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: http://filingwords.blogspot.com/2016/02/review-all-roads-lead-to-terror.html


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: https://www.amazon.com/Blackbirds-Miriam-Black-Chuck-Wendig/dp/148144865X/

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.

*sigh*

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, "...you 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

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?

Pride

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 work...it'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:
Website: http://rebeccabesser.com/
Blog:rebeccabesser.wordpress.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorRebeccaBesser/
Twitter: @BeccaBesser
Instagram: @BeccaBesser

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Losing Yo Shit vs Perseverance.

Say after me: "I, insert your name here, do solemnly swear to have a social media platform on which to do social media things. I shall, unless told otherwise, share only a small amount of my writery shit on my personal page, and I shall have an authory page to constantly post my writery shit on. I shall ask people to like my authory page, so as to gain a following, but not do it in a dickish manner. And lo, my books may be sold by the grace of a higher power, and my unending ability to keep writing."

***

Authors and writers need to stop losing their shit. It's to the stage now where I can see foul things in the street, and internally monologue about how I found such-and-such's shit.

A typical example is that an author has released a book and no one is buying it, reading it, or reviewing it. Let's then take to social media and start finger pointing. Throw it in the bin. Stop working on it. Why do I bother?

Lose shit.

Lose friends.

In the distant twinkle of my eye, I was called out during an exchange of ideas by someone accusing me of having "made it". 

No, my impatient friend, I have not made "it". I'm so far away from making "it", I can't even see "it" in the distance. Making "it" is a still a dream. 

But through your narrow, accusatory vision, it looks like I have because I haven't stopped trying. I haven't stopped learning. I don't always talk about it. I'm just there in the background. Trying. I persevere. I grow. I write. I put out work, even if no one is reading it. 

Because one day they will. 

If I promised a sequel to a book it's getting a sequel. The two people who bought my book deserve that sequel. If no one bought it, it's still getting a sequel. 

I'm not a professional author. I write to write. To dream. To fulfill my wants and needs. The people losing their shit are not professional authors. They never will be. 

And every rant, every shit storm, every finger pointed, is another reader lost. And if you only sold two copies? You're down 50%.

BAM. Math, Shit-Stormers.


Monday, 19 September 2016

Short/Cuts: Coming Soon

The "Short/Cut" releases are a step into diversification of genre and style.

Coming soon, from Mark Taylor, Author of the Macabre, is a new series of releases stepping away from the traditional. Each release will fall away from his usual brand of horror and fantasy. 

The first is a charged drama, a young woman pushed to the edge of excesses. A woman who needs to fight. 

COMING SOON





Tuesday, 13 September 2016

A good product should be a story, not a book.

For the last two years I have read nothing but indie. I love indie writing. It can be different. It can go new places without fear. It can take that extra step, go that extra mile.

You see, I love the step up. I write it myself. Something different, something that's not mainstream.

But I have issue.

Now, and not for the first time, I have found issue with the indie author's product.

I'm not talking about the story.

I'm talking about the product.

And it keeps happening.

No matter how good the story is, no matter how wonderful the writing is, the product has to be solid. And for the first time in two years I have abandoned my kindle and picked up a big five paperback. Not for the story, but for the product.

I'm a little tired of having to try when I read a novel. I'm tired of having to stop and think. I shouldn't have to wonder if that is a spelling mistake or not. I shouldn't have to forgive the basic grammatical errors. Because for every one I wonder about, or every one I forgive, I'm a little more distracted. I've been taken from the magic, the storytelling, the wonderment of the writers word, and I'm back, sitting cross-legged on the bed with a book, not in a story.

And when the number of times it happens add up, the story becomes more and more a book.

Until it is no more a story, a place, a feeling, but it is only words on a kindle.

And my grammar is not good. I'm not talking about professional editing services. I'm talking about spell check. I'm talking about basic, pre-teen punctuation. Close off your speech correctly. Put in your periods.

And don't make me say this:

If you don't care about your product,
why should I? 

The book that caused me to do this was good, but the memory of the story will fade, as even now I remember less of the journey, and more of the mistakes. Will I pick the book up again and try to read it again?

Perhaps.

I would be nice to see it edited again, by the author, the author's SO, a friend, a colleague. It didn't need much, and I would have continued reading. 

My work isn't perfect by any means, but I try to put out a solid product. When I put work out that raises comments about the product, the quality, the next piece of work goes out better. 

