Thursday, 21 April 2016

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Games



I sometimes write about games. Usually computer games, though I am obsessed with boardgames too, and am surprised that I haven't written about them.

Here are some posts about computer games.
And a new tag for games.

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Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Monday, 18 April 2016

Why You Should Read Shakespeare Today – A Personal Article


Shakespeare. I groaned when they mentioned his plays at school. What relevance did a dead beardy-bloke have for me? Fast forward to college, where I had to study Othello and As You Like It for my English A level. At first they seemed so alien. Strange words! Quaint constructions! But in my class we would recite it aloud, different students playing different parts. Sure, we weren’t actors. We struggled with ye olde language. But in the interaction, and timing, and sound, we started to understand drama.

Then we suggested standing at the front to read out, rather than sitting behind our desks.

And we enjoyed it.

And we laughed.

And became characters.

And we understood.

And suddenly it was time for me to write an extended essay as a key assessed piece. The longest thing I’d ever written. I toyed with writing about horror, but was told it would not be “literary” enough. So I chose to write about island fiction, and how it explored human nature. Two of the three texts were obvious choices. Lord Of The Flies: a sneaky way of slipping horror into my essay. Robinson Crusoe: a book I hated but which was a gold mine for an essay like this. My third choice? I surprised myself by choosing a Shakespeare play. That’s how much my opinions had reversed! The Tempest, with its enslaved natives (Caliban) versus “civilised” invaders. I read it again and again, usually out loud. The play spoke to me about life.

Sometimes when we encounter new cultures for the first time we recoil. We may think they seem too alien, and it will take too much effort. But we are wrong! Brains can do many amazing things. Learning, and familiarisation, and adaptation are some of them. Thanks for teaching me that lesson, Shakes old pal!

Shakespeare became an obsession. I borrowed his complete works from the library, and during the summer holidays I read them cover to cover. Every play. Every sonnet. It wasn’t a chore, it was fun. By the end I could slip into Shakespearean tongue at the drop of a hat. (Which didn’t go down well at my local pub. People stopped dropping hats.)

Shakespeare continued to affect me, often in retrospect. Is it pure chance that my first novel, a horror, was set on an island during a storm; that a powerful “civilised” family had enslaved the locals; that things are disrupted by strangers arriving on the island; that it includes a theme about the power of words, and one chapter begins with the quote at the head of this article? No. Shakespeare’s stories had stuck in my mind: influences ferment over time, and come out in new and interesting ways. That’s the most a writer can ever hope for.

The things of greatest value require a bit of effort, but it pays off. If you’re new to Shakespeare then read the notes alongside the text, so that you pick it up quicker. Read it aloud (ideally with friends), and lose your inhibitions, and laugh, and imbue words with life. You’ll find entertainment, and stories, and drama, and see that some things haven’t changed. We’re all connected.



[The article above was originally published on OpenBooks, via commission.]

Othello
“Keep clear of the moors”, they said in The Slaughtered Lamb. Unfortunately Desdemona wasn’t given the same advice.

Othello is a man of power, a masterful strategist, who uses language with intricacy and authority: “Keep up your bright swords, for the dew will rust them.” Yet he is also prone to suspicion and pride. Good and bad qualities, a mix all the best characters share. But the subtly evil Iago spreading poison from the wings illustrates how weak the foundations of life can be. Modern horror and thrillers have a debt to pay to Othello.

Macbeth
So foul and fair a play I have not seen. Dig beneath the melodrama of witches and cauldrons; look past a Thane of Cawdor brought low by wordplay; then you will find ambition and madness laid bare in The Scottish Play. Lady Macbeth pulls the strings of power, but that lust curses all it touches. Those at the top scheme behind false-friend facades, and the commoners pay the real price. Royalty, politicians, corporations – things may not be so different today. “What need we fear who knows it, when none can call our power to account?”


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Saturday, 16 April 2016

Historical Versus Contemporary

Image by Mysticsartdesign via Pixabay, CC0 Public Domain


When is a book historical, and when is it contemporary?

I've struggled with this. My last two novels (Cold Fusion 2000 and 2000 Tunes) were written since 2013, so in one sense are contemporary. But both are set in the year 2000. Is that old enough to be historical? When does the date of writing take precedence over the date of the novel's action? What if a novel covers the present and the past: is it half historical, half contemporary? I have no answers except to conclude that all categories break down in the liminal regions, though that makes me all the more determined to explore them. What do you think? If you come up with any definite answers I'd love to know!

