Sunday, 17 February 2019

A short list of my published work


Assembled below is a list of my writing that has either been published online or in print journals, alongside any pieces that have been entered into competitions where the entries have appeared online. Commentary on the stories is provided, along with links to the work where applicable.

For every successful story there were a great many occasions where work was rejected and then either re-written and sent out again, or set to one side.

New work will be added as it is published.




CONTENTS


I. Published work

Allegro
Noon Latitude (2018)

The Cabinet of Heed
The Cult of Weight (2017)

Cent
Hollywood by Canoe (2018)

Ellipsis Zine
Henry in Exile (issue one, 2017)

Flash Fiction Magazine
Sing Like a Ship (2018)

The Ghastling
The Poacher's Ball (Book VIII, 2018)

Horla
Candied Almonds (2018)

Hypnopomp
Ripples of Discord (2018)

Liars' League HK
A Dancer's Shadow (2019)

Liars' League London
The Brotherhood of One (2017)
The Man Who Brought Gold (2018)
Reginald at Christmas (2018)
The Red Satin Flag of Independence (2019)

Liars' League NYC
Old Time Pieces (2019)

Litbreak
Two Lives (2019)
When We Fell In Love (2019)

London Magazine
The Sinners' Corner (2018)

Morgen Bailey 100 Words Competition
The Dorothy Scale (2017)
The Rest in Pieces (2017)
The Oasis (2017)

Palace Writers

Unleashed! (2016)
Wolf from the Fens
The Buffalo Harp
The Library of Amenken
The Diminished Wardrobe of Julian Assange

Paragraph Planet
Cold Ark (2017)

Smoke: A London Peculiar
Kent Moue (2012)
31 Horseshoes (2013)
The Ringers (2013)
Remembering Sea Alley (2013)
A History of Fennel in Wimbledon (2013)
A Short Journey Downriver (2014)
Lost in the Mail: The Missing Postman's Park Memorials (2014)

Trawler
Crowstone Golem (2016)

Writing the Future
On Rosewick Lane (2018)


II. Competition entries that didn't win but are online

Microcosms
A Fleeting Taste of Spring (2017)
Bring Down The House (2017)
A Share in the Spoils (2017)
The Downward Arc of the Diver (2017)

Quantum Shorts
The Fading Tracks of Migration (2017)

Zeroflash
Invest in Fire (2017)
A Change of Address (2017)
The Emperor in the Parliament (2017)
The Pineapple in Context (2017)
Home Taping is Killing Independent Music (2017)
The Understudy (2017)
The Witch's Garden (2017)
The Greater Palimpsest (2017)


III. Winning competition entries that are not available online or in print

Writers HQ
The Horned Man (2017)


~




I. Published Work





Allegro


Noon Latitude (2018)
(A poem written on the theme of 'space' about clearing-out the attic of my grandmother's house after her death)






The Cabinet of Heed


The Cult of Weight (2017)
(A sect of 17th century Christian builders and architects assemble around pieces of masonry, that they believe fell to earth during the civil war in heaven)






Cent


Hollywood by Canoe (2018)
(To escape the civil war that is tearing your country apart, you must pay for your flight with rare wood. This story was posted on the .Cent website by Kate Darby. My name is at the bottom)






Ellipsis Zine


Henry In Exile (issue one, 2017) Available in print or as an Ebook
(a short piece of flash fiction; I think it was 250 or 300 words. A boy with an indifferent mother gains a piecemeal education from a succession of passing father figures, with tragic consequences.






Flash Fiction Magazine


Sing Like a Ship (2018)
(A failing sea-freight company, a whale, and a near-indestructible dinner-service)





The Ghastling


The Poacher's Ball (Book VIII, 2018)
(A Victorian newspaperman visits the garden of Eden and finds that much has changed since biblical times.

I am rather fond of this story, which was an attempt to write something that fused the literary styles of M R James and Jorge Luis Borges. I couldn't have asked for a better home for it than The Ghastling – a beautifully designed print “magazine of ghosts, the macabre and the oh-so peculiar”.

Prior to publication, the text had been submitted to five other journals,without success and had gone through numerous rewrites. Every time the story was rejected, I added a new idea to it, which is why the narrative goes off on some strange tangents.






Horla


Candied Almonds (2018)
(A priest visits an estranged childhood friend to hear his dying confession.

It is very hard to find magazines who will publish graphic violence or writing that is unflinchingly nasty. This story falls into the latter category and for this reason I assumed that nobody would want it. I am very grateful to Horla for giving it a good home.

