Thicker Than Water, a horror flash fiction collection now on Tablo and Wattpad

Readers, friends and lovely people! If you like your fiction dark and gruesome, I’ve just added a treat for you to Tablo and Wattpad.

Thicker Than Water
A collection of flash fiction on the theme of families and destruction, with the following stories…

An experience, when destruction brings redemption to what is left of a family.
“It started when I read that 2,450 volts of electricity would be passed through my brother’s body and energy began to mean something different to me.”

The Ninth Step
A prayer, when a life is lost and a family is destroyed.
“Can you explain to her that as soon as I felt the impact, the world broke open and hell closed in around me?”

To Mother’s Farm
A conversation, when destruction is the family business.
“And they might wonder why he’s missing all his teeth. And his tongue. And his fingers. And his left eyeball. And where those electrical burns came from.”

You can read it for free on Tablo and Wattpad. Enjoy!

[Please note this book is a collection of horror stories and contains mentions of violence, gore and death]

Floods in the park, Car Thieves and Stone Flowers

We had mega heavy rain here in Edinburgh yesterday. It was awesome, in the truest sense of the word. Today, it was dry and sunny again so I went to the park down the road and a lake had appeared! It was totally amazing looking so I stopped to take a few photos. The entire place wasn’t under water, but part of the road and the playing fields were. It made me smile to see how much the birds were enjoying themselves.

Being outdoors really helps me feel inspired, so it was lovely to do some thinking and planning for Car Thieves, my July Camp NaNoWriMo project. I’m twitching a little bit about it because although I already know some of the characters really well (they appeared in my January flash fiction project) and have a rough idea of the world the book is set in, I don’t actually have a solid story yet.

The story for Stone Flowers Grow in Cold Places appeared pretty much fully formed one day while I was out for a walk, after spending weeks getting to know the characters and their world, so maybe that’s just how it works for me. Even though I can make myself sit down and write even when I’m not really feeling it, I find it hard to force a decent story. Instead of panicking (much) about only having three weeks until Camp NaNo, I’m going to get on with character profiles, location references and world details, and I’m sure the story will happen.

Speaking of Stone Flowers, it’s been proof read and corrected, and has now had its final revision! I still have to make the cover, which I’m really excited about, and then I’ll figure out how to fit the release of the book in with the launch of my Patreon and writing Car Thieves over the next few months. Actually just having a finished manuscript feels absolutely incredible though, especially as it’s the longest single thing I’ve ever written.

I hope you’re all having a great week so far ❤

Gradually Then Suddenly, now free to read on Tablo and Wattpad

I’ve added another of my short stories to Tablo and Wattpad.

Gradually, Then Suddenly

After the death of her beloved grandmother, Ella Riley inherits her home and her belongings, including  a ring with a mysterious inscription. As Ella solves her grandmother’s final riddle, she discovers a tale of fear, escape and new beginnings.

“This time though, I saw a countdown to freedom and finally I had my own secret, my own beautiful, untouchable truth.”

A story of a life forged in friendship and bravery, short enough to read in your tea break.

You can read it for free on Tablo and Wattpad.

Revised publishing plans: Free books and Patreon!

I’M A FLUFFY BUNNY! Blame Instgram for this. If you provide a bunny ears and whiskers filter, I’m going to put it on my face. Also, enjoy the eyeliner smudges under my eyes because I am pure glamour, always.

Anyway, so the point of this post. I’ve been thinking a lot (I mean A LOT, in capital letters) recently about indie publishing and how I want to approach it. Last month I wrote here about my publishing plans as they were (part 1 and part 2) but since then I haven’t been able to shake the feeling that something wasn’t right, that there was something missing, something I still had to figure out. It was really bothering me. It felt like a stone in my gut and it wouldn’t shift.

A lot of the research I’ve done into indie publishing involves pricing strategy, when to make books free or discount them, what channels are best to sell through, what commission is taken by different platforms and how to shift units. Believe me, I understand how important marketing is but it hurts me in my soul to have to focus so much on sell, sell, sell. The tools people use to sell – social media platforms – are tools I use to connect with people, genuinely, honestly and openly. I don’t want to view every awesome person I meet as a potential book sale. I don’t want my friends, old or new, to feel like they’re being marketed to.

