Saturday, 11 December 2010

Old School Cries

I suspected horrible pranks waiting for me. But the old school seemed less intimidating now. No more lessons in suffering for this outsider.

It was the first time I’d ever been invited to a reunion. All I could think of was buckets of pig’s blood and Travolta’s sloppy grin.

An apology they told me. They wanted to make amends for all their bullying. So I suggested a toast. Everybody raised their glasses and gulped. Nobody noticed the punch was effervescent with the poison. 

Such beautiful yearbook photographs I’ll send to their families. 

Much better than the ones from the coroner.








This was my entry for last weeks Lily Childs Friday Prediction. 100 max  using the words Outsider, Effervescent and Invitation. The content seems to be stronger each week with such great writers of micro/flash fiction over there. If you fancy having a go it's open to all and this weeks competition is running now. http://lilychildsfeardom.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Winter Tales






















Pools Of Sorrow, Waves Of Joy.


I remember my mum waking me one night in 1977 two days before my birthday. Until that point the only things on my mind were whether or not I’d be getting a skateboard and a surprise party. The news she told me pushed these dreams out of my head. The King was dead.

Elvis, who had recently become my idol, was no longer with us. I don’t mind admitting that I cried myself back to sleep that night.

I never did get that skateboard or surprise party but I didn’t mind too much. It was the middle of a glorious August, not as hot as the one with the ladybirds, but sunshine and long summers seemed to be the fashion when I was a kid.

I got over Elvis dying. This was helped by the constant playing of his films on television.  We also had license to play his albums constantly unlike being told ‘enough was enough’ only weeks before.

I never thought I’d feel that way about a famous person’s death again. I didn’t catch the national grief when Diana died two decades later for instance, but my world would be rocked again just a few years after Elvis took his three steps to heaven.

Happiness is a warm gun.

The Comeback Kid.
Since the death of Elvis on 16th of August 1977 I had grown up. I had developed and matured in my musical tastes. I had flipped from Rock and Roll to punk and new wave. None of these resided too long in my musical heart. One musical force did however. It was a band that hailed from my home town. A band whose very streets I had walked, whose very houses I had passed and whose legacy would change the city where I lived forever.

That band were The Beatles of course. I was mad about them. I was in my own little Beatlemania world for a couple of years. I didn’t have much pocket money to buy records so I was grateful my brothers and sisters had every Beatle’s albums between them. I would sneak the records from their bedrooms and play them none stop on my hand-me-down Dansette portable turntable.

That is why I refused to believe the words my mum spoke to me once again. My new hero was dead. She showed me the newspaper with its haunting headline, ‘John Lennon Murdered’. My own life ended a little on that day too.  
                                                                "Before Elvis there was nothing."
                                                                         - John Lennon


O
nce again I had been looking forward to presents, Christmas ones this time. Only now I had asked for an acoustic guitar like Lennon played instead of the Americana of a skateboard that symbolised my obsession with that great American hero of Elvis Aaron Presley.

I did get what I wished for this time. Was it something to do with rock and roll lightning striking me twice? Maybe it was due to the nation all turning to their own guitars and re-learning the classic Beatles songs once again. Whatever the reason I started my journey as a musician that day. It was fated like the death of the two greatest Rock and Roll giants had been fated to such early deaths.


"Laurel and Hardy, that's John and Yoko.
And we stand a better chance under that guise
because all the serious people like Martin Luther King
and Kennedy and Gandhi got shot."

John Lennon


Candles were lit in Liverpool and New York, the two homes in Lennon’s heart. These  were not just torches to celebrate the birth of the messiah but votives to mourn the death of our own guiding light.

A working class hero.


Liverpool changed and continues to change since John Lennon’s death. We owe a lot to his music and the other three members of course. It is sad to say that without that fatal bullet from Mark Chapman’s gun we would still be a city in ruins, a ghetto of Europe rather than its capital of culture just twenty eight years after the murder of our most famous son.

John Lennon didn’t just revive the tourist industry in the city of Liverpool, nor inject countless millions of dollars and Yen into our local economy.  He revived our own spirit and sense of worth. Some people may have started to forget the Beatles or turned to newer sounds. But after his death we all remembered the potential we had in this city and the greatness that can bloom from our country if we believe in our dreams. With enough support to those that have passion in their belly and hard work on their minds we can create truly great Britons.

One could argue that John Lennon was the fire that dragged us though the dark days of Thatcher and the Marxist tendencies of local politics that threatened to tear our city apart. One could argue that his memory has been sold to pay for gleaming hotels and a glut of trendy bars and restaurants that litter the streets of Liverpool the way discarded bin bags once did.

