Survivor’s Guilt

Image of Jay Faulkner with Dion, Simon and Tom. Sepia tones. There is a white crack on the picture surrounding Jay's smiling face and splintering out across the rest of us.

Everybody dies, there’s no getting around it, but we each hope to leave the world a little better through the lives we touch, the changes we enable and make, the children we bring up. If we are very lucky, friends and family members, sometimes people in the wider world, will reach out to tell us …

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Firewatch – game review

Firewatch

It’s been a while since I’ve played anything other than Blood Bowl 2, but when my Steam Deck arrived, I felt a powerful itch to get gaming once more. Coveted but previously unplayable titles like Control, Jedi: Fallen Order, and Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves were suddenly within reach, and I had a little bit of …

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When the Red Mist Rises – fiction

When the Red Mist Rises - fiction. Art by Sa Fonklor https://www.artstation.com/prints/art_print/eaLda/the-sickle

It’s the fourth week of the month, so we’re back in the realm of creativity. Read on for my latest piece of flash fiction. As usual, I’ve snagged an evocative image for inspiration: The Sickle, by Sa Fonklor. (With thanks to Eygló Daða Karlsdóttir for the heads-up. You always share such wonderful pictures!) I spotted …

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The Woods – indie book review

The Woods - book cover

‘If you go down to The Woods today, you’d better not go alone, It’s lovely down in The Woods today, but safer to stay at home…’ Hersham Horror has developed a modest range of short fiction and novellas over the last decade, always with an eye for quality, drawing upon fresh and upcoming talent. I’d …

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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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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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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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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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Facing fears

Facing fears

Fear leers at us through the cracked lens of time; a thousand different forms threaten to reach through, clawing at our stomachs, crushing our throats, spearing our hearts with electric jolts. The present is not the problem, you understand. In the here-and-now we need only face what is and respond accordingly, but our minds… our …

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Shush – flash fiction

Shush - flash fiction

As previously discussed, writing is hard, but I feel a responsibility as an editor to keep myself at the sharp end of it, my own skills to better empathise with and advise my clients. I picked out an evocative image to inspire me (those big bullies up there), and three key words I’d have to …

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Losing the plot

Losing the plot

Some people have a very clear path in mind when it comes to writing. They’re super-organised: plotting it all in advance, figuring out the twists and turns of action and emotion. It sounds great in principle, but my brain doesn’t work that way. I’m more of a surfer, catching the wave of inspiration as it …

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Mansions of Madness – game review

Mansions of Madness - game review

I’ve played stacks of table top games over the past few years, ranging from the simplest piss-around to the most mind-bendingly complex time-sinks. I’ve enjoyed a hell of a lot of them, but the experience is almost always intellectual rather than visceral. Like video games, most table-tops employ a narrative structure of some kind, but …

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Just… so

Just... so

It started out with colouring, back when I was little – vast areas of white waiting to be brought to life with wax crayons, coloured pencils or felt-tip pens. The materials were always low quality, of course. We were poor. Crayons snapped under eager hands, pencils tore gashes in cheap paper, which had a habit …

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Rotten Heart – flash fiction

Rotten Heart - flash fiction

As there’s a spare week this month, I thought I’d have another crack at some flash fiction. I was pleased with how last week’s came out, though appalled at my timing in retrospect. I mean, come on, Dion – a visceral piece about a miscarriage that close to Mother’s Day? Oof. My apologies. For this …

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Stilled Life – flash fiction

Stilled Life - flash fiction

Now that I’ve started to charge for my audio work, I’m flipping my Hobby weeks back to writing flash fiction. As previously discussed, writing is hard, but I feel a responsibility as an editor to keep myself at the sharp end of it, honing my own skills to better empathise with and advise my clients. …

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