Flash Fiction in Grendelsong #2

Issue 2 of the new Grendelsong is out and I have a piece of flash fiction in it: The Wardrobe of Metaphysical Maps, involving unsatisfactory relationships and maps of a non-geographical nature. The issue’s gone out to Patreon subscribers and will be available for Kindle/Nook shortly; in due course the content should appear on the website too. I’ll post again then.

Table of contents:

[non-fiction]
Editorial – Paul Jessup
The White Snake Part 1 – Humberto Maggi

[fiction]
We Ride the Stillness – Deborah Walker
Sisters – Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam
The Tale that Wrote Itself – Berit Ellingsen
On the Acquisition of a Very Fine Steed – Virginia Mohlere
Verses on St. Andrews – Berrien C Henderson
Carnival Microbial – Octavia Cade
Eat Me, Drink Me, Set Me Free – Julie Reeser
What the Hoffenphaafs Know – Samantha Henderson
Wardrobe of Metaphysical Maps – Julia August
A Lover’s Discourse: Five Fragments and a Memory of War – Fábio Fernandes
Lunching with the Sphinxes – Richard Bowes

(It’s all great. I love Octavia Cade’s ‘Carnival Microbial’ especially, though. It’s so inventively icky.)

Short Story in Lackington’s #9

Lackingtons #9 (theme: architecture) is available to buy and I have a new short story in it, alongside the wonderful Arkady Martine, Sara Saab, Y.X. Acs and Natalia Theodoridou, with illustrations by Carrion House, Derek Newman-Stille, Paula Arwen Owen, Random Dreaming, Gregory St. John, and Kat Weaver. I am indebted, as ever, to Ranylt Richildis for a lot of very wise editorial direction. Thanks, Ranylt. I owe you, uh, three now. ❤️

Under Dead Marsh may be the only true hard sci-fi story I ever write! It is likely to be of particular interest to three types of people: people trying to get planning permission; people trying to stop other people getting planning permission; and local councillors. Oh, and Dylan Thomas fans. I hope you like Dylan Thomas. I do too.

Around the Internet (October 2015)

To all intents and purposes, I took October off to watch Person of Interest. Whoops. John Reese: sucker for a pretty woman who knows how to frame an inconvenient witness with a brick of cocaine. Anyway, I had two stories out this month: (1) Soteriology and Stephen Greenwood in The Journal of Unlikely Academia, featuring textual criticism, academic passive-aggression, Latin puns and quite a lot of links. If you don’t feel like following all of them, maybe just start here. I love the issue as a whole, so do check out the other stories. (2) A piece of drowned-town flash, The Girl who Talked to the Sea in Unsung Stories. This one is really about the drowned towns along the Norfolk coastline.

FICTION

Unearthly Landscape by A Lady by Rebecca Campbell (dresses, painting, filigree cosmic horror)

Directions by Fred Coppersmith (underworld, quest, instructions, whoops sorry no revenge for you)

Witches and Wardrobes by Anna Anthropy (interactive, clothes, anxiety)

And Other Definitions of Family by Abra Staffin-Wiebe (pregnancy, self-sacrifice, humour)

Minotaur: An Analysis of the Species by Sean Robinson (ethnography, analysis, minotaur)

Follow Me Down by Nicolette Barischoff (orphan, incubus, heartwarming)

Alviss the Dwarf by David A. Hewitt (Loki, courtship, trickery)

To Claim a Piece of Sky by Crystal Lynn Hilbert (shapeshifter, weapon, freedom)

There are Rules by William Stiteler (ritual, food, savants)

Dance of the Splintered Hands by Henry Szabranski (gods, hands, adventure)

What Happened to Lord Elomar During the Revolution by Kelly Jennings (three wishes, revolution, victory)

Mother Made a Lovely Feast! by Laura DeHaan (Tam Lin, hallucinations, R’lyeh)

Short story in Unsung Stories

I have a piece of drowned-town flash up at Unsung Stories: The Girl who Talked to the Sea.

