An old poem I found

The Road Less Travelled

We traveled to Mapua
through Nelson from the Sounds
in the hot afternoon sun
between colonnades
of scruffy apple trees,
their burden of fruit ready to shed
sparkling balls of blood
dancing in the breeze 

& the road rides on
to Mapua wharf & over there
is Rabbit island, framing
the river mouth with a slab of dark pine
& on the other side
— the motor-camp, nestled between
huge trees, not meant for harvest
just shelter & ‘clothing optional’
the café now spawns delicacies
a small restaurant behind smokes
fish & oysters & makes the best
burgers around, yet here it was
that another world existed

& brave men ferried cargo
across the teeming strait
on timber boats the size of small trucks
— even using sails & oars
& people were withdrawn or deposited
on these planks long-gone replaced,
to make way for the new, repair the past
from Mapua to Nelson . . .

still in the sun
the bay sparkles & a bright sea mist
covers the horizon — the blue sky,
faultless — the fields flicking by
like cubist paint effects in drought
but still lots of green to lead us
into night & the broken white line
of winding black roads
littered with carrion & daylight
memories, meanders us back toward
the Sounds.

Tired but good.
Somehow released, 
it begins to rain.

Not sure about this one! What do you think . . .?

Masters of Horror reviews

These are the reviews so far. Quoted verbatim from source below [caveat = not my issue re. grammar etc!].

Review one from Sonar 4 Publications, Shells Walter

"When one thinks of horror, there are so many extremes that can be done in writing. The Masters of Horror: The Anthology is no different. The 16 authors that fill this anthology bring terror, darkness and a whole lot of push that any horror lover would want. Authors such as Carole Gill with her story ‘ Truth Hurts’ , William Cook with ‘Devil Inside’ and several more stories bring the horror genre into its true form.

The one thing that stands out about this anthology is that no two stories are the same. Yes, they are horror, but each one brings in a new tasty scary delight. Triskaideka Books has done an amazing job of bringing all this talent into one anthology. There is no anthology out such as this and one that needs to be on everyone’s bookshelf at one time or another. Jumping into this world of darkness only brings forward the most compelling and interesting tales seen in a long time. It is worth the read and worth keeping for years to come."

Second review from A. R. Braun

"This was an entertaining read from beginning to end. The stories lurking within truly creeped me out on so many levels. There’s still a bit of proofreading to be done, but what published book is typoless? Sixteen authors contributed to this antho’ guaranteed to rob you of sleep at night by bringing you the nightmare you’ve most feared…

The first three stories are excellent. I especially loved Carole Gill’s “Truth Hurts,” where a woman writing about douchey vampires gets her comeuppance. A man is seduced by the lamia in “Ladies of the Scale” by Bob Morgan Jr., and Lee Pletzer’s “Teeth” will make you think twice about taking your son fishing again. A boy gets revenge on abusive adults in “Devil Inside” by William Cook, and we go on a Lovecraftian journey with Jason Warden’s amazing story, “Once Seen.” K.K.’s “The Visitation” will have you shuddering, and Mark Edward Hall’s “The Fear” makes a case against hunting for a lost relative. Other great, creepy tales are “Wounds” by Joseph Mulak and “The Barnes Family Reunion” by Angel Leigh McCoy.

One of my favorite parts of the book is the unrestrained gore, but if psychological is your thing, you’ll also find compelling stories within. When this book comes out, any horror fan would be a fool not to get a copy.

More reviews will be available on the website, including interviews with the authors."

Source: Masters of Horror reviews

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The Legacy Writing Method by WIlliam Cook

The Before & After Writing Method or, The Legacy Method by William Cook

This method is best applied by short-story authors who wish to enlarge the scope of their prose. This method should be applied to enlarge/lengthen a story already written.

After following the steps outlined below you should have enough material to create a 3-part Novel. A 12-chapter template for each story is used, comprising 36 chapters upon completion. (Approx. 6-7 pages per chapter to create a 250 page novel)

With this method, even a newspaper size story can be enlarged to the point where ideas are exhausted (if at all) – the application of the method can be repeated an infinite number of times within the scope of one novel-sized narrative. Think hierarchy.

