Just to say that I’m joining in the #redeyereadalong: The Red Eye series from Stripes Publishing, this event runs from September 28th to October 31st and is hosted on Goodreads.
There are five scary titles to get you in the mood for Halloween! Frozen Charlotte, Sleepless, Flesh and Blood, Bad Bones, and Dark Room.
We’re starting with Frozen Charlotte by Alex Bell.
Here’s the synopsis on Goodreads to get you in the mood, if you dare!
We’re waiting for you to come and play. Dunvegan School for Girls has been closed for many years. Converted into a family home, the teachers and students are long gone. But they left something behind…Sophie arrives at the old schoolhouse to spend the summer with her cousins. Brooding Cameron with his scarred hand, strange Lilias with a fear of bones and Piper, who seems just a bit too good to be true. And then there’s her other cousin. The girl with a room full of antique dolls. The girl that shouldn’t be there. The girl that died.
My entry for Rachael Ritchey’s Blog Battle this week is returning to a character I have visited in previous blog battles. This is an idea I am developing as a continuation from the first manuscript I have written, Krystallos. I intend the sequel to Krystallos to be darker. I am struggling with where to go with this so this is me flexing my writing muscles. Somehow writing this short story has really helped me solidify some ideas I have so I hope you like it. The focus is on the male character Ryder, and the inspiration this week has come from the Blood Moon!!
This sits very well with my blog theme this month which happens to be Halloween!!
It began with a rocking horse, a child’s toy, its springs were old and needed replacing. Ryder discovered this antique wonder in a quirky street in the lanes in Brighton. He carried it down the colourful street, and joined the queue for the busy student bus back to campus. A couple of ladies stared at his greediness, his decadence, taking up two seats on the bus. Ryder smirked, and patted the rocking horse’s head. The ladies glared. The corner of his mouth twisted, a smile with obvious intent.
When he brought the rocking horse back to his flat, his flatmates exchanged glances, it did much to catalogue Ryder even further into the depths of the oddity section. Only Olivia, his recent conquest gave him the benefit of the doubt. He appreciated that and made a mental note to reward her later. A midnight kiss would be in order.
After he left the warm embrace of slumbering Olivia the moon lay heavy in the sky, its orb red against the blackness. Ryder hung out his bedroom window staring, pleading with the moon to notice him. He dangled precariously, goading the moon to come closer. The pumpkin moon glowed red, blood red, a bleeding heart. The rocking horse began to move slowly absorbing the moon’s vital blood energy. Ryder could hear it behind him, creaking joints jarring to and fro. Then he heard the sound of an ice cream van, its tune winding its way towards him. He hung further out of the window wondering about this strange phenomenon, an ice cream van in the middle of the night. He grabbed his jacket, rushing to catch the van before it disappeared.
Outside he dashed, his senses filled with the promise of a midnight feast of sugary ice-cream. But, no van appeared. He waited. Displeased. Again he heard the jingle of the van teasing him, laughing at his foolish, childlike desires. The music grew louder and louder, he covered his ears and turned away, now desperate to escape. The van came to a screeching halt just as he took his first step. Ryder smiled. The hatch opened, a man peered out. He had a round face, the roundest face that Ryder had ever seen, vanilla white, pock marked, hair as black as the midnight sky.
There were no signs to state what kind of ice cream he sold. Ryder waited for him to speak.
“Well, I haven’t got all night, what do you want?” said the man, as his creamy white face turned a surly red.
“I’m not sure,” replied Ryder, “What ice creams do you sell?”
“Ice creams? What? No ice creams here young man.”
“But you’re riding in an ice cream van, playing the jingle calling hungry kids.”
“That’s true, but that’s not what I do.”
“What do you do?” asked Ryder, frowning.
“Hop aboard, ride the van and you’ll find out,” said the man, his face returning to its original brilliant white.
Ryder hesitated. This was strange, but Ryder thrived on strange, so he agreed. The man opened the back of the van and Ryder climbed in.
Inside the van Ryder could see only darkness. A blackness drifted towards him filling his senses with a bleak sense of loss. The man handed him a tiny torch that gave off brilliant light.
“Come, this way,” he said.
The van was motionless, yet Ryder could swear that he felt movement. They walked and walked further into the darkness.
Suddenly they stopped.
A bright light shone from the torch on to a patch of turf. How curious. This van was playing with Ryder’s senses, revealing a vast land which stretched its tendril like fingers, shadows extending everywhere.
Ryder recognised the land. It was no picnic venue. He sighed.
“Home,” he said.
“Yes,” said the man.
“Why have you brought me here?”
“It’s nearly Halloween lad, when tainted creatures must visit the place of their birth.”
