Accepted: Dogs & Wolves

Fox Spirit Books [External Link] has officially agreed to rehome the Alex & Conn short stories as a collection – working title “Dogs & Wolves” – in 2018. I’ll confirm publishing dates, etc, as soon as I have them!

As a reminder, the short stories are:

  1. Half-Breed (Short)
    Published: Twisted Tongue, Issue 11, 29/08/2008
    Podcast: Cossmass Infinities, Episode 5, 01/05/2010
  2. Heart’s Desire (Short)
    Published: Drops of Crimson, Volume 2, Issue 1, 01/11/2009
  3. Second Date (Short)
  4. Dog Handler (Short)
    Published: Title Goes Here, Issue 1.9, 02/09/2011
  5. The Grace of Wolves (Short)
  6. Three Swords (Short)
  7. The First Man (Short)
  8. The Last Kiss (Short)

Short story collection, horror / dark fantasy (in the Fur-Skins world)

Order of Play, Version 3

Given that the final installment of the Elkie Bernstein trilogy / series has been published, here’s the latest version of the Fur-Skins Order of Play posts.


  • There is essentially just a write up of my world-building notes with respect to what I would like to do here if I get back to it – while hopefully avoiding spoilers of what already exists and what could exist.
  • As well as the page linked above … Continue reading
  • Tuesday 23rd August, 2016

    I’m doing this getting distracted thing far too much. I’m also doing far too much “What day is it?” to just about everyone. My apologies for being a terrible correspondent. Basically, more reading and more Civ V since the last time I wrote here.

    That said, I’ve written the first draft of that final Alex & Conn story. It may or may not be the last one I ever write about Conn or Alex but it’s definitely the last one in their time-line.

    Other than that, I am off to the Fox Pocket party on Thursday so maybe see you there!

    Monday 8th August, 2016

    I got a bit distracted last week, so here’s a round-up of the last two weeks.

    I’ve read the six nominees for the British Fantasy Society (BFS) [External Link] Award for graphic novel / comic. I’m not going to tell you what my thoughts were other than it was pretty clear why they were all picked. (You can find the shortlists here: [External Link]).

    I have read a fencing acquaintance’s WIP through – and she was kind enough to send me through a novella she’s published along with the works of a couple of her writing friends / fellow writing acquaintances. Worth a look if you’re into that kind of thing:

    • Mab Morris’s The Red Khemeresh (Goodread’s page here: [External Link]) is a fantasy set in a very large world she’s building but this corner of it bears some similarities to the Steppes. I was taken with the way the shamnism and magic of the world were described.
    • Kathryn Hinds’ The Healer’s Choice (Goodread’s page here: [External Link]) is closer to a late iron age / Roman invasion of Gaul or Britain parallel. The story has a flow that grabbed me – but it’s the first in a series so be prepared to wonder what happens next (in a good way).

      ASIDE: Incidentally, Kathryn is a historian. She’s got an interesting back catalogue of history books, too!
    • Claire Ryan’s The Melding [External Link]) is a world without the parallels – and a strong romantic plot. Again, it’s the first of a series.

    I’ve read through my feedback on my Feathers WIP and had a crack at the next draft. Next thing is to let the Alex & Conn idea that seems to percolating come to boil. Maybe it’ll in time for a short story first draft for next week.

    Final thing to mention: Fox Spirit Books will be celebrating the complete set of Fox Pocket anthologies in a(bout a) fortnight. See you there if you can make it!

    Sunday 26th January, 2014

    Following today’s post about a new fictional world – or, at least, the new box to put my toys in – I thought I’d share my current list of projects to make up for the times when it looks like I’m doing nothing.

    1. A Pack Of Lies (Novel, Fur-Skins, Elkie 2), 1st draft – beta reading,
    2. Good Form (Practice script based on short story), 1st draft – stewing,
    3. An Invisible Tide (Short, sf), 2nd draft – beta reading,
    4. Untitled (Novella, R&D), 1st draft in progress,
    5. Untitled (Novella, R&D), notes,
    6. Brothers Under The Skin (Novel, Fur-Skins, Elkie 3), notes,
    7. Into The Greenwood / Queen of Fools? (Novel, fantasy), notes,

    I’m about three quarters of the way through the first draft of the first R&D “Untitled” on my list. But I really do very little writing. I just peck away at it when I can, which is why things take a while to emerge in final copy.

