Sunday, 30 May 2021

Low risk reading for the win!




I have a new story coming out soon in a wee Canadian anthology called A Quiet Afternoon 2 and they've just opened their site for pre-orders. You can find it here


The anthology is a collection of relaxed stories ideal for a restful afternoon, something we could all do with these days. Apparently they had volume 1 out last year as a response to the pandemic and you can still find it on their website should you be in need of additional emergency sitting down.


My story is a partner to one I had published in Fireside back in December 2017 in that it features Rab the Giant again, this time having to deal with some problematic neighbours and his prejudices and assumptions. 

I like this one a lot and am very glad it's found a home, especially in something quite so suited to my interests of having a nice sit down and not getting wound up. Especially nice is that the publishers will make a donation to a local Canadian charity out of the proceeds so go on, look it up.

I hope you like it.


Special Glaswegian Offer: Due to the relaxed and Canadian nature of the anthology they asked me to tone down the language from it's Glaswegian default but if anyone wants to know how the original sounded I'm perfectly happy to come round your house and shout the obscenity at you from the street.

Tuesday, 20 April 2021

Sacrificial Gasoline

 

The cover to New Maps, Issue 2

It's a new story! 

I'm very pleased to report that my story, Sacrificial Gasoline, has appeared in this wonderful publication, New Maps. You can find them here


New Maps showcases 'de-industrial' fiction and if you want more information on what that is, they have a great editorial all about it in the issue. Basically it's stories of the near future where humanity is struggling with the end of out current profligate pillaging of the planet and turning to a different way of living, whatever that may be. But not with some magic Start Trek clean energy gixmo. In my case, it's a tale told by an old granny of her childhood which is a generation or two from now.

I first wrote this quite a few years back and it has gone through a number of evolutions before finding it's home but probably the thing that distresses me the most about it is that its politics (and the politician in it) are only more relevant than they were then.


And finally a wee note on the inspiration for this story. It's often hard to know what, exactly, triggered an idea but in this case I can point to the album Songs From The Floodplain by Jon Boden. It's a (very good) album set in a similar de-industrial world and got my brain working great style. I highly recommend it and it's follow up Afterglow if you like the ideas in this magazine and/or English folk. 


Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy the story, for all its grim settings.

Sunday, 6 December 2020

2020: The year of the pestilence

 Hello all. I hope this strangest of years has been not too bad for you and that this finds you well. It's been weird, tragic and befuddling for all so well done on getting through it best you can and fingers crossed for an improvement next year.


It's been odd for us all but for me one of the oddest things is that it's mostly been good for me. Being stuck in meant I had to find alternative exercise and have taken up running. Not seeing people in pubs meant I have drunk less. I am probably healthier due to the pandemic than I would have been on a normal year. 

Not that I'd wish this again, ever, of course.

I do say mostly as I fear I've become too used to not talking to real people in the flesh and, come the glorious day when we're vaccinated and can meet up again, I'll have some sort of Lovecraft-style screaming fit about too many eyes watching me. Hopefully I'll keep it internalised. 😉 

As for my writing, I've managed to keep up a basic level of it. Working in fits and starts I've finished off a couple of new things  and have been diligently working in the background to push them out to markets and not let them languish too long after a rejection. This has led to a significantly higher number of submissions this year, over 70, and an acceptance to come out next year, which is lovely.

As for publishings, it was a good year, if slightly odd.

Firstly I had a story out in Shoreline of Infinity, Issue 17, in January. A tale of space-faring starfish and rubbish collection, I'm very happy to have seen it in a local (well, Edinburgh) magazine and alongside some top notch other stuff.

Secondly was my contribution to the Glasgow Science Fiction Writer's Circle anthology, Flotation Device. This is a charity anthology produced by the circle and donates its funds to several charities helping out those struggling during this strangest of years. If you've not, please consider buying, it's for a good cause and the stories are well worth reading too. Even if mine is deeply silly and has to come with a translation.

I did have a third story come out this year, in August. A tale of science gone wrong and less than careful bee husbandry that I really like. I was deeply happy about it until the editor, just before publication, made some political comments that I couldn't support. As such, the story came out, I didn't promote it and, sadly, I'll just leave it there. A salutary lesson in being careful who you submit too.

And so we come to the standard Christmas 'present' of an old story posted up. This year it is Maukit

This one was published in 2013 and was my first anthology publication. It appeared in Caledonia Dreamin', a set of stories based on Scots words and is the darkest thing I've had published. The anthology is still available here and is well worth it. 

Anyhoo, thanks for reading and fingers crossed for a better year to come. It's going to be a roller-coaster in its own right, what with the politics ongoing. but I hope it finds you better.

Monday, 23 March 2020

Self-isolating for charity

WASH YOUR HANDS!!


Hello, I hope you're all well in these difficult and frankly bizarre times.

It is difficult to know how the next few months are going to pan out but it does look like it will be difficult for many people through illness or their employer's being selfish bastards. To try to help in what small way we can the Glasgow Science Fiction Writer's Circle has produced an anthology e-book which they are selling for charity.
As edited by E.M. Faulds and featuring the greats of the circle (and me) it is 20 stories for a small fee of £5.99. Sold directly to try to maximise the money going to charities including The Trussell Trust,
Medecins Sans Frontieres and Simon Community Scotland.

