Leo X. Robertson

News of my latest publications, events, and episodes of the Losing the Plot podcast!

New Losing the Plot, with Dylan Richards (Not Not Normal)!

Dylan Richards, aka House of Black Lanterns, aka King Cannibal, is a musician with a hugely impressive bio. It includes being “championed by the likes of Mary Anne Hobbs, hand-picked by Björk to work on her recent ‘Biophilia’ project, selected by Liam Howlett to remix the Prodigy.”

At the moment, he’s focusing on his YouTube channel, “Not Not Normal”, where he talks about his experiences with addiction, what rehab is like, what friends can do to help addicts, and much more.

We talk about all of this, as well as the importance of clean dishes, and towards the end I slip in some unnecessary jabs at Russell Brand.

Here’s Dylan’s latest venture, Not Not Normal

Here’s where you can find/support Dylan’s music:

House of Black Lanterns

King Cannibal

As always, if you’re a reader, writer, creative type, someone with something to say, you can always get in touch with me using losingtheplotpodcast [at] gmail [dot] com. I look forward to hearing from you!


New Publication! Story in Twisted50 vol 2


Y’all’ll recall that Twisted50 published a story of mine last year and that I went to the launch party and met one of my own characters (!) Well they’ve just announced that they’ll publish my story, “The Art is Absent”, in Twisted50 vol 2. I also see that Losing the Plot guests Madeleine Swann and Steve Pool will have stories in this book too, so I’m sure the resulting anthology will be awesome.

I sent them 2 stories and they picked the good one 🙂 This also ends my acceptance drought of like… 4, 5 months? Though I’ve had more than enough accepted or published or whatever this year, by many cool outlets that I respect, so I’ll shut the fuck up. Once again the turnaround of this story, from writing to acceptance, was a full year.

I very much enjoyed Twisted50 volume 1, and I have a lot of respect for what Create50 does overall to promote new and emerging writers, with Twisted50, Impact50 and Singularity50.

I hope you’ll consider submitting to a Create50 project. Purchasing Twisted50 vol 1, a highly enjoyable book, would be a great way to know what Create50 are looking for.

Cheers 🙂


Hardened Hearts now available for preorder!

Unnerving’s Hardened Hearts anthology will be released on 4th December, but you can preorder it here, now!

There are many cool authors with stories in it, myself included 😉 😉 ;); ););));;);)););) but also work by new exceptionals such as Gwendolyn Kiste, Tom Deady, Somer Canon, Meg Elison and more.


My story, “Brothers”, took me ages to write. And it came out backwards.

I started it as part of my project of rewriting trunk stories to prove to myself that I was a way better writer than I used to be. From an old story whose title I can’t even remember, I kept nothing but the central relationship between two teenagers. As more characters entered the narrative, I realised that they needed developed too, and wrote from their perspective, heading backwards in time. I then assembled these fragments in the right order, thought the story was finished, held onto it for ages, then wrote the overarching storyline linking the three pieces together. It seemed to click. Then Eddie of Unnerving told me it was missing an introductory scene, and then it did click.

I’m convinced a creative writing class would have nothing to offer me: “Today we’re going to find an old story, delete almost all of it, write a new one backwards, think it’s finished, hold onto it for months, realise it isn’t…”

It’s a writing process to which I’ve been trying to return. It produces my best work, I think. I’m guilty of reading litmags and getting scared into trying to write like other writers. This kills my writing intuition and gives me strained and incomplete stories, with forced poetic lines, that grasp at profundity without having earned it. As well it should: my subconscious is the guy doing most of the work, and when I try to tell him he’s been doing it wrong, or needs to do it better, all his thoughts get tangled and he can’t give me much. (I also imagine he then starts sobbing and apologising even although I’m the one in the wrong, because he’s a bit like a more childish version of myself, and that’s what I used to do.)

Let that be a lesson to any writer reading this: good writing is authentic exploring, not expert mimicry. The most rewarding stories for readers and writers are those where you set out not fully knowing what it is you’re trying to say. (Later on, it’s about plot and characterisation and all that shite. Later.)

Unnerving as you probably know released my novella, “The Grimhaven Disaster“, this summer, and an ebook of “Bonespin Slipspace” only last month! I’m forever thankful for their support of my work, and their tireless efforts to present the best of the best darklit writers out there—an effort of which this collection is exemplary.

A dark, creepy and melancholy Christmas treat for one and all I’m sure 😉

New Losing the Plot, with Jeanne Marie Spicuzza!

Jeanne Marie Spicuzza is a spoken word poet, actor, writer and director! I first heard of her when a writing teacher of mine played us Jeanne’s unforgettable performance of “(Men Succeed Where Women Are) Sluts”—here’s one such recording!

