Friday, 3 August 2018


Free Fiction Friday


Happy August everyone, we hope you are not sweltering too much in the Summer heat. We have some contemporary fantasy for you this month for Free Fiction Friday over at Wittegen Press. This month's exclusive short story is an exciting tale of magic and self discovery, as ever, free to our wonderful subscribers.

These stories are exclusively for subscribers of our newsletter, but anyone can join and it's really easy.

It is completely free to become a member and all you need is a valid email address. Fill in the form at the bottom of this page and you’re done. Don't worry if you join after the 1st Friday, the password for the month will be included in the welcome email after you subscribe.

What we WILL DO for our subscribers:

  • Send you an email on the 1st Friday of the month to remind you about the short story and give you the password for the month as soon as the story goes live.
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  • Give you two Free eBooks just for joining.

What we WON’T DO to our subscribers:

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This Month's Short Story

Sistiri: Awakenings
by Sophie Duncan
Genre: contemporary fantasy, magical realism
Length: ~8.5K wds

Description:
‘Skin as white as ice, heart as black as coal.’

That’s how Sky understood Mountain Elves, blood enemies of Hearthfae, and, a nerd that she was, allergic to magic, the last thing she expected was to end up tutoring the first diplomatic exchange student at the Interpeoples College for Magical Sciences. 

Freya Bloodstone is powerful, scary and determined, and she is about to awaken depths in Sky that she never knew she had.

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Saturday, 28 July 2018

Blanket Box - Movie Magic!



So my sis, Tasha, kicked me off on this blanket box talking about movies, favourite ones, dreadful ones, funny ones. This is where Tasha's is. If you fancy joining in, the questions are at the bottom of Tasha's post. So, I've never done one of these before, but here we go with my answers :)...
  • Your favorite movie of all time
The Lost Boys - has to be. It's the movie that made me fall in love with vampires, and it opened up my imagination - it's one of those movies that got me writing.
  • A movie you watch to pick you up when you feel sad
I have a few of these, but I'll pick one - Chocolat (and definitely the movie not the book, the book leaves a bad taste in my mouth) - this movie has a wonderful surreal quality, and it is all about opening up to possibilities, defying convention and enjoying life. Even Le Comte finds his way and I love it, it always leaves me smiling.
  • A movie that makes you feel invincible
I like movies about misfits, people who make the most of their weirdness and this one's a really trashy eighties movies, but I think it's great - Misfits of Science (it became a TV series as well, but I don't recommend that one as much).
  • Which genre of film is your favorite?
Ghost stories are my favourite genre, I love the tingle down my spine when a candle flame flickers, or a book on a table moves just an inch. I collect ghost stories, both written and cinematic, I have loads of them, good, bad and indifferent.
  • A movie that scares you
I'll mention a movie that scared me in all its forms (book, play, TV movie and cinematic release) The Woman In Black - it has tingly scares, jump scares, isolation tension - everything I find good in a spooky movie.
  • A movie that makes you cry
Now there's a few of these, and more as I get older - picking just one - The Green Mile - so many great performances, so many memorable moments, so many that make me cry about the injustice and sadness of it all, but one that makes me cry with joy is when John Coffey saves Melinda Moores, the governor's wife, the transformation gets me every time.
  • What movie is guaranteed to make you laugh?
Watching movies alone I don't laugh a lot, but when I'm in company, one that is absolutely on the nose for giggles and full on guffaws is Despicable Me 2, even more so than Despicable Me. And the funniest thing is seeing my Dad crying with laughter when the minions are doing their thing :).
  • Your first R-rated movie
This is the same as my sis, since we saw it together, Evil Dead. It scared me witless then.
  • The first movie you remember seeing in theaters
The Fox and the Hound - Cranbrook Cinema.
  • The most boring movie you've ever seen
Now there have been loads of these, especially as I've grown pickier in my taste, but one that is considered a classic that I actually fell asleep in was Psycho. 
  • What movie have you seen that you will never watch again?
Now this is an odd one and I know other people adored this movie, and I love Thor and Thor 2, but not even my penchant for Tom Hiddleston movies could save Thor 3: Ragnarok - I just found the whole tone wrong, characters acting for laughs, not in line with their previous movie personas, plot launching all over the place and not really hanging together, and all of it detracting from Hela, who could have been a wonderful villain all by herself, no Jeff Goldblum (whom I love in other movies) required.
  • Your favorite documentary film
Most of the documentaries I watch tend to be hour long things, but if I add both episodes together, I hope David Attenborough's First Life fits into this category. The origins of life in an engaging format.
  • What movie did you love the most when you were a kid?
Return of the Jedi, my sis and I rented this from a good old fashioned video store one Christmas and we watched it over and over and over again. Luke fighting for his father, Leia discovering a little of her own talents, Han coming out of the carbonite and yes, I even adore the ewoks.
  • One story you want desperately to see as a movie (can be a book, videogame, comic, etc.)
The Champions - this is a 1960's tv series about secret agents (two brits and a yank) who get super powers when their plane crashes into Shangrila in the mountains. It sounds corny, it is, but the series pushes all of my buttons and I watch it over and again. There was talk of it being optioned for a movie a couple of years ago and Guillermo del Toro was linked to it, so I had high hopes, but things have been silent since then.
  • What movie do you always recommend to friends?
The Lost Boys - 'nuff said
  • A movie series you love to marathon
Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. They're easy to watch, brilliant romps and the nostalgia is heavy with these ones :)
  • Favorite superhero movie
I'm not going to reference any of the MCU movies, which is tempting, but I'm going back in time for this one. This movie is camp, it's somewhat racy, very, very silly, and it has a rock-out soundtrack -  I can watch it again and again - Flash Gordon (1980) with Sam J Jones and Max Von Sydow.
  • Favorite movie based on a book
This one's a repeat - The Woman in Black.
  • Favorite animated movie
Frozen - because it broke some moulds.
  • Free space: Mention any movie you love that you haven't talked about already!
Now this is a list that just jumped into my head, so they're a bit random ;P

