Story News…

Dog (Does Not) Eat Dog appeared on the Tales to Terrify podcast today. It’s narrated by Anthony Babington and he’s done a fantastic job of bringing the story to life. It was great hearing the story come alive. You can listen to it here.

Whilst you’re there, check out the Tales to Terrify back catalogue – there’s some stellar stories from many great writers.

Back in October last year I entered Crystal Lake Publishing’s monthly flash fiction contest. The theme was ‘Cars’. It progressed to the final round and was lucky enough to be voted a joint winner by their Patreons.

The story was called All We Endure and it appears in Shallow Waters Vol. 8, alongside stories from some of the best writers around. Check out the table of contents and get a copy here.

You can get a copy here for less than a pound. That’s cheaper than a Gregg’s sausage roll, but it’s infinitely better for you and much more filling.

Stories I Loved 2020…

There wasn’t much to like about 2020. The less said the better. I did however read some great stories. Like last year, I’ve listed my favourites below. You can find the 2019 list here.

Notes: I need to read more novels from independent presses. Not everything on the list was released in 2020 – I’m still behind on a lot of my reading. I’ve only provided links for the short stories and novellas, using links to the presses directly where possible.

I hope you find something to enjoy. Here it is:

Novels

  • Mark Z. Danielewski – House of Leaves
  • Lucy Foley – The Hunting Party
  • Ken Grimwood – Replay
  • Joe Hill – NOS4R2
  • Malcolm McDowell – The Elementals
  • Nic Pizzolatto – Galveston
  • Iain Reid – I’m Thinking of Ending Things
  • Paul Tremblay – A Head Full of Ghosts

Non-Fiction:

  • Derren Brown – Happy
  • Jon Krakauer – Into the Wild

Novellas:

Short Stories:

Finally, if you’re hungry for more story recommendations, take a look at James Everington’s blog. He always puts together a top notch end of year list and his puts mine to shame.

2020: A Year in Review…

Objectively, 2020 has been a terrible year. We all know why. Covid-19. I will spare you my extended thoughts on the sociopolitical discourse which followed. However, I will say I oscillate wildly between anger and despair at the actions of a government who are incompetent and cruel.

That said, I wanted to take a look at my creative successes and failures throughout 2020.

In early 2020 I started writing a novella. The story is one I’ve attempted to write several times before and the initial idea is over a decade old. If you were to compare the original idea to the one I set out to write this year, you would find very little in common. It’s been through a number of iterations, and I’ve made a couple of failed attempts previously. However, this year when I sat down to start work on it, I told myself this would be the time I finished it.

After writing a third of it, I stopped. It was too hard. It was a case of self doubt. It was boredom. I have told myself this story so many times it seemed too much effort to actually write. Whatever the reason, I walked away.

April saw the release of Arterial Bloom which features my story Dog (Does Not) Eat Dog. I know – I’m like a broken record. I’m sorry to the friends and family who’ve had to endure my shameless promotion. That said, it remains a story I’m proud of and I’m honoured to be in an anthology with such heavyweights.

I did a short interview with Tabitha Wood as part of her Ginger Snaps series over at Ginger Nuts of Horror. Go check out the archive.

Though I wasn’t writing much, I did write three reviews for Ginger Nuts of Horror. The Shadow Booth Vol. 4 edited by Dan Coxon was the first. The second was Kit Power’s collection, Voices, from Black Shuck Books and the third was for C. S. Alleyne’s debut novel, Belle Vue.

I was also intervied by Janine Pipe over on her blog. Janine is a champion of horror fiction so to be featured on her blog was a fantastic opportunity. Take a look at her site here.

My story The Forest Abyss was published in the August issue of Aurealis. A horror story set in a haunted forest in Poland.

August also saw a good friend and I dust off an old script of ours and, over Zoom calls, polish it up. We were surprised to find that much of it we were still happy with. We also learned how quickly technology moves (we had a scene featuring a CD player in car for example). Now, we have a final draft of the first episode of a comedy-drama that we’re very proud of and we’re steadily working on the rest of it. So, if there are any producers from Netflix or the BBC or Channel 4 reading this, get in touch.

In October, I started writing again (you can read about my approach here) and returned to the novella. I recently finished it and, though it’s a very short novella, it came in at 16,500 words.

I’ve managed to write every day since the 12th of October which, as of today, puts me at 74 days in a row. I’ve finished a short story and I’m currently working on another.

Most recently, my flash piece All We Endure came joint first in the November Flash competition over on the Crystal Lake Publishing Patreon and will be released in a future volume of Shallow Waters – their flash fiction e-book series.

There has been some dissapointment. My submissions have slowed down somewhat and I’ve missed the deadlines for several open calls this year, but writing every day has softened the blow just a little.

At least I’m writing.

Finally, for the two of you who care, my list of stories I loved in 2020 will be up in the new year. If you’re interested, you can take a look at last years recommendations here. If you read just one of them I would consider it a success.

As the year draws to a close we start looking towards the next. I have resolved not to make any resolutions. They’re crippling, at least to me. It’s just a list of stuff I should be doing or should have done. Taunting me…

To end, it seems only fitting to quote pop heavyweights D:Ream,

“Things can only get better…”

Let’s hope so.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

New Story: The Forest Abyss…

My short story, The Forest Abyss, appears in the August issue of Aurealis, Australia’s premiere magazine for speculative fiction. If you’re so inclined, you can buy a copy here.

The quiet isolation of nature is fertile ground for fear to take root and myths to thrive. With The Forest Abyss I wanted to create a dark legend of my own. You won’t find the forest in this story on any map. But somewhere, it grows…

Stories I Loved…

I spent most of 2019 reading short stories and thought it would be a good idea to list some of my favourites as we head into a new decade. However, before looking at my offerings I wanted to point you in the direction of two writers I often turn to for a wealth of story recommendations.

First up, I need to point to James Everington’s blog, which offers an annual list of short stories he enjoyed in the previous year. Here are his lists for 2018 and 2019. Make sure to take a look – they put mine to shame.

Secondly is Maria Haskins. Maria offers monthly reviews of stories she enjoyed in her Short Fiction Roundup and it is well worth your time.

Now, here is my list. Note: not all of the stories listed below were published in 2019 – but this was the year I read them.

If nothing else this list proves I’m woefully far behind in my reading, but I hope you still find something amongst these to enjoy…