Wednesday, 31 May 2017

DailyFlash: The Forever Legion

The underworld stinks; everything is slick and slimy and reeks, fetid and mould-ridden. Creatures cross-breed with such voraciousness that ghouls and goblins and golems are one confusing mismatch of enemies; attacking and dying by my sword as I swing and slice my way to their purest masters, splattering their blood up the green walls, leaving a trail of limbs behind me. The true-breeds on their thrones of bones await: the true-masters of the world, manipulating the strings from their dungeons. I can never stop until they are all laid to rest, their dead hearts in my hand. These twisted reptiles with their cold blood. I see them now in their vaulted cavern, sitting there, a mountain of egg spawn piled like caviar on a spoon behind them that reach to the chandelier of candles. So many, translucent green masses writhing within the slippery shells. So many children.
     "We are forever legion," the true-breeds say in unison. "We will always go on."


The proof copy of Hereafter lands!

Putting pen to paper again as I read through the proof of my next book: a collection of eclectic short stories to suit many tastes, I hope. Then it's onward to set a release date, get it on pre-order, and offer review copies! Maybe then I can finally settle down and crack on with my next full length manuscript, Neon Driver, which is evolving in my head by the day. It's going to be epic!

Do the Tories want power?

1. Didn't have to call a general election - did so anyway.
2. Said they wouldn't - did so anyway (flip-flop).
3. Brexit negotiations begin just a few days after. If these are so important then surely the last thing the government needed in the build up was turmoil.
4. What would be one of the most universally hated policies to bring back? Fox hunting.
5. Who gives the Tories most votes? The elderly? Hitting them as hard as they reasonably can.
6. Go on and on about negotiating Brexit - won't even debate one on one with Corbyn. Weak perception, or arrogant?
7. No calls to register to vote on their social media.
8. Attacking what was a logical, reasonable, and widely accepted view from Corbyn and Labour RE the Manchester attack and foreign policy influence.
9. Not costing their manifesto. Open for attack/easy target.
10. Positive comments about Corbyn filtering through from Tories and Tory-sympathisers.
11. Corbyn receiving a fairer share of media attention on the likes of the BBC and Sky, even showing him in a positive light for once.
12. Corbyn v May v Paxman - the perfect social media clip of that guy mouthing absolutely bollocks. Other cuts to the audience weren't as long. This guy wasn't cut when he began mouthing and shaking his head.
13. Leaks of images of May at 'rallies' devoid of attendees. Again perfect for social media. Many examples of these which when added up has a widespread effect.

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Thinking about Dean Koontz

I recently stumbled upon some Dean Koontz interviews which got me thinking about his influence on me. I have read probably all of his early work, (pre-From The Corner of His Eye) except for the hard-to-find sci-fi and his short stories, and I have fond memories of escaping into his suspense-filled worlds. Watching the interviews just made me sad that there is such a divide now in his work post 2000, which I wrote about for Cultured Vultures.

https://culturedvultures.com/changing-face-dean-koontz/

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Friday, 19 May 2017

DailyFlash: Dead Little Lamb

She cowered in the basement of skeletons, the teeth of jawbones digging into her lower back, but she dared not move. Papa was mad at her. She could see the pleading eyes of the little lambs now - she'd been a bad girl, feeding them a little bread and water. A little hiding was coming her way.
     Light exploded from the top of the stairs. A rectangle of rain and the black stench of his silhouette, tossing one of the little lambs down where it landed, a dead-weight thud crunching on bones. A pair of glasses fell from the little lamb's face.
     "I know you're down there, little missy." His voice was flat. "Come up and see papa."
     He left and the full light of the grey sky shone down and raindrops fell where mud and bone were mixed. She looked at the little lamb's face, mouth bloated with bread and eyes bulging. "Little lamb needed feeding."

Thursday, 18 May 2017

The pile grows

After reaching out again for review copies I snagged a crime thriller by Jason Parent, a Battle Royale-style horror by newcomer Michael Alexander Rice, and a cyberpunk novel by Gary Ballard. I'm hoping that one will be great as research/inspiration for my own forthcoming cyberpunk novel which I will one day finish, I swear!


Currently reading




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!


Reading list


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.

A Traitor's War: The Metaframe War: Book 2



After the desperate battle on the Boston docks, Anton Slayne finds refuge amongst the vampire hunters of the Order of Thoth.

Anton discovers the Order of Thoth harbors a traitor who could get his new friends killed. While a secret alliance between the Red Empire and vampire General Chloe Armitage, threatens to do the same.

With threats both within and without - will Anton be able to stay alive long enough to save his friends, or will his circling enemies destroy everyone he loves?




Celebrity Gulag Kindle Edition by Michael Alexander Rice


‘Celebrity Gulag: only the biggest, most famous, most watched show in the land. Imitated worldwide but never bettered, it is the biggest star vehicle known to humankind...’
Even in darkness, the megalopolis never sleeps.
The internet is gone, engulfed by the virtual flames of an online inferno.
In its place, tawdry tabloids titillate with tales of television talent shows where contestants are literally dying to be famous.
For Dr. Philip Bruno, an unassuming life is about to take a remarkable turn.
Hunted by a delinquent prince, an ever-present audience bays for blood.
How does a modest man survive stardom?
How does he survive Celebrity Gulag?


