Tyson Adams

Putting the 'ill' back in thriller

Archive for the tag “original work”

Short stories now on Amazon

That’s right. I decided that there was no better way to learn how to publish my novellas than to practice with two of my short stories. I’m now prepared for the task of crossing the threshold into “professional author” territory, letting my creations escape the confines of my head and harddrive. I’ve priced both short stories at the Amazon standard $0.99, which is about what I think short stories should go for – novellas $2.99, novels somewhere between $7 and $10.

Running-the-Cross Rum-and-Roses

So if you would like to read some short stories, may I suggest you download mine from Amazon. Running the Cross is “A test of mind and body, running the cross is the ultimate test. A dozen rail lines, thousands of tonnes of freight trains travelling at high speed, a race across the tracks to prove yourself. Will you survive?” Rum and Roses “The police don’t like ‘Skinny’ McAfree, but they do like him for the disappearance and possible murder of his next door neighbour.”

I really enjoyed writing both of these, especially Running the Cross, and hope you enjoy reading them.
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00B3WP0OK – Running the Cross

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00B3XTKFO – Rum and Roses

NaNoWriMo 2011 – Day 1

The month of writing madness has begun!

This is my first attempt/entry into NaNoWriMo (NaNo details here). I am a virgin who doesn’t know any better, a lamb to the slaughter, a bright eyed idealist…… Blog posts count towards the word total, right?

The story I am writing is tentatively entitled Overturned Stones. It is a thriller with humorous overtones to subdue the dark subject matter. I had previously started this particular project but had to bin it in June and redo the outline (stupid characters didn’t do what I wanted them to!): I’m new to novel writing, live and learn.

Outline: You never expect to stand trial for the murder of your wife, especially if you didn’t do it. When you find out that your wife may not be dead but rather kidnapped by human traffickers for sexual slavery, you could be forgiven for being a little annoyed. Proposing lead therapy for the traffickers in an effort to help them reform and free your wife isn’t appreciated, by the traffickers, the police, or potential future employers. Can one man, dubbed “The Husband” by the media, take down organised crime, avoid the police and traffickers, and keep his gun loaded?

My journey has begun with a nice lead in. Yesterday and Sunday I managed to write a few short stories, plenty of writing to pique the creative juices. Currently they are with my trusted critique providers and then edits before submission – I’m thinking Crime Noir, Wet Ink and I have another paranormal story that I’m still thinking about which publication would suit it.

Today my writing was done while Australian’s were stopped for a horse race. Given that all I care about is buying the glue and dog food after the race and not throwing money into a void prior, I was able to get a sizable chunk written.
Words Written: 1,771
Total: 1,771
Remaining: 48,229

Who else is slightly mad this year?

Red Adept Infamous Last Line Competition Winners

The winners of the Red Adept Reviews Infamous Last Line competition have been announced. I won.

Okay, so I didn’t actually win, but I did place equal third in the Horror category and equal second in the Romance category. You only have to read some of the hilarious Infamous Last Lines to see that the competition was full of great entries.

I loved the idea of the competition: think of the worst possible final line for a novel. Creativity abounded, I myself entered in three categories – I didn’t place in the Mystery section, most likely my entry was too much like a real mystery ending.

Congratulations to the winners of each category and the overall winner Nicholas Chase. Also a big thankyou to the Red Adept team for the competition.

Horror/Thriller/Suspense Entries

Third Place (Ties):
Heroic Manly’s eyes buldged in horror as he, at last, found the courage to look into the mirror where, staring back at him, was a personage who was, at best, merely a two-dimensional character.
— Scott Nagele

Dick and Jane had finally defeated the amorphous, pus-oozing monster, Gilgamesh, thanks to their valiant licking, but would Gilgamesh stay dead, and for how long?
— Tyson Adams

As they slithered across the landscape, their massive tails obliterating everything in their path, they thought little of the destruction of mankind; they hadn’t tasted that good anyway.
— Sandy from Indy

To be continued….
—Scarlet

And then realisation finally dawned upon them, like the brilliant magenta sun striking crimson red into the sky, that the case of the lost armadillo had finally been solved and that they could return home as the heroes of their childhood.
— Annmarie, the awesome one

Holy shit, zombies really DO like to eat brains, and I now deeply regret asking my grandmother to go back inside that church to fetch my high school letterman’s jacket.
— Mister Teacher

As the fierce light of the nearby nuclear blast that destroyed the covert Chechen missile base faded, Lance ‘Danger’ Steele grinned, deftly applied 138 stitches to his bulging right bicep, and held up his victory cigar so that the fiery atomic glow from outside the corpse-strewn bunker lit the end.
— Frank

Romance/Chick Lit Entries

Second Place (Ties):
“This has all been fun, Steph,” he said, letting go of her hand, “But… well… I already have a girlfriend.”
— Gregory J. Downs… google it.

