Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Dream Themes

The commonly held wisdom is that as someone who wants to make a go of writing, I should blog regularly, weekly if possible. I tried that a while back, but just can't do it, mainly because writing is dull. It's really dull.
An example commentary of my writing method involves 'get a cup of coffee, drink the coffee, write a bit, delete a bit, think, write a bit, judge it, delete or keep it'. I could post other things by other writers or TV programs, films etc. but between my job, my family and my writing I don't have the time, not if I want to sleep, and I do want to sleep, (right now, as it happens).
I'm posting this now because I have something vaguely fresh - a new book cover (see above) for a project that I started roughly a year back before stalling. I have since picked it up again and found it enjoyable (to me). I've gone against my natural instincts to just jump into writing it and have instead finished a plot synopsis first. I think it's pretty decent, so I'm going to try and finish it. It'll be a fantasy (of sorts), dreamlike in its oddness, tragedy and triumph.

Right, that doesn't fill up much of a page, so I'm now going to tell you all about common themes that crop up in my own dreams. Judge my psyche as you will...

  • Living alone in decaying houses, often by the sea.
  • Visiting the edge of the world (often by the sea too).
  • Being in a house where the lights are struggling to stay on,  fading out after a certain amount of time, necessitating me turning on the switch again and again.
  • Being in a position of fame (playing guitar for Mastodon, or playing football for the Gooners) and having no skills with which to pay the bills.
  • Being in a safe environment, surrounded by monsters that I can control by telling them to stop, and then having them ignore that command and move towards me.
  • Having a person or animal drowning nearby and I can't help them.
  • Having a friend try to hurt/kill me but refusing to tell me why.
  • Fighting in a sword-fight but being unwilling to hit my opponent as I actually don't really want to cut someone with a metal blade. It bloody hurts.
So yeah, my dreams are quite bleak and powerless generally, but that usually means I wake up pretty happy with my lot (beautiful family, no immediate peril) so don't pity me, buy my books! Is that what I'm supposed to say? I don't know. Have a good day, all of you.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

The lonely man

Today is mine and my wife’s seventh wedding anniversary.
The time seems to have flown past, though only when I think of her. The rest of my life has been a long slog, day after day. I was thinking about why that was, and I realised that it was because even though we have been together for so long, there is still so much to learn about her. Even if she told me all about her life, every day, there would still be thoughts and feelings and events from her past that I would never know, grain upon grain, building up into the bedrock of her life before we met. She’s a story I want to know, a mystery that I want to unravel.
We don’t have the same tastes, not at all. Her taste in music is the complete opposite to mine. Books? We both read quite a bit, but different genres. Films, the same (though we can agree on comedies more than others). Pass-times… well, let’s just say my nerdiness fills her with a boiling disgust. There are cultural differences (she’s from Japan, I’m from the Black Country. Yep, hers is better). We can’t always communicate everything in as much depth as we’d want (though she is a far better linguist than I). So why am I so happy?
It’s because she accepts all the differences, without a single thought. She simply accepts me, big, clumsy, forgetful, daft Jake. If we disagree, we compromise. She is never jealous. She never spies on me, nor I on her. We trust each other implicitly. We also share the most important aspects of our world views. We both value freedom, family, justice, security… and food. Oh man, the food.
I didn’t have a second thought about proposing after nine months of being together. Being with her was as comfortable as being alone, if that makes sense. Despite the fact that I’m very sociable, it’s a learned trait. I’m actually cripplingly shy. I find it hard to be 100% myself around anyone, except her. I feel myself around her. I don’t hate myself around her.
She doesn’t mind that I’m a soft spongey man who wants hugging more than she does, she will always be there for me. We can be silent together, and not feel the need to fill the room with words. She has taught me what it means to be a husband, and a father, and an adult (without having to lose the edge of creative fun that childhood brings).
She’s in Japan right now, with my two lovely daughters, and the fact only serves to make this anniversary all the more special. I’m now experiencing life without her, and it is cold, depressing, and despite the fact that I am seeing my family and friends more than I ever did when I was single, I’m unbelievably lonely.
She’s my best friend. She’s my love. She’s my little pumpkin seed.
I love you wifey.

