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The Penned Sleuth Podcast

The Penned Sleuth Podcast

By Matthew Dewey
Providing you with educational podcasts, book reviews and short stories to enjoy and learn from! Improve your writing skills or develop your imagination with these insightful podcasts.
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My Top 10 Tips for Writing Anything | Inspiration, Productivity and Improving
I’ve been talking about some specific genres a lot lately, neglecting others, so let’s fix that. I am going to give you 10 tips that will help your writing no matter who you are and what genre you work with. These are tips I gather from my top articles and blog posts, the tips that will help anyone ready to try them out. Let’s get started! https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/blog/my-top-10-tips-for-writing-anything-inspiration-productivity-and-improving
18:35
April 01, 2022
The Fantasy-Story Writing Toolkit: Tips and Ideas - Part 2
One can’t sum up fantasy with world types and magical systems; there is a lot more to talk about. In this second part, we will be discussing creatures, races, deities, world structures and plot types. I go through some of the best methods for writing these fantasy elements, as well as different examples and which ones suit your story best. With that said, let’s begin! Your FREE Course: https://matthewdewey.newzenler.com/courses/writing-a-better-main-character The Writer's Workshop: https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/writers-workshop.html My Website: https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/ Article: https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/blog/the-fantasy-story-writing-toolkit-tips-and-ideas-part-2
20:11
March 25, 2022
Advice I Wish I Knew Before I Started Writing - Tips for Young Writers
A couple of years ago, I realised that I would always be in a state of learning. I would always be disappointed when I looked at my old writing. I would always find a new technique or writing style that I would like to assimilate into my own. I would be writing, editing, studying, rewriting and repeating all these steps. As the years go by, I will have more books with my name on them, but more than that, I would be better equipped for writing the next book. However, if I could send some writing advice to my younger self, this is what I would tell him! https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/blog/advice-i-wish-i-knew-before-i-started-writing-tips-for-young-writers
17:38
March 16, 2022
The Fantasy-Story Writing Toolkit: Tips and Ideas - PART 1
Writing a novel you can be proud of is a difficult task, made more difficult when you lack the tools to overcome the challenge. I will be talking about the fantasy genre, giving you some ideas and tips, as well as useful tools you can use to construct your story, characters and world. This will be a series of posts and in this one, we will be talking about world types, naming methods and magical systems. https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/blog/the-fantasy-story-writing-toolkit-ideas-and-tips-part-1
24:56
March 11, 2022
Metro 2034 by Dmitry Glukhovksy - Book REVIEW
Metro 2034 by Dmitry Glukhovsky, the sequel to Metro 2033, follows a new expedition through the metro and its many dangerous tunnels. Sebastopol, a station often attacked by monsters and bandits, is often requesting more ammunition and supplies, but communications are down. Every party of soldiers sent to investigate never returns. Luckily, a grizzled soldier takes up the task and requests the help of a story-teller named Homer. Article: https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/blog/metro-2034-by-dmitry-glukhovsky-book-review
09:01
March 02, 2022
Worldbuilding: Example Scenes You Can Write
Last week, I discussed worldbuilding, especially techniques that have helped me overcome my worldbuilding problems, as these are the techniques I have the most experience with. Yet, I failed in one major respect in that article as I didn’t provide written examples of these scenes, rather I only discussed the scenes and their core elements. It was a missed opportunity, but it won’t be missed now. In this post, I will be writing example scenes and underlining why their simplicity goes a long way in worldbuilding. Let’s begin! https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/blog/worldbuilding-example-scenes-you-can-write
25:14
February 16, 2022
Metro 2033 by Dmitry Glukhovsky - Book REVIEW
Metro 2033 by Dmitry Glukhovsky is best described as a surreal, post-apocalyptic adventure, centred around life beneath the ground in the metro tunnels after nuclear weapons devastated the planet with their destructive force and worse still, their lingering radiation. This is not a story of how or why the bombs dropped, but the exploration of one’s will to live in the face of many strange dangers that assault the body, mind and heart of the main character, Artyom. Here is my spoiler-free review of Metro 2033 by Dmitry Glukhovsky. https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/blog/metro-2033-by-dmitry-glukhovsky-book-review
12:06
February 09, 2022
Cat - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 109
Cat Cat was not a cat. She was a woman that worked a boring job in a corporate hell. Catherine, or Cat to her friends, wasn’t a sociable woman. In fact, she actively tried to avoid people as much as possible. However, her time came to move from one company to the Company. A new job in a new city. She was alone in a townhouse that didn’t seem to fit her. She often left it in a mess the same way she used to leave her apartment, however, it wasn’t a mess of clothing or junk food wrappers. It was a mess of books. https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/
07:11
February 07, 2022
Worldbuilding: Best Descriptions and Scenes to Write!
Worldbuilding is a lot of fun when I’m dreaming of my story, or writing down a bunch of complex and interesting lore. I can do both for hours, but when I am writing, I’ve noticed a big problem with relating this information to the reader; I don’t. Either it skips my mind or my style is too straightforward, I just end up moving past opportune moments to add depth to the world space. Solution; I took some time to research and put methods into practice. https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/blog/worldbuilding-best-descriptions-and-scenes-to-write
18:30
February 02, 2022
The Cabin - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 108
The Cabin There would often be a misconception when it came to the cabin. The cabin was not haunted or attacked frequently by an axe-wielding psychopath. The cabin was, in fact, a paradise for all those who went there. I used to work there as a camp counsellor. So many kids would run up and down its stairs, back-and-forth, screaming and laughing. Now, when the world seemed to have ended, it was empty as my fridge. I sat in this cabin waiting for Death to come and take me, but of course, he never did. https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/
06:43
January 31, 2022
Redwall by Brian Jacques - Book REVIEW
Redwall by Brian Jacques - Book REVIEW The Tales of Redwall is a series written by Brian Jacques and was started in the late 80s. It is a medieval fantasy series where the characters are semi-anthropomorphic beings that follow a hierarchy similar to their counterparts in nature. There are several books in this series and today I will be reviewing the first; Redwall. With that said, let’s start the review! https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/blog/redwall-by-brian-jacques-book-review
09:18
January 26, 2022
I Am Your Host - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 107
I Am Your Host I have worked in the industry for a good fifteen years. My father worked in it before me as a cameraman, but I one-upped him by becoming a director of sorts as well as a cameraman. I run a two-man recording studio inside the facility where all the broadcasts are made. I run lights, film and audio as well as provide scripts and give direction. Safe to say there is a lot on my plate already. The last thing I needed in my line of work is mental patients to play the host to my local news show. https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/
07:05
January 25, 2022
Red Door - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 106
Red Door “Name?” I did not answer. “Sir, I need your name for the register.” Still, I did not answer. Why should I? “Sir, give me a name, it doesn't have to be yours, or you will be ejected from the building.” https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/
06:58
January 24, 2022
Disappearance III - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 105
Disappearance III I hid in a far corner of the room, out of sight, but I knew it would only take a moment for the killer to find me. Once hidden I waited for the approaching steps to reveal the face of the murderer. Sure enough, the light gave me the answer I sought once the well-featured face was brought to the surface from the dark. https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/
06:37
January 21, 2022
Disappearance II - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 104
Disappearance II Upon entering my home I noticed there were a few things amiss. For one, there was a noticeable smell in the air. It was the smell of burning, but not the sweet smell of burning wood, but the terrible smell of burning foliage and plastics. I could not pin it down, but I had smelt something like it before. What mattered most however was why this smell was coming from inside my home. https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/
06:28
January 20, 2022
Curtain Call - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 103
Curtain Call “How much time do I have?” she asked. “Twenty minutes, Miss Susan,” the stagehand replied before rushing off to climb the scaffold and manage the lights. The theatre was filled to the brim with people. An audience awaited the famous cast to begin their opera, At the Helm, an epic tale of bravery and treachery. Susan had the lead female role of ‘Eliza’ and on most nights she would feel a lot more relaxed, but not tonight. https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/
06:59
January 19, 2022
Loss of Sanity - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 102
Loss of Sanity “Can you please, just for the briefest of moments, shut up?” the Doctor yelled. Yes, we were being loud during this session, but what did you expect? I prefer silence as well, which is why I don’t speak, but how am I supposed to enjoy my silence in a place of mentally ill degenerates whose only logical thought is to prance around the place and if the mood hits them dive towards an orderly and attempt to remove a vital organ with their teeth? There is no way, absolutely no way, no way in this life or the next will I ever forgive those that ruined my peace and now the Doctor was ruining mine. https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/
05:59
January 18, 2022
Fighting the Tide - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 101
Fighting the Tide The waves crashed dramatically on the shore. However, once you have been stuck on a small island such as mine you get used to it. That night there was a storm that was fierce and the waves drew in close, crashing into palm trees now and then, but mainly the beach was belted with the massive waves. The wind is what did the most damage further inland. The doors and walls rattled and creaked, which was again something I got used to. I had made most of my home out of squeaky bamboo and palm after all. https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/
06:52
January 17, 2022
Red Fox II - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 100
Red Fox II I rested back in the chair, my eyes seeing stories I had just heard. The fox spoke in such a familiar voice and it was calming to me. I felt my warmed feet slide against each other as I only became more immersed in the fantastical pleasure that was the stories. The fox took a moment to look up from the endless tome and eye me curiously. https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/
07:01
January 14, 2022
Runner - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 099
Runner It was just doorways and hallways. All that Jackie could see was the same mess of emptiness that he had already searched as he ran home. Behind him, he could hear the rapid footsteps of one of the undead running after. Still, he was pushing it hard. Eventually, he heard the sound of the dead man’s legs breaking under the constant running and there was a sickening flop and crunch behind Jackie. https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/
07:16
January 13, 2022
Missing Signals - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 098
Missing Signals Repairing a radio is a lot harder when it feels like your fingers are going to fall off from the cold. My team and I are stationed in the arctic tundra, an expedition of biology more than an expedition of geographical discovery. Today we were taking samples outside and letting them react with the polar winds. I stayed indoors, happily, working on the radio we used to contact the outside world. https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/
07:20
January 11, 2022
Empty Boulevard - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 097
Empty Boulevard Mr Underwood The three of them were young and ignorant. Unfortunately, one of them was my daughter, the rest being her unruly friends. In the end, I am not surprised she decided to ignore my warnings and go down that road in that part of town to enter that boulevard. It was my bad parenting that led her astray, more than the influence of the kids that she made friends with. Still, I am losing myself once again, even after all these years when you started pestering me with your letters and visits. https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/
07:19
January 10, 2022
The Journey V - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 096
The Journey V Two years passed and our lives changed. A year ago, the developers of Dream released a statement saying only one account ever made it to the end of their story. It belonged to me and my roommate. We had done what nobody else could do. The one who was behind us on the mark didn’t even reach the Ruins arc which became so heavy for us. Since my account was the one that owned the game, I received an email from the developers saying they wanted to meet us. I made contact with my roommate, telling him the news. He flew from Florida to New York where I lived, the developers flying there was well from their country. https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/
06:53
January 07, 2022
The Journey IV - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 095
The Journey IV My roommate and I decided to save the next stage of our journey for the weekend. If we entered the ancient chamber to find more to the story, we wanted to give it our full attention and avoid any late nights if we could. That meant us hanging around the village and not progressing really. However, that was something we enjoyed despite our anticipation for what was to come. Trust me when I say our workdays felt like they would never end. https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/
07:33
January 06, 2022
Another Realm for Writers: The Wonder of Text Adventures - Writing Today
Another Realm for Writers: The Wonder of Text Adventures - Writing Today There are many avenues a writer can take in their career. Most hope to become novel writers, selling bestsellers that line the shelves in major book retailers. Some become bloggers, others become journalists, product reviewers. Writers can take to other industries, such as writing scripts for movies and tv series, or, as I will be talking about in this blog post, video games. Let’s get into it! https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/blog/another-realm-for-writers-the-wonder-of-text-adventures
