Life is difficult at the moment.
My back is a mess of pain and confused nerves which constantly send incorrect information to the pain receptors in my lower extremities, and cries for pain medication to my noggin.
I'm having the house underpinned which is a three grand expense I could have done without just before Xmas, but which the the house desperately needs.
My car brakes decided now would be a good time to require repairing and if I delayed any longer, the callipers would carve their initials into the discs.
My son's 18th is coming (two days before Xmas) and, of course, the fat bloke in the red suit is nearly upon us.
I'm sure I'm not the only one with money worries and stress up to the eyeballs.
But take a moment to think about Kennedy and Brendan Eyberg who will be spending their very first Xmas without their parents this year...all my issues seem to pale into insignificance - how about yours?
If you'd like to help, then place your order for the Strange Publications 52 Stitches anthology. Once you have placed your order, then fire off an email to the wonderful Cate Gardner to receive a further gift of her wonderful book Strange Men in Pinstripe Suits & Other Curious Things which I've just finished reading and recommend highly.
So two excellent collections for the price of one, and you'll be helping out two little kiddies who shouldn't have to face this time of year alone, but through tragic circumstance were robbed of their parents. If you can, buy a couple and give them out as Xmas gifts.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Life is difficult at the moment.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
I apologise for the silence from this end, but I'm guessing very few people still pop by to see if I've stirred enough to post something new - but if you do, then today is your lucky day (and thank you for being stubborn enough to keep coming back).
I figured it was time I at least updated what I am reading - which I have. Cate's Men in Pinstripe Suits is something else. I truly believe if reality and the universe of Jeremy Shipp got together, Men in Pinstripe Suits may very well be the love child result. It is very different with a decidedly creepy dose of the tangible to make you stop and wonder: WTF!
Paint me extremely impressed, a little jealous, and very very proud to count Cate among my cyber friends (even if I have been somewhat remiss in my communication with you all of late - at least I hope she is still my friend).
To date, I'm still not writing, and I'm still in copious amounts of pain from back and leg issues. I've got an appointment with a specialist early in 2011 so I need to make do until then. Life is what it is.
Enough about me - go buy Cate's book if you haven't already (click on the picture in the post below) and enjoy.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
My signed copy (I love collecting signed copies) of Strange Men in Pinstripe Suits arrived yesterday! (Thanks Cate)
I think all of my subscriptions have now finally run out. Yes, authors who want to be published in small press markets should support them (and read the type of stories they publish), but I've built up a massive backlog, and I'm not currently seeking to be published, so my money goes elsewhere (Tyarna is loving her horse riding lessons).
When I can afford it, I may still purchase the occasional release, such as the above example, but they will have to be fewer and much further between dips into the wallet. Life is what it is. I suppose making offers to personally sign a copy could entice me...
Monday, November 1, 2010
I'm not writing at the moment. I'm reading The Blackness Within anthology very slowly (and enjoying it very much - becoming more and more honoured to have been included as I read the other contributor's stories).
I still have opinions on the things I read. I still go through them with a critical eye.
A friend sent me a story to critique hoping I was still around to do so. Unfortunately, I'm not online very much at the moment so I missed the request until after the due date. I still read it and passed back my congratulations on an excellently put together piece and a couple of little comments on things I might have considered changing if they require any additional edits in the future.
I was surprised at how easy it was to slip back into that thought process. I was surprised at how quickly I picked up plot devices in the story and could whittle them back to reveal their origins in stories long gone (this one was from Greek mythology no less).
The skills in the Craft don't disappear. They may lie dormant, and they will need honing once more if ever dragged out into the light of day, but writer's aren't made - they are born. Good writer's are those who take that latent talent and nurture it into something great - continually. Nothing will improve a writer's skills more than putting words on a page. Other things will help, but nothing as much as putting your bum in the chair and actually writing.
One day I will return to the fold, but I'm pretty confident I will do it all differently when I do. I'm also confident that day is a way off. Maybe I'll wait and see if the doom-sayers are right about 2012, or maybe I'll wait until I retire, or maybe I'll win lotto, but I know what I want to do when I sit down to write again, at least I know how I want to do it, and I have some ideas for what I'll be playing with - but all that is for another time.
For now, I'm happy to sit and read, or to offer opinion on a piece for a friend if asked (and given enough notice).
Good luck with your submissions.
Monday, October 18, 2010
I'm still around the place and I'm still reading your blogs - lurking can be habit forming :c)
I received notification that I had a comment requiring moderation, which surprised me as I don't moderate my posts and I haven't posted anything in ages, so why would anyone comment anyway?
To my surprise, a very old post (Feb 20, 2009) titled Idolatry And An Acceptance received a comment from a TOC collaborator, Dempsey from NVF #5. He has nicely offered to give me some info on new markets, but as I'm not currently writing, I'll have to say thanks but no thanks.
It sent me back a little though as I reread the post in question. To save you having to go back to it, I started the post by saying:
I've come to the conclusion much of my earlier work contains either clichéd characters or a clichéd plot, or worse - both.
Too Late the Rain - has cliché characters
Dark Rose - Plot and characters
System Failure - characters
Wamphyri - tropes
Mobile - Not so much
Idolatry - characters
My more recent work (Swirls in Obsidian, Dreaming, Digging Up the Past, Newland) not so much.
I then went on to say:
Now clichéd characters aren't such a big deal, I think, if they're placed in a unique situation - a different way of using them, and it seems that may be the case because:
NVF Magazine has accepted Idolatry for the April Issue!
In the end, I never got my contributor's copy of NVF :c(
I emailed the 'editor' a number of times and eventually attempted to just buy a copy, and ended up just doing my money. I emailed requesting that be refunded but these calls have also gone unanswered.
