Category Archives: Collaborations
The opening of my first story in the imminent Human 76. Enjoy. The book will be available in a few days if you want to find out what happens next.
Lauren strove to move, even to twitch. Her brain dispatched electrical impulses to motor neurons, but her paralysed muscles would not shift. She could not move a single millimetre; even her eyes were fixed straight ahead, gazing directly up at a grey ceiling. Her breathing, though, was unaffected, and her heart still pumped blood, reassuring her that her automatic motor functions continued to work normally. Peripheral vision showed white-coated figures moving about. They had told her that she would feel nothing because she would be unconscious during the operation, but they had been wrong. The back of her neck itched. Draughts caused by the bustling figures caused slight movements of the simple shift that covered her and stimulated her sensitive skin. She could feel. Terrified that they would cut into her while she was still conscious, she concentrated on moving even something as small as an eyelid to alert them. Nothing.
One of the figures reached above her and pushed a switch, turning on a bright light. The woman glanced down with a slight frown; perhaps she’d seen Lauren’s pupils dilate. The woman leaned in close and, in a whisper that tickled Lauren’s ear, said “You think we don’t know that you’re awake? Awareness is necessary for successful implantation. I know that is not what we told you, but to be honest we don’t really care how you feel. Now, try not to struggle; it will do you no good at all. Besides, the pain will only last an hour or so.”
Human 76, the new linked-tale anthology that I’ve been trumpeting, will be available in a matter of days. Any and all profits from sales of the book will go to the charity Water Is Life, who provide clean drinking water, sanitation and hygiene education programs to schools and villages in desperate need worldwide. The charity fits well the main theme of the anthology: helping those displaced or struggling to survive in a harsh world. WiL is a global charity, reflecting the fact that our authors are scattered all around this small blue planet.
Let me tell you a little about the remarkable evolution that took place around Lisa Shambrook’s simple premise of a girl searching for her lost sister. At first, most of our authors simply got on with their own stories, but then slowly, almost organically, a new level of writing began to emerge.
As we chatted – in the Human 76 Facebook group, on Twitter, or by email – we began to pick up ideas from each other. We read and commented on each other’s stories as they appeared in draft. We became inspired by our peers, and edited our own work so as to include cool stuff invented by fellow Seventy-Sixers.
Eventually some of our tales intertwined like lovers (Glint and Behind These Walls), while others made amusing references. One story (Sand) was entirely inspired by another (The Oasis). This process of cross-fertilisation led to Ghabrie’s world becoming very real to all of us. Of particular pleasure was the way that characters other than our sibling protagonists took on a life of their own. KJ Collard’s David, at first a simple (though vital) walk-on part in her Sheshwahtay, now has a complex, moving story arc of his own. MS Manz’s Leader causes ripples that even he would find difficult to predict. And Jeff Hollar’s Hieronymous Planck eventually … but let me not spoil the fun. You’ll have to find out about him by reading the book.
So please bear in mind that, yes, Human 76 is a collection of tales, but it is also more than that. It is a single book-length story. The saga of Ghabrie, the girl and the myth, and her determination to make her own future in a fractured world.
As an introductory offer, the eBook version of Human 76 will be available FREE for a short period of two weeks. Release day is only a few days away now. Watch this blog for more news as it happens.
Once it’s done, to put it away until you can read it with new eyes. Finish the short story, print it out, then put it in a drawer and write other things. When you’re ready, pick it up and read it, as if you’ve never read it before. If there are things you aren’t satisfied with as a reader, go in and fix them as a writer: that’s revision.
Thus spake Neil Gaiman, and I have proven the value of this advice by re-reading ‘Glint’, some weeks after it was ‘finished’, only to find that it still needs more polish, and is as clunky as a wooden bucket in more than a few places. However, while I am polishing, I shall bear in mind my other favourite piece of Gaiman advice, which immediately follows the first. Nothing is ever perfect. We have to let it go sometime.
Fix it. Remember that, sooner or later, before it ever reaches perfection, you will have to let it go and move on and start to write the next thing. Perfection is like chasing the horizon. Keep moving.
Although rather more sparsely attended than its noteworthy predecessors, presumably because many of the usual suspects had other calls on their time, this fourth in the #Nuddy trilogy featured some remarkably artistic entries from courageous funsters. My eternal thanks to you all – I hope that thumbing your noses* at convention left you with a feeling of pride.
*not to mention other protruberances
Sixteen gorgeous people took part, rather more men than women this time, which was a switch from the previous three events. On with the pics, in roughly the order they were taken:
As usual, though, I’ll start with mine. Woefully unimaginative, and hard to capture as Father Christmas kept falling over, resulting in a series of outtakes that will never be inflicted upon the world. Sexy feet, huh?
Here’s our very own @Grumpy_Mel, one of my long-standing Twitter heroes. As he puts it so succinctly, “Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without a reindeer mankini.”
Here’s @louietwist, doing some unwrapping in one of the more action-packed photos of the set, and exclaiming “My eyes my beautiful eyes!” as she turns to spot @iannlou over on the right there.
A mug, a mat, and a hairy @samuraicicero – “Welp. Merry Christmas.” he squeaks.
“Oh well, if you insist,” purrs @och23, setting off her gorgeous hair with perfectly colour-matched tinsel.
And here’s bad boy @vanished hippo, who, after a hard day of eating, likes nothing better than to relax with a stocking on. That’s a big one. Just saying.
“Happy Christmas Everyone!” cries @kyotowolf, over on the right there, while keeping his baubles well out of sight. Sensible boy.
Ah, ma belle @gemmajoobjoob dit “Ho Ho Ho” et pour une raison étrange me fait commence à parler en Français. Une femme puissante en effet, comme le montre par son recrutement de la digne @bieredeluxe dans le plaisir #NuddyChristmas.
Ah, that’s better. @sjcoltrane has put an end to my French shenanigans. “Here we go,” he says, “Santa’s role isn’t very prominent, but I was in a hurry.” Thankfully, he was prominent enough.
Welcome newcomer to #NuddyPics @baronhawkey, who seems to have turned his belly into Santa’s face – unless that’s not actually a fake beard, and his pubes are really like that. Scared now.
A couple from the delightful @WitchofScience now; on the left one of her remarkable #AdventBoobs series.
Behold the arse of @davidtims, man of the world. “I hope you appreciate,” he says “That not only has Kamini been forced to take several naked photos of me this evening, she is also witnessing me sending a naked picture of myself to a man I met on the internet.” Lots of men, David, and not a few women either. That should make her feel better.
Mr. @sjnewton, ever the gent, posted the first arousing pic of two expressly for @TheFlossieTP, @dawbes and @QuantumTree, but here you can all enjoy his enormous hat. The second, more artistic pose, will arouse yearnings in even the most stoic of viewers. Look at his lovely pom-pom.
Last, but never the least, everyone’s fantasy woman @BottyB lights up all our hearts with a veritable work of art.
And I couldn’t resist including her outtake when her knockers exploded with light. In the words of the bequiling Zoe herself – Merry Christmas Everyone!