My SF flash 'Wrong Word' is free to read at one of my favourite venues, Daily Science Fiction. This piece was inspired by a part of Richard Adams' Watership Down that creeped me out when I first read it over forty years ago (eep!) and has stayed with me ever since. That book is SO not a kids' story.
And it's also just occurred to me that this could be read as a sequel to my earlier DSF story Jump and I'll Catch You even though it was actually written first. The subconscious is a wonderful thing.
Wrong Word - SF - 818 words Alliance, that was what you were supposed to call it. Not invasion. Alliance. We're all friends here.
My latest short story collection is now available! I'm currently putting together an omnibus version of the first four volumes, which will run to about 80k words. Then I'll be learning how to produce a paperback version too! As Dean Wesley Smith says, you have to love this new world of publishing :)
The fourth in the Transient Tales series collects 11 short stories of science fiction, fantasy and horror, totalling 20,000 words and ranging from light to dark and all shades in-between.
Volume 4 features a life coach to the Gods, a ghost-disposal expert, a time gambler, a singing slug, a cunningly-disguised space teleport device, a girl who can eat anything, an inter-dimensional auction, a suburban demon infestation, a Garden of Eden where everyone can be God, a long-suffering Memory Transfer Manager, and a life-saving zombie.
Congratulations on Your Apotheosis: Being an all-powerful superbeing might be better than working retail, but Sharon’s still bored. All she wants is an arch-enemy, so that they can fight an epic, eternal battle across space and time. Is that so much to ask?
The Visiphorical Art: All of life is art and no one wants to die. Not even the ghosts.
You Pay Your Money and You Take Your Chance: Some people (and insurance companies) think going into the Time Pocket is reckless, but maybe it’s worth the risk.
Black Thumb: Debra thinks there’s nothing for a slug to feed on, in her blighted garden. She’s wrong.
Out Shopping in Hyperspace: It seems like Mia’s the only one who recognises her father’s genius. But she’s not giving up.
Jeanette's Feast: Gavin’s heard that cockroaches can survive anything. Maybe even his family.
Free to Loving Home (Donation Required): Interdimensional travel can be time-consuming, physically debilitating and sometimes illegal, but the auctions at the Hugh Everett Rehoming Centre always make it worthwhile.
Not the Pizza Girl: In the battle of man’s stomach versus his immortal soul, the stomach wins every time.
Garden of Fog and Monsters: They pitch it to the volunteers as a contest that can be won, but there’s no such thing as a free paradise.
Re: Corrections to Consciousness Module 14 (Memories: Age 41-60): Upgrade Ltd, and it’s Memory Transfer Managers, are very committed to making sure customer complaints are resolved, whatever it takes.
The World Doesn't End, Even When it Should: Since the government won’t make zombies available on the NHS, Lucy will have to make her own arrangements.
The fourth in the Transient Tales series features an omnipotent facilitator in search of a nemesis, a ghost-disposal expert, a time gambler, a singing slug, a cunningly-disguised space teleport device, a pet cockroach, an interdimensional auction, an accidental demon infestation, a Garden of Eden where everyone can be God, a fed-up Memory Transfer Manager, and a purring zombie...
Courtesy of the wonderful Milo James Fowler, it's time for our annual Halloween Giveaway! My spooky treat this year is a copy of the third volume of my Transient Tales collections -- available in all e-book formats from Smashwords, free with the discount code SW82Z
Transient Tales 3 includes 12 stories of SF, fantasy and horror, featuring demonic spiders, robot wolves, witches, doppelgangers, carnivorous plants, reclusive psychics, immortal gang bosses, apocalyptic survivors, alien voyeurs, flesh-eating criminals, clairvoyants, and God.
I have a fantasy flash piece, Waiting to Burn, out at Chrome Baby today. I love the illustrative photo they used - totally perfect. Getting artwork to go with stories is one of my absolute favourite things.
My near-future SF story, 'Jump, and I'll Catch You', inspired partly by an abiding love of alien invasion stories and unreliable narrators, partly by a novel about the Tudors and partly by the Mad Cow Disease scare of the nineties, is out today at Daily Science Fiction. Being Polite was like lying, but not the normal kind. If you were trying to pretend your sister had broken something when it was really you, that was normal lying and that was still wrong. This kind of lying was special, and it was only done because you wanted to make people happy, and have a nice time. Especially with Our New Friends.
