So I got something published…

I’ve not been posting on here as frequently as I would like, and whilst I’m not going to apologise (after all, the only person that really affects is me) I will tell you that I shall endeavour to keep future postings a little more frequent than of late.

So then, trying to get an agent to take on my debut novel is proving about as impossible as I expected. In response to that I’m currently rejigging my story – especially those notorious “first three chapters” that agents ask for – and will be embarking on a second wave of attack in the near future. Right now, though, at least I have some good news to impart…

Screen Shot 2015-02-20 at 18.02.24It turns out that The New Accelerator magazine took a liking to a short story of mine and has decided to publish it.

The adventure is set in the same swashbuckling sci-fi world as my novel, and centres around a young lad who is pressed into service onboard a starship. Life aboard a solar-sailing ship tuns out to be nothing like he expected, and we follow his subsequent attempts to get away.

This short story was, in part, an experiment to see if I could convince readers of my maritime sci-fi world… and it appears that I can. Great. Additionally, it has given me confidence in the concept of my novel and the faith to go and get that published.

The New Accelerator is a bi-monthly compendium of sci-fi shorts, ten in each issue, written by authors from around the globe. My story appears in Issue 3, just in case you’re interested.

The magazine is only recently launched (which probably helped my case a lot!) but a few of the writers are excellent. I am incredibly proud to share the pages with some of these guys and certainly chuffed that somebody took up one of my stories.

This is definitely a feeling I could get used to…

Thanks for reading

Ready to surrender… but an agent’s rejection stalled the white flag

So I’m at that joyous point of the querying process where the rejections are rolling in thick and fast. Now, I’m tough enough to accept rejection, but the hard part here is that, without exception, every email from an uninterested agent comes across as – and most probably is – a generic response with my name merely pasted to the top (although I did get one “Dear Author” email too. Nice). And even though us novice writers are told to expect rejection, it does knock your confidence a little when it’s relentless. Hence, these rejections and their detached nature began to make me feel a little despondent.

As a consequence of this (and the fact that I’m slowly running out of agency options) I was about ready to give up on a traditional publishing deal and head down the self-pub route instead (or just head down the pub). Whilst self publishing was always a plan B for me, it was still a prospect I’d hoped to avoid… and it was knocking the wind out of my follow-up novel too.

However, in the space of just a single email, my faith in my book was restored. Continue reading

Why do kids’ Christmas films insist on promoting the idea there is no Father Christmas?

With the festive season fast approaching, I thought I’d get into the spirit of things and write a post about Christmas.

And in the spirit of that classic Yuletide tale, A Christmas Carol, I’m going to get a little Scroogey and have a bit of a moan.

Screen Shot 2014-12-15 at 23.30.36My beef (or should it be turkey?) is with the film industry and their sometimes misguided efforts to persuade us that Father Christmas is real. Continue reading

What’s in a title? (Apart from words, that is)

We all know that covers sell books. But what about titles? How important is it that we get the right title? A title that invokes the spirit of the story; a title that describes the story; a title that grabs the readers’ attention?

To highlight the impact of a good title, I’m going to recall a story that happened to me recently. But it doesn’t involve books; it involves music.

Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 17.57.20 Continue reading

Don’t quote me on that…

Author quotes. Who doesn’t love ‘em, eh? After all, who better to write a quote, than a writer? As natural wordsmiths, authors no doubt find it effortless to pen a short, profound, funny, or even disturbing quote – a quote that may spend the next few decades, or even centuries, being repeated in polite, intellectual conversation, or perhaps gracing Twitter and the blogoshpere with its concise ingenuity.

But the thing is (I’ve often wondered), where do these quotes originate from? Are they utterances from writers who strike literary gold when asked a question, or are they simply small chunks of text taken from their papers, journals and novels?

I suspect it’s the latter.

Screen Shot 2014-11-06 at 11.17.04 Continue reading

Thank goodness our digital kids still enjoy the simple things…

I had a real eye-opener yesterday as to the way technology – much like fashion – can go full-circle, jump through a digital hoop and land straight back in our laps… Literally in this case.

Let me explain:

Screen Shot 2014-10-14 at 10.59.10I was out on a day trip with my daughter’s choir, which is a group of children aged between 6 and 11. During lunch, one of them pulled out an Etch-a-Sketch – you remember, the classic 1970’s toy on which the manufacturers claimed you could draw the Mona Lisa, but in reality all any mere mortal could achieve was a set of uninspiring straight lines and perhaps a squiggly tree if you were exceptionally talented.

Nevertheless (and putting bitter Etch-a-Sketch memories aside), I was amazed to see the rest of the choir crowding around a girl who was playing with this very same toy. A toy unchanged for over 40 years. This little red box, with only two knobs to control it and possessing the ability to draw just basic pictures in black and silver was causing quite a stir.

But why was I amazed…?

Well, if you imagine she was holding an iPad: a piece of hardware that can play movies, FaceTime friends, do a weekly shop, store and play an entire music collection, plus search the web for pretty much the sum total of knowledge that the Human race has managed to compile… well if she were playing with that, most of the other kids wouldn’t have paid it the slightest bit of attention.

The Etch-a-Sketch, however, which by most standards cannot come even close to an iPad, seemed to fascinate the children who all wanted to have a go.

And so, as someone who was born in the 70’s, who owned one of these simple toys and is concerned about the next generation’s thirst for louder-faster-higher, I took great comfort in that.

Can anyone else think of simple old toys that are making a comeback in this super-fast digital age we live in?

Thanks for reading.

How To: 7 Steps to a Great Writer Blog

gpeynon:

Some great insight for those of you who are querying agents while trying to keep your blog going too.
Thanks a lot Carly Watters (once again) for the original.
Enjoy…

Originally posted on Carly Watters, Literary Agent:

Screen Shot 2012-04-26 at 4.18.09 PMI love it when writers link to their blogs when they’re querying me. I know not all agents agree, but if I’m interested in a query or a project I’ll definitely be looking you up. So what do agents look for when we’re going through writers’ blogs (which are different than author websites)? Here’s a glimpse into my thought process.

How To: 7 Steps to a Great Writer Blog

1. FREQUENCY

My biggest pet peeve is writers who set up a blog but don’t keep it up. I know things get in the way (life, marriage, kids, day job, etc) but the most important thing is some sort of schedule. I’m not saying you have to blog everyday, because you certainly don’t! What I am saying is try to create a pattern: once a week, twice a month, twice a week–whatever you can manage.

2. CONTENT

What querying…

View original 337 more words