___WORDS FROM ME_____________________________________

this land of shadow

It’s September and the seasons are shifting, we’re moving from one world to another. Summer’s fading. The first chills of autumn have been slipping in beneath the warmth of the sun. The trees have begun to light up.


I have a new story out. It’s appropriate, sort of, for the time of year when the seasons shift, when we move from one world to another.

It’s a piece called “This Land of Shadow” and it’s been on my hard drive for quite a while. Why so? Because I’ve never been entirely sure what to do with it. There was no obvious market for the tale, even though it is a dark fantasy piece and there should have been somewhere for it. But it seemed to not quite fit anywhere.

And then I found NewMyths.com. Suddenly I had somewhere to send it, and send it I did. And showing either very good taste or a major lapse in judgement, (depending on your taste), editor Susan Shell Winston has published it in issue 28.

Here we have the opening:

Well, that’s done it.”
The tall man who had spent so much of his life confined and chained kicked out with his boot, connecting with the flat. It was something that for ordinary folks could have been a mild inconvenience, a problem solved by a jack and tyre-wrench. But this boat didn’t carry a spare. You opened the trunk and there was nothing but a mocking emptiness, like the grin of a toothless idiot mugged for a wallet containing only a library card.


If you’d like to carry on reading the tale, all you gotta do is click here. I hope you like it. Thanks to Susan for selecting and editing it, and to Scott T Barnes for publishing it.

And if you’d like to read the answers to some questions put to me on the NewMyths.com website – and see a picture of Millie the dog – you can click here.

(For those of you who were wondering, Millie’s the one who isn’t wearing the sunglasses. Yeah, yeah – feel free, mock on . . .)

a song about the end of the world

So here’s a wee piece of flash fiction. A Song About the End of the World’s a whimsical piece about the end of the world, whales, witches, and failing at flying broomsticks. In a moment of weakness, Charles Christian, a dashing fellow if we’re to believe his picture hasn't been photo-shopped, very kindly included it in his online zine, freshly re-branded from GrievousAngel to SciFi-and-Fantasy.land. Give him your support by reading the stuff he puts up there.

Here’s the opening paragraph of my tale:

My girlfriend told me the world was going to end. She’d heard about it from the whales. She understood their song and had been listening in while she took a bath, surrounded by scented candles. 

The story’s a short one, a scant few hundred words, so it won’t take you long to read. It might make you smile, it might not make you smile. The only way to find out is to sweep your eyes over it and see.


To do that, all you gotta do is click here.

so below, so above

Sometimes stories come out of songs, or the atmosphere of a song pervades a piece to such a degree you can almost hear it playing in the background. Sometimes they don’t. This one didn’t. But now I think back on it, it could quite easily have done. Had I been playing Dream Academy’s 80s hit single “Life in a Northern Town” (which I very often do), it may well have seemed like a good fit for this story.

It’s a piece called “So Below, So Above” and I’m not sure where the main metaphor came from. Probably it came out of the need to find some light on a glum day in a northern town in Yorkshire. I’m not sure that worked.

Here’s the opening paragraph:

There’s not much that can be said for the town. It’s an old, weary hub in the north, into which drift the snows of the Pennines through winter, the rain of the grey skies through autumn, and the fog of the High Peaks on scattered weekends throughout the year. Beauty momentarily passes over the town in spring, when something wonderful marches down from the high hills, warmth and the first teasing scent of summer promises that will never be fulfilled. But mostly it just rains and the buildings and the people sag into grey blurs.

It’s not all doom and gloom, I promise you. But there aren’t many laughs in it, I’ll grant you that.

The kindly folk at Literary Hatchet have put it in Issue 9. (Thanks, Stefani!)

You can download a copy of the magazine for free by filling in the online form, or you can pay for a print version. It’s as true for all the other issues as it is about issue 9, so there’s a lot to keep you busy if you’re wanting something to read. To do that, all you gotta do is click here.

mad scientist journal, spring 2014 ebook

Anyone who's been reading this blog -- which I reckon amounts to two guys in the Australian Outback and a mule somewhere in the deep forests of Montana -- might remember I had a short story called "We Shall Make Monsters" up on the Mad Scientist Journal site earlier this year. You can still read that tale, completely free of charge, by clicking here.

But if you'd rather read the piece on your trusty e-reader, along with the other tales that appeared in spring of this year, then you can buy for very little money a copy from Smashwords here. Or by going to Amazon.co.uk here. In a few weeks' time, the tale should blow through onto the Kobo store. I'll put in a direct link when it's appropriate.

Jeremy Zimmerman and Dawn Vogel have done the editing and compiling. Big cheer for them and raise your glass in their honour.

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