Who Framed Roger Rabbit - I think the story stands the test of time and there aren't many animated characters that scare me, but the bad guy reveal at the end (and I won't say any more), that's creepy.

Grosse Pointe Blank - read Tasha's blanket box for reasons on this one.

Dead Man's Folly - Peter Ustinov as Poirot - I do like a good detective movie and this one's a guilty pleasure.

Tron - what's not to love about Bruce Boxleitner and Jeff Bridges battling an evil computer-overlord with 1982 tech.

Jurassic Park - the original, the classic.

The Awakening - obscure British 2011 horror, but I really like the premise and it's a well told story.

Wonder Woman - at last a decent DC superhero movie, and with great female characters.

Monsters Inc - oh Sully, oh Mike, oh Boo :)

The Princess Bride - inconceivable!! 

Aliens (Alien may be the classic, but I prefer film number 2)

Fright Night (1980's, not remake)

Two that go hand in hand in my mind - The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth - puppets, fantasy adventure, and David Bowie :)

And finally a mixed bag of 80's classics - Breakfast Club, Mannequin, Bladerunner, Pretty in Pink, Jumpin' Jack Flash, Dreamscape.

I'll stop now....but there are bound to be movies I've missed, and I could go on, and on, and on.....

So, if you want to join in, head on over to Tasha's blog for an easy-copy set of questions.

Monday, 30 April 2018

Ghostly Inspirations Z is for Zapped #AtoZChallenge 2018


Welcome to my offering for The A to Z Blogging Challenge 2018
My theme this year is Ghostly Inspirations
a collection of spirits that have been prompted by my encounters with places and times. Some are spooky, some more about atmosphere. I'll be describing each inspiration and the phantom that came to my mind, and then I will share a drabble, which I hope will entertain. :)



Disclaimer: The places and experienced I have used for my inspiration are real, but my ghosts and drabbles are complete fiction, linked to nothing and no-one, alive or dead. When writing about my inspirations, I may have changed names and obfuscated specific details to 'protect the innocent' :).

~

Z is for Zapped




Inspiration:
So, we’re at the final A to Z post - wow. Well, my inspiration today comes from a holiday I spent in Scotland with my sis and friends. We were staying in a cabin near Loch Ness, and it was midge season. One of the things that gets used against such pests is the blue light zappy machine (that’s a technical definition), you know the thing that looks like a bar heater that makes a snapping sound with a flash of blue light when an insect lands on it.

Well, that got me thinking about electricity and how deadly it can be to things bigger than a midge.

Ghost:
It was pelting it down with rain the night that Rory met his end. The weather was not unusual for Fort William at that time of year and Rory, handyman and night manager at White Gate Cabins, was taking advantage of the the offseason by having his own party in the empty holiday lets.  Loud music, friends and a cornucopia of mind altering substances meant that when the power went out due to the wind, Rory acted quickly to assuage the disappointment in his companions. He was the handyman, he knew how to refix the power line to their chosen cabin and he headed outside with a head torch to fix things.


However, being drunk and high meant that Rory was not at his fix-it best. He died in an arc of electricity. Still, Rory doesn’t see why death should stop his partying.

~

Party!

Jen shrieked her laughter as she tripped up the step to the cabin.

“Shhh,” Glen shushed, but was giggling as well as he fumbled for the lock, dropping the cans of beer in his other hand as he did.

The couple stumbled into their holiday let, missing the light switch. The room lit up anyway, a bright bluish light blinding Jen. Blinking away the brilliance and shock, Jen focused on the sofa and a crackling figure slumped there.

“Party!” it yelled.