    My “to be rewritten” mountain is a similar length, if I keep it down to the work I’m intending to read through and then make a decision on this year – maybe even redo, time allowing:

    You may recognise some of those from when I first got into writing with intent – back in 2007, no less. I suspect some of them count towards the first however many hundred thousand words that are supposed to be total crap. Some chunks of those are total crap but I want to see if there’s anything worth salvaging.

    The Order of Play, Version 2

    Earlier Orders of Play can be found here (version 0) and here (version 1)

    Following the recent announcement (I’ll say it again: 25 Ways To Kill A Werewolf has been accepted by Fox Spirit [External Link]) a few things have been cleaned up and renamed, so here’s another note for myself that I’m sharing with the world.

    First of all, I’ve … Continue reading

    Sunday 10th June, 2012


    Rosie - New Hellhound and Pink Princess

    Oddly enough, I have another long weekend this week. However, this one is to do with the new house-mate (see left), not the Queen of the United Kingdom. I have two days off work and then working from home for the rest of the week to help her settle in. I don’t suppose I have much chance of getting distracted by DIY (although I’ve already done an impressive amount of weeding – for me – and had help putting up a door) as I’ll be too busy cleaning up after Rosie. I hope to get the door waxed in-situ some time this week.

    Thee won’t be a Rosie page turning up this week, though. I’ll be sorting that out that for the week after. This week, I have a language blog post scheduled to come out on Wednesday morning. I also hope to get some work done on The Gens.

    Last week’s update, in case you missed it, was Alex and Conn’s Second Date. Alex being the Alex Jones from the world that currently shares the same name. As I said last week, if you fancy knowing more about the Alex Jones’ world, there are some blog posts on the other end of the link I just gave and there is currently one other story still available on the Internet. Dog Handler was published in Title Goes Here:, (Web) Issue 1.9 which can be downloaded from the web editions’ page [External Link]. It is set after Second Date but shouldn’t otherwise give anything away about what happens in the new story.

    Second Date (Short)

    Download as PDF

    Conn stood on the shore hills, his pack heavy against his back despite only holding one item. Or maybe that was just the weight of implications.

    “Welcome yam,” he whispered.

    The weather was clear enough to see the double hump of Mann, halfway to Ireland, and Scotland was spread out to the north, across the Firth. It was an amazing view considering there were days when the … Continue reading

    Sunday 3rd June, 2012

    I have a long weekend this week, with two extra days off for celebrating the Queen’s (of the United Kingdom, but most of you will be more familiar with the title as “of England” or possible “of England and Scotland”) diamond jubilee. Which means we’ve had her as the head of state for 60 years. If you’re looking for political statements, whether pro or anti, go elsewhere. As far as I’m concerned, all it means is some more forge and writing time. If I don’t get too distracted by the DIY.

    In terms of changes to the site or work done, I have nothing to report but there will be an update on Wednesday. I’ve decided to post “Second Date”, the latest story I’ve written about Alex Jones. For full disclosure, I’ve made a couple of attempts at rehoming but I’ve decided not to continue throwing it out there as it can be difficult finding the right home for werewolves. At just under 2,000 words long, it’s not an uncomfortable online read, so look out for it on Wednesday.

    If you fancy knowing more about the Alex Jones’ world, there are some blog posts on it (you can get to them from the above link) and there is one other story still available on the big wide web – “Dog Handler”. This was published in Title Goes Here:, (Web) Issue 1.9 which can be downloaded from the web editions’ page [External Link]. It is set after Second Date but shouldn’t otherwise give anything away about what happens in the new story.

