Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Coming soon...

Very pleased to announce that my 2,776 word science fiction story 'Jump, and I'll Catch You' has sold to one of my favourite venues, Daily Science Fiction. This will be my fourth sale to appear there. The story will go out later in the year, first to DSF's email subscribers, then follow on the website a week later. You can sign up as a subscriber, and receive a free story in your inbox every week day, at the main site here.

Also, the third volume in my Transient Tales series of short collections is being prepared for publication and will be available in ebook format soon. Volume 4 is scheduled for December 2014, and will be followed by an omnibus edition that collects all four volumes in one edition--ebook and paperback.

The Transient Tales Series: 20,000-word collections of science fiction, fantasy and horror short stories, ranging from light to dark and all shades in-between.

Volume 3 features demonic spiders, robot wolves, witches, doppelgangers, carnivorous plants, reclusive psychics, immortal gang bosses, apocalyptic survivors, alien voyeurs, flesh-eating criminals, clairvoyants, and God

Monday, March 24, 2014

Latest story news

New stories published:

To Remember the Good Times - SF - 1,317 words 
Doctor Adil fully explained the consequences to me, and I know every time I visit it's hastening my father's deterioration. But I'm getting old myself now, and fast running out of both time and money.
Free to read now in the latest issue of  Liquid Imagination 

Garden of Fog and Monsters - dark fantasy - 2,088 words
The aliens were here first, so they get to set the price of admission. Their territory, their rules.
Available now in Astronomical Odds by Third Flatiron Publishing 

Organic Materials - Comic Fantasy - 2,493 words
Chet Fortune was everything Keith loathed in a person, and particularly in a next door neighbour: big, loud, uncouth, and possessed of a huge Irish Wolfhound that was on a mission to fertilise every square inch of grass, patio and flowerbed in Essex. Even his name was irritating; it made him sound like a film star when he was really a window fitter from Basildon.
Published in Twisted Boulevard from Elektrik Milk Bath Press, 8 Mar 2014

New sales:

Waiting to Burn - Fantasy - 700 words - sold to Chrome Baby

The Fine Art of Fortune-Telling - dark fantasy - 3,966 - sold to Fantasy Scroll Magazine

Tomorrow, We'll Go Yak Herding - SF - 2,475 words - sold to Strange Horizons

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Forthcoming anthologies

I have stories coming out next month in a couple of awesome anthologies:

The first is Organic Materials (comic horror) in Twisted Boulevard from Elektrik Milk Bath Press, released on March 8th and currently available for pre-order at Amazon  (There's also a US Goodreads giveaway )

The second is Garden of Fog and Monsters (SF) in  Astronomical Odds from Third Flatiron Publishing, released on March 15th.

I do love a good-looking anthology!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

New story at Goldfish Grimm - The World Doesn't End, Even When it Should

My zombie story, 'The World Doesn't End, Even When it Should,' is out now at the awesome Goldfish Grimm. Purring zombies! How can you resist?

The World Doesn't End, Even When it Should - horror - 2,443 words

Yes, it was morally ambiguous. Potentially blasphemous, depending on your religious affiliation (although what was Lazarus, really, if not a zombie?) and, of course, highly illegal. But since when had any of that stopped anybody?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

New story at Bards & Sages - 'You Pay Your Money and You Take Your Chance'

The January issue of Bards and Sages Quarterly is out now, featuring my 1,248 word gambling-with-time-travel story 'You Pay Your Money and You Take Your Chance.' It's a brilliant magazine, available in multiple formats from Smashwords here.

She wastes, she is wasting, she has wasted, she will waste. Or will she? Maybe. Maybe not. Nobody knew. That was also the point, wasn't it?

Friday, December 6, 2013

'Tis More Blessed - Giveaways Galore!

Today is the first week of 'Tis More Blessed - a month of glorious giveaways organised by Milo James Fowler!

There's a full list of participants below, and Milo has a list of today's offers on his blog.

I'm giving away a copy of my collection Transient Tales Volume 2 - 12 stories of science fiction, fantasy and horror featuring features a Halloween game with a chilling price, a call-centre at the end of the world, an unconventional quest for a portal to fairyland, a mother dealing with the loss--and the return--of a child, a desperate woman’s letter to her future self, a repentant scientist’s lament, an envious boy who gets more than he bargained for, and a misguided attempt to gain closure on a very dead love affair.

