Thursday, 9 May 2013

A Test of Fate

Nice review, thank you.

"A Test of Fate" by Mark Lee Pearson. This timely fantasy has the feel of near-future science fiction: a blood test has been developed that predicts with absolute accuracy the specific manner, but not the time, of an individual's death. Political and economic considerations have made this test mandatory in all but a few parts of the world, and the consequences are not only personal fatalism (why stop smoking if you know you're going to die of lung cancer? Why not take audacious risks as a young person if you're destined to succumb to the complications of Alzheimer's?) but also legal concerns for industry. When a woman loses her job because her employers know her death will result from work-related injuries, she decides to fight the decision in the courts. A thought-provoking story enhanced by a well-realized setting and well-developed characters.

A Big Book of Strange, Weird, and Wonderful: The Best Horror, Fantasy, and Science Fiction from the pages of 'An Unforgettable E-Fiction Quarterly' (Volume 2) available now at Amazon.

The Hermits of Hahajima

Four years after writing it and two and a half years after its acceptance into this anthology, my short story about the ghosts of dead Japanese soldiers returning from the war in South East Asia, The Hermits of Hahajima, is finally published. A very nostalgic moment. Here is the link to Amazon if you are so inclined.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Helen Bound

This month's issue includes my short story, "Helen Bound". You can purchase it at Amazon for $1.99 and have it on your e-reader today.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Honorable Mention for Whaling the Multiverse

Since changing jobs in April I have had very little time for writing. But I thought it necessary to record a certain event, which I still find difficult to believe.

It is always exciting to get some feedback on a story you have written, whether that feedback is good or bad. But feedback like this is enough to send me to the stars.

This year my story "Whaling the Multiverse" made it to within inches of the top:

 Ellen Datlow's Best Horror of the Year Volume 4 Honorable Mention List

This is a big deal for a struggling writer like me.

Thank you Ellen Datlow for taking the time not only to read my story but to consider it worthwhile enough to place on your list.

Next time, perhaps I'll make it into the book itself!

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Writing Goals 2012

I write because I am a storyteller and it is what I do best. I love writing, but sometimes even the ones we love the most are the ones we are first to neglect for no other reason than that we are human.



Having read the blogposts of other writers such as JA Konrath, Nathan Bransford, and the Dead Robots, I realise that my own goals in the past have been very vague. Finish this, write that, publish some. So this year I am taking my writing goals a little more seriously. I want to be able to check at the end of the year to see whether I have a achieved what I set out to do. In order to do that I realise that the first thing I need to do is to treat my writing life as a part time job. This means no slacking off. It means getting my word count in every day. Not every other day. Not tomorrow. Like now. It means using my limited time and not wasting it.


To be able to write you must study your art. An builder does not build a house without having learned the craft by studying others. My aim is to read wide and varied this year. I plan to read at least two books a month. Ideally three. Four if possible. This will not be a problem since I usually get through more than that. Especially since I started reading on my ipod touch. But last year I did have a run where I came across a couple of books that I just could not connect with and I just ended up stopping dead. This year if that happens I will abandon the book and take up another. Easy.


Since I plan to treat my writing like a part time job. I must not only carve out the time to write, but I also have to finish what I start. Who employs a builder who leaves the tiles half done because he is not inspired to mix the cement? Not me that's for sure. So I will write until it's finished. I will take responsibility for my characters and guide them to the end of the story. No more characters hanging off the edgeof the pier waiting for me to be inspired to either save them or drown them.


I said it last year and then got sidetracked with other projects. I said it the year before and the year before that. But this time I mean it. 2012 will be the year I finish editing "Whaling the Multiverse" and prepare it for submission. What good is a car stuck in the garage with its wheels off? Damn, editing is the hardest part of writing, but it is enjoyable if I can just stop thinking about that shiny new idea. Now I have to face up to my responsibility this year and get the work done.


