Saturday, December 15, 2012

New Story at Yellow Mama

Issue #35 of Yellow Mama is out now, including my 1,165 word crime story 'Like a Boss'

There's a very sensible bit of advice that says you should always make sure your second-in-command knows what's going on, in case you get hit by a bus--or a massive heart attack. Jay's boss didn't follow that advice, and now Jay finds himself at a bit of a disadvantage...


The office safe was empty except for a folded bundle of notes that might just about have paid for a couple rounds of beers, his home safe had some fake ID and a rumpled picture of ex-wife number three, the one who disappeared with the alligator wrestler down Florida.  And that was all.  So where in hell was the rest of the stuff?  


Read the rest at Yellow Mama #35

Monday, December 3, 2012

New story in Penumbra eMag

The December issue of the wonderful  Penumbra eMag , from Musa Publishing, is out now. The theme for this issue is 'Utopia,' and it includes my story 'For Your Safety and Comfort,  Please Keep Arms, Legs and Tentacles Inside the Car At All Times' 

This is a story about finding God. Not in the usual sense of undergoing a religious conversion, but literally discovering the omnipotent creator of the universe. During a house clearance in Balham.

'God,' Katie said. 'Actual, biblical God.' 
'I know. But it's amazing what you can find tucked away in these places, sometimes. And that old lady was one hell of a hoarder. I wouldn't exactly say biblical, though―we're not talking about the old man in the flowing robes and long white beard. It's more of a... well, a...' she trailed off.
'A trickster coyote? A shower of gold? Alanis Morisette?'
'No, no,' Lia said. 'Nothing like that. It's more like... okay, remember my Great Aunt Doris, the one with all the tea cosies? Try to imagine a cross between her, that security guard who arrested us for shoplifting eyebrow pencils out of Superdrug when we were kids, and the Grand Canyon.'
Katie dutifully tried to imagine this. She failed. 


Read the story in vol 2, issue 3 here




Wednesday, November 21, 2012

New story at Roar and Thunder

I have a new SF teleportation story up now at the wonderful Roar and Thunder:

Meredith Said - SF - 1,639 words

Meredith said that he should always remember that history gets written by the winners, and that what was in the books wasn't always how it actually happened in real life.  

This story was inspired by watching the Doctor Who episode 'The Beast Below.' What I took away from the ep was how sorry I felt for the poor space whale, and it struck me that first contact with an alien could very well end up being a lot less about awe and wonder and more about the opportunity for profit.


Monday, November 12, 2012

New story at Apocrypha and Abstractions

I have a new flash up today at the wonderful Apocrypha and Abstractions - tasty little mouthfuls of story.

Leap of Faith - SF - 150 words
They say Icarus's sin was hubris.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

New story at Morpheus Tales

My mid-apocalypse story 'No Past, No Future, Just Now,' is out now in issue #18 of the wonderful Morpheus Tales.

Preview
Print version
Kindle version

My contributor's copy is shiny and beautiful - while I love my Kindle with a fiery passion, there's still something special about print :)

Friday, September 14, 2012

My 'office'


Including my laptop, newly named Lazarus after I spilled half a mug of coffee over it. Amazingly enough, after being drained out and hairdryered, it survived unscathed. Which is more than you can say for my heart.

Health Tip of the Day: Back up your shit. Regularly.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

New Story at Fiction 365

The Great Escape - drama - 583 words - at Fiction 365
It didn't satisfy his daughter. She wanted more. Always did.

Monday, August 6, 2012

New story at The Cynic Online

Speeding Toward Enlightenment - crime drama - 1,138 words - at The Cynic Online
I love my sister and I want to help her, but she doesn't make it easy.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Recs Round Up #2

Stories I have enjoyed recently:

Tight Little Stitches in a Dead Man's Back by Joe R Lansdale - currently free for Kindle at Amazon
I love post-apoc stories, and this is a wonderfully visceral, brutal version with lashings of crunchy survivor guilt and some highly unusual zombies.

