Learning to Fly, story by Stephen Blake (WHEN I HEAR THAT SONG Series)

WHEN I HEAR THAT SONG – A series of wonderful poems and bits of flash fiction by Silver Birch Press. Here is my contribution. Be sure to check out the others. 🙂

Silver Birch Press

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Learning to Fly
by Stephen Blake

Sunday evenings my Mum would push back the furniture, turn on the radio, and get me to dance to the chart countdown. I loved it, safely at home, away from judging eyes.

The school disco was held just down the road in an old church hall. The evening came and the music started. In my mind I pictured myself as John Travolta from Saturday Night Fever, strutting out onto the dance floor, showing the world what I had.

Shyness is like an anchor. Inside, you want to show the world the outgoing you, the one who is ready for the limelight. Outside, you can’t move.

And then, a song comes on. I remember the TV series; I saw the film.

I pick out a lyric, You ain’t seen the best of me yet.

I can do this. I can weigh anchor.

My friends…

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Sins of the Future – Cover Reveal!

I’m very proud to reveal the cover for ‘Sins of the Future’. The art is by Cleve Sylcox. My story ‘Highly Strung’ will be in this. Those that have read it have said very positive things. 🙂

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Last October we released the anthology Sins of the Past. This year we present Sins of the Future. Set in a time where anything is possible, from self-driving cars to aliens taking over the world. Each story is unique in its own light because each author took their own views and twisted them to become the stories that are featured in this anthology set to release October 31, 2015.

Sins of the Future features:

They by Jackie Pitchford

In the Driving Lane by Misha Burnett

Highly Strung by Stephen Blake

Add Green Sauce by Matt Lovell

The Verge by R.L. Andrew

The Man with Bio degradable Skin by Angela Garratt

The Nyghtmare Machine by Don Miskel

Kitty by Boyd Miles

Mercury’s Kiss by Jen Ponce

Graduation Day by Chasity Nicole

Malfeasance by Kerry E.B. Black

Return to Sigma Seven by C. Lloyd Brill

Doris by Debbie Manber Kupfer

Looking through Different Eyes by…

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Sins of the Future Story Reveal

An excellent upcoming anthology which I am very proud to be part of is ‘Sins of the Future’. Here Chasity Nicole Dougherty reveals the 15 stories and banners for each.

Enjoy…

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Sins of the Future contains fifteen terrifying futuristic tales written by fifteen brilliant authors. Each tale is different than the next and they all come together beautifully to make up one amazing anthology. The stories vary in the futuristic realm, some happen here on Earth, other’s happen up in outer space. Some stories contain robots, other stories contain animals that walk and talk like we do.

Take a look at the banners created for each story to get an idea of just what our anthology is going to entail. We hope you are left on the edge of your seat in anticipation for our release October 31, 2015.

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Mercury’s Kiss by Jen Ponce

Polidori Corporation, the world’s largest provider of innovative robotics for home and office, is proud to introduce the latest addition to their Personal Assistant Robot family: James. James is the first Passbot to combine home maintenance with…

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Toys in the Attic

It has been too long since I last blogged. It’s difficult to say why, I originally thought I’d wait until I had something to tell you but frankly – loads has happened!

For now though, I’ve just had a story published in the anthology ‘Toys in the Attic: A Collection of Evil Playthings’. I was really pleased to be accepted into this collection. It is a little different too. There are poems, there are stories and before each one there is a beautiful piece of art.

The story I wrote is called ‘Against Type’ and is about a toy typewriter. I don’t want to say too much else about it except to say it’s not all fun and games.

Toys in the Attic Cover

Another BristolCon has come along and gone. As always it was great to meet friendly, creative people. If you ever get the chance to spend time like that, then I highly recommend you do. If writing is your thing, it’ll jump start your creativity. If you are a fan then it is reassuring to learn that people who inspire you really are very nice people.

There will be more news soon. I’ve got accepted stories in Kaiju: Lords of the Earth, Jurassic Attack, Sins of the Future and the Adventures of Dayton Barnes. Plus I should have a little bit of flash fiction about a song coming out.

I’ll try not to take too long before the next update – honest. Until then, thanks for reading and your support.

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“Candlefire” – Revised Version Published in Far Horizons

The one year ‘Anniversary Issue’ of Far Horizons is out and the highly talented Joanne Hall has blogged about it.

