Posts Tagged ‘anthology’

By Sword, Stave or Stylus - High ResolutionI don’t get huge numbers of reviews, so I sometimes get over-excited when I receive one, especially one as glowingly positive as this recent review by Writerbee of By Sword, Stave or Stylus. To quote the start of the review, ‘These fantasy genre stories take wordsmithing and storytelling to great heights.’ I really can’t complain about a review like that!

By Sword, Stave or Stylus is available as ebook via Amazon.

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Facing off against the mad genius.

I love Lego. I love telling stories. What better way to combine my passions than by building Lego models based on my own stories? So here’s my depiction of gentleman adventurers Dirk Dynamo and Sir Timothy Blaze-Simms battling the preserved head of Leonardo da Vinci. Da Vinci has been lurking for centuries in the sewers below Venice, perfecting his army of automata and preparing to take over the world.

Getting up close with danger.

Getting up close with danger.

Pity poor Leonardo - it's lonely being a mad genius.

Pity poor Leonardo – it’s lonely being a mad genius.

I had great fun doing this, and will definitely make more. Next time ninja!

The full story of ‘The Secret in the Sewers’ can be found in my steampunk short story collection Riding the Mainspring, free to anyone signing up to my mailing list.

AvastYeAirshipsIn a daring history that never was, pirates roam the skies instead of the seas. Fantastical airships sail the clouds on both sides of the law. Within these pages, you will find stories of pirates and their prey with a few more pragmatic airships thrown in. With stories ranging from Victorian skies to an alien invasion, there is something for everyone in these eighteen tales of derring-do!

Tomorrow sees the launch of Avast, Ye Airships!, a collection of stories themed around airship pirates, edited by Rie Sheridan Rose. It features ‘A Wind Will Rise’, my latest story to feature Dirk Dynamo and Sir Timothy Blaze-Simms, gentlemen adventurers of the Epiphany Club, as they battle a slaving pirate airship over the Atlantic.

If you’re anything like me, you probably love stories about both pirates and airships, which makes bringing them together doubly awesome.

So what are you waiting for, me hearties? Hop on over to the publishers’ website to buy a copy. There be gold in them there clouds.

The full contents of the collection:

Beneath the Brass by Stephen Blake
Maiden Voyage by Jeffrey Cook & Katherine Perkins
Colonel Gurthwait and the Black Hydra by Robert McGough
Captain Wexford’s Dilemma by Ogarita
Her Majesty’s Service by Lauren Marrero
A Wind Will Rise by Andrew Knighton
Hooked by Rie Sheridan Rose
Go Green by Ross Baxter
Lost Sky by Amy Braun
Miss Warlyss Meets the Black Buzzard by Diana Parparita
Plunder in the Valley by Libby A. Smith
The Clockwork Dragon by Steve Cook
Adventures of a Would-Be Gentleman of the Skies by Jim Reader
A Clouded Affair by Steven Southard
The Climbers by D Chang
The Steampunk Garden by Wynelda Ann Deaver
Lotus of Albion by Steve Ruskin
And a Bottle of Rum… by K.C. Shaw

A steam-powered cowboy with a taste for death.

A daring art heist in a moving city.

A zeppelin flight through the smoke-filled skies of a Europe torn apart by volcanoes.

And much, much more…

Riding The Mainspring - High ResolutionI’m giving away my steampunk short story collection, Riding the Mainspring, to anyone who signs up to my mailing list. So if you’re looking for some exciting steam-powered action, why not go and sign up here.

If you’ve already read Riding the Mainspring and don’t want to miss out then never fear – just sign up to the mailing list and then email me. Let me know that you’ve already read Riding the Mainspring, and which of my other ebooks you’d like for free instead, and I’ll send you a copy. You can see a list of the books here.

If you’re on the mailing list then you’ll also get my Flash Friday stories delivered direct to your inbox each week, along with updates on my upcoming books. There’s no cost, and no need to buy anything. Just click the link to enjoy some free reading!

AvastYeAirshipsYou like airships, right? And everybody likes pirates.* So what could be better than a whole collection of stories about airship pirates?

Nothing. Except maybe if I had a story in that collection. Oh wait, I do!

Coming out at the end of February, Avast, Ye Airships! is an anthology of stories about airships, pirates and of course airship pirates. It features the latest adventure from Dirk Dynamo and Sir Timothy Blaze-Simms, the heroes of my Epiphany Club stories, as they tackle a flying slaver in the skies above the Atlantic. With only their wits, their fists and a pedal-powered flying machine, can these brave adventurers end this aerial menace?

