Wednesday 28th December, 2016

It’s here again, the end of the year post. I hope those who celebrate had a good Christmas and wish you all a Happy New Year for Saturday night / Sunday morning. And, of course, Happy Hanukkah as I believe that continues until Monday.

What I Learnt About Writing in 2016

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 = 0 (6, 2015)
  • Total pieces in circulation = 8 (6, 2015)
  • New pieces in circulation = 2 (1, 2015)
  • Rewrites = 1 (0, 2015)
  • Acceptances = 1 (3, 2015)
  • Published = 3 (4, 2015)

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.

I think in wordage terms, I’ve been as productive as last year. However, I haven’t been working (so much) on short stories so things are staying in the “working on” queue a little longer and there’s no sign of submissions. Elkie hasn’t quite made the published numbers this year as her third outing, Fool If You Think It’s Over, is due out in January – although she was accepted in 2016. I never included European Monsters or African Monsters in my figures and I had to step down from co-editing duties this year for Asian Monsters (and the remaining works in the series). My excellent partner in crime, Margrét Helgadóttir [External Link], has picked up the slack marvellously.

I’m in a much more regular job this year but I find it a very mentally absorbing in an enjoyable way. When combined with a number of issues (I still have a house 70-odd miles away and the hormonal influence of my implant finally became too much to bear), it means I’ve been spending more spare time soaking in books and movies rather than creating new work.

Writer, Editor, General Dogsbody

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

The work I long work I started first draft of in 2015, A Fistful Of Feathers, is now looking for a new home. Actually, it’s currently being used to help me find an agent who may then find it a new home. More news when I have something to share.

ASIDE: This is not because of any issues between myself and Fox Spirit Books [External Link], and there may be further Fur-Skins related news from them for 2017 or 2018 but it’s a small press and the lovely Auntie Fox (Adele Wearing) is a very busy lady.

My main work from 2016 was an attempt to craft a folk-tale that mimicked (but wasn’t identical to) existing stories. Redraft should begin fairly soon and I’ve apparently enjoyed it enough that the first draft I recently started is another one. I have a suspicion that I’ll end up writing – or starting – several before I get this out of my system.

The adventures continue.

The Ink Plan

I’ll be looking at my book numbers soon and making a donation to the NAS [External Link]. “Soon” probably translates as end of January / beginning of February.

What I Learnt About The Rest of Life

Dora continues to be the source of adventure. She’s attempting to take over the role of Grand Dame. However, this can lead to fights with the somewhat more youthful Rosie to the effect of “You’re not my real mother and you can’t tell me what to do!” These occasionally get physical. In fact, I shall be dosing them both up with anti-inflamatories tonight so they don’t get stiff from today’s exertions (brought on by a young girl paying attention to ROsie, not Dora).

Oh, and Lancashire isn’t that bad, after all. I’ve recently found a tai-chi club and I’m fencing most weekends!

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.

Sunday 28th December, 2014

Almost at the end of the year, so “Happy New Year!” for Wednesday night / Thursday morning. We’ve got a couple of things to go through, so there’s headings today.

What I Learnt About Writing in 2014

Well, time 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 = 20 (28, 2013)
  • Total pieces in circulation = 8 (8, 2013)
  • New pieces in circulation = 2 (3, 2013)
  • Rewrites = 1 (2, 2013)
  • Acceptances = 2 (5, 2013)
  • Published = 4 (3, 2013)

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 elsewhere have been included.

So, I’ve been slightly less productive and less aggressive about getting work out there. While the numbers above include the publishing of my first accepted novel, 25 Ways To Kill A Werewolf [External Link], they don’t include a number of works that are still in first draft, held there while I work on the first draft of the third Elkie novel (currently known as: Fool If You Think It’s Over) or getting European Monsters [External Link] up and running.

And I need a reminder to self: writing is just my hobby with potential to be a retirement plan. This was the balance of my life / paid work / procrastination / hobby work that worked this year. Ignore that little voice in my head that says I can and should do more.

Also not shown in the numbers but obvious from being around here, my blogging has fallen off a bit – to the point where I sometimes forget to do the site diaries as I basically have nothing to tell you that’s new – and I haven’t done much with the non-fiction pieces this year. I may or may not get back to that. Working on scripts has also been knocked on the head for this year with having to balance as much as I did (more on this later).

