Guest Authors

‘Pass The Salt’ by author Glenn James

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

Dark Fantasy Writer and Illustrator Glenn James has a long standing familiarity with Doctor Who. In the summer of 2014 he was asked to undertake a rather special commission for a private collector, a man with a deep and affectionate knowledge of the programme. The resulting illustration followed a very unusual route, as the following article reveals.

© By Glenn James 2014                                                                                                                                                               (Black Biro and Ink, Black watercolour Paint and Chinagraph Pencil on Mount board.)

© By Glenn James 2014 (Black Biro and Ink, Black watercolour Paint and Chinagraph Pencil on Mount board.) Left to right: The War Doctor (John Hurt), the 8th Doctor (Paul McGann), the 9th Doctor (Christopher Eccleston), the 10th Doctor (David Tenant), the 11th Doctor (Matt Smith), River Song (Alex Kingston), Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman, standing), the First Doctor (William Hartnell, seated centre), the 12th Doctor (Peter Capaldi, standing), the 2nd Doctor (Patrick Troughton, seated), the 4th Doctor (Tom Baker, standing), the 3rd Doctor (Jon Pertwee, seated), the 6th Doctor (Colin Baler, with cats), the 5th Doctor (Peter Davidson), and the 7th Doctor (Sylvester McCoy)

As a fantasy artist I have been asked to undertake some unusual works in my time, but this one was a real challenge: How to portray all the incarnations of Doctor Who together, and do something really fresh and original with the composition.

Putting all the Doctors together is no new thing in artistic terms. You often see illustrations or posters depicting all of them in one composition, and this was especially true at the time of the 50th anniversary celebrations in 2013.   Conventionally this is usually a matter of showing the various actors faces side by side in one illustration, usually in chorological order of the incarnations, with the most current one to the fore. (more…)

‘A Certain Smile’ by Guest Author Glenn James

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014
Author Glenn James

Guest Author Glenn James

I won’t cry for help. I know there’s only one soul out there who can hear me, and I’m too frightened as it is. They must be pretty close by now, I can hear the movements getting nearer, and it’s too horrible to think about; I need to save my strength. No-one else will hear me now, I’m too far off the beaten track, and the chances are pretty remote.

It’s like being lost in the Everglades. Tall weeds and bushes follow the path for miles, clinging to its fringes like an encroaching disease. Like a ghost suffering from a fever, it wanders crazily, winding in and out of odd little copses where you aren’t even sure how close to the river you are anymore. It’s really deceptive, because all of a sudden you see it’s only about a foot away through the brambles. One minute you are right next to the cocoa coloured waters, and the next you could be a hundred yards back inland. I don’t believe a bird could see that route clearly from above, so tangled and winding is the path.

Every now and then a clapped out a knackered boat will loom up through the leaves out of nowhere, its stained bow yoked to the bank with a filthy umbilical cord of slimy blue-nylon rope. There are quite a few along the way, their tiny walkways overflowing with rough firewood, and the hoods over their cabs permanently aloft, weathered grey-green and patched with gaffer tape. Ancient bikes and nervous dogs are stationed on the decks, and little disturbs their solitude, except from the ebb and flow of the tide, the silent swans, or the raucous cries of the rowing coaches bumping along the opposite bank at dawn and dusk, swearing at their crews. (more…)

‘Locusts’ by Guest Author James F. Gaines

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

jim-gains1-300x225Locusts

By Alphonse Daudet

Translated by James F. Gaines

          Before returning to my mill, here’s another memory of Algeria…

The night I arrived in that farm on the outskirts of the Sahara, I couldn’t sleep.  The new landscape, the disruption of the trip, the barking of the jackals, and then that sapping, oppressive heat – complete suffocation –  as if the mesh in my mosquito netting could not allow the passage of a single breath of air.  When I opened the window at dawn, a heavy summer fog floated in the air, scarcely drifting along and fringed at the edges with pink and black.  It hovered like a cloud of gunpowder over a battlefield.  Not a leaf fluttered, and in the beautiful gardens that spread out below me, everything had the same sullen mood, the same immobility of foliage waiting for a thunderstorm: the grapevines aligned on the exposed slopes that made for sweet wines, the European orchard tucked into a shady corner, the orange and mandarin trees in long, calibrated rows.  Even the banana trees with their shoots of tender green, always waving in the slightest breeze that tousled the fine, light fronds, stood at attention silent and straight as the plumes of a cavalry regiment.  (more…)

