Tuesday, 12 December 2017

2017: The Year of the Step Up

Hello all and Happy Holidays.

Firstly, I have a new story out. Yay! Normally at this time of year I do a review of the year and post up an old story for you. But today I happen to have a new story out from the wonderful people at Fireside Fiction. It's called Rab the Giant and Witch of the Waterfall and it is available to read for free here  right now. It's a wee story about the monsters of yore and how they get on in the modern world. It features cake.

Go, enjoy, I'll see you later if you feel the urge to come back for more of my drivel.

...

Oh, hello, thanks for coming back. Hope you liked it. If you did, please do consider chipping some money towards Fireside to help cover their costs. It all helps towards them providing more and better stories.

I've been attending story telling events of late and a lot of their stories are traditional fairy tale type stories. They all start wth 'Once upon a time' and have a moral and this was my attempt to do something similar. With luck and some insightful critiques from the Glasgow Science Fiction Writers Circle I'm feel I've got a fair way towards that.

Also, did you see the illustration they gave my story? How flipping wonderous is that? By Marianne Khalil and I'm not sure I can quite express how awed and overjoyed I am to look upon it.

Anyway, now that I've calmed down from my great excitement let's turn to my more normal end of year review thingy.

Until quite recently it was looking like a quiet year. I had a story out in KZine way back in January but there has been a wee flurry recently. Obviously there is this new story out but I've also been told another three have been accepted for publication. A flash piece on the dangers of ancient technology, a bit of far future action with musings on memory and a second story to Fireside featuring a university library janitor and his talking cat.
Expect to get spammed by me when those appear, hopefully next year.

Another thing of note is that back in October I celebrated five years since my first publication. That was The Greatest Rocketman, published by Sein und Werden and you can read it here as a previous year's Christmas present story. As such I thought I'd do a wee roundup of how those five years have gone, with a graph (ooo).

Mostly what this graph shows is that I hate Microsoft's Excel and can't get it to do what I want, but it does also show that, after my best year for number of publications in 2013, I only just got away without a complete Granny in 2014.
This being a good reminder to myself that one good year does not mean that the next will be similar. Those laurels must remain un-rested-upon.
Which, obviously, means I need to get my finger out and write more to hawk around next year.

Still, if, five years ago, you'd told me I'd have seen this much success with my wee writing hobby I'd have laughed right in your face. If you suggest I might even do similar in the next five years I will still laugh in your face.

Any roads, thanks to everyone who has helped me by reading or critiquing or publishing my nonsense. You're all lovely people.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Writing on the shoulders of giants

I've sold a story!

Very pleased to be able to say that Fireside Fiction have bought a story from me called Rab the giant versus the witch of the waterfall. They have an announcement here

It's a modern fairy tale featuring giants and witches (obvs) and is silly. I hope you like it when they publish it.

I'm pleased for many reasons. They are good people with a politics I like. They publish wonderful stories. It's a fun, daft story which makes me smile. And they pay at a professional level.

Payment is always nice, exposure gets you arrested, but there is a definition by the SFWA of what counts as a professional pay scale and this is the first time I have sold at that level. Normally it's a token fiver and a comp copy, which is always appreciated, but for someone to like something enough to pay the pro rate is such a wonderful boost and write the shock.

Probably the only time I'll make this level but, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to be smug about it for a bit.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

It's always colder in your memory


Hello dear people. In this time of strife and upheaval let me ignore all that for a moment and tell you of an incident that happened to me when I was but a wee child and growing up in Ayrshire, the land of Burns, cows and decayed towns. But not here, oh no.
Rather, why not pop along to KZine where, in their latest issue, I have a new story all about said incident. There is mystery, weather and half a dozen rolls. Can you spot the point where I may have slightly embellished the story from its real life origins?
KZine is a Kindle based magazine but I see that they have started on-demand physical copies, if that's your thing. May have to get one for my brag shelf.
Also, while you are there and if you have not already,  you could pick up issue 15 where I previously had a story about the apocalypse.
Sorry if it comes over as a bit too topical at present.
Anyhoo, hope you enjoy these. I now have the rest of the year stretching out before me as a blank canvas with no future publishings planned, so I'd better get my finger out and write more.
Ta-ra for now.

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

2016: The Year we'd mostly like to forget.

Well, hasn't 2016 been a truly terrible year? War, politics, death have all been busy this year which makes me doing a wee review of my writing feel somewhat unimportant. I entirely understand if you have more important things on your mind.

That said, there has been the odd nice thing this year. I got engaged for one.
via GIPHY

Another nice thing was my writing. It has been very patchy this year with the muse coming on me in fits and starts but I did get three stories published.

