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What the Darkness Is

Friday, 22 September 2017

Fantasy short story What the Darkness Is is published by Metaphorosis magazine today, my second appearance in the magazine after The Stars are Tiny Lights on a Perfect Black Dome last year.

This is one of my favourite short stories. Sometimes a completed story ends up in a different place to that originally intended. The darn things have a life of their own. This one, though, I feel like I nailed. Couldn't be prouder of it.

There's a nice review of it from a reader already: "loved this brilliant story about the power of storytelling! It made my morning."

Happy with that. You can read the story here.

Story published in Analog

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

I have a story published in Analog. Yowza, I enjoyed writing that sentence...

My tale Climbing Olympus appears in the September/October 2017 issue of the magazine. It's a short story sale of "now I can die happy" proportions.

Analog, publisher of science fiction and fact since its launch back in 1930, was the original home of Anne McCaffrey's dragon stories, Frank Herbert's Dune universe and Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game. And now, a story of mine.

Thrilled, absolutely thrilled...

Godstar completed

Sunday, 3 September 2017

So for the past year I've been mainly working on Godstar, a galaxy-spanning science fiction novel that harks back to the golden age of SF stories with big, cool ideas and vast spans of time and weird aliens. I've enjoyed writing it immensely and I'm thrilled to have completed it (if a book can ever be considered "complete"). At 122,000 words it's the longest thing I've ever written.

I've already started submitting the novel to agents. Got a good feeling about this one. Watch this space...

Amazon Review Policy Madness

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Pretty obviously, Amazon get a lot of things right, and they offer a valuable platform to indie and hybrid authors, as well as your traditional publishers. But they do also get some things badly, badly wrong.

A case in point: there's a review on the UK Amazon store of my Cloven Land trilogy that contains a major plot spoiler. There's a character in the books who is not what they seem, and I very carefully seeded subtle clues and hints throughout the trilogy before making the big reveal at the end. This review baldly states who that character is as well as their true nature. Grrr. It's hugely frustrating that someone would do that. By the sound of it the reader missed all my hints and just assumed I'd bunged in the surprise with no forethought. Doesn't justify what they did but maybe makes it more understandable.

What's really bad, though, is that it turns out plot spoliers do not contravene Amazon review guidelines. Seriously. They won't remove the review, or ask the author to amend it, or even put some sort of "Warning: plot spoilers" tag on it. So, if I post a review of a whodunnit and state who the killer is, that's absolutely fine by Amazon. I think that's pretty shocking.

Obviously Amazon can't be expected to read every book and look for spoilers. But if the author says a review contains a significant spoiler, then Amazon should surely respect that. I can't help wondering if they'd react differently if a major publisher quibbled over a review.

Disappointing, Amazon. This policy is wrong and needs to be changed.

Fantasy Short Story Sale

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Just signed contracts with Metaphorosis magazine - home of  beautifully written science fiction and fantasy with humor, emotion, and wit - for my fantasy short story What The Darkness Is.

This will be my second appearance in the magazine, following on from The Stars are Tiny Lights on a Perfect Black Dome last year.

Our Plan is (Still) Working Perfectly

When Milo James Fowler, Neil Vogler, and I released Future City Blues a while back, it was our hope that these three tales would entice readers to purchase other books in our respective series. And it worked, for the most part. Not a massive amount of downloads, but a trickle. Now here we are, two years later, and the downloads continue. Just this month, we received the following reviews from satisfied customers:

"Each of the stories in this book feature interesting concepts about the future (near future) and an intriguing mystery. Each is part of a larger series, which I love since I'm always looking for new series to read. All are well-written, with fast-paced plots and entertaining characters. I thoroughly enjoyed every story and immediately downloaded other books by each author. Yes, these stories were that good."

"Although each short story is a bit of a tease, encouraging us to buy full length versions, or simply more from the same authors, I felt they all stood alone - and yes, I do want to buy the full versions and more from these authors! Each story pulled me in nicely - I enjoy sci-fi, and I enjoy noir, so what could possibly go wrong? Well written, with interesting story ideas. Recommended."

Unlike hardcovers and paperbacks that gather dust in bookstores and find themselves shipped back to publishers if they don't sell well, eBooks continue building momentum as readers discover them. Want to check out Future City Blues for yourself? Did I mention it's FREE? Enjoy.

Body of Work reprinted

Monday, 22 May 2017

My short story Body of Work - magic realism if it's anything - has been reprinted in Mrs Rochester's Attic, published by Red Lighthouse.

The book is a collection of short stories inspired by the ill-fated first Mrs Rochester in Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. Great to see my story published again, and to be associated with such a fine venture.