I get better, my work gets better. 

But not everyone is like that, and it has to stop, before the indie market takes another blow (like it doesn't get enough of them).

Monday, 22 August 2016

New Release: NURSE BLOOD, by Rebecca Besser

Sonya Garret roams the bar scene hoping to steal the heart of an unsuspecting victim—literally…



Sonya, better known as Nurse Blood, is part of a team of lethal organ harvesters who seek out the weak to seduce, kill, and part out for profit on the black market. When Sonya meets Daniel McCoy, a young man recovering from a broken engagement, he’s just another kill to line her pockets with quick cash.

Agent David McCoy vows to find out how and why his twin brother Daniel disappeared…

Daniel’s body hasn’t been found, and the leads are slim to none, but it won’t stop David from dedicating his life to solving his brother’s case. When the evidence finally uncovers the shocking truth that Daniel’s disappearance is linked to organ harvesters, David knows his brother is most likely dead. But he’s determined to stop the villains’ killing spree before they strike again.

One last harvest is all Sonya and her team need to put their murderous past behind them…

A family with the rarest blood type in the world is the only thing standing between Sonya and retirement. David McCoy and the FBI are hot on their trail, though, and multiple targets make this the most complicated harvest yet. Will David unravel Sonya’s wicked plans in time to avenge his brother and save an innocent family? Or will Sonya cash in her final kill and escape for good?

Murder for profit stops for no man when you’re Nurse Blood.

Available Now

Amazon US, here: http://a.co/bHDk9Kg

About 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.

To learn more about Rebecca visit her Website, or find her on Facebook, Twitter, GoodReads, and/or follow her Blog!




Excerpt

Prologue

The air inside the nightclub was hazy from smoke machines. Flashes of colored light cut through the swirls in beat with the pulsing music that shook the walls and the floor. The atmosphere was alive with movement―a mass of hot, swaying bodies bent on enjoying the moment. A monster waited in the depths of the darkness to bat her pretty eyes at someone and make them her prey.

The door of the establishment swung open to give way to three eager young men looking to have a good time and celebrate. The trio was instantly surrounded by dancing women. They made their way through the press of bodies to reach the bar.

Daniel forced himself not to scan the crowd for his ex-fiancĂ©e, April. But she was the least of his worries, as the real danger was a face he wouldn’t recognize.

Roy got their drinks while Hank and Daniel stood at a balcony that overlooked an even larger dance floor below. The smoke was thicker down there, and there were more lights. The dancers looked like they were paying sensual homage to their deity. The air was tainted with the aroma of perfume and alcohol; it burned the men’s nostrils and fueled their excitement for the revelry to come.

Daniel took a moment to text his twin brother, David, to let him know where they would be celebrating their shared birthday. He received a text back from David saying he was still an hour away.

Roy joined them with three shots and three cold bottles of beer, passing one of each to his friends. They downed the shots in one swallow before turning their attention to their beers.

“Dave will be here in an hour or so,” Daniel announced after downing his shot.

“Awesome—we’re gonna have a great time!” Hank yelled over the music.

As Roy took a drink of his beer, a petite, slim blonde grabbed his waist from behind. He jumped in surprise and turned, recognizing the young woman.
She tucked a finger into the front of his jeans, smiled at him, and tugged him away from his friends toward a table with another girl.

Roy looked back over his shoulder at his friends and shrugged.

“That’s Lynn,” Hank yelled to Daniel. “They’ve been seeing each other for a while. And that’s her cousin Trisha—you don’t want to go there.”

Daniel nodded and looked around. The warming effect of the shot was spreading through his body, relaxing him. He felt less paranoid about running into April.

While he was looking over the crowd, a woman caught his eye. She was a tall, slim brunette, and she was beautiful. She was standing alone at the end of the bar. He watched her for a few moments, and when she looked around, their eyes met.

He smiled and looked away.

Hank noticed Daniel’s mild interest. He knew what his friend had been through recently and why he was gun-shy with women.

“Go for it!” he yelled, nudging Daniel. “Have some fun!”

Daniel looked at his friend, took another swallow of beer, glanced at the woman—noticing she was still alone—and shrugged.

Hank laughed and gave Daniel a shove toward the bar, causing him to slam into two people who happened to be walking past. When he turned to them to apologize, he came face to face
with the very woman he was hoping not to run into: April. The man she was with was leaning on her with all his weight while she struggled to hold him up.