It was a friend’s birthday last weekend and a bunch of us were having an adult slumber party (like a slumber party for adults, not like “adult”), so I decided to give my brain a couple of days off, enjoy the company of lovely people and let inspiration arrive by itself.

And by the power of mead and pizza, it arrived. When I got out of the planning mindset and allowed myself to think about what I really craved for my writing, I realised that I wanted to a) make my books freely available to anyone who wants to read them, and b) not have to push buy my thing constantly. Basically, if I won the lottery tomorrow and had no need for income from any other source, I’d still write constantly and publish my own work in as many places as I could. I don’t write to sell. I don’t write for critical acclaim or prestige. I write because I love writing, I love sharing and I love reading. If I gave a shit about any of that other stuff, I’d be busting my balls to get a deal with a big publishing company, not working towards indie publishing.

So I ventured into the realm of what if?, which is a great place to visit when you’re not sure what to do next. What if I could just give my books away for free on multiple platforms? What if I could still earn an income from writing? What if I could do all this in a way that fit with my personal ethics and values, with my heart and soul as well as my brain? The realm of what if? delivered, as it tends to do when you approach it with an open mind.

If my books are free, always, everywhere, for anyone to read, I can still have options for people who have the inclination and financial means to support my work. Patreon, which I’ve mentioned here before, gives supporters the option to pledge an amount per month (I’d rather welcome per month pledges rather than per thing pledges for reasons I’ll get into in another post), even a very small amount, and in return I can give them awesome stuff. I haven’t completely decided on what awesome stuff this will be, but I’m thinking of access to character profiles, location references, drafts, news and even possibly an invitation to get involved in helping me make decisions about stories I’m writing. If I also use PayPal, people who read one of my books, like it and it want to do the equivalent of buying that book, can have the option to pay an amount of their choosing as a one-off payment. Or make multiple one-off payments as and when they want to. Flexibility is what I’m going for.

I know this is new. I know this is experimental. I know this relies on people actually wanting to support my work in this way rather than just straight-up purchasing books. I know it’s going to be hard work and even if I put everything into it, it might not work out. But it might. I’m under no illusion that I’m going to make huge amounts of money, or make money quickly. I know it’s likely to be a slow build. But “it’s going to be difficult” has never been a reason not to do something. It’s a reason to do it harder.

I believe in people. I truly believe that while some people will grab what they can get for free and not care about supporting creators, there will always be people who will want to pay for the things they enjoy. I know that there will always be people who want to pay but can’t afford to, and I still want those people to be able to read my stories. I ran my idea past friends, both internet-friends and meatspace-friends, on a couple of different social media platforms and have had really encouraging feedback, which has been wonderful! I’m ready to do this 100% and see what happens.

I need to get stuck into learning all about Patreon and figuring out what rewards are desirable for ongoing pledges. I need to work out how long all this will take to get set up properly, because I don’t want to do it half-assed just to do it soon. I need to get Stone Flowers Grow In Cold Places completely finished and ready to publish. I need to start working on Car Thieves, which is going to be my July 2017 Camp NaNoWriMo project (just casually announcing that here). I need to keep publishing short stories on Wattpad and Tablo in the meantime.

When I think about it being less than half a year since I decided to get serious about writing, it totally blows me away. In that time, I’ve had work published in lit mags and a book. I’ve written a novella and am planning a second. I’ve started using two new platforms (Wattpad and Tablo) for sharing my work and on one of them (Tablo) everything I’ve published has appeared in the Trending section within hours. I’ve fallen in love with social media again and am genuinely enjoying spending time on Twitter, Ello and Tumblr. I’m blogging here more often. I’m talking to new people and making new friends.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m working my ass off, but I’m doing it for me, for my dream, and no matter what happens next, every second of this experience is an adventure and I’m so grateful for it.

You might have noticed I referred to indie publishing rather than self publishing. I decided I like the term better. Something about the concept of independence just strikes a chord with me and makes me feel good 🙂

Dreams of Seven Houses, now on Tablo and Wattpad

I’m getting ready to publish the novella I wrote during Camp NaNoWriMo back in April and possibly/probably participate in the next Camp NaNo in July to write the first draft of another novel(la). I’m doing a lot of thinking about how long things will take, how much I still need to figure out and learn, and when best to take the publishing plunge (I’m thinking August, but don’t quote me on that just yet) so I’ll be talking more about that here once I have a firm timeframe sorted.