But that's not what this post is about. Since the original listing of the stories above and their bad points I've sold Dark Rose, Wamphyri, and Dreaming. Swirls was renamed and shortlisted twice. I've retired System Failure and Newland but the others are sitting in my work folder waiting a burst of energy to be resent to new markets.
I've said it lots of times in the past but this is a post to show how true it is:
Good luck with your submissions.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Okay, I give up.
Writing has once more come to a grinding halt due to outside influences.
I'm not one to bang my head against a brick wall. I much prefer to build a support structure and go over the hurdle, but this may take a while. So, I'm not going to flog this dead or dying horse anymore.
It's been a great ride over the past few years and I am thankful for all the friends I made while partaking of this journey. I wish you all the very best in the future, but, for now, I'm out of here.
In parting, here are the first couple of reviews for Dark Pages:
ASIF, and it has had some air time over at ScaryMinds, but my work has blocked that site for some stupid reason. Both are thoughtful reviews and bring up some interesting topics for conversation. Go check them out.
Hopefully, one day, I'll catch you somewhere in the cybersphere...
Monday, September 13, 2010
I managed zero words over the weekend :c(
Did I have opportunity? A couple but they were for small amounts of time to sit at the keyboard and I don't work well in snippets.
So I spent the weekend, while doing other things, thinking about how to move the story forward and the central question of why this was all happening in the first place. (Check out Alexandra Sokoloff's blog to see what I'm talking about if this makes no sense to you.)
Result: I have the next couple of scenes firmly planted in my head (down to descriptions of some very creepy stuff) and why this is all happening.
The story is coming together, but I now have three days to finish it. I doubt I'll get it done in time for anyone else to read before I submit - if I get it finished in time to submit.
I've decided not to submit my backup piece if I don't make the deadline. A pre-existing story with small tweaks to try and implant some of the requirements stated by the editor does not my best effort make.
I've also not yet subbed to FableCroft yet--maybe sometime this week...
My day job currently blows big time, which isn't helping with my energy levels to do after hours work of any form, including writing. Normal life sucks when it gets in the way...ah well, it's not like I'm stopping world hunger.
Friday, September 10, 2010
Day two of writing progressed. I've slipped into a new routine where I come home from work and spend an hour or two writing before moving onto other things. Seems to be working so far but the chances of getting something finished and beta read and then revised and submitted within a week are unlikely.
Yesterday my story progressed to where things need to ramp up a notch or three. It currently stands at a smidge under 2000 words and has hints and mystery a plenty. The ghost(s) are just about decided as is the reason for them being there (although this hasn't been revealed yet as it only came to me late last night).
I'm somewhat submerged in this process at the moment so I haven't sent out the submission to FableCroft yet, but I intend to over the weekend. It doesn't need to be there until the end of October so I have plenty of time anyway.
I haven't yet started my research on Greek Myths and which one I shall rewrite. This will commence on September 16th at the latest I imagine - the day after this ghost story needs to be completed and submitted (or I need to give up on this one and submit my backup story.
Thursday, September 9, 2010
Last night I began writing a new short story I've only got vaguely outlined in my head and I'm desperately trying to figure out which way it will go. Normally I'd plot all this before I begin writing but the deadline is just too tight for me to work that way this time round.
So - the currently unnamed story stands at a touch under 1000 words. The main characters have all been introduced and the setting has been firmly woven in. Now if I can just figure out which one (or more) are the ghosts...
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Things are moving forward a pace...
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
After the Rain anthology by FableCroft looks interesting and I may already have one story suitable for it so this will require some revision, which should be a good gentle start at getting back into things.
However, the next market to interest me has a deadline of next week! Whitlock Publishing are looking for ghost stories from around the world - specifically stories strong in setting as well as scaring the crap out of people. A deadline of the 15th is extremely tight but I have an idea for it which is strong on Australiana. This may not happen, but I'll give it a shot.
Lastly, Isabelle Rose over at Sonar4 Publications has come up with yet another idea for an anthology based on rewritten Greek Myths. This has a deadline in line with the FableCroft anthology so I'll need to work on revising one while creating (and researching) a completely new one over the next seven or so weeks.
Work on Inner Voice continues in my head. I'm struggling to get to grips with editing longer version works, so I'll return (for the moment) to the shorter form to see if I can find my mojo once more.
I need to rejig my current after work schedule and use of a Father's Day gift my eldest daughter gave me but that shouldn't be too difficult.
Wish me luck.
Thursday, September 2, 2010
Friday, August 27, 2010
I thought I'd give this 30 Days of books meme a go, but rather than do a bit each day, or break it into so many each post, I thought I'd do it in one great swoop. So...
Day 01 – A book series you wish had gone on longer OR a book series you wish would just freaking end already (or both!)
Eric Lustbader's Nicholas Linnear series. I'll admit to having fallen behind a touch with these, not having read the latest instalment, but that's only because I have so much on my to read shelf already I've been banned from purchasing any more. I wish/hope this series continues on.
Day 02 – A book or series you wish more people were reading and talking about
The Nathan Steele series. Lock this one into the memory banks - it will be huge!
Day 03 – The best book you’ve read in the last 12 months
The Price by Alexandra Sokoloff. I'll admit to being a long way behind on my reading this year so I have very slim pickings to choose from, but Alex does not disappoint her growing legion of fans with this offering.
Day 04 – Your favourite book or series ever
WOT series by Robert Jordan would be my favourite series (the final instalment sits on my to read shelf), but Misery by Stephen King is my all time favourite book.
Day 05 – A book or series you hate
I don't tend to remember bad books. I don't tend to keep them on my shelf either. I never finish them unless it's for a review.
