Sunday, 26 June 2016

Captivated - Flash Flood Journal Entry

Here I am again with my 4th entry into the yearly Flash Flood Journal. It's an international flash-fiction journal created by writers and edited by a team of volunteer editors on behalf, and in aid of National Flash Fiction Day, which took place on the 25th of June.

Every 10 minutes a new piece of Flash is put on the Flash Flood Journal for the full 24 hours of Flash Fiction day.

My entry 'Captivated' went up in the evening.

This piece of writing was inspired by the iron statues on Crosby Beach, outside Liverpool. I had written a few pieces for them, but this one was my favourite.
Sculptures and photo by Antony Gormley 1997

There are some awesome piece in a variety of genres, some worth checking out are:

Bart van Goethem - The Discovery
Calum Kerr - Z
Fiona J Mackintosh - Water like a Stone

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Human 76 has arrived!

Front cover of Human 76

“Quiet, you fool! You’re safe now!” Rough hands gripped Ghabrie. A kestrel swooped but Ghabrie could not hear its call. She could hear only Nahria’s shriek. Ghabrie strained to glimpse her little sister through the mass of rebellion warriors and Prometheans. The two sides were withdrawing, both claiming their spoils and retreating. Ghabrie thrashed: kicking, biting, struggling against strong arms that restrained her. “Nahria, I’ll come for you!” The butt of a rifle thumped the side of her head as her words still echoed across the barren landscape. Ghabrie slipped into an oblivion brought by the hands of her liberators.

'Fragments of a fractured world: a post-apocalyptic anthology from a group of writers inspired by a picture and a world...'

This incredible anthology was first conceived by Lisa Shambrook and her family, along with her daughter Bekah, who created this wonderful cover (and stars on it).

The origins of how it came about can be found on Lisa's blog. Suffice to say that a skeleton of a tale was created and offered to a group of writers who were inspired by photos Lisa shared of her family in post apocalyptic cosplay. From this Ghabrie was born, as was a collaboration of authors.

Michael Wombat came on board and helped Lisa pull it together, not only in providing a couple of fabulous tales, but by doing incredible work on the formatting of the ebook and print version - and creating a map of the world all the tales are set in - and identifying where each tale takes place.

Being a writer who either writes really short stories (flash fiction) or really long stories (novels), I couldn't come up with anything to match the specification and instead offered my services as an editor, not only getting a chance to read all the stories before everyone else, but also the opportunity to work with some wonderful writers and help them hone their tales. I particularly enjoyed the interaction in our own little private group, where we encouraged and supported one another, as well as discussed how further to interlink the tales - a special feature of this anthology, one which makes it very unique.

I was also privileged to be part of a promotional interview over on Christina Pryor's blog, which goes more in-depth about how it came about, and my role as an editor.

The books itself is available in ebook format (free for an introductory period) and in a glorious print format which is a thing of beauty. The proceeds from which will be going to a charity Water is Life, which the group thought rather appropriate with the story being set post apocalyptic and non toxic water being scarce!

If you want to read more about the book and read some snippets from the tales, here are a few links to the authors sites:

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Book Spine Poetry

A friend of mine shared a Book Spine Poetry picture on Facebook and I was hooked on the idea. I then also saw there was a stream of them under the same hashtag: #BookSpinePoetry and had to create my own.

Mine reflect the quantities of Horror I have on my shelves, and went very dark: 

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Visual Dare - Inflated

I couldn't miss the new Visual Dare photo prompt, not when the story popped right into my head (pun intended ;) ).


Inflated Ego 

He had a big head and he knew it. Arrogance dripped from him. All dressed up in his Armani suit, thinking it would impress everyone – knowing it would impress some. Wafting into the conference room where he wasn’t meant to be, catching everyone’s attention in the middle of her presentation. Lucy wanted to scream, but sitting in the tightly packed train it wouldn’t be a good idea. She clutched her handbag tighter and glared out of the window. She imagined her head enlarging with the pent up anger, like a balloon on the verge of bursting. Then she pictured his head like a balloon and popping it with a big, shiny needle. A smile crept into the corners of her mouth. Yes, his big fat head like a wobbly balloon, just begging to be burst. She suppressed a giggle, and the grip on her handbag loosened. 

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Visual Dare - Browsing

A 'must write for' photo prompt from Visual Dare this week, prompted an interesting tale.


Victor opened the closet and looked at the specimens to see which one might work this time round. He had hoped for a higher success rate but they weren’t taking to the skin grafts as well as he had hoped; the blood made it slippery and less adhesive, and waiting until after ignition was proving to be too late – hence his return for a new specimen.

Victor thought about his approach: maybe he shouldn’t strip them down for storage; maybe he should consider getting a cold room and leaving them intact. It would mean missing the income from the black market organs, and risk them being identifiable.

He had spent years refining his modus operandi. Jack the Ripper was running circles round the police, who had no idea what they were doing. He needed to maintain the deflection just a little bit longer, until he could get this right. 

149 Words 

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Visual Dare - Lift

This weeks Visual Dare offered an interesting photo. This is what came to me. 


It had taken Bethany an age to find the gateway, but once she had it, she raced into the woods, not allowing the cumbersome frame to hinder her. She knew her uncle had a wealth of curiosities in the mansion, but she hadn’t realise he’d discovered the magical realms. She’d look into it later, for now it was all about getting Rhodri out, he was so weak after years of confinement.

She stuck her head through the frame and saw him lying on the desert floor.

“Rhodri!” She screamed, knowing the sand tramps would arrive soon. Relief filled her when he pulled himself up and grasp the sheet she’d dangled through.

She pulled it up, using a tree for leverage, not satisfied until his head and shoulders cleared the edge of the frame. Then she yanked him out by his hands, until they fell on the forest floor panting. 


Tuesday, 9 February 2016

The Incorrectness of 'Off of'

I have returned to The Purple Pen to talk about the cringe making existence of the new 'fashionable' use of the term 'off of' in writing. It is popping up everywhere on the internet and in publications, and seems to be becoming acceptable. I am here to tell you it is NOT.

It is appearing much more in American English than British - meaning American indie authors, and American media, but I have seen it occasionally in British online media, and indie authors. I have yet to see it in any professionally published novels - mainly because if a professional editor claps eyes on it, they will remove it post-haste! 

It derives from the same place as 'would of', 'should of' or 'could of' - or any combinations of that. Although it is more obvious with these they are incorrect, that the 'of' is a substitute for 'have'.

The 'of' in 'off of' is also replacing a word, and that word is 'from'.

So let's look at some sentences:

He jumped off of the bus.

How would that sound if you wrote: He jumped off from the bus? Not quite right is it? you would take the 'from' out, wouldn't you?  

He stepped off of the kerb. Becomes: He stepped off from the kerb? I see you pulling a face and saying, maybe.

How about: He never took his eyes off of her face?  

Let's try it: He never too his eyes off from her face. It just doesn't work does it. It's not correct.

So neither is 'off of'. You should ban it from ALL your writing.

For me personally, if I read anything with it in, I stop reading, I can't continue. Yes, it bothers me THAT much.

It should bother you too.

What do you think about the use of 'off of'? Do you have any misused grammar, words or phrases that distract you when reading a piece?