___WORDS FROM ME_____________________________________

the best of unsung stories

For a while now Unsung Stories have been publishing, quietly and without any fuss, some really great short stories and books. Their fiction titles are available to buy here and they run a really neat free-subscription service with a new, usually terrific, short story delivered to your inbox every other week. You can sign up for free - not that I'm going to labour that point, honest - by clicking through to here.

If that isn't enough to encourage you to sign up - for free, I remind you - to their subscription list, then being kindly and generous people they have now collected some of the tales that have appeared on their site (and in your inbox if you have already signed up) in a DRM-free ebook, for you to enjoy on your e-reader or device of choice. They're calling it the Best of Unsung Shorts So Far . . .

And you know what? They're giving that away free of charge too.

As they themselves say, "Unsung Stories publish speculative fiction. This means science fiction, fantasy and horror, but especially the fuzzy bits between these genres: hard and soft sci-fi, high and low fantasy, slipstream, alternative history, steampunk, cyberpunk, weird fiction and anything else that defies expectation."

If you like, they're offering the unexpected, something a little bit different. So I hear you ask, If it's unexpected, Mark, what can I expect to find in the book?

Here's the answer.

'Heroics' by Ilana Masad
'Stabbed in the Neck by Dot Cotton' by Daniel Carpenter
'From the Neck Up' by Aliya Whiteley
'What the Light Washed Away' by Joshua Sczykutowicz
'Book Boy' by Zack Graham
'Ouroboros' by Cassandra Khaw
'Charmed and Strange' by Maggie Secara
'Build a Cat' by Peter Haynes
'Quert' by Matt Thompson
'Fashioning Trees' by Mark Patrick Lynch*

Sounds good to me. 

If you fancy a free copy, in either mobi or epub format, just click here.

Did I mention it's free?

Oh, I did.


But, you know, just in case you missed that bit -- it's FREE!

* That last one's me. So this is my declaration of an interest. And while we're at it, a big hello to Jason Isaacs.

dark little dreams

Just released in paperback and ebook format is the anthology Dark Little Dreams. The book is published by Bad Dream Entertainment and edited by Brett Reistroffer. Brett’s put together an interesting and varied collection of stories, and has been nice enough to include one of my pieces too, a tale called Dr Aljimati: Professor of the Forlorn Sky. 

Read a little more about the contents here.

And Publishers’ Weekly review the book here.

If you fancy a  copy and are in the UK, you can buy an ebook version for your Kindle by clicking here. Or you can get a paperback by clicking here.

If you’re in the United States, then click here to get an ebook for your Kindle, and here for the paperback.

The collection is also available on Kobo, and is included in many of the discount promotions Kobo runs. Use any discount coupon to get money off the collection in DRM-free e-pub form by clicking here. Kobo also runs a price guarantee programme, so if you see the collection cheaper elsewhere, do get in touch with them for a refund to the difference.

It really is a nice collection and I heartily recommend it. The paperback is especially lovely, nicely produced and very tactile. Sometimes real books triumph. But the stories stand up for themselves, and if the ebook is your thing – as it has been mine for a while now – then do give it a go.

no fire without smoke

I have a new book out.

I know.

Anyway, it's called NO FIRE WITHOUT SMOKE (see what I did there?), and is one of the last titles to have been accepted and edited and printed and all the rest by Robert Hale Ltd. Hale had been going since the 1930s, and in that time published some names that the reader(s) of this blog will no doubt recognise, from Robert Heinlein, through Elmore Leonard, ‎R. Chetwynd-Hayes, to David Stuart Davies.

With increasingly difficult market conditions (not helped by widespread library closures in the UK), they decided to cease trading last year. I don't think I was to blame for them shutting shop. . .though I certainly can't claim to have produced work of the quality of the aforementioned big hitters.

It's been an honour to have had my books put out by them and I thank all involved in bringing my little fictions into the wider world.

The Crowood Press have taken on distribution of the Hale titles and contracts that were intact at the end of Hale's trading. We wish Ken Hathaway and his team luck and hope they can step up to meet the standards Hale set and by which they had come to be highly regarded.

So my final book with Hale starts like this:

    This is the story of the lady sharpshooter Smoke Winters, and how she went to Inferno, fought and died there, and then went back and fought all over again to save a child that was no blood relation to her and who held her to no promise that I ever knew about.
    It ain't a ghost story, and it ain't nothing to do with ressurection either, at least not as it's written about in the Bible. It's not even about revenge. Or not in the way you might think.
    The reasons Smoke did what she did ... well, I guess they're complicated, and you'll have to work them out yourself in the end. I have my own ideas, but the truth is I can only tell you what she did and just a little bit about why she did it.
    Settle in and give me some of your time. This is what happened.
The book can be bought in its hardcover format online from Amazon Uk here and the Book Depository here. You can find it online in most stores around the world. You have been warned.

fashioning trees

Those of you -- I say this as if more than one person is reading, but what the hell, let's carry on with the unfounded optimism, it is the New Year after all -- who read my last blog entry may remember I promised (or threatened, depending on your point of view) that if you signed up to the Unsung Stories free subscription service one of my short stories would be deliverered in handly little html to your chosen recepticle. I also said it would be before Christmas.

Well, as they say, a funny thing happened on the way to the Internet . . .

Quite rightly, Gary Budden and the guys from Unsung decided that my tale wasn't exactly in the Christmas spirit, didn't want to be responsible for making people depressed for the holidays, and held the tale over to the New Year. Possibly they did this as a service, you might think, so that folk who were still hung over from the festive season and facing the cruel months of winter would realise things couldn't get any worse and that, having read my piece, could face the future with optimism and a driving sense of purpose. Whatever the reason, I'm glad the tale is with them. They're a young but quality brand. As I said in my last entry (or should have done if I didn't), Unsung have put up some really good stories, and the backlist of tales is well worth checking out on their website.
I'm flattered to have been included in their line-up.

If you haven't signed up for the free tale once every two weeks, then you can do so now by clicking here and filling in your details.

So. My tale. My story for Unsung is called "Fashioning Trees." It's an odd little thing, and I don't really know where it came from. I just had an image in my head one morning of someone looking out of a window and seeing someone tending to a garden . . . or something horticultural anyway. The rest followed on from that. Apply fingers to keyboard, rattle keyboard a while, see what happens. I can't say that it's the most effective and intellectual way of writing a story. But, you know, sometimes it works.

Want to read my tale online, rather than in your email window? Sure, you can. Click here.
Hope you like it.

And Happy New Year.

As Mr Lennon said, Let's hope it's a good one.

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