Nov 5, 2014


First of all, immeasurable thanks to DL Hammons and the Blitz team for making my day last week and flooding my fiction with their lovely comments, I honestly never thought I would be chosen when I signed up, I just really wanted to visit new blogs :)

I cannot believe it's November already, it's only just hitting me but this is definitely going to be a year I will reflect on with a smile at how much progress I've made.  My work as a music journalist is incredibly rewarding, even with the sleep I sacrifice to do it, and often when I'm told by people I know that an article was good, that my writing was good, I have to remember to let that sink in.  The further I go the more I surprise myself.

I still have doubts about my writing, I still guilt trip myself for not posting regularly here, I'm a terrible friend for keeping in touch.  But I am finally getting comfortable with it all, I'm finally getting ready to actually call myself a writer.

I started this for myself, I write for myself, every bit of praise or criticism is an everlasting bonus and provides the motivation to get these stories out of my head.  Otherwise I'd probably still be re-reading that first scene I ever wrote for my WIP over and over wishing there was more.

So as always, cheers to you all, for enjoying my stories as much as I do, even when I never give you the whole picture, or forget to name characters, or delay publishing the next scene in case it isn't good enough.  It's time all these drafts got some sunlight.

You guys push the perfectionist in my away, and let me see the story in my words when I forget what I'm writing for.

something I always tell my mates,
thanks for putting up with me.
from sjp.

Oct 22, 2014



The mouldy straw itched at his back, prying sleep from his exhausted mind.  Rolling to his side he stared at the dust filled air as it flickered in the sunlight, the segmented light searing through the grime of the abandoned barn from every split plank and crevice between wooden doors.  

It felt strange to be resting in the darkness when it was so bright beyond, to be forced to travel through the night was a precaution, but the hiding in the hours of the living he could not adapt too.  He felt too vulnerable knowing the Guides might catch them unaware, with such light to expose them and few shadows to shelter in.  Looking over to Clarissa as she slept, blissfully unaware as always, her auburn hair burning in a streak of sun even through the dirt they had soiled it with.  He fought the need to hide her away from them, to protect this innocence from their vendetta.  She was better off never knowing color, he mused.

"She worships you for showing it to her though,"

Startled he sat up to see Serena watching him, those amber eyes boring into him as though she were making a casual observation, and not intruding his thoughts.

"What are you talking about?" An edge of annoyance from being caught so obviously striking his voice.

Realising his embarrassment she merely shrugged and looked away, the same air of indifference around her.  As if anyone could hold such faith he fumed.

"She would have found the path without you, and will continue down it even when you have left." She said, standing to dust off her dress and peek through a rotted beam.

"You think I'll leave her to the fate of the Guides?" he asked incredulously.

"The Guides are just one obstacle - " she spoke hurriedly, turning from the wall she advanced upon him, "I can taste your doubt, I can see you cringe, know your need to abandon the futile and tend to the practical, you yearn to return to your inconspicuous life away from the struggles of hope."  He sat stunned beneath her glowering form, her body suddenly bristling with passion as she exposed everything he had ever second guessed.

"Yet I still hope that you will lead her through, and be the protector she needs," going to her knees she gripped his shirt, her eyes filling him with such intensity he could hardly breathe. "Fight for her," she growled, "and don't let yourself be consumed."

Before he could answer the barn door fell from its hinges in a cloud of splinters, and like a dam collapsing he was stunned by the light that washed over him, drowning out the darkness.  A heartbeat seemed to pass before he heard the cry, piercing his mind with fear as he searched for Clarissa through the spots flashing in his vision.  Leaping to his feet he staggered forward, reaching for her hand, tightening around her touch and pulling her behind him.

Everything seemed deafening as they ran in, yelling calls to surrender, threatening and imposing, their forms dark silhouettes against the blinding day where grey robes no doubt awaited.

Part of a scene where I nailed the heart and torment of a character,
my two favourite things.
from sjp.

Oct 21, 2014

Book Blast: Loop by Karen Akins

Loop #1
Author: Karen Akins
Release Date: October 21, 2014
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

At a school where Quantum Paradox 101 is a required course and history field trips are literal, sixteen year-old time traveler Bree Bennis excels…at screwing up.

After Bree botches a solo midterm to the 21st century by accidentally taking a boy hostage (a teensy snafu), she stands to lose her scholarship. But when Bree sneaks back to talk the kid into keeping his yap shut, she doesn’t go back far enough. The boy, Finn, now three years older and hot as a solar flare, is convinced he’s in love with Bree, or rather, a future version of her that doesn’t think he’s a complete pain in the arse. To make matters worse, she inadvertently transports him back to the 23rd century with her. 

Once home, Bree discovers that a recent rash of accidents at her school are anything but accidental. Someone is attacking time travelers. As Bree and her temporal tagalong uncover seemingly unconnected clues—a broken bracelet, a missing data file, the art heist of the millennium—that lead to the person responsible, she alone has the knowledge to piece the puzzle together. Knowledge only one other person has. Her future self.

But when those closest to her become the next victims, Bree realizes the attacker is willing to do anything to stop her. In the past, present, or future. 

"A creative take on romance in a high-stakes, high-concept mystery that trusts its readers' intelligence." - Kirkus
"LOOP is a page-turning adventure with some brilliant and original twists to the time travel genre. I devoured the entire book in one sitting!" - Julie Cross, Author of the TEMPEST series
"Hilarious and suspenseful with a delicious dash of romance, LOOP is a mind-bending good time!" - Melissa Landers, Author of the ALIENATED series 

About The Author
Karen Akins lives in the MidSouth where she writes humorous, light YA sci-fi. When not writing or reading, she loves lightsaber dueling with her two sons and forcing her husband to watch BBC shows with her. 

