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If you hand me a pen…

I’ve spent the last two hours combing through some old files on my computer. They were once the breeding grounds of endless rough-cut outlines for stories and some semi-decent attempts at beginnings – even a few chapters worth of a plot that I still have no idea what direction it was going to take.

It’s interesting looking back at these old writings and I am bemused by some of the insightful commentary of my life at the time. Strangely, a large part of what I had written was autobiographical. A small snapshot of what I was thinking during that particular moment or an observation that I had been dying to dissect on the page.

It’s almost like reading the journal entries of an entirely different person. Some of the content borders on downright embarrassing and I am confident when I say that it will not see the light of day. But I am glad it exists, at least for me to look back upon.

There is a good chunk that I feel would be nice to post on the blog but I fear that the majority of it would be largely met with eye-rolls and shielded grins so rest assured, I will not put you through that. At least not now anyway (!) However, I wanted to at least share something and this little piece spoke to me and I thought it might be nice to allow others to muse upon my musings. I believe this was from August/September 2009.

They chew you up and spit you out and you’re left to face the rest on your own.

So don’t let them.

It’s often difficult to face the daily battles especially when the world has been drained of any colour and all you observe is various tones of grey. A boundless drizzle clings to your pale, clammy skin like unwanted kisses. But you have to dig out that old battered rain coat and wear it with pride. You’ve got to manufacture your own sunlight and you’ve got to learn how to pulverise that grey sky until it gives you some semblance of colour. Even if it means beating the absolute shit out of it. It has to come at all costs. They might not know about the turmoil and they might not understand that the prospect of putting your shoes on and greeting the day comes with its own challenges. It isn’t their fault.

It takes a little time to solve the crossword puzzle especially when the clues are so goddamn cryptic.

Three across: A bitter pill to swallow.

Nine down: Another word for dusk.

We’re not machines; we’re not programmed to react and respond in a particular way. If you hand me a pen I can’t guarantee that I won’t write a love note or an instruction manual on how to fool the world. Maybe I will just settle with a letter of apology or I’ll tell you about the time I hid under the bed for three hours too afraid to move.

The ones who wait for you are the ones you should keep. Remember their names and remember their birthdays – the small details are often the most important. And if you can wait for someone else then they will remember your birthday too. It’s all about the details, the simple things, the way we connect. And if we can apologise to the world and know that it’s true, then let it be. Let it swallow you whole and rock you to sleep. Let it consume you even if it is just for one brief, sweet moment. They might not notice that you left the room but they sure will notice when you make your return. Don’t forget their names. They won’t forget yours.

Thank you for taking the time to read and as always, I’d love to hear from you.

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The life of a Manchester horror writer: Drew Forest

It’s no secret that I am a born-and-bred proud Mancunian. Having lived in the ever-changing city of Manchester for the entirety of my life, I often joke when people ask where I am from that, ‘I was born in Manchester, I’ve studied and worked in Manchester and it’s highly likely that I’ll die in Manchester!’

For some, my Manchester roots may not be entirely obvious as some of my stories tend to take place in fictional towns (except ‘Malevolent Flesh’ with its direct Manchester and Northern references). Needless to say, the city has provided many influences – particularly growing up on a council estate surrounded by numerous shifty characters and living with a constant sense of unease. As I got older, I discovered more of the world through the City Centre and the droves of different people it attracted. From Saturday afternoons spent in Afflecks and The Coliseum to being stunned into awe at the interior of The Central Library. I spent many hours scouring the CD racks at the multi-level HMV at the top of Market Street (which sadly no longer exists). However, I was always fascinated by the dark side of the city – the creepy backstreets, the infamous underground tunnels and the haunted history in many locations (‘Most Haunted’ even filmed several episodes in some areas of Manchester with reported high levels of paranormal activity!)

So, it came as more than an honour to be featured in a recent article in Visit Manchester – a popular online magazine that features everything happening in the bustling city. I thoroughly enjoyed participating and it was a nice way of putting myself back in the saddle of promoting and sharing my work.

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You can read the full article here – I want to thank Emily Oldfield and Haunt Manchester for conducting the interview and my good friend Dean for putting me in touch! Please drop them a follow on Twitter – they would very much appreciate it!

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You can read my newest short ‘Martha’ – part of a character-driven collection.

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Martha

I hate him.

