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The Eleventh Film – Horror/Science Fiction Flash Fiction Series

lumiere 1
The Eleventh Film XIII And so the world begged. Like the world’s last radio show. A montage of lips, mouths and eyes.  The sounds of no hope. We are very sorry. Isn’t there someone who can stop this? Queríamos envejecer juntos. Who is in charge ‘round here? I can’t find my mammy. Je ne veux pas mourir. Can we talk about this? Are you’s all angels like? What did we do to deserve this?’ Are you kind-of like aliens? How dare you! Please don’t do this to us. My wife died this morning. We’re not afraid. I think my parents are still alive. Et absterget Deus omnem lacrimam ab oculis eorum. Mors ultra non erit neque luctus neque clamor neque dolor erit ultra quae prima abierunt. I refuse to say anyt...
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Is it ‘less’ or ‘fewer’ – and does it matter?


A bit of grammar today, and a report of a minor tiff between a reader, a writer, and a sub-editor on The Times in December 2018. An article stated that a forthcoming event was ‘fewer than two weeks away.’ This prompted a letter from a reader pointing out that the writer had used the wrong word: ‘We have here a sense that ‘fewer’ rather than ‘less’ isneeded because we are dealing with a number of weeks. But this isn’t so. Theonly number of weeks that is fewer than two is one, and a reader who encounters‘fewer’ is automatically led to think of a whole number – and thinks of oneweek.’ Well, I wouldn’t say this would have been my first thought, but what The Times writer intended to convey was th...
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What’s your reading age?


Recent research by Renaissance UK into the length ofsentences and words in books intended for children and young people has come upwith some surprising results. The research is intended to guide teachers whendeciding what books their students should read. One result that has raised eyebrows is that the Mr Men books by Roger Hargreaves which are intended for the youngest pupils and pre-schoolers is rated as harder than some of the Roald Dahl books, and almost as hard as John Steinbeck. Some passages in, for instance, Mr Greedy are indeed quite complex: Over on the other side of the table stood the source of that delicious spell, A huge enormous gigantic colossal plate, and on the plate huge e...
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New Horror Survival Adventure Book Ready for Download Now

Nipper FINAL VERSION
Once a week the monsters come. They hunt all night. In the morning they’re gone. That gives me six days to get ready. Then they come back again. When the world is destroyed by a weekly attack of mysterious monsters, a young girl and her father are forced to fight for survival. Once her father has been seriously injured defending their house, the young girl must find a way to get them both to safety before the monsters return. NOW AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD FROM AMAZON HERE  Original link
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Names – again!


I’m still reading Whatthe Dickens! – the collection of words and sayings and where they come fromI mentioned in my last blog. Here is a bit about the names of some items ofclothing or footwear we take for granted. The cardigan isseen by others countries as a quintessentially British garment – warm,serviceable, and towards the frumpy end of fashion. It was indeed an Englishinvention, but its origins are quite heroic. The seventh Earl of Cardigan (theone who lead the infamous charge of the light brigade in the Crimean War), wasin fact a more benevolent leader than history generally records. He wasconcerned about the suffering of the soldiers in the extreme cold of a Russianwinter and commissio...
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Names, and what’s behind them.


Last week, I picked up a little book in a charity shop called What the Dickens! It was published in 2004 and, by the look of it, it’s never been opened before. The sub-title is fascinating stories about our famous sayings. To me, the most fascinating thing about it is the fact that I’ve never heard of most of the sayings, though they obviously had some currency once, as they are often riffs on people’s names. I thought I was on familiar ground with what the Dickens. But it does not, as you might imagine, refer to the famous novelist. In the English version of how this saying came about, Dicken was a common pet name based on Richard – which was frequently shortened to Dick, and often used as ...
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The Eleventh Film – Horror/Science Fiction Flash Fiction Series

glitch 1
The Eleventh Film XII We should beg, said some. Plead for our very existence. We need do nothing of the sort, said others. We have been too weak for too long. We should engage with them on equal terms. Someone thought he could cut a deal. Others disagreed. We have never left to bargain with, they argued. What could we ever offer in return for our lives? There was no answer to this question. The angels saw the distress flare generated by the bees.It was faint and inconsequential. A sputter in the void. An ancient dial tone rang out in the darkness. It sang like a song from the grave. It was the angels. They had deemed to respond. A broken desktop computer flickered into life. A grudgingly gra...
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Write what you see.


