Welcome to the Urban Fantasist website, home to the Grievous Angel scifi and fantasy, poetry and flash fiction webzine, as well as Charles Christian's fiction, nonfiction and much more, the Urban Fantasist Publishing company, and Words & Vision, our regular news, pictures, video clips and blog postings on writing, tech, geek stuff, the just plain weird, and anything else we think you'll enjoy. For further details visit our FAQs section or use the Search Box at the top of the page. You can also find a link to our Twitter feed.
The Grievous Angel
Read our latest Poetry & Flash Fiction every Sunday
It is poetry all the way this week with new poems from four writers – Annie Neugebauer + John Reinhart + James Dorr + Miki Dare – writing about topics ranging from King Kong to unicorns. You can read them all HERE
Just one story for you this week. A little longer than our usual fare, One Year After by Wendy Nikel deals with the problem of the "ex" who you thought was out of your life forever. (And the Jett character is spot on – we all know people like that!) Wendy's work has appeared in Daily Science Fiction, as well as other ezines and print anthologies. She is a member of the SFWA and you can read her story HERE
This week we have three microfiction stories for you and their diverse subject matter features Jack Hillman on the need for Parental Control, even if your are God – then it's over to Edd Vick with Christmas Gift and the horror that would follow if your wish "it could be Christmas everyday" really did come true (thank you Roy Wood and your 1973 hit song with Wizzard). And, finally, we have Holly Schofield with Breaking Up Is Hard To Do (another title with a pop music reference – originally by Neil Sedaka in 1962) on to the limitations of even the most sophisticated 3D printers. You can read them all HERE for free.
Two short pieces of flash/micro-fiction for you this week. Both feature protagonists who are on quests although of entirely different kinds, and both contain a strong urban/dark fantasy element. Our first story Eyes of Fire is by California-based writer Preston Dennett whose credits include sales to Andromeda Spaceways, Perihelion and the Future Embodied Anthology. Next, we have Seeking Ore by Seattle-based writer Alina Rios, who spent the first part of her life in St. Petersburg, Russia. "And like all early experiences," she adds, "it's deep in my bones." You can read the stories HERE
Two longer poems for you now, both on the theme of unrequited love and loss - but all with an element of Grievous Angel dark fantasy and sci-fi unease OK, love and loss with androids and freaks! We start with Freak Seeker by Joe Nazare and follow on with Loss by Ken Poyner - you can read them both HERE
We're back in North America today with two tales of urban gothic/horror that reflect the surreal and darker side of Americana. By accident or coincidence, both our authors are from the State of Texas. Up first is Andrew Kozma from Houston The Revolt of the Arms. And, he is followed by Dallas-based Robert Stahl with Mumbo Jumbo. You can read them both HERE for free.
We get a lot of hellhound and black demon dog stories sent into the Grievous Angel however this one – The Cur of County Road Six by Washington DC writer Anna Zumbro – takes the trope in a direction we hadn’t seen before. You can read it HERE totally free of charge.
Back to flash fiction now with Special – an intriguing apocalyptical tale from DeAnna Knippling. Zombies my be knocking at the door but there is still always time for another piece of cherry pie. You can read the story HERE
Time for another selection of the ever popular (and amusing – check out Susan Burch's canine pun in our final 'ku) scifaiku. If you haven't encountered them before, scifaiku are what you get when you add a sci-fi theme to haiku – it's not often that Dyson Spheres are name-checked in poetry! We've ten in total and you can read the HERE
For our latest flash fiction – Death's Witness – we have a story that is a much darker than our normal fare and has echoes of the tragedy unfolding in parts of the Middle East. Our author is Day Al-Mohamed and her first book, released from Dark Quest in September 2014, is a young adult novel Baba Ali and the Clockwork Djinn. In addition to speculative fiction, she also writes comics and film scripts. You can read the story HERE
Bigfoot and a tattoo you never want to see feature in our latest stories, which both involve men searching for something elusive – and in the process missing something more important. The first story – The Bigfoot Hunter – is by Christopher DeWan, then we have The Collector by English writer Suzanne Conboy-Hill. You can read them both HERE
We're staying with poetry and for our latest Grievous Angel we have three writers – Bethany Powell + Rhonda Parrish + Samson Stormcrow Hayes – each using a different poetry form, namely haibun, scifaiku and rhyming verse. You can read them all HERE
Today we are featuring three works (two short poems and a longer prose-poem) by one of the stalwarts of the speculative fiction and poetry scene – Bruce Boston. Read them HERE
Two glorious pieces of urban fantasy now. The first story by Jessica Kormos – The Silence of the Yams – has a wonderful pun for a title and goes to ask whether vegetarians are really all that innocent? Our second story – The Prize by Dean Turnbloom – is a dark tale about a small town mystery and how one nine-year-old deals with it. As it happens, in that pragmatic way nine-year-olds always do. You can read them both HERE
Words & Vision
Here's my reworking of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs for Geeks & Techies attending tech shows and conventions.
Another retro image – this time with a StarWars theme.
It's a Wet Bank Holiday Monday and...
It's a wet Bank Holiday Monday here in the UK so I'm reading the final Terry Pratchett Discworld novel – The Shepherd's Crown – and drinking beers from Discworld Ales, including their infeasibly potent Taking The Dark 10% proof black IPA!
I'm pleased to announced I've just been accepted on the HWA's mentoring scheme and am now offering mentoring on poetry, flash fiction and screenwriting. You need to contact the HWA directly about this.
StarTrek reimagined as a retro 1930s style travel poster.
