It’s a Christmas horror story (as always, not the splatter type) about Ian, a middle-aged loner who lives with the memories of his daughters and grandson, rather than with them, a man who lives on the hope that his loved ones will remember him during the holiday. In the meantime, his nearly paralysed arm starts twitching uncontrollably. A couple of weeks before Christmas, his last friend leaves the country, and Ian finds himself with no one in his life. Day by day, he feels life ebbing away from him.
And this is the cover
The story was originally published on 9Tales Told In The Dark issue 12, literary magazine on April 2016 and it’s the third and last story I’ll publish this year. Like the stories I published before, Wisps Of Memory costs $0.99 and is available worldwide.
I hope you like it. If you read it, consider reviewing it on Amazon, Goodreads, or any other site you frequent.
As an added note, if you like free books, have a look at this giveaway I’m hosting on Instafreebie. Myself and more than forty other writers have teamed up and are giving away some of our horror and thriller stories (click on the image below to go to the download page). Not a bad gift for the holiday, right? What have you got to lose? They’re all free 😉
First of all, I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving (those of you who celebrate it) and that you were thankful for a lot of things. We don’t celebrate it here in Greece, but I’m thankful for each and every one of you, as well as everyone in my life.
You may have heard that Pronoun, an e-book distributor owned by Macmillan, terminated its operation (more info here). It just so happened that Pronoun was the distributor I had chosen to publish my stories to retailers other than Amazon.
So now that I’m about to launch my third short story, titled Wisps Of Memory, on December 10, I have to find another distributor. You may think that something like this would be easy, however, since I’m not a US citizen I have to look into it with greater care. The reason for this of course is additional taxes, both here in Greece as well as in the US. I won’t bore you with legal details, but suffice to say that thanks to my brilliant accountant, I’m not far from choosing the next distributor.
So, on December 10 my next horror short story, Wisps Of Memory, will be available worldwide, through most of the big retailers.
Here’s the blurb:
The end doesn’t always come with a bang.
Ian is a loner middle-aged man who lives with the memories of his daughters and grandson, rather than with them. He hopes that they will remember him during the holiday. In the meantime, his nearly paralysed arm starts twitching uncontrollably. A couple of weeks before Christmas, his last friend leaves the country, and Ian finds himself with no one in his life. Day by day, he feels life is ebbing away from him.
If you’re feeling generous or if you’re interested, you can help with this by reviewing it when it comes out. If this interests you, you can sign this form. Please bear in mind though, that doing so will also sign you up for my newsletter. Obviously, you can unsubscribe at any time if you so choose. Signing up means that you will receive a complimentary copy of Wisps Of Memory. It goes without saying that you’re not obliged to review it, but it would sure make me happy and fuzzy and warm inside if you did 🙂 You know how important reviews are for writers, right?
Confession time folks. I haven’t submitted a new short story to any literary magazine since Xmas 2016. At that time, I submitted a cyberpunk short story which, as of writing this, will be the basis for a future novel. The story is still under consideration by that magazine (yes, it can take this long, and sometimes even longer), and it’s officially the story that has taken the longest to get a response. The fact remains though: since then, I haven’t submitted any other short story nor have I written a new one. Now, I’m about to submit two: a flash fiction one and a short one, both written more than a year ago.
The reason? I was too busy editing and revising my novels. Too busy submitting my first novel to agents. Too busy wrapping my head around promotion and marketing strategies for my self-published work. Too busy with a new job. Too busy with parents’ health problems. Too busy in general.
I started drafting both stories way back in 2016. Late spring, if my memory serves me. Nothing new since then. I don’t think I’m going through a dry spell (God, I hope not). It’s just that I’ve focused on longer stories than short ones. I don’t know if I’ll work on another short piece any time soon (at some point, I probably will, perhaps a teaser prequel to one of my novels), but for the time being I feel I should focus on novels. Especially now that I’ve had a taste of the turbulent waters of self-publishing.
So for me, submitting these two stories is a big deal. Wish me luck, folks. I’ve set the bar high for both.
Many thanks to all those who read earlier and badly written versions of this story, and provided me with precious feedback.
Last week I failed to post something here. Excluding summer holidays or Christmas, this was a first. The truth is I was swamped with a lot of things happening. Nearly all of them related to writing. In fact, they were related to promoting my writing. You may have noticed that I now have a newsletter (did you notice the pop up? If not, then look to the right of your screen; there’s subscribe option there as well). A good friend (thank you, Abbie) suggested I should join a newsletter swap platform to build up my readership and network. And she was, as always, right. So I joined Bookboast.
For the past two weeks or so, I’ve been trying to tweak my newsletter, gain readers, start a group promotion (the intention was to join one, but I ended up leading it, hence why I was overwhelmed), choose a low-cost advertising service (impossible to afford Bookbub or other similar sites at the moment), figure a few things out about Bookboast, network with other writers, getting in touch with two of my betas here in Greece, and more. I hope you can see why I was overwhelmed and why I didn’t post anything last week. If I wanted to tackle all these different things and maintain a relatively low degree of sanity (which I very nearly lost for a couple of days), I had to educate myself. For that, Julian Coleman, another fellow writer I met through Bookboast, suggested I took a look at Nicholas Erik’s guides on how to market books and how to gain exposure and readers. So now I’m trying out some of the things he suggests. Next week will be a period of seeing things unfold, and the week after that will be the one to evaluate results and learn
from the mistakes I made during this week.
So, what do I have to show for it, you ask?
Myself and a few other writers joined forces and started the group giveaway I mentioned earlier, titled BAD PEOPLE WITH GUNS.
Nowhere near what I would have liked the banner to look like, but being on a borrowed computer, without photoshop, it’s the best I could do.
If you’re a fan of thrillers, crime fiction, short stories, and suspense, and you like getting free stuff, you may want to check this giveaway out. There, you will find stories from Anna Willet, J.L. Stowers, Sara Cobb, and Simon
Royle, which we believe will entertain you. The giveaway will only last until September 5, so hurry.
Not a suspense or thriller fan? Horror is more to your tastes? I got you covered.
My latest short story, At Horizon’s End, will be free today, August 27 and tomorrow, August 28, to download from the Kindle shop.
I’m convinced you will like what we offer you. When you read our stories, please leave a review. It’s what sustains writers.
Finally, if you want access to some exclusive items, new authors’ interviews, Q&A with authors about their work, free sample chapters, deleted scenes, alternative endings etc, then sign up to my newsletter.
It’s been a week since my latest horror story, At Horizon’s End, went live and it has already garnered a couple of five-star reviews on Goodreads, Amazon, as well as on reviewers’ blogs. You can read these blog reviews here, here, and here. If you’re looking for a quick read, and you’re into horror with a twist of sadness, At Horizon’s End may be a good fit for you.
Some people asked how I came up with the idea and the title of the story.
To explain the idea, I’d have to introduce you to my way of developing stories. Originally, the idea was to have Death in a conversation and a mortal, contemplating Death’s job. For some reason, to this day, I picture them talking over a chess board. I don’t know why, but the image is stuck to my head. Anyway, that idea branched off into having the mortal being the next one Death would take. Which seemed interesting, only I’ve already published
something similar earlier in my career. So, I decided that the mortal should be a child, because of the antithesis it would create (children represent life and future, whereas death, well, the end of life and future).
At that moment, the idea of having something as massive and hard-to-process as death, contrasted with a child’s innocence simply appeared out of nowhere and it made sense. So I revised the story accordingly. But then I had to do something to answer the question, why would Death be talking or playing chess or interacting in any way with a child? That was the final blow to my chessboard picture. Bye bye chessboard.
Instead, I came up with the idea of having Stella’s mother’s passing (Stella is the child in the story). Which, in turn, led to the idea of having Death second guessing himself when he took the child’s mother. Given my Greek heritage where Charon (a name we still attribute to Death here in Greece) ferried the dead in a one-way trip, my story’s Death was also unable to return someone from the afterlife to the lands of the living. Which finally gave rise to the question, how would Death handle such a problem? To answer that question you’ll have to read At Horizon’s End.
How I came up with the title is a different issue. In the story, there is mention through Stella’s memories of the way her mother used to refer to the afterlife. Now, at the time I was listening to a song from Paradise Lost (a band I like a lot), called As Horizons End. Though the song has absolutely nothing to do with the story, it was one of those moments where epiphany knocked on my door. In my mind there was no better way for a parent to explain to their four-year-old child the concept of death. How can anyone explain to a child that they will never see each other again and at the same time attempt to relieve the pain of loss? How else better to soften such a blow, if not by telling them that they will meet again at some point? So when I heard the song, it just clicked.
Lastly, you may want to take a look at the Interviews section. Viking Reviews was kind enough to interview me a couple of weeks ago. If you want to know a little more about me, but never dared ask, this is a your chance 😉