Friday, 26 August 2011

Lily's Friday Prediction

I've finally got online after four hours of erratic internet access, so will be brief in case the connection goes again.

Firstly, you'll be getting a whole two weeks to send in your Prediction entries! I am taking some time out to concentrate on writing as I've achieved zilch these last few months. I'll be keeping off the internet too - maybe popping in here and there to look at the Prediction and at Thrillers Killers 'n' Chillers - but that'll be it. Going for a Twitter detox too.

Normal (?) service will be resumed around 5th September. I hope you understand.

Congratulations go to Pixie for winning last week's Prediction challenge with Butterflies and Wolves, also to Erin Cole and Jenny Dreadful as runners-up with The Palm Tree and Jenny's untitled piece. Well done all.

Words for 26 August 2011

So, two weeks to wrap your pens around these new words:

  • Pharaoh
  • Fair
  • Sweep


The rules are: 100 words max flash fiction or poetry using all of the words above. Please add your entries in the Comments box below. You have two weeks until 9pm UK time on Thursday 8th September to enter.

Winner will be announced next Thursday 8th or Friday 9th September. If you can, please tweet about your entry, using the #fridayflash hashtag, and blog if you feel like it.

Now I must open a virgin Moleskine and sully its lined pages with words of darkness. Forgive me...

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Up the Downs

Magenta Shaman and latest on Episode 2

Very pleased to find sales of Magenta Shaman have recently increased in the US after a slump. Thank you to those who downloaded Magenta to your Kindle or app, she'll be your friend for a long time.

Some great 5*/4* new reviews too - from Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw at Goodreads, the very exquisite authors Jodi MacArthur and Chris Allinotte at and Jenny Francis at Much appreciated.

Episode 2 is on a major re-write. I'm halfway through so shouldn't be long now (apologies for the wait but I want it to be right).

I can, however reveal the title "Magenta Shaman Stones the Crow".

Download a free sample of  the first Magenta Shaman or buy the full novella at or (where you can also 'Look inside').

Mr Col Bury of old Manchester City

Fellow Thrillers Killers 'n' Chillers editor Col Bury (Jeez, is he inundated with class crime subs at the moment!) has posted his top 20 Best of Brit blogs list at Ashedit in the perfectly entitled Best of the Blogs by Col Bury—Brit Grit Part 5.

Check it out - if you're not there, find out where you should be.

Watch out too, for Col's upcoming chin wag with exquisitely articulate and poetic hard task-master Richard Godwin in the ultimate black seat at The Slaughterhouse

Erin Cole
Feardom Interviews

I am also pleased to announce a new short series of interviews at The Feardom. My first guest will be inspirational and beguiling wordsmith Erin Cole. Erin will visit The Feardom in the early weeks of September.

Lily Childs - Guest Writer at...

It may be that I have a Guest Write appearance in mid-September at... now that would be telling! The tale will be a little less horror - but no less nasty; details coming soon. 

What's more the story was inspired by a dream, and then after I'd finished writing it - I saw the exact location of the main 'event' on headline news. Did I make it happen? Nothing to do with me, Sarg.

Prediction Winner

A big thank you to those who responded to my question about the Predicition Winner post - very much appreciated. It will business as usual for the moment then, though I might consider adding the summary/winner announcements to the bottom of the Comment thread in future.

Let's hope for some Blogging good behaviour today that will allow me to publish this very post...

My summary and comments herewith:

  • Me, Watching Demelza. When those first two lines "She’s there. Under the oak." formed I had no idea who she would be. I still don't know where she came from but she was surely evil in priests' clothing.
  • William, a cold and matter of fact message to this - don't mess with Malcolm. Steak Diane is one of those 1970's dishes where your starter would have been prawn cocktail or a very tiny glass of fruit juice. The other main course option - Chicken Kiev, and for pud Black Forest Gateaux or Banana Split. There is a warped nostalgia to Malc's Revenge that you've succinctly captured and delivered on a plate.
  • Pixie, welcome back! Butterflies and Wolves is like opening a window onto carnage; a guilty peep at a scene that has been brewing for some time and I have arrived only for the final act. And that's why this works so well. I particularly love the concept of "vandalised my heart" which feels as physical as it does emotional.
  • Chris, straight in with a hangover. Fizzing orange juice - I bloody hate that. Usually it's the final mouthful that sends your throat into spasms before lurching down into your body to deliver a wicked case of heartburn. Or is that just me? Hmmmnn... I'm liking Sam Collins, P.I.B. (Paranormal-Investigator-Bastard). What else does he have up his Californian sleeve - please?
  • Erin, The Palm Tree is such an astounding vision of lumbering Gods silenced into solid palm trees, their limbs fodder for the creatures below. Gargle as a character is packed with intrigue - I see him as a stubby, semi-naked cave-trog with a shock of thick hair and muscles of rock. "Gargle stepped up on a knuckle, tugged a pear-shaped wish from the thumb of the palm..." - that's beautiful.
  • Antonia, so many questions thrown up by the voluble Connoisseur in his self-debate on how to imbibe blood. I can imagine Frasier Crane narrating this; "The bitterness is not to be tolerated" especially. That the character then asks his audience why else would he want to drink blood makes me laugh - turning his argument around to reflect away any judgement on him for his actions/habit.
  • Phil, two year old - it doesn't change much by the time they're seven mate. :-) I loved Tag's Gargle/Gargoyle play on words and didn't see it coming at all. Even within the joke you've painted an horrific picture -  two graffitiists at labour to complete their art; Chad's lifeforce blending with his masterpiece and a snarling protector in stone. That Hotel California - such a lovely place.
  • AJ - please just excuse me whilst I phone to postpone this week's dentist appointment. Ahum. That's better. I reread Drill Bit once I knew for sure what it was about and felt even more horrified in that knowledge. You have described every bloody bubble, each stab of pain and all the mental scars with such alarming clarity that I feel sick to my stomach. Job done!
  • Jenny, simply marvellous to hear from you again. Ooh, this untitled vignette of Vandal the Perfect is such a tease. I really do want to know what will happen to his parents and how he'll worm his way out of it. Then there'll be school, clubs, college, career, marriage - a lifetime of torture to play with. Very nasty.
  • Aidan, Gaia Society Ball sees authorities spouting proclamations with hidden context on the state of the world. "...her hair burned while vandals humiliated her. She grows too fond of her inequalities." is chilling - very close to the knuckle. It leaves me feeling disturbed. Thought-provoking, this could be a comic strip in Private Eye.
  • Kim, I had a good giggle at the double standards in Night Shift; maybe it's even triple standards, as I'm not convinced the coppers are just looking to id the corpse - maybe they consider a little reward is in order? I have to say, your opening line was a visual/aural delight.
  • Veronica (do we call you Veronica or Veronica Marie, honey?) You really have got the zombie genre nailed. The horror of these deconstructed 'creatures' is chilling enough but your well-chosen words in Dinner Time "...hands cradling a boy’s crushed head… blood dripping from her chin… down the front of her I ♥ California t-shirt. She hissed…" made my skin crawl - especially the hiss. Uuuuurgh. Splendid!
  • ttofee - I have tasted so many wines that taste like piss I can quite imagine someone being fooled (please save me from Pinot Grigio or grape left 'sur lie' for too long). I really enjoyed this suburban retaliation - nothing too menacing despite the distress the evening's victim had put your protag through, but a highly satisfying conclusion nonetheless to Taste of Revenge.

The winner - because I still feel as though I'm staring, shocked and uninvited through that window, is Pixie with Butterflies and Wolves. You've left something lingering for me here Pix... Congratulations!