He heard the sound of the fairground, the laughter, candy floss and excitement beckoning, but behind it all he knew there was the ride.
There was no point in pleading with the man, asking him to take him back. He had to accept his fate, whatever that might be.
“Come your ride awaits you,” said the man.
Ryder lifted heavy feet, a ghostly chill settling in his bones.
The man opened the door of the roller coaster and let him in. The rollercoaster groaned. Ryder’s soul cried.
A jingle began to play, a cheerful ditty, but Ryder knew this would be short lived, soon he would hear a tune that would throw him into oblivion, and there was nothing he could do. Nothing at all.
The clamp locked around him. He gripped the sides of his seat, clenched his teeth, and prepared to ride. It started off slowly, a gentle teasing introduction, but soon the ride picked up pace, the jingle attempting to keep up with the speed of the ride.
Ryder’s face and body took a vicious pounding, his flesh almost ripping from him, his heart exploding, sweat dripping from his brow.
Then it stopped. No gentle ending. Just abrupt, no time to think.
Ryder could only see shadows. No light, no moon, no sun, no happiness only the bleakest most appalling darkness. A blanket of despair.
Then he focused.
A figure appeared. Hazy. At first he was uncertain whether it was male or female, but as his eyes grew accustomed to the light he knew who it was.
“Hello mother,” he said.
His mother walked towards him, she unbuckled the clamp, but said nothing. It was not their way, emotion was not tolerated in this land of childlike dreams, and nightmares.
He touched his eye, but knew the answer already, the beautiful crystal had been wrenched, a rip caused by the ride. His eye wept. What price would he pay for its release? Only time would tell.
1000 words max
fictional tale (or true if you really want)
PG (no more than PG-13) Content – let’s keep this family friendly!
Your story must contain the word(s) from the theme and/or be centered around the theme in a way that shows it is clearly related
Go for the entertainment value!
State the Genre of your story at the top of your post.
Post your story on Tuesday, by 11:59 PM PST
Use the hashtag #BlogBattle when tweeting your story, put a link back to your #BlogBattle Short Story in the comments section of this page, and/or include a link to this page in your own blog post (it creates a “ping-back” which will alert me and our friends to your #BlogBattle post)
My ILove Books A-Z of my Book Reviews on my blog. While I was up in Edinburgh my wise owl of a brother suggested that it would be a good idea to have an awesome A – Z list. Yes this is a terrific idea, but it’s taken me ages to compile! Thanks Donald!!! Siblings huh! Only kidding, I appreciate your input. To date I’ve done 125 reviews, (I’m losing count,) if you include my Goodreads reviews too. Well, I never, somehow I didn’t realise that I’d written that many. Maybe I have a twin who has written reviews too? Gosh, she’s been busy. I feel quite faint. My twin is hyper, or maybe she has a special magic wand to conjure up reviews. Pass me the smelling salts. I should have done an A-Z right at the beginning, that twin of mine is hyperactive, but she isn’t very organised! Ack.
So my wise old owl tip for new bloggers is don’t delay, do an A-Z of your reviews right at the beginning, it saves you a lot of time and hassle in the long run…..
Do to the ever-growing number of reviews…. I have now split the list into two sections authors surnames: A – M, which you’ll find in this blog post, and an N-Z.
Some of the reviews featured below I wrote a long time ago when this blogging/reviewing lark was new to me and some I’ve written not too long ago. There are a range of genres to choose from, broadly ranging from YA, to Historical Fiction, Crime, Asian Literature, Paranormal, Magic, Literary Fiction, and Science Fiction.
The list includes my rating, from 3 to 5 stars – please bear in mind that I don’t read and rate books that I don’t enjoy – Life is too short for that! So please don’t bombard me with requests to do reviews. I just tend to choose what I want to read, I’m a bit of a fussy old owl that way. Unless you’re willing to pay me a ton of money then I would be more than happy to oblige! As well as this I’ve added type of genre, star rating, etc…
At the end of the list there are a few special interest books too.
This time I’m going to do a Thank You post rather than participating in the award, because:
I’ve been nominated for this award before !! I thought it was twice but I checked and found it was four times, including Charley’s nomination!!
I’m taking part in the Red Eye Readathon on Goodreads for the month of October, so I will be very busy doing bookish posts. So more on that to come, stay tuned! My theme is going to be Halloween, so there will be predominantly spooky posts on Kyrosmagica to get in the mood…… for a bit of ghoulish, scary fun, Kyrosmagica style….
So thanks Charley I really appreciate all these awards so much. Look you’re making me blush. Oh, and you have nominated some wonderful blogs which I’m now following!!! So thanks for introducing those blogs to me too.
