Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Making bows and firing blanks

3dtotal owner Tom owns a wood. Not so much man-cave, as man-derness; a hidden clearing within thick foliage and trees. Our team was rewarded with a trip down today to eat sausages and do some whittling.
Into the clearing

Making bows

Drunken Review: A Subtle Agency by Graeme Rodaughan

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Indie Book Review: A Subtle Agency by Graeme Rodaughan

Like Underworld on speed, it’s got all the adrenaline and action-packing shots of entertainment you could want, wrapped up in a no-nonsense narrative.

The book is your summer blockbuster movie – the narrative is straight-forward, and the characters are interesting enough to keep you reading. Plot beats flow from one to the next with obvious care and attention, showing some planning beforehand, all which build from one encounter to the next. The plot building is actually one of the book’s strengths – you can see all the pieces coming together, and the action is satisfying when the blood does spill.

Full review:

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

TBR Update

Quick update! Been away from all things literary for the last week and a half, landscaping the garden and laying a patio. Still a long way to go, but I think we've done a good job!


Valarie Kinney has also sent me her new book for review, In the Presence of Knowing (Secrets of Windy Springs), which sounds interesting, and a change from the horror-centric reading pile as it stands.

In the meantime, I'm halfway through A Subtle Agency. The writing is a little clunky but it's perfectly readable, adding most of the time to the fraught nature of what's going on. The story itself is great. So the review will follow in a week or so!

Want to get your book added? Submit here.

Currently reading

Hunting Anton Slayne? 

Just get in line behind the Boston Police Department, Chinese Triads, the Shadowstone Organization, the Red Empire and the Vampire Dominion. 

Witness to a brutal murder, Anton is inducted into the Order of Thoth by the mysterious Mr Wu. He soon discovers that vicious local gangsters, determined Boston Police Detectives, and relentless Shadowstone operatives pale into insignificance as he is drawn into the machinations of the enigmatic vampire, General Chloe Armitage. 

When mastery over Anton’s soul is at stake, survival is the least of his problems.

Reading list

The Hunters by Demetrius Sherman

Killers are coming. Television hunters are stripped of their weapons by militant animal activists. Defenseless and in the middle of nowhere, the television crew find themselves in a heart-pounding chase.

A new addition to the great horror tradition of Steven King and Dean Koontz.

Hallow Mass by JP Mac

Party-loving grad student Mercy O'Connor must set down the mimosas and grab a spell book if she hopes to check the diabolical warlocks of Dunwich, Massachusetts. This tale of magic realism pits the unready, unsteady Mercy against powerful supernatural forces aiming to annihilate all earthly life.

A paranormal thriller inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft, the story finds Mercy in a race against time, forced to confront her own skepticism, scornful colleagues, and friends who believe the horrors of Dunwich are only quaint folktales. Aided by a country & western-loving Zulu security guard, Mercy must dig deep to discover the confidence, then the skill, and finally the courage to battle her terrifying foes on Halloween night, and stop our planet from being drug into another dimension.

Vampire Wars by Perry Lake

For thousands of years, ancient vampire lords ruled the Night. Their queen, the coldly beautiful, immortal, and all-powerful Lilith, ruled them distantly, ignoring their squabbles over territory and victims. Then came Vlad the Impaler, once history's most bloodthirsty fiend, now reanimated as an undead creature of the Night. Facing the vampire legions of the brutish Vardalekos, the loathsome Viy, the diabolical Jhiang-Shi, the monstrous Mmbyu, the cunning Erlik, and the seductive Nycea, Vlad Dracula seeks out allies, be they undead or lycanthropic or mortal.

You've read Bram Stoker's “Dracula”. Now see how Vlad the Impaler fought and struggled to become Dracula, the King-Vampire. A part of THE LEGEND OF DRACULA trilogy, this book is a collection of twenty short stories about the infamous Count and his undead legions as he strives for the ultimate goal—the throne of the supreme King of the Vampires!