Joint runners-up are Erin Cole's strange and beautiful world of The Palm Tree and Jenny Dreadful's macabre good boy/bad boy thriller. Well done both.

Tomorrow I'll post the new words and (I'll explain why in the morning) you'll have a whole two weeks to play with them.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Lily's Friday Prediction

Good morning world! It's all sunshine and sea breezes in Eastbourne today - which is how it should be in the middle of August. I'm off work next week so am hoping the weather will treat us kindly; if not I'll lock myself in a café somewhere and scribble the days away.

Congratulations to AJ Humpage for winning last week's Prediction Challenge with the stirring and poetic Resurrection. And well done to Tony Cowin, runner-up for his fairy-tale horror In Crystal Vapours. Both chilling in totally different ways.

A Question...

Before I post this week's words - a question. Does anyone read my Prediction Winner posts that go out after the challenge closes, or do you wait until the Friday to see who has 'won'? I'm just intrigued as there are often not many comments on the Winner post - and I wondered if everyone even realised it was there?

It takes a lot of effort to assess the entries and write up the Winner post, so I'm quite happy to drop it - or post it in the comments box on the Challenge beneath all the entries instead. Do let me know - I do it for you so want to make sure I am getting it right. Thank you.

Words for 19 August 2011

Note: the challenge will close on Wednesday 24th August (not Thursday)

  • Gargle
  • California
  • Vandal (Vandalise is fine)


The rules are: 100 words max flash fiction or poetry using all of the words above. Please add your entries in the Comments box below. You have all week until 9pm UK time on Wednesday (not Thursday) 24th August to enter.

Winner will be announced next Wednesday or Thursday. If you can, please tweet about your entry, using the #fridayflash hashtag, and blog if you feel like it.

Suppose I'd better get up and go to work. Unless you can give me a reason to stay abed...?

Prediction Winner

So glad everyone has been posting and commenting without me - what a great bunch of writing comrades you all are. x

I shall summarise by way of comments below:
  • Sue, Books to the Future is an adventuresome delight. I have had some VERY important books fall at my feet from unlikely shelves in old bookshops. They do have lives of their own - or maybe a part of their author's soul lives on within the pages? I love what you have evoked here - and it needs to run, run, run into a full scale volume. 
  • Chris, firstly let me apologise for unwittingly hijacking part of your title, Maman and in a roundabout way - some of your story. I must have subconsciously picked it up. Sorry my dear. Chercher le Futur - a spectacular image of pentagrams and mirrors against a desert background. What choice did Legris have? Tell, or be damned. Mon dieu indeed.
  • David, Mr Cheeky Barber is back. Have you ever considered doing Spooky Stand-Up? I really liked how you turned A Watery Grave from a tale of concern to a wicked little murder.
  • Aidan, Jailbird's Song is freakin' freaky. Your narrator's snarling voice growls in my ear, making me nervous, causing me to look for him over my shoulder. Gripping, and terrifying,
  • Antonia, all the best for the counselling session. I do hope you will be on the way to recovery soon. Boudicca’s Last Stand chilled me to the bone, not least because I felt I was staring back from the scrying bowl (one of my preferred methods after the mirror). This is haunting.
  • Phil, Oh knock me down and make me fear for my life! Beware the Soldiers - that would be enough to scare a man; you'd fear war, terrorism, a coup d'etat... but ants? Very, very clever. Lesson: never take a prediction at face value.
  • AJ, an emotional discovery, poetically performed. My feeling is this is the result of a search for a near-ancestor, that the MC has taken a cruel journey to locate this man and incite his Resurrection. We need - on behalf of all the family - to know more about what really happened; why he was there, and why he joined the Legion in the first place.
  • Kim, that told him. And what he doesn't know is that beneath every 'old hag' is a soul harbouring a beautiful and terrible wisdom. More fool him. I liked this atmospheric arrival in our mystical lands of a people who still occupy the heaths and mists. For the Romans, it was ultimately a Gloomy Ending.
  • Anthony, I felt a very non-spiritual sense of satisfaction at Jess's revenge. As children we are entitled to believe in fairy-tale castles, though if we ever knew the original stories we'd never want to be mixed up in such horror. Maybe In Crystal Vapours represents the modern day reality of ancient myth. Chilling.
  • Me, A la Recherche d'un Homme Perdu speaks of a woman who can't bear that her man chose The Legion over her, and her family. Papa's letter proves it was all for their sake, not his.
  • Reba, so glad you're back. "The media was the polar opposite of scrying – only able to see the future in retrospect." is a fabulously innovative - and insightful line. What You Sow questions law, legislation, government... It's the way it should be. This is a conspiracy theory with legs.
  • William, a beautiful gothic feel to Non Lossless Depression. A poem? Prose? I can't work out if the narrator is desperate for Love, or Death - because the subjects twist, and twist about. And I like that - a lot.
The entries are so diverse; the standard of writing excellent. I haven't been very good at making decisions this week but the entry that stayed with me, and is therefore the winner is AJ Humpage's Resurrection, closely followed by Tony Cowin's In Crystal Vapours as runner-up. Congratulations both.