First, in January was The Past Does Not Watch Over Us, a story of science, General Relativity and willful stupidity. That can be found in The Speculative Book

Next up in May was More Certainty In Your Shopping, a story of how to cope with the apocalypse while not believing everything supermarkets tell you. It can be found in  Kzine Issue 15

Then, in September the Glasgow Science Fiction Writer's Circle celebrated their thirtieth anniversary with their anthology Thirty Years of Rain I managed to sneak a wee collection of passive aggressive letters into it under the title of The Lodger.

I'm deeply happy with all of these.

I also had a great time at conventions (waffling about writing rather than doing it, obviously) and even had a couple of reading occasions which were great fun, if nerve-wracking.

Looking forward, next year is due to start brightly as I have a new winter story coming out in KZine in January. Have no fear, I'll annoy you about it when it does.
Beyond that the aim is to keep on keeping on. I have a first draft novel roughly three quarters done that needs finished and several stories I'm hawking around the place so here's hoping that I can find the time for them.
I'll also be going to Worldcon in Finland and must say I am very much looking forward to it. A place I've never been.

As is now tradition I've added a new story to the blog for you to read. It's a story of fairy cakes called Unexpected Visitors that I got published a few years back and if you've not seen it before it can be read here. It includes a free recipe for some very nice cakes.

I hope you all have a good festive period and an improving New Year.

Monday, 29 August 2016

Thirty Years of Glaswegian Story Building


UPDATE: Now available from here; Lulu shop page and Amazon print edition and Kindle edition

Did you know that the Glasgow Science Fiction Writers Circle was started thirty years ago? Well now you do.
Off the back of a writing course run by Duncan Lunan a small group began to meet regularly to critique each other's work and encourage one and all to better and bolder things.
Also to go the pub, but that was a minor part.

Well, not the main part.

Well, not the only part.

OK, so mostly there was a lot of sitting in pubs talking about the state of  genre fiction, but also occasionally writing was worked on and eventually people got published. Very good people.

People such as Gary Gibson, Hal Duncan, Neil Williamson, William King, Michael Cobley amongst many others.

I first popped along in the mid-Nineties and spent a lot of time feeling hugely inadequeate, before running away to Englandshire and letting all that sort of thing lapse. But, on my return to Glasgow I took up the pen again and eventually returend to the circle, who have been nothing but encouraging as I show them my scribblings. Without their help I would never have had any of my stories published

To celebrate their milestone the Circle are bringing out an anthology with thirty stories by people who have been at the circle over the years. It's called Thirty Years of Rain (it is Glasgow based after all) and the glorious cover graces the top of the page.

I'll post links to it as they appear but there is a launch on the Saturday of Fantasycon in Scarborough this year (three o'clock on Saturday with Newcon if I remember rightly) and on the 30th of September at the Sauchiehall Street Waterstones in our own rainy Glasgow.

Details are here

Do please come along, meet some of the brilliant people who are in the book and maybe even buy a copy. We'll probably go to the pub afterwards.

And yes, I am in it, with a wee short about refugees that, if you ever think my mind has slipped its moorings, this will only add to the evidence. It's silly.

By way of getting your imagination off on completely the wrong foot here is a Pulp-O-Mizer cover that is totally misleading about the story.

Saturday, 14 May 2016

Two posts in a year? By jingo!

No, I'm as surprised as you that I have something to say more than once in a year.

Anyhoo, first things first. Come the 28th of May, point your Kindles and other electronic reading doohickeys at Kzine where you will find me getting a story published in their Issue 15. I am deeply pleased that they have chosen to publish my story about the apocalypse, the food chain and Scottish West Coast holidays. It's called More Certainty In Your Shopping and sits alongside some fine other stories. I hope you enjoy.

In other excitable news, I've just had my story accepted for the Glasgow Science Fiction Writers Circle Anniversary Anthology. The circle, who have to read early drafts of all my nonsense, are thirty years old this year and to celebrate are bringing out an anthology of stories by authors who have, at some point, been members. It will feature stories from the likes of Neil Williamson, Bill King, Hal Duncan, Gary Gibson and Louise Welsh, which does make me wonder how I got in.
Very excited to be in this and fear not, I'll be going on about it for long and weary when it comes out in the autumn.

I think we can safely say I like May. The sun is out, the flowers are blooming, the barbeque is on and I can pretend I am a real writer for a while.

UPDATE: Bus-like, more news appears. If you will be at Satellite 5 this weekend, why not come along to the reading at 8 on Saturday night. Lots of excellent stuff will be read and it very much like like I'll be joining in. Hope to see you there.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

The Past Does Not Watch Over Us

It is with great delight that I can point to my latest published short story, now available in e-book format in The Speculative Book

It's a story on education, black holes and fighting your parents. It also mentions pakora and features REAL SCIENCE. (I know, I must be mad) as I originally wrote it to celebrate 100 years of General Relativity.

I hope you enjoy it. The rest of the book looks fascinating.