Post-apocalyptic short story podcasts at Wily Writers, edited by me

Wily WritersYou should know by now what a fan I am of podcast short fiction. I wrote about my favourite podcasts a while back. I also wrote here about giving generously to podcasts you enjoy, as the stuff they produce is usually free, but the writers and podcasters need to be paid for their work. My own fiction has been podcast a few times now – I read my story Crossfire for Outlandish Voices, Pseudopod released my original short story, The Seven Garages Of Kevin Simpson in their episode 242 and Wily Writers have podcast two of my stories – a reprint of Stand Off and my post-apocalyptic yarn, Declan’s Plan, which co-won Wily Writers Short Story Contest. Stand Off was also included in Night Mantled, Volume 1 of The Best Of Wily Writers.

And that neatly segues to my reason for posting today. I was very honoured when Angel McCoy, the power behind Wily Writers, asked me to guest edit a themed month for their podcast. The theme of my month was Post-Apocalypse/Dystopia. I read a lot of really good stories and it was hard to pick the two winners. I’ll blog a bit later on about the process of reading, judging and editing for that, and my thoughts on the subject. Hopefully it’ll help both myself and other readers here when we submit our own fiction to any publication.

In the meantime, I did select two winning stories. I wanted strong stories, with good ideas, powerful characters and a tangible sense of place. But I also wanted two stories very different from each other, to explore the theme as fully as possible.

The first story is up now:

Bloodstone by R.B. Payne

Even horror writer J.P. Bloodstone is unprepared for the actual end of the world. Stranded in Beverly Hills, he discovers something far worse than decomposing zombies, vampiric aliens, or infected mutant motorcycle-riding killers.

As I wrote on the Wily Writers site about this story:

I really like the voice of “Bloodstone.” It evokes all kinds of classic writerly angst, like the misanthropic Hunter S. Thompson. Imagine someone like that on their own in a post-apocalyptic world, and you’ve got the start of this story. Couple that with a classic bit of writer/reviewer animosity, and the bones of the story are in place.

This piece is well written with a strong character and an excellent description of the post-apocalyptic world. It also cleverly uses the character to explore possible reactions to an apocalypse, while the reality in this case is a lot less exciting. There’s humour here as well, in the character and the situation.

All Wily Writers stories are published on the site in text as well as podcast, so whatever your preferred format, the option is there. Bloodstone is a great story, read by the excellent Philip Pickard (who also did a great job reading Declan’s Plan for me).

Find the story here.

I’ll post about this again when the other winning story goes up, then I’ll post about the process of judging and editing after that.

And thanks again to Angel McCoy for inviting me to be a part of this. As a writer, it was fun to be on the other side of the fence for a change.


Place As Person – my guest post at Mary Victoria’s site

You might remember a few days ago that I posted a Tuesday Toot for Mary Victoria. Mary was tooting about a new anthology she’s in called River, and part of her promotion of that book is to run a series of guest posts on her own site. Each post is by a different specfic writer and each writer is discussing the idea of Place As Person.

Have you ever become so deeply fascinated with the setting of a book that it lingers on, invading your mind long after reading is done? We all know good world building is essential to any story. But occasionally an author takes that art one step further, creating an environment that enthralls, breathes, lives.

I was very pleased that Mary asked me to contribute, because I’m a huge fan of well-realised places in fiction. Locations are definitely characters in my stories.

You can find my guest post on the subject at Mary’s site here.


SOPA and PIPA are stupid, Oatmeal nails why

I’m very much in support of sites like Wikipedia, which are blacking out in protest of SOPA and PIPA. If you don’t know what they are, there’s this (the only Wikipedia page NOT blacked out) and this handy infographic. This is something that affects all of us, and it’s very important. Don’t think it’s only those crazy Americans and it doesn’t affect us – this affects everyone and is the start of a slippery slope.

My books are pirated all the time. I see them on fileshare sites and there’s nothing I can do about it. And yes, it pisses me off. But it’s a part of the modern world. As the old saying goes, the only thing worse than piracy is obscurity. Sure, I’d like to see stricter controls in place to protect film and music piracy, and, of course, ebook piracy. It’s in my interests – it affects my ability to make a living. But I do not agree with SOPA or PIPA as anything like valid ways to deal with the problem. It needs to be crushed for the fucking idiocy it is.

Of course, my little corner of the web here won’t make much of a dent if I black out. Ironically, the only thing likely to happen is that I might lose a couple of books sales. But I will speak out against the bills. And I can’t think of a better way to do it than with this animated gif from The Oatmeal. It’s simply perfect:


ThrillerCast is back for 2012

TITLEThrillerCast – the podcast I co-host with thriller/action adventure author, David Wood, is back for another year. We chat about anything to do with thriller and genre fiction, and regularly have cool guests on the show.

The first ep of 2012 has just gone live and it’s a corker. We talk about our plans for the year, discuss KDP Select, have some free books to give away AND have a chat with Myke Cole, author of the Shadow Ops books – the first one, Control Point, is out next week from Ace.

The books sound great:

Cross The For­ever War with Witch­world, add in the real world mod­ern mil­i­tary of Black Hawk Down, and you get Control Point, the mile-a-minute story of some­one try­ing to find pur­pose in a war he never asked for. – Jack Camp­bell, New York Times Bestselling author of The Lost Fleet series

I’m definitely looking forward to reading that. Myke is a great guy too, and a total nerd for roleplaying games. It’s a fun chat.

Check out the new episode here.

And check out Myke’s site here. You can pre-order Control Point now.


Tuesday Therapy at Lisa L Hannett’s blog

Lisa Hannett has been running a regular feature on her blog called Tuesday Therapy where she’s had a variety of writers give a little snippet of advice or experience for other writers to take solace or inspiration from. It’s a great idea and some very interesting stuff has already gone up there. She was kind enough to ask me to contribute and my post is up today, wherein I talk about one of the many similarities between writing and martial arts.

Tis here; go read.

You can find all the previous posts in the series here.