Inkspill Magazine issue 8 is live! This issue features articles on how to give your writing depth and resonance, and how to make the most of your writing retreat, as well as the usual array of great short stories and poetry.
It’s been a while coming, but after reading through hundreds of submissions (with the aid of the Inkspill team), doing a few editing tweaks here and there, sourcing and developing cover art, designing and laying up the issue, and finally uploading the content before shouting about it on social media… we have another great issue featuring the best emerging literary talent.
Our submission doors are still open for the next issue. If you haven’t heard back from us yet, your submission is being considered for issue 9.
You can currently read this issue (and all our back issues) free online. If you have an iPad and would like to organize your Inkspill collection by downloading the issues to the Newsstand, you can do so through our Inkspill Magazine iPad App.
Plus, we have just launched our new newsletter, Linkspill, which sends you details of UK creative and literary events every month, so you can get more involved with your local creative community. The sign-up form is on the Inkspill Magazine home page.
If you have any comments about the magazine, please do get in touch – I would love to hear from you. You can email me at email@example.com
Inkspill Magazine issue 7 has just launched. This issue, we focused on genre writing. Between the pages, we have a ghost story that isn’t what it seems, poetic fantasy, thought-provoking science fiction, brilliant comedy, and more.
Our feature articles include tips on building character, and an exploration of the boom in crime fiction featuring input from best-selling crime author Leigh Russell.
Also, I’m very happy to announce that version 1.2 of the app is now available, featuring retina support for the new iPad and enhanced Facebook sharing.(It may take a few days for the issue to appear in the app, but you can download the app for free and be notified when the issue is available.)
Visit the website to get your hands on the new issue – available to read free online or just 69p an issue for iPad.
If you enjoy reading Inkspill Magazine, the best way to support us is to help spread the word. You can ‘like’ this post on Facebook or tweet this post using the social media buttons above. You can join the Inkspill Magazine Facebook page or follow the Twitter account (@inkspillmag). Feel free to save the cover image to your device and post it to your blog, etc. If you blog about the magazine, let me know and I’ll share the link via the Inkspill Magazine social network. I’m also available for email-interview about the magazine.
If you have any comments or suggestions about Inkspill Magazine, please do get in touch.
Note to self: improve immune system.
Yes, previous to the last six weeks, the last time I had a cold was the winter of 2010-11. But over the past six weeks, I’ve caught three viruses worse than the average cold. Damn you, germy world, and damn you crappy immune system.
But enough of that. You don’t want to hear about the Armageddon of snotty tissues in my bedroom. How about some publication news instead?
Today, the February issue of Yes, Poetry is out. You can download the free PDF from their website. It contains just the right amount of quirky and insightful poetry to keep you entertained. And it features my poem ‘Breathing Out’.
In Novermber 2010, I submitted a little poem to The London Magazine. In February 2011, they wrote to say my poem was accepted. Then I never heard anything back. I kept an eye on the website. Nothing. Months after this, the same poem was accepted for an anthology, but the anthology asked about publication rights. I assumed I still held all the rights as The London Magazine hadn’t published the accepted poetry, nor had a signed a contract, nor were there rights information on their website. Then by chance I saw that my poem was published by The London Magazine. Despite three emails and a promise of a contributor copy, I still haven’t received my contributor copy. If this was any other magazine, I would have been livid with their disorganisation. But its such a prestigious publication that I can’t help but still be pleased I’m included. And I really think it’s the best poem I’ve written.
You can read Napkin Swans in the Oct-Nov 2011 issue of The London Magazine.
It will also appear in The Young British Poets Oxfam Anthology, published by Cinnamon press to raise money for Oxfam.
As well as that, our Royal Holloway MA anthology, Bedford Square 5, was published in Dec 2011. It contains novel extracts and poetry from two year’s of students on the MA. It features the first chapter of my novel The Sky, The City, The Others (working title), which is a steampunk/zombie adventure story. It’s really interesting to see what all the other groups were working on. Though the general reader is unlikely to pick it up and read an anthology of extracts, it’s a good showcase for prospective students, agents and publishers. Some of us will be reading from the anthology at the Runnymede Literary Festival on Friday March 16th at the Centre for Creative Collaboration on Acton Street.
And my last piece of publication news is that I’ve taken the plunge into – gasp – self-publishing. Now, I immediately feel the need to justify myself due to the great prejudice against the notion. (I’ve written about the concept of self publishing recently, here.) I wouldn’t self-publish a novel, as I’d much rather have a team of experts working on it, as well as the quality control assurance the backing of a publisher provides.
