I published a book!

Hey, guys and gals, I’m extremely pleased to let you all know that I’ve released a book! It’s called A Chance of Rain, and it’s a collection of my short stories — particularly the darker ones!

If you’ve followed my writing for a while, you might know several of these stories, but I’ve included all of the sci-fi/horror that I’ve written, regardless of the platform it was initially published on — so, there’s something new for everyone here. Additionally, I’ve added one extra short story that’s entirely brand new, just to sweeten the deal. 😉

You can find A Chance of Rain on Amazon, available as a paperback (£6.99) and for the Kindle (£1.99). If you fancy buying a copy and leaving me a review on Amazon and Goodreads, it would mean the world to me.

If you are worried that this means there will be no “proper” novel coming from me, rest assured, I’m still working hard on that WIP. 🙂

I’m expanding into other social medias!

Photo by Cristian Dina: https://www.pexels.com/photo/white-smartphone-1851415/

Hi everyone! Shameless self-promo Saturday…

So, I’ve been thinking about doing this for a while now, but I’ve extended my approach to include Facebook! I have created an author page over on that platform, to help increase how many people I can reach. If you are interested, my Facebook page is here: facebook.com/JoshuaGJInsole

I also have a Twitter account (which I’ve had for a while now), which can be found here: twitter.com/joshuainsole

I’ll be sharing much the same content on these platforms as I do here on WordPress, so if you don’t follow/like on those sites, you won’t be missing out on much — I just felt as an aspiring author, it’s my own personal duty to take advantage of as many social medias and bits of technology as I can.

Have a great weekend! 🙂

Check out my tasty story for this week’s Reedsy: ‘Maledictions and Muffins’!

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Well, here we go! Another week, another Reedsy contest. This week’s theme was This Magic Moment; magical realism. I chose the prompt, “Write about someone who works an average job — but incorporate elements of magic into it.”

I’ve recently been writing more and more non-horror pieces. Last week’s Grandma’s Garden (read it here) was a return to the norm — or at least, my norm! This week I’ve explored a bit more of non-horror. Nothing wrong with a bit of experimentation, right? The title for my story is Maledictions and Muffins, and — you know how this bit goes by now, right? — you can read it here on WordPress or over on my Reedsy profile.

The witch waved her wand in the direction of her victim, whispering the ancient incantations under her breath. The words snaked out from between her lips, like a worm out of an apple. Her opponent began to expand — growing, widening, fattening. Mavis knew that it wouldn’t be long until the object of her spellcasting finally bid adieu to this mortal world and exploded, insides splattering in every direction.

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The reason for the latest batch of non-horror pieces is simply because I don’t like to force my stories. I try to keep it very natural and easy. As a rule, I try to stick with the idea that comes first — as this is generally what I want to write, as opposed to what I feel I should write. This isn’t to say I’m abandoning horror (far from it, haha!), simply that I’m broadening my horizons. We can’t be all doom and gloom and zombies and gore 24/7, can we? Nice to spice things up a bit — every now and then!

So, I hope you guys like the piece — I really had fun writing it (but, then again, I always do!). I really liked the idea of a a kind and friendly witch in a cosy kitchen full of tasty smells, with a fluffy black cat pestering her for some crumbs. I thought it was simply a heartwarming picture.

Well, this has been enough rambling for one week, right? I best be buggering off! P.S. If you like the artwork that I made for this story, why not check out my side blog, Art in Soul?

‘Sea the Moon’ was shortlisted for last week’s Reedsy contest!

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Well, it’s been a while since I won/almost won the Reedsy contest! I don’t mind, though — it’s getting more and more popular by the week, which means it’ll be harder to win each time. Plus, there’s some awesome writers putting out some truly amazing stories over on the site, so it’s tough to compete!

With that in mind, I was super-pleased to hear that my psychedelic and dreamy story, Sea the Moon, was shortlisted for last week’s contest! This marks the fourth time I’ve been shortlisted for this contest. I’ve won it twice (and would love to win it a third time, but we can’t always win, can we?) so far, which I’m very proud of.

If you haven’t read it already, you can check out Sea the Moon here on WordPress, or over on my Reedsy profile.

