Monday 1st February, 2016

A slightly delayed update due to running out of spoons (a reference explained here, with links to the original explanation using spoons) a couple of times last week, including the weekend. In positive news, I have a post for The Finishing School [External Link] due on Wednesday.

Part of that was making it over to the York / BSFA social (which I hadn’t been sure I would make, so didn’t link on site. The next similar thing will be the Sheffield social (more here) in February and I hope to make it there, rest of life allowing. Don’t forget there’s an official launch party for African Monsters on March 3rd at Forbidden Planet, London.

SFSF Social #5

The Sheffield Fantasy & Science Fiction Social Club [External Link] will be having their fifth social [External Link], a night of readings and chat in Sheffield;
20th February, 2016;
Sheffield, England

My publisher, Adele Wearing, will be one of the speakers / readers and I understand that a few of my bits and bobs may get mentioned (specifically African Monsters, I think).

Sunday 24th January, 2016

OK. I’m officially settled in the rental property in Barnoldswick (Barlick to the locals). The main change being I have a broadband connection at this end. What this means is that I should start making regular posts here – although odd weekends will be skipped as I still have to sort out the house for sale in Thurnscoe. I will be get some more posts up on the Otherworld Gazetteer [External Link] for February 15th and I may even manage to put something together for The Finishing School [External Link] for Wednesday 3rd February. We shall see.

In offline writing, I’ve finished Elkie 3 and it’s now circling the Fox Spirit [External Link] airport, waiting for its landing window. (There will, of course, be further work required on landing before reader-passengers are allowed on, if we’re going to carry on the analogy.) I’ve got the first draft of my first non-Elkie novel (in a while) out with beta readers and I’ve started the first draft of something else. I even managed to squeeze in the first draft of a short story and some redrafting of a couple of novellas that have been sat on my computer for a year or more. Things are moving on.

Finally, come to London on March 3rd. (Please?)

Other than that – more news as and when!

Monday 28th December, 2015

We’re almost at the end of the year and I managed to miss a whole bunch of posts since I sort of moved. I’m still in the process of moving things from one location to another, so blogging and such will pick up eventually in the New Year but not straight away. Anyway, “Happy New Year!” for Thursday night / Friday morning.

What I Learnt About Writing in 2015

Well, time again for that annual tradition that was first inspired by Foxie [External Link]. Here’s my stats for this year with last year for comparison:

  • Submissions = 6 (20, 2014)
  • Total pieces in circulation = 6 (8, 2014)
  • New pieces in circulation = 1 (2, 2014)
  • Rewrites = 0 (1, 2014)
  • Acceptances = 3 (2, 2014)
  • Published = 4 (4, 2014)

NOTE: These numbers are a combination of Duotrope figures and some notes for submissions to non-listed destinations but do not include stories written for the website or published here. Attempts to rehome stories published here and elsewhere have been included.

So, I’ve been much less productive in terms of wordage this year. On the positive side, the publishing numbers include my second Elkie novel, A Pack of Lies, they don’t include completing the first draft on a novel, two novellas and a short story that have yet to go through more redrafting – and the Elkie novel I hope to have out in 2016 is still in draft form where I’d managed to get everything ready for my editor by the end of 2014 last year. And, as with European Monsters, I haven’t included editing African Monsters in this year’s figures.

It’s been another year where life got in the way of any plans I might have had, with writing (and editing) slowed down by commitments from January to June in my previous job. In November, I started a new job that also required relocation. It has interrupted in some ways but has got me back on track in others in that I’ve been writing more in the available evenings. However, I had to take a step back with editing Africa Monsters – and my co-editor (Margrét Helgadóttir [External Link]) has done an excellent job of piloting things solo since October.

Writer, Editor, General Dogsbody

So, here are the plans are for the immediate future of my writing and editing career:

My act of trilogy following Elkie Bernstein through the Fur-Skins world is almost complete. 25 Ways To Kill A Werewolf came out in 2014 and the follow up, A Pack of Lies came out in 2015. The third book, currently known as Fool If You Think It’s Over, should be getting redrafted in January. With a bit of luck, we should have everything in place for a Summer 2016 release.

Although Fox Spirit Books has given the go ahead for a third book in the monster series (to be Asian Monsters) I’m stepping down for this year. The heavy lifting of contacting people comes around this time and I can’t commit time to it until I’m through my probationary period at the new job and have some familiarity with how much of my brain space it takes up. (Which only goes to show how awesome Margrét Helgadóttir is as she relocated with work last year and it barely impacted for her). I hope to come back into the Monsters project for 2017 but we shall see how things go.

I’ve been working on my first non-Fur-Skins project for a while in 2015 and the first draft is (just about) complete. It’s highly likely that I will spend 2016 (and probably longer) getting it polished up and sending it out to possible new homes. The adventure, as they say, continues.

The Ink Plan

With moving, the Ink Plan has been changed – if nothing else, it’s unlikely to be the intended designer and I haven’t put any alternative plans in place as yet. However, I will be looking at my book numbers soon and making a donation to the NAS [External Link].

What I Learnt About The Rest of Life

Dora’s first year with the Hellhounds has been eventful, at least from her point of view. She’s managed a number of explorations and adventures that have involved climbing over walls (yes, really), forcing her way through fences and generally not coming when she’s called. However, she’s settled in with the other two just fine and she’s here to stay. Provided I walk her on a lead.

