Saturday, 20 May 2017

Friday, 19 May 2017

DailyFlash: Dead Little Lamb

She cowered in the basement of skeletons, the teeth of jawbones digging into her lower back, but she dared not move. Papa was mad at her. She could see the pleading eyes of the little lambs now - she'd been a bad girl, feeding them a little bread and water. A little hiding was coming her way.
     Light exploded from the top of the stairs. A rectangle of rain and the black stench of his silhouette, tossing one of the little lambs down where it landed, a dead-weight thud crunching on bones. A pair of glasses fell from the little lamb's face.
     "I know you're down there, little missy." His voice was flat. "Come up and see papa."
     He left and the full light of the grey sky shone down and raindrops fell where mud and bone were mixed. She looked at the little lamb's face, mouth bloated with bread and eyes bulging. "Little lamb needed feeding."

Thursday, 18 May 2017

The pile grows

After reaching out again for review copies I snagged a crime thriller by Jason Parent, a Battle Royale-style horror by newcomer Michael Alexander Rice, and a cyberpunk novel by Gary Ballard. I'm hoping that one will be great as research/inspiration for my own forthcoming cyberpunk novel which I will one day finish, I swear!


Currently reading




For thousands of years, ancient vampire lords ruled the Night. Their queen, the coldly beautiful, immortal, and all-powerful Lilith, ruled them distantly, ignoring their squabbles over territory and victims. Then came Vlad the Impaler, once history's most bloodthirsty fiend, now reanimated as an undead creature of the Night. Facing the vampire legions of the brutish Vardalekos, the loathsome Viy, the diabolical Jhiang-Shi, the monstrous Mmbyu, the cunning Erlik, and the seductive Nycea, Vlad Dracula seeks out allies, be they undead or lycanthropic or mortal.

You've read Bram Stoker's “Dracula”. Now see how Vlad the Impaler fought and struggled to become Dracula, the King-Vampire. A part of THE LEGEND OF DRACULA trilogy, this book is a collection of twenty short stories about the infamous Count and his undead legions as he strives for the ultimate goal—the throne of the supreme King of the Vampires!


Reading list


In the Presence of Knowing (Secrets of Windy Springs Book 1) by Valarie Savage Kinney


Keisha is pregnant and on the run from an abusive ex-boyfriend. Hiding out at Windy Springs Renaissance Festival, she discovers a world of magic.
Stepping into new and unfamiliar territory, she finds herself among people different from any she’s met before. Though she feels she’ll never fit in, Keisha finds hope when she meets Rogan, who plays the troll. As friendship blossoms into romance, she soon discovers that Rogan, as well as others at Windy Springs, have abilities beyond the average individual – abilities that the child growing within her shares as well. When danger comes to Windy Springs, she’ll need the combined powers of Rogan and his friends to keep her and the baby safe.
In the Presence of Knowing is the first book in the Secrets of Windy Springs series. Grab your copy today and find out what mysteries await within the magical forest at Windy Springs.

A Traitor's War: The Metaframe War: Book 2



After the desperate battle on the Boston docks, Anton Slayne finds refuge amongst the vampire hunters of the Order of Thoth.

Anton discovers the Order of Thoth harbors a traitor who could get his new friends killed. While a secret alliance between the Red Empire and vampire General Chloe Armitage, threatens to do the same.

With threats both within and without - will Anton be able to stay alive long enough to save his friends, or will his circling enemies destroy everyone he loves?




Celebrity Gulag Kindle Edition by Michael Alexander Rice


‘Celebrity Gulag: only the biggest, most famous, most watched show in the land. Imitated worldwide but never bettered, it is the biggest star vehicle known to humankind...’
Even in darkness, the megalopolis never sleeps.
The internet is gone, engulfed by the virtual flames of an online inferno.
In its place, tawdry tabloids titillate with tales of television talent shows where contestants are literally dying to be famous.
For Dr. Philip Bruno, an unassuming life is about to take a remarkable turn.
Hunted by a delinquent prince, an ever-present audience bays for blood.
How does a modest man survive stardom?
How does he survive Celebrity Gulag?


Detectives Bruce Marklin and Jocelyn Beaudette have put plenty of criminals behind bars. But a new terror is stalking their city. The killer’s violent crimes are ritualistic but seemingly indiscriminate. As the death toll rises, the detectives must track a murderer without motive. The next kill could be anyone… maybe even one of their own.