The first storm hit Eccles-on-Sea on Jenny’s fourteenth birthday. She lay curled up counting her cold toes while the wind battered the roof tiles and knocked the bells about in the grey church steeple. Rain splattered against the shutters like a cat trying to claw its way inside. Shivering, Jenny pulled her blankets over her head and squeezed her eyes shut against the dark.

I find drowned towns creepy and fascinating, and although the drowned towns along the Norfolk coastline aren’t as dramatic as Helike, there’s a lot to be said for walking along grey beaches listening out for the church bells tolling under the sea.

Short Unlikely Story

The newly minted SFWA-qualifying Journal of Unlikely Academia is out, featuring stories by Nicolette Barischoff, Sean Robinson, E. Saxey, Eric Schwitzgebel, Abra Staffin-Wiebe, Pear Nuallak and Rose Lemberg, illustrations by Patricio Beteo, Thomas Christopher Haag, Liam Quin, Diane Dellicarpini, Kevin Martin and John Bibire, plus a piece by me with a wonderful illustration by Jakub Niedziela.

Soteriology and Stephen Greenwood expresses my sincere conviction that most long-lost-apocalypse-prophecy-fetch-questers have completely the wrong priorities. They may not be the only ones, of course. It includes textual criticism, academic passive-aggression on a grand scale and Latin puns! Could I sink any lower? (Yes. Almost certainly, yes.) I’m not going to say much more, because if you follow the links within the story (and you should!) you’ll get a pretty clear idea of at least one of the things that inspired it, but I’m ridiculously pleased: I love this story, but was never sure anyone else would get the jokes, and so am very grateful to editors Bernie Mojzes and A.C. Wise for offering it a home. ❤

Around the Internet (September 2015)

In case you missed it, I had a couple of short stories out this month: (1) Voice and Silence appeared in The Sockdolager this month. It’s a dark little piece featuring kittens being horrible to even smaller animals, among other things. If you cohabit with cats, you may appreciate it. (2) Rites of Passage appeared in Kaleidotrope. It’s a dusty desert adventure featuring empire-building, false amber, Ann and a dragon, among other things. (Helpful note: when I say “dragon”, I’m thinking of something that looks rather like this.)

FICTION

The Unicorn by Amanda C. Davis (poem, unicorn, magic)

Your Future and Mine by John Grey (poem, space, not so glamorous as you thought)

Ghostalker by T.L. Huchu (practical necromancy, vivid landscapes, cultural references)

The Closest Thing to Animals by Sofia Samatar (artists, jealousy, friendship)

Prospero by Bruno Dias and Edgar Allen Poe (interactive, red death, masque)

The Peal Divers by Francesca Forrest (poetry, sunken churches, sound)

Grandmother by Leslianne Wilder (poetry, grandmother, ageing wolfishly)

Note to the Caretaker by Lisa Bellamy (poetry, mole, earth artistry)

Scythia by Marinelle G. Ringer (poetry, myths, Greece and Rome)

Hide Behind by Jason Kimble (monster, mystery, jackalopes)

Storm on Solar Seas by T.L. Huchu (space shipwreck, cannibalism, unhappy ending)

Lock and Key by Mike Reeves (assassination attempts, vizier, lady alchemist)

Dustbaby by Alix E. Harrow (end times, dust bowl, old worlds)

The Oiran’s Song by Isabella Yap (war, abuse, prostitution, demon)

OTHER THINGS

Plasma Frequency are holding a kickstarter to fund their return.

The Strange Horizons 2015 fund drive has launched.

Lightspeed is open to fantasy subs until 31 October.

The Book Smugglers have a call for novellas.

Lackington’s Magazine editor Ranylt Richildis went to Nantes and saw a clockwork elephant!

Short story in The Sockdolager

The fall issue of The Sockdolager is out today and includes a short study of feline psychopathy by me: Voice and Silence, featuring kittens, mice, old farmhouses, some other weird stuff that happened to be lying around in my head. Context: today I shook a mouse out of a boot and removed another (dead) one to the hedge. Yes, this is about my cats. Of course, they were younger then…

Things seen and read around the internet

Around the Internet: August 2015

Urk, September already. Of course the first day of September is sunnier than any day in August. Maybe that’s why I went on a dark reading kick in the middle of last month.