Getting a copy is very easy - all you have to do is drop me a blog/Facebook comment or a tweet recommending one of your favourite short stories. Then feel free to help yourself to an ebook in the format of your choice from Smashwords, with code WZ35H and the compliments of the season!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

New story in Bete Noire Magazine - Seeing Red

Issue 13 of Bete Noire is a bumper one - now available, with a wonderfully creepy cover!

Includes my SF story 'Seeing Red'  - 1,059 words

His father had given them their official scientific name, but since it was in Latin and had fifteen syllables, nobody else ever used it. To the rest of the colony they were always bloodflowers.

Monday, November 25, 2013

'Tis More Blessed

Check out Milo's blog for a whole bunch of giveaways coming up for Christmas! I'll be offering a free download of my collection Transient Tales Volume 2, on the 6th December.

Monday, November 18, 2013

New story at Goldfish Grimm - The Portal to a Lost World

My creepy doppelganger story, 'The Portal to a Lost World' is available to read now at Goldfish Grimm's Spicy Fiction Sushi - a great venue with the greatest name ever!

'Where are you?' I ask her. I ask that every time, and she never tells me. I'm very much afraid that one year, she will.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

New story at Daily Science Fiction

My story of future nostalgia, 'Wolf, or Faith in the Future'- is now free to read at the Daily Science Fiction website. DSF is one of my favourite venues, and it's always a thrill to be featured there!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Story forthcoming at Daily Science Fiction

My SF flash 'Wolf, or Faith in the Future' will be emailed to subscribers to Daily Science Fiction on Monday 4th November. DSF produce a regular supply of AWESOME stories from both big names and new ones--it's well worth signing up for some brilliant free fiction!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Creepy Freebies 4!

The final Creepy Freebies giveaway is here! Novels, flash and short story collections - including the first volume of my Transient Tales series. Head over to Milo's blog for details of how to get yourself some cool Halloween reading material!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

You Don't Want What I Get - Audio version

The audio version of my horror/crime story 'You Don't Want What I Get' is now live at Untied Shoelaces of the Mind. Check it out - Geoff Porter does a great job!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

New story in Unidentified Funny Objects 2

 Received my contributor's copy of Unidentified Funny Objects 2 - a collection of comic science fiction and fantasy short stories, featuring the likes of Ken Liu, Robert Silverberg, Jim Hines, Jody Lynn Nye... and me!
Very thrilled to hold such a precious object in my hot little hands, and very much looking forward to reading it.

Kindle versions are out now, from Amazon UK and Amazon US


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

October Creepy Freebies!

I'm thrilled to be joining forces with Milo James Fowler and a bunch of other wonderful writers this October, with some creepy free fiction on offer (much better for you than trick or treating for chocolate!)

Every Friday at Milo's blog (subscribe here) there will be details of the treats available - check it out!

On 25th October, I'll be offering up free downloads of Transient Tales Volume 1 - a collection of 11 short stories of sci fi, fantasy and horror - details to follow on Milo's blog.

There will be other offers to come from  Aaron PolsonAnthony J. RapinoBob EcclesCate CardnerChristine RainsEllie GarrattErin ColeJames Garcia Jr., Jeff ChapmanLyndon Perry,Deborah WalkerRhonda ParrishRoland YeomansSimon Kewin, and Stoney Setzer.

The fun kicks off this Friday, so stop by Milo's blog!

Monday, September 23, 2013

New story at Untied Shoelaces of the Mind

You Don't Want What I Get, a 1,200 word horror/crime story, is out now in Issue 8 of the wonderful Untied Shoelaces of the Mind

'I don't like getting cut out,' he says. 'There's something you got going on, and I want in.'
'No, you don't,' I say. 

You Don't Want What I Get - horror - 1,200 words

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

New Story at SQ Magazine

My supernatural horror flash The Visiphorical Art is out now in SQ Magazine, Issue 10 - a story about living with ghosts:

There are remnants of lives all over the house, drying out and growing mould like abandoned plates of half-consumed meals. They lie in wait under the surface of reality like landmines, like unexploded bombs.

The Visiphorical Art - 919 words

Thursday, July 4, 2013

New story at The Drabblecast

Strange stories by strange authors for strange readers... Drabblecast presents my horror story 'Sweetie' today, free to read, listen to, or download.

