Something Sinister this way comes…

Every so often, something big comes your way.  It’s not necessarily a major deal to anyone else, but to you – it’s a mindblower.  It can involve large amounts of money, children, marriage, a job offer you can’t refuse…  There are lots of things.

Writing, for me, is something I’ve done all my life.  From being a child, I’ve scribbled down stories.  Yes, there have been times I’ve not written much, due to various issues and a distinct lack of time, but now it’s an essential part of my life.  I even have tattoos depicting my love of the craft.

Well.  Last year, I was approached by the wonderful Wattpadto ask if I’d be willing to write an original story based on the premise of the movie The Purge.  The sequel, The Purge: Anarchy, was coming out and Universal was working with Wattpad, which gets in excess of 14 million unique visitors a month, to help promote the film.  My book, Sin, is apparently one of their top mystery/thrillers and they thought I’d be ideal to write for the film.  I wrote Mr. Composure, a story which was described as ‘the best story ever’ and had ‘the best plot twist ever’.  To say I was honoured to have been asked is an understatement.

This was one of those big things.

Imagine my shock-surprise-elation when I received a similar request this year!

Universal were releasing Sinister 2, the follow up to the hit horror, Sinister.  They were working with Wattpad once again.  This time, however, they specifically asked for me as they were so pleased with my work on Mr. Composure!

Erm…  WOW!!

I’d seen, and enjoyed, the first film.  I liked the premise too.  I just had to come up with an idea.  With The Purge’s Mr. Composure, my wife had given me the inspiration for the opening (often that’s all I need to run with a story).  I could then write and see where it went.  For Sinister 2, the studio wanted an overview of the story first.  GULP!  I usually don’t work like that – the story takes its own path and I run along behind, picking up the words and trying to throw them together in some semblance of order.  It meant I had to have a full idea of the story before I’d even written it.  Now, I know lots of authors work like that.  They plan each chapter with a full idea of the story arc and then flesh it out.  As I don’t, this was a new experience for me.

But, I did it.  My little girl, who’s 4, told me I could keep her imaginary friend, Nathaniel (a name we’ve never used as we don’t know anyone with that name) forever…  Erm…  Yes…  Needless to say, Nathaniel seemed to fit perfectly for what I needed here.  I wrote the story.  Suffer the Little Children is that story and, apparently, it’s ‘genuinely terrifying’, which is nice!

So, that’s two big things.  Two reasons for me to put my hand to my mouth and go “WOW!”  Not just being asked to write the stories in the first place, but because of the amazing response and support I’ve had for them too.

So, thank you Wattpad, thank you Universal and a ‘big’ thank you to you guys.  It is appreciated!

Now, of course, I am working on my next story.  My eldest daughter (12 years old) gave me a bizarre and somewhat twisted idea of The Little Mermaid as a sort of challenge.  I’m almost 10,000 words in and I’m happy to say, I’m rising to that challenge.  And the Meek Shall Walk is coming along nicely, though the Little Mermaid, to my knowledge, didn’t have blood or decapitation in it…

For further reading, here’s the links to the stories above:

Suffer the Little Children:

Sin:

Mr. Composure:

And the Meek Shall Walk:

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Cindy and the Spellcaster…

“Take me with you.”

 
“I can’t.  You know that.”
 
“But you know you can’t leave me here.”
 
I sighed and stared at my feet.  My toes stretched and clenched in my shoes, a dance which held my attention, diverting it from the matter at hand.  A dilemma, one where I knew she was right, but I also knew I was.  Two sides of the same coin.  The faces of Janus tossed in the air.
 
“I wish…” I mumbled, almost having to force the words out, “I wish I could.”
 
“You can.”
 
She was right.  I could.  If I could figure it out for myself, surely there’d be room for one more on top.  But, what then?  Where would either of us go?  I hadn’t told her my intentions.  She thought I planned to, I don’t know, go on the run.  Hide in barns or garden sheds.  Perhaps steal clothes from washing lines until I could find someone to give me a job and pretend I was normal and respectable, rather than an escaped lunatic.
 
