A Murder of Crows

A Murder of Crows: an evocative collective noun, but also the title of an anthology of cosy-noir stories, each inspired by a different collective noun for an animal. It’s a great premise for an anthology and I’m happy to have a story included in it.

a murder of crows

There were some lessons to be learnt in this submission. The style is outside my comfort zone, so I was apprehensive when writing and submitting it. I almost didn’t submit it. I came close to talking myself out of sending it, convinced that this genre just wasn’t my thing.

I’m glad I didn’t listen to myself.

Finish the work.

Send the work.

That’s it. The lessons I keep learning. The more I write, the more I manuscripts I submit, the more those two lessons get driven home.

At around the same time I submitted a piece of work I was very confident in. It was one of my preferred genres, something I felt good at writing. That particular piece was liked, but ultimately not picked up.

Finish the work. Send the work. Trust the editors to know what they want and what works for them.

If you like the sound of cosy-noir stories inspired by animals, A Murder of Crows is worth checking out, or recommending to someone who you think might enjoy it (and only £2.45 on Kindle, at the time of writing).

Or, if it’s not your thing, then just take away those simple lessons: finish and send.

Whatever it is you’re working on.

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Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide Volume Five

Life continues to prove that I either have the time to blog about writing or to just be writing. I continually choose to be writing.

But I would like to take a moment to share some joy. The Kickstarter for the Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide Volume Five is now live.

Vol V cover_sm

The series does a lot to promote diverse characters and I’m very pleased to have had a story included in this anthology. The publishers, Dreaming Robot Press, also donate to school libraries and charities. It’s a great series for nurturing a new generation of SF fans and writers.

If it remotely appeals to you, please take a moment of your time to have a look.

Also, for those of you of a writerly nature, they are now open for submissions for the Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide Volume 6.

Onward; to adventure!

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The Laconic Guide to Getting Published

A little over a year ago I made a decision to make a concerted effort to research and submit stories to different publishers. In that time I’ve submitted fifty-one pieces of work and five have been accepted.

Here, now, is my laconic guide to getting published.



That’s it. I thought about adding “repeat” but I might save that for the Special Edition Laconic Guide to Getting Published (coming soon as an eBook).

Whether you’re struggling to get going or worried about following up on a past success just write it and send it out. You don’t have to take my word for it…

“You send that work out again and again, while you’re working on another one. If you have talent, you will receive some measure of success – but only if you persist.”

– Isaac Asmiov


“Quantity produces quality. If you only write a few things, you’re  doomed.”

– Ray Bradbury


Write. Submit.

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Distressing Damsels

I’m a little behind the times with sharing this one as it was released last week but: I’m very pleased to have a story included in the Distressing Damsels anthology.

Distressing Damsels

These distressing damsels don’t need a hero, they can save themselves!

The brief, essentially, was to rewrite a fairytale with the above in mind. I wrote an action adventure version of Beauty and the Beast. Instead of getting thrown into prison by the beast the heroine fights back and a game of cat and mouse (beast and mouse?) ensues around the castle. It features lots of derring do, fights and a few explosions.

I wrote this piece very quickly with the deadline looming and it made for a strange experience when reading the final version before printing. I spotted lots of sentences and sequences that with more time I would have tightened up but there’s something about the fast and loose way it was written that I think suits the action style. There were also a fair few ideas I just didn’t have time to put in so, who knows, maybe one day I’ll do an expanded version.

My experience with Fantasia Divinity was great and if you’re an emerging author who writes SF I recommend you check out their latest anthology calls.

In other news I’ve just found out another story I had shortlisted with a different publisher was rejected. Ouch. But there was some very supportive and positive feedback. For every success I’ve had there are a dozen or more rejections. Don’t lose heart. Write what you love and the writing becomes its own reward.

Now I’ll dust myself down and get back to work.

Love and lollipops.

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The Good Man

I’m very pleased to say that I recently won third prize in the Irish Imbas Celtic Mythology Short Story competition with my submission “The Good Man”.

The top ten stories are now available in the Celtic Mythology Collection. There are free downloads available at Kobo, Smashwords and (soon) Apple and Barnes & Noble. At the time of writing it’s £0.99 on Amazon but that should soon be changing to a free download too. There’s also a print copy available through Amazon.

Celtic Mythology

There’s a lot of talent in the collection and it’s free! If you have any interest in short stories or mythology I highly recommend it.

I’m also taking this as a lesson in perseverance. Several times during the writing of this story I almost talked myself out of it. I’m glad that I stuck with it and submitted. So keep writing. Keep making art. Turn up, get it down on the page and then send it out.

The title “The Good Man” comes from The Dagda, which means the good god. He’s an important god in Celtic mythology and I was surprised when my story ended up being about him. I thought I was going to write about the Morrigan but my research took a turn and the story I wrote appeared in my head pretty much fully formed.

So follow your impulses.

And keep writing.

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Opportunity for Writers

If you’re a writer of fantasy or SF then you might be interested to have a look at Fantasia Divinity Magazine (or here on their Facebook page). They put out lots of interesting calls for submissions.

I recently had a short story included in their Winter’s Grasp anthology. I found them really easy to work with and the whole experience was a very positive one. I also thought their response time was very quick, especially when in some cases I’ve submitted work to publishers and waited two months or more to hear back.

They’re worth a look and a read.

Love & lollipops.

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A little over three weeks ago I became a dad for the first time. This changes things. It was changing things long before the birth, as I pondered the future, my changing responsibilities and what was important in the world.

The prompt for the new Prompted Tales was ‘arrival’, which was very apt. I wrote a short story called After The Delivery.

It’s heavily influenced by the birth of my son but also by looking at relationships in my family and those of my friends.

I hope you enjoy it.

Love & lollipops.


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