books, writing

Funding Question

I’m considering crowdfunding and self publishing one or more of my books or an anthology of poetry/short fiction?

What, as my following, would you consider supporting or buying?

Either answer in the comments below or email me thelov3w3mak3@gmail.com

 

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short fiction, the transformation, writing

Caretaking

So, I will put it to you, which series on here should I resume?

The Transformation

A Bridge For The Furies

The Wild Man

 

Comment below with your choice.

 

 

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creative writing, plot, work, writing

Take your story from idea to object

You prepare a synopsis, with all plot points from beginning to end via email. Don’t think of it as a teaser, I will need to see the spoilers and points where your story turns. Also, don’t worry if there are gaps. This will be where I come in.

 

You then fill out  your synopsis, email it to me, with a small consultation fee.

 

I will contact you with questions to clarify points in your story, your wishes and expectations.

I prepare and send you a report which highlights key areas, based on your concerns and my observations. If you have any questions about my findings, then you are free to ask as many as you need to.

 

You then prepare a new outline/synopsis based on my findings, which will give you a solid framework to complete or revise your story.

 

For an additional but reduced fee, additional consulting sessions are available if you want further revisions or want a more detailed report. It is all done with the sole aim of making your story the absolute best it can be.

 

You are not bound to follow any of my suggestions. I waive right to any additions you use, nor even entertain the thought of asking. It’s all yours, to use or disregard as you wish. You retain any and all rights to your work, and everything you share with me is in strictest confidence.

Contact me for further details: thelov3w3mak3@gmail.com

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fiction, short fiction, writing

The Chorus

 

The Chorus

 

Purity Clause

 

Thomas had his eyes closed and a wry smile alive on his lips. He heard the chirp of birdsong and the muted tones of the city in the distance. He wrote the script and sent it the studio and in before the deadline so he was taking a break from everything. He had woken at dawn, did yoga on the balcony and then made coffee before he sat and drank it. There were cigarettes in his pocket but he decided not to smoke one. He was trying to be virtuous with no one watching.

 

His phone rang.

 

It was an unknown number, but he answered after a few rings.

 

The automated voice was a digital collection of voices, different accents and pronunciations strung together with care. All women. Thomas shuddered.

 

The Chorus.

 

‘Did you believe you would escape your fate?’ it said.

 

A hint of breathlessness, something which would excite him at any other time made his stomach wrenched inside him and he sat down, his amiable mood evaporated into a needling panic.

 

‘We have registered an accusation. It will activate your belt in three minutes. Please do not pass urine or ejaculate during this time.’

 

The studio made him agree to the implant. It was a synthetic tumour, benign until activated via wireless signal. It threw you into a state of racked agony for thirty seconds if you went near a woman registered online as being NC or non contact. Women could waive being registered, because by then, an entire generation of men had been broken down and rebuilt. There were those who lived apart from the network, but most men went along to get along, he thought.

 

He was being given a multi-million dollar franchise to reinvent. They wanted to protect their investment and reputation, so he had to sign away his autonomy to keep working. Yet he swore he had been scrupulous in behaving himself.

There were cigarettes in his pocket, and he lit one.  He realised being good didn’t matter. His sex defined him, and in the world which he tried to make sense of through his art, had decided he was not only disposable, but he was dangerous.  

 

Simple And Complicated

 

The needle stung as it went into the meat of his buttock but he didn’t react beyond a slow blink.

 

‘You can dress now, Mr Agnew.’ the nurse said.

 

Pete got off the examining table and dressed without looking at her. It was safer to pretend he hadn’t heard or seen her. Once he was dressed, he left the room without speaking. She whispered a swear word under her breath. Once, he would have called her out on it, but it was different now.

 

The implant saw to that.

 

He left the clinic. There would be no paperwork to sign because he had paid for the implant in cash. His insurance wouldn’t have covered it, anyway. His head hurt to think about how much he had handed.

