Up until three years ago it had never crossed my mind to have a collection of my short fiction published. Over the decades I’ve sold something like sixty-plus short stories, but even my closest friends – at their most charitable – would agree the earlier stuff isn’t worth collecting.
Yet, in a moment of uncharacteristic optimism, I selected eighteen pieces and approached The Alchemy Press. In 2015, GIVE ME THESE MOMENTS BACK was published (a title which, I am told, Alchemy Press supremo Peter Coleborn keeps wanting to correct to something less poetic and more grammatical). The contents were, typically, somewhat – shall we say, eclectic? I’ve always been something of a gadfly: hopping from one genre to another without any obvious plan or direction, and the collection reflected that. I’ve no idea if, from a marketing standpoint, it was a good thing or not.
Then, as 2016 tailed off, it occurred to me that I actually had sufficient material for a more horror (or dark fantasy, if you prefer) based collection. I put together sixteen dark tales – two previously unpublished – and asked David A Riley of Parallel Universe Publications if he’d like to take a look at RADIX OMNIUM MALUM & OTHER INCURSIONS. Next thing you know, I have a sale; and better yet: David A Sutton agreed to write the introduction (to my embarrassment, making me sound like some kind of Renaissance Man).
However, at some point in the past I think I must have irritated the gods of publishing. When I was editing SWORDS AGAINST THE MILLENNIUM for The Alchemy Press, the signature sheet for the limited edition hardback got lost in the post, delaying publication; a few years later Amazon questioned whether Fringeworks had the rights to publish my Sherlock Holmes steampunk mash-up, VALLIS TIMORIS and held it up; and just as RADIX’s publication was announced, Amazon took that down for some reason. I began to detect a theme.
Luckily the problem was resolved quickly, and the book back on sale in a day or two.
But for now I’m all out of material. The next collection will have to wait until I’m rich and famous. MIKE CHINN: THE FORMATIVE YEARS, and all that early stuff.