Day 06 – Favourite book of your favourite series OR your favourite book of all time
Isn't this the same question, only reworded, as number 4? I've not finished WOT yet so I can't pinpoint a particular book in that series but Misery is my favourite book ever (or for all time).
Day 07 – Least favourite plot device employed by way too many books you actually enjoyed otherwise
This would be a toss up between dream sequences and time travel. It seems whenever an author paints themself into a too tight a corner, some of the lesser artists out there resort to it never happening by way of dreams or time travel. That pisses me off!
Day 08 – A book everyone should read at least once
The Bible. Even if you don't believe it will give you solid ground to stand on when you argue your case against it, plus, there are some great stories in there.
Day 09 – Best scene ever
Misery, the crippling of Paul Sheldon. I could feel his pain...
Day 10 – A book you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving
The Catcher in the Rye, To Kill a Mockingbird, or Romeo and Juliet. I read all of these as part of my education while in high school. At the time I preferred to read King, Struab, or Saul so I hated anything that took precious reading time away from me. Obviously, in the end, I'm glad I decided to read them rather than fudge my way through English.
Day 11 – A book that disappointed you
The Haunting of Hill House. I know it's supposed to be a classic but it just didn't do it for me.
Day 12 – A book or series of books you’ve watched more than five times
How do you watch a book? I've never read a book five times. I have seen the movie version of Romeo and Juliet a lot, and the stage play a few times, actually performed it once, and read the book and a screenplay based on it. I've watched most Stephen King adaptations more than five times, particularly Carrie, The Mist, and Christine.
Day 13 – Favourite childhood book OR current favourite YA book (or both!)
I adored the Famous Five series but I can't remember any individual titles. Where the Wild Things Are was a favourite and its recent rebirth through the movies has bought back some wonderful memories.
Day 14 – Favourite character in a book (of any sex or gender)
Hannibal Lecter - perhaps the most well rounded evil dude in history
Day 15 – Your “comfort” book
On Writing by Stephen King. Not a novel, I know, but I take great comfort in reading this one when I need a lift to move forward once more in my writing endeavours.
Day 16 – Favourite poem or collection of poetry
I can't remember the name of the collection and seem unable to find it on the Net, but the only poetry I ever enjoyed was by William Blake. On the whole, I'd rather not be subjected to it.
Day 17 – Favourite story or collection of stories (short stories, novellas, novelettes, etc.)
Books of Blood by Clive Barker
Day 18 – Favourite beginning scene in a book
Honestly, I can't remember one - good or bad. I know at the time of reading a bad start can put me off a book so most that I have continued to read have at least been good enough to retain my interest but I can't remember any openings that continue to linger (but then I forget a lot now-a-days).
Day 20 – Favourite kiss
In a book? Really? Nah...
Day 21 – Favourite romantic/sexual relationship (including asexual romantic relationships)
Romeo and Juliet - yes, I'm boring.
Day 22 – Favourite non-sexual relationship (including asexual romantic relationships)
Todd Bowden and Kurt Dussander - Apt Pupil by Stephen King. Never have I come across two more manipulative bastards who really like each other than these two.
Day 23 – Most annoying character ever
I can't think of a specific character in a book or series that I've read who annoys me to a point that I remember them for this specific reason. Yes, some characters are poorly written or some traits used that annoy me, but I always remember that this is fiction, and, in the end, I can always close the thing and go on with my life.
Day 24 – Best quote from a novel
I don't tend to quote novels - film lines, yes...occasionally - but rarely novels. It may be that some of the lines I quote from a film originally came out of a novel, but then I'm not sure about that. Either way, I do like to try and be original most of the time, and because my memory is like a slice of Swiss cheese, I never remember the good quotes.
I actually remember bringing the odd line to the attention of my wife, so there must have been some good ones, but I have no idea what they were. :c(
Day 25 – Any five books from your “to be read” stack
The Keeper by Sarah Langan
The Devil's Labyrinth by John Saul
The Writers Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers
Shattered by Dean Koontz
Just After Sunset by Stephen King
Day 26 – OMG WTF? OR most irritating/awful/annoying book ending
If we were talking about a book adaption to film ending, The Mist would have my WTF prize hands down. As for the ending of actual books, I've scoured my shelves for something to jump out at me - nothing.
Day 27 – If a book contains ______, you will always read it (and a book or books that contain it)!
Words of fiction or words of advice from Stephen King. Yep, I'm a fan.
Day 28 – First favourite book or series obsession
First book would have been Where the Wild Things Are but my first real novel favourite was Carrie. My first series obsession was James Clavell's Shogun series.
Day 29 – Saddest character death OR best/most satisfying character death (or both!)
When Annie gets it in Misery - that was satisfying! But when Juliet dies, that would be my saddest (yeah, I know - soft)
Day 30 – What book are you reading right now?
Doing lots of research now so I have a number of books on the go about witchcraft.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
I've found an issue with not working on things for a long time and then suddenly getting a burst of energy - things get lost in between.
I got up this morning ready to start work, only I couldn't find my USB key. Mild panic set in as I tried to ensure my daughter got ready for school while I madly searched the study. Anxiety slowly rose until I reluctantly came to the conclusion that if it was gone, then maybe it was fate telling me it was time to give it away.
I trudged into the dining area and got my work bag ready for my 'day job'. Inside a pocket I found my USB key. Relief flooded over me, but time had run out. I packed it back inside my bag, and the little one and I headed out. I dropped her off and then went to work. Only after a couple of hours did I find time to actually plug in my USB and work on my two new bits.
The first one went in seamlessly and sets up some stuff that happens much later in the story. The second doesn't exist...