If you can, please buy one. It's for a great cause and my story is very short and mostly tentacle filled so you can avoid it easily.

You can find out more here at http://flotationdevicebook.co.uk/

BUY IT!

IT'S FOR CHARITY!

WASH YOUR HANDS AGAIN!!

STAY INDOORS!!!

Tuesday, 28 January 2020

Delinquent, intergalactic starfish

A new story for a new decade


I've a new story out but a slight delay on my blogging about this as, in a fit of anger over having my European citizenship removed at the end of this month, I went to Rome at the weekend instead. Where my wife was photographed crocheting inside the Coliseum by a passing tourist, if you want to know what interests your modern traveller more; ancient, gigantic ruins or some nice crafting.

Anyhoo, it was lovely, very glad to have been, blimey some of that stuff is old. Now, to this story of mine.

Tentacles!

Yes, the very lovely (if you ignore some of their terrible jokes) people at Shoreline Of Infinity in Edinburgh have published a story of mine in their latest issue, 17. The one with this glorious cover:
It is a wee SF story about how aliens deal with their disaffected youth and their rubbish. It may be a touch silly.

For those interested in where ideas come from, this was inspired by a tweet I saw by the editor of Shoreline. Just them indicating the sort of thing they like which triggered my brain. Off I went to write up the idea and, to my great surprise, on submitting it through their standard process, they liked it and picked up. 
So, following markets on social media is well worth your time. All part of finding out what they want.

 You can find it here to purchase in both electronic and gloriously tactile physical format which looks like this:


Also, while I'm here, before Christmas a friend of mine who works for the NHS down in Englandshire told me of a Hospital Radio show that was looking for stories to be read out. So I recorded a version of Unexpected Visitors, sent it over and I'm pleased to say they played it. How nifty.

Thursday, 5 December 2019

2019: The Year of Distractions

Vote!


Vote wisely and do not vote Tory!


Anyway, now that I've got that important public service message out of the way, hello and welcome to my annual blog post on how this writing shenanigans is going. And the answer is, better than I'd thought.

A lot of this year has seen me distracted by many things in life and the world and I've felt that my writing has suffered for that. But, if I think on it, the following has happened:
  • Two stories sold - Back in the summer I sold a story to Shoreline of Infinity and, just yesterday, I sold one to Cirsova. Not got an ETA on either as yet but look out in 2020 for stories on intelligent alien starfish paying for their crimes and mad scientists undone by their hubris, as is right.
  • Went to Worldcon - I'm a con nerd, been going to them since the mid-Nineties and am first and foremost a fan, excited to see the guests and talk bobbins about books, TV and films I love. But, as time goes on I'm also getting a chance to hang out with the writing community at these things and Worldcon in Dublin this year was particularly good for that. Many an insight into the business (as much as that bothers hobbyist me) and a great opportunity to share annoyances with a huge number of lovely people.  
  • Also went to Eastercon and Fantasycon - As above, but smaller, and cheaper, but no less fun. Fantasycon also gave me the first reason to go to Clydebank this decade.
  • Novelling - A lot of my writing this year has been taking the critiques I got from the GSFWC over a year previously on my current novel project and working them in. I've set myself a target of the end of the year to 'kill' this off. Either getting it to a state where I can push it out to agents and the like, or setting fire to it in a ritual as old as time, and then starting something new.
  • Podcasting - It was back at the start of the year, and was recorded last year, but I was on a podcast, Speculative Spaces, talking Doctor Who based bobbins and reading a story far too fast. There is a link to it in the Free Fiction menu over yonder.
  • Bought too many books, actually read some - Oh how poor I am at reading these days.
So yes, all in, actually done quite a lot and exceeded my target of stories sold, if not published, in a calendar year. So that's nice. 
Just goes to show it is worth stopping to look back sometimes.

And now to the Christmas present tradition bit where I put up an old story of mine for reading. The last two years I've had the joy of linking to fresh, new stories just published on the internet but this year we return to the old ones and, in this case, The Writing Is On The Wall 
This is a story I had published in an anthology called Oomph: A little super goes a long way, which came out in 2013. There are many good stories in that, so if it still exists I'd recommend it. It is my only attempt, so far, to write about superheroes. 
Content Warning; there is a reference to Nitshill Bowling Club.

Thursday, 31 January 2019

A face for radio

This writing thing has led to many odd things but, in what is probably the strangest, today I find myself on a podcast. Speculative Spaces Podcast.

Local great person, Beth Faulds, has started doing a podcast where she chats to writers (local at present but she'd love to branch out so if you know anyone you think would be good for her to talk to, do let her know) about some aspect of writing before wandering off on to multiple digressions and then playing silly games.

It was great fun to record, although possibly a touch drunken towards the end, and I went on at length about my enjoyment of Doctor Who. Cause it's me. I also read a version of my story The Lodger. I babble a bit while doing so, sorry about that, but I hope you get the gist.

There is also some bonus material (if you chip in) in which I go on about the greatness of Nigel Kneale amongst other stuff.

I hope you like it and I highly recommend the other episodes, great writers and quality chat.