horror

Review: The Garrison Project by David J. Thirteen

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I had the pleasure of reading the first draft of this story when it was first posted on Wattpad, having already discovered David’s work a couple of years before.

David J. Thirteen isn’t your typical Wattpad writer, with his Dean Koontz vibes and nail-biting edge-of-your-seat storylines, he brings a maturity and brilliance that I believe, he really doesn’t get enough credit for. I’m constantly captivated and surprised by his work, because he has a real gift for twists and an unpredictability which is often very rare these days when it comes to paranormal/horror story-telling.

The Garrison Project is definitely no exception to the rule, particularly considering haunted house/demon possession has been done many times before, but David makes you feel like you’re reading it for the first time, bringing something fresh and beautifully sinister to the story. I’m so glad to see this story published because it really does deserve a wider audience and hopefully one that appreciates just how good a writer he is.

A disturbing, haunting read that I know will keep me awake in the dark for many nights to come!

Five stars!

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Short Stories · Wattpad

I’m Your Biggest Fan

Back in February 2014 I published a short story on Wattpad about a drug-addled rock star who gets stuck in an elevator with an obsessed fan. It was a story about obsession, paranoia and how people react in extreme situations. 

If I’m honest, I never expected it to amount to much. I’d posted short stories on Wattpad before but they had tended to attract a much smaller audience than my paranormal romance series Dark Sanctuary and far less interest my dark fantasy series The Whitechapel Chronicles. I get why that happened. For a start, you either like short stories or you don’t. I never started reading shorties until I picked up a Stephen King collection that had been languishing on my bookshelf for months and although I loved it, even now I’d pick a full-length novel over a short any day. Secondly, my short stories find their roots more in horror than in dark fantasy or paranormal and to be fair, most of my followers on Wattpad are there for the vampires – not for the zombies, the serial killers and the the guy who flips and chokes his wife on her own lovingly-made cupcakes. 

So when I posted The Fan, I figured it would go the same way as the others and accumulate maybe five thousand reads or if I was lucky, ten thousand at a push. Feedback was pretty good, people seemed to like the story but most of the reads were from my loyal bunch of regulars as opposed to new readers. 

Then in March 2014 Wattpad made the decision to add The Fan to their Featured list and what I thought was just a little short story that would most likely drift into obscurity, suddenly took upon a life of it’s own. Those five thousand reads turned into ten, fifty, hundred and it continued to snowball until today where it’s now sitting just above the four hundred thousand mark.

Of course, getting Featured brings some demons your way – if you’ve ever been Featured on Wattpad you might just understand where I’m coming from with that!  I’ve been plagued with comments from readers who were clearly expecting some kind of Fanfiction and discovered it was anything BUT that, which often makes me chuckle when they reach the end and you can just imagine their jaws dropping and mouthing ‘WTF???’ over and over in disgust. I’ve been chastised for using swear words too much (I swear too much? Well fuck, I never knew that!). AND I got dragged over the coals by American teens who had no idea that another version of the English language existed and accused me of not knowing how to spell (Hey author, FYI it’s gray not grey!) *inserts Ace Ventura WELL REAAAALLLLLLLLLY gif*. However despite all that guff, there’s no doubt that without that helping hand, The Fan wouldn’t be well on its way to the half a million mark. 

And just when I thought that maybe the story was dead, Wattpad have again revived it like the proverbial Franenstein’s monster that it is and have added it to their promotional list in conjunction with the new film Unfriended. Overnight the reads have spiked once again and suddenly the little short story that I thought would never amount to anything, is alive and kicking, with a shiny new promotional sticker to boot. 

So huge thanks to Wattpad for continuing to support my out-of-control little shortie and thanks to those who have read, voted and commented. Yes, even  you guys who told me to stop swearing. I fucking love you all. 

http://www.wattpad.com/story/12686127-the-fan-featured-by-wattpad-2014

  

Wattpad · Writing

Plagiarism: it’s not big and it’s not clever.

Imagine this if you will.

It’s Friday. (It doesn’t have to be a Friday, it could be any day, I’m just using Friday for analogical purposes). You’ve had a long day. Hell, scrap that, you’ve had a long week. You’re looking forward to getting home and having dinner with your husband and son (you can change characters to fit your own story). You pull up outside, put the key in the lock and walk in – only to find another woman sitting in your seat at the dinner table. She’s wearing your clothes. She’s sitting with your husband and son. And even worse, she’s eating your damn dinner.

You ask her what the hell she is doing there and she just shakes her head and smiles. ‘No, no,’ she replies, still smiling. ‘These may look like your clothes. This may look like your husband and son. This may look your dinner table, your chair, your house. But it is all mine.’