Was she expecting to run with me?  An on-foot version of Thelma and Louise or Bonnie and Clyde?  Or Jekyll and Hyde, for that matter?  Today was a good day for her, but it wasn’t always so.  She popped from sweet to sour faster than a fart could slap you upside the nose.  She could be nicer than a 99 ice cream on a summer’s day, chased down your throat by a perfectly chilled pint of lager.  Then she could wake up, turn or blink and a woman scorned would hath no fury like hers.
 
Recently, her dark side had taken a witchcraft bent.  She’d not be specifically nasty, keeping her teeth and nails to herself, but she’d throw curses at you in offbeat rhythm.  Spell casting for the tone deaf.  She wish a plague of poisonous toads on you or that the next time you showered (baths weren’t allowed), your skin would wash away down the plughole.
 
Then she’d smile and completely forgotten she’d just requested that the heavens rain down rabid dogs on your children.  And she’d want a cuddle or to play hopscotch or to talk about what would be for the evening meal – slop or slop.
 
If we left here, and I had thought about striking out a path through a shadowy future where I wouldn’t know if the dogs snapping at my heels where going to eat me all up or drag me back to their cave.  This cave.  The asylum.  If she were with me, how long would the smiles last?  How long before someone turned her into the wicked witch and was smitten down by her wrath?
 
But, if she stayed here…  The ridicule, the isolation, the pin-cushion arm and endless sedatives.  It was wearing her away.  She had entered with cheeks rosier than Dorothy’s poppies.  Now, her skin had a blueish-grey pallor.  Her eyes were darkened circles of ash.  A wind would blow her away like the remnants of a funeral pyre.
 
“OK,” I whispered.
 
“What?” she responded, a smile threatening her unaccustomed lips.
 
“OK, Cindy, I’ll take you.”
 
“Thank you, Sin.”
 
I wished I hadn’t told her I intended to leave.  I wished I had kept it to myself.  Some things are too big.  Some things, if you don’t let them out, will grow within you, consuming your insides until there’s nothing left and they split you apart and show the world anyway.  So I had to tell someone and no-one knew how to keep a secret more than Cindy.  She had so many of her own, much of the reason she was a resident here, and shared none of what she was told.  Even the ‘strong suggestions’ of the orderlies to give up some of the information were unsuccessful.
 
I hadn’t expected her to ask me to take her with me.
 
I had to agree.  I had to tell her yes and to bring a spark of hope to her heart.
 
I smiled and nodded silently, then turned away before the tear of deceit rolled down my cheek.  I heard her bump into someone – I didn’t see who – and begin a curse.  It included the blood of a thousand tumorous testicles and drowning, but I didn’t hear the rest.  I returned to my room.
 
I needed the padded comfort.

 

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Composing Mr. Composure


Well, isn’t today an exciting day?

Why?  Because it’s a Tuesday!  
Is that not a good enough reason?  You want to know more?

Well (again)…

Last year, my novel Sin was serialised on Wattpad – the YouTube of books with over 14 million unique hits per month.  I’d posted samples before this point and was surprised and delighted to be asked to put the whole book up there.  Of course this was a risk.  If people could read it, why would they buy it?  In the end, however, this hasn’t mattered.  At the point of writing, Sin has had over 607,200 reads and some very humbling comments.  The fact i now have such a large fanbase wipes out any concerns I had about book sales.  I’d much rather have someone tell me they’ve enjoyed something I’ve written than have a couple of quid and not hear anything.

Anywho-de-do.

Earlier this year, my wife and I watched a movie.  The premise of the film was that all crime, for twelve hours, would be legal.  The movie was called The Purge.  It was a little disturbing, to be honest, as it showed what some people might possibly do just because they could.

A couple of weeks ago, I was contacted by the lovely Caitlin at Wattpad with another opportunity, one she wondered if I’d be interested in.

It seemed NBC Universal were bringing out the sequel, this time called The Purge: Anarchy.  It also seemed Wattpad were involved in the promotion of the film and had contacted their “top writers” (!) to ask if they’d like to write a story, based on the premise of the film, to coincide with the release of the film.

Would I be interested?  WOULD I??

That’ll be a yes!

Now, I admit to a little concern about this.  Not only was the story going to be tied in to the release of what I don’t doubt will be a successful film, but it was also outside my comfort zone.  I generally write paranormal thrillers.  Yes, I’ve dipped my toe in the waters of children’s poetry and erotica, but mainly it has a supernatural side.  For this, I figured ghosts or Death would be a little out of place.  Wattpad had said they wouldn’t mind a paranormal twist, so I set about writing.

