Wednesday, 20 June 2018

A decade of unpublished short stories.

My unpublished short story collection.
On file, I have a decade's worth of unpublished short stories, well for the next week at least; then I intend to bin the lot.

Though I sent work to two short story magazines this week, I don't expect anything to happen; that way when nothing does happen, I am not too upset.

Why am I deleting the work?
If I haven't even put them on my blog by now, I probably won't in the future.

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

No more stories from me

In the scrap pile.
My task tomorrow is to locate and trash the stories I have on file.

The stories online now will stay, but this is the end of the line for me after a decade of defending my work against vitriolic attacks from critics.

Free on my blog from next week

From next week.
Today, I decided to put the majority of my new works FREE to read on my blog.

This may appear at first glance to be an unusual decision to take, but the e-book market is swamped, so selling has become a non-event for my work. 

My payment will be to have my stories read from now on, after all, several years ago I did write for three charity anthologies.

Don't judge

I try to look at the person, not the clothes.
I try not to judge a person by their clothes. I never can tell how their lives have been before we met.

I am reminded of a man I met in a park near a museum I worked in; at first glances, you'd pass him like a tramp. 
I earned his trust over a few weeks and got to know his story. He was once a successful businessman who had hit a terrible spell and lost his business.
He decided to save his family from his shame that the best thing for his family was for him to live on the street as a tramp.

I am writing a story on my page on Disqus about a man who finds the Lord in his hour of need
Like my leading man, the Lord didn't give me a body that suited trendy clothes, and like my character, if I had the money, I would not change how I dress.

If you judge me from how I dress; that only proves to me how superficial you are, to me clothes are a covering and do not tell you about me.

Monday, 18 June 2018

Free to read online

The sequel to my romance book is online.
I don't hold out any hopes for my e-book to sell online and That is why I am putting the sequel free to read online

God walks these dark hills

A religious short story.
I am not known for writing about religion. I find it can be a cause for argument these days a much as for seeking peace in one's life.

Over the last three weeks, I have been listening to some Gospel music on Youtube, and I have a new peace in my life.

This music also led me to have a strange dream a few days ago. 

As my ebooks have slowed in their sales in the last two quarters. I am putting the stories on my page; it is there you will find my religious story "God walks these dark hills."

FREE holiday reading

Go to my Disqus page for some free short stories to read.

On my page, on Disqus, a friend and myself are writing short stories each week. If you follow this link, you can read the stories free every other day.

Some of mine have not been online before as I am writing the segments this week.

Saturday, 16 June 2018

The story of my Amazon bestseller.

An alternate history story.
I can give no definitive reason for the success of my e-book Holding Richmond, only why I think I think it became so popular.

I wrote the story at the height of the Twilight craze, I intended to show that vampires were not written as young, sexy, twinkling figures but as evil beings that should be reviled. My monsters have roots in one of the early films on the subject

There is no doubt that having sold six copies in a day (twice) has helped keep HR ahead of the competition, this feat has not been achieved by any other book, including my other bestseller, on Draft2Digital - Forgestriker.

Without those sales, the battle for the bestselling e-book on Amazon would be a lot closer, the next book in the race is my spiritual book, Nerja. Nerja has proven to be the better seller over a more extended time with 11 sales.

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Who's your money on?

Mark Johnson to take the Devil on!
The man stood at the gates, his mind whirling with thoughts of past deeds he'd done and those he wished he hadn't. "Ain't no time to question what I've done," he said as he approached the rust gates, "What's done is done, and now I need to pay!"
He viewed the area beyond the gate and thought
I am to blame, nobody else
. The wind howled but not a branch moved on the dead trees, and no sign of life was to be seen. Sure looks like Hell to me," he muttered as he took a step through the gate.
The old mansion overlooked a dead land, life had gone from the area in times that were so far lost, nobody can recall the last time that anything moved across the ground, or flew in the air. Even the air he breathed seemed to be deathly, as he sighed, he saw a flicker in a room in the house, and a cracked voice called out "Welcome friend, this is your worst nightmare."
With a laugh, Mark Johnson yelled back, "Ye, though I walk through the valley of death, I shall fear no evil. For I am the meanest son of a bitch in the valley, and this place comes nowhere close to my worst nightmare - you haven't read my book Chronicles of Mark Johnson If you had read the books, you know I can be the meanest, badass son of a bitch you have come across, and I don't need my swords, so bring it on, and see me take all you can give and give back three times as much. I've been to places in my mind that even I was scared to visit. I left my friends, my soul and any semblance of normality when I crossed over to fight the witch, and guess who is here now? Yeah, kickass Mark!"

A lost Ghost story

A ghost story set in Yorkshire.
Coming between my bestselling ghost story and my most read online ghost story is this story a sea captain's greed.

