Sunday 6 November 2016

The Flock: Here Be Monster Munches...

Some Monster Munch, this evening...

So I am delighted to announce that my new story, 'The Flock' has been published by the lovely folks over at The Singularity!  It shimmered into being a week or so ago on their website.  You can read it here:

The Flock (I'm afraid this link no longer works - GTM 11.03.18)

I came up with the original idea for this story after I'd visited an Antony Gormley exhibition at the Hayward gallery in London.  Casts of his body were strewn around the South Bank, tottering on the edges of rooftops, and I gather causing some alarm: a few calls to the police from members of the public about men about to jump... The work was called 'Event Horizon', a suitable SFnal title.

The visit had piqued my imagination and The Flock was born a few weeks later.  Or at least, a rudimentary outline thereof.  I'd just moved down to the South Coast and had found a new writers' group, hoping it would be similar to the diverse, outward-looking one I'd had to leave in Bristol.  But it couldn't have been more different.

For some reason, the glossy magazines strewn around, containing stories entitled 'The Violin Man' and 'Heartbreak in the Hospital', didn't register until later.  Excitedly clutching the first few pages of The Flock, when it was my turn, I read them out loud.  Whilst it left most of the group cold, some recoiled in horror.  It seemed that I had misjudged their collective imagination.  Afterwards, the woman who ran the group, somewhat insultingly, even asked me if I'd had my CRB* checked.  I left, appalled, and didn't return.  Luckily my faith in writing groups was soon restored by the wonderful Milford SF Conference.

Anyway, I got wrapped up in writing The Scion and then Machine Songs, and The Flock was shelved.  Returning to it brought back recollections of that dire evening.  But I persevered, and the story changed into its current form, through various iterations.

Since it has been published, there have been some great comments about my use of a popular crispy snack in the story.  This didn't appear in the original draft I read at the godawful writers' group, which might have been the problem.  Anyway, I fully intend that from now on, I use Monster Munch in all future fiction.  Or at least during its creation...

*Criminal Records Bureau - for those outside the UK, new employers run your details through their system to make sure they haven't got a criminal record, etc.  Now known as a Disclosure Check.

Saturday 2 July 2016

Milford Blog

The new Milford SF Writers' Conference Blog site kicks off with a lovely piece by Al Reynolds (Revelation Space, other SF blockbusters).

I first went to the Welsh incarnation of Milford in 2012, after which I was entrusted with the annual report.  Then once I'd got the bug, I returned in 2014; some more words about that one here.

My story Words of War came out of 2012, as did a very rudimentary version of the first few chapters of the now finished (but as yet unpublished) Machine Songs.  And in 2014?  Well ... you'll have to wait!  Needless to say on both occasions, I made some fantastic writer friends, ate lots of vegetarian nosh and explored Mordor; some beers might also have been consumed.

And I'm back again this September for more writing related shenanigans.

Here is a screenshot from the Milford Success Stories page.  Keeping some distinguished company there:

Wednesday 29 June 2016

Dancing Around The Monolith

Seismic events: the referendum, Game of Thrones and, of course, the latest Guy T. Martland short story...

The lovely folks at Disclaimer Magazine published my story 'Dancing Around The Monolith' a few days back.  Although it feels like weeks as that referendum thing happened in between it being published and me posting this...

They kindly tweeted about it lots at the time, but in case you missed it, you can check it out here.  Or by clicking on the picture to your left/above/in another dimension (depending on how you are viewing this). 

Tuesday 19 April 2016

The Scion Is Dead! Long Live The Scion!

Have no fear - The Scion’s story is not yet over.  However, unfortunately my publisher has decided to close down.  As of the end of May, The Scion will no longer be available on Amazon.  (So if anyone out there hasn’t yet got a copy, now is the time!)

‘So what’s the future for The Scion?  Is this the end?  Wasn’t there a sequel planned?’ I hear you shout.

I’ll answer this with a quote from Frank Herbert: ‘There is no real ending.  It’s just the place where you stop the story.’

‘But the Dune saga went on a bit, didn’t it?’ you reply.

‘Well… Dune was excellent…  And I quite liked the first few sequels…’

‘Are you saying you did lose interest then?’

‘Maybe I’d partaken of too much spice.  I’d overdosed.  My irises were altering to match those of Paul Atreides.  I had to stop.’

Anyway, I have no intention of ending The Scion’s story just yet.  The sequel is almost finished and there is another planned (A trilogy!  Woot!  Woot!).  So my protagonist, Septimus Esterhazy, is out there trying to find another publisher on my behalf.  Will he succeed?  Only time will tell.  But he is a persistent bugger and keeps telling me more stuff about him that I dutifully transcribe.

