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Barrow Girl – Tomb Raider meets the Book of Kells – Chapter One

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Barrow GirlChapter OneA dark and filthy night. Black as black. Like Evil settled as an inviolable sheath. A foul wind keens. In the darkness of the distance sits a small mound barely-glimpsed from here. A lonely tree bent double on top and aching from the endless torment of its exposure. Nothing is abroad. Nor ever should be. No one walks on a night like this.But wait. A small figure stands next to the tree. Delicate amid the destruction. Gently lifting a large flat stone with a rusty crowbar. Carefully looping a rope around the waist of another stone. Tying it off. Lowering the other end into a small black hole that leers like a baleful eye in the frightening night. Pulling the rope. Testin...
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A Busy Day (not) Writing.

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Up at 6am and off to the pool for a swim. After all a healthy body leads to a healthy mind, saves time showering at home and all those laps provide thinking time for plots and character development.Home to cook and eat breakfast (can’t be creative on an empty stomach)9am. Check emails, Twitter and Facebook. Need to keep in touch with putative readers and do a bit of marketing. So what if I get side-tracked by videos of cute kittens and playful puppies – they could make it into a story one day.10.30. Time to take the dog for a walk, fetch the paper, pick up a bit of shopping. Put a wash on when I get home – more thinking time.11.30. Coffee break and read the paper. Not just to keep abreast of...
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Halloween release entered into Oztober promotion


http://promo.ashleycapes.com/Oztober, hosted by Ashley Capes, is a showcase of Australian Science Fiction, Fantasy, Steampunk, Horror and Paranormal fiction.Original link
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Opening Lines No. 1 – Cursor (Barnaby Taylor, 2018)

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Cursor (Barnaby Taylor, 2018)In this age of fear, famine and fundamentalism who could ever have known that the world would end because too many people were not careful enough when typing into search engines.[contact-form]Original link
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FREE E-Books all this week.

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On my last blog I posted the blurb and excerpts from my two YA novels that are currently free to download from Amazon books. And many thanks to those of you who downloaded a copy – you’ve put me back into the best seller rankings again!Today I am posting the blurb and an excerpt from my collection of short stories, CAST OFF, which is also free to download until the 22nd September.Blurb: Have you ever thought what a Shakespeare character might be thinking or doing when she’s not on stage? Does she like the role that’s been created for her? Would she prefer a different plot? Or love interest? How does she really feel about all that cross dressing? In this light-hearted collection of short stor...
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Saints and Sinners


Exciting sequel to MYSTIC EVERMORE. A love triangle comes to a head with unexpected results, and Zarah Strahan is left wondering whether she will ever see her sister again. On top of that, strange creatures are emerging from the sewers and other dark corners. Zarah and her friend Paul Booth think they destroy the source of all evil - but could this be leading towards a series of vampire wars? How would you feel if it happened to you?Original link
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OFFER – Free e-books.

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On Monday I am reading an extract from one of my short stories at a literary event in Warwick (Merchants, Swan Street, 7.30pm, price £3.00). The theme is ‘Once upon a word – stories and poems based on fairy tales and traditional stories’. My contribution is a modern twist on the fairy tale Sleeping Beauty. This story was published in the Solstice anthology, First Love, which is still available on Amazon. But Sleeping Beauty is no longer available as a stand-alone download.However, to tie in with the Warwick event, three of my full length works will be FREE to download from 18th – 22nd September. You are welcome to download any or all of them. If you read them too, so much the better; and if ...
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The Professor Dunne Mysteries, ‘The Simple Matter of the Elusive Illusionist’ – Introducing Joxer Flanagan

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The Professor Dunne Mysteries,Book One, ‘The Simple Matter of the Elusive Illusionist’Chapter 5Sandra woke up.‘I don’t know about anyone else,’ she said, ‘but I could really eat something.’Chuck looked in his rear-view mirror.‘Absolutely, Sweetheart,’ he said. ‘I was just thinking the same.’He turned to the Professor.‘What about you, Prof?’ he said.Professor Dunne stiffened slightly before relaxing. It would be extremely rude to take an elderly American to task for being over-familiar while he was driving down a motorway at 120 kilometres per hour. Despite her annoyance even the Professor felt that this would be going a step too far.‘I could eat,’ she said instead. ‘I could probably eat some...
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Meet Author – Jim Cronin.

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Jim is a retired middle school science teacher, who now works part-time as an educator at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. He has been married for forty years to the love of his life. They raised two incredible sons, and now have four amazing grandchildren to spoil rotten.Jim was born in Kansas City, Missouri and lived in Arlington, Virginia, before moving to Denver where he attended High School and eventually college at Colorado State University, graduating with a degree in Zoology and a teacher certification. He and his wife currently live near Denver in the small town of Parker.After writing The Brin Archives trilogy, Jim wanted to try his hand at reaching a new audience. The idea...
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Experiments in Independent Publishing – ‘FREE #VIRO Amazon Kindle Downloads’ – GET YOURS NOW

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‘I absolutely loved this book. Powerful and poignant, ‘Viro’ packs a punch. Sad and haunting, ‘Viro’ is a new take on the zombie genre.The characters are dynamic and interesting, finding strength despite their horrifying circumstances. Jake is a character that will stick with you long after the final page. The action sequences are thrilling. I was on the edge of my seat!’Experiments in Independent PublishingWhat started as an experiment in independent publishing has led to Book One in the VIRO series currently sitting at Number One in the Amazon charts. Book One has occupied this position for most of the Summer and from June 6th when the experiment started until today there have been 589 dow...
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Playing with words and meaning.