Essentially, the following steps should be taken to achieve the desired outcome:
1. Write short story (If written, read carefully and take notes). Any
story will do although the B & A method works best on strong character driven narrative.
2. Carefully think about the characters in the story and take notes
(e.g. Names, description, events, etc).
3. Do the same with the setting.
4. Think and write down what the main character’s life previously
(i.e., the time before the primary story) entailed – how did he/she arrive at the point where the initial story occurs.
5. Write a brief timeline of the character’s life taking into account
their age during the first story.
6. Outline the events that possibly lead up to the first story written.
7. Outline multiple scenarios then choose the most believable. This is
the basis for the ‘Before’ story.
8. Number twelve chapter headings (e.g. 1-12) and ‘back-fill’ using the
proposed basis for the ‘Before’ story. Work backwards from the primary story using the timeline as a guide to the character’s/s life and the events therein that make up the first part of the novel.
9. When complete edit once and then read both stories front-to-
back starting with the ‘Before’ story, taking notes and thinking about the characters/events that will make up the ‘After’ story.

     10. Use the same method, except in reverse, to write the ‘After’ story.

You may want to change the order of the three parts chronologically and switch order between the parts upon completion. 

The Masters of Horror Anthology is now available

The Masters of Horror Anthology which contains my story "Devil Inside," as well as many other great stories, is now available. The print version doesn't come out till the end of April. but the digital version of the book is available now from Smashwords for $1.99. It's available in several formats including PDF, Kindle, LRM (sony), E-Pub, PDB (Palm) as well as others. Check it out if you are so inclined. You can get it here.

Novel finally finished - hooray. Now to find a publisher [hopefully]!

Hi, it's been a while as I have been working frantically to complete my novel before Christmas time. It has been a 'work in progress' for the past four years and i'm pleased to say that the end is nigh. I am editing the last draft and will have it ready for submission to publishers in the New Year. As you can probably guess from the book cover mock-up (by yours truly) and the working title, it is a novel about a killer. Actually about a family of killers to be exact, told through the journals of a budding serial killer whose twin brother is also afflicted with the same unfortunate disposition.

I guess you could place this novel under the genre banner of 'Serial Killer Fiction,' or crime fiction. I realise that this field is littered with cliched monsters all trying to replicate the success of Harris's Hannibal Lecter trilogy +, hopefully I might have succeeded in providing a new twist to the genre - or at least to the smaller sub-genre of 'First-person Serial Killer Fiction.' Whew, anyway - worth a crack, so there it is.

If I don't have any success with publishers I will probably post it here in installments for at least some people to read and hopefully enjoy.

If anyone has any publishing contacts who might be interested in this kind of work please let me know via Also, what do you think of the cover?

Have a great Christmas everyone. Will/Grant.

Babylon fading

This seat is hard, my shins are cold, my socks are low & black with grime, my shoes are stiff, my knees ache with the weight of my worn corduroys — the night is warm & noisy, so dark it is, that abstract & absolute light which is darkness — it is so dark tonight . . . Wait! There is light, a shimmering speck, by Jehovah! & Then cans twang bottles clang & smash, paper blows its rustled way wrapping around my lower leg like a flaky piece of skin or the slap of a bird’s flapping wing & then it’s taken by another breeze in the black city night — that light small speck I saw is extinguished now by the black hulk of a looming tower block — frail barks flounder in darkness, speech silent for a still savage moment . . .

My neck is sore I crane it skyward searching the churning ether for that noisy light . . .



A shock of burning white light — the infinite brightness violently broke through into vision — the corneas ripped from their lethargic slumber — the howling light turns blue, bouncing off the geometric multiplicity of the chainlink fence I clutch at, frantically gasping at the light on the other side — arcing shadows dance beneath the light’s accusing glare . . . lingering — I am shaking I am fear I am death I am insane I am paralysed I can’t move I can’t see I am dead I am about to be killed. . .







PLEASE!!! Please . . .?

I’m still on the bench seat in the trash-blown park, my legs nailed to my seat to the concrete thru right to burning hell . . . — STAY WHERE YOU ARE — DO NOT MOVE — IF YOU DO SO YOUR LIFE WILL BE TERMINATED — I REPEAT DO NOT MOVE —footsteps shuffling then a broken run, boots slapping asphalt louder, quite, yes there they are a stampede, ground rumbles thunderclaps hammer on steel, bombs drop resound — No, nononononono . . .