It must be (I hope) on my laptop at home.
So now I've updated one version of the manuscript, which isn't complete with updates I'd done some time ago.
Short of carrying around my laptop, has anyone come up with a away to centralise Works In Progress to eliminate these types of issues for those who tend to work from a couple of different locations?
How do you keep track of your revisions?
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
It took some time but I finally found what I was after. My new character, to be only casually introduced in the first book and then become pivotal in the second book is to be an Eclectic Witch.
What is an eclectic witch? I'm glad you asked.
One definition (from OzWicca) has it as: A person (or the practise of a person) who combines attributes from various cultures or Pantheons to create a unique spiritual blend of paganism or witchcraft that suits them best.
My young lady won't be combining attributes from various Pantheons as she isn't a believer in Gods and Goddess as such (very Pictish of her), but she will be combining the heck out various cultures and practises.
Many of you may be asking why the big fuss over nailing this little detail down?
I want to write a series of stories which will resonate with young adults. To accomplish that it must have elements based in reality. I am combining physics, love, adventure, magic, danger, death and a whole bunch of other things that anyone can face, and have to deal with, on any given day - only in a much more concentrated fashion. And it has to be done with three dimensional characters readers can grow to love (or hate). And to create 3D characters, we need to know them in much more detail than we may necessarily reveal on the page.
Sorting out the fundamental belief system of this soon to be major character is a big step forward.
I can now move onto removing the placeholder character currently used in the story and start weaving this new one into poor young Nathan's destiny - or at least I will be able to start as soon as I figure out her name!
Saturday, August 21, 2010
I got an email back from the people at the Bank of Iowa in Coon Rapids and it seems it will cost too much for international friends to send a cheque or wire money to them and then for them to have the currency exchanged into the US dollar.
You'd think they would make it easier for people to send a little bit of money to two grieving children - but lets not go off on that tangent...
So, to make things easier for us all, Aaron Polson has kindly offered to be the front man for all the writers who wish to send a little something for Jamie and Ann's kids. Aaron's post "casting-wide-memorial-net" should solve our issues.
Simply drop Aaron an email at aaron_polson(at)hotmail(dot)com to convey your wish and then Aaron will let you know what Paypal account to send your donation. Aaron will then forward all the collected monies onto the family with all of our best wishes and heart-felt condolences.
I know times are tough the world over, but I doubt anyone is currently experiencing it as tough as Kennedy and Brendan. It may not be much, but anything we can do to make life just a little easier for these two kids has to be worthwhile.
Thank you in advance for your generosity.
No writing news - I'm really not in that space at the moment and won't be until the weekend is over.
It is Friday the 20th August here in Australia - at least it will be for another couple of minutes. In Coon Rapids, it would be almost time for two little ones to rise and begin what could only be described as two more days of additional heartache to go through.
Today, in Coon Rapids, at 4PM is visitation for Jamie and Ann. God I wish I could be there to tell him how much he will be missed by people like me who live thousands of miles away and were still touched by him.
I wish I could be there to tell his kids how great their parents were. I'm sure they will be comforted by the many friends and family who will be there, and will continue to surround them in the years to come. I'm also sure that those friends and family will always make sure they know how great Jamie and Ann were.
Saturday, at 11AM will be the service. I will be there in thought and in spirit.
I am usually a fairly stoic sort of individual, but this has touched me deeply.
I miss you already, Jamie.
Thursday, August 19, 2010
As you are all aware, I've not been keeping up with things on Net lately so it was with shock and a very heavy heart I found out that Jamie Eyberg and his wife Anne passed away in a tragic accident a few days ago.
You can read the story here: http://www.whotv.com/news/who-story-well-deaths-guthrie-county-081610,0,5278715.story. Additional information seems to be around that some form of gas was the culprit for causing this horrible loss of two wonderful people. The type of gas has yet to be determined.
My heart goes out to those who knew them and especially to their two children.
Jamie was one of the best cyber-writer friends I've had the great fortune of knowing. His work was inspirational and his comments insightful. Through him I have become a better writer and a better person. You can read his work here. Wine for Two in issue 3 of Ruthless Peoples Magazine was my favourite.
May they rest in peace.
Aaron Polson has decided to donate proceeds from the sale of this years 52 Stitches to the memorial fund for Kennedy and Brendan, Jamie and Ann's children. Read about his wonderful gesture here. Additional memorials can be made to the Kennedy and Brendan Eyberg account at the Iowa Savings Bank in Coon Rapids. When I find out more details, I'll post them here (I've emailed the bank for details on how we can make donations from outside the US).
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
I've done some work.
I've written 1836 words. They join together to form something I think they call a story. It's not publishable. It's not even something I'm going to keep, but I wrote something!
Maybe I'll even be able to do some work on my WIP...
Okay, lets not push it (How's this for Freudian - I didn't originally put the space between push and it - think I'm trying to tell myself something?)
A big thank you goes out to Danielle Ferries for her five star rating of Dark Pages Volume 1 on Goodreads. Much appreciated. I'm glad you enjoyed it.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Either I've been away from blogging too long and my normal cult followers are no longer visiting, or everybody is suddenly shy and doesn't wish to offer up any suggestions or advice judging by the total lack of comments on my previous post - but that's okay, I get the message.
From now on, I'll simply provide only updates on the WIP and/or any interesting information I come across.
As for progress: I'm currently heavily into researching different modern forms of practising the Craft. In short, I have an idea for a character who is an atheist, believes in magic, isn't a very good environmentalist, and has an interest in a boy who loves physics. My problem is I can't find a line of Neo-Paganism that quite fits. She is not Wiccan, nor a cunning-folk, nor one of half a dozen other practises I've read about. I may have to take license and come up with my own. We'll see.
The story itself is still simmering along inside my head and I'm collecting a huge amount of notes around my bedside and next to the computer. At some point I'll have to collate them all and start writing I guess but I still haven't got my writing space sorted out.
I've once more been on the sick list and stuck at home. I'll probably be off again tomorrow unless there is a vast improvement overnight. Unfortunately, I've managed to leave my chapter outlining work on the computer I use during my day job, and don't have access to it at home. If it's not one thing stopping me from writing, I can easily find another way, or excuse, to keep me from getting down to it. One day I'll get over this lingering malaise of apathetic involvement - just sitting down at the keyboard and forcing myself doesn't work - I just hope something sparks sooner rather than later.
Friday, August 6, 2010
So I don't make Cate lose bodily control through uncontrollable laughter, I've started making cards to pin up on my board, which will allow me to see the whole storyline in front of me. Those couple of days I spent a week or two (or three) ago hand writing the major points of each chapter have now been transcribed into a carefully created table within Word which spans 17 pages.
Now that they are typed out, I can see where I need to add a great deal of detail as some of my rather overly concise noting leaves very little to the imagination and a whole lot to misinterpretation. In other words, my note taking sucks the big one and needs to be redone. But that's okay because I am working on my WIP without having to tackle the bad news that I'm not actually writing anything new at this moment. I'll tackle that little hurdle in due time. It's kind of like slacking off while I'm still working on it - I can live with that.
But, on a lighter point, it has also allowed me to see glaring loose ends I didn't tie off. It has also allowed me to plot in some things which need to be there and some things I now want to be in there to extend the story both in this instalment and further on into the series I plan to write (one day).
But I have an issue which could do with a good dose of your help and advice - if you would be so kind.
Currently, my story has two major characters who have lots of conflicts and complications thrown at them - all good and well. I now want to introduce a third character. I'm not sure if I should only have this character introduced around the edges in this story and include her more fully in the next, or make her integral to everything up front. This would necessitate a major rewrite - from scratch.
I've read series in the past, such as Darren Shan's, The Demonata series which concentrates on an individual character in each book and feeds in other characters as required. I have ideas about additional conflict between the three major characters on all sorts of levels (love, religion, lifestyle, etc), and I'm dying to include it all and drop my main man well and truly in it up to his neck, but am I trying to cram too much into one story? Should I simply allow the new girl to move in across the road and drop hints about her alternative lifestyle in the first book, which would allow me to not have a major rewrite other than the expansion of the characters I already have, or should I throw in all the ideas I have and use the later books to expand on what I started here, only changing the underlying scene and plot (what trouble are our kids in this week, type of thing).
My family were jumping around celebrating this morning as we only have one day left to go before we get the Internet back on at home. It's sad that a countdown has been running alongside the countdown to my daughter's birthday and they are almost as excited about the Net relaunch as the impending increase in age for the little one. Says a lot about our society's way of life in this day and age...
Anyway, I'm now rambling, so you all know that things are getting back to normal with me. Any and all suggestions and comments on any and all of the topics above would be appreciated.
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
I have been a very bad member of the blogging community, both by not posting and by not reading and commenting on other peoples posts.
Today I managed to spend some time catching up. My Google reader listed well over 400 posts for me to catch up on. It now sits at 132. I've no time left today but I will endeavour to get it back under control by the end of tomorrow.
Congrats to everyone who has made sales, or got an agent, started a novel for the first time, or any of the other wonderful things you've all been up to. I may not have commented everywhere but know that you are all in my thoughts.
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Sorry I've been non-existent recently. Our Internet connection is down at home and not likely to be available again for the best part of a week so I can only get online at work - and I've only just returned to work after extended time off playing Mr Mom.
But enough about me - what about my writing...well, I'm glad you asked.
Things are progressing at a snail's pace. That would be a bionic snail forever caught in those Steve Majors slow-motion shots.
I did finish setting out all the currently written chapters so I have markers on what is happening and when, and what loose ends I still have to tie up. I found a large cork board to put my cards onto so I can see the whole story line in front of me but am yet to buy the cards to do it.
I did have one of those epiphany moments in the shower this morning though - no, not one of those moments - I've been struggling with the placement of an explanation within my story. Part way through, our love interest climbs a drain-pipe and enters an upstairs bedroom. I needed to show that she could do this because she has an aptitude in climbing - not just to get her into our hero's bedroom. I knew why she was able to do it but I couldn't figure out where to disclose this in the story, or how much of it needed to be disclosed. This morning it hit me. I now know exactly where and how to disclose the info. It is subtle and kills two birds with one stone.
I love those moments...I love those moments too but that's another story!
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
I'm finally back at work after spending two weeks slumming it around home and trying to spend at least some time with my 10 (soon to be 30) year old daughter. It's been fun.
I got to plot out the main points of 10 chapters and got no further with Inner Voice due to my mind and body drifting to other places.
I've decided that we need to move the kids/family computer into the dining room so we can keep a better eye on what they are actually doing and it will give me back a dedicated writing space that won't have access to the Internet. As soon as I've cleared the mid-year pile of bills, we'll go and buy a new desk to fit against the wall and a new dining table to allow for someone to sit at the computer without bumping into someone trying to eat.
Of course all this makes for great excuses not to write so I've let things slide once more.
I promise, once I have a space, I'll start writing once more.
Friday, July 9, 2010
I've opened Inner Voice.
Yesterday, day four of the school holidays, my daughter and I had our first stay at home and write day. She claimed the study and I ended up at the dining room table with no Internet access - by choice, so I had no excuses.
