Writing Prompt 45

“You know I’ll tear you to pieces when I find you, right?” Her voice echoed in the vast chamber. “Don’t make me chase you, boy.”
“You can’t hurt me any more,” Tristan said a moment later.
She chuckled. “Big words from someone small like -”
“Look at you.” His voice came from straight ahead.
“I got you now,” she whispered and narrowed her eyes.
Tristan’s head appeared from inside the darkness, then the rest of his body followed.
She gave him a hyena’s grin.
“Look at you,” he repeated. “You’ve spent yourself completely. You’re just a wisp of smoke and a set of eyes. Look where we stand.” He breathed a faint laugh. “You are no more.”

 

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Reviews and behind the scenes for At Horizon’s End

It’s been a week since my latest horror story, At Horizon’s End, went live and it has already garnered a couple of five-star reviews on Goodreads, Amazon, as well as on reviewers’ blogs. You can read these blog reviews here, here, and here. If you’re looking for a quick read, and you’re into horror with a twist of sadness, At Horizon’s End may be a good fit for you.

Some people asked how I came up with the idea and the title of the story.

To explain the idea, I’d have to introduce you to my way of developing stories. Originally, the idea was to have Death in a conversation and a mortal, contemplating Death’s job. For some reason, to this day, I picture them talking over a chess board. I don’t know why, but the image is stuck to my head. Anyway, that idea branched off into having the mortal being the next one Death would take. Which seemed interesting, only I’ve already published
something similar earlier in my career. So, I decided that the mortal should be a child, because of the antithesis it would create (children represent life and future, whereas death, well, the end of life and future).

At that moment, the idea of having something as massive and hard-to-process as death, contrasted with a child’s innocence simply appeared out of nowhere and it made sense. So I revised the story accordingly. But then I had to do something to answer the question, why would Death be talking or playing chess or interacting in any way with a child? That was the final blow to my chessboard picture. Bye bye chessboard.

Instead, I came up with the idea of having Stella’s mother’s passing (Stella is the child in the story). Which, in turn, led to the idea of having Death second guessing himself when he took the child’s mother. Given my Greek heritage where Charon (a name we still attribute to Death here in Greece) ferried the dead in a one-way trip, my story’s Death was also unable to return someone from the afterlife to the lands of the living. Which finally gave rise to the question, how would Death handle such a problem? To answer that question you’ll have to read At Horizon’s End.

How I came up with the title is a different issue. In the story, there is mention through Stella’s memories of the way her mother used to refer to the afterlife. Now, at the time I was listening to a song from Paradise Lost (a band I like a lot), called As Horizons End. Though the song has absolutely nothing to do with the story, it was one of those moments where epiphany knocked on my door. In my mind there was no better way for a parent to explain to their four-year-old child the concept of death. How can anyone explain to a child that they will never see each other again and at the same time attempt to relieve the pain of loss? How else better to soften such a blow, if not by telling them that they will meet again at some point? So when I heard the song, it just clicked.

Lastly, you may want to take a look at the Interviews section. Viking Reviews was kind enough to interview me a couple of weeks ago. If you want to know a little more about me, but never dared ask, this is a your chance 😉

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And it’s out

At Horizon’s End, my latest horror story, is now live on Amazon. You can find it here.

At Horizon’s End

The Man Who Fed On Tears always knows whose time it is to pluck from the world of the living. His existence is one of a symbiosis between his need for the tears and woe he causes to those closest to the deceased, and the
natural order of life and death to which he is bound. He never questions himself or his actions and has never made a mistake. Until now.

Stella is a four-year-old girl who misses her mommy and wants to see her again. She doesn’t yet understand the concept of loss, so when she sees close family members crying, she tries to stay cheerful and optimistic. After all, Mommy said they’d see each other again when the time comes At Horizon’s End. So if they’ll meet again, why is everyone crying?

The story is free, if you’re on Kindle Select, but $0.99 otherwise.

If you want a review before you buy, Viking Reviews has once again provided a review from an ARC I sent him earlier this month. You can read his review here.

Also, for those of you who don’t follow me on social media, as a way to celebrate the release of my new short story, The Man Behind The Bar is free until July 31. All you have to do is sign up for my newsletter. You can get your copy here (1 hour delay) or, if you want your copy delivered immediately, you download it from here. Feel free to spread the word, if you know anyone who might enjoy any of my stories.

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At Horizon’s End cover reveal

Here we are again for another short story. Are you ready? It’s time for the world to see its cover. The story’s title is At Horizon’s End.

Genre: Horror

Publication date: 30 July 2017

For the next three months, At Horizon’s End will be available exclusively from Amazon. Like The Man Behind The Bar, my new story will be available worldwide.

I have already contacted three reviewers to comment on it, both on their sites and on Amazon, so unlike The Man Behind The Bar, this one will have reviews waiting for it when it goes live.

Also, did you notice the new pop up for my newsletter? You can sign up for it and be informed of new releases and future giveaways.