(Please come home soon.)

Saturday, 19 July 2014

The Bones

I flew back from Japan to the U.K. yesterday, having spent two weeks with my in-laws. My trips to Japan usually involve a lot of writing. Once upon a time I managed to get 40,000 words of The Binary Man done in ten days, but this time was a little different, and not only because we've got the kids now (the 'time machines', due to their ability to drain it in the happiest way possible). My word count was a demure 6,000, give or take. Why? Well, I was looking at the bones.

I've always resisted studying the structure of stories. I did learn a bit about it at University in the most superficial of ways, and found that even this half-hearted approach still sucked all of the potential magic out of reading a book. It broke my immersion. I felt the same when writing. Better to get the story out, as fast and as enthusiastically as possible, because that way it'll be more raw. And it was. But raw is only good in sashimi and wrestling.

I've been throwing out first drafts, and thinking of them as finished. Sure, sometimes I would get a glimpse of something decent, when a few parts fell in the right places, but it was luck rather than judgement, if I'm honest. And then I wonder why my books don't sell. It's like making a baked potato. You can do it in the microwave, and you'll have the same ingredients (pomme de terre, buerrefromage, lovely jubbly), but there's something missing in the flavour. If you give it an hour in the oven, it develops nuances and textures that weren't there before. It comes together. It melts, rather than flaking.

So I picked up a few books, and read how others did it. You know, successful authors. I looked at exposition, leading to rising action, to climax (oh myyy), to falling action, and then I compared that structure to the books I loved. It worked! It fitted. And I never saw them, I never saw the bones that held the body of work up. 

I laid out a plan. I worked out events, characters, a setting, and left enough room for the story to jiggle about a bit as the characters' personalities begin to assert themselves (always an exciting moment). It's going to be a thriller. It has a different narrative voice to my usual one, even my usual first person voice, which means cutting words that don't fit, and explaining things in a different way so that they work for the character. It's not going to be the most original story out there, but I don't think that matters this time. This story is about me learning how to write, how to build the skeleton, before I hide it in the meat of a (hopefully decent) read. I'm keeping most of the details secret. I've only told a snippet of the plot to one person (my soon to be brother-in-law), and I stopped myself quickly. I'm not getting that hot potato out of the oven until it's done. I'm going to draft, re-draft, cut, and be mercenary. 

It'll be the best damn potato I've ever baked. I hope you enjoy it.

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Why I write horror.

Well, I was trying to write a blog post every week, but last week was too filled with life, children and (I’ll be honest) sunshine. I’m feeling very stretched lately (what’s that Tolkien/Bilbo quote? “Like butter over too much bread?”) so I’ve decided to relax on my writing to enable me to get a bit of energy back. Due to starting new jobs, moving jobs, scheduling holiday for when my kids are off etc. I am now in the position where I’ve only had a week and a half of holiday in eight months. I am fried.

So I now watch Hannibal on my commutes, with just a bit of writing thrown in if my mind can take it. Hannibal is a great program, though very grisly. I wouldn’t mind if the violence was more implied, as it’s not the reason I watch it. The characters are the draw (even if the female characters are very two dimensional compared to the male). It’s a wonderful story of a descent into madness, and a chillingly believable one (for all of its mammoth body count. I’m never going to Baltimore. There must only be about three people left).

Annnnnnnnnyway, all of this led me to thinking about why I actually write horror. I never intended to be primarily a horror writer. The majority of the books that I own are science fiction or fantasy, and my first book The Binary Man was a cyberpunk effort. My second book Heal The Sick, Raise The Dead would have a hard time to be classed as anything as horror due to the fact that it features the undead, but I intended it to be more of a mystery than straight up zombie pulp. The corpses are incidental and present a sense of constant threat, rather than being the main story. Then came Cuts of Flesh, a six part novella Lovecraftian series about a detective investigating a murder, which leads to him uncovering the fact that his wife might still be alive after she disappeared seven years ago. Yes, these ones are definitely horror. The Real Thing is not, going back to cyberpunk with an overblown near future romp, which I enjoyed writing, but has never taken off. Then there was Terror Organic, an anthology of my short stories (all pretty macabre), Carnival, another horror novella, and finally Shy, an interactive Japanese horror novel. I’m now in the process of flitting between three novels, one sci fi, one dark fantasy and one thriller/yes, probably horror. The strange thing is, I don’t really think of the word horror when I’m writing the story. Horror to me evokes a revelling in gore. I’ve seen posts by horror fans along the lines of “that is so sick, when the eye gets squished!”, where the violence itself is seen as being a reason to watch. I know horror fans who don’t give a flying limb about narrative, as long as the blood keeps flowing down the screen.