Officer Aaron Pimental sees no hope for himself or humanity. His girlfriend is pulling away, and his best friend has found religion. When Aaron is thrust into the heart of the investigation, he must choose who he will become, the hero or the villain.
If Aaron doesn’t decide soon, the choice will be made for him.



Under the Amoral Bridge by Gary Ballard

Artemis Bridge is the know-who, go-to guy, the amoral fixer in 2028 Los Angeles with the connection for any illicit desire no matter how depraved. You need it, he can get it without questions or judgment. He prides himself on staying detached from the depravity, untouched by the filth, untouchable by the law. When a young hacker is assassinated before his eyes, he is burdened with a scandalous video of the mayor on the eve of the city's most important election of the century. With digital assassins and murderous thugs dogging his every step, he has only days before the corrupt mayor is re-elected, handing the Chronosoft Corporation complete control of the city. Unable to sell the video, he is forced further into a complex conspiracy. 

Book review: Hallow Mass by JP Mac

With overtones of William Peter Blatty’s humorous dialogue style, Hallow Mass is irreverent, self-deprecating and amusing – a paranormal novel with a personality. 
I’ve stumbled upon another enjoyable indie-read, and the most polished I’ve read to date – you can tell it’s been passed by the professional eyes of an editor or two. Hallow Mass is set in world slightly off-centre to ours: one in which wizards and spells exist, but in a humorous twist, are treated like paranormal hokum reduced to the cobwebs of the Antiquity Section of the fictional, ultra-PC Miskatonic University. The University itself appeared in Lovecraft’s The Dunwich Horror, and Hallow Mass follows the occult theme by exposing the horrors of Dunwich and the terror they wish to expose to the world.

The Rest: Https://Culturedvultures.Com/Book-Review-Hallow-Mass-Jp-Mac/

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Hallow Mass review in - recommended! Reading list update! Send me your books!

I just finished the below - I'll leave its details in the blog again as I enjoyed it and can definitely recommend it. My review is done and will be on culturedvultures shortly, followed by a short version on Goodreads and Amazon

Hallow Mass by JP Mac

Party-loving grad student Mercy O'Connor must set down the mimosas and grab a spell book if she hopes to check the diabolical warlocks of Dunwich, Massachusetts. This tale of magic realism pits the unready, unsteady Mercy against powerful supernatural forces aiming to annihilate all earthly life.

A paranormal thriller inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft, the story finds Mercy in a race against time, forced to confront her own skepticism, scornful colleagues, and friends who believe the horrors of Dunwich are only quaint folktales. Aided by a country & western-loving Zulu security guard, Mercy must dig deep to discover the confidence, then the skill, and finally the courage to battle her terrifying foes on Halloween night, and stop our planet from being drug into another dimension.


In awesome news, my proof for  Hereafter & Other Short Stories is in the post and I can't wait to get my hands on it and read all of my typos! Shortly after it'll be on preorder and I'll be offering Goodreads Giveaways, free copies for review and preorder bonuses a-plenty!

For self publishing success however, one thing is becoming increasingly obvious. I need to do a series. I'm currently working on a cyberpunk novel which was only going to be one story, but the world I'm building is so satisfying and bristling with energy I may well explore options to expand it into other books. Some advice there for fellow writers!

Speaking of fellow writers, my reading list is getting short. Send yours over!

Currently reading




For thousands of years, ancient vampire lords ruled the Night. Their queen, the coldly beautiful, immortal, and all-powerful Lilith, ruled them distantly, ignoring their squabbles over territory and victims. Then came Vlad the Impaler, once history's most bloodthirsty fiend, now reanimated as an undead creature of the Night. Facing the vampire legions of the brutish Vardalekos, the loathsome Viy, the diabolical Jhiang-Shi, the monstrous Mmbyu, the cunning Erlik, and the seductive Nycea, Vlad Dracula seeks out allies, be they undead or lycanthropic or mortal.

You've read Bram Stoker's “Dracula”. Now see how Vlad the Impaler fought and struggled to become Dracula, the King-Vampire. A part of THE LEGEND OF DRACULA trilogy, this book is a collection of twenty short stories about the infamous Count and his undead legions as he strives for the ultimate goal—the throne of the supreme King of the Vampires!