Twenty years of marriage to a fool. A pathetic excuse of a man and yet here I am, washing his shit-stained pants in the sink because he forgot to call out for a plumber. Of course, it’s not for me to fix, I am here only to feed him and clean the house and look after the kids.

I took to the bathroom this afternoon. Not long after I had downed a hastily made martini and put the television on mute. I sat on the toilet seat with the razor blade in my hand. I lifted up my skirt and began to run the fine metal across the skin of my inner thigh. It felt sublime. The initial coolness of the blade followed by the sharp pain. Warm blood trickling down my thigh.

It was intoxicating.

I repeated the pleasure three more times – creating pretty parallel markings next to the thin white scars of past indulgences. I carefully dabbed at the blood with some tissue. The paper bloomed with crimson warmth and I felt a tingle of excitement in my crotch. Before I disposed of it, I cautiously placed the freshly stained tissue into my underwear, I wanted to be close to the departed life-force that had once run through my veins. I wanted to keep it there longer but I had things to do. I had already formed a plan of action. There were things to do before that bastard got home

Billy

The last few weeks have presented themselves with a plethora of ups and downs. My main concern is how slow the writing has been. Flaccid dribs and drabs of essay attempts and prose followed by a constant sense of frustration. These pellets of ideas that merely required a little tender nurturing would cease at precisely 4pm in the afternoon. It was times like these when Sartre and Lynch would fuel that hunger.

Evidently, not this time.

The world feels cruel and it often seems like we are powerless to it. The never-ending uphill road with the building anticipation of an accelerated decline – windswept and refreshed. Except it never comes. Perhaps tomorrow.

I had an idea of death. It came to me upon a walk – a momentary flash of a leaf withering on a branch. The last few skeletal veins sucking at the air around it, a last attempt at life. But the leaf will bloom again and if this is what death is, have we the need to be afraid? For surely it’s a cycle. Right?

I am confused. The days grow longer and the ideas grow shorter. I want to kill all my characters – I want them to depart in the most excruciating of manners. Genitals haphazardly ripped from bodies, eyes gouged with rusty implements, grotesque disembowelments splattering upon pavements. And I recall my primary school teacher describing me as a ‘kind and gentle soul’ to my drunk mother. Perhaps she was tempting fate but I was only seven years old.

I wander more than I used to. Any excuse to escape the mundane nature of committing to the routine of waking up and going to sleep. Mainly because I want to dissect my dreams. I want to know their true meaning – sometimes I consider them to be past lives. The way they return to me like loving kisses to my feverish forehead.

I’ve been analysing everything lately. Deciphering meaning in the smallest of observations. The breakfast news, the old man who lives down the street who instinctively tips his hat to me each and every morning, the way the light streams through the curtains – so precise. I can’t help but feel like someone or something is attempting to deliver a message to me.

Under the Pink

“Circles and circles and circles again…”
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Tori Amos – “Under the Pink” 1994

I’ve had Tori’s ‘Under the Pink’ on a loop for over a week now. It’s one of those albums that makes herself known when it’s necessary. From the piercing demands of ‘I believe in peace bitch’ during ‘The Waitress’ and the wishful lullaby-quality of ‘Baker Baker,’ ‘…make me whole again,’ – there’s a certain degree of self-exploration taking place during the twelve song cycle.

 

This idea of self-exploration will always remain a part of the pieces I write whether I choose to present them with cryptic clues or fanciful analogies – very much in the same vein of Tori’s writing. Though the primary aim is tell a story, inevitably it becomes more of a process of peeling back a few layers. Sometimes however, we pull back too many layers and what we find beneath is far too raw – too exposed.

And so begins the healing.

There has been one thing troubling me for quite some time and it’s something I may choose to dissect further at a later date but that is the idea of ‘life imitating art.’ It was Oscar Wilde who initially made this observation and I had never really personally experienced this phenomenon firsthand. However that was due to change after I wrote Malevolent Flesh. I penned the story back in 2016 and it was only a year later that I would come to realise that I had seemingly foretold some personal future events. I guess I could put my Psychology degree briefly to use here and explain it by my subconscious mind picking up on small clues and therefore inserting these into the story.

It’s something we can never know for sure but it has haunted me since I made the connection. There’s a strange cyclical effect between fiction and reality  – perhaps this is what Tori was referring to during ‘Cloud on My Tongue’ when she sings ‘circles and circles and circles again…’

I’ll be attempting to hang around this blog more often with content varying from writing news, reviews and personal updates. Here are some February – March – April snapshots.

