Lonesome Train

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Lonesome Train

I’ve had a few acceptances for my writing lately, but Lonesome Train is the biggest accomplishment of them all! The reason for this is because it’s my first published prose poem. This is a massive deal for me because I studied Creative Writing at Bath Spa university for three years and while I received a lot of praise for my fiction writing, my poetry lecturer never once praised me. With my poetry, she either didn’t understand it or didn’t like it. She made it pretty clear many times that my poetry isn’t of publishable quality.

I believed her for years and I stopped writing poetry. But I had a big folder of poems that were just sat on my laptop and I didn’t want them to go to waste. An anthology popped up that was accepting stories and poetry based on trains and I had a prose poem called Creep that fit the theme perfectly. I sent it in without any high hopes, but I heard back within a couple of days that my poem had been accepted! Within one submission, I’d proved my lecturer wrong.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that just because one person doesn’t like your style of writing, it doesn’t make it bad. My lecturer didn’t take to my writing and made me feel like everything I put forward was terrible, but I now know that’s not the case and it just wasn’t for her. Don’t write yourself off based on the opinion of one person. You can never please everyone.

Lonesome Train: Do you hear that train a-comin’? Comin’ round the bend…? Our authors did! Step into an anthology filled with demonic trains and disastrous encounters. Ghosts, time travel, giant spiders, wagon trains, space-transport–whatever you are interested in, we’ve got you covered. Sit right back and enjoy the ride.

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Through Death’s Door Submissions

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Monnath books is thrilled to announce that after much deliberation we are officially going to be putting together our very first anthology!

“Through Death’s Door” is an anthology simply based on the concept of death and is not limited to any specific genre – so think about the paranormal, heaven, hell, resurrection, etc.

We are open to submissions from today and hope to close by July 1st 2019, although we may push this deadline forward or back based on how many submissions we receive and how fast the acceptances fill up.

There is no minimum word count, but the maximum is 5,000, and we are only open to ONE story per human. We are not currently accepting submissions for previously published works and will only consider edited stories; i.e., no first drafts! We will, however, fix minor details, such as typos, before publication.

If you are seeking an editor to look at your story prior to submitting, Lozzi Counsell, who is a part of the team, is a line editor. You can purchase one of her gigs, or contact her here: https://www.fiverr.com/…/be-your-line-editor-for-your-book-… (This is purely an unlinked, professional service that does not guarantee your acceptance in our anthology.)

All submissions & queries are to be sent to: contact@monnathbooks.co.uk

Subject Line Format: ANTHOLOGY TITLE – YOUR STORY TITLE – YOUR AUTHOR NAME

All submissions emails must include:
• Your legal name and pen name,
• Your story’s title,
• Your story’s word count,
• ONE social media account that you’d like us to include in the anthology if you are accepted.

We will email everyone back after the closing date to let you know the outcome of your submission. If accepted, you will receive compensation in the form of a contributor’s copy (eBook) following publication of the anthology. The anthology will, however, be available for sale in both digital and paper form. Please note, this is an unpaid submission.

Just to reiterate, the email address to send it to is: contact@monnathbooks.co.uk

Good luck and happy writing!

My First Big Upset

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I wrote this a couple of months ago. I wasn’t sure whether to post it or not, but I’ve decided to go ahead:

I’ve been pretty lucky so far with my writing – I’ve submitted short stories to quite a few different places and have only received one rejection so far. I’ve made many author friends along the way who have been such a huge help to me. I’ve edited for many different people and only ever been met by huge thank yous and appreciation for my time and detail.

But for the first time today, I’ve actually been left in tears. I sent a short story over to someone, specified I didn’t want any proofreading/editing done, just purely wanted an opinion on whether I should keep or delete the epilogue.

I received a message from them pretty soon after, nothing about the epilogue at all, but a big paragraph on basically why they didn’t like my story.