10:04
January 05, 2022
The Journey III - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 094
The Journey III No matter what I tried I could not convince my roommate to stop playing the game. It soon became a left-behind piece of code that nobody could crack, but week after week, every day I would go to sleep while he sat in front of the screen exploring deeper and deeper into the world which we found fun long ago, but not anymore. It was almost sickening to see him in such a state. https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/
07:12
January 04, 2022
The Journey II - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 093
My roommate and I returned to the screen not too long after what we read. “Who do you suppose the corpse…well…belongs to?” he asked me. “I’m guessing it's the wife of the first one we found,” I answered. “Let’s just search it and get out of here. We have the map.” “Yeah…hurry up.” https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/
07:47
January 03, 2022
The Journey I - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 092
The Journey Part 1 Our decisions were never final on the journey. We would go left, but if the path grew difficult, we turned back and went right. The sad thing was whenever we finally made it to a secure crossroads, we would end up falling back because no choice we made seemed to stick in our heads. “Have you tried going into the house and searching the attic?” he asked me. https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/
07:18
December 30, 2021
Writing & Procrastination: Writing Goals for 2022 - Writing Today
2021 has been an interesting year for writers. Whether you call it order or chaos, it has had its ups and downs that made it something unique and challenging. One of the greatest challenges, however, is the challenge to overcome procrastination and get as much writing done as possible. It’s a challenge every year, but with these new circumstances we all find ourselves in, did you sink or swim? Let’s talk about it! https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/blog/writing-and-procrastination-writing-goals-for-2022
08:53
December 29, 2021
Stolen Time - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 091
Stolen Time “We need to move now!” She yelled over the noise of the machinery. “Run through this door and leave them behind!” “I can’t!” I yelled back. I held onto my child’s hand as I heard the cruel scoff behind me. When I turned back to look, I saw her for a brief second as the door closed, the locking mechanism clanked into place. My daughter held my hand firmly for a moment, but soon I felt nothing in my hand. When I looked down, she was gone and there was silence. I was alone now, alone on a floor of an old hotel. https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/
06:49
December 28, 2021
The True King - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 090
The True King The ground beneath the knight gave way and he was indifferent about falling with it. He descended, allowing the stones beneath him to become his resting ground as they crumbled and smashed against the rocks within the mountain. He descended to a death he hoped he would receive all those years ago. Despite the long and tremendous fall the stone and rock beneath him held strong enough to cushion most of his fall until he fell no more. https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/
06:34
December 27, 2021
The Cold Prince - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 089
The Cold Prince The knight climbed to his feet once more, his armour feeling heavier than ever. The thoughts of his past family was a greater burden, but one that he had learned to ignore. He knew full well that resting would only weaken him, but his body longed for a reprieve. The knight collected his will and used it to push him onwards. He would rest once the Shattered Kingdom was no more. https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/
06:12
December 17, 2021
The Disgraced Guards - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 088
The Disgraced Guards Sebastian, now free of the Warlock's spells and nightmares, proceeded through the Warlock's den and up a cleaner set of stairs than he expected. As a knight, he was stronger than most, but the Warlock proved to be far more taxing than expected. His mind was still damaged, if not tormented as it once was. https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/
07:03
December 16, 2021
Rising with Broken Steps - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 087
Rising with Broken Steps The knight was not faltering on his journey for a moment. All around him were signs of disaster caused by the Prince’s greed, but he would not let the horror sway him in his quest. The mangled bodies were fetid; despite the long age past they would not become bones, rotten reminders of the evil warlocks cursed magic. It was disheartening to see the size of some of the corpses, but to the knight, it was fuel to his fire. https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/
07:02
December 15, 2021
Into the Shattered Kingdom - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 086
Into the Shattered Kingdom A young knight stood atop a small hall on looking the Shattered Kingdom. It stood before him, a mountain of worlds in frozen collision. Truly it was the horror that all kings feared in this slowly dying world, but luckily, it looked to be the only one to have such a fate. https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/
06:33
December 14, 2021
Breaking the Rules - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 085
Breaking the Rules Richard slammed against the door. It shook on the hinges, but wouldn’t give way. “Rose, please, we’re family,” Richard spoke through the door. “You cannot spend your whole life trapped in that room.” “Not one so small,” Rose muttered painfully. https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/
07:26
December 13, 2021
Disappearance I - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 084
Disappearance Part 1 I work in the library of a quaint town a few miles North of the English sea. The town is well looked after, with overgrowing plants and trees, delightful smiles and a well-organized economy. Yes, there may not be so many people here, but we have more than the other towns adjacent to ours. We have a famous farmer’s market once a week that keeps our town’s name on the map, although barely. The town’s name is Conroy. https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/
06:25
December 09, 2021
And There Were Three - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 083
And There Were Three The world had reached the limit in its patience. Fifteen years before today, a cold snap hit the world harder than any natural disaster. Major lifestyle choices had to be taken, but the change was so sudden that large countries not used to such cold weather suffered greatly. Pain and suffering became a daily ritual for them, but only the rich survived in their heated homes and with better clothing. Ten years ago, it became survival of the fittest. It was chaos and no amount of government speeches could save us, especially since the power cuts began. https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/
07:05
December 08, 2021
Death at Sea - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 082
Death at Sea I just wanted a simple vacation. It wasn’t often that I got off work, so I wanted to take full advantage of the time that I had. It so happened that I set up something special for this vacation; a cruise among tropical islands. Plenty of sun and refreshing smoothies. It was the vacation that my old body longed for, but of course, somebody had to ruin it with that tired question. “Hey, aren’t you Death?” https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/
07:10
December 07, 2021
A World of Your Making - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 081
A World of Your Making The city was a place of beginnings for everyone. No matter where you were born, you inevitably had to go to the city and find work. There was plenty of it as well, but you had to make a world for yourself, nobody else would. You would have to find a home and if you couldn’t, you would have a few other options. I was in this position upon moving to the great city, having just passed an interview for a job I was to start working on Monday. Of course, I would need to find a place to stay and with such limited money, I knew I couldn’t pay for it. https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/
06:52
December 06, 2021
Murder Mystery Manor - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 080
Murder Mystery Manor It was the most popular game show in these violent times. It was known as Murder Mystery Manor and the stakes were very real high even if the viewers didn’t realize that. The contestants lived in a town of psychopaths and their job was to find out who killed John Doe. In order to win, they needed to bring evidence and a name to the hostess, Madame Rose. To complete their investigation, they needed to put themselves in harm’s way, inside the manor. Once outside they were safe, if they could make it out. https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/
06:45
December 03, 2021
Behind a Door - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 079
Behind a Door I have always wondered what was behind a closed door, even when I had seen the other side. No, this isn’t a phobia or something, but instead a wild imagination. There are many opportunities to be creative when it comes to imagining what is on the other side of a door. Of course, it has to begin with what the door looks like. https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/
07:01
December 02, 2021
Late Night Coffee - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 078
Late Night Coffee Lucas stood by the machine, eyes down to avoid the painful light of the florescent filaments above him. It was safe to say he wasn’t having a pleasant evening. Not only was he the only employee that was pinned for three-night shifts in a row, but he was also the one who was falling behind on his work before the shifts even began. He breathed a sigh as the coffee machine fell silent and collected his cup of energy. The one saving grace was this was the final late-night shift and with luck, he would have time to finish all the basic work as well as catch up on his own. https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/
07:06
December 01, 2021
Deepest Reaches III - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 077
Deepest Reaches Part 3 Sutio crouched over Troki, clutching his hand and pulling him to his feet. The boarding area was littered with bodies. Sutio could not believe they survived, but Troki knew his way around technology, hacking weapons and systems to help aid them in the onslaught. Explosions, shrapnel and enough close shaves for two lifetimes made Sutio admire what Troki goes through in his day-to-day life. Space was definitely the place for a pirate like him. https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/
08:23
November 30, 2021
These Are Not My Voices - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 076
These Are Not My Voices “Do not go in there,” he told me. “I must, now shush,” I told the voice within. I entered the building with an old shotgun in hand and company I wish I didn’t have. Sure enough, there was nothing to see but darkness. I could not smell fire or rot. Whatever life I expected to find in this building wasn’t showing itself right away, but I had to clear it for the group. Twenty of us were holed up someplace we could not defend and this place looked like a better home anyway. https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/
07:36
November 29, 2021
A Cold Metal Pain - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 075
A Cold, Metal Pain My fists clenched the front of his shirt with a painful amount of strength. Slamming him against the wall only made him squeal like a pig and wish a worse fate upon his sorry state. The way I was feeling I was happy to put him through such a fate. I threw him to the side, into the corner of the room, pointing my revolver at his stumbling form, firing without a moment’s hesitation. The sorry excuse of a man collapsed dead in his stumbling and I yelled my anger with the roar of the gun. https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/
06:45
November 26, 2021
Deepest Reaches II - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 074
Deepest Reaches II Elara pulled the trigger and with a flash, the last one had fallen. I watched as my crew fought with what few weapons we had and one by one they fell, but not Elara. She was our captain and as it turned out, she was our one-woman army as well. The creatures that boarded our ship didn’t stand a chance. As they hit the ground, they dissolved into a liquid metal which quickly hardened. When we thought it was all over, that’s when the ship was ripped apart. https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/
07:28
November 25, 2021
Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes - Book REVIEW
Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes - Book REVIEW This week I am reviewing Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes, the translation by Tobias Smollett. Don Quixote is a popular classic, with many accomplishments in the literary world, from being considered the first literary novel and being the most sold book in the world. There is a lot to talk about when it comes to this book review. With that said, this is a spoiler-free review as always, I hope you enjoy! https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/
09:60
November 24, 2021
Deepest Reaches I - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 073
Deepest Reaches I Troki cocked his head backwards and downed the rest of his beer. Once the last drop touched his lips, he threw it into the darkest corner of the tiny spaceship. The aluminium can bounced badly along the metal floor and lodged itself in a small niche in the wall. Troki breathed a deep sigh and smiled. Another day in this universe and all the luxuries it afforded…if he played his cards right. He shook his head of that dream, knowing too well if he lingered too long, he would get nothing done. https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/
07:17
November 23, 2021
Dying World - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 072
Dying World Marlon stared out at the grey city. The air was cold and the openness made him a sitting duck, but he wanted to watch the world before him for a moment. The majority of buildings in the massive city were shell shocked, a desperate decision made by a heartbroken leader. Decades of grim weather passed and soon green showed itself in the city, taking over the streets and growing in the ash piles. It had its own beauty, watching the world restore its ecosystem, but it was not a world for a weak man. https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/
07:04
November 22, 2021
Old Hands - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 071
Old Hands I sat down in front of the piano which was hard enough. I could feel my joints grind as I eased myself on the small stool and my lower back felt so very stiff. Still, the worst part was the actual playing. My eyes still worked right, so reading the sheets was no problem, finding the keys were no problem, but playing the notes was a mountain I struggled to scale. https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/
06:58
November 19, 2021
