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As a fledgling writer, submitting my first short stories in 2008, I admit to being fairly naive about the whole process, and as a result a handful of them ended up in small, token-payment online zines. I was always pretty happy about it – to me, it equalled success, unfortunately, I’m now reaping the consequences of those decisions as one by one, they all fold and disappear into the aether.

Today I noticed that the website, Shadeworks, had met its demise. In January 2009, they published my early, scary effort, ‘Exit Number Six’ (Man drives up M90 and discovers he’s really on the road to hell which, if anyone has driven the M90 recently and suffered the state of the cratered surface, will empathise with). It was, to be honest, a clichéd plot and hackneyed horror trope, but had the seeds of some of my more recent work, set very much in Scotland, surreal imagery etc…

Shadeworks joins AlienSkin Magazine, Neonbeam and  The Harrow amongst the dead and wounded of my previous publications. The Harrow still maintains their archive and have morphed into The Harrow Press, publishing anthologies. AlienSkin still have a website, and have mentioned maybe archiving all the old stories, but that would be quite a task.

Now of course, as I keep banging on about, I’m submitting only to the pros first until I exhaust my available avenues. Would be nice to score one decent acceptance this year. It does look at least like I should have one publication later in the year, although it’s still not finalised yet, and it’s only a flash piece, but it’s somewhere good. And it’s a wee story about a dog that I like a lot.