Like the rest of the students on my course (and everyone else, I guess) I’m still in the middle of the pre-Easter deadline crunch. That hasn’t been helped by problems with the Minerva system causing one of the assignments to disappear into a cyberhole, only for the new deadline to be in the middle of the maelstrom.

The upshot is that blog posts may be far and few between for the next couple of weeks.

But while I’m here…

…part of my workload is to finalize the selction for Transtories over the next couple or three weeks, since I have some forty-five stories to read through. (I’ll post the full stats tomorrow) I may post acceptances on Twitter.

Right, better get on with it. I’ll be back sometime to talk more about anthologies…

• April 2nd, 2011 • Posted in General • Comments: 0

Looming Deadlines

After a glorious day out in the sunshine, it’s back to the grindstone with a vengeance, although the continuing sunshine helps to soften the grind.

What is less wonderful is that I have eight deadlines due in the next nineteen days; six of them are academic, including three in two days, two of them on the same day.

Of the two to do with writing, one of them is out of my control, so I just have to keep a watching eye on it.

The last one is for Transtories, the anthology I’m editing for Aeon Press (publishers of Albedo One); if you’re looking to sub a story, you have another week to get it into me.

If it all goes quiet around here, you’ll know why — I’m already having to put some new projects on hold until the deadline crunch has passed.

• March 24th, 2011 • Posted in Books, Writing • Comments: 0

Sale News

The last couple of days I seem to have hit a hot streak.

Yesterday morning I started nudging some ideas around my cranium about the Brian True-May story, and before I realized it I had an article about the demographics of Keynsham vs Midsomer which I sent in –without too much hope– to the local newspaper, The Week in Keynsham & East Bristol. To my surprise, they wrote back within a few hours and said they’d take it.

And having placed my first article, this morning I got more good news when Andy Remic accepted my story ‘Torturer’s Moon’ for his forthcoming anthology VIVISEPULTURE, to be published by new imprint Anarchy Books. Subtitled “Weird tales of twisted imagination,” I suspect there won’t be many kittens in it…at least, not live ones.

Joking apart, I share a ToC with Rem and fellow Roboteers Gary McMahon and Lauren Beukes, as well as a who’s who of British horror, fantasy and SF; Conrad Williams, Neil Asher, James Lovegrove, Ian Whates and Ian Watson, among others, all within a cover designed by Vinnie Chong. I can’t wait!

As things are supposed to happen in threes, I’m keeping my fingers crossed for tomorrow.

• March 17th, 2011 • Posted in News • Comments: 0


The submission period for my new anthology Transtories is now open. You have thirty days to finish up that revision if you’re thinking of submitting. Meanwhile I gave an interview to D.L. Snell over at his Snellville blog, talking about what stories and authors I particularly like, and some of the things I’m hoping to fish out of my inbox over the next month.

• March 1st, 2011 • Posted in Books • Comments: 0

New Story Appearance

Newcon Press has announced its forthcoming anthology Future Conflicts edited by Ian Whates.

The book will be published in April and launched at Eastercon.

The table of contents is as follows:

Introduction – Ian Whates

  1. The Wake – Dan Abnett
  2. Unaccounted – Lauren Beukes
  3. The New Ships – Gareth L Powell
  4. The Harvest – Kim Lakin-Smith
  5. Brwydr Am Ryddid – Stephen Palmer
  6. The War Artist – Tony Ballantyne
  7. Occupation – Colin Harvey
  8. The Soul of the Machine – Eric Brown
  9. Extraordinary Rendition – Steve Longworth
  10. Yakker Snak – Andy Remic
  11. The Legend of Sharrock – Philip Palmer
  12.  The Ice Submarine – Adam Roberts
  13. Welcome Home, Jannisary – Tim C Taylor

Counting Ian. Whates –the editor- there are no less than five Angry Robot authors present in the contents list, as well as my stunt double, Tony Ballantyne, and near-neighbour Gareth L Powell.

Yes, that is me you see at number seven. I’ll be putting pen to paper for anyone who wants copies signed at the launch party at eastercon.

See you there, maybe?

• February 23rd, 2011 • Posted in Appearances, Books, General, News • Comments: 0

New Anthology — Transtories

I’m delighted to announce that Aeon Press have agreed to publish the next anthology I’m editing, to be titled Transtories. I’ve known Rob Nielson, John Kenny and the other members of the Aeon Press team for nearly four years now, and they’re great guys who take their work seriously, and their partying equally so. They’ve been stalwart promoters of Irish SF, but at the same time have championed fiction from both the UK, US and non-anglophone countries.

They kindly took my novelette ‘On the Rock’ for publication in Albedo One in 2008, and we have several other projects bubbling away, but for now Transtories is the one I want to focus on. The submission period will open on March 1st (anyone who submits early will have their submission deleted unread, and will probably break out in boils as well!) and run until March 31st. Submissions guidelines are over at the Aeon Press website.

And while you’re there, take a look at John Kenny’s page for Box of Delights, a horror anthology that will also be coming out later on this year.

• January 20th, 2011 • Posted in Books, Events, General, News • Comments: 0

Dark Spires News

Did you know — and as Diggory Venn would say, not a lot of people know this – that today is the 83rd anniversary of Thomas Hardy’s death? And to mark the occasion, Ove Jansson’s excellent Cybermage site has posted the anthology’s first review.

