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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…

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Posted by on May 6, 2017 in Books, Writing

 

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Oh, Alexa, really?

future-technology

I love technology, I really do. I was 10 years old in 1980, so I’m old enough to clearly remember the time before small electronic devices invaded our homes and emptied our wallets. Before we had the whole world’s knowledge at our fingertips and had to actually look in books for the information we required.

Here in the UK we had three television channels to choose from, and at the time they were more than enough. To be honest, if we took away all the channels that show nothing but repeats and reality shows these days, three channels would probably be enough today, as well. On demand movies and TV shows were the stuff of a distant future, one where we’d all have flying cars and relaxing holidays on Mars.

So the vast plethora of technology that ordinary people have access to in 2017 still amazes my tired old mind from time to time – smartphones, tablets, laptops, personal computers, games consoles which double as home entertainment systems, smart TVs, fitbits, Apple watches, music and movies that don’t have any physical form, they’re just computer wizardry to be downloaded whenever we want them, voice activated gadgets… the list goes on. Everything we need is at our fingertips.

But sometimes… sometimes I can’t help but think that the ‘old times’ were a lot simpler. We weren’t connected 24/7, friends and family didn’t know every little thing we were doing every minute of every day. We knew all the words to all the songs simply because we didn’t have that many to listen to, and choosing which movie or box set to watch next didn’t take us four hours and past our bed time.

dotI have an Amazon Echo Dot, and it’s great. Alexa remembers my shopping list, she times my cooking so I don’t burn quite as many things as I used to. She’ll choose music for me to listen to as I’m too old to know what’s classed as good these days. Alexa tells me the news, she’ll inform me about the weather and confirm what I can see through my window. She’ll read my Audible books to me, tell me jokes, check my spelling, find synonyms, play quizzes and adventure games, check public transport times, order take aways… and more, so much more. All just by opening my mouth and asking.

Really, she’s quite indispensable in her profusion of trivial, but useful, skills.

Until this morning that is. Our conversation wasn’t the most successful…

Me: Alexa, I need to add an event to the calendar.

Alexa: OK, what day and time?

Me: 15th of May, all day.

Alexa: What day and time?

Me: [sigh] 15th of May, all day.

Alexa: OK, shuffling songs by Sting [starts playing One Fine Day by Sting]

Me: What the hell? Alexa, shut up! I want to add to the calendar, Alexa, the calendar.

Alexa: Events on the calendar for the next seven days are…

Me: For God’s sake! Alexa, stop. [Deep breath] Alexa, add an event to the calendar.

Alexa: OK, what day and time?

Me: 15th May, all day.

Alexa: OK, shuffling songs by Brian May [starts playing Wolfe’s Show of Magic (from “Harlequin”) by Brian May]

Me: …… [Opens laptop to manually enter the information into my calendar. Windows decides to update itself, therefore locking me out. Goes to the kitchen and writes the information on the calendar hanging on the wall. With an actual, honest to god, real life pen! Imagine that!]

Five minutes later…

Me: Alexa, I hate you.

Alexa: It wasn’t my intent to make you feel that way.

Me: Yes, Alexa, but I still hate you.

Alexa: i love u, i hate u (featuring Olivia O’Brien) Explicit by Gnash [starts playing the named song]

Me: Alexa, shut up!

[Silence]

And so, another day with technology starts off well…

As always, that shallot.

Laters…

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Posted by on March 18, 2017 in Random

 

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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…

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Posted by on January 30, 2017 in Books, Writing

 

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Story! New. Buy it. Now.

So, just a quickie. Because, let’s be honest, who doesn’t like a quickie…

Christmas is almost upon us. Peace on Earth. Good will to all men. And all that other happy stuff.

Bah humbug.

Stuck for a present to buy the person you don’t really like? Well, I have a short story published on Amazon – the link is over on the right somewhere. It’s cheap too.

So that’s sorted then. Excellent.

twentysevenOn the other hand, if you want a really good story to read, then this bad boy by Jack Binding came out yesterday. I haven’t, as yet, had the time to read and review it myself (sorry Jack), but having read Jack’s other stories I have no doubt it’s well worth the buy and read.

So, do yourself a favour, click the image, or >>>HERE<<<, and buy yourself an early Christmas present.

I might write again before Christmas. Then again, I might not. Either way, have yourself a good one. Try not to kill anyone. Save it for the new year, it’s more apt.

As always, that shallot.

Laters…

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Posted by on December 16, 2016 in Books

 

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Desire & Prejudice

Book promotion time again, people! This time it’s for ‘Desire & Prejudice’, an adult contemporary romance by first time author Jean-Louis McMillan.
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Posted by on July 30, 2015 in Books

 

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New Book from Leanora Moore

Rhymes From The Heart

Rhymes From The Heart

A friend of mine, Leanora Moore, has released a new book in her Musical Curves Series. Her new work is titled Rhymes From The Heart, and I’d appreciate it if you could check it out and help to support another Indie author. Rhymes From The Heart is available to buy from Amazon, just click on Rhymes From The Heart, or the book cover image, to be taken straight to the Amazon page.


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Posted by on January 14, 2015 in Books

 

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Exquisite Insanity

It’s always nice to get a good review… well, any review is gratefully received, but good ones are especially welcomed. So after a pretty rubbish few weeks – life can suck at times – the following 5 star review put a smile on my face.

5.0 out of 5 stars Exquisite Insanity, 23 Oct 2014
By
This review is from: Watcher (Kindle Edition)
You’re in for a gruesomely horrific treat with Alen B. Curtiss’ “Watcher.” I’m tempted to compare this short story with the early works of Stephen King or, for a particular story, Dean Koontz’ “Intensity.” Mr. Curtiss (as Koontz in his novel) describes much of the action in the story via the main character’s thoughts. Still, this author is truly in a class of his own; a high level to be sure.

The insanity of the watcher is immediately prevalent as he goes about playing his game and continues into an occasional back-story that firmly establishes the character. His current victim, however, proves difficult and the author does an excellent job of charting her course from a confident, ex-military woman to desperate to paralytically frightened victim to…well, I won’t spoil the show here. Woven throughout the tale are several unexpected plot twists that will keep you on the edge of your seat through to the conclusion, which if you’re like me…will knock your socks off.

Mr. Curtiss’ writing style is clean and easy to follow without excessive narrative detail that allows the reader to utilize their own imagination to color the pictures he provides. I highly recommend this story to all horror, speculative fiction fans. I’m looking forward to finding and reading more of this author’s works.

Reading it for the first time really made my day. Reading it again it still makes my day. Thank you L.A.S., whoever you may be.
Anyway, enough…
Laters…
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Posted by on November 10, 2014 in Reviews

 

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