Excerpt – So Many Nights, So Many Sins – A Vampire’s Tale

Excerpt – So Many Nights, So Many Sins – A Vampire’s Tale

From Dark Tales and Twisted Verses (c) A. L. Butcher

Amber firelight flickered in the small grate, casting a dancing pattern on the grubby walls of the cellar-bar known as The Cavern. It was, some said, hypnotic; others said the fire heard and saw all – for even in summer it was never truly out, merely banked to embers. Fire had been the friend and enemy of man since Prometheus snatched it from the gods, and this particular blaze had been smouldering for years. Some said decades, even centuries, and that it watched all that went on. Whether this was true Wolfgang had no idea, but it was not a normal fire, and such tales served his purpose.

The Cavern had stood on this spot for at least three hundred years, and before this, various structures from longhouse to army tent to inn had been in the vicinity. This land was old, saturated with history. And blood. Battles had been fought, lives taken, lost and even given and through it, all the Cavern stood in one form or another, and its fire burned. Creatures who lived in the twilight world of the undead were drawn to this place. Perhaps it was the blood, perhaps there was something special here. Life was a lure, to those who possessed a parody of it, but in truth, no one really knew or dared to discover. It was the sort of place no one asked too many questions or expected honest answers and so those patrons with things to hide and enemies aplenty caroused in The Cavern in an uneasy truce. The fire saw all, and so did its current keeper. For now, both the fire and The Cavern had Wolfgang’s undead patronage, and both knew it.

Wolfgang Feuerleiben turned his bright hazel eyes despondently towards the blaze and shivered; as usual, he could not seem to get warm even close as he was to it. This place, generally, was cold, as old buildings often were, even with the impressive blaze. Wolfgang had no internal heat, nor did any of his kind; but habits are hard to shake and even a vampire likes to be warm. Bodies with no inward heat found themselves stiff and slow and it wasn’t like a vampire could bask in the sun. Wolfgang surmised it was a throwback to his human past. Memories faded, became corrupted or were forgotten; it was a curse and a blessing – an elder had told him. Wolfgang considered this – ‘memories went with morality. One could not be haunted if one had no memory of past sins and past transgressions’ the Elder had said. Yet almost all his kind suffered nightmares – or rather daymares and the Vampire Scholar who’d propounded his theory had died raving in a fire of his own making. Driven mad by the guilt of split blood. It was hard to be a monster. And much, much harder to be a monster pretending to be a man.

Synopsis

Dark tales of ghosts of war, blood from the Autumn of Terror, the wrath of nature, an unusual murder and a cynical vampire. Twisted poetry of loss and mayhem.
Some adult themes and language.

Winner of the NN Light Book Heaven Award for Short Stories 2021

https://books2read.com/DarkTalesTwistedVerses

Featured

Stand Together – A Poetry and Prose Anthology for Ukraine – New Release

I am delighted to announce the release of a poetry and short story anthology for Ukraine.

An eclectic collection of poetry and short prose for Ukraine. Poetry about war, warriors, hope, and sunflowers; multi-genre stories.

https://books2read.com/StandTogetherUkraine

Print https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0B14N27TW

Donations from this book will go to Ukraine charities.

Part 1 Poetry

The War That Was Not a War – A.L. Butcher

Maybe Then – Roman Nyle (Marta Moran Bishop) 

Hope – Charles Yallowitz

Sunflowers – Vickie Johnstone

The Science of Communication – Andrew P. Weston

Courage Personified – A.L. Butcher. 

The Sunflowers Will Rise Again – Rebecca Miller

Wounds in Ukraine – Michael H. Hanson

Civilized Humanity – Charles Yallowitz

Shadows On Faces – Victoria Zigler

Where is the Line? – A.L. Butcher

War Dance – Joe Bonadonna

Those Who Divide – Charles Yallowitz

Sorge* – Richard Groller

Ruins Hall – KL Rhavensfyre

Lodestone – Andrew P. Weston

The Vikings – Joe Bonadonna

Rape in Ukraine – Vickie Johnstone

Pray for Ukraine – Rebecca Miller

Haiku – Joe Bonadonna

Four Horseman – Rebecca Miller

Part 2 Short Stories 

The Tree of Fate and Wishes – Anthea Sharp

The Secret of Blossom Rise – A.L. Butcher

War and Beyond – Marta Moran Bishop

The Eleventh – Colene Allen

The Day After Twilight – J.C. Fields

Outside the Walls – A.L. Butcher & Diana. L. Wicker

Dark Lies – Inge – Lise Goss

The Letter – Sean Poage

The Book of Ruth – Rebecca Lacy

The Moon on the Water – A.L. Butcher

Postcard to the Bomb Shelter Babies – Colene Allen

Always Read the Fine Print – Joe Bonadonna

Into the Shattered Mirror – New Release #Poetry

Into the Shattered Mirror (Large Print Edition)

A dark poetry duology: war, politics, life, loss, nature and the vagaries of life feature in this special two-book collection.
Featuring – Shattered Mirror – A poetry collection & Beyond the Shattered Mirror

Only available on Amazon

Specchio in Frantumi – Shattered Mirror #Italian

https://books2read.com/ShatteredMItalian
Un libro di poesie sulla guerra, la natura e i capricci della vita.

#politica, #guerra, #perdita, #natura, #vita, #poesia

shattered m Italian Front
AL Butcher, di origine britannica, è un avido lettore e creatore di mondi, un poeta e un sognatore, un amante della scienza, della storia naturale, della storia e delle scimmie. La sua prosa è stata descritta come “oscura e grintosa” e la sua poesia come “evocativa”. Scrive con una sensibilità sicura e, delle volte, erotica di cose che avrebbero potuto essere, non sono mai state, ma potrebbero essere.  Autore della serie fantasy lirica Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles e Tales of Erana. Ha pubblicato anche diversi racconti nei generi fantasy, fantasy romance con occasionali incursioni nell’horror in stile gotico, inclusa la serie Legacy of the Mask. Con un background in politica, studi classici, storia antica e mitologia, le sue affinità portano un sapore eclettico e unico nel suo lavoro, mescolando realtà e sogno in proporzioni alchemiche che danno vita ai suoi personaggi e mondi. Cura anche pacchetti di libri a tema narrativa speculativa su BundleRabbit, per la maggior parte la serie Here Be Alex. Orgoglioso, inoltre, di scrivere per Perseid Press, dove il suo lavoro è presente in Heroika: Dragon Eaters, Heroika Skirmishers – dove si trasformato anche in editor, cover designer e sceneggiatore; e Lovers in Hell, parte dell’acclamata serie Heroes in Hell. http://www.theperseidpress.com/ Premi: Outside the Walls, scritto insieme a Diana L. Wicker, ha ricevuto un Chill with a Book Reader’s Award nel 2017. Premi NN Light Book Heaven: The Kitchen Imps e Other Dark Tales hanno vinto il premio come miglior fantasy nel 2018 per Echoes of a Song – uno dei suoi racconti di fantasmi – ha vinto il premio come miglior fantasy nel 2019

El espejo destrozado

https://books2read.com/Shattered-Mirror-Spanish

Poesía de guerra, política y los caprichos de la vida.

Homenaje a los guerreros caídos, versos fantasiosos sobre la locura de la política humana, el aburrimiento y poemas más ligeros sobre la Naturaleza y el medio ambiente.

#Poesia, #Política, #Guerra, #Pérdida, #Naturaleza, #Vida

Dirty Dozen Author Interview – Joan Myles/Poet #Uniqueauthors #Meetanauthor

Author name: Joan Myles

Please tell us a little about yourself. What makes you a #Uniqueauthor? I am a poet. But poetry is not just what I do. Poetry is how the world speaks to me–musically, in “pictures” of the heart, in whispers of insight, and throbbings of connection. And if I succeed, the words I configure will do more than relate what I perceive. They will nudge readers to experience these marvels for themselves.

Please tell us about your publications/work. My first book, One With Willows is a collection of what I call “spiritually playful” poetry.  You see, childlike wonder is my lens for viewing the world, childlike wonder and a sense of the Divine. And all my writing is meant to be a kind of footpath for readers into that place of delight, to help them awaken their own childlike wonder, perhaps to find Divinity for themselves.

What first prompted you to publish your work?  I started publishing by way of my blog, http://jewniquelymyself.com

At first, however, creative writing was not my focus. My blog was an attempt to spread the word about Yismehu, the nonprofit I founded in 2010 to bring free distance Jewish learning to blind adults nationwide. Until Yismehu closed in 2017, I wrote about being a blind Hebrew teacher of sighted 6th graders, of learning yoga, of life with a guide dog–all meant to highlight the abilities of people like myself, people who live and work and have families even as they deal with issues related to blindness. 

As my teaching responsibilities shifted, I used the blog to share other things such as book reviews, and eventually, original poetry.

One With Willows came about because friends read my work, and nudged me to publish.

Do you think the written word (or art) bring power and freedom?  Oh, yes. Words have magical power, you know. They create and destroy worlds, inspire and teach, and sometimes even reveal what we already know. The freedom to share words is vital currency between people.  Words are the soul’s breath, the expression of the heart’s yearning, the means for bringing people together, or sadly, of dividing them.  

