Welcome to the January 2023 instalment of Literally Lyndsey! I hope your 2023 has got off to a good start. Read on for writing news, sub calls, updates, book recommendations, submission calls, folklore facts and more!
Cover reveal, Pre-Orders and Sneak Peek of Have You Decided on Your Question!
It's been an exciting month of sharing more about my forthcoming novelette from Shortwave Publishing, my first book and single-author publication, out on 4th April. I'm so delighted with the cover, and can't wait to see the finished book! Below is a blurb, pre-order links, and short sample of the first pages:
If you could live your life over again, what would you ask to change? Something big? Something small? A single moment? Have you decided on your question? Zoe has.
Tired of feeling alone and lost, Zoe seeks out an experimental virtual therapy experience from Alternative Reality Tech, which offers patients the opportunity to explore life's biggest "what if?" questions via virtual reality. During her first assessment, Zoe glimpses a past in which she would have met the love of her life years ago, if not for a split-second decision. Wanting to find out more about what could have been, she returns regularly to her alternative life, slowly falling in love with the man she should have met. And so begins a dangerous obsession...
If you'd like to get your hands on a copy as it's releases, here are some pre-order links:
As promised, here's a sneak peek of the first couple of pages of the book!
I also just found out that it's on the Hive.co.uk BESTSELLER list at #2, so if you're one of the folks that pre-ordered already, thank you so much! I'm sitting here in slight disbelief as I write that. (Here it is on a blurb graphic hanging out next to some amazing authors!!)
'To Replace a Broken Heart' was published in Issue #6 of Seize the Press, a real dream publication for me! A tale of love, organs, and strange plants in a dystopian desert world. You can read it by signing up to STP's Patreon, but it will also be made available to read online in Spring.
My YA horror story 'Wisp in the Dark' inspired by the will-o'-the-wisp (see folklore below) was published in The Maul magazine. You can read it free via the link above, or listen to the audio via The Maul's Patreon
Upcoming story news:
A cool acceptance this month for a sci-fi flash fiction 'Crosswords and Coffee' that is going to be animated for the interactive fiction app Calliope Interactive, launching in March. I can't wait to see how it's produced! (If you're a writer, they're currently open for submissions for flash fiction and short stories, and it's paid, details below!)
My drabble about a haunted family moving into a regular house, 'Not Haunted, Yet' will be included in Hungry Shadow Press's Deadly Drabble Tuesdays in April.
'I Never Wanted a Rose Garden', a fun gothic horror flash fiction will appear later this year on the Tales to Terrify Podcast
'First Blood', a feminist body horror corvid tale, which was originally published by Mslexia, is being reprinted with Crow & Cross Keys and I'm delighted I'll be able to share it with a wider audience online! It's one of my favourite (and weirdest) stories - it will be out some time in March.
I'm delighted to have been invited to be part of a new project from AAN Press, The Dérive, a commissioned collection of psychogeography stories. I've been enjoying brainstorming and thinking up ideas by walking around Edinburgh, listening to podcasts on the subject. This is also the first time I've been commissioned to write for a project, so I'm especially delighted to reach that milestone!
What I've Been Reading
'Virtual Strangers' by Sam Canning - a brilliant book by a talented friend. A hilarious rom-com set in Edinburgh, featuring hijinks and a virtual romance started via a Agatha Christie fan fiction site.
'Seven Mercies' by Laura Lam and Elizabeth May - a fun and pacy space opera, the second of the duology. Really enjoying spending time with these characters.
'The Girls' by Emma Cline - listening to the audiobook of this one at the moment, and it's an interesting delve into how people get drawn into cults. Enjoying it so far!
I haven't read as many short stories as usual this month (where has January gone?) but I'll include a longer round up in my Feb newsletter!
Calliope Interactive - as mentioned above, they currently have an open call for flash fiction and stories to be made into animated interactive fiction.
Apex Magazine’s monthly flash fiction contest theme for next month will be announced on 7th Feb, so keep an eye out for that!
The Deadlands open for subs on February 1st for everyone.
Uncanny Magazine opening Feb 1st for flash fiction (749-1,499 words)
Scottish Folklore of the Month
As I had a will-o'-the-wisp story published this month, I thought it made sense to make it the featured folklore for the newsletter! The strange light most often appears as a spectral light resembling a flickering flame, roving in remote and wild places. It appears mostly at night occasionally signalling the way to treasure, but just as often tempting the unsavvy or weary traveller towards mischief or danger. This may be why it is also known as Ignis Fatuus in Latin, “Foolish Fire”. Other names for it include Teine Biorach or “sharp fire” in Scottish Gaelic, or Jack-o’-Lantern in Wales where it is linked to the devil. The latter has become a well-known symbol of Halloween. In the physical form of a carved pumpkin or turnip, the light acts as a guide for those who may go guising on Samhain night, leading children from place to place with tricks or treat in store, just like the will-o’-the-wisp does for travellers when found. It was this intersection that inspired the picnic scene in 'Wisp in the Dark'. Read it here.
I've been busy editing my Scottish folklore collection to prepare to send out - just doing some final tweaks over the coming weeks. I've also been editing my horror novella, working title 'In This City, Where it Rains' and enjoying the process. This was the novella I wrote on my fellowship at the end of last year, and I'm happy with how the gothic/alternative Edinburgh setting has come through as I've drafted it. I've also been invited to get involved in a cool audio project, more on that next month!
Beyond that, I've been enjoying going to various book events, including launches for friends, and meet ups with Edinburgh SFF writers and others. I also attended the launch of an International Ghost Appreciation Society that my friends set up, which was a definite spooky highlight of the month. Here's a postcard I made for the occasion...(and there are loads left so if you want one, do reach out and I can post it to you!)
Thank you again for reading and for your support! Until next month!