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Posts Tagged ‘Nigel Blackwell’

In May, I wrote a post  giving you guys two pictures and asked you to write me a scary short story.

Well, you didn’t disappoint. I’ve picked out the ones I liked and without further ado, (and in no particular order), I give you the first one by brilliant writer, Nigel Blackwell.

The Eye of Death

I watched her walk in the mist, up the hill from the pub, light steps, tight clothes, curves that screamed for testosterone’s attention, and her whole body lithe with life. If fair was fair in this world, it would have been a life that were mine, because well I knew her, but life ain’t fair.

It was the hook that did it. One minute I was watching it swing, maneuvering giant buckets for it to collect, ducking as it came by, covering my ears as it crashed into the lifting ring, and watching as it vaulted a ton of scrap metal high into the air, as easy as birds lift worms, winching it away to smelt in the furnace in that place of fire and iron and darkness, a place where men spoke in grunts and spit.

It weren’t a place for girls, especially ones with long, coal dark hair and skin paler than lime, not ones with skirts black, all tighter than tight and shorter than short on legs that were longer than long. No, it weren’t a place for them, but she were there. Radiant, dazzling, and winking at me. And I winked back. I took me eye off the hook, I did, an’ the hook took me eye off o’ me.

It swung back, lazy and smooth. Right into my eye. A hundred pounds of iron, twisted to a point and cast, fishing for my eye, its tip squeezing easy through the jelly, spearing my skull, stabbing out the back, cracking open my eye socket, sweeping me backwards, upwards, hanging me by me skull. I grabbed and pulled and yanked at the chain, lifting myself by pathetic inches from that godless scythe. I balled my lungs, ripping at my throat, near tearing out my voice box.

The hook arced me down, back to where I had stood; only not standing but legs thrashing crazy, hands clenching the hook, and concrete unmoving. My left foot snapped clean off, my right leg speared straight up, bones ripping soft organs, tearing open my lungs, leaving me wet rasps or nothing. My flesh and bones were tossed to the furnace’s pig iron river. I were naught bar a flame and a flash, and gone, but they buried me proper. Not there were much left to put in the ground.

That were then, see, and now’s now, and now she were not in that place, she were in mine, my yard, my graveyard.

Through she walked, crashing the gate, kicking the gravel, singing loud. Bad singing. The tonelessness of alcohol and pub songs half remembered. But that were good, not the singing of course, I ain’t stupid, but the alcohol, that were good. Good for her.

She staggered to the stones that ringed the yard and passed for a wall. Over she went, legs in the air and tight skirt tightening before she took pity on the heartbeats of men unseen, an’ smoothed it back into place.

Her heels sank in the cloying grass and suckling ground. Her head picked up, hearing the noise, same as I heard, a roaring of exhaust and a crashing of gears, a lorry straining up the hill. Not just any lorry, the big one from old Sawbuck’s yard, the one for towing, towing with a hook, a heavy hook. He was late from a job, like always. He’d be fast, like always. He’d have one headlight out, like always. And he’d turn at the corner of my yard, turn by the lane to her home.

She made it to the road, her singing forgotten and her arms out to keep from falling. The tarmac was firm to her heel and she swept across its glistening blackness, its white line, its potent danger, and over to the other side.

Sawbuck’s headlight clawed up the hill, close now, splashing left and right, drunk like she. It took a bend with a squeal of tire, the old man pushing to get home, just like she.

Her arms went out again and her toes poked forward, testing her shoes and her weight and her balance on the mud of her lane beyond the road.

The roaring came upon us, tarmac shining in myopic light, and glittering cats-eyes welcoming weary travelers. And her eyes glittered, too. Her skin reveled in fifty watts of headlight, her arms waving to keep herself upright. She lifted one foot to step back, away from the road, away from the thundering lorry, away from its danger.

It weren’t right and it weren’t fair, and neither were I, so I winked. Six feet of moldy flesh and bones, and a single eye for a single wink.

Her eyes bulged, her lips puckered round, and her cheeks lost their muscle. Her arms dangled, and her one leg kept still in the air. I held her rapt, like she’d held me.

The exhaust thundered and the wheels squealed. The single light swept past, taking the corner, marking the path of its curvature the tangent to its momentum.

But momentum weren’t for the hook. It swung free, slashing wide, snapping its wire taught, whipping back, following Sarbuck’s homeward and ignorant dash.

She weren’t ignorant, though, she saw it all, the swinging, the snapping, and the whipping. She felt its pain, too. The blunt hammer of sixty mile an hour iron crushing her ribs, folding her in two, lifting her up, spinning her careless. She felt the wait of moments before the smooth tarmac rose up to meet her, wrenching her head back, snapping her neck, splashing her limp on the ground.

And the light were away, with Sawbuck on home.

I waited for her to spread upon the road, and she to bid adieu to warm blood. Perhaps they would bury her near me, the same yard and within a yard, perchance.

It weren’t fair, but I ain’t a man of fair, because I ain’t a man, I’m dead.

And all’s fair in the eye of death.

THE END

Next week, I’ll post another one.

If you want more of me, try checking out FacebookTwitterGoogle+GoodreadsKloutBranchOut and Linkedin

Upcoming classes:

14th July: Getting To Know Your Characters

21st July: From Idea To Story

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I’ve been away from my blog for what seems ages. But I do have good reason. I’ve been in Texas, working.

Honest, I have. And here are the pictures to prove it.

First, you find an awesome group of friends. Above, I’m with the adorable, Jenny Hansen, best room-mate ever, Piper Bayard, my gorgeous twin, Ingrid Schaffenburg, and the Godmother of us all, Kristen Lamb. This picture was taken after a long and stressful dinner with NYT Bestseller, James Rollins,  and a ton of other people. (I think Nigel Blackwell is taking the picture and bitching at the amount of time we took to say goodbye to each other).

Then, we invaded Lamb Ranch to do a little character R and R. Originally, my antagonist was a mild mannered gal whose only crime was to return her library books back two days late. Kristen ripped her apart and turned her into the Terminator’s ‘Sarah Connor’. Can you spot the difference?

  

Piper and I became so obsessed by our characters, we shot up the place.

We thought I’d missed the tin can….then on closer inspection found I’d hit it with every shot. 🙂

Afterwards, we went riding on the ATV’s at night across snake infested land…. just ’cause we’re hard as nails.

Unfortunately, it was all too much for Spawn. He may need a few more years training…..

So, back to business. How to hook an agent the ‘SOO’ Publishing way.

N.B. For those who haven’t been following my Facebook page, and I will shoot you later, ‘SOO’ stands for ‘Squeeze One Out’ – a term I used while stormchasing when wanting a wee or tinkle as the Americans like to put it. Unfortunately, to the Americans it means ‘No.2’ and I was saying it every time we stopped for gas – which averaged ten times a day five days of the week. No wonder they looked at me a little weird. ‘SOO’ Publishing will publish any novel…… as long as it’s c**p.

Right, the tried and tested way on how to snag that all important literary agent.

1. Gate-crash a writing conference party. The DFW Writers Convention is excellent!

2. Along with a friend (I recommend Jillian Dodd), find a likely male candidate. The more vulnerable he looks, the better. For the purpose of this blog and because I don’t relish a law suit, our agents name will be kept a secret 🙂

3. Start a conversation to break the ice. We began with the very boring, “so, what genre do your represent?”

4. Then make it more personal. We used questions like, “what are the names of your mum and dad?” and “what is your inside leg measurement?”

5. You’re almost best friends at this point so go for broke. Ask about his Abs and whether you can take a picture. If their face begins to redden, offer to do this in a secluded corner of the room.

6. Then, lure him back to a hotel room and ply him with drink.

You will have an agent for your novel by the end of the night – Guaranteed! If not, don’t untie him just yet. Take further pictures, if you know what I mean. It will help your cause immensely and he will cave in to your demands by morning.

If you’d prefer to take a more serious route, (you boring lot), then check out these posts:

Ingrid Schaffenburg’s Top Five Lessons from DFWCon,

Jess Witkins Celebrating her Writing Slump,

David Walker’s take on the DFW Convention

Julie Glover’s Ten Things to do at a Writing Conference

Tiffany A White’s What Writers Really Do at Conferences (apart from the above)

Jenny Hansen’s DFW Con and the Flu…Oh My!

And, Julie Glover’s Vlog – you can see us in the background, plotting.

If you want more of me, try checking out: FacebookTwitterGoogle+InstagramYou Tube, and Linkedin.

Join my email list and be first to hear about upcoming releases and offers.

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Picture from http://ineligibleforgreatness.com

We’re all writers, right?

And every story starts with a beginning. So I thought I’d share the beginning of my writing journey with you.