Just in case you wonder why I set the novels in 2000: around that year I worked in Manchester. The Haçienda had closed a couple of years before, so things were on a downer. I decided to set the novels then because 2000 was a funny time - I never understood the reasons why people thought the world would be different just because a number ticked over in an arbitrary dating system. I decided to focus on the one thing that could change - the life of an individual. So two stories came out of it, both about love and taking control of your life.

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Thursday, 14 April 2016

The Hexen Wars

It begins

I've written about my obsession with the game Doom. After another nostalgic visit to my gaming past this week I ended up writing about another PC game I used to play: Hexen.

Just as I had created an almost-impossible challenge for Doom, I did the same with Hexen. I had to complete the whole game in one go; no saves; on the fourth (hard) difficulty level. This was back in the happy days when I had few games, so tended to play one to exhaustion before moving to another.

It was also the days before "achievements" were given to gamers as arbitrary collect-'em-all metagames; the days when you made up your own challenges. If you did so it was because you felt like it, not because they were pushed on you. I usually created them to add immersion; tied in to the story world, rather than "survive x minutes", "kill x baddies".

It was also the days before video playthroughs and easy advice; bear in mind that Hexen is a game with traps that can kill you instantly, with no warning. There was lots of trial and error, because if I died I wasn't allowed to continue, to find out how to avoid the trap: I just restarted the game. Which seems ridiculous in one way, but on the other hand it created emotions I rarely feel in games any more, one of them being genuine fear when I approached that area on my next playthrough (if I made it that far). I would reach the point where I'd died and skirt around it; try and observe it from a distance; spend time looking for any obvious triggers, or other ways round, or creatures that could trigger the trap for me; if that failed I'd try and remember how far it extended, and work out whether it was one I could sprint through, of if it was one you were meant to trigger then step back as the rock crushed down. Finally I would put my new, cautious plan into action; if it worked I would always follow that pattern in future, but also always feel fear (later weakened to trepidation, but I still felt something) whenever I reached that area. I didn't need blood smears to warn me that it was a place of pain and regret.

I hated this centaur level

Nowadays you just reset at the previous checkpoint, or quickload, and carry on. More efficient use of time, but it loses in other areas, such as challenge, and emotion, and real-time continuity (if I felt tired it was an extension of my character's weariness), and immersion.

Eventually I got to the point where I could reach the final level most times. Usually I died quickly there. Each time I restarted I would use the next character - fighter, cleric, mage - to keep variety. I became ultra-efficient at moving and killing and knowing when to use special items. It could have been so perfect.

But the game occasionally self-destructed. Twice I got to the final level and was doing well, then the game crashed and I had to reboot and start again. Now that did make me angry. My computer wasn't playing by "the rules".

I was determined not to be beaten.

Then one bright spring day I got to the final level. Took deep breaths. Played it as cautiously as I could, whilst still getting caught up in health-sapping panic fights. But I kept going, and ... won. Despite all the odds, I had achieved this ridiculous challenge.

Then I uninstalled the game and never played it again.

It was a perfect moment, a perfect gaming memory, a real epic challenge that stayed in my mind like the greatest stories of victory. It could never be sullied or taken from me, or weakened by later disastrous playthroughs. The demon was dead, forever.

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Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Amiga Format Madness

Today I was going to post some flash fiction, but I have just seen a comment on the blog post Who Am I?

Did you ever write letters to Amiga Format magazine? If it was you did you ever keep the prizes you won?

I did indeed! That's a blast from the past. In fact, I still have the T-shirt and wear it round the house (though the binder is long gone).

I'll share them with the world. I was obsessed with my Amiga (a computer). I read lots of magazines and during 1990 had a brief flurry of infamy for my silly letters, which Amiga Format published. I probably wrote many more which didn't appear and are now lost to the mists of time. I'm sure I'll cringe about them later, but these are the letters in question.

Amiga Format, issue 9, Apr 1990, Letters - note that the Workbench
was the operating system, the equivalent of MS Windows.
Two letters in one issue.

Amiga Format, issue 10, May 1990, Letters - nothing from me,
but I had created the "Amiga Kettle" meme.
I needed to make a comeback.