Yes, my stories do sometimes contain gore, but I don’t enjoy writing it. I fear it. Maybe I keep falling back on such dark writing because I’m older, I have a wife who I love dearly and am petrified of losing, and now two daughters. My heart aches with worry, and those worries come out in my stories. I want to push those worries back, but don’t feel strong enough to do it myself, so I write protagonists who can. My ideal life would be farming and sunshine, away from a society that seems hell bent on stripping the world of its life and reducing everything to a commodity to be consumed. Unfortunately, farms are expensive, and I fear my wife wouldn’t do well in the solitude that I crave, so I slog it out in the city, and exorcise my demons with writing.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Living five minutes into the future

For a while now, I've been aware that I'm travelling in time. Well, partially.

My mind is separated into two distinct parts. One is living in the now, reacting and observing events as they happen, and the other part is thinking about what is to come in the next five minutes, five days, five weeks, months, years. I have to force myself to be fully aware of everything around me.

This thought process has been exacerbated by my writing. I'm always looking towards the next project, or the next (small) marketing attempt or offer. I plan novels that are years down the line, before I've even finished the one I'm working on at the moment. I know that this is bad practice for someone who wants to be a writer, but that doesn't make it any easier to stop, it just gives me a feeling of hollow guilt when another hour of free time fizzes past with no progress made. I constantly feel as if I'm starting out, rather than realising that I have two years of focussed writing and indie publishing experience (though not hugely successful). This feeling gives me energy, but it's a dissonant energy, shredded with nerves.

This sense of future nervousness affects my home life too. I think about the future of my daughters, and how our relationship will be when they are older. Will they respect me? Will they be happy? Will they want me around? I hope so. This wondering can also lead me to forget that right now, at the ages of four and two, they do want me around. I know I need to appreciate that fact more, lock out all other thoughts, and simply play.

It's easier said than done. Isolation is hard to achieve now. For many of us, events can be made known moments after happening. We are constantly aware of others' lives through social networking, so much so that it makes us less aware of our own.
I long for the days before I had a mobile phone, when I could go for a walk and not be found. I know I could go for a walk now, and leave my phone off, or at home, but there would always be a tiny part of my mind thinking about it. There was a purity of thought before I had the option. As much as I love writing, I'd give it all up to live in a remote cottage, and get some farming done. Seriously.

And there we go again, living in the future, or possible future, rather than the now. See how easy it is to slip?

This isn't a pontification about how technology is a plague. After all, this is a blog! It's more of a lesson for myself. If writing this helps me to give a few more moments of focus to my wife and children, then it's worth it. And don't worry, they're not here. I'm writing this on the train to work, and thinking of them.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Why I don't think of myself as a writer.

I know this will be a divisive topic, but it’s something that crops up a lot in the world of indie and self-published authors. I’ve mentioned it a couple of times before, but I thought I’d dedicate a blog post to the subject as a way of fully explaining my position.
In the last two years I have written four novels, a series of six novellas, and nine short stories. I have also had a number one in the UK in the cyberpunk category with the first of my novels, The Binary Man.
I don’t consider myself a writer. I consider myself a father who writes.
This is not because I don’t value what I’m doing, day in, day out. I don’t consider writing a hobby. I love writing. I’ve always loved writing. I love crafting a story, honing it, and trying to get my words into the correct order so that they can convey precisely the image that I had in mind. I may not always achieve this, but the action itself is addictive.
It’s also not because I think that only traditionally published authors are bona fide. There are many writers who are self-publishing and have a great standard of prose, and I’ve been lucky enough to read some of their stuff. It’s humbling.
The reason is simply this… if I call myself a writer, then my success (or relative lack of it) is more immediate. If I measure my worth by my income (as many do, though I don’t) and judge it solely on my earnings from my books, I would fail to provide for myself or my kids. If I were to judge myself on the performance of my books and how well I think they should do (I really think Shy could do well, but as yet it hasn’t), I’d give up writing in an instant just to preserve my mental health.
I don’t want to give up writing. I want to carry on practicing, getting in my 10,000 hours so that I can finally get that missing something that will make one of my stories take off. If it means that I have to go a few more years without calling myself a writer, then so be it. At least the writing will still get done.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