My good friend and fellow author Asher Meekins has just launched his own website so please check it out and sign up for updates here!

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I’ve just announced a new competition where you can win a signed copy of my personal favourite book ‘Reading the Palms of Dolls’ simply by following me on Twitter and liking and retweeting this post.

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A winner will be randomly chosen on Friday 13th.

Best of luck!

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How to Write Your Book Without Giving Up

One of the most popular questions I get asked from aspiring writers is ‘how did you manage to write a book?’ I think this question poses many underlying issues, including finding the time to complete the work, how to stay motivated and how to organise the content.

With this quick Four-Step Guide, I aim to provide tips and tricks that I personally find not only incredibly useful but also productive in progressing from the blank page to a completed manuscript.

So whether you are looking to write the next bestselling crime thriller, a heart-swelling memoir or even an exciting scientific report – these steps will help you achieve a finished product that is guaranteed to gain a loyal readership.

 

Step 1 – “Get With the Plan”

Before you draw the curtains and shut yourself away in your makeshift office to spend the entire evening writing pages of eloquent prose or re-enact a fast-paced action scene on the page, there is one pivotal action that MUST be taken.

There needs to be a certain degree of planning involved.

Speaking with other writers, this stage tends to be fairly flexible in terms of your approach. Some writers meticulously plan right down to the clothes that their characters will be wearing in each scene. Whereas some will only write a basic objective and enjoy the freedom in working around the concept simply knowing how it begins and how it ends.

The most successful planning tip I can offer is to draw up two individual plans.

Plan A This is your basic plot. What happens in the beginning, what happens in the middle and what happens in the end. No unnecessary details – just a very quick outline about how the story will progress. For non-fiction pieces, this still applies – an introduction, what you aim to explore and how you want to conclude the content.

Plan B This plan is more of a detailed outline and I find that this stage of planning is the most useful in knowing exactly the direction of the story or the content. Now, this plan may take a little more time but I assure you, it will become your very own Bible and will remain by your side from beginning to end.

The best way to approach this outline is to tackle the plot chapter by chapter. Without going into specific detail, write down what will happen in each section. This will act as the bones your story – you can then begin to add the flesh when you actually come to write these chapters (the fun part!)

Hints:

  • Aim to provide a micro ‘beginning’, ‘middle’ and ‘end’ with each chapter.
  • Buy a notebook and dedicate it to whatever project you are working on. This allows you to keep both of your plans together, along with any additional notes, research, character ideas, drawings, quotes etc…

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There is nothing wrong with writing your book without a plan but I have found that in order to provide yourself with something of a safety net, particularly when things get a little tricky during the mid-point of your writing – a plan will hold you up when the going gets tough…

 

Benefits:

  • Determine any plot holes and how you can fix them.
  • Provides a motivational tool for when you hit any ‘walls’ with your writing.
  • Build a flexible framework that you can work your writing around.
  • Allows insight into areas that may require additional research.
  • Helps to solidify target audience (your readers) and niche (theme/genre of your book).

 

Step 2 – “Claim Your Time”

If you have followed Step 1, you should now have a fairly good idea of the direction of your writing. You will have determined any problem areas and aimed to fix them while following up on any additional research.

Now you are almost ready to sit down, fingers poised over the keyboard in anticipation of this exciting journey you are about to embark on.

This is the romanticised part. The elegant montage of the writer pulling rolls of manuscript paper from a typewriter generating clouds of steam whilst a dramatic piece of classical music plays over the action as it unfolds. I hate to be the bearer of bad news for any first time writers, but this is not how it happens. Expect long nights, lack of sleep and a look of frustration fixed firmly on your face. However, it is not always this tough – once you get going, there will be days when you’ll write your guts out and you’ll feel incredibly accomplished when you get something right. Whether that be a perfect sentence or a plot development that even you didn’t see coming! However, in order to achieve those moments, you must manage your time and you must manage it well.

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This will be different for everyone depending on your lifestyle and commitments but if you don’t take the time to sit down and write, your idea will never come into fruition on the page.

For me, I tend to write in the evenings. My first book was written between the hours of midnight and 5 a.m. during a particularly bad bout of insomnia. Normally, I will set aside a minimum of an hour a night to write. However when I am working on a project, I always aim to complete a chapter during a scheduled writing session.

