A Week of Two Stories – Part 1

Stories do have this habit of lying fallow for ages and then all popping up at once, like seedlings in spring (more on seedlings later this week). And it just so happens that I have two new stories out in the same week!

My science-fiction flash story, ‘The Magnitude of It All’, came out yesterday at Fireside, and I couldn’t be happier that it’s found such an excellent home. I wrote this one in 2018, so it’s taken a while to find its editor, while proving that good things do come to those who wait…

It’s a story about a pair of scientists who discover an astonishing pattern in the universe, at both the micro and macro scales. It’s about the nature of the universe, and about the importance of approaching subjects holistically, looking wider than a single narrow focus in order to see the bigger picture, and just how much there is to learn when we do that.

It’s a pretty philosophical piece, and one I’m quite proud of. Hope you enjoy!

Tune in later this week for Part 2…

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

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.

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:

Anthologies Abound!

First up in anthology news, Flash Fiction Online’s 2015 anthology, featuring my story ‘Fibonacci’, is now available! It contains over thirty stories by a wide variety of authors, all available for the price of a cup of coffee, or a large portion of chips, or a jar of Marmite, or an average-price greetings card. You know, whatever you’d usually spend a couple of quid on. I’m currently reading the anthology, and it’s fabulous. Such a wonderful range of stories! And as they’re all 1000 words or fewer, it’s so easy to dip in and read a quick story when you’ve got a spare five minutes. I’m having a lot of fun working my way through them all, and I highly recommend the read.

Secondly, Hear Me Roar, which includes my story ‘The Fruits of Revolution’, is a finalist for the Aurealis Award for Best Anthology! Very exciting… can’t wait for the results on the 25th of March. If you haven’t yet grabbed yourself a copy and want to find out why it’s a deserving finalist, all Ticonderoga paperbacks are currently 20% off when ordered through their site. It’s also available via Amazon (Kindle and paperback), Barnes & Noble (Nook and paperback) and Book Depository.

So what are you waiting for? Go treat yourself to a couple of awesome story collections already! And enjoy the wild ride.

 

Happy 2016 to All

Here we are again, at another of those yearly roundups. When I look back on my previous ones, all I can do is smile. My writing progress has remained steady and on an upward trajectory, and that’s really all I can ask for.

I sold four stories in 2015, and all four were published the same year. Two of them went to semi-pro markets, and two to pro markets. One of those semi-pros was my first paperback publication, in Liz Grzyb’s awesome anthology, Hear Me Roar. The other, Sci Phi Journal, featured my dear, departed dog in its cover art. Seriously, wow. I wouldn’t have believed either of those things this time last year.

As for the two pro sales, both are freely available online in excellent magazines, and oddly, both are stories I wasn’t convinced would sell. ‘Flare’ had a couple of personal rejections that made me doubt whether I was hitting the right mark, but Urban Fantasy Magazine sent me a lovely, encouraging rewrite request and swiftly bought the revised version.

The other pro sale was my final publication of 2015, and appeared in Flash Fiction Online last month. ‘Fibonacci’ is an experimental sci-fi story that got in my head and drove me crazy. It’s under 1000 words long, but it is the most difficult story I’ve written to date. Not only did I set myself the insane challenge of structuring the whole piece around the Fibonacci sequence, I also gave myself a strict word limit (it had to be flash) and a complex, science-driven story. It needed both plot and character arcs. It had to be a proper, fully-fledged story and not just a gimmick. But once the idea got in my head it wouldn’t let me go, and after what felt like a wordsmithery wrestling match, I tackled it into submission and ended up with something I could actually be proud of. It got picked up on its second sub, and I’m delighted it found such a well-renowned home. Its December publication was a lovely way to round out the year, and left me on a momentum high that I fully intend to keep going.

I wrote five meaty short stories and a good chunk of my novel-in-progress. I critiqued a whole bunch of pieces for fellow writers, and established some great writing friendships this year. I discovered some terrific new markets. I joined Codex. I submitted stories 42 times and received 4 acceptances (nearly ten percent! Woo!).

Yep. It’s been a great year. I plan to carry its positivity into 2016 and watch all kinds of new wonders appear.

May all my fellow writers and readers have a magnificent year ahead!