Thursday, 23 February 2012


“I can offer you forever beauty,” he whispered as he let a lock of her honeyed hair fall through his fingers.   “Forever like this, forever adored...don’t you want that?”

His softly spoken words of seduction wove around her in a haze of desire. How she wanted that! Time would steal her beauty from her, she knew that with an agonising clarity – but he promised her all that she wanted.

She moistened her lips. With a tremulous nod of the head, she gave her wordless agreement.

With a rapidity that was impossible to defend against, he pressed the gleaming blade against the milk-white curve of her throat.

One cut, neat and precise. Her beauty unmarred, forever preserved, just as he had promised.

Forever remembered.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

The Sirens Call E-Zine

I'm delighted to announce that the first issue of the Sirens Call E-Zine is out now; and to celebrate its release, you can download it for free for a limited time only, or pick up your first year's subscription for the special rate of just $6. How can you possibly resist? Head on over to our website to check it out.

And if you need any further persuasion, here's a teaser excerpt from a short story of mine that's included, Shades of Grey.

   Eden paused only to impulsively pick up the diary before she wandered over to the dust-covered mirror that sat on her grandmother’s beautifully carved dressing table. With a heavy sigh, she straddled the stool in front of it and leaned forwards to wipe the worst of the dust away.
   The locket had nestled itself into the curve of her cleavage, the metal unnaturally cold against her skin. She glanced down uneasily as she touched it again; convinced, for just a moment, that she had felt it faintly pulsing. It stayed still under her hand, though, and Eden supposed that it must have simply been the racing of her heart that she had felt.
   A sudden gust of wind through the open window wrenched away her attention, for it had blown open the diary where it lay in front of her.  An irrational feeling of unease built inside her as she fingered the musty pages and flicked through them as her eyes darted across the page. Seeing nothing of interest, she closed it again with another low and miserable sigh.
   She shivered as the chilled air flooded into the little room. Eden made to rise from the stool and shut the window, but before she could do so the locket twitched again; this time, there could be no doubt about it, for she had seen the movement in the hazy reflection.
   Unable to stifle a gasp of fear, she frantically tried to wrench the locket free of her neck, but the delicate chain that it hung around proved surprisingly sturdy. It refused to give way.
   The locket was still gently twitching against her breasts, almost as if it was impatient for something. Blood rushed through her veins and brought a stinging flush to her skin as her head rolled to the side.
   Eden ceased trying to break the clasp and instead, of their own accord, her fingers moved to caress the locket and try to push it open. The cold metal was stiff and unyielding. The locket seemed to have become stuck shut over time, but she could not stop her fingers from desperately working at it and trying with all their might to force the two halves apart. Finally, it gave way and sprung open to fall back against her chest.
   The locket was empty. Eden slumped down into the stool with a burst of disappointment and gave a shaky laugh, unsure what it was that she had even expected to find. Clearly, her mind, strained by the loss of her beloved grandmother, had allowed her vivid imagination to run away with itself. She reached up to wipe away the solitary tear that had been clinging to her eyelashes; but as she did so, she realised that something was very wrong.
   The colours in the room were fading away. All that was left were shades of grey; the only things in the room with any colour remaining were Eden herself and the golden locket. Even the clothes that she wore were paling in front of her, the red shirt already dulled and lacking entirely in colour. She blinked her eyes and rubbed them hard in case it was some strange trick of the light, but when she warily re-opened them, it was still the same.
   Eden stared at the reflection of her terrified face, her blue eyes round and wide with fear. Nothing seemed out of place in the room that was reflected behind her – nothing out of the ordinary at all, nothing but the utter lack of any colour or life.
  The reflection she saw told her very clearly that nobody was in the room with her. She was entirely alone in the colourless room– so why was it that she could now feel a pair of arms snaking possessively around her waist, embracing her and drawing her back into the heat of another body?

To read the conclusion, just download your free copy of the e-zine.

Kate ;)

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

How to improve your writing - part two

Today I'll be talking about a writing sin that I'm painfully aware that i'm guilty of - passive writing. It's such an ingrained habit of mine that it often slips in without me even realising that I'm doing it; I can sit down and knock out 2000 words, then look back over it and screech like the legendary banshee when I see that 90% of it is written in the passive voice.

But what is passive writing? Simple: "It was - he/she was - they were -" are all examples of the passive voice. In fiction writing, it's generally discouraged. George Orwell spoke vehemently against it in his 1946 essay "Politics and the English Language", and if he's against it then I'm more than willing to fall into line behind him.

Once you know what it is, it's easy to find and correct it in your work. For example...

He was twirling his beard as he spoke like a caricature of a Disney villain.


He twirled his beard as he spoke; the perfect caricature of a Disney villain.

Do you see how much more impact the latter phrase has in comparison to the former?

Authors have a responsibility to make their prose as strong as possible. Writing in the passive voice definitively weakens the text; and as such, we all owe it to our readers to do everything we can to eliminate it from our work. The key to improving as a writer is to be able to objectively recognise your weaknesses and work on correcting them, and that's why I painstakingly go through every first draft of a story I write and remove as many instances of passive writing as I possibly can. I recommend that you do the same.


Saturday, 4 February 2012

100 Horrors

Delighted to announce that a story of mine is included in the debut anthology release from Cruentus Libri Press. Released on February 20th, I'm sure you'll agree with me that the cover art looks fantastic.

Flash fiction is a real soft spot of mine, and all the stories featured in 100 Horrors are just 100 words or less. I find myself in some great company amongst the other horror authors featured, so I feel sure already that this little gem is going to be well worth your time reading.