Hints:

  • Write as frequently as possible. This keeps ideas fresh and is easier to maintain the ‘flow’.
  • Sign up to a writing community to provide support and motivation, such as The Word Cloud or NaNoWriMo.

This might not be suitable for everyone. Some people may only have time to write at the weekends or some may have to plan on a day-to-day basis. So whatever your schedule may be, whenever you plan to write – stick to it. You will be amazed at how much you can accomplish when you commit to your dedicated writing slot.

Benefits:

  • Allows organisation of time.
  • Prevents procrastination.
  • Motivational.
  • Provides a body of work.

 

Step 3 – “Have Dinner With Your Characters”

Now this step may not apply to those of you who will be writing non-fiction, however it may be worth reading if you substitute the idea of characters with your desired topic.

So you’ve now planned your book, you’ve set up a timetable of when you will write and you’re just about to tell your story. Now, you may have a fantastic plot – you’ve fine-tuned all the twists and turns and you know exactly how you will get from A to B. However, if your characters aren’t properly formed, readers may lose interest in the story and never reach that exciting plot development that you’ve been keeping up your sleeve.

Hints:

  • Make your main character somewhat relatable. But remember, no one is perfect.
  • Maintain a little mystery about the character but know their back-story.
  • Ensure there is least one person who is opposed to your main character (an antagonist) – You can make them as annoying and as hateful as you like!

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Characters are the tools in order to tell the story. If a reader does not care to know more about a character then they will be less inclined to read your book. It is important to know your characters inside and out and make them interesting.

 

Benefits:

  • Allows the reader to ‘relate’ to the story.
  • Gives opportunities to emotionally explore the plot.
  • Provides some weight/integrity to the development of the story.

 

Step 4 – “Lights, Camera, Execute!”

This is the ‘doing’ part of the Guide and if you have followed the previous steps, you should now be in good stead to write your book. You’ve nailed the direction of the plot, scheduled your writing time and know your characters/topic inside out – you’re in a great position to finally put the work in.

This is the key part.
You have to put the work in.

pexels-photo-262488.jpegIt’s all very well sitting down during your self-scheduled writing slot but if you’re not actually writing then you there will be no finished book.

The previous three steps are useful in their own way but they also work to provide something else – ‘motivation’. It’s something of the holy grail to writers and I am confident that every writer will attest to experiencing the debilitating effect of ‘writer’s block’ at one point or another. I can assure you that you will experience a degree of ‘hitting the wall’ during the process of writing your own book.

But don’t let that put you off – keep on reading…

If you find that the words are not coming or you’ve been staring at a blank page for over an hour, here are some of my own personal tips at digging yourself out of that proverbial hole:

  • Re-visit your plan and understand that is purely only the backbone to the story – you are allowed to go off track if you are confident that the conclusion still works.
  • Re-read what you have written – there may be a spark of something from earlier on that reignites the continuation of the story.
  • Remember that what you write is not set in stone – so just write! You can come back and edit later.
  • Write/act out a conversation between two (or more) of your characters. Imagine that they are having a phone conversation and write out the dialogue. It sounds crazy and pointless as it won’t be part of the story but it breathes further life into the characters and may provide a stepping stone to continue writing.
  • Limit distractions. This is quite a big one. If you are experiencing writer’s block, any little distraction will take over. The television programme on in the background may seem more interesting or there may be an amazing meme begging to be read on Facebook. So turn off the TV, put your phone on silent and if all else fails – go for a walk and think loosely about your story.
  • If confident with what you have written so far, ask a trusted friend for some feedback. I would only try this one as a last resort as a critical friend may not instil you with the confidence to continue. Pick someone who will give you positive feedback and will understand that a first draft is not a finished product.

Hopefully, one of these tips will motivate you to continue with the writing and once it returns, you’ll begin to remember exactly why you chose to take this journey.

So there we have it – Four simple steps to help you write your book!
Sounds simple doesn’t it?

You still may not completely agree at this point. It might seem like a lot of work especially since the majority of steps occur ‘pre-writing’.

However, I can attest that it really is that simple.

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If you are passionate about what you are creating, allow yourself to have fun with the process and follow these steps – you too can accomplish a piece of work that you can not only be proud of but also gather an extensive readership!

 

Let me know in the comments below if you have any tips or tricks that you find particularly useful or if you have found these steps helpful in any way.