Amiga Format, Aug 1990, Letters.
Back in the driving seat.

Amiga Format, Dec 1990, Letters - was this
my final gasp? I can't find any other issues to scan, so possibly it was...

There were also a few they published before I went a bit mad. Not worth reading, honestly; I just include them for completeness.

Amiga Format, issue 2, Sept 1989, Letters - no hint of humour

Amiga Format, issue 3, Oct 1989, Letters - cringeworthy comments about graphics.
Hey, I was a teenager.

Amiga Format, issue 4, Nov 1989, Workbench - a section about technical issues.
Somehow achieved a time-warp that repeated part of my first letter a few months previously.

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Monday, 11 April 2016

Harvest Festival Reviews


The first two reviews for Harvest Festival!

Sources:
"You will definitely read this book in one sitting. Everything is going really fast but you can't expect anything else from this apocalyptic story. I really liked the beginning of the action, it kept me in constant tension and really played with my imagination. [...] Plus I really enjoyed the weird part, when Callum tries to save his daughter. Made me really nervous :) [...] It's a fun and intense read and you should definitely go for it, if you're looking for something that won't be brutal and disgusting but will give you chills." OpenBooks / Goodreads (10th April 2016)

"Another scary-good offering from Karl Drinkwater, Harvest Festival combines the best of sci-fi and horror. Packed full of action and nail-biting suspense, it will leave you sleeping just a little less soundly, and perhaps a bit wary of blue-tinted lighting.

An ordinary farmer with two teenaged children who are getting harder to relate to, Callum finds himself defending his family when unknown invaders come to call. He has to dig deep for courage and ingenuity, and make the tough decisions needed to help them survive. [...] Callum is willing to do whatever it takes to save those he loves, and discovers resources within himself that he didn't know he possessed.

If you like horror, get this novella. If you like sci-fi, get this novella. If you are a fan of Tufo's zombies, get this novella. There are no zombies here, but there is something just as gruesome and frightening." Sara Smolarek, Goodreads (10th April 2016)

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Saturday, 9 April 2016

Ellipses...


Why am I tearing my hair out over three little dots?

Punctuation should aid clarity for the reader. You would also expect the usage for each punctuation item to be standard. But for some items it is not.

Welcome to the ellipsis.

Ellipsis is used for:
  • omission (usually in non-fiction, but it leads to)
  • a narrator trailing off with something unfinished, leaving things hanging (as opposed to interrupted, which would be a dash)
  • a pause in speech or thought
An ellipsis is three dots. In the past there were sometimes spaces between them . . . as here. I actually like that appearance, but it is fading out as old-fashioned, so wouldn't be adopted by many new writers. Instead the ellipsis will appear as three dots together: ...

They shouldn't be overused in prose, but can be useful in capturing the nuances of speech - the telling pauses for thought, the changes of subject, the hints of the unspoken and so on.

However, there is an issue as to whether the ellipsis has a space before, after, both, or neither.

The Guardian Style Guide (p11; and David Marsh’s For Whom The Bell Tolls p101): says to use a space before and after, even at the end of a sentence. No other punctuation is to touch it.

"She didn't want to go there ... "

New Hart’s Rules (pp81-2) has a space on each side too, apart from when the ellipsis comes up against other punctuation, when the space can be removed (this treats ellipses exactly like en dashes, so is consistent):

"If we could ..."
Is it possible ...?

So we already have an issue - if there is a space, does it disappear when next to punctuation such as quotation marks and question marks, or does it remain? I've been reading a lot about ellipses recently, and most sources seem to follow the Hart's Rules approach.

The problem with the space before the ellipsis is that text which runs over a line can lead to awkward orphans such as this:

"If we could blah blah blah text fill in the gaps yourself this is just an example to fill space
..."

(The Guardian approach could even lead to a closing quotation mark on its own line). Although you could manually try and find and fix every example of this in print, it would be time-consuming and fiddly; also, any reflowable medium like a web page or e-book would still suffer from it, with no way of correcting it.

I also feel that ending a sentence with a space and ellipsis looks like something is missing (since a full stop would not have a space), as here:

She didn't want to go there ...

The widow/orphan problem is why some publishers go against convention and remove all spacing so that ellipses appear...like this. It prevents awkward orphans, but looks wrong, like a snake that has been run over by a car.

