Summer Solstice Book launch! My solo collection of 9 short stories,Murmur: Collected Horror — the paperback and hardback are available now, the eBook lands tomorrow, 21st June! For an indie, I am generally pretty reserved about sharing and shouting about my work. It is a form of absolute introvert torture but I’m trying to work through that — it’s a slow process! Some of the contents have been published previously, these are spliced with a few never been printed pieces. Writers are often asked where ideas come from or what prompted a story, so each piece in the collection is followed by a few brief words about that. This little personal touch has been received positively by my pre-readers — I hope you enjoy that little insight too. I would love to share a read from the collection in the coming weeks. So, if you read it and have a favourite story — let me know in a review and/or by dropping me a message here, on Facebook or Instagram and I’ll pick the reader’s favourite to share! In time I would love to build on my ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) team for future releases, who would receive a free ARC of my books to read and review before public release. If you read and enjoy my work and this is of interest to you — please drop me a message. I want to hear from you!
My next (tentatively planned) solo release will be that of my debut novel, working title, Backyard Asylum, this may very well change. I’ve been swamped with other projects this year, so it hasn’t had as much attention as I’d hoped by this point. Projects with deadlines have taken president over the novel, but I hope to delve back into this come Autumn and at least have a completed first draft by the end of the year. Genre wise, it’s working out to be a blend of horror sub-genres, with definite elements of psychological and extreme. The working title may suggest the Asylum being a main (trope) feature but it is merely a backdrop at certain points within the story.
That’s a wrap for just now, if you pick up Murmur, I truly hope you are entertained! Thank you for reading and supporting this wee Scottish indie writer!
My solo collection, Murmur: Collected Horror, is up for pre-order. The paperback and hardback are set and will be available on 21st June! I am stoked that Kevin J. Kennedy, one of the UK’s most prominent horror anthologists, was kind enough to write the Foreword for the collection!
Pre-orders for several books that I have stories featured in have landed all at once, including Black Ink Fiction‘s first two books in their Legends of Night series — Infection and Bloodlust. I have ten drabbles between these two books, including my first time co-writing these micro-flash morsels with David Owain Hughes. How on earth do you go about co-writing a drabble?! Yes, I too wondered that — it was surprisingly fun and a touch addictive. Infection is officially released on 29th June, with Bloodlust at its heels on 13th July.
Next up to be available for pre-order is the highly anticipated, Gorefest from The Evil Cookie Publishing. This extreme anthology promises gross, humourous brutality — as a reader I cannot wait to read it! My contribution, Fuckin’ Maggots, is included in the line-up.
As the editor for KJK Publishing, I have also been working with Kennedy on finalising the next two The Horror Collection books, Ruby Edition and Extreme Edition. Some favourite contributors from previous THC books make the invite-only line-up, alongside some newer voices in the field. As always, Kennedy has his finger on the pulse of Indie Horror talent – if you’re a fan of horror and short fiction, these should absolutely be on your summer reading list! Release dates to be confirmed soon.
This is a unique anthology of short stories, to say the least. Each invited author was tasked to contribute their twist on a beloved fairy tale.
The Table of Contents includes;
Piper — M Ennenbach Midnight at the Glass Slipper — Ruthann Jagge Always Time for Tea — Natasha Sinclair She Saw Red: Once Upon a Crime part 1 — Jason Myers Swine of Another Kind: Once Upon a Crime part 2 — RJ Roles Pinnochio the Wooden Hoe — Matthew A. Clarke The Vengeful Little Mermaid — Tara Losacano What Goes into the Forest, Never Comes Out — Lance Dale Tonight, Tonight — Denise Hargrove It’s No Fairy Tale Out There — Kevin J. Kennedy
In celebration of the book launch, Crimson Pinnacle Press’ duo, along with a few of the contributing authors, are gathering for a blether live on Horror Talk Radio. It could be chaos — check it out on YouTube.
If you pick up the book, please leave an honest review!
A little bit about my contribution:
Always Time for Tea was inspired by Alice’s Adventures in wonderland. While the inspiring story, by Lewis Carroll, is about the ‘normal’ turbulent journey of a young girl from childhood to adolescence, in whimsical, masterful, metaphorical prose. Always Time for Tea only touches on that theme, along with some intolerance. Though at an older stage, as my MC’s story begins as a teenager and meanders through a journey of change — through a radically more alternative setting and situation. Led by the protagonist, Alicia Liddell’s adventure in a polyamorous, BDSM relationship and her subsequent initiation into the head table (the elite tea party) at a local fetish club. To which she was introduced to by one of her lovers (Red) and met the other (Chess). This piece, as would be expected, does get rather trippy, thanks (in part) to the cornucopia of mushrooms served at the tea party and the eccentric host, Myrick Hatch — if readers get a mild Red Cap nod from him, you would not be wrong. He was a fusion character of lyrical eccentricity for sure, designed to create a little intense discomfort. This story began with an idea I had pinned from a while back about tight-lacing. But almost reverting backwards from the modern use of steel boning to whalebone – though as opposed to whalebone, I considered how this could be fetishised and even cannibalistic in sourcing human ribs to restrain ribs. That was the original idea, but it became something else entirely when I returned to it for Fairy Tale Horrorshow. Nonetheless, it was loads of fun to write, and I felt freedom in writing this piece, thanks to the inspiring story and the awesome publishers who didn’t impose any boundaries on the submission invitation.
Updated cover for ‘One Step Forward, Two Steps Back‘— May 2021.
March 2018, working on and releasing this book was my first time venturing into publishing independently. Being so intimate, I didn’t consider sending proposals to publishers. It could be said that this was my baby for my babies. I’ve always been a writer, but publishing was a way for me to show an example of fearlessness and gratitude to my girls, a lesson that they have taught me, with so many others.
On this, I did everything solo; writing, editing, working with feedback from my very supportive pre-readers, formatting for digital and print, cover design, promotional material and publishing. It’s effortless for those who don’t understand the labour and learning that goes into self-publishing (let alone doing so with something so profoundly personal) to dismiss those who choose that route, like myself, as amateur or playing a vanity game. That could not be further from the truth for many writers who choose to self-publish or join forces with small press’. I touched on this a little recently; https://clanwitch.com/2021/04/06/publishing-which-way/
It’s been three years now since ‘One Step Forward, Two Steps Back’ was released, and there are a few niggles that I often think about changing.
The first is editing. This was my first time editing something at this length, a piece that was (is) as intimate as a diary, journeying through a very traumatic time when it hadn’t even resigned itself to the ‘past’ yet. My heart and head were still sore. On top of that, I can admit that my skills have developed since this publication — I would love to go back and improve. For now, though, with so many other commitments, the past will have to wait, maybe one day. Truthfully, it’s a place I’m not ready to re-visit.
The second is that I’ve never been fully happy with the cover, which I have re-worked and updated. The image of the dandelion, particularly when seeding, has always been one in nature that I find poignant and inspiring. This image, this flower commonly regarded as a weed, represents so many ideas; resilience, strength, perseverance, endurance, determination, life cycles, and innocence. Pairing this with the rainbow’s significance in parenthood (symbolic of a child born after loss; the joy after the storm).As simple as it may be, I love the intertwining of the seeding dandelion head and rainbow. The fit with ‘One Step Forward, Two Steps Back‘ feels right.
May has, so far, been a fairly empty month as far as writing is concerned. Consciously so, but I still feel like I should be, even with the lack of time — notes and scattered lines to come back to only.
I have been dipping into a collection that I was (semi) planning to release this summer and designing some cover-art options to help inspire the project and move it along. The collection (if I release it) will consist of previously published short stories, whose rights have reverted back to me, and a few pieces that haven’t been printed before. I’m still undecided on whether to release it or not when it’s complete. That project is still in the compiling stage.
Since my last post, two of my submissions have sold! Very pleased with those. My short stories, Collector’s Edition and Always Time for Tea, will be published this summer. These were both invite-only opportunities. Even with that faith from the publisher(s), the submission nerves are probably a little more pressurised than those from an open-call — so, yes! I am delighted the stories were each received well! One is a horror fairytale twist inspired by Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and the other was (mildly) inspired by a documentary I watched a while back blended with the habits of a horror-fan collector. I’ll share more about those when the publishers have made their announcements and we have a release date.
Editing work has had my primary focus in May. This has been a good break from writing projects. Editing flexes a different creative muscle and is no less fun — especially when it’s not my own work! It’s nice to have a canoodle inside other creatives’ brains (words) and is an immense privilege, which I am always grateful to be entrusted with — especially developmental work.
Releasing this month is Mythical Creatures of Asia from INSIGNIA STORIES, in which I have three drabbles featured; To Be Unborn, Beneath the Mangoes and Seasoning Earth. I loved writing these little morsels. This eBook is available to pre-order now, dropping live on 10th May.