Look out for further Step-by-Step Guides on other aspects of writing coming soon…

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Drew Forest is a writer/blogger with over a decade of writing experience. He has provided content for small businesses and writers in a variety of different areas. With a strong passion for the written word, he has self published, edited and marketed several five-star rated novels as well as providing content for online businesses and authors.

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Stripping Back…

I’ll begin by saying that last year was probably one of the most difficult years I’ve ever had to endure. At the same time, it also came with some amazing opportunities – it’s funny how life can present you with a pit full of loss and then with the same hand, offer up some life-changing gains.

IMG_20180105_172819_149This blog post is no doubt too late for a ‘Year in Review’ but looking back at the past twelve months, it’s incredible to note how much has changed in what is only a short amount of time.

If anything can be taken from what has happened, it’s that I have learned a lot.

And I still am.

It’s all part of the process.

It’s also made me look at how I am going to progress with my writing. So let me firstly preface this by saying, the writing has taken a little bit of a backseat. Some of the greatest writers will argue that you must write every day if you want to develop your style and sharpen your technique. And in the past, there have been countless days where I have endlessly scrawled fictional situations, memoir-style accounts of past events, poems and reviews. It was something that offered me a form of escapism.

However, as we cannonball into 2018, I realise that the writing isn’t happening like it used to and though this doesn’t worry me because I am certain of its return. The thing that concerns me most is that I am aware that the return is in itself, transformational. I don’t know what this means for the future, but I acknowledge that it’s going to bring about some changes.

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What does this mean going forward?

Will I be leaving horror behind?

Will I still create fiction?

I’m not sure I have the answers to those questions just yet.

But there is something more just bubbling beneath the surface and I realise that I have to strip everything back – the writing, the consciousness, the self-censorship.

I’m aware that this post may seem somewhat confusing and ambiguous and I am seeking the words to relay this more concisely but I thought it only fair to present this piece as the first stepping stone. I am also embarking on this journey with you – eagerly awaiting the destination and what it offers.

All I can say for now, is that it will offer up some truth.

In the past, my publicised work have mainly dealt with supernatural elements, whether it be haunted houses, Ouija boards or other-worldly stalkers, but I also strived to ground them in some realistic issues – addiction, abuse, suicide. I feel like these elements were not only important in the characterisation but also in instilling a sense of debate. These are ideas that I feel strongly about and I have a plethora of other topics that I have yet to tackle. There’s a fire beginning to rage and that means I have no other option but to explore what these flames have to offer.

As I said earlier, I need to strip back and expose myself further. I’m not sure how the work will be received but I hope that it delivers something different from what I have presented before.

As always, thanks for the continued support – I’m still receiving some great feedback for Malevolent Flesh so please feel free to submit your reviews and feedback either here or through Amazon – all of which are greatly appreciated.

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The Corpse Rooms and Reading the Palms of Dolls are still proving to be popular, speaking of which, please check out the talented Duncan Thompson’s blog about his favourite reads of 2017, including ‘Reading the Palms of Dolls.’ And, ‘The Corpse Rooms’ received a nice little mention on the Facebook group page ‘Dark Fiction’ – you can check that out here.

Thank you once again and let’s see what the following twelve months have to offer…

– D. R. F

The Strange Lady at the Door

I’m blaming this cold snap we’re currently experiencing in the North West at the moment. It has a lot to answer for – such as what may look to be a lazy blog post… Wherein the writer takes to the blank page and uses it to share an excerpt from his latest book. Yes, I know how it looks…

Okay, okay….you might be slightly right but it is Sunday after all – and it is a pretty decent excerpt (if you ask me… and please casually by-pass the bias).

Please brew your favourite hot beverage, slap your heels up on your coffee table and enjoy this segment from ‘Malevolent Flesh’ where Tyler visits his sister who is not is sister… but is she?

 

     MALEVOLENT FLESH

     Her hair was grey and it cascaded past her shoulders in long flowing wisps and curls. A pair of antique-style reading glasses hung loosely around her neck and an amethyst-coloured dress that covered her arms and ankles clung to her slender frame. Deep permanent creases lined her face like an intricate map of meandering rivers and estuaries. She looked at Tyler with emerald green eyes which widened in surprise after a few moments of opening up the front door.

“I’m sorry, I’m looking for Tara Hamilton, does she live-”

Before Tyler could finish his sentence, the woman had grabbed hold of him and wrapped both of her bone-like arms around him tightly, he caught a scent of her earthy perfume. Nothing about this woman seemed familiar.