‘In Search of …Me’, pt.4- by author Joseph J. O’Donnell

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

Joe O'Donnell   My search has taken me a step farther back along the trail in connections to my ancestors. In the previous issue I showed the beginnings of the O’Donnell name and the pre-history of my family before immigrating to Scotland. My next steps are to find the link in which the first member of the O’Donnell clan set sail for Glasgow.

Glasgow was the goal of many Irish who sought work and to flee starvation in Ireland due to the potato famines of the 1800′s. Working and living conditions where they settled were harsh and they were always considered as second class citizens. Unlike America, though, where signs were hung in windows that read INNA (Irish need not apply) there was a relationship between Scots and Irish via blood lines. (more…)

‘Wulfcleaver and the Lost Gold’ by Guest Author Glenn James

Friday, February 28th, 2014
Author Glenn James

Guest Author Glenn James

The following work was written for the Potteries Museum and Art gallery, in Staffordshire, England, about their celebrated and internationally renowned Saxon find, The Staffordshire Hoard.

This amazing collection of artefacts, martial in content, has some of the most amazing examples of Anglo Saxon artwork ever found, and is thought to date from the reign of king Penda, last Pagan King of Mercia in the 7th century.

But… There is no record of this amazing treasure. No record or even legend makes reference to it, and its origins are lost in the mists of antiquity….

Dark Fantasy Writer Glenn James penned the following story about whom it belonged to, how it came to be buried, and why it was lost all those centuries ago….

Behold, hearken and listen! How bottomless is the wound to tell of an unmatched treasure once lost, and given up to all memory.  But what glory to tell of the valour and prudence which vouchsafed it before the all seeing eye of the creator of the world into the safekeeping of the soil, in the bosom of the kingdom.  (more…)

‘Crisis’ – Chapter Two by Guest Author R.C. Hutchins

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

Robin Hutchins - PictureThe drive to the hospital did not take as long as the demon lord first thought. When the car pulled into the hospital parking lot, Belial glanced once at the sleeping form of his young sorcerer and let himself smile, just a little. The car engine turned slowly after the demon lord shut the car off. Stretching languidly, Belial leaned over the space between the passenger and him, stretching his hand leisurely toward the human’s face. His long nails smoothed over the worry lines at the corner of Koen’s lips and Belial purred softly.

“You’re far too young for worry lines…” the demon purred softly. But then the human stirred and the demon lord pulled back his hand as if struck. In a louder voice, Belial said, “We’re here, pet.”

—–

“…too young for worry lines…” came his purr, interrupting my sleep. I stirred slowly, blinking blearily in the afternoon light. “We’re here, pet.”

At the words, I shifted and stretched slowly, arching my back as I stretched. “Nnng… It’s only ten past eleven? I thought the drive was a five hour trip?” (more…)

‘In Search of……Me’ by Joseph J. O’Donnell

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014
Joseph O'Donnell

Joseph O’Donnell

For many years I have toiled with the idea of finding out something about my family roots. This was first inspired by author Alex Haley and his novel Roots: The Saga of an American Family. In 1977 ABC aired the story as Roots and was watched by a record breaking 130 million viewers. It later went on to become a mini series and spurred world-wide interest in people to research their own ancestry.

A second film, Enemy Mine, with Dennis Quaid and Louis Gossett, Jr. nudged me even more. The film depicted Gossett as an lizard-like alien, and Quaid, as an earthling, doing battle in outer space. Both had crashed landed on an barren world and had to come to grips with each others cultures. Upon spying on a ritual chant by Gossett, Quaid asked if Gossett was praying to an alien God. Gossett explained that he had been reciting the names of his ancestors from over one hundred generations in the past.  He challenged Quaid to recall his own predecessors in which Quaid could only remember no further back then his grandparents. (more…)

‘Crisis’ by guest author RC Hutchins

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014

Robin Hutchins - PictureCHAPTER ONE

“I can’t believe you would say that,” his voice grated on my nerves, even as my hands stuffed shirts and pants into a shoulder bag, “and I can’t believe you’re just going to leave! What you said to my parents back there-“

“Was the complete truth. If they didn’t want the truth, they shouldn’t have asked.” I know; I was being short with him, but he was just fouling up my already ruined mood. “Now, I’m going to leave before I am insulted further.” I slung the bag over my head, turning towards his amethyst gaze. But what I met wasn’t what I expected. The normal fire in his eyes was gone and there was pain and hurt clearly there. “Look… Derrick. I’m sorry, but I can’t stay here.”

“But my parents-”

“Your parents don’t exactly like me, especially your father. I’m pretty certain they’d celebrate if I left.” (more…)

‘The Greenskin Chronicles: Fetch’ by author Joseph J. O’Donnell

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013
Joseph O'Donnell

Author Joseph O’Donnell

(exert from his book ‘Shorts’ copyright 5/7/2002)        

As goblins go, Fetch was not much to look at. His pale green skin pulled tightly around the frame of his average size body. There were smaller goblins, which gave some thought of comfort to him, but there was bigger and stronger goblins as well. These were the ones that gave him trouble.

All the goblin world was ruled by one motto, “Might Was Right”, and the stronger ones always bullied the weaker inhabitants. Fetch was not one for bullying and those lesser of his kind, thankfully appreciated that. He became a kind of leader to them, something that didn’t sit right with those above him. As time wore on though, they begrudgingly accepted him. They also found him to their advantage in having him do odd jobs that they did not care to do. Hence, he was given the name Fetch, which at the outset was not to his liking. It was the rule here, however, that the rulers of this world tag names on their underlings. Fetch finally accepted that, and it kept the most bothersome goblins off his back. (more…)

‘Wood for the Fire’ by Guest Author Michael R. Brush

Monday, December 2nd, 2013
Guest Author Michael R. Brush

Guest Author Michael R. Brush

We occupied a small hunting lodge on the outskirts of the estate. Our mutual friend had allowed us the liberty to use this place for some time of quiet to get over the hectic term. We were, and are, quiet chaps so we relished the retreat to the country despite that, in deep winter, there was no game to be hunted and away from the house there was a lack of festive camaraderie.

Termed ‘Scrooges’ from the recent story by Dickens we were at home and content. You could say that we were happy there. We would drink our sherry and bitters, smoke our pipes and relax in our respective books. The one drawback from being so far away from the main house was that the service was erratic. We were sympathetic even when we ran short of comestibles, like game pie, or the bare necessities like bitters or sherry and one night, not too far off Christmas Eve, inside we ran short of wood for the fire. (more…)

To Mommy And Daddy With Love -by author Joseph J. O’Donnell

Thursday, November 14th, 2013
Joseph O'Donnell

Joseph O’Donnell

( from his book ‘Tales for Late at Night’ – See our BOOK STORE to get more)

Little Lisa Tomilin had an unhappy life as a child. The daughter of Frank And Pamela Tomilin, both heavy drinkers and each others adversaries on most days, had very few happy days to account for.

Her best friend, her five year old brother Daniel, was on year her senior. Because neither was permitted outside the house, they made a strong and lasting friendship, and could often be  seen playing together. They both tried to sidestep their parents onslaught’s and played quietly by themselves either in the basement or their rooms.

The mother, Pamela, was a constant screamer who could easily have gotten on anyone’s nerves. The nerves that she enjoyed fraying the most was that of Frank who eventually took it out  on the kids. Pamela would use the strap on then too, but preferred goading Frank into being “Mr.  Mean ,” as she referred him to the kids when he wasn’t around. Anyway, it was him that wanted  the kids in the first place, not her. Having kids to her meant staying home and caring for them,  and she was used to being the life of the Christmas parties at the company that she worked at for years. The home life was not for her and she had been well adjusted to playing the office tease  and enjoyed the role immensely. (more…)

‘The Game Set Two – Tiger Lily’ by Guest Author RC Hutchins

Thursday, November 14th, 2013

RC-Hutchins“When you enter the Sultan’s presence, remember not to speak unless spoken to, do not look him directly in the eyes, and never, ever mention his father,” the chamberlain says to me as I’m rushed from the carriage, through the palace halls, pushing onwards to the throne room.

