Monday, 18 December 2017

Horde of the Cross. Westwood Cross.

Just a couple of miles away from where I sit now is a shopping centre called Westwood Cross. It's like an open air mall for my friends across the pond. And it is the week before Christmas.

A person is a rational, thoughtful, entity who thrives on knowledge. A person is savvy. Kind. Nice. Call it what you will. People, particularly the week before Christmas are irrational hate-mongers who would cut their own grannies arms off for the last Luke Skywalker on the shelf.

And all I needed was potato starch for chicken. Could I get it at the grocery store? No. Because it's weird. And foreign. I asked the worker stacking shelves in the flour isle. "Excuse me?"

He looked harassed. No surprise. In the build up towards the big day the grocery stores become a battleground of covert warfare - the slow decimation of produce - until the big push on the Christmas Eve, when in a reenactment of the last days of WWI people are crushed for sprouts. Sprouts. "Yes?" he answered.

"I'm looking for potato starch. Do you have any?"

"Potato what?"


"We don't sell that here," he said from behind glazed eyes.

I'm convinced he just said that to get rid of me, but in all honesty, I doubt they had it anyway.

Which led me to Westwood Cross, the week before Christmas, to go to the health food shop I was sure would have my prize.

I knew that there would be no parking available at the shopping centre itself, so I parked a mile away and walked across the fields. As Westwood Cross came into view over the tops of the grasses it looked like a scene out of Dawn of the Dead.

Nervously I slinked down the walkway next to the cars. There was little space near the shop fronts. People were pushing each other out of the way. They were carrying too much. Presents for family members, brought at ill conceived times. Massive bags being dragged behind them. Small children being knocked to the floor. And this one child. "Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh." She just kept screaming - but not like a child - a growl like a demon being torn from the warmth of hell.

I increased my pace.

One woman's bag broke open. Toys strewn to the floor. She spread her arms out to protect them, but alas they were trampled like a ragdoll dropped by a child in a horror movie. Truly, I was experiencing the end of days. I stopped, to try and help, but was pushed on by the horde, losing sight of the woman in seconds. To this day, I don't know if she made it.

Before long the slipstream I was caught in eased as it passed the health food store. I was in luck. It was, of course, empty. I chanced a glance to the entertainment store opposite. It was like they were reenacting a scene from Saving Private Ryan. I saw people fighting for air. And Up. I saw a man kicked to the ground for the last copy of the Last Samurai. Such tragedy. It's on TV next week. A small child stood crying in the corner of the doorway clinging on to a Paddington Bear plushy.

What had we become?

I entered the health food shop, and the elderly lady behind the counter jumped a little. She looked like she'd seen things. Shit that would turn your hair white. Hers was. Turns out she was only 17. Of course, my much valued potato starch (£1.67) was easily available. I bought two - doubling my rations would mean I wouldn't have to return so soon. When I paid for it - the hollow eyed cashier put it in a paper bag. I thanked her, but nestled it in my jacket before returning to the fray. The paper bag wasn't strong, neither was the plastic bag with the starch inside. If it got grabbed at or torn, it would fly asunder, and there would be nothing I could do. My quest a failure.

Carrying my prize akin to Flash Gordon holding a football, I dashed into the crowd, darting left and right. Small child - missed it - smoker - didn't get it in the face. Damn it - family member - I dropped to my knees and crawled - taking care of the quest item the whole time.

Before I knew it I was back in the field. I lay. Exhausted. Breathing hard, I took stock. Neither bag of starch was damaged and I had only minor cuts and bruises. I stood. Smoke rose from the roofs of the stores. I had lived through going to the Cross the week before Christmas. But would I again?

The moral? Do your Christmas shopping earlier people. Some of us need our starch.

Friday, 22 September 2017

Fear and Loathing - Most Heinous

"The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men." - Jules. Well, Quentin Tarantino, most likely.

Am I the righteous man?

Writing is a solitary business. Anyone who tells you otherwise is talking about writing, not writing. And so easy is it to be that one who is large, brash, and absolute. Are they the evil men? People talk about how many books they have sold. How much better they are than you, as you sit alone and write. Are they the selfish men?

I am a failure.