I'm going to bed. In the morning I will be a different person - by a few skin cells only. But who knows the memories the new cells I've caught might hold; perhaps I'll be Cleopatra - like everyone else. Or maybe not - maybe I'll be your grandmother. Have you exfoliated lately? Maybe I'll be you - sssshhhhhhh.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Goodbye, dear friend

Tonight I heard the enormously sad news that an on old friend has passed away. Catherine Evans was one of life's one-offs, an artist who excelled at St. Martins in the 1940s, friend of some terribly dodgy and exciting characters, a highly articulate storyteller, a disarmingly accurate psychic/astrologer and a sublime cook.

Catherine - Laurence and I will miss you so much, but we know you've found yourself the best seat wherever you've moved on to and have probably decided on your next adventure. We have no doubt that you're already organising an extraordinary party that every single 'guest' will enjoy - as is your style.

This isn't a post for people to comment on; it's an open dedication. Catherine, I love you, and I'll miss you very much. Be happy. xx

Friday, 12 August 2011

Lily's Friday Prediction

Yesterday I saw a golden leaf. Dew pooled, chill on windscreens this morning and it seems the blackberries are nearly all gone. And so August is the new September.

I was enthralled by last week's Prediction entries. Congratulations go to Phil Ambler for his winning fest of free-faith hedonism The Devil's Stag, and also to runner-up Aidan Fritz for the extraordinary creation that was Grandma's Legacy. Well done both.

As an aside, Predictioneer Antonia Woodville has a new chiller up at Thrillers Killers 'n' Chillers  - Snow Dancer by Dorothy Davies. Do take a look; it's well worth a read and I'm sure she would appreciate your comments.

Words for 12 August 2011

Are your imaginations ready to run wild? Then this week's words are yours for the taking...

  • Legionnaire
  • Scry
  • Envelope


The rules are: 100 words max flash fiction or poetry using all of the words above. Please add your entries in the Comments box below. You have all week until 9pm UK time on Thursday 18th August to enter.

Winner will be announced next Thursday or Friday. If you can, please tweet about your entry, using the #fridayflash hashtag, and blog if you feel like it.

Wake me out of my slumber, Predictioneers, for I need sustenance...

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Prediction Winner

Hell, that was quick!

No sooner had the Feardom closed its doors on the Prediction Challenge than I was back to announce the winner.

Tsk, it was easy. I simply stopped time.

Here we go, a summary...