I’m scared; no denying the shaking of my heart as the chamberlain spoke in a rushed tone.

“Once you have been introduced to the Sultan, you can take meals with the servants and no one will question it. The director of your sector will give you jobs relating to your abilities. If you are unable to complete any job, you director will be responsible for you punishment. Right now, your director is Sayf al-Dawla Fahd Bin Kadir. It would be wise not to anger him, as his temper is rather legendary.”

Yes, I know of him. The ‘Sword of the State’ Fahd Bin Kadir. He’s scary, or so I heard from my brother; Fatin used to work for him.

Until Fahd broke my brother’s arm. (more…)

‘Moving In’ – By Alphonse Daudet -Translated by James F. Gaines

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

jim-gains1-300x225The rabbits were the ones who were surprised.  Since they had seen the door of the mill closed for so long, the walls and the front yard invaded by weeds, they had come to think that the species of millers was extinct.  Finding the place empty, they had established it as a sort of headquarters, a center of strategic operations – the Jemmapes Rabbit Mill.  The night I arrived, there were (honestly) twenty of them sitting around the front yard warming their paws in the moonbeams.  The second I opened a window, frrt! they broke camp in a rout and all their little white butts sprinted off, tail in the air, into the bush.  I hope they come back. (more…)

‘The Game – Set 1′ by Guest Author RC Hutchins

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

RC-HutchinsSet One: Dragonfly

Ragged breath, steaming in the overcast twilight, heart pounding, threatening to burst; he couldn’t remember the last time he’d been so exhilarated. Amber was around the corner, he could hear her boots crunching on the frosted earth. A silent laugh caused him to smirk. Shaking his head, he remembered what had gotten him into this game, reminded by the weight of the earring on his left ear.

A few hours ago, in Amber’s basement…

“Hey, Micheil!” the bouncing redhead exclaimed as she ran down the basement stairs, a grocery bag swinging in her left hand.

Instinct took over as he glanced up into the bright smile of his one and only love.

“Guess what I found at the store?” her voice dripped with mischief.

Fortunately, Micheil was completely oblivious to this fact. (more…)

Melancholy of a King-Pt. 2 by guest author R. C Hutchins

Monday, October 14th, 2013

RC-HutchinsSlowly, the King of Winter sank into his throne, exhaustion showing all his years. The comforting embrace of the throne cushions began rubbing away all the aches of eons upon eons. Weary golden eyes dulled slightly, not truly seeing the throne room of the purest white-blue ice. Servants hid in the shadows of pillars and alcoves, waiting to be called upon – silent when not needed.

And the King desired silence, desire loneliness. Even as his eyes became heavy, he knew his desire would go unheeded. That feeling before the dreams came over him and he knew his sleep would be plagued with the past.

