Tuesday, 13 July 2021

Second short story collection accepted for publication!

At last!

Finally, some good news!

Have just found out that my second short story collection, a collection of all my flash and shorter fiction to date, has been accepted for publication by Hybrid Sequence Media.  Provisionally titled Gimp World - Collected Flash 2021, the collection is slated for early Spring 2022 release and has the following contents:

Nanny Knows Best – Prologue                                        – originally published in The Wild Word
A Fresh Perspective                                                            - originally published in Bizarro Central
The Man in the Street                                                        - originally published in decomP
Genuine Photo                                                                    - originally published in A Cache of Flashes
(Shortlisted for the 2016 Worcestershire Literary Festival Flash Fiction Competition).
The Chaotic Butterfly                                                        - originally published in Bizarro Central
MWC ISO RL                                                                      - originally published in Wired
(Shortlisted for the 2017 Worcestershire Literary Festival Flash Fiction Competition).
A Cerebral Vacation                                                           - originally published in Trembling with Fear
The Last English Speaker                                                  - originally published in Trembling with Fear
Marks on a Page                                                                 - originally published in Wired
Gimp World                                                                         - originally published in Horror Sleaze Trash
The Creative Game                                                            - originally published in Bizarro Central
BobandJane – A fable in two indistinct parts                 - originally published in Raw Edge
Casanova Jones – A tale of the near future                     - originally published in The Jar Thief
The Girl Within                                                                   - originally published in A Cache of Flashes
The Friend We Made                                                         - originally published in Bizarro Central
HUMOUR-CHIP™                                                           - originally published in The Ginger Collect
The Pub Fight                                                                     - originally published in Bizarro Central
Invisible                                                                                - originally published in Reflex
The Hole in the Wall                                                          - originally published in Cabinet of Heed
AUTHORSOFT™                                                             - originally published in Ellipsis
It                                                                                           - originally published in Planet Prozak
And From the Heads of Babes                                         - originally published in Horror Sleaze Trash
Celebdaq                                                                             - originally published in Trembling with Fear
Nanny Knows Best – Epilogue.                                       - originally published in The Bumper Book of British Bizarro

I'm especially pleased with this as not only is Hybrid Sequence Media a real up-and-comer in the Horror/Bizarro scene with over ten titles published in 2020, but I had originally signed a contract for Gimp World to be published by Nihilism Revised in the Autumn of 2020, but this was cancelled due to the unfortunate ill health of the publisher (who I sincerely hope is recovering and feeling better now....).  Of course, this left me in the situation of needing to find another publisher and I felt that I was supremely lucky to get one deal - would geting a second be pushing my luck?

Thankfully, it appears not!  So, many thanks to Donald Armfield and Hybrid Sequence Media for accepting this one.

More news as it happens.

Wednesday, 7 July 2021

Flash Adaptation performed by OMF Theatre broadcast last night.

An adaptation of a short flash piece - "Genuine Photo" - was broadcast by OMF Theatre on Liskeard Radio last night as part of Episode 6 of its second season of Barmy Nonsense.  The episode has now been uploaded to Youtube (see above).  "Genuine Photo" starts at 10:40.

Tuesday, 29 June 2021

Reading of new story at "42"


Completed a new story this week called "Scoby Snacks" about a kombucha scoby that continues to expand and grow until it overwhelms the world.  Or something like that.  So as I was fairly happy with it, I decided to debut it at 42, the Worcester Horror and SF Spoken Word night.  42 is still online on Zoom at the moment and while this has its postives (being able to have a drink being one, as is a reduction in nerves, although this has never been a major issue for me) I still much prefer performing live.  That said, one other positive of the online experience is a written record of people's comments rather than just people coming up to you at the end of the night.

I'm pretty happy with "Scoby Snacks" and it is already being sent out for publication.  Still, if the comments are anything to go by, it should go down well.

Friday, 11 June 2021

Worcestershire Litfest & Fringe Flash Fiction Slam


Just competed in my first Slam competition at the Worcestershire Litfest & Fringe Flash Fiction Slam.  I knew everyone else who was competing and my initial reaction was "Oh great!"  That said, I managed to work my way through the various rounds until I got the Final and, after the whole thing was done and dusted, I came second.

Overall, a great experience and am looking forward to competing in future spoken word competitons.

Sunday, 6 June 2021

Story accepted by "Horror Sleaze Trash."


I have a new story up now at Horror Sleaze Trash.  Another pandemic inspired story, I originally wrote this in while I was on a Kundalini Yoga retreat in Serifos. Unfortunately, I had bad gastritis that would see me hospitalised within 24 hours.  Not a great holiday, as I eventually ended up pulling my own IV out and escaping, Colditz-style past groups of guards patrolling dimly lit corridors in the middle of the night, as the medical care in Athens hospital was so bad.

Still, at least I got this story out of it so, you know.  Silver linings and all that....

Read "Porno Park" here.

Wednesday, 12 May 2021

"Genuine Photo" Radio Adaptation date announced


Just heard back from OMF Theatre with confirmation of when the radio adaptation of my flash story "Genuine Photo" (originally published in A Cache of Flashes and which was also shortlisted for the 2016 Worcestershire Literary Festival Flash Fiction Competition) will be broadcast.  It will be broadcast as part of the Barmy Nonsense radio sketch show on Liskeard Radio on 3rd/4th July.  It may also be uploaded onto OMF Theatre's YouTube page at some point after broadcast.

But until then, here is a reading of the story to tide you over..... 😉

Friday, 7 May 2021

"Hard Times Happen" anthology now out.


My copy of the Hard Times Happen anthology arrived today.  The publisher states that "this anthology seeks to encourage everyone to be more open about their mental state, to talk, to listen, to change lives." Containing both poetry and prose, the book was published in association with Worcestershire LitFest and Fringe to help raise awareness of mental health issues.

The book doesn't appear to be available on Amazon yet, but it can be bought direct from the publisher, Black Pear Press, for £7.99 + P&P.

Saturday, 17 April 2021

"Fragments from a Schizoid Dream" - Reading

A reading of "Fragments from a Schizoid Dream" soon to be published by Black Pear Press in their Hard Times Happen anthology.

Story acceptance by "Hard Times Happen" anthology


I've just had a story accepted for publication in the Hard Times Happen anthology published by Black Pear Press following a competition run by Worcestershire Litfest & Fringe in conjunction with the Time to Change mental health charity.  The theme of the competition was, as the title suggests, "hard times happen" and it was focussed on mental health issues and mental health awareness.

The story, "Fragments from a Schizoid Dream," is technically a flash piece as it is only 280 words long and is a revised excerpt from the short story "Fragments of a Schizoid Dream", which was originally published in the anthology Darkness Rising 3 and was later collected into the collection, Ugly Stories for Beautiful People.  I've always had a soft spot for this particular story as it was the first short story I ever wrote - a tale of a man performing a Turing-style test on an AI to determine if it actually was genuinely intelligent, who then, in true Dickian fashion, starts to see his own reality unravel as he starts to work out that all human intelligence is actually scripted, like a computer programme, and that free will does not exist.  His ultimate fate is to be that he realises there is no free will and so is cursed to live out the rest of his days as a passenger in his own skull, watching the pre-scripted drama that is Life, play out around him.   As this was my first short story, I was very happy with the actual idea and its execution, but I did not have my own voice.  It is, I suppose, a perfect example of juvenilia.  In my youthful arrogance, I instantly started sending it to the leading magazines of the day - Fantasy & Science Fiction, Playboy, Omni and the like, and despite it being a mish-mash of "Philip. K. Dick written in a deliberate copying of Clive Barker style" actually got an expression of interest from Amazing Stories.  I revised it and resubmitted on their instructions, but ultimately did not hear back from them.  In some ways this was not a great start as it just reinforced the youthful delusion that all my work was obviously going to get published by big Pro-markets, as this had very nearly done so even though, at the back of my mind, I knew it was not "genuine" - even though the idea was 100% me, I hadn't yet found my own writing voice.

Thus it sat on my laptop until a few years later when I found myself, 18 months into a stint of teaching English in Barcelona and smoking way too much weed, experiencing a nervous breakdown.  In an attempt to wrest something productive from that time, I rewrote the story from scratch, using the experiences of reality and ego collapse that I was feeling at that time, as a structure for the basic plot.  Pretty much everything that happens in the resulting story was basically a diary of my experiences of that period (minus the talking computer).  Even the scripts of code exploding from people's heads and seeing everyone as automatons came from a skunk experience I had had which later caused flashbacks in Barcelona.  However, while the story was essentially a diary, with the only fictional elements being the talking PC and he character's names, I was really pleased with the end result, for I felt I had finally, finally, found my own unique voice.  

And, of course, when I finally got round to submitting this new and improved masterwork for publication, absolutely no-one wanted it.  Eventually it got published by a very Small Press magazine called Ammonite and then later by the more prestigious, Darkness Rising. But this did give me a sudden dose of reality into the difficulties people normally face in getting work accepted for publication.  

That said, even though I have always considered myself a story-teller rather than a "prose stylist", I was very happy with some of the language that came out from "discovering my voice," to the point where I later had a few excerpts published as haikus (reproduced below) - I can't even remember where now (Purple Patch magazine, maybe?) - and now, two short scenes from the story published in their own right, in Hard Times Happen.  

I will update you when this anthology is finally published.

Fragments I

The dancing people -

Bizarre living photographs

In a pop-out world.

Fragments II

The old woman plays

Solitaire, cold sun arcing

Over her wet bench.

Wednesday, 13 January 2021

Another flash adaptation for radio by OMF Theatre


Just heard that I've had another flash story accepted for adaptation by OMF Theatre for Season 2 of Barmy Nonsense to be broadcast on Liskeard Radio.  Season 2 will apparently be broadcast some time around Easter 2021.  The story being adapted is "Genuine Photo" which was first published in A Cache of Flashes and was also shortlisted for the 2016 Worcestershire Literary Festival Flash Fiction Competition (reading below).