It currently stands at nearly 33,000 words within 16 chapters (remember this is YA). Yesterday I began noting the major story points within each chapter and marking where major changes needed to take place. I got through 10 chapters before the body rebelled and asked for rest (my back really hates sitting for long periods of time on the dining room chairs).
At some point I need to get back and finish the final six chapters and then move onto storyboarding the whole thing. The big learning point for this exercise was the realisation that I find it very difficult to write, or do anything connected to writing, during the day.
The constant interruptions, the background noises, the complete lack of ambiance and the niggling need to go off and do other 'normal' things made sitting in the chair and working extremely difficult. I am a night writer and will be forever more.
I'm also a writer who works in large blocks of time. I can't see myself fitting writing in during 20 minutes here or an hour there. I need a few hours free where I sit and do nothing but work - not an easy thing to find with a normal life beckoning beyond the study door. I envy those of you who can fit it in where and when you can, and make it a useful exercise.
Still, it's a start. Oh, and I found that the story is pretty good. It needs work but the core is definitely there (as is the spark - which is a very good thing). I even liked the humour I've squeezed in. I can see me working on this until I get it somewhere near right and sending it off on the agent rounds - and then beginning work on book two. At least, that's the plan...
I think I need to reclaim my writing space or make a new one. Mmm...might have to have a chat about this with my better half...the wheels are beginning to turn...
Friday, July 2, 2010
I've always distanced myself, as politely as possible, from writers who talk a lot about writing, who discuss their current WIP, but who never sit down and actually work on them.
I think I've become one. I think about Inner Voice a lot. I work on characterisation and plot and scenes, in my head, over and over again. I make break throughs, sometimes small, sometimes not so small, and I continue to scheme and dream.
But I don't write.
So far I've changed two characters into a family of three and promoted one of them into one of the co-stars of the whole shooting match. I've rewritten the final chapter in my head at least twice and tweaked countless other scenes and settings. Lots more needs to be done.
But I've not changed a word of the manuscript.
God help me, I've definitely become one of 'those'...
Or is it simply that I really don't like the idea of rewriting something I spewed out in linear form. All those changes and trying to fit things so they marry with other areas I deem acceptable to keep. Perhaps I'm just not that good at killing my little darlings and reforming them in someone else's image, even if that someone else is just a later version of me.
If you need to kill a character and replace them with another, or rewrite in an entirely different POV, how do you go about it? Do you rewrite from word one, or do you rewrite bits and try to mesh them in with the other bits?
Am I over thinking this and scaring the crap out of myself for no good reason?
All suggestions short of running naked through the streets will be considered (it's bloody cold around here at the moment).
Oh, and if you've read Dark Pages - let me know what you thought of it. Currently the publisher is slumming it in Europe so I have no idea how sales are going and haven't heard a lot of feedback. Any comments would be appreciated.
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
From a male POV...
As is my want, I have continued to read other writer's blogs which has led me to find a very funny passage in a very old book - which persuaded me to break my silence and post it here for all of you to enjoy.
Over on Aaron's blog, he talks about KV Taylor's The Red Penny Papers, so I followed the link and read the submission guidelines. Being a closet writer, I sought out some old Penny Dreadfuls to refresh my imagination on the type of thing Katey is after and to see if any synapses misfired and caused an idea to come into being.
This led me to find Wikipedia's reference to The Monk by Matthew Gregory Lewis as an example of pulp fiction in the tradition of the Penny Dreadful.
Within this whimsical, and somewhat over-written rehash of Romeo and Juliet (this is how it is coming across to me at the moment, I'm only working my way through chapter one), I found this priceless paragraph:
Now Antonia had observed the air, with which Don Christoval had kissed this same hand; But as She drew conclusions from it somewhat different from her Aunt's, She was wise enough to hold her tongue. As this is the only instance known of a Woman's ever having done so, it was judged worthy to be recorded here.
I laughed out loud bringing strange looks from my fellow work colleagues. Can anybody imagine getting away with such a remark in today's publishing world - but it works in this story. All the characters are full of their own importance and station within society that it only seems natural that the occasionally intrusive narrator would also be somewhat chauvinistic.
Well, I thought it was interesting.
Don't forget that The Red Penny Papers will also be the place to find Aaron's serialised novella (or will find shortly) 'Black Medicine Thunder and the Sons of Chaos' described in the authors own words as containing:
deals with the devil
all manner of facial scars
and a very mean ol' bastard named Reaver
Thursday, June 10, 2010
So Bumping didn't go to well - not a single comment. Scratch that idea.
In fact, scratch a lot of things.
I haven't sat my bum in the chair to do some serious writing in 6 months and it's not because I don't want to or because I have writer's block. I've not sat down and worked on the craft because I haven't had the enthusiasm to do so - I couldn't give a rats ass about taking the time.
I still think about my stories. I still mull over possible scenarios to improve Works Once In Progress (WOIP - like VOIP, neither cost anything and without a web cam you can still remain anonymous). I still read research material as if formulating a great plan inside my head which will one day spew forth in a great tide of amazing writing.
I'm over it.
If, and it's a big if, I ever return to writing, then good on me, but if I don't, and this doesn't seem such a big if at the moment, then so be it. I've edited an anthology, ran the market hive for AHWA, been published in an APEX anthology, had over a dozen other short pieces published, learned a lot and made some great friends. Not a very big measure of success, but without that driving need to write, I'm not sure any further successes in this field are likely to come my way.
Dreaming is to be published in the Blackness Within anthology from APEX very soon. Wamphryi will be published in Night to Dawn, October issue. I'm sorry, but both are print publications so you'll have to purchase them if you want to read either - please purchase them (I'm really quite proud of Dreaming - and I've been told the sex scene I wrote is something else...).
