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Just a place for the odd thoughts, updates, and the detritus of my mind that doesn't belong on social media.

Posted: Aug 22nd, 5:54am

People have published my words!

I know that for some writers, six short story acceptances in a year is small beans, but for me, never having had a story accepted for publication before, it is a source of amazement! There are actual books, other people's books, with my words in them!

At the same time, I know I can do even more than that. Four of those six stories are in anthologies produced by the madmen at Zombie Pirate Publishing. I owe them huge thanks, but I want to reach wider, and find more outlets for my fiction. Currently I'm setting my sights on Dark Ink Press, who have a complex route to submission that requires (in most cases) having something featured in one of their regular Dark Drabble collections — the next one opens this weekend, so I'll be on the lookout of that.

I've also had significantly more than six stories rejected in the same period. Some were wild stabs in the dark — things I had lying around that sort of fit a theme; some where specially crafted for the call in question, which is a little more disheartening.

Posted: Jul 4th, 5:17pm

I Bless the World

Back in the day — when I was perhaps in my early teens — I used to make story books. I didn't know anything about book-making, so I used sellotape.

Recently I was at the Cymera SF Festival in Edinburgh, and I bought a book called Death Dreams at Christmas by J. R. Park. One of the stories Park includes in his anthology is one he wrote as a child, complete with scans of the original hand-written pages.

This inspired me to go and look out some of my own childhood books and take some photos. I took pictures of two, here's the first, I Bless the World

I Bless the World cover image

click the image to see the whole book

Posted: Jun 27th, 5:02am

5E Fey Reincarnation

I've been running a campaign of 5th Edition D&D since the day it reared its head in the form of the Lost Mines of Phandelver boxed set. Over the years we've had a number of deaths, and a few cases of ressurection via Raise Dead, but recently one of the founding characters, Kerri, died in a way that Raise Dead couldn't fix (spontaneously dissected by the Headmaster of the Nothic College.

Enter the party Druid, Arra, and Reincarnate, which sent me off to think about how I wanted Reincarnate to work in my campaign.

The Original D&D reincarante could bring you back as a variety of monsterous and animal forms, with plausible Player Character races being very much in the minority. Delta's Spells Through the Ages has a great run down of what reincarnate (in both Wizard and Druid forms) used to do. The 5E version, on the other hand, brings you back as a boring adult member of one of the standard player character races.

Boring! I thought.

My own take was that, as a Druid spell, Reincarnate should create fey things, natural things — sprigans and boggans and banshees, oh my! (Not any of those actual things, as it turned out, but natural things nevertheless). More than influenced, I admit, by Ortwine's reincarnation in the fantastic Tales of Wyre. So I set out to comb through the official and fan fey races and compile a list I was more comfortable with, and this is the result.

Posted: Jun 26th, 9:01am

Night Animals : Invisible cats

When humans go to sleep, the Night Animals come out to play.

Invisible cats are the bane of light sleepers. Though they cannot be seen, they can be both felt and heard. They delight in leaping from heights onto bedspreads, scratching at doors, and knocking small objects from shelves. Should a nearby human wake, the invisible cat will freeze, remaining absolutely silent until they start to sleep again — at which point the harassment resumes. Invisible cats live in family groups of up ten, who take it in turns to torment individual insomniacs. If you think you may be suffering an infestation, you are advised to throw catnip through your open windows. With luck the cats will follow, and you can then close the windows to keep them out. Of course, since they are invisible, you won't be able to tell if it worked.

Night Animals is an occasional series of strange creatures drawn from dreams.