I’m delighted to share my creepy tale, ‘Lost and Found,’ with you, courtesy of the amazing people over at Hawk and Cleaver’s The Other Stories podcast. It’s the fourth entry in their ‘Remote places’ theme, which has featured some fantastic, scary tales. Here’s the log line:
When Sadie goes off hiking in the heart of the wilderness, Gemma seizes the opportunity to unwind with a raft of movies and bubbly. When she doesn’t come back and a storm rolls in though, Gemma begins to fear the worst.
When writing this one, it was all about the atmosphere, trying to capture the isolation of the forest. I hope I got it right.
It’s both a tremendously exciting and a terrifying time for me, as my debut novella now has a release date. On 28 April, The Balance will be available in all the usual online stockists, including Amazon, Barnes and Noble and so forth. The early release eBook and audiobook versions are available now, with versions appearing on Apple books, Audible and so on in the coming days and weeks. US readers can pre-order the paperback here. There are currently some problems with the Amazon listing of the book, so Kindle users will need to buy direct from the publisher at the link above.
Here’s the back cover synopsis for The Balance:
When myth becomes nightmare … The price of blood is always blood.
Natalia’s in trouble. She only looked away for a second, and now her brother’s hurt. Her relationship with her mother is fractured, her brother’s condition is deteriorating, and her only hope lays deep in the unforgiving forest. A secret spoken only in whispers offers a way out. But when help comes in occult forms a sacrifice may be the only way to restore the balance.
Humanity and nature collide in The Balance by Kev Harrison, a modern reimagining of the Slavic folk tale of Baba Yaga, set in Cold War Poland.
Though I’ve now lived and am very much settled in Portugal, I spent three incredible years of my life living and working in Poland. It was a place I knew little or nothing about when I arrived and one that shall now remain close to my heart and forever feel like home.
The person of Baba Yaga is just one of a multitude of characters woven into the fascinating (and often terrifying) folk lore of the Slavic nations. It’s easy to understand how dark folk tales manage to remain so vividly remembered and so present in modern culture when you consider the history of the place.
Few nations have had their borders redrawn as often as Poland and, of course, the scars of both World War II and its status as a Soviet client state throughout the cold war are particularly raw wounds. A friend of mine told me once, as I left the Schindler museum (from where Oscar Schindler saved thousands from execution) in a state of shocked silence, “You learn about history from books. We learn about it from our grandfathers.” Of course, a great many from Great Britain suffered immensely and gave their lives in the second world war, but the stories of Nazi occupation and the quasi-occupied state that followed liberation, with permanent states of rationing, corruption and constant fear for one’s life, explained much about the psyche of the people of the country. They also explained to me the way folk stories, myths and legends have retained their presence in society until today.
I chose this period of the Cold War, in a rural town, in the heart of a harsh Eastern European winter, as the perfect setting for supplies to run short and for desperation to lead people back to the old ways.
I’ll be writing more about The Balance in the coming weeks before the paperback release. In the meantime, here is a preview of the Audiobook, narrated by Desmond Manny:
My first ever solo release, Cinders of a Blind Man Who Could See, put out by the fabulous people at Demain Publishing, is now available in Paperback. With the original release almost a year ago now (its book birthday is less than three weeks away at the time of writing this post!), we wanted the paperback to be a bit special. So, having talked to Dean at Demain, we decided we would include a brand new, unpublished story, just for readers who pick up the paperback.
The story, ‘All My Bridges Burnt,’ is a very different sort of tale from ‘Cinders…’ It’s fast-paced and action-packed, and was based on a real-world urban legend of a haunting on the road in New Jersey, USA. It was great fun, reading up on the differing accounts of how the ghost-child manifests and then looking at the lay of the land on google maps and street view to get a sense of the geography.
I only hope that this bonus story is as well received as ‘Cinders…’ has been over the past year.
So, if you haven’t picked up Cinders of a Blind Man Who Could See yet, there’s never been a better time to do so. Order your copy here.
January is coming to its midpoint and I thought it was high time to formalise what my writing goals are for the year.
Part of this is to share with my friends and readers and part of it is just to have it on the page in order to hold myself accountable. So, without further ado:
My first novella, The Balance is coming out very soon from Lycan Valley Press and I’m very excited about it. The goal here is to get it into as many hands as possible. You can read more about it here and I’ll announce pre-orders (along with some giveaways and fun stuff like that) here as soon as they are open.
My second novella Below (working title) was beta-read, re-edited and submitted at the end of 2019. I have a really good feeling about this one, and my goal here is to finalise a deal to see this book out in the world in 2020. In all likelihood, it may not see the light of day until 2021, but to have that contract signed would be a huge boost for me.
In the last two years, I’ve managed to have ten or more stories come out during the year in various publications and podcasts. I’d like to continue this form.
I want to complete one or two long form pieces during 2020. I have the beginnings of a longer piece which I started in 2018 and then left, as I didn’t feel prepared to complete it at the time. I also want to start and make good headway with a new project. (I felt previously that I maybe ‘wasn’t a proper writer’ if I didn’t write full novels, but I’ve since decided to bin that idea and allow stories to be what they want to be. I often find in my reading experiences that my favourite horrors are novellas, anyway.)
I want to contribute at least two stories to charity anthologies. I did some work with charity anthologies last year (as a submissions editor, producing the short list for ‘Sloth’ in Things in the Well’s Trickster’s Treats #3: The Seven Deadly Sins Edition) and had a story published in Grinning Skull Press’ A Tree Lighting in Deathlehem. Both were a lot of fun and for excellent causes, so I want to do more of this.
I also want to blog more, and not just to trumpet new releases. I read an article on Chuck Wendig’s excellent blog the other day and he made some excellent arguments for more blogging, so expect this stream of consciousness to be a bit more regular.
And that’s it. What are your writing goals for 2020? Share in the comments or drop me a tweet @lisboetaingles
Two and a bit years ago, when I started taking this writing thing seriously (after a lifetime of being a wannabe writer but never putting the work in!) I wrote some terrible stories, some mediocre stories and some that floated between the two.
Then, I wrote ‘Warding.’
I think every writer has that first piece that they write and think: “Okay, I’m onto something here.”
‘Warding’ was mine.
Written off the back of seeing the compelling submission call for Below the Stairs: Tales from the Cellar, I submitted the story and – in spite of the length of the tale (around eleven thousand words) – Steve Dillon of Things in the Well opted to take a chance on me and my tale.
And that was my first step toward being a ‘real’ writer.
I’m still new. Still learning all the time. Still improving. But still proud of ‘Warding’, too.
As such, I commissioned a piece of cover art, by Graphics in Design and set about writing some author notes and a short introduction so that, two years later, I could get ‘Warding’ back out into the world.
So here it is, for just 99p/99¢ or a similarly low price, depending upon your territory as well as being available for FREE on Kindle unlimited. I hope you enjoy it.