So I’m eighteen months in to my foolish and time-sucking venture, Wyldblood Press, and I’m still sane (or at least as sane as I was before). During that time we’ve published 58 stories in seven issue of Wyldblood Magazine, 82 flash fiction stories on the website, another 25 stories in two anthologies and seven classic reprints. That’s a lot of stories! We’ve published online, in paperback and (for our werewolf collection, the Call of the Wyld, even in hardback).
And it’s exhausting.
We had plans to publish original novels, and we still do. But no-one told me how long it would take to read all this stuff so, sadly, the novels are on a back burner. That said, we’re catching up, and I’ve now got a team of enthusiastic slush readers filtering out large chunks of the submissions pile. So, a couple of novels this year for sure, more magazines, more flash on the website and two more anthologies on the horizon. Our next venture will be an anthology entitled Other Earths and we’ll open for submission for that soon. Plus we’ll be doing a ‘first year’ anthology collecting the pick of the bunch so far.
We’re getting submissions from across the globe, in large numbers. The quality is high, too, and we’ve had to make some very tough selection choices. We’re published science fiction, fantasy and anything in between, though we’re not fans of anything too bloodthirsty. Our stories tend towards the wistful and the thought provoking, but we like a good narrative, strong characters and an engaging storytelling style.
Our most recent publication is a steampunk anthology, Runs Like Clockwork. Why steampunk? It’s edgy enough to be intriguing, it’s different (at least from most of the stuff I read) and it’s got a tone to it that I find fascinating: all sepia tinged with a whiff of engine oil and a devilish glint in its mechanical eye. It’s got blurred edges and I love the fact that its writers play around with its definitions and conventions. I came into the genre via Cherie Priest’s Boneshaker (set in the Old West – hardly peasouper London) and Jeanette Ng’s Under the Pendulum Sun (alt-history with fey and magic, but it has that feel) and impressive TV like the adaptation of Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone (set in an imagined Tzarist Russia) and Carnival Row, which at least has the authenticity to be set in Victorian London,, and I love all that nostalgia for a time that never was. Writers responded enthusiastically to the challenge and we’ve found stories with airships, sea monsters, clockwork men and all the usual Victorian inspired mad scientist weirdness. We’ve also published the ultimate in proper Victorian steampunk, H.G. Well’s The Time Machine. If only he knew.
There’s a strong Milford connection in everything we do. Clearly my writing and tastes have been influenced by all the contacts I’ve had with this fantastic writing community over the years, whether at Milford itself, conventions, workshops or the excellent writing groups I’m only part of because I met you all at Milford. Plus we’ve run interviews with Tiffani Angus and Jacey Bedford and a couple of Milward stalwarts, Vaughan Stanger and Mike Lewis, help wade through the short story slush (they’re very good at unearthing gems). You’ll recognise some Milford names amongst our storytellers too, and hopefully there’ll be lots more to come. If you want to submit, or help out in any way please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org (or just talk about us and review us wherever you can – we love reviews) – we close for submissions from time to time but if you put ‘Milford’ in the subject line I’ll ignore that – and we always need flash fiction, because we get through an awful lot of it and for some reason most people prefer to send us longer pieces.
Mark Bilsborough mainly writes science fiction and links to his publications can be found here. He learned what to do at Odyssey and what not to do at Milford. He lives just outside London surrounded by National Trust land, which keeps his dog very happy. One day he decided to run a magazine, and now he no longer has any time to write.