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Topics - hillwalker3000

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Self-Publishing Central / Black Ice - Free ebook promotion
« on: March 06, 2017, 05:41:56 AM »
It's that time of year yet again.

12 months after releasing my YA/NA novel WHITE SHORE (book #2 in the Lochinver Trilogy) -  the sequel BLACK ICE (book #3) will be available as a free Kindle download for two days from tomorrow, Tuesday 7th March, to Wednesday 8th March.

Again I'm only publicising this free promotion for MWC members in appreciation of their support and to encourage more of you to consider taking the plunge and getting your work out there.

Here are the links:

For UK readers

and for US readers

Hope those of you who take up the offer enjoy the read.


PS - in case you think I'm crazy, every free download contributes to the book's ranking on Amazon. The way their algorithms work, any download activity will subsequently lead to the book being promoted to a wider market of readers who have already purchased similar books. It's worked a treat for the other 2 books in the trilogy, so here's hoping.

Self-Publishing Central / Black Ice
« on: December 22, 2016, 11:51:12 AM »
Today I've given myself an early Christmas present. I've finally completed the next-to-last draft of 'Black Ice' my third YA novel in the 'Lochinver Trilogy'. It should be out in February 2017 (to coincide with the anniversary of the previous two novels). All it needs now is a month inside a dark and confined space then one more tweak before it's released into the big, wide world.

I'm away on my hard-earned holidays (!) for the next few days so festive greetings to you all and happy writing in 2017.


The Writers Circle / Writing in Third Person POVs
« on: November 24, 2016, 07:08:21 AM »
Some of you unsure about choosing the right POV for your novel/story might find this article helpful:


The Writers Circle / Amazon Reviews
« on: October 26, 2016, 07:49:55 AM »
Some of you might find this worth a read:


Writing Games & Challenges / Flash Fiction #121 Winner Winner
« on: August 18, 2016, 11:15:56 AM »
We have a winner for the Flash Fiction Challenge #121.

By a clear majority the winner is. . .


Congratulations - and a big thank you to all who entered and to those of you who voted.


The Coffee Shop / Vote Now
« on: August 17, 2016, 05:13:19 AM »
Voting closes in less than 24 hours for the winning story in the Flash Fiction Challenge #121.

Don't be shy.


The Writers Circle / Adverbs Rule OK
« on: August 08, 2016, 05:34:18 AM »
"Can't resist sharing this from my hospital bed," he said impatiently.

PS - Vote now for the winner of the Flash Fiction Challenge #121


Writing Games & Challenges / Voting Flash Fiction Challenge #121
« on: August 08, 2016, 05:17:59 AM »

The barkeep said, “OK, gents. Last call. Limit two to a customer.”

There was only me and the other guy left. I knew him: the polka dot muumuu, pointed head, and four-day stubble. He was sitting at the other end of the bar.

“Join me, big guy,” he called. “Tell me your story.”

I did not expect he recognized me. I was well-known but keep a low profile.

I said, “Jack Reacher. And you are Zippy.”

“That’s right. King of the non sequitur. And you are a leg breaker.”

“So you’ve heard of me. Leg, collarbone, neck if needed. I am a good guy, defender of the weak.”

“You should get an outfit like mine if you want people to know you. Shit. Are we having Fun yet?” he muttered, clearly tired of the role of non sequitur King. He had been drinking doubles hard, looking into the abyss.

“You don’t have to be ‘on’ for me. I understand the need for downtime.”

“Is it true that you don’t have anything but a toothbrush and an ATM card?”

“Yeah. But it’s hard. I am drawn to antique samovars and it is hard not to get a suitcase and buy some.”

“At least you can jump a train and leave. I am hard to miss in this rig. And these balloon shoes are not made for hitching.”

“Hard being famous. But the perks are nice.”

“The women are shallow, just want to say they made it with Zippy the Pinhead. And people are always wanting me to say something offbeat. My brain never gets to rest.”

“Shallow women are better than none.”


I finished my scotch and got up.

“The highway’s calling. Been good talking to you.”

“My pleasure. I have a C-clamp in my pocket.”

“Another place, another time,” I said as I left.

“Break a leg,” he added, wanting to get the last word.