Inky Blood - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 070
Inky Blood I slammed my forearm down on the desk. The metal was shredded, having been jammed in the door mechanism. Some parts needed to be repaired. Of course, the skills required were not in my possession. With my one good hand, I placed the head on the apparatus, sealed the container and pushed a button. https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/
07:22
November 18, 2021
My Favourite Genres and Thoughts on Writing Them - Writing Today
CREATIVE BUNDLE: https://learn.malcolmdewey.art/creativebundlespecial With the end of the year fast approaching, I thought it was time for a lighter article. Stepping away from educational pieces, I decided to write a personal preference blog post. It will give you an insight into what genres appeal to me and my thoughts and advice on each. You can read it with the intent to learn something, but really it’s just my biased ideas and thoughts on things I enjoy, so you might not get much education out of it.  However, I hope you are entertained! Here are my favourite genres and my thoughts on writing them! https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/blog/my-favourite-genres-and-thoughts-on-writing-them
19:47
November 17, 2021
It's in the Eyes - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 069
It’s in the Eyes The detective stared at the painting for longer than he intended. It was an extravagant design, several figures crowded around a central focal point; a man standing in fire. His horns gave a good idea of what he was. The crowd bearing weapons and farming tools gave a better idea of what they intended. It was a wonder that such a painting existed without the religious sort frothing at the mouth and storming the museum. https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/
07:29
November 16, 2021
Down the Street - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 068
Down the Street It was my favourite jacket. There were rips here and there or perhaps a red stain on the pale sleeves, but it was my favourite jacket always. It fitted me so well, it was light and comfortable. For all these reasons I couldn’t imagine doing anything without it. It spoke to me almost as much as the mask did. The mask was another story; I didn’t like it as much as the jacket, but it was also very necessary for my work. It allowed me to be more professional as well as release my emotions. I wore both as I walked down the street. https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/
07:27
November 15, 2021
Next Stop - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 067
Next Stop I boarded the train and immediately started coughing. I buckled over, coughing into my hand and retching up the dregs at the back of my throat. It was a painful experience that made it impossible for me to breathe. There was one other passenger in the compartment and he ignored me plainly, staring at his newspaper. https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/
07:12
November 12, 2021
Shattered Kingdom - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 066
Shattered Kingdom The world was broken a long time ago by powerful magic. There once stood a king who ruled over his subjects with a gentle heart and steadfast power. The many that looked up to him also vouched their lives for the kingdom, to protect it with body and soul. Of course, this kindness was only a façade created by the king. His son, who had desired such power, wished to usurp the throne from the king. https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/
06:54
November 11, 2021
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte - Book REVIEW
Wuthering Heights tells the tragic love story between two broken individuals, Catherine and Heathcliff. Although, it would be wrong of me to sum it up as simply that, as it is a story that goes several steps further, talking about ghosts, madness and evil deeds that bring two families to their knees. It is the first gothic fiction I have read that fits that niche genre. Here is my spoiler-free review of the classic novel Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/blog/wuthering-heights-by-emily-bronte-book-review
09:04
November 10, 2021
Darkest Winter - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 065
Darkest Winter Grigori placed the tin cup of poor-quality coffee in front of me. It was the best we could get with the war going on, but still, it was like drinking muddy water. The winter was harsh this year, harsher than it has ever been and neither I nor Grigori expected an officer to visit us with two of his thugs. Still, that didn’t stop them from barging in through the door to let the cold in. https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/
06:45
November 09, 2021
Red Teeth - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 064
Red Teeth I enjoyed camp for two reasons. One, I got to use the tent that took up space in my room and second, marshmallows over a fire. However, this year's camp was the biggest pain because there was no tenting, only a cabin that I needed to share with twelve other campers. The marshmallows were yet to show themselves either. The worst part about camp though had to be what happened on the second last night. https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/
06:53
November 08, 2021
Offices and Dragons - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 063
Offices and Dragons I worked in accounting, which really isn’t a bad job. Most people I know give it a bad rep by saying the work is dull and the hours aren’t good either, but in truth, it is solid work. I find comfort in the day to day rut because after months end, I am relatively free. Not to mention the pay, which when you have been working for such a large company for so many years is quite substantial. https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/
07:00
November 05, 2021
Welcome to Cold Street - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 062
Welcome to Cold Street There was a name whispered around the town. These were whispers about a street that sent shivers down the spine of everyone who heard its name. It was an urban legend that came true and it made it difficult for residents a block away to sleep. Truly, Cold Street gripped the mind of everyone who knew about it, but not for the reasons that most believed. Here is the story of Cold Street. https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/
06:26
November 04, 2021
What You Need to Do When Writing a Book - Writing Today
If you are new to writing a novel, then you are no doubt unsure of how to go about the creative project. You don’t know if you should jump straight into it and see how far you get, or whether you should take it slow and plan everything out. You don’t know how to put your personality into your novel, or if you even should. In this blog post, I will tell you what you need to do to make your writing process simple and even enjoyable! https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/blog/what-you-need-to-do-when-writing-a-book
12:47
November 03, 2021
Cold Steel Lake - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 061
Cold Steel Lake The two of us sat on the small bench and waited for the train to arrive. The platform was a pitiful sight, with only one bench and a shack where they would hand out tickets. Of course, there was nobody handing out tickets for this train, but I knew the driver. While we listened to the night sounds, she slowly leaned against me and we tried not to fall asleep. https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/
07:43
November 02, 2021
Rust and Spikes - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 060
Rust and Spikes “I don’t know what makes you think we can fix this place up,” I told Robert. The warehouse was a strange mix of broken and rusted metal implements. It used to manufacture old war munitions, but that time has long since passed. The time between then and now however showed itself clearly in the decrepit environment. Of course, we still wanted the warehouse. It would also be a great marketing direction. https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/
07:45
November 01, 2021
Scratch - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 059
Scratch Names are funny things. Sometimes a name is given, without any other reason than it sounds good. Sometimes it's to describe something; sometimes the name is given to warn someone. Scratch Hospital is the third. Nothing about it says friendly...or sanitary. Scratch is the abandoned hospital that kids dare each other to go into. It is the hospital you go into if you want to make your problem worse, if you know what I mean. To sum up, you never go into Scratch. https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/
07:21
October 29, 2021
Cold Hands - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 058
Cold Hands For us, the house was home. Sure, it was small compared to most houses on the street, but in fact, it had plenty of rooms, even an attic. The door had a strange squeak which I found charming, the walls were freshly painted and the plumbing worked. Overall, moving here seemed like a fantastic idea, especially to me at first, which is why I can see why my family find it confusing that I now live in fear of the place. https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/
08:03
October 28, 2021
The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware - Book REVIEW
https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/blog/the-woman-in-cabin-10-by-ruth-ware-book-review The Woman in Cabin 10 is a mystery/thriller story of a travel writer’s nightmarish cruise. Lo Blacklock witnesses a murder, someone is thrown overboard in the night. However, all passengers are accounted for, leaving Lo to wonder if she is going mad or if there is a plot against her after what she witnessed. Here is my spoiler-free review of The Woman in Cabin 10!
07:13
October 27, 2021
Among the Aisles - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 057
Among the Aisles Fluorescent lights seemed to create an emotion in me that stuck around like a bad cough. The store glowed with a sickly tone and my eyes drooped as I entered. It was late and it had been a long day, but still, I needed something to eat once I got home. There were very few things that interested me in food. Ignoring the strangers, I cut into the aisles and began searching the constantly changing shelves. https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/
08:09
October 26, 2021
Long Live the King - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 056
Long Live the King It was a time of darkness, indeed, but a time of pure humanity as well. The smallest of people stood up where the strongest fell. It was the time for the peasant to become a lord and overthrow the tyrant that crushed their way of being beneath his armoured boot. Of course, how could a lowly peasant raise arms against a cruel army? The peasants find a champion. https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/
08:11
October 25, 2021
Call in the Night - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 055
Call in the Night Now, I would like to clearly state, for the record, that I had no involvement in the matter other than the fact that I discovered the body, okay? I reported it to the police straight away, in person and without going anywhere near the room upon finding my employee. Do you understand that? Good. Now, let me tell you why I believe that this was the work of a lunatic that has been harassing our store for the past month. https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/
07:03
October 22, 2021
Broken Notes - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 054
Broken Notes David plucked every out-of-tune string before positioning his fingers into a chord. The bow touched the strings lightly and with every slow movement, the violin produced a low hum. Rotating the bow as he dragged it so he made use of every string, David discovered a tune in his own mind. The tune was awful and it reverberated in the dusty, grey attic. Still, there was nobody around anymore to hear him, so he began to play more confidently. https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/
06:53
October 21, 2021
12 Ways to Take Your Writing to the Next Level: Tips on How to Improve Your Writing Skills
12 Ways to Take Your Writing to the Next Level: Tips on How to Improve Your Writing Skills We all write and we all want to improve our writing skills. Writing is a skill that can be developed with time and practice. Yet, practice without direction is pointless, as you won’t achieve your goal if you don’t have one. If you want to write like your favourite author, or phrase better sentences or simply polish your work, these tips are for you. Here are 12 ways to take your writing to the next level! https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/blog/12-ways-to-take-your-writing-to-the-next-level-tips-on-how-to-improve-your-writing-skills
23:20
October 20, 2021
What Apocalypse? - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 053
What Apocalypse? We stood there in our dark apartment and stared out at the city. It was surprising to see the city end up in such a sorry state in a short time. Not a single light could be seen. Of course, there were city-wide blackouts before, but never as long as this. I suppose it was the sign of the times. Nobody had the income to meet the demand of the rising fuel price. Soon the demand hit the people hard and it brought the animal nature out. Months later, the army claimed the fuel for their tanks and other military vehicles. https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/
08:22
October 19, 2021
No Trespassers - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 052
No Trespassers We scoped out the house from a distance. It was a small building near the highway, hidden away amongst the trees. We watched the resident, an old woman, sit on her porch. It was a boring sight, but we needed to find out her routine before we decided to rob the place. The good news was she was the only resident, we didn't see anyone else, but the bad news was she never seemed to leave the house. We thought we might get lucky and she would drive the pickup to go grocery shopping, but it was been close to two weeks without her stepping off the property. https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/
08:32
October 18, 2021
To Face a Wolf - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 051
The library was a marvel on its own. I loved the feel of it and planned to spend as many of my days there as I could. I found peace amongst the bookshelves and the faint echo of my steps only added to my enjoyment. Of course, I tended to it as well. Nowadays, all people cared about was surviving and scavenging, but at least in these dark times, I found my light. I read, I read every book I could get my hands on. If I had to choose between extra food and a book, I will eat what I have with an adventure in my mind. https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/
08:18
October 15, 2021
Red Fox I - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 050
It was hard to tell where I found myself. Last I remembered, I was coming home to a dark apartment. I made myself a cup of coffee, planning on staying up a little longer than my body would like. I entered my room, I found a book waiting on my bedside table. It had neither a name nor cover that hinted at what was inside. I plucked it up and flicked through the pages, scanning a passage here and there before climbing into bed. It seemed interesting, so I flipped back to the beginning and began reading. https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/
07:20
October 14, 2021
The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett - Book REVIEW
