Halloween Short: The Myling

Graveyard

Halloween! Time to do some spooky fiction and whatnot!

So, the new, improved (and surprise) Halloween Shorts push for this year is actually a little delayed – it should happen at some point over the weekend – and so I am left with the task of filling Halloween itself with my own little bit of flash fiction.

This one, I think, needs a little explaining. I was reading up on various monsters and spirits in folklore, and came across the myling – a Scandinavian creautre/spirit that makes a very specific demand of its victim: it wants to be carried. Writing about it, I wanted to explore that idea in a little more depth…and ended up writing something a lot darker than I’d intended.

I don’t normally do trigger warnings, but in this case I am aware that some people might find it upsetting.

TW: grief, death, children.

The Myling

Don’t wait for it to happen. Don’t even want it to happen. Just watch what does happen.

Seriously. If you want gifs for writing, "Secret Window" is the business.

 

So, I haven’t blogged much of late. I’ve wanted to: there have been a few rants brewing in my head that I wanted to hammer out, and some of them have even been relatively coherent in the drafts that I have written. And yet I haven’t posted any of them. It feels like they’d be ineffective, that they’d generate no positive forward motion. Anyone in disagreement would sink their heels in, because who am I to say that they maybe, possibly could be wrong on something, and then anyone in agreement would do likewise. And that’s the best case scenario, where the facsimile of a dialogue exists. More likely are the chances of a dogpile (yay for the internet, where pointing out the desperately problematic behaviour of – let’s just spitball ideas here – a popular author will get you buried in abuse!) or, let’s be honest, resounding silence.

Perhaps a faint echo off the back of the giant, empty internet cavern walls? Anyway, I decided to leave it, and considering the sour-faced “why am I not fully recovered yet? FFS” mood I’ve been in for the past few weeks, I haven’t felt like posting anything.

As you can see, I’m super cheerful at the moment. For some reason, I’ve got weird aches in my feet and ankle (although the ankle I’ve gone over on once, so that goes some way to explaining it) and walking around is really uncomfortable. Sitting down less so, but I’m still hyper aware of my feet, and after two weeks I’m starting to think it is never, ever going away.*

In brighter news, Halloween Shorts are coming back! Yes! The short story adventures that a load of Team Mushens piled into last year (with the excuse of it leading up to World Fantasy Con) will be returning at the latter end of October with even more stories and a surprise twist for 2014! I will definitely have a story up here (when I get round to writing it, naturally) and *whispers* one appearing somewhere else, too. We’ve got a good lineup of authors contributing, even in spite of their collectively busy schedules, and it should be a lot of fun.

Meanwhile, I am working away on projects. I caught up with my agent, which is always good fun, and got some editing notes back, which is…let’s not say “fun”, because smacking my forehead off the desk going “HOW DO I NOVEL?” doesn’t really count as fun, but still definitely good. The new fantasy book is on hold while I get the edit done, but I’ll be finishing it over NaNoWriMo (or getting as close to done as I can manage).

And that’s things pretty much up to date. The more exciting stuff I write, the more desperately boring I become in real life.

Oh! For anyone that plays DOTA 2, here are my thoughts on the new patch (6.82) – Chen’s ultimate with Aghanim’s Scepter is the BEST. Why bother with the standard objectives when you can run around the map with a dragon AND a Triceratops yelling “LOOKIT DINOSAUR” over and over? It really is a game-changer, and by that I mean “a design feature that will probably get me reported by everyone I play with”.

 

*madness, of course it will resolve. That doesn’t stop me from moping, though!

Girl at the End of the World

book-1-1-bk-cover-300x212

With all the excitement of surgery waiting for me, I missed off an update about this anthology. The Girl at the End of the World is the latest anthology (in two parts) from Fox Spirit books. Part one includes a story by me: The Ending Plague.

The remit for submissions was a fairly open theme – the title gives away exactly what that was – and I decided to try my hand at a secondary-world fantasy apocalypse. Hopefully people will enjoy reading my contribution as much as I enjoyed writing it.

It’s always nice to rub shoulders with people you know online and from conventions, but this one was made a bit more special as it includes a story by James Oswald, who has the same agent as me. Team Mushens Fistbump! There’s a special bond between all of her clients. Sometimes we like to get together and compare bruises she has given us, or swap stories about the number of times she’s chased each of us with a hammer. It’s all true.

Anyway. You can find the ebook of The Girl at the End of the World (Part One) on Amazon UK, Amazon US, or as a paperback (UK, US)

 

Halloween Shorts: The Tall Men

NightForest

 

I have a few books living in my head, waiting to be written. The Ironwood is one of them. What started as a brief pitch for a coming-of-age YA fantasy set in a magical forest quickly took a wild turn in my mind to become something entirely different. I had been chewing it over as a potential NaNoWriMo project, but trying to hold two very different fantasy series in my head simultaneously felt…daunting.