Either way I think we can all stop and remember a great man with a great talent that we had the fortune to have with us for forty short years but whose legacy seems almost eternal.

Give Peace a Chance.
I will be lighting one more candle today on the anniversary of Lennon’s murder. It is thirty years since we lost this great son not only of Liverpool, but England and the adopted son of New York City.

John Lennon MBE, 9 October 1940 – 8 December 1980.
 ‘Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.’

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

The Ice Spiders Cometh


With the big freeze surprising the UK like morning follows night is a surprise, I thought it was time we looked at the beauty and opportunity winter can bring. I struggled along the school run, up all night nursing one child with a cold and the other falling hard on the ice like Ann Widdecombe from her dignity, I decided to take a moment to rest.


To my surprise I found a glorious sight of nature in this otherwise miserable weather. Along the railings and walls of the church by the school were patterns of ice so intricate and beautiful it broke icicles from my downturned mouth as it remembered how to smile again.

As a fully signed up arachnophobe marvelling at these ice sculptures created by spiders may seem odd to those who know me. But there was a rare elegance to them. I’ve posted some images I captured on my phone with a shaking hand caused by the arctic temperatures and fear the architects may crawl over the fence at any moment demanding payment for the exhibition.




This thought instantly pricked the grotesque sensors in my imagination and I quickly scribbled an idea about 'The Ice Spiders Cometh'. I’ll start working it this week, if I can force myself to write about the horrid beasts that is, and post the story on the site.


                             

Until then please enjoy the photographs that inspired the tale to come.

Monday, 6 December 2010

The Cutter

This is a 100 word flash fiction piece that was part of the Friday Prediction competition at Lily Childs Feardom. The prompt words were, Lime, Peacock and Skinny.





The Cutter

He swaggered into the club wearing his peacock suit and bastard expression. He was The Cutter, Mr Razor to you and me. He grabbed a girl from the dance floor and dragged her to his table. She had no say. 

He ordered a Coke for him and vodka for her. ‘Top it up with lime,’ he ordered. ‘Let her know how her grave will taste tonight.’

He liked them skinny. Easier to fuck and easier to break. She smiled up at the waitress as he drank.

It’s also easy to poison somebody when arrogance makes them believe they’re untouchable.



Originally published http://lilychildsfeardom.blogspot.com/2010/11/lilys-friday-prediction_26.html

Visit the site and have a try yourself. The competition runs every Friday and is open to all. Remember to bring along your dark thoughts and creepy scribblings.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

I'm Static Electric



I burn, a lamp fluorescent.

I turn, wind up,

The mechanics of you.

I’m the spark,

Of which poets write.

Nylon carpets and Bakelite

Brushing against you in a crowded malls

I’m static electric, the handshake of love.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

What Doesn't Kill You


I've written a ghost story for Spook City that's been kindly accepted and posted today. It's the tale of a young girl who becomes a haunting witness in every step of a stranger's deepening downward spiral.

Check it out if the snow hasn't chilled your bones enough.

Who is she and why does she stalk this man through his days and more eerily though his nights. If the snow hasn't chilled your bones enough take a trip to Spook City and have a read here, 'What Doesn't Kill You.'



Thanks and keep warm,

Tony

Quick Update-Writing.



I’ve written a short story for consideration at Spook City ( http://spookcity.blogspot.com ) entitled ‘What Doesn’t Kill You’. Hopefully they like it enough to use it.

I’m hoping to hear from Liquid Imagination about my flash piece, ‘A Dangerous Body of Water’ soon as I would really love to have some work featured in their magazine. It’s a very tough one to get into though.

I’ve written something pretty spooky to send to the  ‘+The Horror Library 5+’ anthology at Cutting Block Press, but it needs a good edit this week as they are a real tough crowd to please over there. When a publisher has such high standards I have to step it up again. Though to be fair I hope I do that with all submitted work to every publisher and competition.

There’s also a flash piece of mine entitled, ‘The Cutter’ up at Lily Childs Feardom for her Lily’s Friday Prediction competition.

Lily Childs Feardom, Friday Prediction.

Anthology pieces published and available.

An Apple For Teacher’ is still available in the Pill Hill Press anthology ‘ Something Dark in the Doorway’

'The Adventures of My Pencil Sister’ and ‘That Sinking Feeling’ are two flash pieces I have included in the Pill Hill Press anthology- ‘Daily Flash 2011: 365 Days of Flash Fiction.’

