Anthologies… are such wonderful books!

Aurora in the Dawn
There are many good things about Anthologies. They are created for all sorts of reasons and can be a good way to discover new writers, because that’s often how new writers first get published. There’s nothing like the thrill of getting your very first story accepted to be part of a book – it’s almost as big a rush as getting your first novel / novella published.

My very first anthology wasn’t for a story, it was a poem that I wrote when I was a teenager. Having that print book in my hands made me feel very grown up and gave me the bug to continue. I ended up having my poetry in another two poetry anthologies, but sadly all three are now out of print and I only have the ISBN to confirm that two of them ever existed.

Novus Creatura

My first entry into Story Anthologies was actually through Horror and A.E. Churchyard.
House of Horror was a fairly popular webzine that also put out anthologies, so as well as getting my work published on the webzine, I made it into several anthologies. Sadly the ‘zine closed, so all I have of that part of my writing career is a print copy of each of the five anthologies I appeared in.

Flash!

The next part of my writing career actually ran concurrently with the Horror section… I began experimenting with Flash stories…

Flash fiction is a style of fictional literature of extreme brevity.There is no widely accepted definition of the length of the category. Some self-described markets for flash fiction impose caps as low as fifty-three words, while others consider stories as long as a thousand words to be flash fiction.
– Wikipedia

So it was inevitable that I ended up getting some of them published. Flash Stories can be addictive as there is a certain satisfaction around getting a whole story done in less than a thousand words…

For a long while after that, I concentrated on writing novels and novellas. I still wrote short stories for fun, but I kept them to myself – they ended up going into my first short story collections “The Necklace of Harmony”  and “Darkness in Mind“.

words to music

Then I got involved in a charity anthology through Authonomy.  I actually almost ended up with two stories in it, but at the last minute the Editor dropped one of them – which was a good job because that story then went on to become a novella… which is currently on the rewrite list.

 

By this time, Facebook and it’s myriad of Procrastination Stations had entered my life and I met a whole load of new people – the majority of them authors. Also by this time, self publishing had become a massive thing in my life. It also meant that the world was suddenly bursting out with anthologies and the next one I slipped into was a fun one – full of murder and mayhem.

bump off your enemies

And that brings us up to the present and the latest anthology to include my work. The story was a swift scribble down based on a conversation with my fiancé and I’m very proud to have been asked to submit it for such a worthy cause.

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The best thing about anthologies is that they are books that you can pick up and put down, perfect for holiday / beach reading or for those days when you can’t read for more than a few minutes at a time.

I realised this morning,  that I didn’t have a page for displaying the wonderful Anthologies I have been a part of. So that’s the whole point of this post… to point you in the direction of some truly wonderful books that you can find under the heading of – OTHER BOOKS TO PERUSE… – in my menu system.

I’ll update it whenever I manage to get a story into an anthology, so keep an eye out!

Writer Wednesday: um… Me actually.

It’s been a while since I’ve mentioned my own writing on my own blog. So I thought that today, my Writer Wednesday feature could be about me!

I’ve been told that I don’t blow my own trumpet enough. There is a reason for this and that’s because I never actually know what to say. It’s a bit like writing a personal statement for a job interview; you don’t want them to dismiss you as useless, but at the same time you don’t want to come across as arrogant about your abilities.

Maybe this will be good practise then…

I’m much more than a writer of course, and if you’re a regular subscriber / reader, you’ll know that, but for those that don’t, let’s get the other things that I do out of the way, in no particular order:

1) I am the partner of an incredibly talented, but highly self concious artist with bottoming out self esteem – TOH is brilliant at what he does (he has an exhibition coming up in Barry soon) and everyone else can see it, but he needs so much validation that I have had to become a part time Life Coach!

2) I have two energetic, wonderful, polite and mischievous children. NOS and PT are the centre of my existence as a mother… but they can be damn annoying and seriously messy, so I have to add Laundress/Seamstress, First Aider, Interventionist, Entertainer and Prison Guard to the jobs list.

3) Because of the first two, I also have to be a Housewife. This is not a role that comes easily to me (damn you mum!) and I hate washing up with a passion – I’ll do anything else other than that particular chore…

4) I have the honour of being an Assistant Leader at the local Guide troop. This means I have to be a Teacher and add a few of the roles that I play as a mother as well as supporting my fellow Guiders.

5) I have a passion for sparkly, twinkly things that is blossoming into a job – yes, I make jewellery and accessories. There’s a separate website for that though, so I’ll just say that I have to add Designer/Maker, Secretary and Marketing Assistant to the list.

6) I am the Editor of Welcome to Wherever Webzine. Again there is a separate website to look at, so I’ll leave you to imagine what that entails…

…Okay then, having got those out of the way, let’s get on with my writing…

I have a small catalog of books at the moment (if you pop up to the menu bar and look at the bookshop menu, you’ll be able to find out about each one) but, the thing is, I don’t think many people actually  realise that I have actually got books published and that they only came out this year, so I’ll run through them now for you –

The first book to be published was “Pika the Phluph and the Gribblebid Tough” in collaboration with illustrator/writer, Maria Kuroshchepova.

Book One of “The Land Far Away” Series

“Look under your bed and what do you see, A place full of dust or a magical tree? Crawl under your bed and continue the tale, There’s a ship by the tree and it’s about to set sail.”

So begins the journey into Land Far Away – a magical domain filled with strange creatures, like the Phluphs, the Linzers, the fearsome Grungegogglers, and the gentle Snuggles.

