Category Archives: creative writing

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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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)

Official Author

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I am so excited to announce that my story The Consequences of Grief is now out for sale on Amazon as a Kindle book, (featured in the anthology A Flash of Words). Paperback copies are also going to be available soon — I’m patiently waiting for those!

But not only is the fact I’m finally published an achievement in my writing career, it also FINALLY means that I’m a Goodreads author!

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And not only that, I am officially an Amazon author too!
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Here is a sneak preview of my story The Consequences of Grief from the anthology A Flash Of Words:

‘The wind is cold against my body, as I reach into my pocket and twiddle the small pill between my fingers. The stars are twinkling up above, although their brightness is only dim. It doesn’t matter though because I know my way to this part of the field, whether I am led by sunlight or moonlight.

I lie down, flattening the grass beneath me — there are daisies, buttercups and even tulips here.

I slide the pill out of my pocket and hold it in my wrinkly palm. Doctors call it the Final Goodbye Pill. Known as the biggest breakthrough in science for many years, it allows grieving individuals the chance to say goodbye after a loss, by bringing back the spirit of their loved one for a short time. But as everyone knows, all pills have side effects.’

If you would like to read the rest, then purchase the anthology here where my story sits alongside those from 48 other wonderful authors. (aff link.)

The Night Grandpa Died

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Below is a short poem I wrote about a year back. It is a very personal one that I have ruled out of any future publications due to knowing it doesn’t have the ability to resonate with other people, plus it not quite being ‘good enough’ in my opinion, so thought I would share it with you all.

There is a true story behind this one, which is that one night I was in bed and woke up to a strange calm feeling and I could feel someone comforting me. I knew I wasn’t alone, but I wasn’t scared, in fact, quite the opposite. The feeling only lasted about a minute and the next day I had a phonecall to say that my Grandpa had died.

The Night Grandpa Died
The gentle stroking of my skin disrupts me from my sleep. An invisible being emanating love and happiness down onto me. And calmness. The reassuring patting of my leg and the strange feeling of goodbye. Weird how I can feel someone with me when there’s no one there, as I search for a face, or even just an outline. But my heavy eyes soon shut again, and the few seconds of comfort disappear.

The Semicolon

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My favourite piece of punctuation is the semicolon. When it comes to proofreading, I notice that a lot of the time I am adding in semicolons to pieces of writing which otherwise would not use a single one. It makes me wonder if people actually know when to use the semicolon.

I think that it’s potentially my favourite piece of punctuation for the mere fact that I actually know how to use it, just like apostrophes are my least favourite, because they confuse the hell out of me! If you are great at using apostrophes, then I seriously applaud you.

For those of you who are confused about when the semicolon should make an appearance in your writing, I use it when it seems like it’s too short of a pause to use a full stop, but too long of a pause to use a comma. Another time to use it is when you’re writing a list of detailed items.

Milk, bread, cookies – this small list would use just commas.

creamy, white milk; seeded, cheesy, crusty bread; chocolate chip, salted caramel cookies – this list with detailed items uses semicolons because otherwise the large use of commas would make it confusing to look at and separate the items.

Which piece of punctuation is your favourite?

Ears open, eyes peeled.

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There are always story ideas around, you just have to be open to them. One really good way of finding a story is by taking a look at the people around you. Is there anyone who piques your interest? What are they wearing, doing, saying? What do they look like? Any features that stand out to you? Take notice of their body language. Then think about why they are where they are today, for example if they’re on a train where are they traveling from/to and why? (Obviously that part is purely your opinion.) You now have a character and maybe you even have a storyline too. They could be running away from home, or even an undercover MI5 agent.

Also make sure to listen to the conversations around you. You might hear something interesting. The last time I listened in to a conversation, it was between two old ladies and they were discussing how many bananas they’d bought and the amazing value of them. Obviously I didn’t manage a story out of that one!

I’ve never been too good at the people watching side of things, but my favourite way is observing any kind of commotion/altercation. Just the other night, my neighbour was having an argument outside with his girlfriend. I sat on the floor next to the door, listening through the letterbox. Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to hear anything because my mum told me off for being ‘nosey.’ Yes, I guess I was being nosey, but it always feels better when there’s a reason for it. I was annoyed at her for the rest of the night for potentially preventing an amazing story idea.

Even if your mind feels blank now, just wait because your next idea may be just around the corner.

Stories to proofread

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Hey everyone,

I am looking to build my proofreading portfolio so am offering my services FOR FREE. If you have any stories you’ve written that you’d like me to look at, then comment on this post. I don’t do any major edits and only accept files in the form of Word Documents where I will do ‘track changes.’

By the age of 15, I was published in three anthologies and I’ve also studied Creative Writing at Bath Spa university for three years. I graduated just under a year ago.

Thank you!

Punctuation from hell

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I’d like to think I’m a pretty good writer, but there is one thing I can’t get my head around and that’s apostrophes… I understand the use of using them if two words are shortened to one, such as can’t and won’t, but I just can’t seem to get my head around the times when they are used to show possession.

One example I looked up that showed an apostrophe is ‘yesterday’s weather.’ So that means yesterday owns the weather? I just don’t get it!

If anyone understands, please leave a comment explaining it to me below. Thank you.

Be consistent

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Full stops are pretty easy to work out, but commas? How often should you use them?

And the issue is that no one seems to agree. I used to put a comma before every connective word, before finding out that you don’t usually need to put a comma before the word ‘because.’ I’d been doing it for years.

And to make matters worse, I studied Creative Writing at Bath Spa for three years and was pulled up on my use of commas by THREE different lecturers:
-Lecturer #1 said I use way too many commas.
-Lecturer #2 said that I don’t use enough commas and that I should put a comma before the word ‘and’ which I hardly ever do (and still don’t.)
-Lecturer #3 was over the moon with my use of commas and awarded me with a first due to my perfect use of them and all other punctuation.

Confusing, right?

I don’t think I/we will ever know the perfect amount of commas to use in our writing, because there doesn’t seem to be a right or wrong answer. Even in books I read, I can see that some authors use lots, while others hardly use any at all.

So what happens if no matter what you do it’s never right?

I guess the only other option is to be consistent!