Henry grabbed Rose by her shapely and firm buttocks and pulled her close, whispering in her ear, “This was a great weekend baby, hope you don’t get clingy about it.”
— Tyson Adams

He stood panting in the doorway as he looked back at her, tears rushing down her cheeks like frantic spawning salmon because she’d finally awakened from her vampire-obsessed fantasies to realize that those canine teeth meant something terrifying—he wasn’t a hunky werewolf; he was an insipid spaniel.
—Mary Pat, author of THE TERMINAL DINER

Update – Alan Marshall Short Story Award

Hi Friends,

I received a letter today – I know, people are actually still sending those things, I almost expect to see a carrier pigeon doing air mail next – that notified entrants about the Alan Marshall Short Story Award winners.

Now according to the blog stats my short story, Pleased To Meet You, ranks in the top 10 of my posts. According to the feedback I’ve received it didn’t suck, most readers even enjoyed it, one person even went as far as to say I had talent. So how did my story compare to the other 70+ short stories?

Well, as I expected, Pleased To Meet You didn’t win. That honour went to Laura Jean McKay for Massage 8000, a story about a group of women in a Cambodian brothel.

So congratulations to Laura, thanks to the judge Fiona Capp, and thanks to the Alan Marshall Award committee.

Currently I’m working on a short story for the new publication, Noir Nation. Hopefully I’ll meet the deadline, give it a hug and wish it well, as I scoot past on the tide of my day job.

Cheers, Tyson.

New Word of the Day – Werbiage

Werbiage


Werbiage is a portmanteau of Word, Garbage and Verbiage.

Thus the meaning of werbiage is that a statement or document (etc) has an overabundance of meaningless words that are either rubbish or useless.


I made this word up today during a meeting with managers and is from the Middle French verbi (to gabble) and the Middle English garbelage (discarding butchered bowels).

New word of the day

Tickyboxiness

Tickyboxiness is the ability of an objective to meet key criterion to impress managers, irrespective of, and often in opposition to, the benefit of stakeholders.

This new word is for all people trying to achieve their KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) or, like me, are stuck in a management meeting.

Top 5 Most Over-rated Drinks

Any author needs a drink on hand to help with the hours of writing, research and dicking around. Some great novelists have preferred to have a scotch on hand, others can’t start writing without a pot of coffee. Which brings me to today’s topic: over-rated drinks. For so long there have been a number of beverages that people will wax lyrical about and yet they are really nothing special. Whether it be tradition, reputation or the cool factor, these drinks have earned a coveted place in our society that is not based upon merit, just like Snooki.

1. Coffee
Walk around most cities and you will not be able to travel more than 10 metres without passing a coffee shop. In America this coffee shop will most likely be a Starbucks. The close proximity of these stores is indicative of the unhealthy addiction people have to caffeine. The worst part of it is that you can have a barista spend 5 minutes making you a tall mocha frap with a pump of vanilla and an extra shot of espresso, yet ask them to make you a cup of tea and they hand you a paper cup with some hot water and a tea bag floating in it.

Honestly, why don’t people do cocaine or amphetamines if they need the energy boost?

2. Champagne
Champagne is really just bubbly vinegar. People don’t actually drink the stuff, they spray it all over people they’ve just beaten in a race, or spray it over women who are about to be taken advantage of.

I think the fact that someone invented a glass specifically to make champagne actually palatable says a lot about how bad this drink is.

3. Dry Martini
The Dry Martini is really just paint stripper and methylated spirits served in a fancy glass with an olive in it instead of an old tin with a paint brush sitting in it. Just because James Bond drinks it doesn’t make this a good drink. Remember James Bond was very self destructive and was probably using the Martini to cure his VD.

4. Fruit Juice
There isn’t much to say about a beverage that takes all the goodness of fruit, removes the goodness, keeps the sugar, and adds flavour. There are many popular fruit juices that contain as much as 5% real fruit. There are others that are the equivalent of drinking a can of Coke, except with 2% more fibre. Of course, you could really go out on a limb and eat fruit.

