Just a quick share. I was invited to interview over on Masters of Horror U.K. by David Kempf. We chat about writing inspiration, the popularity of horror, publishing and current projects. You can check that out by clicking the link. Apparently, I can be a bit of a blether! Much thanks to David Kempf, and those who take the time to check it out!
This year, I vowed to drabble less and invest more time in short story writing and my two novels (in slow progress). In all honesty, with health and life’s curveballs I’ve struggled to find time, space and concentration. Running on empty as far as creativity is concerned, my general focus is pretty fragile and easily shattered — drowning in a sea of noise and clutter… At least that’s how it’s felt, and I’ve beaten myself up about that. I didn’t want to respond to any drabble calls, but found myself veering over to that corner a fair bit since the start of 2021, with around 30 accepted drabbles in 2021 and a few blogged pieces. I’ve not yet decided if these are a comfortable micro distraction or kryptonite towards my brain’s ability to focus on bigger pieces. Regardless — if you enjoy micro-fiction, my little horrors will feature in upcoming publications from INSIGNIA STORIES, Black Ink Fiction and Raven & Drake, all to be released this year.
I currently have several short story submissions sitting in the hands of publishers, including two invite-only opportunities. Though that send button has been hit, I’m never nervous about rejections. If truth be told, I anticipate those more than acceptance — it’s the waiting that drives me slightly loopy! I hope to share more about these stories once responses are in, as the creation of each one was rather fun! For now, just a few of the titles in wait! 😉
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.
November is National Novel Writing Month, also known as NaNoWriMo. I’ve decided to participate this year for the first time. I reckon that this would be a rewarding challenge to jump into. Being somewhat of a panster when it comes to writing, I am going to try blend that with a little structure and daily (nightly) target over the 30 nights. The push is very much needed! I am only at the very early (late by the schedule) planning stages. It’s decision time as to whether to use this exercise to really bite into one of my two parked WIPs, or whether to start something entirely from scratch. Either way, the aim is to plan to reach a goal of 50k words as a completed first draft in those 30 nights. No editing – this in itself will be a personal challenge, as I am a constant (probably obsessive) editor when writing.
So, with that 50k target, that gives a daily goal of 1,667 words. This is undoubtedly a mammoth task considering other life commitments to work around and for a loose gardener like myself. But, it’ll be an epic achievement to end this crazy year on for those who participate. Decisions will be made, planning is underway, and come November 1st I’m on it!
First up is Dark Halloween, the 5th book in Macabre Ladies Holiday Horror Collection. With the eBook available for preorder now, it goes live October 6th. My 3 flash stories; ‘Interspecies Relations,’ ‘Painted Black’ and ‘Bloody Eels’ will feature among a host of Autumn/Halloween themed horror.
‘Interspecies Relations’ was inspired by some reading and artwork I was taking in around mythological creatures – particularly that of Cecaelia from Asian and North American mythology. Writing this also inspired my ‘Tentacles’ painting.
‘Painted Black’ is a little flash inspired by my youngest daughter, who rather chillingly asked me why the shadows were looking at her at bedtime one evening.
‘Bloody Eels’ is a Drabble that came from two interlinked short stories of mine ‘The Night is Mine’ and ‘Phantasmagoria.’ It is a view from a trapped spirit of the character Amy when she is in a disembodied, limbo-like state after death.
Next up is Books of Horror Community Anthology Volume 2 from the wonderful Books of Horror Publishing. Another book that can be preordered now, for October 16th release. My new short story ‘Sacrifice’ will feature alongside a mix across the spectrum of Horror.
‘Sacrifice’ was originally an idea I intended to write as a flash piece that centred around Summer Solstice. It sprouted and became a little more with some nostalgic elements entwined with themes of manipulation and betrayal.
I gained a spot with D&T Publishing, with their anthology, After the Kool-Aid is Gone. This one promises to be a ‘heavy-hitting collection’ of political horror / dark fiction. My short story, ‘Neighbours’ will feature. preorder now for October 26th release.