The story was originally called 'The Warlock's Tale' but was retitled because it sounded too medieval for a story that is set in the present day.





Hypnopomp


Ripples of Discord (2018)
(What is to be done with a mis-cast church bell that is capable of stirring-up the worst in human nature?)






Liars' League HK


Liars' League HK is a quarterly live event that takes place in Hong Kong, where actors perform short stories that have been submitted on a particular theme.

A Dancer's Shadow (2019)
(Written on the theme of 'Shadow & Substance'. A Russian ballet dancer is introduced to her new pupil.

This story originally included a shadowy, behind-the-scenes figure named Stasik who was removed in the edit in order to ramp-up the tensions between the three 'on-stage' characters.

'A Dancer's Shadow' is due to be performed in Hong Kong on the 25th February, 2019. It will appear online in the middle of March, 2019.





Liars' League London


Liars' League London is a bi-monthly live event where actors perform short stories that have been submitted on a particular theme.



The Brotherhood of One (2017)
(A succession of orphans are hired to play the role of Jeremy – the younger brother of Arthur Roxburgh.

This story was read by Paul Clarke at Liar's League London's 'Brothers & Sisters' themed event on the 14th November, 2017. A YouTube video of the performance is available through the link below)





The Man Who Brought Gold (2018)
(On Christmas Eve in Venice, a man is tasked with recovering some stolen presents

This story was read by Sophie Cartman at Liar's League London's ''Naughty & Nice' themed event on the 11th December, 2018. A YouTube video of the performance is available through the link below)




My Favourite Christmas Story: Mark Sadler on Saki's (H. H. Munro's) "Reginald on Christmas Presents" (2018)
(Liars' League invited their alumni to write a few words regarding their favourite Christmas Stories)




The Red Satin Flag of Resistance (2019)
(When a couple's burgeoning romance is threatened by a computer dating agency algorithm based on a series of tawdry science fiction novels, they seek sanctuary in the Battle of the Somme exhibit at Imperial War Museum.

This story was read by Silas Hawkins at Liars' League London's 'Love & Lust' themed event on the 12th February, 2019)





Liars' League NYC



Liars' League NYC is a bi-monthly live event where actors perform short stories that have been submitted on a particular theme.

Old Time Pieces (2019)
(A scarce resource from the dawn of time, brings a Scottish island community into conflict with a Chicago technocrat.

This story was read by Mark Woollett at Liars' League NYC's' 'Plots & Schemes' themed event on the 6th February, 2019)






Litbreak


Two Lives (2019)
(Two interlaced stories: In the past, a man helps to maintain funeral canoes adrift in the icy waters, north of Canada. In present day England, a river warden supervises the wintering of punts that have been towed upriver from Cambridge.

Of all the stories I have written, this is my favourite, which doesn't necessarily mean that it is the best; I wonder whether some readers might find the transitions back and forth between past and present confusing, and if the pay-off is satisfying or too subtle. However this is the closest I have come to getting what was in my head down on paper.

The two female buskers are based on a couple of students who I saw when I was nine years old. We were queuing up outside the Jorivk Viking Centre in York. They were playing Homeward Bound on a pair of guitars. I often wonder what happened to them. It is odd the way that strangers can make a lasting impact on the memory)




When We Fell In Love (2019)
(Published at the same time as 'Two Lives' (see above). My contribution to a regular feature on Litbreak where people write about their relationship with literature.

In my case; how my unfettered enthusiasm for the novels of Jack Kerouac almost got me killed; How a chance encounter with a Ted Hughes poem deepened my appreciation of the power and mutability of language; how Jorge Luis Borges stirred my sense of the fantastical; and how an H.V Morton book proved to be an unlikely saviour when I was sleeping rough.






London Magazine (website)


The Sinners' Corner (2018)
(The occupants of a mysterious unmarked grave in the corner of a London churchyard are moved to accommodate a glass chapel, but will these 12 angry men remain in their new home?

Originally titled 'Away from the sight of God', 'The Sinners Corner was an attempt at writing a contemporary version of an M R James ghost story. I think this kind of tale works best when it is grounded in normality and reality, so I seeded it with a lot of detail about London. The location of the chapel is based loosely on St Pancras Old Churchyard, which is home to the Hardy Tree)






Morgen Bailey 100 Words Competition


Not 99 words. Not 101 words. Morgen is a stickler for precision and I love her for it.



