Friday, 30 September 2011

Aw, little 'ole me - guest writer at TFFO?

God's Gift

Ages ago, the marvellous and witty Two Blokes, I mean Flash Fiction Offensive editor, Friday Prediction regular and crime writer of choice David Barber asked me if I'd care to submit something to TFFO as a Guest Writer. So I ermd and aaahd and of course, within seconds said 'Yes please' like some freckly toff schoolgirl with 'prefect' as a career move.

Then life happened. Shit happened. Loads of cruddy rubbish happened and I found myself stuck in inglorious mud - but I got there in the end.

The subject matter for 'God's Gift' came from a fleeting dream my old man had. I stole it (that's what demons do), elaborated and added the fiction... and the nasty bits... and the back story - oh well, you know how it goes.

Anyway, my apologies to David for committing so long ago - then making him wait and a huge thank you to him for this opportunity.

Read God's Gift at The Flash Fiction Offensive...

Lily's Friday Prediction

We're having a late heatwave in the south of England, which is why I'll be wearing a long-sleeved heavy winter dress and spending my entire day in a hotel in Brighton tomorrow - they're going to have to change my name badge to Mrs Shiny Pinkface at FantasyCon.

As usual it's been a lunatic week of multi-tasking (for I am woman) but I've got a good deal of writing done. I am also doing the final work on my collection of dark verse, which will be published next week on Amazon. It's called Courting Demons. More on that soon.

Winners of Last Week's Prediction Challenge

Although I didn't get the chance to write a summary of your entries I did comment on all of them, so do hope that will suffice.

The winner is Chris Allinotte with his looking glass slant on Alice, with Eat Me, and that literary line "Piss off, you cranky old twat. You're killing my buzz." Congratulations Chris!

And runner-up is newcomer Dee who (I confess it was personal) whisked me back to the Crete of this and other lives with her dark, untitled revelation. Well done Dee.

Words for 30 September 2011

Will this week's words be any easier? They were tough last week, weren't they. Let's see:

  • Suspend
  • Vintage
  • Split


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 the whole week until 9pm UK time on Thursday 6th October to enter.

Winner will be announced next Thursday 6th or Friday 7th October. If you can, please tweet about your entry, using the #fridayflash hashtag, and blog if you feel like it.

Are the words hanging off your fingers, tickling your synapses? Then you know what to do...


Tuesday, 27 September 2011

FantasyCon 2011 - September 30th to October 2nd

Sarah Pinborough
FantasyCon 2011
Mistress of Ceremonies
So, in a fit of excitement several weeks ago I bought a (Satur)day ticket to FantasyCon 2011 in Brighton, just a quick train-trip along the coast.

The programme looks great - readings and master-classes; some inspiring names - Ramsay Campbell, Christopher Paolini, the collector Stephen Jones and so - so many more. The Mistress of Ceremonies is the very gorgeous and talented author Sarah Pinborough.

And suddenly it's here; just a few days away. I haven't received my ticket yet - but I've had confirmation, so that means something - doesn't it?

Anyway, I have no idea what to expect and being so shy and retiring (shut up) am a little nervous about socialising. There's always wine, of course - but then again, there's always wine. Better take some water.

As it happens I'm really looking forward to it. If only I'd had the time to buy something new to wear (I am a girly after all) but looks like it'll be the usual.

Wish me luck!

Friday, 23 September 2011

Lily's Friday Prediction

Up before 6am today and was hammering at the keyboard as the sun rose on a clear, pale blue sky. Fitting for the Autumn Equinox. (Blessed be).

So that's another 700 words on Magenta Shaman Stones the Crow, bringing the first draft up to 10k already. The end is nigh - and I finally know what's going to happen - and to whom.

Time to put shaman mode to one side and open up the big book in search of words that are not my own. But first...

Congratulations to Phil Ambler for tearing our hearts to pieces with the real-life horror of losing a child, and the guilt of passive neglect (It wasn't his fault!!!) Loss was last week's winner.

And well done to runner-up AJ Humpage for throwing the truth in our faces with Just Another Echo; street life is one of desperation and loneliness. How can we bring ourselves to turn the other cheek?

Words for 23 September 2011

I wonder if we'll get bigger, plumper words this time after last week's little pip squeaks. Here goes:

  • Understand (all variants allowed)
  • Carnelian
  • Toadstool
Hmmm - I like these words. Nothing flashes immediately to mind but nothing a little meditation won't cure.


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 the whole week until 9pm UK time on Thursday 29th September to enter.

Winner will be announced next Thursday 29th or Friday 30th September. If you can, please tweet about your entry, using the #fridayflash hashtag, and blog if you feel like it.

The equinox at this time of year is also about putting down roots and preparing for the longer nights - all fuel for writing, I think. Let's see if this festival of Mabon warms your cockles...

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Prediction Winner

Great to have been a bit more involved, not that time has been particularly kind -just more lenient perhaps. There are some truly heart-rending entries this week - I've even woken up at night with one or two still stirring in my head.