In the meantime, I’m enjoying adding more of my shorter works to Tablo and Wattpad while I get more familiar with those sites and get to know other writers and readers there.

Dreams of Seven Houses is a record of nocturnal meanderings and places my mind visited while my body slept. You can read it for free now on Tablo and Wattpad. Enjoy!

Cigarettes As A Metaphor For Heartbreak [now on Tablo and Wattpad]

A short story about lipstick, scars and moving on.

That was the true beginning of the tempest, the vortex, turbulent and wild. Ships shattering, thrown against rocks in the darkness of a storm and lifeboats swallowed whole by raging waves. A collapsing tower, a wheel with spokes on fire, a red sky at night. A warning. A warning I completely ignored. I closed my eyes and let go. I let myself fall.

Read for free on Tablo and Wattpad.

Writing Is Life [Tag]

I tried to take a selfie but I dropped my phone. My hair is properly silver though and it looks awesome. Also, Allison at Allison Writes posted this set of questions and tagged anyone who wanted to answer, so I’m answering. Here goes…

If you could magically make one of your WIPs be finished and ready for publication, which would you choose?
My Camp NaNoWriMo novella, Stone Flowers Grow In Cold Places. The first draft is written and I’m about to start editing. I’m looking forward to the editing process but also kind of wish it was done already, if magic was an option, cause I’m even more excited about publishing it.

Who is your favorite character you’ve written and why?
Argh, this is hard cause I fall in love with all of them! I cannot pick one, seriously. Maybe Noah and Brett from Push cause I had so much fun with their twisted dynamic. The link to Push goes to the finished story on Wattpad rather than the first-drafty flash-fictiony bits on this site. Or the nameless guys from Evidence, Omerta because I’ve had their story in my head for about a decade so I’m kind of attached to them. The link for that one goes to Sick Lit Magazine, where it was published last month.

What is the most terrible thing you’ve done to a character?
Oh god…I do so many terrible things to characters! There was some pretty gruesome torture in To Mother’s Farm, which was published in Twisted Sister Lit Mag earlier this year. I’ve thought way too much over the years about pumping people full of hallucinogenic drugs and chopping bits off them, so it was very satisfying to include it in a story. I mean fictional people, obviously. Not real people. I would never do that. Never…

What character or work are you most disappointed with or you want to go back and rework?
I’m not really disappointed with anything (yet). I don’t mean everything I’ve written is a wonderful masterpiece of unparalleled excellence, just that I don’t feel disappointment about any of it. When I write stuff I tend to either be happy with it or see it as a building block for something else.

Pick a theme song for your main character of your current WIP.
Now It’s On by Grandaddy is a good fit for Andie from Stone Flowers. Here’s the video so you can enjoy it too.

What is a trope or cliche you’re embarrassed to say you used?
I have no shame and fully embrace all my trope-and-cliche writing. Especially the homoerotic violence. NO SHAME.

A wizard tells you that if you stop writing forever, one of your other dreams will 100% come true right now. Would you do it?
Writing pretty much is my dream, and feeds into all my other dreams, so no, I wouldn’t.

What do you do when you’re not writing?
I take photos, do witchy things, practice yoga, think too much and drink a ridiculous amount of tea. I can also be found curled up on the couch with my husband and the cat, watching strange films about people murdering each other.

If you could show anyone (alive or dead) your work, who would it be?
When I was 20, I started a college course in media, specialising in writing and directing for film and TV. I had none of the qualifications required to get a place on the course, but they gave me a place anyway based on a collection of writing I submitted with my application. Because of an annoying fluke of birth, I was just young enough that they (they-the-student-loan-company, not they-the-college-people) took my parents earnings into account when calculating the student loan I was eligible for, even though I’d been living independently for two years at that point, so I could only get a tiny loan and couldn’t afford to stay on the course. When I left, I told my tutor that I still wanted to be a writer. He said, “No matter what, you are a writer”. It meant a lot to me so I’d love to show him my recent work. Except I can’t remember his name, cause I’m that kind of asshole.

What is the most stressful thing you have ever written?
Do academic essays count? If not, the flash fiction project I did in January this year was the biggest brain melter. It was fun and an amazing experience, but writing so many things in such a short space of time made me implode a little bit. Totally glad I did it though – it was exactly the challenge I needed to kick-start this year.

I’m also going to tag anyone who wants to do this. That means you. DO IT.