Heisenberg and The Wind

I have a couple of pieces of story news to share!

Firstly, My sci-fi story, ‘The Wind, My Chariot’, is out now at Land Beyond the World. I wrote this one a long time ago and I’m so happy it’s finally found a home. It features a man who’s joined a scientific settlement on a distant planet and finds himself intensely drawn to one of the native alien beings, creatures who spend their entire existence riding the planet’s unceasing air currents. It’s about two vastly different minds connecting to find common ground and friendship, and it’s about the power of the elements, be they terrestrial or alien.

Secondly, I’m delighted to say that my flash piece which appeared in Nature: Futures last year, ‘Variations on Heisenberg’s Third Concerto’, was selected to appear in Best of British Science Fiction 2020! The anthology was released on Tuesday, so it’s out now from NewCon Press. I’m honoured that this story has received such positive feedback since it came out last year, and to have my second Best of British inclusion (following ‘What the Sea Reaps, We Must Provide’ appearing in The Best of British Fantasy 2019) feels amazing. Plus it’s pretty awesome to have a positive souvenir of the year that kicked everyone’s butt. It wasn’t all bad, clearly…

News of Dogs, of Castles, of Dragons

Well, I’ve made no improvements when it comes to updating this blog in a timely fashion, have I? I think it’s safe to consider my blogging sporadic at this point… :\ But I’m back with a couple of exciting bits of news to share!

My story, ‘A List of Historical Places Frequented by a Boy and His Dog’, is out in the current issue of Zooscape. It’s my shortest published story to date and it’s been making lots of people cry. (Don’t say I didn’t warn you…) I’m really proud of this tiny little story, and I’m happy it’s been getting some love.

And this artwork… *melts*

In publishing news of a very different stripe, I’m honoured and delighted to say that I’m the new Co-Editor of PodCastle! The news was announced on the site last week, and I’m excited to be sharing the role with Shingai Njeri Kagunda. We’re so looking forward to working together to keep the Castle flying straight and level, finding and championing new stories and striving to maintain the excellence established by the outgoing editors, Jen R. Albert and Cherae Clark. I’ve been an associate editor at PodCastle for four and a half years, slush reading and copyediting, so although this is a large step up, I already feel very at home in its dragon-guarded walls. PodCastle is the 2020 winner of the British Fantasy Award for Best Audio, and we’re nominated for the Hugo, Ignyte, and Aurora awards this year, so it’s a tremendous time to be taking the helm.

You can listen to Jen’s farewell episode here, posted last week, and Cherae’s here, posted today. We’re going to miss them both hugely, but they’re embarking on exciting new adventures of their own, and I wish them nothing but joy and success.

And so we fly…

A Deluge of Stories!

I’m getting really bad at updating this blog, aren’t I? And I have no excuse… it’s not as if there hasn’t been much to talk about. Because there very much has. I’ve been on a lovely roll of story success over the past few months, which has been great as my productivity has been badly dented by the joys of 2020.

Twenty Bloody Twenty, amirite? Sigh.

Anyway – stories! Stories are helping me a great deal at the moment, as even though my writing output has been low, I’ve been reading a ton. And if you’re also finding stories helpful at the moment, may I point you gently in the direction of a few things I’ve had out this year?

My fantasy flash story about a pair of friends with an intense connection, ‘One and One Makes One’, came out at Harbinger Press as one of their Flash Fiction Fridays in January.

In March, I had two stories out back-to-back. ‘Lux Nocturna’, a horror/dark fantasy story about one woman’s battle against darkness via the power of music, appeared in Galaxy’s Edge in March. I was honoured that this story appeared as part of the tribute issue to Mike Resnick, who very sadly passed away earlier this year. He purchased all three of the stories I ever sent to him, including ‘Lux Nocturna’, and I’ll forever be grateful for his support of my work.

And a couple of days later, ‘Mycelium’, another dark fantasy about a woman communicating with trees as she mourns her brother in a woodland burial site, came out at PodCastle. It’s my first story appearance there, and I couldn’t be happier to finally have a story grace the Flying Castle’s airwaves. You can read or listen to it as you choose!

Just yesterday, I had another first appearance, this time at Nature: Futures, with my story ‘Variations on Heisenberg’s Third Concerto’. This is another story about the power of music, this time sci-fi. What if there was a piece of music that was never the same twice? What if it could change the universe?

I also have a few stories forthcoming. Truancy will feature ‘Rose Briar’, my science fiction retelling of Sleeping Beauty. And I have a reprint forthcoming in an anthology from Flame Tree Press.

Perhaps most exciting of all, my favourite story from last year, ‘What the Sea Reaps, We Must Provide’, has been selected for The Best of British Fantasy 2019, due out next month. It’s my first Best-of anthology and I’m really excited!

Check out the amazing cover art…

Best-British-Fantasy-2019-Full

*comes up for air*

Quite a deluge, methinks. But I’m not complaining… it’s wonderful to have so much of my work out there at once. Writing is all about highs and lows, and I intend to enjoy the highs while they’re here.

Updates, Awards Eligibility, & A Favour

I was honoured to be published as Daily Science Fiction‘s very last story of the decade! ‘Objects Left Behind At the Sea of Tranquillity Public Library’ appeared on the 31st of December 2019, which was a lovely way for my year to round off. It’s my bittersweet story about the things we all stand to lose as a result of unchecked climate change, and its core theme of devastating wildfire has never been more relevant.

This was one of three original stories I had published last year. The other two were ‘Doomsday in Springtime’, which appeared in Galaxy’s Edge in July and ‘What the Sea Reaps, We Must Provide’, which appeared in Diabolical Plots in May. All three are eligible for awards reading, and they’re all flash fiction.

The one I’m mainly promoting is ‘What the Sea Reaps…’ which was received very well and had some lovely reviews. It also made the Quick Sip Reviews 2019 Recommended Reading List, which places it amongst some excellent company! I personally feel this is the best piece of flash I’ve written to date, and its subject and setting are very close to my heart. It’s available to read at the above link, and I’d love anyone reading for awards to consider it.

‘Objects Left Behind…’ is also available to read at Daily Sci-Fi, and if you’d like a copy of ‘Doomsday in Springtime’ I’d be happy to email one. Just drop me a line at proofyourwork[@]rocketmail[dot]com.

I also have a favour to ask. If you did enjoy ‘What the Sea Reaps…’, whether you’re reading for awards or not, can I ask if you’ll sign this petition? The beach and sea wall the story is based on are under urgent threat of catastrophic rail development, and we need as much objection as possible in order to halt this plan. I’d be deeply grateful if you’d lend your name to the cause. Thank you.

Beach - Holcombe View

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: