New Short Story: “Irezumi”

Screenshot 2016-02-01 18.00.17

“Irezumi” started out with a simple idea: a mysterious tattoo appearing on a woman’s skin. I wanted to try something historical and if you’re going to write about tattoos then you want Japan, specifically in this case the Meiji Era when Japan decided to try to ban the practise. Even today there’s a heavy stigma around it, assuming that if you’re Japanese and have tattoos then you must be yakuza (members of the Japanese mafia). Most onsen and bathhouses, for example, ban people with tattoos though foreigners often get a little more slack, especially if their tattoos are covered over.

You can see my planning post on this story here.

So tattoos … that meant my narrator needed to be an artisan, a tattooist practising his craft underground during a period where it was illegal to just go out and get inked. Oh and there needed to be a customer, a poet’s daughter, afflicted with a tattoo that she doesn’t remember being inked with and appears to be growing larger with every passing day. As the setting for this was in Kyoto, I made the tattoos those of bamboo saplings (and later trees) found in the groves of Arashiyama.


Seriously, Arashiyama is a beautiful place.

The crux of the story is the narrator’s attempt to save the tattooed woman, it’s also about how the kami are possessing unaware humans and overwriting their consciousness, their reasons for doing so as well as Master Hori—’s attempt to find a middle line.

I have a market in mind for this story though it doesn’t open up again for submissions for another week, which gives the story time to rest as well as for me to rewrite bits. The sub-plot about the kami and their reasons for invading humans needs to be louder, stronger.

But the first draft, for once, it feel like a strong one. Watertight, though a fresh pair of eyes will probably help. It’s not a mystery but it’s definately closer to urban Japanese fantasy than it is traditional sci fi or speculative fiction. I’m quite excited about this one, actually. I hope it sells but it’s another arrow in my quiver, another story to send out into the world and see how it’s recieved.

Wish me luck!

Happy Book Birthday: Alt.History 102



Alt.History 102 is now live on Amazon and you can purchase it for just 99¢/£0.99!

“The Elissiad” is my first foray into alternate fiction and my second Future Chronicles title (even if it’s my first under my new persona). Having never written this genre before it’s inspired me to write more historical fiction in the form of a short stort set in Meiji-era Japan called “Irezumi” (though whether this story becomes alternate remains to be seen).

But this story of love and death in Carthage, it couldn’t have been written without three years of emersion in ancient Greece and Rome, or my degree in Theology and Religious Studies. It’s my eulogy to my previous self and the opening gambit in my new career.

Oh and I did an interview about the story for Will Swardstrom which you can read here.

So come and explore ancient Carthage during it’s impossible Golden Age. I’d love to know what you think of it!