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
Horoscopes
A Word from the Editor

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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:

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.

Lackington’s #9 free to read

In case you missed it, Lackington’s #9 is now free to read, including my story Under Dead Marsh, gorgeously illustrated by Random House. The whole issue is great and Ranylt Richildis is an unsung hero (again!) for putting up with my experiments in formatting, among other things.

I may as well repeat what I said about this story when the issue first appeared: 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.

Note: Issue 10 will be available to buy from 12 May! It looks very exciting. Did you think about getting a subscription?

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.)