 

It meant he got to see his children again. His lawyer had got the porn clause taken off, so he had means of relief. The excess energy would go into his work, make money and get custody. Yvonne had a lot of friends out there, who used the Chorus to settle scores, creating accounts online and meeting men without deactivating the permissions. They shared videos of grown men on their knees, sobbing and vomiting from the pain. One man had died, and the women sued his estate for stress-related damages. They won, too. His ex-wife and kids had to move in with family for a while.

 

Pete caught sight of his reflection. His face was tight and pale, anxious whenever a woman spoke to him now. He had asked Yvonne out, hands sweating and heart thumping against his ribs, and she had said yes. It used to be simple and complicated at the same time. Some people were better at it than others, sometimes it happened by mistake or design, but Pete mourned a world where it wasn’t used to hurt other people with the resources of government behind it.

 

Castrati.

There were men who paid for the implant with no accusations hanging over them. It made things easier as these men worked from home, video games, the internet and silicone companions who would orbit their existences in a compelled erotic obedience met their needs. Real women were too much of a risk. An exile supported by society was a good way to avoid falling into the slow quicksand of love.

 

If everything told them they were dangerous deviants who couldn’t be trusted to restrain themselves why keep refuting it? Dropping out was easier and so long as they kept producing and spending money, it was something people laughed at without thinking about what it meant.

 

Wrath Of The Gods – The Chorus and the new face of state feminism, I R Mohoney, University Press, pp 124.

 

Let The Fire Come

The conference had sold out. A line up of feminist speakers and activists, hosted in Greece for its symbolism, both a return and an appropriation of ancient times.

Costas set the briquettes of compressed paper in a pile and squirted them with lighter fluid. His eyes blurred with tears as he looked across the stretch of forest. All of it perennial and virginal, soon to be so much ash. The villas would be collateral damage but if the conference centre burned, it would be a necessary evil. He had said goodbye to his children via Skype, alluded to in his cracked whispers of devotion, ignored as they showed him their new toys. Paulo walked past, a smug grin twisting his soft face into a mask of Victory, wearing nothing but a towel. She only entered the frame to end the call, disconnected and yet disdainful towards the father of her children. It had strengthened his resolve for what he was about to do.

 

Once the flames were going, he lifted his phone to his eyeline and spoke the prepared statement, mirrored around the world and released in an instant.

 

‘Men are disposable and our sacrifices are ignored and dismissed by the world. Women create, men destroy is the message and-‘

 

A memory of his daughter, soft and mewling on his broad chest made his voice crack, but he swallowed and continued.

 

‘We will honour this message.’

 

He took the pistol from his pocket, ceramic and put together in the rack of 3D printers which had been running for weeks, all from one design. The curved butt fit into his palm.

 

‘I love my family.’

 

He pressed it against his temple and squeezed the trigger.

 

The flames caressed his cooling corpse, grateful for his sacrifice as he laid there, his skull distended from the pressure of the shot.

 

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television, writing

Silence, I’m Watching Television

Here’s some thoughts about what I’ve been watching:

Goliath, Amazon Prime.

Two seasons with Billy Bob Thornton in a show created by David E Kelley. The latter created Ally MacBeal and Boston Legal, which were crisp, entertaining and arch legal dramas. Here the combination of the two talents has led to sixteen episodes of a man’s slow crawl from exile and the forces of antagonism he faces both within and without. The dialogue is great, and it’s all performed with genuine verve and insight. Yet for all the quality which lends itself to reserve, there’s a gleeful invention and boldness of execution which reveals some disturbing and intense scenes throughout the show. By the end of season two, you’ll never hear the H R Puffnstuff theme tune in the same way.

Thornton is one of my favourite actors. He carries a mercurial ability to inhabit space and demonstrate a consistent, wounded masculinity alongside the practiced and insightful intelligence which doesn’t shield him from his own demons.

I hope there’s a third season.

Deadpool 2.

