The year so far

We’re over half way through 2017, so I thought I’d do a small run through of what’s been going on publishing-wise for me so far.

supernatural tales 34

The year began well with the inclusion of my short story, Castle Ruins, in Supernatural Tales 34 (30 January 2017)


Then, on 1st March, and after it was held for over a year by a publisher before they finally decided to reject it, I self published the fast moving space opera, The Frihet Rebellion (1 March 2017).

The Risen Dead Cover Painting With Text_500px

Staying with self publishing, I released The Risen Dead (13 April 2017), the first in The Givers Of Life series of linked novellas, and my first foray into the world of zombies.


In June, The Society Of Misfit Stories published my lengthy short story, Emily In The Wall (7 June 2017), as a standalone publication. I knew this would be a difficult story to place, but The Society Of Misfit Stories is the perfect home for it.

Best of British Science Fiction 2016 cover

This month, my short story, The Lightship, is included in the anthology Best of British Science Fiction 2016 (10 July 2017), something of which I am very proud. It’s a fantastic collection of science fiction short stories and I highly recommend it to any sci fi fan.

eyes of the raven 200x300

Not yet published, although available for pre-order on Amazon, is my novel, Eyes of the Raven (21 August 2017), published by World Castle Publishing. This is a story of murder and witchcraft, and introduces my current favourite character, Detective Chief Inspector Emily Sanders. I think there’s a very good chance you will hear more of Emily Sanders in the future.

Wonder why I’ve used the name “Emily” twice already this year? I think I just like it!

Also accepted for publication, but with no release date yet, are a horror novel, The Demon Guardian, and a science fiction short story, Signal. I’ll let you know more the moment I’m able to.

In terms of published work, it’s been a good year for me so far (we’ll ignore everything else going on in my life and in the world for the moment). But now, with only two short stories out looking for a home, I need to write more… a lot more… got to keep the dream going!

Thank you for reading.

The Risen Dead

Tidying up The Risen Dead, a novella, the first in a series called The Givers Of LifeAt the moment, with the sad demise of Screaming Dreams (who it was placed with), I have no publisher and am having difficulty finding one willing to take on a series of zombie-based novellas. Therefore (and with my children’s permission… read old blogs to find the relevance of that!) I may consider self publishing it.
No absolute final decision yet, and I am still looking at publishers (anyone know any zombie and series friendly ones out there?).
I thought I’d take this unexpected and unfortunate opportunity to go over the novella one final time… it was originally finished over a year ago, and I haven’t read it since then. Fresh eyes will always find things to change.
The novella does stand on its own, but I really wanted to go further into its world, which is why I plan to do a series. And there are some questions deliberately left unanswered, or at least vague. Lots more to write on this.
And if you don’t like zombies? Give it a try anyway, when it comes out from whatever source. I hope I’m bringing a slightly different slant on the genre, rather than retreading the same old themes, but ultimately you, the reader, will decide that.
Thank you.

The question of drafts.

The question often seems to come up with writers about the number of different drafts of a piece they go through before reaching the final product.

The answer can vary greatly, depending on the writer. Anne McCaffrey once said she only wrote the one draft. First draft was the final one! Brian Keene has recently described his process as writing the first draft, then off to his pre-reader, then he works on the corrections suggested by the pre-reader and it’s done. I have heard of other writers (although no names come to mind at the moment) who claim to do ten or more drafts before they’re happy.

The danger is that, if you keep going back to a story, you will always find something to change! It can be never-ending. Knowing when to stop is part of the learning process I think. And it’s not an easy skill to master.

Over the last year, when I’ve been writing (if not publishing) more, I think I have finally found the method that works best for me. If anyone’s interested, here it is.

  1. Write the story
  2. Go back through it on screen, making corrections and rewriting where necessary
  3. Print it out. Go through hardcopy, somehow finding things to correct and change that I missed on the computer screen!
  4. Enter hardcopy changes onto computer version, usually making more, hopefully minor, corrections as I go.

I consider that to be four drafts (or possibly three depending on how you view step 4 above). I used to do more, or sometimes less… it wasn’t very structured. But I find these four steps are working for me. Obviously they’re flexible, but as a basis they’re helping me do more writing and to finish more pieces. I just hope I can turn that into more publishing credits in 2015.

And finally, speaking of publishing credits, don’t forget my new horror novel, The Village Witch, is scheduled for publication by Omnium Gatherum in February 2015. I think it’s the best thing I’ve done, but you, the readers, will be the final judges on that.

Happy New Year (a bit late I know, but what the hell). Hope 2015 is a good one for you 🙂

Self publishing harmful?

My son told me tonight that he thinks the books I choose to self publish are harming my chances of reaching my dream of being able to write for a living. He feels I should submit all my work to other publishers and just keep trying, regardless of how many rejections I get. It’s certainly true that there are many great books out there that were rejected dozens of times before finally being accepted (Dune is my favourite example of this) but the ease of self publishing these days makes it a temptation rather than face all those rejections and all that time and frustration. On the other hand, the books of mine that were not self published are the ones I’m most proud of. There is something good about someone else liking your work enough to put their own time and money into it. Still haven’t cracked the major publishers yet… but then again, I’ve been too afraid to send anything to them! Maybe I should give it a go next time?