As a blind writer, words may take a different, more tangible, shape on the page for me, but they are no less magical. In fact, beneath my fingers, Braille words reinforce the wondrous nature of Creation. I can hold words in my hand, touch them, experience their curves and angles–yet these are the flashes of sound and thought which bubble up and seem to fly away into space!  So what is the true nature of reality after all? Is human existence spiritually rich and multi-layered as I perceive, as words demonstrate to me?

As a disabled author, how do you overcome the extra challenges involved with producing your work?  Putting words on the page is not a problem for me. When inspiration comes, I gather ideas with my Braillewriter or my ChromeBook. The ChromeBook has a wonderful screen-reading feature, and even stores my writing. When it comes to other matters, like problems with my blog or uploading my book, I am fortunate to have sighted help from family members.

What have you found the most challenging part of the process? Do you think the publishing world is disability-friendly? Navigating the ins and outs of social media is quite challenging to me. But I am not sure whether this is due to the mechanics of social media, or the nature of marketing itself. 

I think publishing these days is much easier for writers with disabilities. Computers and the internet provide tools of connection and information which were inaccessible before.  Social media has helped connect disabled writers and broadened the discussion to include parents and other family members, even spilling over into more general social circles.  The unique perspective of writers and characters with disabilities is being heard, and that is good for everyone.

What’s your greatest networking tip? My best advice is to write. Write something every day and don’t be afraid to have others read what you write. Writers need to share their work, their ideas, their inspirations.  They need to find other writers, other readers, anyone who is open to the world of ideas and creativity. But this is not just to sell their work. Writers must keep their creative juices flowing, and immersing oneself in idea-sharing does just that.

If you could have dinner with any literary character who would you choose, and what would you eat? I would love to have dinner with the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland. We would dine on a few fresh greens–spinach and broccoli, perhaps–munch on carrots and tomatoes, and delight in berries galore for dessert. And I would remind him to chew slowly, thoroughly, and hopefully, at last, I would nudge him to slow down, to take notice of the world around him, to breathe deeply, consciously, and to experience each moment. And I wonder, what shifts in Alice’s adventures might result from such a dinner?

How much research do you do for your work? My poetry is born of silence, of meditative moments spent in my garden, of breathing in the sweetness and bitterness of Life, of time spent interacting with loved ones and friends.

How influential is storytelling to our culture? Storytelling is vital to bringing people together, and even to self-discovery and development. Human beings constantly “talk” to themselves about what they perceive in the world, about the people they encounter, and what befalls them. And it’s not only the impressions upon our physical senses that build these stories. It’s what we tell ourselves about these impressions, whether we interpret them through the lens of ego and self-centered interests, or with wonder and compassion. Because these interpretations affect everything we say and do, story-telling  is important to culture and social progress.  

Which authors have influenced you the most? I love discovering new poets, but my absolute favorites are  Mary Oliver and Roberto Juarroz. Somehow they manage to find simple, accessible language to relate the mysterious and spiritually intimate aspects of human experience. In fiction, I read those who speak deeply from their hearts and souls such as Pearl Buck, Victor Hugo and Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

What is your writing space like? Naturally, my writing space reflects who I am so books are a prominent feature. Braille books and print books fill my shelves with thoughts on religion and spirituality,  as well as works of poetry and biography. The room’s large window looks out on the garden where day lilies and irises sweeten the air, and hummingbirds flitter just outside at one of three feeders. My desk is small to keep things tidy, but on the floor around my chair, I can’t help scattering a volume or two after reading, keeping them close at hand just in case.  

Is this the age of the e-book? Are bricks and mortar bookshops in decline? I can’t help believing there will always be actual, tangible books to read. There is something so intimate, so physically, humanly satisfying, in holding a paper book in one’s hands. And, too, there must always be a place for book-lovers to gather, to share ideas with one another, and with writers. 

What is your greatest success? Writing is all about speaking heart to heart. So success for me is knowing somone has read my work and benefitted by it somehow. A young man told me recently that he has recommended my book to fellow Veterans because it has brought him such a sense of peacefulness and wonder. And members of a local synagogue have installed two of my poems as part of their annual Holocaust Remembrance service as a statement of hope. I feel so honored, and so humbled.

How important is writing to you? For me, writing is a natural response to what I experience. So just as I must exhale with every breath I take in,  I must translate what I perceive into word images. And just as dwelling among other human beings enables me to thrive and grow, so sharing my work expands my poetic vision and deepens my understanding of Life.

BOOK: ONE WITH WILLOWS…

One with Willows is a collection of spiritually playful poems which invites you to step out of the everyday world, to catch your breath, even to catch a glimpse of what really is.  There is magic in light that turns hummingbirds into rubies. Wonder and delight wait for you in a garden, bid you to sit beside a young child at the piano, and may even lead you to stumble upon holiness where you least expect to find it.

