Accompanied by a reading of The Thing Behind The Mirror (Or Vegan bots from outer space) – by Pixie Willo, you can find it here.
Good news for those of you with strong constitutions and iron kneecaps!
My story, The House of Jack’s Girls, has been published in PseudoPod issue 616. PseudoPod is a podcast and written e-zine of short horror stories, featuring both spoken and text versions of each story. This issue contains two others apart from mine, and all for the perfectly reasonable price of not a single cent!
If you like my work, you’ll be interested to know that I’m running a bit of an experiment over at Curious Fictions. Curious Fictions is a website offering readers works by established authors: for a small monthly subscription, you can access works by hundreds of authors including exclusive, subscriber-only stories and newsletters.
So far, I’ve uploaded four stories that you can read for free, plus the first monthly subscriber-only post, including another story. The subscriber-only posts, featuring stories, writing ephemera, and some of the works and snippets that have never seen the light of public ridicule, will be going up on the 1st of every month.
Right now, however, you can read the following just for the price of turning up to have a look:
- At The End There Was a Man — first published in Anywhere But Earth, Coeur de Lion Press.
- The Emperor of Moscow — first published in Europa Universalis: What If?, Paradox Books
- A Suitable Level of Reward — first published in Canary Press, and
- The Daughters of John Anglicus — first published in Crusader Kings II: Tales of Treachery, Paradox Books
So head on over, have a read, and if you’d like to support this experiment, and get a monthly dose of cool stuff as well as access to hundreds of stories by hundreds of excellent and talented authors, consider popping down a buck or two.
On a whim, I entered a competition for 50-word short stories last week. I didn’t win, so I thought you might like a little bonus reading for your day: here are my entries, for your reading pleasure.
The fences were electrified. Designed to keep us from the world. Topped by razors. Patrolled by wolves. Governed by black eyes. Grass stopped at their edges. Water refused to flow. Inside, damnation. Outside, gun barrels. I closed my eyes. I gripped the wires. I burned. I climbed. I flew.
Mother calls. We answer, our voices muffled. We strayed from sight, and it is late. Home promises warmth, and rest, and love. We have strayed, and cannot find our way. Mother calls. We answer. The earth is cold. It fills our mouths and eyes. Mother calls, and calls, and calls.
THE ASSASSIN’S BENEDICTION
The bullet changes everything. You hear it before you feel it: a whistle that nature has never produced. Then a punch that turns the world upside down. And she’s gone. Your love. Exorcised. Nothing is ever the same. Your life is a ghost. That is my gift to you. Knowledge.
It’s getting towards the end of the day. The Blu-Ray pile has Snowpiercer and two Quatermass movies, freshly purchased, waiting to be unwrapped and watched. The beer is in the fridge. I’m about to start putting together the special dinner platter for Luscious and I that marks the point where I wish you all a Merry Christmas and book the hell out until the other side of the festivities.
So, before I go, to say thanks for popping in every now and again and reading my bewildering blether, have a short story on me. It’s not even remotely festive.
Enjoy, Merry Christmas, and see you on the other side.
It’s Halloween, a time when we pause in our Godless lives to pay tribute to Saint Allens, the patron saint of childhood diabetes.
Have a nasty little piece of fiction from my past to keep you warm. It was originally published in Scary Food, a horror fiction cookbook put out in the dim, distant past by now-defunct Aussie publisher Agog Press.
Here it is, regurgitated for your pleasure. It’s all you’re getting: I’ve eaten all the candy.
To note the Aurealis Award nomination for The Marching Dead, here’s a little bonus for those of you who knew him before he went electric.
Lying Like Cards: A Marius dos Hellespont fix is a vignette I wrote to mark the publication of The Marching Dead. It concerns the game of Kingdom, which I invented for the novels and which nobody has had the decency to licence and make me a rich man by producing limited edition gold-plated versions thereof. Or even a DOS game. The story takes place just before the opening of The Corpse-Rat King, so if you want to get the full benefit of the narrative, buy my goddamn books already. It’s appeared at the Angry Robot website and some delightfully hand-made booklet versions were given to people who attended the book launch, but it appears here for the first time.
It’s Short-bits-of-Battersby week!