However, I have decided to publish a handful of my short stories. Some of them have been previously published in magazines, but mostly I know that short story collections are notoriously hard to publish traditionally, and I think my collection might be too dark (and too short) for a traditional publisher. So I’ve released this collection as an ebook. It is very much an experiment, but I thought it would be interesting to see how it fares, rather than letting the stories sit, unread, on my computer.
I put a lot of thought into which stories to include. All of them are dark in nature and contain a speculative element. I had one story, that I was slightly unsure of, professionally edited. I had all the stories analysed by a handful of beta readers – these were my fellow MA or BA students, and I knew that they would be honest and critical. I gave the collection a final edit based on their suggestions. I designed the cover myself… purely because of budget. I’m pretty sure its better than most of the self-published covers…
The Hours of Creeping Night is a collection of short stories that encompass the surrealism of the late hours of the night, when the coming dawn feels like an impossible dream. This 11,000 word ebook is filled with weird and morbid tales of mechanical creatures, living forests, zombies, wedigo and other monsters, while exploring the darkness of human nature in various strange fictional worlds.
You can buy the ebook for less than two quid at:
You can view the first few pages at Amazon or Smashwords. I’ll be posting more about this project in the future.
Okay, this disgustingly self-promotional post has been long enough. Thanks for reading.
I don’t submit much and I don’t submit often, but recently I’ve been unable to break a string of rejections. I submitted to Shock Totem and was rejected. I submitted to the 50 Stories for Pakistan, but didn’t make the cut (quite gutted as there was a 1 in 5 chance of publication with that one, and I really wanted to be included in such a great project). I have one more submission ‘out there’… keeping my fingers crossed.
Already feeling very down about my ability as a writer, these rejections really didn’t help. I know I have to have a tough skin… It’s something I’m still working on.
But in this morning’s post I received quite an awesome rejection. Though I hadn’t made the final cut, one of my poems, ‘The Hiding Place’, had been short listed in the annual Mslexia Poetry Competition. I was chuffed. I entered last year and didn’t hear anything back. So this year I got one step closer. Quite encouraging.
In other news, the Hint Fiction Anthology has nearly reached its publication date. On November 1st, you’ll be able to get your hands on a copy. I received an email this morning saying my contributor copy will be in the post shortly. I’m very excited about seeing it, and my huge 25 word story!
Here’s Robert Swartwood opening the box of advance copies.
A few months ago, I entered the Mslexia poetry competition on a whim. This was the first time I’d entered a poetry contest. I wasn’t that hopeful, but you gotta be in it to win it, right? And poetry, gah, such a subjective thing to judge!
Well, yesterday I got my new issue of Mslexia. I hadn’t heard back from them, but I flicked through just to make sure. Nope, none of my poems in there.
The judge, Ruth Padel, gave a bit of feedback in her introduction for all those who weren’t chosen. She said that she rejected many poems because of tiny imperfections. In essence, these were some of the reasons for rejection:
- Too many unnecessary adverbs/adjectives
- Clumsy line-ends
- Lapses in tone/form
- Over-reliance on very short lines for impact
Obviously she went into much more detail. I would recommend the magazine, and you can buy it online at mslexia.co.uk
Here is one of the three poems I submitted. I wrote it as a response to a challenge at Critters Bar and, as I said, submitted it on a whim. In hindsight, it probably didn’t quite fit in with the tone of the magazine. Well, that’s my excuse. Perhaps I abused the first point listed above. Perhaps all of them…
The Mouth of the Jungle
by Sophie Playle
I have come too far
into this wet and wild place.
Sweat sticks to my face like a
second layer of hot skin. Birds sing
a violent war cry, and insects roar
as one angry gnawing mouth.
The forest tastes me, takes tiny bites,
tests my flavour. It does not starve,
it swells with might, and tests the brave
or the foolish.
I have been deemed worthy for devour;
I see it in every pair of narrowing eyes,
every bright flower. Fixed eyes, cold,
unblinking and alive with vibrant shards of
gold, stop me in my tracks.
I have come too far, they say, and now I must
pay with my flesh, my bones soon to be reduced
totoothpicks for the king.
My damp fingers curl around the hilt of my blade.
I am not afraid – I am ready for this test, I feel
my heart swelling in my breast and my breath
He growls, an echo of the forest’s hunger.
Muscles tense and ripple as he leaps.
Claws, teeth; sharp, wide.
The eyes grow large as my blade strikes
upwards. Blood covers me
like a third layer of skin.