You will want One with Willows on your bookshelf when you need a friendly reminder that things can get better. It will sit with you on the edge of the bed when you are weary, and revive your sense of hope when you need a boost.

 

Purchase links:

Print:

One With Willows – Print

Kindle:

One with Willows – ebook

One with Willows cover

BIO…

Joan Myles has always been a child of wonder as well as a spiritual seeker. When she lost her sight at the age of 12, these qualities and writing poetry saved her from despair. And what’s more, once blind, her spiritual seeking took on a deeper, richer dimension. No longer was Divinity somewhere out there, hovering just out of reach. She felt God to be with her, a whisper away, a breath, a sigh, a longing inside her, an expression of wonder and delight and most emphatically, Love.

Joan earned a BA in elementary Education, a Master’s in Jewish Studies, and spent 15 years teaching Hebrew and Judaics to third through 6th graders. During that time, she also founded Yismehu, a non-profit organization which provided free Jewish learning to blind students nationwide via distance learning, and served as both textbook developer and instructor for 7 years.

Joan and her husband raised four children together. They currently live in Oregon, where she continues to delight in the wonders of Life Divine, and in the magic of words.

Connect with Joan online at the following link:

http://www.jewniquelymyself.com

 

 

 

Book Spotlight – The Forestal – Fantasy/Poetry

Basic Book Spotlight

Title: The Forestal

Author: Blaze Ward

Genre: Epic Fantasy Poetry

 

Links etc. – http://www.knottedroadpress.com/book/the-forestal/

www.blazeward.com

 

“The opening”

Outcast

first: The Dawn of Hope

 

So many times I wanted to call you up

to apologize for everything

But there was always something else

to add

to the list of sins

 

One morning it was simply too much

I could no longer bear the weight

of the world

on my shoulders

when I had done so little

 

One mistake

became ten thousand

But when I sought to cry out

to end the farce

It became ten million

 

The only recourse left me

was to climb the highest mountain

Where you could not follow

and there find a kind of escape

Where the sins of mankind

were not mine alone to suffer for

 

You told me once

that you cared about me

In this dawn of a new year

I wonder if it might not be an end

to the night of madness

A dawn of hope

where the mistakes of yesterday

can be forgotten

In hopes of starting anew

without yesterday’s crimes

 

I had climbed the mountain in desperation

but looking back I see no path up

So I think I am safe here

where no one can follow

 

If we cannot end

this night of madness

I shall leave to make my own dawn

and forget you

to your high tower

and your troll

For I see the old desert

suddenly stretched out before me

It is

my own dawn of hope

Beginning

Forestal_600x900

 

Book Spotlight – Catching Snowflakes And Other Poems – Tori Zigler

Title: Catching Snowflakes And Other Poems

Author: Victoria Zigler

Genre: Poetry

Synopsis:

“A collection of poems of different lengths and styles – some with a hint of humour, others of a more serious nature – exploring a variety of themes, such as animals, nature, emotions, and the world around us.”

Brief Excerpt:

“Catching Snowflakes

Hand held out to catch the snow,

While a bitter wind doth blow,

Making falling snowflakes swirl;

See them dance, and spin, and twirl!

There, for just a moment, in your hand,

The most delicate thing in all the land.”

Why should readers buy this book? “If you’re a fan of poetry, especially poems exploring nature and the world around us, this book is for you.”

Author links:

Website: http://www.zigler.co.uk

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/toriz

Facebook author page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Victoria-Zigler/424999294215717

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/victoriazigler

Book links:

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34947667-catching-snowflakes-and-other-poems

Smashwords: Catching Snowflakes on Smashwords

 

Coming soon to other retailers, with a paperback version planned for the not-too-distant future too.

Catching Snowflakes And Other Poems Cover 1 - 1600x2400

Shattered Mirror – Now in Audio

Hurrah! #Shatteredmirror #poetry

I’m delighted to announce the release of Shattered Mirror: A Poetry Collection in audio format. Narrated by Rob Goll – also my narrator for Tales of Erana: The Warrior’s Curse The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles Book I and Perseid Press’ Heroika: The Dragon Eaters, the poetry collection is another fine example of this narrator’s versatility.

It’s short, less than 20 minutes, so ideal for a coffee-break, or commute listen. Filled with ‘gritty’ poems on politics, war, and the vagaries of life the collection is dark and somewhat dystopian.

Check it out here:

Or from audible. If you buy from audible, don’t forget if you’re not a member you can join their membership scheme and pay monthly – to get a credit – usually this works out far cheaper than some of the more expensive books there.

shattered-m-square-audio1