FICTION

Three Adventures of Simon Says by Daniel Ausema (playground rhymes, familiar horrors, cute adventures)

How to Recover a Relative Lost in Transmatter Shipping, in Five Easy Steps by Carrie Cuinn (family, work, killer last lines)

And this is the song it sings by Megan Arkenburg (road trip, highway monsters, ghost stories)

An Army of Angels by Caspian Gray (inadvisable loyalty, Frankenstein’s angel, horrible things in the closet)

Ishq by Usman T Malik (grandmother, sister, floods, ghosts)

Bog Dog by Seras Nikita (rural horrors)

Shiva, Open Your Eye by Laird Barron (squamous elder things)

The Infernal History of the Ivybridge Twins by Molly Tanzer (sorcerer, treachery, cutest awful incest, humour)

The Coffin-Maker’s Daughter by Angela Slatter (ghosts, murder, poison)

Magdala Amygdala by Lucy A Snyder (upstanding virus-zombies, relapses, whoops)

I Make People Do Bad Things by Chesya Burke (gang violence, creepy kids)

Where It Lives by Nathaniel Lee (grief, loss, children coping badly)

Terrible Fish by Dora Badger (murderer, mirrors, actually cancer)

Palimpsest by Frances Rowat (enslaved desert creature, days of misrule, the king in yellow)

This is not a metaphor by Christie Yant (curse, troll, metaphor owning its status as metaphor)

Replete by Maggie Butt (poem, sea view, winter)

The Cure by Malinda Lo (escape through vampirism)

The Conversion by Barry King (alien, assimilation, extremely weird)

The Matter with Mr Levene by Louis Rakovitch (ghosts, landlords, letters)

Snake Game by Vajra Chandrasekera with Tory Hoke (ghosts, soldiers, interactive)

OTHER THINGS

Open again for subs: Uncanny, Fireside Fiction, Space and Time, Mythic Delirium.

New SFF magazines: Farstrider, fantasy, 1000-4000 words, $0.03 per word, actually closed already for subs but launching in January. Sub-Q, an interactive fiction magazine paying pro-rates that gives me an opportunity to find out just what interactive fiction is! Sub-Saharan Magazine, African flavour SFF, 1000-2000 words, token payment.

Uncanny Magazine Year 2 Kickstarter has funded but there are still stretch goals (deadline 10 September).

Call for subs for the Escape Artist event Artemis Rising II: original SF/F/H fiction at $0.06 per word from women and non-binary authors, submissions open during September.

Call for subs for the anthology Cthulusattva: Lovecraftian Tales of the Black Gnosis (up to 7000 words, $0.03 per word, stories from the cultist’s perspective, deadline 15 December).

Things seen and read around the internet

Around the Internet: July 2015

Not much here, because I got back mid-July and slept for a week, or maybe a little more. Let’s just say that if something happened between April and now, I probably missed it. One thing that did happen in the last couple of weeks was that I had a very small piece of Virgiliana up at Two Words For: Durus Amor, about that time Dido met Aeneas in the underworld.

FICTION

The Skinner of the Sky by M. Bennardo (profligate prince, lighthouse, weird fiction)

OTHER THINGS

A new token SFF market, Capricious, is open for fiction and nonfiction subs (3000-5000 words, $50 per piece).

Fireside Fiction is opening for subs 1-30 September (1-4000 words, $0.12 per word).

Canadian dark SFF anthology series Post-Scripts to Darkness moved to an invitation-only, online magazine model.

A new $0.6-per-word fun SFF online ‘zine opened up: Mothership Zeta, part of the Escape Artists stable, edited by Mur Lafferty, Sunil Patel and Karen Bovenmyer. Quarterly, with limited submission windows (already opened and closed for #1, in fact), emphasis on “fun”.