I shall cease blathering and do a quick summary instead (because I actually managed to comment already - hurrah!) So...

  • Michael, Morning Tea - a poisonous tale of murder as 'she' slurps herself to death.
  • My Amour Nocturnale speaks of dangerous love, but the visitor had been warned.
  • Zaiure, everyone welcomes the final gifts of Death's Mistress as she flails in whipping ecstacy.
  • Patsy, Ransomed paints a haunting picture of senility; occasional but inevitable.
  • Aidan, throwing up a fountain of questions Night Ghūl demands the impossible choice. Too late, Maggie.
  • Veronica, love conquers all - except a husband on the wrong side of a zombie conversion in Once Bitten.
  • Antonia, a revenant with revenge on his mind that no priest could heal, such is his Mission.
  • John's Billy makes the mistake of sipping from Alice's bottle (don't we all) and is instantly Hounded by bad dog Chester.
  • Phil turns our lives upside down with the most real of horror in Loss, and a guilt of which you could never be free.
  • Chris offers up a lush marital (maybe) dispute as the pair prepare to dance to their own deadly tune, in Shirts, Skins and Violins.
  • Ravenways declares the mystery of loup garou, with an August Moon death - one too many in This Is War.
  • AJ sees the world through the glazed eyes of tragic streetlife, true streetlife - in the tragic Just Another Echo.

Emotion has won my heart over the last seven days. I suspect you won't be surprised to hear that my winner this week is Phil Ambler with the terrifying Loss. Phil - the odd thing is I really did dream something similar, but the night before - not after you submitted this piece. Love our babies - always and forever.
'Congratulations' doesn't seem like the right word, but being able to reach into our souls like that with simple words is a true talent.

Equally disturbing is runner-up AJ Humpage's Just Another Echo; such dancing descriptions for this horrid reality. Well done for such wonderful penning and also for reminding us all.

I must make my escape - slip beneath the quilt and hope against hope that I don't travel the astral plane again this night, for I am so, so tired. I'll return with the dawn and a new challenge. Good night, dear friends.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Blood Bound by Lily Childs

I bleed from strange places.
Succulent seeds that breed,
a husk to my porous outspillings.
A garter that binds soft cells.

Fat knots that warp and wart.
Scar tissue heals and weeps,
issuing scented reminders
of skin before sores and more.

Gnarled whorls rise unbidden,
scab then fall in flakes.
Crusted dust in cream and red
embed in woven Persian.

Slough with dry fingertips,
tear out hair, clumped – sticky.
Peel back layers and lashes.
My eyes see less than I feel.

I bleed in strange places.
His palaces, gutters and follies
where we hang, fair game
in his blistered libraries of pain.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Lily's Friday Prediction

Nasa has discovered a planet orbiting two suns - Kepler-16b. Beautiful, but I can't help thinking the amount of money poured into exploring space would be better spent on looking after life on this earth. Call me an idealist, I believe that's realism.

I hope everyone has sharpened their brain pencils today. I confess my 2B's a bit of a dud - blunt, split and my eraser's fallen off. But let's see what happens. It is the end of the week after all.

Brava! to Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw for winning last week's Prediction challenge with the 'frightening' Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep. Well done too to Aidan Fritz and John Xero, runners-up with Haint's Fishing and Audreys; also to MuckieDuckie - thank you for explaining the story behind Echoes of September - afterlife, 9/11 and redeath. So sad..

Words for 16 September 2011

Cue spooky music - a little Saint-Saëns perhaps...

  • Fibre
  • Wretch
  • Sip
Hmmnn, little ones today. What will you make of those?


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 the whole week until 9pm UK time on Thursday 22nd September to enter.

Winner will be announced next Thursday 22nd or Friday 23rd September. If you can, please tweet about your entry, using the #fridayflash hashtag, and blog if you feel like it.

And so the weekend begins. Literary juices waiting to flow, I hope...

Friday, 9 September 2011

Lily's Friday Prediction

Sometimes you wake up with the feeling that things are going to change. Often, circumstances make change inevitable, other times you feel control has been taken out of your hands and something higher or lower has taken the reigns.

That's how it is for me at the moment; it's a giddying stage of my life - and although I should be worried, I'm not. Can't explain it but it feels positive change is waiting for me to grasp it - if I could only interpret the signs correctly.

My mind, my heart, my will is open (albeit within a protective shell). Open my eyes. I'm waiting.

The Prediction

I cheekily gave you a fortnight, and it was as though the entries were doubly-powerful. No such luck this week - you'll only get the usual seven days (that goes for me too).

Congratulations to John Xero for winning with both Aeon and Souvenirs; outstanding writing, bowling over with extremes. Well done too to Ravenways as runner-up with Dreaming the Blood; what a beautiful come-back.

Words for 09 September 2011

Flipping the book open now; finger poised...

  • Valley
  • Mission
  • Record

OK. Bit tough maybe. Hmmnn...


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 the whole week until 9pm UK time on Thursday 15th September to enter.

Winner will be announced next Thursday 15th or Friday 16th September. If you can, please tweet about your entry, using the #fridayflash hashtag, and blog if you feel like it.

As the forecast for the next week is torrential rain, floods, gales and storms - looks like I'll be staying at home = writing time. Oh yes...

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Prediction Winner

The word Pharaoh created a genuine challenge, I feel, in this last Prediction so it was fascinating to read the variations on what could have been an obvious theme.

Let's have a good look at the entries now...
  • Rebecca, when the executioner takes his own life in your story we are riddled with sadness; we know he was only doing his job. The Arsonist is an emotional acceptance of this man's tragic role. 
  • Aidan, I read Time Traveler's Fair several times - for pure enjoyment, and in a variety of accents. You paint a slimy picture of this stall holder trying his disgusting best to lure the lady. Clearly this is more than a game. Your final paragraph is mind-blowing.
  • Antonia, your Cleaner's Blues is so matter of fact in the midst of murder and fake ancient artefacts. Pharaoh's sounds like a classy joint - or not. In fact I might have been there - down Portsmouth way, isn't it? 
  • AJ, I could hear deepest, darkest voicest from a Hollywood choir building up to a Carmina Burana climax as I read The Colossi of Memnon. 'An infant hue' is a beautiful description. This is a mightily powerful vision.
  • John, an eternal threat pierces this myth. Is the narrator a fallen angel, the personification of evil trickling through the blood of our 'hero' and his dominion? Aeon is masterful.
    Then, oh, oh, oh! Souvenirs - pure horror. Scuttling insects, falling from Hamilton's choking mouth; vomit and chaos churning in his gut. The plunge into insanity really kicks in and when he grabs the letter opener... fabulous!
  • Ravenways, your title alone, Dreaming the Blood is divine. When she smiled, I licked my teeth. I love the feral mix, the hint of shape-shifting and the bestial suggestion of love, for true lovers they are.
  • Phil, I for one, love your London (in fiction), crawling as it does with reprobates, psychopaths and cultists. I have written about them myself on several occasions, hell - I suspect my Carlotta Borgia and Rameses XIII have even shared delectations down below the dirty streets. This could be a fantastic graphic story/novel/series.
  • Reba, a mystical history in this Hall of Truth. Interesting how fortunes turn and turn about. I feel this could exist on the map of Phil's dark London - a Victorian world of revenge.
  • Pblacksaw - a mystery to your name. ;) The Plague of arrogance, 'yes' men, no 'no' men - power is a dangerous thing. The people are as lambs to the slaughter when a spoilt dictator needs satisfying.
  • Veronica, your Retribution spills in fits and starts, in and out of consciousness, breath failing before the heart re-beats. This man was dead the moment he chose to steal from Pharaoh.
  • Chris puts Milton and Blackwood onto yet another terrifying and bizarre case in A Classical Killer. The Pharaoh serial killer is a serious contender for "novel cyring out to be written." Who better than Monsieur Allinotte?
  • William, the adulation of a daughter for her father is unique, making the father's fear all the more profound. You've captured that so perfectly in False Idol. There is no indulgence to forgive, my friend.
  • Me, I slipped in a late one with Deliverance. I wondered how it would be when those Pharaohs discovered there was no afterlife but immortal death instead. Couldn't bear it so had to invent some personal magic.

I loved these. There certainly was a Victorian Holmes feel drifting through; lots of dusty chasms and vaults, scenes of warped entertainment and a deathly sub-element pervading your words.

Excuse me. I am going to swear. It was BLOODY HARD to make a decision this week. There. I've said it. And I think we have another new situation here - John Xero is this week's winner because I totally loved both Aeon and Souvenirs; different genres, different feel to each, but equally stunning. Huge congratulations John.

Runner-up is Ravenways with Dreaming the Blood. I was at an imaginary warm fire with Kate Bush at piano as I observed this feral love affair. Well done.

Thank you, everyone, for your wordly perfection. They read like wine and chocolate all at once.

So much to dream about now. I wonder what words will appear tomorrow.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Under Gallow's Veil

This poem won the UK's Writing Magazine's 'One Word Challenge' competition for August on its online forum Talkback.

The one-word theme was Shadow.

I hope you like it.

Under Gallow's Veil
by Lily Childs

I bleed upon your shadow, hanging dark on winter’s ground.
Dip pale fingers into dirt,
cast edges round your form
shape so slim as skeletal,
your broken heart unbound.

The dule tree weeps cadaverous tears, a sycamore lament.
Triple bodies, pendulous
swing easy in the breeze
keeping time with coarse crow caws,
blue wings in bleak torment.

Out thieving with your brothers, courting death to counter life.
Love became our enemy,
a kiss so sweet and rare.
Vengeance swelled in bitter words
to spill from me, your wife.

They caught you trading booty, at the place I said you’d be.
No sooner out my mouth than
regret ate at my soul.
Now I pray, in deep remorse
below young brothers, three.

Night brings its own betrayal, stealing light from Old Man Sun.
Skin rips as I dig down deep,
your resting place to make.
We’ll share this bed forever.
There’s nowhere left to run.

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.