Karen has been many things in her life: an archery instructor, drummer for the shortest-lived garage band in history, and a shockingly bad tic-tac-toe player.

Sep 8, 2014


In that undead frame of mind,

Part I - Won't Win

He sat on his haunches, caught off guard by that impossible sound, tensing in the silence for confirmation.   There was no way, no way anyone would stumble into that place, it was too deserted out here.

Then he was running, a too human scream ringing in his ears as he sprinted from his position in the scrub to the back fence where it folded in on itself, the rusted iron sheets blending like sand dunes against the dying landscape.  Breath hitching he knew he didn't have enough ammo to be able to fend off the infestation inside, cursing his sudden conscience.  

Glancing over his shoulder he couldn't spot any Crawlers, meaning they were already dining in.  Wiping the sweat from his brow and griping the crossbow tightly he made another dash, hitting a concrete wall at full speed he pushed his toes into the whitewash, reaching for the lip of the rooftop and heaving himself up.  Slowly approaching the skylight he did a quick take before dropping into the old refrigerator room.  Edging his way to the steel doors he pulled a key from the shelf and unchained the door, making sure his movements had not been detected yet.  Slipping through the kitchen he stared down the corridor at a feeding frenzy, the demons devouring their own.   Except they didn't tend towards cannibalism, their hunger didn't work like that.  Frowning he saw the shattered skull between the writhing bodies as they clawed at it, desperate for something it had possessed.  Pressing himself against the corridor wall he stopped, heavy breathing echoed behind him.  Spinning around he just about wasted a shaft on an air vent.

"I miss you Petey"

Had insanity finally hit him?  Before he knew it he was kicking in the vent and pulling himself through, choking on putrid air as it flowed from wherever he was headed.  Stumbling on blood slicked tiles he hurriedly tied a cloth around his face, years of desolation and this bathroom had developed its own rotting atmosphere.   This was the one room he had never bothered to search during his expeditions, the door had always been boarded, and there was enough of a reason for it.  Ducking into the shadow of a cubicle he stared at the rats swarming just a few feet away, a fresh trail of blood leading into the cubicle closest to the door, and the Crawlers.  

Chewing on his lip he listened out for any sound of breathing, debating whether to try calling out, was there even anyone here or was he risking his life for a corpse!   If he made any move they would be on him like leeches.   Checking his belt he grabbed a fistful of shafts, swung out and fired.  Muscle memory took over before sense could as he shot with each step, keeping a steady movement forward without taking his eyes off each head that fell until his hand was emptied.   Kicking open the barely hinged door he struggled to avoid the terror that was holed up inside.  

Lifting a girl into his arms he leapt over the build up of rancid bodies at the door and tore through the glassless entry of the decrepit diner.  He didn't stop until he was sure the only thing wrapping around his legs were the lifeless grasses that littered the area.  Collapsing in the twilight he laid the girl down and pulled off the kerchief, taking in a breath of fresh air.  It was time to wipe that place from his address book as the images stained his thoughts, and his shirt.  The girl had practically been swimming in blood.

A thought shot through his heart like a knife.  Inspecting her limbs he pulled her trouser leg up, clenching his jaw as bile burned the back of his throat.  

It was all a waste.  

He stared at her pale face, she would most likely die of blood loss before fever actually hit.  Wilfully contemplating his last shaft he held up the bow, ready to end this misery now and move on.

kind mercy or bitter reality?
from sjp.

Aug 18, 2014

Won't Win

I had a bad night last week,
*Language warning

You won't win.

Those words echo through my head and I know they're right.

I won't win.

It always comes down to the same thing.

So I unlock the door, the worn metal slippery between my fingers as I unhook the latch and let the weathered wood swing open.

The piercing gold of the sun drenched horizon filters through the grime covered windows, blinding me with its glory as I hear them moan, the shattered glass and debris shifting under their crooked steps as they crawl for me.

I wait for a sob but my face feels as bone dry as the desert surrounding this condemned place, this is the end but I'm so exhausted I just let it come, limb by gruesome limb they drag themselves forward with frenzy.

There's no point in resistance, when you end up so blind-sighted by grief and rage you may as well be one of them.

Bony fingers dig into my ankle, startling my shuddering body that something almost like fear shoots through me; followed by a pain so ragged and drawn out I think I'm being amputated by the blunt end of a hammer.  The scream that cries from my lungs is like sweet release for the both of us, the thing gazing up at me, a bit of me hanging from its teeth.

And its like its laughing at me, like this has always been their plan, to drive down civilisation with oppression and futility until we lay on our back with some rosemary by our side.

Those filthy fucking eyes were laughing at me.

Fuck this.

My head swam as I tore my boot from its feeble grip and kicked its rotting skull in until I had erased the triumph from its flesh.  I wiped furiously at my shirt, trying to rid my hands of the gore that had stained every crease, its like I mauled a blood bank as part of my morning routine.  Stooping for my broken bat a racking cough cracks through my chest, throwing me against the lavatory walls.

Jamming the lock into place I'm back at the start, and I can't avoid how weak I feel, my stomach turning at what state I might be in beneath my shredded trousers.  I don't know if its blood or phlegm that's choking me right now, all I know is, as I slide down next to a still warm corpse, that spike of fear is back. I'm glad I'm not alone in this.

I gently rest my head on its shoulder, staring at the brains that cover my bat.

"I miss you Petey".

Won't Win - Fractures
It turned to zombie fiction,
from sjp.
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