I have a new story in a magazine, and some hot off the press litfest news. I can feel the excitement from here.
First of all, I have a long-ish short story in the latest issue of Romance Magazine. Yes, I said romance, though as this is me the heroine’s reawakened passions are for literature and her husband, in that order (though she does nearly get carried away by a holiday friendship). It’s set in the Lake District in the early 1980s and here’s a taster via wordcloud:
If you enjoyed any or all of The Little Book of Northern Women, you’ll probably like this.
The other news is that the writing group I belong to is going to be appearing at the Ilkley Literature Festival fringe in October. I’ve seen some great stuff at the fringe over the last few years, all for free, so that’s going to be an exciting event to be involved in.
Phew! What with all that and the heat as well I need a bit of a lie down now. By which of course I mean I’m off to put the finishing touches to a couple of stories. Honest…
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.
Or, I have a detective story available in the brand new e-zine from New Zealand, Comets and Criminals. I urge you to check out the issue, it has some good stories in, an interesting mix of thrilling genres from authors whose other work has already appeared in some quite impressive places. My contribution is The Dovedale Affair, in which a murder in a small Yorkshire town causes panic in the mother of a disturbed young man – what does he know about it, and how?
It’s reasonably apparent to anyone reading this blog that (Anthony Trollope aside) I go for genre – count the references to sci-fi, fantasy, the occasional bit of horror, and detective stories, and…actually you’d be bored quite quickly so I wouldn’t bother, but you get the gist. OneMonkey likes a similar mix, and my dad got me into both Raymond Chandler and Philip K Dick. So for all of us, and those with similar tastes, Comets and Criminals sounds like a good plan. Starting in October, this New Zealand-based outfit will be offering up sci-fi, crime, adventure and westerns in a quarterly package. Why am I telling you this? Well, the eagle-eyed will have spotted earlier in the week the new ‘forthcoming’ line on my list of successes, though this post is scheduled for my usual weekend sort of time (at the weekend I will probably be writing the detective novel: 24,000 words and counting). Ladies and gentlemen, I have sold a detective story; all that wearing of a trilby at a rakish angle was not in vain.
Another story rejection (I could start getting a complex) – but this one got me thinking. Gavin Broom at The Waterhouse Review had taken the time to write some words of encouragement and some constructive criticism, and sent it off to me via Submishmash. Quite a few magazines seem to be moving to online submission via something like that, and I imagine it makes the whole process easier from their point of view, as well as allowing the lazy or time-squeezed writer to input their contact details just the once and check the status of a few pieces at a time. However, it introduces a middle-man, and instead of pressing reply on my email and writing a quick thanks to Gavin (not something I make a big habit of, I admit, but the personal touch from a small or new set-up like The Waterhouse Review will sometimes provoke me into courtesy) I just had to think kind thoughts.
I’m not saying the efficient online systems are a bad thing, and I can only guess at the inbox-clogging flood of email some editors were getting in the past, and how in a way those quick emails of thanks were probably a bit annoying if they were busy. But still I can’t help feeling slightly sad and like we’ve lost something, like when you go to the supermarket and no words are exchanged between you and the checkout person because speed is of the essence and you’re paying by card (or worse, using self-service tills).
My long-awaited contributor copy of The View From Here arrived this week, to much excitement in the Monkey household.
Illustration credit: Conor Tarter, Gavin Schaefer.
I thought I’d share with you what it looks like (I’m quite pleased with the layout and illustration) but you’ll notice that the words have been tampered with in the gimp (that’s the gnu image manipulation program, for those that don’t follow me on deviantArt) so if you want to read it, you’ll still have to buy a copy.
As further enticements, there is an article about and interview with Booker-shortlisted Damon Galgut; an article about the changing nature of literary coverage by the literary editor of The Guardian (and Observer, and website); book reviews; poetry; and of course, short stories. I enjoyed (and would imagine anyone who likes Gwendoline Riley’s style will enjoy) Thanksgiving by Meredith Miller, a slow gaze across friendship, closeness and dreams; that was the other short story which was only available in the print edition (there is also part 2 of a serial by Kathleen Maher, which I confess I haven’t read yet).
The February edition (issue 32) of The View From Here is now available, featuring a story of mine called The Fan-boys on Tour. Selected parts of the magazine are available online but if you want to read Fan-boys you’ll have to obtain a print copy (available by mail order from their website). It’s a reasonably short story (not micro-fiction, but what a lot of people would describe as flash – about 500 words), mainstream (i.e. non-genre) and is about brotherly love in the scuzzy underground of devoted followers of half-forgotten punk bands. For you, it may be about something entirely different, such is the beauty of fiction – read it and discover.