The Dorothy Scale (2017) First place
(A scriptwriter for the BBC recalls his time working on 'the bastard farm' – a department tasked with creating convincing villains for soap operas and TV dramas)




The Rest in Pieces (2017) Second place
(A couple moving into a new home are instructed on how to tame the resident poltergeist by the outgoing occupants)




The Oasis (2017) Third place
(A soldier in World War One, encounters an oasis in no-man's land and makes plans for the future)





Palace Writers Group


I joined the Palace Writers Group (named after The Palace Theatre in Southend-on-Sea) a few months after returning from London where I had been sleeping rough. I was struggling a bit in terms of my mental health and realised that I needed to socialise more in the real world. Towards the end of 2016 the group released a print anthology called 'Unleashed!' which contained stories written by its members.

The group has since rebranded as The Pavilion Writers (named after Southend's other theatre 'The Cliffs Pavillion'


Unleashed! (2016)

Wolf From the Fens
(This was an attempt to retell the myth of Fenrir – the Norse wolf god – by referencing every fairytale or myth I could think of that mentioned wolves. In the story, Fenrir moves through cycles of nurture and destruction. He is both the catalyst for human civilization and the architect of its downfall. His breath, which creates favourable trade winds, later feeds the flames consuming Rome)

The Library of Amenken
(Amenken is a wandering scholar who memorises texts from the Library of Alexandria and then travels to far flung parts where he recites these works to those who are unable to visit the library in person)

The Bufallo Harp
(Thomas Mulder journeys from the Netherlands to the United States where he constructs a log cabin on the edge of a salt pan. The wind blows through the carcasses of the buffalo, strumming the leathery air-dried tendons, making a strange sound that the native Indian tribes use to navigate at night)

The Diminished Wardrobe of Julian Assange
(From his room in the Ecuadorian embassy, Julian Assange can only watch helplessly as his leather trousers are extradited to Sweden)





Paragraph Planet


Cold Ark (2017)
(An unusual method of storage)





Smoke: A London Peculiar


Smoke editor (and co-founder of Sarah Records) Matt Haynes very patiently endured an onslaught of fairly decent ideas, wrapped up in somewhat dubious prose. With the exception of 'The Ringers', which has already seen print publication (although it would benefit from a re-write), I am in the process of overhauling all of these stories, some significantly, for inclusion in a very strange book about London.

Matt, and his co-founder of Smoke, Jude Rogers, were very supportive and encouraging. I owe them both a great deal. Any creative success I have had over the past few years began here.



Kent Moue (2012)
(The late-opening places that you tumble into after a night out, in this case a fictional Haitian restaurant in Soho. On reflection this is a location in search of a story. The rewrite of this piece is very different)




31 Horseshoes (2013)
(Wheels within wheels; Since the foundation of London, a pack of wild horses have galloped in clockwise and anti clockwise-rings around the circumference of the city. The pack also makes an appearance in two other currently unpublished stories)




The Ringers (From the Slopes of Olympus to the Banks of the Lea: A Book by Smoke: a London Peculiar) (2013)
(A great swathe of East London was demolished to make way for the stadium and facilities for the 2012 Olympic Games. Childhood haunts were erased from the urban landscape. The formative memories tied to these places were over-written by tales of the sporting glories of people who came and went from the city.

This story was an attempt to write from the point of view of somebody who feels that the bulldozing of the streets they grew up on is the first step towards their erasure from the history of London; that their life is somehow regarded as inferior to that of the visiting athletes and is surplus to requirements. Even though some of the memories associated with these locations are terrible, he feels compelled to defend them.

I think that I failed to follow through on what was a good premise, though I do like the implications of the title; the Olympic athletes are ringers - superior human beings shipped in from elsewhere to create a better history for the area than that created by the local populace. The end result is like an out of focus photograph. I wish that I could go back in time and re-write it)




Remembering Sea Alley (2013)
(An account of life on one of London's tidal streets that flood with the rise of the river Thames.)




A History of Fennel in Wimbledon (2013)
(I got very high on mushrooms and dissected the contents of the vegetable compartment in our fridge in a fruitless search for the essence of god. The following day I wrote this)




A Short Journey Downriver (2014)
(At the end of 2013, my friend Cat Moore died, aged 35, from a progressive disease called Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis; the same illness that is killing me, albeit more slowly. I learned of Cat's death on New Years Day, 2014. I was devastated and wrote this in my grief. In hindsight it is more a progression of images than it is a story. Perhaps it should have been something that I kept for myself)




Lost in the Mail: The Missing Postman's Park Memorials (2014)
(Inspired by the tiled monument in Postman's Park (just up the road from St Paul's Cathedral) commemorating everyday acts of self-sacrifice, I wrote my own satirical additions where ordinary heroes die of politeness, or from becoming entangled in harp strings. Matt Haynes, who created the framing artwork, suggested that I wrote a preface that delved into the history of these rediscovered memorials. I sent him two stories; I forget what I wrote for the one that he declined.