New Skin by Peter Kispert at Word Riot
Sharp flash that's a lovely depiction of refracted grief.

Taking Care of Ma by Lee Hallison at Daily Science Fiction
Great story about wariness around technology, with an adorable robot 'character' and an absolutely killer last line.

The Magnificent Rife Machine by R D Kuensting at Eunoia Review
I like unusual format, and this sad story about a potential miracle cure makes good use of news clippings, emails and blog entries as well as traditional narrative.

Requiem in the Key of Prose by Jake Kerr at Lightspeed
Another story in an unusual format, this one using the structures and styles of fiction itself. A full story with plot, worldbuilding and emotional resonance, told using the hint and snapshot technique that gives good flash its impact. A treat for readers and writers alike.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

New flash at The Journal of Microliterature

New flash up today at The Journal of Microliterature, another great site:

Toil and Trouble - 606 words - humour. Sometimes, magic isn't the easy way out...

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

New flash at the Pygmy Giant

New flash piece up at The Pgymy Giant - a great little site, UK-centric. Some real gems there.

Damnable Behaviour - drama - 200 words

Monday, June 25, 2012

New story at Flash Fiction Offensive

Flash Fiction Offensive is a brilliant site. I have a new flash up there today:

Stop Me if You've Heard This Before - crime - 410 words.
Sally's determined to make it as a stand-up comedian, even if it kills her. Or anyone else...

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Recs Round Up

Some stories I've read and enjoyed this week:

The Poinsettia by L. Lambert Lawson at Every Day Fiction.
A woman gets an unexpected lover, pot plant and life advice in this great flash. What I loved most about it is the confident weirdness of the writing; this is a story that's totally comfortable in its own skin.

The Long Con by Megan. R. Engelhardt and Frog/Prince by Melissa Mead, at Daily Science Fiction.
I enjoy remixed fairy tales, and these are a couple of excellent examples. The first has a wonderful psychologically logical core, and the second is a touching and beautfully played out backstory.

Out of Thin Air by Kathryn Netzel at Eunoia Review.
I'm not a massive fan of second person POV, as I don't find it a natural method of storytelling. For this, however, with its self-reflective, journalling style, it works perfectly. A raw, emotional piece.

Zombie vs Ninja by Lee Williams at Smokelong Quarterly.
I just love this. Gorgeous, captivating snapshot of a dysfunctional bromance played out against the backdrop of a disintegrating society. Original and surreal.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Thursday, May 10, 2012

New story at MicroHorror

I have a new drabble out today at one of my favourite sites, MicroHorror: Deep - horror - 100 words

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Sunday, April 1, 2012

W1S1 Writing Stats - March 2012

Total new pieces written: 29 (11,505 words)
  • Flashes under 500 words:  20
  • Flashes over 500 words:  6
  • Short stories: 3

Total submissions:  13
  • New: 9
  • Resubs:  4

Acceptances:  4
  • Bring It On at Shotgun Honey – crime  - 383 words
  • They Do Things Better at Albuquerque by Infective Ink  - drama - 1,559 words
  • Still Life at Fractured West  - drama - 300 words
  • A Cat May Look At a Queen at Hogglepot - fantasy - 683 words

Rejections:  11

Publications:  3

Pending responses: 16
 
 
 
 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

New story at Untied Shoelaces of the Mind

I have a Sci-Fi flash (912 words), 'An Object Lesson in Misanthropy' at Untied Shoelaces of the Mind today. This is both a paid sale and one of my favourite online zines, so I am well chuffed :-)

Friday, March 16, 2012

Review: Don't Cry


Don't Cry
Don't Cry by Beverly Barton

My rating: 3 of 5 stars



I found this quite a breezy, light read -- as far as a story about a serial killer who poses his victims with toddler skeletons can be. The focus is more on the mystery than the romance, which suited me, since I didn't find the relationship particularly convincing or particularly interesting. I didn't take to Audrey much, and her 'Methinks the lady doth protest too much' sniping at JD frequently irritated me. I also found her instant (and unprofessional) bonding with his wayward daughter a bit implausible.

