Tag Archives: Imagination

Submitting Work to Magazines/Competitions

I just submitted something. This is a big step for me.

It feels like pushing your baby out of the window in the hopes that someone will catch it.

God I hope they catch my word baby.

For those interested I entered the Aeon Award – http://www.albedo1.com/aeon-award/aeon-award-2014/

It may well come to nothing, but that’s okay. This step of actually submitting work has had a positive effect. I now feel like a struggling writer, rather than someone struggling with a hobby.

My work is out there. It’s like opening a flood gate. How many other things can I submit? How many magazines are out there accepting new work?



This is an important point – I really didn’t understand how many sci-fi and fantasy magazines there are out there accepting submissions. You’d be surprised! There are so many!

Do be careful though, each place has their own strict guidelines. Read each carefully and make sure you follow them to the letter. There is no ‘basic’ way of submitting your work these days. Fortunately there are now extensive guidelines and FAQ pages so make use of them.

And, finally – exercise caution.

There are always going to be shady places out there looking to trick you out of money. Research a magazine/competition etc before entering it. The internet is your friend…


Push those word babies. Push them.

– Zero Nine


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Remembering Why We’re Here…

This marks the first time I’ve missed my ‘new blog every Sunday’ rule. But I’ve been busy dammit!

Stop judging me!



London Film and Comic is coming up so I’ve been busy getting ready for that. But enough excuses!

What little time I do have is spent actually writing. But I’ve also been thinking about how I got into writing. I’ve always been an avid reader – something inherited from my parents – but what was that spark that made me really want to write? And why? And does it still inspire me? So in essence – what helped me comprehend the power of the written word and inspired me to try and weild such power?

The answer, for me, is below. It’s best read out loud, as with all of Poe’s work.


The Haunted Palace


In the greenest of our valleys
By good angels tenanted,
Once a fair and stately palace—
Radiant palace—reared its head.
In the monarch Thought’s dominion,
It stood there!
Never seraph spread a pinion
Over fabric half so fair!

Banners yellow, glorious, golden,
On its roof did float and flow
(This—all this—was in the olden
Time long ago)
And every gentle air that dallied,
In that sweet day,
Along the ramparts plumed and pallid,
A wingèd odor went away.

Wanderers in that happy valley,
Through two luminous windows, saw
Spirits moving musically
To a lute’s well-tunèd law,
Round about a throne where, sitting,
In state his glory well befitting,
The ruler of the realm was seen.

And all with pearl and ruby glowing
Was the fair palace door,
Through which came flowing, flowing, flowing
And sparkling evermore,
A troop of Echoes, whose sweet duty
Was but to sing,
In voices of surpassing beauty,
The wit and wisdom of their king.

But evil things, in robes of sorrow,
Assailed the monarch’s high estate;
(Ah, let us mourn!—for never morrow
Shall dawn upon him, desolate!)
And round about his home the glory
That blushed and bloomed
Is but a dim-remembered story
Of the old time entombed.

And travellers, now, within that valley,
Through the red-litten windows see
Vast forms that move fantastically
To a discordant melody;
While, like a ghastly rapid river,
Through the pale door
A hideous throng rush out forever,
And laugh—but smile no more.

Source: Poets of the English Language (Viking Press, 1950)


There’s still something about it that sends shivers through me. Sorry, *Poe fanboy alert!*




So give it some thought. What set you on this path? What inspired you?


All the best,


– Zero Nine



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Take a Break from Writing!


Wait! Come back! Close that search window… close iiiit.

Perhaps the title should be – Take a Break from What You’re Writing.

I’ve discovered the wonders of writing short stories. Now, like many writers out there, I am well and truly submerged in my ‘first real novel’. And by that I mean I’m writing something that I could imagine being published. It’s something that I’ve been working on for AGES! It’s hefty.

But in all this time I’ve never tried to get published in other ways. I’ve never seriously sat down to write something that could be submitted to a magazine. In essence I’ve been hiding behind my novel.

We’ve all been guilty of it ‘I can’t split my focus, I have to work on my novel’, and then what? Typing a couple of hundred words in the early hours of the morning?

