January saw the publication of a very short story of mine; so short, in fact, it was exactly 100 words in length. That’s right, Terrie Leigh Relf was kind enough to accept a drabble from me for her collection, Drabble Harvest 2: Diplomatic Immunity. If you haven’t heard of drables before, they’re stories of precisely 100 words, plus a title of no more than 15 words. My entry here is Quid Pro Quo, which approaches the idea of diplomatic immunity from an alien perspective.
Other contributors include: Debbie Feo, J. J. Steinfeld, Marge Simon, Robert Bellam, Marcia A. Borell, Matthew Wilson, Art Gomez, Francis W. Alexander, Melissa Mead, D. L. R. Frase, Priya Sridhar, Lauren McBride, and John C. Mannone.
This collection can be purchased direct from the publisher, Hiraeth, here or from Amazon here. I hope you’ll consider trying this anthology – drabbles are fun and perfect for passing the time when isolating at home. Contained within its pages are contributions from many talented creators.
I hope you’re all staying safe and well. Keep reading!
Just in time for Christmas, Matthew Rimmer has released his second Doctor Who charity anthology, Twice Upon a Time Scope. This one includes my Christmassy seventh Doctor and Ace short story, Conversations with People You Haven’t Met Yet.
The book also includes stories, art, and articles from many familiar names, such as Nicola Bryant (Peri), Sophie Aldred (Ace, who also features in my story), Neve McIntosh (Vastra), and writers Jonathan Morris, Paul Magrs, Trevor Baxendale, and Eddie Robson, amid many others. There’s quite the contributors’ list here!
What’s it all about? I’ll quote from the editor’s own website to answer that question:
Twice Upon A Time Scope is a charity anthology e-book and makes for perfect reading throughout the festive season into the New Year and beyond!
Doctor Who fans from around the world have joined forces to raise funds for Scope, the disability equality charity. This unofficial and unauthorised anthology of 36 short stories, interspersed with poetry and artwork, sees the Doctor and their friends celebrating Christmas throughout time and space. Along the way, cast and crew share their memories of working on Doctor Who and send greetings for the festive season.
Compiled amid the COVID-19 coronavirus global pandemic in 2020, all 78 contributors have given their work freely in order to support Scope at a time when its income has fallen dramatically owing to the necessity of having to close charity shops and cancel fundraising events during lockdowns and periods of enhanced restrictions.
100% of the proceeds raised by this e-book will forwarded to Scope.
You can buy a copy of the pdf-format ebook here. I hope you’ll consider doing so, as the book looks great and the charity needs your support.
Just in time for your winter holiday break, Every Hat Is a Crown is now available for you to read in Issue 24 (Winter 2020) of the excellent online UK magazine Mythaxis. You can read the story here for free at the Mythaxis website. The editor is Andrew Leon Hudson.
Walleg Ravenscoop, a sixteen-year-old serf in a rural, medieval society, only wants one thing: to kiss the lovely Gwen. Sadly, certain things are going to get in his way, such as his foul-tempered bull raptor, William; the visiting king, Amaranthis; Gwen’s mother – a powerful witch; and memory-sucking monsters. These ages are dark indeed, with humans living side-by-side with dinosaurs and magic.
This light-hearted story takes place within the Age of Asmodeus series of standalone stories, and you can read more about it here.
After an immense amount of research, lasting at least twenty seconds, I have discovered that writers often post Awards Eligibility lists. Turns out they help people nominating stories for awards decide what to consider. In hindsight, this makes sense. No, don’t check if I’ve posted them before. It hasn’t taken me several years to figure this out. Honest.
So, without further ado (or any additional pomposity), here is the list of what I had published in 2020. I have 9 original science fiction and fantasy short stories and 2 reprints published during 2020 that are eligible for consideration.
For anyone nominating awards, I’d like to highlight three of these short stories: Leaving Sedna – printed in the March 2020 issue of The Martian Wave, Fifteen Minutes – printed this autumn in Unidentified Funny Objects 8, and Once You Start – reprinted in the summer of 2020 in NewCon Press’s Best of British Science Fiction 2019. I am more than happy to email a copy of any or all of these if you’re reading for nominations – just let me know.
For the completists, here is the full list. Each story has a link leading to more information about where it was (or will be) printed.
The last few weeks have been a blur of stories coming out. It all feels a bit surreal. The last few days alone have seen two more hit the shelves. What with the US elections, working, supervising the kids’ virtual schooling, and trying to write new stories, my blog post is now a couple of days late – which means that the first of the books I was going to mention is now sold out!
Yup, Upon a Once Time, an anthology of fairy tale mash-ups from The Air and Nothingness Press, featuring my tale The Waters at the End of the Worlds, is all gone. Don’t worry, the publisher has already ordered a second print run, allowing a wider audience to enjoy the stories contained therein.