The seagulls were weeping again. They had woken her from her sleep. It was funny, now that she thought about it. She’d also fallen asleep listening to their shrill pleas. It reminded her of the song her mother had sung to her as a baby. Sunset and sunrise, bird calls and bird cries.

 

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So, a massive thank you to the whole Reedsy team — not just for liking my stories (which is always appreciated, and is quite the confidence boost) but for hosting these weekly contests in the first place!


My previous Reedsy winners:

The Things That Do Not Float

Astro Naught

My previously shortlisted stories:

As It Ends

Honesty in G# Minor

What Did We Do?

On Hitting 100 Followers and the Creation of a Sister Site!

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Wow! So, here we are! 100 followers! *Cue party blowers and confetti showers* I didn’t think I’d ever get to the point where 100 people would voluntarily subject themselves to my waffling posts and inane ramblings that I try to pass off as “writing”. But here we are! So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you — it really means a lot! Here’s to many more stories in the future! 🙂

I do apologise that my Bite-Sized Horror series has fallen by the wayside recently, but I’ve had neither the time nor the energy to keep it up at a consistent quality. Maybe when my life returns to something that resembles normality, it’ll make a return! In the meantime, I hope my short stories alone are enough fuel for thought (fuel for nightmare?).

Okay, so, that fanfare and apology is out of the way and done with — on to the next part. Writing is one of my main hobbies, alongside music (which I write, record and publish online) and art. It’s this latter point I’d like to draw your attention to. I like to make my own art (mostly digital paintings), and I’ve recently been adding images of my own creation to my short stories (check out the latest additions, for examples!). Well, it turns out that I’ve amassed quite a lot of art over the course of this hobby, and a few weeks ago I started sharing the pieces via Instagram, to positive response. I thought to myself, “Why not do the same on WordPress?”

I didn’t want to start uploading art onto this blog, as it’s solely for my short stories and horror pieces, and I didn’t want to get my threads crossed or to strike tonal inconsistencies — my stories are, for the most part, horror-themed, whereas my art is quite gentle, dreamy, and psychedelic. So, I’ve made a sister site on WordPress, dedicated entirely to my art. If you’re in any way interested, you can find it here: https://artinsoulstudio.wordpress.com/ — but at the moment, it’s in its fledgling stages!

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An example of the sort of art I’ll be sharing! Artwork by Joshua G. J. Insole

Don’t worry, though — writing is (and shall remain) my main point of focus (even if I don’t have time to work on Bite-Sized Horror!). Art is quite a quick time-filler — I can bash out a painting in ten minutes or so; it doesn’t occupy that much time. I just thought it might be nice to also start sharing my other creative hobbies, as well!

Well, I guess that’s all I really wanted to say! So, thanks for the follows, likes, comments and shares over this past year — I look forward to many more years of blogging with you guys!

P.S. If you’re interested in my music, you can find it on YouTube or SoundCloud!

Thoughts on Yule Be Sorry and plans for 2020!

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Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

 

So, here we are: 2020! A new decade. It doesn’t seem quite right, does it? Where did the years go? Well, here we are, nonetheless! I hope you all had lovely holidays, and that you aren’t feeling the January blues too much!

I hope you all enjoyed my little poem series, Yule Be Sorry: A Very Bite-Sized Xmas. You can now read the poem in its entirety right here. I had a lot of fun with this piece, even though I don’t really consider myself to be a poet. I was really pleased with how it turned out, and, judging by the responses, you guys liked it too! I thought I struck quite a nice balance between horror and comedy with it. Back when I finished my Bite-Sized Halloween series, I said I’d plan any future holiday-themed series in advance… that didn’t really work out. If I do it again in the future, I’d like to have it sketched out ahead, as it’s quite stressful working on the fly, but it appears that it’s just not in my nature! 😛 I guess we’ll just see what happens…

Okay, so, on to 2020! What’s first for the new decade? Well, you might have noticed that I haven’t uploaded any new stories lately — for Reedsy or for the #BlogBattle. This isn’t because I haven’t been writing (because I have!), it’s simply because I did a lot of travelling over the holidays, to see family, friends, and loved ones — so I didn’t have an awful lot of time to keep this blog updated. Many apologies for that! Therefore, my first thing to do is post my short stories that I’ve written over December and early January. Some are pretty good (or so I think!), and some are quite clearly thrown together at the last minute. I’m proud of all of them, however, even if I’d have liked more time to work on them. So, you can expect to see a lot of posts regarding new stories over the next week or so!