“Good one,” I said and darted out before he could reply.



Phantom whirled around on hearing the groan. He hurried back into the wreckage avoiding the corpses. It was Mandrake. He was still alive. Phantom quickly retrieved the gas mask and thrust it into Mandrake’s face. Mandrake took a deep breath and opened his eyes.

Phantom dragged him out of the wreckage and rested him against a rock.
“So are you feeling better now?” Phantom asked taking a deep breath from his own mask.

“Ya. I am ok now.” replied Mandrake. He then glanced at the wreckage.

“What about the others? “

“They are all dead.”

“All of them?”

“Yes, all of them. Flash Gordon, Lothar and the rest of them.”

“What the hell happened? The last I remember was enjoying the panoramic view from the window of the cruise shuttle and then kaboom…….You were in the front with the pilot weren’t you?”

“Yes. I was. We had to suddenly pass through a meteorite stream and were probably hit by one of them.”

They fell into a deep silence for a couple of minutes.

“You know why I finally agreed to get onto that cruise shuttle?” Mandrake asked breaking the silence.

“No. why?”

“Because they claimed it was un-crashable. You know, the un-crashable Titanium.”

Phantom nodded in understanding.

“So what do we do now? Can we contact earth?”

“I did check the comm panel on the shuttle. Everything’s broken. Hopefully the distress signal was sent before the crash. In that case we can expect a recovery team.”

“What if it was not sent?”

“Then we spend the last hours of our lives looking at the blue orb from here.”

“Hey, but you are phantom. Aren’t you supposed to be immortal? Huh!”

“This is a bad time for a joke Mandrake. You know very well we die just like everyone else. But what about you? You are a magician. Why don’t you perform some of your tricks to get us out of here? Huh!”

“Me? All I do is hypnotize people. I could hypnotize you right now and make you believe that you are back on earth. But that won’t really solve the problem ain’t it?”

Silence returned between the two of them. They turned towards the blue orb hanging in the black sky with hope in their hearts and a prayer on their lips.



Charlton opened the door of his trailer and rushed to the set for the final scene. The crew hadn’t returned from lunch break. Not a soul in sight.

“Where is everybody?”

“You don’t know?”

Charlton whirled to see who spoke. “What are you doing here?”

“It should be obvious, Chuck.” Roddy tossed the remains of a banana aside and approached.

“You died in scene four. And why are you still in costume?”

“It’s no costume, Chuck.”

Charlton squinted at the approaching simian and turned toward the Statue of Liberty half-buried in the sand. A faint glow on the horizon backlit the metal crown, casting a long shadow across the beach. A powerful hair-covered hand gripped his shoulder, spinning him around.

“What the hell is going on here?”

“I told you, Chuck. You should know. It’s in the script.”

Charlton grabbed Roddy’s rubbery jowls and yanked. Yanked again.

“What the—”

Roddy rubbed his face and reached in his jacket pocket. “Sorry Chuck. It’s true. And there is no return home for you. Here, have a banana.”

- - -

Thanks to the 3 entrants and good luck.


Review My Work / 7 days
« on: August 01, 2016, 05:31:58 AM »
Don't miss out - you only have until 00.01am Monday August 8th to enter the Flash Fiction #121 competition.
I've received 1 entry so far - don't let this story win by default.


The Writers Circle / 7 days left
« on: August 01, 2016, 05:31:20 AM »
Don't miss out - you only have until 00.01am Monday August 8th to enter the Flash Fiction #121 competition.
I've received 1 entry so far - don't let this story win by default.


Review My Work / When Harry met. . .
« on: July 27, 2016, 08:04:59 AM »
The latest Flash Fiction challenge (#121) needs your a story in 500 words or less.

The theme - one-to-one - involving a relationship or encounter in which someone is involved with only one other person.
So your challenge is to write a story involving the last two people . . . on Earth, on the subway, in a bar, on a sinking ship, or indeed anywhere that takes your fancy.
And your two characters must be 'real' fictional characters.

Maybe Harry Bosch met Doctor Watson, Robin Hood got together with Little Red Riding Hood, or Austin Powers fell for Blossom from the Powerpuff Girls. Anything goes - just use your imagination. . .

You have until 00.01 am Monday August 8th to PM your stories to me.

