RSS

Category Archives: Writing

Coming Soon (ish)

So okay, soon might be a tad optimistic. Coming whenever I get around to finishing and publishing it might be more to the point.

Anyway, whatever :smileyface:

Seeker

When the end came, it came without a sound. As silent as the grave. Not that graves were needed.

There were no earth-shattering roars as mushroom clouds bloomed on the horizon, vaporising entire cities in an instant.

There were no chilling moans from breathless throats as hordes of the undead swept across the planet.

There wasn’t even the sound of a harsh, alien tongue barking orders as invaders from beyond the stars enslaved the human race.

Only silence.

With no noise at all every man, woman and child on Earth disappeared. Here one minute, gone the next. Vanishing as if some unseen hand had flicked the off switch.

Except…

One was left behind.

One left to seek out answers, the reason for the disappearance of the human race.

One left to seek out others. For if there was one survivor, why should there not be more?

One left to seek out who, or what, was responsible.

One left to realise that when the end came, it wasn’t really the end at all.

It was merely the beginning.

And there you go, make of it what you will.

As always, that shallot.

Laters…

Signature

Advertisements
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 13, 2018 in Writing

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

All Our Tomorrows

For far too long I’ve been procrastinating about writing my own stories. The usual reason is that I’m too busy writing stuff for other people, and while this is somewhat true, it’s still just an excuse.

CompleteCover“Those reasons why you can’t are just excuses. There is always a way. No excuses, get it done.” Those words are mine, tweeted a few days ago. I think it’s time I started following my own advice for a change. So, though I’m not usually one for all the New Year’s resolutions malarkey, this year I have resolved to write a lot more for myself.

Those who know me know that I have been toying with the idea of releasing a short story collection, called Flotsam. It’s that which I’ll concentrate on, while also, from time to time, adding more words to A Negative Bind.

So, as a treat (I’m not sure “treat” is the correct word…), here’s the beginning of a short sci-fi/horror story which will be included in Flotsam.

All Our Tomorrows

Photo 31-08-2013 19 47 10We’re comin’ in too fast!” Benny wailed.

Well yeah, no shit, Sherlock. Why’d you think that would be then?” Cal surveyed the ruined console in front of him. Sparks spluttered in dark recesses – recesses where dials and readouts were supposed to be. Heading indicator, velocity readout, life support and system updates, fairly useful things like that. Acrid smoke drifted in the cockpit, redolent of burnt ozone and melted plasteel.

Benny clambered out of the navigator’s chair in the rear of the cabin, coughing in the smoky atmosphere, and made his way forward, finally dropping heavily into the co-pilot’s seat next to Cal.

Can’t you do summet, Cal? You’re the pilot, like, so can’t you do that flying shit you do?”

Cal grimaced and took a deep breath, immediately regretting it as a coughing fit followed. He looked over at Benny, wiping his streaming eyes as he did so.

No, Benny, I can’t do that flying shit that I do, ’cause we ain’t flying, we’re fuckin’ crashing.” His voice was calm, reasonable, but the look in Cal’s eyes revealed that all was not sweetness and light with the Captain at this particular moment in time. Benny flinched as Cal’s hand settled on his shoulder, squeezing it painfully.

And we’re crashing, Benny, ’cause we somehow managed to fly into a fuckin’ asteroid. Now, you’re the navigator, so why the fuck didn’t you do your navigating shit and navigate us around that fucker?”

Benny’s shoulder cracked audibly, and painfully, as the Captain’s hand squeezed harder still. Cal had paid a backstreet TechMech back on Khollos IV to replace the servo-motors in his worn out cybot arm with illegal Pluton powered ones, and he had revelled in showing off his mech aided strength ever since. At least he can’t blame me for losin’ his arm, Benny thought as he gritted his teeth against the pain. That was his own damn fool fault.

C’mon Cal, it weren’t my fault, I was busy…”

You were busy jerkin’ off to Cylerion porn, that’s what you were doing!” The spacecraft lurched alarmingly, and Cal released his grip. Benny gingerly rubbed his shoulder, convinced that something was broken. The lights clicked off, then back on again. A muted alarm began to wail somewhere behind them, and a soft, feminine voice politely advised them that they should evacuate the ship immediately. A single red light blinked on and off above their heads.

Shit!” Cal flicked a switch, flinching as it sparked and hissed, belching more smoke at him. “Double shit!”

