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.