Autumn flashes 2021

I guess the dark half of the year must be here because I have four new flash horrors to unleash on the world!

On 3 September 2021, Dread Stone Press published The Pumpkin Agent, an urban legend-style story where the antagonist doesn’t take kindly to families who fail to decorate their homes for Halloween.

On 17 September 2021, The Arcanist published Ezekiel Hill, a tale of visions, behaviour modification, and…lemurs.

On 23 September 2021, The Molotov Cocktail published Without Fear or Favour, a folk horror tale of cloud gods and witchcraft, which finished 3rd in the Elemental Flash contest.

And on 27 September 2021, The Arcanist announced that my flash tale, The Tent Attendant, was one of the runners-up in their Camping Flash contest. This story was published as part of the Camp Arcanist anthology in November.

Dread Stone Press (Michigan) is a relatively new independent publisher, publishing twice-monthly tales of dread on the website. Definitely one to check out.

The Arcanist (Pittsburgh) publish speculative flash fiction once a fortnight on their website. In 2019, they were kind enough to publish my debut collection, The Lamppost Huggers and Other Wretched Tales.

The Molotov Cocktail (Portland) publishes ‘volatile flash fiction, the kind of prose you cook up in a bathtub and handle with rubber gloves.’ They publish two issues a month as well as bumper issues featuring the winners of the quarterly contests.

Kendall Reviews review: The Lamppost Huggers

Steve Stred, who previously championed my Short Sharp Shocks! publications (The Forest is Hungry, and Unbecoming Me & Other Interruptions), has given The Lamppost Huggers and Other Wretched Tales a glowing review for Kendall Reviews, and awarded it five stars in Goodreads.

If you’re looking for a reading slump buster or something that is quick and easy to pick up over and over again, look no further.

Steve Stred, Kendall Reviews

I don’t think I’ll ever get used to the idea that people read my stories, let alone seek them out and respond positively to them. It’s a wonderful feeling. For over a decade I churned out page after page, seeking to appease an overly-critical audience of one (me) – so to have reviewers like Steve, Ross Jeffery, and S J Budd (all of them excellent authors in their own right) making time to read my stories is amazing.

Thank you all x

Stanley is a stunning author. Any place you start with his work, you’ll be in for a treat…

Steve Stred, Kendall Reviews

Book Tube: Video Reviews

Fellow Bristolian Ross Jeffery has recently moved his book reviews onto YouTube, giving them an authentic and personal touch that really enhances the experience. Over the past few months he’s recorded an incredible 52 videos, including The Forest is Hungry (#41) and Unbecoming Me & Other Interruptions (#44). Please check them out – in fact why not subscribe to Ross’s channel and see what else he recommends.

Christopher Stanley is one of those authors that when he releases a book I’m just to go straight out there and buy it.

Ross Jeffery, author of Juniper

The Horror Tree review: Unbecoming Me & Other Interruptions

Another review has come in for Unbecoming Me & Other Interruptions and I think it’s one of the best reviews I’ve had (and they’ve all been lovely). Here, I had an advantage: Alyson Faye (the reviewer) and I are both Birmingham University alumni, and with the title story being set on the Birmingham campus, it’s perhaps no surprise that this was her favourite tale of the three. Check out Alyson’s review over at The Horror Tree.

The first short, “Devil’s Reach”, begins with a particularly creepy, unnerving scene in the café. Never has a passage of children playing been so weirdly portrayed.

Alyson Faye, The Horror Tree

S J Budd review: Unbecoming Me & Other Interruptions

Sarah Budd, who kindly reviewed The Lamppost Huggers earlier this year, has also reviewed my latest offering, Unbecoming Me & Other Wretched Tales, and she’s given it five stars on Goodreads. I’m so happy.

I’ve had three reviews in so far, and each reviewer has had a different favourite – which is probably a good thing! There’s something for everyone in this collection…

Check our Sarah’s review on her site ‘Come and Behold My Dark World.’

Hell’s Teeth is the darkest story I’ve read in a long time.

S J Budd

Publication Day: Unbecoming Me & Other Interruptions

Another collection has been unleashed in the wild! This time it’s my three-story mini collection, Unbecoming Me & Other Interruptions, which kicks off the second series of Short Sharp Shocks from Demain Publishing.