Now, if I was asking for a critique, or an opinion, then fair enough. But my story has been edited to publishing standards over a period of time using more than one editor, the cover is finished and I’ve been working on a pre-order schedule ready for its release at the end of March/early April.

And all of a sudden I was sat here crying, questioning everything. I’ve been so excited about this release – the first time it’s my own book and not as part of an anthology. I’ve been putting everything in place and in the next moment, I was ready to delete my entire story.

It wasn’t what I asked for. It wasn’t what I expected. I wasn’t asking for a book review.

And the worst part? Everything is personal preference. He doesn’t agree that my character is so forgiving. He felt a sense of Stockholm syndrome in my story. Why can’t my character be forgiving just because he’s not that sort of person? Even if there is Stockholm syndrome in my story, what’s wrong with that? Stockholm syndrome is a very, very real thing! My mum compared it to me writing about a character breaking their leg and someone telling me that my character should have stubbed their toe instead.

As I said before, if this was a review and a reader posted this, that’s their right. But I wanted ONE question answered by him.

But that wasn’t the end of it.

I thought he had given up 15 minutes out of his day to be nice and helpful to a stranger, but I was wrong. In response to reading and tearing up my story of just under 10,000 words, he wants me to edit his entire novel of 200,000 words, and also hinted that if I have time, he wouldn’t mind me editing his 135,000 word one either…

Two questions…

If my story is that bad, why would you let me anywhere near your writing and trust my editing skills?

Is 15 minutes of your time, purely reading and not editing a short story, a fair exchange for expecting me to edit 335,000 words for you?

I think in the future I will be sticking to my close circle of author friends.

Exiles by Alanah Andrews, Chapter 1

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Exiles Alanah

I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth. Genesis 6:13

 

The house was silent, except for the subtle tick-tick of the pendulum clock as it tracked the sluggish hours of the afternoon. Kirra placed some more wood onto the fire and then snuggled down into the couch, smiling as Flynn put his arms around her, squeezing tight. She relaxed into her boyfriend’s embrace, watching the tendrils of flames race hungrily across the dry wood, warming the chilly room. Above them, a large, painted angel poured the contents of a bowl into a speckled ocean, turning the waves crimson, like blood.

Flynn planted a kiss on the top of Kirra’s dark hair. “You know,” he said, his voice muffled against her head, “you have the most graphic paintings of anyone I know.”

Kirra smiled against his chest, and then looked up fondly at the painting on the wall. She was so used to seeing the angel watching over the family room that she had forgotten how unsettling the macabre nature of the image could be. The angel’s wings were draped back over its shoulders, painstakingly painted with hundreds of little dots that could only be appreciated when you got up close to it. “Mum painted them. We have one in each room of the house. You should see the one in my bedroom.”

“Is that an invitation?” Flynn’s voice was low, almost a whisper.

Kirra felt her face flush, and she pulled away, extricating herself from Flynn’s embrace. “I’d better check on Marli,” she mumbled.

As she stood, Flynn caught her hand. “I’m sorry,” he said earnestly, his blue eyes boring into her own. “I didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable. I was just teasing.”

Kirra nodded, uncomfortably aware of the heat in Flynn’s hand, the softness of the skin on top contrasting with the callouses beneath. Flynn was the perfect boyfriend; both the Shepherd and her mother agreed. Caring, selfless and hardworking, he was a true god-fearing citizen. With his thick blonde hair and blue eyes, he was the complete opposite of Kirra—but she couldn’t help thinking that he was downright gorgeous. Kirra flushed, wondering if he could read her mind and thinking a brief apology to the Shepherd.

“I know you’re just joking,” she said, trying to pull her hand gently out of Flynn’s grasp. “But I really do need to check on Marli. She usually only naps for an hour in the afternoon or she won’t sleep tonight.”

Flynn nodded, but didn’t let go of her hand. “You’re okay?”

