52 stories from the first year of Metaphorosis magazine have been collected in this handy (and chunky!) tome, available from your favourite online book retailer now. Always a thrill and a privilege to see one of my stories in print, and this will make a very handsome addition to the trophy shelf.
…edited by David Steffen, is now available to pre-order at Amazon and other retailers coming soon. This collection includes all 25 stories published in the first two years of fiction on Diabolical Plots, with absolutely fantastic cover art by Galen Dara and the layout by Pat Steiner.
- Foreword • David Steffen
- The Osteomancer’s Husband • Henry Szabranski
- Bloody Therapy • Suzan Palumbo
- The Banshee Behind Beamon’s Bakery • Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali
- The Blood Tree War • Daniel Ausema
- Giraffe Cyborg Cleans House! • Matthew Sanborn Smith
- May Dreams Shelter Us • Kate O’Connor
- Not a Bird • H.E. Roulo
- In Memoriam • Rachel Reddick
- Virtual Blues • Lee Budar-Danoff
- The Princess in the Basement • Hope Erica Schultz
- The Superhero Registry • Adam Gaylord
- The Grave Can Wait • Thomas Berubeg
- The Weight of Kanzashi • Joshua Gage
- One’s Company • Davian Aw
- The Avatar In Us All • J.D. Carelli
- Do Not Question the University • PC Keeler
- Curl Up and Dye • Tina Gower
- October’s Wedding of the Month • Emma McDonald
- The Schismatic Element Aboard Continental Drift • Lee Budar-Danoff
- A Room For Lost Things • Chloe N. Clark
- Further Arguments in Support of Yudah Cohen’s Proposal to Bluma Zilberman • Rebecca Fraimow
- Future Fragments, Six Seconds Long • Alex Shvartsman
- Taste the Whip • Andy Dudak
- Sustaining Memory • Coral Moore
- St. Roomba’s Gospel • Rachael K. Jones
David Steffen is one of the genuine good guys of the genre. Check out his Long List anthologies of Hugo-nominated stories and look out for further Diabolical Plots collections coming out in the near future.
News that one of my favourite stories “She Is Chosen” has been accepted by MYTHIC magazine and will be appearing in their Spring 2018 issue in March. There will be a print edition, too, which I’m very much looking forward to getting my grubby little hands on.
My story The Dreaming Forest is out in the first issue of dark speculative magazine The Wyrd. Download it now: it’s free, and there’s a bunch of great stories in it.
Forest is sort of a sequel to Starfish and Apples and also to Survivors, the result of a spontaneous story-in-a-day duel with RJ Barker. If the setting, of a world dominated by carnivorous trees, appeals, then here’s a taste:
On our second night in the forest, exhausted after a day spent skulking in a fern-shrouded hollow as the trees roused into terrifying activity around us, I stumble over a raised, slime-covered root. Without thinking, I grab hold of a nearby branch. The claw-tree’s thorns pierce my padded glove and my cry of pain echoes through the moonlit wood.
Good luck to the team at The Wyrd. I hope their magazine goes from strength to strength.
Crikey that title is a bit portentous. Anyway, just news of the sale of my very shorterest story ever, “Cast Down”, to Daily Science Fiction. At only 144 words, I don’t think I’ll be beating that personal record very soon. And, typically, this just after a blogpost saying I had eschewed flash in favour of longer length works. Never mind. Here is the opening line, courtesy of a tweet by Simon Spanton:
“Cast Down” should be appearing later some time this year.
The smooth skin and delicate ear of the actual broken and discarded God.
2016. Huh. Started well. Went downhill really quickly. Then it gathered speed. At this rate it’ll bust its way into 2017 and beyond.
Similarly, first half of the year started well for me, writing wise. Second half of the year…not so much. Here’s the obligatory wrap-up. Excuse me whilst I warm myself beside some scraped together reader comments. Every little helps.
1. “The Osteomancer’s Husband” – January, Diabolical Plots.
“We are left with curiosity and wonder of what may have been and what things will come. I hope that a follow on comes at some point because I really would like to know what happens next. I was captured by the story and in such a short time I give the author a great deal of credit. Well done.”
– Eric Kimminau, Tangent Online
(Also on the Tangent Online Recommended Reading List 2016.)
“This story had me reading faster and faster, eating up the words. Good read.”
– Becky, DP comments
“Brilliant and so bewitching! I ripped through this. The imagery at the end of the bone flower is awesome.”
– Julia, DP comments
“Yes, beautiful prose. A soaring imagination. Enjoyed it. And feel any story that touches on intolerance is worthwhile.”
– Lisa, DP comments
2. “In the Belly of the Angel” – January, Metaphorosis.
“A rich tale and disturbing. Beautifully told.”
– Gerald Warfield, Metaphorosis comments
– Julia, Metaphorosis comments
3. “The Velna Valsis” – February, Fantasy Scroll Magazine.
“Well okay then. You know, as far as Nazi stories go, this one isn’t bad… it is a nicely balanced and flowing story. There is a sweep and flow to it, and a slow reveal. So yeah, go check it out.”
– Charles Payseur, Quick Sip Reviews
“…sometimes a short jab to the gut is all you need to make your point, and this one hits the reader hard.”
– John O’Neill, Black Gate
4. “Against the Venom Tide” – June, Mirror Dance.
“Nice, unique idea for the reed islands. Bravo.”
– Matencera, MD comments
What will 2017 bring?
I predict a riot.
Almost five years to the day since my first story was published (“Amy’s First” at Daily Science Fiction). As good a time as any to reflect on the path taken and to take a squint at the route ahead (or is it only into my fluff-filled navel? — hmmm, not sure).
I’ve been extremely fortunate to have twenty other stories published in the intervening years. Half in pro-paying markets, the rest in semi-pro or token; about half flash, the rest short stories and a novelette. I’ve been privileged to share ToCs with writers I’ve admired since I was a child, and I’ve been published in markets that folded shortly after my story appeared. I’ve had acceptances on first submission in less than a day, and I’ve had stories rejected over thirty times and over the course of many years before they were finally published. I’ve been paid on acceptance and never paid. I’ve had complimentary mail, messages and tweets from total strangers and I’ve had stories utterly ignored. I’ve had stories edited to an inch of their lives, and (mostly) I’ve had stories completely untouched.
Verdict? I still feel I’m very much a beginner, wandering about in the foothills. Possibly lost. Possibly making progress. Possibly just covering necessary ground to get to where I need to go. So many markets and types of stories I still aspire to that I lack the skill and courage to even attempt. Still so many stories in my trunk that I really like, but I don’t know how to fix. I can’t even tell whether they are fixable or not. So the submission process remains largely a matter of throwing stuff out and seeing what sticks. Or not. No magic secret revealed apart from sheer persistence and constantly striving to improve.
I’ve deliberately moved away from writing flash length pieces, for the time being. Nothing wrong with flash — such stories can pack a mighty punch — but it’s currently the longer lengths that I find most challenging and satisfying to work on. Consequently the more difficult to place. And I’m OK with that. That’s where I need the practice. Where I need to improve. Where I need to spend the time, no matter how long it takes.
Because don’t kid yourself. This is a long, long game.
(Which isn’t a game.)
And perhaps, one day… the novel, again.