I sat on the sea wall at North Bay in Scarborough; looking out to the North Sea and thinking about my previous visit and how I put the spirit of a young girl to rest; as told in the story “The Ghost of St. Mary’s,” available to read in my book of the same title.

Some people may think me silly for saying this, but in the past, I had come to realize spirits can help if you let them; all you need to do is have an open mind.
I sat on the wall and watched the waves; my mind resting with the pleasant sounds of the sea rolling in from afar and the sights and sounds of the waters, in these circumstances you can imagine things which are not real. My mind was not thinking of anything in particular when I thought I saw something. I only caught the slightest glimpse of something out of the corner of my eye. There appeared to be a boat heading towards the lighthouse and harbor, but how could I be sure, I hadn’t been concentrating on anything. Trust your senses to tell you the story. I sat there for an hour or two, wave watching and thinking of what I had witnessed. A ship going into the harbor and making good time, but something amiss about her and at this time I couldn’t place what was wrong, which is where my story starts.
The image of the ship heading into harbor stayed with me all day; I replayed the scene in my mind, and every time I did, the mystery remained. A piece of the scene did not fit, and I had to find out why, no matter how many times I thought about the scene, the ship appeared wrong to me.

Later that night I was out having a stroll along the seafront, enjoying the salty spring air and feeling good about things. I was in Scarborough, a town I loved since my childhood. Although the town center has changed and is full of shops you can find anywhere, the old city by the harbor had changed little with the passage of time, or maybe my mind wanted to remember the good old days. I was wandering around the old winding streets; a far cry from last autumn when I almost got blown down one steep road, the wind and rain driving so hard I was unable to see my hand hold onto the railing. Tonight I walked with the moon glinting on the damp cobbles and reflecting the images of the fish market, closed for the day, but never out of business.

The walk from the new center down to the old area by the harbor could not have been more different; going down the cobbled streets reminded me of novels by Charles Dickens, with the cobbles and the old shops which had not moved on with time; yet remained in business.
In the distance I heard the familiar clanking of ship’s bells, even if you didn’t know the town, the sounds are able to guide you on your walks. You walk passed the newer housing estates on the way to the old quarter; the harbor life is similar to the pictures from pictures by Frank Sutcliffe at Whitby, which is not far up the coast from Scarborough. Times may change, but fisherfolk and their habits don’t; they still wear the same thick knit cable stitch sweaters to keep the cold winds of the North Sea out.

The path to the quayside is very steep, and unless you are sure-footed, I recommend using the handrail provided, at least this time the weather was beautiful, and I had no driving rains to chill me. I exited the street and was greeted by the sights of the South Bay, this area is the tourist part of the town, filled with the arcades and novelty shops you get at most seaside resorts, but the children like it; I recall I used to love playing on the sands.

The night air was filled with sounds of the callers in the bingo halls and on the bumper car rides, I remember the days when they would used to be a port of call for me, but no longer. I had kicked my fascination with the reels a long time ago; which is why my family had been amazed I brought so little money for the trip, as I said when I left, “All I need is some money for food during the day and a few souvenirs. I won’t be going to the arcades at any time as this is a spiritual release and a working holiday; most nights I’ll be writing in my room.”

The lights of the arcades reflected like glistening jewels on the calm waters of the harbor as the tide came in, the varied colors making me think of Christmas. I left the arcades behind me on the way to the fish and chip shop to get my evening meal, when at the seaside, eat fish and fries. In my opinion, you can’t get any fresher fish than at the source and here I had proof-positive, I could taste the salt on the fish. I sat on the front looking out to sea, the only sounds registering were the waves rolling in across the harbor, as the jetty jutted out and the last of the gulls cawing for the fries. The night light began fading, and a chill breeze carrying the salty spray came in from the sea. So I decided to make my way back to the guest house for the evening; the walk takes you along the path side of the harbor, and during the day I would have gone via the harbor walls, but with the lessening light I thought the route via the footpath to be the safest walk.

My walk back took me along the road opposite the beach, and I remembered in the autumn the motor trials had been held along this roadway and the rough seas breaking across the road, so violently half of the road was awash. 
I turned up the cliff path and headed along the way behind the rears of the hotels along the drive, for some reason I stopped and looked out to sea and for a moment, and I thought I caught sight of a ship’s lantern in the distance, “No, I must be tired!” I thought. Before I had the chance for a second thought I saw the lamp again; this made me believe I had seen a ship’s lantern flickering past the point. This lamp hadn’t been rocking gently to, and fro, as it should be if the boat had been running the tide, this lamp waved in a frenzied sideways action as though somebody was trying to attract my attention, I observed the light twice before it went out.