You look in her eyes and realise she actually believes this. She is staking claim to your life and she is sure – no, wait, she is insistent – that it all belongs to her.

It has the makings of a horror story, doesn’t it? Crazy woman stealing your clothes, your family, your life and the whole time she is just smiling at you, like it’s nothing. Like it doesn’t matter.

Well, this is what happened to me yesterday. Okay, so I didn’t come home to find some mad woman stealing my life, but I did come home to find that someone had stolen one of my stories on Wattpad. Only this particular person messaged me to ask my express permission to steal one of my stories. That’s new, right? A wannabe plagiarist asking permission to plagiarise? Let’s forget, for a moment, that the plagiarist wasn’t a wannabe at all, in fact, the crime had already been committed so she was asking after the fact. Instead let’s look at what she said:

‘I love your story The Fan and I want to write something similar. Only it won’t be your story, it will be mine. I want your permission.’

Hmmmm, I thought, raising an eyebrow. Somebody who feels the need to ask for permission surely must know that she wants to write something remarkably similar.

So I asked her what she meant by ‘similar’.

‘I want to write a story about a fan who gets stuck in a lift with (insert name of famous boy band member) and he kills her. But it will be my story. I just want to make sure that if anyone reads it they will know that you said it was okay.’

Ooooooooh well obviously that’s okay then! (insert heavily sarcastic intonation).

After explaining to Plagiarist Girl that actually it would be MY story but with different characters and that, no, I would not give her permission to plagiarise, I discovered via a Wattpad friend that PG had in fact, already posted ‘her’ story. It wasn’t her story. It was my story. And I mean, actually my story with a few minor word changes. It wasn’t just similar. It was a direct copy.

Well after reporting her to Wattpad and warning her that she had been reported with a request that she remove the story immediately, PG thankfully did just that. She apologised. I said okay. She asked to credit me on a new story. I said no thank you. Case closed, Dr Watson.

But the point is, apology or not, PG took a story that was not hers, changed a couple of very small details, and tried to stake claim to it. And then had the gall to ask for my permission. I wonder if she ever really thought I would say yes? What sane person would give up their life and let someone move into their home and take everything for themselves? She knew it was wrong and yet felt perfectly comfortable in stealing it as long as I said it was fine. And isn’t that just the problem with plagiarists? Ultimately they don’t care.

I have to say, however, that I am one of the lucky ones. Of course, I have to thank PG for alerting me to her own theft in the first place. Others I know haven’t been so lucky and this is happening on a regular basis on Wattpad and to many people who have posted their work on other writing sites. You can’t blame the site itself. It’s not something they can control. They can only remove the offending stories and warn the users when they themselves are alerted to the crime via the support ticket system or by somebody contacting one of the moderators. Wattpad writers have to rely on the beady eyes of their followers and friends to spot evidence of plagiarism. And unfortunately the more visible you become on the site, the higher the chance of you falling prey to the plagiarists.

In my case, I became what is known as a Featured Writer.

‘Well, that sounds wonderful!’ you say. ‘Hold on. What’s a Featured Writer?’

Getting ‘featured’ by Wattpad means that they have deemed one of your offerings as worthy of making their Featured List, which is basically Wattpad’s recommended reads. It’s the Go To List for all new members. It’s also the place for existing members to find something new to read that is officially supported by Wattpad.

Now I admit to punching the air with glee when I was contacted by one of the site’s lovely ambassadors and told the news. After all, a few of my closest Wattpad buddies had been featured and have seen the reads, comments and votes rocket, not to mention gain followers and have their work make the Hot Lists. So I was extremely happy and honoured that Wattpad would want The Fan to be featured. I still am. The Fan climbed to number one in the horror hot list and the current reads stand at almost 170,000 since it was first featured in April. I’d be a fool not to appreciate that.

But make no bones about it, getting featured isn’t all hunky dory. I’ve been lambasted for posting a copyright notice at the beginning of the story (why that should offend people, I have no idea). I’ve been accused of not knowing how to spell because I write in British English and apparently there are some people who aren’t aware that different versions of the English language exist outside of the US borders (to be fair these people probably don’t know that anything exists outside of the US, nor that the earth is round or that it orbits around the sun). I’ve been scolded for the use of swear words in the story. I’ve been harassed by readers who think it’s too short (the clue is in the short story genre tag, duh!) I’ve been plagued a gazillion times by people advertising their story on mine, most of whom haven’t even had the courtesy to read my story first. I’ve had people tell me it’s crap. The list is endless.

