jen_qoe: (pirate girl)
fox piracyHurrah! Piracy has been ebookified and is available via Wizard’s Tower Books, your regional Amazon and at some point in the next month or so at Spacewitch. And at £2 it’s a steal, so get ye-self over there and get one!

There are a whole bunch of excellent stories in it, by a whole bunch of excellent people, but today I want to talk about mine! Or more specifically, why mermaid-pirates.

See, according to the stories, there are two types of career options for mermaids. The quiet mermaids are the ladies of leisure, lounging around random rocks combing their hair and gossiping with their bestest gal-pals. Occasionally one may be inspired by stories of humans to get involved with the strange land creatures, and by assorted means pursue their target until they’re dutifully wed or consigned to death due to an enchantment gone bad. The bolshier ones are having none of that foolishness, and prefer to seduce their human prey into the water where they can drag them down into the depths for fun and drowning. Every sailor knows this.

Mermaids call shenanigans on boring career options

What every mermaid knows, however, is a different matter. Their stories tell of all those times their selkie cousins lost their skin to human treachery; all those times their sisters got captured for amusement and profit and were ill paid for what assistance they gave drowning humans in storm churned waters; all those times they were hunted by humans who thought they could get an advantage in fishing or just grab themselves a mermaid wife. No sensible mermaid is going to let that carry on unremarked. Not for long.

And while there are plenty of activities where mermaids excel – smuggling, treasure hunting and salvage, music, art, marine sciences (of course), underwater archaeology, combat (especially of the shock troop variety), legitimate trade, hunting, exploration and storytelling; by far the most popular choice is piracy.

And really, why wouldn’t it be? Mermaids have the tactical advantage in the water - they can sneak up on their targets and scuttle a ship hull without even once showing their head above the surface. Or if they want a little more sport, they can sing their prey into the water and hold them there until the air is gone from the humans’ lungs. So taking down a boat and picking the plunder out of the wreckage later is a common way to make a quick profit – after all, the mermaids have tithes to pay to sea-witches and the ruling mer-clans, so they might as well let the humans stump up the booty.

But like a lot of pirates, half the fun is in the fight. When their blood gets going they like the challenge of facing the humans in open combat, matching tooth and claw and stolen blade against whatever the humans can wield. Wagering they’re fast enough out of the water to take down their foes before the biting air and solid ground turns the advantage back to the humans.

And so my story "Past Lives" - where human-pirates hunt mermaids and mermaid-pirates hunt humans and the spectre of an ex-mermaid pirate captain hangs over it all.



Picture Credits:
1 – Mermaids of the Caribbean http://pirates.wikia.com
2 –When Mermaids Attack by David Hahn http://davidhahnart.com/2010/02/28/when-mermaids-attack/
3 – A Pirate’s Life for Me by Selina Fenech http://selinafenech.com/archives/?nggpage=2
jen_qoe: (akima_san Croft)
From time to time it is said that short fiction is a dying form and that publishers just aren’t publishing it any more. To that I say: bollocks! Short fiction has never been healthier and more available than it is now. There are more anthologies than you can shake a stick at, e-book shorts are sold for the device of your choice via assorted retailers, authors post free online fiction on their websites and then there’s the crown jewel of the short fiction world – online magazines.

To the surprise of no-one who knows me, I love online magazines. (Check out the Shiny Stuff section on my main website for links to my favourite stories!) And really, what’s not to love. So long as you have an internet connection and some kind of tech to read on, you have easy access to a vast quantity of free fiction. If you don’t like reading on a computer screen, then you can throw a few quid the magazine’s way and subscribe to get the e-book versions delivered to your preferred reading device, and many magazines do podcast versions of their stories and dead-tree versions as either individual issues or end of year anthologies.

But me, I read on screens. (Laptops, unlimited broadband and wifi – the three best inventions in the universe, I tell you true. Kindles and iPads come a close second.) I slush for Lightspeed, so would, of course, highly recommend anyone taking a shuftie at it. They publish some awesome fantasy and science fiction, along with author interviews (and they’re reopening for subs on 20th June, if you’re that way inclined!) Lightspeed also has a sister magazine – Nightmare - for the horror aficionados, though I’ll confess to not having read much of that as yet. (Bad Jen, no cookie.)