Writer, Editor, General Dogsbody

This year, I’ll use this section to mention what the plans are for the immediate future of my writing and editing career. Let’s start with Elkie…

As mentioned, the first book in my Elkie trilogy, 25 Ways To Kill A Werewolf [External Link], came out in 2014. The second book, currently A Pack Of Lies, has made it to the third draft and is with Fox Spirit Books- this will hopefully be out in 2015. The third book is approaching the end of the first draft, so that may be out in 2016 or 2017. (Yes, I know. A fantasy trilogy. Sorry.)

With European Monsters [External Link] having been organised and published, Fox Spirit Books has invited my co-editor (Margrét Helgadóttir [External Link]) and I to continue into a series. We’re in debate about how many there will end up being but the next book, hopefully due in December 2015, will be African Monsters.

Obviously, this means I have official commitments and deadlines, so this is the hobby work that gets the main focus. Anything I get done extra to this is basically just an added bonus. Fingers crossed that I will get more done as I have a load of ideas floating around, and a few that are all ready in first draft and need to be worked on.

The Ink Plan

I should be able to put together an update for the end of the month / just into the new year with totals. This year I shall be owing the NAS [External Link] some money (which I shall be donating in January) but haven’t got anywhere near a tattoo.

What I Learnt About The Rest of Life

This year started with good intentions but ended up being one of the most stressful in recent years. On the plus side, I didn’t need to take any time off due to stress but that was because I organised actual holidays when I knew I needed a break. For those who haven’t noticed, the other half experiment didn’t work out. I ended up working hard to keep both of us, both in monetary and housekeeping terms, and… well, bacon and egg sandwiches just don’t make up for it.

This year it looks like I will be having a new pet, though, as I found a wandering patterdale terrier just before Christmas and took her in. If her owners don’t step forward, she’ll become Dora (because she’s an explorer) and join the pack of Hellhounds.

One Last (December) Song

To finish off December, have some Morecambe and Wise:

Accessing The Future Fiction, The Journeymouse Edition

The Future Fire [External Link] are crowdfunding another (bound to be excellent) science fiction anthology, this time focussing on the issues that come with disability – and the intersections with other issues such as race, gender, sexuality, class, etc, as our friendly socio-politcal sf magazine are wont to do. There’s a blog about it here: [External Link]

In order to help explain why such an sf discussion is necessary, the editors … Continue reading

Hunting Unicorns: Story Background

Right, so this is a story background post I missed when the story initially come out. It’s still available online, so let’s start with the usual preamble:

Publishing Details

Hunting Unicorns is a short story hosted by The Future Fire [External Link] as part of issue 28 (direct link here: [External Link]). It came out at the end of December 2013.

Themes

The central theme is hunting for something that is … Continue reading

Sunday 29th December, 2013

Almost at the end of the year, so “Happy New Year!” for Tuesday night / Wednesday morning. We’ve got a couple of things to go through, so there’s headings today.

What I Learnt About Writing in 2013

I usually follow Foxie’s [External Link] “What I Learnt About Writing Post”, but it looks like I’ve beat him to it this year. So here’s my stats for this year with last year for comparison:

  • Submissions = 28 (26, 2012)
  • Total pieces in circulation = 8 (13, 2012)
  • New pieces in circulation = 3 (4, 2012)
  • Rewrites = 2 (6, 2012)
  • Acceptances = 5 (2, 2012)
  • Published = 3 (1, 2012)

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 elsewhere have been included. This numbers also do not include non-fiction and scripts (I keep trying).

So, I’ve been slightly less productive but marginally more aggressive about getting work out there. Given writing is just my hobby with potential to be a retirement plan, I think that the numbers are so close to last year shows that my paid work / procrastination / hobby work balance is about right for me. Although, as with everything else in life, I continue to hear that little voice in my head that says I can and should do more.

In terms of what isn’t shown in the numbers, my blogging has fallen off a bit, I’ve had a 75,000 novel accepted for publication by Fox Spirit Books (due out next year) [External Link] and we’ve been editing it, I’ve written a couple of non-fiction pieces for Winterwind Productions [External Link], and written the first draft of another 75,000 word novel (with beta readers). I also have a few of ideas at plotting and drafting stage but haven’t got them to a stage where I’m happy to send them out.

Writer, Editor, General Dogsbody

So, I started writing non-fiction, having had a suggestion from Michael S Collins [External Link], writer and part of the editorial team at Winterwnd Productions. For clarity, Michael isn’t the person who says yay or nay to submissions, that’s Joseph Avery-North. Anyway, I’ve submitted and had accepted two pieces and it’s interesting stretching muscles that I haven’t realy used since I had to write essays and theses. Well, aside form blogging here, of course.

The most recent development is the recently announced “European Monsters” book [Exernal Link] from Fox Spirit Books. My co-editor (Margrét Helgadóttir [Exernal Link]) and I have been plotting on this one for around three months now. It’s invitational only and our table of contents is almost full. We have some great writers lined up and we’re only sorry we can’t include all of the writers that we know only, you know, we actually have to be able to put the thing together.

What I Learnt About The Rest of Life

This year seems to have been slightly less stressful. That I didn’t need to take any time off due to stress is kind of a give away. I continue to practice my ability to say “no” when people suggest I do things I don’t have time or ability for. It will hopefully continue to work.

I have also had yet another piece of evidence that life is what happens when you’re making other plans, but this time it’s a good thing as I appear to have found myself another half. (This may be the only time I ever mention the relationship on the blog, so don’t blink or you’ll miss it.) May I introduce Ole Andreas Imsen [External Link] who will be helping me work on my being a functional adult skills next year.

One Last (December) Song

To finish off December, here’s the Christmas no.2 from 1986 – recorded the week previous when it was still no.1:

Sunday 15th September, 2013

Following the resounding silence after asking about stories –

Okay, maybe not total silence. Both Foxie [External Link] and Ole [External Link] bothered to reply (not on the site). Ole also picked the genre of the first story to go up. So now you can read an sf fairy tale, The Toy Plane, which is about 4,500 words. The top of the page has a link to turn it into a pdf if you have problems staring at computer screens for any length of time.

(Wednesday or Thursday should see the publication of the other short story of about 5,000 words I alluded to – loosely heroic fantasy. More about it next weekend.)

Other writing news that came up this week: I’ve had another story accepted. The Lost Kingdom has been accepted by Fox Spirit Books [External Link] for their Fox Pocket anthology Missing Monarchs, due out around December at current rates (see last week’s post for explanations of potential delays). The official announcement of who got in to the anthology is here: [External Link]

In non-writing news, I’ve finally added a few fencing events, some of them sooner than others:

I had been thinking of going to Swordfish but I think I shall be wimping out this year (as with the camping in August). Maybe next year, eh?

Sunday 11th August, 2013

Well, I’m sure I had lots to tell you but all I can think of to mention is that I’ve had another story accepted. Hopefully Hunting Unicorns will turn up in the Future Fire roster before the end of the year. Thank you to Allegra Hawksmoor [External Link] and Dylan Fox [External Link] for the initial writing prompt!

Also in writing news, just so you know things are happening, the No Monsters Allowed anthology from Dog Horn Publishing (which accepted the story An Honest Woman’s Child) should be out in October.

(Links to publishers in the original announcement posts.)

Sunday 16th June, 2013

I haven’t got much to talk about this week. I’ve noodled around on the writing front, been to work like I’m supposed to, given a Father’s Day present that will probably never be used (also like I’m supposed to, right?), and dispensed birthday gifts in the general direction of my sister for later in the week. On site, I finally remembered to put up a link for AMEK’s HEMA-paloosa (not it’s proper name) in the Netherlands.

The only other thing to mention is the Doncaster Steampunk Festival [External Link] that happened this weekend. Apparently all went well and it will be an annual event. I turned up only briefly, basically to meet a few friends in person, and in what can best be described as civilian gear – not being much of a steam or punk enthusiast, all things considered. What little I saw looked lovely, so I do recommend making a note and looking out for it next year.

The friend(s) I went to meet, by the way, was John Reppion, of graphic novel and comic writing team Moore&Reppion [External Link], who has published a book with Dylan Fox [External Link] and Allegra Hawksmoor [External Link]. Foxie and Allegra would also have been there but had some car problems in the week that made this impossible. Oh, and John introduced my to comic creator and illustrator Sally Jane Thompson [External Link]. Hmmm… What’s the collective noun for a group of creative people? A clique?

Two Hearts, Two Minds: Story Background

Okay, here’s some background on the recently published Two Hearts, Two Minds. Also known as “In which the author reveals more geekery”.

Publishing Details

Two hearts, Two Minds was published in Interstellar Fiction on 1st May, 2013 and can be found through their website here: [External Link].

Themes

This is a story I wrote getting on for five years ago and has had some tweaks, nips and tucks in its time. It was … Continue reading