Last week was probably one of my busiest for publications.
“Kate’s been out on the roof again. She’s drawn her finger through salt the color of wood ash, the sigils barely holding together on the terracotta slope of the tiles. The gutters are clogged with yellow fat, and dead hares whose eyes are gilded in gold leaf. Across the valley a field of barley whitens with mold and blight.” Streuobstwiese
Shimmer Magazine #46 was published on November 1st, including my story Streuobstwiese.
This felt like a big moment for me. I’ve tried so many times over the past few years to get a story into their pages. To finally succeed meant a lot. This, however, was tempered by the news that issue 46 would be their last issue, so it was a sad day too.
Shimmer stories have always been special. Magical, sometimes melancholy, often unsettling, always beautiful. The magazine is much loved and will be truly missed.
You can pick up a copy of this bump issue (containing twelve stories) at this link
Mystery Weekly Magazine November 2018
The latest Mystery Weekly Magazine came out, featuring my story Split, Chain, Stitch. Split, Chain, Stitch is a story about knitting (yes knitting), but also small communities, being an outsider, and gossip. It’s probably many other things, but what it’s not is a nice cosy tale. Here’s the start to whet your appetite. You can pick up a copy here.
“To cast on make sure you have a slip knot on the left hand needle. Place the point of the right hand needle into the slip knot and make a knit stitch. Whatever you do, do not slip it off the left.
Rachael found small towns had a gravity to them like some dense star lay hidden under the marketplace cobbles. Held people in place. Held time in place. She passed through like a comet. There was a skill to prizing herself away from the weight of these little communities. For now though she needed to collapse into the centre and let it consume her. Burn everything else away. She opened the café door, waiting for her eyes to adjust.
Six women sat around on comfy chairs, each headrest protected by a fine lace antimacassar. The only light came from old lamps balanced on rustic wooden shelves, a small constellation of spotlights above the café’s kitchen and single mobile phone. Under the low hum of conversation the sound of needles sounded like claws clattering on tiles.
They all looked up, hands still dancing.
“Can we help you?”
The café air reeked of stewed tea and furniture polish. Rachael looked for the woman who had asked the question. She sat close to the door, lap obscured with a half finished cable knit jumper in thick peacock coloured wool.
“I’m here for the Knit and Natter group,” Rachael said, brandishing her sewing bag like a membership card.
“Knit and Natter? Plenty of both here. Apart from Sally. Always on that phone of hers.”
Sally looked up from the screen and scowled, dropping her glasses back around her neck on their purple cord.
“I’m trying to find that pattern I mentioned, but the Internet keeps fading in and out.”
“Get it for next week,” one of the other knitters said, reaching behind her for a cup of tea.
“I wanted to start tonight. Otherwise I’ve got nothing else to work on. I’ll go outside and pick up a signal there.”
Rachael watched her stand up and stride across the room.
“Sorry, can I just get past,” she said.
“Sorry,” Rachael echoed, moving over to let her through, shivering in the draught from the open door.
“Don’t stand there letting the cold in. Some of us have arthritis. Come and get yourself a cup of tea. Sit down. I’m Joan, this is Liz, and this is Mags. Over there is Jan. Charlotte is in the corner. By the radiator. You’ve already met Sally.”
“I’m Rachael,” she said taking a seat next to Joan.
“Hello, Rachael. Now show us what you’re working on.”
Opening her bag, she took out her needles and the ball of wool.
“I’m not really working on anything, but I want to make something with stars on,” she said, putting them down on the chair arm.
“Let’s start at the beginning then.”
By the end of the night Rachael knew how to cast on, cast off, how everyone drank their tea, which ring on the cooker took ages to light, whose husband had been seen with the wrong person, whose son had been arrested for fighting, and the exact place in the near deserted café to get a good WiFi signal. At home she opened the door and shut out the town again.
When attaching the sleeve, match the notches as you pin it in place. When starting the round ensure the stitches of the underarm are put on hold.
Joan was making a sweater for her son, though he never really appreciated them. Jan crocheted toys for the local charity shop. Rabbits and mice. That sort of thing. Liz knitted scarves for anyone who sat still long enough. Charlotte owned the café and knitted jumpers for penguins. She’d been making them for years to send out to the Falkland Islands. Mags mainly did cross-stitch, but they let her come along anyway. Sally was always starting the next thing. The next project. The next idea. None of them lasted until the following meeting. And Rachael?
“I just want to knit a scarf. Maybe a hat?”
“With stars,” she said.
Joan nodded, and smiled, her hands never stopping. Needles always clacking.”
To complete the triumvirate of tales my story Verwelktag (in English), published in the Gothics issue of Lackington’s, was made available for free online. This is my take on a Schauerroman, a German Gothic fiction tradition, which tends to be darker than the English Gothic story. You can read the whole story here.
BUILT FROM HUMAN PARTS
(Art by Katherine Nurmi)
The previous week wasn’t without publication news. Cameron over at Animal Cracker Death Parade published my story Disruption. Disruption is based on a true story, when a flight was cancelled and we were bumped to one three days later from the other side of England. You can read the full story at this link.