My own entry concerns alien wyrms intent on discovering immortality, combining two fairy tales with science fiction, with a few jokes along the way. For more information about this story and the book, follow this link. I hope you’ll consider buying the anthology – it really is very good. You can pre-order a copy from the second printing of this wonderful collection from the publisher here.
Also out now is Insurgence: A Fae Rebellion from Corrugated Sky Press, which includes my story Pest Control. Arkwright’s Pest Control Service is about to have a really bad day – they’ve been called out to an infestation of a type they’ve never seen before. Generally, the creatures they are asked to exterminate aren’t armed…
I think things are going to slow down for the next few weeks, with only a story coming out in December’s Mythaxis and a novella being prepped for publication. On the charity fundraising front, a second Time Scope collection of Doctor Who stories is being put together for Christmas as well, and I am hopeful I will have an entry in that. As of right now, that may well be it.
But, if anything else happens, I’ll be sure to post about it. As always, thank you for reading (and reviewing) my stories. I do appreciate it.
I am happy to say that another of my short fantasy stories in my Age of Asmodeus series will see the light of day in Mythaxis Magazine in December. Every Hat Is a Crown, like all the stories in the series, is standalone and requires no prior knowledge of its setting or characters.
In this story, sixteen-year-old Walleg and his pet raptor, William, find themselves in hot water with the king. In fact, if the king doesn’t get what he wants, not all the king’s dinosaurs, warlocks, and feudal lords will be able to put Walleg back together again. All this because Walleg wanted to kiss the daughter of a witch.
I’ll be certain to post when the December issue of Mythaxis comes out. Until then, there are a few other things to keep us occupied.
Next week (well, Halloween, technically) sees the release of two more of my stories. The Waters at the End of the Worlds is included in Air and Nothingness Press’s collection Upon a Once Time. This anthology of fairy tale mash-ups will go on general sale on their website in just a couple of days. They only have a small number of copies left from the first print run but they’re printing more! More details to come when the book is available for general purchase.
Corrugated Skies are also releasing a collection on Halloween. This one is about fairies rather than fairy tales, though. Insurgence: A Fae Rebellion will include my story Pest Control. This story is, you guessed it, also part of Age of Asmodeus. Never fear, it too is standalone. I’ll also be putting out full details of the book when it goes on sale.
The good folks at UFO Publishing wanted me to let you know about all the places where you can buy their lovely (and very funny) anthology, Unidentified Funny Objects 8. This book includes my story, Fifteen Minutes. I hope you’ll check it out. You won’t be disappointed.
I think that’s all for right now. There are some other things coming up in the next few months, but it’s better that I announce them closer to their release dates (I am very excited about them, though).
In the meantime, I hope everyone’s staying safe and healthy. If you’re in the US, remember to drop those votes off in person now!
October is off to a great start with two of my short stories available in new publications. Online magazine Penumbric features a reprint of my story of a very naughty AI in Japan, Something to Watch Over Us, and the latest (and eighth) entry in the world renowned anthology book series Unidentified Funny Objects includes my tale Fifteen Minutes.
Fifteen Minutes is set in the bustling metropolis of Shrewsbury, Shropshire, the epicentre of a terrifying alien invasion that could threaten all life in, er, Telford, and maybe a bit of Much Wenlock. Possibly Herefordshire? Oh, those English towns, they’re always getting invaded.
For Colin Hamble, life suddenly got very complicated. He not only has to stop this invasion he has to do it in the next fifteen minutes!
Unidentified Funny Objects 8 can be purchased here via Amazon. I would; it’s a terrific anthology full of great stories.
The eighth volume of the popular series Unidentified Funny Objects features my story Fifteen Minutes
As if it wasn’t enough for me to be part of such an amazing book, my science fiction story of AIs, Japan, bad karaoke, climate change, and octopus balls, Something to Watch Over Us, has been reprinted in the latest issue of online ‘zine Penumbric, now available.
Click here to access the Penumbric website where you can view the magazine.
For additional information about Something to Watch Over Us, including where it was first printed, check out its dedicated story page.
There’s more stuff on the horizon, but I think I’ve bored you all enough for the moment. Hope you’re all staying safe, and – if you live in the USA – remember to vote!
It’s not easy selling novellas. That’s why I’m always nervous when I start writing a story and find along the way the word count is creeping up and up… and up. The normal solution is to cut as much as possible out of that early draft, and then to cut some more. Sometimes, though, the story needs to be a certain length. (Sometimes, if you cut everything fun and exciting out of a story purely so you can get it under 5,000 words what’s left isn’t worth reading, but that’s a rant for another day.)
Where the Monsters Are was such a tale; long but lean, with no darlings in sight to bump off, it refused to shrink in length, no matter how much I trimmed. By the end, I was left with a single depressing thought: “Damn, it’s a novella. No one will ever buy it. No one will ever get to read it.”
In despair, I submitted it anyway. And the wonderful Tyree Campbell at Hiraeth Publishing snapped it up. Just shows what I know, right?