    Sunday 15th April, 2012

    So. Bootcamp. Basically, the idea of the bootcamp is immersion resulting in increased confidence with Welsh as a (limited) speaker, not just a learner. No dog, no English, no phone signal (by the coincidence of being on the wrong network for the area) and no Internet connection (not by coincidence but by virtue of the housing) for a week. I can’t say I’ve actually learnt that much – it’s cleaned up a bit of my pronunciations but any new vocabulary probably won’t be remembered until I proceed with Gwrs 2 (finally). However, one of the things to come out of bootcamp is the decision to write some posts around languages in the near future. There are a few things that this might end up bringing to the site:

    • A “Languages” (or “Ieithoedd”?) page. I want to ensure a permanent, obvious mention of SaySomethinginWelsh [External Link] with a bit of an explanation about how things are working out for me. But as someone who speaks English as their first language and who, some time in the dim and distant past, learnt some French it might also be worthwhile making a generalised page.
    • Linked to that, I’m considering doing a blog post about my experience of the bootcamp (more on this in a bit). You can find some general updates and other people’s comments here: SSiW forum – Tales from April Bootcamp 2012 [External Link].
    • And, finally for this section, I think there’s a fair amount of ideas / information for my world-building section of posts. I have some notes that may or may not come to fruition over the next week or so.

    With respect to the “My experience” / how well I coped part of the subject, the answer is: I survived. The couple of times I’m actually mentioned in the bootcamp forum thread suggests I didn’t spoil everyone’s fun by being stressed out for the majority of the week. I feel a bit of a fraud / idiot for two main reasons on this one. Firstly, I didn’t actually warn anyone I have a tendency to shatter under stress (i.e. warn them I have Asperger’s) and, secondly, I didn’t plan for it myself. I hadn’t expected to just break on Easter Saturday (after a long drive).

    It’s not like I didn’t expect to be stressed – new people, new place and new language? Come on! – but I thought I had my coping mechanisms in place. Turns out that I hadn’t. If I write a more involved post on bootcamp, I’ll explain all these things in more depth. Anyway, where the fraudulent element comes in, of course, is that my being so wound up has the potential to lessen or hide other people’s struggles in the same situation. Nervousness and (lack of) confidence is not something special to those of us diagnosed as on the Autism Spectrum, and we were all out of our everyday comfort zones. While I’m hardly an expert, everyone seemed to deal with things very well and we did all come away feeling better about speaking Welsh. (But I would warn anyone considering going to make sure they understand the stress involved. Don’t let it stop you but do understand that it’s all going to be a shock to the system. Talk things over with the organisers before you go if you think there might be a problem. They want you to go and they want to help you get the best out of the week.)

    I did write a little bit at bootcamp (dispensation from “dim saesneg” as it’s my main coping strategy without Finn around) but my brain essentially fried some time on Easter Sunday and I have a very small word count of about a thousand words on various ideas I may not get back to – some non-fictional for the website and some words on a mid-length story idea that may not work properly. It was a little weird trying to write because my brain kept flip-flopping between languages. It’s still doing it now: starting in Welsh, realising it doesn’t have the right words so switching to English. Unfortunately, the result is very basic and the words still aren’t the right ones. This may improve with redrafting and continuing to work through the idea.

    So, to the other ideas that came up as scratched markings in my notebook. Along with the standard fiction stuff and the language posts, you can expect to see mention of in the next few months is genealogy. I’ll be restricting anything I publish to three main family / name groups: the THOMASes, the TABERNERs and the CHARLESWORTHs. I need to investigate how best to make information available (with the standard proviso that I’m probably wrong, etc, etc) and look over the existing stuff. It’s been a while since I’ve done any research and it’ll take me a while to get back on top of things – if I can find time.

    The final new thing to look out for in the future: there will be a new Hellhound in the next few months. Rosie is currently four weeks old (if I have my dates right). The result of an accidental mating of my sister’s Jack Russell and Shih-tzu (Yes, I’ve seen the obvious joke and I do find it very funny), Rosie will hopefully be joining us in four to eight weeks. I’m going to need to take some time off work to supervise introductions and that will probably dictate when she joins the pack.

    And, to finish off today’s ramblings, there were two additions in the week before bootcamp to re-mention:

    1. I put up a new version of Order of Play, which indicates the latest Alex Jones has been allowed to live. I am still undecided whether to post it on the website or try to find a more suitable home for it.
    2. I posted a mention of the Smallsword Symposium IV, which has since been given a webpage of it’s own here: [External Link]. (Event page also updated.)