I surprised myself.  The story seemed to come quite naturally, and I’d taken a different, hopefully original, path to tell the tale while still keeping it true to the premise.

It wasn’t easy going, to be honest.  I desperately needed a new computer at home so thought this was the perfect time, and excuse, to buy one.  It turned out my new PC didn’t want to download anything on Windows Update.  I spent two nights, when I should have been writing, trying to solve this issue.  Once I did, I then spent time getting the machine all set up.  Then I began to write.  Then the wireless keyboard decided to not want to play.  Then the helpdesk warranty people instructed me to do a system restore – back to just before I’d installed all the software.  Then I had to mess about doing it all again.

But…

The story is to be written in four parts.  The first part of my work, Mr. Composure, will be going live today – 24th June – with subsequent parts being uploaded weekly.  Not only will it be going up on my own page, but NBC Universal will be featuring it on their page too.

And it will be used, over the course of the year, to promote the film!

Can I just say WOW!?!

So, please drop by and take a peek.  I hope you enjoy it!  And, watch out for the release of the film next month!

My Wattpad page is here.  You’ll find Sin, along with lots of other stories by me and, now, part one of Mr. Composure!

NBC Universal’s page is here, where you’ll find my story plus others and a whole lot more!

Have a look at the trailer for The Purge: Anarchy.  Looking good!

Update!  As of 10:33am (UK time) on 28th June, Mr. Composure has had a massive 21,565 reads!  It’s also been called ‘the best story on Wattpad’ and ‘simply stunning’!
Wow!
Update 2!  As of 07:55am (UK time) on 30th June, we’re at 27,146 reads!  That’s unbelievable!  Thank you so much to everyone who’s dropped by.  I appreciate you taking the time to read my work and so many of you have left incredible comments!  Part two will be uploaded tomorrow (Tuesday).
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Stealing Moments…

Some ideas come from nowhere you can properly our your finger on. They seem to leap into your mind as if they were hiding behind that door wanting to make you jump. Or they feel like they’ve always been there, sneaking into your thoughts to the point where you can’t actually remember not having the idea in your head at all.
Then there’s the idea which comes from a word or a phrase or a picture or TV show. One that pops like a lightbulb and gets it’s claws into your brain and refusing to shake its grip. 
Last year, I went to the Manchester Ethiad stadium to see Bon Jovi.  It was a concert is wanted to go to for years and I have to admit I wish I’d done it years before as it didn’t live up to expectations. But that’s as may be. 
One if the support acts was excellent. James Walsh, ex of Starsailor, was grey and a pleasure to watch and listen to. One of his songs was Precious Stolen Moments, and an idea formed. 
Or the hint of an idea, at least. 
In fact, I don’t think it was even that. I think it was more like the title dug in for the winter, hibernating until the spring came and it could germinate into something much more. 
Well, spring is here. 
And the idea is germination and blossoming. 
Only the other day something was said about ‘stolen moments’ in a conversation with my wife, and that became the fertiliser I needed. 
Last week, I finished my story Secrets, the latest entry for my Darker Places collection – the follow up to Dark Places. My intention was to finish off Puddlebrain and continue to work on Mortal Sin, the sequel to Sin
Things don’t always happen as I intend, and I felt the need to finally begin the story about these ‘stolen moments’. 
And so it begins. I keep writing little bits as time allows, thankful for finally discovering OneNote on my iphone to let me keep track of such scribblings. 
Here it is so far. It’s not much but, and this is something which happens very rarely, I know where it’s going. I’ve even, after a fashion, written the ending. 
Stolen Moments
 
I help people. I help them. 
 
I don’t kill them. I… I help them. I…
When they have nowhere to go except into the hearafter, I bring the hand of Death and theirs together, to be led peacefully wherever they would be taken.  
When the edge of night threatens to darken their day, I bring a torch with which to guide them on.
I don’t kill them. 
I don’t…
It started…  Oh God, when did it start?  It seems so long ago. Another lifetime. Another me. Another town. Another…
Well. Just ‘another’ everything.
Then things changed. Things changed so much. It was as if space and time were spinning about their singularity and one dipped its toe into the chaotic waters and I was one of the ripples. 
The crow, I think. 
It started with the crow.
I hope it shows promise. I think it does. It has its claws in me anywho, so I’m stuck with finishing it. I’ll let you know when we’re done! 
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Just Keep Swimming…

So much to do and so little time.
 