Finally, I was interviewed this past week. I will post a link here on the web page either next week or the week after that. I will most likely include a short excerpt in my newsletter, so if you’d be interested in knowing a little more about me and my work, consider subscribing to it 😉

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Two weeks until next story (At Horizon’s End)

The day draws near when At Horizon’s End will be available, and that day is none other than July 30. The story is about The Man Behind The Bar (a fancy name for Death personified) and the idea of altering the nature of something eternal and inevitable, like the passing of a mortal life, a phenomenon that in a way obeys a force that seems (to us) to making arbitrary decisions on who goes and who stays. A force that, to an outside observer (perhaps another eternal being), never makes a mistake. Which birthed a question: what if?

What if? I’m a firm believer that this question has driven mankind to great lengths. I wouldn’t be surprised if scientists in future years conclude that everything humanity has achieved through its multitude of cultures and civilisations, relies on that simple, two-word question. What if?

So, in lieu of that, what if Death actually made a mistake? What would Death do to set things right? How far would he go to rectify that mistake? How much would Death’s nature change through his constant dealings with mortals? Would it? Would concepts like love and family seep into him? Could Death, if he were a person, gain a human element? If so, what would that be?

These question were the driving force behind what inspired me to write At Horizon’s End.

As it is, the story breaks some rules. In particular, the story uses two point of view characters: The Man Who Fed on Tears and Stella, a four-year-old girl. Technically speaking, when it comes to creative endeavours, there are no rules. More like guidelines, but it’s not very often one gets to have two point of view characters for this length of a short story. However, every once in a while, it’s okay for a writer (or any creative person for that matter) to break the rules.

What if it leads us to something new and great?

At Horizon’s End

Available: July 30

Story blurb:

The Man Who Fed On Tears always knows whose time it is to remove from our world. His existence is one of a symbiosis between his need for the tears and woe he causes to those closest to the deceased, and the natural order of life and death to which he is bound to obey. He never questions himself or his actions and has never made a mistake. Until now.

Stella is a four-year-old girl who misses her mommy and wants to see her again. She doesn’t yet understand the concept of loss, so when she sees close family members crying, she tries to stay cheerful and optimistic. After all, Mommy said they’d see each other again when the time comes At Horizon’s End. So if they’ll meet again, why is everyone crying?

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Writing Prompt 44

Mike kicked a pebble on the pier and watched it plop down into the sea. “Okay, we’re here. Now what?”

Alex rolled his eyes and sighed as if he had other, better things to do than explain trivial things to the village fool for the tenth time. “Now we wait.” He spoke slowly and intoned each word to make sure the message got through. He stuffed his hands into his pockets and bounced on the balls of his feet.

Mike fought the urge to introduce his fist to Alex’s face. Instead, he nodded and chewed on his lower lip. Moments later, when the silence became unbearable, he spoke again. “For how long?” Pompous, know-it-all little prick was going to get the beating of a lifetime, if he gave him another stupid or arrogant answer.

“Until something big happens. Now. Shut. Up.”

Mike flexed his fist and tried to picture his friend’s nose as a swollen, three-feet-wide monstrosity across his face. He caught sight of something strange from the corner of his eye. He turned his head to it, and something cold sped from the base of his skull, down his spine, all the way to his limbs. “Big as in… like that perhaps?” He pointed at the shore.

Alex turned and looked. His face turned ashen, and the bulge on his throat went down once and rose slowly. His mouth hung.

“Sea going away big enough for you? Where’s the sea going, Alex? Huh? You messed up. Again.”

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Free short story on Amazon and information about At Horizon’s End

Today is the last day you can download The Man Behind The Bar for free from Amazon. I was lucky enough to see it reach the number one spot in its category and that made me really happy. It means people read the story. Hopefully, it’s something they enjoy.

If you download it, consider leaving a review (even if you don’t have something positive to say) for other readers. This coming Tuesday (July 4th) is also the last day the story will be available on Kindle Unlimited, so if you intended to read it, but never got around it, this is your last chance. Soon after that, I will make the story available to other retailers (Kobo, ibooks, Google, etc).

So, what happens next, you may ask. Well, the next short story I’ll publish is called At Horizon’s End and it’s a horror story (not gory or splatter). Advanced Reader Copies are already in the hands of some reviewers, so when it goes live, it should have a couple of reviews waiting. Here’s an early blurb:

The Man Who Fed On Tears always knows whose time it is to remove from our world. His existence is one of a symbiosis between his need for the tears and woe he causes to those closest to the deceased, and the natural order of life and death to which he is bound to obey. He never questions himself or his actions and has never made a mistake. Until now.

Stella is a four-year-old girl who misses her mommy and wants to see her again. She doesn’t yet understand the concept of loss, so when she sees close family members crying, she tries to stay cheerful and optimistic. After all, Mommy said they’d see each other again when the time comes At Horizon’s End. So if they’ll meet again, why is everyone crying?

I have yet to make up my  mind on a firm release date. I can’t decide if it should be July 23 or July 30. The thing is, I’m trying to figure out when most of you will be on your summer vacation, because I like the idea of you going away with my story in your e-readers. I should have decided within this coming week.

Stay tuned for the cover reveal 😉

 

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