The Wee Free Men is the start of a series of novels following the young witch, Tiffany Aching. In this first novel, Tiffany faces her first challenge, as nightmares become reality and invade her home, the country of Chalk. She is armed with her wits, a frying pan and the Nac Mac Feegle, a band of tiny, blue-skinned pictsies. However, will it be enough to face the evils coming out of Fairyland? Here is my spoiler-free review of The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett! https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/blog/the-wee-free-men-by-terry-pratchett-book-review
05:56
October 13, 2021
Travel Fear - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 049
The alarm blared, causing me to roll off the bed and faceplant into the floor. When did the alarm ring? It was either blaring at the wrong time or it wasn’t working. Unfortunately, it was one of those important days where you needed a blaring alarm at the right time. The airport was waiting and the nerves began to set it. Luckily, I had somebody in my life to share the load with. https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/
08:05
October 12, 2021
Hawk - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 048
“Skies are clear, Alpha, you are good to go,” Jackson reported through the radio. “Roger that, Hawk,” the officer replied With that, Jackson flicked a few switches and leaned back in his seat. The jungle canopy below was now replaced with the ocean. It was a truly amazing sight, especially at these speeds. Ahead of Jackson and his co-pilot, Jimenez was the carrier. A large ship used to hold aerial support like helicopters and jets. Despite such a heavy load, the carrier was also armed with heavy artillery, including both anti-air and sea weaponry. https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/
07:15
October 11, 2021
Broken Storm - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 047
Anna lived near the coast. There were no sandy beaches and warm sunshine, but rather rocky cliffs and constant bad weather. It was something you got used to living up north, but there was something Anna could not get used to; the thunderstorms. Living so near a cliff that fell off into the ocean, she constantly dreamt of a terrible accident that always involved the cliff being struck with lightning powerful enough to send a massive part of the land, as well as her home, into the ocean. https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/
06:45
October 08, 2021
Desert Sun - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 046
The sun was a constant reminder of life to me. If I felt its warmth when I opened my eyes, I thanked it. The desert is unforgiving and some would say it is all because of the sun. I found that it is fruitless to base blame on something quite like the sun. We were in a situation that wasn’t easy, true, but many have thrived in it. You need only look at the plants that make it through the years or the towns and cities. Stone walls protect them from the sides, but there is no roof above them. Sunlight is needed or we would never leave the caves. https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/
07:30
October 07, 2021
The Detective-Story Writing Toolkit: Facts and Tips for Writing Mystery
While it wasn’t the genre I started writing in, Mystery was the genre that inspired me to write. Specifically, detective stories packed with cliches. For me, nothing beats a story about a fiercely intelligent person who casually pieces together every detail and catches the culprit in the end. Recently, I decided it was about time that I started writing my detective story, so I began my research and decided to share what I found in this blog post! https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/blog/the-detective-story-writing-toolkit-facts-and-tips-for-writing-mystery
15:21
October 06, 2021
Trench - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 045
For us, since this mess began, the trenches were home. From the kids who lied about their age to the veterans, trench warfare has always had the same effect on the troops. It was a terrible combination of depression and desperation; feelings that were brought on by the lack of food and quality defences. To make it fair, it was the same for the enemy as well. https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/
07:18
October 05, 2021
The Cartoonist - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 044
Ink on paper; is there anything better? I used to work as a cartoonist for a newspaper in my hometown, a small place away from most civilization. It wasn’t near the highway or any suitable tourist site, but still, we managed. Suddenly, around my late twenties, I was offered a job to draw for a cartoon program on the television. It was a dream opportunity that I could not pass over. https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/
07:03
October 04, 2021
With Swords Raised - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 043
The squire was beaten down by the overwhelming forces. Their push towards the city was unforgiving, but luckily he survived the onslaught by being weighed down by a dead comrade. His heavy armour protecting him from being trampled by the monstrous horde, but nothing blocked the sound of the horrendous laughing. https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/
06:43
October 01, 2021
The Electric City - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 042
Qu stepped into the broken building and wiped his metal face. Despite his transfer to this titanium and carbon-fibre shell, he still felt the sensation of stress and wiped his face like he normally did when he was human. Qu’s partner in the Sentinel program, Zed, was far more used to this experience. He had the transfer at the same time as Qu, but immediately adjusted to the new way of living. Now here they stood together, staring at the broken form on the chair.
07:30
September 30, 2021
The Key-Lock Man by Louis L'Amour - Book REVIEW
Matt Keelock is pursued by a posse into the wilderness after a supply trip to Freedom ends in a shootout. More than anything, Keelock is worried about his wife, Kristina, who has her own pursuer. It’s a story of survival, greed and doing the right thing, with a host of characters to underline each value. Here is my spoiler-free review of The Key-Lock Man by Louis L’Amour! https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/blog/the-key-lock-man-by-louis-lamour-book-review
05:27
September 29, 2021
Brass and Gold - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 041
I continued the sketch with a little more caution. I had to make sure my measurements were accurate or the engineer would not understand what I wanted. The machine needed to have the right length and the correct weight. Any lighter and the machine would be too weak and any heavier and I would break under its weight. The helmet needed to contain a large number of mechanisms that wouldn’t break easily as well. It would be a difficult task for the engineer, but not an impossible one to complete. https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/
08:15
September 28, 2021
The Still Cave - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 040
We drifted through the cold waters towards the void in the cliff face. A cave that wasn't there the day before, so you can understand our curiosity. It could have turned out to be a simple rockfall from years of seawater bashing up against the cliff, but no matter how close we got we could not see the back of the cave. Our interest peaked when we saw the beauty of the pools inside. https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/
07:51
September 27, 2021
Static - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 039
Steven eased himself into the chair. The comforting sound of birds put him at ease and exhaustion caught up with him after such a long day. The warm fire glowed its appreciation for his hard work. The logs burned splendidly, fighting the cold air and finally a good night’s rest neared. Before drifting into a deep slumber Steven reached for the remote and turned the TV on. He preferred to listen to something while he slept; strangely the sounds didn't seem to have such an effect tonight. https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/blog/static
08:03
September 24, 2021
Doors - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 038
This isn't a nightmare. The doors were an almost common phenomenon. People seeing the same dream and even seeing each other. People on the other side of the world met each other in their dreams. Government reaction? Well, their initial plan was to kidnap these people. Experiment with them. However, it grew at an exponential rate. Everyone was seeing these doors. Soon you couldn't just pluck someone out of their homes or from the street. Still, those of us who were curious about this phenomenon found it to be a lot more sinister than most believed. https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/blog/doors
06:56
September 23, 2021
Overtime - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 037
For Betty, this was the third time the company had messed with her plans. Having been preparing for her mother's birthday for close to a month it seemed that time would be wasted. Due to heavy cuts in revenue, after a PR disaster, many employees were let off. The remained work was passed on to two other employees that needed to work overtime to meet an unfair deadline. No matter what, Betty would end up working through her weekend, skipping her mother’s birthday. Not to mention the weekends that followed, with the second employee, Steven. https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/blog/overtime
06:44
September 22, 2021
The Tree Fell in the Night - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 036
Neon Tree was the most exclusive club in the city. The owner was a rat-faced gang-leader who governed over illegal trade in that sector of the city. Not to say he made it obvious, to most he was simply a man, to a few he was the club owner, but to me, a man that has been in his employ for almost a decade, he is a snake. I sat in his cold empty offices on the fourth floor of the luxurious club and pondered my plan to rid him from this city, he was a disease festering and rotting the core of the people with drugs, violence and fear. https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/blog/the-tree-fell-in-the-night
07:17
September 21, 2021
Mountain Climbing - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 035
"I'm sure we took a wrong turn somewhere," Simon said stumbling on lose ground. "It's a mountain," Kate told him with a powerful sarcastic tone. "There are only two directions we can go." https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/blog/mountain-climbing
06:30
September 20, 2021
Silver Stars - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 034
https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/blog/silver-stars The Silver Stars were a set of stars that appeared once every twenty-five years. It is common for stars to disappear. It means that they died thousands of years ago and the light has only just stopped reaching us. However, for stars to disappear and return on such a tight schedule is an unexplainable phenomenon. All we know is that the Silver Stars change nature that day. It shifts a balance in the direction of good, or it shifts it in the direction of bad. If you examined the times closely you would find that major events or actions that led to such were caused by Silver Stars.
07:25
September 17, 2021
Year One by Nora Roberts - Book REVIEW
Year One by Nora Roberts is the first book in a post-apocalyptic fantasy series. It follows the survivors of a virus known as the Doom. Some of these survivors are starting to develop magical powers. The world is divided further by the fight between ultimate good and ultimate evil. Here is my spoiler-free review of Year One! https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/blog/year-one-by-nora-roberts-book-review
08:13
September 15, 2021
Why Readers Struggle to Follow Your Story - Writing Today
https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/blog/why-readers-struggle-to-follow-your-story Many factors influence the readability of a book. The plot, the characters, the style of writing. All of it plays a part in making your book unique and interesting. However, these factors can just as easily take a great story idea and turn it into a scattered mess. It can make a story that is simple on the surface, confusing, or a story that appears interesting, as boring as watching paint dry. These are the reasons a reader will struggle to follow a story! Writer's Workshop: https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/writers-workshop.html
19:19
September 08, 2021
Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert - Book REVIEW
Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert is the second novel in the Dune series. It continues the story of Paul Atreides, Muad’dib, who is now Emperor. With being emperor comes an assortment of threats, from old enemies and allies. Even the tapestry of time is incomplete despite his powers to see various threads of the future. Something lies hidden; is it a gift or a threat? Here is my spoiler-free review of Dune Messiah! https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/blog/dune-messiah-by-frank-herbert-book-review
08:02
September 01, 2021
Top 10 Tips for Writing Amazing Villains - Writing Today
https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/blog/top-10-tips-for-writing-amazing-villains Writing an antagonist is both incredibly fun, as well as incredibly nerve-wracking. You can push the boundaries of what is normal behaviour, but strive to remain in the realm of reality. An antagonist is only as intimidating as they are believable, so how can we keep this delicate balancing act going? ​ Here are my top 10 tips for writing a great antagonist!
19:37
August 25, 2021
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne - Book REVIEW
https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/blog/twenty-thousand-leagues-under-the-sea-book-review For this week’s book review, I cover a classic novel by Jules Verne; Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. It’s the story of three men and their deep-ocean tour of the world in Captain Nemo’s submersible, the Nautilus. A story of captivity, a mysterious captain and to cap it off, the wonders of the ocean. Here is my spoiler-free review of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea!
07:19
August 18, 2021
My Writing Methods and Why I Use Them - Writing Today
https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/blog/my-writing-methods-and-why-i-use-them Every writer has personal rules that help them strengthen their writing style. These rules not only reinforce their way of writing but push them to improve their writing as well. If you are sincere about improving your writing, you will start developing your own rules as well. If you don't know what rules to set yourself, I am going to share my writing rules with you so you can get an idea. Perhaps some of these rules will appeal to you as well!
17:20
August 11, 2021
Down the Hill - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 033
https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/blog/down-the-hill Climbing out of the car the two students noticed the lights were gone. Andy had seen lights that led into the forest from a distance, back in their small town, but Dave was unconvinced. Still, Andy thought it was worth more than checking out. He had been seeing things like this and his closest friends didn't believe him. The last option was Dave, who wasn't his closest friend, but a bully. If the two found what Andy saw, Dave would vouch for him and if not, Andy loses lunch money for the next week.
