Wednesday, 29 July 2015

What are Restrictive and Non-Restrictive Clauses?

A clause is a group of words that usually contain a verb and other components. Clauses can form sentences on their own or with other clauses in a compound sentence.

What's a Restrictive Clause?

A restrictive clause provides essential information about a preceding noun within its sentence structure. Without the presence of the restrictive or defining relative clause.

A restrictive clause is usually connect to the other clause/s by the following conjunctions: that, which, whose, who and whom. A comma should not be used in front of a restrictive clause.

The mermaid who accidentally gave pirates the wrong directions, felt silly.

In the above sentence, the mermaid is the restrictive clause.

What's a Non-Restrictive Clause?

A non-restrictive clause  is a clause that provides extra information which is not crucial to the sentence. Again with restrictive clauses, a non-restrictive clause is connected to the other clause/s with the following conjunctions: that, which, whose, who and whom. Again you should not place a comma in front of them.

The mermaid whose hair was always wet, gave the pirates incorrect directions to Atlantis.

In this sentence the non-restrictive clause was - whose hair was always wet . It is simply additional information that is not crucial to the meaning of the sentence.

What's a Clause in a Sentence?

In its most basic form, a clause is a group of words which contain a verb, and other components. Clauses can form a complete sentence on their own, or just form part of a sentence.

The Goblin spat at the butterfly.

The above clause forms a complete sentence, and is the main clause but in the sentence below the same clause forms part of a sentence.

The Goblin spat at the butterfly, as it had been harassing him for some time.

This is an example of a compound sentence that contains two or more clauses linked a conjunction.

What's a Subordinate Clause?

A subordinate clause relies on the main clause for its meaning.

The Goblin spat at the butterfly, as it had been harassing him for some time.

As it had been harassing him for some time is the subordinate clause in the sentence. Without the main clause it makes no sense on its own.

What's a Conditional Clause?

A conditional clause describes something that is possible and usually begins with if or unless.

The Goblin will give that butterfly a piece of his mind, unless it backs off.

Unless it backs off is the conditional clause.

What's a Relative Clause?

A relative clause is connected to a main clause using the following conjunctions: which, where, when that, whom, whose or who.

When the butterfly grew more aggressive, the goblin punched it on the nose.

When the butterfly grew more aggressive - is the relative clause in the above sentence.

What's a Parenthetical Expression?

Parenthetical expressions sound terribly complicated but are really easy to understand and are very commonly used.

So what is a parenthetical expression?

These are expressions, or phrases often found in the middle of a sentence, that disrupts the flow of thought. They do not deal directly with the topic in hand. They are usually offset by commas, parentheses and dashes.

The clauses that precede and follow a parenthetical expression can independently form a complete sentence without the parenthetical expression.

A parenthetical expression is not essential to a sentence.

Let's have a look at some examples:

The cat woke up early that morning, he had mice to catch.

He had mice to catch, the cat woke up early that morning.

A parenthetical phrase can appear at the end or beginning of a sentence.


What's an Indefinite Pronoun?

Understanding what an indefinite pronoun is easy-peasy.

An indefinite pronoun is a pronoun that does not refer to any person, or thing in particular.

Examples of indefinite pronouns include: anything, something, anyone, everyone.

This is how an indefinite pronoun can be used.

There was something in the way

In this sentence the indefinite pronoun is something. It is referring to an unknown entity.

If you need to recap on what exactly is a pronoun, here's a quick reminder.

A pronoun is simply a word used instead of a noun. Here are some examples of pronouns ; I, me, you, he, she, it, that, they, each, who, somebody.
There are three types of pronouns. These are subject pronouns, object pronouns and possessive pronouns.

For more info on pronouns click here

What's a Pronominal Posessive?

This sounds incredibly complicated but fortunately it's not. Let's break it down to find out what it means.
Pronominal - means playing the part of or relating, to a pronoun.

Pronoun - A pronoun is simply a word used instead of a noun. Here are some examples of pronouns ; I, me, you, he, she, it, that, they, each, who, somebody.

Pronominal possessives - These include my, your, our, their, his, her and it's. They differ from other pronouns as they refer to a noun and show possession.

They help to modify that noun and are technically adjectives.