‘Neighbours’ is another new story, one born during the 2020 global pandemic. Led by the MC’s internal narrative over his frustrations with the hypocrisies and selfishness of mankind, while his family-life is shattered, irreparably during ‘lockdown.’ This story is one man’s journey over the edge in suburbia.
Finally, as far as books I have stories in this October is Iron Faerie Publishing’s anthology, Hexed. Here my flash story ‘Hard Shades’ will appear. Preorder now for October 31st release.
‘Hard Shades’ came from a mind spiral evolving from ‘Painted Black’ marrying with thoughts of the theatre of vampires – though this piece is not vampiric. The dance and chase between light and dark is a classic that I enjoy playing with.
A little update since the sands are sure as hell quickening, if not entirely running away.
Reading this year has been pretty diverse, with an unintentional heavy focus on horror of all flavours. I’ve also developed a taste for bizzaro horror. I’ve come across a few authors who have tickled me — a new (non) guilty pleasure for sure. If it’s gonna simultaneously gross me out and make me laugh my ass off, it’s a thumbs up! Outwith proofreading, editing and competition reading my ‘just for fun’ list, in no particular order, have included:
Richard Laymon – The Beast House Chronicles Edward Lee – City Infernal (Series) Kevin J. Kennedy – The Horror Collection (Anthology Series) Jethro Punter – The Daydreamer Chronicles Eleanor Merry – Dead Aware (Series) RJ Roles – Girl’s Best Friend (Tangled Web Series) Steve Stred – Ritual (Father of Lies Trilogy) Matt Shaw – Deep Rooted Fetish (Short) Duncan Ralston – In Every Dark Corner (Shorts Collection) Darren Tarditi – Neigfrid (Novella) Natasha Mostert – The Midnight Side (Novel) Laurel K Hamilton – Anita Blake (Series) K Trap Jones – Welcome to the Splatter Club (Anthology) Ernest Cline – Ready Player One Ernest Cline – Armada Christine Morgan – Lakehouse Infernal Insignia Stories – Japanese Fantasy Drabbles Liian Varus – Is Stranged John Black – Growlers Iron Faerie Publishing – Hawthorn & Ash (Anthology Series) Iron Faerie Publishing – The Best of Iron Faerie Publishing 2019 Andrew Lennon – Life to Waste Tim Lebbon – Eden Saemund Sigfussion, Snorri Sturluson – The Poetic Edda & The Prose Edda
Writing wise, as per my previous posts, I’ve been subbing work out this year. When it comes to responding to open-calls and invites it can be a bit like having free time (which I never do) and swanning into a well stocked library — it’s easy to get lost and devoured by the stacks! Or, maybe a more precise analogy is the old ‘kid in a sweet shop’!
The submission opportunities are plentiful and you can’t write or, indeed, get accepted into them all.
I’ve naturally had a preference for small press/indie publishers. Responding to these opportunities is rather nice as it takes the work out of the book building/formatting side — which is an immense amount of work on the publishing side. I massively appreciate the work that goes on behind the scenes of a quality publication and am truly grateful to a part of each one who’ve warmly accepted my (often) warped little terrors into their fold.
Designing stories with specific open calls as a target has helped reign in the ideas by having a set genre or word count to meet. It’s been beneficial as I oftentimes overwhelm myself with too many ideas that get scattered around as notes and poetry that may evolve, or not. Needless to say, responding to some of the opportunities has put my other WIPs on pause, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it gives those stories and characters more time to prove and maybe keeps the demon, Writers’ Block, at bay.
Some of my published (and to be published work) can be found within the catalogue of the below Publishers:
Those currently available are updated on my ‘Books’ page and links for those to come will make an appearance in due course. The below two titles are releasing in September 15th (Dark Celebration) and September 28th (Southeast Asian Fantasy Drabbles). I am grateful to have two pieces in each alongside a TOC of talented international writers. Both anthologies are available to preorder now from Amazon, worldwide.