Horror. Fantasy. Speculative.



The Best of Clarendon House: A Flicker of Time

The Inner Circle Writers’ Magazine editors are beginning a new feature: The Best of Clarendon House, and guess whose story is first up? That’s right, baby. My story, A Flicker of Time.

While the mag is predominantly a writer’s magazine, it also includes great fiction and free gifts for readers. You can grab a copy from Clarendon House for £2.00 or subscribe for £20.00 to get 12 issues!

A Flicker of Time is also included in my collection, Unfettered, published by Clarendon House Publications.

The Book of Books 2020

Both Unfettered and The Eighth Dwarf have been included in Sweetycat Press’ The Book of Books.

A catalog of 129 books and novels of almost every genre written by some of the best emerging writers on the worldwide writing scene today. All available on

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Who’s Who of Emerging Writers 2020

I’ve been included in Sweetycat Press’ Who’s Who of Emerging Writers 2020.

WHO are the 116 emerging writers in this Who’s Who? WHAT have they written? WHERE do they live? WHEN did they start writing? WHY do they write? HOW can you find out more about them?

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Pulp Appeal: The Beastmaster

Pulp Appeal: The Beastmaster

(Editor’s Note: R.A. Goli is an Australian writer of horror, fantasy, and speculative short stories. In addition to writing, her interests include reading, gaming, the occasional walk, and annoying her dog, two cats, and husband.Check out her numerous publications including her fantasy novella, The Eighth Dwarf, and her collection of short stories, Unfettered at or stalk her on facebook Her stories have appeared in issues 1 and 9 of Broadsword and Blasters).

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The Beastmaster is a classic sword and sorcery tale, loosely based on the novel of the same name by Andre Norton, released in 1959. The movie, released in 1982, stars Marc Singer as Dar (Dallas, 1986), Tanya Roberts as Kiri (Charlies Angels, 1981), Rip Torn as Maax (30 Rock, 2007-2009), and John Amos as Seth (Good Times, 1974-1976).

The movie begins with three dark-robed priests entering a temple where a trio of witches’ chant as they scry into a cauldron. The witches prophesize the death of the high priest/cult leader, Maax (pronounced, Mayax), at the hands of King Zed’s unborn son. Upon learning of Maax’ scheme to sacrifice his child to the god, Ar, King Zed banishes Maax and his priests. Maax sends one of the witches to deal with the problem. She casts a spell and transfers the baby from the mother’s womb into a cow’s womb, then slices it from the bovine’s stomach. She brands the baby with the mark of Ar, but before she is able to sacrifice him, a passer by intervenes, killing the witch and taking the baby to raise as his own, because that is what you did in those days.

The man trains his adoptive son, Dar, to fight and during a sparring session, a bear mauls another villager. Dar’s special ability becomes apparent when he telepathically communicates with the bear and sends it on its way. His father warns him that power such as his must be kept secret.

Years later and now a grown man, Dar’s peaceful life is shattered when Maax sends an army, known as Jun, to attack the village. Dar is spared and wakes up with ‘eagle sight’. Dar remembers a conversation he had with his adoptive father; should anything happen to him, his sword and caber (throwing weapon), would be Dar’s ‘trusted companions’, and that he must search for his enemies and seek his destiny. With everyone dear to him now dead, he sets off on his quest for revenge, with the eagle; Sharak in tow.

Along the way, Dar befriends two thieving ferrets, (Kodo and Podo), and a black tiger (Ruh). Now Dar has the eyes of the eagle (though later he realizes he can also see through the tiger’s eyes), the cunning of the ferrets, and the strength of the black tiger. By chance he meets a beautiful slave, Kiri, and decides to follow her to save her from her enslavement, but loses his way and comes across a tribe of half-man, half-bird creatures who consume the flesh of men by trapping them within their large bat-like wings. The bird-men worship eagles so when they see Sharak, they allow Dar to pass unharmed. One of the creature’s gifts Dar with a medallion depicting an eagle, which he will later use to call on their aid during the final battle.

There’s a lot of rescuing in this film. First Dar is joined by Seth and Tal (the King’s other son), and they save Kiri from being sacrificed, then save the king from Maax. King Zed’s thirst for revenge is too great and against Dar’s advice, he sends Dar away, then attacks the priests, thus Kiri, Seth, Tal and Zed are captured once again. Dar arrives to save the day again and finally kills Maax and the rest of the priests, only to have to fight the large Jun army. He sends Sharak off with the medallion and the bird-men join the battle.

