Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Publication News: "The Prodigal" at Inner Sins Webzine



My short story "The Prodigal" has been published in the dark fiction webzine Inner Sins. I had the original idea for this story many years ago. In fact, two things I have written sprang from this singular idea. 

This idea concerned a boy who was running from something unknown, and who then met an older man who sought to help him. In the first case- a boy running through a remote alien forest, away from mysterious pursuers- this became the opening chapter of my Fantasy/SF novel Copper Moon Rising. In the second version of the idea, the boy who was pursued became somebody who was much darker, a little nastier. In this particular tale, the boy on the run was not a victim, or heroic in any way, like the banished orphaned prince in Copper Moon Rising. This boy was evil, he had done something very bad, and his pursuers were seeking vengeance. This boy had returned from the dead, although he was not a ghost- for his flesh and blood had been preserved for his torturous punishments, and his enemies are supernatural entities.

This is the premise for my dark supernatural short story "The Prodigal", which you can read here in Issue 18 (Fall 2014 edition) of Inner Sins. I hope you enjoy reading it: http://www.innersins.com/innersins_208.htm

My Interview with Inner Sins Webzine



The dark fiction webzine Inner Sins selected me as their featured writer in the Issue 18, Fall 2014 edition which went live on 1st October. They asked me to do an interview, which you can read here: Steven Mace- Featured Writer- Inner Sins interview

Inner Sins is an American webzine, and my answers were edited for their readers. Additionally, I thought I'd share the transcript of my original replies to their questions here on my blog:

What prompted you to become a writer?
Before wanting to become a writer myself, firstly I was an avid reader. Imagination comes in handy, and sometimes a fantasy world is more vivid and attractive than the mundane aspects of real life. I would like to think I still possess a child's sense of wonderment and pleasure in 'making stuff up' even though I am in my 30s now. I never idolised any particular writers, but in my teens I hit a moment of self-realisation that I wanted to create worlds of characters, conflicts and plot, similar to my favourite authors in horror, speculative fiction and fantasy genres. When I started trying to write, I realised that I got a buzz from it and I enjoyed the feel of crafting a story, making images with words, searching for my own style. I simply thought I had struck upon something that I might be good at. It's nothing to do with finding a way to make money or trying to be famous.

Who were the authors you read in your youth?
The writers I read as a kid evolved from children's authors like Enid Blyton - who wrote excellent adventure stories that would be classed as YA today- to my horror/SF/fantasy favourites such as Stephen King, Clive Barker, Dean R Koontz (the Big Three). I also liked, in no particular order, J.R.R Tolkien, Raymond Feist, Tanith Lee, Ursula Le Guin, Dan Simmons, Peter Straub, Brian Lumley, and Philip K.Dick. Too many to mention. I also loved comics, particularly 2000AD. I also enjoyed the graphic novels of Neil Gaiman and Alan Moore.

Favourite authors now?
In recent years I've discovered a lot of fascinating writers that I didn't read in my youth. A good example is Thomas Pynchon. I picked up Gravity's Rainbow as a teenager and tried to read it, and couldn't make head nor tail of it. I tried reading it again a few years ago, and finally I 'got' Pynchon and the weird, baroque, humorous, and garish cartoon-ish style he'd perfected in that novel. I've discovered different SF authors, such as older classic material by H.G Wells, Aldous Huxley, Robert Heinlein and Isaac Asimov. I enjoyed reading Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy.  I really liked Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke. Everyone has discovered George R R Martin's writing now, through watching the Game of Thrones series. I just hope he can stay ahead of the TV adaptation.

Where do your ideas come from?
For horror fiction, I think a writer has to reach deep into their subconscious and early memories to tap into their childhood fears: it might be the sound of the wind shrieking in the chimney, the ominous creaking of the floorboards, a weird rustling in the attic. The way the dim light from outside the bedroom window is distorted by the curtains; creating weird shadows, maybe a curious shape in the corner. Is something going to reach out and grab our foot if we leave it outside the covers? What might that thing be? It's from these kind of impressions that ideas for creating weird fiction are formed. Every writer strives, or hopes for, originality in their work. It can be difficult to achieve that as we're inevitably influenced and shaped by what we already read and see, and the culture that exists around us. We have to get in touch with our primal selves.

What time of day do you do most of your writing?
I am a night owl by nature. My imagination seems most rich and powerful in the late evening. I like to write from 9pm right into the early hours of the morning, if I have good flow. However, I'm probably most efficient and analytical, first thing in the morning. I'd say late night is the best time for me, for plotting and putting down a first draft. Early morning to noon is good for editing, proof-reading and refining the work. Afternoon and early evening is the best period for a break!

Do you have any peculiar habits or idiosyncrasies concerning your writing?
I have certain needs which I require for a good environment for writing. I appreciate Jonathan Franzen's comments about killing the Internet connection and wearing sound-proof headphones to get totally into the creative process. I need peace and quiet to be fully focused on writing. Noise of any kind isn't really helpful at all, particularly any kind of music which I find incredibly distracting.

What genre would you say most of your writing falls into?
It's all horror, fantasy and SF- however I would use the term "speculative fiction" rather than "science fiction". If I had to pick one, that would be the genre.

Can you remember the first thing you wrote?
There was a Fantasy thing, it was a miniature hybrid imitation of Stephen King's Dark Tower 3: The Waste Lands and Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. I tried to write it in the early 1990s, but never finished it. I can't remember too much about it, except there was a group of characters who inevitably ended up going on the inevitable quest and there was a dwarf called 'Flatbit' in it. It's long since been destroyed!

Writers have many names for themselves; screenwriter, novelist, playwright, journalist, poet. What do you consider yourself?
Author. An author of novels and short stories.

