Excerpt: Light Save Us

Below is an excerpt from Light Save Us, my story in the Fading Light Anthology. It’s a short excerpt, but I don’t want to give away too much of the story. I’ll probably post the story in full some time in the not too distant future.

Fading-Light

If you’re looking for a scary Halloween read, then the Fading Light Anthology has you covered.You can order from most online retailers including Amazon, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords.

Enjoy!

——————————————————–

My breaths come fast and shallow, my sense of direction disoriented by the sudden lack of light. My hands fumble along the barrel of the shotgun as I reach for the torch attachment, fingertips trembling as I depress the switch. Looking up for the first time, I can see a number of beams emerging from the darkness, scanning the walls for any sign of breach.

“Over there,” I yell with a shrill voice, waking the crowd from their stunned silence. Shouts turn to screams and people cry out for help, fear of the darkness fuelling their need to possess the precious torchlight.

The creatures are scaling the wall now, panting and growling as they close in on their prey. The hairs on the back of my neck stand on end as multiple thumps strike the ground from all directions. They are surrounding us.

“They’re coming,” I call out, desperation creeping into my voice. “Run!”

I turn towards the power station and try to sprint, but the searing pain at my side is too much. Glimpses of a shadowy form dodge in and out of my torchlight, coming straight at me. It strikes me just above my pelvis, lifting me off the ground and slamming me onto my back. Its weight drops onto the shotgun and crushes the remaining wind from my chest. My ribs scream in agony.

An acidic spray burns my skin and furious talons catch on the shotgun as they try to tear me open. I can feel the adrenaline coursing through my veins, telling me to fight back, telling me to survive. I kick upwards with all my strength. My boot meets solid flesh, flinging the monstrous body through the air and freeing my arms from its deadly embrace. In a motion more fluid than I thought possible, I draw the shotgun into my shoulder and level it at the roaring beast. Finger on the trigger, I squeeze.

The blast is deafening, and the shadowy being is no more. My body aches as I force myself to stand, my ringing ears drowning out the sound of people being massacred around me. I have to find Gray.

A crumpled form lies in front of me, bloody entrails and a God awful stench leaking from what might have been its stomach. The whole scene is repulsive, and yet I am intoxicated by the thought of doing this to someone else. I lick my lips. What would Dan’s entrails smell like?

“Come on, Ted, hurry up.”

Gray. I whip around and shine torchlight at the sound of his voice. He has a pistol in one hand and the gas can in the other. His bloodstained body seems to glisten. He has never looked sexier.

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Fifty Shades of Jealousy

Love them or hate them, the “Fifty Shades” books are bestsellers. Everyone is reading them and, of course, everyone has an opinion about them. And that’s fine, because of free speech and suchlike.

Fifty Shades of Grey (Fifty Shades, #1)

The thing is, people have long memories. There is a time and a place to voice your opinions, and when it comes to opinions about the industry you work in, you should probably think twice before you click that submit button. This is particularly important for genre authors because book publishing is a rather small and tight knit industry, and that comment you just submitted will be forever associated with your name.  That comment may stop you from ever getting a deal. The following is a quote from an author on what they think about Fifty Shades of Grey:

Why did you buy this book? Your review isn’t anything we don’t already know about this book. It is crap, “Oh my, did I say Crap?”

I write much better than crap and I can’t get a soul to even blink at my novel, BUT every wanna-be reviewer has something to say about this turd.

I didn’t buy this book– here is my review. “It Sucks. Quit buying it.” 

Now I know this author, he is a nice guy and he can write quite well, but a comment like this shows an alarming about of jealousy and ignorance. This “turd” is the #1 bestseller in many countries around the world. It must be doing something right. And maybe, just maybe, it would be worth some effort figuring out what it is doing right and you might be able to apply it to your own writing.

Fading Light – An Anthology of the Monstrous

Well it’s been almost a month since my last post but I’m back and with some great news. This September will see me get my first publication credit as an author. YAY!!!!