Do you remember when you didn’t look at the word count? Do you remember losing track of the time because you’ve spent it all typing?



I lost that feeling for a long time. Then I got a kick up the ass to write a short story just to have something to submit for a magazine. I plunged in – with limited word count there’s less stress to have everything planned out. You really can go wild without the danger of plot holes (I favour sci-fi, plot holes are commonplace).

I’ve been flying through it! It might never see the light of day but everything is in perspective now. Once I’m done with it I’ll return to my novel with fresh eyes. I’ll submit it. Who knows, I might even get published before I’m published…



So if you can’t keep your eyes away from the dreaded word count – if you’re not as scared/excited of the events of your book as your protagonist is – maybe it’s time for a break.

Write something fresh, a little window into another world. Flexing your writing muscles doesn’t drain your creativity, the more you write the more you CAN write.

So stop writing, and start writing!



– Zero Nine






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Review of KK & the Steampunk Orchestra’s album: “The Magic Lantern”

Summer is here! And as is always the way it is time to latch onto a particular album and claim that it is the soundtrack to your summer.

Well here is my entry: The Magic Lantern by “KK & The Steampunk Orchestra”, is the musical brain child of Kevin Kerrigan; a British based composer, record producer, and sound designer.

It is very rare for a song to really grab me and draw me in. Admittedly I was attracted to this album by its Steampunk connotations but after hearing “Pioneers” I couldn’t get it out of my head! So many Steampunk themed bands seem to be popping up of late and although I wouldn’t consider any of them to be terrible but there are only one or two that I can honestly say that I love.

The Magic Lantern brings back the feeling of adventure and mystery, in a way it reminds me of why I love Steampunk. It isn’t about goggles or top hats (although they are two very fun parts of it!). It’s about imagination. It’s about seeing a whole new world and allowing that world to (healthy) overlap into the real world. It is this sensibility that I feel The Magic Lantern evokes perfectly.

KK’s skill as a creator of music is incredible. In the past he has worked with: Brian Eno, Björk, Tim Booth, Dido, Natalie ImbrugliaJames Newton Howard and many others, he has also made many musical contributions for film, television and theatre. My point it, this man knows what he is doing. Your ears are in safe hands!

Although I will always be a fan of vocal led music it is quite often the case that an instrumental song will move me more so than it would had it included vocals. The lack of lyrics allow the music to truly act upon you imagination. Each song on this album feels like its own little world, each a little segment of reality that you are invited to, if only for a few minutes.

I couldn’t help but imagine scenes to match with each track, I could go on and on about each in particular but that wouldn’t be fair. This is a thinking persons album and although there may be similarities I doubt any two people will see the same world in the same track. I wouldn’t want to influence what you see! 

Naming no track names however I can tell you that this album could transport you to alien worlds, snow layered cityscapes, sad but beautiful wastes, thriving forests and haunted sci-fi amusement parks. Or it could lead you to totally different, even more amazing places.

 That’s another thing that I love about this album. It is so personal. It is your own individual experience. It is an album crafted to perfection but what it uses most is your own imagination; your own ability and willingness to work with the music rather than sit back and allow it to do all the work for you.

As readers of this blog will know, the soundtrack of my imagination is already a position held by another: You Know Who. But The Magic Lantern is most definitely the soundtrack to my summer, and in the running for the soundtrack to my soul! It is an album entirely expressed without words and I admit that I am having difficulty with finding the words to describe it to you.

Perhaps my inability will speak more for the power of this album than I could ever hope to type down here. But whatever the case I sincerely implore you to give it a chance. It deserves to be heard, and you deserve to hear it. In some ways you owe it to yourself. When was the last time you let an album truly into your mind? Get The Magic Lantern, dim all the lights, lay back and remember what it was to dream of more than what there is.

Personally, I’m halfway through “Pioneers” and I just set sail into the aether aboard an air-borne galleon.

I’ll see you on the return journey!

Zero Nine

KK & the Steampunk Orchestra can be found on:



and the The Magic Lantern is available from Itunes!

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