Those of you who follow us on Twitter will already know of one of our most recent epic battles. For once it wasn’t with our regular enemies the tax people, Amazon, Power Director or Photoshop. It was with the blurb for Deadly Reflections. In fact, our struggle to overcome this beast was so epic, that one of our tweeps, Tim, even after taking a week off Twitter, asked us how we we were faring as soon as he came back online. It was that brutal.
We spent ages on Amazon reading the product descriptions of countless short story collections; some by famous authors, some by unknowns. Some were ghost story collections, others weren’t. But none of them shifted the block. We spent hours staring at the blank Word document, trying to force the words from our brains, but it was harder than trying to steal chocolate from an angry badger.
It wasn’t down to lack of experience – we’ve written blurbs for every novel/novella we’ve written over the past 18 years. Most of them are kept in A5 notebooks and never even reached the typing up stage. It wan’t even because it’s for a short story collection – we’ve published three and their blurbs were easy. We think the culprits were our conscious brains.
When we write, we don’t think about what we’re writing. Most of the time we have no idea what we’re going to write; we just put our fingers to the laptop and start typing. Our fingers are linked to our subconscious brains, those shy brains which lurk in the background, keeping notes of everything you see, hear, do, all stored away until you need them. The subconscious brain is a genius. Unfortunately, it’s rarely in charge. But the conscious brain, that’s the one that chatters at you constantly and as every writer knows, it’s impossible to write/edit when someone is talking to you, which is why our family obey the fundamental rule – if we are in the writing shed, that mean we are working. And they do not come in unless absolutely necessary. And that’s what our conscious brains were doing. They were reminding us that the blurb would sell the book, so it had to be good, seeing how much we suck at selling. It had to be enticing, maybe a bit scary, covering every story in the collection without specifically mentioning every one. They told us if we worded it wrong, nobody would buy the book that we’ve spent most of the year slaving over.
The blurb took well over a week to write. It took longer than the two longest stories in collection which are both 7000 words. It was driving us insane. There was only one thing for it – we had to silence our conscious brains. The equivalent of gagging someone who won’t shut up. And when we’re having a hard time, there is always one thing we turn to to help us through the darkshines: My Chemical Romance.
We opened YouTube, blasted MCR songs and waited, fingers poised on the keys. The words began to flow. They didn’t come easily at first, but the more MCR songs we listened to, the easier the words came. But it wasn’t a foolproof plan. The minute the music stopped, so did the words. We had to play the music until the blurb and the longer product description were finished. So if it wasn’t for MCR, the product description box on Amazon would be blank, except for maybe the old expletive.
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This is the blurb and the extra product description :
Death is only the beginning…
You’re born, you live and you die. And sometimes, you come back.
When the veil between life and death is torn down, the darkest souls crawl from the shadows to wander the world that rejected them.
But these are not the restless spirits that haunt the pages of folklore, or the childishly gruesome tales whispered over torchlight. These are the ghosts that dwell in the deepest dungeons of your imagination and prey on you when you think you’re alone: bored ghosts trapped in the monotony of office life at the Scare Department; a haunted jail where the prisoners believe in revenge over rehabilitation; a mirror that steals the souls of whoever falls under its spell; and a ghost bride who makes sure the wedding vows are never broken.
Thirteen stories that prove the monsters in your mind might just be real.
The past is no longer a nightmare.
Paranormality – Three ghost hunters exploring an abandoned asylum accidentally awaken it and the ghosts trapped inside its nightmare.
Field of Screams – nobody believes in ghosts anymore. And that’s a problem for the ghosts who work for the Shadow Council’s Scare Department, where Hell is a boardroom run by Jenkins.
The Witching Hour – beneath the moats of Wales, the Gwrach y Rhibyn lurks, ready to whisper the name of those doomed to die, before dragging their souls to Hell.
The Ghost of You – a rock star has a creepy encounter in a graveyard that will haunt him forever.
Fallen Flag – urban explorers investigating an abandoned train station discover it’s haunted by the ghost of a serial killer. And his bloodlust has not been sated.
Memento Mori – the village of Pentref Ysbryd burned down years ago before being flooded. Yet Simeon & Taylor discover that below the lake, the damned village is still alive.
When the Dead Awaken – After a poltergeist vows to kill anyone who enters her house, three ghost hunters try to banish her, only for one them to become possessed by her murderous spirit.
Rest In Peace – Sick of ghost hunters harassing them, two castle ghosts give the Barry Paranormal Group exactly what they want, only to have their plan backfire.
Death Sentence – during a ghost tour of a Victorian jail, the dead prisoners who believe in revenge over rehabilitation awaken to reclaim the jail and execute everyone who disturbed them.
Sea of Souls – a sceptic writer who debunks ghosts waits on lonely cliff for the gruesome ghost of a smuggler.
Deadly Reflections – a haunted mirror sucks the souls from everyone who falls under its spell.
Carnival of the Damned – after discovering tales about a woman being mutilated in an abandoned fairground, uni students decide to recreate it in a film, only to bring the legend to life.
Whiter Shade of Pale – a ghost bride murdered at the altar waits for the perfect groom to lure him into the land of the dead, and ensures the wedding vows are never broken.
MCR – Thank you for the venom.