After these two have come out, I'll have nothing else coming up. I currently have nothing out on submission. Maybe I'll repost some of my older, already published stuff up here as reprints, but the point is, once October comes and goes, I'll have nothing to post about (unless I start writing again).
So announcements will be very rare from now on.
Good luck with your writing endeavours and may all your submissions find a home.
Best of luck
Thursday, June 3, 2010
I've been amazed over recent months that I've still attracted a trickle of new cult followers (waves at Ceri, Ms Pooh, Lyy, Collette, Miriah, & Bonnie Heather) and a steady stream of new visitors who usually don't return as witnessed by a fairly steady return visitor count - still, it's nice for people to drop by.
But why do new people arrive? Usually it's all about writers who have taken the first steps into creating a web presence and or have started researching the wider world involving the craft. And that's a good thing, but it's been a while since I posted anything that a new comer would find useful, so I'm going to go back through my own archives and bump some of the earlier topics people might, or have, found interesting in the past to refresh my memory and hopefully educate some of our slightly lesser informed brothers and sisters.
Not long after the Almighty said let there be a blog called 'Musings of an Aussie Writer', I posted a couple entries titled The Good and The Bad - of which some points are still very relevant and could be useful to go over again. Go read the old posts, there are some interesting things there I'm not going to rehash here but some, particularly newer writers, might find useful.
- New Friends
- Critique Groups
- Set Priorities
- The first acceptance
- Self Doubt
Good luck with your submissions!
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Fear & Trembling has closed. It's always a little sad when one of the kind people who took on one of my original short stories closes shop.
F&T was the home for my Winged Shepherd of Innocence, a tale with a long story of its own. It began as an entry to PARSEC, it was run through the mill at Authors by Design. It has been picked apart by a number of individuals from The Teacher (Amy) to Pharoah (I seem to attract people with interesting aliases). It gained a rejection from F&T's sister mag, MindFlights - with a suggestion that I remove a couple of swear words and clothe my image of an angel (this is a Christian market, which I didn't know at the time. My market research wasn't all it should have been), and then submit it to F&T.
I think it took me all of ten minutes to make the changes and sub. It took only slightly longer for it to gain an acceptance.
I was over the moon. F&T was my first (and only) Christian sale, my first US sale, and my first horror sale - quite a combination.
So, thank you, F&T, you will always hold a special place on my emotional bookshelf.
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Still, it's an outline, a 300 word rough idea for a novel length story. Unfortunately it has nothing to do with the Nathan Steele series, or YA, and I'm yet to pin down if it will be just a thriller or more a mystery thriller with a new investigative main character...lots still left to decide.
I'll send out a thanks to everyone's blogs I visit, and Danielle's in particular, as it has been the reading of how industrious you have all been which forced me to do this much. I will get back on this horse if it takes weeks/months or years (hopefully not years).
Time to get to the starter's gate...again.
Friday, May 28, 2010
There are stirrings of life within my dead-as-road-kill brain.
I'm reading. My lovely wife purchased a whole heap of books from Jodi Lee (of New Bedlam Project and Belfire Press fame) for my birthday. For those of you who know and follow Jodi, you'll all be aware of her different lifestyle to what many in the city and cloistered religions of the world would call the norm. Well, I'm interested in introducing a new character into Inner Voice with some of the same inclinations but with a great deal more internal conflict, and who, by her very nature, will also cause my other two main characters plenty of conflict.
In the words of Homer Simpson: mmmm...conflict!
So I'm researching and educating myself in the ways of older beliefs and interesting rituals and getting a really good grasp on this new character. No new writing yet, but I have a plan for that as well - so in the not-too-distant future, I'll be putting it into action and producing lots of lovely new words.
At the same time, I've decided I'm going to ween myself off the coffin nails (cigarettes for those not in the know). I've been smoking for 33 years so it's going to be a monumental task (especially without medicinal help), but I'd like to think my will power is strong enough to enable me to control my own body. We'll see. I'm on day two of my quest and have so far gone from smoking 25-30/day on Tuesday, to 10 on Wednesday and 9 yesterday. My promise didn't start until yesterday (hence only day two today), but I began cutting it down a day early anyway. Lunchtime has just commenced and I've only had two so far. Hopefully I'll be able to climb into bed at the end of the day having only consumed 8 or less. Wish me luck. The plan is not to cut down by one each day but it seems to be working out that way at this early stage. Whatever works...
The final title I'm reading is (I believe) a yet to be released manuscript also involving Jodi Lee (she has a lot to answer for). I promised I'd read it and review it for her some time ago and am only now actually getting around to it (sorry, Jodi).
So there is life in the old creative side of my grey matter. I was beginning to think I should sell all my jumpers and t-shirts which claimed I was a writer! I think organising some time off between now and November is the next step so I'm fully into the groove come NaNoWriMo, which is when I want to write the next book in the series. A big statement seeing how I haven't finished the first one. Best be getting a move on...
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Blade Red Press have been busy little bees and have made our little antho available in more locations. See here for the official release details. I've also been notified that Dark Pages has hit the top 100 book list on Amazon.co.uk. This list is updated hourly (I think) and we're not there now, but we were, and with your help, we can get back in there and stay for a while. Thank you for getting us into it in the first place.
On the Smashwords page you can also read samples of the stories, so if you've not decided whether to take the plunge or not just yet, go have a look at the quality of the stories that await you.
Friday, May 21, 2010
I've not got any evidence, but it seems sales of Dark Pages should be doing okay - at least if everyone who has made a comment on either this blog or the blogs of the contributors is anything to go by. I'll await official confirmation on numbers from the publisher before getting specific. In better news, my copy arrived in the mail last night. Stoked would be an understatement. The reaction of my little girl when she saw my name on the front cover was also priceless. Now if I can only get a book I've written with my name on the front cover...editing is great and I feel a huge sense of accomplishment, but it isn't the same. I want that total immersion in a feeling of my art being presented to the unsuspecting public. One day...
