Dragon Loyalty Award

dragonawardI am a fraud because I don’t think I’ve actually written about dragons. Much of the time though, I’m not too far removed from the fantastically speculative sphere in which they might be found, and I do have several. They spend their observable time in static states – metal, ceramic and the like – transforming to wreak havoc at times only cats can see and who are mostly complicit in the resultant wreckage. Also, if it hadn’t been for the raining thread, I would have moved to Pern and got myself a flock of fire lizards. So I am accepting this award, kindly conferred by Sarah Higbee, on those spurious grounds, and to be consistent with my roundabout qualification for it, I’m going to mess with the rest of the rules too.

Let’s get the fifteen onward nominees out of the way first: as I know of very few (my problem, not theirs) and Sarah is one of them I’m going to risk setting up a perpetual loop in which WordPress continually refers to itself by citing the ones on her list – minus me, of course because that would be proper silly, wouldn’t it?



Mhairi Simpson – Crazy Creative

Lizzie Baldwin – My Little Book Blog

Sara Letourneau’s Official Website & Blog

Michael D. Griffiths – Yig Prime

Joanna Maciejewska – Melfka

Sophie E. Tallis

Leiah Cooper – So I Read This Book Today

From Couch to Moon

Anastasia – Read and Survive

Zeke Teflon – Rip-roaring reviews

D. Parker – yadadarcyyada

Ionia Martin – Readful Things Blog

Siamese Mayhem – Musings on YA novels and pop culture

Humanity’s Darker Side – A book review blog

And Sarah, of course.

I’m going to add some favourite stories too, in case you haven’t come across them or their authors. First up, Sara Maitland’s Moss Witch and Other Stories. Sara often injects real science into her stories but so expertly woven that you’d never guess. Then there’s Margo Lanagan’s Black Juice collection the first of which, Singing My Sister Down, demonstrates the sideslip of Lanagan’s imagination. And what about Catherynne M Valente’s Thirteen Ways of Looking at Space/Time? This is an extraordinary mix of SF, fantasy, and philosophy – and it’s in audio too so you can sit back and listen instead of taxing your eyeballs. Another mind-grabber is Aliette de Bodard’s 2013 Hugo nominated Immersion which is about wearable avatars. Finally, Ken Liu’s The Paper Menagerie which swept the board of SF awards in 2012.

So now the facts-about-me thing.




Ok, here’s one: I was a Captain in the Territorial Army for a short while and was put on standby for the first Gulf war. They sent the other field hospital which was fortunate as no one had shown me how to wear all the various hats in the manner befitting.



‘The Collector’

‘Only Art is immortal,’ she says, her arms umber-stippled ribbons, lithe in the firelight. ‘Humans are not.’ The Collector – in Grievous Angel webzine. 489 words

‘Albert’s Teeth’

Albert’s teeth are opinionated, unlike Albert. All day they clack on about things for which Albert has no interest or that he considers they should keep to themselves. In LA Review of LA, issue nine, June 2015. 299 words #literary #noir

‘Baby Bird’

It’s the time of year for them isn’t it, tiny helpless little balls of fluff that seem to have been abandoned? But we’re told to leave them be, they were put there, the parents are watching. Perhaps these people should have done the same with what they found, out there in a capsule in deep space. From the recycler, Baby Bird was published by Read Short Fiction in 2012. About 1500 words.


There were many parts of Rosa that acted outside of her direct control and she would watch from somewhere above or outside while they got on with it. Most of the time they just responded to whoever was in the room, but occasionally one took the initiative and went out on a limb, so to speak.

Part of the current Mash Stories competition, Control contains the three necessary key words, ankle, fashion, and criminal, and opens a small window on the world of a woman or girl victim of abuse. The story draws on recent events in Yorkshire, UK where child victims of sexual exploitation were sometimes themselves criminalised and returned to their abusers, and reflects the dissociative impact of sustained trauma such that the prose is also detached and relies on implication and inference for its impact.

Probably not a story to enjoy, as such, but I hope it has meaning and does not betray the victims of this appalling crime.

‘Dog Day’

dogday5‘Lazy, idle, unreconstructed encumbrance,’ she remarked to the air. ‘Useless git!’ she added with satisfaction. Alice was peering down from the upstairs window at her sagging husband cocooned in his sagging lounger out on the patio. Dog Day is published by Cut a Long Story, price 99p.


Protected: Support for Reading – reserved page for pilot study

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flu5When disease surfaces in a world long free of illness, the old techniques for containment must be put in place, if anyone can remember how. Incubators is free on Readwave  2705 words

‘Spirits of the Freeze-Sea’

ice spirit 4Spirits of the Freeze-Sea is the story of the dreadful consequences for Izzy and her sister Shalla when Izzy forgets she mustn’t close her eyes to the ice spirits. Told in three parts, Spirits of the Freeze-Sea brings together All the Birthdays*, Dancing to the Wild Ice**, and the new Shalla’s First Ice Shatter.  Available for eReader download from Cut A Long Story, price 99p.





*First seen on Readwave

**First seen in Lancaster university DLMA 2013 showcase as Dance to the Wild Ice.

‘A Tale of Two Sixties’

From the recycler: If the phrase ‘It’s grim up North’ resonates with you, think what it might have been like 40+ years ago without colour TV, a motorway, mobile phone, and internet communication to bring other ways of life to us. A Tale of Two Sixties’  Zouch Magazine & Miscellany, October 2011.


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