5. Bottled WaterYes, bottled water is over-rated. Especially if the water has added vitamins and nutrients. We get this stuff free from our tap and yet someone managed to bottle it and sell it to us. I bet right now that marketing genius has just closed a sale on a bridge and is heading to the Arctic to sell some Inuits ice.

Scene from Heathers
Officer Milner: [arriving on crime scene] So, what’s the deal?
Officer McCord: Suicide. Double suicide. They shot each other!
Officer Milner: Hey, that’s Kurt Kelly!
Officer McCord: And the line backer, Ram Sweeney.
Officer Milner: My God, suicide. Why?
Officer McCord: [holds up bottle of mineral water found next to one of the bodies] Does *this* answer your question?
Officer Milner: [appalled] Oh man! They were fags?
Officer McCord: [grimly] Listen up: [reading from forged suicide letter]
Officer McCord: “We realized we could never reveal our forbidden love to an uncaring and un-understanding world.”
Officer Milner: [disgusted] Jesus H. Christ!
Officer McCord: The quarterback, buggering the linebacker… [shaking head]
Officer McCord: What a waste!
Officer Milner: Oh, the humanity!

How to interpret online book reviews

p { margin-bottom: 0.08in; }My previous post sought to elucidate some of those oft quoted expressions which plague music reviews. Despite the unequivocally superior standard of articulation amongst the literary fraternity, there are, upon occasion, some idioms that have become rather cliché. Thus it has fallen upon me, dear reader, to compile and define some terms and phrases that require proper denotation, in order to provide clarification of book review terminology definitions.

Page-turner: Meets the bare minimum standards for a book.
Gripping: I got this from a library where kids are allowed to play.
Poignant: Something sad happened in this book, most likely a character gets cancer.
Compelling: I spent so much time reading this book I had to finish it despite wanting to hurt myself after every sentence.
Nuanced: I have no idea what this book was about but I liked it.
Lyrical: Should be a poem instead so that it isn’t as long and self-involved.
Tour de force: The book is too long and waffly.
Readable: Boring but better than watching TV.
Haunting: Either used to describe a book that made the reviewer actually think, or, more likely, is meant to make you think but is just pretentious.
Deceptively simple: Could have been written by a 10 year old.
Rollicking: Something actually happens in this book.
Fully realized: The book has a beginning, middle and end.
Timely: Makes passing reference to something that happened 2 years ago.
X meets Y meets Z: The reviewer hasn’t read the book so is quoting the sales blurb.
Sweeping: Long.
That said: I’ve just insulted this entire book but it is popular for some unknown reason (e.g. Twilight).
Riveting: Was able to finish reading it.
Unflinching: Unpleasant.
Powerful: I read the hardcover.
Unputdownable: Reviewer is unfamiliar with English.
Masterfully or Masterful: The author is familiar with English.
Beautifully written: A lot of long words were used.
Startling: Reviewer was surprised the book was published.
Bold: Controversial.
Accessible: Written for kids.
Memorable: Reviewer didn’t have to look up the author or title to write the review.
Epic: Really, really, long.
A tale of loss and redemption: Someone dies, the protagonist gets over it, the end.
Sensuously, seductively, and/or lushly described: Painstakingly boring descriptions of mundane details.
Must read: Bestseller.
What it is to be human: Someone falls in love or someone dies.
Luminous: Has a pretty cover.
Evocative: Not boring or pedantic.
Poetic: Wordy.
Thought provoking: Reviewer is sure the book is cultural or intellectual but didn’t quite get it.
Rollicking roller-coaster: Kids book, or should be.
Provocative: Annoying.
Lends itself to X: Reading the book X was better.
Opinionated: The reviewer disagrees with everything the author has ever written.
Emotional roller-coaster: Nominated for some literary award.
Only minor quibbles: The book sucked.
Stays in your mind long after the last page is turned: Had a bad ending.
Writing at the peak of his/her powers: Much better than the author’s other books.
At once: The reviewer is about to use more than one of these terms in a sentence.
Also, lets not forget the various terms that are used to tell you what the genre of the book is, rather than just say what the genre is:
Explicit, steamy, romp, raunchy: Erotica or has sex in it.
Charged, taut, woven, layered: Political thriller.
Heart-warming, life-affirming: Romantic drama.
Seamy, gritty, underworld: Crime.
Taut, fast-paced, dynamic: Thriller.
Epic: Fantasy.
Hope this clears things up a bit.