My house is a mess.

My house is a mess. The walls are stained, the carpet is scattered with debris, and the windows are obscured by crayon. Dust clings. Toys creep out of their boxes daily and spread throughout the house like fungous. Blankets and pillows lie twisted upon a bed that refuses to be made.
We struggle against it, of course, my wife and I. We are stoic Canutes, willing the tide of filth away, to little effect. We dust and hoover and wipe and scrape, though we never reach the heady heights of being able to polish. Every day it forces its way back on us, the disorder and the chaos, caused by the two tornadoes - one medium, one small - that whirl from room to room. We sigh, we fight, we sweat, we fail.
And yet...
I see the crayon that runs from wall to wall in the bathroom, and remember my children narrating stories of great importance to themselves, and therefore to me. I see the coffee stains slipping behind the radiator, and remember a little shocked face, my harsh words, and the reconciliation of a tiny hug from a fragile body. I see the black rings that spread across the carpet from wall to wall and remember the unruly mealtimes when they just wouldn’t sit down – such a contrast to their increasingly mature behaviour, as their childhood changes in aspect daily. Each mess is a reminder. Each etched pen mark is an exploration. Each moment is a moment passed.
I miss my children daily, each and every one, the ones that leave every day to be replaced by a new one, so similar, and yet different. I resent the fact that I must work, and be away from their smiles and cries and life.
I would clean up after them for eternity, if I could.
I love my messy house, and I love them.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Fantastic Cheese

After spending a little time promoting Shy (though probably not enough) I’m starting to force myself back into writing, with The Overcloud Codex being my main focus.

The plot’s protagonist is named Tomas Rask. He is the Allfather, the head of an order named The Vigil. He is an acerbic man in his mid-sixties, who carries the dead weight of a colossal book known as the Overcloud Codex on his back wherever he goes, using its dangerous knowledge to protect himself and others. The Vigil are tasked with keeping the shadowy entities that sit at the edge of reality from overflowing into the lands of the Redsnow Baronies. In the past the order was revered, but such was there success of their actions that the threat of encroachment dwindled, and the people forgot the shadows that used to haunt their nights and instead began to focus on each other, squabbling between themselves over the pastures, forests and jewel-rich mountains. But something is growing in the west, beyond Razor’s Pass, waiting for an opportunity to spread across the land once again. All that stands in its way is one man, and one book.
This is not a story of colleges of wizards and glittering armies of beautifully sculpted elves, this is a low-tech fantasy, more dark ages than medieval. It will be filled with struggle, grime, and enough shades of grey to write a porno with. Tomas’ journey will be arduous, as will my own, as I try to keep cheese from the tale.

I used to read quite a lot of fantasy as a youth, and I won’t name any titles here, simply because there is still a fan base for most of the books that I read, I enjoyed them (for the most part) and there is definitely a place for high fantasy, but as I grew up I found the genre was full of stories that seemed too detached from reality to be believable, even if they are by definition unbelievable, if that makes sense. There was too much that was idealised for me to connect. Perhaps it’s the cynic in me.

Female warriors were slim, curvaceous, and in all cases beautiful. It seemed to matter little that they were swinging large pieces of metal, they still didn’t seem to grow the large muscles in their arms necessary for the task, or develop the scars, disfigurements or broken noses that their male counterparts did. They didn’t stink of sweat from struggling through miles of harsh mountainside. They had long hair, (easy to grab in a melee) and it never got matted or gummed up with dirt and twigs. It was all about being sexy in a chainmail bikini (I mean really, what is that? Gut shot with an arrow, down. Wear some bloody ARMOUR!)