And now I can add plagiarism to that list. The difference here is that if this was just bottom-dweller trolls, I could block them and the harassment would stop. But you can’t block a plagiarist from seeing your stories and potentially stealing your ideas. The block function doesn’t work that way. It stops them from commenting on your stories and from contacting you, but for me, that really isn’t the issue. Plagiarist Girl has been very nice in all her communication. She even commented on another of my short stories and left some positive feedback. Ultimately if she wants to take another of my stories and copy it, she could, although I hope that she will now appreciate that all beady eyes will be on the look-out for this.

This isn’t a horror story about getting Featured, far from it. All in all, I am still very grateful for being Featured. I’ve received some amazing feedback. And getting the backing of Wattpad is very gratifying. It makes you feel like you’re on the right track after all and maybe not everything you write is a pile of steaming donkey poop. But there’s no denying that the latest ‘free gift’ is one that I’d like to return to sender. It doesn’t taste good. And it’s certainly left me feeling slightly disillusioned and itching to delete my works. I don’t want to of course, and most likely won’t, the pro’s vastly out weigh the cons for me (although this hasn’t been the case with some of my friends who have recently left the site).

Plagiarism hurts. That’s a simple fact. It hurts, not only because someone else is trying to stake their claim on your property, but it makes you think about what you had to do to write the damn thing in the first place. It’s not just someone staking a claim on your life, it’s like someone is stealing a little piece of your soul. And I don’t even make money from my stories. Can you imagine if I did? It would be like someone reaching into my bag and stealing my purse. It would be like someone frogmarching me to the cash point on payday and making me withdraw a month’s wages.

If you’re considering copying somebody else’s work, don’t. Find your own ideas. Create your own damn stories. Trust me, it’s far more gratifying to see your ‘light bulb moment’ grow and develop on the page. Far more pleasurable to be able to sit back and say ‘This is mine. I created it. It belongs to me.’

And if you can’t write your own, then just read the ones you like and leave it at that.

Playing Dead · Wattpad · Writing

Playing Dead scores a top 5 spot on Wattpads vampire hot list!

Evening bloggers, writers, friends and weirdos

So as they say every cloud has a silver lining, I had a week from the very bowels of Hell followed by one from the hallowed gates of Heaven. I won’t dwell on the crappy week, suffice to say I was glad to kick its sorry ass back down to the Underworld, but the good week was particularly lovely in the fact that my current WIP Playing Dead made it to the #3 spot on the Wattpad vampire hot list!

This is the highest position any of my works has ranked since I joined Wattpad (Blood Wars previously reached #16) so to see Playing Dead suddenly hit a top five spot felt pretty blood amazing, even if it turns out to be a very short-lived stay.

The Wattpad hot list rankings are confusing to say the least and my tiny tech-resistant brain can’t cope with how it all works and from experience I know that just because you’re ranking one day, doesn’t mean you will be there the next. In fact, when I was posting Blood Wars, all three books in the series were in the top 100 and seemed to be doing really well and literally overnight they all disappeared. See? Non comprendez. No speakey de Wattpad.

Playing Dead has accumulated almost 190,000 reads and over 7000 votes since I started posting back in August and to put that in some kind of perspective, Dark Sanctuary has only just reached 198,000 reads and 6500 votes and that’s been fully uploaded since November 2012. And so if you’re one of those people who has helped Playing Dead reach #3, then a huge big Cinnamon thank you to you! I’ve received some amazing comments and feedback from all the Wattpad readers, some of whom have been with me since the beginning and some who I’ve gathered along the way. Each day brings new readers, new points of view and new Harper Cain fans!

I’m immensely honoured that anyone would want to read my stuff, let alone the number of people who have been kind enough to spend time reading Playing Dead and waiting patiently for my weekly updates.

If you’re a writer, particularly a new writer who wants to find the right kind of public forum on which to start posting their work, you could do no wrong than making a start on Wattpad. I’ve been lucky enough to meet and befriend people from all over the world, people of all ages and from all walks of life who come together to take a walk in somebody’s imaginary world. I’ve met and befriended some great writers, some of whom having found success on Wattpad are now taking that leap of faith into self-publishing. So if you have something that you’d like to post, whether it be poetry or paranormal, thrillers or fanfic, come along and join up.

