Short Story in Kaleidotrope

Welcome to 2018! The cover for the new issue of Kaleidotrope was drawn by Kat Weaver and it is so beautiful you absolutely need to go take a look just for that.

Also I have a story in it: ‘The Little Duchess’, in which Baldesar di Casatico relives nine years of his life all at once and regrets dealing with a devil of sorts:

She was wearing crimson, as she had been when Baldesar first met her. He found his feet beginning to drag. In nine years, she hadn’t aged a day.

She wasn’t smiling; but then, she seldom did. He grasped a headstone. He might have known, he thought. Ambitious courtiers, like their princes, seldom got to enjoy a peaceful retirement. He might have realized there would be no escape.

The headstone was shaking, or he was.

“Anna,” he said.

The full TOC is stellar:

“Shadows and Bells”  by Mari Ness
“A Slip in the Slice” by Heather Morris
“The Fashion of Men” by Kat Otis
“The Temporary Suicides of Goldfish” by Octavia Cade
“Totemic” by Jennifer Crow
“Batman at the Wheel” by Mary Alexandra Agner
“Report on Incident 3179” by irving
A Word from the Editor


Flash Fiction in Syntax & Salt

The new issue of Syntax & Salt is up and I have a dark little piece in there about plagues:

Nothing comes from nothing; this is the cornerstone of all truth. The plague of Thucydides comes from Ethiopia; that of Procopius from Egypt; that of Boccaccio is sea-swept from the dawn toward the setting sun. Virgil’s descends from a diseased sky. Is it the East? Is it our malignant star? Is it the baneful air flying out of a foreign quarter of the heavens?

No: it is a manifestation. It is a sign.

Well, all right: plagues and plague-tropes. As my bio for this one says, I’m trying to give up plagues. Maybe that should be a new year’s resolution.

TOC, aka Other Stories You Should Read:

In The Beginning, All Our Hands Are Cold by Ephiny Gale
Mother Imago by Henry Stanton
When We Sleep We Kill The World by Adam Lock
The Fox, Expatriate by Emily Horner
Milk Teeth And Heartwood by Katherine McMahon
High, High Away by Hamilton Perez
Tales Without Fairies by Matthew F. Amati
The Spinnings by Rob Francis

DFF Reprint: Bitter Water

In 2014 I had a secondary world adventure story called ‘Bitter Water’ published in the anthology Triangulation: Parched (ed. Stephen V. Ramey), featuring sand, bandits, extremely aggrieved merchants, alarming spirit-haunted mountains and some rather unkind practical jokers. Now it’s been reprinted by Digital Fantasy Fiction as an e-book, which I am delighted about, because the characters in it remain among my personal favourites. You can get it both on its own and as part of an anthology of ten awesome fantasy stories. So, you know. Why not?

DFF cover - short story

DFF cover - anthology

Short Story in 3LBE #28

I have a new short story in 3LBE #28: Delia’s Door, a piece about music, escapism and the power of inertia. It’s a little melancholic, but on the plus side: no body horror.

The first time I saw the summer country was when the first fugue of Vivaldi’s Dixit came together, finally, for a single perfect moment one wintry night. The rain beat against the drafty windows and fifty voices sang out together, split into two choirs, which means eight different harmony lines, which is quite hard when you’ve only got six tenors and seven basses to start with, and for once, for once it sounded as if we were really singing what Vivaldi had written.

I saw it then. A wash of blue and gold lit up the old school hall turned community centre, splashing raggedly across the choir notice boards and institutional paint and hundred-year-old prize lists full of familiar names, and through a hole as evanescent as a soap bubble I saw a new horizon: green hills, summer sunset skies, a long perspective onto light and color and a different country, far away — yet one I could reach if I could just step through the door our singing had opened up…

I may as well admit now that the quickest way to get my attention is to have a really good singing voice, preferably bass. For this reason, my favourite dragon is Fafner. (Sorry, Glaurung; sorry, Smaug.) Anyway, you should certainly check out the issue! The full table of contents is:

Short Story in The Sockdolager

I have a new story up in The Sockdolager: Tongueless, a small, nasty story about small, nasty people. It’s SF horror, as you might expect at this time of year.

There was a white light in the dark where there shouldn’t have been. It lit up the window and glowed around the door, so I said, “Hello? Is someone out there?” and no one replied. I wrestled the bolt back and stepped out into the porch on my bare toes, shivering as the breeze pushed up my cotton nightie.

I haven’t had a chance to read the issue, but the TOC looks great! It is:

Two Queens of the River • Aimee Ogden
Butter-Daughters • Nin Harris
The Dust Gate • Marissa Lingen
Tongueless • Julia August
Wolfswood • Becky Allyn Johnson
The Three Lives of Truck the Red • Naru Dames Sundar
The Beachings • JY Yang
We’re All Friends Here • Michelle Ann King

Actually, the issue has been out for days. Like an idiot, I got it into my head it was coming out at the end of the month, and it was only Charles Payseur’s characteristically thoughtful review that alerted me. Check him out for an overview (with spoilers).

Short Story in LampLight

Afterwards I heard it said that lightning struck the soldiers disembarking at Dyrrachium and wolves came into the City that stayed. This was not true, however. The only tracks I saw doubled back on themselves after pissing on the boundary stones…

I have a short piece of Roman weird in LampLight vol. 4 issue 4, alongside work by Jonathan Janz, Kevin Lucia, Kate Dollarhyde and Emily Vakos. You can get the issue on Amazon and Smashwords right now and should be able to get it for Nook, Kobo and iBooks in due course. I love the LampLight covers; as someone who obsessively photographs street lights, they get me on a subliminal level.

The serious title is ‘City of Wolves and Lightning’; the alternative title is ‘Sorry Caesar But Our City Is In Another Country!’ Reference notes: (1) it was a Bad Omen for Gaius Gracchus when the wolves ran off with the boundary-markers from his colony at Carthage; (2) Cicero, Letters to Atticus 7.11.3, on Pompey’s plan. The actual entity not within house walls is res publica, but I chose to render this ‘city’ throughout to spare myself having to decide how to translate res publica and everyone else a long dissertation on whatever my reasoning would have been.

Flash fiction up at Grendelsong

Most of Grendelsong Issue 2 is now live on the website, including my piece The Wardrobe of Metaphysical Maps, featuring unsatisfactory relationships and maps of a non-geographical nature. This is in some respects a counterpart to a poisonous little flash piece from 2014, Aqua Vitalis. Anyway, you can now go and check out (almost) the whole issue! It is all great, though I think my favourite story is Octavia Cade’s Carnival Microbial; as I said before, it’s so inventively icky.