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:

Friday 14 August 2015

Book Spotlight: In the Land of Aeon: The Ring of Eman Vath

Today, I'm spotlighting a new release, the fantasy book, In the Land of Aeon: The Ring of Eman Vath by Hal Emerson. Enjoy.

In the Land of Aeon: The Ring of Eman Vath by Hal Emerson

The land of Aeon has been at peace for a hundred years, and towns and cities like Dunlow prosper; there is a new, just king in the city of Caelron; and the Sorev Ael of Var Athel keep the dangers of the Wilds at bay. But when an ancient artifact is found and brought through Dunlow, a fleet of ships with black sails invades in the dead of night, leaving hundreds dead and hundreds more captured and enslaved. The land of Aeon is left reeling, and the lives of three young people are changed forever.

You can find In the Land of Aeon: The Ring of Eman Vath at these retailers:

Author Bio:

Hal Emerson lives in San Francisco, where he writes and works in high tech. His favorite book is East of Eden, and he has an undying love of raspberries and dark chocolate.

Wednesday 12 August 2015

My 777 Challenge - Paranormal Style

I don't usually post twice in a day, but I was nominated to take part in the 777 Challenge by fellow Xchyler Publishing author, the very talented Danielle E. Shipley. So I say...

Challenge Accepted!

Basically this is how it works:


And like Danielle, I've decide to share a snippet from my story that is soon to be part of the upcoming  (and as yet untitled) paranormal anthology from Xchyler Publishing.

My story, The Weeping Lady, is loosely based on the La Llorona and White Lady ghost tales. This excerpt is a flashback, to the first time the main character of Eva has an encounter with the ghost.

Excerpt from The Weeping Lady

Hunched under the tree, young Eva didn’t hear the weeping at first, the sound drowned in her own tears and the noise of the river. Then it grew louder, more insistent, until the forest reverberated and the trees quaked with the heartbreaking wail intoned of aching sorrow. Her child’s mind imagined a gruesome horror, and terror sprinted within her skin. Her tears dried up, replaced with frightened whimpers. She pressed against the tree, wishing she could vanish inside the bark. Something was coming for her; she knew it.
The surrounding mist coagulated, twisted, taking strange form and ethereal substance before her eyes, transforming into the figure of a woman.

© A. F. Stewart 2015 All Rights Reserved 

I hope you enjoyed that little snippet, and check out the book this fall.
(And don't worry I'll keep you updated on its release) 

And now for my nominations.

The seven bloggers I choose are:

Drabble Wednesday: Teardrops

Today on Drabble Wednesday we shed a tear - in rain, in plague, in envy

Tears of the Moon

The shadow moon rose among the gathering clouds, its grey form stark against the sombre sky. Her eyes watched its climb, a scream lodged in her throat, her palms pressed forcefully on the window pane. Each breath came shallow, held for a fraction of time, hoping for his appearance.
Why did he have to go? Why tonight? He said he would return in time. But he’s not home.
A single tear fell, hitting the window sill. A matching water drop struck the outside of the glass.
The rains are coming.
The Old Gods will awaken.
And they will be hungry.

Grief of the Dead

Jeff hurried through the deserted streets. The plague seemly died out in their neighbourhood, but he didn’t wish to linger outside. It didn’t take much, and it didn’t take long. It was a risk, but they needed food. The possibility of dying was better than listening to Ryan’s sad cries.
He pushed open the front door. His son lay on the floor. His wife knelt beside him. Something felt wrong.
“What happened?”
“He’s dead.” His wife turned.
Jeff gasped. He dropped the scavenged bag of groceries.
Diseased, white, tear stained eyes stared at him. Blood covered her mouth.
Jeff screamed.

Dark Reflection

A thick, sooty tear, the consistency of tar oozed down her cheek, and he collected it in the vial. He watched for a moment as she slept, her breathing even, her face peaceful. She suspected nothing of his spell. He’d be flayed alive if she did.
He left to his workshop, mixed her tear into a potion and took his weekly dose of her magic. Soon, he’d drain her dry and these nightly visits would end. He’d miss them. He’d miss her.
But only one evil wizard could prevail in this tower, and he was tired of being her apprentice.

© A. F. Stewart 2015 All Rights Reserved 

Saturday 8 August 2015

Cover Reveal: The Bookminder

Another cover reveal today from those busy folks at Xchyler Publishing. This time it's for the historical fantasy novel The Bookminder by the very talented author M. K. Wiseman. Plus, I have another delightful book trailer.

