Tuesday, 20 April 2021

Flashes of Darkness 1 – Coming Soon

For a while now I’ve been hanging out on the SFF fan site SFFworld.com, where I’ve been rubbing shoulders with fellow SFF fans and writers.

It’s a nice site and a friendly bunch of people. It posts regular reviews through which I’ve found some excellent new books to read, as well as hosting general discussion about the genre.

One of the good things about this site is that there is a lively community of writers who run a number of monthly writing challenges, for flash, micro and short story length pieces. We take it in turns to set the prompts and then vote for our favourites as well as giving feedback to those who want it. It’s a good way to flex those writing muscles.

A few months back one of our number came up with the idea of putting together an anthology of some of our flash pieces. Five of us have come together and the anthology is now in its final stages of preparation.

Flashes of Darkness 1 will contain 15 original pieces of dark flash fiction and will be free. I’ll let you know when it’s available.

Thursday, 11 February 2021

Melting Ice and Rising Seas

My first piece for the Climate Fiction Writers League is now live over on their blog. You can find it here: Melting Ice and Rising Seas. Do check it out. The League is a wonderful resource for all things CliFi related!

Monday, 21 December 2020

Welcome to the Climate Fiction Writers League

I have recently joined the Climate Fiction Writers League, an exciting new venture set up by author Lauren James.

The league has members from all over the world who have one thing in common – we have all seen the perils that climate change poses to our planet and have used this threat in our fiction.

From picture books through to YA, adult SF and contemporary fiction you can find books that explore a wide range of scenarios and environmental issues, any of which could be our future.

The books may carry a message, but not at expense of story, so do pop over to the website and see who is involved, sign up to the newsletter, and discover some wonderful books.

Visit the Climate Fiction Writers League here: Climate Fiction Writers League

And read more from Lauren about why she has set up the League over at Tor: Lauren James Launches Climate Fiction Writers League

Tuesday, 15 December 2020

Flash Fiction Sale

My flash fiction piece of gothic horror, Burgundy, inspired by many summers spent exploring wine country in France, has just been accepted to appear in the forthcoming anthology, 99 tiny Terrors from Pulse Publishing.

Friday, 13 November 2020

Pitch Wars 2020

Pitch Wars is an annual event run by Brenda Drake which offers aspiring authors the opportunity to work with a mentor on their manuscripts and showcase these to prospective agents at the end of the mentoring process. I first gave it a try last year and, although I didn’t get any requests from prospective mentors I did find it an interesting experience. For that reason, and slightly wiser about the process, I decided to give it another go in 2020.

Last year I tried with one of my kid’s books but this time I decided to give the adult market a try with my thriller, the one that keeps coming oh – so close – but has so far failed to find a home – certainly in the UK market. But the US market is a different beast. My main concern with my writing is that it’s too European for the US. But you never know if you don’t try. I may not have been picked as a mentee, but all in all the experience was a very positive one.

So here are a few tips for anyone else planning on participating in Pitch Wars in future.

1. Nail the Query Letter

Different mentors approach reading their submissions in different ways. Some read 

the pages first but some do a first pass based on the query letters, and for this reason it is a good idea to spend some time on this and get it right. US query letters are not the same as the covering letters expected in the UK. Fortunately there is a wealth of information on how to write a good query letter online and a quick google search should see you right.

2. Choose your mentors with care

You can only choose four mentors so spend a bit of time checking them out. In particular read their wish lists as these contain a lot of information about what they are looking for in that particular year – if they’ve mentored before it could be quite different from what they were looking for in the past. My submission was a thriller with a SF twist. Of the four mentors I picked who were asking for thrillers the two who requested for material were both also looking at SF. The ones who didn’t request weren’t. Read into that what you may.

3. Study the showcase

Studying the previous year’s showcase not only gives you an indication of the types of work the mentors chose but also gives an interesting insight into what the agents were looking for. None of them can tell who else has requested from a particular showcase until all the agent requests are revealed at the end of the showcase period. Although nobody was left with zero requests last year there was a huge range from 2 to 35!

4. Make friends

Pitch Wars is a massive networking opportunity so take advantage of that. Make friends, find critique partners, join in the fun and challenges. If your mentor is offering feedback on submissions take it. Whether you get any requests or are picked as a mentee is irrelevant. Use this opportunity to your advantage. You never know where things might lead.

5. Don’t give up

The publishing industry is subjective. Mentors’ choices are subjective. You may feel your submission has vanished into a black hole but don’t be disheartened. Keep writing. Keep developing your craft. The key to success is to keep going. 

Find out all about Pitch Wars here.

Thursday, 17 September 2020

Flash Fiction at Newmyths.com

My latest short story – a flash fiction piece called “The Last Library” is now live in Issue 52 of Newmyths.com. I hope you enjoy it.

Thursday, 27 August 2020

“The Relic” is Published.

 The Relic, my latest short story, is now in print.

My contributor’s copy of BFS Horizons #11 landed on my doormat on Friday. A lovely volume with beautiful cover art, packed full of poetry and prose. I’ve dipped into it a couple of times already and thoroughly enjoyed what I’ve read and I’m looking forward to working my way through the rest of it in the weeks to come.