Thursday, 22 December 2016

Hopeless Games by Golden Death Music

I'd like to write a review of the album Form and Truth Frequency by the ultra-talented Michael Ramey aka Golden Death Music once I've fully ingested it.  In the meantime, here for your enjoyment is my current favourite tune from the album: Hopeless Games.

Monday, 19 December 2016

Outliers of Speculative Fiction Vol.2

L.A. Little has put together a new volume of Outliers of Speculative Fiction for 2016 (my story No Other appeared in the 2015 edition).  L.A. is committed not only to finding quality speculative fiction to fill these books, but also to discovering new and exciting voices working within the field. So I'm especially thrilled to have had my own short The House on No Man's Land. included among what is sure to be a great line-up of stories.

The House on No Man's Land is a story about getting older and the compromises we all make along the way.  Some of those dreams and aspirations we clung to when we were young are never achieved, and maybe that's OK.  Right?

The book is available from Amazon UK and US.

I know I'm biased, but I'm sure it's well worth a look.

Monday, 5 December 2016

New short story available: The Broad Lands

My short story The Broad Lands appears in the new issue of Under The Bed magazine.  This story is special to me as it was the first in a new batch of stories I started writing at the end of last year when I got some time back after my oldest daughter started school.  It's an old fashioned ghost story about a man who buys his dream home only to find there is another presence vying for ownership.  It's also a small doff of the cap to one of my favourite writers: D.H. Lawrence.

The magazine is available here.

Monday, 17 October 2016

New discoveries in short fiction: Stephen O'Connor

As I've said in a previous post, reading short fiction is a great way to discover new writers, but it's not often that I find something that goes straight to my sweet spot.  Lately I've taken to reading back issues of Conjunctions magazine (if this publication actually defines itself as a 'magazine' as in reality it's a pretty hefty paperback book running to 400 odd pages).  The good folk at Conjunctions appear to favour a type of short fiction that greatly appeals to me (let's call it literary weirdness for want of a better title).  In one issue I came across a story about a boy with an over-sized head called 'The Man in the Moon' by Stephen O'Connor.  I enjoyed this story so much (just the right balance of pathos, humour and weirdness) I picked up O'Connor's collection, Here Comes Another Lesson, a book of stories populated by outsiders, the lonely and the lost.   I was also surprised and delighted to discover that this writer and I had shared a TOC in the book Ghosts: Revenge from JWK Publishing (atleast I'm assuming it's the same Stephen O'Connor).  Being published in a book alongside another writer you admire is a huge thrill for saddo's like me.

The story that really sealed the deal for me though - not found in O'Connor's collection - was 'Next To Nothing' (from Conjunctions #60).  'Next To Nothing' is the tale of two sisters whose intelligence and pragmatism makes them outsiders in their own community.  When a Hurricane approaches, this pragmatic attitude to life is put to the test.  Highly recommended.

If you like reading about outsiders and the ostracised, I recommend reading some of O'Connor's work. Next To Nothing' can be found on the author's website here.

Monday, 26 September 2016

Another Shore - a new collection of stories.

My new collection of short stories, Another Shore, is finally available to buy in paperback and for kindle.  This book brings together nine previously published short stories and eight that are original to this collection.  Included are two novelettes: The Wilds, which was chosen earlier this year for inclusion in the Dark Little Dreams book from Bad Dream Entertainment; and The Foundering, a kind of science fiction love story about a man looking to take a break from his life and actually finding a completely new way of looking at life.  There are also stories of vengeful ghosts, lonely changelings, baby-stealing fairies, apocalypse survivors, and magical rabbits.

That's right, magical rabbits.

Available from Amazon UK and US.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Singular Irregularity Anthology

<500, the short story I wrote with Martin Greaves, gets a third outing this month in Singular Irregularity - an anthology of time travel gone terribly wrong edited by Kimber Grey.  Just look at that great cover from Thyc Graphics.

Monday, 4 July 2016

Turn to Ash now available for pre-order

Volume 1 of the Turn to Ash zine, which features my short story Collectable, is now available for pre-order.  The zine is officially due for release in September, but the first 50 people to pre-order will receive the additionally mini-zine Volume 0.

I'm in excellent company here, as the zine also features stories by Jason A. Wyckoff, Michael Kelly, Lucy A. Snyder, C.C. Adams and others.  Also included is some non-fiction from Jose Cruz and James Newman.

