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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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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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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…

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Posted by on November 10, 2016 in Writing

 

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Queueing is SO British.

Sunday. Which is still the weekend, so I shouldn’t be here. I don’t write at weekends. Usually. As I believe I said yesterday. And yet, here I am. Writing.

As yesterday, I’m going to keep this next challenge – number 20, I believe – as short as possible. In fact, it might end up only consisting of a few lines. Well, so be it.

Challenge 20 states – Use these words in a story: grandfather, photo album, post office, and folder. Using those words, I, or anyone else, could write any story they liked, about anything at all they liked. And if it wasn’t Sunday, I’d spend a bit of time trying to come up with something that might be at least half good.

As it is, you have the following to weep over.

Note: I may, or may not have, written this yesterday and scheduled it to post today. Who knows? More to the point, who cares?

Queueing is SO British.

I waited patiently in line at the post office. At the counter, an old lady wanted to send a parcel to her dear friend in Australia. The young lady behind the counter was trying her best to explain that yes, she understood madam was willing to pay whatever it cost, but sending a kitten through the mail, air mail no less, just wasn’t the done thing.

Next in line was a fat man – sorry, a man of exceptionally large stature – with hairy ears and dandruff. Clutched in his great paws was a carrier bag full of loose change. Whispering under his breath, he kept repeating to himself “£23.67. The total is £23.67. Don’t forget. £23.67. The total is £23.67.”

And then there was me. Under my arm I held a red folder. It was, in fact, a makeshift photo album, full of old photographs of the town through various different ages. My friend’s grandfather was due to celebrate his 80th birthday next week, and he – my friend, not his grandfather – wanted the photos to put together some sort of This Is Your Life thing. Hence the red folder.

Happy birthday grandad, here’s a reminder of just how old you really are. Congrats.

I wasn’t in the post office for that though. I wanted to pay a bill. So I waited patiently in line for my turn.

Queueing is such a British thing, don’t you think?

The End 

And, as always, that shallot…

Laters…

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Posted by on December 20, 2015 in 30 Writing Challenges

 

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1666 And All That…

It’s Saturday. Saturday! Which means I shouldn’t be writing. Writing at weekends is not something I generally do. So why am I here? Why indeed.

The 30 Writing Challenges, that’s why. For some obscure reason I agreed to complete challenges 17 to 30 on a daily basis. Lunacy. But, also a good way to get back in the habit.

That being said, old habits die hard, and so I will keep this one as brief as possible (and I really mean it this time).

Challenge 19 states – Write a fictional story about a real event from any period of history. Plenty of scope there for many different stories, but I’m going to stick with an idea which occurred to me during a conversation last night. And, as previously stated, I’ll keep it as short as possible. Promise.

1666 And All That…

“Oi! Mate, watch where you’re bleedin’ goin’, will ye?”

Thomas looked bleary eyed at the source of the angry voice. “So shorry, pahdon me, sir.”

“Oh, hey,” angry voice continued. “I knows you, dun I? Yer that baker fella. Me missus gets her bread from ye.”

Thomas tried his best to stand up straight, but too much ale, followed by too many brandies, made the feat nigh on impossible. He settled instead for leaning against a nearby wall.

A deep breath. “I ham indeed him, sir. Thomash Farriner hat your service. A good even to you hall!” A drunken grin, chin shiny with drool.

Angry voice looked at him in disgust. “You’re a disgrace, man. Look at ye! Shameful. Almost one in the morning, a Sunday morning, I might add, and yer three sheets to the wind. And, yer goin’ the wrong way if yer headin’ home.” Angry voice stepped forward, seized the drunken man by the shoulders, and turned him around. “Puddin’ Lane is that way, first on the right.”

“Thank you, sir, ye be too kind,” Thomas stumbled onward, trying unsuccessfully to doff his cap at the stranger.

Five minutes later, a thoroughly intoxicated Thomas arrived back at his bakery, and eased as quietly as possibly through the door. Which is to say, with all the grace of an elephant on an icy pond. He had meant to be home hours ago, but his friend Samuel had produced a rather superior bottle of brandy, and time had somehow slipped away from him. That and his sobriety.

A light flickered through the doorway to the back room, and Thomas weaved his way towards it. “Fire’s shtill lit. I’ll warm me cockles on it before tryin’ to climb the stairs. Hehe, shhh!” he said, in an exaggerated whisper. The finger he meant to hold up to his lips lay against his right cheek.

Once in the back room, Thomas noted with dismay that the hearth was dark and cold. “Wheresh the fire?” His bloodshot eyes scanned the room, and came to rest on bright flames hungrily devouring the woodpile next to his stove. “Ah, the firesh there. Whydya move, shilly fire? Well, besht put you out afore I head to bed.”

Thomas shambled over to the blazing woodpile, took a nearby vase full of flowers, and poured the contents onto the flames. Most were extinguished, but a small log remained defiant, burning steadily. Unable to see any other source of water, Thomas unfastened his trousers, and relieved himself in the corner, aiming happily at the burning log, until no trace of the fire was left.

“Alwaysh wanted to be a fireman, me. Job well done.”

With that, Thomas hiccupped, giggled, and staggered towards the staircase and bed.

And so it turned out that the Fire of London wasn’t so Great after all.

The End 

And, that shallot…

Laters…

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Posted by on December 19, 2015 in 30 Writing Challenges

 

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Take. Your. Time.

Today I was going to post a short story I had written last week. It was the first of a series of stories based on a video game (yes, I’m a gamer, have been for the last 35 years).

But… well, my computer ate it. Seriously, it’s vanished into thin air. But no matter, I can rewrite it. There’s no rush, no deadline to be met, and on a positive note, rewriting will hopefully improve upon the original.

It got me thinking though, again, of how most people these days are in a rush, they want everything immediately, they need instant gratification. Which reminded me of a blog post I wrote quite some time ago. So, in the absence of a new story, I’ve decided to repost that brief rant I had.

Over the next few days I’ll attempt to recreate my missing story. Though it may take longer. There is, after all, no rush.

A Take Your Time Rant.

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Posted by on January 26, 2015 in Rant

 

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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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