Anyway, I want to dive back into it. There will be more random things, more musings and life-stuff. The blue bird is dying; shortening your thoughts so they fit online isn't the way forward. With that in mind, it's a good thing I have a blog.
But first, some writing news. (Same old, same old, maybe, but good news about things you love are always worthy of sharing.)
A lot has happened since my last post.
The Beast begins like this:
At first the beast was an idea. The sound of crashing waves put it in a man’s mind, or a shape drawn by the wind in the sand. I don’t know where or when that was. I only know that by the time it reached us it had grown into a whisper.
Moving on to the current year.
The Fox God and the Fox, a dark fable of religion, deception and punishment, was my second-ever fiction publication. It's now been reprinted in Dark Little Dreams, an anthology of dark fiction from Bad Dream Entertainment press. Collected from the first two years of Bad Dream Entertainment's existence as an online home for eclectic horror and modern fantasy fiction, Dark Little Dreams brings readers fifteen stories that stray far across the fringes of literature. From lost spirits to buried secrets and workplace oddities, this anthology is a surreal compilation of tales, featuring new and seasoned writers alike.
The anthology is edited by Brett Reistroffer and includes the fiction of Eric J. Guignard, Santiago Eximeno, Mark Patrick Lynch, Anna Yeatts and many others – namely Tim Jeffreys, a superb writer you should definitely get acquainted with, and also the editor of the Dark Lane Anthology series, which I will discuss at length further in this post.
Here's the first paragraph of The Fox God and the Fox:
Deep in the savanna, a long time ago, there used to be a place called the Valley of Long Grass. The air in the valley was hot, the soil hard, and the animals lean and tenacious, and ever hungry. In the day the sky was a gold cloth, in the night, a floating pool of blood. Gold and blood, those were the lives of the predators who lived among the stems – they would work, and trade, and hunt the small creatures that roamed there, and they would kill each other, often and with brutality.
Later, April marked my return to the pages of Dark Lane. This time, the anthology not only included my fiction, but editor Tim Jeffreys was also awesome and kind enough to ask me to write the introduction, which proved to be a very rewarding, very fun kind of torture. I'm proud of how it came out in the end.
Dark Lane Anthology: Volume Three deserves a blog post of its own, so I won't go too deep into detail. Suffice it to say that once again, it's a superb collection of the finest weird fiction and an absolute honor to be a part of. It includes writing by Rhoads Brazos, Tim Major, Deborah Walker, Rebecca Lloyd and many other great writers, as well as art by David Whitlam, Vikki Yeates and Sally Barnett.
It's a pleasure to have my works – Geeselight, a tale of a monster hunt and all the shameful and confusing things that come with family, and Three Tales, a trio of micro-fiction reprints – bookending the collection.
Three Tales consists of Anglerfish, The Willow Switch and The Banshee of the McCraes (first published in The Molotov Cocktail, Pidgeonholes and The Devilfish Review, respectively).
Geeselight begins thusly:
They said no one escaped Geeselight. His sister hadn't. Paul remembered how she came home that day, face dirty and swollen from crying, a sack of apples in her hand. Their father took it from her and flung it to Paul's feet. Cousin Leland rolled into the living room, clumsy in his new chair, and looking at him she took hold of herself. She said, “I saw it, I saw Geeselight.”
And this brings us to my latest publication, Lady of Black Needle and String, a short story just published in The Stoneslide Corrective. It's a story about the many faces of death, and about love that doesn't stop at 'death do us part.' And it's actually one of my favorite published stories to date, so you're more than welcome to check it out. Here's the beginning to get you started:
A thing is rarely just one thing, and death is no exception.
The boy is downstairs, shouting for my mother. “Grandma!” I close the book. I put it down in its box, carefully. I think of your fingers on the clasp, thin and warm, and their prints, which I have already erased with my own touch long ago. “Grandma!”
When I enter the drawing room the boy is hugging the old woman. His face is buried in the skirt of her dress and his arms are wrapped around what must be her knees, under all that fabric. Her hands are resting on his shoulders. As she notices me she pushes him away, softly, and says, “There, there. Go and play.” She speaks slowly, as she always does with the boy, pronouncing every word as clear as glass.
And... That's that for now. Thank you for reading. As always, I would love to hear what you thought.