Tuesday, 28 February 2017

A Preview Of Coming Attractions

My short story, "A Preview Of Coming Attractions", has just been made available on the excellent App from Great Jones Street, and as usual I'm blogging a few thoughts as to how the story was written. There may be spoilers for those yet to read it.

Great Jones Street is an App only magazine which has previously published my short stories, "Sarcoline", "Vole Mountain" (as reprint), and "Blood For Your Mother" (as reprint). It's a great resource for quality fiction and the App can be downloaded for FREE here.

I was approached by the editors with a request to write a piece of flash fiction for Valentine's Day and was eager to take part. I already had a title, "A Preview Of Coming Attractions", waiting to be written (although when I made a note of it I had no idea what kind of story it might be), and it seemed like a good starting point. I had the idea to write a piece from a female perspective, a reminiscence of sexual encounters, expanding and challenging throughout the years. Taking a lead from the title I decided to section the story within the parameters of movie classification, and as the publisher is American I decided to utilise the American classification system considering this would be more familiar to their audience (the story is therefore split into sections G, PG, PG-13, R and NC-17).

Regular blog readers will know I write to a musical background, and instinctively the song "Je t'aime...moi non plus" suggested itself as most appropriate. I prefer the Gainsbourg/Bardot version, but I also have the Gainsbourg/Birkin version. It struck me that I could use the subtle differences within the versions as part of the story itself, and so I played one version after another on repeat whilst writing (as indeed, my protagonist does whilst reminiscing).

To say more about the story will give too much away - it is only 749 words in total, after all - but here's a brief extract:

Edging towards eternity.

I see his outline for the first time. An electric eel.

Bending my head I receive the only acceptable bruise for my age group.

The discolouration brands me. I wear a scarf indoors.

Sometimes, in fast cars, everything is a blur.

Overlooking the town, the lights, one of them is a mirror. The stars hold greater permanence, yet we are also them when viewed from another planet.

He will find me as a naked, treeless, deserted island.

Just one look is molecular disintegration.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Cold Water Killer

My short story, "Cold Water Killer", has recently been published in Spark Vol VIII, and as usual I'm blogging a few thoughts as to how the story came about. There may be spoilers for those who have yet to read it.

"Cold Water Killer" is one of my Mordent stories, Mordent being a detective-turned-PI with a bubblewrap fetish who views life through noir-tinted glasses. I had written a series of Mordent short stories before realising he was prime material for a novel and some of those short stories formed part of the first two books in the series. "Cold Water Killer" was originally intended as a chapter in the novel, "Church of Wire", but after discussion with the publisher it seemed superfluous for that novel. I therefore decided to sell it as a standalone story.

The story is set in 1975, when DNA-profiling was in its infancy in criminal cases. A random sniper disguises his fingerprints by immersing his hands in water prior to committing his crimes; the subsequently crenulated skin obliterating his identity. This is intertwined with a relationship Mordent has with a florist, and the indiscriminate nature of the killings is compared to the equally indiscriminate concept of love.

Here's a bit of it:

Mordent had been in the force a sparse few years. Had lost his feet and then found them. The drinking was only just starting to kick in. Back then, people were allowed to be characters rather than caricatures and his precinct was full of them. As the years rolled by, so the faceless ones dominated. When Mordent was only the character left, he left.

But back in '75, with flowers budding like parachutes seen from the ground, and the dirt on the streets washed by April rains, his future spread in front of him like a body unrolled in carpet.

Spark VIII also contains work by Gabriel Griffin, Louis Rakovich, Charles Henke, Karen Resta, Bo Balder, Michael Haynes, India Stronach, Sarah L. Johnson, GennaRose Nethercott, Janet E. Irvin, Dany G. Zuwen, Floris M. Kleijne, Alix E. Harrow, Alexis A. Hunter, Beth Cato, Jeff Bowles,
Brian Fence, Crystal Lynn Hilbert, Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach, Francis Marion Soty, Marina J. Lostetter, Olivia R. Burton, Dustin Brown, Brynn MacNab, John Vicary, Kristen Skerry Andrews, James Aquilone, Layla Carr, Michael Garrett Ashby II, Lily Iona MacKenzie, George Wells, W. P. Johnson, Tom Crosshill and Melissa Cannon. Purchase it here.