Sunday, October 31, 2010


Any new market that welcomes Sword and Sorcery is always welcome, even if - as in this case - it's a non-paying one.

"Almost all types of fantasy will be considered, from horror to heroic fiction, sword & sorcery, urban fantasy, steam-punk, supernatural, surreal, weird fiction, and noir crime. No hard science fiction, erotica or stories designed to gross out."

Welcome to Wild Stacks: the Library of the Imagination, the online magazine that is home for stories that explore and expand the imagination. Wild Stacks is published quarterly by The Alchemy Press. Issue 1 is due shortly. Meanwhile, for Issue 0 we're proud to present stories from Allen Ashley, Mike Chinn and Anne Gay.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


In writing terms it's not been a great week with a bunch more rejections landing in my inbox - one a day so far, and it's only Wednesday.

Still, I have a relatively thick skin these days and always do my best to remain sanguine about such things and have already started to think about other markets to submit the stories to. I rarely think of a rejection as being a damning indictment of my writing or story-telling skills - good stories get rejected as well as bad ones, after all, and there are many reasons why a particular tale doesn't fit a particular market.

It has prompted me to get serious about novel writing, though, bolstered by a great piece of advice in The Complete Idiot's Guide to Publishing Science Fiction by Cory Doctorow and Karl Schroder (which is a witty and rather handy book) "one way to write a novel is to commit to producing one page a day, every day". Three days in and I have three pages, no more and no less, but I have found myself itching to get back to the keyboard and continue on where I left off. I've taken it to the extreme of letting half finished sentences hang so that when I come back to the story I have somewhere definite to begin. Will this method work? Ask me in 365 days (or approximately 90,000 words) and I'll tell you (though to be fair, I have plotted the first third of the story and am adding to that as I go along with many notes and some ideas that didn't have a home elsewhere).

So, yes, there have been more swings than roundabouts this week, but at least the roundabout I'm currently on is a fun ride.

Monday, October 18, 2010


Posted on the RoF website is the sad news that Realms of Fantasy is to close once again.

"Realms of Fantasy has ceased operations as of 10/18/10. Please do not send your manuscripts to us. We would love to consider them but can no longer offer them a home. We wish you luck finding a home for your stories elsewhere. Thanks so much for your support over the years."

For more details, see the following link:

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Joys of Technology

Last week my old laptop - affectionately refered to round these parts as Vincent - made a grinding noise and breathed its last. It was a pain rather than a problem as I am constantly backing up my files, emailing story drafts to myself and am generally rather paranoid about losing my work (- lost maybe a day's work which would be about 1,000 odd words of various things. And thankfully, Vincent chose to expire at a time when I had enough 'disposable' cash to afford a cheap-n-cheerful replacement. So on to E Bay it was.

I struggled on manfully for a few days, writing by hand and using the other computer in the house, but my productivity has slowed rather substantially due to the lack of technology.

Let joy be unbounded, however. since Vincent's replacement - Boris - arrived today (and this little piece of pointless prose is his first official act).

It did get me thinking about my own working practices. Most advice to writers tells you that you should set aside a particular portion of the day to work, sticking as closely as possible to your schedule. This is, of course, extremely good advice and something that I try to stick to (my writing hours tend to be first thing in the morning (my work schedule permitting) and, more often, quite late at night.

There are those writers who only write when the muse strikes them but I've never been able to do that, most of my writing is dragged kicking and screaming from the ether - at least initially - and only really when the process has begun (say, the first two or three pages) do I start to let the muse dictate things. By that I mean I start to wonder why the characters have found themselves in this particular situation, how they can extracate themselves from it and what might happen to complicate things.

With a computer to hand this isn't a bad way of doing things for me - I'm always moving back and forth in a story changing things to suit narrative and/or character shifts - but when the process involves constant crossing out, tiny additions in my already difficult-to-read scrawl and sometimes wholesale changes in tone and perspective, it can become a chore.

But since Boris appears to be a friendly and efficient helper I can hopefully get back up to speed in the next few days.

Ah, the joys of technology (and may all those dieties who may nor may not exist bless E-Bay where Boris was purchased at a very reasonable price).

Friday, October 8, 2010

Roy Ward Baker (1916 - 2010)

The British film director Roy Ward Baker has passed away at the age of 93. Probably best known for his 1958 film A Night To Remember, which recreated the sinking of Titanic, he also directed many fine horror movies for Hammer and Amicus.

His Hammer output included Scars of Dracula, The Vampire Lovers, The Anniversary, the slightly bonkers Dr Jekyll and Sister Hyde, the even more bonkers Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires and the brilliant Quatermass and the Pit.

For Amicus he directed the portmanteau films Asylum, The Vault of Horror and The Monster Club as well as And Now The Screaming Starts, a rare attempt by Amicus to take on Hammer’s gothic horror mantle.

Once described as 'the grand old man of British horror', Baker was never a stylist in the same way as, say, Terence Fisher or Freddie Francis but his horror output was never less than entertaining - particularly given the budgetary restrictions imposed by Hammer and Amicus - and he always took the material seriously, even something as downright strange as The Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires, a Kung Fu/Hammer crossover that really has to be seen to be believed.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

James Lecky: Fiction

The world being what it is and the internet being what it is, things sometimes get lost - links get broken, copyright expires and other such things.

That being the case, I have put together a companion blog to Tales From the Computerbank to rescue some of my older (and not so older) fiction from limbo, for anyone who cares to read them.

There are a few stories on there at the moment and I hope to add to it as time passes, mostly with stories published in the UK small press in the 1990's: as and when I can find them and retype (possibly even re-write!) them.

In the meantime, if you're interested, here it is:

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Song of Tussagaroth at Innsmouth Free Press

Issue five of the very fine Lovecraftian e-zine Innsmouth Free Press is currently online for your reading pleasure and contains my short story The Song of Tussagaroth.

The story itself is, at least in part, my homage to the great Clark Ashton Smith and forms part of a series of mythos sword and sorcery tales that I'm dabbling with. The others, mostly at the notebook and/or half baked stage at the moment, currently rejoice under the umbrella title of Thule Before The Ice and, again, are my attempt to follow in the footsteps of CAS (but never to try and fill his shoes).

The new issue also includes fiction from Kenneth Yu, Paul Jessup, Tom Hamilton, Martin Hayes, Jarrid Deaton, Julio Toro San Martin and Cheryl McCreary.

Check it out for Dagon's sake (It's even got my name on the front cover!)

Friday, October 1, 2010

Jupiter reviewed at SFRevu

A decent review of the new issue of Jupiter is currently up at SFRevu, calling The Earth Beneath My Feet 'a nice little tale'. Reviewer Sam Tomaino also has good things to say about Rosie Oliver, Emma Knight and Nigel Fisher.

You can read the whole thing here:


A new issue of Heroic Fantasy Quarterly is always a cause for celebration and issue 6 has just been released. For those who don't know (and if not, why not?) HFQ is one of the best venues for sword and sorcery/ heroic fantasy fiction out there.

The new issue contains fiction from David Pilling (Heart of Man) and Robert Rhodes (The Sea Wasp), as well as poetry from Charles Saplak (Ambition, Purpose, Outcome) Shennandoah Diaz (The Dance) and stunning artwork from Mariusz Gandzel.

As if all that wasn't enough, HFQ also has a new addition to the editorial team as I will be helping out over the next few months to ease the burden on the already overworked editors ("At my signal, unleash hell!")
You can find it all here:


The first issue of editor Jesse Dedman's new sword and sorcery ezine, Iron Bound, has gone live and unleashed.

It contains stories by Ty Johnston (Behold Now the Behemoth), A.D Dawson (The White Rabbit/ The Mole Hole/ Rose's Baby), Jesse Dedman (Moranet's Rebirth), David J. West (Sailing to Valhalla) and, ahem, James Lecky (The Cold Legions).

You can find and download it here: