Stewart Hotston

Hope, Anger and Writing



Not So – How the Ants got their Queen

I’m delighted to say that I’m part of the Not So anthology of stories edited by David Thomas Moore and published by Abaddon. It is slated for release on the 18th April 2018.

The collection is, to quote an ‘Anthology of culturally diverse writers create short works in reaction to Kipling’s Just So Stories

Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories was one of the first true children’s books in the English language, a timeless classic that continues to delight readers to this day. Beautiful, evocative and playful, the stories of How the Whale Got His Throat or the First Letter Written paint a magical, primal world.

It’s also deeply rooted in British colonialism. Kipling saw the Empire as a benign, civilising force, and his writing can be troubling to modern readers. Not So Stories attempts to redress the balance, bringing together new and established writers of colour from around the world to take the Just So Stories back, giving voices to cultures that were long deprived them.

My story is called How the Ants got their Queen and tracks through the rise of colonialism, its fall and what replaced it in all too many situations. I hope it’s a little gruesome, fun and snarky all in one.

Keep an eye out!

A Family War – My Cover’s Here!

The cover’s arrived, the cover’s arrived!

So AR are just publishing a short blog on the cover for A Family War, but I thought I’d show it here too. A big shout out again for Lawrence Mann, who did the cover.

I’m really happy with this – it captures the sense of difference between the rich and the poor, the haves and the have-nots. The story is a thriller but it’s based in a world where the 1% really have taken it all.

Politics aside, Lawrence has managed to bring in the feel of the City that plays such a central role in the story, a place where everything man has built is on display. Yet it’s not all sweetness and light – the greatest crimes sometimes occur right out in the open.

AR are going to send the opening chapter out to people who’ve signed up to their newsletter, so get on over there and sign up!

Cheers all



Inspiration for covers and the roll of Pinterest

I’ve been using pinterest as my store of inspiration for covers. The cover for A Family War focusses on London, the City, as it’s called by those of us who live and work there both in Helena’s world and ours. I love the image by Jeremy Mann that I’ve used to headline my post. It’s glorious and a part of what I want to capture about the City in my story.
However, in working it through with Lawrence, we saw three others that helped set the tone.

The first is this one from the Art of Animation tumblr:

From the Art of Animation tumblr

We liked it because of the angle, the way that as an observer you’re not given to the normal flat view of the world, but are presented with an exploration of a strange place.

The second one we liked was this one:

Daniel Dociu

What is amazing about this piece is how it captures the light and how that process tells the story. The darkness and shadow around the bases of the buildings, the purity of the light at their pinnacles. Imagine a city of spires whose bases are shrouded and without sunlight and the dank foreground in this image sets that tone.

Finally this one:

mingrutu on Deviant Art

This brings the scale we love of grand cities down to the human. It picks up a story from the scale of the body and places it within the vastness of the cityscape.

All my pins are here if you fancy taking a look. It’s from this board that the cover is going to come.

Happy days!

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