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:

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.

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).