Enjoyable but not as good as the first one. I wonder if there’s a market in making trailers for films which don’t exist. I felt I saw all the big moments in the trailer and wasn’t given anything for my tickets investment. The Domino sequences were remarkable, Final Destination style chains of coincidence which are a visual delight.

Four Lions.

A cell of jihadists bumble through training, planning and execution of an attack in the UK. It’s hilarious, warm and insightful even as it swandives into a third act of unbearable tension between comedic moments of shock and disbelief.

The Witch

It’s a harsh, raw horror movie and the internal, emotional story resonates with primal, chilling refrains as it descends into chaos and madness.

Its A Wonderful Life

Yes it’s a Christmas film but the central conceit resonates with me, and it came up as a recommendation. What a man contributes, and how it seems menial and disposable but actually the smallest gestures touch lives and matter. Some films are timeless and I think this is one of them.

Evil Genius

Tom Wolfe said non fiction is more difficult to write than fiction because fiction has to make sense. Here is a dizzying cheese dream of a crime and it’s all true. Fantastic and full of reversals yet suffused with a humane strangeness.

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men, short fiction, writing

Cycle

hei_2276p_copy_by_heikogerlicher-dceapx5.jpg

1.

The call went up, snaking through the branches of the forest, a robust echoing which was shrill with alarm.

 

Men ran. Some of them sprinted with the deft grace of youth, others lumbered like ancient boulders pushed down a hill. There were further shouts of confusion and clarification, and the teeming heat of the afternoon made them all red-faced and irritable.

 

They found them in the clearing, one hunched over the body of the other. There were fresh tears and old blood, enough to make the soles of their boots stick to the grass.

 

2.

LOCAL AUTHOR MAKES GOOD

 

By Temperance Rubin.

 

You’ve seen him promoting his latest book, Rituals of Evening, but Joseph Peters has never forgotten his roots so he’s appearing at Great Hills Library on Wednesday afternoon for a special reading followed by a Q and A.

 

Come, say hello to a hometown alumnus, and see if any of you aspiring types can pick up a few hints!

 

The event starts at 6pm sharp.

 

3.

 

A tan suited him, Edward thought. Joseph stepped out of the car with the same pained, studious expression he had worn since adolescence. Edward remembered playing catch with him in the yard and the memory made something shift in his chest. He corrected his posture, straightening his back and pushing his shoulders back. Joseph’s grey eyes swam with memories as he looked at his father but he blinked twice and smiled as he reached out and shook his father’s hand.

 

Edward gripped with a little too much force, but Joseph had written his pages for the day and he dropped his hand away to flex the discomfort from his fingers.

 

‘Long drive?’ Edward said.

 

Joseph shook his head and adjusted the strap on his backpack without meeting his father’s gaze.

 

‘I got in last night and took a room at the place by the airport.’ he said.

 

Edward swallowed the rejection and gave a small nod.

 

‘Smart move. You hungry?’ he said.

 

Joseph smiled and nodded.

 

‘As soon as I smelled the barbecue.’ he said.

 

The ruins of limp salad leaves, bones chewed white and small puddles of barbecue sat on plates between them. Edward poured out the bottle into a glass, whilst Joseph sipped his vanilla coke. His father’s recollection of his adolescent tastes was impressive, even down to the racks of ribs and venison steaks which they’d demolished between them.

 

Edward apologised as he unbuckled his belt to ease the pressure of his full stomach and sat back in the chair with a sigh of relief. Joseph sat up, straight and took small, frequent sips from the frosted glass of coke.

 

‘How’s the tour going?’ Edward said.

 

Joseph set his glass down and reached into his jacket for his cigarettes. He wanted a hit off his vape pen, but he had imagined his father’s reaction so it stayed there, offering relief from the gnawing anxiety which capered around his insides.

 

‘Good, thank you. I’ve done some TV too, even Kimmel.’ he said.

 

Edward snorted with derision and picked up his glass.

