The First Line

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Today’s blog post is brought to you by massive amounts of excitement as one of my short stories, ‘History’ has been published in The First Line by BlueCubiclePublications!

The story is a science fiction short about a young woman making her way through the ruins of her old home city, which suffered a catastrophic event. It’s a piece that came out of my CampNaNo project and I’m really proud of it.

If you’ve enjoyed the stories on this blog, I think you’ll like this one, so why not head over here and grab yourself a copy of the magazine!

Happy Sunday everyone!

Just Beyond

Grey World via Josiah Munsey on Flickr

Grey World via Josiah Munsey on Flickr

“Think the sky is grey because we want it that way?” she asks.
Hell of a way to speak to someone on the other side of the line.
“Suits the mood, whatever the reason.”
She ain’t wrong, us facing each other in the misty quiet.

Above us it’s all spinning off, breaking up – reforming.
“Are you afraid of what comes next?”
She’s difficult to ignore but impossible to cut down.
“I’m not.”

Now that, I do believe.
They’ve the light of a million righteous souls behind them.
But us?
All we’ve got’s the guilt.

Continue reading

Ouroboros

Corporate Shadows by Badbrushart

Corporate Shadows by Badbrushart

Bit of an odd feeling, staring into the slime and seeing a version of you who doesn’t know who they are yet. Only four left now though, drifting in the ooze until someone pulls ’em out and tops ’em up.

There’s so much green and blue in here the red bar on my tablet looks a bit garish, the little coded lines sweeping across the screen as my replacement soaks up all my knowledge like a sponge. Wonder what she’ll do with all. Go after the Organisation, probably. Maybe stop by Breakers and drink a little first though, I got some good memories of that place. Continue reading

Reinventing Reality

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Very quick post today just to direct you to one of my short stories, Expendable, which I entered into a writing competition over on Inkitt! You can find it under the science fiction section or by clicking this link!

An unnamed mall mechanic faces the harsh realities of the far future when he’s falsely accused of bioterrorism…

The story is a quick read (about 1000 words) and it would be fantastic if you could spare a minute to vote for it as well. Thanks guys! :D

EDIT (8/9/15)

Thank you so much to anyone who took an interest in Expendable, but I’ve taken it off the Inkitt website. You can still read it here on my blog though!

The Woodland

A Ceepy Forest by tsonline, click-through for full size!

A Ceepy Forest by tsonline, click-through for full size!

There’s something about the mist that swirls at your feet. It slows you down, makes you feel heavier than you should. The torch in your hand sends a bright beam out ahead of you, but it’s a narrow field of view. With every creek and crack of movement it shakes and stutters, flashing from one line of trees to the next.

But it isn’t the dark or the noise that’s making your stomach twist.

It’s the smell.

There is no breeze, no wind to offer relief from the dank, lingering stench. It’s tangy and old and rotting, like vinegar left out too long in the heat. Putting a sleeve over your face makes little difference – it’s sunk into your clothes and hair and skin.

You try to ignore the muffled groaning at first. Focusing ahead and pushing through the grey, you pretend it’s all in your head. But the light drifts up of its own accord, as though your hand has made a decision of its own. And now you have to look.

It’s not a face you recognise. The tree has taken whoever it was. Sunk its branches into the skin and creeped along until there’s barely any flesh at all. Thank god for the night, the dim and the shadows that save you from seeing the extent of the infection. You stare and try to make out the words cracked lips are trying to form, but you feel as though you could remain there forever and never understand.

It’s the tear streaked, blinking eyes that finally breach the confusion. You follow their gaze, tilting your head to look down, but it’s already far too late. The roots that have circled gently around your ankles are already half way up your calf.

You don’t remember coming here, and you find your fingers shake as you switch off the torch. You drop it to the ground, can hardly make it out as it rolls away. There are thin vines at your waist now.

You don’t struggle.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Bit of an experiment with the dreaded second person present tense there, but since the Weekly Photo challenge over at the Daily Post is Creepy, I figured it was appropriate. Make sure you check out the artists work! :)

My Literary Confessions

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  • My favourite first lines are not ones that you’ll find on top ten lists:

“When a day that you happen to know is a Wednesday starts off by sounding like a Sunday, there is something seriously wrong somewhere.” – John Wyndham, The Day of the Triffids

“It was a dazzling four-sun afternoon.” – Issac Asmiov and Robert Silverberg, Nightfall

“In defense of Althalus, it should be noted that he was in very tight financial circumstances and more than a little tipsy when he agreed to undertake the theft of the Book.” – David and Leigh Eddings, The Redemption of Althalus Continue reading

Self-Editing Tricks to Tuck up Your Sleeve

Whether you’re writing a short story, blog post, poem or working on a novel, at some point you’re going to have to look back over your own words. This comes at different stages in the process for many of us, but we all have to do it eventually. And its a buggering nightmare, most of the time. Mainly because deep down you know you’re never going to catch it all. There’ll be the odd spelling error, a mistyped phrase, an unnecessary adverb or heaven forbid – a misused semi colon.

To be honest, I’ve been caught out so many times now I tend to laugh it off. Discovering all these things and more days or even weeks after some of my work has gone live is always rather  embarrassing. Fortunately, I’ve only ever found myself in the most gentile company of fellow readers and writers, and most of them are very forgiving about obvious mistakes.

But when it comes to my more serious ventures – the ones I intend to make money from, I do everything I can to make sure the text is as polished as possible. And while line and copy editors are a service I think all writers should take advantage of, it never hurts to do as much as you can before handing it off. So here are a few tips and tricks I use to help me weed out even the most easily overlooked mistakes in my prose. Continue reading