Daniel’s heart clenched in his chest and his lungs seized up for a moment. He felt his hand tighten around the neck of his beer bottle. He wanted to slam it over the other man’s head, but he managed to restrain himself. He didn’t want her to know how much the sight of her with another man hurt him, so he put on a brave front.

“Excuse the fuck out of me,” he said with a sadistic smile, raised the bottle in the air like he was toasting them, and then took a big swig of the brew. He was pleased with the shocked expression that spread across April’s face at his harsh greeting.

They didn’t say anything to Daniel, but focused back on each other and moved around him and deeper into the establishment.

Daniel glanced over to Hank, who was grinning from ear to ear.

He smiled at his friend, nodded, and forced himself to put one foot in front of the other until he made it over to the woman at the bar. While he walked he pretended not to notice that April had glanced back at him several times as she guided her drunken man to a table where he could sit down. He was determined to show April she wasn’t the only woman in the world. He was going to prove to himself and her that he was over the breakup.

“Hi, I’m Daniel!” he yelled when he reached the woman, leaning toward her a little so she could hear him as a new song started to play.

“Grace!” she yelled back.

They smiled at each other.

The couple chatted for a while about nothing important, since it was too loud to carry on a serious conversation, and ordered drink after drink as they stood at the bar. Daniel’s emotional tension eased little by little with every drink. He became more and more relaxed, and friendlier and friendlier with Grace. Before he knew what was happening, they were pressed up against each other while they conversed so they could hear each other better.

“Let’s get out of here,” Grace said. She kissed him and reached down between them to rub his crotch.
Normally Daniel would be shocked and uneasy by such a gesture so soon after meeting a woman, but he’d had enough drinks not to care about how respectable she was or wasn’t being.
He nodded in agreement and looked around for his friends, frowning.

“I have to tell my friends I’m leaving,” he said, taking a step away from Grace.

“Oh, don’t worry about it,” Grace said, rubbing his crotch again. “They’ll figure it out. Besides, you can call them later and they can pick you up from my place.”

That sounded reasonable so he followed her out to the parking lot. The night was clear and felt cool after the heat from the population of patrons inside the nightclub.

They stumbled together through the parking lot and paused to make out, pressed against the side of her car for a couple minutes before they finally separated their bodies to get in.

Daniel had the passenger’s side door open and was about to climb inside when his cell phone beeped, notifying him of a text. He stopped, stood up straight beside the car, and pulled his wallet out of his back pocket by mistake. He reached into his other back pocket and extracted his cell phone. He frowned and squinted to focus on the tiny, bright screen that said David was only a block away.

“What are you doing?” Grace asked.

“I can’t go with you,” he said with a sigh. “Sorry. I—”

He felt a sharp pain in the side of his neck. He reached up to figure out what had hurt him and spun around at the same time, dropping his cell phone and wallet to the asphalt parking lot.

Grace was standing behind him holding an empty syringe.
“I’m sorry,” she said, “but you have to come with me.”

He tried to shove her away, but his limbs wouldn’t do what he wanted them to. His legs gave out from beneath him as the world blurred into a black blob of nothing.

***

Grace shoved Daniel’s tall frame into the passenger seat when he started to fall, smacking his head on the door frame. She quickly picked his feet up from the ground and spun him so she could get him all the way into the car.

She heard laughing as a couple made their way through the parking lot a few rows over, so she didn’t take the time to pick up what Daniel had dropped.

Grace shut the passenger door and ran around to the driver’s side of her car. She scanned the parking lot as she pulled out, not seeing anyone close-by. She’d been careful, watching for people as they’d headed outside, but the distant couple had snuck up on them. Luckily they hadn’t come close enough to see what she was up to. She tensed slightly when she had to pass another vehicle as she pulled from the lot out onto the street, but the man was looking in the opposite direction and didn’t even glance their way.

Once she was out of the parking lot and a couple blocks away, she pulled out her cell phone and called Roger.

“Hey,” she said into the phone. “I have fresh meat…”



Monday, 6 June 2016

Review: Yesterday's Dreams

Pow. Out the park.


Dizzy Hargraves is just trying to get home after a disastrous holiday spent with her overbearing father, but when a seemingly harmless game starts to unravel the secrets of three of her fellow travellers, she finds herself taking a detour that catapults her over eighty years into her own future.

Meanwhile..

