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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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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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Leaves You Shuddering And Filthy…

imageShameless promotion time. This is one of my favourite reviews for my short story ‘Watcher’. It’s a four star review, but then not all good reviews have to be five stars. So long as they’re honest in what they say then they’re all gratefully received. The story has since undergone an update, so hopefully some, if not all, of the kinks have been ironed out.

‘Watcher – A Short Story Of Terror’ is available on Amazon Kindle, here.

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Leaves you shuddering and filthy… in a good way., July 4, 2013
By Patrick Dixon (Carson City, NV) – See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: Watcher (Kindle Edition)

It’s not often that we get to crawl inside the mind of a killer and stay there; rarer still that the cesspit is exposed as much more than an excuse for random blood and guts. The Watcher allows us both.

A piece of short fiction, The Watcher goes into perversely loving detail as we are presented with the titular character’s attack on a young woman… and the surprising aftermath. I’m known to have a sick enjoyment of things that leave me feeling filthy and unclean – tend to rate such things as being much more difficult to achieve than the usual happy thoughts or scary stuff; 8MM, for example, is one of my favorite movies for this reason – and this managed that feat quite easily. The language, the hints of what led to The Watcher’s state of mind and his increasing mental instability as the siege continues were all well done and vividly presented, focusing on smell and taste – I’ll never look at gumdrops quite the same way again, I’ll tell you that – as much as the usual sight and sound.

Only a few small quibbled prevented me from flagging this as five stars; first, some of the language is a trifle awkward or repetitive. Not a huge amount, and not really what it was docked for, but there was more than one moment where I paused upon seeing the same word for the third or fourth time on a page. Second was the focus on the victim; her backstory was interesting enough but I felt it toned it back too much when we popped into her head to “take a break” as it were from The Watcher; disgusting though he may be, I think there would have been a little more “oomph” if we were with him the whole time. Lastly, the ending. I like it, I do, and part of me says that it makes the victim’s chapters necessary in its way, but I felt it was a little too foreshadowed and predictable by the time it came. It’s not all bad, as it at least doesn’t take the typical slasher-film route, nor does it give you the snuggle-bunny feeling of “It’s all okay, now,” so bonus points for being original. Just not quite what I was hoping for.

There’s also the tightrope issue of wanting more. Short fiction always has that abyss yawning below, while the author skips across, trying to keep a balance between word-glut and not telling enough; to be certain, leaving the readers wanting to know more is usually a good thing, but at the same time too much left unsaid can sometimes stifle the enjoyment. I think this one stays on the “good questions left” side of things, but I’d still like to see more. Expansion on The Watcher’s youth and early “career” would be a fascinating read, I suspect. While one can make some educated guesses on why he is the way he is (there’s certainly a handful of clues scattered about), the warped part of me would have liked more of the psychology behind him. Of course, that could very easily balloon up to novel-length, which might kill the charm of being inside The Watcher’s head.

Overall, though, a pleasing read for those who don’t mind getting their hands (and minds) dirty. Great presentation, good characterization, and a twist ending put it well ahead of the pack.

*******

If you do get round to reading ‘Watcher’ sometime in the future, and you enjoy it, please take the time to write a brief review, they all help enormously. Feel free to drop me a line too, to let me know. Thank you.

Laters…

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Posted by on September 24, 2014 in Books

 

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The ‘Cellar Door’ Theory

What lurks behind the cellar door...

What lurks behind the cellar door…

I have a theory… well, ‘theory’ is rather a grand name for it. ‘Idea’ would be more apt. Maybe even ‘nonsensical notion’. Whatever.

It concerns types of horror, and how all of them can be created from the same setting, and it goes something like this…

Ok… well, imagine the scene. A big, old farmhouse, zoom in to the kitchen, a big, old fashioned farmhouse kitchen. A lady is sitting at a large wooden table. Maybe she’s reading a recipe, or shelling peas, or peeling potatoes. On the wall behind her is the door to the cellar. She’s listening to the radio as she works, a local country music station…

Picturing the scene?

She hears a noise, she pauses what she’s doing. All is quiet, apart from a country singer singing a sad song on the radio. She carries on doing what she’s doing. Another noise. This time she looks behind her. It sounded like it came from the cellar. Again, quiet, just the radio. Before she can carry on working, another, louder noise. This time she’s sure it came from the cellar. Her brow creases, she puts a hand to her mouth. What could it be?

Still picturing the scene?