And Now Presenting...

Just wonderful, with a nice spooky touch. I love it.


And now for a bit about the book.

The Bookminder by M. K. Wiseman

Istria, 1679 A. D.

Sired by magick and violence, sixteen-year-old Liara is found guilty of witchcraft and banished from her tiny village by the very priest who raised, then betrayed her. However, a mysterious mage steps forward to assume custody of her: Nagarath, the Wizard of Parentino, whose secret spellwork has long protected both Liara and Dvigrad from the ravages of war.
Despite Liara's best hopes, Nagarath refuses to apprentice her to his craft but tasks her instead with the restoration of his neglected library. Liara gleans what magickal knowledge she can on the sly, determined to learn, come what may. But the first test of her stolen knowledge goes awry and renews an evil wizard's interest in the people of the Limska Draga valley.
Only by tapping Liara's ingerent magick and joining it with his own can Nagarath protect Parentino from suffering a horrible fate. However, her discovering of his secrets destroys their fragile trust and ignites the darker tendencies of her gift. Now, he must rescue her from the influence of his mortal enemy before their powerful new alliance destroys them all.

Magick and the truth. 

Through both, Liara may unravel the mystery of her origins. But at what cost?

Wednesday 5 August 2015

Drabble Wednesday: The Raven

Drabble Wednesday flies off with the birds this week, especially with one bird, the raven

Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”


They circle over head as I trudge. As it has always been. I trudge, they circle. My companions, the ravens. I welcome the sight of their black wings outstretched, the harsh croak uttered from their beaks.
It makes the punishment less somehow, even though this was not the intent.
No, they were sent to keep watch over me.
The ravens are my guards, messengers to those who imprisoned me with this ghostly immortality. They ensure my soul will never rest, and they are my only friends.
So I trudge, mile after mile, eon after eon, alone save for my ravens.



It sits outside my window in the oak tree. A common raven, a sooty feathered bird watching me. An ominous creature, perched on the edge.
I know it’s waiting for me.
But it shan’t have me yet. No, not yet. Not until I’m done. Not until I’m finished. Then the wretched bird can have me. Then it can feast on my corpse and peck out my eyes. Leastwise, I’ll naught be good for anything but worm food, when my project’s done.
It won’t have long to wait, just one more. One more to kill.
Then the raven can come…


Shadow Against The Moon

The air shivers with the beat of their wings, and their shades flit across the moon, shattering its pale contrast against the inky sky. They scream, her raven servants, a raucous screech to herald her coming.
They clear her path, those black birds of the Morrigan.
Her silhouette chills the wind, and deadens the shine of moonlight. Beyond and above, the ravens fly, and some perch proudly on her shoulders. In one hand she carries a lantern, lit with fire, in the other a sword. In her footsteps, the trodden grass withers and dies.
Tonight, the Morrigan comes for me.


© A. F. Stewart 2015 All Rights Reserved 

Tuesday 4 August 2015

Cover Reveal: “The Story’s End”

Today I have an extra special treat, with the cover reveal for the seventh and final Wilderhark Tale by talented author Danielle E. Shipley. This book, The Story’s End, releases October 13, 2015, but today you get a sneak peek.

And here it is, Ta Da!

Another gorgeous cover for this series.

The Story’s End
Book Seven of The Wilderhark Tales

For Gant-o’-the-Lute, “ever after” has been less than happy. With the last of Carillon’s charm over him gone, the minstrel-king puts royalty behind him in pursuit of the music he once knew and the lifelong dream he let slip through his fingers. But dark whispers on the wind warn that time is running out – not only for Lute and the apprentice in his shadow, but the whole of earth and Sky.

An enchantress’s curse turns a spoiled royal into a beast; a princess’s pricked finger places her under a hundred-year spell; bales of straw are spun as golden as the singing harp whisked down a giant beanstalk – all within sight of Wilderhark, the forest that’s seen it all.

You’ve heard the stories – of young men scaling rope-like braids to assist the tower-bound damsel; of gorgeous gowns appearing just in time for a midnight ball; of frog princes, and swan princes, and princes saved from drowning by maidens of the sea. Tales of magic. Tales of adventure. Most of all, tales of true love.

Once upon a time, you knew them as fairytales. Know them now as Wilderhark’s.

