There is darkness here

The line insists on replaying through my head:

“I am the darkness.”

“I am the darkness.”

“I am the darkness.”

I am of course referring to a line from my forthcoming story, Achilles Forsaken. I haven’t written much, but plenty of the plot and characterisation is presently living in my head. That is a sure sign that when I do set out to complete the story, it will flow easily and well. What bugs me is this line is the tip of the iceberg, the first glimpse into a universe I wish to explore, but currently do not possess the talent to do it justice. Yes, I know that’s a weird thing to say, especially for someone like me, but there it is.

Harbinger, and the many short stories I’ve done, are ideas and sequences that are familiar to me. They have gestated – grown to maturity and spilled out onto the page. I confidence in the words that form their flesh and bones. Yet the Dark Fleet mythos, starting with Achilles Forsaken, is a different ball game. Science Fiction, especially technical science fiction, is something I find difficult. I enjoy the vaguaries of the supernatural. I enjoy the limitless canvass of fantasy. Science fiction is a demanding mistress, and perhaps all the more so as it is the most foreign to me. But the Dark Fleet calls – a fusion of libertarianism, hard SF, space opera, racism, blurred morality, and ultimately, mediaeval fantasy. It’s a challenging mix. One I look forward to. Watch out for a character named ‘General Grimm’.

Moving on… today I received a short story body-blow. My almost-certainty, Ian, being considered for an issue of ASIM (after passing all reading rounds), was finally knocked back. They couldn’t place it into an issue in the short term future. With that potential sale, I’d have completed my targeted markets in Australia (along with Borderlands and Aurealis). Oh well, I remain confident with Repaginator. This was a setback on the same scale as Plan Ni. Both were really intended for the markets they were rejected from. *sigh*

Room Three has also received a second rejection, in as many weeks. This time from Sinisteria. I’ve now changed tact with that story, and submitted it to two less-well-known publications. Both caught my eye, and both would be good credits to have in padding out the old CV. I’ll wait and see on this approach.

Also on submission news, I decided to submit Counter to a market after all. In this case, I sent it to professional zine and flash specialists Vestal Review. It’s an outside chance, but one worth taking.

Finally, on the writing front, I finally completed my Cruel Summer SeriesSand, Sun, Sky, Surf, Shadow. This 5-piece micro fiction series is to be sent to the Flash Shot Cruel, Cruel Summer Contest – with high hopes for success. It is a themed set of stories, with characters inter-related throughout. Even though the stories are really short, I’m very pleased with the outcome. Maybe now I can move on and get more meatier works completed.

In Shadowed Realms news, we received our second ‘name’ Australian author, which I think is a great plus. It’s good to see established authors, especially Aussie ones, get behind a new market like Shadowed Realms. Incidentally, the story is great. I might like to add that while such contributors are very welcome, at no stage did we solicit these authors directly. As the guidelines say, we’re after great stories, no matter who writes them. It just so happens we have a couple of crackers so far. Excellent stuff. We have contracts and site graphics and lotsa stuff like that ready to go. Along with my increasing experience with Robert Stephenson’s An Alternative Time anthology, this is turning into a pleasant editorial eye-opener. Ange is throwing herself into it with gusto.

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