Joanne Hall

Good news, everyone!

A slightly revised version of “Candlefire”, which appeared in The Feline Queen has been published in Far Horizons Magazine for their Bumper Birthday issue – Happy Birthday to Far Horizons! And I’m delighted to be sharing a TOC with, among others, David Gullen and my friend Stephen Blake, who was published for the first time in Airship Shape and Bristol Fashionand wasn’t put off writing for life by being edited by me…. 😉

Far Horizons is FREE to read and you can get it here – I hope you enjoy it!

If you enjoy Candlefire and want to read an earlier version, as well as some of my other short stories, you can pick up The Feline Queen in paperback or Ebook from Amazon (for the bargain price of £1.46 this morning – don’t know how long that will last!) and Smashwords.

If you liked…

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Airships, Pirates, Passion and Gone Off Cake

The title pretty much sums up what I’ve been up to over the past few weeks.

Airships and Pirates – Well that’s the wonderfully titled ‘Avast, Ye Airships’ that gets its release… drum roll… 26th February 2015 (just 3 weeks away).

I’m really pleased with the story I’ve got in this anthology. I don’t often say that. I like what I write but this one came out just as I imagined it would right from the off. It’s been another great learning experience working with Rie Sheridan Rose, the editor of the book. She’s thinned the story but in truth she has most likely improved it. Working with an American editor has also been an eye opener with regard words. We share a language but in its written form it can seem quite different.

The experience has been very good though. I am really looking forward to reading my fellow authors tales. It looks like it is going to be a great collection.

Mocha Memoir Press who are publishing it are doing a ‘Thunderclap campaign’ on the launch day. This is new to me but looks like an interesting way to promote the book.  If you are interested in joining in, here’s the link..

https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/21936-avast-ye-airships

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Passion – That was the Sunday Speakeasy group I went to. I’ve been twice now. It is basically a local group who meet up and read some of their work. It is a mixture of writers, poets and songwriters. It is that mix that makes it so interesting. It goes from comedy, to serious, to absurd, to ponderous but is always entertaining. If I told you there was talk of ‘potatoes’, ‘The Monkee’s’ and ‘loss’, to mention just a few, you get the idea.

The first time I went the theme was ‘New’ and I wrote something for it half an hour before the event (keeping it fresh and, er, ‘new’). This time I was a little more prepared and read a tale called ‘An Old Flame’. It was well received and hopefully it did what was intended – which was to catch people off guard who expected a tale of love and romance. You’ll have a chance to read it in the February issue of Far Horizons e-magazine.

I’ve alluded to this before. I get very nervous reading in front of people. This group is a kind of ‘personal training’ for me and I think it is working. Reading your work is part and parcel of getting people interested in your writing – so I keep plugging away.

Here I am in the fetching ‘Monkey’ t-shirt reading.

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Gone Off Cake – Finally this is a small part of a project I’ve been having a go at for a children’s anthology. The book is going to be about a boy called Dayton Barnes and is aimed at 9-11 year old children. Again this is an American project. It’s been fun so far. I’m onto my second draft and have appreciated the advice I’ve had from Reneé La Viness, the editor.

As writers we put ourselves in different peoples heads constantly but I’ve found it trickier to write as a young American boy than I ever did as a wrongly accused Victorian woman being held in an asylum. Perhaps that says something about me.

Fingers crossed this story (it’s a treasure hunt) works out because I’d really like to be a part of it. Writing for this age group is something that really interests me and I’d like to get better at it.

The cake? Well lets just say that we all put things away for safe keeping and then forget where they are.

Hope to have more news soon on Dayton, maybe the big book size project and possibly paranormal steampunk activity.

Thanks for reading and sticking with me on the journey.

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2014 – What happened was…

For those who don’t realise, ‘What happened was’ (or woz, if you like) is the usual way your average Cornish person starts when telling you their tale.

Well first things first – I didn’t blog. This thing I’m writing now, I’ve thought about it a lot but done very little. I think I got caught up waiting for interesting things to happen but forgot that this writing malarky is a journey I was going to share. So I need to remember the journey is just as interesting as the destination.

January 2014

I started the year on a high after learning that my first short story and my first submission had been successful. This was also my first attempt at Steampunk.

On the back of this I joined some other writers in committing to write a story a month and try to get them all published.

January’s entry was ‘Doubting Thomas’, a modern fairy tale. I’ve had this declined twice now but with very nice feedback.