And if you’re not quite ready to post and just want to read…..then please do come along and read Playing Dead. I’d love to see you all there!

http://www.wattpad.com/story/7745041-playing-dead

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Playing Dead

#SaturdaySnippet – Excerpt from Playing Dead

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The walls were whispering. Ghosts of whispers and whispers of ghosts.
With my knees pulled up into my chest, I sat with my head leaning against the wall, my ear pressed against its cold surface and I listened to them, breathing their painful lament out through brick and mortar. Their bodies might have been long free of this place, but their souls weren’t. They were trapped within these walls, scratching at cracks that spread out across the flaking plaster like spidery thread veins, fighting to be heard, fighting for someone, anyone to listen.
And so, I listened. I closed my eyes and breathed in the voices. The latent screams of vampires, so many of my kind, mutilated, pulled apart and left for dead, only the biggest tragedy was that they hadn’t died when the Varúlfur had come for them. If they had, then they would never have become trapped here in these walls of death, imprisoned forever and unable to escape the unbearable agony of their dark fate.
And before that, before this place had become a makeshift vampire hospital during the days of the Great Cleansing, I could hear the screams of the asylum patients. Horrible, ear splitting cries as if their very souls were being ripped apart, torn into a thousand pieces and devoured by demons. Screams of such spine chilling terror as the asylum doctors sought to torture them all in the guise of curing them of their madness. And even worse, babies. I could hear the first guttural cries of babies, their howls mixing together with the enduring screams of their committed mothers as they were taken from them seconds after birth and cursed with the same sickness. There had been no nursery here. Just bones, upon bones, upon bones.

Copyright (c) Lindsey Clarke all rights reserved

Playing Dead

Playing Dead is on Facebook!

Evening bloggers, readers, friends and weirdos,

It’s been a while hasn’t it? But the good news is I have been writing like a demon and posting new novel Playing Dead to Wattpad.

So far the reaction has been amazing. 67,000 reads and over 3000 votes, it’s currently nestling happily at #15 in the vampire charts (highest position was #8). Already I can see it will overtake the Dark Sanctuary series in the popularity stakes, something I never expected, so I decided that it deserved it’s very own Facebook page.

Please do come along and give the page a big LIKE and if you haven’t checked it out already, please come and read it on Wattpad.

http://www.facebook.com/PlayingDeadSeries

In the meantime, here’s a little taster…..

“You angels, you see nothing. You’re blind to the real world. You don’t want to see it. All you want is beauty and perfection and this wonderful little bubble you put yourselves in, where nobody can touch you, nobody can defile you with reality. When I met you, I was so surprised at how close you already were to the edge. It was so easy really. All you needed was a little push. And trust me, there is nothing in this world more pleasurable than watching an angel fall to her death. Nothing at all.”

Excerpt taken from chapter 17, copyright (c) Lindsey Clarke 2013 all rights reserved

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Playing Dead

#SampleSaturday – Excerpt from Playing Dead

“Who else is involved?”
“It doesn’t matter,” he replied and the same exhaustion laced his voice as it did my own.
“Of course it matters. My pictures were plastered all over your wall. Someone had been watching me, for weeks, months maybe. Don’t you think I have a right to know who else you enlisted to help lure me to my death?”
“And what would be the point, Megan, huh? So you can seek revenge on them also? All you need to know is sitting here, right in front of you.”
I narrowed my eyes at him. “You said there was a plan. I remember now. You said turning me wasn’t a part of that plan, but you did it anyway. What plan did you mean?”
“The plan was to kill you, I told you that,” he snapped.
“So do you have these little galleries of all the people you choose to kill? Did Margaret have a gallery? Did you send someone to stalk her during the day, take sneaky creepy pictures to hang on your wall so you could sit here and get off on just what you were going to do to her?”
He ran a tongue over his teeth, curling his lips back over his gums before wrinkling his nose in disgust and looking away.
“What? What Harper? You had pictures of me on your wall which someone else clearly took for you. You obviously don’t do this for all your supposed victims and yet you did it for me. Why? And then you turned me, instead of killing me, except that wasn’t part of the plan. Whose plan? Yours? Mr Creepy Photographer? Where is he by the way? Do I get to meet him?”
“Stop it.” His voice was a low menacing warning and he looked at me, his eyes narrowing to cold emerald slits.
“Why? I have a right to know.”
“Not this you don’t.”
“Bullshit!” I shouted, slamming my hands down on the floor and picking up handfuls of torn photos and brandishing them at him. “This gives me the right. Now just tell me!”
He sat up, leaning forward and resting his elbows on his knees as he cast his eyes over me, chewing thoughtfully on his bottom lip. “Okay,” he said. “But I warn you, you may wish you had never asked. You have learned so many unpleasant things recently, I wonder if you are strong enough to withstand anymore?”

Copyright (c) Lindsey Clarke 2013 All Rights Reserved

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