She marks her place in the recipe book/puts down her paring knife/pushes aside the shelled peas – whatever it is she’s doing – and she stands up, frowning at the door. Maybe she was mistaken… but no, yet another noise. Her heart beats loud in her chest, her breathing quickens. She scolds herself for being nervous, it’s probably just a rat knocking over her pickling jars… She moves forward, she needs to check it out. After all, hasn’t she saved the small change from her housekeeping money to buy those jars? She approaches the door. A cold draught blows from under it, chilling her slipper clad feet. The doorknob is cool to her touch as she grasps it, ready to open the door…

Still in the scene?

She swallows. Her heart is racing. The radio DJ is talking about the unseasonably hot weather. She scolds herself again for being silly, smiles, turns the knob and pulls open the door….

…And what happens next depends on what type of horror you want to write. Or at least the type of horror for that particular story.

Did you get all geared up there, waiting to see what happens next?

Good, that’s the point. That’s the base for a horror, the suspense. What the suspense leads up to depends on the style that’s being aimed for by the author.

So she opens the door, and there’s…

A guy in a hockey mask with a chainsaw – teenage gore fest type horror.

Glowing yellow eyes, myriad sharp teeth, rancid breath, roar drowns out her scream – slightly more imaginative teenage gore fest type horror.

Nothing there but a cat on the bottom step – psychological, playing with your nerves until the real scare type horror.

Nothing there but a cat on the bottom step… but, she slips, falls down the stairs, knocks herself unconscious. The cat, a starving stray, starts to lick up the blood. Hunger getting the better of it, it nuzzles into her neck, eating its way through… – OMG, that could actually happen type horror.

Aliens living in her cellar who ask to borrow an extension cord to plug in and recharge their spaceship – comedic and silly type horror.

Of course, none of the above actually means anything, and the list of examples is unending. It’s just nice to waffle on about a theory once in a while. What an author wishes to write is their own affair, and how they go about it is their business. Horrifying and scary to some may be laugh-a-minute comedy to others. And vice versa.

Personally, I like the third example, though the fourth one has a certain appeal.

Write about what scares you, because then you’ll be able to inject a real sense of fear into the words. The unknown scares me the most. A serial killer with a chainsaw – a snarling monster, all teeth and claws – a malevolent spirit from the other side – an unimaginable horror from another planet – these are all tangible things. If they can be seen and touched, they can be dealt with – yes, they may scare the life out of you, but they’re all problems with an achievable solution.

For me, the actual walk to the cellar door would be the worst part, the most frightening. Until I’d opened the door and seen what I was dealing with, my mind would be supplying all sorts of different scenarios, and none of them would have happy endings. Once the door was open though, well, then I’d know the exact nature of my immediate fate and be able to make plans to deal with it. Or just run away.

Anyway, enough waffling.

Laters…

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Posted by on March 18, 2014 in Writing

 

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Just a thought…

Just a thought for horror writers…

We sit in our nice, comfortable houses, full of our good food and good drink, and write about the horrors of the zombie apocalypse, or the end of the world, for entertainment purposes. For fun.

But what if it was the zombie apocalypse? What if we were living through the horrors of the end of the world? What would we write about then?

The horrors of home comforts...

The horrors of home comforts…

After years of battling the undead, would that ultimately become humankind’s normality, therefore making the age old comforts of home the true horror?

Would we then write about living in nice, comfortable houses? Would we write about being full of good food and good drink?

Would that be entertainment? Would that be fun?

Would that be terrifyingly horrific?

Well, would it?

Laters…

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Posted by on March 2, 2014 in Thoughts, Writing

 

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Five Star review…

imageA little bit of shameless self promotion…

Latest Five Star review for Watcher…

“At the start you know something is wrong, something is going on and all is not what it seems, soon you realise you’re in the mind of someone who is deluded and dangerous. Watching and stalking, but by the end of the story you find out there is more to the plot than a mentally unhinged man.
The action is vivid and I like the fact the woman is strong and fights back.
The twist at the end leaves you wondering what will happen next. And if there will be a sequel?”

Watcher is available NOW on Amazon Kindle Click Here

The stalker – spending his time observing, following, studying those who he calls his Play Mates. His victims – spending their time living their lives, going about their daily routines, oblivious to the fact they have been singled out, have been selected to participate in the End Game.

Driven by a need even he doesn’t fully understand, the stalker is compelled to play his game until the very end, compelled to ensure he and his chosen Play Mate are locked together, as close as lovers, as the End Game concludes. It is his game. They are his rules.

But what would happen if one of his victims refuses to play his game, refuses to abide by his rules. Would the End Game be completed, as dictated by the stalker’s primal urges, or would a new and even more sinister game be created?

He watches. That’s what he does.

Can you feel his eyes upon you?

 
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Posted by on October 11, 2013 in Reviews

 

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