Monthly Archives: October 2010

A new dark fiction giant is in town!

And the 31st October (what better date?) is where it will all begin:


LONDON, MIDLANDS AND MANCHESTER, UK, 26 Oct 2010. Dark Fiction Magazine is pleased to announce the launch of a new service for fans of genre fiction. Beginning Oct 31st (Halloween), Dark Fiction Magazine will be launching a monthly magazine of audio short stories. This is a free service designed to promote genre short fiction to an audience of podcast and radio listeners. A cross between an audio book, an anthology and a podcast, Dark Fiction Magazine is designed to take the enjoyment of short genre fiction in a new and exciting direction.

Dark Fiction Magazine publishes at least four short stories a month: a mix of award-winning shorts and brand new stories from both established genre authors and emerging writers. Each episode will have a monthly theme and feature complementary tales from the three main genres – science fiction, fantasy and horror.

Co-founder Del Lakin-Smith said: “I love reading short stories, and with the increased uptake of mobile and portable devices this really is a growth area. But like many I find I don’t have as much time as I would like to read, so I tend to listen to many podcasts on the go. The idea of replacing my podcasts with high quality, well performed audio short stories is something I find highly appealing, so Sharon and I set about making that a reality.”

Sharon Ring, co-founder of Dark Fiction Magazine, said: “From technophobe to technophile in less than two years; I spend a great deal of time working online. To while away those hours, I like to listen to podcasts and drink copious amounts of strong coffee. Now, while I don’t recommend you drink as much coffee as I, I do recommend you check out what Del and I have created. We love podcasts; we love genre fiction; we built a site to bring the two together.”

The theme of Dark Fiction Magazine’s first episode is The Darkness Descends and will feature four fantastical stories:

  • ‘Maybe Then I’ll Fade Away’ by Joseph D’Lacey (exclusive to Dark Fiction Magazine)
  • ‘Pumpkin Night’ by Gary McMahon
  • ‘Do You See?’ by Sarah Pinborough (awarded the 2009 British Fantasy Society Short Story Award)
  • ‘Perhaps The Last’ by Conrad Williams

Lined up for future episodes are Pat Cadigan, Cory Doctorow, Jon Courtenay, Grimwood, Ramsey Campbell, Rob Shearman, Kim Lakin-Smith, Ian Whates, Lauren Beukes, Mark Morris, Adam Nevill, Gareth L Powell, Jeremy C Shipp, Adam Christopher, and Jennifer Williams, among others.

With a team of dedicated and passionate narrators, a central recording facility and a love of genre, Dark Fiction Magazine delivers a truly outstanding aural experience.

Dark Fiction Magazine will also be producing special editions with seasonal stories and topical issues, competitions, flash fiction episodes and novel excerpts. Each episode aims to shock and delight, to horrify and confound as Dark Fiction Magazine takes its listeners on an aural tour through the world of genre fiction.

Dark Fiction Magazine is a collaborative project, created and developed by Del Lakin-Smith and Sharon Ring. For further information, contact Del or Sharon at:


Rejection musings

As a writer, an editor and a publisher, you really get to see the rejection process from all the angles. I’m not sure it makes you wiser about the whole rejection situation but, at least for me, it doesn’t make me worry about my work not being good enough when one of my stories is rejected.

Today’s post was prompted by Harry Markov, writing in his blog about a rejection, in which he said:

Even if it doesn’t elicit tears, the rejection sends the message ‘you are not there, yet’ and nobody wants to hear that. After all, we are all special snowflakes.

I suppose I agree with the special snowflakes bit…but I have trouble agreeing with the comment of ‘you are not there yet’. This is because I am aware that your story may well have been rejected for several reasons, and many of them not involving the concept that you’re not there yet.

Maybe you have sent your short story to a themed anthology, and even though you have followed the guidelines perfectly, the story jars with the others in the anthology (this is a reason why I have always struggled with anthologies that accept stories before the deadline date, as how can you, as an editor, know how the book is going to look until you receive all the submissions?) and this means that no matter how good the story is, it’s not going to make it.

Two examples of this over at Morrigan Books, are: a story that was easily one of my favourite submissions for our The Phantom Queen Awakes anthology, from an author whose work I adore. Her story really didn’t gel with those already in the book and we were forced to reject it. The fact that I have asked if I can have the story as a new story for a collection we will be publishing is testament to the quality. In no way was this a ‘you are not there yet’.

The second was a sub for Voices, our hotel anthology. Both Amanda Pillar and I liked the story but felt it was lighter in tone than the others in the book and rejected it. That story will feature in an anthology, entitled ‘The Mammoth Book of Best British Crime‘ and I can understand why. Great story, didn’t suit Voices.

These are decisions made from an editor’s perspective but what of the publisher? What does he/she reject and why?

Easier decision here as it all comes down to sales and marketing and the industry as a whole. Well, that bit is simple, the getting all that right is another matter…

Anyway, it may be that this is just not the time for another zombie novel, much as you think it is prime time, and even though your zombie novel is brilliant, it’s not now it should be published. The argument for there always being a place for good quality fiction is sound but at the end of the day the publisher is not OK about going out of business to prove that point (I suppose given this year’s disappearance of several indie presses, this can be argued too).

