Halloween Horrors in Ghostlight Publication

Halloween is fast approaching and what better way to celebrate than a collection of horrifying stories? As luck would have it a collection of horrifying stories has recently become available.

Great Lakes Association of Horror Writers
Great Lakes Association of Horror Writers

You may remember a post in the recent past concerning the publication of one of my stories by the Great Lakes Association of Horror Writers (if not, through the magic of hyperlinks, I can take you right there with a quick click of the mouse). The publication is now available on Amazon (here is the Amazon UK link).

It might surprise you to know that I have had a story published in that very anthology (unless you read the previous post, then you’d know all about it). To keep you in the loop, my story is called ‘The Mark of Gratitude.’ Similar to my Violet Reincastle stories, ‘The Mark of Gratitude’ is set in the nineteenth century. Unlike the Violet Reincastle Monster Hunter stories and more like the Growing Pain’s story, ‘Transforming Alice,’ ‘The Mark of Gratitude’ is a horror story.

‘The Mark of Gratitude focuses on the young love between two newly weds who are taking an adventurous trip down the Nile. Unfortunately, for them, they encounter an horrific cult. For us, on the other hand, the terror inflicted by he cult hides a terrible secret.

Enjoy!

Advertisements

Show, don’t tell (unless you are a bestseller)

Picking up a novel by a renowned or best-selling author should be a generally safe bet for a good read, but it’s not.

We know their names, we’ve read their books. We have probably read one or two. Maybe we have a thing for the author and have read all their books. Either way, when we pick up one of their books do we flick a switch in our mind which allows us to accept poor writing? Do we give allowances because as a bestseller they must be good? Do we feel that saying anything would be wrong because so many other people have accepted the novel?

It isn’t difficult to find poorly written novels. The ebook publishing explosion means its easy to find some terribly written novels. I really like Smashwords, but the quality of the fiction can be hit and miss. However, when we pick up a bestseller, shouldn’t we feel confident that we are reading a well-written novel? We should but do we?

Let me give you an example. I was reading a crime novel with a first person narrator. There are some great ones out there that I do not want to contaminate by listing here. I’ll save them for another time. The novel I was reading was not a great crime novel with a first person narrator, but it should have been. The author has written dozens of books and earned millions.

So, I am reading along and come across these two sentences:

“A couple of doors from Jimmy’s I give a buck to a pan-handler I know named Reuben. Reuben’s a homeless man, nearly blind, unemployable.”

Given the title of the novel, which makes a reference to sight and the murder which involves a man’s eyes being cut out, it could have been important…until I continued reading.

“A quirk of mine is that I leave the house every morning with ten singles. I give them out on the streets until they’re gone. My father used to do the same thing with five singles when we would visit New York together. He didn’t think it was a bed deal, and neither do I.”

It is a throwaway statement that screams “this is a poorly written novel.” I would like to think that if an editor or agent read that paragraph, the story would be rejected or at the very least, the editorial process would remove it. I mean, what purpose does it serve? For a while I considered that it might serve a more important purpose because otherwise, why was it there? It didn’t. I was disappointed.

The first couple of sentences establish that the narrator is charitable. He has handed out a dollar and more important has some awareness of who he is handing out the money to. As a reader, I am thinking this is a good guy involved in his community. But then I continue reading. The definite statement that “every morning” he leaves with ten singles and gives them out is rubbish. At no other point in the novel is he giving out money. Added to that, where does he get the singles, everyday? How many times have you left the house and not had any money? You’ve had to get money out, but it never comes in singles. To get singles you’d have to line up in the bank at least once or twice a week. Would you really line up and ask for $70 in singles? Probably not. If you were that committed to charity, you’d donate to a local charity on a regular basis and give out more than just singles. It’s inefficient.

But there is more in the paragraph. There is the father issue. His dad did it and now he does it. Fine, the character has some important role for his father? Not at all. The father is a rarely mentioned two-dimensional character. So why is it important? It’s not.

In the final statement of the paragraph everything changes. The narrator tells us, “He didn’t think it was a bed deal, and neither do I.” On the contrary, if you didn’t think it was a big deal, you wouldn’t have mentioned it, so you do think it is a big deal and have said it is something you do everyday, which is rubbish. So I am finally left thinking that this narrator is not telling me everything. The initial attempt to present a charitable character has resulted in me questioning the narrator and everything he tells me. And what happens in the book? Is the narrator shown to be deceptively representing events? Is he in fact presenting a course of events that should be questioned? Is he the character that should be investigated? Is this a novel version of The Usual Suspects? Not at all. The paragraph just turns out to be part of a poorly written book.

I found other equally poor sections of this book that I am not going to bore you with. I am also not going to give you a name because quite frankly the individual case isn’t the point. The point, not to be too specific, is the extent to which we accept poor writing.

So, to return to my title: Show, don’t tell (unless you are a bestseller).

Let me just finish that off. Show, don’t tell, unless you are a bestseller in which case you can write any old crap you like and we will buy and read it. I did.

Ghostlight Publication

Great Lakes Association of Horror Writers
Great Lakes Association of Horror Writers

Hurray for the month of August. The summer is in full swing and my story ‘The Mark of Gratitude’ is being published in Ghostlight: The Magazine of Terror. Published by the Great Lakes Association of Horror Writers (or GLAHW) Ghostlight is a collection of horror stories from a whole range of writers. Check out the table of contents at the GLAHW website.

And now my story…’The Mark of Gratitude’ is a story of young love in the nineteenth century optimistically traveling and finding terror and death. A honeymoon journey down the Nile encounters a horrific cult with a terrible secret.

I’ll give you the publication date when it is conformed.

Emby Press Giveaway

Emby PressEmby Press, home of monster hunting stories and much more, not only have a rather dramatic new logo, but a giveaway offer you cannot refuse.

It is your classic buy two get one free offer and all you have to do to take advantage of this great deal is write a couple of short Amazon or Barnes and Noble review.

My personal recommendation would be Both Barrels of Monster Hunter Legends, a massive collection of monster hunting stories and Use Enough Gun, the third volume of monster hunter stories. Did I mention that both titles have Violet Reincastle stories in them? That is another reason to read them along with the astounding selection of monster and monster hunters. There is some vampire, werewolf, demon, ghost and tentactled creatures. Yes that last one was tentacled creatures.

There is also the A Grimoire of Eldritch Inquests: Occult Detective Monster Hunter,Volume 1 and Monster Hunter Blood Trails that contains a Virtue and the Dandy story.

Check out the Emby Press Facebook page for more information.

Growing Pains is Growing

It has been nearly a month since the Growing Pains anthology was published and we have now moved to Amazon. I don’t know if you have heard, I think they sell more than just books. You’ll have you check it out. Try this link to the Growing Pains Amazon page.

While the anthology is a collection of the kind of teenage pain and suffering no one wants to have, my story, called ‘Transforming Alice,’ is a steampunk horror.

growing-painsThe story inhabits the Victorian Steampunk world of Violet Reincastle, monster hunter. While Violet does not make an appearance, there is more than enough in terms of monsters and unusual events in the fictional Victorian England she inhabits. The main character is called Alice, a young girl struggling in the poverty of Victorian London and it’s not exactly your everyday Dickensian tale of the destitute rise out of the shackles of poverty. No, there is something far more sinister happening to Alice.

Writing my Blog

I had my doubts about writing a blog. I had read blogs before. Some were good, some were very very bad. I wasn’t sure that my blog would be another more than a drop of mundane personal pontification in an ocean of drivel. Now, I am not saying that my blog is a startling revelation in the modern world, but I am saying that I am surprised how much I enjoy writing my blog.

To begin with I really wasn’t sure what to write and felt like it was difficult getting a clear focus. I mean no one wants to read a 5,000 word blog that rambles into abstraction (I promising that this one won’t exceed 500 words). Now, as I move about my daily life, blog topics pop up faster than I have time to write them (you should see my draft folder–full of unfinished ideas, some won’t make it, others will).

I think it is a shame when you come across a blog that stops sometime in mid-2013 or early 2014 or late 2012. There is a ghostly mystery about what happened. There is an unfinished story that will remain a haunting symbol of a person’s time and energy that ended for an unknown reason. I enjoy writing my blog and will continue to do so for how long I don’t know, but when I am finished, I will give you a goodbye blog. It’s the least I can do.

Growing Pains in Here

The Growing Pains anthology is published today. The anthology is a collection of the kind of teenage pain and suffering no one wants to have.

My story is called ‘Transforming Alice.’ The story inhabits the Victorian Steampunk world of Violet Reincastle, monster hunter. While Violet does not make an appearance, she isn’t exactly a teen, there is more than enough in terms of monsters and unusual events in the fictional Victorian England she inhabits. The main character is called Alice, a young girl struggling in the poverty of Victorian London and it’s not exactly your everyday Dickensian tale of the destitute rise out of the shackles of poverty. No there is something far more sinister happening to Alice.

growing-painsThe anthology is available in paperback format from June 18th with FREE global delivery and 10% off via the Horrified Press website: www.horrifiedpress.com