Lots of fun news to announce this week. Let’s start with an audio version of one of my Blakes 7 stories. The wonderful Chrisi Pashley and John Guilor have produced an audio version of my story Mutoid, which was printed as part of the Scorpio Tales anthology. Chrisi has done an amazing job mixing together music from Cobby Costa with her narration, and John’s Avon is scarily accurate. I’m thrilled with the end result, and I hope you will be too. You can listen to this not-for-profit audio story for free here.
(For those of you who don’t know, Blakes 7 was a BBC TV series. It’s awesome.)
Flame Tree Blogs
Another nice bit of news this month was being featured on a couple of blogs from Flame Tree Publishing. In honor of their recent anthology, Compelling Science Fiction Short Stories, which included my short tale, Always and Forever, they asked their authors to talk about how they write and the inspirations behind their stories.
You can read these blogs here (Inspirations) and here (Writing Practices).
Well, that’s about it for now on the writing front. I hope those of you who are American had a great Thanksgiving. We had a fun couple of days hosting family. I even managed to watch the England vs. USA World Cup match.
Hear ye, hear ye! The latest Blakes 7 anthology of short stories from Cult Edge is now available!
Including my short story, Supreme Commander, this wonderful volume is raising money for the Red Cross Dec Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal. To buy a copy of Thieves, Killers, Mercenaries, Psychopaths, go to this link. You can also scan the QR code below.
My story features Servalan, as might be guessed from its title, and sees her going up against the Federation’s own Propaganda division. What harm could there be in letting them make the Supreme Commander star in her very own video diary? A day in the life of the Federation’s military leader – surely, such a film will inspire the Federation’s loyal masses… But in the Federation, everyone has motives of their own, and violence is never far away.
Continuity-wise, it leads into the very start of Blakes 7 as a series. My previous story, Mutoid, was set near the very end of the programme, meaning I’ve sort of bookended the series. I hope you can pick up a copy of this wonderful book, as it is not only well worth your money but is also for a good cause.
More Stories Accepted for 2023
I’m also very happy to say that late October saw two more sales of short science fiction stories. First, my novelette, Ghost Dimension, has been accepted for JayHenge Press’s anthology Phantom Thieves & Sagacious Scoundrels. This tale of parallel-Earth-hopping and general naughtiness will be released during 2023.
Ghost Dimension takes place within a fictional world ruled by the Pax – a group I have written many stories about, although this is the first one to be accepted. I hope, fingers crossed, you get to see the other stories as well.
Before the month closed out, I was ecstatic to find I’d also sold a short sci-fi tale as a podcast! Cost of Living has been picked up by the Simultaneous Times podcast, run by Space Cowboy Books. This podcast will most likely be released during early 2023. I’m excited to hear what it will sound like!
As for the story itself, I’ll say “suspended animation.” It’s a darkly humorous piece set in the near future, and I hope you will like it.
Well, those are my 3 updates for right now. If you’re in the US, have a great Thanksgiving. If you’re in the UK, have a fun Bonfire Night. If you’re in neither of those places, enjoy whatever events or festivals you have coming up!
Welcome to my latest writing news update! I know I’ve mentioned it a few times, but Flame Tree Press have released another one of my short science fiction stories in their Gothic Fantasy series of hardbacks (available at all good bookstores). This time, I’m happy to say it’s out in the American market. You could, for example, pop down to your local Books a Million (BAM) store and grab one. The story in question is Always and Forever. You can read more about this tale of brain implants and a daughter caring for her dying billionaire mother here. And, if you prefer to purchase your books online, you can get it from Amazon here.
I hope you do give it a look. The book is gorgeous and is packed with great writing.
There’s more news ready to share, though. Out today is another short sci-fi tale of mine. Volunteer Two is included in the Oct/Nov 2022 issue of Utopia Science Fiction magazine. Here is the amazing cover of the magazine.
Volunteer Two is my first story in this magazine, and hopefully the first of many. The title refers to the second person who volunteers to step outside the protective dome of a new human colony on the (very real) world of Teegarden b. We see what happens to him and to the people who know him – for this is a mission he is not expected to survive.