For good or ill, this is how I see it when my beloved story/poem/novel is rejected. It wasn’t the right time, it didn’t fit the anthology, etc. This is a sound way to deal with form rejections, as if the publisher hasn’t deemed that the stories deserve a critical analysis then how can you know why they are being rejected?

If they tell you why it is and they inform you that ‘you are not there yet’, then send it off somewhere else and when it’s accepted, you can hope they see your story on another website/magazine/anthology!

Or you could see it as a personal rejection, be all maudlin about it and lose valuable writing time…

It’s basically up to you isn’t it?

It's Eels day!

Due to a friend of mine’s recent dive into the world of the music of the Eels, I booted up the machine, cranked up the volume and started Foobar2000, selecting my Eels folder and chucking the whole playlist on random!

Ooh the joy!

I have also decided to return to my Friday music video slot, something I used to do back on Live Journal and something that Lou Morgan has inspired me to do again.

And so, for those not having seen the light yet, I give you the Eels!

WIP Wednesday (on a Friday)

Adage time, for it’s ‘better late than never’…I suppose!

Well another incredibly busy week at Morrigan Books, saw me learn the wonders of stripping a book down to its bare bones to create an e-book document, ready to add to Amazon and Smashswords. Lessons were learned here, as it makes much more sense to complete this phase before typesetting the book for print. Yes, we know this now!

We’re moving nicely into the e-book world with all our titles, apart from one, now available as an e-book. Requiems for the Departed, the Irish crime anthology edited by Gerard Brennan and Mike Stone is available today only at $3.99 on Smashswords!

There have also been discussions within the team about that December decision time that is looming ever nearer. There are going to be some changes at the company in readiness for 2011. Some big, some not so big. Most of it is stuff behind the scenes, however, and so I’m not sure how much the average person (not that I calling you average – there’s a context demographic here) will see…let’s wait and see eh?

One of the other things I’ve been doing this week is organising my schedule. I feel that I’ve not been working as effectively as I might, due to my tendency to get easily distracted on the net…you all know what I mean…

So I’ve been working out a schedule, focusing on different areas: accounts *shudder*, submissions, reviews (the chasing of), typesetting, mailing, etc., etc. I’ll be putting this into action on Monday (no point today eh, it’s nearly the weekend) so no doubt you’ll get a half-term report on Wednesday next week…

I remember setting up an internet free day once to help with company stuff…hmm…

There’ll be new books though, I guarantee you that, with at least five books now confirmed for 2011. That will actually be our biggest number in a year to date, and we’re not happy with that either. Double figures would not go amiss next year for us…yes, you heard that here first!

And for those following this blog, I have something you may be interested in. I have been noticing a trend in collapsing indie presses over the last couple of years, and, while this has saddened me, both for the publishers in question and those that have books with them, it gives me a chance to offer a publishing opportunity at Morrigan Books.

If you feel your book fits our submission guidelines and you feel you got a raw deal from your publisher then send me a mail and we discuss possibilities with us. Your book needs to be out of contract though, or will be very soon.

Still musically in Ghost Appreciation Month

[Not really an intention to get another ghost song, but it just popped up]

After the Afterlife

So tell me about your mom

And how she cuts her hair

Does she like it short

Does she grow it out

Like seaweed

Because you are not awake

You are not awake

You’re still asleep with the seaweed kelp

So tell me about your dad

And how he gets you high

Do you like him stoned out, yeah

Do you like him dried out like seaweed

Because you are not awake

You are not awake

You’re still asleep with the seaweed kelp

I am a ghost on fire

White sheets aflame

Where is my heart

After the afterlife

Where it has it gone and stayed
So tell me about yourself

And how you like to dream about the ocean

Does it make you want to believe

In anything at all

Like me

My Hero…

What more can I say?

Ghost Appreciation Month: A musical interlude

Here’s my two little lyrical additions to the whole Ghost Appreciation Month festivities going on at Beyond Fiction this month:

And if pleases you to leave me, just go

stopping you would stifle your enchanting ghost

Sufjan Stevens: Enchanting Ghost [2010]

she’s still able, at night to watch

with a human heart

with a human heart

not just a ghost’s heart

Songs: Ohia: Not Just a Ghost’s Heart [2000]

‘Dead Souls’ starts the Morrigan Books’ October sale!

And it’s Dead Souls that starts the sale, with a reduction from $20 to $12.99 (+ shipping) on the US version and down from £15 to £7.99 (+ shipping in the UK).

Dead Souls sale on Morrigan Books

On the Amazon site it is still listed as $20 but will be reduced to $13.99 (keep an eye out for that one!)

Some reasons why you should seriously be thinking about adding the anthology to your collection:

I’m giving this an almost unheard of five star rating for an antho (I’ve only done it one other time) because of the sheer number of stories in it that left a lasting impression on my mind. I thought of several of these tales for days after reading them.

KV Taylor (Goodreads)

[B+] Diverse, well arranged and edited. You can’t make a wrong decision with this anthology.

Temple Library Reviews

Mark S. Deniz gathers 25 stories that will not try to shock the reader through violent acts, but through a series of events that can change the human soul forever…I enjoyed “Dead Souls” in the fullest and I believe that it shows within its pages the true potential of psychological terror.

Dark Wolf’s Fantasy Reviews

It’s only on offer at these prices today, so don’t regret it, buy it now!