Henry Kepple is a loner, living day to day on the allowance provided through the guilt of an illicit affair between his Mother and her rich employer, but when he encounters the strange girl at Liverpool Street Station it leads to a journey that will end in the most surprising of places.

Fantasy, romance, and a charming warmth. Even, perhaps, a little science fiction. 

You know what? I'm going to say it. Dimpra Kaleem has a masterful way with words. Dude writes smooooth. He dances with your mind. And it is a serene, playful dance, rich and engaging.

As a writer I sometimes find it hard to just 'read'. I quiet often find myself analyzing the text, learning from it, or picking it apart.

Not here.

Kaleem is such a smooth artist you forget where you're at. When even. You find yourself in the shoes of Henry, clumsily rooting around the underwear section. The story flows, and before you know it, it's gone, the last page turned, and its finished. And damn it, why didn't I read it slower?

Not to be fooled by the description, this is a charming tale of romance above all else. And it is done superbly.

It's a shorter read, but intense.

I can't even say that if you liked such-and-such, you'd like this, because I can't see anyone not liking it.

Sadly, the only reason it is not getting five stars is that towards the end of the book grammatical mistakes reared their heads, incorrect word usage, and such.

But damn. Don't be put off by it.



Get it here: 


Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Review: The Little Book of Horrors

Huh?


A deliciously wicked treat, no holds barred horror served up bloody with a side dish of sex. The Little Book of Horrors is macabre, disturbing, viciously satisfying and definitely not for the squeamish. 

Look. I'm going to be honest here. That description may be a little misleading. 

I double checked. This book is for adults.

*sigh* Where do I start?

Okay, so I don't want to rip the collection to pieces, mostly because I haven't got time, so I'll just go through the first story. Um. Spoilers. 

Karma's a Psychopath.

So, a guy meets a man about a monkey. No that's not the beginning of a joke. The guy buys a marmoset to use as a prop in his business venture in Benidorm (!). He spends his evenings charging 10 euros a pop for people to have their photo taken with a now abused monkey.

I shit you not.

A few weeks later, a woman turns up and picks up the guy. Even takes the monkey with them. Kinky. 

Her name is Karma. Oh.... now I get it. Karma.

Anyway, she kills him. And takes care of the monkey. No. Not like that. That's disgusting.

The end. 

I don't know where to begin. It's not interesting. It's not "no holds barred horror". There's no "macabre". It's not "disturbing", "satisfying", and my mom would read this with the lights out. 

Yes the stories in here should be classed as horror. But so should Addams Family Reunion. The one without Raul Julia.  

Think of something nice to say. Think of something nice to say. 

It's edited pretty well. Laid out okay. Cover's...the right size.

And that's why it isn't getting zero stars. It could have been worse.


   

You can purchase this abomination against viciously satisfying, disturbing, horror here:



Thursday, 19 May 2016

Review: Afterworld

Listed on Amazon as a romantic comedy? Interesting...


Zack remembers his death, waking up in a world much like our own. But there is no disease, no death, no hope. The enigmatic judge tells him he will remain in Afterworld until he takes care of his problems. And so begins a struggle against his worst enemy: himself. Can he stop using women, or will he be cursed to just go on forever? How does one accept their fate, when they know of better? To succeed, he must pass the test, overcome his failings and prove what he does is not who he is...

I'm a big fan of Donald White's Otherplace (my review / buy link). It's a cool bizarro/horror. But for a few minor discrepancies it works. And it's great. It's stylish horror. It fits well with White's back catalog. Mostly horror, and a few oddities.

Afterworld is an oddity.

I was hoping for more "Otherplace" in here, I'll admit. Hell, the book description lends to bizarro. But no. This is pretty much a straight played romance. Just set in the afterlife is all.

Zack is what you and I would call a player. Then he dies, and in Afterworld he can be anything he likes. So naturally he falls on his base instinct. It makes him an unlikable protagonist to begin with.

He does grow on you though.

I'd challenge White about the comedy aspect of it, but that could be that I'm from a different part of the world. Or that I don't really do romantic comedies. It is sweet, touching, even, but it didn't garner great laughs from me.

For a book far outside of my normal remit, I'll admit to not really wanting to put it down. In fact I did blast through it quicker than I normally read. That, I put down to White's writing style.

Again, his writing is good. It's clear. It's not littered with mistakes. The editing is sharp. In fact the only noticeable error I found was the Afterworld was mis-typed as Afterplace at one point, and I was drawn to wanting a mashup of the two. (Go on Donald. For me.)