The light goes off. I am released. The sound breaks like a truck passing — a distant rumble then the noise of the dead man’s bones return to their creaking — halfalive halfalive halfalive — my breath is smoke, my eyes throb, my brain burns, my heart tries to saw its way out through my crumbling ribcage — I release a sigh, exhale, to end all sighs.

I close my eyes & feel & smell the dirty hot warm air of hell caressing my face, my hair, creeping up my trouser leg, crawling across my heaving gut & across my bruised bare chest — a massive hole now gaping blackly just above the left nipple, the icon of Mary grinning in the growing light — I lay back on the hard bench — the smog flavored morning bleeds light across the bay, a tugboat blares its horn through the fog, the trash barge shunts its bulk through the mist across the harbor to refuse island, car lights cut across the motorway invading the sleeping city, a silver-snake of train thunders past on the stilt-tracks, police sirens blare in the distance & a cold wind wipes my face.

A gull floating in on the light & breeze, eyes me suspiciously, dips its wings & turns circles above me looking down with malice & a perceptible hunger as it stretches its sharp red beak screaming at me — CAWCAWCAWCAWCAW . . . all black & white — Babylon fading . . .

‘CHILD ART’ - History in education

In the context of the nature/nurture argument in education, this essay will attempt to explain what ‘child art’ is and how it came to exist. A basic summary of the nature/nurture argument is as follows. The naturists believe that childhood is a natural stage of development that generates its own unique experience relative to the individual child. It is a privileged stage of life; the role of education in this respect is to encourage such development with as little interference as possible. The nurturists argue that education should impart knowledge and social skills in preparation for participation in society. Children are presumed capable of learning these skills and knowledge at all stages of development to varying degrees. The polarities between these two sides show the reactive state of educational beliefs and theory. It is within this context that concepts such as ‘child art’ have evolved.

To begin this discussion it is necessary to trace the origins of the educational ideas that produced such concepts as ‘child art’. One of the early arguments, of a distinctly educational viewpoint on natural development and child rearing, is that of Jean Jacques Rousseau. His educational romance Emile, presents an unconventional (at the time of writing) view of educational and social reformation, based on his beliefs about ‘nature’ and individual freedom. His views on childhood education were centred on the notion that natural development, encouraged in accordance with the individual’s own nature, could only be achieved through “well-regulated liberty”[1]. He viewed freedom as being something controlled by the rationale of the upper classes, and the ‘unnatural’ constraints and lies imposed on individual truth, by religion and the state.

Rousseau was looking for the universal nature of truth common to all “men;” it was in this search that he saw the promise of a new and ideal society. He saw childhood education as the means by which to change society through ‘natural’ development. The emphasis was on learning by individual experience, and the treatment of children in accordance with evolutionary stages of development, free from the influence of social constructs of adult morality and reason:

Natural growth calls for quite a different kind of training. The mind should be left undisturbed till its faculties have developed; for while it is blind it cannot see the torch you offer it, nor can it follow through the vast expanse of ideas a path so faintly traced by reason that the best eyes can scarcely follow it. (Emile, p. 200)

The implications and influence on pedagogical education, generated by Rousseau’s romantic notions of natural and evolutionary development, show in the ideas of educators that followed, like Freidrich Froebel, Franz Cizek, and Wilhelm Viola. Rousseau’s celebration of “natural liberty” and childhood education paved the way for notions of education, like ‘art education’ and ‘child art’, to emerge in response to the apparent need for a form of expression that was natural, and relevant, to the early stages of childhood development. As Stuart Macdonald has pointed out, ”the concept that art education for the child should differ from that for adolescents and adults stemmed from Rousseau’s scheme of education in Emile ” [2]. It must be noted that Rousseau did not place any importance or relevance on ‘art’ in relation to a child’s natural development. In fact, he saw it (‘art’) as a corrupting influence that was morally ‘bad’ and detrimental to nature at that stage of a human’s life.

Rousseau’s naturist ideas were largely idealistic and romantic, and because of this, they were not coherent enough at the time to justify as a form of education for children. Froebel, along with others, developed the ideas expressed by Rousseau as a basis for such an education. Froebel believed that drawing was the means by which children developed naturally. He developed the concept of ‘Kindergarten’ as a place for individual children to develop in accordance with the laws of nature. Froebel’s ideas were scientific in that he used esoteric precepts of psychology, in relation to understanding what a child’s drawing represented:

Beautiful drawing . . . demands the spontaneous, skilled use of the senses . . . the development required for drawing, conditions in the same way a harmoniously unfolded soul, a feeling, experiencing mind, as well as a thoughtfully comparing, intelligent, and perceptive intellect, forming judgement, correct conclusion, and so, finally, an idea of that which is to be formed . . .

