Archive for publishing

13: Tales of Dark Fiction – 15% Discount on 13th of May

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 13, 2013 by stanleyriiks

Morpheus Tales Publishing is so proud to print a story of mine in their first original anthology (alongside such heroes of mine as Joseph D’Lacey, Gary McMahon, Eric S. Brown, Shaun Jeffrey, Tommy B. Smith, Alan Spencer, Matt Leyshon, and a handful of other great writers [Andrew Hook, William R. D. Wood, Gary Fry, and Fred Venturini] I was less familiar with but equally pleased to be published alongside) , that on the 13th are every month they offer the book at a 15% discount!

Go and get your copy now and read one of my favourite stories, inspired by using the women’s toilets at work when the men was out of action. Post-apocalyptic dystopian misery…

The ebook is also available on amazon for kindle, and through smashwords in multiple formats.


13: Tales of Dark Fiction

Posted in Morpheus Tales Magazine, Reviews, writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 6, 2011 by stanleyriiks

13: Tales of Dark Fiction is without a doubt the most important book of the year. Not only does it feature my story “Desperate Measures”, a solid little post-apocalyptic tale, although I do say so myself, it also features my story alongside some of my heroes.

13: Tales of Dark Fiction is a marvellous book, and I’ll tell you why…

It starts off with a Bigfoot story set during the American Civil War by Zombie/Bigfoot master Eric S. Brown. Bigfoot plus war equals great fun, the story packs a punch and a half.

The second story, entitled “Dirty Story”, is by Gary McMahon. Do I need say more? McMahon is a genius. His stories are brutally honest, heart-wrenching, and hurt like no one else’s. His stories are darker, more disturbing, more menacing than anyone’s except may be Stephen King on his best day, and deeply wounding to the reader. McMahon is my hero, and always will be for the masterpiece of horror fiction that Pretty Little Dead Things.

Alan Spencer has been a regular contributor to Morpheus Tales since the beginning and he always produces good solid fiction. With his story in 13 he has outdone himself. “If You Lay Here Quiet Next to Me” is a masterly tale, subtle and spooky, with an underlying menace that lingers long after you finish reading.

Next comes my story. I can’t say much, just read it for yourselves.

“The Tax Collector” by Tommy B. Smith reminds me of Jonah Hex and Joe R. Lansdale’s stories, which is high praise indeed. This ghostly western is tense and atmospheric. Tommy edited both the Dark Sorcery Special and the Urban Horror Special (in which he published my story “Shoot Out”) and like Alan has been published in Morpheus Tales magazine several times.

William R.D. Wood’s “Organ Grinder” is a fun tale of death and brutality. There’s a level of intelligent nastiness here which is creepy. You’ve gotta love it! I will never see to the circus/fun fair in the same light again.

I was massively impressed with Fred Venturini’s novel The Samaritan. It is an incredible story which tugs at the heart-strings, and makes you read on to find out what disturbing and twisted thing is going to happen next. His story “The Machine” returns to a classic theme of dangerous science. Clever ideas and a good amount of tension make this story difficult to put-down.

Matt Leyshon is working on a collection for Morpheus Tales. His stories are thick with atmosphere, and his writing is heavily stylised, his world drips with filth and decay. “To Hear a New World” wraps you up in the music, twists and spins you into insanity.

“Whatever It Takes” By Joseph D’Lacey is a story every writer can understand. The author of MEAT and The Garbage Man offers a unique and insightful perspective on the horrors of writing, and what writers are prepared to do to get where they want to be. Another tales that lingers.

I first became aware of Andrew Hook from his exceptional small-press imprint Elastic Press, which published some great collections, including the amazingly memorable Gareth L. Powell’s The Last Reef. Sadly Andrew closed down Elastic Press, fortunately it was to concentrate on his writing. “Wounder” is a very smooth and subtle addition to the book, a twisted urban fantasy that creeps under your skin.

“Mongrel Days” by the powerhouse that is Andy Remic is a twisted SF story. As you would expect, there is full-on (FULL-ON!!!) action and adventure, with a dark underlying menace just beneath the surface. Remic is a demented genius, seemingly at home writing thrillers, horror, SF or fantasy. It is for his fantasy trilogy the Clockwork Vampire Chronicles, and particularly Kell The Legend, that I will always love him (in a manly non-sexual way!), for making me feel as excited as a four year old again.

Shaun Jeffrey’s novel The Kult is a cracking crime/thriller/horror novel. For his contribution to 13 he provides a nasty story of greed and revenge.

The final story that makes up 13 is Gary Fry’s “The Watchers at Work”. I first read Fry’s Spectral Press chapbook Abolisher of Roses, a subtle and engaging story. “The Watchers at Work” is the longest story in the book, but Fry knows how to make every word count. He builds the tension and atmosphere like a conductor with an orchestra. Expertly written, it makes you feel exhausted and exhilarated at the same time. A great story to end an impressive collection.