Darkness rose to greet him as he descended into dreams, pulling him deeper into the unconscious realm.

~~~

“Father, Queen Mab requests an audience,” the youngest prince of Winter said quietly, afraid to disturb his war-minded father.

With a nod, the King murmured, “Send her in.” (more…)

‘Meloncholy of a King’ Part 1 by RC Hutchins

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

RC-HutchinsPerhaps it was the melancholy of the season or perhaps the harsh business of the day – whatever it was that came to disturb his usual demeanor this day caused the young ruler to be outside, riding upon his stead of ghostly white. The giant, elegant elk strode with purpose through the underbrush, picking his way with care. He received no instruction or direction from his rider and so followed a well-hidden game trail.

His rider, meanwhile, paid no attention to his surroundings. No, the King was far too caught up in his own world to notice the subtle quiet of the forest.

But the elk noticed. He stopped, standing statue still, his ears the only movement as they swiveled about, trying to listen for any sign of trouble. When no noise came the elk, he twisted his neck around and nipped warningly at his rider’s leg.

Jerked from his inner thoughts, the King glanced around. “Vaun, what is it?” the young King asked. (more…)

‘The Portal’ by Guest Author Alex Knight

Saturday, September 14th, 2013
Guest Author Alex Knight

Guest Author Alex Knight

The ground was uneven and making my way along the last 100 feet took longer than I expected. It was twilight, if luck held out I would make it to the entrance unseen. I paused, gathering the strength I needed to continue this arduous journey. If I hoped to see my beloved Alistair again, I had to make it through the portal by the light of the blue moon. It was tonight, or… never.

* * *

“I hate it here.”

“Honey, give the place a chance. We just got here.”

“I’ll never like it here and I’ll never make any friends. I want to go home.”

“This is our home now.”

Mother wisely didn’t address the issue of friends. She knew I would either find one, or not. (more…)

‘Absolution’ by Guest Author Talley Burnside

Saturday, September 14th, 2013

Talley-BurnsideThe guns fell silent.

Re’kah flattened herself against a charred cinder-block wall.  She hissed at Kohn, slinking along the ruins of a house across the way, but he wouldn’t make eye contact. He must be thinking the same thing. Where was their covering fire?  He motioned for her to come to him, and she ducked across the blood-splashed alley. She held her breath, visualizing a bubble of protection.

Kohn grabbed her hand and pulled her with him through a gaping hole that used to be a doorway.

“No snipers,” he said.  Re’kah closed her eyes, trying to adjust to the dim ambient light. The room reeked of blood and shit, charred flesh and diesel fuel — the smells she’d come to associate with death.

“Is it possible this sector’s secure?” she asked. They were the only two survivors of a threat eradication team, and they were still nearly an hour away from their home base.

Before he could answer there was a small movement in the corner.  They spun into position, back to back, with Kohn defending the entrance.

“It’s a baby,” Re’kah said. She lowered her gun and moved toward it. “I don’t think it’s injured.”

“Wait,” said Kohn. “Probably booby- trapped.”  (more…)

‘Masque’ by Guest Author RC Hutchins

Saturday, September 14th, 2013

RC-HutchinsFlashing colored lights, bursting sounds, flagrant odors; all flickering before her eyes, her mind reeling. The sounds hammer on her ears, the lights and colors burn her eyes, and the odors fill her nostrils. She can barely breathe, she cannot think, she can do nothing but turn in the circles as those around her dance, laugh, and make merry. Her eyes feel like they are being stabbed with a hot poker as the lights and colors fade from her sight. Her head feels a weight upon her shoulders, pulling her down into the dark. Her mind tumbles from the awareness of the world. As she falls, her mind registers a blue and black spot hitting the floor before she does.

Out of the corner of his eyes, he sees a masked woman teetering before those around her notice. He runs, aiming to catch her before she hits the ground, leaving behind another woman. Startled, she stares after him, and slowly follows. She watches as her date slips and slides on the wet stones in the square, until he finally reaches the masked woman, her blue-feathered mask falling from her face. The falling woman does not seem to register that she herself is falling, or that anyone has caught her. But under her, the man keeps her from the ground, dirtying his own costume. (more…)

Through the Eyes of Jenny Mae – by author Joseph J. O’Donnell

Friday, August 30th, 2013
Joseph O'Donnell

Joseph O’Donnell

( from his book ‘Tales for Late at Night’ – See our BOOK STORE to get more)

Al Corzone was standing quietly in the hallway. The sterile environment of this section of the hospitals’ west wing was evident everywhere. Nurses plodded past him occasionally, yet their footfalls were barely audible.

Al was a detective for the New York city Police Department. He hated this part of his work. Meeting the parents of a victim was always hard, and he never quite mastered in what he would say to them. His partner, Ernie Brown, was a little better at it then he was, and tended not to get so emotionally bound up during this part of the investigation.

The parents had arrived shortly before they did, and both officers waited patiently outside the room for them so that they could ask them some questions. The victim, a young teenage girl, had been raped and nearly beaten to death. (more…)