The Beastmaster has our classic, well-muscled, loin-cloth wearing, sword-wielding hero, magic in the form of witches casting spells, and an enchanted seeing-eye ring, and the classic sacrificing people to a god. It’s an epic quest for revenge.

I loved this movie as a kid. My favorite parts were watching the antics of Kodo and Podo; who wouldn’t want a couple of ferret travelling companions to do their bidding? I’d not watched The Beastmaster for many years, I feared I’d be disappointed, having remembered the film through child-eyes, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. While almost two hours long, it didn’t drag, was full of adventure, had a dash of humor, a few sad moments, and also, Dar in a loin cloth.

The filming locations were breathtaking, especially the huge red sandstone formations of Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada. Other locations included Las Vegas, Simi Valley, and Lake Pyramid, California. Director Don Coscarelli (Phantasm, 1979), considered filming in Spain and Mexico, however both locations would have been too costly.

Coscarelli revealed a few fun facts during the director’s commentary. Dar’s sword was made especially for the film and was stolen post-production. Despite the many slayings, viewers will notice a lack of blood on Dar’s sword. Paul Pepperman (co-writer) explains that they wanted a PG family rating for the movie. I guess they were less concerned showing bare-breasted women on screen.

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Approximately twenty ferrets were used to act as Kodo and Podo, and Pepperman, kept two of them. In the scene where the witch transfers the unborn child into the cow, she pours a magical blue liquid over the king and queen’s necks, rendering them unable to move. The blue liquid used was from emergency lights, similar to glow sticks. The original script had a black leopard as Ruh, but animal trainers insisted tigers were easier to work with and so dyed some tigers black. I personally think it’s cooler to have a black tiger.

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Apparently Pepperman didn’t think the movie would be a hit or have longevity, and he was right in one respect as it only grossed around $14 million at the box office, but it has also enjoyed many late-night re-runs on various cable networks and like all great 80’s movies, has become a cult classic. If you love sword and sorcery, but haven’t seen The Beastmaster yet, do yourself a favor and watch it. If only for the ferrets.

I still miss you, Kodo.

Pulp Appeal : Clash of the Titans (1981)

Pulp Appeal : Clash of the Titans (1981)

(Editors’ Note: R.A. Goli is an Australian writer of horror, fantasy, erotic, and speculative short stories. In addition to writing, her interests include reading, gaming, the occasional walk, and annoying her dog, two cats, and husband. Her short story collection Unfettered is currently available at Lulu. Her fantasy novella, The Eighth Dwarf is available at Amazon and Fantasia Divinity MagazineCheck out her numerous short story publications at her  website or stalk her on Facebook)

Clash of the Titans is an epic tale of Olympian gods, mythological monsters and heroic mortals. Released in 1981, it stars Laurence Olivier as Zeus (Spartacus, 1960), Harry Hamlin as Perseus, (who later goes on to star in LA LAW), Maggie Smith as Thetis (Downton Abbey), and Ursula Andress as Aphrodite (who only has one line).

The movie opens with Acrisius, King of Argos, condemning his daughter, Danae and her infant son Perseus to a horrible death by throwing them into a wooden trunk/coffin and tossing it into the ocean.  Zeus had previously visited Danae and their lovemaking resulted in Perseus, so Zeus ensures they are deposited safely on a beach where they can live happily ever after. Zeus then kills Acrisius and orders Poseidon to ‘Let Loose the Kraken”, a mythical sea-creature similar to Godzilla, who destroys the kingdom of Argos.

Years later, he punishes Calibos, the son of Thetis, for many atrocities such as hunting several wild creatures – including Zeus’ winged horses – to near extinction. He transforms the once handsome Calibos into a hideous monster with horns, a tail, and a cloven hoof. Thetis seeks revenge by transporting Perseus, now a grown man, to Joppa. He eventually reaches the city and speaks to an incredibly chatty guard who tells him everything there is to know about what’s going on in Joppa. Any man can present himself for the chance to marry the beautiful, Andromeda, once betrothed to Calibos, however, the suitor must answer a mysterious riddle, which changes with every suitor, and failure to solve the riddle results in a fiery death.

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Calibos works on his villainous slouch.

When Perseus solves the riddle, the people of Joppa are delighted. Things seemed to be looking up for Zeus’ son, until his new mother-in-law, Cassiopeia, insults the goddess Thetis by claiming Andromeda is more beautiful than the goddess herself. Thetis demands Cassiopeia sacrifice Andromeda to the Kraken or she’ll destroy the city. This is where the adventure really begins and Perseus will face Stygian witches, the two headed dog dioskilos, the gorgon Medusa, giant scorpions, Calibos, as well as the Kraken in an attempt to save Andromeda.

