Twenty-Twenty Hindsight, mostly

It’s only as I crawl feebly towards the final hours of this stinker of a year that I realise I distanced myself from this blog every bit as effectively as I did so many other parts of my life.

In fact, I got up to a few things in 2020, in spite of (first) Spain’s fairly strict lockdown measures in the middle of March and (second and ever since) my own voluntary, near-total continuing efforts to self-isolate. With only the company of my better half for direct contact in the last ten months, we’ve still been fortunate that neither of our families have been critically impacted by Covid-19, and if the price to pay for that is only seeing friends and loved ones via screens, we’ll accept small blessings.

But my purpose here isn’t to lament 2020, really. Instead, I’d like to share the handful of positives that (in my creative persona) I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing over the last twelve months.

Don’t worry, I won’t keep you long… 😉

Short Fiction – appearances and sales

Quick reminder first: as my last post described, twelve sorry months ago, I started 2020 in fine spirits due to the publication of the first issue of Cossmass Infinities, a scifi/fantasy magazine published out of Scotland, which featured my first “pro-paying” fiction sale, Second Chances, Seconds, Chance. They’re now three issues to the good, and long may they persist! It’s no easy thing keeping a zine going, as I can attest – but I’m getting ahead of myself, we’ll get back to that.

Since then, I’m delighted and astonished in equal measure to be able to say that in 2020 I went on to make two additional “pro” sales, one of which was published back at the end of October: Choose Your Battleground appeared in the Canadian eco-fic zine Little Blue Marble and was, unusually for me, not a speculative piece at all, just a plane old common-or-garden militant ecological call to arms (not really).You can buy issues and merchandise from the Dark Matter shop

In addition to these, I also sold another pro story to the soon-to-appear Dark Matter Magazine, which releases its first issue early in the new year. My story, Recycle of Violence, will feature in the third issue which comes out early in the summer – I’m particularly proud of this piece, so safe to say I’ll try to remember to mention when it’s available!

And now to my other bit of news:

Mythaxis Magazine

After a considerable period of awkward internet-based wrangling, I was finally able to take the reins as editor of Mythaxis, the understated scifi and fantasy zine originally created by my sadly departed friend Gil Williamson. With behind the scenes help from a small technical and reading team, we gave the site a stylistic overhaul and put out three issues in 2020, and are moving to a quarterly schedule in 2021.

My last ever story for the zine appears in our tribute issue to Gil, from now on I’m just going to be editing, but since then we’ve featured some great stories by authors from the UK, US, Canada, Senegal, Germany and India, and our plans for 2021 include parallel fiction projects to accompany the issues to come. I’ll share more details about that in the imminent future.

Happy New Year!

Told you I wouldn’t keep you long – hope you have a better year than the last one!

Second Chances, Seconds, Chance

Happy New Year!

In many ways, 2019 was a terrible year — the state of the climate and the state of the politics to name but two — but, I happily confess, on a personal level last year was a pretty good one for me. Let me count the ways:

  • I moved to a new city, Barcelona, which I like very much. I miss my friends in Madrid a lot but, since Spain plans to make its high-speed rail system considerably cheaper in 2020, I may well impose myself upon them more frequently in future.
  • I got a new day job. Not only that, but a real job, after faking it as a teacher of Business English and earning a pittence for most of the last decade. I now work as a technical writer, and while I’m hardly raking in the cash, by comparison it feels that way.

That’s right, real-life changes of circumstance! But I mostly talk about my writing life here, and I had a few moments of note in that context too:

  • I co-published a novel. The year previously I wrote a serialised fiction project with my collaborators, Charlotte Ashley and Kurt Hunt, resulting in about 150,000 words of historical fantasy on the high seas of the 17th Century. Now available in book form!
  • My writing appeared in the latest SFFWorld anthology. Co-edited with N.E. White, DYING EARTHS was released a week or so ago and it closes with my story Convertir, in which a young member of a cult confronts what might be the end of the world…
  • I also sold a short story to TRIANGULATION: DARK SKIES. This was a bit special, partly as it was the first time I was selected for an anthology I had no part in publishing, but also because I think the story, Blow the Stars Away, is one of the best I’ve written.

Not bad, I think you’ll agree! But there’s something I’ve left off that list, something which, although it technically happened in 2019, has only today come to pass.

I’m very happy to let you know that my reality-hopping short story SECOND CHANCES, SECONDS, CHANCE has just been published in a new speculative fiction magazine named Cossmass Infinities!

Obviously I’m pleased about that generally, but this story also represents my first “professional” fiction sale. For those not in the know, there are various magazines and other markets out there for short scifi, fantasy and horror fiction which are catagorised as “pro”, “semi-pro”, or otherwise according to the rates they pay to contributors. One milestone passed: next stop, the bestseller lists!

To celebrate, magazine editor Paul Campbell has given me permission to run a little competition, winners receiving a copy of Issue One in either EPUB or MOBI format. To take part, all you have to do is send me a cool sentence that includes the word “infinite” (or infinity/infinities), the more interesting the better! You can post your entry as a reply here, or to Facebook or Twitter, the first five get a copy.

It’s a nice feeling to kick off a new year with a new achievement. I happen to know that I’ll be returning with news of a second such thing before too much more time has passed, but I’ll try not to get ahead of myself just yet…

Instead, let me wish you the very best of all things for 2020, and whatever ills befall us, be it individually or as a species, don’t let them drag you down!

The Archipelago Has Launched! (Part Two)

Two weeks down the line, and it’s time for the second half of that announcement. And what a two weeks: the ebook edition of ARCHIPELAGO, the historical naval fantasy which I co-wrote with Charlotte Ashley and Kurt Hunt over a year ago, has been quietly selling some copies of itself while I’ve been wrestling with the forces of evil to get a print-on-demand version finalized for publication. And now I have!

At the dawn of the Age of Discovery, three portals break open to a mysterious alien world. Three nations take the first bold voyages through the portals, changing the course of history as we know it. On the other side, thousands of island chains hide ancient ruins, sophisticated artifacts and complex messages from a long-dead civilization, now reclaimed by the land, the sea, and the huge creatures that have come to dominate the ocean planet. This is a world that rewards the brave, the reckless, and the ambitious. Those who cross through the portals and stake their claims on this new world can reach out and claim wealth, fame, and power — if they don’t get killed


USA | UK | Spain | France | Germany | Italy | Japan


USA | UK | Canada | Australia | Mexico | Brazil | Japan

Spain | France | Germany | Italy | Netherlands | India

The ebook is priced at more or less your regional equivalent of five American dollars, and the paperback is going for $16.50 — but to make up for that (and help you overcome the torturous wait for delivery) anyone who buys the print edition can immediately pick up a digital copy for free! Unlike our pluky adventurers, you only get the best of both worlds…

We hope you give it a try, and if you do it would be simply wonderful of you to leave us a review where you bought it — and maybe on Goodreads as well. Word of mouth makes all the difference, and in any case we’d love to know what people think.
Now, a brief salute to those who helped us out. A book is nothing without it’s wrapping, and the Archipelago logo (or Archipelogo as it should inevitably be referred to) was designed for us by writer and artist Holly Caelum Heisey, whose beautiful work you can sample here. Our cover illustration is by fantastic/fantasy artist Jorge Jacinto, whose portfolio is well worth a browse – and here’s the complete image that you’re only getting a taste of from our front cover above:

Our thanks to you if you’ve made it this far, double-thanks if you actually pick up a copy of the book! And will there be more from the Archipelago in future, do I hear you ask? Help us to top of the best-seller charts and the chances will only get better… 😉