Finding My Voice

This is just a quick post that has nothing to do with me. For all lovers of poetry out there, I’ve just purchased a copy of a book of poetry from a friend of mine. On occasion, when the Whittlesey Wordsmiths get together, we challenge ourselves. We select a theme and give ourselves twenty minutes to write something. I generally write the beginning of a short story of some kind. Tessa Thomson writes poetry. In those selfsame twenty minutes, she can create a finished poem, rhyming and scanning properly. My mind can’t do…Read more

Orion

My urban fantasy noir short story "Orion" will be published on the 30th of July by Dragon Soul Press. You can find it for pre-order here.Read more

The Long and the Short of it

I complained to my mother the other day because I had just received another raft of rejections and was being ignored by a whole load of other agents and publishers. I’m “only” selling short stories, despite having sent out queries for my dark urban fantasy anthology 81 times this year and my Young Adult space opera novel 100 times. Not to mention the 135 submissions for 70 different short stories, for which I have recently received my ninth acceptance this year. Now, my mother is my greatest fan at the moment, despite telling…Read more

Anthologies & Genres

I’ve decided to talk about two different subjects this time, although they are connected. Anthologies Here’s a strange situation. I’ve written, revised and edited an episodic novel and three anthologies of dark urban fantasy, science fiction and horror, with more than one of the genres and sub-genres often blended into a single story. I have another five collections I’m still working on. The thing is, publishers and agents keep telling me that anthologies and story collections are on the way out; no one is interested in either publishing them or reading them, they…Read more

Originality

This is not one of my posts but something I am cross-posting from Edgeverse with their permission. It says something I've long suspected and have been saying for some time. I remember reading an interview with Frank Zappa in NME years ago. Despite its claims to the contrary, he said, the music industry was not looking for "the next great thing". Instead, they wanted the previous great thing. When the Beatles hit the scene, every label wanted a band with multiple guitar players. Boy bands were a non-starter until the first one became…Read more

Conditions: A Writer’s Perspective

Here are some thoughts I had during a writers' retreat in May, 2019, but it's still as true now. “I can’t write because…” Name your problem: space, time, people, inspiration, whatever. I have heard this, seen this, read this, more times than I care to remember, especially in the last year, since I became active in several FaceBook writing groups. Sorry, people, but that isn't a reason for not writing, it’s an excuse. And a lame one at that. Yesterday, I stood in the cottage where Samuel Taylor Coleridge lived for three years…Read more

Handling Rejections

As I’ve promised before, it’s time to talk about rejections. “Rejection” is a harsh word to hear when you’re a writer, even though it’s part of the process. It’s painful to get a rejection because it means that someone doesn’t like your writing for some reason. And it often doesn’t matter what the reason is, it still hurts! However, I’m becoming hardened to it. Or so I like to think. I’ve recently started compiling statistics on my submissions and rejections, and it makes for interesting reading. I’ve been sending out submissions for the…Read more

Pomodoro? Caprese? Coffee!

Have you come across The Pomodoro Technique [unsolicited plug]? It’s a method of dividing up your work time, to ensure that you work in a concentrated manner in short bursts, a bit like HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) for the brain. Basically, you set a timer for 25 minutes, a period the author calls a “Pomodoro”. You then work until the timer rings, allowing nothing to interrupt you. After a short break of five minutes, you start the next Pomodoro. Rinse and repeat. The name apparently derives from the tomato-shaped timer that he bought…Read more

Sharing Knowledge

Despite the horrors of Covid-19 and lockdowns, I hope this year brings you joy, good experiences and new knowledge. Apropos knowledge, I remember coming across a “law” of life some time ago, similar to Murphy’s Law: Roger Lincoln’s 2 Rules for Success:1. Never tell everything you know. It’s a good joke, but nowadays, hoarding knowledge is greedy, arrogant and, ultimately, insane. It’s greedy because knowledge doesn’t belong to anybody. Oh, I know that there is proprietary information, like the exact form and contents of a company’s databases or their communications protocols. Even their…Read more