New story – A Sheriff in the Deep

I love westerns, and I love science fiction, so I’m pretty excited to say that my sci-fi western ‘A Sheriff In The Deep’ is out this week in Fictionvale.

Excitement, adventure and fishes

‘A Sheriff’ is the story of a lone man, your classic western small town sheriff, protecting a community of homesteaders against the encroaching bully boys hired by a big business. It’s about frontier justice. It’s about a lone hero standing up for the little guy. It’s about brains over brawn. And it’s about living underwater.

Yep, it’s Shane in the ocean depths.

But why this story?

So why did I write a story like that? Well, mostly it’s because I love westerns, especially sci-fi westerns, so the combination of the two was hard to resist.

But I’m also intrigued by trying to explore different sci-fi futures. Space exploration features a lot in sci-fi, but we don’t often explore the briny deeps even though settling there is starting to look more plausible than getting into space. There’s all sorts to explore around the practicalities of this and the international issues it would raise, which I’ve only glanced over in this short story. But I think there’s a lot to do in the deep.

As for the lone sheriff as hero, I’ve been a fan of that since my dad first got me watching westerns as a kid. I’ve previously had a steampunk western, The Cast Iron Kid, published in a steampunk anthology. And as in that story, I really enjoyed writing the part of the plucky underdog here. It’s a big part of the traditional western, and a theme almost everyone finds appealing.

The great folks at Fictionvale

It’s also been a pleasure to work with Jenna and Venessa, the editors of Fictionvale. They’re a relatively new magazine – this is only their second issue – and they’ve been struggling to get this one out amidst all sorts of distractions and setbacks. Despite that they’ve been friendly and helpful to work with, and managed to take a hands on approach to editing that improved my story – something many short story magazine editors don’t have time for.

Go forth and read!

Fictionvale is available for e-readers via their store or Amazon for only $4 American, which comes out around £2.50 for those of us carrying pictures of the queen. You can spend that much on a large coffee. Hell, you can barely even buy a pint for that any more. So why not give it a go?

If you do read the story then come back here and let me know what you think of it. Good or bad, I’d love to hear your opinion.

Today is editing

Today I am editing. I’ve been putting it off all week, but there are three manuscripts back from editors in my inbox, and that means that I’m standing between my own work and the readers.

Editing’s just not as much fun as writing. It’s picking over the details, changing stories in ways that might not come naturally to me but which the editors made persuasive cases for. It’s like a vet performing surgery on their own pet hamster – it’s for the best, but I feel really awful slicing poor Squeeker open.

'Please master, anything but the knife!'
‘Please master, anything but the knife!’

The up side of this is that I’ve got several stories coming out in the next few months. And if you’re looking for something to read While you’re waiting for those then I recommend checking out Fictionvale. It’s a new short fiction magazine, it’s one of the places I have a story coming up in, and the editors have been really great in dealing with edits and the delays they themselves are facing.

Now, to those edits…

* * *

And for anyone following the car crash saga, we’ve named the rental car Tinkerbell, because she’s so much lighter than Oli was.

Poor Oli *sniff*.


Picture by SimonSays- via Flickr creative commons.