Everywhere I look I feel this. I am stumped by my own writing. I cannot put new words on the page, for they are poor. I am an imitation of a writer. I am the pretense of the writer I was, or at least, thought I was. Was I ever?

Or is it all a lie? A lie that I am telling myself, but without the knowledge to grasp the truth. Perhaps those who are better than me are just braggarts and dullards who wish to veil me in an illusion. Perhaps to hawk their wares? Perhaps.

Or is it that they too are failures, and try to hide behind a wall. Not all walls are made of stone.

I am different to them.

Perhaps I am the righteous man?

Or does it matter?

For all the brag and cries and fight, writing is a solitary business. Whether I choose to be a dullard, or an absolute, I have been and will be again alone with the page, where words will make sentences and sentences, prose.

For I am not the righteous man. I am not the selfish, nor the tyranny.

I am the path. My writing is the righteous man. It is beset on all sides and it makes me cry in pain and fear that the righteous man might not make his journey. Like all paths. We weep for our man.

But one day he will strike down. Paths will cross.

I am not alone. Everyone feels like this. We all deal with it differently.

You are not alone.

Monday, 7 August 2017

Being An Author: Renovating a House

We bought a house.

It is a very fine house, on a very fine street.

But it needs some work. All right. Quite a lot of work.

Renovation is a scary word. One that didn't really get used, until recently, that is. You see, we're first time buyers. We didn't know what we were doing. Take the wallpaper off, I thought. Paint the walls, I thought. I work in an office. I write novels. I now know how to plaster. Yeah. Actual walls. I can lay floor.

I bought a god damned chainsaw.

Artists representation of how I feel when wielding chainsaw

That's why this is the first post on FW this year. I'm afraid it comes down to prioritization. Day Job at the top. Sleeping at the bottom. If you've ever renovated a house - you'd know. Sadly, there are only so many hours in the day. Even writing has become less of a priority (but I'm getting back to it now! - Eeps with excitement).

And that's why I'm here. To say that I am "back on the horse" so to speak. That said, writing is a priority, but writing about writing, less so. If that makes any sense. So I'll fill here with what I can. I hope to use this space to promote other writers as best I can.

So, on that, if you have anything you want to promote, drop me a line.

And in the meantime, write well.


Thursday, 15 December 2016

Review of the Year '16

This year has been good. Let's start, as always, with the books.

Indie Book of the Year

This was an easy choice for me. Out of all of the indie books that I have read this year, All Roads Lead to Terror was the one.

I don't read a huge amount of zombie fiction, but this was amazing. The characters were solid, and the story still sits with me today.

Richard Schiver is one hell of a writer and deserves more recognition.

Buy links and review here:

Novel of the Year

I've only just read this, but damn, it's good. Probably running head long towards one of the finest novels I've ever read. It's clear that Wendig is a superior writer, and not just a nice guy.

Buy link:

It pretty much secures best cover, as well.

Notable Mentions
(click for Amazon)

I could list here all the awesome people, but I shall not. Some people, however, that have gone above and beyond:

Cindy Hernandez, Richard Schiver, Brieanna Robertson, Eden Royce, Kody Boye, Elisha Neubauer, and Jessica Baumgartner (mostly because she's fucking mad.)

This year, hat's off for European Geeks Publishing, and their imprint Eleventh Hour Literary Press. Witches and Strange have both done very well, selling consistently, and Eleventh Hour is on the verge of releasing A Night at the Dream Theater.

And me? Well, we bought a house. That's a novel within itself, and one I feel I'll be writing for a few years...

But on writing? I have the first Short/Cut coming out at the end of the month, Rise of Valor, the last part of The Devil's Hand series in March(ish), with a paperback compendium of the whole series, and the second Short/Cut in June(ish). I've finished the novel Trinity, done and edited and I'm about to throw another novel onto the pile of done ones (the first in a series of novels).

So. Busy, busy.

Monday, 5 December 2016

Critical Review.

I read a very disturbing conversation on social media this morning. An indie author, who had read another indie author's book wasn't happy with it, for what I understood to be valid reasons (quality of writing, editing, etc), and had gone on social media with the question:

What do I do?

The question eluded to the review. Should the author leave a bad review or not?