One of the first things you are told when you want to be awriter is to ‘write about what you know.’ Really? It’s a good tip, but it onlygoes so far, and most good writers ignore it – Shakespeare never visited Italyor ancient Troy; he was never a crowned king; he didn’t go mad. Anyway, whatyou know can be expanded by trips to the library – or, more likely these days,browsing on the Internet. The tip doesn’t place much value, either, on a writer’simagination: did Terry Pratchett live on the back of a tortoise? Did Ruth Rendelljoin the Police? Or go round murdering people for dark psychological reasons?Better, perhaps, is the tip to write convincingly, having done enough research foryour needs ...
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Do the Brits swear better than the Yanks?


Josh Clancy is a journalist for the Sunday Times who hasbeen living in America for over two years. He’s learnt a lot about Americasince he’s been there, as you would expect. What he didn’t expect was todevelop an appreciation for the eccentricities and vividness of English as usedby the Brits. He maintains that we swear better (perhaps because we are almost permanently irritated by people and events?) Not necessarily full on rude, but words like sod, cow, tosser, git, gormless to express disdain for someone. To a Brit these all have their subtle differences, sometimes relating to the gender or age of the person referred to. We also use a range of adjectives like naff, twee and bollocks for t...
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The Eleventh Film – Horror/Science Fiction Flash Fiction Series

glitch 1
The Eleventh Film XI Someone suggested that we simply ask the angels what it is was that the world had done to warrant such attention. If we do this then we might know, they said. And if we know then we might find favour with them by stopping doing what it was we did to incur their wrath in the first place. But how to go about this? The digital was now an obsolete concept. That whole new world was now just more relics and ruins. Millions of dead devices piled high like cairns and contours. Redefining eyelines in every direction. All those memories and images and files lost forever. The world hung this particular hope on a beehive. An elderly beekeeper suggested that his last remaining hive m...
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Remembering Kim Bok-Don


Last Sunday I hosted Paige Etheridge on my blog. Paige has recently written an historical novel about the pan pan girls in Japan. Pan pan was a new word / phrase to me. It is a derogatory term for a prostitute and refers to the Japanese women who provided sexual services for the occupying forces (mostly American GIs) after the Second World War. Although despised by polite Japanese society, the pan pan were in fact encouraged by the Japanese Government, with the intention of protecting their upper and middle class women from the attentions of the foreign soldiers. The pan pan, as Paige’s novel recounts, were seen as theshameful ones, not the system that used them. By contrast the ‘comfort wom...
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Meet Author Paige Etheridge


Paige Etheridge is a Black Belt in Shaolin Kempo Karate, Pisces Sun/ Leo Moon/ Aries Ascendant, Taoist, and of Athenian descent. She is also a compulsive writer What is the title of your latest book? Kissing Stars Over the Rising Sun is my debut. It deals with the forgotten Japanese subculture of the Pan Pan women. They were nearly erased from history for being too sexual and wild. The Japanese were embarrassed they existed and did everything they could to make them disappear. My goal in writing this book was ensuring the Pan Pan would be remembered. It’s a heavily researched historical fiction and erotica set in 1940s Japan. It follows the story of Miyako as she lives as a Pan Pan, while ex...
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The Eleventh Film – Horror/Science Fiction Flash Fiction Series

windy desert
The Eleventh Film X It was always thought that certain corpses were offered a special dispensation by which divine intervention would prevent them decomposing as a sign of their evident holiness. Saints and knights. Kings and clerics. Holy corpses used to inspire nations. It was simpler then. Hierarchies were still in existence. Religion was a binary affair. With all boundaries broken now, society had nothing to left to regulate itself with. And in any case there were simply far too many corpses for any such distinctions to be relevant any more. Any intervention now was far from divine. There was no purpose to such a distinction. And so the survivors did what people have always done. They hi...
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Cutting the Waffle.


