Writing

Mythic Spring

Spent Father’s Day with the boys and wife, tootling around Oxford in the afternoon. Unfortunately tickets weren’t available for the new Tolkien Exhibition at the Bodleian Library, but instead we browsed around the Ashmolean Museum and rummaged through the nearby city centre bookstores, followed by pizza and cheesecake. To cap it off, came back home to find the 2018 Spring edition of Mythic magazine landed on the doorstep. So all in all — for me — a pretty good day.

Diabolical Plots: The First Years

…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.


The contents are:

  • 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.

Wyrd Tales

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.

Screen Shot 2017-10-28 at 23.22.50

The Wyrd Magazine, Issue 1, art by Jonny Lindner.

The Ear of God

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:

The smooth skin and delicate ear of the actual broken and discarded God.

ear

“The Roaring Silence” – Portion of the cover art for Manfred Mann’s Earth Band 1976 album, design by Shirtsleeve Studio.

“Cast Down” should be appearing later some time this year.

2016 Wrap-up

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

“Mind-blowingly imaginative!!”

– 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

…And so.

What will 2017 bring?

I predict a riot.

 

A World of Fantasy Awaits…

Mermaids

“Mermaids” by Gustav Klimt

My story “Against the Venom Tide” is now up at the summer edition of Mirror Dance.

At first Osami drifted alone in the cold and the dark, the ache in her chest unbearable, the weight of the seawater above crushing the air from her lungs. But what terrified her most was the dim light far below. Growing brighter. Growing closer.

Because this was a memory as well as a dream.

As mentioned previously, it’s set in the novel-verse of the Heptatheon, with its orbiting god moons and societies dominated by them. Ueldu is just a little more briny than some of the other deities.

Please let me know what you think, either here or on the Mirror Dance site.