“The Present Only Toucheth Thee” reviews

Karen Burnham, reviewing for Locus, said of my little story “The Present Only Toucheth Thee” (Strange Horizons):

In ”The Present Only Toucheth Thee” by Kathleen Jennings, two beings have intertwined fates over the millennia. One seems near immortal, building a book over eons, while the other is continually reincarnated. It’s a beautiful, macabre story that muses on how such a relationship might finally end.

Maria Haskins, for Curious Fictions, wrote:

Oh my goodness, what a gloriously strange tale this is. A book with a magic all its own, tying together two souls and two very long lives. Jennings writes with exquisite style and flair, as we follow two individuals through time and through the world, finding out how chance and/or fate has entwined them through their very long existence (whether in the same bodies, or not). Evocative and beautiful in every part.

And I’ve posted Charles Payseur’s (relatively) long thoughtful review previously.

 It’s a lovely complicating and expansion of the referenced poem through a speculative lens and it’s certainly a story well worth spending some time with. A fine read!

The Present Only Toucheth Thee” is online in Strange Horizons‘ 8 June issue, and is also up as a podcast, read by Anaea Lay and with a rather creepy little postscript.

Story: The Present Only Toucheth Thee

“I, also, have a rare soul, and an old one.”

My short story “The Present Only Toucheth Thee” has been published in Strange Horizons‘ 8 June issue!

And there’s also a podcast of it, read by Anaea Lay and with a rather creepy little postscript, which I think is the first audio publication of one of my stories.

For the title, “The Present Only Toucheth Thee”, I had to send the cover letter with a warning that it was not, in fact, in faux-Elizabethan, but that the title was an allusion. But I really like the allusion and titles are tricky.

“For some of that time you were an eagle, clear-eyed…”

It’s an odd little story about a rather sprawling idea. I had in fact started an unwieldy series of pieces playing with the general concept from a point-in-time point of view of the addressee of this story. Looking back at those drafts, there’s still something there I’d like to revisit. But it was heavy going at the time, and I couldn’t pin down what I was trying for. But this swapped perspective flowed swiftly and concisely, and (bearing in mind that there was extensive preparatory work) felt like it was almost building itself up out of the page.

Thanks on this one go especially to C.S.E. Cooney and Aimee Smith for cheerleading and (ongoing & generally, as ever) to Angela Slatter for mentorship, education, and high expectations.

Also: Strange Horizons is having its annual fund drive! They do great work and publish very excellent stories, so please do consider supporting them, either through the fund drive on Kickstarter or their ongoing donations page. And of course — check out their stories.

“If there are others like either of us, they are too knotted in their own stories, their own repeating secrets, for me to find them.”

Writing news: story to Strange Horizons


My quite short story “The Present Only Toucheth Thee” has been bought by Strange Horizons!

It will come out in a few months and I will definitely tell you about it again then. (What I can tell you now is that I had to include a caveat in the cover letters for this story that it’s not in faux-Elizabethan! The title is an allusion.)

This will be my first publication by Strange Horizons as a writer, and I’m thrilled. They’ve brought out some lovely pieces, and I recommend checking out their text and audio issues: Strange Horizons.

Strange Horizons: London Calling

Very recently I had the great pleasure of doing my first illustration for Strange Horizons. It was for Philip A. Suggar’s surreal and charming story “London Calling“.

Some of my patrons had the chance to see early progress pictures and some more detailed process description (and so can you: Patreon). But the art is out now!

Here are some of the early thumbnail sketches.


We chose the top right one, and I touched in some soft colours to test them. I still really like this thumbnail, and would like to do something in this style! But it wouldn’t have worked so well on a large scale.


I also played around with some cyanotype versions.


Then it was on to developing the pencils, and adding digital colour.

2017-02-13-londoncalling-pencils kjennings-londoncalling-web

You can read the story here: “London Calling”.

(And don’t forget: you can see sneak-peeks, hear early project news and help support my independent projects if you’re a supporter through Patreon.)