dark dark dark… we all go into the dark

Well, maybe not all of us, but definitely meeeeeeeeeee! “Her Bones the Trees,” my blood-soaked, bear-infested, twisted Twin Peaks fan fiction is to be reprinted in acclaimed literary horror magazine THE DARK. Looking forward to sharing this story with more readers.

The story was originally published as “Her Blood the Apples, Her Bones the Trees,” in The Silent Garden journal of esoteric fabulism – a truly beautiful book chock full of illustrations, essays, reviews and stories from weird fictioneers such as D.P. Watt and Helen Marshall (whose story really ought to win awards galore – check it out).

In other news, edits are done on my forthcoming collection! Michael Kelly is a brilliant, sensitive editor and it’s been a very positive experience. I’ve had to dial back my tendency to get typographically extra, but my House of Leaves homages are set to continue with my current work in progress, which is going to put the punk in punctuation… 🙂

mr white umbrella

I’ve got this story that I’ve been writing for about three years. It’s called Mr White Umbrella. It’s kind of a time travel story, it’s built around a paradox, and it’s pretty riddlesome. It has caused me an awful lot of headaches.

I’m pleased to report that Fantastique Unfettered have bought it for their next issue (which is going to be a good one, featuring Hal Duncan and Mike Allen, amongst others).  FU is a great zine, with an editor who actively seeks out new and interesting voices, and who has a great appreciation for the slipstream, interstitial and weird.  So I’m really happy to have a story of mine published there.

I’m extra pleased because it gives me a reason to stop writing the damn story! It’s basically a story that, because of it’s paradoxical nature, never ends. Which makes my job as a writer really difficult, because I could, in theory, keep writing and re-writing it forever. Which would probably drive me insane before too long.

Selling this story means that’s it, I can’t do anything else to it. I don’t think there are going to be any more edits from FU, because frankly, I don’t think they would know where to start. It’s a very difficult story. I’ve had a few reviews from readers on OWW, and whilst many of them were very positive, quite a number of reviews essentially said ‘Huh?’ Yes, it is confusing, and probably needs to be read at least twice in order to be fully understood. I’m sorry about that. I don’t normally make such massive demands on my readers.

I wanted to write a story based around a paradox, and I wanted it to be a kind of endless story, and in that sense, it is a success. Whether it works for readers is another matter. But please do get hold of a copy of FU when it comes out, and let me know what you think.

the illustrated dreams of the editor

Got my contributor’s copy of Dark Tales XV in the post this morning, thank you very much.

My story is blurbed on the back – go me! It’s called ‘The Illustrated Dreams of the Ancestors’ and it’s a ghost story set in a small town in Okinawa. I lived in this small town for a year and a bit, and when I read the story I remember what it felt like to be there. Kind of weird.

I subbed this story to Dark Tales way back in 2009, which makes this a long wait for publication by anyone’s standards. At the time, I was particularly proud of the story, thinking it to be emotional and strange. I still think it is those things but OH. MY. GOD. GIVE ME A RED PEN. There are so many quirks and run on sentences, so many unecessary adjectives and repetitions.  And there are a couple of awkward moments in the narrative, where I remember struggling to express my meaning – and which I can now see clearly how I would rewrite.

I’m not exactly embarrassed, because it’s still a strong story and I’m glad it’s finally in print. It’s encouraging to look at earlier stories and realise that my writing is improving. But how I wish I’d had the chance to edit this before it went to print.

Dark Tales is a decent magazine, but honestly, I can’t see how they can sustain any kind of readership unless they publish more often. It’s frustrating to have something published that you wrote three years ago, without getting the chance to revise and edit first.