Silk and Sharp Edges - The Contents
The new collection is out (on Smashwords https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1041554 and the various ebook stores they distribute to, and Kindle store). Here's what it contains.
Simone struggles with the expectations placed on her for her first entry to a competition that is the centre of her village's precarious survival.
First appeared in the noblebright anthology Shards. It's also quite transparently Gormenghast fan-fic, but if the anthology editor noticed, they never said anything. Totally got away wi it.
Yet Here We Are
Malcolm sends increasingly heartfelt letters to his fiancee Florence from the remote destinations his job has inexplicably taken him to.
First appeared in the anthology Wavelengths.
Under Sheil Croft
Mhairi is trapped in a remote rural community with her bitter alcoholic guardian, who is obsessed with ancient knowledge. She finds escape at university but circumstances drag her back to find that a corporation is drilling there for oil in rocks she knows are too old to contain it. But oil isn't what they're looking for.
First appeared in Shadows at the Door, an Anthology.
A new shipment of water to a space station preys on the mind of its director. He suspects it is part of a subtle attack on him, as retaliation for his own activities. But the water tests as pure, so the attack must be even more devious. His suspicions, impossible to assuage, begin to spread.
This is set in the same universe as the novel I'm working on, disOrder, and inevitably contains references that would bog down the story too much to explain. Also, the central idea is either obvious if you know one particular science thing, or needlessly obscure if you don't, so it was more or less impossible to sell it as a stand-alone piece. It can live here in the Gumroad book bundle (https://gumroad.com/scav) as a little bit of bonus content for disOrder which will probably be added some time next year.
Ren has been living in what seems like an infinite garden for as long as he can remember, and he's mostly content with that. Out of curiosity, he sets out towards one of the places where the sunrise happens, and finds a place he doesn't remember, but must have been before.
A lighthouse keeper prepares to weather a magical storm.
First published at Altered Reality Magazine
One park provides a place of rest from the relentless inhumanity of the city.
After the Event
A man is just trying to get through the shopping mall to follow his daily routine, but since The Event, getting past its occupants has become problematic.
Roots and Bones
Doctor Espeth Lassell works in the Forensic Exorcism department of the university. They study by careful observation what conditions lead to the dead becoming unquiet. But there is a body in the Garden of Bones that should never have been there, and a spirit filled with murderous rage.
First published in BFS Horizons issue 11
A criminology student accidentally discovers a cluster of disappearances, using an algorithm intended to locate serial killers from patterns in their kills. The only problem is, people have been disappearing in that area for too long.
A constructed being ponders what purpose he was made for, using only the notes of his creator, and the journals he himself keeps to record his experiences, even as his memory of them fades.
This is an alternative take on some of the same themes as Ever Green but I thought they were different enough in tone and setting to both stay in.
Ball lightning strikes the home of John Whickerton, apparently with little effect. But one book on his shelf is strangely altered, and the alterations have disturbing implications that threaten his marriage, his work on the Oxford Dictionary project, and possibly much more.
A young architect takes on the first real commission of his career, but the project is beset with difficulties, mainly caused by his patron's enthusiasm.
First published on Narrative Humor
In the mountains just up the coast from the capital—but farther away than it seems on the map, what with mountain and forest roads being what they are—is the village of Sletzig, home of the world’s most troublesome goat.
This is set in the same world as The Silk Mind and The Source of Fire, but that's more head-canon than a thing you could legit infer from the text. The idea of writing a troublesome goat terrorising a small village was selected in a twitter poll as the final idea to round out my "Hundred Story Ideas" challenge (https://torn-and-crumpled.page/hundred-stories.html). I'm happy with how that turned out.
Silk and Sharp Edges
Three assassins meet at a masked ball to carry out a hit on the same man, and agree to combine their efforts to find which of the costumed guests is their target. But not all of them want to split the prize.
This is one of my favourites, which is why it got to give the collection its title. It too is set in the world of The Silk Mind and The Source of Fire and I couldn't help adding a sneaky reference to a character in the third book of the series, The Trovador, that isn't even written yet. Got to plan ahead with these things, right?
So, that's the collection. If there's anything there you like the look of, you know where to find it!