The Infernal Clock

My flash fiction buddies have been up to their old shenanigans, and after a random episode of tweeting brilliance, David Shakes came up with another cool flash fiction book concept, The Infernal Clock, a horror story for each hour of the day.

My hour, assigned late in the game, was 2 a.m. I have played around with horror as an exercise over the years, but I admit, I find it one of the hardest genres as a writer. My story, Karen’s Babies, was one of many stories I have written in my life to which I didn’t want to attach my name. But, I took a deep breath and did it anyway, as an exercise in detaching from my creations. Just because I wrote something dark and twisted, it doesn’t mean I am dark and twisted.

Right?

I had the privilege of working with David Shakes and Steph Ellis, the curators of this volume, to produce the final product in e-book and print form. The incomparable Tamara Rogers made the cover.

get e-book here

get print book here

INfernal Clock Kindle Cover

 

 

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Seven Questions: Mark A. King

I am very happy to welcome Mark A. King to my blog for a round of seven questions, featuring his debut novel Metropolitan Dreams. Mark is one of the founders of FlashDogs, a global community of talented flash fiction writers. His flash fiction stories have been published in a number of anthologies and magazines. Mark was born and raised in London, works in Cambridge, and lives in Norfolk, England.

wide-cover-1

1-Pitch your book in three sentences or less.

M.A.K.: In the aftermath of a violent crime we follow the connected stories of an injured nightclub bouncer, an ageing crime-lord, a conflicted police hacker, a traumatised Tube-driver and a vulnerable twelve-year-old girl as they fight for survival, purpose and redemption in the fractured city of London. Along the journey we discover lost rivers, abandoned underground stations, mysterious forces and angels (perhaps).

2-Is your book indie-published or traditionally published? Tell us a little about that journey.

M.A.K.: Indie published. Having monitored the progress (and success) of many FlashDogs on their various publishing adventures, it became clear to me that traditional publishing can be a long, hard and often frustrating experience. Self publishing offers choice, power, flexibility and responsiveness in terms of being able to get the book in front of readers. Some misguided voices that say self publishing has lesser quality, but a fair number of the finest books I have read over the last few years have come from indie authors and traditional publishing is no guarantee that you will like a book anyway, as everyone has their own reading preferences. Indeed, the indie path can often offer a wider variety of material to the reader. Neither is better, it’s just that indie suited me at this time.
The kind and talented host of this blog helped me almost every step of the way, from story transformation through to last minute logo creation. Should you be able to find someone as marvellous, I highly recommend you seek their magic as a priority early in the process.

3-What are your favorite genres/books to read, and do you think this affects your writing? How?

M.A.K.: I enjoy speculative fiction, which covers genres as diverse as science fiction, horror, fantasy, magical realism and new weird. I find myself always looking firstly to ground my stories in the lives of my characters and the journey they on on, but I’m fascinated by the worlds that science, faith and spirituality hint at, which are just beyond our current understanding. So I always try to find an undercurrent of otherworldlyness in my stories (not a real word, but it probably should be).

4-What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever been given?

M.A.K.: I can’t remember the exact words, but it was something like ‘Write the way you want to write. Try not to be someone else as there is only one you.’
I’m starting to learn that it’s important to tell the stories I want to tell in the way that I want to tell them. It might sound obvious, but it’s not, well not for me anyway, I’m fairly conformist in my real life, my writing in many ways is an outlet for something more creative.
However, I realise that this approach is likely to mean that I have less success in terms of potential sales.
It would almost certainly be easier to create a firm genre fiction, following the paths of proven formulas, but that wouldn’t seem like success to me. I’ve waited all my life to write a novel. Success, I think, is creating something different and unique, being true to the stories in my imagination and in my heart, and all I can hope for is that readers will appreciate something slightly different and connect with it in some way.

5-How do you fit your writing into a busy life?

M.A.K.: It is incredibly hard. Like many writers, I have a full time job. I have a reasonable amount of responsibility in my job and when I come home there are numerous demands on my time and energy. I juggle a number of social media accounts (my personal one, my writer one/s and the FlashDogs one)–I wouldn’t make a good spy, as this is too many identities for me already. I tend to squeeze stolen minutes and hours between other tasks, or use my work breaks wisely. My favourite writing experience was when I had to drop my daughter at a horse riding experience which was in in a neighbouring county. Too far away to come back home, so I looked at the map and realised that Rendlesham Forest was nearby, so I took my laptop and wrote some of Metropolitan Dreams from the middle of the forest where UFO sightings have been reported (the UK’s very own Roswell incident, only with more witnesses and recorded evidence from military personnel).
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It was a magical place to write from, it wasn’t just the history, but being outside surrounded by the energy of the forest was inspiring in itself. So, while finding time is sometimes hard, it does also lead to wonderful opportunities.

6-How and when did you first know you were a writer?

M.A.K.: I find it odd to think of myself as a writer and I have a cheeky small-boy grin when someone suggests that I might be one. For most of us, writing is unlikely to pay the bills, so for me, it is only ever a secondary role to; being a father, husband, good employee/manager, community contributor etc.

7-What’s your secret superpower?

M.A.K.: What is it now? Or what would I like it to be? If now, then people say that I am generally very calm under pressure. But if I had to choose a real superpower, it would be teleportation. I’d click my fingers and return to the warm sands of Shark Bay on Heron Island which sits atop the Great Barrier Reef. I’d click my fingers again to visit family or friends I don’t see often enough. Click to visit the many friends I have not yet met in different parts of the world.

Many thanks to Mark for answering seven questions!

You can learn more about Mark and his writing at his blog: https://makingfiction.com/
Follow him on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Making_Fiction
Get Metropolitan Dreams: https://goo.gl/EsXA3I

Upcoming Flash Fiction Contest at LCP

Alert to all FlashDogs, FlashMonkeys, FlashDragons, and other flashy types!

In honor of the release of our latest books, Tamara Shoemaker and I are co-hosting a ONE-TIME FLASH FICTION contest on the Luminous Creatures Press Blog.

The contest submission dates will run from June 28-June 30, 2016, so mark your calendars! The prompts will be posted on June 28th, and then you’ll have two full days to create a story of 100 words or fewer to enter. The theme will be fantasy, since the new release books we are celebrating are both fantasy stories. More information and a photo prompt will be posted on June 28th.

To see our rules, please visit the Luminous Creatures Blog here.

Please note: you do not have to be a writer to enter this contest; Tamara and I are hoping for entries from anyone who is interested in winning a free copy of our new releases, whether you’ve written anthologies, novels, flash fiction, or only your name. Come one, come all! It’ll be fun!

Preeminent Flashdog Mark A. King has agreed to serve as our judge. The winner will receive paperback or ebook editions of our two new books: Embrace the Fire, by Tamara Shoemaker, a YA novel set in a classic fantasy world with dragons, elves, and other creatures, and Sterling, by Emily June Street, a fantasy romance with an intricate magic system.

 

Flashdogs

Happy Monday! The next FlashDogs flash fiction anthology, TIME, is up and available for pre-order. I have two stories in here, one co-written with Tamara Shoemaker. I also donate my time for formatting for The FlashDogs.

The proceeds of these anthologies go to an international literacy charity. Learn more about The FlashDogs here. You can also get fantastic merch from their website.

The fabulous FlashDogs art is by Tamara Rogers:

TIME Ebook Cover

“Time may wait for no man, but The FlashDogs shepherd it with aplomb in their third anthology of flash fiction. Let this intrepid pack of cutting-edge writers fill your mind—and your hours—with their super-short stories of past, present, and future. Featuring an impressive roster of flash-fictioneers old and new, this collection has a bit of everything–romance, dystopia, comedy, tragedy–all spread across a changing timescape inspired by three photographs.”

January 2016 Goals

In December my goals were:

  1. Finalize The Cedna. Done! It is out and you can get it here!
  2. Promote The Cedna. Well, I did as much as I could stand, but as ever, book promotion is a hated but ongoing task for me.
  3. Sterling revision. Done and sent out to 2.5 editors/readers.
  4. New writing. I read two half-done manuscripts, picked one to resume, and have started daily work on it.

And my goals for January will be:

  1. New Writing: I’m going to devote the next month’s writing days to the manuscript I picked last month. Right now I just call it “Glitter” but that will not be its final name.
  2. LCP flash fiction contest: Luminous Creatures is running a month-long flash fiction contest over on our website. See the prompts here.
  3. Revise Tales of Blood & Light Book Four: It’s a big, sprawling mess.
  4. The Gantean and The Cedna boxed set: I’m making an ebook boxed set for the first two Tales of Blood and Light books, which are really like a “duet” within a series. Still working out some cover snafus.
  5. Flashdogs : TIME: I’m expecting to received the next Flashdogs manuscript any day now. Once I do, I’ll format it for ebook and print! Its planned release date is the Chinese New Year, Feb. 8th.

Summer of Super Short Stories Week Eight

The final week of SSS is happening now over at LCP. The prompts are two of my favorites from the entire round.

The phrase from The Gantean is “do not speak of our magic,” another Gantean expression, one that sums up the traditional Gantean relationship to magic–the Gantean Elders feel it must be preserved, kept secret, and kept safe, but they face a changing world where their magic will either die out or become known.

This image is this lovely, dark circle of standing stones and a shadowy figure:

the night

Image credit: The Night by Andrés Nieto Porras Flickr CC 2.0 
Image has not been altered from its original form.

If you feel inspired this week, post a story of 350 words or less in reply to the post at LCP. My co-founder, Beth Deitchman, is judging.

Summer of Super Short Stories Week Seven

This is the second to last week for SSS 2 over at LCP. Don’t miss a chance to win your badge!

As always the line prompts come from my book, The Gantean. This week’s prompt, “death comes to everything,” is a Gantean expression one of the Gantean Elders says to Leila, the book’s main character,  to explain the necessary balance in the natural world.

I picked the image because it reminded me of Leila, who is teased and called “birdgirl” by other Ganteans because she is small.

I can wait to see what stories emerge from picture an prompt. If you’d like to submit a story, do so here in reply to LCP’s post.

The prompts are:

“death comes to everything”

birdgirl

Image credit: Nereid by Claire Elizabeth Flickr CC 2.0 
Image has not been altered from its original form.