Reba shuddered as the emanation in the house prodded at her, a touch on her mind that echoed the cold and greasy feel of the ritual candle in her hand. In the corner of her vision, the home’s owners clung to each other at the open door, their eyes wide with horror. They were helpless bystanders in this mess and she would be better off to get them out before this went much further.

Closing her eyes, she visualised the symbols she’d been taught, keys to the walls around her mind’s senses, each one a powerful yet entirely imaginary defence…

How to Build a Character in Fiction?

How can we build our characters? This is a common enough question fielded by new writers, and has many and varied answers online and off. Some writers prefer character sheets and dossiers and detailed notes; others explore their characters in situ, discovering background and personality and attitudes within their native habitat (the story world) and some of the ordinary experiences there. There are a few things that any writer needs to be aware of in the creation of their characters, and in how to reveal those characters to the reader.

The first thing to get straight is that your character…


Cold was the only thing she could feel, weighting her limbs, fogging her senses, distorting her thoughts. Cold pressure against her mouth. A radiating cold of the stone table beneath her. Even the light was cold, streaming through the slits of the turret, draining the stone of hue.

Laughter. A voice, deep and rough. Another, harsh and high, the caw of a crow.

“Installing neural net and physical nodes. Switching to primary stimuli.”

Then pain.

It crackled from her toes to the crown of her head in regimented waves, meshed agony as if her body were on fire. …

Some functionality suggestions for the Profile page?

I like the new “design” functionality for the profile page, as limited as it is, but I propose the site goes a little further, adding more useful functionality instead of appearance-based frills?

Could we consider the possibility of treating the profile page as a publication site — you already have the template functionality for this, after all, and it would enable writers to allow their followers to see older works easily, instead of the step-by-step tedious scrolling that they have to do now (a rather diabolical means of deliberately curtailing any chance of new readers discovering older works).

Design might…

Image by Stefan Keller from Pixabay

Free Verse

“Where’s the IV? What is she? Forty-three kilograms? Dammit, that makes the dose too high. No, give me zero point two mils of tricyclic clomipramine. Now, please.”

A sharp, deep prick and burning. The voices didn’t stop, they merely sped up, getting louder, beating a strange cadence against the inside of her skull. The needles never shut out those voices, they only took away her understanding of them. Memory remained. Drifts of it, like autumn leaves, sodden in tears.

What the hell is going on with this kid whhm weress werllnsrl oouwel asherewl come on, think, you ersl shwer s…

Touch me while I’m breaking, before the pieces slip through the cracks and are gone for good.

Smile if you see, eyes focused —

Am I here?

Let go when the fissures are too broad to cross, when the sounds that emerge demand too much, and the costs too great.

All the world’s silences hit in the odd hours:

hours between the solace of escape, of sleep, of nothingness, and the return to consciousness;

hours between five of the good day, the happy day, the productive day,

and six, when it falls apart, a tiny rotting corpse and not enough…

Author Interview

Author of The Prussian Dispatch, Lay Brothers and most recently, Serene, a historical mystery series set in the 18th century of Mozart’s Europe, on writing, historical fiction and self-publishing.

Of course, the first question is always…what inspired you to start writing fiction?

Prior to Sophie my record was patchy: I’d always written, and had small things published, but nothing of scale, no long fiction projects. In the mid-nineties, while I was turning out reams of promotional copy for work, I could sense something different building up inside. It felt like a noirish text, some kind of PI story, but I…

A Maguire

Writer, dreamer, developmental editor, book coach, farmer and mother.

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