Being Me review

BeingMeThere’s a smashing new review of the ‘Being Me’ charity anthology over at Kimmer’s Erotic Book Banter. (If you’re put off by that word ‘erotic’, by the way, don’t worry – ‘Being Me’ isn’t a particularly erotic book and as the review suggests, would be suitable for YA readers as well as sensitive adults!)

I’m absolutely bowled over by the lovely comments on my own story, The Visitor, and delighted that I seem to have achieved the effect I hoped for.

But this isn’t just about me. There are also glowing mentions for at least seven of the contributors, all of whom have written stories that are full of emotion, understanding and acceptance.

If you’re looking for a collection of lovely, inclusive stories and a stocking-filler for Christmas, then you can find the book here. And you’ll be contributing to a really good cause in the process.

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Being Me available for pre order

BeingMeA few weeks back I mentioned that I’d had a story, The Visitor, accepted in a charity anthology called Being Me.

The anthology includes a total of sixteen stories about people suffering isolation or discrimination as a result of being different, and proceeds will be going to the Being Me charity.

And the good news is that the book is now available to pre order on both Amazon and Smashwords. (Delivery due on 1st November, which is when it becomes fully available to buy.)

So don’t risk missing out – head over to Amazon now to register your interest. And I’ll be back in the next few days with an excerpt from The Visitor and a few more details about both the story, and the book.

A summons to read…

…my 75- word flash fiction ‘The Summons’, which is appearing on the Paragraph Planet website.

Church_Bells_Narikala_fortressThe story is based on an old myth from Thirlmere in the Lake District. The villages of Armboth and Wythburn were drowned (having been evacuated first, I should add – I’m not that much of a ghoul!) during the creation of the reservoir for Manchester Water Works in the 1890s. The villages were small, but houses, gardens, walls, and even Armboth church were covered by rising waters – but it’s said that on certain days, you can still hear the church bells ringing out across the valley.

My chilling take on the legend is available to read at Paragraph Planet today, and will be added to their archive in due course. So do go and give yourself some pre-Halloween shivers!

Just visiting?

I had some lovely news on the writing front the other week, but have been so busy dashing around I’d completely forgotten to pass it on!

Those of you who’ve been following me for a while may remember a short story of mine called The Visitor, which appeared in the Queer Dimensions anthology from QueeredFiction.  The book contained some wonderful sci-fi stories, and I’ve always been fond of mine.  Sadly, QueeredFiction went out of business several years ago, and the book, and my story, were out of print.

The good news is that The Visitor has been re-born, and will soon be appearing in charity anthology Being Me, from Dreamspinner Press.  It’s had a minor make-over with a few howlers ironed out and a somewhat improved ending, but basically it’s still the same tale of time travel, lost opportunities, and the fight to make a better world.

I don’t yet have full details of when the anthology will be available, but will post them, plus cover art, and info on the Being Me charity, as soon as I do. Hopefully this time the story will do more than ‘just visit’, and will stay for a while!

Noises Off

chairThis is the title of my latest short story, a spooky little tale told in exactly 75 words, which is appearing at Paragraph Planet today.

Telling a whole story in so few words isn’t easy – I often find that even when I think I’ve achieved the target I’m actually two words short, or three over.  After much fiddling, pen-sucking and head-scratching (not to mention swearing and banging of head against the nearest wall), I managed to convince this story that it really, really wanted to be told in those 75 words, and ‘Noises Off’ is the result.

It’s available to read free at Paragraph Planet today so head on over and check it out. And don’t forget the magazine is always open to submissions if you want to have a go at your own tiny tale.

Fearful Symmetry

tigerExcellent news today – I’ve had my first short story in ages published over at the Library of Rejected Beauty.

The Library does what it says in that wonderful title – collects stories and other assorted creative content that have been rejected elsewhere, often multiple times, but which the creator still considers to have some worth or beauty.

In my case that was ‘Fearful Symmetry’, a short story I wrote for a contest years ago, and have had no luck placing anywhere, perhaps because it’s told in second person point of view which can be unpopular.  Basically, it tells the story of a dark and dangerous forest during a thunderstorm, but with a unique twist at the end.  And the quote about tigers is something my own Mum used to say to me when I was a small child, which gives it a personal touch as well.

I’ve always loved the hot, steamy and vaguely threatening atmosphere I managed to conjure up in the story, and I’m delighted to say that the Library of Rejected Beauty liked it too.  You can read it over at their website, free, today by following this link.  I hope you enjoy it.  At the very least, you may never feel the same way about curtains again!

Story from the archives

What a nice surprise.  Like the historian I studied to be I’ve been digging around in old files and archives, and have just re-discovered a short story I had published way back in 2011, which I quite thought had disappeared.

‘Clones’ appeared in The New Flesh magazine, which ceased trading not long afterwards (although I’m sure the two events weren’t actually linked…  Ahem.).  I assumed that the magazine’s web site would cease to exist, took the link off my own web page, and promptly forgot all about it.

Just shows how wrong you can be.  Thanks to the wonders of the internet The New Flesh site is still accessible, and my story is there along with many more.  The story is more than a little strange – but perfect for Halloween, so if you want to read about a scientist doing dreadful things with a vat of goo in a laboratory, follow this link!  I hope you enjoy it, and if I find any more buried treasure I’ll be sure to let you know.

A Walk in the Park

paper-planeGreat news – the anniversary issue of In Flight Literary Magazine has gone live today, complete with my short story A Walk in the Park.

The title of the story is a bit of a double-edged sword.  You can take it literally, because the main character Samuel does indeed go for a walk in a city park at the end of the tale.  But it’s also ironic.  Samuel’s life has become very much not a walk in the park, not easy or pleasant, not a stroll through flowers and trees.  Instead, the modern work ethic and being utterly divorced from nature have blighted his life, pushing him to the very limits of his endurance.

The story itself isn’t exactly a walk in the park either as you might have guessed by now! But I’m hoping it’s poignant and thought-provoking enough to be enjoyable.  Here’s a little snippet to whet your appetites:

“…Samuel couldn’t remember the last time he’d left his desk for lunch, or walked to the local deli or felt the fresh air on his face. The air in the office was stale, recycled so often that every atom had died. Samuel’s nose and throat ached, and his eyes were red and tired. He missed the sunlight on the trees, and the simple joy of walking through the streets…”

Go here to find the rest of the story, which you can read for free.  I hope you like it!

Flying in…

…to say that In Flight Literary Magazine (courtesy of Paper Plane Pilots) has accepted my short story A Walk in the Park for publication in their anniversary issue.

I first wrote the story a few years ago in response to a prompt from the Flash Friday website but although it appeared on the site it’s never been ‘published’ before.  It tells the story of a man driven to extremes by the modern work ethic, loneliness and sick building syndrome, which doesn’t exactly sound like a barrel of laughs but is hopefully quite poignant.  The In Flight editors seemed to like it, anyway!

The magazine should be flying off the shelves (or screens) in the next few weeks but I’ll post a few more details as soon as I have them.