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The Kraken prepares to feast.

Clash of the Titans is classic sword and sorcery; the story draws heavily from mythology and we have a sword-wielding hero. When Perseus is stranded in Joppa, Zeus orders the goddesses to gift him with magically imbued weapons. Perseus receives a sword from Aphrodite that can slice through marble, a helmet from Athena, that renders the wearer invisible (this will later aid in him capturing Pegasus), and a shield from Hera. The shield projects an image of Zeus who tells Perseus it will save his life one day and that Perseus must find and fulfil his destiny. There’s magic, gods, mythical creatures, swords, an epic quest, a virgin sacrifice. It’s the ultimate battle of good versus evil.

In an interview with visual effects artist and co-producer, Ray Harryhausen, he explains how he was bored of monsters destroying cities and prefers the past to the future, which is why mythology appealed.

“Cinema was made for fantasy, not normal mundane things.” – Ray Harryhausen.

Filming locations were over England and Europe. The opening scene was filmed in Cornwell and crew had to wait until there was a storm. Flood scenes of Argos were filmed in Malta, the rocky formations around the Stygian witches’ lair were filmed in Antequera, Spain and the outside of Medusa’s temple was in Southern Italy. Interestingly, some scenes from Jason and the Argonauts, (also featuring Harryhausen’s stop-motion monsters), were filmed there too. The final epic battle with the Kraken is in Malta again.

Most of the special effects rely quite effectively on shadow imagery and stop-motion animation using Harryhausen’s hand-made monsters, but considering it was filmed in 1981, I think it’s pretty good. And so did audiences at the time. Clash of the Titans grossed $41 million dollars, making it the eleventh highest grossing film of 1981.

In Greek mythology, Dioskilos has three heads but only two in the movie because Harryhausen thought it’d look too awkward with three during the fight scenes.

The Kraken is not technically part of Greek mythology, there is a Greek mythological sea-creature called the Leviathan, but the Kraken comes from Norway and is a giant sea-creature similar to an octopus or crab. Calibos is reportedly based on a character from ‘The Tempest’, named Caliban.

The mechanical-owl Bubo also not from mythology, was added to the movie for comic relief and to give the audience a chance to catch their breath between epic battles. Bubo makes a ‘guest appearance’ in the 2010 version when Perseus (Sam Worthington), comes across him while looking for weapons in the armory. The remake has spectacular special effects, as do all movies made with CGI, but it will never take the place of the original in my heart. And at the risk of sounding like my dad; they don’t make movies like they used too.

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We’d be dubious about the use of a mechanical owl as well.

 (Editor:  Interested in writing a Pulp Appeal article for Broadswords and Blasters? Drop us a line through our contact page and let us know what you’re interested in contributing.)

Inner Circle Writers’ Magazine

ICWM Christmas IssueI’ve been featured in the Christmas edition of the Inner Circle Writers’ magazine. It’s a pretty comprehensive interview where I talk about writing and personal stuff and try to be funny.

There’s also a really weird and ugly picture of me on the cover. I’d accidentally sent my editor the wrong pic and by the time I realised, it was too late to change it. So, now if I’m ever famous, this pic will haunt me.

The mag is predominantly a writer’s magazine, but also includes great fiction and free gifts for readers. You can grab a copy for £2.00 or subscribe for £20.00 to get 12 issues!

“Inside the inspiring eleventh issue, rising star author R. A. Goli talks about her life and work. We get a glimpse behind the scenes of Welcome to Blekeleigh Court , plus enjoy our Christmas fiction including Love’s Gift by C. L. Steele, The Bard by Mark Kodama, Claire’s Special Day by Shawn M. Klimek read more…”

Inner Circle Writer’s Magazine

My ‘Clash of the Titans’ article appears in Issue #6 of the Inner Circle Writer’s Magazine. This magazine is full of fiction, advice for writers and interviews, as well as numerous submission opportunities.

“The Inner Circle Writers’ Magazine is a quality, downloadable pdf, available internationally. It is unique, is designed to service your needs as writers and also to entertain you in ways that right now you probably can’t imagine, including with specially commissioned short stories, expert columns, interesting articles and much, much more.”

​For more information or to subscribe, visit Clarendon House Publications Inner Circle Magazine.

R.A. Goli Interview by Clarendon House

As you know, R. A. Goli’s short story collection Unfettered was released a couple of days ago. (You don’t know? Where have you been?)

You can get the amazing but very Adults Only collection here at Lulu, kindle version coming soon. And now, in a special ‘behind the scenes’ Interview, you can meet the author herself!

Welcome Roberta! And thanks for answering these questions for us!