Kirra knew what he really wanted to ask, and her face grew hotter. “Trust me, it’s fine. I’m not going to report you to my mother over a harmless comment.” Her gaze drifted across to the angel on the wall, its expression severe as it poisoned the ocean. “She takes the scriptures and the Shepherd so seriously, but she can also take a joke. And so can I.”

Flynn squeezed her hand gently and then let go. “I can make another cup of tea if you like?”

Kirra breathed a sigh of relief as she was released from his hold, and then smiled down at him. “That would be great.”

She knew that her mother could certainly be intense. Leena’s all-consuming conviction in the scripture was unnerving even to Kirra at times, so she could understand Flynn’s unease. After all, people had been Exiled for less innocuous comments in the past.

As Flynn placed the kettle on top of the fireplace, Kirra crept up the stairs to check on her sister, dozens of bible verses staring down at her from the plaques attached to the walls. She could understand, of course, why her mother was so desperate to please God. Leena’s role as a caregiver meant that she was privy to the symptoms of the Lord’s wrath rained down upon humanity. Kirra often accompanied her mother, visiting houses and helping take care of the sick and dying.

Despite their attempts to keep the community inside the wall pure, humans were so easily swayed towards darkness. And—as the Shepherd constantly explained to them—not so long ago, that darkness had become so unbearable that God had sent his angels down to punish humanity, and now they had to pay the price. Whether the mutts were really the price of sinning, or simply the result of nuclear fallout from the last war, nobody was sure. But regardless of what they were paying for, Kirra had seen the deviations present on so many newborn babies; she knew first-hand just how severe the price could be.

No, it was best to keep God happy, that much was certain.

Tiptoeing across the landing to Marli’s bedroom, Kirra eased the door open and peered around the corner at her little sister’s single bed. Another painted angel watched over the room, doing the Lord’s bidding, and Kirra sought out Marli’s tumbled shock of dark curls.

Her body grew instantly cold, the way the dam froze over in the depths of winter, and she strode forward into the room, pulling the blanket back roughly. The bed was empty, the rumpled sheets the only indication that anyone had been there. Kirra placed a hand in the centre of the mattress. It was cold.

“Flynn?” Her voice was high-pitched and panicked as it flowed down the staircase.

Flynn raced up the carpeted steps two at a time. “Kirra, what’s wrong?” Flynn nearly collided with Kirra as she came out of Marli’s bedroom, and he steadied himself, placing his hands on her shoulders. Kirra’s usually dark skin was pale, her brown eyes wide with fright.

“It’s Marli, she’s not there.”

Below them, the kettle began to whistle quietly.

“What?” Flynn marched into Marli’s room, flinging open the wardrobe and peering under the bed. “Go check the bathroom, Leena’s room. Check everywhere.”

Kirra snapped to attention, running down the corridor to her mother’s room, checking all the cupboards and Marli’s usual hiding places. “Marli, where are you?” Her voice was laced with dread.

The kettle began to scream, and as Kirra dashed downstairs to take it off the fireplace, her eye was drawn to the cupboard under the stairs. “Marli?” She eased the door open, hopefully, but the small space was empty save for the dusty cardboard boxes filled with her dad’s belongings. “Marli, we aren’t playing hide and seek.” Tears threatened to spill down her cheeks as she walked shakily into the kitchen, finally taking the shrieking kettle off the fireplace. The silence left behind in its wake pressed painfully against her ear drums.

“Marli,” Kirra called hopefully, “do you want some lunch?” The tick-tick of the pendulum clock was her only response.

“Kirra, come here.”

Kirra followed Flynn’s urgent voice to the front door, which, she saw as she rounded the corner, was slightly ajar. No wonder the living room had felt so cold.

“No,” she said breathlessly. “I’m sure that I shut it.”

Flynn indicated the chair that was near the door. “I think you have an escape artist of a sister.”

Kirra dashed outside. “Marli?” she screamed, but her driveway was bare except for the little wiry plants pushing their way up through the cracks in the concrete.