What next? Well, I guess the next iteration of Bite-Sized Horror! I’d quite like to return to my original posts — new, two-sentence chills every day! However, I am also in the process of trying to write a book (the one that I started back in November for NaNoWriMo). So, I think I’ll go back to the ‘old’ format, but I won’t try and post a new piece every day, as that would require time and creative juices that are (as of this moment) being channeled into my main WIP. I hope you don’t mind — there’s only so much I can do in one day!

Other than that, it’s same old, same old! Here’s to a year and a new decade, and the stories that we will tell!

NaNoWriMo Success and a Very Bite-Sized Xmas!

NaNoWriMo

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Well, hello there! It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I know I’ve still kept my Reedsy short stories updated, but other than that I’ve been AWOL. The reason is that I’ve been participating in NaNoWriMo throughout November! For those of you who don’t know what it is, NaNoWriMo is a challenge to write 50,000 words in one month. It’s a lot… but, as of last night, I officially completed the challenge!

I am super-proud of myself for having ‘won’ this year’s NaNoWriMo. I participated in the challenge once before, and came away with my tail between my legs. The first draft of my novel is now 3/4 complete! I aim to maintain the pace I set during November, and hope to have a fully-polished manuscript at some point next year.

For those of you who are stats nerds like me, I’ve included a screenshot of my November writing stats to give you a bit of a chuckle. I flew back home to the UK to attend my brother’s wedding in November — you can clearly see this in the dent in my progress! But, I managed to claw my way back, tooth and nail! It just goes to show, no matter how far ‘behind’ you feel you are, if you put the work in, you can still succeed.

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A Very Bite-Sized Xmas

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And on to my next project! Back in October I wrote a little piece for my Bite-Sized Horror section for Halloween, consisting of daily ‘bite-sized’ 99-word stories. Well, this Christmas, I’ve decided to do the same! The title of the series is Yule Be Sorry: A Very Bite-Sized Christmas, and every day I’ll be posting a little section of it — all the way up until the 25th!

Unlike my Bite-Sized Halloween story, Yule Be Sorry will be made up of daily stanzas, to form one large poem. I think I did the 99-word story idea to death, and wanted to try something new! I’m not much of a poet — I consider myself to be more of a storyteller… but the idea sounded fun, so we’ll see how it goes!

When I finished my Bite-Sized Halloween piece, I made a post commenting on my lack of preparation in advance, and how if I were to ever do such a thing again, I’d plan it out ahead of schedule… well, that didn’t work out. At all. Mainly due to time constraints and other commitments (i.e. NaNoWriMo). So, much like the Halloween piece, this Christmas piece will be written on the fly, and made up as I go along.

Well, that’s about it, guys! I’m glad to be back, after a month away, and I’m super-excited to see where Yule Be Sorry: A Very Bite-Sized Christmas will take me! (Part one was posted this morning!)

So, look out for a man in a red suit, and keep your ears open for the jingling of bells — it may not be the jolly fellow you are expecting…

‘As It Ends’ Was Shortlisted for the Reedsy Contest!

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Hey, everyone! Sorry for being so quiet on here lately, but life has been so busy! Anyway, I’ve been shortlisted for the Reedsy contest again! This marks the second time I’ve been shortlisted for the contest. Of course, I’d love to win the contest again, I’m still really pleased at being shortlisted!

If you haven’t already, you can read As It Ends here, or over on my Reedsy profile.

Sally didn’t see the nukes explode.

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If you’d like to read my previously shortlisted story, What Did We Do? click here or here. And if you’d like to read my stories that actually won, you can read The Things That Do Not Float here and here, and Astro Naught here and here.

Check back tomorrow to read my latest entry! I feel as if I’ve broken new ground with this most recent piece…