The magazine can be purchased direct from the publisher here. And if you’d like to read more about the story’s inspirations and themes, you can do so here.
Not wanting to sound like a needle stuck in a vinyl record’s groove, but November 1st will see the publication of my latest Blakes 7 story, Supreme Commander, in the charity anthology Thieves, Killers, Mercenaries, Psychopaths from Cult Edge. Brace yourselves for another blog post in a couple of days, where I’ll be sharing details of how you can buy a copy and support the Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal fund!
I also have some more exciting news concerning a recent sale of another short science fiction story, this time to a podcast. But I’ll wait until the contract is signed before sharing more!
I’ll finish with an appeal of a more selfish nature. If you’re a publisher reading this and you’d like to put out a collection of my short stories, please get in touch with me. Despite repeated promises from one publisher, a planned collection never materialized (I have no idea why, but suffice it to say I’m not keen to work with them again). It seems a shame to waste all that effort, so if you would like to take advantage of it, I’d be happy to hear from you.
In the meantime – Happy Halloween! Stay safe, stay warm, get your booster shots/flu shots, and most of all – keep reading.
In a spirit of boundless optimism, here is this year’s Awards Eligibility list. As always, this list is intended to help people nominating stories for science fiction, horror, and fantasy awards.
So, here is the list of what I had published in 2022. I have 12 original science fiction, horror, and fantasy short stories and 3 reprints published (or scheduled to be published) during 2022 that are eligible for consideration.
For anyone nominating awards, I’d like to highlight Always and Forever printed in Flame Tree Press’s Gothic Fantasy: Compelling Science Fiction Short Stories anthology, as well as Volunteer Two due to be printed in Utopia Science Fiction magazine on October 30th. I am more than happy to email a copy of any or both of these if you’re reading for nominations – just let me know.
For the completists, here is the full list. Where possible, each story has a link leading to more information about where it was (or will be) printed.
Overall, this has been a successful year for me, with four new stories at pro rates and a couple where the reprints earnt more than the original publications. I was able to keep working with some great companies (Air and Nothingness Press, Flame Tree Press, and JayHenge), while also making first sales with new markets for me (including Utopia Science Fiction, Electric Spec, Wyldblood, The Author’s Hand, and Nature magazine’s Futures) who all do an incredible job. Just looking back over these credits fills me with disbelief that I was lucky enough to work with so many great people.
I hope, if you’re in a position to nominate books and magazines for awards, that you will consider some of the above markets, who are doing work within these genres that rivals anything put out by more well-known companies.
It’s been a busy few weeks for me, both in terms of my writing and in my life generally (my wife ran a half-marathon yesterday and my daughter had her birthday on Saturday). Since this blog is all about my writing, we’ll focus on that (but I am very proud of my wife’s achievement).
Although I’ve mentioned one of my upcoming sales – Always and Forever in the forthcoming anthology Compelling Science Ficton Stories from Flame Tree Publishing – I realized I haven’t said anything about a few others lurking on the horizon.
First Witch on Mars. This original flash piece sold to 99 Fleeting Fantasies, a collection from Pulse Publishing edited by Jennifer Brozek. I believe this book will be out in 2023.
Fifteen Minutes. This comedy science fiction short story will be reprinted by Water Dragon Publishing in an anthology called Dragon Gems, slated for April 2023.
Volunteer Two. I’m thrilled to say that this original sci-fi short story will be printed in the magazine Utopia Science Fiction. In fact, I think it’ll be out next month! I’ve been submitting to Utopia for a while, so I’m thrilled to be in its pages. More to come on this, obviously.
Eat Me. Hot off the presses – I signed a contract yesterday for this original fantasy short story. Eat Me is set within my Age of Asmodeus series and will be featured in Wandering Wave Press’s anthology Tumbled Tales, edited by Hannah Terao. I expect this will also be out in 2023.
And we also have a publication date for the next anthology of Blakes 7 stories from Cult Edge. Thieves, Killers, Mercenaries, Psychopaths will be available for order on November 1st! This book will raise money for humanitarian relief in Ukraine, and will include my short story Supreme Commander.
