Friday, 30 March 2012

Lucky Seven - Extract From At Peace With All Things

I was tagged in a post on Facebook. This doesn't happen all that often, so I had a look, and I was intrigued by what I found.

The Lucky Seven meme.

Here are the rules:
1. Go to page 77 in your current manuscript
2. Go to line 7
3. Copy down the next seven lines as they are – no cheating
4. Tag 7 other authors

Okay then, I will.

My current WIP (work in progress) is tentatively titled At Peace With All Things. It's completely different to anything that I've written before since I'm trying my hand at literary fiction. I'm enjoying writing this one very much, and, as of now, I'm at 73,000 words. I think it's going to come in at over 100,000. Possibly quite a lot over...

Here is the Lucky Seven excerpt:

Beryl told the whole sorry tale, beginning to end, leaving nothing out, sugar-coating none of it. When she was finished, stopping just short of telling the boy that she had planned to become pregnant by Bear, that it had made sense at the time, she finally breathed. She had said every word without looking at Jude, scared that seeing his reaction to the truth would be too much and she would stop or change the facts in some way. And she couldn’t do that. Not once she had started.
Only at the end, with a sigh and wipe of her face and the words, “We couldn’t save her, Jude, and I’m sorry. I’ll always be sorry,” did she turn to the boy. 

Friday, 23 March 2012

Published: Variations on a Theme

Today a new anthology was released - The Literary Lab's Variations on a Theme.

Just like Tales from the Grave, this was another departure from the norm for me. Rather than writing on a particular subject, the idea behind Variations on a Theme was to take an old tale and rework it for the modern day.

Quite a task, as it turns out!

The first difficulty was in choosing which story to attempt to rewrite. There was a choice. Either Anton Chekov's 'The Huntsman' (click here to read the original story) or Hans Christian Andersen's 'The Tinderbox (the original can be found here).

I read both. Twice. But I already had an inkling of which I would choose before I began. It was the reason that I wanted to submit a story to the anthology in the first place. I remember my mother reading a Labybird book of The Tinderbox to my sister and I when we were tiny. I remember sitting on the old red and cream velvety sofa, facing the fire, and listening as the magical words were read aloud to me. I loved the story then, and I love it now, with its scary witch, murderous soldier, the trapped princess and, of course, the dogs with their eyes as big as teacups, as big as mill-wheels, as big as towers.

What images this story conjured up for me! I loved the idea of the soldier lifting these massive dogs out of the way to get to his treasure, I felt something tangible in the thought of him picking the coins, copper, then silver, then gold, of trudging up and down and getting richer and richer and greedier and meaner as he went.

I distinctly remember the wonderful illustrations of all the strange and unlikable characters in the story. And that is one of the strangest things about the tale; there are no nice characters. Everyone is unpleasant and greedy and although there is a happily ever after, of course, there is a foreboding tone to Andersen's words, and I always felt that there should be more, that the story was not finished.

So I chose it. And I changed it. I hope I have done it justice, as it really is a special story to me.

And I think I might - perhaps - attempt that sequel I've been wondering about for over twenty years. I think it's about time.

Find this book, and my others, here.

Friday, 9 March 2012

Published: Tales from the Grave

My story, 'Sneak', in Tales from the Grave (edited by R. G. Nojek) is a bit different to my usual writing. And Tales from the Grave is a bit different to my usual anthology.

You see, it's true.

It's all true.

Not just my story, but all of them. Because this collection is about true life horrors, real hauntings, genuine fears.

My story is about a house I lived in (and, oddly, despite all the frightening events that took place within it, loved) between the ages of nine and fifteen. The perfect time, many experts and enthusiasts would say, for ghostly happenings to occur. A young, adolescent girl in a house that already had a bit of history, and the gates would be unleashed.

Perhaps so.

Perhaps that is what happened.

Perhaps it was my fault.

But whatever the reason, I can hold my hand to my heart and say now that I witnessed enough paranormal activity in that house, in my own bedroom nonetheless, to ensure that I would never again question a belief in the afterlife.

There was something there.

It was not happy, and it was not pleasant.

I found it rather cathartic to write this story. My family, especially my parents and sister who also lived in the house, and who also experienced the haunting first hand all those years ago, were aware of it, but I don't think I had ever actually spelled everything out, listed every event, given it a timeline and a tentative reason behind it.

This brought back a lot of rather strange and very real memories for me. It was only when I set out to put the story into my own words that I realised just how much I - we - had been through.

It still affects me now; I still get chills when I'm alone, I still have to have the radio or television on when I'm at home, even when I'm in the car I have to have additional noises. Just in case, I suppose. Just in case I hear something I'd rather not.

Want to know more? Buy the book and find out what I saw, what I felt, what happened to me and my family...

And sleep tight.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Poem: Last Sunset?

I sat and watched a sunset, the red and orange
And pink and… It covered me. It hurt my eyes.
I think I even enjoyed it, despite the blindness.
But it occurred to me; what if this were my last one?
I worried about whether it was the best I’d ever seen.
I worried about missing out on better.

I worried about worrying about sunsets
Because weren’t sunrises just as important?
So I vowed to see each one right at its conception.
I set my alarm and stumbled from my warm bed
Just to see the sun turning up for a day’s work.
Just to see the day turning on.

And then I’d wait all day to see it turning off again.
And I thought, it’s just a giant light switch and I was
Getting tired and bored and wondering who stares at a light?
Each time it wasn’t my last I became a little less
The sun set and it rose and I was still here.
The sun set and it rose and I wasn’t dead.

So I stopped setting the alarm, and I stopped watching
The sun do its thing. Because it was going to do it
Whether I saw or not. Maybe that’s the thing I was
Supposed to realise. In the end it doesn’t matter
If you see the sunrise for the last time,
If you see the sun set no more – you’ll never know.

©Lisamarie Lamb 2012