I am a bit preoccupied at the moment. Beta readers have returned the first draft of my latest work with a pile of mostly helpful suggestions and corrections, which I am working through. One reader intimated, very tactfully, that I might have used some phrases rather too often, and hammered home certain points with more repetition than was strictly necessary. A less considerate critic would have bluntly told me to cutthe waffle.  Re-reading the work after athree month gap I can see exactly what he means, and my word count is goingdown by several hundred each session. First drafts of potential master-pieces are not the onlyhaunts for the verbose. Some judges have said they are tired (note, not...
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The Eleventh Film – Horror/Science Fiction Flash Fiction Series

glitch 1
The Eleventh Film IX The scars that the Earth now bore could best be seen in the varied spores of decay. The shift from life to death is laid before us like a portrait of the end of the world. Each mould sits heavy like so much paint on the canvas. Or hangs like a poisoned star in the sullen night. Original link
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Time To Talk About Eggcorns.


Don’t tell me you don’tknow what an eggcorn is? Actually I didn’t until I read an article about themin a newspaper just after Christmas. Here’s the definition from Wikipedia: In  linguistics , an eggcorn is an  idiosyncratic  substitution of a word or phrase for a word or words that sound similar or identical (sometimes called  oronyms ). The new phrase introduces a meaning that is different from the original but plausible in the same context, such as “old-timers’ disease” for “ Alzheimer’s disease ” An eggcorn can be described as an intra-lingual  phono-semantic matching , a matching in which the intended word and substitute are from the same language.  Quite! An eggorn shouldn’t bemistaken...
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Jane Austen for best screenplay?


There is a lot in the media these days about the winners andlosers in the competition for awards at the OSCARS, the BAFTAs et al. Someonewho is never seen as a contender, primarily because she has never been in or madea film  – and never will, having beendead over two hundred years – is Jane Austen. Nonetheless her books have regularlybeen made into popular films and television series because there is somethingabout the characters and story lines that film-makers and viewers findre-assuring and enjoyable. Her novels are sometimes criticised for being safe. Rich, orat least comfortably placed, man meets similarly situated woman, a series ofobstacles to have to be overcome before the book ends...
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The Eleventh Film – Horror/Science Fiction Flash Fiction Series

lumiere 1
The Eleventh Film VIII Spent. Bereft. Devoid. Shorn. Indigent. With nothing left, the world began to slowly exhaust itself. And that was when the first transmission was received. Two voices. Discordant harmony. Looping continually. Heard all around the globe. It became more apparent with every listen that the world was listening to the sound of its own demise. There was nothing else to do but accept this as the end it truly was. There was a hope that once shone deep within us all. That all these questions might simply resolve themselves over time as questions are wont to do. But it was the absence of discernible answers that made the questions themselves fade from view. Leaving only empty. O...
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To Go Or Not To Go in Poetry


John Masefield (1878-1967) was English Poet Laureate from 1930-1967 and published his most famous poem, Sea-Fever, in 1902. He published it originally with the title hyphenated, and the opening line of each stanza beginning, “I must down to the seas again…”. Not “go down”. Recent publications, such as Carcanet’s new edition of Masefield’s Collected Poems have reverted to his original version. But in between, generations of British schoolchildren have learnt it as, “I must go down to the seas again…” Robin Knox-Johnson, the round the world sailor – who should know a thing or two about the sea by now – learnt it with ‘go’ included, and still recites it this way. So why did later editions of th...
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Do You Display ‘Writing Behaviour?’


In a famous experiment in the 1970s (the Rosenhan experiment into the validity of psychiatric diagnosis) a group of researchers faked hearing voices so as to deliberately get themselves admitted to different mental asylums across the US. Staff were not informed that this was an experiment, so treated them as normal patients: that was the purpose of the research – to see what went on behind the closed doors of such institutions. Once admitted, all the researchers said the voices they had been hearing prior to admittance had stopped. Not one was discharged immediately. Some were detained for months and all were given drugs. Most were diagnosed with schizophrenia in remission and only released ...
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