「Now Loading…!」Cover Released! Coming This January!

I do love seeing the covers for manga I adapt. I’ve got quite a few on the roster for 2019 and Now Loading…! is first on the list. It’s a one-shot yuri title (female/female) set in the gaming industry. It’s a kouhai/sempai dynamic, with Takagi (our adorable protagonist) starting her new job maintaining a mobile game and forced to deal with her brash boss, Sakurazuki Kaori (who drinks more than I do), and also happens to be her professional idol.

The e-book/printed editions will be out on January 29th and can be obtained from all your favourite vendors by clicking here. Go check it out!!!!

Campbell Award Eligibility — 2nd Year

So, it’s that time again! Award season is upon us!

As far as I’m aware I have one short story up for eligibility for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer: “The Elissiad” (originally published by Windrift Books in Alt.History 102). The other story I sold doesn’t quite meet the eligibility criteria, sadly. As this is my second year, this is also my last chance in the running (not that I have a chance of actually getting the award, of course).

However, I have submitted the story to the annual and forthcoming Campbell Anthology which collects stories from all the eligible authors. I only found out about that today so I’ll have more info soon, hopefully.

Read The Elissiad Now for just 99¢!

My short story from Alt.History 102 is now available as a standalone for the reasonable price of 99¢/p.

“The Elissiad” is set in another version of Earth where Rome fell to Hannibal and a stranded alien ship appeared above the ancient city of Carthage. It’s my first foray into alternative history and I couldn’t have done it without three years of Classics.

Here’s the synopsis:

What if Hannibal Barca and his elephants crossed the Alps and destroyed Rome? What if Carthage became a new Eternal City but with the bread and without the circuses? 

Now the city is home to two aliens stranded on Earth who have adopted the personas of the native gods in order to repair their vessel—while accidentally uplifting humanity in the process.

Welcome to the day Carthage learns the truth about their ‘gods’.

You can pick a copy now on Amazon.

The Liner Notes: “One Quiet Night”


Last year my friend Shannon was staying with me while she looked for places in London. Being Canadian, the capital was calling her like a moth to a flame, I was like that once too, even if I didn’t go into the city much until my final year at uni and after. Anyway, for fun, we invited around two geek friends of mine, Mel and Kris, for a night of pizza and board games. I didn’t even know that was a thing until Shannon got me playing them. Now I’m a huge fan of Cards Against Humanity on principle because it is the perfect adult game, mainly because it works better the more you drink.

Yeah, it got pretty rude towards the end.

Anyway, we also played Pandemic which Shannon had previously introduced me and a somewhat sceptical Uni too. It’s a lot more fun when you have two more players and I’m totally for anything involving viruses and extinction level events (this is what I get from reading far too much Seanan McGuire). One of the cards, titled One Quiet Night, stuck with me (Hi, Pandemic folk, please don’t sue me!) and thus was my story born.

I wrote “One Quiet Night” in second person because I wanted to really get readers stuck in the story, setting it in an unnamed town near to where I live. It focuses on an unnamed single mother who’s daughter, Carly, has caught a new strain of flu which is, literally, killing humanity not that my protagonist has completely realised her daughter is dying. Then the phone goes out and she can’t figure out why. Oh and her elder son, Brandon, isn’t all himself either.

This story is so British it’s almost painful. That was half the point as I’m aware most readers won’t be; the British words like ‘mobile’, ‘GP’ and ‘101’ are going to confuse the heck out of people, thushopefully—heightening the tension. Added to that the isolation, which is straight out of every horror story ever, is particularly poignant. Especially when the protagonist realises she’s not the only one watching her child die to a disease humanity simply doesn’t have a cure too.

I remember when H1N1 and swine flu were things; there was never that much panic buying, at least not in my little town but everyone was almost painfully aware—exacerbated entirely by Twitter and Facebook—that something foul was in the air. That’s where the rest of this story came from, even though back then at least there was no real danger, not if people were smart (and people so seldom are).

Here’s the cover I designed for it (I think the image is gorgeous and totally fits the story which is contemporary but also sci fi):


As a reminder, here’s the blurb:

It only takes one quiet night for humanity to die …

Everyone expects zombies and nuclear fire to herald the destruction of the Earth but the end, at least in this tale, comes much more quietly. Your daughter is sick, the entire world is dying, and there’s nothing you can do. 

Yes, you

Step into the shoes of a single mother whose daughter doesn’t just have a simple bug but is one of millions afflicting with a terrifying virus which is quietly decimating humanity.

And you’re not the only one watching her die.

Oh and you can go preorder the book (which is out 1st May) by going here: smarturl.it/Mosaics2

Up and Coming: Stories by the 2016 Campbell-Eligible Writers is Now Available!


This is one massive tome but it’s also only available for a very short time. It contains my short story “The Soulless: A History of Zombieism in Chiitai and Mihari Culture” (written as Lesley Smith) as well as at least fifty other Future Chronicles stories and other writers you should be reading.

Look at this anthology as a free excuse to expand your list of favourite short form writers. 1.1 million words worth, specifically, and 120 authors in their first and second years of eligibility for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer.

Go download it now!

A Star Filled Sea is Live!

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000446_00061]

Publishing an ebook brings with it a certain amount of terror and abject fear about typos.  But, yeah, A Star Filled Sea in the hands of my backers and live on Amazon (click the cover to go to the purchase page). This time, I’m also trying out Draft2Digital to publish on other platforms like iBooks and Kobo without having to laboriously go to every site and manually upload. I’ve only heard good things from other authors and if it saves me a couple of hours/eases the process I’m all for it.

This is also my first book as Asha Bardon (and Amazon have kindly suggested I update my author page to reflect the name change) and it’s kinda nice to know that this is a new page in my writing career. Do please pick up the book, the print edition is in process, and don’t forget to leave reviews. They make authors happy, including me!

So I’m Eligible for the 2016 Campbell Award (Year 1)

Cover by Holly Heisey, www.hollyheiseydesign.com

I’ve never been eligible for an award before (though there’s zero chance of my winning anything or even being shortlisted). That said, thanks to my sale to The Z Chronicles back in June, I’m first year eligible for the prestigious Campbell Award. There’s been quite a kerfuffle regarding the specifics of being able to apply for this award (I don’t think the organisers were thinking fifty plus Future Chronicle writers were going to clammer to get their names on the list).

Anyway, once you’re eligible, there’s an anthology to submit to. This one is purely about exposure and the idea is it’s going to make it easier for voters in the Campbell Award to read fiction from the less well-known authors, including me. It’s taken me all morning to send off my only qualifying story ( “The Soulless: A History of Zombieism in Chiitai and Mihari Culture”) but that’s done. I’ve been trying to get myself on the list, a pre-requisite and this morning’s forced stay-at-home-with-a-chest-infection has

I’ve been trying to get myself on the list, a pre-requisite and this morning’s forced stay-at-home-with-a-chest-infection has given me the time to do the actual submission process (the deadline is like this weekend). It’s going to be made available for free for a short period so that folks can download and read in order to better educate their voting later this year. As far as I understand it, if you submit a story it will be included in the anthology.

I’m a little sad as I’m having to submit a story as Lesley and not as Asha, due to the regulations (which say you have to be paid for a story in order to submit it). The good thing is, though, that next year I will have more stories to submit and be able to do so as Asha as the award board were kind enough to put me on the list as Lesley Smith/Asha Bardon.

Again, I have no chance of winning and I don’t say that to be negative or self-defeatist, it’s simple a status of fact. I won’t win or even be shortlisted,  not this year, not next year. These kind of awards are popularity contests but, that said, it’s nice to be able to say I’m on the list. It’s given me a lot more impetus to write/submit to markets. A push in the right direction is always a good thing and can only help me on my path to being a better writer.

Hey Look! It’s the Mosaics: Volumes One and Two Covers


How cool are these? And please do click on each one to pre-order. I’ve got a story in Volume 2 called “One Quiet Night” but I wanted to showcase both covers because why not? Volume 1 is out March 8th and features a collection of short stories, flash fiction and essays from a bunch of amazing women. Volume 2 will follow with even more, including my contribution.

I don’t have the release date for Volume 2 yet but it’s apparently going to be confirmed by the end of March, to tie in with the first volume’s release. I’m just excited to be involved that that Pavarti and Kim loved my little story.