Dramatic clouds over St Paul's Cathedral in London yesterday (27 August). Picture taken with an iPhone 6.
All winners from the start – and that means no "It was a dark and stormy night..." opening paragraphs!
Craft Talk: First Drafts & Time Management
Oh, the irony!
Now here's ironic... I've been writing about tech for 35 years and best ever response from readers has been for a joke story on Twitter about a My Little Pony meets Hellraiser Pinhead mashup. Even the man himself Clive Barker favourited the story. Still, lessons have been learned – "No tears, please. It's a waste of good suffering" – I shall remodel myself – just like Bert from Sesame Street.
Coffee time for Cult TV fans
A couple of my old and now distinctly foxed The Prisoner coffee mugs from Portmeirion. What's that big white balloon coming over the hill? "No. get back Rover!"
Picture du Jour - no caption needed!
Writers' Earnings: one more cup of coffee before I go
Talking to the American author and poet Ken Poyner about his latest collection Constant Animals: Unruly Fictions, I joke that with each sale he probably makes enough for one coffee and a muffin in Starbucks. "No," he replies, "trust me, it is more like coffee at McDonalds and they won't even give you a second sugar!"
The Attack of the Deadly Mutant Cosmic Rays!
Apparently my satellite broadband link was knocked out on Sunday morning by an attack of cosmic rays. Nothing to worry about there then!
It was 40 years ago today - in July 1975 - that I was called to the Bar at Gray's Inn in London and became a barrister.
Mad Max meets Star Wars - now that's a mashup!
Alcohol may have been involved
Myself and the ever-lovely Jane Christian out on the razzle at the weekend. In my case alcohol may have been involved!
Sign of the Times
A birthday present to me from Jane Christian. The words are by the late Douglas Adams, of Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy fame, and are the story of my life.
The Weird Wolds meet Ancient Origins
Straight out of M. R. James
On my travels the other day, I drove past Glemham Hall in Suffolk. I must have passed it before but the light was shining in such a way that it caught my eye and reminded me of the opening lines of the M.R. James supernatural ghost/horror story The Ash Tree… "Everyone who has travelled over Eastern England knows the smaller country-houses with which it is studded..."
Glemham Hall is an Elizabethan stately home, set in around 300 acres of park land on the outskirts of the village of Little Glemham. It was built around 1560 and refashioned in the early 18th century, including a new facade, to give it its current Georgian appearance. It is not open to the public but it is a venue for conferences, concerts, weddings and, shortly, the Folk East music festival. Glemhamhall.co.uk
Publishing + Twitter
New Travel Guide now in the Kindle Folklore & Mythology bestsellers list
Just in time for the holiday season here's my new – and unusual – travel guide to that part of East Yorkshire known as the Yorkshire Wolds, a guide that pulls together the secrets of the Wold Newton Triangle – where fact is even weirder than fiction.
A travel guide to Yorkshire’s Weird Wolds: The Mysterious Wold Newton Triangle by Charles Christian is available on Amazon Kindle as an ebook for £0.99p now.
Meet, amongst other oddities, werewolves, zombies, vampires, green skinned fairy folk, headless ghosts, screaming skulls, ancient warlords, miracle-working priests, very eccentric gentry, England’s oldest buildings, disappearing rivers, a good Queen and an avaricious Queen, a black skeleton, a Parkin-eating dragon, sea serpents, shape shifters, enchanted wells, giant monoliths and a grid of ley lines, as well as a surprising amounts of Quite Interesting Facts. There is even Lawrence of Arabia in there and, for enthusiasts of American naval history, Captain John Paul Jones. And for sci-fi & fantasy fans, you'll also find the inspiration for some of Philip José Farmer's books.
What the reviews say:
"Outstanding writer who perfectly captures the hidden worlds and forgotten corners of Britain" ...Amazon 5 Star review 1st June 2015.
"Great work bringing local folklore to life" ...Amazon 5 Star review 16th June 2015.
Buy & Read The Best Seller Writing Guide
Only available on Amazon Kindle as an ebook from £0.99p / $1.50
Do you write genre fiction? Or love reading it? This book reveals the 12 rules that writers of science fiction, fantasy, crime and horror must never break when building believable imaginary worlds for their readers.
What the reviews say...
"What a brilliant book! Rule 13: Read this book. It can only help you write better genre stories. What's to lose?" ...Vanessa Gebbie, award-wining author and editor of Short Circuit: A Guide to the Art of the Short Story
"It's the ideal go-to source for the basic rules and principles of genre fiction writing... it's a thoroughly enjoyable read and easy to dip into in the future for recaps... best of all, it's solid, practical advice."
"In my collection, this is one of the Best writing references I have. Insightful, Detailed, Concise, and helpful writing tips. Highly recommended to all writers!"
"A quick and witty read (some great examples are given), this book is well worth returning to at greater length to savour the author's knowledge and analysis of a wide range of fiction and the spin-off films. A short book that packs a punch!"
"This great little book gives aspiring writers a dozen common sense rules for crafting fiction.. it's also well worth the attention of more experienced writers."
"If I had read this book first, maybe I would not be on my fifth rewrite!"
"It's the sort of book I wish I'd had ten years ago, when I started working on my first novel. The price is great and the advice is sound."
"If you write fantasy (I do) a very useful quick-read anchor and check-list from someone who knows what he's talking about."
Latest Review: "Simple and solid advice. Really worth reading, it's a quick paced fast fact easy to remember guide! Happy to have read and learnt something!"
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00MELTC84
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MELTC84
55 consecutive weeks in the Amazon.com Kindle Top #20 Education/Reference and Writing Skills Bestseller Lists