Barbarians at the Gate – fiction

Barbarians at the Gate. Image created by Midjourney with prompts by @SkevosMavros

How is it Hobby week again already? It’s crazy. Okay, well I’ve thrown myself off a bit after last month’s humungous story. Involving as it was to get into, I had no real intention of producing anything so big. This month I’ve returned to something smaller – a piece of flash fiction featuring Romans that …

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Editing Iolo

Editing Iolo - image of Darwin Finds Goliath (a piece), by Yoojin Rhee, rendered in monochrome with elements in colour overlaid, the child reversed and enlarged.

Some writers are cautious about handing their manuscripts over to an editor. They worry that their work will be taken away from them, misunderstood, judged unfairly or otherwise spoiled by meddling fingers. The first time can be hard, and if you don’t know what to expect, you might find yourself overwhelmed. As such, I thought …

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Ten Minute Warning – indie books #1

Ten Minute Warning - book cover. Pinkinsh stains that may or may not be blood on peeling wallpaper. Text reads Ten Minute Warning. Em Dehaney. (The book is held in a hand against a blue background, featuring hollow neon electrical sparks all pointing in towards the book.

It’s been a while since I found myself able to *read for pleasure, and the purchases I make at conventions have (perhaps) become emblems of support for people I like and admire, more than an active pursuit of new and exciting work. It’s not that I don’t genuinely want to read them, more that the …

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Dad and loving it!

Dad and loving it! Image of me as Nosferatu, with my 16yr old daughter pretending to be scared by me. Paint effect used.

My urge towards fatherhood kicked in about a year after we got married. The emotional high of that (truly spectacular) day had gradually faded, settling back into the warp and weft of history, and the comparative mundanity of a day-to-day existence stretched before us. Was that it, then? The game of life complete? Hm. A …

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Dadi’s Little Helper pt 2 – fiction

Dadi's Little Helper pt 2 - fiction

It’s supposed to be Personal week at The Fine-toothed Comb, but when I decided to remove the length restrictions on my flash pieces they started to grow wild and turn into short stories. Dadi’s Little Helper has been particularly vigorous in its demands; thrusting roots down in search of backstory, opening broad leaves for fresh …

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Treading water

Treading water - waters are deep and getting higher. Careful now...

If you’ve been following my business journey, you’ll know that I’ve gone from hobbyist to full time freelance editor through some tricky times. I kept my chin up and paddled – quietly confident and determined. Neither my skill nor my will has diminished, but savage waves have left my financial lifejacket somewhat deflated since I …

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The Private Life of Elder Things – book review

Private Life of Elder Things

There is a discomfort to Lovecraftian fiction that continues to fascinate readers and writers alike, a century after H.P. Lovecraft published his first story. The sense of cosmic horror he engendered through his writing brought him fame, but it’s the Mythos formed from his dread *pantheon that embodies his literary legacy. It has proven to …

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Reasons to be cheerful

Ian Dury & the Blockheads image tweaked to say Dion Dury & the Blockheads, complete with punk pink tache and beard.

I’ve moved out for a fortnight while the builders do their stuff, and got a little mixed up with my schedule. I should have done an extra Hobby post last week then put out my Personal blog today. Ah, well. As I was typing the following update on Facebook, it occurred to me I could …

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Do, or do not

Yoda quote - Do, or do not

The first and really only thing I wanted to be when I grew up was a writer. I loved books—loved the language that swept across the page, the worlds authors took me to and the revelations they unfurled. If I *had to dedicate my life to a single vocation, then this was it. I was …

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In the Long Grass – flash fiction

In the Long Grass. SIlhouette of long grass and reeds in a pinkish dusky light. Behind, through the haze, an arachnoid centaur horror.

This was supposed to be a piece of flash fiction but it kind of grew in the telling. I went with it. As ever, I began with an inspirational image (this one courtesy of Eygló Daða Karlsdóttir) and three Key Words: Leavings, Hustle, Chuck As the story progressed and the antagonist insinuated herself into my …

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Line edit love

Line edit love image by Tim Marshall at Unsplash

The art of writing is telepathic, communication in absentia. We can’t see the author’s facial expressions, we can’t hear their inflections as they tell their tale, feel their trembling excitement, smell their fear, nor taste their triumph. The mute shape of words are all that remain, modified by punctuation then stamped onto the page for …

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The Witches – boardgame review

The Witches - cover art

Fantasy fans will be more than familiar with the Witches from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books, but on the off chance you’re not a big reader – or simply haven’t gotten around to them yet – let me fill you in on the relevant bits. Pratchett’s witches may look like your stereotypical black-clad hags, but Granny …

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For the many – flash fiction

A medieval warrior on horseback looks across a desolate landscape at a mountainous thing: a space shuttle on its launchpad, overgrown and forgotten.

We’re back in Flash fiction territory once more, stretching our creative muscles for a bit of fun. The inspirational image is called Cyberpunk, by artist Yuri Shwedoff, and the Key words we have to utisilise are Mercian, Rain God, and Laughter – brought to us this month by Peter Coleborn from a mysterious bit of …

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(Net)working hard

You can be a smashing writer, smoothly running your business from the comforts of your home, but if you lack connections it’s damned hard to make a success of it. Fear not! Opportunities to meet people in the industry abound if you have the courage and the will to push yourself forward. We’re coming into …

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Nunkie’s M.R. James

Robert Lloyd Parry in full flow as M.R. James

ChillerCon is just around the corner, and my favourite storyteller will be there, so I thought it apt to reshare, expand and update my thoughts on Robert Lloyd Parry’s performed readings of M.R. James’ classic ghost stories. We’ll kick off with a primer for those who don’t know about M.R. James, so if you’re familiar …

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