Tag Archives: Short story

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.



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Posted by on September 24, 2014 in Books


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Coming Soon…

imageComing soon! A new short story by author Alen B Curtiss.

Fixing Benjamin.

Gary’s life has fallen apart.

The sudden, unexpected death of his precious and beautiful four year old son Benjamin has hit him hard. Benjy had been his life, and Gary had been the proudest of proud fathers.

But now Gary is lost to despair, and struggling to cope. To compound his misery, June, Gary’s wife of ten years, has moved in with her mother. Benjy’s death was Gary’s fault, that much she had made painfully clear. The shock discovery of the brain tumour had been Gary’s fault. It had been his fault the tumour was inoperable. It was his fault because he hadn’t fixed it.

But Gary has a plan. He will prove himself to be the man June always wanted him to be. Blissfully unaware his grief is spiralling rapidly out of control and descending dangerously close to the edge of insanity, Gary sets about his brilliant idea, conjured one night in the depths of an alcohol induced fervour.

The Internet contains all knowledge, isn’t that what they say? Gary is pretty sure it’s true. Coupled with the knowledge he’d gained in the pursuit of his lifelong hobby, Gary is convinced he’s on to a winner. June had always said his hobby was childish. He will prove her wrong this time, he was sure.

He WILL win the love and respect of his disapproving wife.

He WILL regain the happy family life he had so briefly known.

He WILL get his life back on the happiness track.

But to gain all of that, he must first start by…

…Fixing Benjamin.

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Posted by on May 3, 2014 in Books, Writing


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Don’t Publish Until You’re Really, Really, REALLY Ready

A common – and rather large – mistake a lot of indie authors make is clicking the Publish Now button before they’re ready. A long time before they’re ready. The reasons for this are easy to understand – excitement and impatience. Excitement because their book/short story is now finished. Impatience because the world deserves to see their work as soon as possible.

Unfortunately excitement needs to be tempered, and patience nurtured. Before you click the shiny and tempting button are you sure your work is ready? 100% sure? Completely and utterly sure? Really? Well, just to be safe, check it again.

Let’s be honest – most of us can’t afford to use professional services, especially for short stories and novellas where any return will only be a small percentage of an already small selling price. But, this is NOT an excuse. There are plenty of free resources available – friends and family for spelling and punctuation errors – beta readers for grammar, pacing and plot advice – software such as ProWritingAid to highlight many other issues such as too often repeated words/phrases, sentence/paragraph length, adverbs, initial pronouns and so on. Yes, this all takes time, yes this is all boring and mundane; yes this is essential, hence the need for less excitement and more patience.

And after saying all that – guess who is guilty of ignoring his own advice? Yes, that’s right. Me, that’s who.

imageSo for the past week or so I’ve been re-editing (and rewriting parts of) my short horror story ‘Watcher’. I was too impatient. I was too excited. The world needed to read my short story NOW! I clicked the ‘Publish Now’ button and sat back smugly.

It’s bugged me ever since. I knew it wasn’t right, I knew it needed improving. Don’t get me wrong, the story has been well received – 31 reviews on Amazon¬†(.com and so far, 17 of them Five Stars, the other 14 Four Stars. And I appreciated each and every one of them – a good review makes a writer’s day, week, month. It makes it all worthwhile.

But at the same time I didn’t feel right about saying to people “yes, I have a story on Amazon, I’ll love you forever if you buy a copy and give it a good review”, when I knew deep down it wasn’t as good as it could have been.

I have now rectified the situation. I’ve rewritten the parts I wasn’t happy with (the story is now about 600 words longer), tidied up the writing style and trawled through the entire text doing my best to eliminate any spelling, grammar and punctuation errors. If some still exist then they are deliberate… well no, not really. They are entirely my own fault and I apologise immensely.

Watcher – A Short Story Of Terror is available for purchase through Amazon Kindle. If you feel so inclined why not head on over and get yourself a copy. If you do, and you like it, maybe take a few minutes to leave a review? I promise to love you forever if you do…

Click HERE to get your copy today!



Posted by on November 2, 2013 in Writing


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FREE Short Horror Story On Kindle (Sunday 29th September 2013)

20130817-142829.jpgThe 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 September 27, 2013 in Books, Writing


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Out Of The Darkness by Lisa Procter

20130815-222232.jpgThis is a story about two people, Livi and Shane, who have both been made fragile by differing life experiences. The story revolves around them gradually forming a relationship after their first fortuitous meeting, and Livi helping Shane with his demons. At the same time, really unknown to Livi, Shane is also helping her to come to terms with an abusive upbringing.

Shane and Livi are portrayed very well by the author, their characters are believable, and you find yourself really caring for the both of them.

The story as a whole is well written, secondary characters are brought to life well, and the text is flowing and descriptive.

I thoroughly enjoyed this short story, and will definitely read more from this author. Highly recommended and well deserving of it’s five stars.

Available now on from Amazon

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Posted by on August 15, 2013 in Reviews


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