'Admittedly, my little travelling show isn’t what it once was. We’ve been on the road for a long, long time. But I like to think that for the discerning customer, we still provide value for money. An experience you can’t get from the computer screen–-the modern freakshow–-despite all its tricks and special effects…'

*Warning: includes explicit language*

Sunday, June 16, 2013

This Week, I Have Been Mostly...


Far North, by Marcel Theroux. Loved this. I don't think I've ever met a post-apoc story I didn't like, and this was a great one. Reminded me of The Road, but less soul-crushing.

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn. An intriguing, page-turning central mystery that's satisfyingly solved, with fascinatingly damaged characters. Flynn is now officially going on my list of auto-buy authors.

Short stories: 198 - 237 of 500. Faves:

Water Finds Its Level by Matthew Bernardo at Lightspeed. Great story of merging universes, told as a personal love story that's neat, plausible and affecting.

Mongoose by Sarah Monette and Elizabeth Bear at Clarkesworld. Fabulous horror romp about a monster-hunter and his monster partner. Loved the rich worldbuilding, the Lovecraftian descriptions and the wonderful relationship between Irizarry and Mongoose.

WRITING:  A post-apoc short, 'Jessica's Theory of Yak Herding,' an SF short, 'Personally Energised by Jaclyn Castleton,' and another 10.5k on the WIPs.

WATCHING:  Hannibal. I was very much looking forward to this, but 2 eps in I am... unexpectedly unengaged. Something isn't quite doing it for me, but I'm not sure what that is. Possibly some of it is baggage: I think Silence of the Lambs is a masterpiece, and Red Dragon is both one of my favourite books and favourite film adaptations--and features Ed Norton, one of my favourite actors. So there's a lot of 'still in love with the ex' going on, which could be a factor.

I'm also finding that this portrayal of Will Graham reminds me of the 'eccentric psychological genius calmed down by female shrink' in Perception, a show I didn't like. And the 'psychopath playing at being a good-guy crime-fighter' is being thoroughly and gloriously explored in Dexter, a show I adore. Mikkelsen's Lecter has the same kind of cool, opaque quality--which works, and makes sense in character terms, but without Dexter's intimate POV, it feels remote and hard to care about.  And the guy from Perception just got on my nerves, so neither comparison is helping me. I'm left with the feeling that it's all just been done already.

It's a good-looking show, but... maybe that's not helping, either. There's a sleekness and glossiness to it that takes away from the realism for me. The films had striking imagery too, but they felt grounded--and frightening--in a way that the show doesn't manage, somehow. The antler room, the mushroom-covered bodies--again, very memorable and very good-looking, but not as... something. Visceral? Personal? Affecting? Was it different in the films because we 'knew' the victims? I'm not sure.

Perhaps another factor is (making allowances for the fact that I have only seen 2 eps: this could be a premature judgement) that there seems to be no sniff of an arc story--other than the general Lecter one, which doesn't count because we all know what happens and it's about as exciting as watching the Star Wars prequels and wondering how it turns out for for Anakin Skywalker.

There's enough to like that I'll stick with it, but I was certainly hoping to like it *more*. So far, watching it is making me want to watch the films again, rather than Ep 3.

LOVING: The Spock v Spock Audi commercial. Hilarious, inspired, and better than some films I've seen lately.

PUBLISHING: Getting Shot in the Face Still Stings, a crime/horror short, at Black Treacle Magazine.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

New story at Black Treacle - Getting Shot in the Face Still Stings

My crime/horror story Getting Shot in the Face Still Stings is now available to read is Issue 3 of Black Treacle:

Dominic thinks he's got enough trouble trying to deal with his crime-boss brother Marc, but that's before he meets Elena...

'You must really have a death wish,' Marc says, and she laughs like that's the funniest thing she's ever heard.

Getting Shot in the Face Still Stings 

Also available in epub, mobi & other formats at the Black Treacle site

Saturday, May 25, 2013

New story at The Journal of Unlikely Entomology

My 4k horror story 'Jeanette's Feast' is available now at The Journal of Unlikely Entomology, along with some brilliantly disturbing artwork by Justin Aerni. I have to say, I think Bert the Cockroach is one of my favourite characters :)

Sunday, May 19, 2013

This Week, I Have Been Mostly...

