Looming Hills and Radiant Water in Blank Fiction Magazine

Imagine Scotland. Hills covered in heather, gorse and bracken are polkadotted with sheep and cattle. Between them nestle fertile valleys. Outside of the bustling cities, people live tranquil lives in the countryside, making their living along the coast and on islands in the sea. The coast is rich with crabs and mussels, the forests team with deer and the fields are full of pheasant. The biggest natural predator is the fox which thrives in city and country alike. The most famous predator is probably the Scottish wildcat, a cute and feisty tabby with impressive hunting skills. Humans rule supreme and they husband a sometimes harsh but always rich environment.

But what if this wasn’t quite true? What is sheep were protection, not just a source of food and clothing? What if the wildcat was more than it seemed?

Emma grew up on Skye but moved to Glasgow when she was a child. She knows how to stay safe on the island: she knows the rules. All islanders do but they keep their business to themselves. People on the mainland don’t know anything of the dangers the islanders deal with. Then Emma’s best friend moves to Skye to paint for six months. How can she keep her safe?

Blank Fiction Magazine‘s first horror edition is out now. I’m delighted that Looming Hills and Radiant Water is one of the four stories in this issue. Blank Fiction Magazine is available from the Apple Newsstand and their own website. It’s only $1 per issue.

Blank Fiction Magazine Horror
My feral cat is in horrifically good company

Have story, will submit. But where?

To get published you have to commit pieces to publishers. To start with, I want to get a short story published by someone who pays. The money isn’t really important, but the fact that I get paid is. Anthologies and well established magazines rate higher in the publishing stakes than my grandmother’s literary website.

I consider myself a pretty good Googler, but finding places to send submissions to turns out to be rather more complicated than I thought. Good thing that there are tools and websites that makes it easy for you.


  • www.ralan.com
    Ralan lists a large number of websites and magazines that take submissions. You can filter by genre but you’re left scanning alphabetic lists of potential submissions. Luckily the summaries are comprehensive.
  • www.doutrope.com
    Duotrope is a little more structured than Ralan and offers a fancy interface for searching. Learning what you can search for might take a while – I find either nothing or everything. If you find it useful, consider donating some money too them. It’s a great service and it’s free to use. (I’ve done my bit. And a little more.)
    You can use Duotrope to track your submissions and responses. The aggregated response time data provide a guide to other writers.

Learning a new language

There’s a lot of new jargon to learn with submissions. A whole new language to learn. The joy! Luckily, it’s one you learn quickly. Many of the terms are self-explanatory although a re-submission* wasn’t what I thought it was. Until I started looking for places to submit I didn’t even know I wrote speculative fiction. I wasn’t aware of this catch-almost-all super-category that fits both the mild horror and urban fantasy stories I write.

* It means submitting something’s that’s been published somewhere else rather than submitting the same story to the same place more than once. Which would be a crazy thing to do.