My short story Light Save Us will be coming out through Angelic Knight Press as part of the anthology Fading Light – An Anthology of the Monstrous, edited by Tim Marquitz of Demon Squad fame. This is a horror anthology, a very dark horror anthology, and Tim managed to secure some really big names. The biggest of which is Mark Lawrence, that guy whose book caused an internet meltdown because of “all the rape” (follow the link and decide for yourself). I am absolutely stoked that my story will be leading into his, and I hope all those people who pick up the anthology for a Lawrence short story enjoy all the other amazing stories in there.

I’ll keep you posted on the release details, but until then expect me to start acting like a rock star. You guys have been beautiful, peace out.

Vale Mike McKay

Today I learned that one of my online friends Mike McKay passed away over the weekend. I never met Mike in the twelve months we chatted online, but I can certainly attribute a lot my current enthusiasm for writing to his incessant nagging emails asking for more chapters. Michael just wanted me, and the entire Defence Writing community for that matter, to just keep writing. He was a wonderfully positive and optimistic sci-fi and fantasy geek, and I will miss him greatly.

This year he traded in his smoke breaks for writing breaks, and would often entertain us with 150 word bursts of raw unedited stories, and then berate us for not doing the same. Here is an example of one of his “Afternoon 150’s”:

The Captain hadn’t agreed that it was a life form.  The doctor was angry.

 “It’s Carbon Chauvinism.”

 “Huh?”  Cam looked at the Doc.

“Nicolas Chauvin.”  The lights in Cam’s eyes went out.  The Doc frowned.  “Nicolas Chauvin?”

“He fought alongside Napoleon.  He was a French patriot”.  Doc sighed.  “He dismissed all things that weren’t French; said they were wasteful nonsense.  He couldn’t see the big picture. His name is synonymous with a loathing of foreign things.  Come on.” 

“I mean…why does it have to be carbon-based?” 

 He pointed.  “There’s no reason!  This is just Carbon Chauvinism.”

They were standing over a thing.  An ugly thing.  A dormant thing. It wasn’t composed of carbon.  It was a thing of silicon.  It was made of a tetravalent metalloid, not unlike carbon…but unlike any life on Earth.

“Well?” 

“Well what?”, the Doc responded.

 “How do we tell?  Is it alive?  Is it dead?”

To honour my friend, I decided to write my own “Afternoon 150”. This is for you Mike, for pushing me to keep on writing and writing and writing when I should have been working. RIP buddy, may you have plenty of Stargate episodes to watch in sci-fi heaven.

I cheered with the utmost delight as I flew through the air, my hands grasping at the invisible reins while my feet pushed against invisible stirrups. I rode the wind with an easy confidence, soaring over mountain tops at exhilarating speeds before plunging down the other side like a bird of prey. I flew just inches from the ground, bending blades of grass and stripping seeds from dandelions as I displaced the air around me. It was incredible.

I closed my eyes, stood in the stirrups, and pulled back on the reins, my knees gripping against the buffeting air as I climbed and climbed. I opened my eyes and beheld the most beautiful of sights, the curvature of the Earth spread out before me as if I belonged in one of those sci-fi stories. With a smile on my face and joy in my heart, I let go.

Writing Awesome Stories – Five Sources Of Advice For Aspiring Writers

I’m still very new to the whole “writing fiction” business. It’s something I have always wanted to do ever since I was a young voracious reader who thought he could come up with better ideas than some of the ones he read. Just learning the process of writing fiction has been a massive eye opener for me, and the thought of writing a novel looks far more daunting when the target is more than 70,000 words away. Why 70,000 words… well that just seems like a good size.

Not bad for $10.00 per hour

So having not taken any official courses on creative writing, the knowledge base I have built up has been based on collections of writing advice provided by many of my favourite authors around the entire globe. It’s not formal, it might not be the best, but I figure that if I want to write a novel and get it published then I should probably be listening to the people who make a living writing novels and getting them published. Below is a list of my five favourite sources of advice on writing. If you are an aspiring author then you should definitely check them out and see if you can apply their advice to your own writing.

