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#Inferno

Jonathan Wood

Burning,​ ​snaking,​ ​wrapping​ ​it’s​ ​greasy​ ​talons​ ​around​ ​me​ ​for​ ​fun,​ ​flexing​ ​those​ ​long​ ​dirty​ ​nails with​ ​the​ ​smell​ ​of​ ​past​ ​misdemeanors​ ​still​ ​pungent​ ​on​ ​it’s​ ​scaly​ ​skin. It’s​ ​relentless,​ ​swapping​ ​it’s​ ​grasp​ ​from​ ​my​ ​chest​ ​to​ ​my​ ​throat,​ ​threatening​ ​to​ ​choke​ ​and crush​ ​when​ ​it​ ​feels​ ​like​ ​it,​ ​chuckling​ ​at​ ​it’s​ ​very​ ​own​ ​power​ ​to​ ​see​ ​my​ ​struggle​ ​for​ ​breath.​ ​​ ​My 

eyes​ ​bulge​ ​and​ ​swell.​ ​​ ​It​ ​wafts​ ​me​ ​with​ ​it’s​ ​poisonous​ ​black​ ​fumes,​ ​promising​ ​that​ ​this​ ​is​ ​just the​ ​beginning.​ ​​ ​The​ ​beginning​ ​of​ ​the​ ​games.

Sometimes,​ ​it​ ​shows​ ​me​ ​the​ ​video​ ​reel,​ ​playing​ ​back​ ​the​ ​grainy​ ​images​ ​to​ ​me​ ​on​ ​an​ ​old​ ​rusty 8mm​ ​tape​ ​machine.​ ​​ ​Start.​ ​​Click.​ ​Stop.​ ​​Click.​​ ​Rewind.​ ​​Click.​​ ​Repeat.​ ​​ ​The​ ​images​ ​on​ ​the tape​ ​show​ ​what​ ​I​ ​did,​ ​how​ ​I​ ​failed;​ ​and​ ​cruelly…how​ ​it​ ​would​ ​and​ ​should​ ​have​ ​been.  

It​ ​says​ ​it’s​ ​my​ ​fault​ ​and​ ​I​ ​can’t​ ​argue​ ​back.
  
It​ ​says​ ​it’s​ ​here​ ​to​ ​stay​ ​with​ ​me,​ ​for​ ​a​ ​while;​ ​that​ ​I​ ​have​ ​a​ ​front​ ​row​ ​seat,​ ​“​best in the house” for​ ​the​ ​show​ ​that​ ​will​ ​follow.​ ​The​ ​show​ ​where​ ​the​ ​scar​ ​tissue​ ​gets​ ​prodded​ ​and​ ​pressed​ ​until it​ ​glows​ ​angry​ ​and​ ​smarts​ ​tears​ ​of​ ​red.​ ​The​ ​show​ ​runs​ ​on​ ​repeat​ ​and​ ​I​ ​can’t​ ​close​ ​my​ ​eyes.
  
It​ ​whispers​ ​in​ ​my​ ​ear​ ​and​ ​nuzzles​ ​my​ ​neck​ ​in​ ​front​ ​of​ ​the​ ​cracked​ ​mirror​ ​it​ ​holds​ ​up​ ​to​ ​my pitiful​ ​reflection,​ ​the​ ​shards​ ​of​ ​glass​ ​I​ ​smashed​ ​with​ ​my​ ​fists​ ​in​ ​disgust​ ​returning​ ​my​ ​image like​ ​some​ ​kind​ ​of​ ​grotesque​ ​jigsaw​ ​that​ ​I​ ​just​ ​can’t​ ​bear​ ​the​ ​site​ ​of.​ ​I​ ​look​ ​like​ ​a​ ​circus​ ​act freak​ ​and​ ​it​ ​won’t​ ​let​ ​me​ ​look​ ​away.
 
It’s​ ​promised​ ​me​ ​I​ ​won’t​ ​sleep,​ ​and​ ​when​ ​I​ ​finally​ ​do,​ ​I​ ​will​ ​dream.​ ​​ ​Dream​ ​of​ ​terrible​ ​things, things​ ​that​ ​I​ ​cannot​ ​run​ ​or​ ​escape​ ​from,​ ​with​ ​my​ ​eyes​ ​open​ ​or​ ​fastened​ ​shut.
 
The​ ​signpost​ ​in​ ​the​ ​corner​ ​of​ ​my​ ​dreamscape​ ​points​ ​only​ ​one​ ​way.
 
Welcome​ ​to​ ​the​ ​desert…​ ​of​ ​my​ ​personal​ ​inferno.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Update on forthcoming works

It’s been a long time since I checked in and updated my blog and that’s been for a number of reasons, but I can now offer some news on my upcoming works, particularly the release of my novella The Locked Room, which has been long in production.

The final cut of the novella is now complete and, as those who follow my work will know, will be the first release under my own publishing label Strange Days Press, which I founded last year.  Strange Days Press has it’s own website and details will be released via the site of the release date for The Locked Room, along with pricing and ordering information as soon as I know more.  But I’m aiming for the 8th November 2017 as the official release date.

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I will, in the coming months, be working with the artist commissioned for the cover and formatting processes and there will be a Limited Edition hardback version of the book, along with paperback and kindle versions.

I am steadily working on a number of other projects right now, including a number of short stories, one of which I have set out in the Swedish countryside of Tångeråsa, where my wife is from.  It has the working title “Ferox Aper”  (Wild Boar in Latin) and I hope will offer something a little different and a nice mix of black comedy, a few scares and some sideways analogies of a silly Englishman from the city who finds himself caught up in the event of a mythical giant Hog on the loose in the Swedish wilds!