To keep the muse quiet, I wrote a short story set in that dormant world.

Hope you enjoy it!

The Tall Men – A Tale of the Ironwood by Andrew Reid

Tales of Eve release!

So! I have another story out which, if you don’t count audio publications (which I totally do because I’m just like that okay), doubles my publication list. Oh yeah.

Baby steps, guys. Come on.

evecover

It’s in the anthology Tales of Eve, from Fox Spirit Books, edited by Mhairi Simpson. It features eleven stories surrounding the theme of women creating their perfect companions.

You can pick up a copy via Spacewitch or Wizard’s Tower books or even Amazon if you so desire.

So, yeah! Cool. I hope you enjoy it.

B-A-L-A-N-C-E…balaaaaance.

I could go on about the less fun parts of the SFF scene. At length. As per usual, people are doing their level best to prove that private forums are a special hell where opinions go to die. I’m sure someone is at this very moment railing about how insensitive and cruel it is to publish those excerpts online (while AT THE SAME TIME being of the opinion that sidling up to women and going “HI LETS FUCK” is both polite and respectful). I’m sure there’s an argument to be made, however flimsy, about context – that somehow if you read the whole damn thing from top to bottom, the mad shit these people are spouting would somehow transform itself into a glowing white column of pure logic.

I’m pretty sure I don’t have to entertain either.

Anyway. FUN THINGS THAT ARE HAPPENING.

First up, my UNSTOPPABLE POWERHOUSE* of an agent Juliet Mushens is judging the Bath Novel Award. There are rules and stuff, so you should probably hit up that site if you are interested in taking part.

Second, con friend and fellow fantasy author Laurel Sills has started building up to the launch of Holdfast magazine. It has an aces logo and the call for submissions looks like it could attract some excellent stories.

Third, The Rule 32 Cafe have got their Indiegogo campaign up and running. I’ve met Su a couple of times and have been following their efforts to make a unique and fun geek-centric venue come to pass. The location looks like it has a lot of potential so here’s hoping they raise enough to convert it!

Anyway! Have a nice week! You deserve it!

TenOhYesGif

*Not an exaggeration. She does not sleep. She eats four times an hour to maintain the inferno that powers her million-word-a-minute reading speed. Contrary to popular belief she does not wear leopard print. The print design is caused by localised ripples in space-time warping as her phone tries to KEEP UP.

I think the word you’re searching for is “Space Ranger”.

So I was talking to a workmate today and she was asking a lot of questions about writing – about research and editing and so on and so forth – which prompted me to ask if she was writing anything. She wasn’t. Her twelve-year-old daughter, though…it turns out that she writes virtually non-stop, and when she’s not writing she’s reading or talking to anyone within earshot that will listen about it.

That’s the spirit, I thought.

I was kind of at a loss when she asked me if I could recommend resources or events that would be suitable for encouraging her, though. They had been to an Anthony Horowitz event and really enjoyed that, but author events in the North East tend to be notable for their scarcity. She asked if there were any workshops or groups that would be suitable, but all I could think was, at twelve? Needless to say there weren’t many things I could think of off the top of my head that would be age appropriate or successful in helping her interest along. The local theatre does a young playwright’s workshop but that was it as far as I could recall. If anyone has any suggestions, they would be gratefully received.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anyway. So I’ve been thinking about ways to a) up my writing tempo and b) get better at it. I’ve been sitting in a kind of limbo state tinkering with Gunslinger… since I finished editing the Fantasy novel and other than that just jotting down the odd idea as they come to me I’m not doing that much else. I’ve been reading where I can, but it feels like I’m not pushing myself forward. I need to do more things, and challenging things at that if I want to improve.

On the news front, I’ve got a story coming out soon in Dark Fiction Magazine, and another in Fox Spirit’s Tales of Eve anthology. I’ve been thinking of doing some more short fiction and my notebook is slowly filling with scribbles as I toss ideas around. I’m still toying with the idea of trying to hunt out a local writing group, if only to keep myself from spamming my Twitter friends every time I have a neurotic outburst, but it’s still the case of finding one. I would have liked to have kept up with the York Nanowrimo group, but it clashes with my other half’s knitting group and it’s a bit of a trek.

So, um, yeah. Things. Stuff. Less procrastination required. More words. Better words.

But first, tea.

Sir, let me take this moment to compliment you on your fashion sense, particularly your slippers.

So, Halloween has come and gone and we are now on DAY THREE of NaNoWriMo. I’m on target (or will be once I’ve written today’s complement of words) and will be looking to steal a march on things next week so that I can have the weekend of my birthday off.