“Tye! Is that really you? My God!” She pulled him in closer.

Tyler struggled to speak with her slightly damp hair clinging to his lips, “sorry, do I know you?” he asked blowing the strands out of his mouth.

The woman pulled back, the light behind her eyes appeared to fade and she let her hands drop by her side.

“I guess not,” she answered solemnly.

“I got a letter from my sister, she mentioned that she was living here. I presumed she was living alone. Is she home?” Tyler couldn’t understand why Tara would be living with an older lady and a number of different scenarios began to play out in his mind.

“No, I’m sorry, I-I don’t know of an erm.. a Tara? She might’ve lived here maybe… at some point… but not anymore,” the old lady replied, she was suddenly unable to make eye contact with him.

“How did you know my name?” Tyler asked.

The old lady didn’t reply.

“When I was introducing myself, you said my name. Tye. How did you know that?”

He watched as she seemed to squirm under the weight of the question, she stepped from one foot to the other. It was a tic that Tara used to display if she was lying of nervous about something.

“You must’ve said it – y’know before you asked me, you said, ‘my name’s Tyler’ that’s what you did-”

“No, I definitely didn’t mention my name, and you called me ‘Tye’. There’s only a few people that call me that,” Tyler replied, he was growing considerably anxious. He looked past the woman and into the hallway. Hung on the far wall was a photograph and he immediately recognised it, it was a picture of Tara and himself in their local pub on the day of his graduation. Tara had always loved that photograph and would put it on full display in every home she had ever lived in, she claimed it was one of the proudest moments of her life – seeing her baby brother graduate. Something she, herself had failed to do.

“Where is my sister?” Tyler didn’t recognise the change of tone in his voice at that moment but his stern delivery seemed to have an impact and the old lady finally made eye contact with him.

“W-what?”

“You heard me. Where is she? Tara!” He shouted past the woman and into the house, wondering if Tara was inside. Was she being kept prisoner by this woman? Was that the real reason she had sent the letter? 

“There’s no Tara living here, you have the wrong address. I’m sorry, you’ll have to leave here now,” her voice began to shake as she backed up inside the hallway, she started to close the door and Tyler quickly used his foot to prevent it from closing.

“Look lady, I’ll be calling the police if you don’t tell me where she is,” Tyler moved his face closer to hers and tried to push the door open. He glanced back at the graduation photograph to confirm that it was indeed, a picture of himself and Tara.

“No, don’t call the police, please don’t do that,” she begged.

“Just tell me where she is, that’s all I ask,” Tyler softened his tone slightly as he noticed genuine fear the woman’s face.

“I’m telling you the truth, there’s no Tara living here. Maybe she lived here before I did-”

“No.” Tyler interrupted her.

“I said, you have the wrong address,” she repeated.

“Well then explain to me why you knew my name?”

“I told you, it was the first thing you said.”

“Even if that was true, I never introduce myself as Tye, only my close friends call me that.”

The lady went quiet again.

“And also, can you explain that picture you have in your hallway, that one of me and my sister?”

Tyler watched the old lady slowly rotate her head to look down the hallway at the picture, she lowered her head as she turned back to him.

He pulled his phone out of his pocket.

“That’s it, no more of this bullshit, I’m getting the police involved right now,” he unlocked his phone and began to dial nine-nine-nine.

“No! Please! Don’t do that!”

Tyler held his finger over the button to connect the call.

“Tye, it’s me. It’s Tara. I’m Tara. Don’t call the police, I will explain. everything, just don’t make that call.”

Tyler looked up at the face that was claiming to be his sister. For the first time since her initial reaction when she saw him, she looked to be projecting a genuinely sincere response. She held her wrinkled hand over the phone, it was a hand he did not recognise.

“You should come inside,” she said as she pulled the door open wider to allow him in.

 

IMG_2017-01-25_19.34.57‘Malevolent Flesh’ – out now on Amazon!

 

 

 

For any enquiries, please submit here

 

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Thank you, as ever, for reading!

– D. R. Forest

 

Still Screaming…

Working as a self published writer comes with as many pitfalls as it does tribulations. The work-load is a little more demanding and as a result, the hours become a little bit longer. However, the successes – as big and as small as they may come, provide a more than amazing result.