This directly relates to more and more posts I'm putting on here. Remember my last post? Where I talked about the slurry filled pool of bloated rubbish that was ending up on Amazon because no one had any pride?

It really helps when a percentage of your peers advise you not to leave a bad review. 

Largely, the conversation had about a quarter of people saying to leave a good review anyway (!), a quarter saying to ask the author if they wanted a bad review or not, a quarter saying to not leave any review, and the last quarter saying to leave a bad, but constructive, review.

And there's me sitting in the corner.

Weeping for the industry.

If a book has problems then a review should critique those problems. It should address the issues of the reader and constructively address them. 

Or alternatively, look at the other side. If you make something public like, I don't know, your writing, then perhaps you should expect criticism.

And don't blame the person criticizing you if the crit is valid.

You see, constructive criticism helps the author. Even if they don't know it. Yet. Because as an author learning to take criticism constructively is another skill to be mastered. But it improves the writing.

You know. It HELPS.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Facing Down Quality (...or is that pride?)

This is little more than a rant, really, so do as you will.

I've just opened Amazon, gone to the Kindle books section, Science Fiction and Fantasy, opened the first book I saw that was published today (29th Nov). It was the third book in a series. It already has two 5 star reviews.

There is a grammatical error on the first line. The. First. Line.


And an obvious one too.

I know that nobody is perfect, but really? It's through a publishing house. One who claims to be "providing editing, proofreading". Where has the quality gone? Or is it something else? As a great man once said, " might feel a slight sting. That's pride fucking with you. Fuck pride. Pride only hurts, it never helps."

You know what? I'm proud of my writing. And I'm not sorry to be. I try to make the quality of it as high as it can be. At least as high as I can make it.

So which is it? Quality, or pride?


Quality is hard to get right. Writing is a minefield. We all understand that. Mistakes occur. But it's too much, too often. I self-edit, of course. And I miss things. I also have an editor these days. A good one. My self published work is going out now as close to professional as I can make it.

The immediate cry is that editors cost money. They do. But there are other methods of identifying problems with work. Exchange with others and beta read each others work. I used to do that. Join a writing group and meet once a week. I used to do that. Read your own work out loud. Done that. Read it again and again and again.

Which all sounds really obvious, and of course, anyone can do it. So why aren't they?


Little bit of the "who gives a shit" syndrome. I wrote it, I stuck it on Amazon. Who cares?

And that is becoming a problem.

The market is now saturated with unedited, sometimes unreadable...well, shite.

So what are we going to do?

The simple answer is that if you aren't really invested in being an author, then write whatever you want - just don't put it up for sale. But that won't happen, will it? If someone makes a buck from their word diarrhea, of course they're going to put it up for sale.

No. The answer will come from the readers. The answer comes in the form of a stinking great leather boot.

They'll stop buying. Stop buying anything that isn't from a trusted source. Indie publishers, self published'll die.

Then we're all in buckets of shite.

So pick up your game before it's too late.

Pride doesn't, after all, come before a fall. Lack of does.

Friday, 28 October 2016

The Halloween Sale of Rebecca Besser!

Undead Drive-Thru for Kindle is on sale until Oct. 31st.

Buy it here: US / UK

Undead Regeneration for Kindle is on sale until Oct. 31st.

Buy it here: US / UK


Nurse Blood for Kindle is on sale Oct. 28th-31st. #StrangeAuthors #13DaysofHalloween #NurseBlood

Buy it here: US / UK


Twisted Pathways of Murder & Death will be free for Kindle on Oct. 31st & Nov. 1st for #AllHallowsRead!

Buy it here: US / UK


Cursed Bounty, a zombie western will be free for Kindle on Oct. 31st & Nov. 1st for #AllHallowsRead!

Buy it here: US / UK

The Author

Rebecca Besser resides in Ohio with her wonderful husband and amazing son. They've come to accept her quirks as normal while she writes anything and everything that makes her inner demons squeal with delight. She's best known for her work in adult horror, but has been published in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry for a variety of age groups and genres. She's entirely too cute to be scary in person, so she turns to the page to instill fear into the hearts of the masses.

Find out more about her:
Twitter: @BeccaBesser
Instagram: @BeccaBesser