Reading list


In the Presence of Knowing (Secrets of Windy Springs Book 1) by Valarie Savage Kinney


Keisha is pregnant and on the run from an abusive ex-boyfriend. Hiding out at Windy Springs Renaissance Festival, she discovers a world of magic.
Stepping into new and unfamiliar territory, she finds herself among people different from any she’s met before. Though she feels she’ll never fit in, Keisha finds hope when she meets Rogan, who plays the troll. As friendship blossoms into romance, she soon discovers that Rogan, as well as others at Windy Springs, have abilities beyond the average individual – abilities that the child growing within her shares as well. When danger comes to Windy Springs, she’ll need the combined powers of Rogan and his friends to keep her and the baby safe.
In the Presence of Knowing is the first book in the Secrets of Windy Springs series. Grab your copy today and find out what mysteries await within the magical forest at Windy Springs.

A Traitor's War: The Metaframe War: Book 2



After the desperate battle on the Boston docks, Anton Slayne finds refuge amongst the vampire hunters of the Order of Thoth.

Anton discovers the Order of Thoth harbors a traitor who could get his new friends killed. While a secret alliance between the Red Empire and vampire General Chloe Armitage, threatens to do the same.

With threats both within and without - will Anton be able to stay alive long enough to save his friends, or will his circling enemies destroy everyone he loves?

Thursday, 11 May 2017

DailyFlash: New

I was a girl. Rocking. Cradled. Soft, pink, warm arms wrapped around me. A palm bigger than my face blocked the colours, then stroked my hair. The colours returned; swarming and unfocused like the sound of a thousand heartbeats gently thrumming in my ears, and the coochie-coos pining from my armpits prodded with index fingers. My parents' mouths opened and closed. I felt warmth in my palm and held fast to it.

Click here for more of my Daily Flash Fiction

New book coming out

Hi all - I'm pleased to announce I'm in the final proofing stage of my next release; a collection of eclectic short stories. Here's a sneak at the cover:


It will go on preorder soon. Additionally, review copies will be available. If you're in the UK you could even get a hard copy! Drop me an email at aj.smith@writeme.com if interested!

Friday, 5 May 2017

Reading list update and review

So far, I'm currently really enjoying the variety of new authors and books I'm reading. I finished A Subtle Agency, and have added book two to the reading list. Looking forward to that. I also finished The Hunters by Demetrius Sherman. While it fell a little short, being too in your face and lacking much subtlety, it was still interesting from a writer's perspective. When writing, it helps to have a solid understanding of the style of writing you enjoy reading, but also that which you don't enjoy reading. Or at least, as a fellow self-publisher, I'm finding the more indie books I read, the easier it is to spot the kind of errors and trends that come through. Things which I hope will improve my writing in the future. Maybe I'll blog about that in more depth at a later date.


Currently reading



Party-loving grad student Mercy O'Connor must set down the mimosas and grab a spell book if she hopes to check the diabolical warlocks of Dunwich, Massachusetts. This tale of magic realism pits the unready, unsteady Mercy against powerful supernatural forces aiming to annihilate all earthly life.

A paranormal thriller inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft, the story finds Mercy in a race against time, forced to confront her own skepticism, scornful colleagues, and friends who believe the horrors of Dunwich are only quaint folktales. Aided by a country & western-loving Zulu security guard, Mercy must dig deep to discover the confidence, then the skill, and finally the courage to battle her terrifying foes on Halloween night, and stop our planet from being drug into another dimension.

Reading list




For thousands of years, ancient vampire lords ruled the Night. Their queen, the coldly beautiful, immortal, and all-powerful Lilith, ruled them distantly, ignoring their squabbles over territory and victims. Then came Vlad the Impaler, once history's most bloodthirsty fiend, now reanimated as an undead creature of the Night. Facing the vampire legions of the brutish Vardalekos, the loathsome Viy, the diabolical Jhiang-Shi, the monstrous Mmbyu, the cunning Erlik, and the seductive Nycea, Vlad Dracula seeks out allies, be they undead or lycanthropic or mortal.

You've read Bram Stoker's “Dracula”. Now see how Vlad the Impaler fought and struggled to become Dracula, the King-Vampire. A part of THE LEGEND OF DRACULA trilogy, this book is a collection of twenty short stories about the infamous Count and his undead legions as he strives for the ultimate goal—the throne of the supreme King of the Vampires!