A compromise could be to attach the ellipsis to the preceding word and have a space after, apart from when there is attached punctuation. Examples:

“Tell me… No. Forget it.”
“I want to go, but…” he said

This fixes the widow and orphan problem at the expense of breaking the standard recommended style. That could be an acceptable compromise if it works in every case; perhaps the standard style needs updating. But we come to a problem with even this solution. Examine the following.

"I would like a..."

Doesn't the ellipsis somehow look like it is obscuring letters after the "a", as if it is a Victorian attempt to protect us from the word "arse"? Or as if a new word trailed off unfinished. Retaining the space before it brings back the old orphan problem, but seems clearer as to where the sentence peters out:

"I would like a ..."

Another issue is that, as I mentioned at the start, an ellipsis could indicate either a pause, or a sentence petering out. How do you make that distinction? Consider the following.

“I ran away when … John hit me.”

Is that one sentence with a pause, or two sentences where one trailed off? There is no way to tell, but the difference alters the meaning.

This brings me back to the system I used in the past, which would make that distinction. The system was advised by one of my editors, who said:
"Note on ellipsis. (I think someone could write an entire paper on the correct usage of ellipses!) My understanding is that if they precede a new sentence, then there is only a space before the beginning of the new sentence, but if mid-sentence, there should be a space either side."
That is, put a space around either side of an ellipsis when it is mid-sentence (pause in speech), but not when it ends a sentence, representing speech trailing off (in which case it is also doing double duty as a full stop). Examples:

“I would like a ... oh, I don't know ... a change in my life?” [mid-sentence, spaced]
“I want to go, but…” he said. [end-sentence, only a space after, unless punctuation follows it]
“Tell me… No. Forget it.” [end-sentence, only a space after]
“Please… What’s wrong?” [end-sentence, only a space after]
“Please … tell me what’s wrong.” [mid-sentence, spaced]

If I go back to the ambiguous sentence earlier, this system makes it clear whether it is one or two sentences.

“I ran away when … John hit me.”
[A single paused sentence; she left when John hit her; paused because it was difficult to admit; John hitting her is the key fact]

“I ran away when… John hit me.”
[Two sentences, one of which is unfinished; we do not know when she ran away, or why; she seems so reticent to tell us that she changes the subject, introducing a new and dramatic topic to distract us; the thing that made her run away may be the key fact, currently hidden]

This system only seems to have one downside: if the reader is not aware of this distinction (that a space before the ellipsis gives useful information), is there any point to it? Worse, what if both kinds occur in the same sentence? Then the author may just look like they are being inconsistent:

"I would like a change ... in my life. I want to go, but… Tell me the truth!"

Of course, in those cases I could rewrite the sentence, but it seems strange to have to rewrite things to get around the failure of a punctuation mark.

The only other solution I have come across is to show the end of a sentence by adding a fourth stop to the ellipse. But this opens up a whole can of worms, based on which competing style guide you follow.

"I want to go, but. ... Ooh, ice-cream!" [Chicago Manual of Style]
"I want to go, but. . . . Ooh, ice-cream!" [Modern Language Association]
"I want to go, but.... Ooh, ice-cream!" [Elements of Typographic Style]

However, to my mind it seems wrong to have a full stop after the but - a full stop indicates the end of a sentence, but this sentence did not end, it trailed off unfinished. The systems also vary in how they add other punctuation e.g. a question mark, or exclamation mark.

"I want to go, will you let me? ..." [Chicago Manual of Style]
"I want to go, will you let me...?" [Elements of Typographic Style]

Adding a fourth stop just leads to the need for even more complexity and variety.

Which brings me full circle. There doesn't seem to be a definitive source covering the use of ellipses and spacing at the end of a sentence. I read everything I could find on ellipses in 2016, and asked questions in grammar/punctuation groups (which were often American and derailed things by suggesting em dashes). Almost every suggested format was flawed, clunky or inconsistent in some way. And usually when you read about ellipses they give only one or two examples, conveniently avoiding any that would be problematic when using their espoused system. I skimmed through Ellipsis in English Literature: Signs of Omission by Anne Toner (2015) the other day, but even that tome did not give any clear guidance on modern usage which would avoid the problems I am struggling with above.

