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Since the end of last years Summer Writing Project I have been thinking about what kind of story to enter this year.  I spent weeks, sometimes even months drafting up an idea only to drop it because it wasn’t quite right before finally settling on this one:


Karma is a simple story about redemption.  It’s not a very original premise; it has been used in countless books, movies and plays.  There are many reasons I have chosen such an overused concept, but more on that later.  For now let us talk about the story itself.

It focuses primarily on two characters: Jack and Gwen.

Jack has spent his entire life looking out for number one (himself).  When he is killed in an accident, he finds himself in the afterlife, or more precisely, in limbo.  Unfortunately for him, if he wants to get into paradise, he must do a little ‘community service’ to make up for his heinous ways.  He is therefore assigned to help Gwen, a young woman who stands on the verge of a dark and difficult time in her life.

So, why did I choose this particular story?  Well, tales of redemption are so common because we can all relate to them.  We’ve all done things we wish we could undo.  That’s why Charles Dicken’s  A Christmas Carol has stayed relevant more than a century and a half after it was first published.  It has been retold and re-imagined countless times.

The theme of redemption is also a common core aspect in many tales too.  It spans all genres and has featured in pretty much every medium through which a story can be conveyed – you’ll find it in works ranging from The Bible right up to the video game God of War and beyond.

Don’t get the wrong idea, though.  While this story is far simpler than others I have written, it is by no means an easier road.  Such a powerful and universally felt subject matter will need to be done with finesse if I am to do it any justice.  It MUST be combined with characters who have real emotions and drives and dreams and fears and hopes.  A straight forward story like this has no room for error.  If something is even a little off, it has nothing to hide behind – no winding sub plots or expansive, epic worlds or even edgy/quirky concepts.  There is a reason why some tales of redemption echo through the ages while others are quickly forgotten; The simpler an idea, the more it tests a writers mettle.  That is the challenge I have set myself.

There’s not much more I can say except keep an eye out for further updates.  Oh – and good luck to all prospective entrants to this years contest.  We had some fantastic stories last year – those who won really deserved to do so.


Preview: Prodigal Prince

As many of you know, I am currently churning through four critiques off the back of October’s Jukepop Reading Party.  I have been so incredibly busy I’ve had to delay posting them until this coming weekend.  In the meantime I wanted to post a quick ‘preview’ of something I’ve been working on.

You may or may not know that I have been working on a fantasy/high fantasy serial called ‘The Prodigal Prince’.  I had hoped to have it submitted to Jukepop by October but I’ve been so swamped lately and things didn’t quite pan out.

I do, however, have a prologue ready and would like to share it with you as a preview of the story which I hope to be able to put on Jukepop soon.

I don’t have a synopsis as yet, but I can give a general gist of the story:

It takes place in a fantasy world called ‘Iscellenie’.  The land has come under siege by a mysterious man with dark and dangerous powers called the ‘Ravengift’.   The only thing that can stop him is one who bears the same ability.  The trouble is, the only man with that skill is a banished Prince – exiled almost ten years ago because he was born with said power.  Empress Laina sends Kerchane and Muri (her trusted friends and loyal vassals) to find her brother before the mysterious stranger reaches the capital.  Thus begins the race against time as Kerchane and Muri travel the land in search of the Prodigal Prince.

The Prodigal Prince by Kathy Joy



As something between fog and smoke, it coiled off the salted, frothy waves and towards the harbour.

From his perch on the Eastern Watchtower, Tanni stared wide-eyed as the seething mass clambered up the boardwalk and over the outer wall. The coastal city of Danza was heavily fortified and hadn’t been infiltrated in over five hundred years. Until now.

He hauled himself to his feet. He may have been a scrawny fourteen year old, but his people needed him to be strong and capable. His first watch had been two weeks ago, so he knew well enough what to do. Although fear tickled his insides, trying to shackle his arms and legs in its frigid grasp, he fought against it, bursting up the ladder towards the bell. He had to alert the city. Danza was the first line of defence against invaders to the continent. If he failed, it was not just the city at risk.

On legs as giddy as a newborn foal’s, he ascended the ladder until he made it to the top. The bell hammer sat atop a crate in the corner. Grasping it tightly, Tanni whirled, ready to strike the huge, cast iron bell only to freeze when he saw a tall, thin man in his way. His skin was tanned and weather worn, hair dishevelled and dark and his eyes glimmered like frosted chunks of obsidian. A long grey and brown cloak was slipped over his narrow shoulders, the hem billowing as though teased by the wind.

“You would be wise to stop.” The man’s voice, though quiet, carried powerfully to Tanni’s ears.

“Wh-who are you …?” Tanni forced himself to speak.

The man smiled dolefully. “Such information is useless to you. It will not make your passing any easier.”

Tanni didn’t respond. Instead his mind churned, trying to find some way to reach the bell.

The tower seemed to grow dark, the boards groaning as though strained by too much weight. Shadows grew from the gaps in the wood like weeds overtaking an old, crumbling building. Tanni found himself unable to breathe, as if all the air in the world had vanished; he couldn’t even gasp.

Slowly, the boy slumped to his knees. The bell hammer would soon glide from his limp fingers. So he did the only thing he could; He threw it.

Although the hammer hit the bottom of the bell, it made enough of a resounding clang to alert those in other towers. Soon a chorus of sharp peals sang through the streets, rousing the watchmen into action.

The stranger sighed, turning to the shadows pooling about him. “What a pity.” He paused, turning to glance out the window near him. “No matter. It’s more fun when they run.”