Until now, the book has been available to order as a paperback, either from the site or at conventions, and for those readers who don’t embrace dead tree format, as a mobi or e-pub download.

But now the good people at Wizard’s Tower Press –who actually reside deep within Hardy Country– have also been able to make the book available as a Kindle. To mark the occasion,  they’ve posted an extract from Roz Clarke’s wonderful ‘Last Flight to West Bay’ to read for free on the website.

This is terrific news because amazon is a whole new ball game, and makes the book available to a whole new set of readers, which for a small press is absolutely crucial.  It also means a slight price reduction to American readers, since until now WTP have only been able to price in sterling, and PayPal adds a conversion fee. And for about twenty-four hours only, they’ll be knocking a pound (about US$1.60) off all formats.

On another front, I’ll be posting about an anthology I’m going to edit soon, but today is Dark Spires’ day, so head on over to Wizard’s Tower’s site, and read the first installment of Roz Clarke’s story for free, and save yourself some pennies if you like it!

• January 11th, 2011 • Posted in Books, General, News, Reviews, Writing • Comments: 1

Reading Matter

It’s that time of year again when people start to look back, peaking around about December 30th when it’s hard to find a TV programme that isn’t a retrospective (which is a good reason to watch DVDs, or better still to turn the box off).

SF is no exceptions to this, and a couple of sites have already started, running their ‘best of/ the following are eligable for’ lists, while the ToC for Rich Horton’s Years Best has already popped up at SFSignal, which also carries Jonathan Strahan’s ToC. Interesting that they have at least two overlaps, Peter Watts and Elizabeth Hand, while Neil Gaiman has different entries in the two collections.

I already have a heavy reading list, and adding in the reading I’ve already done for the Nebula means that I’m almost ready to cry mercy. I’ve already read a lot of the contenders due to reviewing Asimovs and F & SF for Suite101, but there are a lot of other worthy works and authors out there.

At some point by the 30th, I shall endeavour to post my own list, but meanwhile, what do you think are the best stories and novels of the year?

• December 16th, 2010 • Posted in Awards, Books, General, Reviews, Writing • Comments: 0

The Bookshop’s Open!

As you may have heard, I have an anthology out with Wizard’s Tower Press (yes, really! I can’t believe that I haven’t mentioned it before…). One factor in the book’s eventual success or failure will be the publisher’s online shop which has just opened, selling high-quality e-books with added content at reasonable  prices.*

This will make Dark Spires available to a much wider audience, both in the US and in Europe. And one of the nice ideas Cheryl has had is to add a ‘donate’ button, through which customers can donate directly to the authors. As she said, think of it as a ‘tip’ jar.

Dark Spires will –hopefully–be the first of many such books and I’m looking forward to seeing what else becomes available. To quote Cheryl further, 

If anyone out there runs a small press, or is an independent author who has made ebooks of their out-of-print back catalog, and is interested in having us stock their books, please get in touch (info [at] wizardstowerpress [dot] com). We will be selective about what we stock, and in particular we will insist on well-made ebooks (though we can help you clean yours up) but I very much want to see the stock grow. Also I want to talk to prospective partners about contract terms to make sure we come up with a deal that people are happy with.”

Do take a look at the site. It’s an exciting time to be an author in the South West of England, and I’ll have further news, on a new project in the not too distant future.

* There seems to be a huge variation in prices for e-book, much more than for dead tree ones, from a dollar or two to fifteen; Dark Spires retails at about five dollars, which seems reasonable, judging by what I’ve seen on Amazon.

• November 17th, 2010 • Posted in General • Comments: 0

Post Bristolcon Musings

Well, that was good. Bristolcon 10 was over three times the size of last year, with an attendance of over 150 people. Now, that’s a proper con. The panels were well attended — I opened on the Juliet E. McKenna moderated Publishing panel with Mike Shevdon, Andy Bigwood and Dave Bradley of SFX, then sat in on the Joe Abercrombie interview, both of which were excellent. I followed that with an hour on the con dealer’s desk and then the Dark Spires launch.

That went pretty well, although it became a little chaotic (mea culpa) as the event progressed. There were definitely learning points to be taken from it. Like, put the box -and the designated treasurer- at the end of the line. Still, we had  good sales, and people seemed to like the actual finish of the book, which is marvellous, IMHO.

After a late lunch and a visit to the Dealer’s Room to pick up Murky Depths 14, containing Neil Beynon’s ‘Stone,’  onto The Future of Science panel. Impressed as expected by Alastair Reynalds and Gareth L Powell, but it emerges that Paul Cornell’s urbane exterior camouflages an Inner Science Geek…

The Programme culminated with ‘Writing Fight Scenes,’ in which Joe Abercrombie was repeatedly thrown down by Juliet E. McKenna and Meaney-san. I was supposed to moderate this panel, which turned out to be an exercise in futility, but by this time a worsening chest infection (which has seen me confined to barracks while Kate and Sharon hit Bath) forced me into withdrawing from both my panel and the 6.50 reading.  Cheryl Morgan was a more than adequate replacement.

And so, here’s looking forward to next year…

• November 7th, 2010 • Posted in General • Comments: 3