I remember being intrigued when Unnerving Magazine first appeared on the scene. I wasn’t writing much horror at the time although I was rediscovering my love for reading it, and the promise of that first issue stayed with me.

Since then, I’ve become a subscriber to Unnerving Magazine and on a few occasions I’ve submitted stories but always without success. Recently, though, a couple of stories have come close, so I knew I couldn’t give up.

Another Side of Gustav Holst came to me in the form of a question: what if Holst wrote an movement for Earth as part of The Planets suite, but couldn’t share it for some reason? What might that reason be? It was a fun story to write.

Unnerving Magazine publishes horror, crime, science fiction and fantasy on a quarterly basis and I’d like to say a huge thanks to the editor, Eddie Generous, for accepting my story.

Another Side of Gustav Holst will appear in Unnerving Magazine #9 in February 2019. I’ll post a link here when it’s available.

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Escalation* (FlashFlood)

Posted: June 15, 2018 in Uncategorized

This Saturday is National Flash-Fiction Day and the third anniversary of me being a published writer. I’ve been so busy working on horror short stories, I haven’t had time to write any flash recently, and I wasn’t going to submit to this until a writer friend mentioned that the FlashFlood journal accepts reprints.

Escalation was first published by Flash Fiction Fans back in March 2016. In fact, it was the fifth story I ever had published. Sadly, the Flash Fiction Fans competition was abandoned and  the website was taken down, so the story is no longer accessible – which meant it was perfect for the FlashFlood journal.

The FlashFlood happens every year on National Flash Fiction Day. Throughout the day, a new flash fiction story is published every fifteen minutes, and they’re available to everyone for free.

The new version of Escalation, which benefits from an additional 100 words, was published in the FlashFlood Journal on National Flash-Fiction Day, 18 June 2018, at 18.20.

*Previously published.

2018_june_ezine_coverThe thirty-ninth issue of The Sirens Call eZine is themed “Scared Stiff” and the request was simply for submissions that were “solid horror”. I felt sure I’d be able to find something to fit the brief!

My flash fiction story, Mirror, Mirror was originally published in the FlashFlood journal in June 2016. It was the second story I ever wrote and I’ve made a few friends and (hopefully) gained a few readers since. I’m really pleased it’s going to appear in the next issue of The Sirens Call.

Mirror, Mirror is featured in The Sirens Call eZine issue #39.

*Previously published.

Lepidoptera (The Arcanist)

Posted: May 2, 2018 in Uncategorized

Moth

Somebody asked me if Lepidoptera is a story about butterflies and my answer was “no but maybe a little bit.” I grew up with a father whose hobby was butterfly photography and many of my childhood weekends were spent walking through meadows looking for hairstreaks and fritillaries, so maybe it’s no surprise this is the second story I’ve had published with a butterfly-inspired title (the other being Chasing Butterflies).

Lepidoptera is a story about metamorphosis. It’s about a young man trying to work out who – or what – he is. It’s also a horror story so it probably shouldn’t be surprising that thematically it leans a little closer to moths than butterflies.

The Arcanist is an online literary magazine, focusing on “genre-based flash fiction.” The editors have published some really creative science fiction and horror since it was launched and I hope it’ll be around for a long time to come.

Lepidoptera was published by The Arcanist on 25 May 2018.

While you’re here, why not sign up to receive the latest stories from The Arcanist – delivered straight to your inbox every week for free! I know I have.

DbVRx0gWkAEZkrIThis happened quickly.

I knew CalenDark: The Infernal Almanac was the second in a planned trilogy but I had no idea when, or what, the third in the series would be until David Shakes and Steph Ellis announced ‘DeadCades’ earlier this month. In the first book, each story took place over an hour. In the second, a day. For the third instalment, the time frame is going to be ten years.

David and Steph had already filled the short story slots before they announced the anthology. What they were after this time were drabbles – a 100-word story to introduce every decade. I decided I wouldn’t enter. Drabbles have never been my thing. And then, as I was leaving work one night, Steph Tweeted about the decades that had already been taken and listed those that were still to be filled. On the drive home, I started thinking about what I would write for the 1880 slot and a story came to me very quickly. I submitted it before I went to bed that night and I had a lovely acceptance from Steph the  following evening.

Industrial Playthings will be published in the 1880s slot of the DeadCades anthology, alongside stories from some of my favourite authors, which is due out later this year. I’ll publish a link here when it’s available.

Hive Mind* (The Singularity)

Posted: April 8, 2018 in Uncategorized

“Somewhere around the middle of this century, artificial intelligence will evolve beyond its human architects, vastly superior in every way. Technology will become independent of us, rapidly evolving beyond our wildest dreams… or nightmares.”

I only checked the finalists for Create50’s The Singularity anthology to see if any friends of mine had made the cut. Having withdrawn my entry, I had no reason to think my name would show up on the list. Hive Mind had just been accepted by Aphotic Realm, so it wasn’t even available for publication.

And yet, there it was.

This was a new experience for me. On a few occasions, I’ve withdrawn a story from a contest, only to receive a rejection anyway.This was the first time I’d withdrawn a story only to have it accepted.

Naturally, I panicked.

Luckily the editors at Aphotic Realm were very understanding and the editors at Create50 really wanted the story. I gave Create50 every opportunity to say ‘oops, no’ but, instead, they came up with a bespoke contract. Just for Hive Mind.

The Singularity will be “a collection of 50 science fiction stories from the most thought provoking voices in new SciFi literature”, tackling the question: “What will happen when technology surpasses humanity?” Check out the amazing trailer for a taste of what to expect.

Hive Mind will be published in The Singularity later this year. I’ll post a link when it’s available.

*Previously published.

 

I’ve stopped entering competitions this year. There are plenty of opportunities for horror writers to be published in anthologies and magazines without the submission fees needed to cover the cost of prizes. The downside of submitting to anthologies is long waits for responses with very little clue as to when I’ll hear anything.

I had a feeling I’d hear from a few places during our latest trip to Norfolk and I did – just not the places I thought I’d hear from. Hinnom, Unnerving and Electric Spec magazine all came back with rejections but … EconoClash Review came back with an acceptance.

I originally wrote Disillusioned for The Molotov Cocktail’s flash fear competition. It was another last-minute submission and I wasn’t surprised when it was rejected – the story needed to be longer and scarier. This version is both and I’m thrilled it’s found a home.

EconoClash Review is a “home for exceptional content featuring shady casino hosts, murderous junkies, pregnant prom queens, strange kaiju cults, small town larceny and Sasquatch love brides. Or in other words…PULP.” They promote literacy by publishing “Quality Cheap Thrills” twice a year in print as well as posting articles highlighting the “human quality of trashy literature, art, cinema and music”.

Disillusioned is due to be published in EconoClash Review issue #3, which is due out later this year or early in 2019. I’ll post a link here when it’s available.