Things I have learned from NaNoWriMo:

Vomit drafts are harder than they appear. It takes a significant amount of effort for me to just leave it alone when I am writing. I have a horrible tendency to fiddle with sentences while I write them (which is why I prefer word processor over longhand) and more often than not the final version isn’t that far removed from what I originally had in mind.

I am terrible at being social. Maybe it’s just me on this, but the community aspect of NaNoWriMo still eludes me. I’ve tried to take part in the forums and chatrooms and even been to a couple of write-ins, but it feels like I’m walking around the edge of a closed loop. It’s very cliquey, and I have a deep suspicion of internet circle-jerks. Having someone ask, “who is this guy and why is he here?” when you say hello is usually a bad sign, but then maybe I’m just a bit touchy about these things.

In other news, Halloween Shorts seemed to go quite well. It’d be interesting to see how many reads we got in total. I thought that doing a reading of it would be a fun twist and something that might attract a few more readers/listeners, but I was hampered slightly by a cold and a crappy mic that meant the audio wasn’t the best quality. It’s tolerable, but not great.

I’ve been musing on ideas regarding publication. I’m still pursuing the traditional route, but I’ve been thinking about the indie/self route and what sort of things I could do in 2013. I’m close to my target aim of two novels completed for 2012 (despite deciding to re-write a large portion of Gunslinger Symphony) so I need something to aim for over the next twelve months. I’m thinking that maybe one novel and a set of smaller projects (novella or serial) would give me an opportunity to split up my goals into smaller milestones. I’ve got a fair old list of projects all sitting in my notebooks waiting to be picked, so it’s a case of taking the time in December to decide which ones to go for.

Halloween Shorts 2: Revenge of the Burble-Crump!

So! Halloween is here at last, and with it the second instalment of Halloween Shorts, as hosted by sennydreadful over at her ‘blog. If you read one story this Halloween, it’ll probably be the one Neil Gaiman put online. That’s fine – he is pretty famous, and from what I hear he knows his way around a story.

If you have room for more, though, you can find my story, In the Wolf’s Glen, here. As an apology to all war buffs out there, I have played it somewhat fast and loose with the details of the winter war (the capitulation, for example, took place in Moscow) and with the naming conventions of Finland. Sorry, Finland. I also recorded an audio version of the story and it is available on Soundcloud.

You can also read Jennifer’s story here, a rather chipper jaunt around the sights and un-seens that wander abroad on Halloween. I’m quite fond of the Seven Sisters, myself – they reinforce my belief that forests are not friendly places.

And if that isn’t quite enough to sate you, Dark Fiction Magazine Issue 13 is out, with their first story – Swamp Tale by Joshua Malbin – released today.

Tales of the Nun and Dragon.

Although it has been available on Amazon since late Saturday, today is the official launch day of the anthology, Tales of the Nun and Dragon. This is the first anthology (but not the first title) to be released by Fox Spirit books, a small press set up and run by Adele Wearing (also known as Hagelrat on the Twitter).

It’s an eclectic collection of stories, all based around the theme presented by the title – all the authors were given the remit of including some form of nun and/or a dragon, and the rest was left entirely up to them. As a result we end up with twenty-two (I hope I counted that right) stories and one poem that cover a wide range of influences. From the classical fantasy bookends The Ballad of Gilrain and The Last Hunt shoring up the entire collection (by Black Library stalwart Sarah Cawkwell and fantasy novelist Karen Davies respectively) to the Asimov-meets-Gundam overtones of LOOP (SJ Caunt), there’s something there (hopefully) for everyone’s tastes.

There’s poetry, with VC Linde’s The Hazel and the Hawthorne, where each line rides along a crest of instability, teetering on the edge of  a revelation that neither lady or knight can bring themselves to speak; there’s full-on pulp action, as Ren Warom’s Nil Desperandum channels a Rodriguez-style disregard for the subtle and kicks over all the tables for the sheer Hell of it.

As for a personal favourite, it’s hard to pick, but Adrian Tchaikovsky’s St. George and St. Giles is a convincingly dark tale that strides towards seeming inevitability before taking such a swift turn that I – in the age of the stone-faced LOL – actually laughed aloud. Adrian’s tale has a deft and confident touch, and it works an absolute treat.

On a side note, one of my stories also features! Go me, or something like that!

The Fox Spirit site has an official release post here and Amazon (US) and Wizard’s Tower purchase links here. There is also a competition (details at either link, or both) which could win you a copy of the limited print run of Tales… and an invitation to submit for the next anthology – so get writing!

Finally, here’s a piece of flash fiction I put together for the launch. Hope you enjoy!

Nun and Dragon Story