His muffins are burnt but hers are perfect.

The pronominal possessives in this sentence are His and Hers they are used to refer to muffins.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Sanitarium Magazine - Issue 31

I'm a big fan of Sanitarium Magazine, I had my short story, The Little Orphan Girl, published in issue 28. My first published short story,ever! Ever since I've been buying this magazine as the stories featured are really great, all killers, no fillers. The magazine features established authors, this issue features Ken Goldman whose stories have appeared in over 700, (yes 700!) independent publications worldwide. Also featured are some great up and coming writers like Brooke Warra who has appeared in Sanitarium before, alongside yours truly, in issue 28 with Spineless

As stated on the back cover it is the perfect length for your in between reading. It's great to dip into on a boring commute into work. There's also some great articles on witches, zombies and the horror genre. There's an interview with author Josh Malerman and dark verse from Ian Sputnik, Austin Muratori and Layla Cummins.

Here's why you should be reading Sanitarium Magazine


The Peculiar Death of Barnabas Crackle by Brooke Warra

A tiny tale quite unlike anything you've ever read before in which an unfulfilled man will do anything to achieve his ambitions

A Little Nest Egg by Kenneth C.Goldman

The Spider is the greatest of all predators. It spins a web and simply waits. Unfortunately Willy McCorkle, on the prowl for a nest egg to set him up financially, lacks the intelligence to hunt like a spider. It's a few more brain cells he should be looking for rather than cash.

A highly visual tale with an unusual take, this is an author worth finding out about which you can, click here to read an interview with him by

Mrs Tomlinson by Bobby O'Rourke

A creepy tale that illustrates just how weird high school can be.School is a testing time, a rite of passage that can make or break you. It's not just getting good grades and fitting in with your school friends, you've also got to deal with nightmare teachers. Some of them can be terrifying and you don't want to fall under their radar. The exams you sit at the end can change your life forever but you never know what's waiting for you in the exam hall.

The Grinder by Craig Herrick

There's a dark secret in the wild woods surrounding a small town. The first and only line of defence rests on the shoulders of Sheriff Garth Thatcher. But can he rise to the challenge?

What Doesn't Kill You, by Cindy Little

How far do you have to go in order to find your inner strength? Maya, an assistant professor of sociology goes on a remarkable journey that turns her life around. But will this change be for the better?

Black and Yellow Spiders by B.B.Sevilla

A short tale that wonderfully capitalises on our fear of the unknown and of course spiders.

The Muse by Jessica Bayliss

Reads like the opening to a great feel good novel but of course this is a horror story. Four strangers arrive at Cobbler House greeted by a mysterious woman who aids them in their search for inspiration in their creative projects. But what exactly is inspiration? Does it really exist and how much will it cost?

Birds and the Bees by Thomas Kleaton

There's nothing sweet in this short tale about the birds and the bees. Lacy goes to stay with her beloved grandma during the school holidays, a holiday neither will forget. This great little tale warns us that nature is not sweet and innocent but wild and savage.

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Sanitarium Magazine - Issue 30

Sanitarium Magazine is published by Eye Trauma Press and if you like dark and macabre tales you'll love this monthly magazine which is available to buy in print and e-format. I've been incredibly fortunate in having one of my short stories published in issue 28 of Sanitarium and have since become hooked.

This magazine also features great poetry from Terry Miller, James Michael Shoberg and Andrew Fortunato. There's some great articles on everything horror related such as zombies, splatterpunk  and interviews with Wayne Simmons and Dark Pond Creations.

This magazine is out on the 20th of each month, you can buy your copy from Amazon. It's available in print and epub.

Some Notes on the Reproductive Cycles of Arachnids by Nick Kimbro

This amazing story starts off like any other story, a multi millionaire, Lucas Franklin Westhaven has gone missing and Skip Thompson, a insurance claims investigator has picked up his case. Shortly after this the story descends into brilliant madness. You'll never see it coming. A truly unsettling tale even if you're not afraid of spiders. Highly inventive and thought provoking. This tale stays with you long after you finish reading it.