Benny suddenly felt claustrophobic. The view screens were no longer working, damaged in the collision, and the cockpit now felt exceedingly small. He looked around fearfully, panic slowly slipping its icy tendrils into his stomach.

Cal? Captain? What…?”

Cal fixed him with a despairing look. “Mr. French, I believe that now would be a good time to make for the emergency pod. And then, maybe, pray.”

Benny didn’t need telling twice – he was out of his seat and on his way before the Captain had finished speaking.

* * * *

The two men sat on the ridge of a tall dune as the twin suns reached their zenith in the sky above. Cal surveyed the distant desert through the viewscope while Benny sipped tepid water from his aqua-pack. Three days had passed since their unexpected arrival on this world, their stricken cargo craft breaking up as it entered the atmosphere.

They had nearly roasted in the oven of their emergency pod as it too blazed a trail through the ozone. Gravity had taken over and they hurtled towards the ground, panic rising between them until, with a sudden jolt, the large ‘chute deployed, slowing their descent to a slightly less terrifying speed. Through the small view port the terrain below could be seen – sandy desert from horizon to horizon.

There’s definitely something there in the far distance,” Cal said, still looking through the viewscope. “I can’t quite make it out, it’s like a dirty smudge on the horizon.”

Not in a talkative frame of mind, Benny grunted by way of reply. Their relationship, strained at the best of times, had rapidly declined since the crash. He gingerly touched his left eye, wincing as his fingertips brushed over it. The swelling had started to reduce, but the pain lingered. He had escaped uninjured from the emergency pod, only to walk straight into Cal’s fist, with the full power of his cybot arm behind it. He was out before he’d hit the floor, and so missed Cal’s venomous tirade against him and second rate navigators in general.

Cal lowered the viewscope and looked at Benny. “A grunt? Is that all? Don’t you have anything useful to say?”

Benny took another sip, rinsed his mouth, and spat the water out, aware he was wasting precious fluid but not caring. “You can’t make it out, even with the viewscope. If you can’t see what it is, then what the hell am I supposed to say, Captain? I’ve only got me two eyes, and one of them is swolled near shut.”

Okay, fair point. But do you have any idea what it could be?” Cal unhooked the tube to his own aqua-pack and took a long sip, grimacing as the brackish water reached his mouth.

Benny scratched his head where his scalp was beginning to peel. He’d never been any good in the sun, his pale skin easily burnt even in the mildest of summers. So two suns glaring down on him from a cloudless sky was downright unfair, in his opinion.

Well? Anything?” Patience wasn’t one of Cal’s strong points.

Benny met his gaze. “It could be smoke.”

Cal’s eyes lit up. “Smoke! Yeah, exactly what I was thinking! When I was a kid the factories of Newchester looked like that, ‘specially from a distance. And if there’s smoke, then there must be people!” He was on his feet, scanning the horizon with his scope again.

To Benny, the presence of smoke, if that’s what it was, didn’t necessarily mean people. It could be due to any number of things. They had no idea what, if anything, lived on this god forsaken planet. The newest star charts referred to it only as AR159C – Possible Oxygenated Atmosphere – Unexplored.

We need to check it out. It’ll mean a long hike for us, but we can do it.” Cal slipped the viewscope back into its case and slung it over his shoulder. “We don’t have much of an option anyway, seeing as you broke the emergency radio.”

Benny lunged to his feet. “What d’ya mean, I broke the radio? The friggin’ thing ain’t worked since we left Khollos IV, ’cause you were too tight to get it serviced. That, and everything else on that bag of bolts you called a ship. The Federation should’ve grounded you years ago! Don’t you go blaming me for shit you caused just to save a few Creds!”

Cal was walking away, heading to their small camp by the emergency pod at the base of the dune. He stopped, and turned to look at Benny. His eyes were glazed, no sign of emotion in them whatsoever. Benny closed his mouth with an audible click and stepped back a pace.

I’m the Captain. Your Captain, Mr. French. What I say, goes. So if I say you broke the radio, then you broke the damn radio, okay? Good.” Cal turned and continued down the steep slope, sliding on the loose sand that sucked hungrily at his heavy boots. “Come along now. We need to make preparations.”

