It’s a cliché that as you get older, time zips by faster, but it really feels like this year is hurtling past. One of the things that has made this year feel like a weird chug to the top of a hill before the downhill hurtle has been this spring.

THIS SCOTTISH SPRING. An endless dreary grey made of wet and cold and febrauries and marches that lasted three months each. It felt like the tail end of an interminable winter. And now suddenly the sun is shining and the birds are going bananas and everything is green like Scotland is hulking out.

Perfect to get some hikes in — this Saturday I plan to meet some writer pals after work at Dalmeny Estate for a trundle along the beach and through the woods. Hopefully the weather and the buses hold.

The rest of my weekend is taken up with doing the timing for the Edinburgh and Kirkcaldy figure skating competition. (After that, my rink closes for the summer and I must make the annual pilgrimage to Stirling and appease the ice gods there.)


If you cast your wear mind back, you may remember that April’s prompt was a Parasite Romantasy.

I can’t say I finished that one, but I have ended up with a solid 8 200 words. I’m gonna tap at it a bit still, but honestly, this may be like A Bright Sting and Sweet, where I will only be able or ready to finish it in a decade.

(And that’s fine — I think A Bright Sting and Sweet is one of the best things I’ve written recently, even if the initial story began on a silent meditation retreat eleven years ago in Worcester, South Africa.)

As for May, the prompt is inspired by a comment fantasy writer Cameron Johnston made on a panel at DeeCon last month.

He was talking about (and Cam if I get this wrong, sorry) how a seagull crapped on his car windshield and it made him think about what would happen if it were dragons instead of giant psychotic Scottish gulls (what’s the difference rally, though?)

Which led to a whole lot of chat about the intersection of the mundane with fantasy, and sparked some fun ideas — like how important would shit collectors be? And what would happen if the dragons got gastro flu, and how would dragon shit and religion intersect. (May gods shite you down!)

Anyway, all of which is a long way of saying that authors get their ideas from the strangest places.

So, on to the prompt:

A story that focuses on a mundane aspect of real life, but in a fantasy setting. Focus on the people who would normally be ignored — the clean up crews for necromancers, the shit collectors for dragons, the tithe collectors, the altar scrubbers for the gods etc.

Some questions to think about — what is the magical aspect that makes a story fantastical, and what is the mundane aspect that most people ignore about what would happen if that thing were real?

Jot down ten ideas.

Jot down ten more.

Dig deep and see what you come up with.


Speaking of DeeCon, that was a fantastic event. The Indomitable Ann of Cymera was organising the writers events, and she was, as always, amazing — herding writers, selling books, spreading the Cymera Love.

She organised a fab bunch of writers to take part, so alongside me were Lorraine Wilson, Justin Lee Anderson, Cameron Johnston, Shona Kinsella, Robin C. M. Duncan, Ioanna Papadopoulou and Erin and Mo of MK Hardy chairing.

I got to buy Shona’s new book The Heart of Winter early and get it signed because I’m sneaky like that.

Having that small taster of hanging out with other writers has made me doubly excited to get to Cymera at the end of the month.

Hopefully we’ll see some buzz for Lorraine Wilson’s upcoming We Are All Ghosts In the Forest, which I read a draft of last year, and it was INCREDIBLE and you need to get it. The arcs are out, so you might see some sneaky copies toddling about. And while I love the final cover, I think the arc cover is pretty damn fine too:

I also have some secret exciting news I’m sitting on, mainly because it’s not even actually news yet, so I don’t want to jinx anything.

I do have a new story Sea Gifts out this month in issue #10 of ParSec, which you can buy from NewCon Press. I like to call it my Lesbian Kraken Love Story, but you know that while that may be accurate, there’s going to be other weird stuff in there.

My piece on RSD and ADHD has been reprinted in this month’s issue of Strange Horizons. This is their Neuro Divergent Issue, so plenty of interesting stuff abounds.


I’m mainly going to be hanging around Cymera on the Sunday due to work commitments, but if you see me say hi. I am a most approachable cat.

I’ll also be there on Friday for some set-up, and to chair the digital discussion between Edward Ashton and Premee Mohamed — they’ll be talking about War/Peace at 6:30 pm british summer time.

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