The Spinnaker is an amazing venue to have a party, the views are absolutely fabulous. On the way up there were some tears in the lift, one of the party goers became overwhelmed with nerves, but needless to say later in the evening after a few calming glasses of wine she seemed just fine. I also suffer somewhat with a fear of heights so I know what that’s like. Anyway thank goodness we were enclosed in and not hanging off the side, or abseiling down! That’s a party trick I wouldn’t care to participate in. Later in the evening several of the party goers danced or walked across the Sky Walk, a large glass floor, which is 100 metres above sea level. One person even did a head stand on it, but I think that was the alcohol speaking. Needless to say no one was allowed to walk, skip, or tap dance across it wearing high heeled stilettos!
So my quote from P.G. Wodehouse and #bewow is inspired by the heights that writers have to travel to be:
Success comes to a writer as a rule, so gradually that it is always something of a shock to him to look back and realise the heights to which he has climbed. P. G. Wodehouse.
After being in that lift it certainly makes you realise how fast you can travel up, wouldn’t P. G. Wodehouse be amazed!
Here’s the view to give you an indication of what we are aiming for:
So my #BeWow statement would kind of go like this: Be all you can be, reach for the highest stars, let them twinkle in a blaze of glory, always remember to follow your dreams even if the path seems long and arduous, and maybe one day you might just wake up and realise you are living the dream that you have carried in your heart for a very long time.
Goodreads – About P G Wodehouse:
Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse, KBE, was a comic writer who enjoyed enormous popular success during a career of more than seventy years and continues to be widely read over 40 years after his death. Despite the political and social upheavals that occurred during his life, much of which was spent in France and the United States, Wodehouse’s main canvas remained that of prewar English upper-class society, reflecting his birth, education, and youthful writing career.
An acknowledged master of English prose, Wodehouse has been admired both by contemporaries such as Hilaire Belloc, Evelyn Waugh and Rudyard Kipling and by modern writers such as Douglas Adams, Salman Rushdie and Terry Pratchett. Sean O’Casey famously called him “English literature’s performing flea”, a description that Wodehouse used as the title of a collection of his letters to a friend, Bill Townend.
Best known today for the Jeeves and Blandings Castle novels and short stories, Wodehouse was also a talented playwright and lyricist who was part author and writer of fifteen plays and of 250 lyrics for some thirty musical comedies. He worked with Cole Porter on the musical Anything Goes (1934) and frequently collaborated with Jerome Kern and Guy Bolton. He wrote the lyrics for the hit song “Bill” in Kern’s Show Boat (1927), wrote the lyrics for the Gershwin – Romberg musical Rosalie (1928), and collaborated with Rudolf Friml on a musical version of The Three Musketeers (1928).
I’m reblogging Lance’s wonderful contribution to last week’s Writer’s Quote Wednesday. He feels very passionately about speaking out against prejudice, and discrimination as I do, so with this in mind I’m sharing this on Kyrosmagica. Please reblog and share to get this message out there. It is one world in which we live, if only we could accept differences which in my view make the world a much more interesting and exciting place to live. Embrace cultural diversity. Thanks so much. 🙂
Week 28 Theme is Orchid and the genre of my short story is Paranormal Romance.
Date to Post: Tuesday, September 29th, 2015
1.1000 words max
2.fictional tale (or true if you really want)
3.PG (no more than PG-13) Content – let’s keep this family friendly!
4.Your story must contain the word(s) from the theme and/or be centered around the theme in a way that shows it is clearly related
5.Go for the entertainment value!
6.State the Genre of your story at the top of your post.
7.Post your story on Tuesday, by 11:59 PM PST
8.Use the hashtag #BlogBattle when tweeting your story, put a link back to your #BlogBattle Short Story in the comments section of this page, and/or include a link to this page in your own blog post (it creates a “ping-back” which will alert me and our friends to your #BlogBattle post)
The heady exotic scent of the orchids reminded him of a time long ago. On that particular day he had filled his living room with a floral tribute to a past life which he celebrated each year without fail. But this time it was different, he had made special plans and now they were about to come to fruition. He waited nervously for the clock to announce that it was time for him to pick Suzie up. He could hardly contain his excitement; he set about making his house as beautiful as he could so that it would meet Suzie’s expectations. But would Suzie meet his?
He had been met with derision when he told his friends and family about his plans, a mail order bride how ridiculous! A middle aged, lonely old man, exhibiting signs of desperation that’s what they’d said, or intimidated.
He greeted his bride at the airport with a shy hug. An almost perfect vision of beauty, her petite frame, and jet black hair gleamed with a glossy, playful youthfulness but her delicate features couldn’t conceal a tragic expression that seemed irreversible.
He wondered how he was to bear looking at such a sad face for the rest of his life. He prayed that he could turn the sharp downwards turn of her lips to a smile.