07:41
August 06, 2021
Ocean Floor - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 032
https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/blog/ocean-floor Everyone has always wondered what was at the bottom of the deepest ocean. A mixture of foreboding and curiosity washes over them when they think of it now, but I've been down there. I've stood on the ocean floor and stared straight up. There was so much water between me and the surface you shouldn't see light, but I did. Through all the pressure surrounding me, I could feel all that was around me. The environment gave me peace, not fear.
06:33
August 05, 2021
Dune by Frank Herbert - Book REVIEW
https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/blog/dune-by-frank-herbert-book-review Dune by Frank Herbert is a classic science fiction novel that tells the story of a desert covered planet called Arrakis and the extraordinary journey of a young noble, Paul Atreides. It’s a story filled with fascinating political conflict, fantastic prophecy and drama on a Shakespearean level. Here is my spoiler-free review of Dune!
11:42
August 04, 2021
The Underground - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 031
https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/blog/the-underground I hated the subway. It was filled with rude people and lunatics. First, the wait for the train. You have to watch out for pickpockets and nauseous homeless drunk on cheap spirits. The moment the sounds of the street faded you knew you were in for a treat. It seemed the city's worst centred around the subway, so I guess that makes me one of the cities worst. To be honest, if I had the energy to walk across the city, I would, but I cant and this is one of the mundane problems. However, this is nothing compared to the train ride itself.
06:51
August 04, 2021
Lost - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 030
https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/blog/lost "...stay tuned to hear more on Coal Pine FM..." I flicked the button and the radio fell silent. Trees closed around the car as the path narrowed, but I could see it widening up ahead. It shouldn't be too long before I reached the crossroads. Not a moment too soon either. Night was drawing in and the fog was thickening. It's going to be a difficult drive, but I won't have to drive for long at least. I sighed with relief, nearing a landmark like this after being lost for so long.
06:54
August 03, 2021
Freedom - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 029
https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/blog/freedom "Is the boat ready?" I asked pulling the homemade satchel over my back. "I need to leave as quickly as possible." "It's ready, but I still think you should say goodbye, friend." I sighed at the same tedious advice. However, there is no going back now. I've made my decision and if I told anyone they would just try to stop me. The fools never realized escape was the only way off of this island. There was no rescue party; there was no forgiving tribe that would take us in. We had two choices; work ourselves to death or fight for freedom.
07:47
August 02, 2021
Beneath the Sands - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 028
https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/blog/beneath-the-sands I just needed to keep an ear out for the bleep. I will eventually cross something of value and the metal detector will lend me a reward. It wasn't a cheap machine, but surely it would do its job and make up for it. Of course, my luck wasn't the best and the first thing I discovered wasn't worth anything. However, I felt if I continued scanning the beach I would find some kind of treasure and secure enough riches to keep me happy. It was a large beach that had been through all kinds of history, so I was bound to find something.
07:05
July 31, 2021
The Lost Library - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 027
https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/blog/the-lost-library "This better not be another waste of time," I muttered throwing the hot sand over my shoulder. "I...cannot say that it won't be," She said shrugging. "But this feels right." "You said that about the one in Alexandria." "Well, it’s supposed to be the Hidden Library of Alexandria!" Of course, she would say that, but when we found ourselves in a different antechamber beneath the sands she stated clearly that she expected the location to be a misnomer.
06:49
July 30, 2021
To Be Disturbed - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 026
https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/blog/to-be-disturbed I was the one student in the classroom that couldn't care less about what we were learning. Everyone else was in a panic to study and learn so they could meet the approaching finals well-prepared. Of course, I didn't have a chance in hell. The teachers decided long ago that I wasn't worth the time, considering that everything up to now I failed. So there I sat at the back of the classroom seeing things that the others could not. Strange men in black suits and top hats standing menacingly over each student.
07:33
July 29, 2021
12 Tips for Writing Unique Characters - Writing Today
https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/blog/12-tips-for-writing-unique-characters Ever since I started writing, I’ve wanted to write a unique character. One with many interesting facets and a personality that captures the reader. A character who plays their role so well that they make it memorable. Of course, that’s the goal of every author, from the beginner to the experienced author. ​ Here are 12 professional tips for writing a unique character!
18:59
July 28, 2021
Soldier of Fortune - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 025
https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/blog/soldier-of-fortune I was assigned to one of the many platoons that were making its way across Europe liberating the towns and cities from the Nazi occupation. Fortunately I was lucky to avoid any battle and was always just one step behind the real war. By the time I arrived in one of the small towns outside of France it had already been liberated. French people and allied soldiers walked the streets casually, but something was amiss. Even in war time the liberated towns and cities always had one resounding floor, be it ally soldiers harassing the people or Nazi's attempting to retake the town.
06:27
July 28, 2021
Light Switch - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 024
https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/blog/light-switch Early mornings were a cinch to me. It was the simple grind of going to the store across the street, picking what I needed for breakfast and coming home. The best part about this is that I saved money in the end. No needlessly buying extra food just in case. Unfortunately, it meant leaving my home unattended which seems to create a whole set of mysteries on its own. Whenever I come home, no matter if I was gone for just a minute, something changes in my home and never for the better.
06:43
July 27, 2021
Endless Sand - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 023
https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/blog/endless-sand We stood at the entrance to the cave. Despite our clothing we could still feel the sand hit us as the winds picked up. The desert isn’t the best place in the world to be, especially if a sandstorm begins to pickup. We usually sheltered in caves far from the entrance just like everyone else. It has been that way ever since the war ended. I remember an apt phrase to describe the aftermath of the last war. The next war will be fought with sticks or something like that.
06:52
July 26, 2021
The Basement - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 022
https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/blog/the-basement ​"What's the situation?" I asked the officer. The fat man seemed confused, but then his expression turned sour. "Isn't that your job, detective?" he muttered. "Did you forget that I outrank you?" His friend stopped him before he could say what he really wanted to say. "Sorry, sir. He has just seen enough horror today. Describing it isn't high priority," The calmer officer replied. I pulled him aside and told him to explain if his friend couldn't. He sighed and agreed.
07:02
July 24, 2021
The Strings - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 021
https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/blog/the-strings The master of manipulation, the puppet master. Someone who controls those you have no free will, it is immoral, but easy. Suppose you want to control another puppet master, or at least someone who acts of their own accord. It's simple, you manipulate their mind. The mind is what pulls the strings, lifts the arm, and pulls the trigger. It is incredibly difficult to manipulate the manipulative, but in doing so you can make a lot more happen without any repercussions.
06:51
July 23, 2021
Office Sprint - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 020
https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/blog/office-sprint "...and if follow these steps we should see a noticeable rise in..." ​The CEO wasn't the most charismatic in the world. He droned like an animal in pain. The other board members all hated the idea of talking to him and it was unavoidable. Each one planned their escape, strategically getting ahead of the others and making their way to the lobby. The mumbling continued in a monotone fashion and I fought all my instincts to blink so close to the end of the day. I noticed the others weren't as careful, which is why they will lose.
06:47
July 22, 2021
Corsair by Tim Severin - Book REVIEW
https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/blog/corsair-by-tim-severin-book-review Corsair by Tim Severin is the first novel in the Hector Lynch series. In this book, Hector is kidnapped by corsairs and enslaved. Hector needs to grow and adapt to survive, all the while searching for his sister who was kidnapped as well. It’s an incredible adventure with harsh realism that can only be found in historical fiction. Here is my spoiler-free review of Corsair!
06:45
July 21, 2021
The Abandoned - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 019
https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/blog/the-abandoned They had a nickname for us. It wasn't a particularly good nickname, but we accepted it. The other kids called us the Abandoned. We were the group of children who sneak out at night to do God knows what. It wasn't long before we found our base of operations. The abandoned apartment building. Ever since we've been called the Abandoned. It was the perfect hideout, to escape adults and the problems they gave. Sometimes we were just rebelling against the curfew, but other times we just needed a place to be really alone. There were plenty of rooms in that building.
07:23
July 21, 2021
Silence Manor - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 018
https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/blog/silence-manor Silence Manor, my home. The long halls, the quiet libraries and the balcony overlooking the ocean below added to the atmosphere. I even dreamt about the manor while I slept in one of its rooms. I've lived a good life, filled with wonderful people, all long gone but remembered fondly. I was the youngest; although I was now well into my fifties. I plan to spend my last days in Silence Manor and with the way that I have been ostracized by the outside world, why not make it my last few decades as well.
06:47
July 20, 2021
Redemption - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 017
https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/blog/redemption The mist settled in and soon the compound was hidden from any prying eyes. The Captain rummaged among the rags and equipment until he withdrew a rifle. It was old and it took me a while to recognize the make. It was a Russian. Immediately I knew it was the rifle that the recruit was talking about. It didn't matter now, it was the Captains. What he laid his hands on belonged to him, be it the trigger of a gun or your throat.
05:20
July 19, 2021
The Devil's Contract - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 016
https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/blog/the-devils-contract The office was an oddity in itself. A long table, two chairs either side and no windows. The room was lit by fluorescent lights that gave everything a sickly tone. He came in through a door at the end of the room, sat down on the chair his side and looked at me. He turned the room from sickly to sinister. Of course he did. When it comes to signing this contract what happens is serious, but at least effective.
06:36
July 18, 2021
Omerta - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 015
https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/blog/omerta ​Omerta; the law of silence. When the boss issues the law of Omerta in the neighbourhood it means bad things are going to happen. If we witness or hear the event taking place in any way it is our job to pretend it never happened. We saw no evil, heard no evil and shall speak no evil. It was as simple as that. Of course, there is always a fool that does. A fool that is asking for a short life.
06:24
July 17, 2021
The Black Torii - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 014
https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/blog/the-black-torii The Japanese gates, or toriis , are a common sight in Japan. They are used to mark the entrance to a holy shrine. All except one. The Black Torii, as it has become known in urban legends, marks the entrance to something else. As in all traditional religious faiths, anything different is considered sinister. However, there is no proof of anything sinister. People so far tend to lose track of where it is...or it keeps moving. Still, I had to discover the truth. Ever since hearing about the Black Torii I was obsessed with finding it.
06:52
July 16, 2021
The Less Grey - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 013
https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/blog/the-less-grey ​The snow fell gently on our heads. I could feel it slowly melt through my beanie into my hair, chilling me to the bone. My brother was trying to make a fire. It was painful to watch. He was just poking a big stick with a little stick. The result? A sound that that was causing me to twitch like a psychopath after too much coffee. Ah, coffee...I missed the stuff. Honestly, I would gladly twitch like a psychopath if I had a pot of coffee in my stomach.
06:07
July 15, 2021
Light Roast - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 012
The cafe hummed with life. Machines produced wonderful smells as coffee brewed. People chatted quietly to each other, but laughed loudly. However, the kitchen seemed to be much different. Chefs worked tirelessly to produce baked goods, and small, fancy lunches. Coffee was another challenge all together, especially since no matter who the owner hired they seemed to have lied about their ability to make coffee on their resume.
06:46
July 14, 2021
Synthetic Lights - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 011
Synthetic, meaning created by man to imitate something natural. Light, is something that stimulates the eye to make something visible. Synthetic light, by definition, is man creating false light in order to make something visible. Does that mean what is presented to us by man is false by nature? It was often a perplexing contradiction of meaning, a paradox which I have circle my mind as often as possible till I have the answer. All I see is synthetic lights now.