She also starred in/wrote/co-directed “The Scarapist”, a film about novelist who is manipulated by an evil therapist, based on her own experiences. We chat a lot about The Scarapist, which is worth watching beforehand (and beware spoilers if you don’t!)

Here it is on iTunes

On Amazon

But amongst many other things, we also discuss narcissists, screenplays, and how to deal with trolls!

Here also are details on her forthcoming film “Night Rain”, currently in post-production.

As always, if you’re a reader, writer, creative type, someone with something to say, you can always get in touch with me using losingtheplotpodcast [at] gmail [dot] com. I look forward to hearing from you!

New Litmag Stories I Thought Were Pretty Cool

It’s been a while since my last one of these, but I haven’t read litmags in a long time—at least it feels like I haven’t, because I’ve been neglecting my list of indie books to read and endlessly researching a shapeless story I’m almost-but-not-quite stuck on. We’ll see.

And I think this year I’ve learned how to read litmags. Here are some thoughts.

You’re not going to love every story they publish all the time.

You may also be so intimidated by a writer’s skill you can’t ever imagine yourself appearing in the same pages.

You may read a story so incomprehensible that it’ll make you feel excluded from the world of literature itself, as if a prestigious publication is saying to you, “If you don’t understand this and why this is good, go cut off your hands and gouge out your eyes, dirtbag!”

You may fall into the deadly trap of thinking that any lauded outlet has no chance of accepting a story of yours because you don’t write like writer X Y Z does. This is why it’s best to read more than one issue. Mags have a bigger range than you’d expect, and if you submit to them, they may surprise you! Conversely, it may be that the only reason they haven’t accepted a story of yours is because it’s shit, objectively—which, despite how subjective literature can be, is an actual thing. I should know: it’s happened to me dozens of times this year. (No shame: it’s happened dozens of times this year to your favourite writers, even—but they don’t tweet about it much if at all.) Either way, no stranger is capable of placing value on who you are as a person. They don’t know you; they just know your work. I know your work means a lot to you. You should be proud of it! But it is not you. You might suck also, like as a person, but no one’s judging that here.

You will also read stories that you enjoy so much that none of the above seems to matter. The purely transcendent. Isn’t that the whole point?

Folk like me read litmags for research, and as part of our self-assigned job as writers. We tend to forget that reading these mags is actually a lot of fun, that the reason we are writers is because of the love of literature that came first, that everyone involved—the editors, writers, etc—they all want the maximum enjoyment out of you. Literature is a bastion of joy and hope in a world of resentment. When resentment bleeds into literature, shit gets fucked. So don’t. The success of others not only doesn’t infringe upon our own, but likely assists it.

So join me in celebrating some cool shit. I’ve restricted my selections to what’s available for free online. You should consider subscribing to some of the ones below, but of those whose stories don’t appear online, I can also recommend Unnerving Magazine, Shoreline of Infinity, Black Static, Interzone, Fantasy & Science Fiction, Helios Quarterly, Phantaxis, DevolutionZ, Lamplight, KZine, Deadman’s Tome, Dark Moon Digest, The Singularity, Create50 anthologies, Crystal Lake’s Tales from the Lake anthologies, Bizarro Pulp Press’ More Bizarro Than Bizarro anthology, and the Horror Sleaze Trash: Fiction in Poor Taste anthology.

Handjob by Dan Ayres (Open Pen)

For BritLit, I enjoy Structo and Open Pen. I also read Open Pen’s “Best of” anthology earlier this year, and can highly recommend it. Dan Ayres’ story in the latest issue, #20, is a surreal exploration of the London gay scene’s overfucked and underloved. It starts off tame and ends up super weird. Very cool.

(Doesn’t hurt that Open Pen published a story of mine, “The Other Half”, in Issue Nineteen! Never thought I’d see the day.)

The Zodiac Walks on the Moon by Will Ludwigsen (Nightmare)

Weirdly poetic rumination about Ted Cruz’s thoughts on the moon landing. Perhaps about the ongoing struggle between explorers, conquerors, creators, innovators and those who exist purely as forces of nature contrary to anything that can be considered progress. Poetic and haunting.

Stuck Girls by Emma Copley Eisenberg (Granta)

I love the typically clear, simple prose of Granta stories. This one is humorous, surreal, evocative.

Red Lights, and Rain by Gareth L. Powell (Clarkesworld)

I didn’t know Clarkesworld would publish a story about a time-travelling vampire hunter! This was a cool and gripping addition to a mag typically filled with dense and cerebral stories.

Fandom for Robots by Vina Jie-Min Prasad (Uncanny)

Prasad’s last publication, “A Series of Steaks” (Clarkesworld) was in one of my earlier lists this year, and she’s back again with a sweet and uplifting story about robot-written fan fiction, effortlessly demonstrating that literature can still be contemporary, relevant, thought-provoking, hopeful and fun.

The Three-tongued Mummy by E. Catherine Tobler (Apex)

I love when authors create their own personal mythology. This story asserts its own mummy legend with a strong authorial voice and weird, original mysticism. Check it out.

Infinite Love Engine by Joseph Allen Hill (Lightspeed)

This one grabbed me straight away with its fun and wild world-building and language. The story itself is perhaps a knowing cliché, but entirely besides the point.

The Future of Hunger in the Age of Programmable Matter by Sam J. Miller (Tor)

This is the one story on this list that I most wish I’d written myself. Gay meth addicts and kaijus—too good.

Girl, I Love You by Nadia Bulkin (The DARK)

I’m reading Bulkin’s collection, “She Said Destroy.” Today I read a story I thought was familiar—and I realised I’d already read it in The DARK magazine! (Which I’ve recently come around to—sometimes you just need the one author you like within the pages of a mag for the rest of the stories to click!) It’s a great story and a phenomenal collection, so read this one and if you like it, pick up “She Said Destroy.”

Boneset by Lucia Iglesias (Shimmer)

I’m not often a fan of writing that prioritises language over story—but when the language is this cool, who the hell cares what’s going on? And yet there is a simple and quite haunting story nestled within this weird world.

Show, Don’t Tell by Curtis Sittenfield (The New Yorker)

Funny and emotionally charged story about creative writing programs!

Phew—there it is. The best of the best from someone with excellent taste! I should put up a damn paywall around myself!! Enjoy 🙂

New Losing the Plot, with Steve Pool!

Steve Pool is a speculative fiction author living in Oregon. He has a passion for genre fiction, helping other authors with their craft, and anime! We discuss loving your characters, order versus chaos, and how great it is when you stop caring what other people think.

He has a forthcoming story in the Australian speculative fiction mag/podcast next year (but recommends you check out the site now!)

He has a story in Twisted 50 volume 1:

And he’s an active contributor and feedback provider at Create50, which you should definitely check out if you’re a writer:

As always, if you’re a reader, writer, creative type, someone with something to say, you can always get in touch with me using losingtheplotpodcast [at] gmail [dot] com. I look forward to hearing from you!

New Losing the Plot, with Mike Mazzanti!

Mike Mazzanti is a Pennsylvanian director, screenwriter, photographer and film critic living in Nanjing, China BUT most importantly, he’s a Losing the Plot fan-turned guest! That’s our favourite thing that me do here at LTP 😉

We talk about the creative constraints of writing screenplays, the difficulties of being a director, and how great it would be if the world had The Devil’s Rejects 2!

You can watch his short film, “God Blinks”, on his Vimeo page here:

Read some of his essays and review for The Film Stage here:

Film reviews on Letterboxd here:

And check out his photography on Instagram here!

If you’re a reader, writer, editor, creative type of any variety or just a listener with something to say, you can always get in touch with me using losingtheplotpodcast [at] gmail [dot] com. I look forward to hearing from you!

New Losing the Plot, with Nicholas Day!

This episode’s guest is Nicholas Day, author most recently of the short story collection, “Now That We’re Alone” and also the novella “Necrosaurus Rex”, both brought out by Bizarro Pulp Press. He’s also an editor at Rooster Republic Press, which also has the horror outlet Strangehouse Books and New Kink Books for bizarre erotica!

We talk about the horrors of Facebook, creativity and prolificacy, and why GG Allin was a monstrous piece of shit.

Nick’s links:


Rooster Republic Press:

Now That We’re Alone:

Necrosaurus Rex:

As always if you’re a reader, writer, editor, creative type, a fan or someone with something to say, you can always get in touch with me using losingtheplotpodcast [at] gmail [dot] com. I look forward to hearing from you!

New Losing the Plot, with Frank J. Edler!

Every episode of LTP is special—so this one is extra special! Frank J. Edler joins us from the Bizzong! podcast to talk collaboration. conventions, artistic control and the caste system amongst demons?!

This is Part II of a conversation we had that started with his interview of me on Bizzong! which you can listen to here.

Check out Frank’s writing here:

Scared Silly (highly recommended!)
Brats in Hell
Death Gets a Book

Bizzong! podcast

As always if you’re a reader, writer, someone with something to say, you can always get in touch with me using losingtheplotpodcast [at] gmail [dot] com. I look forward to hearing from you!

Intro music provided by Marshall Riley. Check out his latest album “Bummer”, brought out by Captain Crook Records, here:

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