Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Drabble Wednesday: Parallels

Today on Drabble Wednesday I’m shaking it up a bit. I’ve written three drabbles, all with the same setting, the same main character, and the same opening line. However, each story takes a different path, unfolding into three different parallel worlds…

Bad Choices

Phillip Reilly waited at the far end of the park’s foot bridge. He watched the sunset, his nerves jangling, feeling like he wanted to jump out of his skin. He didn’t want to be here, but he couldn’t see another way to fix all his choices and mistakes.
His stomach rolled, anticipation making him ill.
Why doesn’t she get here?
He heard footsteps on the path leading to the bridge. He reached behind his back and closed his fingers on cold steel. His estranged wife walked into view. He pulled his gun and shot her three times in the chest.


Phillip Reilly waited at the far end of the park’s foot bridge. Under the calming amalgam of sunset colours lighting up the sky, he breathed the fresh air. Phillip shook off the workday and the office, anticipating his first glance of her. He looked forward to this surprise all day, presenting her this special gift.
What’s taking her so long?
He shifted his feet and sighed, then brightened as he heard footsteps along the path. He smiled at his girlfriend as she stepped onto the foot bridge.
Dropping onto one knee, he opened the ring box.
“Will you marry me?”

Crooked Paths

Phillip Reilly waited at the far end of the park’s foot bridge. The shadows cast by the setting sun helped hide him as he crouched in bushes. He stuffed his hands in the pockets of his windbreaker, and kept his breathing even.
Keep calm, keep calm. Be patient.
As he heard the footsteps echo on the bridge, he readied his muscles, tensed as he saw her shadow coming closer. In one swift attack he grabbed her arm, smacking his fist in her face. She fell against the rail, screaming. Phillip hit her again, then he grabbed her purse and ran.

© A. F. Stewart 2015 All Rights Reserved

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Book Spotlight: Blood Day: The Novella

I have a spotlight today, the novella, Blood Day from the very talented author Sarah Butland. The book is a continuation of the tale started in her award winning short story of the same name. Enjoy...

Blood Day: the Novella by Sarah Butland

In many ways Veronica is not a typical human, maybe she's not even a human at all. Blood Day takes the reader on  a journey of discovery to find out who she really is and why she doesn't bleed.

Blood Day is available on Amazon

Author Bio:

Sarah Butland was born in Ontario, the year was 1982. She was moved to New Brunswick for over 15 years and now resides at home in Nova Scotia, Canada. Butland has been married to her high school sweetheart and has a superstar son named William.3

Butland started creating while still learning to walk and in years to follow was able to put a writing utensil to paper to document her creations before they were completely lost. Of course, her first manuscripts were in dire need of editing but she didn't seem to mind nor did her readers.

The first "big break" for Butland came when she was still a teenager feeling like she was unlike every other teenager she knew. She heard from a poetry contest that her poem "Wrong Shell" would be published in their anthology; would she kindly send them thousands of dollars to continue on in the finals. Butland's parents refused. So began the struggle of discovering which awards were actually earned not bought.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Interview with Nate Gutman

Today I have an interview with writer Nate Gutman, author of Bill the Fly. Enjoy.

 Interview with Nate Gutman

1. Why don’t you begin by sharing a little about yourself?

I grew up in Titusville, FL as the oldest of five with an affinity towards, primarily, music. I learned guitar and my neighbor and I actually started a band when we were thirteen. Naturally, that project petered out, but we actually have played off and on pretty consistently for the last decade or so. 

As I grew older, I realized that what I liked most about music was the lyrics and mood of the songs. The actual words you sung were imperative to that tone, and that sent me into studying poetry, and culminated in the love of reading that I carry with me today. I really enjoy the classics, particularly the ones that are a little off-color and show some of the darker sides of society. I guess it's that interest that spurred Bill the Fly along.

2. Do you have a favourite author, or writing inspiration?

I couldn't narrow down just one author that inspired me, but I could give you a filmmaker. For several months, as the idea for Bill the Fly was percolating, I went through a serious David Lynch binge. That guy is just fantastic. More than anything, I think his films taught me that things don't have to make sense to make sense, if that makes sense? I digress, but he's a huge influence to me.

3. Could you tell us a bit about Bill the Fly?

Bill the Fly is a lot of things, but I think of it as a surreal absurdist comedy. The book follows a loser, the bachelor, Jacob Kingsley, and every action in the book has his stink on it. We're given an objective depiction of almost nothing. Everything is tainted by Jacob's selfish and often errant point of view. 

Because Jacob is such a terrible person, there's a darkly comedic element to how he views the people around him--always turning situations around and making them about himself. There's a fly named Bill and he acts as Jacob's accomplice, reaffirming him in his selfishness as Jacob slips further and further into his own psyche, of sorts. 

I've talked pretty seriously thus far, but it's still a comedy. It has a talking fly in it for god's sake. 

4. Why did you write Bill the Fly? What was your inspiration?

I can't remember where I read it, but somewhere there was a news article about an elderly woman that crashed her car off a cliff and was trapped in it for days. Apparently, she talked to a fly to help keep her calm and sane and I thought that was an awesome idea. I kind of went the opposite direction with it though. 