As can be seen, his naturist idealism peppered with psychological jargon, shines through in his views about the importance of child drawings. His educational philosophy, which is based on the notion that the child is a self-determined vessel of creativity, inspired other educators and artists later on like Franz Cizek, Paul Klee, Alexander Bain, and the Bloomsbury group, to name a few.
Like Froebel and Rousseau, Herbert Spencer championed the naturist ideals about drawing and childhood education, except he “modified [it] . . . from the scientific viewpoint of a nineteenth century evolutionist”[3].

Spencer saw children’s drawing as an evolutionary process. In fact, he believed it was the main factor in human development. He was of the opinion that the science of psychology was the means by which education could develop, and a culture could come to understand itself, through the interpretation of children’s drawings. Thus, childhood art education became important as a tool to understanding and determining “self-culture” and progressing as a culture in general.

Spencer’s educational theories attacked the nurturist arguments of mass-education theorists like Henry Cole, who ran state controlled institutions that were geared up for social and industrial production. Spencer’s ideas were also nurturist, in the sense that they supported utilitarian ideas of training children to be productive members of society. However, his ideas were more naturist in origin (following on from Rousseau’s ‘nature of the child’), in that they argued that there is a natural development process (“phylogenesis”) in drawing, that should be integrated into childhood education.

Spencer’s ideas are also important to the concept of ‘child art’ because any development (according to him) in the individual, and therefore the whole society, could be influenced and reflected by the drawings of the child. While it must be said at this stage that the drawings of children were not yet considered as art works, there was great importance placed on their significance as indicators of cultural and biological development.

Although there was a large void of disagreement between the two factions of thought (nature & nurture), ‘art education’ became an increasingly important concept to the curriculum of schools and to the educational theories of both sides. Cole is important here in this instance for he implemented the establishment of art schools in England, art training for teachers, and compulsory art education as a subject on an equal footing with other subjects. This is important in relation to the origins of ‘child art’ as well, because it generated interest in children’s drawings and paintings, in such a way that they became viewed as ‘art works’.

In other words, this social change provided the impetus and the infrastructure, wherein the claims and ideas about ‘art’ education and making ‘art-works’, as being essential to a child’s ‘natural’ development, began to be seen as educationally beneficial and logically defensible. With this implementation, and despite the negative impact on the radically nurturist Kensington system, ‘Art education’ (rather than ‘drawing education’) became to be a valid and accepted part of the infrastructure of educational teaching and training (educators).

Alexander Bain helped this along by following on where Spencer left off. In maintaining that “Drawing was not a universal mind-trainer, but also that art appreciation, or the cultivation of ‘Art-Emotion’ as he put it, was the important factor in education, not Drawing” [4]. His idea was that art education provided the means by which children could have fun and express themselves creatively. Other educational thought developed along the same lines until the idea of art education was more acceptable in Victorian education circles.

So far, children’s drawings were still not considered viable art forms, like other established adult art works and movements. The rise in anthropological studies and scientific (in particular, psychological) research changed all that with their growing interest in child drawing as an important means of developmental research. The influential and growing relationship, between education and science, meant that this perceived importance transferred to the educators, curriculum, and to the type of experience drawing was considered as. The Kensington attitude toward children’s drawings, as only having commercial value in industry, was its main weak point as it was in contrast to developmental (and naturist) scientific beliefs, which had popular and governmental support.

‘Art’ began to evolve as a practice along with the changing times. The continuing (but waning) influence of Romanticism encouraged a new style of expression that was more ‘primitive’ and ‘natural’, with an emphasis on the individual, freedom (in thought and from authority), and the ‘symbolic’. Like science, ‘art movements’ represented new ideas and invention, which had profound influence on the intellectual culture in which they existed. Children’s drawings were beginning to be seen, like the cave drawings of ‘primitive man’, in the context of symbolic interpretation and meaning. Comparisons between ancient ‘primitive’ cultures and children’s drawings increased, as artists became interested in ‘primitivism’ and the symbolic nature of cultural artefacts. The connection became apparent and soon artists saw in children’s works, that which they tried so hard to replicate in their own ‘art works’.

