Three Weddings and a Funeral

OK, bad news first. As you may have already heard, Murky Depths magazine has decided to shut up shop. My short story ‘Whisperer’ was published in Murky Depths earlier this year in their #17 issue. Quite possibly a number of different reasons for this (economic climate etc.) but I’m going to huff about the lack of interest in the short story format in the UK. Seems the US are much more accepting of the short story format in both the genre and non-genre worlds. Very sad.

But on with the good news . . .
Continue reading “Three Weddings and a Funeral”

What a week…

Last Friday I swapped contracts with Murky Depths for my short story ‘Whisperer’ which will appear in their November issue (#18). Now I feel like a proper writer! I’m still very excited about appearing in Murky Depths because it’s such a gorgeous looking magazine (and it’s British!). You can still buy a copy of their latest  issue (#16) for just £6.99 and I can guarantee you won’t be disappointed…titillated maybe, but not disappointed. 😉

Monday I received an email from Daily Science Fiction with the offer that they would like to publish my short story ‘Silver Sixpence’. This is my first sale to a professional market! ‘Silver Sixpence’ is a hard/mundane science-fiction story featuring some solid Einsteinian physics.

There was a fair amount of research involved in this story – perhaps my favourite was reading various Space Shuttle launch transcripts.

Wednesday I read my short story ‘Five-A-Day Friends’ at the Bolton Octagon theatre as part of their Creative Writing Showcase. It was a very strange experience standing on a stage in the bright lights, but it was great fun! Great work by Jenny Martin, Adam Martin, Tatiana Koutsokoumni, Joanne Powell and Laurette Evans for organising the event (apologies if I missed anyone off that list).

I’m looking forward to attending (and perhaps reading at) more of these events in future.

Last night (Thursday) I read my flash-fiction story ‘Metagurneypunk’ at the Flash Mob Writing Competition at the Dulcimer in Chorlton. What a fantastic evening! I finally got to meet some of the people I’ve been stalking on Twitter and Facebook. The networks are still rumbling with the aftershocks. Congratulations to the extremely worthy winners and here’s hoping for a repeat of the event in the future. I’ve heard a rumour that a podcast should be available at some point – I’ll post again when it’s available. The eBook should be available soon.


A loud round of applause to the organisers: Sarah-Clare ConlonDave HartleyTom MasonFat Roland and Benjamin Judge. I particularly enjoyed the exquisite corpses – there’s an online version here if you didn’t get enough last night.

The Last Two Weeks

A couple of weeks ago I woke up to this email from Basement Stories:

“Thanks for sending us ‘Brass Tacks and Black Hats.’ I liked your story, and would like to accept it for publication for Issue #5.”

Basement Stories are a US-based science fiction and fantasy ezine dedicated to “publishing quality character-driven speculative fiction.” As my wife will tell you, I was insanely excited at this, my first paying publication!

I wrote Brass Tacks and Black Hats last year (2010) and it was one of the first stories to do the rounds at the Manchester Speculative Fiction writers’ group. The story starts in Oxford at a certain café and features a very geeky mystery which, well, you’ll have to wait for publication to read the whole thing! There’s blood, custard creams, hacking and a cute girl with ‘that’ t-shirt and a cool pair of shoes.

The great news is that Brass Tacks and Black Hats will be available to read online for free because Basement Stories operate via voluntary donations. You can help magazines like Basement Stories by making a donation. As soon as the story becomes available I’ll blog again with links where you can read it.

Then, two days ago, I received this email from Murky Depths:

“I think it’s good to go. So we’d like to offer you a contract. Let us know if you’d like to proceed.”

This was in response to a rewrite that Murky Depths had asked me to carry out on a short story I had previously sent to them called Whisperer. Murky Depths are a UK-based magazine that is “rocking the speculative fiction world with its confounding mix of art and literature in a graphic-novel-style package.” I actually hopped around the kitchen in excitement!

Whisperer is one of those stories which had a very definite starting point. I know exactly where I was and what I was doing when it was born. I was eating at the Cinnamon restaurant just outside Standish with my wife, my brother-in-law and his girlfriend. The conversation that night became this story – thanks again Laura! This story also did the rounds at the Manchester Speculative Fiction writers’ group and I will be blogging again about how I think writers’ groups are an incredibly valuable resource.

The setting for Whisperer is urban contemporary and features two plain-clothes police officers investigating a suspicious suicide. There is plenty of blood, even a few guns (I think I hear someone shouting “Hurrah!”). The research for this story was extremely hard work. Hats off to Managing Editor Terry Martin at Murky Depths for spotting some lazy research by me and asking for a rewrite. I spent a very busy week trawling websites for police firearms protocol. I even interviewed a friend of mine who is a member of the police force.

Murky Depths issue #18 will be available later this year. I will blog again as soon as it’s available. Meanwhile, why not buy a copy of their current issue? You can buy online – their next issue #16 is now available for pre-order. Also, if you’re in the UK you can pop along to a local stockist (Travelling Man in Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle, York or Forbidden Planet in London, plus plenty more comic shops all over the place!). Murky Depths will also be at Illustrious, this year’s Eastercon – as will I, see you there!

Brass Tacks and Black Hats should be available in Basement Stories issue #5 available in the third quarter of this year. Whisperer should be available in Murky Depths issue #18 available October/November this year. I will blog again as soon as they become available.