This was the last entry to appear on Smoke before the website was mothballed)






Trawler


Trawler is an occasional newspaper-style publication that prints a mix of photography, and factual and fictional content, focusing on the Leigh-on-Sea area.

Crowstone Golem (2016)
(A man claims salvage rights over a golem that washes up on Chalkwell beach.

An unfinished longer version of the story exists, incorporating some of the ideas I had been forced to leave out in order to make the word-count)






Writing the Future


On Rosewick Lane (2018)
(A student with a set of artificial internal organs, which are upgraded by spores released into the atmosphere, visits a retired doctor who grows organic livers in cake tins.

'On Rosewick Lane' made it onto the longlist of Kaleidoscope Healthcare's Writing the Future competition. Entrants were invited to write a piece of fiction focusing on healthcare in the year 2100AD. The story is a satire on the disturbing current trend among social media platforms, online funding platforms and banks, for banning individuals for wrong-think. It imagines a future where artificial internal organs are a norm and the companies who produce and regulate these devices have the power to reduce the efficacy of their products in the bodies of those views they find objectionable.

Vernon Levet, who is mentioned in passing in the story, is an Alex Jones-type figure. Following the publication of 'On Rosewick Lane', Jones was effectively blacklisted from the internet, when a number of companies, apparently working in collusion, all banned him from using their services in quick succession.

In hindsight the post-alzheimer character might have made for a more interesting story.

Rose cottage is used as a euphemism among nurses at Southend Hospital to communicate that a patient had died – 'She's gone to Rose Cottage.'





II. Competition entries that didn't win but are online




Microcosms


Mircocosms runs a weekly flash fiction contest.

A Fleeting Taste of Spring (2017)
(Paying for DNA data, harvested from the floor of a nightclub, by the square foot)




Bring Down The House (2017)
(Clapps of Indiana – an outlet store specialising in the sale of stolen goods)




A Share in the Spoils (2017)
(Two parallel universes: One must exist in a state of permanent war so that the other can enjoy centuries of peace. Two diplomats negotiate a new treaty)




The Downward Arc of the Diver (2017)
(A woman is convinced that an ex-husband has written a hugely successful novel to spite her)






Quantum Shorts


The Fading Tracks of Migration (2017)
(Flocks of migrating swallows rain down pellets of anti-matter)





Zeroflash


Zeroflash runs a monthly, themed, flash fiction contest for stories not exceeding 300 words. Although I never won the competition, I did enjoy writing for it. However the fact that entries appear online makes it difficult to submit them anywhere else.

I did have a piece accepted for a planned Zeroflash anthology, however the project appears to be in limbo.



Invest in Fire (2017)
(An Ancient Greek cult of fire worshippers burn down their temples as an act of devotion)




A Change of Address (2017)
(In the storage hanger of a spaceship, a young man pays a visit to his late father's childhood home)




The Emperor in the Parliament (2017)
(A piece of Brexit fiction: An ancient Chinese board game, used as a means of breaking deadlock and rebuilding rapport, fails to gain traction in the modern European Parliament)




The Pineapple in Context (2017)
(Marjorie contemplates the significance of a pineapple that has mysteriously appeared in her dining room)




Home Taping is Killing Independent Music (2017)
(Charlie is horrified to discover that a copy of The Flying Pickets' album 'Lost Boys' is being illegally recorded onto his intestines)




The Understudy (2017)
(A husband and his wife who are imprisoned in adjoining cells, communicate using Morse Code)




The Witch's Garden (2017)
(A woman creates a garden that is cleverly designed to lure children to their deaths)




The Greater Palimpsest (2017)
(Henenu travels from the library of Alexandria to Syracuse, to transcribe some peculiar bumps on the interior walls of Archimedes' home, which are thought to be a codified work)






III. Winning competition entries that are not available online or in print




Writers HQ

I was one of five winners in Writers HQ's short story competition in 2017. The prize was access to a number of online writing courses, one of which I used to plot my first novel.

The Horned Man (2017)
(The devil horns hand signal was the gesture that condemned Christ to death, but what of its origins? I should overhaul this story and see if I can find anybody who will publish it)