A Mild Cure for Depression by Brandon Miller

 A young man, Iggy, struggles to feel moved by the life he has, and is desperately trying to escape from the clutches of depression. There's nothing mild about Iggy's desperate and frenzied pursuit of happiness and fulfilment. He'll do anything to escape the clutches of boredom and his "ever morphing brain chemistry."
Iggy finds himself in trouble, but a kind, oddball, stranger helps him out of a sticky situation. Is this Iggy's saviour? Or are things about to get even worse?

Procedure by Kyle Frost

A short but not sweet tale about a young man who's  desperate to fulfil his life's work at any cost. His dreams have been crushed but he won't let that dampen his spirits. A really dark tale with a truly macabre ending.

Dial S for Salvation by Paul Albano

Bill Gable is in a serious predicament. He hasn't succumbed to the mass hysteria sweeping through like wild fire but neither does he want to end up alone. If you're not sure what I'm on about you'll have to read Albano's Dial S for Salvation to find out. I think this tale has a lot to say about how easily our modern lives can be manipulated. A person is clever, but people are stupid.  I think we, as a society tend to believe what we're told by the media and powers that be and this tale explores that with brilliant results.

Paul Albano can found on Twitter @AuthorPAlbano

Endless by Russell C. Connor

Even the sweetest fruit can go spectacularly bad. For Jeff and Anna the idea of endless can be a terrifying prospect. In Russell C. Connor's tale they find themselves in a state of limbo with horrific consequences. A great tale of warning to look after things often taken for granted.

Russell C. Connor can be found on Twitter @russellcconnor

Something Sweet by Gillian French

Casey O'Fallon, a young student takes on what should be an idyllic summer job but of course it all goes awry. She befriends a little boy who seems very sweet. But there's something not quite right and she's determined to protect him.

The Red Curtain by Mitch Sebourn

How far would you go for the ones you love? Would you go to hell and back for them? Mitch Sebourn's dark tale is truly unique, a highly exhilarating tale that becomes a real page turner.

The Shriek of the Harpy by Sebastian Bendix

Muriel lands her dream job of a being a film archivist, she think's she's set, what could go wrong? This tale is reminiscent of Egyptian tomb raiders, some things that have been forgotten in time should stay that way. There's a great foreboding atmosphere of gloom that builds with great results.

Thursday, 16 July 2015

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

The Name of the Star is the first book in a trilogy of books called Shades of London and is written by Maureen Johnson who so far has written ten highly successful novels.

This is a book intended for young adults but it has a much wider appeal. The story centres around Aurora Deveaux, call me Rory, a US teen coming to study in London whilst her parents, two law professors from Benouville , Louisiana, have come over to lecture at Bristol University.

I think the reason why I like this book so much is that I just love Rory. She's not a delicate girl who's insecure about how she looks, or how many friends she's making and whether she's just met the boy of her dreams. This girl is very refreshing, she's smart, down to earth, sure of herself and she's really funny. She's the sort of character any girl can relate to.

When you start to read this book which is told by Rory in first person, you feel like you have been accepted by her as a close friend and taken into her confidence. This tale starts off like any normal tale. Rory has enrolled to study at Wrexford School in the east end of London and we see her as she settles in and tries to make sense of the English way of life.

Except Rory soon finds she is experience too much of the British culture when one of it's more infamous characters makes a return. As soon as Rory arrives, "some nutter's gone and pulled a Jack the Ripper." 

But Rory takes this all in her stride as she is one cool cucumber, even when she becomes a witness in a murder investigation with no leads. It seems Jack the Ripper has returned from hell to take more victims in identical killings. From this point the pace of the story really kicks off and it's a thoroughly riveting read blended with supernatural elements.

In some places this book is very chilling, refreshingly Maureen Johnson does not shy away from gore but it wonderfully contrasts with Rory's hilarious and witty observations. I particularly like the scene where Rory and Jerome choose a certain object to study whilst visiting the National Gallery on a school trip.

Another aspect I really like about this book is that although there is a love interest for Rory it's not of central importance to the plot. There's quite a few quirky and interesting characters and subplots that all fit together perfectly. The cliff hanger will leave you wanting more.

I think why I really like this book is that it's written really well and completely engrossing. It blends perfectly modern London with Victorian London. The past is really brought to life and highlights London's  rich historical background. This isn't just a book for teens and deserves to be read by everyone.