Elves were all beautiful, graceful, and intelligent. Dwarves were all grumpy, greedy and brave. Trolls were all... trollish. All right, maybe I’ll accept that one. And the magic, oh the magic. It was bloody everywhere! Mage guild this, necromancer that. Farmers must get home after a long night of toil, wipe their faces with a cloth and go to light a candle on the house fire, and think “FML, what I wouldn’t give to be able to get a glowing orb on the go like Fizzbang down the road”.

The exception for me was always Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series. For all of its farce, which was a joy in itself, it was clearly a mirror of our own world, and showed the ludicrous nature of our own lives by refracting it through a fantasy lens. A great example comes from the very first book, The Colour Of Magic, where insurance is invented, and is shown to be effectively gambling on when your house will burn down. If it does, you win the cash! In another book, Lords and Ladies, Elves are seen as being predators from beyond, playing with humans that fall for their charm. Beautifully simple, and a great way of turning the genre on its head.

There is of course the white elephant in the room (on the page?) with George R.R. Martin, who everyone can agree has created a great medieval-esque world, but despite its genius and faux-realism, still has the dragons. Yes, I know people are excited about them, probably everyone except me, but I enjoyed the books more when it was about intrigue and battles. It’s not that I want to read medieval fiction rather than fantasy, as I love reading about a fictional world, and enjoy the grisly parts of the story that take place beyond The Wall. It’s just that something about the overpowered nature of the dragons seems out of place to me. Plus, some of the scenes in the books seem a little adolescent. Are women really aware of their breasts rubbing against cloth as they walk? I certainly don’t feel my baubles smacking around in my trousers as I’m wandering around.

Where was I?

So, yes, my attempt to give a bit of grounding to my text. Here are my pledges.

1. The fantasy genre has its “rules” as much as any, with plenty of description being one of its main elements. Fantastic lands come alive with details, or drown in them. Keeping my story action packed whilst still containing enough information to create a vivid landscape will be tough, but hopefully I’ll do all right. Martin certainly manages to keep everything going at a breakneck pace, except when it comes to describing food (luscious quail eggs overflowing with the golden nectar of the pya pya pya).

2. I will create warriors as warriors, whether male or female.

3. “Magic” will be a rare and much sought after commodity, able to curse and save, often at the same time.

4. Beasts will be beasts, driven by animalistic urges.

5. There will be no blanket “good” races or “bad” races.

6. Blood will flow.

7. I will try to show the full spectrum of humanity, from the lowest of deeds to the most noble, though they will not necessarily be rewarded, because....

8. There will be no fate.

This last point is the most important for me, as I have always felt that it detracted from any deed. If it was meant to be, where is the achievement?

So, I’m off to the Redsnow Baronies. May the Allfather watch over me, and keep the cheese from my narrative sandwich.

Saturday, 3 May 2014

How to write (when you don't have time to)

It's coming up to the two year anniversary of the first publication of my dystopian novel The Binary Man, and the beginning of my adventures in writing, so I thought I'd share a bit about how I go about destroying myself on a regular basis, all in the name of narrative.

For many, including myself, writing is a hobby. I don't mean to say that it is any less important to me (it's my biggest passion, apart from my family), but it isn't my main source of income, at least not yet (fingers crossed until they snap).

I have a demanding full time job, and two small children (two and four) to look after. As I'm not willing to be an unavailable parent, I have had to come up with a framework for my writing so that I don't jeapordise either my family or working life which has allowed me to write three novels, a series of six novellas, and several short stories in the past two years. 

(This list is sometimes more intention than actuality).

Work out your optimum writing time

Everyone has a different body clock, so working out when the writing part of your brain is functioning at a satisfying level is recommended, to save having to trawl through hundreds of words of junk when you're finally switched on. The early morning works best for me, with prime time being between 10am and noon.

Cut down "leisure" time

So you want to play a bit of Shogun Total War? Sorry, those ronin ruled territories will have to wait to feel the heavy boot of your Shogunate. It’s time to tear your hair out over a freshly discovered plot hole that has destroyed the foundation of an entire novel. This is your fun now.

