Stories to Sing in the Dark – Matthew Bright (Lethe Press)

I was lucky enough to take the wheel over at Out in Print today, to talk about Matthew Bright’s ‘Stories to Sing in the Dark.’ Check it out.

Out in Print: Queer Book Reviews

Buy from Lethe Press

How do you write a cohesive review about a collection of short fiction which includes steampunk space-tombs and the concubines sealed inside waiting to die, a gothic novella, a story with a self-aware film character fighting his way out of a Hays Code era required death, and a noir thriller retelling of The Wind and the Willows?

I’m not sure it’s possible, and I honestly can’t remember the last time I read a collection that cast so wide a net, but here’s the most important thing said first: not only does Stories to Sing in the Dark succeed, it’s my favourite collection of the year, and I can’t imagine there’s a chance of it being deposed before 2019 comes to an end.

Matthew Bright has a genuine talent for fresh angles. He crafts on the frameworks of ideas that could have gone a dozen different…

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#ShortStoryMonth Day Twenty — “The Library of Lost Things,” by Matthew Bright

Another Volume I have so many authors I love who revisit characters on the regular, or settings on the regular, that I'm spoiled for riches, really. And though I always want more, I decided to take today's prompt from the point of view of a story that—to my knowledge at least—is singular. So! "The Library … Continue reading #ShortStoryMonth Day Twenty — “The Library of Lost Things,” by Matthew Bright

Review: Of Echoes Born by ‘Nathan Burgoine

I am not gonna lie. When a reader gets exactly what you were trying to do, it’s a magical moment.

Elliott Dunstan

Oh man. Oh MAN. So – I love short stories. They’re wonderful to rea to master, and the best ones leave you just wanting more.

Interconnected short stories are even better. Stories that share a few characters here and there, similar themes, trickling with the slow realization that this is really all the same story, told bit by bit, piece by piece. Lives don’t go from beginning to end – they unfold, and bump into each other, leaving little blooms of colour along the way.

I’m waxing poetic. But the point is, Of Echoes Born is really, really fucking good. I think what’s really astonishing me about it is that it’s an unusual kind of good – it’s the type of book I don’t think I’ve encountered before, and I don’t imagine I’ll see again. (Unless I can tempted Monsieur Burgoine into another. I shall prepare the cupcakes.) Nathan Burgoine…

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Professional envy. Or, Damn all the words.

I feel this. So very much. (And I like the notion of taking it to a motivational place, frankly.)

Brey Willows

I’m pretty sure most writers have been, or will go, there.

You read a book by another author friend of yours. It’s fucking fantastic. You read the beautifully constructed sentences, the tightly woven plot, the unexpected twist. It’s all so clever and lovely and fucking excellent.

And you think, why can’t I write like that? Why didn’t I think of constructing that sentence that way? I’d give my best toenail to have come up with that idea first…

And so on.

And then you see the reviews. That’s fun.

Seven page articles extolling the originality, the excellence, the depth. Star ratings that catapult the author to (niche) demigod status. Fans clamouring for their next book, for their attention, who can’t say enough about this most amazing author, whose back catalogue you simply must read…

And you’re happy for them. Genuinely. You know how that kind of thing can feed an…

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Circling the important stuff

This speaks so readily to me. The stories never quite flow right if I haven’t really gotten theme locked in. And it absolutely was an evolution in my writing life (alongside a brilliant course I got to take on theme with Jess Wells.)

Brey Willows

psychology-1957264_640.jpgA writer and teacher I greatly admire once said during a lecture that many writers find themselves revolving around themes. At first it’s a subconscious thing, and then with each book (or story), if you can step back and look at your work, you’ll find you dance around particular issues that mean something to you. Knowing this can deepen your work and make it more meaningful.

I’ve just finished editing a printed draft of my book Spinning Tales, which is out around February. It’s already with my editor, but I always go over it again myself, with old fashioned pen and paper, to see if I can spot areas I’d change/make better. Toward the end of this process, I started thinking about my next book, which I’ll be starting on shortly.

A quick side-step:

Robyn and I are both dealing with family matters right now, and we’re both worried about…

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