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That’s it for now and I’ll post more details here in the coming months as The Locked Room gets closer to it’s publication schedule.

A big thanks to those reading, following and supporting my work, it’s truly appreciated.

Have a great summer

/Jonathan

 

 

 

 

The Locked Room..Update

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It’s been a while since I posted on my blog and I thought I would take the chance to update those who have asked about progress with The Locked Room and expected release dates.

The novella is completed, but currently undergoing re-writes as I whip it into a shape as a final completed draft.  The Locked Room is going to be the first release under my own publishing imprint Strange Days Press and I hope to be able to offer firm release dates in the near future.  The plan is to offer the book as a Limited Edition Hardcover, and also then as a trade paperback and also digital formats for e-readers and kindle.

Once again, thanks to everyone following my work and I hope to have more concrete news for you soon.

Jonathan

 

 

The Locked Room

Just a short update to confirm I now have artist Carolyn Craggs on board to provide the front cover for my upcoming novella The Locked Room.  I’ve been in talks with Carolyn for a little while, having seen her portfolio through Instagram, (which is great) so I’m delighted she’s going to be involved in the project and designing the front cover.

Now that I have Tracey F Poist on board for editing duties, securing a good artist was the next piece of the puzzle.

The novella is on track for completion in the next few months before it enters the editing process.

In time, I’ll be doing a feature on Carolyn and her work via the blog at Strange Days Press.

That’s it for now.

/Jonathan

 

 

 

Its my Party…I’ll cry if I want to.

Apart from a day job that is sucking my brains out through my nostrils on a daily basis, progress with The Locked Room is going reasonably well.

Although this week has been a little slower, the first draft of the novella is currently just under half-way complete. It may sound a little pretentious to be quoting milestones, etc but it helps motivate me and reminds me exactly where I am now, as opposed to where I was six months ago. Six months ago, I was ready to quit writing and put myself out to grass.

So, as the title of the post suggests, it’s my blog and I’ll moan if I want to!

The Locked Room is a massive challenge and I thank everyone who is willing me on to complete it. I really hope I can deliver.

I’m delighted to confirm I’ll be working with Tracey F Poist again who has agreed in principal to undertake editing duties for the novella and although I can’t say too much right now, I’m also in talks with an artist for the front cover, who has taken my eye with her portfolio.  It would be great to get her on board with this project.

I’ve also been making an active effort to read more books too . Lately, I’ve read a few corkers.  I’ll review one or two of these as soon as I get the time.

That’s it for now, and thanks for stopping by my blog to read this.

/Jonathan

 

 

Strange Days Press….Why?

Those who actually read my blog and social media posts (I have it on reasonable authority that there are a small posse of folk who do!) will know I am planning to launch my own publishing imprint “Strange Days Press” in the near future. I thought I would talk a little here about the reasons why.

Well, it’s a good question.  Those who know me personally know I’ve had a bumpy ride the last few years and my writing suffered greatly during this period.  Because of this, I felt the momentum I’d gained from previous acceptances in small press anthologies and my other published book of short fiction Urban Chiller, fizzled out in 2014.  My writing output ground almost to a standstill and I felt a lot of the good folk who were paying some attention to my wares, lost interest.  In effect, I felt like I was back to square one in some respects.

Whilst it is a bitter pill to swallow, my own experience has told me that certain quarters within the publishing world, (even the small presses now), are reluctant to take a chance on lesser known authors and this has made it harder to find a home for my work, especially when there is some terrific competition out there.  Unless you write something exceptional, and I mean fucking exceptional, you have little chance, in my opinion, as a lesser-known of landing a spot in an anthology alongside the “big guns” of the genre. I guess presses and publishers have to consider the mass-market appeal of the book they’re putting together and that’s just the way it is.  This is not to say that well established authors don’t deserve their success (before all you keyboard warriors line up to go all Annie Wilkes on me!)  But, in my personal opinion, there does exist a bit of an undercurrent of snobbery and cronyism within certain quarters of this industry, which makes it doubly difficult for the lesser known authors to get a break.

Launching my own, small boutique imprint; I feel will give me the platform I need to give my own work the best possible chance of exposure.  It’s that simple.  I also think it will be an exciting and challenge for me to focus on, alongside the actual task of writing.  Whilst it’s a lot of work, I also have a passion for the creation of a good physical product.

I can already see a lot of eyes rolling as they read this. ‘Oh yeah, another writer who can’t get a deal decides to self-publish the novels he’s knocked out in his lunch break’  Right?   Wrong.  I know a crappy, poorly written, poorly edited product that’s been knocked up in no time and jettisoned onto Amazon with a generic cover lifted from Photobucket as much as the next guy, and that’s not what Strange Days Press will be about. I will work only with established professionals to produce the best quality products through the press.  After all, it’s my name on the sign at the end of the day.  The buck stops with me.

I also believe in a no-nonsense attitude towards any business I’m involved with and securing the trust and confidence of the editors, artists and formatting professionals I work with, is paramount to me.  Above all, I want anyone who buys a product of Strange Days Press to get what they pay for.

I’ve seen first hand what can happen to small presses and the recent fallout over the Spectral Press implosion did make me think twice about doing this, especially after the plethora of social media and blog post drama that surrounded it.  However, I believe if I handle this correctly and keep the blueprint for Strange Days Press simple, then it has a good chance of doing exactly what it is being set up to do.

The site will go live in the coming months and whilst it will have a humble beginning, I’m looking forward to having a go with this.  My new novella The Locked Room will be the first release of Strange Days Press and the date currently slated for release is November-December of 2016.

Onwards and upwards and that’s it for now.  As always, thanks for stopping by my blog.

/Jonathan