It's a good, solid, romance, and an easy entrance to the genre.


You can buy it:

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Review: Needfire

My first taste of Amy Braun. Surely not my last.


A virus has spread across the country, infecting its victims and turning them into bloodthirsty monsters. Trained soldiers are dispatched to eliminate the threat, no matter how mild the infection seems.

Sophia, Isaac, and Reyes live on the run, scavenging what they can and staying away from both sides of the conflict. But all of that changes when one of them becomes infected.

As they struggle to find the rumored cure, the three friends begin to realize that the virus isn't what it seems, and that finding it may cost them more than they could ever imagine...

While I would love to see a sequel to this novella, sadly it was released some time ago, and I feel the author has moved on to new projects. But man, it's cool.

Those that read my reviews will know that I generally review horror. And this does have horror elements, but at it's heart it is so much more. Set in a world of "bloodthirsty monsters" (vampires) this is a tale of commitment, bravery, and relationships.

At it's heart, it is a romance.

But, you know, with death, and blood letting. The best kind really.

The thing is, the best kind of horror has you with the characters, and Braun does that. She defines the characters with ease, and deftly weaves them into the tale.

It's quite mesmerizing to read.

This is an outstanding read.



Monday, 18 April 2016

Celestials - OUT NOW!

From author of the macabre, Mark Taylor comes the penultimate book in the series of The Devil's Hand!


The celestials have threatened to go to war with Hell. Only if they’re given Darin, The Devil’s Hand, will they call off their armies. 

Banished from his home with no powers, friends, or places to hide, Darin still seeks out the journals, trying to assemble some reasoning behind everything that has happened. 

But when the celestials fail to contain him, they send something else. 

Something much worse than an angelic body. 

The penultimate chapter in The Devil’s Hand series, Celestials, sees Darin fight for his life, meet with new friends and reacquaint with old. 

Go back to where it all began... 

...before it’s too late.

EXCERPT

   As a sigh escaped his lips, Darin trudged further into Purgatory. It was depressing.
   
   Although he supposed that was the point.
   
   The ghosts of those that died in Hell and on Earth drifted by, a glimpse of their faces, torn into terrible screams for eternity, haunted each of The Hand’s footfalls. It was a dim reminder of what could happen.
   
   In the distance a lone figure appeared. He stood and waited as Darin got closer. The hat gave it away.
   
   “Tesla,” Darin said, greeting him.
   
   “Hello, Hand.”
   
   Darin raised his hands passively, a sign of peace. “Where is he?”
   
   “He’s here,” the ex-Alp nodded.
   
   “Where?”
   
   “Here, Hand. He wants to know what you want,” Tesla smiled.
   
   Darin looked surprised. “What are you, his bitch?”
   
   Tesla laughed. “After what I have foreseen? I wonder why you are here myself.”
   
   “Don’t you know?” Darin smirked.
   
   Tesla tilted his head to the side. “It’s curious. I know what will happen up there. I always have, but I see nothing here in Purgatory. It is like the reality of what is, and what is to become, does not belong here. Perhaps I do, therefore, belong here. Where it is dull, and safe…”
   
   “Petiot?”
   
   “I am here, Hand.” Petiot’s growl came from behind Darin. He turned. Petiot was burned, scarred, from their last encounter. His skin was raw and his eyes glowed a deep red. “Tell me why I shouldn’t kill you where you stand.”
   
   “Because,” Darin answered, “first I’d like to see you try, and second…well, I’m worth more as The Hand than I am as a fleeting moment of satisfaction…to you, at least.”
   
   Petiot snorted. “What do you want?”
   
   “The Journals, of course.”

***

Available now from Amazon only 99c/99p:



***

Mark Taylor's debut novel crash landed on planet earth in 2013. Its dark brooding style benchmarked his writing and has led to further releases of novel and short story collection alike.

While most of Mark's work is macabre, occasion has it that he will write about kittens and daisies. Just not very often. 
Some say he is a product of his environment, others, a product of his own imagination. 


Whichever it is he works happily, portraying dark existences on this planet and others. He relays his fears and doubts on his characters, so always has a smile. If Mark is real, as some say he is, you might find him in England. 

Perhaps.