So, what did Hiraeth purchase, exactly? Well, our tale of the sixteenth year of the Age of Asmodeus begins on the side of Loch Ness, with the fabled Nessie emerging from the frigid waters… What occurs after that features witches, a banshee, an internet-meme-made-flesh, a fairy, vampires in Edinburgh, more magic than you can shake a wand at, and a gunfight under the center of London. And more, because in a world where magic runs rampant, there’s chaos around every corner.
For Tensor, the leader of a death squad tasked with eliminating his fellow ‘monsters,’ life is going to be turned upside down. He’s going to find out precisely what’s going on, whether he likes it or not.
Where the Monsters Are will be published later this year.
Out This Week
LampLight Magazine Vol 9 Issue 1 features my science fiction story The Weight of Infinity
Previously announced as an acceptance here, my science fiction short story of immortality, aliens, and full body printing – The Weight of Infinity – is now out in the September issue of LampLight Magazine. You can buy it here on Amazon.
Thanks for reading.
Stay safe and, if you live in the US, remember to vote.
The good news on the writing front keeps pouring in! The wonderful Jacob Haddon at LampLight Magazine has accepted my short science fiction story The Weight of Infinity for the magazine’s September issue.
Many centuries from now, the human race and human society are transformed – humanity has discovered immortality.
People can print new bodies for themselves, in any legally permitted pattern; they can literally become anyone they want. For the genderfluid, non-binary Tallyn, a crewperson aboard an interstellar merchant ship, this technology is a blessing. He was born female, but he prefers to spend most of his time as male; not that it’s anyone else’s business. With body printing, he can live the way he wants – nothing could be easier.
More than that, infinitely extended lifespans allow a host of other solutions to become possible. In Tallyn’s time, FTL drives remain outside of humanity’s reach. No problem – craft can travel at sublight speeds. So what if a mission to another world takes decades or centuries? The crew will barely notice the duration.
With immortality, the galaxy is suddenly within the human race’s grasp.
Of course, no one said the human race was ready to experience infinity. As for Tallyn, he’s about to find out that forever isn’t anywhere near as long as he expected it was going to be.
The September issue of LampLight is expected out next weekend. I’ll be sure to pass on more information as soon as I have it!
Thanks for reading, and I hope you’re all staying safe in these strange times.
September is already shaping up to be a busy month. For a start, it saw two of my stories being released.
Luck of the Dead Out Now in New Fantasy Anthology
Luck of the Dead is included in the brand new anthology Whigmaleeries & Wives’ Tales from JayHenge Publishing, edited by Jessica Augustsson. This story is part of my Age of Asmodeus series.
Jalen is Dutch, bisexual, and – most importantly – a year ago, she was transformed into a supernatural entity against her will. Now, Jalen returns to her childhood home of Hattem, a small town in the Netherlands, for a much-needed holiday. Instead of relaxation, she finds she’s the victim of a sustained magical assault of bad luck. As disasters turn into catastrophes, Jalen begins to wonder whether she can survive long enough to identify her attacker. Further complicating the situation – the attacker doesn’t know that Jalen has powers of her own.
This book can be purchased from Amazon here, and for more information about this book, including a list of contributors, click here.
It Hungers Below Out in September’s The Martian Wave
That’s not all, Hiraeth Publishing printed It Hungers Below in the September 2020 issue of their science fiction anthology magazine The Martian Wave. This issue was edited by Tyree Campbell.
The story is set in the skies of Venus, with colonists in floating townships attempting to cope with the effects of unimaginable disaster back on Earth. That’s only the beginning of their troubles – something horrific is stirring below them, hidden from sight beneath Venus’s eternal shroud of poisonous cloud. Ferry pilot Aybeth is determined to pierce those clouds and discover the truth. There are other secrets, though, closer to home, that swirl just as much, all about her, and Aybeth may not be as good at figuring out the truth as she thinks…
To purchase a print copy of this magazine direct from the publisher, click here. It is also available for purchase as an ePub file here. You can also purchase it from Amazon here. As always, you can read more about this magazine and the story by clicking here.
But Wait, There’s More
I’ve also had good news in the form of another short story sale. I’ll wait until contracts are signed and I know more, but you can expect another blog post before too long!
Of course, as you’ll know from earlier posts, there are also a number of other books due to be released soon that will include other stories of mine. I’ve already read galley proofs for Upon a Once Time (which will feature The Waters at the End of the Worlds) and Unidentified Funny Objects 8 (which will feature Fifteen Minutes), both of which will be out before the year end. On top of that, Something to Watch Over Us will be reprinted in an online magazine soon, and Pest Control (another story in my Age of Asmodeus series) is due to be included in an upcoming anthology.
Not to toot my horn too much, but British comic FutureQuake also accepted a comic script of mine a while back and the art on that should (as far as I know) be proceeding toward completion. I’m always ecstatic when a comic script is brought to life and I can’t wait to see how this one turns out.
I think that covers enough for now! I hope you’re all keeping healthy and staying safe. And thank you for reading.