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The Peterborough was a daily column in the Telegraph newspaper for best part of a century. it was almost always funny,  often knowing, and sometimes a bit saucy. One editor was asked where on earth such a column fitted in a newspaper known for its conservative – and Conservative – readership. He replied that he saw the column’s role as ‘the antidote to the rest of the paper.’ Certainly a respite from news of appalling events across the globe and nearer home.Anecdotes were sent in by readers, or staff members – some of them were probably too good to be true, but they were included anyway. I recently came across a collection of ‘editor’s favourites’ and decided to share a few of the ones that,...
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Mystic Evermore is in another cover competition.

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Are semicolons any use?

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It is perfectly possible to write an essay, a book even, without using a semicolon. Meaning can be conveyed just as easily with a comma or a full stop. Consequently there are no hard and fast rules for when you should or should not employ one.But most of us still use them; at least now and then. Broadly there are four main situations where they can come in useful.To separate clauses:It was nearly the end of the summer holidays; Emma would be starting her new school in a week.Yes, either a comma or a full stop could be used, but a semicolon can be justified in giving a certain nuance to the meaning – was Emma dreading going to the new school?To create variety:In a paragraph of short sentences...
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Terminal Transit, Book I, ‘The Song of the NotBeSpeak,’ Verse 5


Terminal Transit, Book I, ‘The Song of the NotBeSpeak,’ Verse 5 ‘Your father told me that he had uncovered something so terrible that it meant the end of all existence as we know and understand it,’ said Mac as he rummaged among the folders on the top shelf. Mac pulled an envelope from the folder, opened it and pulled out a single sheet of paper.‘Here it is,’ he said to himself.Mac slipped his glasses on and started reading.‘The NotBeSpeak will not be spoken of. They are the space between the words. Not the words themselves. The pause before the sentence. The sigh that follows. The NotBeSpeak are ancient. Timeless. Dangerous. Alien. The NotBeSpeak are shapeless. Always shifting. Drifting out...
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Lessons from a Letters Editor.

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For many of us, getting a letter published in a magazine or newspaper is the first step on a career in writing. It’s not that easy either, especially if you aim for one of the better known titles. So I found it interesting to read in yesterday’s Times an article written by the letters editor, on what criteria he had for choosing which letters he published.Here are some of his recommendations:The piece should be elegantly and succinctly writtenIt should be trueIf it is intended to be funny it should make the reader laugh out loud.Be brief – avoid overwritingBut not too brief – unless you are composing a haiku.Avoid clichés and hyperbole.Avoid overused words like – sensational, dramatic, despe...
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Terminal Transit, Book III ‘The Free State of Phoenix’

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Hi EveryoneWith the Papal visit rapidly upon us this weekend, I thought I would share the section of Terminal Transit where Dublin’s Phoenix Park is taken over by a group of cosmically-inspired malcontents and declared a free state.Terminal Transit, Book III ‘The Free State of Phoenix’Verse 1It all began with the plumes of black smoke that started to be seen in the vicinity of the zoo, plumes of black smoke bearing pink feathers that caught on the evening breeze and fell gracefully to earth across the puzzled city. A delegation of city officials and armed officers were despatched to investigate and discovered that the zoo was now under the control of an army of squatters, refugees, the homel...
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Hyphens – use of.

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I’m quite partial to hyphens – often using them instead of commas. But should I? Frequently, when I read over a first draft of something I’ve just written, I will remove many of the hyphens scattered throughout, and replace them with commas or full-stops. They felt right when I was tapping away adding – in my opinion – pace and intimacy. But, on reading with a critical eye, their over-use would start to irritate. Time – perhaps – to check out when and how they should be used.A spelling guide, written a few years ago in conjunction with the Oxford University Press, states that there are no hard and fast rules about using hyphens (though your publisher may have a style preference), so the foll...
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On using a not uncommon turn of phrase.

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A police officer was recently reported as saying, “The community [must be able to] go about its daily business not unduly impacted by demonstrations taking place.” She was referring to demonstrations against President Trump whilst he was in Britain. Cue the grammar police attack of the vapours for her use of ‘not un…’George Orwell was a leading literary figure who riled against this way of phrasing things – in fact he felt it should be banned; would you, he asked, write about a ‘not un-black dog?’ Obviously not! But he had got his own grammar a bit wrong, as who would refer to ‘an un-black dog’ in the first place, let alone a ‘not un-black’ one?Jane Austen, by contrast, used the format witho...
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Terminal Transit, Book IV ‘The Million’

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Hi EveryoneHere’s another excerpt from Terminal Transit. An elderly academic uncovers a cosmic plot engineered by the NotBeSpeak, a race of intergalactic entities who wish to destroy the world. With only a young child to help him, the two race against time to save the planet from oblivion.In this chapter, the dread influence of the NotBeSpeak causes havoc on the streets of Dublin.Terminal Transit, Book IV ‘The Million’The repercussions of the liberation of the zoo shook the city for days afterwards but before anyone was able to properly settle a further cosmic tragedy took place when the now-doubled presence of the NotBeSpeak caused Glasnevin Cemetery to give back all those who had ever been...
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Word crimes – or how to catch a killer by their writing.

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A book has just been published that is described as a ‘must read’ for any crime writer looking for ideas. I would like to suggest it could also be a useful guide for anyone wanting to include letters or other messages in their work that ring true for the characters they are portraying. I.e. Would my character really use words like that? Is the writing consistent with their age, level of education, intelligence etc?The book in question is More Wordcrime – Solving crime with linguistics, by John Olsson. Olsson is a forensic linguist and, as the title suggests, this is not his first book on the subject. He is often used as an expert witness for trials where the authorship of letters, text messa...
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