So here's a challenge. Rules for using an ellipsis that avoid the flaws mentioned in this post. Does such a set of commandments exist? If not, I think I have decided which system I will adopt as "final" for my books. After all, life is rarely perfect.

Further reading:

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Friday, 8 April 2016

Notso Grand National

Possibly the first photo ever taken: child jockey
Elecreutious Underwood Pimpleton-Wylde (1657)
 
Tomorrow, 9th April, is a celebration of cruelty: the 2016 Grand National.

Please think twice before betting. Think of the suffering.

Once jockeys have been pulled from the sucking glue of the birthing vats they are kept in two-foot boxes with only their heads and bottoms stuck out until the age of 12. As a punishment they often get their bottoms whipped, which become terribly scarred, as well as stained from being unable to wipe properly. Crammed side by side they cannot move, and only communicate in grunts and whistles.

From the "Rumblepoker Patented Preparation Manual" (1846) 

Technology is applied to their training. In Victorian times they were strapped to a Rumbledowser for hours each day; a Dowsee was in charge and tilted the box back and forth to get the mini-men used to the motion of being on a horse. Other cruel machines included the Rumblepoker and the Whipton-Smythe. Of course, nowadays modern technology takes over and instead a long conveyor belt is used to train many jockeys at once as it oscillates at a frequency which increases sexual excitement as the machinery vibrates, combining adaptation with positive reinforcement.

"A Gentleman's Riding Trainer" (1853)

In the past they used selective breeding to make slight alterations to each generation of jockey men. Nowadays genetic engineering is used to create jockeys the size of a toddler, but who weigh only 6 grams due to micro-pockets of air in their bones, and a reduced water content. You'd think in this day and age that kind of thing would have been stopped but the cruelty continues.
 
Also, horses. (Guardian; Fact Sheet)
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Thursday, 7 April 2016

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Piracy And DRM


This article on the Book Designer is sensible and useful advice. I make my living as an author but always release DRM-free, since DRM has caused me so many problems as a consumer (in films, books, and games). It only ever penalises legitimate customers. The best thing is to treat your customers well, and not worry about the ones who wouldn't pay anyway. Who knows, they might give you a good review instead - that's worth more than the cost of a book.

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Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Arvon Writing Course

 A view from the grounds

As regular readers will know, I like going on writing courses. I haven't yet written anything about the Arvon Foundation course I attended 9th–14th November 2015: "Work In Progress: Writing is rewriting", tutored by Nick Barlay and Diran Adebayo at The Hurst. Now I will rectify that error.

I stopped off at the Good Life in Shrewsbury

Lying train people! My train was the
16:50 Carmarthen - note that it still hadn't arrived by 17:07!

After a lengthy journey (anywhere from Aberystwyth by train is a lengthy journey) I met up with some other participants and we got a taxi to The Hurst for welcome talks, getting to know each other, and a big meal.I had a lovely large bedroom, set slightly away from the main building: yes, I had warned them in advance that I would be bringing my guitar.

Morning run

The teaching format for the week was one long session each day, rather than two shorter ones as has been the case at some other courses I attended; but this freed up more time for tutorials, which was necessary when there were lots of attendees and we got two tutorials each, one with each tutor. We sat around a large round table which was great for the main sessions, you could see everyone easily, and all felt able to contribute. The sessions were a mix of discussions, examining examples, and creative exercises. One thing here: my favourite format after a short creative exercise is when everyone gets a chance to read out their work or pass, moving around the table. I prefer that to the system where the group are asked if anyone would like to read out their work (with only time for a few examples), because in that case the most assertive characters get more opportunity to read than the less pushy ones; it also encourages leaping forward to volunteer otherwise you won’t get the chance. On the other hand with such a large group as the Arvon course hosted it isn't possible for everyone to read out every time; I just wonder if there could be a fairer system, such as recording how many times people read out, and making sure everyone has the same number of opportunities.

I wandered lonely as a leaf

I realised I'd never been on a course with male tutors before. I've always been lucky in going on good quality courses with excellent tutors, and that didn't change. Nick and Diran made a good team, whilst also being individual in their approaches. Nick seems fiercely serious at first (but is really friendly!); he normally gave direct advice, in concise points, very clear and considered with incisive perceptions, and a welcome willingness to be open to other interpretations of work. Diran preferred to feel his way around a subject with many examples and enjoyable animated anecdotes, giving close thought to the detail of a work whilst being humble and self-deprecating. Both are very intelligent people, helpful, friendly, knowledgeable. Both also broadened our appreciation via many samples of other writers, different approaches to issues, different styles, which helped make the advice concrete. I'm grateful to both of them. Teaching is hard. Reading, work, preparation, tutorials, support, professionalism, being on duty all week. It was a really good course.

