___WORDS FROM ME_____________________________________

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.

unsung stories

There's a trend of which I approve. I know - surprising, isn't it? I'm not much of a one for trends. If people walk down a flight of stairs something perverse in me tends to want to walk up them.  But I like this trend. Short stories, free of charge, emailed to your home . . . or phone or tablet or whatever.

Mostly they're short shorts, nothing much more than 1500 words long. Which is just about right for reading on a phone, I feel.

Over at Daily Science Fiction, they've really got it down to a fine art, and have stories ranging from a hundred words or so to maybe a thousand. And they do it daily. (Well, almost; they don't work weekends.) They took one of my pieces a few moons ago, which can be read free of charge still, on their site here. It's called "In the White of the Snow," and is, I seem to recall, exactly 1000 words long.

Now, the lovely folk at Unsung Stories have taken one of my pieces. It's a longer tale, edging over a couple of thousand words. Sometimes more is more. Unsung Stories don't send a tale out daily; they send you something every couple of weeks. Sometimes less is more. If you'd like to read my tale - or frankly just want some stories delivered free into your inbox - then you can subscribe by clicking through to here.

If I have got the scheduling right, sometime this month my piece will arrive . . . like Santa.

Mince pie and a tumbler of sherry at the ready for it please, even though it's not a Christmas story.

Did I mention it's free?

up and out of here



So I have a short story in the collection KITCHEN SINK GOTHIC, edited by David A Riley and Linden Riley, published by Parallel Universe Publications. It's a piece called “Up and Out of Here”and is, I suspect, one of the lighter tales in the anthology. I was pleased that when he accepted the piece David commented on the humour in the tale. You'd be surprised how often I start a story thinking Oh yeah, this will be funny... and by the time the piece is in print people are telling me That's really disturbing, Mark, or Don't you think that's a bit dark?  Still, I think in this one the humour comes through without anyone having to get their crucifixes out and fend me off with garlic. I'm not promising belly-laughs, but I hope you might smile. Or at least twitch your lips upwards.

If that's not enough to make you think about reading the book, you might reconsider when I tell you the anthology also includes stories by Stephen Bacon, Gary Fry (who is still trying to kid us he looks like that author photo from ten years back and more), Kate Farrell, Andrew Darlington, David A Sutton, and plenty of others. T'aint just me you're getting when you hand over your cash.

My tale starts like this,

Dylan Mulch learned about flying the hard way. In one sense it was a lot like sex, in that it was something you didn’t do in public. Or if you did, then you better be damn sure everyone else was doing it too. Because if you were performing out there in the open all by yourself, you could be sure as sixes people were going to get freaked by it.

and if you would like to carry on reading, you can purchase a paperback copy or an ebook in the UK from Amazon by clicking here and in the USA by clicking here. 

Go on, I dare you.


prof fox

Somewhat appropriately, given the UK Tory government's attempts to effectively repeal the ban on hunting foxes with dogs - hashtag bloodsports, folks - I have a new story out . . . and it concerns foxes. Sort of. It's a piece called "Prof Fox" and it is available to read in the Australian anthology Roar 6, edited by Mary E Lowd, and published by Bad Dog Books. 

Here're the opening paragraphs, kindly reproduced with Mary's permission.


“The fox went out on a chilly night,
he prayed for the moon to give him light.”

Trad. folk song.


When people saw the “Prof” on Danny Foxx’s business card, they nearly always leaped to an assumption he did nothing to discourage and thought it was an abbreviation of “Professor”.
Clothes made the man, and his tweed suit played to people’s assumptions, reinforcing what they thought they already knew. As they fastened on the inscribed “Prof” Danny would study their expressions. They’d be thinking: here stood some horrible bore they needed to extract themselves from – and quickly, before he indulged himself in the finer points of one of his inscrutable Big Thought papers. Some way to spend a party that would be, they’d worry.

“Prof” – short for “Professor.” Well, what else could it be?


If you want to continue reading this one, you can order a copy here.

Here's the cover.





  

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