The plot wraps up nicely, and although there are some characterisation threads left hanging--the source of Wayne Sherrod's antipathy towards his daughter, for example--I imagine these are developed further in the sequel so it didn't bother me unduly.



View all my reviews

Saturday, March 10, 2012

New stories at Infective Ink and Shotgun Honey

I have a couple of crime/murder stories up at two wonderful sites, today:

They Do Things Better in Albuquerque (1,559 words) at Infective Ink, and

Bring It On (383 words) at Shotgun Honey



Friday, March 2, 2012

Writing Stats - Feb 2012


Total new pieces written: 30 (13,276 words)
  • Flashes under 500 words: 21
  • Flashes over 500 words: 5
  • Short stories: 4

Total submissions: 28
  • New: 18
  • Resubs: 10

Acceptances: 4
  • Reparations by Linguistic Erosion - drama - 543 words
  • Grandpa by Postcard Shorts - drama - 200 words
  • Precious Things by MicroHorror - horror - 100 words
  • Dear Ingrid by Twisted Dreams Magazine - horror - 1,000 words

Rejections: 12

Publications: 4

  • Reparations at Linguistic Erosion
  • Grandpa at Postcard Shorts
  • Precious Things at MicroHorror
  • The Fine Art of Fortune Telling (2011) in Orbital Hearts anthology


  • Pending responses: 16


    Woo!

    Wednesday, February 29, 2012

    Story Rec: Languaging at Every Day Fiction

    Great story posted today at EDF - Languaging by Jessica George

    My comment:

    This is *fantastic*. Loved it to pieces. Creepy as hell, with a dystopian vibe that reminded me of The Handmaid’s Tale. Like #10, I thought there was a lot being suggested about the silencing of women’s voices. But for all that, the MC was an engaging and sympathetic character (and equally, so were Bekah and Henri, even though they oppose/don’t appear!)

    The prose and descriptive details were lush and sensuous, contrasting and complementing the cold, harsh and restrictive world they painted.

    Five star fabulous, and one of my favourite stories to date. 

    Monday, February 27, 2012

    Read: The Irrisistble Inheritance of Wilberforce

    The Irresistible Inheritance Of WilberforceThe Irresistible Inheritance Of Wilberforce by Paul Torday
    My rating: 5 of 5 stars

    I found this almost unbearably sad. The reverse timeline was fascinating to me, as my assumptions about Wilberforce and his backstory were deconstructed. Wilberforce himself wasn't a traditionally sympathetic character but I found him equally fascinating. As his life and that of those around him implodes in slow motion, it's a compelling and tragic read. This is the 4th Paul Torday book I've read and cements him as one of my favourite authors.

    View all my reviews

    New Story at Postcard Shorts

    I have a mini-flash up now at Postcard Shorts: Grandpa (200 words)

    Friday, February 24, 2012

    Write 1 Sub 1 week #7

    Written: 6 flash,1 short, 2,989 words

    Submissions: 10 (4 new, 6 resubs)

    • 1 drabble to MicroHorror
    • 7 flashes to Word Riot, Flash Fiction Chronicles (contest), Subtle Fiction, Switchback (contest), Shotgun Honey, A-Minor, Postcard Shorts
    • 2 Shorts to Roar & Thunder and Infective Ink

    Acceptances: None

    Rejections: 5

    • 5 flashes from Fractured West, Fwriction Review, Word Riot, Microliterature & A-Minor


    Publications: 1

    • Reparations at Linguistic Erosion

    New story at MicroHorror

    I have a little slice of creepiness up at MicroHorror now:  Precious Things (100 words)

    Wednesday, February 15, 2012

    Heartsick (Gretchen Lowell, #1)Heartsick by Chelsea Cain
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    A compelling and chilling killer (I love the Master Manipulator type), an interestingly self-aware screwed up detective and a plot that's satisfyingly complex without collapsing under its own weight. A very promsing set up for this series, and I will definitely be looking out for the rest.

    View all my reviews

    Tuesday, February 14, 2012

    Publication - Linguistic Erosion

    I have a 543 word flash piece, 'Reparations' now up at Linguistic Erosion.

    This came from the Word of the Day for February 8th, 'piacular' (expiatory; atoning) and sparked the idea of a rather empathy-challenged character trying to make amends to her sister -- in her own special kind of way.

    WOTD: an awesome way to get prompts and expand your vocabulary at the same time!



    Monday, February 13, 2012

    Write 1 Sub 1 week #6

    Written new: 6 flash, 2 shorts  total: 5,188 words


    Submissions: 8 (7 new, 1 resub)

    • 5 Flash to Linguistic Erosion, Crack the Spine, Camroc Press Review, Hogglepot & Fractured West; 
    • 2 Drabbles to Flashshot;
    • 1 Short to Daily Science Fiction

    Acceptances: 1

    • Flash from Linguistic Erosion

    Rejections: 2
    • Flash by Camroc Press Review and Revolution House

    Publications: 1

    • The Fine Art of Fortune Telling in Escape Collective Publishing's anthology Orbital Hearts

    Pending Responses: 16



    Monday, February 6, 2012

    Publication News - Orbital Hearts Anthology

    I have a horror story, 'The Fine Art of Fortune Telling,' in the latest anthology from Escape Collective Publishing, titled 'Orbital Hearts: love's bitter ruins' -- available now at Amazon, Amazon UK and Barnes & Noble

    It's an 'Anti-Valentine's Day' collection of SF/F/H stories about dysfunctional or doomed love -- as editor Thaddeus Rice puts it, 'Imagine two (or more) hearts forever linked but forced, like orbital bodies, to never touch; to circle in each other's gravity well, locked in tidal forces but forever pushed apart.'

    One reviewer described my story as 'domestic-Lovecraftian,' which is absolutely the vibe that was in my head when I wrote it. 

    No saccharine-sweet happy ever afters here :-)

    There are review copies available in pdf, epub and mobi (kindle) format, so if anyone fancies the idea of ten awesome SFFH/slipstream stories to review on Amazon, Goodreads  etc, just drop me a comment!

    Write 1 Sub 1 Week 5

    Written new: 7 flash, 2,446 words

    • A Kindness; Other People; Susan Knows; Rewind, Erase; Out Shopping in Hyperspace;  False Pretences; Patchwork

    Submissions: 6 (3 new, 3 resubs)

    • Flash to Absinthe Revival; Flash to EDF;  Short to The Colored Lens (resub);  Flash to The Monarch Review (resub);  Flash to Microliterature (resub); Short to The Cynic Online;

    Acceptances: 0

    Rejections: 4

    • Flash by Red Lightbulbs, Short by On The Premies Contest, Short by The Colored Lense, Flash by Absinthe Review
    Publications: 0

    Pending Responses: 11


    I love this challenge!

    Sunday, February 5, 2012

    Snow Day!




    The view from my back garden.


    -- Watching Paranormal Activity, and very glad that it's the middle of the day. I have friends who were like 'bumps, moving door, talcum powder, big whoop,' but this film scared (and still does, on second viewing) the living shit out of me. It's the hyperreality of the style that does it, because I identify SO HARD with the characters: all the time, I'm imagining myself in that situation. A door moving on its own might not be the last word in horror, but if that was my door, in my bedroom? I would FREAK THE FUCK OUT. And the bit where she's filmed just standing there watching him sleep for hours? Dude. Seriously.

    -- Things To Do: compile a Reading List of classic and should-be-read spec fic.

    -- Dean Wesley Smith makes the point that feedback should be used to target areas of your writing to improve -- but in the *next* story, not in that one, because you always learn better by writing new words than by trying to rewrite what you've already done.  Fascinating.