In the Presence of Knowing (Secrets of Windy Springs Book 1) by Valarie Savage Kinney


Keisha is pregnant and on the run from an abusive ex-boyfriend. Hiding out at Windy Springs Renaissance Festival, she discovers a world of magic.
Stepping into new and unfamiliar territory, she finds herself among people different from any she’s met before. Though she feels she’ll never fit in, Keisha finds hope when she meets Rogan, who plays the troll. As friendship blossoms into romance, she soon discovers that Rogan, as well as others at Windy Springs, have abilities beyond the average individual – abilities that the child growing within her shares as well. When danger comes to Windy Springs, she’ll need the combined powers of Rogan and his friends to keep her and the baby safe.
In the Presence of Knowing is the first book in the Secrets of Windy Springs series. Grab your copy today and find out what mysteries await within the magical forest at Windy Springs.

A Traitor's War: The Metaframe War: Book 2



After the desperate battle on the Boston docks, Anton Slayne finds refuge amongst the vampire hunters of the Order of Thoth.

Anton discovers the Order of Thoth harbors a traitor who could get his new friends killed. While a secret alliance between the Red Empire and vampire General Chloe Armitage, threatens to do the same.

With threats both within and without - will Anton be able to stay alive long enough to save his friends, or will his circling enemies destroy everyone he loves?

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Making bows and firing blanks

3dtotal owner Tom owns a wood. Not so much man-cave, as man-derness; a hidden clearing within thick foliage and trees. Our team was rewarded with a trip down today to eat sausages and do some whittling.
Into the clearing

Making bows

Drunken Review: A Subtle Agency by Graeme Rodaughan

Check out the Indie Book Review Drinking Game Rules here:

Indie Book Review: A Subtle Agency by Graeme Rodaughan


Like Underworld on speed, it’s got all the adrenaline and action-packing shots of entertainment you could want, wrapped up in a no-nonsense narrative.

The book is your summer blockbuster movie – the narrative is straight-forward, and the characters are interesting enough to keep you reading. Plot beats flow from one to the next with obvious care and attention, showing some planning beforehand, all which build from one encounter to the next. The plot building is actually one of the book’s strengths – you can see all the pieces coming together, and the action is satisfying when the blood does spill.



Full review: https://culturedvultures.com/book-review-subtle-agency-graeme-rodaughan/

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

TBR Update

Quick update! Been away from all things literary for the last week and a half, landscaping the garden and laying a patio. Still a long way to go, but I think we've done a good job!

Before

After
Valarie Kinney has also sent me her new book for review, In the Presence of Knowing (Secrets of Windy Springs), which sounds interesting, and a change from the horror-centric reading pile as it stands.

In the meantime, I'm halfway through A Subtle Agency. The writing is a little clunky but it's perfectly readable, adding most of the time to the fraught nature of what's going on. The story itself is great. So the review will follow in a week or so!

Want to get your book added? Submit here.

Currently reading



Hunting Anton Slayne? 

Just get in line behind the Boston Police Department, Chinese Triads, the Shadowstone Organization, the Red Empire and the Vampire Dominion. 

Witness to a brutal murder, Anton is inducted into the Order of Thoth by the mysterious Mr Wu. He soon discovers that vicious local gangsters, determined Boston Police Detectives, and relentless Shadowstone operatives pale into insignificance as he is drawn into the machinations of the enigmatic vampire, General Chloe Armitage. 

When mastery over Anton’s soul is at stake, survival is the least of his problems.

Reading list


The Hunters by Demetrius Sherman


Killers are coming. Television hunters are stripped of their weapons by militant animal activists. Defenseless and in the middle of nowhere, the television crew find themselves in a heart-pounding chase.

A new addition to the great horror tradition of Steven King and Dean Koontz.






Hallow Mass by JP Mac

Party-loving grad student Mercy O'Connor must set down the mimosas and grab a spell book if she hopes to check the diabolical warlocks of Dunwich, Massachusetts. This tale of magic realism pits the unready, unsteady Mercy against powerful supernatural forces aiming to annihilate all earthly life.

A paranormal thriller inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft, the story finds Mercy in a race against time, forced to confront her own skepticism, scornful colleagues, and friends who believe the horrors of Dunwich are only quaint folktales. Aided by a country & western-loving Zulu security guard, Mercy must dig deep to discover the confidence, then the skill, and finally the courage to battle her terrifying foes on Halloween night, and stop our planet from being drug into another dimension.

