Tag Archives: novella

Renovo

G Wakeling terrified me with his book Inside Evil, now he’s back with an amazing sci-fi novella, Ronovo, which of course isn’t scary at all. I mean what could be scary about waking up on a spaceship that’s falling apart!!!! Needless to say I’m still having nightmares.


Up to her eyeballs in debt, Dr. Rachel Galliance jumps at the chance of a last-minute rotation on Mars, despite being terrified of hypersleep. This is her last chance to get life back on track, and it’s only one stint on Mars – how bad can it be?

When she awakes, her vessel – the Renovo – is eerily quiet; that’s before it begins to disintegrate around her. Fighting for her life and struggling to save her crewmates, Rachel realises something is very wrong. The question’s not will they reach Mars, but will they ever see Earth again?

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The Bachelor

Today I’ve been interviewing Matthew Drzymala and talking about his novella The Bachelor. Here’s what he has to say.

Let’s start off talking about Bumpkinton Tales. What is Bumpkinton?

 

Bumpkinton is a curiosity. It doesn’t appear on any maps, nor have most people heard of it. In fact, if you were to look on a map all you would find is a blank space where the village should be. Unless you live there or live in the nearby village of Eppforth, it’s almost always stumbled upon by day-trippers looking for anywhere but Bumpkinton.

 

The village is made up of a colourful cast of characters, ranging from the everyday person like you and me, to the randomly bizarre like Amelia Goose and Artichoke Caruthers.

 

 

Is this placed based on anywhere in particular? As an English author (and English interviewer) I think most people this side of the water probably know or have driven through a similar village, but can you explain a bit more about it for our overseas audience?

 

Bumpkinton isn’t based on any place in particular. The story behind Bumpkinton is a fluke really. I attended two writing classes and wrote some pretty dark stories. I was writing about assassins and psychopathic killers most weeks. Bumpkinton came about because for the final piece of work I was mentally tired. I couldn’t write another dark thriller, so I just decided to write something fluffy and light and Bumpkinton grew from there.

 

I’d like to think Bumpkinton is accessible to readers from overseas too. The humour is quite British but they are a light read that I think could be picked up by a reader from abroad looking for a silly English tale with a colourful cast of characters. I’ve never lived in a village so I am not writing from experience and I hope that that opens it up to those who have never lived in or ever been to one. I also hope that people who do live in villages find moments that make them think “Oh, that happens at our village hall!”.

 

 

The Bachelor is the second book of this series. Can you tell us a little bit about the other books?

 

Of course. I have three stories in total, but I count The Bachelor as the second. This is because it is a novella. The first novella is called Bittersweet and charts the story of Venetia and Timothy Ashurst. They are outsiders with a connection to the village and when Venetia stumbles upon an old photograph of her Grandpa who lived in the village as a young man, it ignites her dream to move to Bumpkinton and re-open the shop that her family once owed.

 

However, this is met with fierce opposition by the village busybody, Amelia Goose who has her own particular set of issues and doesn’t take kindly to ‘Townies‘.

 

The other story is just a short story. I released Bittersweet on 21st December 2013 so I wrote a very short Christmas tie-in. I tend to count the novella’s as my main stories and the shorts just as tie ins. Hence that is why I count The Bachelor as the second story in the main Bumpkinton Tales.

 

 

The Bachelor focuses on Fenton a ladies man who is spoken for. He sounds like a bit of a bad guy – is he or is he just misunderstood?

 

Personally, I think he is just very misunderstood. I wanted the reader to dislike him for being a bit of a greasy letch, but I gave him some backstory as to why he is like he is. I wanted to give him some heart and I hope he isn’t too disliked. He is a handsome man and he knows it, which doesn’t make his womanising right, but deep down he’s a good man.

 

He’s a bit cheesy and hopefully I managed to make people laugh at him for being a bit of a fool, but a rather handsome fool.

 

 

 

Obviously being a ladies man Fenton must be meeting a lot of the opposite sex, are there any interesting women in particular?

 

There are a number of ladies who are desperate for Fenton to choose them at the Singles Night. Two teachers, Fiona Little and Tamara Copeland vie for his affections and aren’t afraid to show their dislike for each other while Henrietta Plonk, a girl who works in the grocers, firmly believes she’s the woman for him, albeit being far too young for him.

Fenton just laps up the attention, sneaking off to see his secret lady while having no problem with attending the singles night to indulge in his favourite hobby of flirting.

 

 

What about the other characters of the book? Who is your favourite?

 

I would have to say Father Whitworth O’Grady. He appears as a major character in every story. However, don’t worry if you’re not a religious person, the stories are not based around the church. He is just a pure joy to write and when I write his parts, the words just flow so easily. He tries so hard to bring the community together but most of the time things go wrong and the finger is firmly pointed at him.

