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! 🙂

‘Blind Visitors’: Next one on the Reedsy list!

Hey, all! I hope you’re all well during these trying times. I know I write a lot of horror, but at heart I think I’m a big softie. So, from the bottom of my heart, look after yourselves, look after each other, and always be kind.

Okay, that’s enough hippie philosophising, Josh… Time for the story! This one is called Blind Visitors, and I really like it! It was written for the contest Earth to Writers. I chose the prompt, “Write a story that begins and ends with someone looking up at the stars.” You can read Blind Visitors here on WordPress or over on my Reedsy profile!

It’s looking up at the stars. Or is it looking down at them?

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Well, until next time, guys!

‘The Place Where the Birds Don’t Sing’: Part of the Reedsy backlog!

So, as you’re probably aware I was miles behind on everything. Well, I’m slowly catching up and I’m almost done! I’ve just got eight or nine weeks’ worth of Reedsy stories (and about two/three month’s worth of art for Art in Soul!). Here’s the first — I wrote this one all the way back at the end of March. It was written for the contest Spring in Your Step, and I chose the prompt, “Write a story about someone who finds something interesting peeking out from a melting snowbank.” The title of the story is The Place Where the Birds Don’t Sing, and you can read it here on WordPress or over on my Reedsy profile!


I know it’s not much of a defence, but I really didn’t know how much damage it would eventually cause.

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Well, that’s about it for now! I’ll be sharing the rest over the next few days, and I vow to never fall this behind again! In the meantime, did you know that I’m bringing Bite-Sized Horror back? It’s called Friday Afternoon Frights, and it started last week! Feel free to join in, the next one will be up tomorrow afternoon (4 p.m. British time).

Join me for Friday Afternoon Frights — The Return of Bite-Sized Horror!

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I’ve been meaning to bring Bite-Sized Horror back for a while, and I thought now was as good a time as any! I know that I’ve still got lots of short stories to upload (catching up, slowly) but here we are… As opposed to a daily horror series, as Bite-Sized Horror was in its first iteration, this second iteration will be a weekly thing. I think the reason I kept putting off bringing the BSH series back is that doing them daily is a daunting task — I think it’ll be a lot more manageable with just one posted every Friday afternoon!

This second iteration of BSH will also be slightly different — they’ll still be two-sentence shockers, as per, but I’ll be using a random word generator to give me a prompt word each week and use that to spark something. If you’d like to submit a word as a prompt, I’m happy to take any and all suggestions! If you’d also like to submit your own two-sentence shocker based on the word, I’d love to read ’em — I’ll even post my favourites at the start of the next week’s Friday Afternoon Frights! But there’s zero pressure, I just wanna be a bit more active on WordPress again, after falling off the radar for a bit, y’know?

Well, I guess that’s it for now, so, here’s the first (of many, I hope) of the return of Bite-Sized Horror, the word for this week is snow.

 

Snow was spread across his front garden.

What could do that to a dog?

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!

Check out my dark little story for Valentine’s Day: ‘Which Heart?’

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Well, hey guys! Happy Valentine’s Day! Have you got much planned for today? Got a special someone you’re spending it with? Don’t worry if not, there’s no pressure — some say it’s just a Hallmark holiday anyway, manufactured to make money from sales of saccharine cards, boxes of chocolates, and red roses that die within a week…

But, hey, that’s enough cynicism for one day! I’ll be spending the day with my partner, but we won’t be doing anything particularly out of the ordinary to mark this date; a couple of pizzas, a bottle of wine (or two), cuddles on the couch, and a few movies to fall asleep in front of. Maybe even some video games… Perhaps Resident Evil? (At least, that’s how we spent V-Day last year!)

Anyway, on to the reason for this post! For Halloween and Christmas last year, I made holiday-themed posts for my Bite-Sized Horror series. I had a lot of fun with them, and I want to continue the trend for many holidays to come. I thought about doing something for Valentine’s Day, but I honestly haven’t had enough time to properly do it justice. I have, however, had just enough time to write a short story! So, here you have it, a dark little tale about love, life, and death, in order to celebrate Valentines Day 2020. The title of my story is Which Heart? You can read it by clicking here!

Friday the 13th of February: Part One

The witch staggered into the clearing clutching the man’s body. She stumbled to her knees, for his weight was greater than her own, but she did not drop him. She would not drop him, not ever. With a grunt that might have been a howl of rage, she lurched to her feet, arms cradling the lifeless frame.

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I hope you like the story, I really enjoyed writing this one. I’m quite proud of it! Also, I made the artwork for the associated image, which I’m also rather fond of. Art is sort of a “side-side-hobby” for me (with making music being my “side-hobby” and writing being my “main” hobby!), and I’ve kinda got it in my head that it’d be nice to make my own art for my stories, to really draw the reader into the twisted little world I’ve got within my mind…

Read ‘When the War Falls Silent’: My last Reedsy story of 2019!

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Ah, not doing very well at uploading these at a steady rate, am I? I’ll chalk it up to still waking up after the excesses of Christmas, NYE and my birthday (which was yesterday)!

This particular story was written for the Reedsy theme of ‘that holiday feeling’. I chose the prompt, “Write a short story about an innkeeper wondering whether this will be their last holiday in business.” The title of my story is When the War Falls Silent, and it was the last story I wrote in 2019. You can read it here on WordPress, or over here on my Reedsy profile.

It’s worth noting that this story (along with the two Reedsy stories following it — they’ll be uploaded in the upcoming days, keep an eye out!) was written just an hour or so before the Reedsy deadline. I like the idea(s), but I fully admit that I should have dedicated more time to the actual writing process. Alas, this piece (and the other two that will follow) are a bit rough — so keep that in mind! You might be thinking, Josh, if you didn’t have the time, why did you try and squeeze a story in? Why not just wait until you can work on your stuff? And the answer to that is, I like writing one short story a week (at the very least) — I find it’s good practice! I don’t want to get lazy with my craft. Even if the work isn’t quite up to the standards I set for myself, I like the idea of putting something out there on a regular basis. Anyway, this has been enough of a rambling post. I’ll let the story speak for itself…

When the men from the Otherworld arrived, they brought death and destruction with them.

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I hope you like the piece! Even in spite of the previous ramble, I’m quite happy with it, considering I spent about 40 minutes on it. Who knows, maybe I’ll polish this (and the others) when I’ve got more time?

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!