So, an interesting few weeks, as you can see. I’m very excited by these projects and look forward to reading the finished books and magazines. I especially hope you support the Blakes 7 anthology when it comes out, because Cult Edge do a wonderful job with their products and it’s for the best of causes.
Thanks everyone, and I hope you’re enjoying the start of autumn.
I’m a little late posting about this, but last month saw my first story printed in British magazine Wyldblood, in their Spring 2022 issue. Do Not Forget Me is a reprint of my short science fiction end-of-the-world tale about a plague of forgetfulness (well, agnosia) and its devastating effects on the world. This story forms part of my series The Many Lives of Professor Lazarus, and you can read more about it here.
To buy a copy of Wyldblood, click here. It’s worth it for the great cover art alone, if you ask me.
Next up is some more current news: I have another story reprinted this month, in a brand-new anthology from JayHenge Press…
The Manifold Lands of the Sun
The Manifold Lands of the Sun is now available in JayHenge Press’s Phantasmical Contraptions & More Errors. You can purchase this handsome anthology by clicking here. I’m glad to say my sci-fi/steampunk story with an environmental theme, originally printed a couple of years ago in the last-ever issue of Outposts of Beyond, has found a new home. If you like dinosaurs and other terrifying extinct animals, I hope you get yourself a copy of this great book.
As always, there’s a page on my site where you can read more about the story.
Well, that’s all for right now, but there is some more stuff on the way, including new stories due out in September from Flame Tree and in October from a science fiction magazine I’ve been trying to get into for a while (pretty excited by that one).
More good news today – my short science fiction story about alien exfoliation, symbiosis, and how cleaning our teeth is important no matter how gigantic we are, Cleaner Shrimp, Inc., is now out in JayHenge Publishing’s new anthology, Professor Feiff’s Compleat Pocket Guide to Xenobiology for the Galactic Traveller on the Move.
What’s it all about, you ask? We-e-ell…
Jay and Renee are cleaners with a difference. They scrub the exteriors of space-dwelling creatures called Behemoths, who scoop material from Saturn’s upper atmosphere. Cleaning these gigantic aliens and selling on the minerals and chemicals they remove from the creatures’ rock-like skin is dangerous by definition, and to make matters worse Jay’s cleaning company is hovering on the verge of banruptcy. He and his girlfriend/sole employee need to stop a competitor undercutting them into extinction or, maybe, find an alternative line of work. Hmm, if it’s a new career that Jay and Renee need, how about acting as toothbrushes for the giant aliens? Of course, that’s even more dangerous…
You can purchase the anthology here. JayHenge put out great books, so I hope you consider getting a copy.
And if any of the above has piqued your interest, feel free to read more about this story on its dedicated page here.
This month may see the release of a couple more of my short stories, so keep your eyes peeled! I’m thinking another blog post will be winging your way soon…
There’s a lot to cover this time on my writing blog, so let’s leap straight in with the latest of my stories to be released: A Second With You Is Worth More Than Eternity Alone.
This story is included in the latest anthology from Air and Nothingness Press, Orpheus + Eurydice Unbound. AaN Press is run by the amazing Todd Sanders, who edited this collection in the press’s 25th anniversary year. My own contribution is a science fiction retelling of the “Look Back” part of the Greek myth. It may be short in length, but I hope this tale of a desperate rescue packs an emotional punch.
In the publisher’s own words, this is what the book as a whole is about:
Many excellent writers have contributed to this anthology, including the well-known speculative fiction author Liam Hogan. You can grab a copy of this excellent, limited-edition book here, direct from the publisher. AaN Press are a fantastic publishing company, and I hope you can support them.
The Next Volume of Flame Tree Press’s Gothic Fantasy Series Now Available for Pre-Order
My story Always and Forever is now open to pre-order as part of Flame Tree Press’s next installment in their Gothic Fantasy series of hardback books. (They’re a visual treat and no mistake. The sort of books bibliophiles salivate over.)
You can pre-order this amazing, high-quality book here on Amazon. For readers in the USA, you should be able to find this collection on bookstore shelves in October 11th. Readers in the UK will get it a little earlier in August (dates subject to minor changes).
My story is, again, a short science fiction tale. It concerns a mother dying in hospital, her daughter developing technology that could make humans functionally immortal, and the risks of getting exactly what you want.