06:11
July 13, 2021
Mist Valley - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 010
Mist Valley, you may have heard of it. It is a forest up north inside a steep valley. The only way in and out is with some heavy-duty climbing equipment or a helicopter. Of course, as the name suggests, the forest is often clouded with mist, but fog would be a better description. If it wasn't for the tall pine trees you couldn't even see the forest. It was the perfect place for a resort. The atmosphere was magical. At least, that's what thoughtless entrepreneurs considered an ideal resort location.
05:52
July 12, 2021
Night Shift - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 009
Night time is definitely the most eventful time of the day. More gets done during the night than you think more lucrative work anyway. Unfortunately, this is not my work. I drive people from where they are to where they want to be, while I never leave the same seat. The streets are complicated and never lit by proper lights. I have to follow neon streaks and hope that what I'm driving on is the right road. However, despite all my jobs faults I enjoyed it. There was a certain relaxing appeal to it.
06:30
July 11, 2021
Idle Hands - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 008
Fire; one of the most interesting and useful discoveries in history. Unfortunately it’s also the most destructive. With these factors in mind fire can be used scientists to heat chemicals to create life-saving medication. Or, fire can be used to destroy something. So it is in the interest of the common man that fire, if used destructively, should be used by professionals. Standing in the scorched building I concluded that's not what happened here.
06:50
July 10, 2021
Happiness - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 007
I didn't enjoy the silence. It was awkward and I didn't want to feel awkward in my last moments. Luckily, he decided to start speaking. "I suppose it has something to do with the economy..." he said eventually. "Hmm?" I replied breaking away from my thousand-yard stare. "What makes you say that?" "Well, if our lives were better, perhaps we wouldn't be doing this," he suggested. It was curt and I could understand his trepidation. Still, he had it wrong. "I think you can put that theory to rest."
06:34
July 09, 2021
Halloween 1974 - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 006
Tensions were high this Halloween. Trouble in government, which affected everyone and trouble at home, which affected everyone I cared about. My father lost his job, my mother was sick and my sister was missing. I knew she ditched to go to a high-school party, which only annoyed me more. I was the one who drove from two cities over to see our parents, but I guess it was a three-piece Halloween this year. Still, I was glad to see them again. No matter what path of life you take it is always a pleasure to return home.
06:08
July 08, 2021
The Bedlam Stacks by Natasha Pulley - Book REVIEW
The Bedlam Stacks by Natasha Pulley is the story of a botanist and ex-East India Company smuggler, Merrick Treymane going into uncharted Peru to take illegal cuttings from cinchona trees. The bark from these trees yields quinine; the only known cure for malaria. What starts as an expedition to steal these plant samples leads to the discovery of something far greater. Here is my spoiler-free review of The Bedlam Stacks!
06:28
July 07, 2021
The Midnight Library by Matt Haig - Book REVIEW
The Midnight Library by Matt Haig is the story of a woman learning what life is all about after death. A story filled with lessons on seeing the good, recognizing the bad and making the most of it all.  Here is my spoiler-free book review of The Midnight Library!
06:25
July 07, 2021
Cloud 8 - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 005
"How is the subject?" Dr Roberts asked. "All is well, sir. Project Q is doing just fine." "Good and how was Z's transition?" The scientist looked nervously up from his tablet at the doctor. Dr Roberts raised an eyebrow. The subject wasn't dead, but there was some sort of complication. That's what Dr Roberts read from the man’s face. Something inside him told him that another one of Z's complications had come up and despite the frequency of them, he still was afraid of being surprised.
06:50
July 07, 2021
Echo - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 004
I worked for a large school just off the coast off the Atlantic. It was a prestigious school and man was it the largest around. I could spend a good hour walking around it before I visited all the rooms. I am the janitor; unfortunately, my family did not have the funds to send me to such a school. I wish they did.
06:34
July 06, 2021
Mechanical Difficulties - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 003
He was a strange customer to say the least. The day was off to a great start. I had finished working on a long term client’s car, which recently has been having engine trouble. It wasn't hard to find the problem, but to fix it was a delicate matter. However, I did my job and relaxed after an arduous task. Working for the officers is never appreciated, not by my fellow man and not even by the officers. I was just happy to have him gone and hopefully my workmanship would keep him away for a long while. That's when the stranger walked into my garage.
06:50
July 05, 2021
Dark Water - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 002
Dark Water was by far the most terrible tourist spot in the city. We had festivals, carnivals, monuments and oversized furniture, but the lake was an eyesore. Of course, we were stuck with attractions that we gradually downplayed over the years until they stopped appearing on the brochure. This attraction was known as Lake Robinson, but locally it was known as Dark Water Lake. It was something the adults ignored and the children whispered about.
07:37
July 04, 2021
Deep Blue Sea - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast - 001
The motion was sickening, but after such a long time you get over it. The rowboat slowly drifted in a direction that we didn't know. It was depressingly slow, but we had little choice. We used to argue whether we were going North or South. It was a confusing and pointless argument. Losing the oars to a storm and forced to see the same flat blue ocean drives even the angriest people to silence.
07:49
July 03, 2021
16 Writing Tips to Improve Your Dialogue
Dialogue requires a different mindset. You need to place yourself in your character’s shoes, react the way they would and still play the writer and steer the conversation in the direction you want. Thus, dialogue can be pretty difficult to write if it doesn’t come naturally. Here are 16 tips to keep in mind when writing dialogue!
17:04
June 30, 2021
The Midas Code by Boyd Morrison - Book REVIEW
The Midas Code by Boyd Morrison is an action-adventure story, where Tyler Locke, an army engineer, must work together with a classics scholar, Stacy Benedict, to find the legendary treasure of King Midas. It is an adventure filled with ingenious thinking, plenty of fights and deadly villains. Here is my spoiler-free book review of The Midas Code!
05:43
June 23, 2021
How to Write a Great Opening Chapter - Writing Today
The first chapter is all about introductions. You introduce your characters, your theme and more. Yet, you also introduce yourself as a writer. You show the reader how you will tell the story. The style in which you give details and the atmosphere of your story. Making a good impression becomes the main stress in your first chapter, as you don’t want to make a mistake in your story or your style. It sounds like an intimidating task, so let’s make it easy and enjoyable!
11:40
June 16, 2021
Slade House by David Mitchell - Book REVIEW
‘Slade House’ by David Mitchell is a dark fiction written as a companion to his book ‘The Bone Clocks’. I should say that when I was given this book to read, I had no idea that it was a companion book, but upon doing further research, I learned it is written in very much the same style and can be read as a standalone novel. Yet, I recommend before reading Slade House, you should read ‘The Bone Clocks’, to get more out of this book. Without further ado, here is my spoiler-free review of ‘Slade House’!
06:08
June 09, 2021
5 Likeable Character Traits and How to Write Them - Writing Today
Characters will have their unique personalities, but certainly similar traits. The same sense of humour, the same sense of right and wrong, the same positive or negative outlook on life. With that said, there are some more defined traits we can give characters to make them more likeable, from a sarcastic sense of humour to a sincere sense of justice. Here are 5 likeable character traits and how to write them!
12:11
June 02, 2021
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? - Blade Runner - Book REVIEW
‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?’ is a science-fiction exploration of humanity and humanity in androids, written by Philip K. Dick, a popular and prolific that I’m sure many science-fiction writers and readers have heard of. That being said, I have never watched any Blade Runner films or looked into them, so by reading the book first I had an opportunity to gain an unbiased opinion of the characters and story. Here is my spoiler-free review of ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?’
06:07
May 26, 2021
7 Ways to Improve Your Story - Writing Today with Matthew Dewey
When doing anything there is always room for improvement. Artists will always look at their painting and want to add another brushstroke, a programmer will always look at their code and wonder if there is a more efficient way to complete a task. Writing is no exception, there is always some area that could benefit from extra thought. Here are 7 ways to improve your story!
10:05
May 19, 2021
Journey Beyond Selene by Jeffrey Kluger - Book REVIEW
I am certainly one of the many who has a deep fascination with space. From the wonders of our own solar system to the mind-boggling beyond, that makes me stare off into the vast distance as if I could see what lies at the end of the universe. Yet, this book is not so much about the wonders of space, but instead of the remarkable people who allowed us a closer look at it; the rocket scientists and engineers. Here is my review on Journey Beyond Selene.
04:27
May 12, 2021
5 Top Tips for Killing Off Your Characters - Writing Today
Killing off a character isn’t easy. If you do it too bluntly, it won’t be memorable. If you make it unrealistic, you lose reader involvement. If you kill off too many characters, then death scenes lose their impact. Yet, when you pull it off, the death scene has a firm place in the reader's memory, it adds to your story and makes that character special. Here are some of my top tips for killing off a character!
10:52
May 05, 2021
The Atlantis Gene by A. G. Riddle - Book REVIEW
The Atlantis Gene is an action-adventure novel written by A. G. Riddle. Intelligence agent David Vale and geneticist Kate Warner find a shared enemy, the Immari, a secret evil organisation which believes that wiping out 99% percent of the population is what is best for all of mankind. The stakes are high for these two, to say the least. Here is my spoiler-free book review on The Atlantis Gene.
06:45
April 28, 2021
Captain Freddy - The Penned Sleuth Short Story Podcast | Episode 02
"Now, let me go through this one more time for those in the back." Freddy was in a humorous mood today. Even the distant booms of falling bombs didn't shake that smile. Fearless didn't describe Freddy, but foolish did. He was a man with no fear because he wasn't sure what it meant. Yet, we were his foolish disciples.
07:47
April 26, 2021
7 Tips for Writing Surreal Stories - Writing Today
From the confusingly brilliant to wonderfully mad, writers have been painting surreal scenes with words as much as artists do with paint. It’s in the nature of many writers to create dreamlike scenes to add to the madness of their story or make the reader feel that childlike curiosity. Here are my seven tips for writing surreal scenes and stories!
11:19
April 21, 2021
The Return - The Penned Sleuth Podcast
I massaged my arm, thinking about what he told me. These monsters that plagued me were figments of my imagination. Yet, the pain felt so real. To add to it, they didn't believe me, not even him. He walked out and I was alone with these pains. Both in my arm and in my heart. I thought these creatures had left me long ago, but now I know they never will. You can also read the story here: https://www.thepennedsleuth.com/short-stories/the-return
08:39
April 19, 2021
Introduction to the Penned Sleuth Podcast
An introduction to a new series of weekly short stories
04:12
April 19, 2021
Empire of Sand by Robert Ryan - Book REVIEW
Normally, I try to avoid political thrillers, but I make an exception for stories on wartime exploits. Empire of Sand follows Thomas Edward Lawrence, a British intelligence officer, A.K.A Lawrence of Arabia, and Harold Quinn, a British agent. Lawrence and Quinn are tasked with stopping Wilhelm Wassmuss, the infamous German agent, from fuelling a conflict in Egypt that could lead to a revolt. Without spoilers, here’s my review on Empire of Sand by Robert Ryan.
07:20
April 14, 2021
The Faceless Felon: How to Write a Hidden Antagonist - Writing Today
Sometimes the story isn’t so simple, the villain so clear. Sometimes the antagonist is hidden from sight, but their influence is seen by many. Their motives, their origin, is unknown, but the destruction they cause isn’t. The kind of villain that strikes in the dark, or uses others to do their dirty work, or influences technology to enact their devious plans. This week, we cover the hidden antagonist and how to write them!