Word of the Day: Paraprosdokian

There is definitely too little wit in the world today. The witless wonders that inhabit our world have made Every Body Loves Raymond a popular show. Paraprosdokian is a great example of wit. You take a sentence and then use the latter part of a sentence or phrase to surprise or twist the meaning; preferably using it to create humour. “Where there’s a will, I want to be in it,” is a type of paraprosdokian.
They are so good that famous people have used them:
  • “He was at his best when the going was good.” —Alistair Cooke on the Duke of Windsor
  • There but for the grace of God — goes God.” —Winston Churchill
  • “If I am reading this graph correctly — I’d be very surprised.” —Stephen Colbert 
  • “You can always count on the Americans to do the right thing—after they have tried everything else.” —Winston Churchill
  • “If all the girls who attended the Yale prom were laid end to end, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised.” —Dorothy Parker
  • “I’ve had a perfectly wonderful evening, but this wasn’t it.” —Groucho Marx
  • “A modest man, who has much to be modest about.” — supposedly Winston Churchill, about Clement Attlee 
  • “She looks as though she’s been poured into her clothes, and forgot to say ‘when’.” —P. G. Wodehouse
  • “I like going to the park and watching the children run around because they don’t know I’m using blanks.” —Emo Phillips
  • “If I could say a few words, I’d be a better public speaker.” —Homer Simpson 
  • “I haven’t slept for ten days, because that would be too long.” —Mitch Hedberg 
  • “I sleep eight hours a day and at least ten at night.” —Bill Hicks

In my own writing I am trying to use humour to offset the dark themes and violence so that I can undermine societal values because you don’t see much humour in thrillers. Here are some examples of paraprosdokian sentences that might tickle some funny bones:

  • Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.
  • The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it’s still on my list.
  • Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.
  • If I agreed with you, we’d both be wrong.
  • We never really grow up, we only learn how to act in public.
  • War does not determine who is right – only who is left.
  • Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • Evening news is where they begin with ‘Good Evening,’ and then proceed to tell you why it isn’t.
  • To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many is research.
  • A bus station is where a bus stops. A train station is where a train stops. On my desk, I have a work station.
  • I thought I wanted a career. Turns out I just wanted paychecks.
  • Whenever I fill out an application, in the part that says, ‘In case of emergency, notify:’ I put ‘DOCTOR.’
  • I didn’t say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.
  • Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the street with a bald head and a beer gut, and still think they are sexy.
  • Behind every successful man is his woman. Behind the fall of a successful man is usually another woman.
  • A clear conscience is the sign of a fuzzy memory.
  • I asked God for a bike, but I know God doesn’t work that way. So I stole a bike and asked for forgiveness.
  • You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.
  • Money can’t buy happiness, but it sure makes misery easier to live with.
  • There’s a fine line between cuddling and holding someone down so they can’t get away.
  • I used to be indecisive. Now I’m not so sure.
  • You’re never too old to learn something stupid.
  • To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target.
  • Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.
  • Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.
  • Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.
  • A diplomat is someone who tells you to go to hell in such a way that you look forward to the trip.
  • Hospitality is making your guests feel at home even when you wish they were.
  • I always take life with a grain of salt. Plus a slice of lemon, and a shot of tequila.
  • When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water.
  • Words of Wisdom “The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.”

Short Story: Pleased to Meet You

I’ve been promising to post a few short stories here, the day has finally arrived to keep that promise. This post proves that it was a “man promise” and not a “politician promise”.
The following short story, entitled Pleased to Meet You, is something I’m entering in the Alan Marshall Short Story Award – this piece is 1065 words long. I wrote the original draft for this a decade ago and I was happy with it after some minor revisions and additions. As this is the first public outing for my work I’d love any feedback you have.