The mystery of the lamp roused my curiosity, and my mind was racing with ideas of what might be out at sea. Still on my mind was the mystery of the young girl; the records of the Maritime research project held no official record of a Betty Moffet and here naturally in distress at the rocks of that name, I thought I glanced the sight of a ship’s lantern waving, could this be a link? I had many questions, but no answers and if I did find out what this is about, would the answers help solve the mystery of the rocks, or would they only address the riddle of the lantern?

On my arrival at the guest house I met Andy the proprietor on his way back from taking his dog, a lovely collie cross, for her evening walk, “Evening Al, we’ve had a lovely day again today,” Andy commented.
“You’re right, Andy, and the weather appears good for tomorrow too, judging from the skies tonight.”
We walked up the steps and entered the house; inside we talked about what I planned for tomorrow. Andy and his wife are new to the area, and I didn’t think they would have heard or read about the mystery, so I let things ride for the night as I climbed the stairs and went to my room as my mind began racing at the possibility of another mystery to solve.

In the morning, my fellow guests were all chatting about where to go and what to do; today a trip to Whitby was planned. The town is lovely, situated on the river Esk but what people forget is Whitby is and will always be; the area is a working fishing port. Whitby is also known for its shipbuilding yards, which can be seen if you walk back up the river half a mile to look at the sheds across the river. Whitby is not a seaside resort like Scarborough and being honest, there isn’t much to keep you there more than a few hours, even with the new Dracula exhibits on the dockside. To view the town of Whitby, you need to look up the river to the houses on the hills, I remember the town well as I had an uncle who lived there and was a fisherman for many years.

Further up the coast is a more interesting prospect in Saltburn-by-the-sea, the problem is unless you own or rent a car or go on an organized trip, the trip involves a long train journey of two to three hours, and unfortunately, the town’s pirate museum is closed but the links to history are still active. Edward VII is supposed to have met Lily Langtree here in one of the hotels on the promenade and Saltburn’s history is steeped in piracy; one of the most infamous of her sons, ran the Ship Inn on the seafront, a pub which still stands today. 

Most visitors to the area take the trip to Bridlington, as it is at the other end of the Whitby route and only an hour by bus from Scarborough and worth the trip. My mind had been going through some possibilities, when I got disturbed by a guest, “Alan, you appear to be in deep thoughts, what’s on your mind?”
I turned to see who was speaking and replied, “I was thinking of what to do; next, I planned a day of inquiries. I wish to revisit St. Mary’s church and talk to the Father I met last year and I wish to visit a grave at the church; also I hope to go to the library as I arranged to view some maps with a curator.”

“Sounds like you are in for a full day, what prompted this activity?”
“I came for a visit last autumn after losing a close friend in Canada. For many years I tried to find out why the rocks out by Scalby Mills are called Betty Moffet, there is no record to say why maps going back as early as the 1850s have them named but nobody knows why. Last year I was contacted by the spirit of a lost soul, a little girl who lived a sad life and even in death she found no peace; she is at peace now, and her grave is the one I will visit today.”
“That is a lovely tale and so moving.”

“I have another mission as well as researching the rocks, last night at the same spot, I saw a ship’s lantern swinging, and wondered if I might find something in the library which may help to explain the sighting.”
“All the best in your researches; I need to go and get ready for the trip now.”
“Thanks, I hope you have a nice day.”
Two pots of coffee and some more toast later, I left the table and went to my room to think about my plans for, the town centre is only a short walk from the guest house, once you get your bearings, so I decided to go to the library to discuss the matter with the curator, a lady called Cate.
I walked through the town center and turned right at Woolworths on my way to the library, after introducing myself to the assistant curator, I was left for a few minutes while she went to fetch the curator. Cate became interested in the varied reasons for my researches and was most helpful, but after about an hour we decided, that useful as maps could be, the search was us getting nowhere. All the plans had the rocks named, but e found none which gave an idea of when the rocks had been called; Cate said IF I did find something she would be interested in the findings. This search had become more of a quest than just trying to find some random bits of information about odd things happening, which drove me on.
Anybody who knows me will tell you, I go through stages from mild curiosity to great interest into an obsession. I had the feeling this project was heading into the area of obsession as curiosity gave way to a driving passion for finding out about the rocks. At the same time, I had the sense to realize I may run into a dead end as information is so scant for the period, I became determined to find something out. 

After leaving the library, I took a walk back to the guest house to rest and gather my thoughts before setting out again. After a short walk back to the main road, I crossed the street and took the path behind the hotels and walked over to the cliff top and stood looking from the top of the cliffs up to a point. I wondered what it must be like to be the captain and why had he run so close to the shore. Surely he would remember the rocks location, all the maps and charts had them clearly marked and you were able to observe the waves crashing on them from his position, so why did he bring his ship so close to them?
Thinking back to last night and the light, why had I, of all the visitors to the town seen it, and what was its purpose? 
Was the light a warning?