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.

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.)

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 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…

Free fiction thisaway!

‘Unravelling’ up at Lackington’s

Only slightly belated: my story Unravelling is now up at Lackington’s, along with the rest of a wonderful issue! The Issue 5 theme is ‘beldams’, with a focus on deconstruction, and my story does feature the rather literal deconstruction of a witch, so… take that as a content warning, I guess, if a little gore is not quite your thing. And look out for the Turkish drop spindle in Paula Arwen Owen’s great illustration! ❤

For the curious, the real thing looks like this:

Spindles

Things seen and read around the internet

Around the Internet (December)

Things seen and read this month (rather short, because it’s one of those busy months). Plus a review of my short stories from 2014, because it’s the end of the year, after all.

FICTION

The Mercy of Theseus by Rachael K. Jones (road trip, paradox, podcast)

The Ravens’ Sister by Natalia Theodoridou (ravens, fairytale, war)

Pay Phobetor by Shale Nelson (mind hack)

Hibernal by Megan Arkenberg (poetry, summer boys, autumn a dark queen)

The Whalemaid, Singing by Sonya Taaffe (poetry, mermaids)

Cantor’s Dragon by Craig DeLancey (infinity, stairways to heaven)

OTHER NOTES

The Deverry books were such a formative experience for me. I discovered them when I was still trawling for books in the children’s section of my local library, and when the series was still in an “oh, just a couple more to go!” state of “totally almost complete, you guys!” Anyone who reads ASOIAF will understand I spent the next ten years anxiously waiting for what eventually turned out to be another seven or eight books to appear. Between that and Kate Elliott’s annually expanding Crown of Stars series, I am now rather more wary of starting on things still being written, but the books themselves are wonderful and I will always have a very special place in my heart for both sets. So: go look? And consider supporting the fundraiser?

Markets reopening in January: Apex (1 Jan), Shimmer (12 Jan), Strange Horizons (1 Jan)

C.C. Finlay will be guest-editing another issue of F&SF. He writes lovely rejections and has a two-week submission window that accepts e-subs (!!!! If F&SF took e-subs as standard, I would submit everything to them. Unfortunately I have this aversion to posting paper mss. to America for the sake of a form rejection, so instead am quietly hoping Mr. Finlay ends up editing all the issues. Well, all right, two a year would be acceptable, I suppose).

Unlikely Story has a special call for an Unlikely Academia themed issue (ending 12 March).

MY FICTION FROM 2014

Featuring enchanted thread,* inventory management, creepy cat noises, inadvisable poetry,* poison,* desert jokers, aqueductpunk elephants. In that order.

Drowning in Sky (Women Destroy Fantasy!, 1/10/2014, and PodCastle 331, 3/10/2014)*

The Words of the Maguš to Kūruš, King of Kings (Lightning Cake Lit, 24/09/2014)

7 Noises Heard While House-Sitting Alone, In The Dark, That Would Be Alarming If I Didn’t Know What They Were (Goldfish Grimm’s Spicy Fiction Sushi, 15/09/2014)

The Poet and the Lily (Star Quake 2 anthology, August 2014, originally published in SQ Mag in 2013).*

Aqua Vitalis (Lakeside Circus, Issue 2, August 2014).*

Bitter Water (Triangulation: Parch anthology, July 2014).

Elephants and Omnibuses (Lackington’s Magazine, Issue 2, 13/05/2014).

* Stories involving Ann, in one form or another. These are not in chronological order for Ann; at some point, when I have enough to make it worthwhile, I will put a list together.