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?

Monday, April 8, 2013

Story News - Daily Science Fiction

My dark trad-fantasy story 'Never Leave Me' (W1S1 2012, week 44) will be emailed out to Daily Science Fiction's subscribers on Monday 15th April, and appear on the website a week later. This is my second appearance at DSF, which publishes some of my favourite stories. 'Thrilled' doesn't do it justice :)

Sunday, April 7, 2013

This Week, I Have Been Mostly...

READING: 'Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can't stop talking' by Susan Cain. This is an absolutely fascinating book. As an introvert myself, it was full of 'well, that explains a lot' moment.

Short Stories: 123 - 142 of 500. Faves this week:

Mantis Wives by Kij Johnson at Clarkesworld
Justifiably famous, this is gorgeously written with darkly creepy imagery and emotion. I'd imagine this hits people in different ways--it hit me as a meditation on the desire for pain and loss of self within relationships. Very powerful.

No Breather in the World but Thee by Jeff Vandermeer at Nightmare
Interesting take on the Lovecraftian 'unspeakable horror' that speaks to my love of aftermath stories. The fast-moving, multiple-POV style is rare in short stories, but it really works here, adding to the deep sense of dream-like paranoia.

WRITING: 'The Visiphorical Art,' a literary paranormal flash, and 2k words on a new SF story that's on schedule to become a novellette.

WATCHING: The finale of Being Human. Oh, show. Why did you wait until the very last episode ever to make me fall in love with Hal? I need the DVD boxset and someone to cast Damien Molony in something everything immediately. I need this man back on my telly. Also the first ep on the new season of Touch. Despite a deep and abiding twenty-five-year love of Kiefer Sutherland, I found this show unwatchable. Too many coincidences and too much cheese for my blood. But having heard that S2 was a bit of a reboot, I decided to try again - and so far, I'm very glad I did. This was a massive improvement, seeming almost like the pilot for a totally new show. No nicey-nicey, a proper story arc, interesting and engaging characters and Martin being proactive, resourceful and badass. Fingers crossed this continues!

ADMIRING: These. Both the sentiment and the pictures.

LAUGHING LIKE A LOON AT: This April Fool's submission received at Shimmer. Made me nostalgic for fanfic :)

RECORDING: One-Eyed Monster. From the synopsis, this is about Tara from Buffy battling the possessed-by-aliens detached penis of porn star Ron Jeremy. It may take a while to get up the courage to actually watch this.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

New release: Shallow Cuts

SHALLOW CUTS is a collection of crime flash fiction: 20 bite-sized stories of murder and mayhem. Featuring a would-be comedienne who'll do anything to get a laugh, a fatal case of sibling rivalry, a newly-promoted gang boss who finds that life at the top isn't quite what he imagined, a young boy trying hard to live up to his father's expectations, and many more.

Full story listing:
Stop Me if You've Heard This Before
Speeding Towards Enlightenment
Today, the Part of Hannah Will Be Played by Summer Glau
Bring it On
Communication Skills
Like a Boss
Sacred Space
Based on a True Story
Full Service Package
The Rehabilitating Power of Conversation
They Do Things Better in Albuquerque
The Sacred Rule
To Show Him a Kindness
Damnable Behavior
Safe Place

Now available at Amazon UK / Amazon US / Smashwords

Monday, April 1, 2013

This Week, I Have Been Mostly...

READING: Moxyland, Lauren Beukes. A smart, gripping and disturbingly-plausible SF thriller. Enjoyed this one a lot.

Short stories: 110 - 122 of 500. Faves this week:

Memories of the Knacker's Yard  by Ian Creasey at Lamplight
Interesting mix of ghost story and police procedural that makes good use of one of my favourite elements, transfer of memory.

Giggles by Jeremy C Shipp in Attic Clowns
Surreal, creepy story about apocalypse-by-clown.

WRITING: A new 1,600 word ghost story.

WATCHING: In the Flesh, the new BBC3 zombie drama. The premise is the same as Joy Kennedy-O'Neill's Aftermath (Strange Horizons), one of my absolute favourite stories ever--there's a cure, and the ex-zombies are trying to go back to normal life. The world appears slightly less broken here--the vibe is more of a civil war or military invasion than an apocalypse--but the issues of responsibility, adjustment and guilt are still very much forefront. The situation for Kieran and his family is doubly fascinating, given that he was a suicide. It also looks like they're going to make good use of 'it's different when it's MY family,' which is a trope I love. So far, I like it a lot.

Also Being Human season 5. I think I was too far into Mitchell-withdrawal to appreciate season 4, but I've come round to Hal a lot, and I love his relationship with Tom. Will be interesting with the US version starts, to compare another set of characters.

LISTENING TO: Trivium and Slipknot. Very loudly. These boys going RAAARRR! on the stereo is about the only thing that drowns out my next-door neighbour going RAAARRR! at her kids.

Also Heaven, by Depeche Mode, which I love. Seems very strange to think of these boys as elder statesmen now, but I suppose they are. I think my inner body clock stopped somewhere around age 23, so I always imagine that the 80s was just last decade. It regularly shocks me when I realise just how long ago it really was.

SELLING: 'Destiny Fell in Love,' a fantasy flash, to Every Day Fiction. This is one of my favourite sites, so it's always a thrill to have a story there. I expect it to run in May.

The Write 1, Sub 1 March Monster Blogfest! 
Stats this month
Written new: 
1.  Re: Corrections to Consciousness Module 14.6 (Memories: Age 31-60) - SF - 692 words
2. Can't See a Good Thing - Near-future SF - 2,564 words
3. Game Over - SF - 2,699 words
4. Sweetie - Horror - 1,662 words
5. Something Worth Hearing - Horror - 1,581 words

20 in total - 6 new, 14 resubs/reprints

19 in total - 7 personal, 12 form

'Destiny Fell in Love', from Every Day Fiction. Also had stories advanced to the 2nd round at Daily Science Fiction, Waylines, Apex, Andromeda Spaceways, Bete Noire and the Journal of Unlikely Entomology.

Not the Pizza Girl, a comic horror, at Every Day Fiction