 

‘Late night television is trash. Hope it helps you.’ he said.

 

Joseph picked up his glass again and looked around the deck.

 

‘Did you redecorate?’ he said.

 

Edward didn’t look up as he drank but he gave a thumbs up and nodded around a mouthful of ale. He wiped his mouth and considered his son.

 

‘Yes, Char gets it into her head to redecorate the house and there goes a week of my life.’ he said.

 

Joseph’s jaw tightened as he swallowed and looked away.

 

Edward finished the last of the beer and got up, holding his belt buckle as he shuffled into the house. Joseph stared down the length of the garden and squeezed the glass until his fingers turned white.

 

There was a woman’s voice from inside the house. Joseph’s hand dove to his stomach as an emetic spasm clawed at his intestines. He hoped the carbonation settled his stomach before she came through and said hello.

 

4.

 

Edward sat up in bed, a pillow placed to support him as he turned the pages of his son’s book. Charlene came in from the bathroom and glanced over her shoulder.

 

‘Is he okay?’ she said.

 

Her voice was breathy and girlish, and after all these years, it never failed to stir him. She had packed on some weight around her hips and had the beginnings of a tummy beneath the silk ivory night gown. Edward’s eyes coveted but Charlene grimaced with concern. He smiled as he removed his reading spectacles and closed the book, then tapped the cover.

 

‘Judging by this, I should have burned his library card.’ he said.

 

His voice was genial as she climbed into bed. She glanced down at the book on his lap with the expression she did when Titbits brought a dead mouse into the kitchen.

 

‘I can’t read those sorts of books.’ she said.

 

Edward grunted and shook his head.

 

‘They’re just made-up words.’ he said.

 

Charlene did not relax until he put the book on the bedside table and rested his spectacles on top. He slipped an arm around the back of his wife’s neck and pulled her close.

 

‘He was a difficult young man, and it was a lot to ask a woman, but we’ve done the best we can.’ he said.

 

Charlene suppressed a shiver and clung to Edward’s solid, greying chest. The light went out with a dull click and she listened to her husband’s breathing deepen into sleep. Joseph had kept his distance since she came back, and the acrid tang of memories stained her lips and tongue. She had brushed her teeth twice and used mouthwash but the tang stayed with every swallow. Appalling goblin thoughts stirred and pressed against the amniotic sac of time and repression but she clung to him until she felt the medication kick in and dropped away into sleep.  

 

5.

 

He sat with his knees apart, holding his book to his eyes as he read aloud. Charlene watched his lips moving, how his eyes widened as he spoke with a confidence she had not seen before. Edward was rigid with concentration but his hand rested over hers as they sat there, watching his son read from his latest book.

 

She knew this section off by heart. Edward favoured hardbacks but Charlene, thanks to her younger sister, had an electronic reader and so had downloaded Joseph’s book on the day of release and read it straight away.

 

‘She came as I sat by the lake, toes pruning in the water as I sat there.

 

Trying to hide the erection she inspired whenever she drew close.

 

‘Your pa says supper’s ready.’ she said.

 

Her voice was a honeyed drawl which crept beneath my skin. The prohibition lent a terrible, insatiable clarity to my perception of her and she grinned as she knelt down in front of me.

 

‘I’ll be right there.’ I said.

 

I tried to make my voice as low as possible, promote whatever shoots of tender manhood were poking through the mud of adolescence. She was a strong burst of sunlight, a nurturing shower and yet all of it forbidden on every level.

 

It did not stop me wanting.’

 

Charlene’s heart pounded in her chest but she held herself still. Her mind was racing, knowing there were another twelve pages before anything happened.

 

The applause drowned her out as she emitted a small, careful whimper of anguish. Edward shook his head and applauded, but his eyes were soft with confusion.  

 

6.

 

Joseph accepted the safety lecture with a detached grace and wore the orange vest without comment. Edward, dressed in the worn, clean camouflage which had been his woodland uniform forever handed his son the rifle. Joseph took it and held it close to his chest.