 

I think he’s loosely based upon myself, or his sense of humour and lack of patience at times is anyway. There was a comedy show in the 1990’s called Father Ted about priests. I wanted to make sure that Father O’Grady was nothing like him. I try and make him funny and at times, un-priest-like but not to the extent where he is badmouthing the church.

 

He is a deeply religious man, but sometimes doesn’t have the patience to put up with his moaning parishioners.

 

There’s also Erica Templeton and Spencer Levine who also have their own little story-thread in The Bachelor. I liked writing them, especially Erica. She’s a sweetheart.

 

 

Are there going to be more Bumpkinton Tales?

 

There sure are. I have a third novella almost finished but I have since decided I *may* make this into a novel. I need to strip it back and restart it and see what I can do with it. It’s a storyline I like and has my favourite title of the series so far, however, that shall not be revealed for some time yet.

 

 

Do you have a favourite part of the book or a scene you would like to share with us?

 

My favourite part of The Bachelor is a random piece of babbling from Father O’Grady when he is challenged about why he has a photograph of himself in biking leathers and huge sideburns on the mantelpiece:

Fenton smirked as he noticed a photograph of his brother from when he had been going through his sideburn phase.

“Taking a peep at old Ma and Pa, are we?” said Whitworth as he entered the room.

“I’m more interested in the ones where you appear to have dead ferrets stuck to the side of your head.”

“Oh come now brother, I look brilliant in those.” Whitworth scowled. “That’s when I had the bike and the leathers. The Rebel Priest, they called me. I sent shockwaves through this sleepy hollow when I arrived. ‘Who’s that guy?’ they’d say. ‘That’s Father Whitworth O’Grady,’ they’d reply. ‘He’s a priest, but he’s different. He’s a rebel priest. He’ll absolve you of your sins then ride the devil’s highway on his afternoon off.’”

 

I just love that bit of dialogue between Fenton and Whitworth. It’s something that was written in the first draft and never changed through the numerous re-writes.

 

And finally what is next for Matthew Drzymala?

 

I have another Bumpkinton Christmas short story out on 12th December 2014 called Albert’s Christmas. This story centres around the village tramp Albert Scatterhorn. We’ve only seen random glimpses of him so far with no real explanation as to why he’s there. I delve into that a little with this years story, but not too much. I have a future story for Albert that reveals all, but he has a sad past, that’s for sure.

 

I’m also considering a collection of children’s short stories as well as working on next years main Bumpkinton Tale. Whether it will end up a novel or a novella, I won’t know for another 8 or 9 months yet.

 

You can find out more about Matthew and all his books here: http://matthewdrzymala.com/


Safe Haven

Safe Haven is a story set before The Running Game. I wrote the story after I published The Running Game as a sort of companion piece, but it is also a great introduction to the feel of the series. This story is available for free from most online retailers including Amazon so if you like what you read please give the full story a go – I promise you won’t be disappointed. And don’t forget you can leave comments and feedback at the bottom of the page.

 

The world was white. So white the dark night couldn’t penetrate the layers of snow suffocating the surrounding forest. Each breath Isobel managed to push out crystallised in the air around her small mouth, sparkling under the moonlight. She pushed forward, the snow swallowing her legs to the knees in hungry gulps. Her hands and feet were numb but her thighs burned furiously with each agonising step.

It was late and she was so very tired. The last night was spent in the back of their Landrover, fighting for space on the backseat with her little sister while their Dad kept watch. It had been a cold, broken night, but Isobel would give anything to be back there now. Anything not to be walking through Red Forest in the middle of December.

She sniffed and looked behind her. Rachel was only six, three years younger than Isobel but at that moment it felt like there was a lifetime between them. Rachel didn’t understand why they were in the middle of the wilderness. She had no idea why they had to leave their mother. She had slept through their uncle running into the cottage, screaming that the army was coming. She had no idea of the danger they were in. Isobel stared at her sister as she struggled in the snow and envied every tiny, oblivious step she took.

Rachel fell and started to cry. She was sobbing for their mum, looking around the expanse of nothing for her. But Isobel knew they would never see their mother again. She took a strong heavy breath, close to tears herself. She wanted to move to help her sister but her legs refused to go back, not after the effort they had put into going forwards.

Instead she called out. “Dad!”

He was ahead of them, scoping out the safety of the forest. When he saw Rachel he hurried back, covering the ground in five easy strides. Despite the cold and fatigue Isobel broke a smile. Her father was the greatest man, he could still do anything in her eyes. Despite the snow sticking to his beard, the creases in his weather worn face, he was still her hero. He lifted Rachel effortlessly into his large arms, brushing the snow from her hair. And that’s when the gunfire started.

