Greetings From the Bunker

Whoa, it’s been a while since I updated. Poor little blog.

*dusts*
*polishes*
*spruces up*

That’s better.

I have a fair bit of news from the last few months! I’ve mostly had my head down working on a new novel. This time I actually got my act together and managed to outline properly, from start to finish, which is something I’ve never done with a novel before. That’s why the last one took me so damned long to finish. But it’s made such a difference this time. I went in entirely confident with where I was heading, yet still with room to explore and discover things as I went along. So I had all the structure of outlining with plenty of the surprises of pantsing built in. I may have found my perfect method.

I started the draft in July. I finished it last week. That is a massive record for me. I’ve still got plenty of work to do before it’s ready for beta readers, but I’m really happy with what I’ve got so far, and amazed at how much faster the process has been this time.

In other writing news, I’ve had a couple of new things out since I last posted. ‘The Convincer’, which first appeared at Galaxy’s Edge, came out at StarShipSofa in July. The narration is superb, and it’s great to be able to share this story with no paywall. I was delighted with how it turned out, as this story remains one of my favourites. Go have a listen!

I had another story out in Galaxy’s Edge, also in July. ‘Doomsday in Springtime’ is a weird, slipstream story about worlds connecting through fiction, and loving someone whilst knowing their whole story in advance. It’s been close to my heart since I first wrote it several years ago, and I was delighted it found such a good home.

I’ve recently sold a story to Daily Science Fiction, which will be my second appearance with them. ‘Objects Left Behind At the Sea of Tranquillity Public Library’ (my longest title to date) is a post-apocalyptic piece of flash about the deep memory connections objects can have for us, and how loss can be measured in small things as well as the huge ones. I’m not sure when it’ll be out, but watch this space for updates!

And to invoke Galaxy’s Edge once again, I’ve just sold a third story to them. ‘Lux Nocturna’ is a dark Halloween tale of one woman’s task to keep monsters at bay through the power of music. I can’t wait to share this one when it comes out.

It’s been a busy few months! I’ll try not to leave it so long next time…

What the Sea Reaps

My newest story, ‘What the Sea Reaps, We Must Provide’ is out today at Diabolical Plots!

This is my favourite piece of flash I’ve written to date. It’s about the power of nature, and protective sacrifice, and the weird between-worlds feeling of a seaside town. It’s about dogs, too, and features a very real setting I have walked many times.

As well as being available online today, this story also features in the Diabolical Plots Year Five anthology, which came out last month and contains all Diabolical Plots’ upcoming stories for the year. There is some terrific stuff here… I’ve been working my way through the stories and am honoured to be in such great company. The stories are all perfect coffee-break length and I highly recommend the read.

Also, check out the stunning cover art by Galen Dara:

DP_YEARFIVE-2019-cover-art-1

Go forth, read, and be awed by the power of the sea.

Awards Eligibility 2018

I’m a little late to this, but I did have one awards-eligible publication last year, so I’d love it to be considered by anyone who’s reading and nominating.

My 6,000-word sci-fi story, ‘The Convincer’, was published in the November edition of Galaxy’s Edge. I’m honoured that it’s made the Nebula Reading List.

An invasive interdimensional alien race justifies their abuse of humans on the grounds that humans lack the aliens’ abilities and comprehension. One alien dedicates herself to ending this injustice, but reaches an impasse until a remarkable human appears and brazenly countermands the status quo.

 

This story portrays my still-recurring themes of women scientists and humanity from a non-human perspective, and I hope it holds something of a mirror to our continuing poor treatment and disregard for species other than our own.

“Our capabilities did not make us superior, only different.”

As of this post, it’s still available to read for free on the website, but will likely be archived soon. I am more than happy to email a copy to anyone who’s reading for awards this year – please let me know in the comments, or email me at proofyourwork [@] rocketmail [dot] com.

Thank you!

Shiny Book!

Flame Tree Press has published a two-part Q&A from the authors of its Robots and Artificial Intelligence anthology, in which we talk about our writing processes, the stories that have influenced us, and the inspiration behind our stories. If you’re interested, you can read the mini-interviews here:

Part 1

Part 2

My contributor copies arrived this week, and they are gorgeous. So delighted that one of my stories has made it into something this pretty!

 

If you want to get your hands on one (and, honestly, why the hell wouldn’t you?), order here or ask in your local bookshop.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got robot stories to read.

Victory, Flash, and Robots

Time for an update, seeing as there are things to report!

I finished the novel revisions. *victorious* (This round, at least.) Completing them was a great relief whilst slightly daunting, wondering if I’ve done enough and knowing that the next step is to get a submissions package together and start querying agents. But, yaaay! The first draft is no more! Now to rewrite the entire thing using only 2% of the words. Synopsis time… sigh.

I recently sold my flash story, ‘What the Sea Reaps, We Must Provide’ to Diabolical Plots. It’s about seaside towns, and dogs, and sacrifice, and I’m really happy it’s found such a great home. I can’t wait to share it when it’s out next year.

And Flame Tree Publications’ Robots and Artificial Intelligence anthology, featuring my story ‘Daddy’s Girl’ amongst a host of others, is now available for pre-order! These anthologies are beautiful hardcover books, gorgeous on shelves or as gifts or just to lovingly gaze upon. This title is out in September in the UK, and apparently November in the US (according to Amazon). If you want a copy, get your orders in now!

Look at the shiny:

Construction of a Novel: Revisions

Ahhh, novel revisions. Feedback has returned, notes have been made, and I am currently wading through it all while fighting the almost constant urge to procrastinate. Once I get in there and start making changes, it’s fine, but actually making myself get on with it has been harder than I anticipated. It feels so daunting from the outside, but once I’m immersed in the manuscript I realise it’s really not so bad after all.

Revising stories has never been my favourite part of writing, but it’s always incredibly satisfying once it’s done. That feeling of pruning, shaping, polishing. Adjusting this and that to get the story just right. Adding details here, cutting extraneous words there. It’s a great feeling when it’s working.

Novel revision is an order of magnitude greater than revising a short story, mind you. And I don’t even have anything massive to change here. There’s nothing glaringly wrong (which was a relief), but there are a cluster of things that, once implemented, will definitely enhance the story. It’s weaving them in that’s the tricky bit.

I’ve been here before, but it’s never felt quite as momentous as this. Maybe because this novel feels so different from the previous ones. Maybe because it’s that much more personal. I have a need to do this one justice that didn’t strike me the same way with the others. Maybe I just believe it in more.

No pressure, then.

Doomsday & Daddy’s Girl

Sale announcements! Woo!

I recently sold my apocalyptic/parallel universe/love story, ‘Doomsday in Springtime’ to Galaxy’s Edge. I wrote this flash story several years ago and it’s always been a surreal little piece of my heart, so I’m delighted it finally found such a great home.

And I’m now free to announce that ‘Daddy’s Girl’ will be appearing in the Robots and Artificial Intelligence anthology from Flame Tree Press. This is this story’s third sale, although its previous outings were online and in audio, so it’ll be lovely to have it in beautiful hardcover format alongside a wondrous lineup of fellow contributors. Check out the fabulous list on Flame Tree’s blog.

It’s also my first-ever sale to a British market, which has long been a goal of mine. There’s something special about selling a story in my own country (and whoa, getting paid in my own currency… fancy that). The anthologies that Flame Tree produce are beautiful books, and I couldn’t be happier for one of my stories to have found a home here. It’s due for publication in September, with pre-orders available from August. Watch this space for updates!