Flynn followed her out, then turned in a slow circle, scanning the immediate area. The houses nearest them were silent, shut up against the cold. “Where’s your mum today?”

Kirra sniffed, her hands shaking with a mixture of cold and fright. “Over at Aunt Ellin’s doing a check-up.”

“Run straight over there, okay, get her to alert the Shepherd.” He placed a hand on Kirra’s arm. “Marli will be okay. She might be lost, and a bit scared, but she can’t really get hurt, can she? It’s not like she can get out.”

Kirra shook her head. “Unless . . .” She wiped her nose on her sleeve. “Unless she went to the river? Or the dam?”

“I’ll check them first, okay? Now go get your mum.”

Kirra dashed off to do as he asked while Flynn jogged towards the dam, calling Marli’s name as he scanned the paddocks nearest to him. The dam was closer than the river, and with Marli’s little three-year-old legs, he doubted she would have got that far anyway. Chances were that she was hiding in the neighbour’s backyard, giggling to herself about how clever she was.

The north field had recently been harvested, so Flynn had a clear view across to the dam and the wall beyond, an imposing line of twisted metal rusting in the weather. Shielding his eyes from the weak sun, he thought he could see a dark shape in front of the water.

“Shit.” Flynn took off at a sprint towards the dam. “Marli!”

As he ran, the old air-raid sirens around the town spluttered to life, their wail making the back of Flynn’s neck prickle. There were very few emergencies these days, and they generally only heard the sirens at an Exile. The thought spurred Flynn to run faster. Kirra must have successfully alerted her mother and the shepherd to Marli’s disappearance. Soon, the town would be teeming with people lending themselves to the search effort. Flynn put his head down and ran as fast as he could towards the dam, his breath creating thick puffs of steam in the frigid air.

When he looked up again, the dark shadow was gone, and the patchwork metal fence loomed above him. He stopped at the side of the dam, hands on his knees, drawing in great gasps of air. The water was murky and green, with a thin crust of ice stretching across from one bank to the other. Thin lines criss-crossed the ice like veins on the underside of a leaf. Had Marli fallen in?

In the distance, Flynn heard the splutter of one of the last working trucks in the village as it careened out of its garage beside the station. There was no time to lose. He stepped off the bank and plunged into the icy water.

Click here to check out the rest of the story! 

The Faceless People by Natalie Rix – Chapter 1

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The Faceless People Natalie

I always thought The Faceless People were a myth told by my people to keep children inside at night. Beautiful and intelligent beneath their metallic bubbles, they are also said to be violent and cruel, taking unsuspecting victims away in the night. I never truly believed this myth until I saw them for myself, beating and dragging my people away. Those taken never return. I have always lived in constant fear that the same might one day happen to me.

“There’s one, Peter,” I hear a deep male voice say.

I stand still at the sound of the unfamiliar voice. I have just separated from my friends and family. We dispersed across the abandoned terrain in the hunt for some food, perhaps some rats or a small berry bush. Peering through the dusky red dust clouds for the source of the voice, my eyes focus on a humanoid form a few yards away. A sharp wind blows over and clears the dust cloud. It is then I see the reflective surface of the metallic bubble. My mouth hangs open in surprise. The Faceless People… The humanoid stands upright, about six feet tall. Its legs and arms are long but bulky with muscle. It’s wearing a dense sort of fabric of the likes I have never seen before. Like the myth goes, it has no face – just a shiny metallic bubble where the head should be. I need to hide right now, but my body has gone numb with fear. My heart hammers in my chest and I feel slick with cold sweat.

“Where, Jamie?” Another male voice. This voice sounds lighter and more pleasant. The owner of the voice comes into view from behind one of the many derelict buildings. Another humanoid creature. Another metallic bubble. This one is slightly taller and slender than the other.