Very pleased to repot that my ghost story 'The Visiphorical Art' has been selected for the Star Quake 2, the second 'Best of' anthology from SQ Magazine. The first one looks great, so looking forward to this coming out!
My dark fantasy story 'The Fine Art of Fortune-Telling' which originally appeared in the Orbital Hearts anthology, has been reprinted in the wonderful Fantasy Scroll Magazine, and is now free to read here, alongside an excellent crop of 13 other stories, from the likes of Mike Resnick and Ferrett Steinmetz.
Having your name on the cover? NEVER gets old :)
The Fine Art of Fortune-Telling - Dark fantasy - 3,966 words
It clearly isn’t considered decent to try to duck out of your own mother’s memorial ceremony, especially in favour of a trip to Pizza Express. Even Alan’s tolerance has some limits. In my husband’s world, when your parents die you mark the occasion appropriately. And since I like his world and want to carry on living in it, that’s what I’ve agreed to do.
My Strange Horizons story, 'Tomorrow, We'll Go Yak Herding' picked up a couple of nice reviews! Lois Tilton of Locus said: 'At it's heart, a story of comfort between friends' -- which is pretty much exactly spot on (my personal theme when writing this was 'Keep Calm And Phone Your Mates'). And Tangent gave it a Recommended, which was a great thrill.
It's always a bit nerve-wracking when a story goes out, and a massive relief to know that somebody likes it :)
My SF story 'Jump, and I'll Catch You' will be published at Daily Science Fiction on Friday 25th July. You can subscribe to get the stories delivered by email, or read them at the website. This is one of my favourite stories, and I'm thrilled it found such a good home!
There is also a fabulous podcast of the story, read by Anaea Lay. She has the most gorgeous voice and it's wonderful to listen to--although strange to hear my Essex Girl dialogue said in an American accent!
Go listen and comment: Strange Horizons have a free download code for the audiobook of John Joseph Adams and Hugh Howey's apocalyptic anthology 'The End is Nigh' available as a prize. A comment or post could win you 15 hours of free fiction!
'Scientific study of the displacements is a new and mostly untested field. For at least the first few weeks, it was all written off as practical jokes, mistakes or overactive imaginations. It wasn't until Buckingham Palace became a theme park that it started to be taken seriously.'
The third in the Transient Tales series collects 12 short stories of science fiction, fantasy and horror, totalling 20,000 words and 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.
Sweetie: Sweetie's changed, since the days of the travelling carnival. But she still knows how to teach an audience respect.
Wolf, or Faith in the Future: Language evolves just like everything else. There are different words, in the future. And a different definition of horror.
Never Leave Me: Katrine knows her story is supposed to end with happily ever after. But what happens after that?
The Portal to a Lost World: The phone call comes every year. 'Where are you?' Tollie asks, but she never gets an answer. She hopes she never will.
Seeing Red: Even though they're not living on Earth any more, Halden's family are still human—still the same people they ever were. Unfortunately for him.
An Object Lesson in Misanthropy: Zoe's never been able to work out what nice guy Bill sees in her bitter, reclusive mother. Today, she's going to find out.
Getting Shot in the Face Still Stings: A lot of problems can be solved with a gun. But not all.
No Past, No Future, Just Now: The world might have suddenly become a strange and confusing place for everyone else, but Louisa's used to it. She knows what to do.
Game Over: Adrian's sick of providing free entertainment for the passengers in his head. He's not going to carry on performing unless he gets something in return.
You Don't Want What I Get: Richie suspects he's being cut out of a sweet deal, and he's not happy about that. He wants his fair share, and he's going to get it.
There You Are, My Love: If Marcus sees enough clairvoyants, will one of them eventually channel his father's spirit? And is that what he really wants?
For Your Safety and Comfort, Please Keep Arms, Legs and Tentacles Inside the Car At All Times: Katie gets worried when her best friend says she's found God—especially when she realises Lia means that literally.
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
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
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.
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?
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?
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!
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!
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!
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!
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.
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.