You can check out The Story’s End at its page on Goodreads:

Author Bio:

Danielle E. Shipley’s first novelettes told the everyday misadventures of wacky kids like herself. …Or so she thought. Unbeknownst to them all, half of her characters were actually closeted elves, dwarves, fairies, or some combination thereof. When it all came to light, Danielle did the sensible thing: Packed up and moved to Fantasy Land, where daily rent is the low, low price of her heart, soul, blood, sweat, tears, firstborn child, sanity, and words; lots of them. She’s also been known to spend short bursts of time in the real-life Chicago area with the parents who home schooled her and the two little sisters who keep her humble. When she’s not living the highs and lows of writing, publishing, and all that authorial jazz, she’s probably blogging about it at

Sunday 2 August 2015

So Bad It’s Good: A Guest Post by A.G. Wyatt

So Bad It’s Good: How To Write Terribly Incredible (Or Incredibly Terrible) Campy Fiction

Like all good aesthetics, camp is a lot more sophisticated than it looks and writing it well can be challenging. It’s not enough to dress your hero in spandex and have your villain cackling madly while the heroine runs around screaming for rescue in a fruit-topped hat. That’s just cliché, while good camp is a celebration of the exaggerated and excessive.

Be Focused

It’s not enough to say “I want this to be camp.” If you throw in every campy trope you can find then you’ll have a mess, with one excess undermining another. A campy science fiction story interrupted by an excessive moment of dark literary fiction will lose atmosphere faster than a colander-based spaceship.
Think about what you’re exploring, what you want to make camp, and push that thing to excess. Do you want to write a high fantasy of sweaty muscles, kidnapped slave girls and kingdoms defined by single concepts? Or are you after a delightful horror of shadowy streets, blood-spattered sheets, and dead jocks?
Whatever you’re camping up, identify its individual excesses and focus on those.

Be Full-on

There are no half-measures in camp. If you approach the brink of absurdity only to hesitate and step back, then all you have is corniness and cliché. The pleasure of camp comes from its excess, so really push the boat out.
Reasonableness is the enemy of camp. It isn’t reasonable for your action hero to drive a monster truck, carry a bazooka on her back, and chug beer like she has the liver capacity of the whole U.S. Congress. But if she just drives a 4x4, carries a handgun, and finishes the day with a few too many whiskies then what you have isn’t camp, it’s the hero of 90% of the adventure stories out there. So go with Bazooka Betty, not Hetty Handgun.

Be Sincere

All of this might sound like a rallying cry to mock the genre you’re working in. But again, that really misses the point. Camp isn’t about standing outside the tent pissing in, it’s about running around the inside of the tent celebrating just how much fun canvas is.
The edge of mockery, the knowing wink that implies “we’re better than this,” that’s the realm of satire. It has its place and it has its audience, but that audience isn’t the same one camp appeals to. Satire is about being negative, camp is about being positive. Satire is judgemental, camp is celebratory. Satire is about pointing out the foolishness of others, while camp is about knowing that what you’re doing is foolish but enjoying it anyway. You don’t point at the excess, you join in with it.
So if you want to do campy writing, make sure the subject and style are something that you love. Make sure that you can write that wild excess like you mean it. If you can make that happen then fans will love you for it. But if you step into satire, if you slip in a little mockery for fear of being mocked, then the joy will fade.
If you’re going to write campy then relish it. Focus on something that you sincerely love, and write it right to the extreme. Because anything less is just cliché, and the world has quite enough of that.

A.G. Wyatt is the author of the post-apocalyptic adventure series, MoonFall and is presently working on his second series. When he's not writing, he's reading, or looking for inspiration near his hometown in Northeastern PA.

Where you can find the author:

Saturday 1 August 2015

Cover Reveal: Sigil of the Wyrm

Today, I have fabulous cover reveal. This time for the soon to be released urban fantasy novel Sigil of the Wyrm by A. J. Campbell, sure to be another stellar book from Xchyler Publishing. And as an extra bonus I have the wonderful book trailer as well. So on with the show...

Drum Roll Please, and Voila!

Isn't it absolutely stunning?

Now here's a bit about the book.

Sigil of the Wyrm by A. J. Campbell

Richard Lampton never believed in fairy tales, so when a stunning stranger at his uncle’s funeral warns him of an ancient family curse, he pays no heed—until a very real wyrm attempts to destroy him. Now, with the help of a homeless runaway, a fledgling jackdaw, and a key none but he can use, Richard must find the courage to meet his death or his destiny as he plunges headlong Into the Weirding.

The book releases later this August, but you can pre-order it now from Amazon.

Book Trailer

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