Two of them? I swallow hard, my tongue catching on the back of my throat. The Faceless People can speak English. How is this possible? Perhaps they have been watching us without us knowing. Perhaps they have been using our libraries that hold the books in which we learned how to read and write. But we would have seen them. This doesn’t make sense.

“Over there, you idiot,” Jamie says, pointing to my cousin. I was lagging behind, so he must have come back to find me. Panicked, I look around, catching sight of a low, broken wall. I scamper towards it, hurriedly trying to hide myself. My cumbersome feet catch beneath my gangly legs and I try not to trip over on the rubble strewn across the floor. I leap over a mangled piece of metal and scrabble over a mound of bricks. Now half hidden behind the wall, I can see my cousin scrabbling backwards across the dusty floor, also trying to get to cover.

“Fucking ugly, ain’t they?” Jamie says. I wince as he runs up to my cousin and kicks him in the face. There is a loud crack as Jamie’s huge booted foot hits him square in the nose. Blood pours down his face. My cousin wails as he falls backwards to the floor, shaking with pain.

I cry out. My voice sounds strange to my own ears; I sound like a wounded animal.

“What the fuck was that?” Jamie turns towards me. I duck my head beneath the wall, but it’s too late. He’s seen me. “Another one over there.” He runs over to me, but the slender one, Peter, runs after him and places a hand upon his shoulder.

“Our mission is to capture one and bring it back intact,” Peter says.

“But they’re ugly, filthy, disgusting animals. Let me just kick one about a bit.”

Peter holds Jamie back with an outstretched arm. “No. We must bring one back intact and unharmed for scientific testing. Save your energy and violence for the hell beasts saved especially for the festival. Donny is out rounding the hell beasts up in the cage as we speak. You can play with those, but not this one.”

“Spoilsport.”

“Governor Sam says he wants one bringing back safely, remember? And that’s what I’m going to do. If you’re going to jeopardise the mission, I’ll have no qualms in telling him that you are the one who ruined it, just because you can’t control yourself. You know how dangerous he is.”

“I don’t give a fuck what Governor Sam says.” Jamie folds his bulky arms.

“But this is for the High Lord.”

Jamie sighs. “I would do anything for the High Lord.”

Peter nods. “I think this one is female.”

“Who the fuck knows. They all look the same to me. Freaks.”

“I’ll talk to her.” Peter leans over the wall. My reflection stares back within the reflective surface of the bubble. I wonder what sort of face lies beneath it. “Can you talk?” he asks me.

I try to speak, but as usual, my voice comes out like an animal’s. I have a cleft lip and teeth that jut out in different directions, which makes it hard to form sounds and speak words in the way that they do. I wish I could speak the English I have learned from the books. I find it hard to look at him with my weak vision.

“It’s probably braindead. It’s just an animal,” Jamie huffs. “So we should treat it like one.”

“You had better not treat my dog like that or I’ll kick your head in.”

“Screw you,” Jamie huffs. “You bring the special hell beast then. Don’t blame me if it attacks you. I’m going back to the pickup truck.” He skulks away.

Peter holds his gloved hand out towards me. I stare at the long, straight fingers. There are five of them altogether. I reach my own hand up. It looks so different in comparison. I have four knobbled fingers on the one hand and a tiny thumb. Peter takes my hand.

“Come with me. I won’t hurt you.”

I wonder why he wants me to go with him, and to where? I try to ask, but he doesn’t understand my noises in the way my friends do.

“Don’t worry,” he says as he pulls me up onto my uneven legs. “Here, this is to relax you,” he says, placing a red cloth over my mouth. The smell is intoxicating, and even though it smells sweet, it is also pungent, and I struggle to breath. I flail my arms and legs out but then feel powerless to resist. Everything goes dark.

The Mutation Chronicles is a collection of three post-apocalpytic stories by Natalie Rix, Lozzi Counsell and Alanah Andrews. These short stories, while set in the same world, can be read in any order. Pre-order here.