5. What did you enjoy most about writing your book?

How easily it came. I've written full-length novels--five or six of them--but they were always a pain to get through and I never liked the finish product enough to try sending it out or publishing it on my own. Bill the Fly was different. I wrote it quicker than anything I've written before, and it always engaged me. So that's what I enjoyed most--actually liking it. 

6. Can you tell us about your writing process? Where do your ideas originate? Do you have a certain writing routine?

I don't have much of a process, probably just because life doesn't allow me one. I write in spurts. A little in the morning before work, a little after work, a little before bed. Eventually it gets done. I rarely have the time to just sit down and write a novel, and, even when I do, I get distracted pretty easily. 

My ideas come from my pocket notebook. Whenever I think of anything interesting I write it down in there. An idea can come at any time, and I don't want to lose it. Most of what's in there is just scribbles that I'll probably never use, but there’re a few golden ones there.

7. What is your greatest challenge as a writer?

As a self-published writer with less-than-desirable sales, I think my greatest challenge is just to stay positive--to believe that all the time and effort you put in week after week will pay off eventually, and that your ideas are unique and worthwhile. 

8. Are you working on another book?

I'm always writing. I'm sure I'll be releasing something in 2016. I have an idea of what that will be now, but it could change down the road. 

9. What advice would you give beginning writers?

Just write. Even if what you're writing is complete and utter hogwash, just write it. You might find it's not so bad when you're done, and, even if it turns out that it is, you've gotten some good practice in for next time. 

Bill the Fly is available at Amazon
And this weekend, Aug 21st- 23rd, the Kindle version will be free! 

Author Bio:

Nate Gutman grew up in Titusville, FL as the oldest of five. He began writing short stories for his good friend and neighbor in his early teen years, and carried the habit into his adult life, eventually branching out to poetry and novels.
He received his BA in Literature from Ave Maria University, and lives in Manassas, VA with his wife, Kim.

You can find him on twitter @nategutman, and at his website

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Drabble Wednesday: Islands

On today’s Drabble Wednesday we journey the seas, to remote and strange destinations, to rocky lands that protrude from the ocean. Today we journey to the islands…

Skull Island

Somewhere in the distance, the drums beat…

The sound of the machete breaks the silent air, and the dense jungle falls before the blade. The weary party of travellers trudge forward. Again the swish of the machete, the tramp of footsteps; it is the only sound they have heard in days. No birds, no animals, not even the wind. Only eerie quiet broken by their own actions. It has unnerved them.
Even more unnerving, they do not know where they are going, or why.
Their minds are clouded, but that is to be expected. They are wandering spirits, their discarded bodies rotting in jungle they forever walk.


The Far Island

Come my children, I will tale you a tale.
An ancient story, of an island lost among dreams.
Far across the emerald waters, encircled by the mists of time, Azuroth awaits. A place of unimaginable beauty and serenity, they say it is older than the world, more aged than the stars. That it abides half in and half out of what we call existence, and calls to all creatures with its siren song. Azuroth is the island of eternal bliss.
Still, this peace has its price.
No living soul has seen this paradise.
To reach its shores, you must die.


The Rock

It juts from the water as a monument, stone and earth that fought its way from the clutches of the sea. It stands alone, surrounded by vast churning ocean, forever at war with the elements. It is a solitary island, a rock on the median of nowhere.
One might assume it is unimportant.
Such assumptions would be wrong.
For within its hollow heart, its blackened core, lies a spawn. A beast conceived of fire and stars, of desolated planets and annihilation. A creature sleeping, growing, waiting for its birth.
Waiting for the day it will fly free unto this world.

© A. F. Stewart 2015 All Rights Reserved

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Book Spotlight: Iron Ruin (The Red Spire #1)

Today I have another book spotlight, this time for the dark fantasy/horror novel, Iron Ruin (The Red Spire #1) by Raymond Sykes. Enjoy.

Iron Ruin (The Red Spire #1) by Raymond Sykes

When the birdmen of Kashla-Gli attack 8-year-old Rgar Jin Falk’s village, he is sure his parents are dead, though the massacre is so brutal nothing but blood remains. He sets out on a journey with the cantankerous Old Man Kawley. On the way, they are waylaid by a god, who tells them that Rgar’s mother has been taken to Kashla-Gli. The god offers to transport them to the land to which his mother has been taken.

So begins the tale of Rgar Jin Falk, an 8-year-old boy who is forced to grow up fast. He will journey across Kashla-Gli in search of his mother, where he will encounter a spire from which all of creation can be observed, a Fire that lets him wield awesome power, a skin-changer, a damaged young girl, a one-eyed fencer, and the dreaded birdmen, who have ravaged every country upon which they’ve been unleashed.

(Contains adult themes, imagery, and language.) 

You can find Iron Ruin (The Red Spire #1) at:

Author Bio: 

Raymond Sykes is a graduate of English and History, a ghostwriter, and a purveyor of all things dark. He lives in Weston-Super-Mare, England, with his wife.
Growing up in Weston-super-Mare, a small seaside town in the South West of England, Raymond Sykes would sit on the beach and watch as holidaymakers enjoyed the Weston sun. He would imagine what kind of lives these people lived. A few months later, he penned his first story, "The Snail and the Seahorse", to the critical acclaim of an over-enthusiastic mother and a mildly disinterested father. This began his career of voracious writing and reading that led to a lifetime dedication to words.

You can check out more from the author, and his books at his his blog:

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