  • Asuqi sings with the Voice of Lilith from the depths of nature.
  • Aidan's origami insects scuttle and leave a tragic message in Grandma's Legacy.
  • Antonia's stuffed stag head is desperate to expose the cheat as watches the game in Card Sharp.
  • Phil whips the revellers into a frenzy of frolicking feasting and fuckery atop the Tor in The Devil's Stag.
  • Veronica has no Regret in mounting the pretty boy on Audra's wall.
  • My Dance of the Spiral Girdle sees lovers transcend earth-bound caresses.
  • Chris reveals himself through interpretation and becomes a true verbal Brit in The [strange and] Continuing Adventures of Ink and Blot.
  • Kim's victim deals a dainty dose of death with her foxglove favours at the Summer Ball.
  • AJ's stag sniffs out wrong-doing and takes nature's revenge in Fresh Meat.
  • William's yob raises a faux-rebel yell of excuses and lies in Mob Rule.
  • MuckieDuckie's Datura takes to the hills for a very tasty Picnic in the Park whilst Mother smiles on.
I took an unearthly delight in these entries. I confess I was concerned the combination of words might have been tough, but buy, did you nail it.

My winner this week is the wicked and debauch celebration The Devil's Stag by Phil Ambler. Gorgeously indulgent and wonderfully written, I loved it (perhaps too much.) Congratulations Phil.

A very close runner-up was Aidan Fritz's exquisite Grandma's Legacy; I truly cannot get the images of the blood staining the paper insects out of my head. Beautiful, and well done.

Thank you, all. Sleep well; may your dreams fill you with inspiration.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

The Delusion of Arlecchino - dark verse from Lily Childs

The Delusion of Arlecchino

He dodges in and out of night
to dance the Tarantella.
And when the dance begins to slow
he looks for Lillabella.

He ‘spies her in a shady glade,
her arms around another
In that stark moment threats are made
to kill poor Lillabella.

He stabs the lovers, three times – more.
Their blood mingles together.
The Harlequin reveals himself
“You queen whore, Lillabella!”

He cries out when he sees her face
for this girl is no other
than his own sister, full of grace,
unlike dour Lillabella.

He launches forth to stem the flow
but she is gone forever.
Comes from behind them, gruff and low
“I’m not ‘your’ Lillabella.”

He swallows deep, her rancid breath.
The spider’s Tarantella.
She dances him straight to his death.
She’s no more Lillabella...
than Il Diavolo himself.


Friday, 5 August 2011

Lily's Friday Prediction

Thank Faust It's Friday. I'm feeling all mystical today - sparkly thoughts and twinkly fingers that belong to weekends rather than the workday week.

Congratulations to AJ Humpage and MuckieDuckie for jointly winning last week's Prediction with Final Journey, and I Cling Inside the Border-Wall.

Words for 05 August 2011

What will the the old book throw up today? Let's see...

  • Etiquette
  • Stag
  • Play


The rules are: 100 words max flash fiction or poetry using all of the words above. Please add your entries in the Comments box below. You have all week until 9pm UK time on Thursday 11th August to enter.

Winner will be announced next Thursday or Friday. If you can, please tweet about your entry, using the #fridayflash hashtag, and blog if you feel like it.

My eyes are open. My mouth is ready to read your words out loud. Can you fill it with something tasty?

Prediction Winner

Good job I don't take it personally how you all throw me into turmoil with your talent each week. Let's cut to the chase and summarise the (stunning) entries:

  • Tony throws us into the sale of a lifetime, but are these smoke-damaged goods the bargain they seem in (one version in my head of) Texas Chain Store Massacre
  • Phil dances onto the floor with Takeout and finds himself with a very hungry date. Bet she never orders a home-delivery.
  • Aidan invites us into a strange world where love is a curse that can end up as fatal. First Curse.
  • Antonia sends A Wish For Summer Rain as the old ones dance around their Jack In The Green, unaware how huge a sacrifice it actually is.
  • Chris sits us down to read a fairy story - with a killer ending in "Kill Them All, said the Magic Frog."
  • William's dancing Clodovea sprays innocent(?) men with burning tequila. "You wanna piece of me? You got it"
  • My ancient-British shaman saves her daughter, who in turn sacrifices her lover so that she can continue to live, in Of Warriors And Women.
  • AJ takes us on an emotional Final Journey to a man-made hell on earth.
  • Veronica throws us to the marauding zombies in Daybreak - and just when we think we are safe...
  • MuckieDuckie exposes a family in domestic feud, trying to keep it together for the little ones in I Cling Inside the Border-Wall.

