The Festival was held in the dying days of summer.
The personality of the Island changed during the Festival, opening the gates for all things to pass. All women were beautiful, and all men were prosperous. It was a time for magic. People found long lost brothers, great treasures and made dangerous promises. Not all who saw it start would see it end.
Melanie took a deep breath through her mouth to avoid smelling the rank stench of the water and almost choked when she tasted it instead. The boat tipped on the grey water, leaning as if to capsize before rolling back. Hanging over the railing Melanie spat out the bile that rose up. When she was confident that the sour taste and the burn in her throat were all that remained she leant back. The wind blew multi-coloured hair into her eyes and worked its way down her back, raising goosebumps. She pulled her artistically ripped leather jacket tighter around herself. It was big enough to fit around her and then some; it had belonged to her father before he had died and was nearly as old as she was. She pulled it up and buried her nose in its sweet smell of leather, perfume and an unknown scent that Melanie was confident was her dad. Her pocket buzzed. She reached in, felt the sweet wrappers and change for her phone, knowing full well who the message was from.
Ever wondered how to write great characters?
Checking back through my blog posts and I have come to realise I haven’t shared a short story I had published in May *headdesk*
Invisible Ink was published by Sick Lit on 15th May 2017 and tells the story of Sarah who learns that staying late at work can be a lot riskier than we expect.
I’ve been writing since I was old enough (and had enough motor control) to hold a pen.
Even when a tiny tot I was always telling stories, usually about the adventures my cuddly toys had when no one was around. As I grew older, I told stories about the neighbourhood cats and the family of wood pigeons that lived at the bottom of the garden. Then, as I grew older, still my stories became about my favourite TV show & video game characters, with a few of my own creations thrown in.
Why am I telling you this? Only to illustrate the point that I have been telling stories and writing them down since I was an infant. My mum still has my very first official book “Jack Cat’s Magic Show,” safely stored with the family photos.
But it was in college when I hit my late teens that I started actually taking writing seriously and sending my stories out into the world. I also started trying to learn as much as I could about writing, how to get better at it, what not to do and how to market myself. Unfortunately, in my early years, I absorbed every scrap of information blindly and as a result believed a lot of myths I now know to be false.
Today’s blog is going to be about some of these myths. I would like to dispel them as in my opinion they can be harmful if believed.
On my thirteenth birthday, I woke to the buzz of the morning alarm.
“Eight, nine, and ten,” the bell fell silent, and the overhead light flickered on. I rubbed the yuck out of my eyes. “Come on Jess,” I said, and bracing myself against the cold, I threw back my blanket, and rolled out of bed.
I stripped out of my nightshirt and pulled on my day uniform in record time. I put my thumb through the familiar hole in the left sleeve of my sweatshirt. The whole ensemble was various shades of grey and at least one size too big. I felt like an extra in a cheap zombie movie, but at least I was warm now. The engineers had turned the heating off for maintenance last month, it still hadn’t come back on. Pulling my hair into some semblance of order and ignoring the fact that I couldn’t do anything else to make myself look less thin, pale and tired, I pulled on my shoes and hit the release button by the door. I slipped out into the hallway before the door had finished opening.
There are so many online tools available and even more offline. These range from classes/courses, programmes, apps and guides. It’s almost impossible to try them all unless you want to spend a small fortune. This raises the question, how do you know where to spend your money? How do you know which ones work best?
Personally, I found reviews to be a huge help when trying to figure out whether or not to buy a product. Reading thoughtful reviews is a great way to find out if something might be a good fit for you. It doesn’t tell you exactly, but it’s certainly a good way to slim down the ever growing list of products on the market.
I’ve made a point this year of trying to remember to review products more, as considering how often I turn to reviews when deciding what to buy I’m terrible at remembering to give them myself. With that in mind, I’ve decided to write a series of blogs reviewing certain products available for writers. These will be products that I have purchased myself and have been using for some time. None of these blogs is sponsored content; I am not being paid for this, I’m just sharing honest reviews for products I like.
We’ve looked at a few of the different characters in Grey Wings, those who dwell in Heaven and those who live on the Earth. But we haven’t looked at the denizens of Hell.
One of the main antagonists (although I am loathed to label him a ‘bad guy’) is also one of my favourite characters, he was almost as fun to write as Aurelius. I’m talking, of course, about Mephistopheles. He is an interesting character as categorising him is difficult. He’s neither good or bad, he’s selfish perhaps but certainly not ‘evil’. But he certainly isn’t a good guy either! Mephistopheles is a fallen angel bent on bringing another angel to Hell and is willing to kill Jason, a young boy, to accomplish this.
Mephistopheles was designed to be a ‘grey’ character, playing solidly into the themes of the book of morality and how real life is far more complicated than the dichotomy of good v evil.
Twitter is a tricky beast; out of all the social media platforms, it was the one I had the most difficulty with.
As you may have noticed I can talk for Britain, getting me to shut up is an art form in and of itself, so when confronted with such a limited amount of characters I struggled. I’m strict with myself in my fiction and nonfiction writing, reading and re-reading and re-reading again, eliminating every unnecessary word but social media is usually where I am less restrained. I see social media as a way to truly connect with people, and my first thoughts were that I couldn’t be my genuine self if I was limiting myself so much.
But then I changed the way I looked at Twitter. I looked at it as a writing exercise, to try to say something meaningful in just a couple of words or to try to tell a story in a sentence. It was a fun exercise, but it didn’t interest anyone other than myself.
Once I decided I wanted to grow my Twitter following and turn it into something I actively used to promote my writing I made an effort to learn as much as I could as fast as I could. Some of the things I tried worked, others didn’t There was an embarrassing amount of trial and error until I found a formula that I could manage and showed some success.
Some of the below might not work for you the way they did for me. But I sincerely hope they do.
The Horror Zine is now on sale!
My Short Story ‘In The Shadows’ appears within!
Since 2009, The Horror Zine has published exceptional horror fiction by emerging talent and today’s leading authors. Editor Jeani Rector selects only the most inventive and captivating tales for each issue.
In addition to short fiction, The Horror Zine features amazing poetry and artwork. Now The Horror Zine brings yo
u the dark delights from the ezine into a print magazine.
The Summer 2017 issue features James Ward Kirk, Justin Boote, Geoff Nelder, Peter Ferguson Swarr, Liz McAdams, Jonathan Chapman, Aspen deLaney, Ariana Carlso
n, Shawn P. Madison, Donald Glass, Katie Marie, Joseph Rubas, David Draper, Gerald E. Sheagren, Emily Jones, David Subacchi, Mathias Jansson, Teresa Frazee, John Frazee, Charles Gramlich, Denny E. Marshall, Edmund Stone, Eve Dobbins, Ashby McGowan, Robert Beveridge, Tony Daly, Christopher Hivner, Lori R. Lopez, Stephanie Smith, NajuZaith Zahell, Kim Lennard, Vitaly S. Alexius, Shahan Keuork, Anna Pitkänen, DarkSena and Dimitra Papadimitriou.