Pleased to Meet You

p { margin-bottom: 0.08in; }

“I never used to talk to people.”
“I’m sorry, are you talking to me?”
Sarah was slightly startled by the sudden realisation that there was an old man sitting next to her. She hadn’t notice the old man sit down at the other end of the park bench, hadn’t notice him arrive. This was her only quiet time for the day, her lunch break in the park. Out here in the fresh air she could sit in silence, away from the phone calls, conversations in the next fabric-covered cubicle, the attention seeking of her two young sons and the emotional unloading of her husband. The light breeze, the gentle late autumn sun, peace.
“Oh, I was just telling you about when I was younger. Mint?”
He seemed friendly. Old men and women tend to like having a chat with strangers, in Sarah’s experience. Sarah really didn’t need her quiet time interrupted. She took another bite of her chicken and salad roll.
“No thanks, I have my roll.” she said with her mouth full.
“It started off simply, I was born in a place similar to this. I was autistic for the first dozen years of my life until something happened, can’t remember. Except for the feeling that my surroundings had suddenly taken on a new light.”
She stared at his face, trying to look polite, while masking her annoyance. “Autistic? That must have been hard.”
“It was a long time ago.” The park bench was cold, though the day was warm and sunny. Gentle gusts teased their hair, blowing hers away from her face and neck. Sarah didn’t want to trap herself in a conversation out of politeness, though he seemed so genuine and spoke with a warmth and wisdom that made him somewhat charming.
“It was when I moved to university that I really noticed my thirst for knowledge. I began reading books, papers, journals, attending extra seminars and lectures regardless of topic. The more I read and learnt the more I thirsted for it. Book after book, journal after journal, remembering everything, soon there wasn’t anything on the campus that I hadn’t read or learnt.”
Sarah had been eating slowly, but she sped up now to excuse herself from the conversation.
“I was an anonymous figure on campus, people recognised me but few knew who I was.” He leaned in close, “It wasn’t human interaction that I craved though, it was knowledge.”
Sarah nodded, unsure, although less disinterested. His excitement was infectious.
“When the campus resources had dulled, I went abroad in search of more information. Again the more I learnt the more I craved. And with my knowledge came a gift to think quicker, learn quicker. I loved my books, but books were no longer a resource, my own thoughts and designs were becoming my catalyst.” He stopped, lost in the remembrance of happy times.
“So, what happened with these thoughts?” She heard herself say the words and immediately dropped her eyes to the ground and crammed the last of her roll in her mouth.
“An epiphany. I realised that there was more to the universe than could be possibly be learnt from Earth.”
Sarah regretted the question even more. His lined and sagging face, what little hair he had left, they were the old man. The sparkle in his eyes was just the crazy in him. ‘From Earth’ indeed.
“I invented interstellar travel, well, kind of. You know, it is amazing how easy it is to do something when you know how. Knowledge gives you the power to do anything possible.”
Sarah was about to stand up and leave, but she was slightly annoyed. It was usually peaceful out here alone but he had interrupted that peace. She didn’t need a crazy old man talking to her for the rest of her lunch break.
“Let me guess, you flew around the universe and looked at everything, stopped off at every Martian book store, and library along the way.” It came out mean and malicious, she even surprised herself.
“No. Most of the book stores were full of self help books, or trashy romance novels. I was more interested in history, evolution, science.”
“The bookstores around the universe sound a lot like the ones around here.”
He ignored her sardonic statement. “At some point you know everything that is. It then becomes more interesting to see how different peoples arrived at the same point, or how they developed were others did not. The culture of a society can prove the stumbling block, or the shining light.”
“So you’re saying you knew everything there was to know.”
“Everything important. Well everything I thought was important at the time.”
“So what was next for you, intergalactic quiz shows?”
He laughed, “No. I designed and built the universe, this universe on an alternate plain of reality to my own.”
“Uh ha. And now you’re just down here for a chin wag with your local creations?”
“I’m doing the one thing I never did in life, having human interactions. All the time I spent learning I wasn’t interacting with my fellows. I can’t remember one person I went to school with; not one. But I know the matter constant for creative dimensional flux in time streams.”
“Huh?”
“The way all matter moves through the space time continuum.”
“So you are saying you invented all of this?” she gestured to everything around her with her arms, “Even me?”
“In a manner of speaking: yes.”
She glanced quickly at her watch, “Oh, excuse me I have to get back to work.” She made ready to leave, picking up her bag and jumper. She was annoyed that her lunch, her quiet time, had been interrupted by this crazy old man. Her friends at work were not going to believe this little story.
“Nice meeting you, God.” She said with as much sarcasm as she could muster.
“Nice meeting you Sarah.”
She stopped in mid stride stunned. She turned around to look upon the old man. He was not there, gone as quickly as he had arrived. A mint wrapper blew gently from the seat and landed at her feet.

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