“Run! Isobel run!” He screamed.

He grabbed her coat as he ran past, but she stayed, looking through the trees at the erupting lights, as though the night sky had sunk to the earth.

“Isobel!” Her father shouted and she came to her senses.

They were coming! She started to run. Her feet leapt into her father’s footsteps, following his shadow as he weaved through the trees. The foliage became denser, the snow thinner. She found her feet striking firming soil, frozen dirt and icy puddles. She leapt over a ditch and her father caught her. His hand pulled her close and they huddled together into a dug out burrow off the path.

“We need to work together,” he whispered, so softly Isobel thought she was imagining them. “We’re not here,” he told them both. “Say it with me girls. We’re not here.”

Isobel closed her eyes, sinking into the warmth of her father’s wax coat. She reached for her sister’s hand and concentrated. “We’re not here,” she repeated. “We’re not here.” Over and over she focussed on the words, hearing the echo in the baritone voice of her father and the small squeak of her sister.

Time started to twist, the cold subsided and she felt herself floating against the body of her father. The explosions around her, the shouting, the danger, all started to melt away. But the power running over her wasn’t hers, it didn’t even belong to her father. The dominant voice inside her head became her sister’s, small and yet entirely commanding. She focused on it, echoing it as best she could and then she felt herself merge into nothing.

How long had they stayed like that? Isobel had no idea, but when her father broke free of their spell the militia had gone, leaving a stunned silence in their wake. The surrounding trees were torn apart with gunshot. Pieces of bark and bullet shells scattered the ground around them. It had been ferocious whatever had come their way.

“Daddy,” Rachel asked sleepily. “What’s going on?”

Isobel waited. She’d asked the question herself the night before, but she was sure her father wasn’t about to repeat his answer. How could he tell a six year old the truth? That they were caught in the middle of a civil war, insurgents and militia intent on claiming land that never belonged to them? How could he explain to her that these men didn’t care who got caught in the crossfire? That this wasn’t a fight for freedom, or liberty or any sense of lost righteousness? That this was about control and power? How could he tell his youngest daughter that she had never been in more danger, because if they found out what she was, what all three of them were, both sides would lock them away and do all kinds of experiments on them?

“We’re playing a game,” he said, stroking his younger daughter’s hair, while at the same time squeezing Isobel’s hand. “It’s called the Running Game. We have to run and hide, concentrate on not getting caught. Wherever we go, whatever we do we keep moving, counting the exits, planning our escape routes so nobody can ever find us.”

“It sounds like a stupid game,” Rachel said.

Their dad laughed softly. “It does, but you get a prize if you play it well.”

“What prize?”

“You get to live Rachel. You get to grow up, to keep running. You have to keep running baby. Always be ready to run because they’ll always be coming for you. Whatever happens, they’ll always be coming for you.”

“When will they stop Dad?” Isobel asked.

Her father held Rachel close, as though he were protecting her from the next confession.

“They’ll never stop,” he said. “Right now we need to rest. The secret to winning the game is knowing when to run and when to wait. You’re tired. You’ve done so well today. Try to sleep now, we’ll try to get out of the forest in a few hours.”

Rachel was asleep in moments and Isobel had a suspicion her father had put her to sleep using his powers. She snored quietly, looking almost peaceful.

“There’s a lot of ground to cover,” he said to Isobel. “We’re going to make our way south, to S’aven. There’s a man there. A priest called Father Darcy. He’s an old friend. We can trust him. He’ll help hide us until all this is over.”

Isobel nodded, understanding these were instructions, not reassurances. She rolled the name in her head; Father Darcy. She had to remember it.

“Your sister, her powers…” he shook his head and sighed. “If they find her it will be bad for all Reachers.” He turned to her, his eyes warming. “If they find either of you, it will be bad honey. You’re so young, this isn’t the life I wanted for you. You need to be strong now sweetheart, you need to look after your sister. I wouldn’t trust her to anyone else.” He pushed the hair from her face. “My beautiful girl, look at you, you’re so grown up already. You make me and your mum so proud.”

She felt a lump swell in her throat.

“Whatever happens you look after your sister. Can you do that Isobel?”

Her father was a good man and she would have done anything to make him happy. She stared into his dark blue eyes and the look he gave her betrayed everything that was about to come – his death, their journey, her future.

“Can you do that Isobel?”

Would he have asked if he had honestly known what it would mean – what she would do to keep her sister safe?

“Isobel?”

 

This book is available to download for FREE. Get it from Amazon Smashwords or Kobo 

And you can add your book and others in the Reacher series to your Goodreads


Presence (Phillip Brunn Stories Book 1)

Let’s start the week with an interview from B D Fiala who is talking all about Presence, the first book in his Phillip Brunn series.