What would you say to someone thinking of becoming a writer?
There's a difference between being a writer of fiction, and a writer of non-fiction, which isn't always acknowledged. Both require writing skill, but to write fiction requires extra qualities of imagination and inspiration. If you possess those, then it's all about hard work and perseverance. Keep working hard and improving your stories. Both writers of fiction and non-fiction need to find their style, or their ideal approach to writing. The fiction writer needs to have the inner desire that they have stories worth telling, and they have to passionately believe in their work. I also think it's about finding out what you're good at in life, and what skills you naturally possess. Some of the best writers had no choice, they felt compelled to write. I also think the best writers write for themselves at the beginning, not for a projected readership or 'market'. Success arrives for the lucky few as a by-product from that.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Publication News: The Spy Glass in Sanitarium Magazine Issue #023

My horror-fantasy short story "The Spy Glass" has been published in Sanitarium Magazine Issue #023:


The central idea of this story is a device that allows the viewer to peer not only through distances but through time and space itself. There is the added implication that such a gift comes with a curse. What else would you expect of such an artefact, found "in the ruins of the ancient city they discovered in the hills south of here, way beyond the deepest jungles and the great river"?

Check out this and more stories at Sanitarium Magazine's website, which can be found here and for news and more information go to their Facebook page, which can be found here.


Sunday, 20 July 2014

Publication News: Moonlight Bay in Hellfire Crossroads Vol.3

More publication news- my sinister supernatural short story "Moonlight Bay" has been published in Volume 3 of Hellfire Crossroads, edited by Trevor Denyer.


A little bit of chronology: I first wrote an earlier version of this story in 2001/2002, and then I re-wrote it in 2008 (after a holiday in Cornwall, altering it to a Cornish setting). I still wasn't completely happy with the story, until I finally completed a definitive version in 2012. It is this version which now appears in Hellfire Crossroads, and will be appearing in my forthcoming new short story collection, Echoes and Exiles.

It's about a small coastal town in Cornwall with a dark secret. It took those two rewrites to capture the mood and atmosphere that I intended to create- I wasn't interested in Godzilla-style monsters or creature-horror, or anything particularly gory with this tale. I wanted  to depict a dark sense of unease. Imagine a situation something akin to a holidaymaker bathing on an idyllic beach, enjoying the summer sun and beautiful scenery... before they suddenly spot a shark fin gliding through the water, metres away from them. It's that idea of imminent danger lurking beneath a deceptively tranquil surface. The horror that exists in this story is much weirder, but that's the feeling I was looking for, combined with a sense of place and history.


"Moonlight Bay" is published in Vol.3 of Hellfire Crossroads- details are here and you can buy the entire volume to read at Amazon here:

Monday, 2 June 2014

Publication News: Unlimited Shelf Life in Aphelion Webzine

My Fantasy/SF short story "Unlimited Shelf Life" has been published in Aphelion Webzine.


It's a humorous Speculative Fiction/Fantasy tale, with a theme of corporate satire, combined with superhero adventure. Think of this story as Mad Men Meets Marvel. You can read it here.


Monday, 5 May 2014

Publication News: The Foreshadowing in Schlock Webzine

My weird supernatural tale "The Foreshadowing" has been published in the latest weekly issue (159th) of Schlock Webzine. It's a story about a dimension parallel to our own, and the dangers of crossing the threshold: the threat of not only what you might encounter there, but what you might bring back with you...
The full index to Schlock Webzine and all their creepy tales can be found here: http://www.schlock.co.uk/index.html and the direct link to the webzine containing my short story "The Foreshadowing" can be found here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Schlock-Webzine-Issue-Stephen-Hernandez-ebook/dp/B00K3EQDSG


Thursday, 9 January 2014

Publication News: Vortex in Diabolique Magazine


 
My short SF/Horror/Fantasy story "Vortex" has been published in Diabolique Magazine's Exhumation Collection, alongside stories such as "The Wandering Train" by Stefan Grabinski; "The Lady of the House" by Matthew McLachlan; "Hisako San" by Ingrid Pitt and "The Drowning" by Catherine E. Kovach. 
You can read more about Diabolique Magazine here: About Diabolique Magazine 
Diabolique Magazine are on Facebook and you can find their Page here
You can also find them on Twitter here
My short story "Vortex" is about a series of supernatural events taking place in our world, which are linked to a universe where an organisation known as the Arcadian Vortex exists. It is controlled by a triad of female entities known as 'The Matriarchy'. In this story you will be introduced to Peregrine Lascombe and Victor Phalange, two extraordinary and talented individuals who are members of the Vortex; and Charlie Townsend, a very brave little boy.  The story stands alone, but it is also part of a cycle of stories I'm calling "The Arcadian Tales", and which I will complete in the future. You can read it here at Diabolique:  Vortex by Steven Mace 

'Vortex' has been kindly illustrated by my collaborator Mana AE, and her artwork for the story has also been published by Diabolique. Below is one of her illustrations, showing Charlie Townsend and his mother Elaine, who has been possessed by a supernatural entity:

(C) Mana AE, 2013
 

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Publication News: Veronica and the Men in Roadside Fiction


My short story "Veronica and the Men" has been published in the Winter issue of Roadside Fiction. Please see the link, and click on the story titles to read them. "Veronica and the Men" is a contemporary story set in London, not typical of my usual genres, and is an amusing satiric story about a young woman coping with the grind of her daily commute and her job:

Roadside Fiction cover by Tom Darin Liskey
You can follow Roadside Fiction on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/RoadsideFiction or their Facebook page which is: https://www.facebook.com/roadside.fiction.5
This story was written in 2009 and also published in my 2010 "Beyond Twilight" short story collection.
Or you can find it at Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/295025