Category Archives: Western

The story of the story of Rence Corness

Soul of the UniverseIf you’ve read the newly-released anthology, “Soul of the Universe”, you’ll know that it features a new story of mine: a Western yarn. Now, I’d never considered writing a Western before, although I can tell you that Anthology Club has a possible Western-themed Anthology lined up, so I certainly will revisit ‘cowpokes’ and ‘injuns’ again.

So what inspired me to enter the strange new world (to me) of the cowboy? Last year I was gripped, along with (although later than) most of the rest of you, by the stonkingly good telly series Breaking Bad. The final episode featured the song ‘El Paso’ by Marty Robbins. Chasing down this earworm on YouTube, I stumbled across Rex Wells singing “Blood on the Saddle”. Something about the song spoke to me. Who was the unnamed cowboy, and how did he come to be lying on the ground ‘all covered in gore’? The song’s explanation that a horse had trodden on his head seemed patently ridiculous.

OK, so maybe (so my thoughts went) the singer reporting the event was trying to cover something nasty up. But what could that be? It didn’t take me long to work out an alternative, far more interesting explanation. Pine LeafNow I needed a setting that was slightly askew from normal Western tales, to match the invented event. Two things led me to set the tale above the snowline – the first was my love of the film Jeremiah Johnson, the second was the evocative image of hot blood splashed on stark white snow. Of course, once I had snow, I had to have the Crow, and not only for reasons of rhyme. Looking into the Crow led me to Pine Leaf – that’s her, over on the left there – and everything else slotted into place.

All of the main parts of the story, therefore, led from thoughts originally sparked by listening to this song. Which is the whole raison d’etre of the anthology, after all. Buy the book in these places: Amazon UK, Amazon US or Smashwords.



Soul of the UniverseI am delighted, nay elated, to announce that “Soul of the Universe” is OUT NOW! I am as excited as a bottle of Dandelion & Burdock that has seen shaken very hard. Editing this musically-inspired collection has been a hatful of fun and a barrowload of work. It’s also been a bus ride of discovery, and I have learned a lot about myself as an author, things that will only help me to improve. Things like avoiding idiotic metaphors like ‘a bus ride of discovery’.

Now, yes, there are a couple of my stories in there, but I’d rather tell you about the superb tales that you will find from my fellow authors, some of the most talented indie writers around. First up is a science fiction story from the delectable Michael S. Manz which has a delightful skew that will have you chortling into your cornflakes (if, that is, you eat cornflakes while you are reading). Add to this a brace of emotionally exercising tales from Michael A. Walker that will make the hairs on all sorts of body parts stand on end and you begin to realise that you hold something special (no, not that, I mean the book). Finally, bucking the wave of Michaels that is threatening to overwhelm the anthology world, the beguiling Marissa Ames crowns this marvellous collection with a thumpingly thrilling story set in the world of Tir Athair, familiar to all readers of her hugely successful medieval fantasy novel Minstrel.

Please do click on any of the names above to discover their own thoughts about this remarkable gathering of new worlds for you to explore through your reader. All of these stories are hand-picked for your enjoyment and lovingly wrapped in a cover by exciting new illustrator Kit Cooper that I could wax lyrical about for paragraphs, and probably will in a future blog post.

So fly, my pretties, fly like a well-flung frisbee and buy Soul of the Universe from one of these places:


Amazon US:

Amazon UK:

Amazon Can:

Amazon Aus:

You can also find it on Goodreads, should you be a Goodreader:

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