1. Writing Excuses – This podcast hosted by Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells, Howard Taylor and Mary Robinette Kowal has been the one source that has taught me the most about writing over the past twelve – eighteen months. Each episode is a 15 minute discussion about a specific aspect of writing, with each host adding to the discussion from their own wealth of knowledge and experience. If you want to become a fiction writer then I cannot recommend this podcast highly enough.

2. Larry Correia’s Monster Hunter Nation – This collection of articles written by Larry Correia are of the anti-literature bent and aimed towards those people who want to tell a fun story without any regard for literary rules. His advice is plain and simple, it is all about giving you the best information on writing a story that will entertain fans and make you money.

3. Dan Wells’ Writing A Short Story – I know I have already mentioned Dan Wells with Writing Excuses, but his series of blog posts on how to write a short story fundamentally changed my approach to constructing a story. The whole “Seven Point Structure” thing he talks about struck a chord with me, more so that the traditional “three-act” process, and I now find using this new structure that I can outline an entire story based on a simple idea in a matter of minutes. Dan also presented his “Seven Point Structure” as a lecture, which was filmed and uploaded onto YouTube, and I find it works as a great companion to the blog posts.

4. John Brown and Larry Correia’s How To Write A Story That Rocks – This is a two hour seminar, delivered by Larry Correia and acclaimed fantasy action writer John Brown, with both going through their methods for extracting maximum entertainment out of an idea. While both authors have a very similar world view, John Brown brings a lot more balance to the arguments while Larry Correia is driven by impulse and passion. This seminar is a great tool if you want to learn about how to write action.

5. Adventures In Sci-Fi Publishing – This podcast hosted by Shaun Farrell, Moses Siregar and Brent Bowen is great for those who have written their novels and are now looking at the process of getting published. Each episode they interview an author, editor or agent from the sci-fi/fantasy genre and they always seem to get some great stories and anecdotes about the publishing process as a whole. I would recommend any episode featuring Lou Anders or Michael Stackpole.

Quality Vs Quantity

Sitting here by myself at Newcastle airport has really got me thinking. How do they do it? Those people who manage a full time job, kids, writing, and social media commitments. How do they manage to write blog post after blog post every single day? Are the sacrificing quality to get their name out there every single day or do really have that much to talk about? Do I have that much to talk about? I sure hope so.

Recently I have been a lazy blogger, not able to keep my own promise to post at least once a week, but any more than one a week seems like a pipe dream to me. I cant seem to find time in the day to write a post, and when I do find that time I usually use it for computer games or reading. Can anyone please lend me some motivation?

To be honest, I think I am putting too much thought into my posts rather than just spewing forth the drivel that occupies my mind. Often reaching for that 1000 word goal when I really do not have 1000 words worth of material to write about. In short, my blog posts feel like work rather than an escape, and I think that is why I lack the motivation to maintain a healthy rate of posts.

I need to make this part of my life much more about fun. It still needs to be somewhat interesting for you the reader, but that is assuming my posts are actually interesting and like reading what I have to say.

Anyway the aircraft has arrived, the boarding call has sounded, so I must fly (damn I’m funny). If you have read this post all the way to the end, I will assume you find my posts very interesting having had a profound impact on the way you live your life. Peace out y’all

Highway Patrol

Have you ever wondered whats in the back of those unmarked semi-trailers when you are driving along the highway? Most semi-trailers are covered with brand names and pictures as truck driving is an excellent medium for advertisting a range of different things to a bunch of different people. So when I see an unmarked semi-trailer, I naturally get suspicious.

Why are you trying to be so discrete Mr Truck? Why aren’t you drawing attention to yourself? What are you trying to hide?

Drugs? Maybe. People with expired visa’s? Possibly. Jason Statham trying to keep his heart going with a car battery? More likely than you would think (I’ve seen movies, Statham does some pretty badass stuff in the back of unmarked semi-trailers).

