Nourished by the bottle

PHOTO PROMPT © G.L. MacMillan.

On summer afternoons you can smell the homeless. An aggressive funk of shit and cheap wine; a fermenting stench, growing in neglect and heat.

On early Autumn evenings you see the dirty false sunsets as barrel fires bleed a spurting orange glow. Drunks ripen in booze around these trash candles; sharing heat, misery, oblivion.

Winter nights bring a harvest of the unhomed. The unprotected poor perish; exposed to weather, to indifference. Frost glitters under street-lights, the sparkle of broken glass and dead eyes.

Spring morning-time; for renewal, for replanting. A fresh crop of homeless take root, nourished by the bottle. Continue reading


Top 10 Tips for Writing a Crappy First Draft

Some solid advice here 🙂

Claire Fuller


All writers have little tricks for how to get the first draft of their novel down on paper. I don’t plan at all, but I do allow myself to go back each time I sit down to write and do a little bit of editing; perhaps just 20% of the writing time I have available. I tell myself it’s to get ‘in the zone,’ but really it’s because I worry that I might be run over by a bus and someone would see my crappy first draft. Another way I mitigate this possibility is by writing [THIS IS SHITE] (square brackets included) every so often. This technique (which I wouldn’t really recommend) also silences my inner critic for a little while which means I can carry on churning out words.

But what other tips and tricks do writers use? I asked a few author friends and below I have compiled…

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Surface tensions

The coffee scalded his throat as it went down, but the bitter pain was a welcome relief from the constant inane chatter of the surrounding cubical drones. Day after day Theodore endured; endured the caffeinated dish water that passed for coffee, endured the tepid babble that passed for conversation. Mind-numbing gossip wore at his psyche and mindless interactions wore at his soul; Theodore felt both get thinner, get sharper.

People are just coffee bubbles, he thought staring at the slick surface of his drink; just bubbles slipping and bubbles sliding, bubbles pressed against each other, distorting his own fragile bubble by their grating proximity.

In his cup, a swollen oily bubble ruptured like a blister, the violence of it popping those around it, leaving a dark void. Continue reading

Book review: Psychic Spiders – Toby Stone

“Look, George,” said Bob. “You’re all grown up now. We’re both spiders of the world. Your Uncle Bob, well… I have needs, like any other spider. It’s been a while since I’ve had some, if you know what I mean.”

“Some what?”

“Female action,” said Uncle Bob.

George gritted his fangs. The leer on Bob’s lips reminded him of the funnel web. “Uh-hmm,” he said.

“I just need something to get me through.” Bob gestured to the screen.

“Get you through what?” George said.

“You know…. something to get me through.”

George stared. His eight eyes snapped wide.

“You shouted me up here… you… you want pictures of female spiders who open their legs for anyone?” sputtered George. There was venom in his words. Being a spider, there always was, but it rarely made the air.

Psychic Spiders – Toby Stone.



Yet another book that is exactly what it says on the box. It’s full of spiders.

Psychic spiders.

And it is excellent.

Quick confession time – I got this book months ago (free), laughed at the cover (above), put it on the bookshelf and promptly forgot about it…

…italics to indicate the passage of time…

…until July came around, and I realised I really should have read it by now. So I knuckled down, read it, and found that yet again an indie publisher has come through with the goods. This is a great book; funny in much of it, sad in parts, a bit disturbing throughout, whilst still bringing a tense sense of action. There are moments that shine brilliantly, and others that shoot for the stars – and miss – but mostly it’s just really entertaining.

Continue reading

Rose diamond earrings

PHOTO PROMPT © Dee Lovering

Snow falls on us both; cooling your skin, cooling my diminishing rage.

Your body heat (what remains of it) is gently stolen by each floating flake. The delicate crystals landing on your upturned face thaw and liquefy, pooling around your eyes and mixing with the blood there.

These pools fill; overflow. Pale, sin-tinted water trails your cheeks, pink wintery tears that flow and bead on each earlobe. Icicles like rose diamond earrings.

As the snow falls, it covers. Covers your blood like I never hit you. Covers your body like you never existed.

Covers my footsteps as I walk away. Continue reading

Book Review: Outlander #1 (Cross Stitch) – Diana Gabaldon

“Now,” he said pleasantly, “you are going to tell me everything you know about the Duke of Sandringham.” The blade pressed a little harder, making a dent in the fabric of my gown. “Take as long as you like about it, my dear. I am in no hurry whatsoever.” There was a small pop! as the point punctured the fabric. I felt it, cold as fear, a tiny spot directly over my heart.

Randall slowly drew the knife in a semicircle under one breast. The serge came free and fell away with a flutter of white chemise, and my breast sprang out. Randall seemed to have been holding his breath; he exhaled slowly now, his eyes fixed on mine.

Outlander – Diana Gabaldon.

Another book for my BookRiot Read Harder Challenge – this one fulfills my requirement for a romance book. I’ve had this book for months, after a friend very kindly (and quite surprisingly) gave it to me as a gift, saying “Trust me, it’s good.”

I’ll admit I had my doubts… but I’ll also admit my apprehension was misplaced. It was a well written story with interesting and sympathetic characters. I found the ending slightly too neat, and found some of the ‘relationship-stuff’ overlong, but overall it was a very entertaining read.

Heads up to sensitive readers – this book contains various things that may trigger or offend.

I will definitely read book two. I may even check out the TV series.

Continue reading

Hairless (Murders in the Rue Morgue: a Postscript)

PHOTO PROMPT- © Sandra Crook


Crouching to fit, the beast rested amongst the gargoyles of the bell-tower and watched the hairless swarm far below. Whistles screamed and torches massed like fireflies.

The hairless were looking for a murderer.

Looking for it.

It carried the murders with it. Carried the sweet rosewater fragrance of the broken young girl’s perfume. Carried the hot, primal taste of the old lady’s blood. Carried the red stained straight-razor.

With reasoning far beyond bestial, the beast slid the razor down inhuman arms, watching thick orange tufts of fur fall. Warty black skin gleamed in the moonlight after each careful stroke.

Hairless… Continue reading