Other authors in this collection include:

  • Rie Sheridan Rose (editor) – writer of various things, including steampunk and horror
  • D Chang – game writer and designer
  • Robert McGough – writer of steampunk, horror and southern gothic fiction
  • Ross Baxter – sci-fi and horror writer who started writing to fill the time while at sea – how cool is that?
  • Steven R Southard – writes all sorts of historically flavoured genre fiction
  • K. C. Shaw – author of several airship pirate stories
  • Steve Cook – writer and teacher, a combo I’ve also been
  • Lauren Marrero – romance novelist
  • Steve Ruskin – I’d tell you more, but sadly I can’t get his webpage to load
  • Jim Reader – writer, house husband and Texan, which is close enough to ‘cowboy’ to make me jealous
  • Jeffrey Cook – a writer whose first book came out of NaNoWriMo, proving that motivating month can work
  • Charlotte Hunter – writer of creepy things
  • Stephen Blake – from southwest England, a land traditionally full of pirates, smugglers and other seafaring rogues
  • Libby Smith
  • Diana Parparita
  • Wyenlda Deaver
  • Amy Braun

I’m really looking forward to this collection, and will share more details nearer the time. Hopefully by then I’ll also have some more Epiphany Club-related news, but that’s dependent on me finding editing time, so don’t hold your breath.

Polly want a cracker?

 

* Not the real ones who terrorise the Indian Ocean with assault rifles. The ones with parrots and dubloons.

One of my collections of short stories

One of my collections of short stories

I’m not the sort of person to defy change just because I like the familiar. The world moves on, and in the book market that means some huge shifts in the past decade and probably the coming one. But it’s worth remembering that these changes don’t always follow the pattern we expect, as shown by the short story market.

When I started seriously writing, and reading about how to get published, it was still said that the best place to start a career in science fiction and fantasy was with short stories. Even by that point this was clearly not true – the magazines that published short fiction were facing huge declines in readership, in print form at least, something Warren Ellis demonstrated every so often by looking at their sales. Having accepted the wisdom I was given, it looked like I’d been sold a crock – short stories were on the way out, in favour of cheap paperbacks and other forms of entertainment. That decline looked set to continue until there was almost no short story market at all.

But the past few years have shown that’s not true. I doubt the sales figures for the print magazines are any better than they were, but high profile markets like Interzone are clinging on, and new magazines are even being launched. Websites have created a new model for the speculative short story magazine, cutting costs by not being printed and posted out, getting income from advertising, subscriptions and donations. Electronic distribution also makes it easier for them to expand their readership through the instant connection of links on social media. Podcasting has let them reach people who don’t have much time to read, but who enjoy listening to a story on their way to work.

Short stories have also become a marketing tool. Indie authors regularly give them away for free. Neil Gaiman has done the same. Even I’m posting a flash story every Friday, as a way to hook readers on my fiction – yes, that’s right, I’m not entertaining you just out of the goodness of my heart, it’s also for the dark motive of getting you to buy more of my books and so help me make a living off this.

It’s also worth noting that anthologies keep on coming out. Star editor John Joseph Adams has created a series of interesting collections that bring stories together to explore a single theme, in a way magazines and websites seldom do. And that old publishing classic, the ‘years best whatever’ anthology, keeps appearing on the bookshelves.

The short story marketing looked like it was dying, but instead it’s diversified and prospered, creating something more intricate, fascinating and far reaching than ever before. I still think new authors are better off writing novels, but the potential is there. It leaves me wondering, what other forms of storytelling will go the same way. And how will books diversify as time moves on?

La Belle Dame Sans Merci by Sir Frank Dicksee. Image via Wikimedia commons.

No-one ever asks me where I get my ideas from. Why would they? I know lots of smart people, and they understand that ideas come from all over the place. But looking through the stories I’ve assembled in Lies We Will Tell Ourselves I was struck by what a wide range of sources I’d chewed up and spat back out in these short stories:

  • How We Fall – came from a deliberate decision to turn the next two adverts I saw on the side of bus shelters into a story – the adverts were far less classy than what I made out of them.
  • So Cold It Burns – sprang from a couple of paintings I saw in Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, in particular the blighted leaves that hint at sorrow to come in Frank Dicksee’s La Belle Dame Sans Merci – the guitar strumming cousin and his song about an actress is based on my friend Dan and his hilarious Keira Knightly song.
  • Distant Rain – my friend Nick, a naval architect, was telling me all about submarines while at another friend’s wedding, and this is the result (the wedding in question was that of occasional commenter on this blog Jon Taylor, at which I met several people who are now good friends, so it was an auspicious occasion all round).
  • Day Labour – inspired by Kris Drever’s song ‘Harvest Gypsies’.
  • Digits and The Extra Mile – both written for a competition in a magazine with the theme of ‘five’.
  • Second Skin – influenced by working for a company that analysed investments, where I learned about hedge funds and how awful they are.
  • The Harvest – inspired by a chapter in an anthropology book on the subject of agriculture.

The only story where I can’t point at the inspiration is ‘Our Man In Herrje’, and I wrote the first version of that so long ago that the process is lost in the mists of memory.

It’s amazing where you can find inspiration. Where have you found yours recently?

And if you like the sound of any of these stories, you can get them all in Lies We Will Tell Ourselves, free from Amazon until Sunday. Why not give it a go?