Make 4 a.m. your friend

There is something liberating about being the only person stupid enough to be awake. Even birds are hitting the snooze button. Use that isolation to bring your narrative world to life. The precious hours before your daily routine are a bleary eyed gift.

Ignore your kids

Just kidding.

Get the train to work

If you have the choice between the car or the train, take the train. I get an hour and a half extra screen time a day that way, although sometimes I do spend the time crammed in next to beer soaked football fans managing to scream without using any consonants whatsoever.

Find some writing music

This can be whatever works best for you, but I find that instrumental music generally helps, so that my writing doesn’t get cross contaminated with Nick Cave’s lyrics. It also helps to drown out others when you’re typing up a storm on the commute.

Realise you have two jobs

Even if one of them has a far poorer pound-per-hour ratio (guess which one). Get organised, add some structure, and think ahead. You never know when you might be able to grab half an hour.

Keep a notebook

Anyone who writes will recognise the deadly ‘blank page stare’. Counter this by noting down ideas as they come to you, to ensure you have ammunition for your next session.

A lot of these points have been said before, but hopefully someone somewhere will find them useful. I’ll probably print out a copy for myself, as I shirked my 4 a.m. start today and stayed in bed until 5.45, which means that am now having to finish this blog post with a small child (drinking juice whilst dressed as a rabbit) perched on my lap.

Sunday, 27 April 2014

A update on projects

An update on current projects

I need to blog more regularly, so I will endeavour to make Sunday blog day! Along with catch up with Match Of The Day, day.

After a topsy-turvy week of rejections (boo!) and submissions (hooray!) I've settled back into writing A Fresh Start, a creepy short story set in a fictional backwater town in the US called Henry's Corner. I abandoned the short story a couple of months ago due to a massive bout of 'writer's angst' brought on by many events that conspired to fan the flames of my ever-present self- doubt, and which has been alleviated by the fact that I have stopped drinking caffeinated coffee. I am now some sort of peaceful spongey man, one who tries to go for a run once in a while and not eat too many eggs.
Anyway, I'm also hard at work planning out the chapters for my fantasy The Overcloud Codex, the idea for which has grown exponentially since its inception (hopefully in the right direction).

Alongside this, I am also planning out a novel based around a school called The Lessons of Autumn Falls. I'm not going to say any more about it at the moment, mainly because so many details are changing by the day, but it will be a bit more of a mainstream thriller than I have ever written, so hopefully it will appeal to those who find most of my ideas a bit dark and 'fleshy'. I have been sent a pic by my good buddy George Hodan ( that works very well for the theme of the story, so I've knocked up a mini cover again (which is my way of taking a break from words whilst staying focused on the story).

In other (currently published book news), Shy is getting some good feedback, and after a bit of a sticky situation with four ill chosen words leading to a concern about copyright (oh mama!), it's out on amazon with a swanky new cover that better describes its mission: to scare your tiny pants off with its interactive Japanese horror.

You can get hold of this tasty book for just £1.99 on Kindle at (UK)
or $2.99 (plus tax) 
at (US)
It's also available in many other countries, including Japan! Although it's not available in Japanese, because my skills are not that dope.

In a bit!


Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Ten things I should never do whilst writing, but do, every time.

Writing is a struggle, and I love making it harder for myself. Here's a list of foolish things I do with startling regularity.

1. Have another cup of coffee.
My writing time usually pans out this way...
First cup: "Great idea! Wow, that's sharp. It'll take some work, but I think this is going to be a decent piece of fiction."
Second cup: "Yeah, I'm gonna get this done today. I mean, my time is running out, but I've got more than enough to finish. It's just a first draft, after all. It could use more polish though..."
Third cup: "The kids will be up soon, and all I've got down is this awful lump of exposition. Right, concentrate. Come on. COME ON! There's no hurry, there's no deadline... but there is. The deadline is now. Before now. Why isn't it finished?
Fourth cup: "This is shit. I am shit."

2. Start editing before the first draft is done.
Ah, the joys of getting down four hundred words, then cutting three hundred, refining the remaining hundred, and ending up with "The night was dark. Well dark."