08:46
April 07, 2021
Roadside Picnic - Book REVIEW
It’s been a while since I read anything other than my students and my own writing. When returning to the hobby, not many books came to mind. Luckily, the one I chose was exactly what I needed. A grim atmosphere made harsh and interesting with the inclusion of sinister scientific anomalies; the Strugatsky brothers did not disappoint. With that said, welcome to my disorganised and somewhat biased review on Roadside Picnic!
07:06
March 31, 2021
How to Write a Good Plot Twist - Writing a Good Book
Plot twists have been a favourite in many genres, from mystery to thriller, to general fiction. By creating a plot twist that successfully surprises the reader, the writer has done an excellent job of weaving a story, employing subtle distraction and made great use of misdirection. I will be showing you how to plan and write a plot twist of your own. Let’s jump into it!
10:01
March 24, 2021
How to Write Good Fight Scenes - Writing a Good Book
Ah, fight scenes. What is supposed to be exciting for the reader can turn out to be a difficult balancing act for the writer. In theory, a fight scene seems incredible, but on paper, it can easily be too short, or too long, or too detailed, or not detailed enough. In essence, most fight scenes today are written poorly, coming off as boring, confusing or not impactful. Scary? Absolutely, but here’s how to write them with ease!
10:15
March 17, 2021
How to Write Good Side Characters - Writing a Good Book
Side characters, one of the most useful tools in fiction writing. Supporting characters present the writer with an opportunity to not only create smaller stories to make your book more interesting but also develop main characters and add to the world of your creation. After all, a well-written side story can make your already great story better. The challenge is making good use of this writing tool. Time some essential tips on writing good side characters!
11:14
March 10, 2021
How to Write Good Dialogue - Writing a Good Book
Writing a good dialogue should be as easy as having a conversation with your best friend. Words should come to mind in an instant, flow together and make sense. The real niggle that many writers encounter is realism. Realism is hard to maintain without going off-topic, or breaking character, yet it can be done. So, let’s go over how to write some good dialogue! First, this is the fourth in a series of articles on writing a good book. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out earlier pieces, where I cover story structure, protagonists and antagonists. I would also like to hear what you aim for writing good dialogue. With that said, let’s talk about realistic dialogue!
10:14
March 03, 2021
Writing a Good Antagonist - Writing a Good Book
When writing an antagonist, you need to consider the purpose of a confrontational force in your story. Your hero is being challenged by someone or something for a reason. Is it for the purpose of creating an incredible adventure? Or is it to develop your character? Or is the antagonist the real subject of your story? Finding this answer is the first key to writing a good antagonist. Now, let’s discuss that!
11:08
February 24, 2021
Writing a Good Main Character - Writing a Good Book
When it comes to writing a good story, it goes without saying that you need a good main character. One that you feel good when writing, one which readers feel good reading. The kind of character that truly fits their role in the story. However, it is so easy to miss the mark and write a character that is alright, but not good. A character which could have been better, a character that could have been memorable. Well, here’s how to make sure you do.
13:00
February 10, 2021
Plotting a Good Story - Writing a Good Book
Welcome to the first in a series of articles/videos where I talk about writing a good book. Advice, tips, examples and exercises that will help or challenge you to write a certain aspect of your story better, until it is at the very least...good. A good book is hard enough to find and a great book more so. However, what makes a great book depends on one’s opinion. Whether one likes a genre, a theme or even a character. However, most readers can agree on whether a book is good or not, bias cannot affect that. I am going to show you how to write a good book.
13:38
February 03, 2021
How You Can Write Better Dialogue in 5 Steps - Writing Today | S05 E07
Dialogue, much like any part of writing a novel, has its own challenges. There are many examples of dialogue falling flat, of dialogue being used for small-talk and other unnecessary conversations. I have organized this 5-step process to ensure you get a grip on great dialogue. Let’s jump into it!
08:45
March 26, 2020
7 Practical Tips for Confident Writing - Writing Today | S05 E06
Confident writing is a sure-fire way to let your reader know they are in for a great story. Avoiding the basic mistakes, such as flowery language, helps you create a more believable world. You show your belief in the world through the language you use and confident writing is exactly how you do that. Here are 7 practical tips for confident writing!
07:13
March 23, 2020
7 Tips for Writing an Amazing Antagonist - Writing Today | S05 E05
The antagonist, a character or characters that counter our protagonists, being an obstacle or an end goal. If the main character is the most important character, then the antagonist ties for that place. The importance of the antagonist cannot be understated, but we will talk more about that in a moment. Here are 7 Tips for Writing an Amazing Antagonist!
09:55
March 20, 2020
Writing a Character with Purpose and Drive in 5 Steps - Writing Today | S05 E04
You’ve started writing your book, but your character seems to be drifting. Their interest in the plot isn’t as sincere and you can’t help but force them to play their part. Be it a protagonist or antagonist, this problem with purpose is common in writing. I am going to show you a five-step method to give your character purpose in your novel. Let’s jump into it!
08:36
March 18, 2020
7 Tips for Writing Unique Characters - Writing Today | S05 E03
One of the goals as a writer is to create a character that stands out. Your world is unique and wonderfully interesting, but are your characters? Can you tell who is speaking without a tag? Does your character even surprise your reader at times? Let me give you 7 tips that will help you write unique characters. Let’s go!
08:52
March 17, 2020
What You Need to know to Write a Novel in a Month - Writing Today | S05 E02
It all begins with an idea. Not necessarily a great idea in the beginning, but an idea nonetheless. With creative energy, you can turn that idea into a story and that story into a full novel. Yet, there are more steps to take before you can write that novel in a month. Let’s run through them!
08:16
March 16, 2020
Writing a Powerful Self-Sacrifice Scene - Writing Today | S05 E01
Writing a powerful scene where one character gives up something valuable for another is not easy. Authors have struggled to convey the gravity of the situation to their readers, so what they read is a messy idea that falls flat. Yet, there is hope for your self-sacrifice scene. ​ Here’s how to write a jaw-dropping scene, oozing with character!
06:37
March 13, 2020
Writing Character Motivation When They're Thrown Into a New World - Writing Today | S04 E10
It is a trope that is often used in fantasy and for a good reason. The main protagonist is thrown into a new world, as clueless as to the threats and wonders it contains. Much like the reader, lending the reader an attachment to this protagonist, the reader learning as the main character learns. Yet, why should the main character even care? Let’s talk about motivation.
09:10
March 12, 2020
On Strengthening Your Writing - Writing Today | S04 E09
Bad habits and weak words hold us back. We have ideas, dreams ready to be put on paper, but we find ourselves making the same mistakes. Our writing doesn’t strike the right chords. Luckily, it isn’t so difficult to fix those problems, break those habits and build an enjoyable novel or article. Let’s talk about that!
08:16
March 11, 2020
Lies Writers are Tired of Hearing - Writing Today | S04 E08
From the poor advice of the inexperienced to the recommended videos, there are many lies forced upon writers. The fact is, we have all been recommended those make-six-digits-a-year videos and articles. We are tired of falling for those traps. If you have just started writing, here is the difference between clickbait and information. Let’s begin!
07:12
March 06, 2020
On Writing a Great Mystery Novel - Writing Today | S04 E07
The mystery genre has always been an interesting topic. Many of my students believe it to be a difficult genre, as you need to lay down a series of clues without arousing the reader’s suspicion. Yes, it is better if the reader doesn’t expect what happens next, but that isn’t what will make your mystery great. Allow me to explain in this handy checklist for writing a mystery!
07:53
March 05, 2020
How to Write a Break in Character - Writing Today | S04 E06
Be it in literature or film, when a character does something you don’t expect, it is a surreal experience. You always expect them to do something more fitting with who they are, but they sometimes go in the entirely opposite direction. I am going to go through these breaks in character with you and how you can write them. Let’s jump into it!
07:39
March 03, 2020
The Pros and Cons of Writing Without Planning - Writing Today | S04 E05
The idea of doing anything creative without planning is common enough. In our youth, whether it was art or writing, we just started. We were either eager to write or eager to get it over with. For some writers, writing without planning is their way of doing things. Perhaps you are considering writing this way with your next novel, so here are some pros and cons of writing this way. Let’s begin!
10:19
March 02, 2020
How Flawed Characters Improve Your Story - Writing Today | S04 E04
Writing a protagonist is fun, there is no doubt about it. Developing their style, their winning personality and forming an attachment to them. It is a powerful feeling. Yet, there is a mistake beginner writers often make when creating and writing their character. The character is flawless, they cannot go wrong. Here is why you should go the other way and write flawed characters.
07:11
February 28, 2020
How to Pace Your Novel with Ease - Writing Today | S04 E03
Pacing is something that few writers ever consider when writing their novel. Perhaps this is a good thing, as many writers have a natural sense of how to pace their novels. However, there are those who have too many quiet moments or far too many action scenes in their novel. I am going to show you how to pace your novel with an easy step-by-step process. Let’s jump into it!
06:54
February 27, 2020
10 Ways to Scare Your Reader - Writing Today | S04 E02
It is the eve of Halloween and my thoughts turn to that of terror. The night used to be filled with horrors that kept me awake and my heart pounding. Now, as I’ve grown older, what stresses me isn’t fictional monsters, but the same stresses every adult has. In that sense, it’s difficult to write a thriller to scare my readers. Or is it?
10:02
February 26, 2020
The Writing Inspiration of H.P. Lovecraft - Writing Today | S04 E01
The occult, the supernatural, science fiction and dark fantasy are just a few words to describe the works of H. P. Lovecraft. The cosmic horror from his works have spread around the world, images recognizable or not, his monsters and deities are a favorite among readers. Yet, what does it take to write a cosmic horror, a dark fantasy such as the Lovecraftian mythos? It takes a nightmare.
06:30
February 25, 2020
Writing a Novel Like a TV Show - Writing Today | S03 E10
We all have our own ways of writing. Writers prefer to write for themselves, writing a story in a way that they enjoy reading it. Some writers prefer to write for the readers, giving them a structure the reader is no doubt familiar with. Yet, the question is raised whether you can write an enjoyable story and novel if it were written as a TV show? Let’s find out!
07:32
February 24, 2020
Writing a Book in Character - Writing Today | S03 E09
Writing a book is by no means a simple task, but it can be made easier through a rather interesting method. Whether you write a book with several perspectives or only one, writing the story in the character of the protagonist can have a profound effect. Let’s jump into it!
05:48
February 21, 2020
How Group Writing Improves Your Book - Writing Today | S03 E08
Whether you have been writing for years or for weeks, writing in a group has a profound effect on your work. From speeding up the process of fixing basic mistakes, writing in a group is certainly a method to consider. Let us check out what it has to offer!
06:53
February 18, 2020
The Much Needed Positivity On Writing - Writing Today | S03 E07
You have read it everywhere. The negative articles on writing, the pains and mediocre rewards. Whether they surface on popular websites or in blog posts, these articles contain little to no positives on writing. In that sense, surfing the internet as a writer can be ultimately depressing. To balance it out, here is a mental splurge in the positive aspects of being a writer. Let’s begin!
08:51
February 17, 2020
How You Can Write Every Day - Writing Today | S03 E06
You have seen plenty of articles discuss the benefits of daily writing. Yet, I'm sure few, if any, have told you how to get into daily writing. First, what about writer's block? What's the schedule? Where is the inspiration? I will answer these questions and more. Here is how you can get the daily writing habit. Let's get to it!
