Why short stories are like buses

Well well well. It seems that within a period of about a week I’ve had three short stories published. Typical. You wait around for ages and suddenly three come at once.

So who’s been misguided enough to publish my ramblings?

The first culprits are the classy folk at the Stockholm Review of Literature, who published “The Sweet and the Sour” – originally a Panspermia Press tale – in their third issue, alongside Christopher Baldwin‘s accompanying artwork. Nice.

Second in line are Inkapture, who kindly took a liking to “Take the Next Exit for Love” – also a Panspermia Press original – and published it in their October 2014 issue. Also nice.

And third in line are Flash Fiction Magazine, who generously published “The Running Bath” – incidentally one of the first short stories I wrote “seriously”, although it isn’t a very serious story. Nice too.

I’d like to put it on record that I thank the editors of the aforementioned publications for being barmy enough to publish my guff. Cheers!

On eyelids in envelopes

Something quite peculiar has happened. After a considerably long period of getting “we like it, but” from editors, I’ve suddenly had three short stories accepted in about as many days. They’ll be published soon, apparently. Look out for details in a future post.

What on earth happened? It’s too much of a coincidence. Surely this is some sort of hoax. Surely the rug’s about to be pulled from under my smug little feet.

Or perhaps it’s hard times for editors. Is there a literary drought? Are editors peering into the dregs, scraping the bottoms of their barrels and finding my stories?

Maybe I’m being hard on myself. I feel that I should just accept this for what it is. It’s not a huge deal, in the grand scheme of things. It’s a tiny bit of recognition – a glimmer of validation. It’s a small but valuable lesson in the worth of persistence, of trying and trying so that you can keep improving and be there to catch a bit of luck when it comes along.

But more importantly, it’s evidence that posting small parts of your body to editors can do wonders.

I even sent my eyelids. I don’t sleep so well these days, but it’s worth it.

Easy Reading for Difficult Devils

What do you want first? The good news or the bad news?

The bad news? World War III is imminent. So grab some canned spaghetti, a bottle of Lucozade and a shovel. Now go to the garden and dig a hole. How far? As far as you can go. But before you start, make sure you peg a rope to the edge of the hole. That way you can climb back up when you’ve dug so far that the world is a speck of light above your head. Once you’ve climbed back up, call out for your loved ones. Tell them you want to show them something incredible. Take them to the edge of your hole and tell them to look down. Then shove them. Shove them with all of your love. They’ll fall and their legs will break. This will hurt, but it will prevent them from climbing back up – it will save their lives. Shout down that they should cover their heads, then throw in your tinned spaghetti and Lucozade. Sever the rope and jump down after your food supplies. When shock has numbed the agony of your broken legs, tell your loved ones how much they mean to you and how blessed you feel to have had them in your life. Then hold them in your arms and wait. And pray that it won’t rain.

So that’s the bad news.

The good news? One of my short stories has been published in Easy Reading for Difficult Devils, a dark fiction anthology edited by Zachary T. Owen. It’s called “The Adoring Dentist”, and is about a dentist who does horrendous things in the name of love. Don’t we all.

The even better news: it’s free. You can download it gratis from Amazon, Barnes and Noble or Smashwords (or from all three, if you’re a collector). It’s probably best to do so before you get started on your hole. Be quick – there isn’t much time.

See you on the other side.

 

Panspermia Press – Deluxe Collections

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My my, what’s that sexy thing I see reclining on a shelf at the Memories of the Future pop-up shop? Why, it’s Panspermia Press‘s deluxe collection – all seven previous issues from the press in a beautiful handcrafted package. Is there anything as alluring and luxurious? I think not.

Believe it or not, you can get your grubby mitts on one of these for just £4.50. Nonsensical value for money. Only six of them exist in our universe, so get in quick. And by quick I mean now. Go on. Off you go. Shoo.

The theme of the pop-up shop (which is in fact more of a festival than a shop) is analogue meets digital. It’s an interesting area. I mean, digital’s great, isn’t it. Very handy, very convenient. But analogue’s great too, for different reasons.

This deluxe collection speaks volumes on what’s great about “analogue”. It’s partially the inconvenience, isn’t it. The inconvenience of having it take up space on your shelf; the inconvenience of having to pick it up and brush its surface with your fingertips; the inconvenience of slowly undoing its velvety ribbon, of opening it up, of placing your hands inside and feeling the issues within; the inconvenience of carefully withdrawing an issue, unfolding it, admiring it in the light and reading its story.

Some inconveniences are lovely, aren’t they. Practically foreplay.

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Okay, so this is getting a bit smutty. Forget foreplay. Think of it instead as ritual. This is what analogue gives us.

So get your hands on some analogue. Visit the wonderful Memories of the Future pop-up shop and check out Panspermia Press‘s deluxe collection. There’s plenty to see besides. The shop’s brimming with indie books, zines, records, artwork, workshops and biscuits. And it won’t be around for long. Catch it while you can.

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