I admit, I’ve been a little (a lot) lax in my postings of late.  Sin has been too.  I’m trying to dedicate some time to writing so blog posts get left behind in the wake, bobbing about on the surface of my musings without being able to put their feet down and gain purchase.
 
There’s a number of things I want to blog about.  A fab meal I had at the Spice Hut in Cleethorpes.  My trip to Disneyland Paris last week (great trip apart from a few incidents with the coach).  Watching the excellent Captain Phillips.  More!
 
But, I’m not getting round to it.  I need a PA or something, it seems.  Or a clone.  Maybe I should talk to the producers of Orphan Black (worthy of a blog post in itself – brilliant show) to see if they have a spare.
 
Anywho.  I haven’t forgotten you.  I’m just trying, and I mean trying, to write.  I’m working on the sequel to Sin, but he’s gone and gotten himself arrested.  I wasn’t expecting that, so I’m a bit stumped as to what’s going to happen next.  I’ve got Puddlebrain, my children’s book.  I know exactly what’s going to happen (a first for me, I think), but I have to get to finishing it.  Perhaps it’s because I know it needs a good edit.  I used a few too many ‘big’ words for the age range, for a start.  But I’ll get there.  Puddlebrain is the story I began whilst writing Sin.  I’d written about 40,000 words and forgotten about them.  I do like what I’ve written, I just need to refine it.
 
Then there’s my current story, ‘Home’.  With inspiration coming from the same place as The Lake and Summer Loving, it’s sort of tied me up.  I’m revisiting an alternative version of my youth, and it won’t be pretty.  I expected this to be a short story of, perhaps, a couple of thousand words.  I’m at 3,000 already and still scope for more.
 
Excerpt from ‘Home’
The trip to school seemed to take all day.  I could imagine getting there just in time to turn around and go back home.  Unfortunately, the minutes were just taking their time, spacing out the seconds in between like a trail of sweets, with me as Hansel following politely and hungrily along.  I arrived at the school gates with just enough time to spare for my friends to semi-playfully make fun of my fainting episode.  I took the brunt of the jibes and jokes with a facade of smiles.  I’d do the same if I were them.  Cracking jokes, poking ribs.  It was part of being at school.
 
Of course, when I saw the blood dripping off my desk in English later that morning, not quite coagulating but thick enough to look like crimson snot dangling off the edge of the desk lid, the teasing ceased.  I didn’t scream.  I didn’t faint.  I simply stopped.  My feet no longer worked.  My eyes no longer blinked.  I suppose my lungs alternatively inflated and deflated and my heart continued to pump, though maybe a little faster, but I couldn’t tell.  I couldn’t hear the teacher or the pupils talking to me nor could I feel them pulling at me to make me move.
 
My world had disappeared and all I could see was the blood.
 
Then, I think, I did faint.
 
At least it would give my friends something more to take the Mickey out of me for.
 
So.  I’ll be back.  How many of you just said that in an Arnie-style voice?  I know I did when I wrote it.
 
Bear with me.  Hopefully it’ll be worth the wait.  Just keep swimming, as the epic Dory would say, and I will too.
UPDATE:  Home, a ‘short story’ was finished a couple of days ago, to the tune of a smidgen over 9,500 words.  I quite like it.  You’ll, hopefully, see it in Darker Places…
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Win With Sin…

Wow! I’m delighted to have just passed 16000 Twitter followers! I feel a giveaway coming on!
The question: Name Sin’s sister.
If you haven’t read Sin, there’s info on my website, in interviews and she has her own story (the last one) in Dark Places.  And she’s the ‘opposite’ to Sin.
The prize? A compendium of ebooks, including Sin, Dark Places, Zits’n’Bits and Rudolph Saves Christmas.
 
Closing date end of August!
Either post your answer to my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/singularityspoint or tweet me @singularityspnt with the hashtag #WinWithSin
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