    Saturday, February 4, 2012

    Writing Stats - January 2012


    Total new pieces written: 27
    • Poetry: 1
    • Flashes under 500 words: 23
    • Flashes over 500 words: 2
    • Short stories: 1

    Total submissions: 13
    • New: 5
    • Resubs: 8

    Acceptances: 2
    Rejections: 6
    Publications: 3
    Pending responses: 6


    Woo!

    Wednesday, February 1, 2012

    Precious things

    I was lucky enough that my vampires-in-Tesco story 'Nor Any Drop to Drink' was chosen as one of the winning entries for the MicroHorror 2011 contest, and the absolutely awesome prizes are now ready: a fantastic personalised trophy, DVDs of Ninjas Vs Zombies and Ninjas vs Vampires, plus the Ninjas vs Zombies comic too.

    It just doesn't get any better than that, does it?  Bring on the Ninjas!

    Saturday, January 28, 2012

    Flash Fiction Challenge: Present Tense


    From Chuck Wendig:

    Write whatever you want. Whatever genre, whatever character, whatever story.

    As long as it’s in the present tense.



    Since I *love* writing in present tense and have to restrain myself from doing it all the time anyway, this was a treat:


    Meltdown - SF - 200 words


    Robbie's crying again. 'Hush,' I tell him. 'It's going to be okay.'

    It's not, of course, but what else can I say?

    We're down to this last half of the kitchen now, blankets on the floor. The walls are already losing their colour, becoming glutinous. It won't be long before my house is gone, become just another part of the slowly-swirling mass that used to be this street. This country. This world, for all I know.

    If this is the end of days, maybe we're going somewhere finer. I would not call myself a God-fearing woman but I have done nobody any harm and I have loved my son. Doesn't that make me righteous?

    Or maybe we're making way for a parallel universe, like they said on the TV before it stopped working. A new version of us will rise and take our place; a different version, a better version. Or was that just a science fiction show I used to watch?

    Robbie's cries turn into coughs, bubbling thickly in his throat. I start to sing quietly, his favourite lullaby. It doesn't help.

    I close my eyes and brush the hair back from his face. It's sticky.

    Read: 'Heartstone,' by CJ Sansom

    HeartstoneHeartstone by C.J. Sansom
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    I love Shardlake, and the 5th instalment in the series doesn't disappoint. Reading these is an immersive experience in the history and atmosphere of Tudor England, and this one is particularly compelling in its depiction of the feverish energies of war. The mysteries and machinations surrounding what was done to both Hugh Curteys and Ellen Fettiplace are well paced and presented, and Matthew investigates with his customary tenacity. A thoroghly enjoyable read.

    View all my reviews

    Wednesday, January 25, 2012

    Read: '14,' by JT Ellison

    1414 by J.T. Ellison
    My rating: 3 of 5 stars

    I am enjoying this series, even if the prose isn't the most sophisticated on offer (but then I have John Connolly for that). The Nashville setting is used to great effect, and Taylor is an engaging lead. The break-neck pace makes for a zippy read, and the premise is an interesting one. I also like the relationships and interactions between the characters -- the Taylor/Baldwin relationship is so unfeasibly perfect that I am waiting for the inevitable messy implosion with bated breath.

    View all my reviews

    Sunday, January 22, 2012

    Publication News: EDF & Postcard Shorts

    I have two new stories up today, There You Are, My Love (999 words) at Every Day Fiction, and Inside (200 words) at Postcard Shorts.

    There You Are started life as a characterisation exercise from the Gothan Writers' Workshop Guide to Writing Fiction. Even though she doesn't actually 'appear' in the story, I loved writing Ros because she allowed me to indulge in one of my very favourite things: snarky dialogue. This story is also an example of the wonderful editing process that EDF provide -- I revised this to make Marcus's motiviations clearer at their suggestion, which made it a much better story. Yay for EDF!

    Inside is a piece from my Daily Drabble Project, in which I write a drabble (stretching the technical definition into '100 words or a multiple thereof') using the dictionary.com Word of the Day as a prompt. For Inside it was 'perspicacious,' which gave me the line 'Most people don't pay attention the way I do,' and the rest of the story grew around that.