Brilliant - every single one. I'm kind of breaking with tradition here, in two ways. Firstly, because I have two, joint winners, and secondly because one of them won last week too.

My first winner is AJ with the terrifying yet exquisitely beautiful Final Journey.

Winner No. 2 is Muckie with her proud and violently emotional I Cling Inside the Border-Wall.

Huge congratulations to you both.

I'll return later today with the new challenge. Hope to see you there.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Bane by Lily Childs

Original artwork by Laurence Ranger (c)
Copper drypoint etching
A dark, flash fiction tale of oral deceit...


Ten tales to terrify; Leofric gathers his words together in mind and mouth – and sets the sordid scene. Long had he travelled between battle-scarred lands and darker realms; some had feared the storyteller dead, but now around him children and warriors sit enthralled, with eyes ablaze.

Silence, but for the crackle of flaming logs in their pit.

Night begins its giddy dance, casting shadows over the crowds. Leofric’s humming resonates across the ground. It trembles into the seated thighs of all assembled to rise through their very being. Louder and louder the storyteller’s voice sings its single note until...


The audience gasps. Children shriek at the sheer volume and slam pudgy hands over sensitive ears. Leofric stands as quickly as his aged bones will allow, raises his face to the sky and starts to talk.


His first to third perturb, his face a shifting mask under the moon’s fleeting light.

Fourth to sixth disgust, another face for every tale he tells.

Seven and eight, his faces tear apart.

Nine, the face of a demon spills into the storyteller’s skin.

Ten, Aeglaeca steals every screaming face for himself.


The story writes itself.

Pestilence and plague.

The chronicles of death.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Writer - or performer? Aaaargh!

An evening or so ago I sat amongst fellow writers at a monthly meeting. Some, like me, prefer the dark side. Others enjoy travel or script-writing. We have poets and non-fiction journalists, self-published authors and those who write purely for their own pleasure.

All is well. All is calm. Until I am 'encouraged' to read my work out loud. Suddenly (you can hear my panic; 'suddenly' is one of those words I've always been taught to avoid, like 'nice' and 'was') my heart palpitated. My normally-still hands began to shake. My mouth - OK, OK I'd had a glass of wine - laboured grey as cardboard; any juices lingering on my tongue were sucked dry. Even my vision became blurred.

What the f***?

Now, I have always had an inherent fear of speaking in public - oh yes. Doesn't matter how much I know my subject, or how comfortable I am with an audience... it means nothing.

I'm very aware that in conversation - with people I know and even those I don't I can ramble for England and probably sound lunatic. So for that I apologise - but - is it a surprise that this is why I write? This is my communication method of choice; this is where I can articulate rather than blab and burble. If I do espouse the thoughts that tease my head then people usually politely turn away  - and that's how I discover I am talking crap. Makes you kind of paranoid, but then... what the hell.

So. My question for you - writers or not - is how do you cope with speaking in public? I am not interested in method - I know all about pitch and pause - I want to know how you overcome self-confidence issues. How, when you read your fiction or verse out loud in the comfort of your own home, and it sounds so fab do you stop the subsequent monotone delivery that bears no resemblance to your private performance?

If you are a serious writer, at some stage you will be asked, or will need to promote your work by doing readings at book stores, libraries, public spaces and even theatres. Have a heart, think about it now...

Answers on a postcard, or below - please:


Lily Childs is a writer of horror, esoteric, mystery and chilling fiction.

If you see her dancing outside in a thunder storm - don't try to bring her in. She's safe.