The Fantastic Worlds of Scottish Writer Craig Gilbert ~ View From the Keyboard

Another writer friend I’ve made over the wide wide world of the web, Craig Gilbert hales from the gorgeous country of Scotland, a place where magic and the fantastic seem entirely possible. Perhaps this is what draws Craig to the things he likes to write about: new worlds, legends, a landscape both magnificent and menacing. His work leans toward the realm of fantasy–A Wizard’s Tears, Craig’s debut novel was started when he was just 16. More than two decades later, Craig continues to hone and practice his craft through fiction and now poetry.

Soul Shadows is Craig’s first of four books of poetry; his upcoming collection is called A Gathering of Wings. Forthcoming fiction titles include The Dark Shores and The Lemon & Other Short Stories, a semi-autobiographical collection that looks at therapists, young love, running marathons, significant birthdays, and more.

Below, a taste of Craig’s fiction and poetry:

The Dark Shores (prologue, an excerpt)

Jolner looked at Spirit’s Rock now. It stood in the centre of the sea between the two islands, a huge formation of black rock and stone, jagged and inaccessible. At its apex, the formation seemed almost man made, for there was a perfect circle that pierced it, and on the longest day of the year, the sun would shine through this circle, sending a ray of warm light skittering across the sea, glinting off the rock pools Jolner now stood upon with warm energy.

Jolner could not repress a shudder. Every time he looked upon Spirit’s Rock, he remembered the legends of that place. The people of Mykemu, himself included, believed the Rock to be haunted, and many people who had dared sail near its rough cliffs told of seeing a presence there, something that they could not define, but sense. Many came back with differing views: it was a man they saw, made of mist; it was a sea serpent, coiled around the cliffs and as large as the rock itself; it was a woman of ethereal beauty, captivating travellers with her song of mourning. All agreed their sense of fear, the way their hair stood on end, as if being watched, and the sweat that lined their faces, as if they had been through a great ordeal. Many complained of rashes and welts, and marks appeared on their skin, unbidden and without any explanation. People did not travel to the monument any more, and feared it, and cursed they were to look at it.

As Love Erupts

Transfixed, I feel time flow around me,
Essences of atoms sparkle and shimmer!
Dawn greets sunshine, then turns to pale leaves,
Autumn cascades and snow dazzles winters.
Rooted to the spot, I age and fingers curl,
As my soul, bound to this earth, hears the call,
It shudders and draws cold breath: Pearls
Drop like ivory tears into the dream’s thrall.

I feel your heart beating so close, now.
Two pumps of red river entwine and connect,
Coursing through veins and solemn vows,
A stream of souls’ harmonies, my mind collects.
Take my hand, guide me to this new Earth,
Remove me from this dark reality of storms,
I hear the clouds come, fragmenting stars aloft:
Grey and shades caress my land, greenery torn.

The clocks tick in a mutual beat,
Along with humanity’s blame,
The endless lies and deceit,
It is forever bound to be the same.
My watch cracks, splintered as I touch
The ethereal world reaching out to me,
Almost in loving envelops tickling as such:
My sight has gone from memory, but I can still see!

The dream is powerful, and it beckons me thus,
Into a place where the wild flowers bloom,
Exciting colours, fragrances and green lush,
Gentle laughter peals around the mushrooms!
Is this a sought after moment, a beckoning lure,
Devoid of the ravages of war, a place non-corrupt?
This is the place I seek, with you, so pure,
As you cradle me in your arms, as love erupts.

– from the forthcoming poetry book ‘A Gathering of Wings’

Each selection © Craig Gilbert 2011

Craig, thank you for the glimpse into your worlds–real and fantastic. -PMc←

On Need and the Single Digit Victory Sign ~ DA Kentner’s View From the Keyboard

DA (David) Kentner (aka KevaD) is one of those writers on the front lines of the battle to remind folks how important it is to keep reading. He is a regular contributor to the Freeport Journal Standard, and his column “The Readers’ Writers” is distributed nationwide. Recently, David took the time to share his view from the keyboard.

Kentner: My workspace reflects my work habits – contained calamity. This is my corner of our home, the back part of the living room, the room within a room. Here I can glance at my grandchildren or the memory of a beloved pet, ponder the hand that once carried the barn lantern, visualize the family that read by the oil lamp. The flag sat on my desk the years I was our city’s chief of police. Near it is the clock and plaque my staff presented me when I announced my retirement. The shelves are filled with reference books and novels I hope to read… someday.

Every morning I sit here to write. This is also the last place I sit before I go to bed. Sometimes day and night intertwine. That’s why there are four clocks, so no matter which way I turn I’ll know what time it is. The window just out of view helps me distinguish AM from PM.

I’m a writer. It’s what I do, what I love, what gives me life. Originally I wrote solely for my enjoyment. Then I was told I “needed” to be published. I hadn’t been aware I possessed that need, but bent to the idea. During my quest for publication a professional editor told me my skills weren’t good enough and I would never be published. Wrong answer. The gauntlet was at my feet. I picked up the challenge, and haven’t set the darn thing aside since.

Dozens of stories no one will ever see attest to the fact I still write for my sole enjoyment. But another persona sits with me in the chair now; a writer who takes pleasure in seeing his work in the hands of a reader, in the knowledge we brought a smile to a face or a tear to an eye. There will be some who won’t understand what I do. I write to write. For me, it’s not about profit in a bank account, it’s the profit of joy in my heart. It’s the kind word from a reader that he or she enjoyed one of my stories or an interview with a fellow author.

And it’s about giving that editor a single digit victory sign.

I think the best example of my character-driven style of writing is the short story “The Caretaker.” However, here’s a sneak peak at my current work in progress, “Hearts on a Paper Boat.”



Chapter One

Sometime between her first tear and the unexpected rain shower, the flags, the color guard in their white berets and gloves, the blue and brown uniforms of more law enforcement agencies than she could count grayed and blurred. Hannah Preston drew her knees to her chest and shivered in the grove of pines. It wouldn’t be long now. She closed her eyes to wall out the finality and hugged her legs as she had her teddy bear so many years ago in another life where the people she loved didn’t die.

Pop-op. Seven rifle shots masquerading as one reported across the cemetery, over the oats field, up the incline to her hiding place, and bore into her brain as if maggots after food. She gripped her elbows and compressed her body under the onslaught of agony rebounding from bone to bone inside her.

Pop-op. Seven more. She winced and shuddered.

Pop-op. The final volley of the twenty-one gun salute to a fallen brother officer drilled with dental precision through her ears, down her throat and into her belly. A fiery puddle of acid erupted and corroded what little desire remained to live another day.

Like a brass mourning dove, a solitary bugle wept Taps between the raindrops’ patter.

Hannah rested her forehead on her denim clad knees and clenched her jaw, but the chatter of her teeth drummed an erratic beat into her heart vying for a sustainable rhythm. A jolt of unchained sorrow and guilt ached down her spine and numbed every nerve, leaving only cold to ooze through her veins.


David, thank you for your View From the Keyboard. And thanks, too, for the work you do to keep readers reading and writers writing with your column, “The Readers’ Writers.” To read more, check out: And coming soon, the view from fiction and nonfiction writer Michael Downs and Scottish writer Craig Gilbert. PMc←