The journey back to his house was more or less silent apart from short bursts of conversation, in which she replied with a yes or a no.
But when she walked into the living room, she couldn’t contain her enthusiasm. “This pretty,” she said, pointing at the orchids, a hint of a smile playing seductively on the edge of her lovely lips.
The orchids had won a tiny place in her heart, orchids always did.
As the day departed and evening began to suggest itself Alfred’s nervousness increased. It was such a long time since he had gone to bed with a woman. So many years, he did not care to count how many. He worried about his wobbly tummy, his hairy chest smattered with tiny grey hairs. Would this young woman cry and sob into his sheets, would he be the cause of a further sharp downturn of her sweet lips?
He gave her privacy to get undressed, imagined her placing a silky negligee on the bed, slipping into it, and laying her head on his pillow. He imagined her black hair fanned out on the pillow, a sharp contrast to the crisp whiteness of the sheets. He plucked one of the orchids from its stem, and took it up to her intending to pop it into her hair.
When he walked into the bedroom the humid room reminded him of a stifling greenhouse. He opened the window to let in some fresh air. He daren’t look at her, not yet, that magical moment would come later. As the fresh air drifted into the room, he turned to undress her with his gaze, but he saw his foolishness straight away.
He sat on the edge of the crisp bed, his eyes brimming with tears. He deserved this. It was always the same, she never came. He wept, picking up his wedding picture, his wife Grace stared back at him. Grace’s smiling face could match the most beautiful of sunsets. He couldn’t bear it, why did he torture himself this way? She had died without his saying goodbye. No final farewell.
Every year it was the same, on the anniversary of her death, he always bought orchids, her favourite flower and he filled their home with them. But she didn’t come. He had resorted to shock tactics, imagining a fantasy to bring her back to him one last time. His fantasy scenarios never worked, he sensed her presence in their room, but she didn’t return to him. Why would she?
He didn’t deserve her. He cried, and cried. He lifted up the tiny bottle of pills, his hands trembled as he tipped them out. Such tiny pills, he thought, so harmless looking. The water next, one big gulp and it would be all over, no more suffering. But as he turned the lid of the bottle, he thought he saw a tiny movement. The glass had moved, it was no longer on his bedside table but appeared to be hovering before him. As he looked at the glass more closely he saw the sweet semblance of his wife, a shimmering sunset glow, holding death away from him. The water tipped, evaporating as it splashed.
Alfred couldn’t believe his eyes. She had come back, his Grace, his love. “It’s you,” he said, his voice cracked, breaking with emotion. “Yes.” “My Gracie, I’ve missed you so much. Why have you taken so long to come back to me?”
“Hurt lay heavy in my heart, so my friend time, became my healer. Now the time is right for you to live and love again. Now I can rest forever.”
“No, Grace, please, there’s something I must tell you.”
“There’s no need, it has taken me a long while, but I forgive you Alfred. I always knew that you didn’t mean those hurtful words.”
“I’m so sorry Grace, I was stressed. I lost my temper, shouted at you, when I shouldn’t have. I blamed myself for your heart attack.”
“You’re not to blame Alfred. My heart attack wasn’t caused by anything you said. But all this crazy fantasising is giving me a ghost of a second heart attack! Promise me this Alfred, live your life. Let your fantasies become realities. Maybe not that mail order bride, that’s preposterous, but you know what I mean.”
“I promise, Grace.”
He tucked the living orchid in the wispy suggestion of her sunlit hair. She gifted him one last sunset smile, a whispered farewell, and the sweetest hint of a lover’s kiss.
Isn’t this pretty? Really like this prompt photo Ron, very nice indeed. Love the orange leaves against the grey – very striking.
This week’s prompt words for Ron’s Weekly Haiku Challenge are Start and Hot, and boy did these two words give me trouble, I just wasn’t feeling it. My haiku engine wasn’t starting, it was at a dead stand still believe me. In fact it protested like an old uncharged car battery on a freezing cold snowy day. I was stumped and practically gave up. You nearly had me throwing in the towel Ron, but I kept on at it, played with words, and fiddled about until I came up with these two haikus: Hot Rave Drug Murder and Tsunami of Tears. Not particularly cheerful haiku this week, I’m sorry to say, but at least I get full marks for being determined!!
Hot Rave Drug Murder
A cliff hanger start
The final chapter shocker
Hot Rave Drug Murder
It reads as:
A cliffhanger start the final chapter shocker.
The final chapter shocker hot rave drug murder
Then after muddling through that first haiku I came up with this:
Tsunami of Tears
Start running, death calls
Hot, still sand surrenders souls
Tsunami of tears
It reads as:
Start running death calls hot still sand surrenders souls.