Join the author Kira Morgana and illustrator Maria K. on the first Land Far Away adventure, as Pika the Phluph sets out to conquer the heart of the savage and uncouth Gribblebid

Pika is one of my favourite characters, mostly because she is my Daughter’s creation and so much like PT it brings tears to my eyes. Pika is pink and fluffy with an adventurous spirit, no fear and very little good sense!

Publishing this book with Maria was a wonderful experience and we have several more in the offing…

The next book was my own self publishing effort “The Necklace of Harmony”.

My first story collection!

One of the fun things about being a writer is responding to a challenge. This book is full of the results of such challenges…

From the wedding celebrations of Greek Deities, to mermaids, ghosts and superheroes, a whole gamut of creatures await your eager eyes. 

This is a short story collection that basically charts my progress through the world of publication from Flash contests to Anthologies and allows the reader an insight into my mind as well.

I think my favourite story of the whole book is “The Horse Knows Best” – a story set in one of my favourite worlds and connected to the next book that was published…

“The Tower and The Eye: A Beginning” was published in February…

Published Spring 2012

Peace came at a price…

The Black Tower War lingers in memory and the stories that spark fear in children lie in truths long buried. Tales of the Dungeons of Doom, a fearsome Overlord and The Eye that rules all, remind the people of the Heart Kingdoms of Quargard that harmony must be earned.

…and danger lurks just below the surface.

When the Overlord and his Creatures re-awaken, Heroes and Heroines must arise to stem the tide of evil. So it is decreed. So does Legend say.

From each Kingdom, a Champion…

…born to become a Dungeon Destroyer. But the tales and legends leave much to be desired and not all who venture into the Dungeons of Doom will emerge alive.

As with everything, each quest will have a beginning…

…and the Kingdom of Galivor provides an unlikely collection of candidates who seek to plunder an abandoned dungeon.

Little do they know they are being watched…

… by Pfoxmoor Publishing, under their Pfoxchase imprint.

Quargard is one of the best worlds I have created so far and I am forever coming up with new ideas for stories to take place there; it’s almost as if the world really has come alive and wants to be written about!

Some will appear in a story collection- “Quargard Chronicles” -which I am planning, although I don’t know if it will be self published or picked up by Pfoxmoor yet.

I am however going to continue with the self publishing. I have two books lined up for publication this summer:

Turn a city upside down and shake it – what falls out? 

The Treaty that binds the Vampires, Werewolves, Humans and the rarely seen True Dragons, is over 1000 years old. It provides stability and safety for all the citizens of the city of Te Ling. Triads and Yakuza are not welcome here and Tourism flourishes like a well fed swan amongst the parks, temples and theaters by day,  and under the bright lights of the night clubs and other leisure facilities by night.

But many lights cast a multitude of shadows, and they get darker as you get deeper.

Li is as deep into the darkness as you can get: cop by day, shadow by night, he eats and drinks the lifeblood of the city. A threat to the current Te Ling Triang Leader is a threat to the City and The Black Dragon cannot be risked. Li is handed the responsibility of tracking down and removing the threat…preferably permanently .

This is one of the first books that I ever wrote and while it has changed substantially from the original text, thanks to the intervention of a series of Beta Readers and Editors, the story and the characters have stayed strong and alive (well, undead) to me.

This will be published under my other Pen Name, A. E. Churchyard and you may discover that you like this darker side to me.

Which would be good because the second book I am publishing is also under that name –

The Darkness in Mind

Apologies for the lack of cover – I only conceived of the title this morning and I don’t have a cover designed yet.

This is going to be a short story collection, but where “Necklace of Harmony”  was sweetness and light, fantasy and fun; “The Darkness in Mind” will be horror stories so it really is the opposite side of my psyche coming out to play.

A lot of my early published work was horror and although much of it was published in anthologies by House of Horror Webzine a couple of years ago. I thought it would be fun to bring them out in a book and add a couple of stories that didn’t see the light of day at the time. More news on this closer to the time…

Apart from that, I have a YA series being written and I’m working on a couple of SF stories. I have no idea if they’ll see the light of day, but you never know. Oh and by the way, I do have an amazon page so, if you don’t hear from me for a while, keep your eyes open and on the page – anything new published should appear on there!

>Rain, Rain, Go away,
Come again another day.
Life can always look so grey,
On the days rain comes to play.

Yes, it’s raining. I don’t actually hate the rain. Some days it’s nice to be in a warm cosy house when it’s tipping it down outside. The problem comes when I’m feeling a little blue and it’s raining. That tends to be during the long dark teatime of the year that falls between Christmas and Easter.

I find myself searching for signs of Spring, things like bulb sprouts and leaf buds. Where I live, that happens around the end of February usually.

I also write a lot of poetry at this time of year. It’s not always that good, so you’re not likely to see much of it!

Good things do happen at this time of year though. For example: one of my writer buddies has just signed a contract for her book and my favourite Horror Webzine, The House of Horror is actually becoming a quarterly print Magazine!

Basically from Issue #20 onwards, they will be going to print and the website will become the details site. This creates a whole new paying market for horror and dark fantasy writers because HOH will pay 1/4 cent per word up to 2000 words!

Keep your eyes open for more news on that – I’ll post it as and when it comes up.

Another piece of good news is that you can now find “Welcome to Wherever…” on Duotrope.com! I’m hoping that will make it easier to find submissions each month – I’m not doing too badly for february at the moment…

Toodles!