Free Books

I’ve made a couple of my self published books free to download. Head on over to the books page to get them.

There’s Amber Stars: One Night of Stories, which is my first book of linked stories and Remain Vigilant which is two one act plays in the same world. Lost in April Fog, my Napowrimo poems from 2018 was free before but I’ve offered direct links and removed the need to go through the shop. All are in PDF, Mobi (for Kindles) and ePub (for everything else).

All the books have now been changed to Creative Commons licences so feel free to distribute and remix them if you so wish.

I’ve seen a few people offer up free books during the pandemic. I’ve wanted to do this for a little while, so this was the prompting I needed. They will all remain free after as well, this isn’t a limited time thing.

Hope you enjoy.

New serial book announcement- This Was Meant to be the Future

Blimey, it’s the year Twenty Twenty, a year that sounds incredibly futuristic. We’re past the setting of Blade Runner. The world is different and weirder in ways we couldn’t imagine before.

With that in mind, I’m announcing my next book of short stories, called This Was Meant to be the Future. I’ve been working on these stories for the last couple of years and it feels an appropriate time to release them.

Continue reading

#FCIC10

PhaethonOfficial: We are here at the tenth Future of Computational Intelligence conference (#FCIC10). We sponsor a number of PhD students, excited to see their findings!

ProfSam: Key note in ten minutes. Still get nervous even now. Wish me luck! #FCIC10

ElaineEvans: @ProfSam You’ll be great

ProfSam: @ElaineEvans Thanks for inviting me.

fr0gk!ller: @ProfSam I hope u get lost in the desert and die u moran. Continue reading

Assorted news

  • I’m very grateful to have a poem up on Nine Muses Poetry called Imposter. It’s a strange little piece and I’m glad it’s found a good home. Check it out here
  • One of my poems Hollow Passengers was also set to an awesome improvised soundtrack by Charlie and Jake as part of their Echoes and Edges live stream. It’s such a cool collaborative project and one of the best uses of technology I’ve seen. Check it out below or click through for timings. I recommend watching it all as the whole project is very inventive.

  • I’m going to be (virtually) on their live stream again this Saturday 16th. Go to their site for more details and links on how to watch.
  • Stay safe everyone.

Virtual workshop and a poem

I joined a virtual poetry workshop yesterday run by the wonderful Tonic and wrote this:

Fading

Singing soft chimes under her breath, she
kisses each ear of wheat, borrows
yellow from sunflower petals before

smearing each cloud with evening, takes
indigo from the blackberries, then stops,
not satisfied with her canvas. Sighing, she
grabs a cherry blossom and erases the day
showing the countless stars behind, waiting.

It was an acrostic and pastoral workshop. Working within those constraints was really challenging but really useful. By limiting myself, it challenged the language and patterns I usually fall into when making poetry.

One of the very few advantages of lockdown has been the proliferation of live-streamed poetry events. It means I’ve been able to attend a few more than I would do normally and from a wider area. I took part in an online slam the other day with the hosts based in Swindon, which would be too far for me to go for a night in ordinary life.

It’s a bitter blessing. Nothing beats being in a room with other people but this is the next best thing.

Napowrimo 2020 Day 30- Burn

I expect these days to fade like
photographs left on a windowsill.
That’s the hope. The numbers will
blur, the weeks will drain of detail
and colour and I will be left with
outlines and vague shapes, glimpses
of faces in the washed-out clouds,
voices speaking through the hiss.

But I’ll remember the constant dread
every time the radio cut to a bulletin,
how the cruelty of those in charge was
too obvious to ignore. I’ll remember
watching the trees bloom with wonder,
asking myself how beauty could still
emerge around us. I’ll remember the sun
stroking our faces despite everything,
warming us before starting on the slow
obliteration, over-exposing our thoughts.


Final prompt was “What Will you Remember?” from AmyKayPoetry. I’ve tried to avoid writing directly about the crisis as thousands have said many wise and helpful things. With this prompt, it felt appropriate to address it.

I’m done! Thanks for all your support in this

Napwriomo 2020 Day 29- Fragment

Today my mind is like confetti thrown
to the wind, like a website with every
space filled with adverts, all flashing
for my attention, like a river delta
as hundreds of tributaries race towards
the ocean. Do you understand? It’s like
I’ve drunk ten espressos and all I can hear
is the thumping house beat of my heart or
like I am dust in the depths of the galaxy
not yet ready to coalesce into planets.
You must know what I mean. It’s like I’m
a beam of light shot through a prism,
or my thoughts are cryptic crossword clues
or I’m a CRT television stuck between
channels, half images looping back over
themselves. What I’m trying to say is
I’m like a lizard darting across hot
sands, it’s like I’m caught in a washing
machine near the end of the cycle, like
I’ve become a comet entering the atmosphere
before inevitably burning, disintegrating,
becoming nothing more than fine ash rain.

Prompt was “Gimme Simile- really pack those similies in” from AmyKay Poetry. One day left!

Napowrimo Day 28 – Guilt

The sky is a confusion of clouds
whereas just yesterday you could
see the galaxy spin. We are out
of coffee once again, the internet
is often on the blink and helicopters
are swarming day and night in hives.
The oceans are swelling, drowning
small coastal towns. The years are
now dandelion seeds in a gale.
I blink. Ten more have flown away.

All of this feels like my fault
somehow. I offer my hands as
an apology. You close my fingers,
pass them back to me, a gift.


Prompt was “Apologise or don’t” from AmyKayPoetry

Napowrimo 2020 Day 27- Serenity Study

After Solmaz Sharif

Bare toes curling over grass before
the dew is done

Satellites describing ellipses
falling around Earth

Pain au chocolat, black coffee,
a notebook

Bristol harbour with no wind
a perfect mirror

Ohmmmmmmm the fridge chants
ohmmmmmmm


Prompt was from AmyKayPoetry to make concrete images out of abstract concepts, following on from Vulnerability Study by Solmaz Sharif

Napowrimo 2020 Day 26- We Are Mostly Empty

As we tumbled through the void,
everything was calm and peaceful
if you ignored the constant drone
of spycraft. The air was pink
electric and crackled with potential

There was something struggling
within it, something hidden, unseen.

It shimmered in the air, made of
nothing at all, blinking on and off,
a broken sunbeam. It had walked for years,
over burning deserts, stumbling over
broken glass and sharp shingle beaches.
Whispers and noises from other dimensions
combined, a palimpsest of imagined voices.

As I surrendered, my head filled with static.
I forget the boundaries between us. We
became one living pulsing mass that screamed
and stamped and roared as one. Our teeth sparked.
We tasted foil. We heard a great tearing of metal,
groaning and wrenching, the stars screaming
at each other. We saw the strings of the universe
clear and shimmering, draped in golden silk.


Prompt was to “Look back through your old writing notebooks and make a collage poem from discarded lines and free writes.” from Apples and Snakes. I adjusted some for tenses and added in a few connectives, but mostly this is from my notebook. Wish I knew what this was about or what the lines meant when I wrote them down.