Jen blinked again at the lopsidedly grinning thing. See-through, it was see-through. Sobering quickly, Jen screamed, turned and ran.


~

Other paranormal and spooky stories by Sophie Duncan.


~




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Saturday, 28 April 2018

Ghostly Inspirations Y is for Yellow #AtoZChallenge 2018


Welcome to my offering for The A to Z Blogging Challenge 2018
My theme this year is Ghostly Inspirations
a collection of spirits that have been prompted by my encounters with places and times. Some are spooky, some more about atmosphere. I'll be describing each inspiration and the phantom that came to my mind, and then I will share a drabble, which I hope will entertain. :)



Disclaimer: The places and experienced I have used for my inspiration are real, but my ghosts and drabbles are complete fiction, linked to nothing and no-one, alive or dead. When writing about my inspirations, I may have changed names and obfuscated specific details to 'protect the innocent' :).

~

Y is for Yellow




Inspiration:
Late last year, my great uncle died and I attended his funeral with my family. The crematorium was in Hasting Cemetery, which I had never been to before. We arrived early and decided to take a walk around what was an expansive and very peaceful place. We walked along wide avenues between the group of graves with their many and varied memorials and beautiful trees. In the bright winter sunshine, the cemetery was peaceful and calming.

Up the far end, we came across a section where memorials were smaller and we realised we were in a war graves section. The poignancy of that has not left me and began to think about those who died in the Great War as it was called. Young men, barely more than boys, and the harsh fate that awaited them, whether they went over the top, or worse, if they were charged for cowardice. The unfairness of those charges as we look back with modern eyes is my inspiration for today.

Ghost:
Monty was 15 when he faked his age and joined up to go and fight in France. He had barely been 16 when it had all become too much, He had faltered in the face of the enemy and his commanding officer had shown on mercy. Shot for cowardice, he had stayed with his own body, lost, afraid, a child not knowing what to do until his family had claimed him and brought him home. His age revealed, he had been buried at home on the south coast of England, overlooking the sea, among the other soldiers, no-one mentioning the disgrace on either side.


But Monty knew.

~

Pardon

Carol strode up through the silent cemetery, the early sun on her tense shoulders as she headed directly to where she needed to be. This was not her first visit, but she hoped it would be her last as she headed into the longer grass around the small headstones of the war graves. Her eyes settled on him immediately, a boy in uniform, curled around his knees beside his marker.

Carol dropped to her knees in front of him, brandishing the proof.

“Monty, you were forgiven,” she whispered.

Monty’s gaze widened on the paper. Hope in his eyes, he faded.


~

Other paranormal and spooky stories by Sophie Duncan.


~




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Friday, 27 April 2018

Ghostly Inspirations X is for Xenial #AtoZChallenge 2018


Welcome to my offering for The A to Z Blogging Challenge 2018
My theme this year is Ghostly Inspirations
a collection of spirits that have been prompted by my encounters with places and times. Some are spooky, some more about atmosphere. I'll be describing each inspiration and the phantom that came to my mind, and then I will share a drabble, which I hope will entertain. :)



Disclaimer: The places and experienced I have used for my inspiration are real, but my ghosts and drabbles are complete fiction, linked to nothing and no-one, alive or dead. When writing about my inspirations, I may have changed names and obfuscated specific details to 'protect the innocent' :).

~

X is for Xenial




Inspiration:
My inspiration today is a very personal one from my childhood. I have talipes, which means  I was born with a deformed foot. When I was seven, I had two operations on my foot to straighten it as much as possible, and I have a very distinct memory of going home after one of the operations. I was in my nightdress and was carried by my father out of the hospital into a bright sunny morning in a sloping car park that looked down the hill towards the sea, which was sparkling in the sunshine. 

Ghost:
Sister Gayle lived for her job in the children’s ward at St Christopher by the Sea Hospital. Single with no children of her own, she did everything for her patients and they loved her. Yet, even though Gayle looked after her young patients, she failed to look after herself, and she ignored the bad headache that kept returning until one day it became a shooting agony for a split second and then blackness.


Sister Gayle died of a brain aneurysm and her funeral was attended by hundreds of those she had tended. Now she still tends the lonely, the frightened, any child who needs her.

~

Goodbye

Bella rested her head on her daddy’s shoulder and looked down the hill at the shiny sea below the hospital. She was fuzzy from the medicine the nurses had given her to stop her arm hurting, but the water and sun were pretty. She watched them for a while, but then turned her head and looked behind.

She smiled when she saw the nice nurse in the funny clothes standing by the exit. She had been so kind when Bella had woken after her operation, talking to her when she was scared. Bella waved her thanks. Her friend waved back.


~

Other paranormal and spooky stories by Sophie Duncan.


~




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We'll send you details of book releases, competitions and other news from our authors, BUT we WON'T spam you, or pass your details on to anyone else.
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* indicates required