Vampire Wars by Perry Lake



For thousands of years, ancient vampire lords ruled the Night. Their queen, the coldly beautiful, immortal, and all-powerful Lilith, ruled them distantly, ignoring their squabbles over territory and victims. Then came Vlad the Impaler, once history's most bloodthirsty fiend, now reanimated as an undead creature of the Night. Facing the vampire legions of the brutish Vardalekos, the loathsome Viy, the diabolical Jhiang-Shi, the monstrous Mmbyu, the cunning Erlik, and the seductive Nycea, Vlad Dracula seeks out allies, be they undead or lycanthropic or mortal.

You've read Bram Stoker's “Dracula”. Now see how Vlad the Impaler fought and struggled to become Dracula, the King-Vampire. A part of THE LEGEND OF DRACULA trilogy, this book is a collection of twenty short stories about the infamous Count and his undead legions as he strives for the ultimate goal—the throne of the supreme King of the Vampires!

In the Presence of Knowing (Secrets of Windy Springs Book 1) by Valarie Savage Kinney


Keisha is pregnant and on the run from an abusive ex-boyfriend. Hiding out at Windy Springs Renaissance Festival, she discovers a world of magic.
Stepping into new and unfamiliar territory, she finds herself among people different from any she’s met before. Though she feels she’ll never fit in, Keisha finds hope when she meets Rogan, who plays the troll. As friendship blossoms into romance, she soon discovers that Rogan, as well as others at Windy Springs, have abilities beyond the average individual – abilities that the child growing within her shares as well. When danger comes to Windy Springs, she’ll need the combined powers of Rogan and his friends to keep her and the baby safe.
In the Presence of Knowing is the first book in the Secrets of Windy Springs series. Grab your copy today and find out what mysteries await within the magical forest at Windy Springs.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

DailyFlash: Trump the Construction Worker

"This is it, this is going to be the greatest wall I've ever built," said Trump.
     "That so?" said Tim, knocking the first brick of the final course into place.
     "Oh, you better believe it." He removed his hand from his pocket and put another brick into place. "Thanks Tim, for believing in me."
     "No worries, Trump. You've really proved that you got what it takes."
     "Yeah, I did," he beamed.
     "Not all construction companies will take a chance on someone like you. Someone with such small hands. But, you know what - here at Gladman Construction we don't discriminate against those less fortunate. You have every right to work, just like anybody else."
     "Yes, my hands are small," he said, looking down at them mournfully. He reached out and grabbed another brick from the LEGO pile. "But you know what I can grab?"
     "Now, Trump, you know what you've been told about that kinda talk."





Monday, 10 April 2017

DailyFlash: Loved One

He opened the door to find her standing there, crying. He took her by the shoulders and ushered her inside, peeking left and right down the corridor after her. No one about.
     "Come inside," he said. "Sit down. I'll get you some water." So it was done. She'd finally told that asshat of a husband of hers to do one.
     "I..." she sat on the sofa, trembling.
     "Back in a sec," he said, heading for the kitchen. He grabbed a glass and filled it with water from the tap. He turned to catch his profile reflected back from the microwave, and smiled. "Finally." He thought about how much he loved her, about sharing everything he had with her, and now never having to watch her leave again.
     He returned and passed her the glass of water. "Tell me all about it." He sat and held her.
     Still crying, she said "We don't... have long... he's dead, Mark. He... he wouldn't believe it. Said he was going to kill you." She let out a howl. "I... chased him with a knife and stabbed him in the back. Oh I love you, Mark. I'm so sorry."
     They held each other, each feeling the earth push on their shoulders, pressing them down until they were both just nothing more than weights in each others' arms.

Saturday, 8 April 2017

DailyFlash: The Everyday

As she searched, her movements were frantic, like a wasp at a window. She could see her dream disintegrating, and all because she couldn't find her damn keys, today of all days! She was knocking her head against a glass ceiling and she needed her keys - IN CASE OF EMERGENCY - to smash it through.
     Paris would love it if she was late. If there was one thing the General despised it was tardiness, and Lieutenant Paris would no doubt already be there right now, sitting in the waiting room, back straight. 
     "Where the damn hell are my keys?" She began to tear at the cushions of the sofa. 
     Overhead, the latest squadron of planes roared, having left the runway a few hundred yards away. "Safe journey," she said, "bomb the fuck out of them."
     Under the final sofa cushion were her keys. "Finally!"