Friday, December 26, 2008

Resolutions Update

Well, it's been a year since I made my last set of New Year writer resolutions. So, how did I do?

1) I will start/finish the damn book
Did that. I completed my short novel 'The Hotel Galileo' back in August and sent it to small US small press Wolfsinger in early September. No response yet...
2) I will always have at least three stories on submission, while working on a fourth
This has been a year for taking a breather, taking stock of the past four years and then going back into it with renewed energy. I see the last two stories which are still on submission as the end of a "first phase", and the new stories I'm working on are part of a new phase. Suffice to say I'm quietly excited about the new stuff.
3) I will attend at least one writer's conference, and introduce myself to agents, editors, and other writers
FantasyCon 2008 back in Septemeber. This is the achievement of 2008 I am most proud of. It took a lot for me to go out into the world and meet other writers and publishers, being a shy, retiring type.
4) I will subscribe to the magazines I submit to
Subscribed to Black Static for six issues, but that has now lapsed. Need to either renew my subscription or subscribe to something else. Murky Depths, maybe...?
5) I will join a critique group. If one doesn't exist, I will start one at the local bookstore or library
Joined Critters Online Critique Group three months ago. First experience has been phenomenally good.
6) I will finish every story I start
Still working on that.
7) I will listen to criticism
Something I've always striven to do. As well as needing a colossal amount of self-belief, the other important quality for an upcoming writer is having the humility to listen to criticism. And act upon it.
8) I will create/update my website
Voila: the Steam-Powered Typewriter. I would still love to have a purpose-built website but this will do for now.
9) I will master the query process and find an agent
Not quite ready for that, yet. Soon, though, fingers crossed.
10) I'll quit procrastinating in the form of research, outlines, synopses, taking classes, reading how-to books, talking about writing, and actually write something
Yes, add to that the process of social networking. Necessary in these modern times, but oh-so-time-consuming. Damn you Facebook!
11) I will refuse to get discouraged, because I know JA Konrath wrote 9 novels, received almost 500 rejections, and penned over 1 million words before he sold a thing--and I'm a lot more talented than that guy
Refuse to get discouraged? The thought never entered my head.

And that's me for 2008. Not bad, I think, even if I say so myself. Not a very big year for publication credits admittedly, but as I've mentioned before, this year has seen me take a deep breath before coming back at it. I've never suffered from writer's block, because part of me thinks it doesn't actually exist. I think all writers get jaded occassionally, and at some point all writers suddenly find that what they're writing has lost it's mojo. That's right and proper and part of the process of improving. That's the time to go away, read some good books, read some good short stories, watch some good movies. And whilst doing this you will find yourself in quiet moments thinking to yourself, "wow, that was really good. If I'd written it, I would have done this . . ." And before you know it, you're back at the writing desk again. It can't be all output. There has to be input, too.

Have a great 2009, everyone.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Some haikus

Just stumbled across three haikus I wrote in my notebook last year. Poetry is something I'd love to write a lot more of. These are quite sweet, I think:

Rain runs down the glass
The clouds above cast shadows
On my empty lawn

If she says 'No way'
I will walk out that door now
Never to return

The flowers I bought
Are beginning to dwindle
Water cannot save them

And there you have it. I have no recollection of composing them, either, but knowing my state of mind in recent times it's not a surprise. Amazing what you find in your old notebooks, though.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Estronomicon FantasyCon 2008 Special

The FantasyCon issue of the FREE Estronomicon eZine is now available. Although I don't have a story in this issue my "Newbie's Guide to..." report is in there. Lots of great fiction from other writers including Allyson Bird, Neil Davies, Charles Black, Stephen Bacon, Tony Richards, Paul Kane and Marie O'Regan. The cover art is by Award-winning Vincent Chong.

It's a great issue, containing short stories by some of the FantasyCon attendees, art by award-winner Vincent Chong and lots of pictures of the event. I thoroughly enjoyed this convention and yes, there is a photo of me in there somewhere, but keep it quiet, won't you?

See the webpage for more info and to download :

or you can get it directly here (2.48mb) :

Monday, December 01, 2008


It's been a relatively quiet year for getting stories published, but I have a handful of stories about to be published in the coming months.

First up is "The Weight of Shadows" which is a science fiction story due to appear in the next issue of Jupiter SF in January 2009. This is my second appearance in this fine sf zine and I'm pleased to say there will be artwork accompanying my story provided by yours truly. I admit I have neglected my art for the last few years to concentrate on the fiction side of things. It was the encouraging comments from an old school friend that made me pick up the brush again. I hope the result isn't too shoddy. If feedback is positive I may look at doing more artwork in the future. We'll see.

Second imminent publication is in new online venue Arkham Tales, the personal project of editor Nathan Shumate. The first issue is online now and available to download as a PDF. My story "Inheritance", a weird western story, should be published in the second issue due around February next year.

Still awaiting the publication of "The Man Who Ate Planets" in the anthology Best New tales of the Apocalypse. The collection is edited by D. L. Snell and Bobbie Metevier. I recently saw the table of contents and it looks like my story is first up - how exciting is that!!! The book is to be published by Permuted Press any time soon.

All being well, "Deus Ex Machina" should appear in the next edition of Estronomicon. Watch this space for updates on that.

In other news, I submitted another story to the Aeon Award. The final deadline was yesterday, Nov 30th. Results will be announced in about two weeks. The story I sent in was inspired by something my five year-old daughter said to me one day. I hope it does well for that reason alone.

So lots of stuff coming up. And of course, there's the second draft of the novel. Work on that starts very soon.