Pre-order The Faceless People here (Aff link)

Book Launch – The Mutation Chronicles

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Hey, everyone. On Wednesday 27th March from 4pm GMT, I will be holding a book launch on Facebook for my story, Contagion, along with the two other authors in the series. There will be special guest authors, games and lots of giveaways, including a giveaway of all three of The Mutation Chronicles books that are ready for release!

Special guest authors so far, along with me, Natalie Rix and Alanah Andrews, include:
Curtis Bausse
E.L. Giles
Marcus Turner
Fallacious Rose

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You can join our event by clicking right here!

Hope to see you all there.

First Chapter of Contagion

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Much love to everyone who’s supported me on my writing journey so far, and as a thank you, I would like to share with you all the very first chapter of Contagion.

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My knuckles turn white as my fingers clutch the seat belt. What’s taking him so long? I continue to stare out the car window, past the shards of glass that lie glinting under the moonlight, into the dark warehouse.
Just as I consider picking up Dad’s car radio and ringing the station for backup, he steps out of the shadows, a handcuffed man in tow. I let out the deep breath I was holding upon sight of him. This isn’t the first time a meal out has ended in sirens and Dad rushing to the scene of a crime, and it never gets any easier for me, being stuck in the vehicle, having to watch and wait.
The window sticks as I hurry to wind it down, so I open the door a fraction instead. “Everything okay, Dad?” My voice echoes off the walls of the building, into the night air.
“Yeah, everything’s fine, Bryony.” He pants, dragging the handcuffed man over to the vehicle. “Could ya do me a favour and open the boot?”
I unclip my seatbelt and step out of the car to pop open the boot. I know immediately what Dad needs: antiseptic wipes and a medical facemask to prevent contamination. He should have put gloves on before going into the warehouse, but he was the first, and apparently only, officer on the scene and didn’t have time to spare.
He opens one of the backdoors and guides the man into the car with a harder than necessary shove.
“Sorry I took so long. I had to check the whole building for others,” he says as he opens the packet of antiseptic wipes and cleans his hands.
I hand a facemask over to him. “I was worried.”
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you.”
“I know, it’s just… since Mum—”
“—Your mum’s death was a terrible accident, courtesy of one of these a-holes. If they think they’re going to get me too, they’ve got another thing coming.”
The man scowls at us through the glass. I unintentionally reel back at the sight of his face—half a bald head that’s been taken over by oozing scabs and two long slits for a nose. He’s also older than I assumed he would be. He sees me recoil and slowly turns away, unfazed.
“Anyway, I need to get this guy into a jail cell as soon as. You know I hate to ask, but are you okay to walk back? I mean, I would drop you off, but I don’t particularly want you anywhere near this freak.”
I roll my eyes dramatically, making sure he sees. Sometimes I think he forgets that I am nineteen, meaning that I am more than definitely capable of walking myself home.
“Okay, okay, I get it. I’m mollycoddling you again, aren’t I?” He squeezes my shoulder gently. “Just make sure to ring me once you’re home, okay? Remember to lock the door behind you—”
“—And check all the windows are locked too. I know, I know. You’ve told me a hundred times.”
“And I will continue telling you even when I’m old and grey and you’ve long moved out.”
“You’re already old and grey.” I smirk, knowing Dad will take it in good humour.
“Don’t be so cheeky,” I hear Dad say as I turn away and start the walk home. And only once I disappear around the corner do I hear Dad’s sirens growing fainter and fainter as he drives off in the opposite direction.