Benny stood and stared after his retreating Captain. Cal had always been on the wrong side of stable, and it looked very much as if he was losing control. Benny thought Cal becoming unstable, out here on this friggin’ never ending beach, would be a bad thing. A very bad thing indeed.

As always, that shallot.

Laters…

Signature

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 8, 2018 in Writing

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Flotsam

Hey! Hi, howareya?

Kept you waiting, huh? (for all you MGS fans out there.)

Well then. Busy, busy, busy. But finally back to working on my own stuff once again. The Negative Bind hasn’t been forgotten about, it’s still very much on my mind. It has, however, been shelved for the time being, as my short story collection keeps rearing its ugly little head and distracting me.

Once upon a time I had a title in mind for this collection but as time went on I came up with another name for it and ran with that for a while. This new title – A Dog Barked Once – made perfect sense. To me, anyway. You see, the vast majority of my stories contain, somewhere in them, the line “…somewhere in the distance a dog barked, once, twice…”, and so A Dog Barked Once seemed very fitting. Hell, I could even write a second collection and call it A Dog Barked Twice!

Genius.

But no. Again time has moved on, and I find myself favouring my original title – Flotsam.

Why Flotsam, you ask. Well, dictionaries define the word as:

  • pieces of broken wood and other waste materials found on the beach or floating on the sea.
  • anything or anyone that is not wanted or not considered to be important or useful.

If you were to ask me where I get my ideas from, most of the time I’d be unable to tell you. They just kind of appear in my head. The closest I can come to explaining it is to say I view the imagination in my head as a vast, and mostly empty, ocean. Floating around in this Imaginocean are idea boxes – some complete and whole, the majority only a part of the entire story, pieces of wreckage from a fractured tale.

Whenever one of these boxes floats close enough to the shore, I wade out and grab it with both hands before it can float out of reach again. I’ll open the box, see what’s inside, and write it down, before settling back to await the next idea box to drift into view.

So yes, I’m slightly weird. No matter.

A lot of writers like to do cover reveals. They like to keep the image hidden until they feel the time is right, and then release it with great fanfare, or in a more subdued manner, depending on their style. Well, not me. Once I have a cover I like then I don’t mind showing it around (mainly because there’s a very good chance I’ll change my mind and make another cover before long).

And so, without further ado, here is the cover for my upcoming short story collection, Flotsam.

CompleteCover

 

When will it be released? Who knows. Whenever I get around to finishing it, would be my best guess. Until then, at least you have a pretty picture to look at, right?

Right.

As always, that shallot.

Laters…

Signature

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on May 6, 2017 in Books, Writing

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Resurrection

Well hello there, how’re you doing?

Since before last Christmas I’ve been working on a collection of short stories. The stories had been knocking around in my head for quite some time, and so I thought they deserved to be brought into the world. I had a title for the book of this collection. I had a cover all worked out. I had a list of the stories I was sure I wanted to include, and a list of others I’d put in if there was room.

I set about this task in good spirits. I mean, how hard could it be, right? I had everything I needed. Piece of cake.

Wrong.

Every time I worked on one story, my mind would wander to another. Work on that other story instead, and I’d be thinking about yet another. Progress was slow. Progress was painful.

Something was wrong here. The words weren’t flowing and I needed to find out why. This past weekend I’ve been doing a lot of thinking, peering into the recesses of my mind, looking for the cause.

And I found it.

Sunset behind the clouds over Quintrell Downs in Cornwall.After I’d published my short story ‘Watcher’, I started work on another, longer tale. The story of Paul Bowscar came to life rapidly, the boy would never shut up, his tale needed to be told, and he was damn sure he was going to make sure I wrote it all down. He was constantly in my head. Talking incessantly, eager to be heard. Morning, noon and night.

Then one day – silence. Nothing at all. Paul had left, gone to wherever his own negative bind had taken him. The words dried up, the story stalled.

But no longer. Paul is back. Maybe he took exception to me writing things other than his story, who knows. But back he is, and it’s time to complete his tale.

So, The Negative Bind has been resurrected. How long will it take? Who can tell, and Paul certainly isn’t telling. He’ll get to the end when he’s good and ready.

Small excerpts might be posted from time to time. They might not. But this story will be told, one way or the other.

As always, that shallot.

Laters…

Signature

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 30, 2017 in Books, Writing

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Key

Quite a long while ago I was challenged to write a story based on a certain image.

key This image, to be exact.