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Unfortunately, it does mean that plans can sometimes fall short if priorities change. With this in mind, I would like to announce that The Screaming Scarecrows of Silence Falls 2 is out now! Unfortunately, this announcement comes a little later than anticipated but I hope that the Halloween spirit is still very much alive and inspires you to take another visit to the creepy town of Silence Falls.

Download your copy here: UK US

Read a fantastic brand new review of the first short story here courtesy of Peter ‘witchfinder’ Hopkins over at http://www.horrorscreamsvideovault.co.uk and find out how it all began.

Download a copy of the first part here: UK US

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The Screaming Scarecrows of Silence Falls 2: The Summoning

Silence Falls – a small sleepy town in the middle of nowhere where every day is as predictable as the one before it.

Every day except for one that is… For each and every Halloween, the townsfolk must respect the terrifying legend of screaming scarecrows that come to life every October 31st.

If the screams are heard, they must be ignored.

Now, twenty years have passed since the last horrifying ordeal took place in a small cottage situated in the cornfields of this very same town. A ferocious young woman returns to the exact location that destroyed her life all that time ago. Armed with a desire for revenge and a deep understanding of the occult, she must learn to summon the true evil that resides within the cornfields so she can finally lay it to rest.

However, she soon discovers that the horror runs far deeper than first anticipated and if she has any hope of surviving the night, she must uncover the terrifying truth about the screaming scarecrows of Silence Falls once and for all…

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What September Brings

In four days, we will hit the one month mark since Malevolent Flesh was released and it’s been quite the month!

So to begin with, there were a couple of problems with the release, namely in terms of formatting the book and getting it out by the deadline. This was the first time I had released a digital and a paperback edition in conjunction with one another and both needed to be formatted slightly differently. In a way, it doubled the work-load but I persisted and spent a few sleepless days and nights tirelessly putting them together until I was happy with the end result.

I had originally planned to put the book up for pre-order initially and use this to generate a little bit of excitement about the release. Due to the time frame and a somewhat selfish desire to just put the book out, I eventually decided against the idea of a pre-sale.

Monday 14th August 2017: the book was released. Announcements went out on all social media platforms and the reception was generally positive.

I breathed a sigh of relief.

It was a great to finally get the story out as it was something that I had been working on for the last fourteen months and as I have said previously, it was (in some respects) a personal exorcism. Details of which I may disclose at a later date but needless to say, by finally putting the book out, it removed a big weight that had been sitting on my shoulders like a brooding spectre. I’m not sure if other writers can relate, but I find that sometimes the process of writing a story can be something of an addiction. There is an intrinsic need to find a suitable conclusion and there’s an unseen force that takes ahold of you as the plot twists and develops.

The story of Malevolent Flesh introduces ideas of suicide, loneliness, sexuality and paranoia that creep and sprawl beneath the mystery and horror of the main plot. There’s a certain burdening of these ideas upon the reader when exploring these concepts and I was conscious of perhaps not going too far with some ideas in fear of taking the story into a truly dark place. This was not my intention and though these themes run throughout, I hope they serve to push the story forward and provide suitable character motivations.

I have digressed slightly – getting back on track – this week saw two excellent five-star reviews come in and I couldn’t be happier with the feedback! There’s nothing more satisfying than having something you’ve worked so hard on be enjoyed by others. As I stated earlier, I was a little apprehensive about how the initial tone of the story would be received by readers but the feedback has given me the confidence to perhaps be even bolder with my writing choices.

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It gives me faith that I can write something that might bring up ideas that may be deemed as taboo or ‘not to be talked about’ and I feel braver in approaching other ideas that I feel strongly about whilst being mindful not to detract from the story. Who knows what territory the next book will take me into.

You have been warned.


IMG_2017-09-03_11.13.13If any of you are on Instagram, you may be aware that I’ve recently launched an Author profile on there in order to provide a more ‘visual’ aspect to my work. I have plans to provide new insights on the novels, for example, I recently revealed some of the alternative titles of Malevolent Flesh that either didn’t fit or didn’t seem right. I also plan on running competitions and engaging on a more personal level.

You can find me on drew_forest_horror so please feel free to stop by and follow.

With Halloween around the corner, I am working on having a little surprise announcement but I will talk more about that next time. Here’s to pumpkins, autumnal trees, fingerless gloves and pretty graveyards.

 

Until next time, stay creepy.

D.R.F

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‘Malevolent Flesh’ – Out now in digital and paperback editions on Amazon.