Mr Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloane. Wonderful, charming romp about books, secret societies and Google. Loved it.

Currently about 25% into The Wine of Angels (Merrily Watkins 1) by Phil Rickman. This sounded like it would be right up my alley, but I'm struggling a bit to connect with it. Not quite sure why. Something about the voice, or the rotating POV, maybe? My last two favourite reads, Penumbra and City of the Dead, both had distinctive first-person narrators. It's also rather slow-paced, with not much sign of a compelling story problem so far. Stuff's happening, but at the minute I'm not sure how to answer the 'And why do we care?' question.

Short stories: 174 - 188 of 500. Faves:

A Perfect Possession from Now That You're Back by A.L. Kennedy: Gorgeously creepy and excellently-paced. The developing sense of 'something isn't right here' is wonderfully done, and the first person plural POV is a great choice, adding to the off-kilter feel.

A Man and His Parasite by Cat Rambo at SQ Magazine: Wonderfully complex story that manages to be chilling, sweet, dark and life-affirming, all at once.

Always, They Whisper by Damien Walters Grintalis at Lightspeed: Brilliant twist on an old myth.

An SF flash, an SF short and a horror short, plus another 3k on the rewrite of a novelette and the first chapter of a novel. Not sure where it all came from, but I like it!

Blitz: Jason Statham is always good value, Aiden Gillen gives great crazy, and I do like a bit of vigilante justice. Fun stuff.

Da Vinci's Demons: Really enjoyed the first ep, although the second didn't sustain my interest as much. Will have to see how it pans out.

Defiance: Liking this one a lot, even if it's not exactly overburdened with originality. This might be familiar ground, but the show's treading it well. You can't go wrong with having Julie Benz in anything, Jamie Murray as Stahma Tarr is wonderfully Cersei Lannister-esqe, and the sarcastic town doctor steals every ep with about two lines.

Dexter S7 finale: OMG. That's kind of all I've got. OMG

The new series of 24. After being teased with the film for so long, it's nice to know we're finally going to get some more Jack. Because as we know, Superman wears Jack Bauer pyjamas.

Watching Hannibal and The Fall, both of which we've got recorded but not seen yet. They look like they could be pretty decent.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Story sale to Black Treacle

Just signed contract for the sale of my 3,800 word horror/crime story 'Getting Shot in the Face Still Stings' to Black Treacle. Issue 3 is due out on 4th June 2013.

*does happydance*

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The World According to Me - interview & guest post

I have been out and about lately: my comic horror Not the Pizza Girl was Every Day Fiction's top story for March, and Aliza T Greenblatt interviewed me about it for Flash Fiction Chronicles. It was my first interview, and a lot of fun.

I also have a guest post about using the Blake Snyder Beat Sheet for short stories, using my dark fantasy Never Leave Me as an example, at Dianna's Writing Den - many thanks to Dianna for inviting me!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

New Story - Destiny Fell in Love at Every Day Fiction

Every Day Fiction is one of my favourite sites, and I'm always thrilled to have a story there. My 754-word  fantasy story Destiny Fell in Love is available to read now.

Destiny craved stillness, but it was the one thing she could never have. She had to move on. How could she not?

Monday, April 22, 2013

This Week, I Have Been Mostly...

READING: Nocturnes by John Connolly. I love Connolly's Charlie Parker series, and the Parker novella 'The Reflecting Eye' is easily my favourite of the collection. A beautifully written and gorgeously creepy as ever. I also really enjoyed the other long story, 'The Cancer Cowboy Rides' - another creepy piece that reminded me of Stephen King. The rest of the short stories I didn't find up to be at the same level. There's some nice descriptive writing, but the majority are fairly basic 'man meets monster' stories--literally: the few female characters tended to BE the monster.

Also 'City of the Dead' by Sara Gran. This, I absolutely loved. Claire DeWitt is an unconventional but brilliant PI investigated a missing man in post-Katrina New Orleans, and her story grips from the off and never lets go. I adored the mix of hardboiled noir and mysticism, the devastated world is fantastically drawn, Claire is fascinating and easy to relate to, and there's an intriguing backstory/arc plot. The first time in a long while that I've finished a book and rushed straight off to buy the next one--only to find that it's not out yet :(

Short stories: 161 - 173 of 500. Fave this week was 'The Meat Forest' by John Haggerty in Shock Totem 3. A great horror that has a plot, interesting characters, brilliantly creepy worldbuilding and an affecting psychological punch.

WRITING: 'Variations on a Theme,' a horror flash, and another 8k on the novella.

WATCHING: Elementary, and deciding that, against all expectations, I like Jonny Lee Miller's portrayal of Sherlock better than Benedict Cumberbatch's. The superiority, detachment and ruthlessness are all still there, but the Miller Sherlock shows appealing flashes of vulnerability, and doesn't have the nasty, vicious streak the Cumberbatch version has. I still love the style and flair of the BBC show, but that Sherlock's behaviour towards people (particularly Molly) is sometimes hard to watch.  I *like* the Miller Sherlock as a person, which I could never say about the Cumberbatch. I've been quite surprised at how much difference that's made. I also love the way Lucy Liu's Watson is so much more her own person--so much more than just a sidekick or adjunct to Sherlock--and the way that neither she, nor their relationship, is sexualised.

PUBLISHING: A lit flash, 'Gravity Doesn't Love You,' in issue 6 of Vine Leaves Literary Journal.

ARRANGING: My first-ever guest post. I'm going to be writing about using the Blake Snyder Beat Sheet in short stories, using my DSF story 'Never Leave Me' as an example, over at Dianna L Gunn's blog. In return, Dianna's going to do a rec piece for me. I feel all legitimate now :)

Sunday, April 14, 2013

This Week, I Have Been Mostly...

READING: Grayson Manor Haunting by Cheryl Bradshaw. Quick, breezy paranormal mystery.

Short Stories: 143 - 160 of 500. Faves this week:

The Cry Room by Ted Kosmatka at Nightmare
Eerie story that works beautifully on both the literal and metaphorical levels.

The Coffin-Maker's Daughter by Angela Slatter at Nightmare
Fabulous ghost story with great writing and wonderfully nasty characterisation.

Leave Me the Way I was Found  by Christian A Dumais in Shock Totem #2
Very creepy, 'found-document' style flash about a fatal video. Nice modern-Lovecraftian vibe.

WRITING: 'The Visitors,' a SF flash, and 6,400 words on a new SF novella. Very much enjoying the long-form process so far.

WATCHING: A marathon of Whitechapel, one of my favourite shows. Season 3, however, is goddamn scary. So it's late at night, I'm alone in the house and I'm watching  episode 3.1, which ends with a shot of a family watching TV on the sofa, until the power goes out and they all get brutally murdered. I get up to change the DVD... and the power goes out. Ten minutes and one heart attack later it came back on, but, yeah. UNIVERSE WTF ARE YOU TRYING TO DO TO ME?

IMPRESSED BY THE PRESCIENCE OF: This. So very, very accurate :)

HYPERVENTILATING WITH NERVOUS EXCITEMENT ABOUT:  The Syfy remake of Blake's 7. Words do not exist that can adequately describe how much I adored this show when I was a kid. Captain Kirk might have been my first love, but I soon threw him over for Avon--starting a life-long love of the snarky, ruthless, morally ambiguous and self-serving anti-hero. Preferably in black leather. OMG who are they going to cast? (Guys, if you need tips, may I humbly suggest Damien Molony? Thanks). They made this for about £7.50 an episode and it showed, but Merciful Zeus, was it glorious. Another upside is that I now get to rewatch the DVDs with the hubby, who's never seen it. And, somehow, managed to avoid hearing how it ends. Oh, this is going to be fun.

SELLING: Two stories this week! Gotta love a twofer: Coming Soon will be:

  • Jeanette's Feast, horror, in the next issue of The Journal of Unlikely Entomology 
  • Seeing Red, SF, in the October issue of Bete Noire. 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Story sale - Bete Noire

April is proving productive so far! Very pleased to report that my SF short 'Seeing Red' will be appearing in the Special Double Anniversary issue of Bete Noire Magazine in October. Yay!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Story sale - The Journal of Unlikely Entomology

Very pleased that my cockroaches-and-cannibals story 'Jeanette's Feast' will be appearing in the upcoming issue of The Journal of Unlikely Entomology. Who doesn't love bugs?