I’d like to take this moment to say a huge thanks to Safkhet for publishing my debut and throwing me out there into the world.  We’ve come a long way together in a short time, and it has been a lot of fun.  Thanks again to everyone who bought the book, read it, reviewed it and supported my fledgling efforts.  There will be more.


Sep sets out on another mission for the Sassrit...

Tuesday 15 March 2016


A view from the 'ivory tower', yesterday morning.

I am sticking my head out of the ivory tower to write this.  Actually, it isn't ivory.  No elephants died to support my writing.  It was formed by a unique and somewhat alien process of ossification.  But it looks a lot like ivory and sways slightly when the wind is up.

Anyway, I'll come down soon.  But I've been busy with this writing thing.  The sequel to The Scion is coming along slowly but surely.  I keep slipping past self-imposed Scrivener deadlines, but the words are getting down.

The guys over at Safkhet have the synopsis and they seem happy so far.  The title will be revealed soon.  I'll weave a flag and fly it from the roof.  You'll see it for miles.

In addition, somewhere out there on the level plain, machines are gearing into action, and dead tree versions of The Scion are churning out.  Or will be.  Stuff is happening.

And finally, I managed to send a finished version of Machine Songs to Carol Kean of Perihelion reviewing fame.  It is still a rough diamond.  Or as I mentioned to her, probably cubic zirconium.  She managed to see through the typos and has already been tweeting about it, and even squeezed it into one of her reviews!

@tea_in_carolina: 'Machine Songs is more than YA coming of age.  It's as epic as Harry Potter / Ender's Game.'  Really?  Wow!  Thanks, Carol!  #listenforthemachinesong, folks.

Well, now I've tasted the rarefied air, it's time to return to The Scion 2.  See you all on the other side.

Sunday 14 February 2016

Clone Music published by Perihelion SF

My story Clone Music has been published by Perihelion SF!  It landed on the 12th February.

This story features a character from my novel The Scion, an artist called Sirius Andervich.  Well, he is only obliquely referenced in The Scion, but he was an interesting chap, so I wrote a bit more about him and it became this story.

The idea came to me when I was thinking about Paul Simon incorporating other cultures into his music when writing Graceland.  Not that I am in any way denouncing this album - it is quite brilliant.  In due course the idea became darker and more perverted, especially when a former friend of Andervich reared his arrogant head and some clones got involved.

Clicking on the speaker above will take you to the Clone Music...

Tuesday 12 January 2016

Blowing The Scion's Trumpet

A few lovely Scion-related things have happened since I last blogged.  Things which have cast the shadow of self-doubt away from my feelings about The Scion and, perhaps rightly, elevated its status in the world.  I find self-doubt always creeps in somewhere, with the insidious nature of the Wraith - a healthy part of the process, until it becomes all-consuming...

Anyway, here we go: the trumpet is blasting, hopefully not deafening the rest of the orchestra, or swallowing the viola's delicate melody. Unfortunately, I think maybe the entire brass section were in the pub in the interval.

Fancy a cuppa and a good SF novel?

BSFA Longlist

The Scion was longlisted for a British Science Fiction Association (BSFA) award.  BSFA members can vote for the book (alongside other fabulous works like Al Robertson's Crashing Heaven and Paul McAuley's Something Coming Through) up until the 31st January.  Fingers crossed it'll make the shortlist.

Preditors & Editors Poll

The Scion seems to have somehow snuck onto the Preditors & Editors Poll for Science Fiction & Fantasy novels published in 2015.  Currently storming up the charts to hover around number 3. If you fancy voting, you have until the 14th of January - which is soon!

Perihelion Science Fiction Review

Carol Kean has written a quite wonderful review of The Scion for Perihelion, giving the book 5/5 stars.  We had quite a lot of correspondence about the book - some of which is alluded to in the review.  Well worth reading, here is one of my favourite quotes: 'Bursting at the seams with planets, space ships, futuristic technology, wars, peoples, and monstrosities, “The Scion” is the hardest type of #HardScienceFiction, as we in the Twitterverse say. You could safely scrape the Mohs test-diamond over this story without leaving a visible scratch.'

Carol and Perihelion are also both up for awards in Preds & Eds, so go vote for them!


A big thank you to Carol for your kind words and support, in Perihelion as well as on goodreads and amazon. Thanks also to everyone else who has nominated and voted so far - you are all lovely people.

Sunday 3 January 2016