Strange Horizons is another firm favourite and has my highest stories-I-like hit rate of all the magazines I read, and always gives fascinating non-fiction. Beneath Ceaseless Skies is another top one, and is great for thoughtful secondary world fiction, as well as some gorgeous cover artwork. Clarkesworld completes the top tier online magazine roster, and another one with gorgeous cover artwork, however I find them a little bit highbrow at times so can be something of an acquired taste. Always worth a read though.

Crossed Genres can always be counted on for fiction that pushes at the traditional boundaries and has a specific interest for stories about under-represented people. (They also do some cracking anthologies, but anthologies are for another post!) Expanded Horizons is another great magazine pushing for more diversity in the field and publishes some truly breathtaking stuff.

In the department of ‘does what it says on the tin’, there’s Heroic Fantasy Quarterly and Alt Hist, which, no surprise, do heroic fantasy and historical/alternate historical stories, so if that’s your thing, that’s where you want to go. If you like longer short fiction, then may I point you at GigaNotoSaurus for all your novella pleasures. If you prefer much shorter short fiction, than Daily Science Fiction does flash fiction five days a week (and free subscription if you want the stories delivered via email.)

Other fab free online mags include Abyss & Apex, Indian SF, Subterranean Magazine, Apex Magazine, Philippine Genre Stories and Ideomancer, and if you get a taste for any of them, don’t forget to donate a couple of quid to show your appreciation and generally keep them going.

Lastly we have the hybrid online magazines – those that exist in both dead-tree and electronic formats and include, but are not limited to, things like: Albedo One, who sell PDF versions of their magazines, Something Wicked has moved to an annual anthology but back issues are still free on their site, Shimmer has some of their content free online while selling the full issues in print and multiple digital formats, and fans of the TTA Press range of mags can easily buy DRM-free digital copies of Crimewave, Interzone and Black Static from Smashwords.

So, yeah, no-one’s publishing short fiction at all. ;-)
jen_qoe: (akima_san Croft)
And did I mention I'm going to be in this?  Let the happy dancing commence!  ;-)


Full line up (in no particular order) is:

Asher Wismer – War Most Willing
Josh Reynolds – Bultungin
Alec McQuay – Javier Reborn
Rahne Sinclair – EigiEinhammr
KC Shaw – A Cloud Like a Bunny
Emma Teichmann – Mimicans
Margret Helgadottir – The Lion
Jonathan Ward – Mask
S.J Caunt – Metamorphic
Michael Pack – To Fly
Fiona Glass – The Boyfriend, From Hell
Rob Haines – Reliquary
Jenny Barber – To Fox Tor Mire
Francesca Terminiello – Job Security
Den Patrick – Seductions
K.A. Laity – Carlos

Coming out from Fox Spirit Books soon, more details as and when....
jen_qoe: (pirate girl)
Did I mention I'm going to be in this?
fox piracy
Coming soon from the ever-so-awesome Fox Spirit Books, an anthology of piratey goodness with faaaaabulous flash fiction from (in no particular order)....

Emma Teichmann – Silvermelt
Jenny Barber – Past Lives
Christian D’Amico – Insurgent
Den Patrick – Becalmed
Kit Marlowe – Black Ethel’s Beast
Francesca Terminiello – Plunder
T.F.Grant – Geronimo
Chloe Yates – Leave the Pistol Behind
Rahne Sinclair – No Quarter
Margret Helgadottir – Nora
K.C.Shaw – Skyway
Ruth Booth – The Real Deal
Catherine Hill – The Trouble with Daydreams
Asher Wismer – True to the Song
S.J. Caunt – X Marks the Spot
Rob Haines – Pieces of 2^3

Not sure when it's coming out, but it'll be available from Amazon and Wizard's Tower Books in multiple formats.  I'm very excited.  ;-)

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