You can find him at his website: www.authormarktaylor.com, or on Facebook: www.facebook.com/AuthorMarkTaylor

"A fresh burn of imagination!" - Variety Reviews

"Definitely a great book." - Drunken Druids View

"Mark Taylor drags you down into the darkest and most twisted pits of human nature." - Darren Gallagher, author of Strings

"In The Human Condition, Mark Taylor blends American horror with an English elegance." - Eden Royce, author of Containment

"[Shutter Speed] worms its way into your psyche and latches on as you watch the events unfold." - The Bibliophilic Book Blog

Friday, 15 April 2016

Review: Bad Neighborhood


In this chilling horror collection, 29 writers and poets have come together to share tales of the grotesque, the supernatural, and more. Their words will pluck you from your comfort zone and leave you for dead, or worse. Have you ever considered where evil bides its time when it’s not outside your door? What disturbing locale could make it feel safe? We've all heard that home is where the heart is, but alas, that heart is sometimes racing…

We hope you live in a good neighborhood. 

Or not so much. I mean, it's not bad. Just not overly memorable. 

And that cover.

It's just...boring. A little. I mean I finished it, so that says something, right?

It is presented well. Fox Emm does a good job of the editing, there are no noticeable errors worth mentioning, and it's formatted well. I remember liking a couple of the stories. I enjoyed Intruder by Hugh Warren, a standout because of the style.

I just can't recommend the book on the whole, because it doesn't stand out. I read without being grasped. It was something to do, rather than something I wanted to do.

So, not a good review, but not a bad one. I suppose having nothing of merit to say says as much about as I need.

Btw: I won this in a Twitter competition from one of the authors.


You can purchase it here: http://www.amazon.com/Neighborhood-Misfit-Horror-Anthologies-Book-ebook/dp/B018O3SIIA

Friday, 8 April 2016

Back it up, or Lose it no more. CLOUD COMPUTING.

*Expunges grief*

Opening your unfinished novel to find this
AAargh.

Well. It finally happened. I got caught out. Didn't backup for a couple of weeks. "Too busy". Obviously.

*Sticks pen drive in hole*

PC: DEVICE NOT RECOGNISED

*Takes out. Pushes in*

PC: DEVICE RECOGNISED

*Opens latest draft of novel*

PC: HA HA HA. FUCK YOU.

And it's gone. Not just some of it. But all of it. Within my magical USB device of transportation now lies a battleground of broken, decapitated, and sucked dry wastrels of what used to be novels, websites, and marketing materials. Book covers are gone. It was just devastation.

As far as the eye can see...

Okay, fine. 99% of it was backed up. It was just one document. My novel. You know. The secret one. (That I'll be blabbing about soon)

Anyway. Don't worry about me, I'll be fine. I'm more worried about you. Because it happens to most prolific creators eventually.

CRASHES. CORRUPTION.

So I did a little research. (I'm a IT professional by trade, so...trust me, I guess?).

Google Drive is a thing where you can store your digital stuff online. In THE CLOUD. Which is fine, great, MS do OneDrive, etc. etc. But like a lot of people Google has eeked its way into my life (like a disease) so I looked at that.

You can download Drive onto your computer, which creates folders on your hard drive, allowing you to work locally if you prefer. It stops you from having to download documents to work on them and upload them after.

When a file is saved into these folders it automatically synchronizes with THE CLOUD and a backup is created.

So, sort of perfect really.

If you work on the files without an internet connection present (like in the dark ages of oh, I don't know, five years ago?) it synchronizes when there is one present.

Go now.

Google is the future.

I am in no way affiliated with Google btw.




Photo credit: jaci XIII via Visual hunt / CC BY-NC-SA

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Review: How to be Dead (Book 1)


Dave Marwood is trapped in a soul crushing dead end job. He’s in love with his work colleague Melanie and his only friend Gary is a conspiracy theory nut. 

His life is going nowhere until he has a Near Death Experience - though Death thinks of it as a Near Dave Experience. He discovers gifts he never knew he possessed and a world he never dreamed existed. A world where the Grim Reaper is a hard drinking, grumpy Billy Joel fan and the undead are bored, lonely and dangerous. 

How To Be Dead is the first part in a three novella funny urban fantasy series that tells the story of Death and his office staff protecting humanity from ghosts, zombies, vampires and medium-sized apocalypses. 

After a nice cup of tea and a biscuit. 

Look. I'm not mixing it up here. This shit is funny. And readable. And for Death's sake, why isn't Dave Turner the next Terry Pratchett? Yeah. Spoilers. This is getting five stars.