13 has been a labour of love for its editor, and the passion shines through. 13: Tales of Dark Fiction is a remarkable anthology, and I am ever so grateful to be a part of it alongside some great names and amazing stories.

 13: Tales of Dark Fiction

Available from and all good booksellers

 Available as an ebooks in many formats:

Morpheus Tales Dark Sorcery Special Issue – I was nearly in it

Posted in Morpheus Tales Magazine, Uncategorized, writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 1, 2010 by stanleyriiks

The latest special issue from Morpheus Tales, is the Dark Sorcery Special Issue, edited by Tommy B. Smith.

It’s a great looking issue and I was very nearly in it. When I heard about this special issue I thought Dark Sorcery is for me, and went and wrote a story for it. It’s a great story too, about this young wizard running around town making sacrifices all over the place, being chased by the King’s men, and attempting to do one last spell to complete his task, a task that will change him forever. It’s even better than I’ve described it, as there are various twists which would ruin it if I told you.

So, as I was writing this story I got a bit carried away and wrote a thousand words over the maximum word count. Editing… I hate editing. Writing is a joyful experience, it’s fun being god for a little while and being in control of all my little people. But when it comes to editing, my fear of failure comes and smacks me in the face. However good it sounded in my head when I typed it out, reading it back during the editing stages makes it sound hideously turgid and boring. Whether it is or not. I can’t really tell. Anyway, I put off editing the story. And put it off, and put it off some more. And low and behold the deadline passed, and it was too late for my murderous little tale to make it in the final edition.

Despite this issue not featuring my fabulous story, it’s still a great issue.

Go check out the free preview at and buy yourself a copy:

The full range of Morpheus Tales Collector’s Editions are available at

Some Tips for Writers

Posted in Morpheus Tales Magazine, Uncategorized, writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 18, 2009 by stanleyriiks

I’m fortunate enough to have a friend who edits a small press magazine, it’s called Morpheus Tales Magazine and it’s bloody excellent. Go check it out: He’s owes me a fiver now!

I’m also friends with a couple of other editors, as well as editing the reviews section of Morpheus Tales Magazine myself. Occasionally we have moans about writers, just as writers tend to moan about editors. During the course of these moans though certain useful pieces of information come to light. Practical information that will help your writing career. I’ve also used some of my own vast experience, and the experiences and advice of other writers that I’d read or interviewed.

Obviously this isn’t a definitive guide to writing, it’s just some tips, so feel free to add any.

In no particular order:

Be professional: Always read the writers guidelines. Nothing annoys an editor more than a story that’s too long, or not long enough, or simply the wrong genre. Don’t waste your time or theirs.

Learn to format a manuscript correctly. This means using the format menu and the paragraph settings to change the document’s indentations and line spacing, not using the tab and tapping enter twice at the end of every sentence to get it double space. If you format a story properly it’s much easier to manipulate.

Using the correct format, ok this is different from the previous paragraph. Most magazines/editors/publishers require standard manuscript format, find out what it is and stick to it. Some publishers require certain fonts and font sizes (normally 12), most prefer double spaced. If you can’t be bothered to find out how a publisher/editor wants to receive your work, why should they be bothered to read your work?

Write a simple, shortly covering letter/email. Include a brief description of the story too, and possibly a short bio. Some publishers want a synopsis, so include that. Include whatever it specifically asked for, that’s why you read the writers guidelines properly. Don’t include your life history, what inspired you to write the story or any other irrelevant information. Most editors will judge the story on its own merits and won’t even read your covering email unless the story is good enough anyway.

Do your homework. Read the magazine before you submit anything. Do you know what sort of material they publish just be reading the title and looking at the website? No. Find out the editor’s name too, it always helps if you approach the correct person. Some magazines and most publishing companies have specific editors dealing with specific areas.

Don’t give up. Stephen King was rejected hundreds of times, he collected his rejection slips on a large nail in his bedroom. Rejection happens to us all, even me, and although its harsh try to learn something from it. It you get some criticism listen to it.

Proofread your masterpiece, spell-check it and check it for grammer. If you want to be taken seriously then take your work seriously, this is part of being professional about your work. Check it for mistakes and typos. Not everyone’s perfect, including, on occasion, myself, but at least try to send your piece error-free. An editor will reject your work if it will take them some time to make it publishable. If there are too many typos they might not even read the whole thing.

There are more tips on the writers guidelines page of Morpheus Tales Magazine, right down at the bottom. It’s worth taking a look at these too.

Don’t think I’m going to give you the big secret about how to write a masterpiece, that I’m still working on. I can’t give you tips on characterisation or plotting either, I’m developing those skills as you read this! Read a lot and write a lot. As the saying goes practice makes perfect.