Like so many, 2019 has not been an easy year for me as a writer. At one point, I thought the trough into which I had plunged was bottomless. So many stories had gone out and only a few had garnered any response – mostly rejection. It also seemed that whichever press I submitted to would suddenly disappear from view or would experience some crisis or other to vanish from the face of the earth. I began to believe I was jinxed – but I kept on writing. And I kept on receiving rejections, albeit the close but no cigar type, the almost made it, the ‘if we had more room’ and so on. I kept on writing.
Now at the end of a difficult year, I am glad I did. The continual submitting, whether to a writing group or to a publication, meant I was learning and honing my craft all the time. The time I gave to Trembling With Fear at Horror Tree, reading, editing, being involved with admin aspects, also added up, sometimes horrendously and I will admit to the occasional wobble about whether I could continue or not because it detracted so much from the little time I had for myself. I remained with TWF and I’m glad I did as this allowed me to put my own writing in perspective.
And that’s what you need in the end. To keep it all in perspective. In the grand scheme of things – family, health and home – all has been well, yes, we’ve had an occasional dive into disaster but have always come back up to live another day. So, back to the writing and putting it in perspective. All those months of writing are paying off.
I had stories published in issues of Sirens Call, Iron Faerie’s Fable, Blood Song’s Curses and Cauldrons, The Monsters we Forgot Volume 3 and Trickster’s Treats #3 The Seven Deadly Sins Edition anthologies. I also edited Horror Tree’s Trembling With Fear Year 2 anthologies. All mean a lot to me but those below each represent a different type of step forward:
Demain published my novelette, Asylum of Shadows back in March. This is my first ‘standalone’ work.
Blurb: Amongst the slums of Limehouse stands a new hospital, a monument to Victorian philanthropy. Marian, destitute and about to be orphaned as her father succumbs to the ravages of syphilis, is taken there by Dr. Janssen. This eminent physician offers her work and a roof over her head. Employed as a seamstress, she stitches shrouds for the dead and hoods for the hangman. Marian is taken to the ward of St. Carcifex. This shadowy ward receives the recently deceased, particularly those who have hung from the gallows. Her task in this gloomy place is to watch over them, make sure the dead stay dead. On Marian’s first night, she is charged with the care of two murderers, who, despite their hanging, do not appear to have the expected deathly pallor. On the second night, these guests are joined by innocent, hard-working men, victims of an unfortunate dock accident. Marian is enraged that such should be forced to share the ward. As her own mind falls victim to the ravages of the disease which killed her father, she metes out her own justice, her own vengeance – on dead and alive alike.
Snowbooks published Thread of the Infinite, an industrial horror anthology containing my story ‘Transcending Nature’. Communications become part of the body, individuals become part of something more and then gradually Nature and Technology defrags the human race.
For this, I received a decent payment AND print copies. This hadn’t happened to me before
My flash fiction, Silo, made its way to Russia. I’d never been translated before!
Silver Shamrock will be publishing my gothic horror novella, Bottled, early in 2020. I have been so lucky in finding a publisher willing to take a chance on my writing and supporting me in getting my work out there. I’ve read a couple of books of theirs now and been impressed, particularly with their Midnight in the Graveyard anthology.
Bottled blurb: The house was his, an unwanted and unwelcome inheritance. As a child, Tyler Torrence spent many miserable hours beneath its roof, hating his grandfather and the man’s housekeeper, Mrs Waites. His only escape during those visits had been via the impossible bottles created by his granddad; bottles holding miniature worlds in which he could lose himself for hours. Sometimes however, he sensed something else living in the house and in the bottles and when he returned home, he took the nightmares with him.
Now an adult, Tyler decides one last visit can do no harm, allow him to finally shake off his nightmares. The bottles however, are waiting—and so is Mrs Waites. As both house and bottles gradually yield up their secrets, it is made clear to Tyler what is expected of him and what will happen should he fail.
Is Tyler master or servant of the house?
5th Feb Flame Tree Press will be publishing a collection of apocalyptic stories in their A Dying Planet anthology and it contains my tale, ‘Milking Time’.
Silver Shamrock are publishing my satanic short story, ‘Family Reunion’ in their Midnight in the Pentagram anthology. It is loosely based on Euripides The Bacchae and is a story I always wanted to play around with. Those Greeks could be quite brutal!
The Russian micro-press, Horrorscope Press, will be publishing some of my dark poetry in their Hidden Realms collection.
What else is there? I have stories out still under consideration. I am still trying to get my novels published. I am still writing short stories, novels and poetry. I am working hard. Would I change any of it? No.