Well, as so often happens, life, and various other things got in the way and the story never got written, although I had a good idea of what I wanted to write. Time has gone on, far too much time, and I’ve been so caught up in doing other things – earning money in order to be able to pay the bills and feed oneself, what a drag that is – that I haven’t done any writing for myself.

Plenty for other people. None at all for me. Now, that kinda sucks, so I decided it’s time I did something about it.

And shock horror! Today I actually put pen to paper. Well, typed words on a screen. Same thing. I didn’t produce much, a thousand words or so, as the writing machine is kinda rusty due to lack of use. But it is oiling up nicely. The words aren’t exactly flowing, but they are seeping out slowly.

Who knows, if you’re good I might even post an extract.

Or not.

Anyway, as always, that shallot.

Laters…

Signature

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 10, 2016 in Writing

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Fairboss and Prizes

Nearly Christmas day… are you ready? No? Well, panic not. Before you know it, it’ll all be over and you’ll be worrying about what to wear for the New Year’s party, and what resolutions to make.

Soon be Easter.

And so… on with the 30 Writing Challenges. Challenge 23 states: Write the story of one of your childhood memories. 

Simple enough, you would’ve thought. But no, not really. You see, talking about myself isn’t something I generally do. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve lived a very varied and interesting life, which is worthy of many a tale. I just don’t enjoy telling those tales, unless I’m in a conversation. Ask me, and I shall tell, but to just sit and write something down? Nope.

I do, however, weave a lot of my personal memories, emotions and feelings into the majority of the stories I write, and so I have decided that for today’s challenge I will post an extract from my soon to be released book – The Negative Bind. 

This book tells the story of Paul, a teenage boy whose perfectly ordinary existence is shattered after an accident. Paul sees his life spiral out of control, with unexpected and possibly tragic consequences. Paul is not me at a younger age, by the way. That really would be a tragic story. But there’s no denying a lot of me is in the story, in one shape or form.

The following is from chapter 10: Fairboss and Prizes. I hope you enjoy.

Extract from Chpt 10: Fairboss and Prizes.

Read the rest of this entry »

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 23, 2015 in 30 Writing Challenges

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

There’s A Tiger In My Kitchen

Apart from Ruby Tuesday, name a song with Tuesday in the title. Ready? Go!

Got one? No? I’ve got one, something by Lynyrd Skynyrd. I think. But, I digress.

Challenge 22 of the 30 Writing Challenges states: Write a story about making something to eat. Yes, I know. WTF?

At first I thought I’d just do a blow by blow account of how I make a ham and cheese sandwich, but that would’ve just been a childish tantrum over such a lousy theme. Then I thought I’d do a piece about a farmer planting his crops, because that is also making food, is it not?

That idea went out the window for being too schmaltzy and artsy.

A silly first line kept running through my head, and so I decided to go with it. I sat down, opened up Open Office (fuck you, Microsoft) and as so often happens, wrote something completely different from what I had originally intended.

So, um… enjoy.

There’s A Tiger In My Kitchen

There’s a tiger in my kitchen, and I want something to eat.

There’s a tiger in my kitchen, it has big elephant feet.

There’s a tiger in my kitchen, whatever am I to do?

There’s a tiger in my kitchen, and now it’s starting to moo!

 

The tiger that’s in my kitchen, he really doesn’t like me.

The tiger that’s in my kitchen, won’t make me a cup of tea.

The tiger that’s in my kitchen, is now talking on the ‘phone.

The tiger that’s in my kitchen, says I shouldn’t be alone.

 

There’s a tiger in my kitchen, and he’s dressed up like a nurse.

There’s a tiger in my kitchen, but I suppose it could be worse.

There’s a tiger in my kitchen, but now I’m not so sure.

There’s a tiger in my kitchen, maybe he has the cure.

 

Now there’s no tiger in my kitchen, but he really wasn’t bad.

Now there’s no tiger in my kitchen, and now I’m kinda sad.

Now there’s no tiger in my kitchen, my insanity has been beat.

Now there’s no tiger in my kitchen, I really don’t want to eat.

The End. 

I’m really not sure what to make of that, but there you go. Not sure it’s really got anything to do with actually making something to eat, either. But still, it was a silly theme.

That shallot…

Laters…

Signature

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 22, 2015 in 30 Writing Challenges

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: