Tag Archives: Writing

Guess Who’s Back, Back Again…

Seriously debating a photo of Eminem here…

Now I’m not arrogant enough to believe that my disappearance or lack of posting means much to anyone at this point in time, but I do still feel responsible for those who have followed my blog in good faith and have been let down on the content side. This half a year has been an unusual balance of ups and downs, with all the ups remaining almost exclusively offline with family, business, and relationships, and all the downs in my writing & reading side as a result of improvements in those areas.

That said, the whole chapter has come full-circle, and everything seems to be levelling out beautifully. After a structureless increase in visits from my children over the past few months, (while obviously welcome, it’s hard to make plans for writing and the like when time with the little-ones will always come first!), my daughter Lily has asked to come and live with me full time!! Myself and her mother have worked out between ourselves that, yes, that is happening, so on the family front there’s more routine and structure there to work around.

I’m that annoying type of person that needs a structured routine. Sleep and wake times, morning and evening rituals, planned out activities at certain times, spreadsheets (yeah, I know…), the lot! Seriously, without one, the whole damn world collapses around me and I don’t know if I’m coming or going. Still, even with knowing that, when my routine does eventually slip away into chaos, I struggle to sit and create a new one. Just think: I haven’t scheduled ‘write routine’ into my daily routine, have I? Can you imagine how hard that makes everything? Do you even know how much this very post breaks all those rules!? I’m practically sweating!

In any case, if you can forgive me, here I am. Writing. Now. This very second.

I haven’t much to say in this post aside from declaring my intentions upon returning to the blogosphere and sharing my excitement over having my daughter come to live with me full-time (more in a later post: nurturing creativity in your children.) Over the past couple months I’ve still been alive, and thus, have still been having ideas, reading books, making plans, and all the rest of it, so rest assured the content will come quickly and often to make up for the disappearance.

The flash fiction and book reviews will continue on a regular basis, but there are other things that will change. For instance, lifestyle is gonna be much more of a thing over here. I’m a keen psychology and philosophy buff, and so love learning and sharing all matters on the condition of life and the many ways in which we can live it. I’m hoping to provoke conversation with the community, and help to shape my own life and the lives of others through what we learn together.

Another thing… a webseries. I’ll be writing one. It’ll be over on Wattpad I think, free to the masses. Nothing too serious or heavily edited, just a fun story that I can add to each week. I’m going either Riverdale-esque college drama with some horror/fantasy elements thrown in, or vigilante multiverse with some horror/fantasy elements thrown in. Go figure.

All that and more. More focus on my art journey, a bigger push toward publication, and maybe a patreon for exclusive bonuses to help pay the bills. One thing that’s certain, you’ll be seeing a lot from me and I can only prove it by cracking on, so, in a while, crocodile!

Fancy a quick five minute read before you go?

My Slice’a Freedom

Like A Nettle Sting

Endgame

My Slice’a Freedom -Free Flash Fiction

The following flash fiction was hastily created for the Kanturk Arts Festival flash fiction competition, based on the below photo prompt. When I first saw the image, I was struck with a sense of loneliness and hiding. I was put in mind of the awful conditions in which black people had to suffer during the times of slavery in America. I remembered reading of situations in the past, where certain whites would help to shield and hide those who’ve escaped captivity, either beneath barns, in attics, or anywhere else for that matter. Sadly, those instances were too few, and no amount of fiction or storytelling can ever romanticise or undo the horrific wrongs of our world at that time. In this image I saw an escaped slave, working in solitude to create tailored items. The story expanded from there, as you’ll read in a second.

In any case, sadly this piece didn’t pick up a win in the contest, and while I think the story has its own merit, I felt squeezing the story into only 500 words was an injustice to the characters and themes I initially envisioned. (You can read the winning pieces here.) I researched extensively for this story (hence the short time to write the thing), and I discovered the amazing story of Nat Turner and the small revolution that would go on to change the face of slavery forever, for better AND worse. I highly recommend you spend a few moments going to research him once you’re done here. While I do like the end result, my heart wasn’t truly in this rendition of the story. Upon learning and researching for the story I had in mind, I quickly realised that I didn’t have enough words to convey all I wanted to in the way I wanted to. So in a way I feel blessed with another chance to tell the story I want to at a later date. For now though, please enjoy this abridged flash fiction piece.


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Are you Vin Buckley that created this painting? Please get in touch with a link to your work.

Gabe stitched through the leather with a careful precision, paying close attention to the tattered pages strewn across the workstation. Moonlight filtered in through cracks in the overhead floorboards, bright and heavy as the night of the revolt. Shadows flickered and shifted across the damp blocks, the flame of his lantern casting a taller, thicker version of himself on the opposite wall. He watched himself work in shadow form, free from scars and riches and class. Not a black man, a white man, a soldier, or a slave. Just a man, working his craft in calm solitude. Shadows revealed the reality of humankind, each equal in the absence of colour.

His wounds had healed up to tightened scars stretched out across his skin, a few pale additions to the tally that claimed most of his back. He tied off his final stitch, wondering what became of the brothers and sisters that followed Nat Turner toward freedom. Robert told him many escaped just like Gabe, but many died too. 

Gabe packed the finished product into a dusty box he excavated from beneath the workstation, and placed it neatly beneath his bed frame. Sleep came fast and without complaint. 

He awoke to the sound of Robert creaking his way down the ladder, moaning and groaning as he did. “Wakey-wakey, Kid,” he said, breathless, “I come bearing good fruit and bad news.” 

“I’ll take the fruit,” Gabe replied, “the news can wait a while.”

Robert placed the basket on the bed beside him, sighing as he did. “Actually Gabe, it can’t. Nat Turner’s been captured. They hanged him and a whole bunch more at Jerusalem. With what’s happened, they’re stricter than ever. Scared too.”

“Oh the white folk are scared,” he retorted, “s’that right?” Gabe shook his head while he processed it. His best friend, born and raised on Ben Travis’ plantation, gone. Dead. Silenced by the hangman. “Jesus Nat. God was menna-be on our side.”

Robert placed a rough hand on his shoulder. “God’s as much a slave to us as you are to them, Gabe. He’s bound to those with the loudest voices.”

“You mean with the most guns.” Gabe pulled out the box from beneath the bed and handed it to Robert, the burden of the news weighing heavily in the features of his face.

Robert opened the box to reveal the finest pair of boots he ever laid eyes upon. The blueprint he never dared lift from the paper himself, now crafted to perfection. “Gabe, did you… How?”

“I fallowed’ya sketches. Was thinking if they good enough, maybe I keep making ‘em?”

Robert stood silently, inspecting them in awe.

“Sir, your generosity’s seen me safe, but I may never walk free. These boots, they can run free and wild. Travel the highs and lows of all the great states, go on a’ventures. They’ll see men marry fine wives and drink fine wine. Each pair’ll carry a little piece of me with ‘em. For now I can only dream of freedom. But these boots… these boots can go where I can’t.’ 

“My slice’a freedom.”


For what it’s worth, I can’t wait to tell this story again, and do it the justice it deserves. Think of this as just a tiny snapshot of the greater story in play. Of course I can only  imagine the tragic circumstances of what it was like to exist back then, and can I even imagine what it would’ve been like to be black back then? What I can say for certain is that  I can do my best to relate the sense of entrapment, loneliness, struggle, fear, and torture, while being awestruck of the hope, love, and fight that never escaped those poor souls that were treated so terribly. A truly awful period in history. Shameful.

Shadows revealed the reality of humankind, each equal in the absence of colour.

Like this story? Try out my favourite flash fiction on this site so far: Endgame.

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The Sky Rip -Free Flash Fiction

Quick online reads is a free online flash fiction series bought to you by author Gary D Holdaway

The morning it all changed was an ordinary one. Joanna sat out on the porch in her usual chair with her usual cup of instant—one and a half spoons of coffee, two heaped spoons of sugar, and just the right splash of milk. The birds sang their usual tunes in all their usual trees, and the gentle breeze bought along it a medium temperature somewhere perfectly between too-hot-for-her-gown and too-cool-to-shiver in-her-pyjama-top.

“Morning Love!” Called Old-Jim from his side of the picket fence, while collecting his usual paper. He tipped his cowboy hat and winked before pulling the door closed behind him, as he usually did.

All the world was exactly as it should be. The lawn needed mowing and the leaves needed blowing, which Edgar would do once she woke him and he consumed the two eggs, toast, and orange juice she laid out for him. It was a routine that run as surely as the Patel’s opening their recently converted ‘Spar’ shop down the road, consistent, reliable, and dependable.

She now wonders how she didn’t notice right away, and how Old-Jim had missed it too, but when she stretched her arms above her head and leaned back on the chair that had moulded to her shape over years of loyal dedication, she saw that the sky had a black void running right through the middle, like two halves of blue paper had been torn apart from either side.

When she saw it, she choked on her coffee and fell backwards out of her chair, scrambling back to her feet in a panicked frenzy to get another look.

“Edgar! Edgar, come down here!” She shouted. Her voice must’ve reflected the sheer panic that consumed her being, because Old-Jim came running out onto his lawn and through the small gate to meet her, just as fast as Edgar appeared beside her tying the rope of his inside-out dressing gown, huffing and puffing like a man who’d just run a 200m sprint.

He started to ask what was wrong, but the words were silenced as he saw it too. The three of them stood bedazzled on the front porch, captivated by the bizarre and frightening sky-rip. What was it? Where had it come from? What did it mean? The questions batted between the three of them in a blind back and forth, gaining no ground as they went. Once you saw it, it was hard to look away from it. It was entrancing.

Other neighbours had started to rouse by now, and they each stood by their own houses, on their own porches and lawns, staring up at the sky.

It wasn’t like the sky had opened to reveal the universe or anything like that. There were no stars and galaxies to be seen. No planets or satellites or meteorites. It was an absence. A black, gaping, nothingness.

Joanna pulled herself away long enough to look at her husband. He was wearing his absent, dumbfounded look, reserved only for football matches, or when she asked a question he felt was too self-explanatory to ask. He was a dick actually. Why did she put up with him? Come to think of it, as she stared up into the void, she realised she had never loved him. What was love worth, anyway? What was the point? Had she ever loved anyone? Her mother never showed her any warmth, her father made a hollow attempt to shoehorn his way back into her life. Even her brother… what a selfish bastard.

In the next minutes, hours, days, months—how long had it been?—she stared at the sky-rip, deconstructing the fabric of her reality. Life itself was as black and empty as the void that captivated her vision. The delicate warmth, the gentle breeze, the presence of those around her, time itself, fell away into nothingness as the blackness consumed more and more of her vision, eating it’s way out toward the edges with each passing, still moment.

Eventually the blackness would take all of her, and with that her life would be over. She knew it, she could feel it. She wanted it. Begged for it. The quicker the blackness consumed her the quicker her torturous existence was over.

She didn’t know, stood motionless and consumed by the void in her silk gown and years old pyjamas, but those around her were feeling the same. Their false realities upturned and twisted into the truth of all humanity. They were nothing but a cancer on the world. I took from them my warmth, and with it their hope, faith, love, passion, and kindness. They had proven how worthless they were. How much they didn’t deserve the lives I so kindly bestowed upon them.

I gifted them with the tools to thrive, and they refashioned them into weapons of separation and destruction, fighting over who’s right and who’s wrong. Constantly taking from the world without giving back. Consuming, consuming, consuming. Insatiable in their hunger for power and control.

The Sky-rip consumed Joanna’s mind. She, alongside the rest of the world, fell into the limitless blackness, never to be unleashed upon the earth again.


Today’s flash fiction took that particular turn somewhere in the middle, and was entirely unplanned. From the very first sentence, the story revealed itself, unfolding line by line right up til the end. I have absolutely no idea how it happened, but I’m happy it did. I’m very happy with the concept here. Let me know what you thought in the comments!

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If you’ve made it this far then I thank you for your attention span! If you enjoy my content, help me make a living by leaving a tip. Every pound goes toward creating more fiction, reading more books to review, and creating artwork, sketches, tutorials, and lifestyle posts for you to enjoy. I appreciate any and all help! A little really does go a long way!

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Exciting Change On The Horizon

You may have noticed that over the past couple weeks, my noise over here on the blog has reduced itself to an occasional chatter. There’s a few reasons for this, but only a couple that have any relevance to the purpose of this post. The next few paragraphs are not going to be a self-involved updates post, where I simply list all my stresses, successes, excitements, and plans—posts like that suck, right? We want the good stuff… The stuff we can use. Of course, I will be mentioning those things, while trying my best to help you avoid the same traps and pitfalls yourself, and fast track your online ventures and presence.

I Forgot My ‘Why?’

When you started your blog, or your instagram, or your facebook page, you had a reason for doing so, a purpose. Some kind of meaning that made all the efforts of social media worthwhile. It may have been to build a presence in your chosen field, to market your own or affiliate products, to raise awareness for a charity, or to fix something that you perceive as a problem in the world.

My reason was to build a presence in the writing world, but beyond that, to provide quality reading material for those who A: don’t have much time to read, B: are new to reading, and C: Need convincing of the benefits and wonders of the written word. In a world filled to the brim with TV shows and movies, reading has taken a real knock. I myself am guilty of shunning one for the other.

We know that reading is good for us. We know the book is always better than the movie. But we haven’t always got the time, or patience, to sit through it. Enter Quick Online Reads. Allow yourself to be transported off into the lives and stories of vibrant characters, experience the amazing benefits of reading, all during a single tea break. Enjoy from the comfort of your phone, tablet, or computer.

If I can help convince people, in ten minutes or less, that reading a story can be just as, if not more enjoyable, than mindlessly binging episode after episode of dragged out plot and product placement, perhaps I can help bring reading back to its prominence in this modern world, and help others discover a world they never knew existed.

As readers, we know the benefits of reading are seemingly endless, and that the book is always better than the movie. But those statements alone are evidently not enough to change the mindset of a nation. What if we start smaller? Throw out the 500 page novels that can take a good 50% or more to get going, and convince them with a short, snappy plot line that formed a character, connection, and provoked emotion all in an instant. We wouldn’t expect a middle aged couple that occasionally take a casual twenty minute stroll to go run a marathon would we?

The aim, the goal, the purpose—beyond a reputation for myself, deeper than a fan base to sell books to—behind setting up my little corner of the net, was to offer a reading experience for non-readers in order to help convince them that to read is worth the time. I’m not going to force novel length work down the throats of those who aren’t yet ready to accept them. By offering flash fictions, short stories, novellas, and eventually novels, perhaps I can put a small dent in the sad reality that a majority of people don’t like to read these days.

What about you and your blog? Have you lost track of the ‘why’ behind your blog? Having a solid, consistent purpose, and predictable, human posts, are key to building a strong brand. Your brand is your voice. It’s your promise. It’s what builds trust among your readers and followers, and turns them into fans and customers. Grab a piece of paper, or post down in the comments, why you started your blog. What you wished to achieve, what message you wished to send, what purpose you set out to accomplish. Make sure this purpose is reflected in everything you do, and has solid alignment across all your social media platforms.

I got so bogged down in posting every day that I burnt myself out. Not only that, but I lost track of what the hell I was doing here along the way. I had Fiction, mental health, blogging tips, social media tips, lifestyle posts, all of which I love to write! But that’s not to say they all belong together on this particular site, and certainly not posted at random. Unpredictable posting is a big turn off for your loyal readers. Even if you only have one or two loyal readers at this point, you don’t want to upset them, confuse them, and ultimately send them away. They keep coming back because something you said, did, or wrote, instilled a level of respect, expectation, and trust. Don’t betray that in the pursuit of more followers, more views, more more more. Each single person that builds a connection with you and your content for the reasons your purpose dictate, is more valuable than 100 casual followers. No matter what your goals. Believe me when I say that.

So What Does This Mean For The Site?

Well, back to basics. Fiction, fiction, and more fiction. My aim is to post a piece of flash fiction three times a week, and work on collaborations and guest posts the rest of the time. At the bottom of each piece of flash fiction I’ll ask you guys for a prompt for my next one, and we’ll continue on in that fashion until the end of time. (Or somewhere near there…)

That’s one hour of each morning. The next hour will be spent exclusively on writing submissions for magazines and anthologies, crafting short stories for my own personal collections, and creating exclusive content for those generous enough to support my efforts through Patreon. (That way, I won’t have a crazy two weeks of stress and online silence due to catching up with all my deadlines…)

I haven’t worked out all the tiers and benefits yet, but I will definitely be setting up a Patreon at some point in the near future. There’s a webseries in the works, an interactive community surrounding the webseries where you get to write the life of a character and shape the world, and a whole bunch of exclusive content and behind the scenes tips and tricks for all budding writers out there. Of course patreon supporters will all benefit from discounts in any future books or products, and my eternal gratitude.

On the social media front, my instagram is about to get a huge revamp. I’m talking a consistent theme, beautiful imagery, and a whole bunch of inspiring, chilling, horrifying, philosophical, and entertaining quotes. That, and an exclusive Insta-story flash fiction once per week. If this interests you, head over there now 😊 Do bare with me while I apply all the changes though!

As for Facebook, I intend to start using it. At the minute I kinda dump links to my posts and occasionally ask questions, but I hope to switch this up ASAP. Facebook is for a more active back and forth. It’s where I’d like to build real relationships with my readers, run live Q&As, and set up events. I think a whole bunch of my lifestyle stuff will end up over on Facebook, alongside my typical musings and philosophical ramblings. After much deliberating, I don’t feel it belongs here on this site at all. So if you’d like to come over and join the conversation, please do that now.

Future future future, I’d like to *ahem* set up a YouTube account. A place to read my stories aloud, perhaps have them as elaborate voice overs to animated photos and storyboards. Maybe even use it as a place to practice my own sketching and illustrating skills as well? I’m not sure yet, but I know that I’d like to. I am camera shy however, and I don’t much like my voice… so we’ll see.

And with that I think I’m all out of updates. I’m super excited to get back to the bones of this site, and feel so much lighter with a clear plan laid out ahead of me. How do you balance your time between blogging, social media, and your offline life? Let me know in the comments!

Tip The Author

If you’ve made it this far then I thank you for your attention span! If you enjoy my content, help me make a living by leaving a tip. Every pound goes toward creating more fiction, reading more books to review, and creating artwork, sketches, tutorials, and lifestyle posts for you to enjoy. I appreciate any and all help! A little really does go a long way!

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Demi-Gods Exist -Free Flash Fiction

Today’s entry is an experimental work in progress for a longer piece of fiction, with a bunch of kinks that need ironing out. Still, I like the direction and wanted to share this early draft with you. I like the perspective, but certain aspects need further depth, and some situations could do with a little tweaking. Specifically the section taking place in the school. Anyway, it’s coming up for the sixth week since I quickly tapped this out, so will be due a proper rewrite! The finished piece will be almost unrecognisable, and I won’t be able to share publicly, so I figured I’d share it with you now. Hope you enjoy!


Demigods exist. I know, because I am one. I guess I’ve been a demigod since I was born, but to be honest, I’m not really sure how it works. Am I actually the son of Odin? Or is it that I was chosen somehow at a later date? My name plucked from a hat in Asgard (where the Gods live) perhaps?

Maybe you’re asking yourself how on earth I can be a demigod, and have no idea how it all works? Well, it’s complicated. There are like, clues, ya’know? The first and most obvious of them is that I can feel them. They’re with me with everything I do. They’re constantly over my shoulder, whispering in my ear, guiding me.

Just earlier today I was walking the dog. Mum didn’t get back ‘til late and she still had to walk Thor, put Freya to bed, and have a shower, all before cooking for us. I was absolutely starving, so I told her I’d walk the dog for her while she carries on with the rest. Fair deal, right? It’s what they were telling me to do, anyway. I’ve learned I don’t have much choice when they’re telling me to do something. The voice gets louder and louder, until my urge to give in is just too strong to ignore. I’ll end up getting out of bed in the middle of the night to do my homework, or feeling so desperate to do something that I end up doing anything (like the dishes, or changing Freya’s diaper) just to busy myself. It really can be quite stressful, this demigod business.

Anyway, out I stepped into the cold. It was a dark evening. All winter evenings are dark, but it seemed spookier this evening because the air was heavy and the fog was dense, the streetlights painting the whole floor with a deep orange glow. My footsteps echoed down the street, Thor’s excited breathing filling in the rest of the silence. The quietest of sounds seem so loud at night, don’t you think? And when footsteps echo behind you on the path, and your eyes get tired and everything seems to get darker in an instant, and all you can think of doing is running without looking back because you’re pretty certain someone or something is behind you…

I calmed myself down. It’s nothing, I told myself. Still, I peeked over my shoulder, and I could hear my heart thumping through my chest. As I rounded the blind corner of the back path, just before the end where it meets the main road and the street lights start again, I saw a man. A dark man. He stood still at the corner, beneath the streetlight, his shadow stretching out in all directions. Long cloak flapping in the wind, his hat hiding his face behind thick, black, emptiness. With him was a dog, as still and eery as the man that stood beside him.

My brain said ‘Odin.’

Then my brain, in a deeper, raspier voice, replied, ‘Correct.’

I stopped where I stood. In a sharp snap of the neck he looked at me, and the weight of the air suddenly pressed hard against my shoulders. I had to tense my entire body to stop it from flooring me. I can only describe the feeling as the weight of power. Sheer, overwhelming power, radiating from this ethereal apparition. That cold, dark, heaviness. It happens when I pray to Him sometimes, too.

Thor’s thirsty breathing stopped as he pulled his tongue back inside his mouth, both bored from sitting, and unsure of this figure in the distance. I had two choices. Face this man, or turn around and walk back the way I came. I made the smart choice and turned around, walking all the way home as fast as I could.

Do you see how he called me out on purpose? Just to catch me and tell me something? It’s not nice. It’s scary and imposing and I don’t want it. But they wont leave me alone.

Another clue is how uncomfortable I feel in this world, like I’m not supposed to be here. Like I’m different, somehow. Other kids laugh, and joke, about silly things. They obsess over girls and video games. Sometimes they even cry when little things like disagreements happen. I try to help, but it never seems to work out.

A few weeks ago, Jonah Benson was upset over how his girlfriend had held hands with Brent Talbot. He sat beside me in home room, scratching love hearts into his desk between the initials J.B. And S.H —Standing for Sarah Henson, obviously. I told him not to worry, that kid relationships never last anyway- It’s all about learning to be an adult at this point in life. He stared at me blankly for a second, stopped inscribing initials with that pencil, and stabbed me in the hand with it!

I don’t get it! I only told him what the Gods tell me. They give me lessons all day everyday, and nobody wants to hear them. So what am I, as a demigod, supposed to do? Just ignore them myself because the world is too lost to save? I rushed to the medical room crying, pencil still dangling out of my hand. When Mrs Lonsdale pulled it out, there was a tiny red hole surrounded with the grey of the lead. It was actually pretty cool to look at, but it wicked hurt. “I’m going to send you home, Danny,” She said in her kind, delicate voice, “I’ll call your mum.”

I liked Mrs Lonsdale, she had a beautiful soul. Shortly after, she led me out of the school and into the parking lot, where my mum waited for me with the engine running. She knows I like it when the blowers stay warm. There’s nothing better than warm air rushing at your face after being out in the cold. Mum had to go back to work, so she left me at home with Freya, Thor, and our nanny Ethel. She didn’t like me very much, I had heard her telling mum one time (listening when I wasn’t supposed to be) that I’m the reason dad left. That I was too different for him to cope with. That my ‘artism’ was too much for him. I guess she meant that I was too artistic? Who knows? She was always nice though, and we all watched TV together until mum got home.

After dinner, mum tucked me in my bed and read me the stories of Asgard. My favourite ones, like how Loki transforms into a female horse to stop a giant and his steed from winning a bet, or when he convinces two sets of dwarves to compete against each other for the favour of Asgard, securing six epic items for the Gods. I like Loki, he’s different too.

She kissed me on the head, gave me my medication and a sip of water, and walked to the door.

“I love you Danny,” she said, “You being different isn’t a bad thing, you know? You’re gonna do great things.”

She turned out the light.


So there you go, a slung together, clunky story with a lot of mystery at this point. Still, I hope you can see through the blackened layer to see glimmers of the diamond beneath. I’m excited to have a do-over with this one. So what did you think? Do you have any suggestions that could help me in my upcoming rewrite? Let me know in the comments!

Tip The Author

If you’ve made it this far then I thank you for your attention span! If you enjoy my content, help me make a living by leaving a tip. Every pound goes toward creating more fiction, reading more books to review, and creating artwork, sketches, tutorials, and lifestyle posts for you to enjoy. I appreciate any and all help! A little really does go a long way!

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Consistency & Positivity over Pressure & Burnout

This post is just a quick one thrown together from the comfort of my own bed, on my phone. It’s a reminder to myself and all of you who read this, that consistency and positivity are leagues apart from putting too much pressure on yourself and burning out from the stress.

A positive attitude with hope and confidence in yourself, mixed with small, consistent steps in the right direction, are guaranteed to bring you success in your ventures. As humans with big hopes and dreams, we tend to easily slip into the feeling that we must do more than we are doing, must get to where we’re going faster than we already are, and honestly, that mindset is just piling undue stress and pressure on top of dreams that started out with love and passion.

Think of it like this. Positive action, positive thoughts, and positive habits will bring positive outcomes, whereas negative action, negative thoughts, and negative habits, will of course bring negative outcomes.

How we choose to frame our situations goes a long way to how those situations eventually play out.

“I said I’d do a blog post per month, but I haven’t been able to do it. I’ve still got a few collabs to work on and I haven’t even started on my true horror book yet. God knows how I’m gonna get it all done.”

So there’s my situation right now, framed in negativity. If I continue along that train of thought, I’ll become overwhelmed, I’ll stand still, and I’ll end up sabotaging any and all progress I’ve made and have yet to make on this wondrous journey through life. Now, let’s portray the exact same message, only this time, positively.

“I’ve earned some extra money being busy this week! I could take Friday off to write at my own leisure, or work that little extra and treat Ellen to something nice. I can’t wait to get a chance to work on my collab with Hannah Maggie, I’m loving how my character is turning out, and the collab with Iosonas Bakas is going to be so worth all the delay. He’s a great artist and I’m a good writer, what we make will be epic!

“Deadlines for two submissions are due soon so I better get a move on if I’m gonna start my true horror novel in December. They’ll either be accepted or they won’t, but if they are that’s great! And if not, well, I’ll spend some more time on them without the pressure of a deadline and use them for something else. Win some, you lose some.”

You see how much of a difference that makes? Realistically, I can’t post a blog post everyday. I set myself a challenge and life got in the way. That’s a bummer. But the purpose of that challenge was to hit 1000 page views this month. I’m already on track to be ahead of that target, and I’ve written around ten posts. Good ones too! The challenge has spawned great growth and ideas, including my Instagram graphic story intros to drive traffic to the blog, my “Like a Nettle Sting” and “Father’s Rage” flash fictions, both of which I’m happy with, and a couple of helpful lifestyle/mental health posts which may go on to help someone in need. I’m not going to let myself be disappointed about that, and ruin a good thing over a non-thing.

Remember, the best and worst situations in life can be viewed positively or negatively, and it truly is our choice which side of the coin lands face-up in any given circumstance. Only one of those choices leads to happiness.

So, one post a day… that’s a big no-no. Sorry 🤷‍♂️ I’ve got two amazing collaborations going on that I want to spend some time on, and I have two submissions that I’d be a fool to not make deadline for. But I’m not going anywhere, and this blog is a part of my life now. I love to log on, search around the blogosphere and read all your great posts, engage in comments and community groups. I’m gonna slow down for the rest of the month though, at least until a few items on my checklist have that all important tick beside them.

With a great girlfriend, two amazing kids, some talented bloggers working with me, and excellent opportunities that require my attention, I have all the happiness and success I need. I’m a mile ahead of where I was last month, and that’s what’s important!

The only person you need to compare yourself to is yourself the day before.

So that’s all for today. Just a small one, which I hope reminds you of why you set out to do whatever it is you’re doing. Was it for stressful deadlines and pressure, or for the love of the craft and your own passion and growth? Our experience of life is in our hands. It’s all about how we frame it!

Night folks. Feel free to drop a rant and let me know what’s going on in your world right now. How do you deal with stress when you’re feeling overwhelmed?

Tip The Author

If you’ve made it this far then I thank you for your attention span! If you enjoy my content, help me make a living by leaving a tip. Every pound goes toward creating more fiction, reading more books to review, and creating artwork, sketches, tutorials, and lifestyle posts for you to enjoy. I appreciate any and all help! A little really does go a long way!

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Like A Nettle Sting -Free Flash Fiction

Cam didn’t like walking in the woods anymore. Actually, he hated it. Since Toby was born, he’d developed a bit of a gut. And a bit of a flabby chest. And his arms, legs, back, neck—they developed a bit of chunk too. When he’s honest with himself, he declares it as a joke—“Not everyone can say they earned 100 pounds for no work at all!”—but it’s anything but funny. That hundred pounds meant he could no longer climb the stairs without stopping to catch his breath, or have a comfortable bath. That hundred pounds made his knees feel like they were gonna snap in half each time he put some weight on them. That hundred pounds, the hundred pounds that came almost exclusively from chain fast-food restaurants and gallons of fizzy drink, added up to him hating walking in the woods, despite the beaming smile on his son’s face as he danced through the bluebells and told himself stories of fairies and monsters.

Toby was the spitting image of Cam—pre fat gain, of course. He had golden hair that trailed into little curls around his ears and shined white in the light of the sun, a button nose that pointed ever-so-slightly up to the sky, and squeezable, squidgable cheeks that, when pinched, forced uncontrollable giggles from him. He was the stereotype gleeful kid, with a cuteness factor plus ten.

“Careful mate,” he said as Toby neared a rogue patch of nettles, “they’ll hurt ya.” By then it was too late, and as any parent knows, there’s no teaching a child before he’s learned for himself. Cam watched his arm bury itself in the nettles up to the elbow and pull out just as fast—if not faster—along a sequence of screams and cries that frightened the birds off their overhead perches.

The next five minutes were dedicated exclusively to calming him down, cycling through each technique in sequence until one showed some sign of progress. Tickling, that was a no-no. Swing-swing, that didn’t work. Real tears—not the crocodile kind—were streaming by the time Cam managed to console him. He rocked him slowly up and down, left and right, a few haphazard sniffles where Toby’s breath struggled to returned to normal.

The boy needed his mummy. Cam wasn’t cut out to be dad, mum, best friend, and all in between. He wasn’t sure anyone was, not really. He was the kind of father to come home after a long day, get the kids all excited before bed—have their happy hour, as Claire called it—and then relax in front of the box with Claires head in his lap, stroking her hair as she dozed off.

God how he wished he could have her back. Sure, they argued, and they argued hard. But they loved each other even harder.

Cam thought back to one evening a year or so before. It was around five, but the winter darkness had already claimed the night. He remembers that day well because It was so cold out in the yard, and one of the younger lads had turned up wrapped in multiple different layers. It looked like he had doubled in size overnight! The boys bantered him heavy that day, and every day beyond that until the sun felt brave enough to peek its head out again. That boy though, the boy with all the layers, was the only one of them to not go off sick all winter. Each day, no matter what, he turned up to lug wood and brick, mix mortar and dig dig dig.

Claire had had a rough day too. It was written all over her face the second he stepped through the door, muddy boots traipsing in dirt behind him. Not his proudest moment. She blasted him the second she laid eyes on those brown pools where the slush had defrosted off his soles, and rightfully so, it was mindless.

After Cam and Toby’s happy hour, they all sat to eat dinner together as they always did, but the air was blue that night. Hardly a word spoken between them, the tension thick like smoke. Claire barely stopped to swallow her last bite before she had whipped Toby out his seat and got him tucked up in bed.

Cam stayed downstairs and took the plates through to the kitchen. His thinking was that he’d do the washing up, whip round all the toys in the living room, and light some candles around the bath so they could share one. Right?

Wrong.

Claire stomped down the stairs and blanked him on her way past into the kitchen. Cam stood with Toby’s little doll in his hands, the one he pushed along in his cousins secondhand toy pram. He followed her through to the kitchen, where she stood still at the sink, staring out the window.

“What’s up with you?” He asked, coming up behind her and taking her in his arms.

Wrong again.

She shook him off and turned to face him. “What’s up with me, Cam, really? What’s up with you? I spend all day keeping Toby happy, tidying up behind him, doing all the cooking, take him for his bath, put him to bed, listen to him moan, and cry, and scream, and giggle, and bang his blocks on the floor to the same songs playing on repeat all day long. And then you come home, have your little happy hour with him, and you’re best friend all of a sudden. Job done, TV time. You’ve had such a hard day right?”

They argued then. Where Cam should’ve listened, he felt the misplaced need to fight his case. He had had a hard day. And if he didn’t have his fun time with Toby, when would he? He was out all day. He was sorry about the mud on the floor, but the ground was soaking wet outside and he didn’t want to bring wet feet through the house. The back and forth went from the kitchen, to the front room, back into the kitchen, out into the garden for a cigarette, and finally back in to the living room, that stupid doll dangling from its leg in Cam’s hand all the while.

“Claire, I’m not saying I have it any harder than you. You chose the hardest job in the world. I know for a fact I couldn’t do it.”

“Well you seem to think you can just throw all his toys in the corner and that’s that.”

“No I—“ Claire snatched the doll from his hand then, and chucked it into the pile of toys beside the tv unit to demonstrate. Where Cam didn’t let go of the leg, it tore straight from the body. Now a dolls leg dangled from Cam’s hand, and a legless doll—that had seen better days—rested atop a pile of assorted toys with a foolish, lifeless grin fixed on its face. Claire couldn’t help but laugh, and neither could Cam.

In a few short seconds, they had gone from arguing to giggling like children, one of the rare hilarities of parenthood. One of the moments that put everything in perspective. They made up, they made love, and they fell asleep in each other’s arms with a smile on their faces.

Cam could remember each separate feature of her face. Each curve, each angle, each expression.. Sometimes, while he was cleaning, or working, or grocery shopping, he’d have brief flashes of memory, where he’d see her as clear as anyone still living. He’d drift away into the good times—the best times—and the hard times.

He saw her now, out in the middle of the woods with the sun shining through her. Gently rocking Toby back and forth with her beside him, her hand on his, whispering in his ear. “You’re doing good, Cam. Hang in there.”

Tip The Author

If you’ve made it this far then I thank you for your attention span! If you enjoy my content, help me make a living by leaving a tip. Every pound goes toward creating more fiction, reading more books to review, and creating artwork, sketches, tutorials, and lifestyle posts for you to enjoy. I appreciate any and all help! A little really does go a long way!

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How To Best Manage Our Time For Less Stress

With all the hustle and bustle of modern living, it’s a wonder how we get anything done at all. In this age of minimum wage and maximum costs, maintaining a healthy work/life balance is hard enough, before finding extra time for your partner, family, and friends. Of course, on top of all that, there are the things we ‘want’, or ‘wish,’ to be able to do and be better at. Sadly, these are often the things that take the worse hit of them all, and we go about our lives from expectation to expectation, never finding that all important time to express ourselves and work on our passions.

But what if we could juggle all that important stuff, while working on personal projects and skills, and still have time for relaxing, movies, and friends? Have you ever seen the video where some dude puts rocks, pebbles, sand, and beer in a jar, to demonstrate how best to use our time? Well it’s a good watch, and it will serve as a good primer before jumping into the thick of this post.

Watched it? Good! So you can see how a simple shift in our priorities can instantly turn our life around. Time is the one currency in the world we can’t earn back. It slowly dwindles down until eventually, there’s none left. While we can throw around a large amount of our pounds and dollars each weekend, knowing that come Monday we’re back to earning more, perhaps invest a little in ourselves or put it to work to earn more of it, time is not expendable. So how we invest it is important.

How we use our time determines whether we are happy and fulfilled on our deathbeds, or miserable and filled with regret. Would you be glad that you caught every show on Netflix, and never let your friends share a status without being the first to like it? Or would you be happier to know that you rose to the top of your field, always helped put a smile on the faces of others, had amazing experiences with your friends and family, and lived an active life filled with success and adventure?

You see, a lot of the things that we stress over, are directly caused by the amount of time we spend doing the little, enjoyable things in life, rather than focusing on the larger issues and commitments. The enjoyability isn’t enough to outweigh the stress, and we become overwhelmed as a result of our own procrastination. But if we take a second to fit in all those big responsibilities first, we see that we can still fit in all the small stuff around it, with less resistance and stress at that!

Today I just wanted to take a minute to share with you that small piece of advice. It seems obvious, but in practice, you’ll likely be surprised at how wrong you have your life structured. I know I was. Grab a pen now and write down all the things that you like doing, want to do, have to do, and wish you could do.

Your list should look like this:

-Work/financial goal
-Read more books
-See my family
-Go out with my friends
-Take the kids for a walk
-Get my book published
-Maintain a weight training program
-Watch anime
-Check out Haunting on Hill House
-Meditate

Now that you’ve written down all your likes, wants, and shoulds, I want you to assign each one a priority. Either Rock, pebble, or sand. Rocks are larger tasks that require a great degree of focus and time, and will ultimately enhance your way of life. Pebbles are still important, but require much less of a time commitment, and sand items are the fun little things you like to do. Then reorder them with rocks first, pebbles below, and sand at the bottom.

Rocks

-Work/Financial Goal
-Publish a book

Pebbles

-Take the kids for walks
-Maintain a weight training program
-See my family
-Meditate daily

Sand

-Read more books
-Go out with my friends
-Watch anime
-Check out Haunting on Hill House

Now that we have everything structured and where it needs to be, lets have a think about how we can squeeze all of this into a week.

168 hours in a week, of which 56 hours should be spent sleeping. This leaves us 112 hours to play with.

Let’s say that work takes up 40 hours, we’re left with 72.

Of those 72 hours, we want to commit a good 20 hours on our big side goal. In this example it’s publishing a book. That includes creative writing practice, courses, writing, editing, networking, and everything else to do with that particular goal.

Right, there’s the rocks out the way. Now we’re left with 52 hours. 7 hours spent walking with the kids, and 3 hours spent maintaining a weight-training program takes away another 10. Boom, 42 hours left. At this point we’re sleeping well, working hard, progressing towards a huge goal, staying fit, and spending time active with the kids.

Of these 42 hours, we’ll spend 10 of them with the family, and 5 with friends. Why not? We’ve got lots of time… These are our refreshing bursts, the things that make it all worthwhile. Our relationships and connections outside of work, outside of the stresses of life. These are the things that make us smile.

Still, we have 27 hours left in the week. And you really have no way to pay all the bills, work on your passion, keep yourself fit, spend time with the family, and enjoy a couple movies here and there?

If you spot anything in your life that is demanding too much time, then you need to do something to bring it back in to a better balance. But that’s a different post altogether…

Now of course these numbers and priorities will be different for everyone. Some of you have degrees to work on, dissertations to write, school papers to grade during half term, a network of hundreds of employees to run, or any variable thereafter. Still, by balancing the priorities and reorganising them by order of rocks, pebbles, and sand, I’m confident you can live a happy, fulfilling life, so that when the moment comes where sadly you have reached your end, you do so smiling and satisfied.

How do you find time to balance your day? Have you ever tried adjusting your priorities and seeing where you can fit everything? It’s always a surprising and enlightening exercise.

Tip The Author

If you’ve made it this far then I thank you for your attention span! If you enjoy my content, help me make a living by leaving a tip. Every pound goes toward creating more fiction, reading more books to review, and creating artwork, sketches, tutorials, and lifestyle posts for you to enjoy. I appreciate any and all help! A little really does go a long way!

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My Five Favourite Posts So Far- Don’t Miss Them!

I promised myself that throughout the month of November I’d write a post for this blog every single day, in an attempt to bump my views up to over 1000 this month. So far I’m on track to do this, which is great! I’m so grateful to have had such a far reach over the course of a couple of months, and while it hasn’t been easy, and I still have such a long way to go, I’m over the moon to have enjoyed my small bit of success in my own corner of the internet.

Over the past couple weeks I’ve settled into my blog more, and I’m starting to find my feet. It’s an odd mix of flash fiction, lifestyle, and writing tips, but it works for me. I’ve got a whole load of kinks to work out, and a bunch of restructuring/scheduling to get it running smoothly, but all in all, this haphazard collection of thoughts and fiction is the perfect reflection of me. I love my little site, and I have big plans for its future.

The last few days I’ve not been very well, and the juggling of blog posts, contest & anthology submissions, (not to mention my work in the background) has been wearing me down at the same time. When I got home from work earlier today, I crashed, and I stayed asleep for around four hours! Super-Nap! I do feel better for it, but now it’s 9:30pm and am suddenly hit with the realisation that I haven’t written a damn thing for the blog yet!

To make matters worse… I didn’t know what to write! I felt too groggy to attempt any fiction, too under-the-weather to talk depression, and didn’t want to get into anything too heavy. Then I figured, why not write about the writing I’ve done so far? Today I simultaneously hit 100 blog followers and 100 followers on my Facebook page, and finally cracked 250 on my instagram! I’m proud of what I’ve done so far, and some of you may have missed a couple pieces that I believe deserve some recognition. So without further waffling from me, here are my 5 favourite posts I’ve written so far!

A Eulogy

My first post, and singlehandedly responsible for my return to writing, the eulogy I wrote for my grandfather is a piece I hold close to my heart. While we weren’t particularly close, he being in Germany and me in the UK, he was a truly great man that came with his own presence. He was intelligent, funny, strong, and resilient. Without being forceful or overbearing, he smoothly commanded a level of respect from all who knew him. His death was sudden and unexpected, and from it came an outpouring of words that haven’t stopped since.

I love this piece because it stands as a homage to him, but beyond that, talks about the journey of kingship in all men. It explores what I believe is the ideal journey of all men from birth to death, and allows me to explore the archetypal philosophy of King. If you haven’t read it yet, I’d love if you did. He’d love it too. A Eulogy

How To Take Control Of Your Own Life

Actually my second post here, this is an article that I had originally written for a totally different blog idea, so the tone and voice may be different from what you’ve grown used to. Still, buried within this post is some unapologetic honesty, which forces us to take a close look at ourselves and why we may be unable to achieve what we want. Continuing on this strain, I wrote a post to follow up called “How To Achieve Success in Anything,” which further explored how we hold ourselves back from the things we love and want.

I love this post because honestly I enjoyed writing it. That style of honest, motivation rant is right up my street. It’s also a small insight into the kind of blog I was gonna be running here, which has now been sort of adapted and absorbed into this one. Hopefully in the future I’ll still run with that original idea, but who knows? I’m pretty busy with all this! If you haven’t read it yet, you can check it out here: How To Take Control of Your Own Life.

The Man In The Hat

Coming in at under 300 words for a weekly writing group contest, The Man In The Hat was a short exploration of a character I’d held in my mind for a long time. Two characters, actually. The mood of the piece is enigmatic, and it really doesn’t give much away. While the situation isn’t one I saw for a longer novel, I enjoyed setting these two characters free just for a few hundred words. If you’d like to go check that out, it’ll take less than a couple minutes and you can have a go at figuring out who the man in the hat is. Hopefully it wets your appetite for one of my near-future works! You can find it here: The Man In The Hat.

The Fury Of The Godless

Growing in cultural popularity as of late, Vikings have always been a huge thing of interest for me. Having a northern heritage myself, and feeling a particular calling to that wild pantheon of Gods and Godesses, it’s always fun to explore the darker aspects of Viking behaviour throughout the Middle Ages. I wasn’t entirely happy with this piece, but it was received well by all who read it, and reading it back now, I actually love it. Cleverly titled Fury Of The Godless, we question whether the Godless in question are those who’ve slaughtered a monastery of men, or those from the monastery itself. The Northmen had Gods, and they loved them freely. But did the Christians truly love their God? You decide for yourself here: The Fury of The Godless.

Endgame

My most recent piece of fiction comes in at under 750 words for a YeahWrite weekly contest. The prompt was catalyst, and metaphors are this month’s main theme. Being new to YeahWrite, I wanted to make an impression, and weaved a metaphor throughout the entire piece. I’ve fallen in love with both characters in that story, and wish I had more words to fully develop and explore them. Writing this piece was easy. The main character pulled me through smoothly, leading the way as I translated her thoughts through the tapping of the keys. I think I’ll revisit this at some stage and weave a full short story or novella from it. I seriously loved writing it, genuinely love reading it back, and hope you will too. You can check that out here: Endgame.

There’s more that I’ve enjoyed writing, but these are the main five that stand out to me, not necessarily on a quality basis, but on a basis of Enjoyability and meaning. These five are either going places or have taken me places, which is really what writing is all about.

Which post is your favourite so far? Have you got a post you’re particularly proud of you’d like to share with me? Let me know in the comments 🙂

Tip The Author

If you’ve made it this far then I thank you for your attention span! If you enjoy my content, help me make a living by leaving a tip. Every pound goes toward creating more fiction, reading more books to review, and creating artwork, sketches, tutorials, and lifestyle posts for you to enjoy. I appreciate any and all help! A little really does go a long way!

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Endgame -Free Flash Fiction


When Marcy was diagnosed with lung cancer, she knew she had to make some changes. Terminal was the news, and once she delivered it to her nearest and dearest—only having broken down to tears once or twice—she headed home to get in some much needed planning time.

She booted up her computer and opened a blank document, where she stared at the blinking cursor for what seemed like an eternity. After a few more minutes of blankness, she typed, “I’m going to die soon,” and stared at those haunting words while she tried to make sense of what it meant.

This was it. As her grandson, Jimmy, would say, she’s reached her endgame. Well, that wouldn’t be so bad if she hadn’t played it so damned safe all this time. Where all the other players hung out in bars, experienced fleeting romance, and got into epic side quests, Marcy carefully played the main story, donating all her skill points to a singular track: longevity.

Now with that skill-tree nerfed, what was she left with? What was the point in ginger and kale smoothies, or six gym classes a week, when her days were numbered? Her whole life she had prepared only for a longer endgame, and now in some sick twist, in some corrupted save file, she was stripped of all those efforts and left with no help from the developers.

She was angry at first. At herself. At the world. At the miserable faces on the sidewalk, taking for granted the one gift they all have in common. But what good could anger do? She could hitch up her skirt and ‘break bad,’ but Heisenberg wasn’t her style. Neither was rage-quitting with a bottle of whiskey and a pack of sleeping pills.

Racking her brains for a while, she backspaced her first few words into oblivion, and opted for a new one. All caps. ENDGAME.

She was too late for a reset, but that didn’t mean she couldn’t enjoy the last expansion with the character she had built so far.

Beneath the title she typed out a list of urges she had suppressed over the years. At the top was McDonald’s, beneath that pizza, sleep all day, and skydiving. When satisfied with her list, she smiled at herself, tapped enter a couple times, and typed ‘freedom.’

With that, she grabbed her keys and her purse, buttoned her coat, and bounced to the door.

Claiming an entire booth—living on the wild side—Marcy took her first ravenous bite of a Big mac. She ordered large fries, nacho-cheese bites, and five chicken selects on the side. Jimmy ordered his usual twenty nuggets and slathered them in bbq sauce as he shovelled them in whole.

Any hint of disapproval was switched out for amusement. Where McDonald’s had always come begrudgingly, it was now the best place in the world.

“I’ve gotta say Grandma,” Jimmy said between bites, “I like how you’re dealing with this.”

“Well you’d approve of anything so long as fast food is involved,” she joked.

“No I mean it. Real-talk. You deserve to let your hair down.” He paused, dropping a half eaten fry back into the box, a look on his face like he’d lost his appetite. “It’s so fucking unfair.”

“Language!” She hissed, eyeing the couple of kids in the booth to the right of them. In truth, she didn’t want to get caught up in the fairness conversation. Fair or not, it was happening. She was surprised to see him so worked up though. He had a level view on life and death. Even when his parents (Marcy’s daughter and her husband) died, he showed a level of acceptance far beyond his years. “And don’t start all that… I’m relying on you to show me a good time while I’m still able. If I thought you’d whine about it I’d have gone it alone.”

Jimmy took a deep breath and sat back against the padded bench seat, propping his arms up either side like one of the cool kids from a late 70s musical. He was only a toothpick short of Danny Zuko. “Okay grandma, what you got in mind?”

“I may be dying, but I’ve still got a few quests left in me.”

“And you wanna party-up with me? You know there ain’t no respawn?”

Marcy smiled the cheekiest of smiles. “Darling, I’m banking on it.”

Word count: 739

NaNoWriMo Survival Guide- How To Write a Novel in a Month

It’s November! And for us writers that means it’s time to draft an entire novel at breakneck speed. Is the end result always great? Hell nah, it’s about as draft as a draft can be. But is it fun, productive, and an epic way to tell yourself the story that’s brewing in your mind? You can bet your arse it is! If you have any doubts about signing up for NaNoWriMo, let’s squash them today, with my NaNoWriMo survival guide. Here a few tips and tricks for how to write a novel in a month.

Just Tell The Story

Encouraging NaNoWriMo survival guide badge, to help readers learn how to write a novel in a monthNaNoWriMo is all about challenging yourself to get your story down on paper (or screen) as fast as possible. Unburden those epic characters from your mind, and bring them to life through words. It’s about breaking the barrier of the dreaded novel, getting the hardest part (finishing) out of the way, so it has no power left over you. 50000 words sounds intimidating, but its not a hell of a lot when you think about it. You’ve got a main character, a couple of side characters, an antagonist, a plot to unfold, multiple character arcs, all drawing to a final showdown. You’ve got this. You’ll hit 50k in no time.

The First Draft is For you

In Stephen King’s ‘On Writing,’ he talks about how you write the first draft with the door closed. It’s for you, and only you. The first draft is like a foundation, upon which you build your novel. You’re effectively telling yourself the story, with the intention to polish it up, catch plot holes, weave in a theme or moral, and all that other pretty stuff, throughout your second draft. So don’t sweat the small stuff. Start writing your story, and let the characters pull you through to the end. The hardest part of this novel writing mumbo-jumbo is telling the damn story, so rush it down! There’s time for making it cohesive, polished, and epic after.

Let’s Do The Math

NaNoWriMo Survival Guide- Keep Calm and Write OnIt’s time to pull out the calculator folks, let’s dissect this baby and crunch some numbers. There are thirty days in November, that means, if we want to set ourselves a daily word count to achieve the goal, all we have to do is divide 50k by 30.

Run it through your calculator and you get 1,666.666 words per day. (Here we can see how the devil created this challenge and put his unique stamp on it.) So if you intend on writing every day of November, shoot for 1700 words per day. Simple.

But let’s be real here, are you really going to write every day? It’s unlikely. Whether you have work commitments, kids, blogs and social media to keep up with, or murders to go cover up, you’re gonna need some breathing room to deal with your personal shit. So let’s assume we can stick to a target of writing for twenty days out of the month.

50k divided by 20 is 2500

Now, 2500 words per day may seem a lot to some of you, but remember, that’s only twenty dedicated days to your NaNoWriMo challenge. While you’re pushing to write a novel in a month, it is only a draft. 2500 words of draft isn’t all that hard to get down once you get flowing, especially if you are following some kind of plot or structure. The trick is to write write write. Don’t keep checking your word count. Set an hour of dedicated, uninterrupted time, then check. If you’re done, then you’re done. If not, shoot for another hour, and go over if you can! You may save yourself another day of writing, or end up with an epic!

Remember Your ‘Why’

It’s easy to get caught up in the pressure and the challenge aspect of it all. Such demands can be stilling for writers and creatives. But try to remember your ‘why’ for taking up with NaNoWriMo. It’s not to win, It’s not to show off, and it’s not to write the most amazing novel that’s ever been written. It’s to tell yourself a full, complete story, and to break through that ‘novel completion’ boundary before it ever gets ahold of us. It’s a creative exercise to show us what is capable, with a little determination and consistency.

Exercises like this are great for an individual’s psyche. To have a positive end result at the end of a periodical commitment, reminds us that gratification and success takes time and effort. We are often disappointed and sunk into ‘lows’ due to our minds being wired to instant gratification in the modern world. Getting fifty thousand (or even twenty thousand) words down throughout a set period of time, where you are pouring in your heart and soul, rewires the part of the brain that expects everything in the now.

Look, we all have different reasons for doing things, but storytelling is an art in and of itself. It’s a beautiful element of human nature that we could scarcely live without. It’s been here from the beginning of time, and it’ll be here ‘til the end. Let’s not get lost in the intricacies of it all. Just tell the story, build the characters and setting, and enjoy the process. You’re a story teller by nature. Bravo! Now go do your ‘thang. Come back to this NaNoWriMo survival guide whenever you need a little nudge in the right direction.

Plotting Tools

Save The Cat Writes a Novel- Click to purchaseClick to purchase from amazon.com

I’m personally not a plotter. My work is pretty much exclusively character driven, and a plot tends to still me and crush my creative flow. That said, for a challenge like this, it helps to have at least a timeline of events you’d like to happen, so that you can easily work from one to the next without too much difficulty. You can always go off track and your characters can still surprise you, but the briefest of brief outlines offer a little guidance when you may be lost. Equally, if you don’t fancy writing at the point you’re at, you can jump ahead and write a scene that strikes your fancy. Win/win. It’s all words!

If you’d like a real structured plot to guide you, I personally recommend looking up the snowflake method. For everyone else, it’s worth checking out Save The Cat Writes a Novel. Even for us non-plotters, this book is novel-writing gold. It provides a guide filled with beats and moments for within your story, without tacking a rigid structure around everything. Do yourself a favour writers, and pick up your copy today. It really will help turn your novels from good, to great.

Amazon US | Amazon UK

(This is an affiliate link. I only provide links to products that I have personally used, bought, and love. I will never endorse a product I have no experience with purely for monetary gain.)

NaNoWriMo Survival Kit

All this aside, there are a few things we’re gonna need throughout November to keep us sane and on track. Us writers are a picky bunch, and we need a variety of items in order to complete our work. Below I’ve compiled a list of handy items to have on or around your desk at all times, and cues on how to use them.

  • A pad of Paper- for doodling on and scratching out notes.
  • A variety of pens- for even more epic doodles.
  • Tea & Coffee- because caffeine.
  • Coloured pencils or markers- to colour our doodles and highlight stuff.
  • A cat or other stroke-worthy cutie- because we’re writers. We’re lonely.
  • Alcohol (if of drinking age)- this helps…
  • Slippers and a Dressing Gown- comfort is key.
  • A chair cushion- once again, comfort is key.
  • A cuddly blanket- to hide from the screen when we’re stuck.
  • A teddy bear- to cuddle when times get hard. And to talk to…
  • An alter to the creative Gods- complete with candles, incense, frog eyes and snake skin, and blood for ritual sacrifice.

That should just about cover everything. Of course, bring yourself, your laptop, and your charger, and be sure to disconnect all your devices from the internet. We don’t need any distractions!

Well, that just about brings us to the conclusion of our NaNoWriMo survival guide! Doesn’t sound that hard, right? Seriously, as long as you set yourself a daily goal, and commit yourself to completing the challenge, you will succeed. It starts and ends with you. You can implement the above advice to streamline your experience, but ultimately it comes down to your dedication to getting your novel down on paper. You know you can do it, I know you can do it, so go do it! And if anyone asks you how to write a novel in a month, send them this way!

Share this post with your friends and writing groups, to help them achieve success in this amazing challenge right alongside you! And if you’d like to stay up to date with my NaNo activities and connect with me personally, head over to my Facebook. I’ll be posting daily NaNo tips and inspiration.

Tip The Author

If you’ve made it this far then I thank you for your attention span! If you enjoy my content, help me make a living by leaving a tip. Every pound goes toward creating more fiction, reading more books to review, and creating artwork, sketches, tutorials, and lifestyle posts for you to enjoy. I appreciate any and all help! A little really does go a long way!

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Interview with Mary T Bradford

Mary Bradford is an Irish published author of novels, short stories and plays. My Husband’s Sin, is her debut novel. Available now, the sequel, Don’t Call Me Mum. The Lacey Taylor story, Book 2, not to be missed!

I’m very excited to say I had the opportunity this week to ask author Mary T Bradford a few questions about her writing journey and career. In this interview, Mary offers us an insight into the publishing process through sharing her own experiences with us, and gifts an interesting and unique piece of flash fiction at the end. I’ll say in advance, I was impressed and surprised at her take on the prompt. I expected the typical ‘kidnapping’ approach, but Mary shows us that the imagination of an author cannot be predicted!

You can find Mary’s website here. Want an interview like this one? Leave a comment!


Where did your writing journey start?

I guess it started way back when I was five years old and joined my local library. I love reading and although I have read all my life I never thought about writing a story until I was in my twenties. It began with my first born, I wrote down all the antics he got up to as a toddler. I suppose it documented his early years and when family read those pieces they encouraged me to consider writing stories. I enrolled on a creative writing correspondence course with a Dublin college and graduated with a diploma with distinction. Most young people would probably ask what a correspondence course is. Well it’s like an online course nowadays but you posted your assignments to your tutor and received your work by post too, so it involved a lot of trips to the Post Office. So after that I continued to write short stories and submitted them to national magazines and newspapers. Thankfully I have been successful in publication.

Is writing something you find energising or draining? Tell me a little about the process. What you like, what you don’t?

It really depends on what the project is. If it’s something new, I am energised and all set to go, but if it’s a story that I’ve been working on for some time, well then I might drag my feet a bit to finish it. There is so much to a writing life, there’s more than just the stories to produce. There are interviews to reply to, website posts to write and newsletters to write up plus the promotion and marketing of your work. It isn’t easy and it is definitely non-stop. A writer is always working on something, even if not physically on a laptop or with pen and paper, but in their mind. Thinking is a large part of a writing life. Working out characters, plots, twists, trying to tie stuff together, it’s always on your mind, always. I enjoy the creating side of writing, it’s the marketing I dislike.

What are your favourite few books? Do you have any that stand out among the others, perhaps have shaped your own writing somewhat?

I loved, The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry, an Irish author. I enjoy his style and his storytelling. I’ve only ever cried my eyes out, really sobbing, with one book that was titled The Last Snows of Spring, by who I can’t recall. I read it when I was nineteen, it broke my heart. Also, Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden, an American writer, I so enjoyed. When the film came out much later, it was awful, they ruined a beautiful story. I don’t think any, one or few books have influenced my writing as I read lots of different genres except fantasy and sci-fi. My work has been compared to Maeve Binchy, Claudia Carroll, and others who write about family and relationships.

Give us a rundown of your first published book and how did you find the process? What advice would you give yourself if you could go back in time and do it again?

My first novel, My Husband’s Sin published by Tirgearr Publishing was like a jump in to the deepest ocean and not knowing how to swim. The story came to me while at a funeral and looking around me, the secrets that so many must take to their graves with them. It started with a character, Lacey Taylor who was raised with her father, Joe and upon her mother Lillian’s death there is a revelation that upturns Lacey’s whole life. Her father had died before Lillian, taking a secret with him which she, Lillian feels obliged to reveal to Lacey and her siblings.

Regarding the manner of writing it, I wrote it in longhand, as it was my first book, I enjoyed the process of the story revealing it myself through the characters and even when it came to editing it, about seven drafts later, I still wasn’t deterred, just a wonderful feeling of accomplishment. Next came the whole dealings of synopsis and query letters to publishing houses, now that’s a nightmare. Advice to myself now that I know what it takes I would say, during times of doubt remember many start writing a book but few finish, keep at it, it’s a wonderful feeling.

Finally, tell us about your new release, could you compare it to other books?

My second novel, Don’t Call Me Mum, published in March of 2018 by Tirgearr Publishing came about because readers requested to continue the Lacey Taylor story from my first novel. This second novel flowed easier for me as I knew the Taylor family intimately at this stage and so the writing process was shorter timewise. Having readers ask for a sequel in the reviews of my first novel, was encouraging and reassuring for me as a writer. Knowing people out there enjoy my stories makes the time spent working on them worthwhile. I have since been asked to write the third book in the Taylor’s lives and I am writing it at present along with another novel which is a stand-alone book.

Comparing my books to others I would say they are family orientated, about relationships, everyday life like Carmel Harrington, Diane Chamberlain, Jodi Picoult to name a few.

You’re trapped inside a sealed room. It’s pitch black. All you can hear from outside is some kind of heavy machinery. Write a quick story in under 200 words based on this prompt, to give the readers an idea of your style and imagination.

Not turning up should set off alarm bells for his co-workers. But, Charlie often missed a morning due to this and that. He knew the boss was itching to fire him but couldn’t afford to.

Charlie was an expert in demolition, knowing exactly what strength explosive or whether the wrecking ball would be more effective.

Today it was the wrecking ball and judging by the noise outside, it would be swinging through a wall shortly at him.

This job had stirred his curiosity when he heard it housed a panic room. So after work yesterday, he had gone exploring and now was locked inside the very room that intrigued him.

Trying to remember which direction the ball would hit from, might help get him out alive.

Listening to the drone of machinery, getting ready to knock it, he sat in a corner.

His eyes had adjusted to the pitch darkness and like an old cine-frame his life rolled by.

Snooping often caused him grief. His mother forever telling him, ‘One day, Charlie, it’ll land you in real danger.’

“Well, Mom, this could be the day.” Sighing, his heart pounded.

Smash!

Charlie picked the wrong corner to sit in.


Many thanks to Mary for her honest and insightful answers! If you’d be interested in an interview like this one posted on the site, let me know in the comments. I aim to interview a different writer and blogger each week!

Tip The Author

If you’ve made it this far then I thank you for your attention span! If you enjoy my content, help me make a living by leaving a tip. Every pound goes toward creating more fiction, reading more books to review, and creating artwork, sketches, tutorials, and lifestyle posts for you to enjoy. I appreciate any and all help! A little really does go a long way!

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An Awesome World-Building Activity for Novelists and Writers! (#WIPWorldBuilders)

In a few weeks, I’ll officially start putting words to paper (or screen) in the creation of a new and exciting story. A character driven novel I’ve been concocting in my mind for almost two years, circulating the life of a reluctant demigod chosen by the frightening warrior Gods of the Norse pantheon. He’s an ordinary guy, that feels ostracised from the world around him. He is well and truly depressed, moody, cynical, and yet kind hearted, hopeful, and honest. He’s real, and multifaceted, as all characters should be.

I don’t want to give away too much too fast and spoil the excitement for myself and all who are coming along with me on this journey, but I stumbled upon an amazing community over on twitter, and their #WIPWorldBuilders tag has me all inspired. Being new to twitter, and thus new to this excellent exercise in world building, this post is going to go back through the month and answer each of the thought provoking questions so far.

To anyone building a novel, I’d recommend doing the same. The reader doesn’t need to know everything about the world your novel is set in, but you do, and this community offers lots of decent questions you may not ask yourself. If you’d like to make a compilation post like this one, please link to this post so I get a ping back! It’d be great to read all about other people’s worlds!

Right, let’s get on with this!

1: Introduce yourself and your WIP

Hi all, I’m Gary, a multi-genre author with a love for honest, character driven stories. Over the past few years I took a hiatus from my writing career—while I dealt with depression, separation, and family business expansion—and now am back writing flash fiction, short stories, and novels.

Official work on my first novel starts in November. It circulates around the life of twenty-something Danny, a young man who’s always been a little different. He has a gravity to him, a huge potential others cant miss. He’s a born leader, insightful: he says all the right things at all the right times to all the people that need to hear them. He has a gift to retain a lot of information, and turn his hand to multiple tasks without much teaching. Despite all this, he feels trapped, depressed, wasted.

On top of all this, he’s a demigod. Chosen, if you like, by the old gods of the Norse pantheon. They never leave him alone, haunting his life through frightening dreams and unnerving encounters. They try to steer him, but his hands are tied. He cant meet their expectations. He feels as if they simply torture him, over and over again, until he finally understands the message they’re sending. The novel is a dark story of internal struggle and transformation.

2: Do people believe in an afterlife?

Some people do, alongside various split beliefs in the metaphysical/supernatural. Feeling a natural pull to the old gods and ways of paganism, Danny has built up a small group of friends that are interested in tapping into those forces—though he is clearly quite different from the rest of them. I won’t tell you how… that would spoil a great scene.

3: Is there a holiday dedicated to honouring the dead?

Of course, Halloween! Though Danny and his friends celebrate this time as Samhain with other Pagans. Danny doesn’t put himself in the same category as pagans, new-age, neo-pagan, or any other modernised faith system based on ancient tradition. He’s not sure what his faith is. He calls it his Danny-ism. His theory of everything. His way of seeing things that he cant quite master putting into words, and even if he could, would likely cause confusion.

4: Do people bury the dead? If not, where are they stored?

People do bury the dead, and they also cremate them. The world I’m building here is mainly the world we live in, though the perspective we see it from offers a different side to it. The more interconnected, spiritual side, where Gods torment men and make bargains with them. Where power can be directed toward a goal through strong will and vision.

5:What are the common causes of death in your world?

Cancer, diabetes, heart disease, stroke. These things are like a plague. Danny sympathises with the world around him, but he sees a harsh truth that others may or may not respect. They are enslaved to their own comforts. Killing themselves slowly through their lifestyles. Danny is comfortable with (though resentful of) his mortality, and accepts that his problems are a result of his poor lifestyle choices, and his own eventual death will come as a result of those choices. That doesn’t mean everybody sees things in the same way.

6: How are the organs of the dead prepared? Or are they left in the body?

If people are donors, their organs go on to support furthering the life of others that need those organs. If not, the body is buried or cremated with all organs intact. Of course, there are weird cooky cults that like to use human organs in rituals and the like…

7: What happens to the belongings of the dead?

Some are buried with them, if they hold particular sentimental value. Others are distributed through family members, normally via a rushed open house, where everyone from estranged children to third-cousins show up and take whatever they can get their hands on, in a first-come-first-serve frenzy. Nothing like death to show the living’s true colours.

8: Are there organ thieves or body snatchers in your world?

Seriously, you’ve prompted this again? Right, let’s clear this up… If there is a frighteningly dangerous coven that unwittingly enact the work of an ACTUAL demigod with a few screws loose, and they take bodies and use organs as ritualistic items, I don’t know about it. And Danny definetly isn’t going to run into them… 🤥🤫

9: How are dead pets cared for?

Some bury them in the garden, others get them cremated and keep their ashes in urns. Some particular weirdos ask for some ashes put aside to do various bizarre things with… like eat inside a sandwhich. The love of pets does strange things to humans.

10: Is anyone immortal in your world?

I’ve answered this one on Twitter already, and the basic gist of it is, nobody is really sure whether or not even the Gods are immortal. Ragnarok does tell of their death, but by human standards, they definitely aren’t mortal. Danny looks pretty good for 27, has never broke a bone in his life despite his antics, but he’s mortal for sure. Painfully so. He attributes his various aches, pains, and problems, to being trapped inside a mortal body. It’s almost as if his soul wants to burst out of it.

11: Do people believe the dead can return either as a spirit or physically?

Many people do believe in spirits to some extent, others claim they don’t but have had a few experiences, and others still are dead against the idea. That said, the idea of spiritual intervention is unsettling for most. Danny has every reason to believe himself, but casually brushes it off as a non-thing. He’s not bothered by it.

12: It’s Friday, share and follow 3 other world builders!

World building is a fun and exciting activity for any novelist or writer. It’s also fun to watch others in the process, and learn about the world they are creating. I’ll post a few links to fellow world-builder’s over on my twitter account, and I highly recommend you check them out!

13: Are premature burials common in your world?

Outside of stuntmen and cruel torturous methods of execution, perhaps employed by disgruntled mobsters, no. It’s unlikely that anybody would end up buried alive by mistake.

Well, that’s it. I’d LOVE to carry on and answer each of the questions, but I think it would be unfair on the community. I will be carrying this on day-by-day on my twitter feed, now that I’ve caught up, so head over there and follow me! Failing that, I think it’d be fun to do this again for the blog at the end of October. It’s a dark, gritty story, and it’s refreshing to run through an exercise like this outside the tone of the novel.

Guys, this was fun and thought provoking! I’d highly recommend you complete the same exercise. And if you do, please, please link to this post so that I get a ping back. I would love to hear about the world you’re building for your novel!

So what do you think, shall I post another post like this one at the end of the month, or keep content like this solely on twitter? Have you a system of world-building, or inspired to start? Let me know in the comments!

Tip The Author

If you’ve made it this far then I thank you for your attention span! If you enjoy my content, help me make a living by leaving a tip. Every pound goes toward creating more fiction, reading more books to review, and creating artwork, sketches, tutorials, and lifestyle posts for you to enjoy. I appreciate any and all help! A little really does go a long way!

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Got five minutes for some quick online reads? Try these:

Colony 81- Quick Online Reads

The Fury Of The Godless- Quick Online Reads

The Man In The Hat- Quick Online Reads

The One Book That Changed My Writing Life, And Why It Will Change Yours Too

Over the past few years, I’ve read countless books—what can I say? I love reading. Being a writer, (albeit off the grid for a couple years,) lots of those books have been centered around the craft of writing. I’ve read some good ones, some bad ones, and some that fall somewhere in between. But one book stands above the rest without comparison. It shines out of the bookshelf. Seriously. I was considering fitting a spotlight, but this book gives off its own golden glow so I figured I’d save the money…

It took rejection, trouble, small successes, big successes, and nearly being killed by a truck, to get to us, but we sure are glad it did! The book I’m talking about is ‘On Writing: A Memoire of The Craft’ by Stephen King, and today we’re gonna take a look at why every writer should own a copy.

Putting The Fun Back into Writing

Part writing guide, part biography, Stephen King delivers entertaining stories about his childhood, gifting us an intimate look at the kind of experiences that shaped the writer we see today. He builds up from his earliest memories, through his high school years, to his not-so-fulfilling cleaning, journalist, and teaching positions.

We see first hand the kind of binds a passion for writing can land you in. Throughout his journey he’s experienced praise, turmoile, trouble—genuinely funny stories about him getting into trouble—and bleeding out in a helicopter with a collapsed lung and multiple broken bones. But in the face of it all, what we see more than anything, is the love of writing that pulled him onward through it all. The drive to create that outshines everything else. This book is inspirational without trying to be, and it reminds us that writers are writers because they want to be. Because they have to be.

The Writers Toolbox

Through a charming story about his uncle Oren’s toolbox, King highlights the most important tools we as writers have at our disposal. He explains that while carrying the entire toolbox to a simple job may be more tiresome than just taking the one tool, you must always be prepared for the unseen. To be able to deal with whichever other job may pop up around the original job. As a tradesman myself, I can relate to this so much. The amount of times I’ve quickly grabbed my screwdriver just to find out that I really could’ve done with my hammer too is uncountable. It’s infuriating, and bad practice.

Of course he’s not talking about an actual toolbox, but the point is just as clear. As writers, there are a few different levels within our box, and on those different levels are the different tools we call upon in writing. Vocabulary, style, grammar, plot, theme, moral, etc. Not every story will use them all, and of course we shouldn’t try to use all of our tools simply because we have them, but most will use a combination of at least a couple. King perfectly delivers how and when to use them, alongside a plethora of entertaining examples and stories.

An Inside Look

Throughout the book, King delivers an insiders view of the industry, the commitments, and the life. Through his own experiences he offers not only the process of breaking into the market, but inspires you through his love for storytelling. His story is one of blind passion, of an easy commitment to his craft.

In the writing world, It’s easy to get bogged down by what we have to do. I have to post to my blog, I have to revise this chapter, I have to present this to social media. King reminds us of the simpler ‘have-to’s’ of the craft—I have to tell a story.—while sharing his own writing routines and rituals to help us hone our skills and get our thoughts down on paper.

Re-readability

During the reading of this book, you’ll have a blast. It’s funny, moving, and inspiring. You’ll feel something you’ve not felt, or learn something you’ve never learned. You’ll get to the end and want to immediately go back to the beginning to start it again. You’ll laugh out loud in the middle of whatever you’re doing—which is always fun in a medical waiting room—and share paragraphs and chapters with your friends and family. You’ll put the book back on the shelf, and every time you walk by it, you’ll see it. You’ll remember something from it, and you’ll laugh, or feel inspired, and every inch of you will want to pull it back out and open it up again.

Why You Need to Get This Book

I know the whole ‘invest in yourself’ cliche has grown tiresome recently, especially due to the influx of the self-help and coaching industry. I am gonna have to use it here though. I recommend lots of books on writing. But this is the only one you HAVE to own. I can wholeheartedly promise that this book will change your life, the way you write, and the way you approach writing forever. So invest in yourself!

You can buy Stephen King’s excellent On Writing from Amazon by clicking the following link. These links are affiliate links, and help to support the growth and sustainability of this site.

UK Buyers: purchase On Writing here

US Buyers: purchase On Writing here

Have you read On Writing? Let the readers know what you thought of it in the comments below.

Tip The Author

If you’ve made it this far then I thank you for your attention span! If you enjoy my content, help me make a living by leaving a tip. Every pound goes toward creating more fiction, reading more books to review, and creating artwork, sketches, tutorials, and lifestyle posts for you to enjoy. I appreciate any and all help! A little really does go a long way!

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While you’re waiting for your new purchase to arrive, you can up your writing game and captivate your readers by reading the following posts:

The Dome- Quick Online Reads by Ian Steventon

For those of you who are new here, myself, Ian Steventon, and TJ Kelly have an ongoing collaboration, where each week one of us elects a photo prompt, and we set off to write a short interpretation of it. Both Colony 81, and The Fury Of The Godless stories in my ‘quick online reads’ collection, are examples of the fun and games our collab has already generated!

Today, I’m showcasing Ian’s interpretation of the prompt. I thought it was great! Ian uses his prose to drop us straight into this divided world, where the healthy are separated from the sick, and we instantly feel the curiosity put forward through the main character. If this piece of flash fiction leaves you wanting more, help me convince him to carry on with it by littering his post with pleading comments!

Ian Steventon Author


“When did the sickness start?” Asked Emma, as she looked out beyond the dome that enclosed them. Her father turned to face her, she thought she saw the sadness within him again, but he smiled, that magnificent smile that cured her of all her ills.
“It all happened so quickly, the domes were built for protection while you were still a young baby, they help to keep us safe, to keep the world safe, you know that.”
Emma looked out beyond the shimmering glass, everything looked so normal, the sun was shining, trees moved gently in the breeze. She saw birds rise up above the treetops and watched as they disappeared into the distance.
“Yes, but I wish I could go outside, feel the sun on my face, the breeze through my hair.”
Her father’s face suddenly darkened. “Don’t ever talk like that Emma, you know damn well we…

View original post 975 more words

Colony 81 -Free Flash Fiction

Today’s entry was inspired by the photo above, but it didn’t begin there. The title and premise for Colony 81 were concocted a few years back, but the project was left on the back burner while I focused my efforts elsewhere. Spending a little time in that world today has inspired me to tell a fuller story, a tale of power, sacrifice, and rebellion. If the following short is enough to leave you wanting more, let me know in the comments below. For now, grab yourself a quick drink, light a cigarette, and enjoy the next five minutes.


Cover for quick online reads entry Colony 81
What do you think of the cover I designed a few years back? Keep it, or scrap it and start over?

Jonah Reeves only ever knew life within the stone white walls of Colony 81. He had supposedly been shipped down from Utopia at the age of five—a promise baby from the fortunate, a declaration that ‘we will come back for you’—but he didn’t remember anything that wasn’t wheat fields and grey clothing. He knew it was all bullshit anyway. Nobody down on earth would ever be collected and taken up, not while the Utopians needed them to farm their food, purify their water, and provide all the resources they needed to stay up there. Jonah was many things, but a fool wasn’t one of them. They were slaves, and he knew it. His birth parents threw him away to keep their own spot on the ship, and he knew that too.

Nobody knew how many colonies were walled in, but it was clear they each fulfilled a separate purpose. They had water delivered in barrels marked 64, fresh clothes bundled in grey bags with the number 128 stitched into them. The highest number the colonists in 81 were aware of, was 342, from the numbers stamped on the side of the fruit crates that got delivered each week.

Jonah sat alone with his back pressed up against the colony wall, shaping multicoloured energy balls with his hands. After the riots and wars—the reaction to the launch of the Utopia—were over, people of all castes and creeds were bundled into the colonies. Families were separated, communities torn apart, and each colony was left with a diverse group of individuals that had to become cohesive. Religions and beliefs were abandoned or adapted, and in that simplicity, something new was formed.

No longer was there a God, or an Allah. As the years went on, there was never mention of Christianity, or Paganism, or Hinduism, or Sikh. They had no need for religion anymore. What came in its place had no name, only a voice they could all hear. A whisper on a quiet night, a feeling of connectivity that couldn’t quite be described. Some called it the Source, others, the voice of the earth. The Truth. The message they all ignored, the point they all missed. The silence that spoke all noise, the nothingness that encompassed everything in existence, living and breathing and powering the whole thing.

For years it beckoned out, shrouded by wars and technology, drowned out by the sound of their own voices. Had they quietened down a little, worked together rather than in opposition, they would’ve heard it before things got bad. But things did get bad, and it took tearing the world apart to find it.

Jonah watched as the balls shifted from red, to blue, to yellow, to green, floating and coming back down, dancing and stretching and shrinking at his will. Those small bubbles were a part of his essence, a part of everything’s essence. Translucent star-stuff, given form through focus and intent.

“You’ll get seen doing that one day.” Jonah looked up, and the energy dissipated at once in a sudden pop. Grace stood before him, the setting sun illuminating the edges of her silhouette in a pink-orange hue.

“You’ve gotta stop sneaking up on me,” he said, shuffling his knees under his body to come cross-legged in the cracked earth. He reached out and grabbed her hand, pulling her to him. “You make me nervous standing above me like that.”

“Deal, as soon as you stop playing with your magic shit in public.” She sat opposite him, wearing her I-love-you-but-I’m-not-quite-happy expression—a half smile pulled up to the left, equal parts happiness and concern glazing the surface of her amber eyes. She really was beautiful. It still left him breathless at times, softening his resolve, cooling the fires that burned inside him.

He sighed. “I’m just practicing Gracie. Gotta figure it out.” He played around in the dirt with his index finger, drawing swirls and squiggles without purpose. Her soft hands took hold of his face and pulled it inline with hers, kissing him before pulling back to meet his eyes.

“Well figure this. If they see it they’ll kill you, probably after tearing you open to find out what it is.”

“I can tell them what it is.”

“But they won’t care what you tell them. They’ll wanna see for themselves.” She took his hands and they sat in silence for a few moments, tracing the lines in each others skin. Farmers hands, both of them, but Grace’s were softer somehow. Warmer.

“Gracie listen—“

“No, you listen Jonah. Whatever you’re thinking, it has to stop right now. Put it away.” Her voice raised, but remained hushed as if others were listening. They were miles from the chalets, but something about Jonah’s discovery put her on edge. Scared her into caution. “What you’ve found here is beautiful. It’s amazing. You’re amazing. But it doesn’t change anything, and it can’t. We’re trapped down here on a dying planet. They’re up there with all the power. You come out with something like this, we’re sitting ducks. They’ll kill us all just in case.”

Jonah squeezed against her grip, smiling. “I know,” he sighed, “I’ll be more careful.”

“It’s just dangerous, I don’t want to lose you.”

“I know,” he said again, this time sounding more certain. He pressed himself up to his feet and pulled her up with him, pulling her in. He stroked her hair while she rested her head on his shoulder, coarse from the grit of the fields, but still softer than his somehow.

“Keep it to that bedroom thing, like the fireflies, okay?” She whispered, pressing her lips to his neck suggestively.

“Of course,” he lied, ‘let’s get back home.”

They walked the few miles through the wheat back to the chalet, rough hand in softer rough hand, appreciating the comfort of each other and the fading light of the sun, painting the sky a dazzling blend of purple, red, and pink. By the time they reached the tiny stone hut they called home, Jonah had the beginnings of a plan.

It didn’t include hiding his discovery.


This post is part of an ongoing collaboration between myself, Ian Steventon, and TJ Kelly. For their interpretations of this photo prompt, check out The Dome by Ian, and Secret, Secret, I Have a Secret!! By TJ.

So there it is. The dialogue and setting can be fleshed out so much more, and there’s a much greater story to be told here. But now I ask you, Would you like me to carry this on? Before the new year I’ll be launching a web series for you lovelies, so if you want this in my list of potentials, or would like me to add parts to this in the coming weeks, let me know in the comments! Don’t forget to follow for more posts like this, alongside blogging and writing tips to take your writing to the next level. Thanks for reading ☺️

Tip The Author

If you’ve made it this far then I thank you for your attention span! If you enjoy my content, help me make a living by leaving a tip. Every pound goes toward creating more fiction, reading more books to review, and creating artwork, sketches, tutorials, and lifestyle posts for you to enjoy. I appreciate any and all help! A little really does go a long way!

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Like flash fictions like this one? You’ll love:

The Fury Of The Godless

The Man In The Hat

The Cabin

How To Write Better Blog Posts +free blog post checklist!

Everyone who has started or wants to start a blog, has the same underlying reason for doing so. We want people to read our posts, right? It may be to provide feedback, it may be to build trust for your brand, it may even be for the very sake of sharing your thoughts and experiences with the world, but without people to read our work, our blog soon becomes obsolete. The truth is, if we want to draw in readers and keep them coming back, we’re gonna need to learn how to write better blog posts.

These days the net is littered with thousands of abandoned blogs, people who figured it was easy to throw up their thoughts on the net, and instantly have thousands of visitors liking their stuff and buying their products. The truth is, it’s hard. Like really hard. I don’t want my own blog to become lost in the internet graveyard, and I don’t want that for any of you either. So let’s stop that happening, and get right into what we can do to ensure readers find our site, and love it enough to keep coming back. At the bottom of this post, I have a special little gift to help you write excellent blog posts, every time. Consider it a reward for being here and wanting to improve your blog.

Write better copy

Better copywriting is how to write better blog postsI’m sure you figured this already, but if we’re gonna drive a blog to success, we’re really gonna need to up our writing game. This doesn’t mean writing the most pretentious, verbose copy you and your thesaurus can come up. Rather, the opposite. Your work should be short and sweet, clean. Just because it’s one blog post doesn’t mean it shouldn’t follow the same level of care and respect as anything else you’d write.

The Takeaway

• Have you written in short sentences with plenty of paragraphs?

• Have you reread your work, and run it through a spelling and grammar check?

• Have you read your copy aloud, to ensure it flows smoothly?

• Is your copy clear and concise?

• Has the reader found what they came looking for?

Include Relevant & Attractive Media

We’re in a world where the attention span of an average blog reader is of near-goldfish standards, and as such, it’s important we give them a reason to stick around. Did you know that many people, especially when trying to learn something new (like how to write better blog posts), will simply read the headings, and then jump to another post? I know I do on occasion. 🤷‍♂️

So it’s important we provide descriptive headings that adequately summarise exactly what the following paragraphs are going to elaborate on. On top of that, relevant high quality media, such as images, videos, and links to other posts that can help your reader, will improve how long they stick around on your site. Here’s a couple of things to think about before moving onto the next step.

The Takeaway

• Have you included descriptive, concise headings?

• Have you added a couple of high quality, relevant images to your post?

• Have you provided links to similar content that will help your reader?

• Have you implemented video (where relevant) to help improve your post.

Speak To Your Reader

A great read for aspiring bloggers! An honest and practical resource for us all. Click the photo for a link straight to it’s amazon page!

At the bottom of this post I will ask you, in one form or another, to leave a comment and follow this site. I may ask which of these tips you need to implement the most, or which is your favourite, or what you would add to the list. I may ask all of the above. Either way, I will most certainly streamline in a prompt for a comment.

It’s important to realise, however, that those comments aren’t for some popularity contest. It’s to build genuine connections with those that took the time to first land on your site, and then continue to engage on one of your posts. Comments are a great opportunity to get to know other people, learn from them or help them in a variety of ways, and build new connections you’d never be able to offline.

Blogging is a chance to forge relationships with your readers. Relationships where you provide them with something worth listening to, and they keep returning to hear what you have to say. It’s a chance to build trust with your readers and engage with them on a personal level.

The Takeaway

• Is your work written in a casual, friendly tone?

• Have you attempted to prompt conversation with your readers?

• Does your post come from a place of helping others to solve a problem or provide them with entertainment?

Implement Basic SEO Principles

How to write better blog posts using smart SEO principlesSo now you’ve written your copy. You’re happy with it, it flows, and you’ve concisely delivered your message. You’ve added relevant, high quality media to your post, and set yourself up as best as you can to develop relationships with your readers, by putting their needs at the forefront of the post. it’s almost time to publish. But first, we need to help others find your work, and we do that by adding some basic SEO principles to our post.

I’m not going to go seriously in depth here, because I don’t know everything those SEO Gurus and marketing experts know. What I do know, is a few basic tips to help streamline your results for search engines. And it all starts with keywords.

When you have a question, you type it in to google right? That’s a keyword. How to write better blog posts—this post’s keyword—or how to cook quesadillas. How to milk a cat? 🐈 🥛

These keywords are what tell google about your post, and at large, your site. They need to be present in a few select places throughout your post to get the best bang for your buck. The title, the first paragraph, the final paragraph, and your image’s alt-text, for example. Beyond that, you’ll want to write your keywords in your blog post’s ‘tags’ section.

On a site-wide scale, you’ll want a set of keywords that continue to be reinforced throughout your content. You can use keywords in your blog’s name, your category titles, and throughout each individual post. This isn’t necessary, but it is possible in certain niches. Consider the following set up

Blog Name: Bloggers World

Tagline: Everything you need to become a successful blogger.

Categories: Better blog posts, SEO principles, improve your writing,

They’re all SEO friendly keywords, meaning, things that get entered into google on a frequent basis. Questions that readers want answers to. Over time, creating posts that elect the same keywords, your site will soon become recognised as the place to go for those answers. Do some research, and implement them smoothly throughout your writing. It’s important not to go overboard and litter short posts with tons of keywords.

The Takeaway

• Include your keywords in your title, first paragraph, body text, closing paragraph, and your images alt-text.

• Don’t over litter your post with keywords that distract from the content.

• Put your reader first!

The Social Side

How to write better blog posts with the power of social mediaSo you’ve done all that, and written the perfect blog post. Not only is it relevant, informative and entertaining, it’s discoverable, easy on the eyes, and will (hopefully) stand the test of time. But the work isn’t over yet. Now we need to give your post a little boost to get it out there. We do that through social media.

At first when you share your work to social media, you’re gonna be relying a lot on how much attention you can attract from your friends and family. But over time, as your platforms grow, you’ll be notifying a large demographic of trusting readers that you’ve just posted something new for them to enjoy!

What’s important here, is turning your blog post into smaller, platform, relevant content, that links to the original post. On top of that boost in readership, facebook, instagram, twitter, and Pinterest, are great ways to further engage your readership on a personal level, and build stronger trust and relationships with them!

The Takeaway

• Encourage sharing your post with others it will help.

• Write an interesting excerpt with a hook that grabs attention.

• Dissect your post into smaller, relevant content for various social media platforms.

If you’d like more in depth information regarding the world of successful blogging, I highly recommend The Million Dollar Blog by Natasha Courtenay-Smith. It’s an unmissable guideline for all us on-the-rise blogging successes!

The ‘How To Write Better Blog Posts Checklist’

Believe me, that isn’t all there is to blogging, but implementing the tips will give you a damn good head start in your blogging journey! Below I’ve posted my printable ‘blog post checklist.’ I’ll pretty it up and post it on my social media sites over the coming few days, but for now, it should help you to create excellent blog posts every time!

Over the next week or so, I’ll go back through all the content I’ve posted so far, and edit my work until I can tick every box. Beyond that, I’ll be sure to run each new post through the checklist too. I hope you get the same level of use out of this post and the checklist as I will. Over time, it will become second nature.

The how to write better blog post checklist.
Print this checklist and use it as a guideline for all your posts, past, present, and future.

Well folks, that brings us to the end of this post. Woo, that was a big one! *Wipes brow.* What simple tips would you give to those wanting to know how to write better blog posts? Have I missed anything? Let me know in the comments. If the information in this post has helped you, please pass on the favour to your own friends and followers, and give it a share or reblog!

Until next time, happy blogging!

Tip The Author

If you’ve made it this far then I thank you for your attention span! If you enjoy my content, help me make a living by leaving a tip. Every pound goes toward creating more fiction, reading more books to review, and creating artwork, sketches, tutorials, and lifestyle posts for you to enjoy. I appreciate any and all help! A little really does go a long way!

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The Fury Of The Godless -Free Flash Fiction

The northmen came ashore along a terrifying storm, their dragon-fronted ships illuminated by angular cracks of lighting. The clouds thundered with violence and aggression, their satanic false-gods shuddering the ground around the monastery.

Gwain had seen many men in his years—both through war, and through his work with the church—but none as ghastly and gigantic as those that fought through the water that day. Inhumanly large monsters, with red and golden hair that whipped around them like sparks in a blacksmith’s forge.

The heathens seemed unbothered by the cold. Muscular animals barely covered in haphazard strips of leather and cloth, traipsing through the icy water like the frost giants their pagan myths warned of.

A small cluster of Northumbrian soldiers were garrisoned at the monastery. They came seeking salvation and God’s blessing, and were instead met with short axes, blood, and painful death. You could hear the carving of their flesh, the cracking of their bones, over the roars of thunder.

Gwain watched as blood painted the waves a sickly red, severed body parts washed out to sea.

The men burst through the doors as if they were made of parchment, nothing but a thin veil between the Christians and the heathens. They slaughtered their way through the monastery one by one, monks foolishly attempting to hold the monsters back with brooms and ornamental daggers. They demolished all that they could. The pews chopped to pieces, the shelves and lanterns demolished. Fires formed where fallen candles met broken furniture, lending the northmen a devilish red glow that reflected their intent.

Those that abandoned God in favour of their own lives, those that fell to their knees and held their hands in the air, those that begged—were chained and pulled out into the storm. They’d meet a fate worse than death. Eternal damnation and torment. A thousand lifetimes of torture and Godlessness.

Gwain stood at the alter facing them, patiently awaiting his violent end. He was old and tired, ready to embrace his peace. His bones had begun to creak as he went about his daily business, his chest rattling with each short breath. He’d reached the age where kings seemed young, and he didn’t want to live to much older than that.

The heathen that first barged into the monastery, a monster of a man with golden hair and piercing blue eyes, fixed his inquisitive gaze on him. It was the same look he gave all the monks he struck down with his dripping axe, as they knelt and bowed their heads to God. Gwain wasn’t afraid to admit his fear. No, God was not going to save him. No, God’s love didn’t seem all that comforting. No, God wasn’t going to numb the pain of what happens next.

Flames licked the air with a newfound taste for destruction, hungry for more with each passing second. The dense heat pulled sweat from each pore on Gwain’s frail body—or was that the anticipation of the death that grew closer with each step the Northman took in his direction? Each pew battered with the back of his axe? Each monk with the thirsty blade? He could feel the smoke building up in his lungs, taste it in the air.

The Northman, fixed on Gwain, headed toward him with an amused look reflected in his features. He was enjoying all the slaughter. Or was it the power? He had certainly earned his pride. Gwain had watched as he gracefully cut through the Northumbrians in all their armour. Spears, swords, and all. With nothing but a small chunk of sharpened iron and an oddly decorated wooden shield. The monks and the brooms were just the dessert.

The heathen stood before him now, a full head taller and a musculature to rival the Greek statues, a body and size Gwain—as a knight of Camelot, one of Arthur’s own table at that—could’ve only dreamed of when he was still swinging his sword. Face to face with the monster, he didn’t look all that monstrous at all. He looked the same as the hundreds of other men Gwain had faced down, just larger and less burdened by the fear of God—that of course being the fear of those that had built their countries around Godliness. Unlike Gwain, this heathen was a truly free man.

Free from duty. Free from judgement. From God.

Gwain met the man’s gaze with a look of his own. One of understanding and acceptance. His puzzlement became amusement, and then, something that resembled respect.

Another heathen came launching out from behind him, axe raised and ready to swing. The blue eyed Northman held up a hand, and the other stopped. They exchanged words in a foreign tongue. Challenging each other in whispered hisses.

After a few moments of silence, the other sighed and turned his back, continuing to destroy whatever the fire hadn’t already consumed.

The heathen looked once more into Gwain’s eyes, flipped his axe, and hit him square in the forehead with the wooden hilt.

* * * * *

Gwain awoke surrounded by the carnage—the alter, the pews, all ruined—the perfect metaphor for his faith in God.

Lungs heavy with smoke, most of the building on fire, Gwain drew his last breath with his dying wish never more clear in his mind. All he and his brothers had suffered, all they had withheld themselves from. All the restraint, the fear, and the control.

No more. The reckoning has come.

Let the church burn.


This post comes as a result of a less-than-1000-word-challenge based on the photo prompt above. A fun collaboration between myself and Ian Steventon, soon to include another wonderful writer, where we take it in turns each week to set the prompt, and get to relish in the differences between our pieces. Seeing the variation in inspiration a simple prompt can have is astounding!

I’m not entirely happy with this piece. I have had the hardest week at work so far, and I feel flat and lifeless. It took a lot of effort to not let that show through in this piece (though I think it does somewhat). I hope you all enjoy it despite the struggle it took to bring it to your screens!

Tip The Author

If you’ve made it this far then I thank you for your attention span! If you enjoy my content, help me make a living by leaving a tip. Every pound goes toward creating more fiction, reading more books to review, and creating artwork, sketches, tutorials, and lifestyle posts for you to enjoy. I appreciate any and all help! A little really does go a long way!

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More Short Reads Online

Stephen King Tells Us to Take Writing Seriously!

Anyone who knows me, knows that I’m a huge Stephen King fan. And why shouldn’t I be? Not only has the man pumped out an incredible amount of fiction, It ain’t half bad. The Stand, It, Shawshank Redemption, Green Mile, to name a few—all great stories, with memorable and alive characters. This is a guy—alongside other great novelists—to take writing seriously.

His writing style is perfect for a good page turner, cutting out all the crappy, pretentious, fluffy stuff, and instead focusing on the driving forward of the story at play. Being a loyal Stephen King reader, I feel his books have a lot to teach about the craft of writing. First among all his lessons, as stated in the title, is to…

Take Writing Seriously!

A lady showing that she can take writing seriouslyAbout this he is absolutely clear. If you’re serious about writing as a career, you’re gonna need to start taking your writing seriously. That means treating it as a job, and scheduling in x-amount of writing every day. Whether it’s 2000 words a day, a couple hours a day, or any variation of the above, you need to set a target, and sit down to it, without fail. No writers block, no lack of ideas, no excuses. You turn up at the same time each day, and eventually your muse will turn up to sit with you.

Equally important and along the same strand, is that you need to Invest in yourself and your craft. That means books, courses, and as mentioned above, time and practice. I cannot recommend Stephen King’s very own ‘On Writing: A Memoire Of The Craft’ enough. Seriously, seriously, seriously. My entire writing outlook changed after reading that book. Alongside being a great read and insight into his own life, schedule, and experiences, the book delves into some important writing lessons that we cannot afford to miss. If you haven’t already, do yourself a favour and pick up a copy today.

In that book, he talks a lot about ‘The Elements of Style’ by William Strunk, and highly recommends it. I do too. Combine the two books and you have enough of an education to get you selling stories and writing novels in no time.

I could end this post here and tell you that you now know enough to get going. Pat you on your back and send you on your way. But that’s no fair. There’s no fun in that, is there? So here’s a couple bonus lessons I’ve learned through my obsessive Stephen King consumption.

Character Driven Stories

With Jaime Lannister, George R R Martin proves that he can take writing seriouslyOne of the most immersive and engaging factors to any Stephen King story, is the care and attention given to his characters. If you’ve read anything by him, you can instantly see that his stories are—for the most part—character driven. He spends a lot of time getting to know them, breathing life into them, and letting them steer the rest of the story in whichever direction best suits them.

If you’re a plotter, you’ll have almost certainly come across times where the plot you laid out no longer suits the characters you’re writing about. It’s like they aren’t doing as they’re told, and if you try to force them, the entire novel loses its life. This is only natural. As you’re characters develop and come alive, certain elements of your plot may no longer ring true for them. As he states in On Writing, believability is key to writing a decent novel, no mater how fantastical or otherworldly that novel may be.

This Is A Tough Biz

Unless you’ve spent ten years on writing and editing the most perfect novel of all time, you’re gonna have to develop a thick skin, and an otherworldly determination despite all rejection letters. Because you’re gonna go through loads of those. Magazines will sit on your manuscript for months, to simply send a thanks, but no thanks. Others will tell you ‘resubmit, your story wasn’t for us, but the next one might be.’ With patience, determination, and a love for writing stories, you will break through.

From there, you’ll keep going, rejections, approvals, and all. You might start on small mags and obscure anthologies, but with each approval you’re picking up credits. Ignore the money, it’s not that important right now. It’s all about those credits. With each one, you’ll have a little more credibility in your cover letters, and start moving up the ranks.

This is assuming you write short stories, novellas, and flash fiction alongside novels. Personally, I do. Some stories simply don’t make it to novel length… others become a trilogy. Don’t force them into novels. Tie them up, and put ‘em in circulation!

If you’re dead set on novels and novels alone, then just keep on writing, keep on improving, keep on refining, and keep on submitting.

Don’t Be Afraid To Shoot & Miss

Stephen King is the perfect example of sitting down and writing what’s in your head, even if the story may end up a little shaky. After all, he did write Maximum Overdrive (LOL).

The point I’ll tie this post up with is this: you need to write what you want to write at the time. When inspiration strikes, when characters call, when a story starts to develop, you owe it to yourself to get it down on paper, no matter how bizarre it may turn out. In one of Stephen King’s most recent novels, Revival, we see one of the more bizarre conclusions a novel can end up with. It was a pretty good read, while some parts were arguably better than others. But the point is, it worked. If he abandoned the book because it took a strange turn, a lot of readers that LOVED that book would have missed out on it.

So don’t be afraid of a certain story being too this, or too that, or unsellable. Get it written, and submit to multiple publishers with all the rest of ‘em. If a simple rejection is enough to stop you in your tracks, you’re not somebody to take writing seriously. Write for the love of writing, and never, ever, give up.

Like this article? Don’t miss: 5 Simple Steps To Take Your Writing to the Next Level

What’s your favourite Stephen King novel to date? Let me know in the comments.

Tip The Author

If you’ve made it this far then I thank you for your attention span! If you enjoy my content, help me make a living by leaving a tip. Every pound goes toward creating more fiction, reading more books to review, and creating artwork, sketches, tutorials, and lifestyle posts for you to enjoy. I appreciate any and all help! A little really does go a long way!

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The Man In The Hat- Free Flash Fiction

Over at Fiction Writers Group, we run a weekly flash fiction contest based on a random photo prompt elected for that week. The maximum word count is 300 words. I thought this exercise would be a nice addition to my blog, and a great challenge for you guys to play along with too. Please do get involved, and tag me in your entries so I get a notification when your piece is posted. I can’t wait to read them!

The following entry is my attempt at this prompt. I think for the 300 word count, I bit off a little more than I could chew. It’s a story I’ve wanted to tell for a long time, but in much longer form. A short story, novella, perhaps even a novel. Either way, it’s what the prompt evoked, and we’ve gotta play the cards we’re dealt, right? I’ll leave it with this. I tried my best to squeeze a story that is bursting out of me, in a few short words, and I enjoyed it! I hope you do too.


Danny sat frozen to his seat, arm rests creaking beneath the strength of his grip, as the other passengers screamed and braced and grabbed on to whatever they could. The lightning struck either side of the plane, destroying each jet in unnatural unison. They hurtled toward the ground at unthinkable speed, near-vertical in their decent. Those unlucky enough to be out of their seats had been launched to the back of the plane, lying mangled and bleeding, dead on impact.

Danny didn’t move. He forced his eyes closed, tried to stay calm, coaching himself as he raced toward death. It’s over, there’s nothing I can do about it. No use panicking now, it’s done. Accept it. It won’t hurt. He shouted these words in his mind like a mantra, desperately trying to ignore the eery face of the man in 3A. The man in the hat. The man who’s seat was now empty, not a trace of him left. Newspaper gone, food cleared, tray folded up, as if he were never there. That face was burned into Danny’s mind. The face that right before the strikes looked directly at him—into him—and winked.

Was it just his mind that whispered the words in that moment? Something to do with the panic, that caused him to think in some twisted, ethereal voice?

‘Myself, sacrificed to myself.’

He heard it again as the plane impacted the ground, saw that face once more, and then, nothing.

Danny awoke sweating and nauseous. He pushed himself up onto all fours, revealing scattered pieces of burning metal and plane parts as far as he could see. Body parts and blood and bone littered across the earth. He stood, dumbfounded. Inspected himself.

Not a scratch.

Myself, sacrificed to myself.


Bonus points to whoever figures out who the man in the hat is, and what it all means! What do you think? Let me know in the comments

Tip The Author

If you’ve made it this far then I thank you for your attention span! If you enjoy my content, help me make a living by leaving a tip. Every pound goes toward creating more fiction, reading more books to review, and creating artwork, sketches, tutorials, and lifestyle posts for you to enjoy. I appreciate any and all help! A little really does go a long way!

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The Cabin -Free Flash Fiction

Today I’m over at beetleypete’s wordpress account, sharing a story that, while not perfect in its execution, was fun to write and is hopefully fun to read.

He’s a great writer himself, and his blog is always a pleasure to scroll through. Once you’re done with this, I’d recommend checking out some of his own work. You won’t be disappointed!

For more Flash Fiction like this, check out some of the following posts!

beetleypete

I am delighted to be able to present a guest post from a young British writer, Gary Holdaway. Here is his own short bio.

A young writer from the UK with big ideas, and an even bigger passion for words. A multigenre author of both novels and short fiction, Gary has a flare for the suspenseful, the frightening, and the unknown.

It is a short story, inspired by this photo.

The Cabin

In the time it had taken Dr Mark E. Redwood to trek the nine miles through dense woodland before finally arriving at the cabin, he had tripped at least six times, soaked his feet in a failed attempt to jump a small creek, and had picked up multiple scratches to his face and neck fighting through malicious low branches. He was useless when it came to the outdoors. Hopelessly, utterly useless. But he didn’t care. He had to…

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