Like 95% of writers, I have always loved writing. Back in the eighties, 1985 on a Friday night if memory serves, I used to video tape (remember those)?, a TV cop show called Dempsey and Makepeace.  Then on the Saturday morning I’d get up at the crack of dawn, before anyone else, and watch, write, and rewind the show until I’d written the whole script. Makes me laugh now, knowing how easy it is today to find scripts on that revolutionary tool called the internet. But, back in ’85, I had to make do with a VCR, writing pad, and my trusty biro.

The crime stopping duo

So what was my reason for doing this?

Why, to adapt the episode into a novel of course.

And my passion for writing never dwindled. Well, I misplaced it for a few years while I went to college, worked in a chartered accountants, slogged my guts out at OK! Magazine, and wrote a car off while at Essex Police.

Then, a few years ago I began writing articles for magazines and my passion returned.

So, how did I get to where I am now? Well, I have two different stories.

The first involves a lady you all know very well; the fabulous Kristen Lamb. By sheer luck, she came across a chapter I’d written on the internet, and through sheer generosity, she emailed me some critism. And, there began my novel writing career and my friendship with a true hero.

Up until that point, I’d only written one novel; a romantic thriller called ‘The Stalker’. Friends had read it and loved it and naturally I thought, “Hey, I’m onto a winner here.”

I worked hard with Kristen as she bomboozeled me with plotting, character profiling, the three act structure, conflict, ARC’s, inciting incidents, antagonists, protagonists, minions, Big Boss Trouble-makers and, oh yeah, pulling me out of my comfort zone, I realised what a load of rubbish I’d actually written. The story was okay but the characters were so boring and one dimentional – worse, they had no flaws!

Of course, now I’m a fully fledged psychotic nutter and there’s no switching off my imagination. In fact, my tag line “I could write for Days of our Lives” as seen in my banner, is Kristen’s description of me.

So began my second novel. Only this one I was writing the Warrior Writers Boot Camp (WWBC) way. After months of researching, character profiling, plotting, and re-plotting, I was ready to start writing another thriller……

Only Jason Statham could play my villain

And then I met Natalie Hamilton-Duggan. She’d just finished film school in London, wanted to write a paranormal screenplay, and asked if I’d like to help. At first I was a little apprehensive. I am not a massive YA paranormal fan. Sure I like The Vampire Diaries and True Blood, and Supernatural is one of my favorites, but I’d had enough of vampires. They’d been done to death. After a full five minutes deliberating, I agree to become a co-writer. I knew nothing about script writing but what the hell. There was one condition though….. No Vampires!

So, together we began to plot out a story. Kristen’s WWBC training became invaluable and I applied it to screenwriting the same as I had my novel.

Now I was working on two different stories in two different formats at the same time.

It was during this time that Kristen invited me out to Texas to attend the DFW Writing Convention. I thought, why not? I could pitch my novel to an agent and see what they thought.

Also, Natalie and I had finished the script to the now titled “Legend”, and decided to take the plunge and stop in L.A. first, you know, to see if we could get a bite out there. We emailed hundreds of queries and waited.

Wayne Alexander, an entertainment lawyer, read it and promptly emailed it across to Amy Schiffman, a manager and literary agent colleague of his at IPG. She loved the script and wanted to meet us.

So out go Natalie and I, wet behind the ears, totally out of our depth, and expecting the whole experience to swallow us whole. We couldn’t have been more wrong. We loved Wayne and Amy, and they seemed to love us. Amy became our manager, gave us a ton of ideas to start work on, and asked if I would adapt the script into a novel.

After three whirlwind days in L.A., Natalie and I flew to Texas; where I pitched an idea for a book I hadn’t even thought of writing two days previously. Luckily the agent loved the idea and asked to see a chapter or two when I’d written them. Oh yeah, as if that wasn’t amazing enough, Kristen gave me a fabulous stetson and took me shooting, and I brought a wicked pair of cowboy boots.

20130503_202030

That’s me in the centre

Since then Natalie and I have written two TV pilots and I’m half way through writing ‘Legend’ (the novel version). I’ve two agents in the UK who are also waiting to read it.

With regards to WWBC, I now help Kristen teach other writers, along with my WWBC team mates and writing buddies, Piper BayardNigel BlackwellKerry Meacham, and Xandra James. I just hope I can help them as much as Kristen has helped me.

So, what’s your story? How did you start writing? How long have you been writing? Do you have an agent? Have you been published? How did you feel seeing your book in print? Have you even just taken a chance and come up trumps?

If you want more of me, try checking out: FacebookTwitterGoogle+InstagramYou Tube, and Linkedin.

Join my email list and be first to hear about upcoming releases and offers.

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