I ran out of superlatives on the way home last night but suffice to say The Damned played Leeds last night, OneMonkey and I were there, and it put me in such a good mood I didn’t even feel the Bah Humbug stir today as I faced December.
The death of books and traditional publishing is a hot topic at the moment, and while I firmly believe that print books will be around for a good many years yet, I do also think it’s time to admit there’s more of a mix than there used to be. Readers of this blog (as opposed to my other one) might not be aware of my graphic novel/comics output, self-published but that’s not as unusual for comics as it is for mainstream fiction. In further experimental fashion we (me, the artist Mark Pexton, and OneMonkey who does all the technical stuff) decided to make a pdf copy of the first graphic novel, Boys Don’t Cry, available for free (under creative commons license CC BY-NC-ND) here. This is an enticing picture of the cover:
And here’s what the back cover says:
Teenage boys aren’t known for sharing their fears and emotions, so if you’re the father or sister of one, how do you know how he’s coping with his mum’s death?
Fifteen year old Hunter isn’t entirely sure himself, and even if he could put any of it into words, he no longer knows who to say it to.
So if zero pence sounds like a good price to pay for the beautifully-drawn saga of a bereaved teenage goth in Edinburgh, feel free to peruse and comment – part of the reason for doing this is to reach a wider audience; there’s only so many people willing to buy an 80-page graphic novel by relative unknowns and I’d prefer to have more people read it. Particularly those that might not normally think of themselves as graphic novel audience material.
Boys Don’t Cry by Jacqueline Saville, Mark Pexton, Andrew Woods is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
I’m cultivating a positive outlook at the moment; maybe it’s the cold affecting my inner curmudgeon, but there you go.
Strange, Weird & Wonderful has published its final issue, just before the one that my story was due in. So while that’s a sale I won’t make (payment on publication, not acceptance), a credit I can’t chalk up on my scoreboard, and a story that’s back to doing the rounds, if I was looking on the bright side I’d say at least I don’t have to produce that audio version after all (though I’d actually started to feel good about the challenge).
NaNoWriMo is going slowly, probably even slower than I’d anticipated, but if you know you’re not going to make it to 50,000 words, any number’s an achievement and you don’t end up feeling stressed and guilty if you do other things for a while during November. Such as a 2-day comic convention.
Thought Bubble is less than a week away which is a bit scary (in an exhilirating way). I also know that I’m not going to get an early night before it, and I’ll probably have had to put up with a late-night long-distance taxi ride. The bright side of that one is positively dazzling though: we’re off to see The Damned on Friday. Excuse me while I touch up my black nail varnish.
One of the reasons I’ve been quiet recently is that I’ve been concentrating on the graphic novel, its associated blog, and attending the Thought Bubble comic convention in Leeds. Well, Thought Bubble was on Saturday (hectic, tiring, but most enjoyable) so I might get round to doing other things for a while (like making the submission I’ve been almost completing for about 3 weeks) but in the meantime I thought I’d share the proud moment at which my own graphic novel joined Cerebus on the shelf (even if it was just in my own living room)
See the main Ostragoth website if you think you’d like to know more or maybe even buy a copy.
Chapter six of Resurrection Joe is now available for your delectation. I realised I’d forgotten about it so it’s a bit later than my roughly monthly schedule would suggest, but I hope you’re not all too devastated at having to wait a while for it (I am of course joking, I know the view-count is made up of my friend D, and people whose cats land on the keyboard and take them to it by accident).
If you haven’t read the earlier chapters, you’ll probably still be able to follow the goings-on (though there’s nothing to stop you going back and reading them). Joe’s a goth who works in a bookshop, Caroline’s her flatmate and has an unsuitable boyfriend, Craig’s their friend and is glam (in the Motley Crue sense, not Slade). This chapter’s mainly set at a rock night, where important truths are learned (isn’t that always the way with rock nights…)
On a weekend when I attended the Wendy House for the first time in a very long time, I give you chapter five of the eight-year-old saga of northern goths, Resurrection Joe. In case I haven’t said this before (I really can’t be bothered to check. It’s a Sunday afternoon, I’m surprised I have the energy and enthusiasm necessary to type this), the title is taken from a Cult song, just to keep the theme going. Enjoy.
Because I’ve had a tiring week at work and don’t have anything original to offer up for your delectation, chapter four of Resurrection Joe is now available. I notice that more people seem to have read the first chapter than subsequent ones, which probably should tell me something about how not to write opening chapters, so why not try diving in head-first at chapter four and seeing if you can work out who everyone is and what’s going on.
I’ve also fixed (I think) the annoying random line-wraps in the earlier chapters that I hadn’t noticed, so if that was what put you off in chapter one, give chapter two a go now, it’ll be easier on the eye if not on the mind.
Partly because it’s been about a month since the last one, and partly because I’m full of cold and feeling sorry for myself so I’m not in the mood to write a proper post, the third chapter of Resurrection Joe is now available. Think of it as an early Christmas present, if you like (but I don’t imagine you’ll have much success if you try taking it back to Marks and Spencer in January).
OneMonkey, reading a Doctor Who novel (yes, he does it too), just asked if every fictional character who gets poisoned by a cup of tea suddenly starts appearing in the first person instead of the third. It’s an intriguing question, and one I may get back to. But for now, here’s Resurrection Joe Chapter 2.
A year or so ago I read an article in The Guardian about a promising young author named Gwendoline Riley. The brief description of her and her writing resonated with me, and I decided to investigate in the hope that I might be inspired or pick up some tips.
Since Sick Notes was the only one of her novels in my local library, that was the one I read, thoroughly and critically. I could see a superficial similarity of approach in Sick Notes and in my own first novel (unpublished, naturally), but I couldn’t find any common ground with the characters and I found I didn’t really care what happened to them. Not any criticism of Riley’s writing, just a comment on the different aspects of (for want of a better phrase) youth culture we’d used as settings; hers was an alien world to me, as is Raymond Chandler’s LA, but unlike Chandler, Riley didn’t present me with any enticing surroundings that I wanted to set up camp in.
For what it’s worth, and in case anyone else feels like comparing my first novel with any of Gwendoline Riley’s, I’ll put the first chapter here, probably serialising the rest of it later as I get round to it (a free novel – don’t all clamour at once). It’s about the same length as Sick Notes, as it happens, and I wrote it when I had too much time on my hands, back in the Winter/Spring of 2000/1. Thus far, only about half a dozen friends have read it, and very likely that’s the way it will stay (who has the time to read these days?). My style’s changed over the last seven or eight years, and I like to think I’ve improved with time and effort, but maybe I’m just deluding myself.
Ladies and gentlemen, Resurrection Joe, chapter 1…