This will be my second story released through Flame Tree, I’m thrilled to say. I am honored to be a small part of their range.
Buddhist Monks in Space! Again! But Longer This Time!
The news keeps on coming… Penumbric magazine, who graciously included a reprint of my sci-fi tale Something to Watch Over Us a couple of years ago, and who then reprinted that reprint in their Best of Penumbric Vol IV, recently accepted another, very special reprint from me – an extended, much-improved version of The Tulku of Titan. This tale of Buddhist monks seeking the reincarnated Dalai Llama in the furthest reaches of the Solar System will be featured in an upcoming issue of Penumbric, probably during 2023.
This is the 3rd (4th?) printing of this story overall, but the debut of this rewritten version. I got a lot of praise for this first installment in the Titanville Tales series (a series I hope to return to), but a few readers expressed the wish that it had been longer, so they could spend more time with these characters and the setting. Well, wish granted! Hopefully, I’ve learnt a lot about becoming a better writer in the 6 or 7 years since I wrote this and this new version will prove even more popular. I can’t wait for people to read it.
Coming Soon from JayHenge Press
So, what else do I have tucked up my sleeves? To begin with, I have two stories nearing release from the super-talented people at JayHenge. A reprint of The Manifold Lands of the Sun will be included in their upcoming anthology Phantasmical Contraptions & More Errors, and the brand-new science fiction tale Cleaner Shrimp, Inc. will see its first printing in Professor Feiff’s Compleat Pocket Guide to Xenobiology for the Galactic Traveller on the Move (and if that’s not an incredible title for a book, I don’t know what is).
I expect one or both of these volumes will be printed later this year – JayHenge are finalizing the contents as you read this. Keep watching their social media accounts and this blog for more news as it comes out. JayHenge’s anthologies are among the most successful I’ve been involved with, because they’re full of really good fiction.
To My Surprise, Another Story Released: A New Skin – the Latest Installment of Infinity’s Edge
The July issue of The Martian Wave sees the release of my novelette, A New Skin, part of my series of Infinity’s Edge stories. I was surprised to see it in this issue of the magazine, since the editor didn’t share this news with me beforehand – I haven’t received any emails from him for a year or more. As this isn’t the first time this has happened, and because I’ve learnt some upsetting news about the editor, I think I will be gracefully bowing out of future endevours with this particular market.
This brings me to a request: if you’re a publisher or an editor, and you like my writing, please reach out to me. I have published over 50 SF/F/H stories thus far through multiple venues (pro, semi-pro, and small press). I have multiple unpublished stories seeking homes as well, including three novellas. If you would like to provide a home to any of these original and/or reprint stories, including A New Skin, I would very much like to work with you.
Meanwhile, On the Comics Front
Those of you who have been following my blog for a while will know that I used to submit comics scripts to the UK comic Futurequake. Their editor, Dave Evans (known as “Bolt-1” in the manner of 2000AD creator droids), even published a couple. A third was stuck in art-being-not-drawn limbo when Dave very sadly passed away. As a tribute to his long career in comics, in which he helped many creators, a charity comic is now being put together by Sentinel Comics. This Bolt Comic will, I’m happy to say, now include the last story he accepted from me: You Can’t Go Back. This will be the 3rd strip to feature my character, Professor Lazarus.
I’ll happily share more details as the project progresses, but for now, let’s leave it there.
Surely That’s Everything?
I’m going to sign off for now, but – yeah – there is more I could share about other things in various stages of completion: an audio version of a Blakes 7 story, a charity Doctor Who Universe story, other pieces of original sci-fi short fiction accepted at other publications… but I get wary of saying too much too early. So often, things simply never materialize after my stories are accepted. I still have three stories where I signed contracts and then the publishers reneged on them – and I’ve never been able to find homes for those! (I know I’m not alone in this.) I hope therefore you can forgive a certain caution on my part.
Before I go I did want to say a couple of last things, though, and they’re not about my fiction. I think as a species we need to worry more about what we’re doing to our planet’s climate. And we need to stop shooting each other. We’re enduring an escalating number of disasters, and we know what causes them. Guys, it’s time to stop digging the hole our entire species is standing in. Or we could see catastrophes that will kill not our grandchildren, but our children, and – if we live long enough – ourselves as well.
I have written about these challenges facing all of us, but you’d be forgiven for never knowing. Most publishers have no interest in such topics. They’re too depressing, they say. I have a tone, they say. Yeah, you betcha I have a tone. You know, if even our fiction is scared of talking about these issues, how can we as a species hope to handle the problems hurtling our way?
I’m very happy to say two of my short stories have been printed/released this week. First up, the brand-new fantasy-science fiction mash-up tale Beyond All Known Parameters is now out in the free-to-read online magazine Electric Spec Volume 17, Issue 2, dated May 2022. The magazine used this evocative tag line for the story: The legend of a fallen metal hero is the only weapon a captured warrior has left to wield.
Their introduction also described it in glowing terms as “a true crossover delight in which the author whips the ingredients of high fantasy and science fiction into a uniquely entertaining blend.” You’ll be unsurprised to learn I was thrilled by their description.
To read this story for free on Electric Spec, click here. And to read more about it, follow this link. Hope you like it! If you do, the additional details page contains a link to a second story set in that same fictional universe.
If You Go Down to the Woods Today…
But wait, there’s more! My science fiction/horror story The Door in the Tree is also out (again) this month, in the amazing anthology, Summer of Sci-Fi and Fantasy, from The Author’s Hand. This handsome volume contains 23 stories and can be ordered from Amazon and Goodreads.
This tale of something nasty lurking in a wooded area in Yorkshire will hopefully send a shiver up your spine, or you’ll at least find it weirdly strange. There’s more information about the story on its dedicated page here.
It was a pleasure working with both editors, and I think you’ll agree that both the online magazine and the hardcopy anthology look incredible and are of a very high quality.
May’s going to be a busy month. First off, I was delighted to hear that JayHenge Press have accepted my short science fiction story Seance of the Gods for their anthology The Nameless Songs of Zadok Allen & Other Things That Should Not Be. The story will feature alien gods, seances, ghosts, and eerie phantasmagorical fog; fun, eh? Even more surprising than simply being accepted, the story was the very first one picked up for the book. I suppose I’m quick off the mark! The anthology is still many months from publication, so we should look for it in 2023.
Before it comes out, I have a couple of other stories in JayHenge anthologies with nearer release dates. If I remember correctly, their next anthology will feature a reprint of The Manifold Lands of the Sun, and then the anthology after that will include my new story Cleaner Shrimp, Inc. Both of those collections are at least a few months out, but I’m very excited to see them.
Instead of looking to the future, though, let’s talk about a story that’s just been published: you can now read The Endless Marching of the Ghosts in the frankly amazing book Spring Forward, Fall Back from Air and Nothingness Press.
I received my contributor’s copy today and let me tell you – it’s an incredible book. You can read all about it here, including how to pick up a copy. Oh, what’s my story in it about? Well, ghosts, temporal loops, Ainu, the Kuril islands north of Japan. You know, the usual. Get it while you can – their books sell out fast! You know what? Here’s the link to their online store. Treat yourself by buying a copy! Your brain will thank you.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that the above publisher, Air and Nothingness, has a Kickstarter going right now for their next book, Orpheus + Eurydice Unbound. It has some great backer rewards, so check it out. I do, ahem, have a story in that too: A Second with You Is Worth More Than Eternity Alone. It’s a love story. I wrote it, so there are spaceships as well. Given this book is an AaN product, I have no doubt it’s going to be amazingly amazing.
Surely that’s all? We-e-ell… May will also see another piece of short fiction by me released into the wild: Beyond All Known Parameters is due out in just a few days from the online magazine, Electric Spec. This science fiction/fantasy mash-up tale will see a return to the world seen in Raggedy Woman. I hope to write many more stories in that fictional world, so I hope you like it. I’ll be posting the link to that new story in a few days once it’s up. In the meantime, the magazine’s blog has an article all about the story’s inspiration.
There’s more, of course… another reprint is slated for June and there are some incredible things coming later in the year… But for now, I’ll let you go.