February

This month not a lot of writing happened. Although with my small ‘Critique Group’ we did do a little experiment where four of us took it in turns to write a paragraph. I enjoyed doing this and it was a really interesting exercise to do. It certainly got us talking. I’d recommend giving it a go if you ever get the chance.

March

This month I finished my ‘Be A Write Pirate’ flash fiction entry. This was to coincide with Penzance’s attempt to break the world record for the most people dressed as pirates. A record that had recently been smuggled away by Hastings. Well, the record attempt missed out by 76 people but my flash fiction entry was a runner up – so I was very happy.

Of course 8th March was the best day of the year. A momentous occasion when Airship Shape & Bristol Fashion was officially launched at the Bristol branch of Forbidden Planet. My first time published, my first book launch and my first attempt at a book signing. I remain very grateful to Jo and Roz for their patience whilst guiding a complete novice to polish his work. Also, thanks to Cheryl Morgan for being brave enough to publish it!

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April

Partly in March but then more so in April I wrote a dystopian story called ‘Lex Talionis’. I had various feedback about it. Mostly positive. I like the premise and I’ve changed the ending a couple of times but for various reasons I’ve not submitted this to anyone.

May

This month was Zombies. I wrote a story called ‘Abra-Cadaver’ and this was published by an e-magazine called Far Horizons.

June

More Zombies! This time I wrote a piece of flash fiction about a disco loving zombie. The story was ‘All Rhythm, No Pulse’ which was published again in Far Horizons.

I also tried my luck in a flash fiction competition. The theme was work and since I never heard back from them I’ll assume I wasn’t successful.

July and August

No writing to speak of, just work, work and work. Along with bites to eat and sleeping.

September

One of my fellow writers from the Writer’s Cafe thought about putting together a collection of stories and poems to celebrate/promote West Cornwall. It kicked my brain back into creative mode and I wrote two stories for her. ‘A Stones Embrace’ and ‘The Land’s End Elephant’. The collection may not happen now but I’m really pleased with the stories I wrote so I hope it does happen eventually.

October

I wrote a Hammer inspired piece called ‘A Policeman’s Lot’. This was published again by the lovely people at Far Horizons e-mag in their Halloween special.

I attended BristolCon this month and even had a go at reading ‘A Policeman’s Lot’ at the ‘open mic’ event. I didn’t finish my story in the allotted time, I got very nervous and learnt some big lessons about preparation and story selection.

As always it was a fantastic event. I cannot recommend it highly enough. I always leave there inspired to write and read. Lovely event, wonderful people.

November

I worked on a pirate steampunk story this month and went back to the novel I started twelve months before, tentatively called ‘Blood Key’.

December

Well I heard back from the publisher that they really liked my pirate steampunk story ‘Beneath the Brass’ and they asked if it could sit in their maybe pile for the upcoming anthology ‘Avast Ye Airships’.

I wrote a piece of flash fiction called ‘The Unseen Electorate’ for the Writer’s Cafe Christmas Flash Fiction contest. The themes being ‘Independence’, ‘Magic’ or in my case both. I won this competition the previous year and am delighted to say I came second this year. The winners entry was excellent, so I’m very happy.

2015?

Well it is going to be a great start to the year with news that Airship Shape & Bristol Fashion is now in profit and we can expect a royalty payment in January. I’m not earning an income as such (I think we’ll get £5.00 each) but the fact it is even in profit within twelve months is astonishing. Further to this I’m also told there are rumblings of award nominations which would be fantastic if it happens.

I’m hoping to hear that I’ve moved from the ‘maybe’ pile to the ‘yes’ pile with ‘Avast Ye’ Airships’. It might not happen but it is encouraging to get close again.

I will finish ‘Blood Key’. I’m over 60,000 words in, so I’ve got to finish it.

Other than that I’m also going to start going to a monthly event (work allowing) where local authors, poets and songwriters perform their work called Sunday Speakeasy. October in Bristol has made me realise that I need to get better at reading in public if I want to get people interested in my work. So 2015 is about getting a grip on the nerves and sharing my work.

The blog – I need to work on it more and hopefully this is the start of that.

The story a month fell by the wayside but it was worth trying to do and certainly I produced more work because of it.

Hopefully 2015 will be productive and successful too for me and you. Happy New Year to you all.

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