It’s only heading towards the end of January, and I’ve too many ideas for this year! That being said, channelling one at a time and arranging my notes into some semblance of order is the (lifelong) personal challenge. Unless it’s for someone else my sense of organisation, with my own creative projects, can be chaotic.
On the well-organised side (the joy of the Gemini), I have opened the doors and made Word Refinery public! If you haven’t already, feel free to check out Word Refinery pages. I am opening up my editorial and proofreading diary to new clients. More info here:
Writing has been slow burn this month, with the exception of one completed short story – which, hands up, I love. It’s wicked — I can’t wait for folk to read it. It’s parked for an upcoming submission, but if it doesn’t make the cut (I really hope it does!), it will be published this year, I may even squirrel it away for my solo collection.
On that front, it’s been a year since I’ve personally published. In remedy of this I am collating some short stories with a couple of unpublished pieces to put out a collection this year – potentially in the summer, depending on editorial commitments, which take priority.
Just dropping by with a quick 2020 writing (or more subbing) wrap up since it seems to be the thing to do!
On my first year actively subbing and writing for specific calls, this has resulted in 58 pieces accepted for publication. 42 of these have been published this year – 8 Short Stories, 13 Flash Fiction, 20 Drabbles and 1 Poem. The remaining 16 accepts will be out in 2021.
I have been lucky to have my work appear alongside some cool folk from around this wee planet. Thankful and grateful for the opportunities and encouragement from my friends, family and writing community. Writing wise it’s been a pretty fun year — I’ve learned so much and developed some new skills along the way.
Newly released for the death of 2020 – The Sirens Call eZine is out now! Celebrating a world of horror and dark fiction from around the globe, Sirens Call Publications have put out issue 52 containing 130 pieces of Horror and Dark Fiction. All honouring the theme of death. I am chuffed to have one of my own stories Snake appear in this issue. Snake first appeared in Concoction: A mini Anthology of shorts which is still available in print and ebook from Amazon worldwide. To get your hands on The Sirens Call eZine – where you can read online or download your copy FREE – head to their site:
Shadows engulf mother Earth, shade and still-cold stretch through half the globe as Batara Candra embraces her most impossible love, Batara Surya. Two halves of a singular coin. Coming together only briefly once every eighteen years. A passing lingering embrace that ripples waves of darkness, causing tides to threaten to turn, waves of anarchy and torrents of cold panic; what if they never let go?
Doomed love or doomed planet by total eclipse — an impossible love where no-one truly wins. Love must pass through the penumbra, saving this world from suffocating darkness or burning light.
Gnashing and gnawing at my innards Viscera shredded; trauma tombs embedded Stitch in bells, weigh down the nauseating flapping Jangle a euphonious jingle Steady placement of chinked shield Conceal agonies.
U-bend blocked There my guilt brims Shame for wishing away rapid cell division Liquor and voluntary scalding Natures way away Life folding poured out Out of Order; terror of disorder
For two, a freshly dug hole The morning after Mourning follows Nipping at heals with the snow A hollow in another garden There, a piece of my heart lays A depression for my first’s succession
She wants to see my torment on display To harvest in morbid grief games Pretend she’s just the same Catfish loss-mother Conspiring tiring Yearning to reap from the suffering leaks of my soul Observe my lamentations trapped in a fishbowl To don a cape, be in control Prodding my wounds, infecting
Imitation empath storing stories Catalogued, indexed, held hostage Latching of grief vampires Sucking ephemeral life’s marrow Chipping stones off my bones
An archaeologist scraping the shovel No delicate brushing of bristles Attention desperation Desecrating my pain Self-appointed steward on my cradles grave.
This year, my first attempt at NaNoWriMo didn’t hit the goal. Winter always seems to be a time of heightened drama, in opposition to the slower, warmer, more reflective side I long for at years end. Quieten the noise, slow down the pace. It doesn’t seem to matter the ingredients placed in the cauldron; there’s no slow and steady blending and simmer, it’s a sporadically exploding bomb — spewing shrapnel into the eyeballs and the roof, and right now it’s barely holding up. With that my focus was and still is in tatters, December may be more about finding all the pieces again and trying to fuse some sanity and peace. Anyway, my Backyard Asylum novel project only reached 14k – quite a distance from the 50k goal! I beat myself up throughout November with exhaustion and lack of creative time to drive into it. That’s been quite prevalent this entire year more than just the month, but it did feel more saturated. Such is life; she likes her curveballs and depression likes to wrap her fingers around my throat for periods of total torment. She’s a cruel demon indeed. So, it’s been a case of prioritising basic practical needs over desire. Although creativity is certainly a need, when it’s embedded deep, which fuels desire — without the sparks of passion there is little will to trudge through the more mundane, life has to be more than that — the fight continues. I’m rambling now, this slump shall pass! So, while Backyard Asylum is written in my head, I have to sacrifice some sleep, muster some energy from the ether and hit the keys — though maybe without the daily word-count pressure, which did me no good this first time around. Regardless, I am happy with what’s down for this WIP novel — its bones are horrific in a promising way. There’s a lot to work through and develop, but I’m confident it will in time progress so I can nail this first draft and go deep into sculpting and editing through the rough edges. The characters have meat, and there’s some strong scenes pinned already. I spiralled off into research more than physical writing a little more than planned, such is the ‘panster’ way. As much as I tried to avoid the temptation, I have my eye on a few open-calls for short stories. Nothing new and substantial has been written on the front yet, but there are some ideas stewing, so I’ve some snippets of poetry to go back to and work on to develop into a full-blown piece.
In summary, my first NaNoWriMo died in week two. But, the story itself will come into being, I am pleased with what’s been written so far, it’ll just take a little longer to get there. It’ll be a priority for 2021.
Claustrophobic, locked in.
Mirrored headstones line the grey road.
Buried alive, suburban death-row.
‘Did you hear about so and so?’
Blurred race of parallel lines standing still.
Masking — one fanes will.
Mimic gimmicks with lacklustre flare.
Another unforgiving snare.
Teeth scraping bone.
Smile while blood flows soaking frozen toes.
A trend-setting bush, a coat of paint.
‘Oh, look together we’re dammed saints.’
The season of outdoing the clone next door.
Marching down the line of uninspired duplication — snore.
Locked down on cookie-cutter lane.
Painting beige with grey, painfully mundane.
Disgusted with one’s own disdain.
It really is insane.
I am delighted to have three of my own pieces published in this Halloween issue of ‘The Sirens Call’ alongside a host of creative writers and artists. Check out this beast of a horror/dark fiction eZine FREE via The Sirens Call original post above! Enjoy!