In the Presence of Knowing (Secrets of Windy Springs Book 1) by Valarie Savage Kinney

Keisha is pregnant and on the run from an abusive ex-boyfriend. Hiding out at Windy Springs Renaissance Festival, she discovers a world of magic.
Stepping into new and unfamiliar territory, she finds herself among people different from any she’s met before. Though she feels she’ll never fit in, Keisha finds hope when she meets Rogan, who plays the troll. As friendship blossoms into romance, she soon discovers that Rogan, as well as others at Windy Springs, have abilities beyond the average individual – abilities that the child growing within her shares as well. When danger comes to Windy Springs, she’ll need the combined powers of Rogan and his friends to keep her and the baby safe.
In the Presence of Knowing is the first book in the Secrets of Windy Springs series. Grab your copy today and find out what mysteries await within the magical forest at Windy Springs.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

DailyFlash: Trump the Construction Worker

"This is it, this is going to be the greatest wall I've ever built," said Trump.
     "That so?" said Tim, knocking the first brick of the final course into place.
     "Oh, you better believe it." He removed his hand from his pocket and put another brick into place. "Thanks Tim, for believing in me."
     "No worries, Trump. You've really proved that you got what it takes."
     "Yeah, I did," he beamed.
     "Not all construction companies will take a chance on someone like you. Someone with such small hands. But, you know what - here at Gladman Construction we don't discriminate against those less fortunate. You have every right to work, just like anybody else."
     "Yes, my hands are small," he said, looking down at them mournfully. He reached out and grabbed another brick from the LEGO pile. "But you know what I can grab?"
     "Now, Trump, you know what you've been told about that kinda talk."

Monday, 10 April 2017

DailyFlash: Loved One

He opened the door to find her standing there, crying. He took her by the shoulders and ushered her inside, peeking left and right down the corridor after her. No one about.
     "Come inside," he said. "Sit down. I'll get you some water." So it was done. She'd finally told that asshat of a husband of hers to do one.
     "I..." she sat on the sofa, trembling.
     "Back in a sec," he said, heading for the kitchen. He grabbed a glass and filled it with water from the tap. He turned to catch his profile reflected back from the microwave, and smiled. "Finally." He thought about how much he loved her, about sharing everything he had with her, and now never having to watch her leave again.
     He returned and passed her the glass of water. "Tell me all about it." He sat and held her.
     Still crying, she said "We don't... have long... he's dead, Mark. He... he wouldn't believe it. Said he was going to kill you." She let out a howl. "I... chased him with a knife and stabbed him in the back. Oh I love you, Mark. I'm so sorry."
     They held each other, each feeling the earth push on their shoulders, pressing them down until they were both just nothing more than weights in each others' arms.

Saturday, 8 April 2017

DailyFlash: The Everyday

As she searched, her movements were frantic, like a wasp at a window. She could see her dream disintegrating, and all because she couldn't find her damn keys, today of all days! She was knocking her head against a glass ceiling and she needed her keys - IN CASE OF EMERGENCY - to smash it through.
     Paris would love it if she was late. If there was one thing the General despised it was tardiness, and Lieutenant Paris would no doubt already be there right now, sitting in the waiting room, back straight. 
     "Where the damn hell are my keys?" She began to tear at the cushions of the sofa. 
     Overhead, the latest squadron of planes roared, having left the runway a few hundred yards away. "Safe journey," she said, "bomb the fuck out of them."
     Under the final sofa cushion were her keys. "Finally!"

Friday, 7 April 2017

DailyFlash: Darkness

Only the very oldest people remembered a time when humans could see in colour. It was a brighter time when the sun shone through the clouds, or there were no clouds at all. Now the sky was rock.
     "What was it like?"
     "They used to be proud. These days, those born with colour to their eyes stand no chance. But the old ones: they would paint by fire in the safe bastion; all day long preserving oils and pigments so that one day, they said, in a millennia, there would be something of our colourful history."
     "And where are the paintings now?"
     "Just that: preserved; behind the vault they locked themselves in so the air would not destroy them."
     "They died for them."
     "They died for us."
     "Did you ever see a painting?"
     "Sure, yes. But it was too bright. It was beyond anything you have ever seen, and beyond our understanding."

Thursday, 6 April 2017

DailyFlash: The Driver

The Driver had nowhere left to go so he slammed his brakes and skidded to a stop beneath the neon lights. Blue and red flashed from the rearview mirror onto his aviators. His hands were slick with sweat within his gloves. He took one, long look back, breathed, and stepped out with his arms raised. The authority had him surrounded; every headlight on him, red dots circling his leather jacket like insects. Even in the glare and beneath the blue and pink neon advertising, he was a dark figure; hair slick, boots and jeans black, grease smeared across what you could see of his face. One foot on the tarmac, one foot in the car; he smiled as a drone circled down from above to handcuff his raised hands. 

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

DailyFlash: Lost in Space

She just wants to connect, with anyone. Almost a year of drifting free in the Pariah asteroid belt, and not one commuter... until now. The transmission alarm sounds, waking her. She lurches from her captain's chair and peers at the forward screen, then her comms. Is she seeing this correct? She rubs sleep from her eyes and runs her hands through long, black hair, tying it up out of her face. "Another mining class?" she smiles, beams. "Finally!" She stands and pulls up the zip of her mining uniform, the Corps Mining logo half-torn from her breast. Trousers hang slightly loose from malnutrition. Barefoot had been the choice footwear option for months. She breathes in and tries to look casual as she gives the order to open video transmission. The forward screen connects. What confronts her, she could never have prepared for. The woman on the screen is remarkably familiar. Her uniform is not so torn, and her hair is shorter, but there is no mistaking herself.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

DailyFlash: Exasperation

The urge to interrupt him before he had finished was overwhelming, going on and on about catalytic converters and intake manifolds and actuators as though I gave a flying fuck. But I gently, meekly, nod, smile, coldly stare. "The distributor, you see, was – pardon the language – fucked. So I had to remove it. Incidentally, did you know the engine is like the heart? So, heart surgery, essentially. Needs tender loving."
     "And you're the surgeon, I suppose?"
     "I guess, I guess I am, yes," he nodded, drinking, someplace else in the room a party raging on, music too quiet. He licked his lips, looking up and rolling his eyes.
     "Ssshhh," I whispered, catching him and leaning him gently against the back of the sofa. His head rolled slightly to the right, looking exactly like someone who has drank too much. Into his ear, I told him how much of a fucker he was as I looked up around the room at everyone having fun, at Zoe over in the corner. "I only brought one roofy with me and I wasted it on you."

Monday, 3 April 2017

DailyFlash: Twin

The boy hadn't spoken since his twin had gone. He just kind of lumbered through the house, hands grasping onto toys but not really holding them. Not really playing with them. When hungry, he sat at the breakfast table and mouthed whatever food ended up on his fork. His mother would walk past, ruffle his hair, say "Cheer up, Bud!" But she didn't understand. She couldn't. She hadn't been gutted.
     "He's only popped to the shops, Bud," she said, putting plates in the dishwasher.
     Bud looked up and just scowled at her. She didn't know.

Sunday, 2 April 2017

DailyFlash: Midnight Snack

Jerry sat in an armchair, waiting, looking out from the porch. Darkness pervaded his perimeter, with the tree line beginning just beyond that. Intermittent moonlight shone through the boughs, but the sky was dead of stars.
     A bowl sat in the middle of the garden; well, more a pot really. A cauldron. In it, bones protruded like dried spaghetti waiting for boiling water. Meat still clung to them; tendrils, tendons, fat and flesh. They bathed in blood.
     Jerry hunched forward, careful to keep his head low beneath his deerstalker.
     A darkness slinked forward from what now seemed like a milky tea. It emerged in the open space of Jerrys garden, a snout pointed to the clouds, red eyes burning, claws dredging the soft earth.
     The Hellhound sniffed the human remains.
     Jerry smiled.

Novella: Hereafter

I recently discovered that my novella Hereafter is available for free on Kobo. So if you got one, you may like to check it out! Easier to read there than on this site.

Everyone knows what became of the Lisbon sisters - but how did their suicides affect the boys as they entered adulthood? Follow Chase, Kevin, Tim and Joe as they struggle to find a place for themselves in a world that seems emptier; and discover how they reunited to write the story of the Lisbon girls.

Saturday, 1 April 2017

DailyFlash: Wings

Instinctively touching her back again, she felt coarse feathers bristling through her skin, like the acupuncture needles she once reached up to feel. That had been weird, but nothing compared to this. She pulled on one nascent shaft and felt her skin peel towards it. It was stuck, but she got the feeling that if she pulled a little harder, it would pop, and come out in her fingers. 
     In the mirror, she shrugged her shoulder blades and the feathers, black - highlighting the opalescence of her pink skin - blossomed. They grew, forming wings, knocking toiletries from shelves and slamming like a fist against the window pane.
     The window.
     It would open far enough, she decided.

Drunken Review: Longreave by Daniel Barnett

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Indie Book Review: Longreave by Daniel Barnett : 9/10

Longreave is about as accomplished and well-rounded a story you could hope for. Set in the fictional town of Manxfield, near Boston, (at least I couldn’t find it on Google), the story focuses on the lives of Mark and Alice Currier as their marriage breaks down, and Alice’s brother Alex. The opening pages were enough to settle any doubts that this was going to be a decent read. Daniel doesn’t tell, he shows. Take the opening line: 
"Mark Currier woke inside a child’s coffin."
The next paragraph went on to describe a room that had been “a guestroom for five years now.” Using metaphor and symbolism, we can surmise that a child, presumably theirs’, is dead, and the breakdown of their marriage has now reached a head, where Mark is being forced to sleep in the guestroom.