3. Check on my book sales.
Sometimes they've gone up, most of the time they haven't. That still doesn't stop me checking three or four times an hour. Each time the sales are static I die a little inside. If I sell a couple, great! Well, for about a minute... then I check again.

4. Check on my friend's book sales.
Sort of the inverse of the point above, but just as soul destroying. Since I started publishing stories I've gotten to know a lot of lovely authors, all of whom, no matter how stellar (and deserving of success) they are as people, I compare to myself with a vicious jealousy. Thanks to amazon, I can now pinpoint to the nth degree exactly how crap I am compared to them.

5. Think of an idea for something else.
And plot it. And re-plot it. Give it a title. Do a working book cover. Discard the book cover. Discard the plot. Discard the idea. Congratulations Jake! You just wasted your only free three hours this week.

6. Look at facebook/twitter/emails.
It's all the same, just wasted time. I remember being bored, back in the dusty annals of time. I haven't been 100% bored since 2007. After all, now there's always a news article about someone I don't care about to read.

7. Watch Match of the Day on Iplayer whilst writing.
Can't be done. "The mercenary bared his teeth at the oncoming monstrosity. The sunken eyes. The haggard features. It could only be... Martin Skrtel."

8. Open Steam.
I'll just check the daily sale. No, nothing good. Oh, I seem to have an abundance of games installed, none of which I’ve played. I’ll have to rectify that now, otherwise something will happen, something bad. Yes, I’m sure.

9. Stare into space.
No one knows what’s going through my mind when I do this, least of all me.

10. Throw in the towel and watch Aqua Teen Hunger Force.
Because there’s a sentient box of chips called “Frylock”.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Maxwell's Demon

Here's a micro short story I wrote for a mate, to tie in with his gloomy Lovecraftian electronica. Just stumbled across it whilst clearing out my desktop. It's a bit 'flowery' in its language, but I like it.

Maxwell's Demon

I want to wrench the sun from its perch and drown it in spit, crushing and pressing it down until it collapses in on itself. Dark matter, a black hole. Diamonds in an empty cosmos, reflecting nothing. It punctuates a picture I no longer want to see... a man, hunched shoulders giving the image of a desiccated spider's corpse. A perch of rain soaked rocks over Atlantic coast, the edge of the sunken world.
That face, those lines of concern and self pitying anguish, skin quivering either from tears or from the movement in the brackish sea water. Kelp lurches past, locked in an embrace with rotting wood lost from land, miles from home.
Those eyes cut into me, grey as ghost skin. Maxwell.
The surface twitches with a new zephyr that tosses a sticky mass of hair across cheeks that seem too sharp for humanity. A tongue, almost purple with cold, licks cracking lips and savours the blood vessels that have seeped through their makeshift doorways and made their escape.
Revulsion is all I can register when I look at that face, staring back at me from behind the shifting foam. The face is mine, but I feel no connection to it.
Death is too good for such a creature, but it is all that waits. Deeds are done and deeds are known and deeds are felt with regret, but they are never undone. There must be a resolution.
Did the child scream, or had it simply been his own soul expelling its last shred of humanity before spiralling away?
The body still lies a little way off, water pressing in on it and leaving a halo of foetid scum on the blood soaked clothes. Perhaps the lapping waves were urging the thin legs into an awkward jig upon the polished pebbles, but the face doesn't move to look. Rheumy eyes remained fixed on mine.
Rain begins to stab at the image, bursts of movement on a face that registers nothing.
There must be an end.
I reach forward towards the surface, my thin fingers twitching with anticipation as I curve my body towards the threshold, the plane that marks the divide, the ever shifting tide.
The surprise on his face is a marked change as my hand plunges from the water to grab his feeble throat. The flaps of ageing skin that encircle his neck slip and slide over convulsing tendons.
With a single wrench of my arm my quarry is within the frozen waves.
Air is a memory that is expelled.
A haze of blood from a broken mouth stretched to a scream.
There is no reflection of a man who cannot call himself a man, only the demon.
I am Maxwell's Demon.
I was Maxwell's Demon.