You write a series of short stories about Psychologist Phillip Brunn, can you tell us a bit about Phillip and the type of man he is?

Phillip is basically a lost soul. He is still trying to cope with the fact that he lost his job and his marriage, even though it happened almost two years before the story begins. He is doing what a lot of people do when they can’t deal with reality; they look for refuge in drinking and that’s what Phillip does as well.

Phillip encounters a ghost in your first story Presence, how does this affect Phillip?

It scares him, but he tries not to think about it as he keeps thinking about his past more than about his present. This ghost is not the first he encountered and it reminds him of tragic events that happened couple years before the story begins, but they are not completely revealed to us and we learn about them as the story progresses. He doesn’t seem to understand what exactly is going on and even though he is skeptical about ghosts, he feels that there is something there and that there is something strange going on.

Where is your story set, what is the feel of the location?

Story goes on mostly in England and also some other parts of Europe like Prague (some parts have not yet appeared in the published material). It goes on in everyday environment, there are no old abandoned houses or anything cliché like that. Everyday homes by everyday people who for some reason encounter the unexpected and disturbing events and Phillip ends up looking for explanations.

Are there any other characters in the story that are important to Phillip and can you tell us about them?

There is Lisa. That would be Phillip’s ex-wife and probably the only important person to him even though his agent and his assistant seem to care about him since they regularly take care of him and help him get out of trouble. Lisa is special for Phillip, she is the love of his life and she is gone, out of his life for good. Phillip has a hard time accepting that.

Presence is a short story rather than a full length novel, why did you write it this way and what do you think makes it better than reading a full length novel about Phillip Brunn?

There are two reasons. Number one is that I am an impatient person and since I decided, after a few years of preparation, to finally start writing and publishing stories online, I simply could not make myself wait until I finish a full length novel. Writing a short story each month and publishing it right away seemed like a better idea. Also, the reader gets to read a part of the story (depending which part he stumbles on over the internet) and he has a chance to decide whether to read the rest or not. I guess I’m saving money for someone who decides to give it a go but then realizes the story is not for him, so he doesn’t have to pay $5 for a novel, but instead pays $0.99 for a part of the story.

Do you ever plan to write a full length novel, featuring Phillip Brunn?

So far I have five stories planned and I intend to finish them. It’s possible that there will be additional stories in the future, so a novel is a possibility as well.

Outbreak is book 2 of your Phillip Brunn series, where he is encountering more ghosts – without giving any spoilers how has Phillip changed in this later novel?

Outbreak is setting up the rest of the story. There’s less ghost action perhaps and more meeting some new characters and starting certain subplots. Phillip realizes that being a paranormal investigator is a job that he has to do in order to make a living. He doesn’t really change his opinion, but he accepts the situation he is in.

What is your favourite part of the series so far (feel free to use a snippet)?

I like the general idea that was the basis for the series. The ideas is that I am trying to find a different answer to the most common question every man asks himself: ‘’What happens after death (if anything)?’’. Even though I’d describe myself as agnostic atheist, I am proposing an idea of an afterlife that people might find intriguing. I find it intriguing, but I don’t want to say anything more, just read it and wait for it to develop.

There are five books due in the Phillip Brunn series, when is the next book out?

The idea is to publish a book a month. ‘’Presence’’ came out in August, ‘’Outbreak’’ in September, so the new book named ‘’Voice’’ is coming out in October. ”Frequency” will follow in November and the grand finale ”Collision” is due around Christmas.

And finally, after Phillip Brunn what is next for B D Fiala?

I am writing a Sci-fi novel that goes on in the future, on a colonized Earth like planet. It’s called ‘’Brand New Earth’’ and it’s a story about a small tribe that is trying to survive deep in the woods, as far away from other people and Earth’s old technologies as possible. Of course, things are never that simple, and people are more or less always driven by the same needs, a need for love and a need for power and consequently end up fighting wars and suffering because of it.

I am also developing ideas for three different novellas, writing poems and trying to find someone who would like to draw a comic based on some of my crazy ideas, so if someone happens to be reading this and wants to collaborate, look me up as I’d be glad to hear from you. I am open to different genres, but I would like to work with someone who draws fast since ideas seem to be coming to me on a daily basis.

All in all, I’ve got a lot of creative work in front of me that I’m looking forward to.

In the end, I wish to thank you for this interview and wish you luck with your web page!

You can pick up the first and second book of the series here: http://www.amazon.com/Presence-Phillip-Brunn-Stories-Book-ebook/dp/B00MHYJHE2/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1407473449&sr=8-2&keywords=b.d.fiala

Or add the books to your Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8440690.B_D_Fiala