New stories

I have three new stories published this month, which is a personal record.

The first one is Immortelle in The Dark Magazine. It is a very dark story about bleak landscapes and bleak outcomes. Charles Payseur wonderfully summed up the whole issue in his Quick Sip Reviews:

A grim issue full of stories about people trapped in yearning. In want. Isolated and alienated from the world they move through. Because they don’t fit or because they’re vulnerable and just want somewhere safe. Whatever the case, though, that yearning is used against them, used to draw them into something like a trap, something hungry and knowing exactly how to prey on them.

It also made it to the Must-Read Speculative Short Fiction list on Tor.com:

This one gripped me hard and hasn’t let me go. A young woman in an unspecified historical era is murdered by her lover after she finds out she’s pregnant. But she is not content to stay dead. A haunting story of vengeance and consequences.

Alex Brown

Fun fact: before the cosmetic industry turned immortelle into a priceless elixir of youth, the locals on the island where I live deemed it worthless because the sheep wouldn’t eat it. They used it as fuel for fishing lanterns. Those fires must have smelt wonderful.

The second one is Perfect Date in Future Science Fiction Digest. That one is more upbeat, with some humour thrown in, though the subject is serious. Personally, I’ve always found dating exhausting and exasperating, which made me wonder what kind of technology could provide women with a more positive experience. Unfortunately, it seems that in my imagination, even the most perfect dates have flaws.

Short and sensual and complicated, looking at the distance between someone’s frustrations and their desires. I really like how in so short a space it takes on AI, sex work, fantasy, and safety. Really a lot to unpack here, and a really strong story!

Quick Sip Reviews

The last story is The Echo in Dark Hearts: Tales of Twisted Love published by Ghost Orchid Press. It’s a truly wonderful collection of dark stories about love gone wrong. Mine is no exception: it’s a story about domestic violence, which is a subject that never fails to make me angry and sad.

Perhaps now that the spring is here, my writing will become optimistic once more. I’m working on a steampunk novella and I’m still trying to find an agent for The Book. I could really use some luck.

Hello darkness

I have recently volunteered to be the first reader for The Crypt Magazine, an online magazine of dark fiction and poetry published by the Ghost Orchid Press. I’ve often read and critiqued my fellow writers’ work, I’ve been a beta reader and critique partner, but I’ve never been a slusher. I think it requires a completely different set of reading skills and I’m really looking forward to it.

Between working with the Ghost Orchid Press and writing my recent stories, I’ve figured out something I’d been completely unaware of: I naturally lean towards writing dark fiction. I’ve always thought of myself as primarily a fantasy writer, especially historical, sword-and-sorcery type of fantasy. But whatever I write these days, comes out very dark – and I’m quite comfortable with that. It feels like I opened a dam and black water flowed out. It might be because it’s been a year – officially – since the beginning of the pandemic and my way of coping with anxiety and stress is to dig deeper and go darker, or it might be because it’s always been lurking inside me but I just haven’t recognized it. In any case, I’m ready to embrace it.

Oh, and if you have a dark story/poem under 500 words, The Crypt will open for subs on 1st March. Check the submission call.