 

It was a beautiful morning when they walked into the forest. Edward was on point, and Joseph had availed himself of the vape enough to put him into a state of herbal equanimity.

 

‘What did you think of the book?’ Joseph said.

 

Edward put a finger to his lips and narrowed his eyes before he pointed through to the trees where a young buck stood, nose to the ground as it chewed at a clump of grass. He gestured for his son to raise his rifle. Joseph blinked and aimed down the sight. His finger rested on the trigger guard.

 

The buck raised its head and ran. Edward lowered his rifle and shot an accusing look at his son. Joseph shrugged his shoulders as he took his eye from the scope.

 

‘Come on, I didn’t say a word.’ he said.

 

Edward snorted and walked into the woods. Joseph matched his pace, so they were abreast of one another.

 

‘I acknowledge your talent with words, son, I’ll say that. You know I don’t truck with monster books, but I’m glad you’re doing well with it.’

 

Joseph sighed against the hot lump of upset which dropped into his stomach from above.

 

‘I’ve had enough reviews to know when someone’s not read it, Dad, you don’t have to bullshit me.’ he said.

 

Edward stopped and stared at his son.

 

‘I don’t read those sorts of books.’ he said.

 

His voice whistled like a stove top kettle and it hurt Joseph’s ears. Joseph stepped back, discomforted and struggling with the urge to articulate something massive.

 

‘You mean mine?’ Joseph said.

 

Edward’s eyes widened as he sweated beneath his camouflage.

 

‘Why are you so sensitive about this?’ he said.

 

Joseph’s eyes flooded with tears as he cradled the rifle. He was a boy again, a skinned soul lifted for his father’s acknowledgement.

 

‘Because I thought you would be smart enough to get it, Dad.’ he said.

Edward slung his rifle over his shoulder and adjusted the brim of his cap as he looked down at his boots.

 

‘I’ve never gotten you, Joe. Christ knows I tried and so did Char.’ he said.

 

Joseph’s face was taut and bloodless as he stared at Edward. His grip on the rifle was loose and he staggered backwards, shaking his head.

 

‘You didn’t know, did you?’ Joseph said.

 

Edward’s face crumpled with confusion.

 

‘About the book?’ he said.

 

Joseph watched his father struggle with the conversation. A decent man dumbfounded by something which his son couldn’t explain. Edward reached his hand out and touched his son on the shoulder.

 

‘I may not understand you, but you’re my son, and if I’ve hurt you then you need to know I never meant to.’ he said.

 

It was a speech for Edward, and he was red in the face when he finished but Joseph, a man too acquainted with lies not to see them in others, believed his father. Joseph shouldered the rifle and lowered his chin to his chest and sobbed. Between the sobs, he forced out seven words.

 

‘Not you, Dad, you didn’t hurt me.’ he said.

 

7.

 

Charlene was so relieved Joseph had gone, it was an easy thing for Edward to persuade her to accompany him on a hunt.

 

It was easier to let her wander ahead, between the trees. As his finger closed over the trigger, he thought of his boy and asked his forgiveness again.

 

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stoicism, Uncategorized, writing

quiet rock

The pages are done

Writing ahead

A quiet flurry of

Activity as your soft breath

Whispers of rest calling

Letting you sleep

Whilst I attend to my purpose,

This part of me

The certainty of self

Dutiful and oftentimes

Holding in the giddy sweeping

Boyhood we never relinquish

And still the sight of you

Brings it to the surface

Like blood underneath

Skin struck with a telling blow

But I am the rock

Soft only to your touch

But steadfast and I wonder

If it blunts my appeal

But I know no other way

Than this, the purpose and

Its strength, the sustenance

And my goals, polished but not

Stainless

You alongside them

And so, pages done,

I wait for you to awaken

A sleepy smile

And here comes the rush

All over again.

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