So after a near death experience, Dave is plunged into the world of spooks, death, and biscuits. Hobnobs to be precise.

Taking the turn of the every man, Dave is a wonderfully realized protagonist. He is nerdy, clumsy, nervous, and generally, well, an every man.

As is Death.

And this makes for a wonderful read.

I can't say much without getting into spoiler-y territory, but I read this in record time. I could barely put it down. It's a shorter read, yes, but develops character's wonderfully. Probably because there are so few of them. All are believable for what they are (like, Death), and none stick out as not needing to be there.

It's only downside (probably) is that it is terribly British. I think the jokes will translate, but some may miss in a different culture.

But honestly? Give it a go. It's wonderful.

  

Monday, 28 March 2016

Blog Tour: Dead Batteries Tell No Tales


Public transportation is a new experience for Amber. So is not having access to a cell phone. Luckily, a classmate named Jason is there to help. During their travel, Amber quickly learns that her perspectives on life aren’t quite the same as her peers. As they make their way home, they try to break down the foundation of their social structure in this exciting prequel to Five High School Dialogues.


GIVEAWAY

a Rafflecopter giveaway


About the Author

Ian Thomas Malone is an author and a yogi from Greenwich, CT. He is a graduate of Boston College, where he founded The Rock at Boston College. He is the grandson of noted Sherlockian scholar Colonel John Linsenmeyer. Ian has published thousands of articles on diverse subjects such as popular culture, baseball, and social commentary. 


His favorite things to post on social media are pictures of his golden retriever Georgie and his collection of stuffed animals. Ian believes firmly that “there’s more to life than books you know, but not much more,” a quote from his hero Morrissey. When he’s not reading, writing, or teaching yoga, he can probably be found in a pool playing water polo. He aspires to move to the Hundred Acre Wood someday, though he hopes it has wi-fi by then.

How can readers contact Ian or find out more about his work?


Author Website: ianthomasmalone.com



Instagram: @ianthomasmalone



LinkedIn: 








Sunday, 27 March 2016

The Acquisition of Demoralized Goals (Or: Why I'm a Broken Writer).


There are a thousand people in my head screaming. All the time. And all at once.
It can be demoralizing, being a writer. Sometimes it's the advice you see. Something like Stephen King saying you should finish the first draft of a novel in three months, and then looking at the novel you've been writing for three months that isn't quite finished. Or anyone else for that matter. Writing advice can be the most demoralizing "help" in the world. Basically, your advice is different to the way I'm doing it, and so, in your opinion, I'm not doing it right.

Yeah. Thanks for that.

But I have conquered that. Writing advice is just that, and these days I break "the rules" succinctly and frequently. That is why you won't see much advice on FW anymore.

Make your own way. Make your own rules. Make your own fiction.

But I still get demoralized. Why?

It's the writing itself.

I seem to get lost easily, you see. That is why the transition from writing short fiction to writing novels was a challenge for me. I write myself into a corner with ease. I become demoralized trying to write myself out of it.

And for me, when I become demoralized I hide from it. I pretend the writing isn't there. I suppose that makes me a broken writer.

So I became a plotter, and yes, that seemed to help.

But my plotting is not perfect yet.

And still I write myself into a corner. I can't quite get the knack of it. I watched a Youtube video once that told me I needed to plot to a length of 1/10. 100,000 word novel? 10,000 word plot outline. I'm not quite there yet, and I can't find the video. *Sigh* So I go on, writing myself into a corner. I don't do it on plot points. No. I do it in stupid places. Set pieces, if you will. I just don't plot them because I know what is going to happen.

Until I write it. Or try to, at least.

My point? I don't have one. I'm just...

...expunging feelings.



Photo credit: Jin_sama via Visual Hunt / CC BY-NC-SA

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Heliodor Blog Tour


Malfric sees through the eyes of the dead – literally reliving their last moments as if they were his own. This ability is highly sought and highly priced, which is why the unscrupulous Captain Finch hires him to find the murderer of a nobleman and the whereabouts of a valuable artifact.

Quantex, the able-bodied first mate of Captain Finch, quickly becomes Malfric’s foil as he demonstrates uncommon intelligence during the investigation. Together the two uncover several clues that lead them to the killer, the artifact, and the frayed end of a mysterious plot that begins to unravel the moment Malfric takes it in hand and gives it a good yank.

