Free fiction – new horror flash at Flashes in the Dark

My story “Antigen” has just been published at the fabulous Flashes in the Dark website. That’s pretty cool because it’s been a while since I’ve had a story there. Lately, as I’ve mentioned, I’ve been focusing on longer stories. Flash fiction is still fun. And “Antigen” does have a lot in common with many of my longer stories – multiple viewpoints, separated scenes, and I hope a dash of humour in with the action.

Here’s how it opens.

Bill McKinnis slammed the door shut and leaned against it, breathing hard. The key was in the desk but Hank was right behind him.


Thanks to editor Lori Titus for taking the story. Check out Lori’s writing, both at the site and at Amazon – as well as editing, she’s a stunning writer.

Free fiction

As I’m deep in the heart of writing novels and novellas, I’ve found a moment to write a piece of flash fiction. “With Demon” is a horror piece about the problem of trying to take a demon to a wedding. Kind of. And it’s available for free now at Microhorror. Thanks to editor Nathan Rosen for publishing this story – check out the rest of the site too: Nathan hosts a wealth of horror flash fiction.

Four recent publications

As the writing races on like a horse on a track, I’m still managing to find a little time to format and publish some short stories and collections as ebooks.

First up are two short stories – “To A Pile of Ashes” and “Stone Goddess”. Ashes was first drafted years ago while I was working on my thesis. Over the years it had numerous revisions and eventually found a home at Infinite Windows. Goddess first came out a couple of years back, first in Lame Goat Press’s Horror Through the Ages, then in The Best of Lame Goat Press, and was also podcast by Barry J. Northern at Cast Macabre. Ashes is fairly straightforward adventure sci-fi, while goddess is a Mars story but sci-fi with a slight horror edge.

Then there’s also the second of my flashpacks – short collections of flash fiction stories. This new one, following Lizard Brain and other stories (which I neglected to publicise), is Zombie-Eyed Girl and other stories: five stories with at least a hint of zombie to them. One story – “Unbuild the Bridge” – is new for this collection, with the other four having appeared elsewhere over the last few years.

Finally there’s another Michael Shone story – “Katie Stumbled”. This is an odd hybrid of a story, a little sci-fi, a little somethingpunk, and all adventure. It was originally published in the Static Movement anthology Bounty Hunter. I used the pen name since I already had a story (“A Visit to the Theatre”)under my real name in the volume.

These will show up at ebook retailers if you search for Sean Monaghan, or just find them at my Smashwords page – here.

The year that was… a reflection on publications

A banner year for me, even though I didn’t quite reach some personal goals, I have redefined and taken some new and very positive directions with writing and finding a readership. This year I published 21 new stories and 4 new poems, as well as having 5 stories reprinted (last year, 2010, I had 59 publications, without counting reprints, including a few poems). Fewer flash fiction pieces – I’ve been writing much longer now. This year I’ve written a 95,000 word novel, four novelettes, and numerous long stories. Many of these have been published (including the novel – more on that next week). I’ve been indie-publishing many of my previously-published stories, as well as some new stories, through Triple V Publishing, and will look to continue that next year (as part of my goals for 2012). A couple of highlights were getting published in a New Zealand literary magazine (Takahe) and in Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine.

Many of my publications were with the ever-friendly Static Movement, and I’m also in the process of editing three anthologies for them too.

Next year – onwards, less making music, less TV, less goofing off, more novels, more long stories and more writing. I have 5 acceptances for new stories coming out in 2012, as well as another 4 reprints.

By the way, the picture here is for the Static Movement anthologyAlternate Dimensions, that includes my story “Imaginary Maid Forgets She is Late for a Banquet”.

I am Nano in Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine #52

My story “I am Nano” has just appeared in Australia’s premier print Sci-Fi magazine Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine. A fun little piece of nano (well, flash) fiction. Thanks to editor David Kernot for his help with working on the story.

ASIM has been gaining a great reputation and a good following. It’ll also be available in eBook formats soon – at a great price.

Here are the opening words:

“We cannot be self-aware,” LM said. “There are simply insufficient connections for us to realise anything approximating consciousness.” LM inserted his probe through the cell wall to take a sample. He took a sample every 100 milliseconds.

Production errors all over – story in CrimeSpree

My story “The Boxer” appeared in CrimeSpree 41, April/March this year (link goes to Amazon, Kindle edition $2.99 – non-affiliate link). It turns out there was a production error in the printing, with part of the story missing. And so the story appears in full on the CrimeSpree Website. Hope you like it.

Funny thing – I had my own little production error with the story. “The Boxer” was a kind of working title, but it quickly got changed to the final title – “Take the Fall” – which makes more sense. Somehow when I submitted it, I put the old title back on, and that’s how it’s stuck. To add to the irony, there’s a boxer (professional?) with my name too, so if you do an internet search for Sean Monaghan The Boxer, you’re going to find that guy way ahead of finding my story.

BTW “The Boxer” (“Take the Fall”) is an interlinked story with some others – “While He Lay Crumpled” published in The New Flesh, “Join The Band” published in PowderBurnFlash and “Breathe In published in Flashes In The Dark. Read in any order.

The issue of CrimeSpree also includes an interview with Don Winslow. I recently read his book The Dawn Patrol – very different kind of crime-thriller. Interesting guy.

Two stories in The New Flesh: Year Two ebook

Two of my stories – Fledgling and Zombie Love For Morons – have been selected for The New Flesh’s second ebook. Download for free from here. The ebook is a selection of the 50 top stories from the year. It’s a fun and eclectic mix of stories (my own two are from the opposite poles of my writing) – including some from known authors like Jodi MacArthur, Angel Zapata, Laura Eno, Erin Cole and … well, too long a list. Download it now and enjoy.

Bergamot Silhouetted – Flash Fiction in Unquiet Earth from Static Movement

My hard (?) sci-fi story “Bergamot Silhouetted” is out now in the Static Movement anthology Unquiet Earth. Yes, this is collection of zombie stories (just look at that cover), and yes, mine includes zombies, eventually. At $17 from Amazon, with dozens of stories – it’s a collection of flash fiction, ie, all under 1000 words (mine is 998) – it’s a bargain. Here’s the opening paragraphs of my story:

Corey stared through the Astoria’s viewport at the battered Bergamot. Years amongst explosion debris, and tidal stresses from the gas giant system, and from swollen and pocked Bellatrix, made her look like a lump of dead coral. The ship seemed modular though the briefing said she was a bulk carrier.

“Lover,” Luese said. “Nearly time for the briefing.”

“I never thought you’d notice me,” he said, staring at the shard that had once been a spaceship.

“Well, you are blocking the viewport.”

Corey dropped back to the bunk. “I meant the whole trip. I’ve been watching you since we left Mintaka.”

My thanks to editor Chris Bartholomew

Infinite Windows on hiatus

Infinite Windows is on Indefinite Hiatus. Infinite Windows was the publisher of my serialized novel The Rotated. The serialization hasn’t finished yet: it’s only about a third of the way through. This means that I’ll be looking for a new publisher.

Infinite Windows has been a cool site, though not without some glitches and problems over the years. What I enjoyed about the publication was the longer stories that Dan took on – especially, of course, some of my own – so that as well a flash fiction, there were some more immersive stories published on the site.

It was at Dan’s encouragement that I pursued The Rotated as a novel. He published the original flash fiction version of The Rotated in June of 2009, but then asked me what else was there to the story, to the concept and suggesting (quite rightly as it turned out) that it felt like there could well be a novel.

So I set to and wrote the novel. It grew and changed, remaining aligned to the original story, but naturally different in scope and development. Initially, as I drafted the novel, I thought that the flash fiction story would play out as a scene within. It didn’t work out that way, but the scene is still a microcosm of several chapters, and perhaps is a sense of how things might have gone differently.

I feel a little sad at the hiatus, which could well be an end, but pleased with my stories, and the novel, that appeared on the site. I’m working on a query letter – which is proving harder than writing the novel itself – to send to agents as I try to find a new publisher for The Rotated.