    The Versatile Blogger Award

    A big thank you to JC Piech of Things Which Burst Out Of My Brain , who was kind enough to nominate me for the Versatile Blogger Award, a cute way of spreading the love for other blogs. More about the VBA here.

    Friday, January 20, 2012

    Publication News: 'From Today' at Eunoia Review

    My 370 word story From Today is now up at the daily fiction/poetry zine Eunoia Review.  Comments and crit always welcome!

    I often have film-style dreams where I am a non-participating observer, just watching the action unfold rather than taking any part in it.  This story was one of those dreams, so all I had to do was transcribe it and add Susie's commentary.  It's a glorious thing when it comes that easy :-)

    This was a 2011 story so won't count towards my Write 1 Sub 1 stats, but it's always a fantastic boost when a story comes out.  Rejections may get the quantity, but acceptances will always triumph for quality.  Psychological research says it takes at least 5 good things to balance out one negative, but I find it works the other way round in writing -- the thrill of an acceptance easily wipes out the disappointment of all the previous rejections.  I guess that's what keeps us going. 

    Yay for positive reinforcement!

    Wednesday, January 18, 2012

    Zombies Ahoy!

    The awesome zombie anthology 'So Long and Thanks for All the Brains,' from Collaboration of the Dead, which features my story 'Behind Glass,' is now available on Amazon UK for kindle here

    Sunday, January 15, 2012

    Read: 'Seed,' by Ania Ahlborn

    SeedSeed by Ania Ahlborn
    My rating: 2 of 5 stars

    This has its strengths, the uncompromising ending being one of them. Personally, however, I found the pacing odd: it's structured like you'd expect a mystery to be, whereas we learn very early in the story what's really going on. I also found Jack an amazingly (and annoyingly) passive character, content to watch and wait and metaphorically wring his hands for large sections of the book. The backstory is interesting but rather clumsily handled, and some integral questions are left unsatisfyingly vague. It would also have benefited from a final edit to catch some remaining typos and repetitions (I lost count of how many times characters smirked, even -- especially -- when smirking wasn't an appropriate response).

    I'm not sorry I read it and I wouldn't discourage anyone from reading it, but I wouldn't rush to recommend it either.

    View all my reviews

    Monday, January 9, 2012

    Flash Fiction Challenge: Song Shuffle Stories

    From Chuck Wendig:

    • Go to Your Favorite Music Player. Dig out your digital music collection.
    • Maybe this is iTunes or Spotify, or use Pandora if you’d rather go that way.
    • Hit SHUFFLE, then “Play.”
    • Meaning, let a random song come bubbling up out of nothing.
    • The title to this song is the title to your story.

    My iPod gave me 'Citizen Erased,' by Muse and my brain gave me a drabble (100 words):

    Citzen Erased

    'She's perfect,' I say.

    'Yes,' he says, because she is.

    'How can we afford it?' I ask.

    He doesn't answer, because we can't.

    So I can keep her, this incredible recreation of our daughter, and ruin us.  Or I can let her go, and we can have our lives back.

    I fold her into my arms and lay a kiss on her synthetic hair. There's no smell.

    'I don't love you,' I tell her.

    I touch my finger first to the tear that runs down her cheek, then to my tongue. There's no taste.

    It's an easy decision to make.


      

    Sunday, January 1, 2012

    Here's to 2012

    The best way to celebrate New Year's Eve is definitely at home in your new pink owl pyjamas, with a homemade Perfect Margarita, watching the fireworks on telly :-)

    Today I have read a novel, read a short story, left feedback, submitted a story and written a couple of hundred words on a new one. I'm hoping this will act as a good luck charm: start as you mean to go on!

    December Stats

    New pieces written: 4
    Total wordcount: 2,900
    Submissions: 5
    Acceptances: 4
    Rejections: 2
    Pending 3