I walk along the outside of our town, looking at the trees that surround it with our ‘no mutants’ signs nailed to their trunks. We’ve never needed a fence to keep the mutants out. Our public executions of the ones kept in our underground prison every time it gets full usually gives them enough of a warning to stay away. We still get the odd few that don’t listen, such as the one from tonight, but it’s not a common occurrence.
“Just a couple more steps,” I tell myself out loud as our house comes into view at the end of the street. I rub at my arms for warmth as each breath leaves my mouth in a cloud of steam. The gate has been left open. I close it with a click behind me, wondering who might have visited while we were out.
The sensor lights turn on, as I walk up to the porch, fumbling around in my handbag. “Where are you, damn keys?” I look under the doormat for the spare, but it’s not there. Tutting, I kick the doormat back into place with frustration. The amount of times Dad hasn’t been able to find his keys and taken the spare one instead should be a world record. I just wish one of those times wasn’t today.
I sigh and use our wheelie bin as a step to climb unglamorously over the fence, before landing on my feet in the squelchy mud of our back garden.
I pull the handle of the back door down, hoping for some kind of miracle, but as expected, it’s locked. “Crap,” I say, turning around.
“Looking for these?” A man is standing there, dangling a single key in front of my face. I open my mouth to scream, but before any sound comes out I feel a hard thump to the back of my head.

If you’ve enjoyed what you’ve read so far, you can read chapter 2 for free as well by signing up to my mailing list!

The Mutation Chronicles

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Two months ago, three authors planned out a book series together online in a group chat. One of those authors was me. Today, the first three books in this series of short reads have been edited over and over again, and are finally up for pre-order!

Closer to the date of each release, I will publish the first chapter of that particular book. Until then, I will leave you with this picture of all three book covers and their release dates!

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Pre-order The Faceless People by Natalie Rix here.

Pre-order Contagion by Lozzi Counsell (me) here.

Pre-order Exiles by Alanah Andrews here.

(Aff links)

A special thanks for me in SOCIAL by L.J.P. McIntyre

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I’ve been proofreading/editing books for other authors a while now, including this book by Jimmy Mcintyre. I was so excited and overwhelmed that he added my name to the ‘a special thanks to’ section in his book. This is the first time an author has done this for me and I’m literally over the moon.

I thought this was a big deal for him to do, but he has since spoken out to other authors urging them to do the same. In his words it’s a little thing that costs the author nothing to do and is the least that can be done for someone who’s given you their time and help.

My Interview for A Flash of Words

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Here’s my interview for my story ‘The Consequences of Grief’ featured in the ‘A flash of words’ anthology

What was the inspiration for your story?
When I was studying creative writing at uni, a fellow author (can’t remember who unfortunately) came to give a talk. We practised an exercise where we shut our eyes and Imagined ourselves led down. Where are you led? What’s the weather like? Take notice of your surroundings. I imagined myself in a dark field at night.

After taking notice of your surroundings (eyes still shut), turn your head to the left, there is a shadow approaching. Wait for it to get closer. What or whom is it? When they reach you, what do they want? I imagined my cat who had died years back approaching me.

From this I came up with an idea about going to a field to visit my dead cat every night because I couldn’t let her go. The cat soon became a child and ended up as the basis behind my story.

Was there a time when writing where you had to sit back stunned at what just happened? If so, what was it?
The ending. It wasn’t what I was originally going to go with, but I thought it would give the most emotional impact.

What do you think is the key to writing a compelling flash story?
For me it would be not too many characters. I sometimes get a bit lost when someone has a lot of characters, but especially in flash fiction there’s just not enough time to learn who each and every character is if there’s too many of them.

Apart from writing, what do you do for fun?
I’m very crafty and am always making things. Painting is an especially big hobby of mine — mostly watercolour animals.

Can you relate to any of the characters in your flash fiction story?
Yes, I really relate to the MC. I am not a parent myself, but I still know what it’s like to grieve.

If you were on death row, what would you want your last meal to be?
Easy. A chicken chaat from my local Indian restaurant as a starter. Afterwards, an Oreo crunch waffle from Kaspa’s and also Kinder Bueno cookie dough. For drinks, a Coke Zero, Oreo milkshake and Snickers milkshake.

Pick up a copy of “A Flash of Words” in paperback or eBook at any book retailer worldwide, including Amazon! (aff link)