We stand on the shoulders of giants. 
Or grassy banks, one of the two.

By the end of the week I had seen subtle yet noticeable increases in confidence and technique in all participants. The final night’s readings are something that can create trepidation – obviously for any readers nervous about performance or the quality of their work, but also in listeners if faced with hours of readings that require concentration and patience. In this case all of us were surprised that the readings flew by, with interesting stories, varied voices and topics, tones and deliveries ranging from dark (e.g. my contribution) to comic (which had everyone laughing). It really was impressive and I genuinely enjoyed the work of every other participant. It's so good to have a week with such talented writers and tutors.

I'm a little pixie.
Hear me roar.

Socially we were a great group too. Supportive and friendly (some of us set up an online group where we could continue to critique each others work after the course ended). I would be doing guitar practice in my room and someone would turn up: "Hey Karl, sorry to interrupt, but I thought your comments earlier were really helpful, any chance you'd be willing to have a read of this and help me out?" Which I always did, meaning discussion of writing didn't end with the evening meal. Feedback and constructive criticism is something we all benefit from.

The view from my room

I was surprised that despite only two hours sleep on some of the nights (nothing dodgy, just a combination of staying up late in the lounge drinking and talking about books; my head buzzing with thoughts; sleeping in a strange room; wind in the trees; and lacewings landing on my face and waking me up, asking to be let out the front door) I never flaked out, because the people and materials were interesting and inspiring. I generally got up at 7am, and went for a pre-breakfast run to watch the world wake up. Always the best way to start the day, though I only tend to do it when I am away from home!

One downside to my visit was that the centre use poisons on site to kill wildlife, most commonly large traps aimed at poisoning rats. That's a horrible system, since many animals eat the same food, and there's no way to make it available to rats without it also being accessible to mice, voles, hedgehogs, squirrels, frogs, slugs etc. Some of those can, in turn, be eaten (and poison) cats, birds of prey, hedgehogs, foxes etc. (By the way, if you've ever seen poison kill something, you'll know how gruesome it is; other traps are just as cruel, such as glue traps where the animals starve to death, and gnaw off their own limbs to try and escape). It's also pretty ineffective - most rats don't eat the poison; some survive and become immune; and studies have proved that new rats from outside quickly replace dead rats. I prefer prevention to cure. Instead of traps to get rid of the creatures we share the land with, it is better to make sure buildings are secure and well-maintained, and food is not accessible or wasted: then you have no issue. As well as being cruel, traps with dead things in are not hygienic (there were traps in the kitchen too). The fantasist in me would suggest that having poisons on site when highly-strung writers have been critiquing each other, then cook group meals, may not be a good idea (fuel for a horror or crime story there.) The Hurst has a "Sustainability And Conservation" policy, which includes comments like "Arvon is committed to environmental sustainability [...] Our objectives are - to minimise our impact on the natural environment": as such, poisons and traps and killing seem somewhat hypocritical.

Despite that disappointing caveat, I did enjoy the week.

+ Helpful centre staff
+ See both tutors one-on-one
+ Writers introduced new styles
+ Great morning run
+ Large room with a good view in front of the desk
+ Food – lots, with fresh fruit, no problem being a vegan
+ Warm, even in winter

- A rule that you have to sign out when you leave the building (which I ignore on principle)
- Animal traps/poisons

+/- No Internet - good or bad depending on your life. I had no problems with that.
+/- Cooking rota. Some people love the communal aspect of this (I always have fun cooking with my fellow writers; we tend to get a bit sloshed) but some people don't enjoy group cooking.

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Monday, 4 April 2016

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Harvest Festival


As an experiment I released a novella yesterday from my forthcoming short story collection.

Are you after a fast-paced and tense read? Then say hello to Harvest Festival, a horror novella set in Wales. It will turn up on most e-book stores; for now here are links to Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Harvest Festival probably goes well with a quiet afternoon, a cup of tea, and a slice of cake. Ideally a storm outside too, but we can't have everything.


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