Mr Truck, I have no idea what secrets you hold deep down inside of you. To be honest I dont really want to know. It’s much more fun trying to come up with highly outlandish possibilities… And it makes the car trip go much faster than playing another game of “I went to the markets and I bought…”

A Tribute to the Royal Wedding

Yesterday Nicole and her friends had a little party to celebrate the Royal Wedding between Prince William of Wales and Catherine Middleton. Home alone and with nothing to do, I decided to crack open a bottle wine and watch the wedding myself. It was a fantastic wedding, the girls looked great, and I give my best wishes to the now Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Rather than give a blow by blow recital of the Royal Wedding I thought I should write my own wedding short story, a love story about two people destined for each other, no matter what. Enjoy.

***

“If anyone can show just cause why this couple should not lawfully be married speak now or forever hold your peace”

Silence.

Jane started to fidget uneasily. She could feel it, something was wrong.

It’s the silence. There’s too much silence.

“Are you sure you’re ok Jane?” her fiancé whispered. “We can always call it off.”

“Dont be daft!” she hissed, a tone that had become very familiar during these past few months. “It’s the silence. Can’t you feel it.”

“They’re supposed to be silent sweetheart. Who would object to you marrying someone as handsome as myself?”

Silence.

Jane knelt to the ground, her hand reaching under her dress.

“It’s just a precaution.” she murmured quietly, feeling for the dagger secured at her thigh. “Just a precaution.”

A flurry of shadows caught the corner of her eye, drawing her attention to the front door. They moved fast but their shapes were unmistakeable.

Goblins.

Couldn’t she just have one day? A single day to celebrate life with the man she loves?

A piercing crack broke the silence and the front door exploded off its hinges, showering the guests with large splinters of wood. Panicked cries filled the room as four goblins stormed into the church, their hefty axes slashing at the fleeing crowd.

In an instant Jane was on her feet, striding down the aisle with the dagger in hand. Her eyes burned with a unique fire, an intense fury mixed with a lust for killing.

“You will not ruin my wedding day!” she shouted, venom coursing through her veins.

With an effortless motion Jane drew her arm across the air, her blade tearing through the throat of the nearest goblin with deadly precision. She smiled. It felt good to end the life of something so evil. The second goblin went down just as easy, its bright orange blood staining her bone white dress as it squirted from an arterial wound.

And how am I supposed to get that out? Can you even get blood out of a satin dress?

She was quickly brought back to reality as the next goblin launched a ferocious attack, the edge of its axe slicing through her veil. The dress was weighing her down, restricting her movements. This would not be easy.

She flinched as a flash of steel flew over her shoulder, the knife slamming into the left eye of her attacker. She smiled again.

I truly do love that man.

The church was almost empty now, the bodies of three goblins lying in a pool of blood at her feet.

Only three?

She quickly turned to see her fiancé grabbed from behind, the edge of an axe pressed against his throat.

“A little help, sweetheart?”

There was not enough of the goblin showing to make the shot, surely she could find something useful in this damned church.

The chandelier!

She measured the distance. It would be an easy throw, even with an unbalanced dagger. She drew her arm back, taking aim at the thin rope that held the chandelier.

The axe dropped and the goblin fell to the altar, the hilt of a knife protruding from between its shoulder blades.

“Nobody ruins one of my ceremonies. Not in my church.”

Jane watched in stunned silence as the reverend retrieved his knife, wiping the blade before depositing it inside his robe. She dropped her dagger and ran to her fiancé, pulling him into a tight embrace. A few curious guests entered the church, beckoning for the rest to come as they returned to their seats.

“The ceremony isn’t ruined Father, we were just having a small intermission.”

***

“You may kiss your bride.”

Cheers erupted from the crowd as the couple embraced, sharing their first kiss over the carcass of a dead goblin.

“I love you so much, my husband.” she whispered, still amazed that she could finally call this wonderful man her husband. “This day could not be any better.”

A flurry of shadows caught the corner of her eye, drawing her attention to the front door. A young man burst into the church, his voice stuttering as he tried to gather his breath.

“Goblins my lord… a whole fist of ’em… three miles south…”

“Well thats more like it,” her husband said with a big grin on his face. “What? I was a feeling a little hurt they only sent four goblins. But a whole fist? Well that’s a much better wedding present.”