First there’s the appearance of Canals of Anguilar in the Review of Australian Fiction, which you’re all aware of because you’ve already lashed out the $2.99 and have read it, but now you can pop over to the Angry Robot website and get a tiny taste of Corpse-Rat to whet your appetite for this Saturday’s launch event: a teensy tiny prequel to The Corpse-Rat King for your education and amusement.
Lying Like Cards: A Marius dos Hellespont Fix.
This is the story that 25 of you will be able to own in signed, dead-tree form, simply by being the first to purchase a copy of either Marius dos Hellespont novel at the launch and getting me to sign it. But have a read before you buy: I am a kind and generous God….
Over at the Screaming Ink website, the groovy Mark Farrugia, co-editor of the upcoming Midnight Echo #8, has posted a list of short stories that have made an impact upon him due to their offbeat and disturbing nature. The entire post, entitled Fiction That Has Stayed With Me, is a nice little run-down of one man’s reading tastes.
For you, for all of you, this is the end of the line.
Over at the website, I’ve added a couple of new items for your edification: the biblio page is now complete, and a couple of free stories have been added to the Free Lee! page– check out Decimated, from Shadowed Realms issue 8 as well as mu Aurealis-Award winning story Pater Familias from Shadowed Realms issue 3.
Some stories sing. Some howl at the moon like the love child of Boo Radley and a Gong Show contestant. Others, well, others sing, but really, it’s only in the shower, once the wife and kids have gone out, and nobody is around to take the piss because the story happens to know all the words to Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go and insists on doing all of George Michael’s dance moves in the wet, slippery nude.
After the number of rejections the following story has received, I’ve worked out which song it’s singing, and it’s short enough that those of you who care can experience a free read of a story that never quite made it.
So, for your reading pleasure, or otherwise, a freebie:
Meanwhile, in a cubicle some way distant from the main story, a man sat back from his computer’s strobing screen, loosened his tie, and experienced the type of epiphany the rest of us have to watch the right movie to believe in.
Orders died part-way up the throats of generals. Massed ranks of slavering Orc-demons checked their watches, shuffled from foot to foot to keep the circulation going, and glanced about, calculating the chances of maybe, just for a minute, dropping their battle shields and lighting a quick fag without anyone in command catching them at it. Far above, in a sky so distant it was more velvet than blue, the intercontinental bombers of the US Air Force circled in mile-wide loops like so many hungry seagulls on autopilot. Cards were dealt. Bets were placed. Coins changed hands in silent camaraderie. All except for one lonely aircraft at the periphery of the armada, where a role-playing game called ‘Mafia’ entered its third round.
It could all resume at any moment. The war for truth. Or freedom. Justice. You know. That one.
Any moment at all.
No longer defined by his cubicle, so insignificant to the scheme of things that I don’t even know his name to tell you, not even really our hero, the man closed his boss’ door for the last time, took a moment to drain the last cold swish of coffee from his cup, and dropped his security pass at the front desk. A puff of air-conditioned cold pushed him from the building forever. He inhaled the smells of the street, looked left, then right, and strode away, the cardboard box in his grasp holding the few reminders he wished to retain.
In an unnamed pass, high in a mountain range at the edge of the world, turbaned teenagers passed around spliffs and tuned a radio to catch the latest scores. Men in balaclavas clung to ropes above them, calling out “There, no there, there!” in strange accents as the static receded. Deep within the most important building in the world, a silver-haired man in a suit more expensive then your life threw a red telephone against the wall and sat with his arms crossed, glowering at the world he imagined lay outside.
Queens trumped Jacks. Shields were lowered. A tail gunner looked at his crewmates, smiled convincingly, and said “I am not Mafia” as they voted.
Nothing was over, of course. Not without some sort of resolution. It would never cease, no matter what happened at this moment. But just for this moment, this one, small moment…
After dinner, with a newly-purchased bouquet fanned out above the lip of a vase, and a half-bottle of red between them on the carpet, the man with no cubicle shared his epiphany with his wife, and held his breath.
Orc-demons stared at one another. Pilots looked up from their cards. The most important building in the world grew silent. As far as a galaxy far, far away, even as far as that, weapons were lowered. Everyone stopped, and waited, and watched.
The man’s wife reached out and ran a single fingernail down the side of his jaw.
“I love you so much,” she said, and brought his smile down to her lips.
A soccer ball struck the mud midway between two lines of trenches. Slowly at first, then with greater assurance, men of both sides emerged to shake hands, to hug, to swap chocolate and whiskey and photographs from home.