This looks like being an exciting publication so I would encourage any horror lovers to grab their copy now.  More info here.

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

New Published Stories

During February and March new work of mine appeared in various publications.  Firstly, of course, back in February Voids - the novella I wrote with Martin Greaves was published by Omnium Gatherum.  Voids has already picked up some rave reviews on Goodreads and Amazon, and appears to have had quite an emotional affect on some readers.

Towards the end of March another of mine and Martin's collaborations will appear as our short story <500 will be reprinted in The Singularity Magazine.  Just look at that amazing cover! 

March has already seen the release of Strange Little Girls from Belladonna Publishing, which features my story Deep Down.  Having Deep Down accepted for Strange Little Girls was perhaps my proudest writerly moment yet.  This anthology feels like it has been a long time coming, but I'm certain it will be worth the wait and that editors/artists/designers Liv Lingborn and Camilla Bruce will have done an excellent job on it.

Still to come on March 22nd is the anthology Dark Little Dreams from Bad Dreams Entertainment, which features my novellette The Wilds.  The Wilds is about Connor - a teenage boy - who is seduced by his sister in law, and then forced to go on a trek into Sutter's Wilds - a mysterious, uninhabited part of his island home - in order to find his missing brother, Lewis.  Excerpt below:

"The wind suddenly picked up and turned the pages of the notebook.  A line of trees on a ledge above them began to sway.  Connor thought he heard another sound, and Paige must have heard it too because she looked around in alarm and pressed against his side.  The wind became fearful and though they were relatively sheltered from it in the valley where they stood, the trees above began to bend with the force of it.  Watching them, Connor’s heart leapt up as he thought he saw the grey figure of a man standing beneath the trees.  He had thought it might be Lewis but it was not.  The man was oddly tall, and like the trees he swayed back and forth, but he swayed with laughter.  Connor realised that this was the sound he’d heard, a kind of mad braying laughter coming to him from far away.  With his heart pounding he flicked to the start of the notebook again and scanned Della’s notes, but there was nothing written about this laughing figure.  He saw a line he’d read before.  Here’s where the winds start.  And there was a drawing of three trees, much like the ones now swaying above them."

New Discoveries in Short Fiction

There's something to be said for discovering a short fiction writer who hasn't yet released a collection; it forces you to hunt down their existing work in anthologies and magazines.  Along the way, you'll discover new publications and new writers, but always there's a kind of treasure hunt mentality - will you unearth a new gem?

Here, I'll mention a few writers whose treasures I've been unearthing recently.

I first encountered L.S. Johnson when she submitted her flash fiction This Is How You Lose Yourself to the second Dark Lane anthology.  Although this wasn't a story in the traditional sense, but more of a prose poem, I was struck by the quality of the writing and it piqued my curiosity enough to seek out more of her work.  I then read two wonderful pieces of weird fiction: first Little Men With Knives, published in Crossed Genres; and Julie published in Tartarus Press' Strange Tales V.   I also enjoyed Johnson's other story of shape-shifting Ada, Awake published in Strangelet magazine; and her story Queen of Lakes from World Weaver Press' Fae Anthology.

L.S. Johnson has just published her first collection of stories,Vacui Magia, which contains both Little Men With Knives and Julie, amongst others, and which I would highly recommend to any lovers of literary weird tales.  Julie is also scheduled to appear in The Year's Best Weird Fiction: Volume Three later this year.  Congratulations L.S!

In Strange Tales V I also first encountered the work of Elise Forier Edie.  I enjoyed her chilling beautifully-written contribution, You-Go-Back, so much that I sought out more of her fiction and also enjoyed her story Mother Night, a clever tale featuring terrifying fairies published in the Winter Horror Days anthology from Omnium Gatherum, which proved to be a perfect read for a cold evening back in January.

Undertow Publications' The Year's Best Weird Fiction: Volume Two introduced me to a number of new writers.  First, Carmen Maria Muchado, who contributed two stories to that anthology including the excellent The Husband Stitch.  I also enjoyed her tongue-in-cheek Horror Story which can be read online in Granta Magazine.  The other stories I loved in YBWF2 was Rich Larson's The Air We Breathe Is Stormy, Stormy (I love a good mermaid story), and K.M. Ferebee's The Earth and Everything Under.  To my list of favourite shorts read this year I will also add Larson's The Mermaid Caper, and Ferebee's The Bird Country.