Fiction-wise, I have a few new incomings on the horizon. This is particularly nice as I've had quite the drumming of rejections recently, as does tend to happen when you throw shit at walls. But I am rather soothed and cheered by this particular trio of yeses, so allow me to mark the occasion with a bubbly blogpost, plz.
'Flock' in Humanagerie (Eibonvale Press)
Stellar editors Allen Ashley and Sarah Doyle have shepherded together a collection of fictions and poeticals around the theme of animals - and well has there been a more perfect call-out for submissions for me? No sir. I'm still hammering away at the animal tales and had a few options for consideration at this particular publication. I took a punt and flung them my weird bird story which, after a fairly substantial re-edit guided by Allan, is now called 'Flock'.
This story began life as an angry reaction against H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald. This was a book that everyone and their dogs seemed to adore, and I do agree that it has many merits. It is brilliantly written, it has an interesting and unusual take on grief, and nature and literary biography. But I was deeply discomforted by it. I already had some quietly held issues with falconry before reading it that I hadn't fully thought my way through. This book helped in that regard: I'm not a fan of falconry, not one bit. And yet the book very much is.
So I penned 'B is for Bird'. It imagines the sport of falconry, but in reverse. The first line is 'Imagine it was you, though.' Perhaps you can see where I'm going with this. 'Flock', thankfully, is a much better title, and the story itself is leagues better after Allan's editorial work. Big thanks to him, and to Eibonvale Press, and to all the winged wonders that we share our airways with. Humanagerie is to be launched at Fantasycon on the 19th October.
'Pentameter' in Shallow Creek (Storgy.com)
Those excitable little imps over at Storgy have been running this rather unique fiction competition which tickled my various fancies, so I put myself in for it. They have envisioned a Stephen King-esque, Tales-of-the-Unexpectedy, Shirley Jacksonish town called Shallow Creek which comes complete with all your favourite spooky locations for freaky stories: an asylum, a forest, a hospital, a fairground etc etc. The idea is, you pledge yourself to visiting the town and then writing a story about what is discovered there. So, I put myself forward and was dispatched for a weekend away at the Creek, to live with Jud the lighthouse keeper. It immediately became apparent that I needed to find out just what it is he's been doing with that walkie-talkie he has stashed away...
Suffice to say, I survived my trip, but only barely. The resultant tale, 'Pentameter', deals with some very dramatic incidents that I'm not sure Shallow Creek will ever quite recover from. The story was deemed worthy enough to be preserved ever more and will feature in the subsequent anthology. There's also a chance that my report will make a shortlist to be considered for... well, I suppose its remuneration for being subjected to the depravity of the Creek. We shall see if it gets that far. Not sure when this anthology will see the light of day - I expect it'll be the tail end of the year. Look forward to it, friends.
'Sample #1' on 365 Tomorrows
Over on the daily sci-fi flash site, 365 Tomorrows my story 'Sample #1' was featured on the last day of September. I completely missed that it had happened so a whole day went by without me realising that peeps around the world were reading my words. Anyways, the internet being the internet it always allows us to catch up so, here you go!!!:
A fun little tale which, really, is kind of about veganism. It's me trying to tease away at that little thing inside us that makes us compelled to eat meat. The thinking being, if we found aliens on a different planet, there would be someone, somewhere, who would be desperate to taste it. Here is that someone.
Delicious. A mini-triumvirate of weird fic delights from my chopping board. Hope they prove/proved wholesome.