Things I ‘Should’ Be Doing

The End of 2021 is Beckoning

Instead of ploughing into the to-do list, which has a terrible habit of expanding, I am writing this. It helps to organise the brain, maybe. I opened up my submission spreadsheet and there’s hardly any writing submissions outstanding! It’s almost dry! This gave me a bit of a ‘must write, must submit’ moment. No, I shouldn’t. I’ve enough to keep going and hope to tie it all up to start 2022 with key priorities from which I will resist deviation. I will resist. I must resist! My wandering eye needs reigned in!
Wrapping up 2021, so far, I’ve had stories published with Black Ink Fiction, Books of Horror, Crimson Pinnacle Press, Horror Sleaze Trash, Insignia Stories, Iron Faerie Publishing, KJK Publishing, The Evil Cookie Publishing, The Macabre Ladies, Sirens Call Publications and have published my collection, Murmur: Collected Horror. And I have a few pieces of work pinned — don’t we always?!
Writing aside, I’ve been studying, proofread several titles, completed developmental editing work, created promotional materials including written copy and graphics, written forewords, completed interviews, edited KJK Publishing’s 2021 releases (The Horror Collection: Extreme Edition, The Horror Collection: Ruby Edition, The Horror Collection: Yellow Edition and Halloween Land) — with another two scheduled for release by the end of the year, and it’s not over yet!
So, I’m back to trying to pull focus into what I MUST tie up, on top of editing before 2022, which includes finishing up a couple of writing projects. With less than three months left it’ll be over before we know it.
I am going in firmer in 2022 with what I take on. My novel (that I had hoped to finish this year) didn’t get much attention due to other projects swaying my eye and life doing its curveball of mayhem routine, so that will be at the forefront of my list. I am starting a degree course in January, which will require much attention. I will be collaborating on two projects, one with another (damn talented) woman in horror, Ruthann Jagge (who, if you haven’t, you MUST check out) — I cannot wait to see what we create together. And another exciting collaboration with the one and only Kevin J. Kennedy, another indie story weaver who should be on your reading list. There’s more pencilled in, but the priorities are in bloody ink!

2022 Collaboration Tease.
2022 Collaboration Tease.
Landing in 2021.

City of the Dead

Twisted Legends: Crimson Pinnacle Press

When propositioned to create a story based around an urban legend, I was keen to offer a Scottish framed piece for consideration to this popular anthology theme. With an abundance of folk tales around Scotland and its many isles to inspire, I decided to dip into what I’m more intimately aquatinted — Glasgow. The central belt is brimming with inspiration. Three urban legends immediately sprung to mind. However, when I began drafting a story, I hopped, unfocused between tales and my first attempt got pinned as I had a stronger pull towards another.

Children playing in Glasgow’s Southern Necropolis. Circa early 1950’s

Much can spiral from classroom whispers and the imagination and zest of children. The inspiring legend of The Gorbals Vampire (or Ir’n Jenni), which spawned hysteria, climaxing in September 1954, and Alexander Anderson’s poem, Jenny wi’ the Airn Teeth, led the way for my creation. The Gorbals Vampire incident brought much debate about censorship of literary material (from poetry in the classroom to imported American comics) to impressionable children, and the Children and Young Persons (Harmful Publications) Act 1955 was passed through the House of Commons. Censorship is an area that is still very much debated today through the arts, worldwide — and not just with children in mind — this deepened my draw to this particular event.

Sunday Mail article 26th September 1954

My story, City of the Dead, was created as a nod to the notorious child vampire hunt of 1954 in Glasgow’s Southern Necropolis and Alexander Anderson’s poem from 1870. I love a good cemetery setting (typical goth, I know), so taking on The Southern Necropolis — which is home to over 250,000 buried souls was a lot of fun. I enjoyed writing this one. It’s always satisfying to weave regional dialect through a piece — bringing authenticity to the characters and reverence to the urban legend’s roots.

I won’t share spoilers beyond the base inspiration for my own story, as City of the Dead was submitted and subsequently accepted by Crimson Pinnacle Press for their Twisted Legends anthology!

The book received a high volume of submissions of twisted takes on urban legends from around the globe. The editors chose the top 13 offerings, and I am thrilled to have made the cut, alongside; Thomas R Clark, Lance Dale, Lance Harkers, Stephen Johnson, Ruthann Jagge, Jae Mazer, Jason Myers, Pamela A. Parish, Chris Puzak, RJ Roles, Vic Kerry, and Robb T. White.

Graphic created by Lance Dale.

Having been published in Crimson Pinnacle Press’ (invite only) inaugural anthology, Fairy Tale Horrorshow, I am ecstatic to be accepted into their pages once again! The duo who run the press, RJ Roles and Jason Myers, certainly have the eye for unique, quality indie horror, I promise you that! You’ll have to pick that up to read my take on this urban legend from Scotland and the 12 other twisted legends, launching October 25th. The eBook pre-order is live.

Thanks for reading!

In addition, if you’d like to listen to me reading Anderson’s poem the video is below.

Murmur: Collected Horror

Earlier this year (and again this month), I shared that I aimed to release a short story collection this summer. Well, I’ve got major jitters — as always with publishing anything! Since I last posted about it, it’s progressed significantly — printed proofs have landed, and I’ve set up the eBook pre-order to force myself to suck it up and let it go!

The live date for Murmur is Summer Solstice – 21st June. The collection will be available in eBook, paperback and hardback. It consists of 8 short stories; 5 have appeared in print elsewhere, 1 has been published in an eZine, and 2 have never been published before. There is a Summer Solstice story in there to compliment the release date.

It’s been just over a year since I’ve published independently — Jumping back on that again has only heightened my gratitude to those who have accepted and published my work. Book building and formatting is a crazy business!

Mythical Drabbles: ‘Beneath the Mangoes’ by Natasha Sinclair

My drabble, Beneath the Mangoes, written for Insignia Stories upcoming Mythical Creatures of Asia anthology is featured on Insignia Stories site today! Original Post linked below.

Today’s Mythical Creatures of Asia drabble features the kapre, from Filipino mythology. Natasha Sinclair has three drabbles in this anthology, and is…

Mythical Drabbles: ‘Beneath the Mangoes’ by Natasha Sinclair

What’s Happening

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:

Word Refinery: Editorial & Creative Support

Word Refinery: Terms & Conditions 

About 

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.

Quick 2020 Wrap Up

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.

As for the rest of 2020, it will not be missed!

2020 – that’s plenty, be on your way!

FREE HORROR

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:

RELEASE: The Sirens Call eZine Winter 2020 Edition – Issue 52 | FREE Online #Horror and #DarkFic #eZine #magazine @Sirens_Call | The Sirens Song (wordpress.com)

Snake, first printed here: Concoction Anthologies (2 books) Kindle Edition (amazon.com)

Penumbra

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.

Until next time, my love.

Goddess in Motion

Time was not a construct in existence for the great Anantaboga. Her presence always was and always would be; aeons of sacred serenity. Beyond ‘time,’ beyond language — she the source of many a cosmic destiny. Hers was of pure, concentrated magic. Weaving and swirling through the universe — a serpent’s dance of divine grace; goddess in motion, the essence from which worlds would emerge. Moving in timeless transitions among spinning rocks of magnificent technicolour spender, among black holes that fractured into other universes from the booming demise of stars. Magic surrounded her — a goddess of gliding splendiferous, viridescence. Diamond-tipped scales adorned her muscled physique, wisps of feathered flame framed her face — ­Anantaboga sailed through infinities of dark, accented with pocketed explosions of monumental colour flanking her sophisticated dance of eternities.

Alone.

In the pit of the great Naga Jawa’s incandescent, glowing soul…forlornness of being the universal guardian gnawed. A profound ache for which no language could ever convey. Drawing on her effervescence, a poison ebbed in, speckling her colour with despair. Furious to fill the void slowly sucking at this exquisite being, transcendent meditations intensified from new desperate obsession, splitting the deity from herself. Sonic eruptions thundered through the universe from the Naga Jawa as her soul ruptured. Tremors cracked, tearing the ether pouring a new gift into physical being; Bedawang Nala, The World Turtle — Anantaboga’s offering unto herself. Baring a world upon his back, a blue globe — the delicate marbled sphere complete with its own underworld and heavens — a living breathing entity in its own right, teeming with yet more life.

All the gifts of balance were bestowed upon this new world, including precious creation itself — immortality through soul and seed a generous promise to all.  An embodiment of the heavens it would thrive in cyclical motion. Each organism imbued with unique qualities to contribute essential elements to the delicate bountiful ecosystems. Time was created within the confines of the precious orb and so it turned. Light and shadow graced the blue and green, atop the ship of gods guiding her among the cosmos.

Man quickly lost his way. The Deities warned in quakes, rumblings, heat, clearing out pockets, gifting opportunities to shift course, begin anew.

Alas, the little marble spiralled so very far, flagrantly destroying celestial given serenity, waging wars in the face of peace. Greed drained. Even as it still perched upon Bedawang Nala’s shell, the rising tumult permeated through to her, corroding. Corruption reigned on the back of The World Turtle. Warnings were given no hied; dismissed by the ever plundering populace of man. As his neglect runs rampant as an infection perfusing the little globe, Anantaboga sees she must release her beloved Bedawang Nala of the burden of the marble.

The Naga Jawa meditates encircling her creation, jaw stretching around the new rock; within, discomfort rises — her scorching breath quickens the heat rising. Sporadic bouts of flood, fire and new disease litter the green and blue. The great serpents jaw is closing in, no more warnings.

© Natasha Sinclair, 2020

This piece was inspired by the fascinating and magical stories of Javanese / Indonesian mythology. The Javanese creation theme was blended with the devastating environmental damage being caused to our planet. How would our actions be seen through the eyes of gods?

Thank you for reading! If you would like to read more Asian inspired fantasy and horror fiction – check out Insignia Stories, who are presenting and hosting Horror Matsuri throughout October 2020!

https://insigniastories.com/

Insignia Stories — Horror Matsuri

October is a bustling month on the calendar with an abundance of projects for artists and writers to get involved in (though we do tend to have those wheels well in motion long in advance.) I have learned this very quickly this year actively subbing.
I wanted to highlight some cool, free short fiction that Insignia Stories will be featuring, as well as hosting a Blog Tour of other writers throughout October! All features are Asian inspired work from drabbles, poetry, flash and short fiction.
One for writers and readers to check out! Information on how to get involved in the tour, as well as the publishing schedule, can be found over on Insignia Stories; https://insigniastories.com/horror-matsuri-2020/
I am delighted to be sharing some work as part of this tour on 17th October, with my dark fantasy piece, ‘Goddess in Motion,’ inspired by Javanese mythology.

You don’t have to wait until October though! There is plenty of free fiction published already, not to mention this month’s imminent release of South-East Asian Fantasy Drabbles publishing on 24th September! Link for that on my ‘Books’ tab.