The second story was ‘Hell’s Teeth,’ which to me was the highlight of the three. A twist on a classic fairy tale, Stanley brings us a revenge story with a really great ending.

Steve Stred, Kendall Reviews

Featuring three short stories: Devil’s Reach, Hell’s Teeth and Unbecoming Me; as well as fantastic cover art from Adrian Baldwin, the collection has already earned a couple of four-star reviews and some great feedback. So check out Unbecoming Me & Other Interruptions now – it’s available from your local Amazon store.

All are creepy, well written tales, with Stanley’s hallmark sharp prose and skill at dropping in the unexpected to make the reader tense up.

Alyson Rhodes (Amazon Review)

Kendall Reviews review: Unbecoming Me & Other Interruptions

My forthcoming short story collection, Unbecoming Me & Other Interruptions has received a fantastic four-star review from Steve Stred at Kendall Reviews. Check out his review now, including what he liked, what he didn’t like, and why you should buy it.

Each story is high on the creep factor and Stanley sucks the reader in immediately… 

Steve Stred, Kendall Reviews

New short story collection and interview

My new short story collection, Unbecoming Me & Other Interruptions, will be published by Demain Publishing on 18 September 2020, and is available to pre-order now from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Unbecoming Me & Other Interruptions will be book #51 in the Short Sharp Shocks! series, and the first book of season 2. The collection features three brand new short stories: Devil’s Reach, Hell’s Teeth, and Unbecoming Me. Once again, the fantastic cover art has been provided by Adrian Baldwin (see below).

Find out more about the collection in my interview with Demain Publishing, which featured in Kendall Reviews on Tuesday 8 September.

We really loved the stories and the Ramsey Campbell ‘comparison’ is spot on. Personally I think Hell’s Teeth would make a cracking short film.

Demain Publishing

Cover Wars – Victory!

Well that was intense. Shortly before The Lamppost Huggers was published, I sketched out a marketing plan, and Cover Wars seemed like a refreshing change to the reviews and interviews that are the mainstay of our profession. I had no idea.

Every week, five books go up against each other. On Sunday afternoon, the covers were posted. The voting started. I petitioned my friends in the writing world – Flash Mob and #TeamDarkness – to throw a vote my way. I created a persona (The Minister for Hugging Lampposts) to champion my cause. My family and friends seemed to know what to do. But another book shot into the lead.

On day two, we drew level. On day three, for the first time, we nudged ahead. Briefly. My support network started to take the competition surprisingly seriously – with one even commenting ‘This is personal!’

It was quickly a two-horse race. At night, I would go to bed 50-60 votes in the lead. In the morning, I’d wake up a similar number of votes behind. I don’t know how the competition usually pans out, but I was staggered by the amount of votes our two books garnered.

On the final morning, I woke up 100 votes behind. I felt beaten. There was no way I could come back from such a deficit. I told myself it didn’t matter – we’d fought a good fight and the publicity was exactly what I’d hoped for. Then the votes started pouring in.

By the time the competition closed, I was more than 100 votes in front. We’d won. And I say ‘we’ because it felt like a real team effort. Plus, Kealan Patrick Burke’s awesome cover did most of the heavy lifting – I didn’t have to twist any arms!

I recommend Cover Wars to anyone looking to promote their book. I can’t imagine ever taking part again. To say thank you to everyone who supported me during the week, I donated £110 to Shelter – 10p for every vote cast for The Lamppost Huggers.

The Horror Tree interview

In my third (and final – for now) interview to promote The Lamppost Huggers, I was lucky enough to be interviewed by Lional Ray Green for The Horror Tree. We talked about a whole range of stuff, including writing with kids (a theme that crops up in the collection), my love of making music, and how I’m missing the daily commute during lockdown.

The Horror Tree is a fantastic resource for genre writers, providing comprehensive listings of all the latest opportunities, as well as a wealth of reviews, interviews and original fiction.

His book, The Lamppost Huggers and Other Wretched Tales, is an awesome collection of unsettling flash fiction horror.

Lionel Ray Green, The Horror Tree