, it is worth it.
Thank you for picking up this book, and giving it an honest read; you may discover something about yourself within these pages.

Click here to buy The Random Drabblings of a Madman from Amazon

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Contained within this book is a collection of 40 flash fiction stories know as 'drabbles'.
A drabble is a short 100 word story that is designed to tell a story as briefly as possible. They're great for when you want a quick tale to satiate your literary appetite.
The subject matter of the included drabbles varies from the humorous, to the macabre, and strange. There's sure to be something for everyone!
Go ahead and dive into the world of drabbling; you won't regret it!

Click here to buy Here a Drabble, There a Drabble from Amazon


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Flash fiction is like glimpsing a new world through a window and being able, for just a moment, to be somewhere else or someone else. In reality, this is not one, but two books. The first book is a collection of short stories, and the second book is made up of drabbles.

Click here to buy Bananas in my Shorts from Amazon


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Flash Fiction tells us a story in a limited number of words. Poetry and drabbles are both forms of flash fiction. They tell us a story. They convey an idea, or an image, and bring it to life. Each has its own criteria. A poem might have rhyme or rhythm, whereas a drabble has limitations in size, but they are essentially the same thing. In fact, a poem might also be a drabble. Every day, my world is filled with ideas, images, concepts, and whacky thoughts. It might be a picture I see on social media that triggers it, or a walk in the country. It might be an advert on TV, or a play on words. My poems and drabbles are these little words, and the ideas inside my head that are screaming to get out are my Big Worlds. Here is a micro-drabble (50 words) to whet your appetite: Writers Block After some discussion with my agent, we came across a solution to help me overcome my writers block. I was to try and write using a different format. I put the laptop away and sharpened some pencils, opting to go Olde-Worlde. I soon got bored. Now I'm using alphabet spaghetti.

Click here to buy Little Worlds ... Full of Big Worlds from Amazon


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Drabbles are flash fictions of exactly 100 words. Growing explosively in popularity they are all over the net. Collected together here are drabbles written since 2014 based on images, web prompts and contests. 


These tales in short are snapshots of inspiration and reflections of meaning.

Click here to buy Reflections in Drabbles from Amazon


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Two short stories about seasons, childhood and the end of the world. Over 11,000 words in total.

Fifth Season:

Duncan was nine years old on 5/5. That was the day the extra season came, barging in between Autumn and Winter. For him, it was the most exciting thing ever! 

All the rest of the world wanted to know was: when will it end? And how much of the world will end with it?

Nineteen Seventy-Steve:

Steve’s summer is the best! He’s going to remember it forever. 


But can his childhood memories survive being ruthlessly inspected by his own future selves?

Click here to buy Fifth Season from Amazon


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Love bites us all at some time in our lives and always leaves a mark on soft tissue, like skin or our souls, showing that you belong to your lover. Even when those visible marks fade, they leave indelible scars on our attitudes, memories, our very souls. This is a collection of 52 stories about love, laughter and sorrow.

There is some adult content.

Click here to buy Love Bites from Amazon



An eclectic collection of 58 stories, in the form of shorts, poems and novellas, covering a wide range of genres: humour, romance, drama, science fiction, fantasy, contemporary and historical. Something for every taste. Some will make you laugh, others may bring a tear to an eye, but I assure you only the English language is bullied into submission.

Click here to buy Fifty Odd Shades of Monochrome from Amazon


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Fissures is disjunction at its most disruptive—Faulkner’s stories are “spectral spaces” captured with “hard borders” and his dangerous eye for truth.
—Pamela Painter, author of Wouldn't You Like to Know

Grant Faulkner’s stories are poetic and creepy and funny and touching and you’re going to have a swell time. I wish I had written some of them.
—Lou Beach, author of 420 Characters

Grant Faulkner is the impresario of 100-word stories. The 100 tantalizing fictions in Fissures shock and please—a precious pile of sparkling surprises.
—Jane Ciabattari, author of Stealing the Fire and California Stories

Grant Faulkner’s sharply observed, darkly funny, heart-breaking bursts of highly compressed prose offers a startling view of what reality might look like through a funhouse microscope. Fissures pushes the boundaries of flash prose, and thank goodness for that. Sometimes less is so much more.

—Dinty W. Moore, author of Dear Mister Essay Writer Guy: Advice and Confessions on Writing, Love, and Cannibals

Click here to buy Fissures: One Hundred 100-Word Stories from Amazon


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A collection of one hundred "drabbles" (100-word short stories or poems) themed around the subject of Doctor Who, in aid of the RNIB Talking Book Library. Limited edition: only 1000 copies produced.

Click here to buy Drabble Who? from Amazon


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When Rob and Dave "invented" the new literary form, the DRABBLE, in the Birmingham University SF Society they had no idea where it would lead. Their initial thought of a small fanzine with a dozen or so stories was soon left far behind. With their hearts in their mouths and their hands in their pockets they approached Roger at BECCON Publications, and together this trio launched themselves into the unknown by committing themselves to publish a book containing 100 drabbles.With much trepidation The Drabble Project was published on April Fool's Day 1988 in a limited edition of 1000 copies.

Click here to buy The Drabble Project from Amazon


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Following the success of "The Drabble Project" this second selection of drabbles contains another one hundred stories of exactly one hundred words each. The author is typically aged between 12 and 75 and lives in one of nine countries. He/she may be either a seasoned professional or an aspiring amateur and may, or may not, have won a drabble writing competition. None of the 100 authors has accepted any payment other than one copy of the book. All profits made from this publication will be donated to the RNIB "Talking Book" Library. 

Click here to buy Drabbles II - Double Century from Amazon


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One hundred autobiographical stories.

Click here to buy Sportin' Jack from Amazon


Locked in a quantum prison with his own dead body, will he repent?

How far must a doctor go to stop a lethal virus from killing everyone in her colony?

What happens when a pleasure bot accidentally achieves sentience?

And why won't the world president reveal the message that he has received from the future?

A rich, sprawling collection of micro-stories known as drabbles; one hundred sublime morsels each of exactly 100 words. A bubbling pot of science and speculative fiction with a generous helping of horror and a dash of fantasy. But be warned: dark and disturbing tales lie within - for mature readers only.


Buy Paradox Lost, and be instantly transported to a hundred different worlds...

Click here to buy Paradox Lost from Amazon

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