Scare stories

I’m very excited to say that a story of mine will be performed at the Liars’ League Halloween event at The Phoenix in central London on Tuesday 9th October.

The story, The Dungeon Master’s Guide, is about a disgruntled AD&D dungeon master and, along with my CRPG story from last year, is probably the geekiest thing I’ve ever written.

Liars’ League is a monthly reading series I’ve wanted to get a story accepted by for a while. The premise is that writers submit stories and professional actors perform them. It’s a great idea and I can’t wait to hear my story come to life in this way. Previous stories in the series have been broadcast on Radio 4.

Doors are at 7pm and entry costs £5, which is a bargain for a night of six scary Halloween tales! Full details are up on the Liars’ League website.

One in a million

I have a story out in the first issue of a new lit mag, A Million Ways. The story, titled Everybody’s Waiting, is – perhaps typically – somewhat morbid. You can buy a copy from the mag’s Facebook store.

Thanks to Dan Hancock and the team at A Million Ways. They’ve done a great job putting together a beautiful little magazine, which I know must have been no easy task. You can read more about Dan’s inspiration for the mag in an article he wrote for the Dorset Writers’ Network.

Light weighed

There’s a detailed and pretty even-handed review of the latest issue of Popshot up at the website of the new UK Lit Mag Review, including a couple of paras about my story, Last Light.

The site promises to review a new UK (or Irish) literary magazine every week.

Often it feels as if new issues of small magazines appear and then vanish without a trace, which is a shame as they often contain some quality fiction and deserve to be talked about. This site should help correct that.

Looking forward to more reviews as they appear.

 

Eighteen

Issue 18 of Structo has arrived, and the publication is looking as beautiful as ever.

Inside, there’s a an illuminating interview with Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket) as well as some great fiction.

I particularly enjoyed Emma Sloley’s Schadenfreude Season, about a washed-up former child star and the invasiveness of celebrity culture. It’s one of those stories with no rough edges, that knows exactly where it’s going and takes you there with total confidence.

Ross McCleary’s A Fear of Flying Sleep was also impressive for its incessant parade of terrors. It’s a veritable thicket of anxiety and existential angst.

I am honoured to be in such company.

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Structo issue 18.

Lights Out

Illustration for 'Last Light' in Popshot Magazine
Lighting up the page – the superb illustration for my Popshot story.

I have a new story, titled Last Light, in the Autumn/Winter 2017 issue of Popshot Magazine. Popshot is a beautifully presented print journal that brings together writers and artists, with each story and poem sitting next to its own specially commissioned  illustration. It’s a fantastic way to offer up new fiction. I’ve had my eye on getting something in Popshot’s pages for a while, so it’s great to finally make it. I struggle a little with writing to a set theme, and each of Popshot’s issues is themed. This one’s about ‘light’ and my story concerns an inventor who has seemingly found a way to stop light itself. Copies can be bought at the Chelsea Magazine Company shop.

Many thanks to editor Jacob Denno and to Nick Taylor, the artist who did such a superb job illustrating my story. Popshot is going quarterly next year, so it’s clearly going from strength from strength. Subscribe here!

Leave the lights on

Dungeon Master opening screen
There is nothing beyond the dungeon.

I have a new story, Lights Out With A Click, in the latest issue of online magazine CartridgeLit.

The story is told from the perspective of a character in a computer role-playing game modelled on 1987’s Dungeon Master. Existential angst meets 1980s CRPGs is a bit of a niche market, but hopefully you don’t need too great a knowledge of the genre to appreciate it.

Dungeon Master starts with the player outside of the dungeon, with the only option being either to quit or to open the door and step inside. As a young player, what I most wanted to do was to turn around at this point, to explore the area outside of the dungeon, to disappear down whatever forest path had led me there, to be free to wander the world that the dungeon was part of. That doesn’t seem much to ask in the era of sandbox games, but even Skyrim has its invisible borders. Anyway, that’s what the story is about: borders and the yearning for something beyond.

CartridgeLit itself is a fantastic lit mag dedicated to fiction, poetry and essays about video games. It’s committed to treating games as cultural objects worthy of appreciation. It was the perfect home for this story.

In October-ish I’ll have a story out in Structo magazine. It will not be about video games.

Cast a shadow

I’m very fortunate to have had a piece of fiction, the e-Shadow, published on the website of The London Magazine recently.

The story was inspired by the old Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, The Shadow, updated to the present day and with the addition of the now-ubiquitous social media.

The story is available here. Many thanks to TLM’s Rachel Chanter for her help and suggestions for improving the piece. I’d also recommend reading the original Andersen fairy stories, if you haven’t already, as they’re always fascinating and frequently inspiring.

In The Lighthouse

I have a new story, ‘The Veil of Stars’, out in the latest issue of Lighthouse.

The story uses space travel as an extended metaphor for dementia. It’s a change of pace from the other two stories I’ve had out this year and, in terms of the quality of the language, I feel like it may be the best thing I’ve written – certainly the most sustained and successful conceit I’ve attempted.

Lighthouse won the ‘best magazine’ category at the 2015 Saboteur Awards so it’s fantastic to have a story placed there. I am grateful to the editors for accepting my work.

Copies of issue 12 can be bought here.