Children were seen as ‘artists’, naturally endowed with ‘artistic talent’, who could perceive their social and natural environment with an innocently naïve sense of truth and insight, reminiscent of primitive adult cultures from the past (Palaeolithic Age) and the present (Aborigine). This increasing concern with ‘culture’ and of children as artists whose work represents “the primordial origins of art”[5], was typical of artists like Pablo Picasso, Paul Klee, and many others, who delighted and strove for the same kind of rawness and meaning in their own work. Like the nature/nurture arguments, these new theories on ‘art’ became embroiled with debate as to what the work in question signified. One thing that came from the debates of the modern movements, was that ‘primitive art’, and therefore ‘child art’, were viable art forms. Herbert Read suggested that “a growing appreciation of primitive art, tribal art and revolutionary developments in modern painting helped to bring children’s art within the general range of aesthetic appreciation” [6].

Franz Cizek, perhaps more so than others, defined what ‘child art’ was and what he thought it should be:

Child Art was disregarded, ridiculed, and scoffed at. Even now people visit me who, when I show them real infantile work, only laugh. I estimate very highly those things done by small children. They are the first and purest source of artistic creation . . .

and more definitively:

Child Art is an art which only the child can produce. There is something that the child can also perform, but that we do not call art. It is imitation, it is artificial. [7]

Cizek approached art education with a naturist view. His theory on child art, obviously influenced by naturist idealism, was a reaction against logic-bound, scientifically based, notions of education and child development. Whilst he still used scientific concepts to explain art, he based his ideas on naturist convictions, “all true art contains psychology, but so wonderfully dosed as only nature can dose” [8].

With the conviction of his own ideas and studies and the views of his other artisan comrades, Cizek concluded that children were naturally gifted as artists and producers of art works. He saw this quality in children in somewhat phenomenological terms, in that it was separate from the adult art world. Children were individuals who perceived the world on a more instinctual and natural plane than adults did. Paradoxically, it was this adult experienced (and therefore morally corrupt, re. Rousseau) world, that must not influence the children’s.

Cizek believed in the innate will of the child to be creative and to develop ‘naturally’ (re, Froebel) and in the power of nature to develop humans free from unnatural and socially constructed constraints (i.e., morals, sin, reason etc). Cizek’s theories on art education and child art, may display inconsistencies and contradiction, but to explain them, along with all the other flaws in the other theories mentioned, would take more word space than this essay will allow.

The major flaw in Cizek’s theory was that his own adult influence was a major factor in the production of paintings and drawings by his child students. Obvious training in technical aspects and adult ideas of artistic practice and formality/tradition were reflected in the children’s highly stylised and competent works. So what was essentially a naturist theory of art education, based on his own ideas and those of Rousseau and Froebel, was in practice a nurturist based exercise in art training that steered the children far from their natural stages of creative development (maybe?).

Cizeks’ theory provided a model for future art educators to base their justifications of their discipline on. This artistic ideology was the high-water mark of naturist education theory, just as Cole’s was the nurturist extreme. The gradual shift of focus in the ideology and allegiances of the education theorists, anthropologists, and from artists, culminated in debate to look for connections between ‘primitivism’ and the adolescent production of ‘art’. Artistic movements, more so perhaps than educators, contributed to the evolution of childhood art education and concepts about ‘child art’ through their assimilation and recognition of the drawing and painting of children as a viable art form.


[1] See Readings in the History of Educational Thought, ‘Rosseau’, edited by Alan Cohen & Norman Garner (London: University of London Press Ltd) p. 91.

[2] See The History and Philosophy of Art Education, Ch. 18, ‘The Recognition of Child Art’, by Stuart Macdonald (London: University of London Press ltd.) p. 318.

[3] Ibid, p. 321.

[4] Ibid, pp. 324 - 325.

[5] Quote from Paul Klee.

[6] See The History and Philosophy of Art Education, Ch. 18, ‘The Recognition of Child Art’, by Stuart Macdonald (London: University of London Press ltd.) p. 329.

[7] See Child Art, by Wilhelm Viola, Ch. IV, ‘From Talks With Cizek’ (London: University of London Press, 1948) pp. 32 – 34.

[8] Ibid, p. 32.

Interview with best-selling thriller author, Dan Padavona

Dan Padavona: The Business of Writing (Interview)   Welcome to Thriller author Dan Padavona!   You are going to love this...