Meryl Stenhouse
Magic belongs to the dreamers.

Welcome

Hi, and thanks for dropping in. If you're looking for engaging stories about strong women, real women, women with their own agendas and goals and dreams, you've come to the right place. I'm a multi-published short-fiction author, working (currently) on a sprawling cacophony of a novel.

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I’m looking for short fiction to review

I'd like to share some exciting news! I've joined the team at The Semiotic Standard to produce a regular short fiction review column. I'm really excited about this. I'm passionate about reading and writing the short form. It's an elegant, delightful format, perfect for all those really oddball ideas, those strange explorations, those sharp insights that aren't suitable for the novel. It's a place for beautiful ideas and beautiful language, and I can never have enough. For my column, I want to showcase the smaller markets, the new kids on the block and the non-eurocentric markets. I want to shine a light on those stories that might have been overlooked…
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Blog Posts

Vigil by Angela Slatter: Urban Fantasy Down Under

Vigil by Angela Slatter My rating: 3 of 5 stars I've read quite a bit of urban fantasy and Slatter's contribution fits right in. Snarky heroine, mythical activity, kick-ass female saves the day. It was nice to read UF set in Australia (Brisbane, no less!) and I was excited to get this book. The story starts out at a leisurely pace, and continues that way up until about the two-thirds mark, when the threads start to come together. There is an abundance of description so you really get a feel for the houses and locations Verity goes to in the course of the novel. There is quite a selection of…
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Dangerous Woman

I said earlier this year that I wasn't going to write any more short stories until the novel is done. So I stopped. Turns out that was a really bad idea. I love short stories. I really love writing them, I love reading them. And I found that without them, I was struggling with an idea overload. I just have to face the fact that I like working on multiple projects. I need to be able to skip from one to the other. It's how I seem to work best. I just need to figure out a way to do this AND finish things. But I suppose that's part of…
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New novel project

So I was blindsided yesterday by an idea which was the amalgamation of a number of smaller ideas that meshed beautifully into a whole. I can't write it just yet, but I'm making notes like crazy, and I wrote the opening words. On the eve of Violet Dawson's sixteenth birthday, she had three dreams. In the first dream, she had gone to school without a shirt or a bra. She walked naked down the halls, with her hands crossed across her chest, hoping nobody would notice. Nobody did. In the second dream, she woke up and the house was shaking and rattling. A figure hovered above her with empty eyes.…
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Rusty Gold by Christine Campbell

Today on the blog I have author Christine Campbell talking about her newest release, Rusty Gold. Find her,’ Agnes Donald begged. ‘Find my daughter.’ The words of a dying woman force Mirabelle to take on another case for the unofficial Missing Persons Bureau she runs from her Edinburgh flat. Along with her assistant, Kay, she heads for the island of Skye where Esme Donald was last known to be. But is someone else looking for Esme too? And could Mirabelle’s own daughter, Summer, be in danger? MS: Your novel's heroine Mirabelle is a single mother, which is an unusual but excellent choice. What led you to choose a single mother…
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My first published story

I published my very first story in Deep Magic in 2002 (as M.A. Ferguson), but the magazine closed so I never listed it in my bibliography. There was a long time between that first publication and my next. But Deep Magic has just reopened, and all their old magazines have been uploaded to Scribd, so my story is now available to read. Deep Magic was a great magazine, and I'm glad they are back. Unfortunately I don't have a copy of the original text anymore, but you can read the story in the magazine under 'writing challenges' (click on the cover to go there). I winced when I read it.…
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The Ups and Downs of Life as a Writer

So I've been writing this novel, as you know, and it's moving along at a good pace. I wasn't completely happy with it, but that's what revision is for. On Sunday, mulling things over during a long drive, I realised why I was unhappy with one of the characters and their story. And In a moment of blinding clarity, I knew how to fix it. Hooray! Except to do so, I have to discard the greater part of 38,000 words. This is quite staggering. These words weren't easily won, and while they were important to get where I am, I know have to face the fact that they've served their…
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7 creative women inside.

Zine in the post!

Today I received my copy of Womanpower III all the way from ZR Southcombe in New Zealand. I think the last thing I got in the post that wasn't a bill was a Christmas card from Canada. So it was a real thrill opening the envelope and seeing what Zee had sent. I loved the personal note included. The zine itself is lovely, a fat packet of inspiration from seven creative women, including my series of drawings about my journey to becoming an artist. So in true millennial style, I took photos of the whole process. Can't wait to delve in! And if you'd like your own copy of the…
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This is not good enough

I've written enough stories now to know that, around the one third mark, I will hit a wall of paralysing fear and doubt. The mantra for this wall? This is not good enough. I had hoped, earlier in my career, that this wall would magically disappear if I kept doing this writing-and-publishing thing. This has not turned out to be the case. The wall hits with crushing regularly. It's a gut-punch, a side-swipe, a sudden storm that leaves you gasping. It's dreams shattered on the pavement and you standing bereft. Not good enough. This is a good thing. Wait, what? Writing your first draft is a balancing act, a thin…
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The Terracotta Library

The library appeared above the city, sending hundreds of Prague's famous spires tumbling and crashing to the pavement, to lie akimbo, shoulders pressed oddly into asphalt and cobblestone, faces twisted, bodies torn open so the white bones can be seen. The spires looked surprised, as much as something could look surprised, that had no face. It was a felling like and different to the one that had happened forty years ago, fifty years ago now, in a city that belonged to another country. Rufina steps around a starburst of shattered tile, careful where she places her stick on the powder-slick ground. Peering up past the streetlights she can see the…
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