The Beautiful Noise’ is available in ‘Ghosts and Demons’ also available from Pill Hill Press.

And last but not least by a very long shot is my entry in the Six Sentences 'Dr. Ramsey' flash anthology.

Dr Ramsey

Lot’s more to come but it’s been so busy with life, kids and writing that I have missed updating for a while. I will be submitting a flash piece exclusively for this blog sometime this week too so look out for that.

Thanks and take care,

Tony

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Fireflies in the Storm.


Auttie came for dinner, brought a bottle and her smile
We got a little drunk and made love for a while
Auttie worked for a baker, making celebration cakes
She was always covered in flour, put on a little weight

Auttie left her pyjamas, a toothbrush and some cream
So I gave her a drawer, before she asked me for a key
But Auttie had some boxes, brought them in the baker’s van
She smelled of sweet vanilla so I lent her a hand.

Auttie showed me a photo, grainy black and white
Couldn’t make out the face ‘til I saw the start of life
Auttie cleared the spare room and rolled on in a crib
Painted rabbits on the walls where my records used to live

The seasons passed so quickly and then Summer came along
Our lyrical daughter after Auttie’s favourite song
The hissing lawns soon dried up and we tripped into the fall
Pram wheels crushing brown leaves and hand prints on the wall.
We thought we had it all,
But there were fireflies in the storm.

Auttie had a lump and said not to worry much
She was back in the kitchen, didn’t want to make a fuss
Auttie was covered in flour and lost a lot of weight.
We helped blow out the candles on her final birthday cake.

Now Summer comes for dinner with a bottle and her smile
We play with little Autumn and we laugh for a while
Then I take her to the nursery with the rabbits on the wall
She asks about grandma Auttie as we walk on down the hall

Auttie’s covered in flowers as we leave the cemetery gate
And Autumn carries candles from that celebration cake
We load a lifetime of belongings into the bakers van
And I smell the sweet vanilla as I take her by the hand
And we almost have it all,

Because those sparks in Autumn's eyes
Are also fireflies,
That beat away the storm
And keep Auttie's love alive.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

A Tale A Day Keeps The Boredom Away.

Well I’m very happy to announce that two pieces of my flash fiction are to be included in an anthology from the American publishing house Pill Hill Press this coming December. The book is called ‘2011 Daily Flash: 365 Days of Flash Fiction.’ I feel privileged to be keeping company with of some of my favourite flash fiction writers of the moment in this collection. Lee Hughes adds his dark wit to the pages that also include the talents of Chris Bartholomew, Stephen Hill, D. Nathan Hilliard, Iain Pattison and Ellie Garratt.

One of my pieces is also to be  featured on the cover art work along with some of the other gripping stories.



This anthology is a great idea for those who want a quick bite of fiction or need to grab a few pieces on their commute to kill the boredom of the same passing scenery every day. There is a flash piece for every day of 2011, though I doubt many readers will be able to hold out that long and will quickly devour many stories in each sitting.

The first of my two stories is called ‘That Sinking Feeling,’ a noir tale with a direct line of influence from my hero Rod Serling. The other is a tongue in cheek fantasy piece entitled ‘The Adventures of My Pencil Sister.’ Yes it is as mad as the title suggests.

This anthology would make an ideal Xmas present or a personal gift to yourself to pass away those moments stuck in waiting rooms or during trains journeys. There is such a wide variety of styles, genres and themes from a diverse group of writers that I’m sure it will continue to surprise and entertain the reader.

So make sure you check out Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk this coming winter to find a book that will keep you warm and add a little light to those dark mornings.

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Dr Ramsey's Mystery Has Been Solved. Find The Answers At 6S.

I have a story included in a  newly released anthology of flash fiction from 6S (Six Sentences). The collection is edited by Thomas Knox and is made possible by the man behind the wheel at 6S, Rob McEvily.

There are some fantastic pieces in this book, in fact I haven't read one I didn't find something thought provoking, funny or downright dark inside the story. Stand out pieces, beside my own obviously, are by Gita Smith, Jared Culpepper, Lily Childs and Sal Buttaci. Other stories which I enjoyed immensley and are top reads from this collection are those by Teresa Cortez, A J Humpage and the winning story by Rachel Green. A special mention also has to go to the eeireely real and historically touching piece by Ellie Garratt.

All in all there 85 pieces of flash fiction in there all written in the frame of six sentences. How most of these brilliant writers pack so much characterisation and theme into this is astonishing at times

So thanks to Rob and Thomas and all the writers that contributed to this anthology and let's hope it reaches as many readers as possible who will no doubt enjoy it immensely.