Complete and submit at least one short story a month and when the rejections come in find a suitable market and send it back out as soon as possible. Terry Mixon at the Dead Robot's Society suggested a points system to encourage you to reach your goal. My goal is 100 points.

1 short story written and submitted: 5 points

1 novella written and submitted: 10 points

1 first draft novel written: 15 points

1 novel edited and submitted: 25 points

So, for example, if I write 12 short stories, a novella, and submit my novel this year I have made my goal. Of course I plan to do more. I will participate in NaNoWriMo. And I would also like to finish another novel I have in progress too. 100 points is the bare minimum. I plan to exceed that goal by a long shot. I will keep track on my progress here throughout the year. Kick my butt if you feel the need. I will be.

2012 PROGRESS: 2 short stories written and submitted 10 points.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

2011 My Writing Year in Review

Submissions: 17
Rejections: 12
Pending Response: 4 (1 carried over from 2010)
Acceptances: 2
Published: 3

It's a little late in coming, but here is a quick review of the ups and downs of my writing life in 2011.

In January there was a lot of backwards and forwards with the editing on short stories that had already been accepted, but I wasn't writing anything new.

In February I still wasn't writing. I hadn't written anything since finishing NaNoWriMo in November 2010.

March was a terrible month in Japan. The earthquake, tsunami, and the start of nuclear meltdown. The country was in total chaos and I almost didn't notice my short story Whaling the Multiverse published in Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine.

Inspired by some positive feedback and reviews from Whaling the Multiverse, and a need to get back on my feet after the earthquake April was the month I started writing again. I wrote Montagfire's Sword for the Machine of Death anthology. Writing for MoD gave me the kickstart I badly needed. I was also asked to write an open letter about the March 11th earthquake on the Space and Time Magazine website.

May saw the publication of Tales of Blackleg Osai by Snarke P. Amor in Tales of Piratical Skullduggery at Wicked East Press.

In June I wrote The Ainu Woman of Kushiro for the Dark Tales of Lost Civilizations anthology. I workshopped it on Zoetrope, rewrote it taking into account some great suggestions, and changed the title to To Run a Stick Through a Fish.

I didn't write anything in July. I determined to work on rewriting my novel Whaling the Multiverse. I finished one editing pass.

I spent August writing and editing my novella The Tide Jewels for Wicked East Press. Also in August The Little Contractor Tool Kit appeared in Nightmares and Dreamscapes at Nightfall Publications.

In September I completed a short story called Suikawari. I workshopped it at Zoetrope and got some great feedback. I also did another editing pass on the novel.

In October I completed a short story called Transmission.  I workshopped it on Zoetrope and I had a lot of positive reviews. Dark Tales of Lost Civilizations accepted To Run a Stick Through a Fish. I also wrote a series of blogposts to get me in the frame of mind for NaNoWriMo.

In November I managed to complete NaNoWriMo with two days to spare. I wrote an autobiographical novel on my first six months in Japan working for an Eikaiwa. It is provisionally entitled Novacation for the Soul.

I spent December writing another 15,000 words to finish the first draft of that novel.

All in all I completed 4 new short stories and 1 novella. I did two editing passes on a novel in progress and wrote the first draft of a new novel. Not a particularly productive year, all things considered. But at least I can see some progress.

Next time I will write a post detailing my goals for 2012.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012


I make no secret of the fact that I live in Japan. And while it is also no secret that the culture of Japan is a mishmash of other cultures fused onto its own in its own unique way--think of the influence of Western literature on Japanese literature in the Meiji era and see what magnificent works of art emerged from the cauldron-- it is without doubt an equally interesting pursuit of gaijin living in Japan to create our own fusions. Here is mine, for the record.

You've heard of 年越しそば (toshikoshi soba) noodles that are eaten on new years eve whilst waiting for the new year to be rung in. 

Now let me introduce to you the 年越し本 (toshikoshi hon), A book you begin reading on the 31st December and finish on the 1st January. 

What's yours?

This was mine:

And a very enjoyable read it was too.