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!

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.

The Art of Rejectomancy



When I first started thinking about submitting to pro markets (aka sci fi and fantasy magazines), my friend Shannon recommended I record the data in Duotrope (and, when it when paid-for, she directed me to The Submission Grinder, which does much the same and is free). Rejectomancy was a term I first came across when I joined the Codex writers’ forum, though the leader of our crit group, Frances, likens rejections to a perverse but logical RPG that she calls CentiBrads where you level up and get bonus points when you hit fifty or one hundred of the little buggers.

At first I didn’t get why but, now, at the end of my first six months of actually submitting stuff I totally get why. Half the time I can’t remember where I submit stories so I rely on the Grinder to tell me. That’s what my main page looks like; a list of markets, stories and how they fared and money made. It’s not actually 100% accurate as both my recent sales have been to non-listed markets (and there’s the rub; to log the data, the market has to be listed and Future Chronicles aren’t).

I have maybe a dozen nearly done/final revision stories. I estimate a month of work will see me with a nice pile to submit to places. The odd might not be in my favour but I’m still determined to try, even if all I get are form/personal rejections. At the same time I have final edits on A Star Filled Sea to finish for my Kickstarter backers. I can easily balance out the work but once I get this production line on short stories up and running, it should make my life easier.

I got a rejection yesterday which is fine because two of my friends didn’t and I’m starting to review the idea of a rejection as a positive; a chance to revise/tighten a story or just submit to a new market. My crit group reminds me, quite realistically, that just because Market A subjected Story B then it doesn’t mean the story is flawed, just that the editor at Market A didn’t think it fit them. That’s fine, not every pair of trousers or shoes fits you, sometimes you have to get to the fourth pair.

I need a Post It with that scribbled on it, it’s a surprisingly hard thing to remember. And very important.

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!