Oh yeah the first page you should turn to is p.100. Well that is where my tale of the mysterious doctor is waiting for you to read. Okay it's a blatant plug but I've got to promote myself somehow haven't I?

The book can be bought from Amazon.com where there are some lovely reviews, including one that mentions my story. Or here at the Create Space site.

More information about the authors appears in this YouTube video.  



Thursday, 25 March 2010

The Battle of Sefton Park.



Swan wings draw rainbows in the lake


We choose a colour and paint our faces


Battle lines drawn in public parks


In the wide open and council tax places.


Squirrels collect all the empty shells


Then ants march off to fill with munitions


Pigeons swoop like Spitfires ready to bomb


We’re the target for the doves of Dresden.




We take cover in the smoking bandstand


They won’t share their fags, and call us losers


The weather vein’s arrow swings and points at me


It says W-E, but I don’t feel included.


We have swords of twigs on the pirate ship


Until a protest of ducks calls us to Pan


And outside that palace of palms and glass


We surrendered arms to the Valentine ghost and ran.
Then the stars looked dim, like energy saving bulbs


As we lay milk bottle daisies on statue steps


We’ll live to fight another day I guess


If mum will let us out to play tomorrow.


Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Golden Sparks and Writing Larks.

I had the great fortune of selling a flash fiction piece to those good and patient people over at EDF at the start of this year. Every Day Fiction promises to post a new story every day into your email in-box to give your morning, or lunch break, an extra bit of much needed magic.

So if it's raining outside or your desk is full or unfinished reports just subscribe to EDF and have the internet carrier pigeon drop a little surprise. Oh wait that sounds like a bad thing.

Forget my ramblings and take a peek over there and see if you like it. It's a free and friendly service brought to you by some very creative and helpful people.

My story was the first to be published on 1st January 2010 so I read it with a fuzzy head and bleary eyes. Here's your chance to read it sober. Though you may need a drink after you finish!

Here's my story at EDF if you have four or five minutes to spare.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Story Bored!

I've been mulling over the prospect of entering this year's Script Frenzy. This idea is the culmination of becoming bored with the process of novel writing and wishing to do something more visual. First let me explain the concept of Script Frenzy for those, like myself, who have only stumbled upon it this year.

Script Frenzy is like the screenplay version of NaNoWriMo. But instead of writing 50,000 words of a novel in 30 days you are urged to write a 100 page script in the same time fame. I did attempt NaNo last year and failed miserably because I found so many other writing projects, along with that dastardly thing called life, kept getting in the way.

So somebody suggested Script Frenzy coming up in April (starts April 1st). Okay I thought, it would give me a break from novel writing, take me down a more visual route and even if I fail I would have tipped my toes in a different format. And as we know experience of all genres and types of writing can only be a good thing. Can't it?

So I signed up to Scripped which is an online screen-writing software site. This is handy as you can access your screenplay from any computer without worrying if you have the correct software to continue  if inspiration strikes. It seems writing a screenplay is a little more complex than other story formats which can be scribbled out on beer mats or the back of your hand if you've left your Moleskine in the hotel room or your Word installed computer at home.

Scripped is not only ingenous but very simple to use. I was using the basic free version (you can pay $4.95 a month for the bells and whistles version. Which is something I am already considering) and had knocked out 7 pages of script in a couple of hours. 'Well,' I thought. 'This screen writing business is a whiz.'

I exported the screenplay to PDF through Adobe and printed off a very professional looking piece of work. Okay it was rusty, had too many characters, too much action and not enough dialogue but it was a start. I felt so inspired I have decided to sign up for Script Frenzy and give a  very good go. I must admit that I doubt whether I can complete the task with the same problems of NaNo hanging over me, but I've not felt so excited about writing in such a long time.

Will this eliviate my boredem of the novel writing process? Well let me tell you that it already has. After reading the first seven pages of my experimental script I realised that my notes were mainly to do with prose I could use and plot and story arcs I could shape. So in a way this script is already developing into a blueprint of a novel which I can visualise much more clearly through the screenwriting process.

I doubt whether you'll see my name nominated  for the Best Original Screenplay Oscar but it could at least put it on the spine of a book in Waterstones someday.

Well back to the storyboard I go and I'll keep you updated on how my adventures in screen writing PAN OUT:

FADE TO BLACK

Paws: The Revenge.

#InDogWeTrust