As already mentioned, this year I relocated for a new job. I’m having to relearn a bunch of stuff I didn’t realise I’d forgotten in order to become a systems administrator (Linux-based, naturally). I’m also coming to terms with the fact that I may end up in Lancashire for the foreseeable future rather than Yorkshire. This may take some mental adjustment.

Published: African Monsters (Fox Spirit Book of Monsters 2)

Fox Spirit Books [External Link] published African Monsters on Tuesday 15th December, 2015. This very special book is only available as a paperback through Amazon. The link is here: [External Link] (Just look the title up in your more local version, if you have no objections to Amazon and aren’t in the UK.)

Goodreads page here: [External Link]

Anthology, horror / dark fantasy

Monday 9th November, 2015

This is basically the last post before life goes a bit weird. Well, weirder. Today is my moving day, although I’m about to go through what may be the slowest move in history as I maintain a (mortgaged) house in my current location and (from Thursday) rent a place in my new location, about 70 miles away. I start work at the new job tomorrow, so I’m actually sleeping on someone’s sofa for this week. The dogs aren’t, they’re “on holiday” from this afternoon as being locked up in kennels is so euphemistically called. The house I share with the bank will be going on the market some time this week as well, with luck, so fingers crossed for sorting out my financial situation asap!

I won’t even be bothering with a land-line at the rental property for at least a month or so. All of which means that Internet access (at least for my own purposes) will be patchy. This will lead to delays in response, for which sorry in advance. I will try to maintain my usual blogging routines with the Otherworld Gazetteer [External Link] and The Finishing School [External Link] but there’s a fair chance you won’t see anything from me for a few weeks, possibly a month while I get the real life stuff organised.

I did, however, get a piece up on the Finishing School last week (Mindsets and Roleplaying: [External Link]) so that may keep you distracted for a while.

Finally and probably most importantly, the moving giveaway has closed. The winners have been announced and I’ve sent emails to get in touch. I haven’t received any addresses today, so organising the rehoming may end up delayed until next weekend or later, depending on how things pan out. Again, my apologies and thank you for taking part!

The House-Moving Giveaway Winners

So, moving, lightening my load, etc.

I ran a small giveaway of a number of copies of my own books (apparently there’s enough of them to have a bibliography [External Link]). First, the plug:

European Monsters Details

European Monsters came out in paperback in 2014 from Fox Spirit Books [External Link]. If you didn’t win the giveaway copy, please do consider looking it up on your local version of … Continue reading

Sunday 1st November, 2015

I have been a particularly bad correspondent of late. Think about how difficult a mouse would find it tapping out words on a keyboard. Now you have that mental image, ignore the fact that I’m actually a human who just ran out of time and energy.

Perhaps the first thing I should mention is my current giveaway. You have just under a week to enter to win a set of 25 Ways To Kill A Werewolf & A Pack Of Lies and / or a copy of European Monsters. There are a number of entries so far but all you have to do is comment! (With the proviso that I’ll not be posting them outside of the EU / EEA – and Switzerland – due to postage. You can live somewhere else buy the address I post to needs to be “local”.)

So, I’m in the process of relocating – in work and in habitation. I’m about to embark on my last week with FCC Environment and I start my new job the week after. I may have just about secured a place to rent that will except three dogs (although, due to paperwork, it’ll be sometime this week before the letting agents give me the final “yea” or “nay”). I still have a house to get on the market (once the dogs aren’t there so people can view it in peace) and tidy up a bit at weekends. Thankfully, the Rugby (Union) World Cup is now over – grats to New Zealand – and I have one less thing to distract me while I get things sorted.

Last weekend, I attended FantasyCon in Nottingham [External Link] (around house viewings in North Yorkshire and Lancashire, as well as handing in paperwork). I met up with some lovely people – for name dropping purposes, have a gander at Steven Poore [External Link] – who just launched his epic fantasy, but there’s a tonne of blogging about people’s impressions linked from a BFS round-up post here: [External Link].

Apparently I did okay in my panel where I shared space with, amongst others, Juliet McKenna [External Link]. However, I’m not in a position to commit to anything next year until I have moving sorted and a house sold. Until then, I have to pay for two households, so it’s unlikely I shall have spare monies for con-attending. Wel, aside form the already having got a membership to Satellite 5 [External Link] (Glasgow, 28th-29th May, 2016), which I am currently determined to make.

Other things currently up in the air include my current WIP (Feathers), which I’m about two thirds of the way through – at least in first draft. I hope to get it sorted soon but I may detour into redrafting the last Elkie piece as that’s on a deadline for next year. I’m still working on the African Monsters anthology with Margrét Helgadóttir [External Link] with the intention of publishing it this year but the official launch will be in February next year.

Advance warning but I will be committing further bloggage at The Finishing School [External Link] this week – it’s the first Wednesday of the month, after all. If you have any HEMA-related things you want me to post about at the TFS, please let me know but I’m not sure how things will fit in with the time left over from the house-related responsibilities. Fingers crossed that I can manage a December post!

There may end up being a slight hiatus on the Otherworld Gazetteer [External Link] posts and site diary posts here for much the same reason. I should, however, be back next week to let you know a bit more about how things are working out.