But I have a problem stopping me from getting there at the moment.
I've still not written anything new. I began two short stories back in January but let them fizzle out unfinished and unloved. These two mis-starts are the only pieces I've written since October 2009. I did a single read-through of Inner Voice around the same time and added a poultry few hundred words, and pinpointed a couple of areas that need work.
I'm still thinking about Inner Voice (hence the blog title). The short comings of it are still percolating inside my skull and different solutions are being trialled and discarded, or kept for further introspection. I'm enjoying simply squirming into the skin of the characters and thinking about the different scenarios I've thrown at them. I've recognised where they're not fully developed and have suggestions on fixing that - some of which lead onto further stories.
I have a couple of ideas for the next book in the series and a whole bunch of new tricks for Nathan Steele to use to get himself and his friends out of trouble. I have copious sticky notes around the place with ideas. I have a new family to create as I'm ditching a nosey neighbour and introducing the possibility of a slight paranormal bent for this and future books in the series. It will give me additional conflict between a scientific mind and a more pagan belief, and the old classic of a second possible love interest so my heroine will have competition for the affections of Nathan as I move forward. More irons in the plot-fire can only be a good thing.
So yeah, I'm not writing, but I am thinking about it a lot.
Monday, May 17, 2010
It's kind of like my baby has taken its first steps out into the world - all very exciting and yet a little scary as well.
Now it's time for you to do your bit. Go order multiple copies for yourself and your loved ones.
Stolen from Alan Baxter's website.
Cover art is by the awesomely talented Australian artist Halinka Orszulok.
You can find Dark Pages now at Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk. Don’t forget you can also order the book directly from the press see Alan's website for details.
Treat yourself to a sumptuous feast of dark fiction today. While you’re at it, treat a few other people too. You won’t regret it. Would these people lie to you? (Well, they might actually, but in this case they’re being very honest):
These stories will grab you by the balls, or cruelly twist your nipples, making you sweat and squirm, and then when you least expect it, touch your heart and make you want to cry. Why the hell haven’t I got something in here?”
- Gill Ainsworth, Co-Editor of the Stoker Award-nominated anthology Aegri Somnia
“An eclectic collection, ranging from the mysterious through to out-and-out horror, all the way to hardcore science fiction. Some fresh new voices side-by-side with well-seasoned genre hands. An entertaining read.”
- Cat Sparks, multi award-winning writer and editor
- Robert Hood, author of Backstreets & Immaterial: Ghost Stories
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Using the new Blog feature of adding pages, I've done a bit of a tidy up of the sidebar. You'll see new links directly above the heading of this post.
Why am I mentioning this? At the end of April 2009, I'd posted 140 times. That's 140 posts in 120 days!
This year I've posted 37 times in the same period :c(
I think it's official--I've gone just a tad quiet...
Doing a bit of site maintenance is as good a reason as I could think of for today's post. Sorry about that.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
I think I've spent way too long contemplating my next move. The wife snapped this picture of me recently while in one of my trances...
What do you think? Should I get out more?
News is through that things are looking up to enable me to move forward with the renovation schedule--excellent news! Woohoo!
I think much better (and I'm much better to be around) when things move forward.
Monday, May 10, 2010
It's been 12 days since my last post, in that time my writing and reading has continued to stand still--but the house is coming along.
The bathroom is all but done. The electrician is booked to come in and fit the three-in-one light/heater/vent unit and new switch arrangement, and then we can call it completely done.
I've begun installation of the range-hood above the stove. The unit has been attached to the wall and the flue kit and external 'chimney' will go in this coming weekend (hopefully).
By the end of next week I'm hoping to have all my ducks aligned and we'll have the ready cash to move forward on things like the landscaping and kitchen cupboard renovations. Fingers crossed.
The day job is still an amazingly 'lost' place to be. We have a saying here: 'Couldn't organise a pissup in a brewery' - I believe the inventor of this saying also worked here once upon a time as it describes our management team to a 'T'!
The stress of work and of getting the house sorted has been immense. The uncertainty of it all, the total lack of any control of forces that impact so largely on me directly is a new experience I haven't been sure how to cope with. I like to be in control of things around me, even if it's only a perceived control. Perception is a person's reality, and my reality has been somewhat warped of late, but I'm getting help and support from my loved ones so, hopefully, I'll be back on track sooner rather than later.
Getting things sorted will hopefully allow my creative side to surface once more and the words will begin to flow. Being able to sit quietly and get some reading done would be a nice improvement, but at the moment any spare moments need to be used to get the house finished and I feel guilty if I'm not moving that project forward--and the last thing I need is more self-imposed stress, so reading just has to wait. Oh, and I'm hooked on a computer game at the moment which allows me to sit for long periods and not think about anything of consequence. I love my art too much to be able to not care about it so the game is my way of zoning out without having to think too much.
Strangely, I'm still picking up new visitors and followers to this blog. To the new arrivals, I apologise for the current irregularity of posting and the lack of writing related material - it's one of those moments in a writer's life when art is forced into the background and life takes over, but welcome anyway. Feel free to back over the older material and ask any questions in the comments section. I still check my emails (not as regular as I once did but still regular enough), and I'll make sure I do a new post to answer any questions you may have.
And just so I don't feel alone (because I know I'm not in this one), what's the longest period you've gone without being in a real writing schedule? I know some of you began writing, stuck at it for a few years, and then had a break before coming back to it. How long was that break?