Friday, 26 September 2008

The Yeovil Prize and Me! Yippee!!

I've been bursting to tell you all this for over a week now - but finally the results of the 2008 Yeovil Prize have been published - you can find them here. Both my entries in the short story and novel categories have done well.

My short story "Remember Normandy" was Commended.

But my novel, "Myth Making" was Highly Commended - am I pleased about that or what !

And to cap it all I've won the Western Gazette Award for a Local author!!

But I'm also deligted to see that I'm not the only one from the writers group to have done well, both Suzy and Chip were also shortlisted in the short story categories, so congratulations to you both as well. And of course congratulations to all the other authors who were either shorlisted or were winners.

And finally thank you to everyone involved in organising the Yeovil Prize, especially Margaret, Penny and Liz, and everyone in my writers group and over in Litopia for making this possible.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Submitting Short Stories - A Few Tips

I’ve been sending short stories out for a while now to various genre fiction markets, mostly SciFi and Horror and thought I would share a couple of tips I’ve picked up along the way.

  1. Short story editors are more likely to give feedback on why they reject a story than Agents are for longer fiction. Some magazines in particular will try to comment on everything they reject. Always remember, it is just their opinion, but if you find them repeatedly saying the same thing then perhaps it is time to take the story out of circulation and revise it.
  2. Stories can be rejected for lots of reasons, not necessarily the writing at all. Each magazine has it’s own particular style and niche and if your story doesn’t fit with that they won’t take it, even if it’s the best story in the world. So don’t be disheartened, keep sending them out, but do your research.
  3. Keep and eye out for new magazine markets – if you get in early you could well stand a better chance of selling them something, before they begin to get swamped with accepted material. And if that magazine then goes on to carve out a niche for itself and become well known then you’ve a decent little publishing credit under your belt.
  4. If an editor asks you to send them something else then do it – they don’t say that unless they mean it. They clearly like your writing style even if that particular story wasn’t a good fit for them.
  5. Once you sell something to someone then keep submitting to them. If they’ve published you once there’s a good chance they’ll take something of yours again.
  6. Here is a useful link from Strange Horizons that lists stories and plots that editors see all the time and are best avoided.
  7. And here is another useful article from the Arkham Tales website on the secret art of wooing editors.
  8. And finally, good luck.

Friday, 19 September 2008

Sale to Arkham Tales

I've just had an e-mail from the editor of the new Weird Fiction magazine Arkham Tales accepting my short story 'And Let Them In'.

Arkham Tales will be published as a free PDF download, and it's debut issue is due out in November. It's always good to find a new paying market for this type of fiction since most of my stuff seems to fit with this genre.

At this stage I've no idea when my story likely to appear but it could be over a year from now. This sort of timescale is not uncommon in the short fiction marketplace.

I look forward to seeing how this magazine develops.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Strange Tales of Shipwrecks and Rings

I’ve just picked up a copy of Robert Goddard’s latest book, Name to a Face. I quite like Robert Goddard’s books anyway, but it was this bit of the blurb on the back that really caught my eye…

“...When Tim Harding agrees to do a favour for a friend by bidding on his behalf for an antique ring at auction, little does he know of the secrets that tie the ring to three tragedies: the sinking of HMS Association off Scilly in 1707, a murder in Penzance thirty years later and the drowning of a journalist diving at the Association wreck site in 1999… “

The reason this caught my eye is that a good friend of mine was diving the HMS Association and he found a gold ring. The original is in a museum on Scilly but he had a copy made, which he showed to me once - and this is no ordinary ring, for it is a death ring. But it not the only ring with links to the Association.

This is what he told me.

The cover photo [of the book] is of Porth Hellick in Scilly, where the body of Admiral Sir Clowdisley Shovell was washed ashore in 1707 after the wreck of the Association. So the legend goes, the island woman who found his body stole an emerald ring from his finger before he was buried, and gave it up on her deathbed a quarter of a century later

Fascinating stuff!! I can’t wait to read this book!!

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Another Review - Ruins Metropolis

Fellow Ruins Metropolis author Ahmed A khan has just posted this review over on his LJ. I see we agree on several of our favorites.

Glad you enjoyed my story Ahmed.

Monday, 8 September 2008

How did I miss this one?

I just came across this review of Murky Depths #1 up at Since it was posted back in April I’m not sure how I’ve not managed to spot it before. It’s a good review and here is what it has to say about my story…

Supply Ship by Kate Kelly is a well written piece with a totally unexpected ending. Set on a bleak, barren world, the inhabitants build a beacon from scrap so they can get a supply ship to pass and drop badly needed supplies. Kept to a tight budget of words, it is succinct while not being too short. Mainly though, it’s the twist-ending which makes the story. The associated artwork suffices and compliments the story.

Nice one!

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Getting it Right - Doing the Research

The advice we always hear is Write what you Know, and this is sound advice for it is always easier to write from our own experience. But sometimes we want to write about something we don’t know anything about and that is when we need to do our research.

Take a look at this post on the Behler blog which gives a publishers take on this subject, and from a readers perspective I couldn’t agree more.

There’s nothing more irritating than absorbing myself into a story only to be brought up short by an erroneous fact. I recently read a story where someone was playing pub skittles and knocked down all ten pins. That takes some doing as pub skittles only has nine. Now a little bit of research and the author could have got this right. As it was only the first of several similar errors I think it just shows laziness on the author’s part.

I really enjoy doing research for a story. I’ve delved into subjects I would probably never have otherwise known anything about. And even if I only use a fraction of my research in a story it’s never time wasted – I’m amazed how much I don’t know, particularly about some periods of history.

Some of the more interesting subjects I’ve researched recently include the history of radar, the Treaty of Wedmore, the Mayerling Incident and 19th Century printing presses. But the subject I’m reading everything I can find on at the moment is the Apollo missions and in particular, what they left behind on the surface of the moon. No prizes for guessing what that one’s for!

Who knows where my research is going to take me to next – I can’t wait to find out!