Detectives Bruce Marklin and Jocelyn Beaudette have put plenty of criminals behind bars. But a new terror is stalking their city. The killer’s violent crimes are ritualistic but seemingly indiscriminate. As the death toll rises, the detectives must track a murderer without motive. The next kill could be anyone… maybe even one of their own.

Officer Aaron Pimental sees no hope for himself or humanity. His girlfriend is pulling away, and his best friend has found religion. When Aaron is thrust into the heart of the investigation, he must choose who he will become, the hero or the villain.
If Aaron doesn’t decide soon, the choice will be made for him.



Under the Amoral Bridge by Gary Ballard

Artemis Bridge is the know-who, go-to guy, the amoral fixer in 2028 Los Angeles with the connection for any illicit desire no matter how depraved. You need it, he can get it without questions or judgment. He prides himself on staying detached from the depravity, untouched by the filth, untouchable by the law. When a young hacker is assassinated before his eyes, he is burdened with a scandalous video of the mayor on the eve of the city's most important election of the century. With digital assassins and murderous thugs dogging his every step, he has only days before the corrupt mayor is re-elected, handing the Chronosoft Corporation complete control of the city. Unable to sell the video, he is forced further into a complex conspiracy. 

Book review: Hallow Mass by JP Mac

With overtones of William Peter Blatty’s humorous dialogue style, Hallow Mass is irreverent, self-deprecating and amusing – a paranormal novel with a personality. 
I’ve stumbled upon another enjoyable indie-read, and the most polished I’ve read to date – you can tell it’s been passed by the professional eyes of an editor or two. Hallow Mass is set in world slightly off-centre to ours: one in which wizards and spells exist, but in a humorous twist, are treated like paranormal hokum reduced to the cobwebs of the Antiquity Section of the fictional, ultra-PC Miskatonic University. The University itself appeared in Lovecraft’s The Dunwich Horror, and Hallow Mass follows the occult theme by exposing the horrors of Dunwich and the terror they wish to expose to the world.

The Rest: Https://Culturedvultures.Com/Book-Review-Hallow-Mass-Jp-Mac/

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Hallow Mass review in - recommended! Reading list update! Send me your books!

I just finished the below - I'll leave its details in the blog again as I enjoyed it and can definitely recommend it. My review is done and will be on culturedvultures shortly, followed by a short version on Goodreads and Amazon

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.


In awesome news, my proof for  Hereafter & Other Short Stories is in the post and I can't wait to get my hands on it and read all of my typos! Shortly after it'll be on preorder and I'll be offering Goodreads Giveaways, free copies for review and preorder bonuses a-plenty!

For self publishing success however, one thing is becoming increasingly obvious. I need to do a series. I'm currently working on a cyberpunk novel which was only going to be one story, but the world I'm building is so satisfying and bristling with energy I may well explore options to expand it into other books. Some advice there for fellow writers!

Speaking of fellow writers, my reading list is getting short. Send yours over!

Currently reading




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!



Reading list


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.

A Traitor's War: The Metaframe War: Book 2



After the desperate battle on the Boston docks, Anton Slayne finds refuge amongst the vampire hunters of the Order of Thoth.

Anton discovers the Order of Thoth harbors a traitor who could get his new friends killed. While a secret alliance between the Red Empire and vampire General Chloe Armitage, threatens to do the same.

With threats both within and without - will Anton be able to stay alive long enough to save his friends, or will his circling enemies destroy everyone he loves?

Thursday, 11 May 2017

DailyFlash: New

I was a girl. Rocking. Cradled. Soft, pink, warm arms wrapped around me. A palm bigger than my face blocked the colours, then stroked my hair. The colours returned; swarming and unfocused like the sound of a thousand heartbeats gently thrumming in my ears, and the coochie-coos pining from my armpits prodded with index fingers. My parents' mouths opened and closed. I felt warmth in my palm and held fast to it.

Click here for more of my Daily Flash Fiction

New book coming out

Hi all - I'm pleased to announce I'm in the final proofing stage of my next release; a collection of eclectic short stories. Here's a sneak at the cover:


It will go on preorder soon. Additionally, review copies will be available. If you're in the UK you could even get a hard copy! Drop me an email at aj.smith@writeme.com if interested!

Friday, 5 May 2017

Reading list update and review

So far, I'm currently really enjoying the variety of new authors and books I'm reading. I finished A Subtle Agency, and have added book two to the reading list. Looking forward to that. I also finished The Hunters by Demetrius Sherman. While it fell a little short, being too in your face and lacking much subtlety, it was still interesting from a writer's perspective. When writing, it helps to have a solid understanding of the style of writing you enjoy reading, but also that which you don't enjoy reading. Or at least, as a fellow self-publisher, I'm finding the more indie books I read, the easier it is to spot the kind of errors and trends that come through. Things which I hope will improve my writing in the future. Maybe I'll blog about that in more depth at a later date.


Currently reading



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.

Reading list




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.

A Traitor's War: The Metaframe War: Book 2



After the desperate battle on the Boston docks, Anton Slayne finds refuge amongst the vampire hunters of the Order of Thoth.

Anton discovers the Order of Thoth harbors a traitor who could get his new friends killed. While a secret alliance between the Red Empire and vampire General Chloe Armitage, threatens to do the same.

With threats both within and without - will Anton be able to stay alive long enough to save his friends, or will his circling enemies destroy everyone he loves?