1. How long have you been writing?

I don’t remember when I started, but I remember writing a lot as a young teenager, often in classes that weren’t English related. No wonder I’m so bad at math! As I got older, I only wrote sporadically, and never seemed to finish anything. I always talked about writing, but somehow, I’d stopped making time for it. It was only a couple of years ago when I had a long break from work that I got back into writing on a regular basis and I feel like I’m doing alright so far.

2. What in particular attracts you to the genres you write in?

I predominantly write fantasy and horror, so it’s no surprise that these are the genres I read mostly too. I’d always loved the shock value of the horrifying and gruesome death, or the quickening of my heart at the creep in the dark coming closer… closer. And what’s not to love about fantasy? Whole worlds are created, there are battles, and magic, and beasts unheard of in our realm. It can be violent, sexy, heartwarming, funny, but best is its ability to transport you to that other world and make you believe it’s real.

3. How does a story take shape with you?

I perform a summoning ritual and small black fluffy creatures crawl out of the ducted-vacuum port and whisper ideas to me. All they ask in return is for me to vacuum more often. They feed on dog and cat hair and say they can’t believe how much there is in my house.

Other times I find inspiration in the call for submission I’ve chosen to write for and the story unfolds as I go.

4. What are your most productive writing habits?

Ha ha ha. Oh, this is a serious question? Well, let’s see. I do my best to write or do something writing related most days, though if I’m working a lot of shifts at my day job, this plan falls by the wayside. Trying to write a little on most days is a good way to keep at it. I don’t say every day because I believe it’s okay to have a day off, even from your dream.

5. What is the main thing you would like readers to take away from reading your collection?

I hope they’re entertained and that I manage to surprise them. This collection is a mix of genres but hopefully the readers will enjoy all the stories and some tales will stay with them long after they’ve put the book down.

6. Tell us about your novel.

There was a call for fairy tale inspired novella-length stories and I was drawn to Snow White. The Eighth Dwarf serves as a prequel, following Tiberius, a dissatisfied dwarf who forms an alliance with a powerful witch. The lure of money, titles and power leads Tiberius to perform increasingly violent tasks at the witch’s insistence. He’s thrust into the life he thought he wanted, but after meeting Snow White, he begins to wonder if the cost is too high.

7. What are your writing goals and ambitions?

Short-term goals are to continue writing short stories and I’m planning on writing another fairy tale novella or two. I’m building up to novel length. Like most writers, I hope to one day actually make a living writing what I enjoy, but let’s leave the fantasy to my stories.

8. What advice would you give to other writers?

Write a lot. Read a lot. Get yourself a good beta-reader. It takes a lot of practice but you will get better. Be open to critiques or suggestions, good beta-readers and editors will help you improve your stories. Don’t compare yourself to great/famous authors, that’ll just make you feel inferior.

9. Do you have a favorite or couple of favorite stories from the collection?

I think The Seer is a very good story, I also really like Clash of Goddesses and Winter’s Widow. I genuinely feel for Gothel in Hidden, I enjoy the tension and gore in Dead and Breakfast and A Fool’s Errand makes me laugh. So those would be my top six I guess.

10. What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer?

I’d continue working my day job as a veterinary nurse. It’s quite separate from my writing, except for that one poem where the vet (or vet nurse) deals a special kind of revenge on her cheating ex-boyfriend.

Thanks Roberta! Keep writing!

In case you missed the first link, you can get a copy of Roberta’s spicy collection here – but a word of advice: don’t read it alone at night…

Interview with R.A. Goli on Smiles Stiles

Check out this brief interview of mine in the Smiles Stiles August newsletter.

Alright, I am a huge Disney fan myself, but I can’t say that I recall the presence of an eighth dwarf. Roberta, please share with us a bit about this fairy tale of yours.

Tiberius is an annoyed and bitter man who feels like the world owes him something. By chance he meets a witch and an unbalanced partnership begins. Tiberius is thrust into the life he thought he wanted but starts to wonder if the cost is too high.

What inspired you to write this story?

Fantasia Divinity Magazine had a call for fairy-tale inspired stories, and Snow White was on the list. I’m not sure why I was drawn to that story in particular, but an idea for an eighth dwarf started forming. I wondered what his role would’ve been and what happened to him; as we all know, there are only seven dwarfs. I like a prequel to a well-known story. I remember reading Wicked, by Gregory Maguire and thinking what a great idea to tell the story from the witch’s perspective. Wish I’d thought of it.

If you’d like to find out what my favorite book was as a child, or what my writing pet peeves are, visit Smiles Stiles My Two Cents newsletter.


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