EXCERPT

The captain placed a kid-gloved hand over Malfric’s.  “Walk a bit with me while I fill you in.”
  Malfric got to his feet, leaving the barrel-stool behind and looped his left hand through the crook of the captain’s arm. As the captain led him towards the bow of the ship, Malfric tasted currant jam and warm biscuits on the salty sea air.  His favorite.  
He stopped the captain before he could take another step.  “There’s no point in buttering me up, Finch.  Just give me the details.  If I agree, we can proceed straight to the repast you have set up in your quarters.  Otherwise, just hand me your purse and we’ll call it even.”
  Finch muttered beneath his breath.  “Your infernal nose ruins everything.  Fine then, have it your way.  A job has come up ― not our usual fare, but the bounty was too good to resist.  So I booked it.  But I need a voyeur to get it done.  Naturally, I thought of you.”
Naturally.  “What’s the catch?”
  “No catch.”  Shifting floorboards belied the captain’s response. 
  Malfric frowned.  “You wouldn’t have laid out my favorite tea if it were an easy job with no strings.  In fact, you wouldn’t have sent for me at all...any novice voyeur would have done.”  
A snicker came from his right.  Ah, Quantex had followed them.
  The captain’s arm tensed beneath Malfric’s hand.  Though he said nothing, Malfric detected the shift and rustle of his silk coat as he turned to glare at his first mate.
  “There’s an artifact.  We were not the only ones hired to find it,” Finch said with a disgruntled sigh.  “The other crew has a day’s head start.” His voice softened to a conspiratorial whisper, “but we have an advantage they do not.”
  Oh?  “And what, pray tell, is that?”
  A sharp intake of breath, a faint whistle through his nose, and the captain answered.  “A body.”

Available now from Mocha Memoir Press: http://www.mochamemoirspress.com/



Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Embracing Entropy Blog Tour


As Earth dies, leaving its inhabitants struggling to survive, an alien race offers an unimaginable option: to relocate humans to their own planet on the far end of the universe. 

The Campbells, one of the last surviving families, quickly realize humanity’s hope for survival may come with a price. Accepting a new way of life, acclimating to a new atmosphere, and trying to fight against a universe that seems set on tearing them apart offers many struggles. 

Can the Campbell’s make it through, together?


Purchase it here.









Excerpt

I

I used to have nightmares about this. I would wake up screaming as they forced me to leave. People giving up; abandoning Mother Earth. The thought alone caused my heart to race, my under arms to sweat.

Here I stand clutching my children, one on each side, as we prepare to be torn away from everything that’s tangible. Before me, a gargantuan structure glares from above. This beast, this ship is supposed to save humanity, or at least what’s left of it.

I’ve lived through mass devastation. It’s hardened me enough. But leaving? It still scares me.
We have no idea what’s out there for us.

My husband has faith in the alien colony that is aiding us. They made contact just in time. Said they had revolutionized their space program and stumbled upon our signal.

I don’t know what I believe.

As the line moves forward, I pull my girls along. They stumble ahead with fright, carrying their backpacks strapped to their bodies. Our packs are the only human luggage allowed on the crowded craft. But that’s not what they’re worried about.

It’s not the new race they fear. Or even the new world. It is the missing presence of their father.
He has his duty. He’ll stay with his men until we pilgrims are secure, then meet up with us in a smaller craft. I’m glad for it. They’ve already had to break up some fights. People get pretty riled up in situations like this. It’s good to have someone who remains behind to keep order for a while, and to try and find any last survivors before leaving.

Finally we’re ascending the dock and I’m able to see our temporary home. It’s nothing like I imagined. The smell is what draws my attention first.

“Eww mommy.” My youngest daughter, Gwen, pinches her nose.

The odiferous enclosure is beyond human comprehension. I’ve smelt plague pits, leaking sewage, the rank smell of sea life left to rot on beaches. Although this isn’t as horrendous, it does make my eyes water. Despite the nausea I’m fighting, I grind my teeth. “Gwen, these people are saving our lives. Don’t insult them.”



About the Author






Jessica is the author of: The Embracing Entropy Series, Siren’s Snare, Tale of Two Bookends, and My Family Is Different. Her stories have been featured in numerous publications such as Everyday Fiction, The Lorelei Signal, Fiction on the Web, The Horror Zine and many others. She is a member of the St. Louis Writer’s Guild and is always weaving new worlds in the webs of her tales. You can check her out at: