5a.m. Flash 211212 – Free mystery thriller by Mark Dawson 21-23 December

Mark Dawson’s mystery thriller ‘The Black Mile’ is free on Kindle between 21 and 23 December.

Synopsis

The Black MileLondon, 1940: the Luftwaffe blitzes London every night for fifty-seven nights. Houses, shops and entire streets are wiped from the map. The underworld is in flux: the Italian criminals who dominated the West End have been interned and now their rivals are fighting to replace them. Meanwhile, hidden in the shadows, the Black-Out Ripper sharpens his knife and sets to his grisly work.

Henry Irving is a disgraced reporter on a Fleet Street scandal rag. Genius detective sergeant Charlie Murphy is a fresh face in the Metropolitan Police, hunting corrupt colleagues but blinkered by ambition and jealousy. His brother, detective inspector Frank Murphy, searches frantically for his runaway daughter, terrified that she will be the killer’s next victim.

As the Ripper stalks the terrified streets, the three men discover that his handiwork is not quite what it seems. Conspirators are afoot, taking advantage of the chaos to settle old scores. The murders invade the lives of the victims and victimizers on both sides of the law, as everyone is sucked deeper and deeper into Soho’s black heart.

Based on a little known true story, The Black Mile is a rollercoaster ride of a novel that was previously the most downloaded novel on the Kindle Store. It is available from:

Mark Dawson works in the film industry. The Black Mile is his third novel.

***

** NEW!! You can now subscribe to this blog on your Kindle / Kindle app!

See http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B008E88JN0

or http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008E88JN0 for outside the UK **

You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything. You can contact me and find me on the internet, view my Books (including my debut novel!) and I also have a blog creation / maintenance service especially for, but not limited to, writers. If you like this blog, you can help me keep it running by donating and choose an optional free eBook.

For writers / readers willing to give feedback and / or writers wanting feedback, take a look at this blog’s Feedback page.

As I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t unfortunately review books but I have a list of those who do, and a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me posting it online in my new Red Pen Critique Sunday night posts, then do email me. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.

Guest post: Building Your Extreme Pantheon Characters by TJ Perkins

TJ PerkinsTonight’s guest blog post, on the topic of mythic characters, is brought to you by Y.A. fantasy, mystery novelist and interviewee TJ Perkins.

Building Your Extreme Pantheon Characters

Okay, so you’ve got this great fantasy with great Gods and Goddesses ruling, or maybe they’re hidden entities throughout your story slightly affecting the lives of your characters, but…what about them?  You can’t just say there’s this ocean God that sinks ships; you need to build on that entity’s powers, background, etc.  So, let’s break this down:

Celtic Gods & Goddesses:

Flidhais – Irish Goddess of wild things and she was a shape-shifter

Brigit – A Triple Goddess – a Fire Goddess, a Battle Goddess and a Goddess of Water.  Any body of water is a connection to Her.  Does she have a special sword?  Special Armor?  What other attributes does she have?

Morrighen – Goddess of War, battle and fury. She will appear in Her Battle Crow aspect so She does shape-shifting, too.

Manannan Mac Lir – Patron of sailor and merchants.  His famed possessions include the yellow shaft, the red javelin and horse called Splendid Mane, and three swards name Retaliator, Great Fury and Little Fury.  He had a suit of armor that made him invisible and has the gift of immortality.

Norse Gods & Goddesses:

Freya – Ruler of the Valkyries.  Has a cloak of falcon feathers and is pulled in her chariot by two large blue cats.

Aegir – God of the seashore and ocean.  Similar to Neptune and has power over sea serpents and water monsters of all kinds.

Hel – Goddess of the dead and underworld.

Loki – God of mischief, trickery and cunning.  A master magician and conjurer as well as a shape-shifter.

Odin – the prime deity who gave his right eye for all knowledge.  He possesses vast strength and will power.  He is followed by a pair of ravens or wolves, (do you know their names?) and rides upon an eight-legged horse name Slepnir who represents time itself.

Thor – God of thunder, possesses a mighty hammer named Mjolnir.  He is the working-man’s god and rewards hard work.

This is just a few I have named and I encourage all of you to do research and find out more about the Gods and Goddesses.  If you want a Goddess, Elemental or Sprite of a tree, body of water, mountain, etc. Google it – you’ll be surprised of what you find.  Or create your own pantheon and borrow bits and pieces of powers and abilities from other deities.

The point is to expand on what the seen and unseen deities in your story are all about, what do they do, what is their background, how do they feel about things, do the items they posses also represent something even deeper, etc.

That’s all for now, so get those creative juices flowing and happy writing.

Thank you, TJ. Great to have you back!

TJ will be back in January talking about villains. 🙂

***

front cover smallAward-winning author TJ Perkins is a well-respected author in the mystery / suspense genre. Her writing style has been compared to that of Mildred Wirt Benson A.K.A. Carolyn Keen (Nancy Drew).  Mystery books for ages 8-14 are Mystery of the Attic, On Forbidden Ground, Wound Too Tight and the first 5 books in the Kim & Kelly Mystery Series.

TJ has recently expanded into the world of fantasy for teens. Publisher Silver Leaf Books has contracted to release Shadow Legacy, a 5-book series of fantasy.  The first installment of this new exciting series, Art of the Ninja: Earth, is an award-winner and has been classified by readers and reviewers as a cross-genre of fantasy / manga. TJ lives in Baltimore, MD with her 2 cats and an imagination that’s bursting at the seams.

You can read sample pages of TJ’s writing (www.authorsden.com/tjperkins), see the book trailer (www.silverleafbooks.com), check out TJ’s blog, follower her on Twitter, friend / like her on Facebook and find her books at GoodReads (all her books are available on Kindle, Nook, iPad – just look them up by TJ Perkins).

Wikipedia’s articles on Anime and Manga are also worth a visit (after TJ’s sites of course :)).

***

If you would like to write a writing-related guest post for my blog then feel free to email me with an outline of what you would like to write about. If it’s writing-related then it’s highly likely I’d email back and say “yes please”.

The blog interviews return as normal tomorrow morning with poet, short story author, scriptwriter and lyricist Ken Temple – the five hundred and seventy-ninth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, bloggers, autobiographers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me.

***

** NEW!! You can now subscribe to this blog on your Kindle / Kindle app!

See http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B008E88JN0

or http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008E88JN0 for outside the UK **

You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything. You can contact me and find me on the internetview my Books (including my debut novel!) and I also have a blog creation / maintenance service especially for, but not limited to, writers. If you like this blog, you can help me keep it running by donating and choose an optional free eBook.

For writers / readers willing to give feedback and / or writers wanting feedback, take a look at this blog’s Feedback page.

As I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t unfortunately review books but I have a list of those who do, and a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me posting it online in my new Red Pen Critique Sunday night posts, then do email me. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.

Guest post: Choosing the right words for your story by Samantha Gray

Tonight’s guest blog post, on the topic of language, is brought to you by freelance writer Samantha Gray.

Choosing the right words for your story

I’d like to share an iteration of a children’s folk tale that deals with the realities of the natural world. I think the tale is a simple but effective example of importance of word choice and usage in narration. Sit back, read on, and enjoy what is probably the most overlooked topics in a typical freshman writing seminar. I’ll simply call my tale “The Salmon and the Grizzly”.

On a cold morning in the fall, a big brown grizzly bear was making its way to a nearby river. The grizzly was hungry for a meal, and hoped to find something that would satisfy his appetite. The sound of his grunts filled the crisp air as he rooted around the riverbed.

Now, this grizzly was not your typical bear. He preferred eating roots, vegetables, and bugs all day long. This was quite an unusual trait for a grizzly, as they mostly ate fish in the river or smaller animals in the forest. But this grizzly was content to avoid all the work that went along with hunting.

While the grizzly was turning over rocks near the bank, he spied a flash of silver in the water.

It was a big salmon, swimming upstream.

“Hello, Mr. Salmon! How are you today?” said the grizzly to the fish, approaching the river. The grizzly was a lover of good conversation, and wished for some company while he ate.

Naturally the salmon was quite scared about a greeting from a bear. He knew that bears, especially grizzlies, preferred eating salmon whole rather than talking to them.

The grizzly guessed the salmon’s fears, so he tred carefully into the river, smiling with his grizzly teeth in an attempt to seem friendly. “I don’t want to harm you, I don’t even eat fish. Really!” said the grizzly.

As if to prove this fact, the grizzly opened up a paw to reveal a few bugs and a stubby brown root. “This is what I eat,” he said to the salmon.

Maybe it was the beautiful weather or maybe it was grizzly’s smile. Whatever it was, the salmon seemed convinced that the grizzly meant no harm, so he swam up to the bear and introduced himself as Mr. Salmon. The two spent the morning talking about many things, including the changing season, the happenings of the forest, and the bizarre habits of salmon. They spoke to each other all morning. The sound of the river current was the only other sound in the area besides their voices.

After a while, Mr. Salmon said told Mr. Grizzly that he had to get going upstream to take care of business. Mr. Grizzly moved his great big furry paw towards the Mr. Salmon as if to wave goodbye, but at the last moment he reached for the fish, flung him in the air, and gulped him down in one big bite. The entire event took only a few seconds.

Mr. Grizzly almost could not believe what did, but this was not the first time he had slipped from his bug and vegetable diet. “I can’t help it,” he said sadly to himself as he crossed the river to the other side of the forest. “It’s in my nature.”

So…what was that all about? Stories like this one exemplify why language choice is imperative to proper storytelling. This is a children’s story about dangerous animals acting upon their nature, even if they intend otherwise. Grizzlies eating salmon is a completely normal occurrence in the natural world.

At a glance, the story is meant to portray grizzlies for the animals they are, so that children understand that these creatures—while cuddly, witty, and funny in cartoon depictions—are meat-eating animals at heart. It took the conventional anthropomorphizing in children’s stories and turned it on its head by giving an animal its real habits. The narration was setting up the obvious the whole time by constantly reminding the reader about how “most” grizzlies are dangerous to salmon, so you had a good idea about how this tale would end up.

The language was necessarily simplistic and clean because it only had to relay the message of animal instinct. Had the language about eating of the salmon been more graphic or descriptive, it would have lost its instructional impact to children. Instead, the story would come off as a needlessly horrific tale about an amiable bear that senselessly eats a newfound friend. Instead, I tried to achieve writing an animal fairy tale in the same vein as those with deceptive foxes and wise turtles.

The story won’t win any literary prizes, but it should teach a few writers the importance of word choice, particularly student writers in college just getting their hands dirty. How do you use language to temper the strengths of your stories?

Thank you, Samantha, that was really interesting, and I loved the story, like a midweek Flash Fiction Friday. 🙂

Samantha Gray is a freelance writer based in Houston, Texas, who offers college advice to those interested in furthering their studies and careers. She can be reached for questions or comments at samanthagray024@gmail.com.

***

If you would like to write a writing-related guest post for my blog then feel free to email me with an outline of what you would like to write about. If it’s writing-related then it’s highly likely I’d email back and say “yes please”.

The blog interviews return as normal tomorrow morning with biographer Julius Babyetsiza – the four hundred and sixty-second of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, bloggers, autobiographers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me.

** NEW!! You can now subscribe to this blog on your Kindle / Kindle app!

See http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B008E88JN0

or http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008E88JN0 for outside the UK **

You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything. You can contact me and find me on the internetview my Books (including my debut novel, which is being serialised on Novel Nights In!) and I also have a blog creation / maintenance service especially for, but not limited to, writers. If you like this blog, you can help me keep it running by donating and choose an optional free eBook.

For writers / readers willing to give feedback and / or writers wanting feedback, take a look at this blog’s Feedback page.

As I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t unfortunately review books but I have a list of those who do. I welcome items for critique for the online writing groups listed below:

Morgen’s Online Non-Fiction Writing Group

Morgen’s Online Novel Writing Group

Morgen’s Online Poetry Writing Group

Morgen’s Online Script Writing Group

Morgen’s Online Short Story Writing Group

We look forward to reading your comments.

Guest post: Writing the Small Town by Lea Ryan

Tonight’s guest blog post, on the topic of story locations is brought to you by fantasy and horror author Lea Ryan.

Writing the Small Town

The setting in a story is almost as important as the characters in the story. In fact, when written correctly, the setting can almost be a character in and of itself. Some people think of small towns as being boring. I beg to differ. I think small towns can be just as interesting as big cities when they have enough flavor.

The town I live in now is pretty small, so I had some inspiration for the one I used for the town of Fosters Branch in ‘Destined for Darkness’ and the sequel, ‘Devil in the Branch’ (coming July 2012).

Small Midwestern towns in the US usually look pretty similar to mine. Main Street (or whatever the locals dub it) is a line of non-chain establishments. They’re antique shops, boutiques, maybe a winery, an old-fashioned hardware store, a restaurant or two, perhaps a bank or a salon, usually in buildings constructed circa early to mid 1900s.

Another aspect of a town’s physical appearance is the type of housing available to the residents. Is it a run of dilapidated trailers or neatly landscaped subdivision housing? Fosters Branch has two classifications of homes – the five mansions and the cottages. Some of the mansions in Destined for Darkness are home to Fates (witches who influence the course of life in Fosters Branch), so they are very important places.  That brings us to the next aspect of writing the small town.

More important than the physical surroundings is the cultural dynamic. Small towns have a tendency to be gossipy. This is where the local celebrities come in. I don’t mean like newscasters or professional athletes like in larger cities.

I’m talking the town floozy, the alcoholic schoolteacher that stumbles home from the bar every other night, the mayor if they have one, the busybodies who run the church, the bake sales, the school PTO. There are always people who stand out for one reason or another, even in smaller communities. And a lot of them know each other, either firsthand or they know someone who knows the people they don’t know.

While a small town can be similar to the next town over and maybe the town after that, cultural quirks can add spice – maybe a fanatical obsession with high school sports or strange cultural expectations for the kids coming into adulthood. Maybe there’s a local Thanksgiving tradition in which the kids gather in the street and throw Styrofoam snowballs at each other. Local legends and other historical events can add some flair too.

The more personality a small town has, the easier getting lost in it becomes.

 

Check out Fosters Branch in all its quirky glory in Book 1 of the Fate Binds Series – Destined for Darkness (out now). Book 2 – Devil in the Branch comes out in July! http://lea-ryan.blogspot.com for updates.

AnnaBeth has spent most of her young adult life alone in her father’s house just outside the border of the small town of Fosters Branch.

When her grandmother dies and leaves her the family mansion, she suddenly finds herself immersed in a world she never knew existed. She discovers her family’s mysterious past, powers she never knew she had, and romance with the town golden boy.

But there are consequences when you meddle in fate. AnnaBeth will risk everything to protect the people she loves.

I love it when inanimate objects become characters, as you said settings can, thank you, Lea!

Lea Ryan dwells at the edge of a farm in Indiana with her husband, two kids, two cats and a dog. The author of three books, a novella and several short stories, her genres of choice are urban fantasy and horror. She also draws things and is pretty handy with a Playstation controller. Her website is http://www.LeaRyan.com. Destined for Darkness is available from Amazon and Barnesandnoble and you can add it to your shelf on Goodreads.

If you would like to write a writing-related guest post for my blog then feel free to email me with an outline of what you would like to write about. If it’s writing-related then it’s highly likely I’d email back and say “yes please”.

The blog interviews return as normal tomorrow morning with poet, essayist, short story author and novelist Garden Urthark – the four hundred and eighth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, bloggers, autobiographers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me.

You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything… and follow me on Twitter where each new posting is automatically announced. You can also read / download my eBooks and free eShorts at SmashwordsSony Reader StoreBarnes & NobleiTunes BookstoreKobo and Amazon, with more to follow. I have a new forum, friend me on Facebook, like me on Facebook, connect with me on LinkedIn, find me on Tumblr, complete my website’s Contact me page or plain and simple, email me.  I also now have a new blog creation service especially for, but not limited to, writers.

Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I have a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) 🙂 on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are fortnightly episodes, usually released on Sundays, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.