06:22
February 13, 2020
The Poetic Beauty of Simplistic Writing - Writing Today | S03 E05
For the beginner writer, writing involves gross amounts of verbiage. For the professional writer, writing is for the target market. For an effective writer, writing is getting a message across to the reader. What better way to do that than through simple, powerful sentences?
07:05
February 12, 2020
15 Writing Rules that Will Improve Your Dialog - Writing Today | S03 E04
Dialogue is a wonderful essential for any book with speaking characters. Yet, it is easy to write mediocre dialogue. Here are 15 rules that ensure your next dialogue serves its purpose and has an impact on the reader. Let's break the ice!
13:51
February 11, 2020
The Worst Lies You've Been Told About Writing - Writing Today | S03 E03
You have heard these lies before. Either from critics, people close to you or even yourself. These are the lies that are slowing you to a halt. The lies which cripple your creative flow, break your self-esteem. In short, these are the lies killing your passion. I am going to tell you why these lies should mean nothing to you.
08:39
February 10, 2020
The Writing Career I Dreamt Of - Writing Today | S03 E02
I had many expectations when it came to my writing career. What I envisioned was cliche, but it was desirable as well. Yet, what I got was completely different in the beginning. That didn't stop the dream, but I had trouble seeing how it would become a reality. For the writers with great expectations, this piece is for you. Read on!
08:04
February 04, 2020
My Writing Rules That Keep Me Effective and Productive - Writing Today | S03 E01
Every writer has their personal rules that help them strengthen their writing style. These rules not only reinforce their way of writing, but push them to improve their writing as well. If you are sincere about improving your writing, you will start developing your own rules as well. If you don't know what rules to set yourself, I am going to share my writing rules with you so you can get an idea. Let's jump into it!
09:07
February 03, 2020
The Greatest, Must-Read Fantasy Books - Writing Today | S02 E10
Now, this is a piece I have been looking forward to writing for a long time. There are novels that place me in a world that I can escape to. These novels have helped me grow as a person or helped me get through tough times. These are the novels that I can read today for a healthy dose of nostalgia. These are the greatest, must-read fantasy books in my humble opinion, let's take a look!
10:43
January 31, 2020
What Writing Taught Me and Will Teach You Too - Writing Today | S02 E09
Writing has taught me more about business and life than I could have hoped for. I knew it would be a tough career getting into it. After all, the readers today are not the readers when I was growing up. Times have changed and so has the taste of everyone. To put that into perspective, I'm twenty-one and so much has changed. Here is what I know.
11:38
January 30, 2020
Should You Write Full-Time or Hobby Write? - Writing Today | S02 E08
​A question you need to ask yourself if you are considering a career in writing. Don't overestimate your interest in writing as a 'calling'. Your greater purpose in life is whatever you make of it. Like many career choices, you shouldn't jump straight into writing. I am going to ask you some clear questions that will help you decide once and for all if the writing career is for you.
11:33
January 29, 2020
The Brilliance of Side-Characters - Writing Today | S02 E07
More often than not, the side characters are better than the main characters. You may find this a curious statement to make. The main character is the center of attention, so why are side characters better? It all comes down to creative freedom. I am going to tell you what you need to know about side-characters. Make them interesting, make them powerful and here is how!
09:07
January 28, 2020
5 Techniques Which Help Me Write Hundreds of Stories - Writing Today | S02 E06
At the time of writing this article I have written close to three-hundred stories. Writing a short story every day can me straining for even the most imaginative mind. However, after all this time I have developed my own techniques to make the challenge fun, filled with variety and improving my writing with each passing day. These are the techniques I am going to share with you!
10:43
November 15, 2019
Effective Habits of the Successful Writer - Writing Today | S02 E05
Too many writers around the world struggle to write their novels. It’s understandable, every writer struggles with their first book. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t develop the habits of an effective writer as soon as possible. Over the years I have formed my own habits and so have other writers, but a lot of us share similar habits that make us more productive and overall, better writers. Let’s take a look and learn together!
09:51
November 14, 2019
Make the Most of Your Writing and Save Time - Writing Today | S2 E04
The cold hard truth I want to start this article off with is gonna either hit you hard or you already know. Most writers will ultimately fail in their pursuit of writing. It’s terrible to think such talent will go to waste, but the fact of the matter is, you need more than talent to make it in any career, not just writing. Let me start with the first step to being the best writer you can be and make a career out of your work.
10:24
November 06, 2019
10 Tips on Getting the Reader Invested - Writing Today | S2 E03
There are many intricacies when it comes to writing a first chapter, but you want to know how to make it great. I am going to give ten pieces of advice that will help you get your reader interested, gripping them with curiosity so they keep reading your novel. Let’s jump into it!
08:19
November 05, 2019
Dealing with the Writers Burdens - Writing Today | S2 E02
You have no doubt felt it weighing on you. That ever-present pressure that keeps you from progressing, that burden which stands in your way. The writer’s burden is a tough emotional and mental strain. In order to combat this problem, I walked the path so many writers have. Allow me to point you in the right direction; this is how you deal with the writer’s burdens.
08:13
November 04, 2019
5 Tips on How to Make Time for Writing - Writing Today | S2 E01
One of the first problems you have no doubt encountered as a writer is making time for writing. With responsibilities taking priority, such as work or family, you are left scrounging for a half-an-hour to work on the book you have in mind. Sometimes, half-an-hour is the best you can get on a good day alone. I am going to give you some advice and solutions to your dilemma, helping you make more time for writing.
07:47
October 31, 2019
Cyberpunk, Writing the Growing Genre | Writing Today | S1 E10
 Cyberpunk, a sub-genre of science fiction that is growing in popularity of late. As a writer who is interested in the genre, I was left curious on how to write an investing cyberpunk novel. Having experience in science fiction, I did further research into cyberpunk and have collected some golden advice and guidelines to help you write your cyberpunk novel. Let’s get into it! 
08:16
June 28, 2019
Darkest Winter | Short Story Podcast | S2 E15
Did you think you could hide it? Perhaps from them, the enemy was never so smart, but not from us. Opportunity is knocking, Doctor, you best open.
07:09
June 28, 2019
Red Teeth | Short Story Podcast | S2 E14
There is a strange itch that cannot be scratched, a strange monster within us all. Only mine has red teeth and you will never see them till it's too late
07:15
June 27, 2019
10 Techniques to Help Improve Your Writing - Writing Today
 Your book has an interesting plot and you’re writing plenty in your process. However, you have that feeling at the back of your mind that the book can be improved. Changes could be made in order to make it stand out, to make the writing really stick in the reader's mind. How does one improve one’s writing? Here are ten techniques that will do just that! 
10:36
June 26, 2019
Offices and Dragons | Short Story Podcast | S2 E13
An adventure awaits you traveller! Will you raise your strength above those too fearful?
07:19
June 26, 2019
Welcome to Cold Street | Short Story Podcast | S2 E12
Something about Cold Street makes it different from any other. So make strange occurrences that leave me...scared
06:48
June 25, 2019
The Protagonist's Desires | Writing Today | S1 E08
 The protagonist is a difficult character to write. You need to meet the expectations of the reader and at the same time, not be so generic. Afterall, so many protagonists seem to go the same way in writing today. I’m going to show you how to write a protagonist that both fits your plot, and fits their personality. ​Let’s begin! 
07:07
June 24, 2019
Cold Steel Lake | Short Story Podcast | S2 E11
An adventure is beginning. A cold man , a strong woman and the forest awaits them both.
07:21
June 24, 2019
The Importance of Research on Improving Your Writing - Writing Today
 You are preparing to write your book, but your lack of factual depth is apparent. Thus, you have reached the point where you are searching for the right information to back your novel. What happened in certain periods of time? How does this machine work? What is the benefit of putting research into your story? I am going to tell you why! 
06:44
June 21, 2019
Rust and Spikes | Short Story Podcast | S2 E10
The higher you go, the more enemies you make. Some enemies will devote themselves towards your destruction
07:38
June 20, 2019
Top 5 Tips for Writing a Great First Chapter - Writing Today
You’ve experienced it before. Whether you read the first chapter or someone else did, the sense of starting and finishing the novel wasn’t there. You need to grip your reader and you’re only going to do that when you write a great first chapter. Here are five great tips to help you write the first chapter that draws your reader in. 
07:19
June 19, 2019
Scratch | Short Story Podcast | S2 E09
No matter what, do not, under any circumstances, enter Scratch Hospital
07:10
June 19, 2019
Cold Hands | Short Story Podcast | S2 E08
There is evil in this place. It belongs to someone past, but someone still here...
08:19
June 19, 2019
5 Great Fantasy Clichés in Writing Today
 We have all tried to avoid clichés in our writing. Clichés are overused ideas or tropes in any form of media and to have a clichéd character just feels lazy when you're writing. However, with most ideas already being done-to-death, there comes a time to realize that some clichés are just enjoyable to write and to read. Which is why I will be discussing with you some great clichés in fantasy writing. Let’s check them out! 
08:39
June 17, 2019
Among the Aisles | Short Story Podcast | S2 E07
To live a full life is not easy, but to live a simple life with a mind that works against you, that is a hell of its own...
08:35
June 17, 2019
Long Live the... | Short Story Podcast | S2 E06
The lands have been ruled by a tyrant for too long and as such, a champion has been chosen to free it from the mad monarch
09:39
June 16, 2019
Call in the Night | Short Story Podcast | S2 E05
There a dangerous people out there, horrible people. You cannot take chances anymore, not in this neighbourhood anyhow
07:27
June 15, 2019
10 Essential Writing Tips for a Strong Villain - Writing Today
 ​You are struggling to create a villain that grips you. A villain which you can fear and respect, a villain which embodies everything that you hate. Well, I am about to give you some tips on making a strong villain that is not only great to read, but great to write as well. I will help you take your villain from basic to legendary! 
13:50
June 14, 2019
Broken Notes | Short Story Podcast | S2 E04
There is a world of music and I have an obsession with it.
07:27
June 14, 2019
What Apocalypse? | Short Story Podcast | S2 E03
The strangest people can find the light in even the darkest circumstances
07:58
June 13, 2019
5 Writing Mistakes You Are Making and How to Fix Them | Writing Today
Yes, you’re doing it wrong. Mistakes are common enough in writing, from spelling errors to bad grammar, but here are some mistakes that aren’t so obvious. I will help you identify these mistakes as well as provide you with the solution. Here are 5 mistakes you have made in your writing and how to solve them!
08:17
June 12, 2019
No Trespassers | Short Story Podcast | S2 E02
You really think I wouldn't protect it? You really think I wouldn't keep it safe?
09:06
June 12, 2019
To Face a Wolf | Short Story Podcast | S2 E01
The apocalypse is dangerous, man or beast must fight to survive. No exceptions
10:23
June 11, 2019
How to Develop an In-Depth Name for Your Character | Writing Today
Have you ever wondered how to create a great name for your character? In this podcast discussion I give you some of the best advice I learnt when writing on how to name a character. From realistic to ridiculous, find out how to develop the ideal name in Writing Today!
07:33
June 07, 2019
The Still Cave | Short Story Podcast | Episode 040
Overwhelming fear sent me away, but will overwhelming curiosity bring me back?
08:49
June 06, 2019
Static | Short Story Podcast | Episode 039
We all know who he is, but do we have the courage to survive him?