Friday, October 31, 2008


Byker Books have very kindly offered to feature Any Means Necessary on their website, even though its previously-published status means they can't use it in their anthology. It's up there right now in the 'Radgepacket' fiction section of tales of inner city life. Do please bear in mind this is a slightly abridged version from the story that appeared in 'Men of Mystery' (Haworth Press); if you like the story enough you might consider visiting my website and splashing out on the full-length version (plus a heap of other great gay stories in the anthology)!

You can read the Byker version here (the link is a little way down on the right hand side) and you can find out where to order 'Men of Mystery' here.

I think I've mentioned before that Byker Books are based in Newcastle (Byker is a district of the city) and they seem like a fun crowd to deal with. But please don't ask me what a radgepacket is - not being from the north-east myself, I have no idea!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

So near and yet...

I had an amazingly quick response from Byker Books. They loved the story... but they don't take previously published work. Aaargh! Just my luck.

However, the editor has encouraged me to send along something else. I haven't got a free story that's the right length, the right subject matter, *and* hasn't been published before, but I do have one story that might work. It involves an ageing rock star and at the moment it's too long, but with a bit of judicious hacking I could probably get it close to the 3000 word target.

I've already dug out the file and I'm busy cutting it down to the bare bones and hope to have it ready to send off later in the week.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Another one away...

I've just this second hit the 'send' button on a new submission. Well, 'new' is a slightly misleading term since the story is actually an adaption of 'Any Means Necessary', the gritty little tale of two bent cops I had published in Haworth Press's 'Men of Mystery', which was shortlisted for a Lambda Award earlier in the year (the anthology, that is, not just my story).

Last week I spotted that Byker Books, an indie publisher based in Newcastle, were asking for short stories with a gritty, contemporary urban feel for a new anthology of 'tales of inner city life'. I thought that story fitted the call to a 't', so I brushed it off, downsized it by a couple of thousand words, toned down some of the graphic sex, and finally decided to take the plunge. I've got no idea if it's still too graphic for them, or even if they'll consider gay material, but I figured it was worth a shot.

Wish me luck!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Wrong Number

This is the title of a new 'flash' story appearing in the latest issue of Gay Flash Fiction, which came out yesterday.

The story involves a mobile phone call with disastrous results. It's rather darker than my usual flashes but it does have a twist in the tail. You can find it, together with the rest of the new batch of stories, at the magazine.


Friday, October 24, 2008

Passive headache

One of the biggest challenges I've found in writing mostly for the American market is the little-known but surprisingly big gulf in grammar between the two languages. Over the last few years I've argued the toss with various US editors *g* and been geuinely surprised by their explanations. In one case, the use of passives, the difference is so great that I decided to write a little article about it, in the hope of smoothing the waters both for other British writers, and for American editors who may be tearing their hair out over the British language. :)

The article, 'Separated by a Common Language', is up at the British Writers Blog and you can read it here.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Swans, pigeons and fish, oh my!

In other words, we've had the cover art through for 'Shifting Perspectives 2', and very nice it is too. The model is the same one Aspen Mountain used on the first volume, but in a different pose, and the animals represent the shapeshifters in the stories.

Here's a thumbnail of it, and I'll be putting a full-sized version on my website in a few days' time. The book is due out at the end of the month so watch this space.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Home again...

We got back from holiday at the weekend having had a really good break - although we could both have done without the flu! (Which explains why I'm a day or two late updating this - it hit me quite hard for once and I've been having problems working out which way is up.)

The weather was surprisingly good, if rather misty a lot of the time, and we managed some good long walks and a couple of climbs (to the tops of mountains, that is - I don't go in for rock climbing!) The scenery in the Lake District is magnificent at any time of year, but I often think autumn, with the leaves turning to gold and the hillsides swathed in russet bracken and purple heather, takes some beating. Mind you, we did get a little too 'up close and personal' with one particular lot of bracken, on a precipitous slope heading from the Dunnerdale Valley towards Seathwaite Tarn, but that's another story. Let's just say my lungs didn't take very kindly to being head-first in the vegetation as I crawled up on my hands and knees!

The search for background material was partly successful; I called into a local bookshop and came away with two books. One is a sensible one, full of old postcards of the area together with interesting snippets of history. The other is emphatically not sensible - a lurid little volume of ghost stories and other hair-raising tales, most of which are probably apocryphal but highly entertaining!

Part way through the holiday I realised that the Lake District is changing fast, to the point where it's in danger of losing its identity. Village after village is filling up with the sort of shops you can find anywhere else in the country; gourmet restaurants are taking over from the local cafes and pubs that used to sell hearty portions of well-cooked local food (bliss after a long day out walking the fells); and the people who visit are changing from serious outdoorsy types to well-groomed older folks on coach tours. It all seems a little sad (especially as I've known and loved the area for the best part of thirty years) but I can't help thinking it will make an excellent backdrop for a novel. The pressure on the locals to either conform or go bust must be horrendous...