Good Luck


Writing Games & Challenges / Flash Fiction Challenge #121
« on: July 18, 2016, 12:27:15 PM »
Flash Fiction Challenge #121

I thought I'd dodged a bullet but apparently not. . . so here goes. For FFC #121 you're invited to write a story on the theme 'one-to-one' (see what I did there?).
Using the definition as "a relationship or encounter in which someone is involved with only one other person" your challenge is to write a story involving the last two people . . . on Earth, on the subway, in a bar, on a sinking ship, or indeed anywhere that takes your fancy.

Oh - and to make it a little more interesting, the two characters must be well-known fictional characters (in literature or the movies). 8)
Maybe James Bond and Lara Croft, or Tintin and Little Bo Peep, or Hamlet and Princess Leia. You get the idea.

As always your story might benefit from a beginning, a middle and an end (but not necessarily in that order).
I'm setting a 400-word limit so keep it tight, people - and good luck.

You have until 00.01 am Monday August 8th to PM your stories to me. Get writing - and keep your eye on that deadline.

+++Can one of the moderators please sticky this+++



All the Write Questions / Negative Amazon Reviews
« on: May 31, 2016, 04:09:40 PM »
Here's a 'fun' idea I had for all MWC members who have had something published and reviewed on Amazon.
It might reassure those on here who are wary of dipping their toes in the water that none of us are fireproof.
What's the worst review you've had on Amazon to date?

I'll go first - gulp.

A 1 star review for YA/NA novel 'White Shore' posted yesterday (30th May)

"The references to places were excellent but the plot was unbelievable and far to too extreme for teen readers who could find it difficult to separate separate fact from fiction."

I'm guessing that means it was so unbelievable that it was too believable. It's not the first negative Amazon review I've had, and part of being a writer is accepting that not everyone is going to love your work.

Anyone else out there ready for public humiliation?   ;)


Review My Work / The Crossing - 100 words
« on: May 16, 2016, 06:20:50 PM »
Here's another attempt at a drabble.


Adira had often watched them on television. Girls her own age in skimpy tops, jogging bottoms and trainers. She knew the time would come when she could remove her abaya and dress the same way. A time when she could play out in the street with her brothers and not have to worry about being a girl.

There were thirty-five bodies crammed on the boat. Could any of them swim? One of her uncle's friends had said he knew how. But what of the others? Adira decided she would learn to swim as soon as she reached her new home.


Review My Poetry / TATTOO
« on: May 11, 2016, 02:49:26 PM »
I've posted about a dozen poems on MWC in the last 4 years - simply because I prefer writing prose to poetry. That's partly because I don't understand enough about how poetry works - what makes it good or bad (other that forced rhyme and clichés). But I  was recently told by an esteemed published writer (who's published novels, screenplays for film and TV, opera librettos, short stories and poetry) that it's useful for a prose writer to try his hand at poetry now and again. We work in the same medium. We just do different things with words - and sometimes it's liberating to try something new.

So - apologies for posting this on the Poetry thread and the Prose thread - but I believe most of us on the Prose forums rarely venture across to the Dark Side. That's possibly because we tend to consider time spent reading a poem could be better spent - maybe defrosting a fridge or raking leaves from a lawn. But for once I'd be interested to learn the thoughts of both schools on the attempt below. . . and whether as prose writers we should take a step into the unknown now and again.


Untwist my arm.
Unbruise the blues you beat upon my skin;
this swollen lip the aftermath
of all I wish for, your command.
Let go my hand.

Your fingers tight as tourniquet,
velocity of blood returning,
pleasure burning through these veins
like razor wire.
Pain or desire?

This needle holds no swift release,
no miracle of timely sleep,
no hip hop dance,
no nod of recognition from my cells.
I'll not tread air tonight.

A teasing threat to draw fresh blood;
that same old curse, I cannot look,
I dare not watch him weave his spell.
Your rule, my hell.

But once the sting has worn away
I marvel at his craft:
the curl of green,
each single leaf a work of art
that will not wither over time,
and every petal blooming red as bloody nose
will always form a perfect rose.

Yet even now your taint is there for all to see;
each poison letter
like a reprimand.
I wear your brand.

Thank you


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