Coming Soon – Explorations: Through The Wormhole

I’m pleased to be able to share the news that my short story, When the Skies Open will be featuring in an upcoming anthology from Woodbridge Press.

All the stories in Explorations: Through the Wormhole share the same universe. Together they are intended to provide a novel-length experience to the reader in bite-sized pieces, each in the unique voice of the individual author. All this goodness is wrapped in artwork by UK artist Tom Edwards.

Explorations: Through the Wormhole

Explorations: Through the Wormhole

Naturally, I’m proud to share page space with talented authors, some of whom I’ve interviewed  SFF World and House on the Borderland.

Thaddeus White, another of the authors included in the anthology interviewed the head of Woodbridge Press, Nathan Hystad earlier this week. You can read Thaddeus’s interview here.

Explorations: Through the Wormhole will be available later this year in print and E-book formats.

Expanse: Credit NBC

Expanse: Credit NBC

 

I think that’s call for a celebratory drink!

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A(nother) new project.

Disaster has happened. A little bit of research for a current project has turned into a new project of its own. Mission creep is lethal in my household – painting a wall quickly becomes a complete room renovation. I suspect this little idea may well follow the same path.

Pub to the left...pub to the right! Yes those beams are old.

Pub to the left…pub to the right! Yes those beams are old.

You know how it happens, you walk into a pub for a lazy Sunday afternoon and suddenly want to share the fantastic place with all your genre-mad-mates, right?

No?
Oh.

Well then. I know there are many SFF fans in the Humber area. Be they readers, authors, game creators, graphic novel writers, they create and consume a culture of magic and wonder.

Promoting anything is hard work and costly, an indie author has limited options to get his work noticed. Even the traditional published writers have a trek as alas, the Humber area is remote and isolated from the busy happenings further along the M62 – even more so from the hub which is London.

With Hull City of Culture waiting in the wings I thought it high time our geek genre had a spotlight too. A chance for local authors to grow their social networks outside of the social media, meet fans from the area and allow readers to discover new work.

If you don’t try, you won’t know…right?

So Humber-SFF was born, not to compete with others but to make the genre more accessible as a whole.

It made sense to hold it on the 27th of August, a bank holiday weekend neatly between Nine Worlds and FantasyCon By the Sea. We’ve even got a whole pub* to ourselves.

27833741It wouldThe Sign in the Moonlightn’t have happened without the help from friends behind York Pub Meet and Sheffield SFF Social (Thank you!) not to mention the fantastic author Daniel Godfrey who was 100% behind the idea from the start (Pre-order his book!). David Tallerman’s also graciously agreed to be part of this momentary insanity (So buy his short story collection).

*We have one half of the present day pub to retreat to post-readings. The Monk’s Walk is thought to be formerly two pubs one holding the name The George and Dragon.

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SFF World Interview with David Tallerman

The Sign in the MoonlightThe  I first crossed paths with David at the York Pub Meet, his Giant Thief and the sequel novels are popular in our house. I was lucky enough to be the one to interview him about his new short story collection The Sign in the Moonlight and Other Stories.

You can read my interview with David Tallerman here:

http://www.sffworld.com/2016/05/david-tallerman-interview/

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Fight Like A Girl Anthology

Fight-Like-A-Girl CoverWhen I heard about this anthology I so wanted it to be all that it could be.

I’m glad to say that it lived up to my hopes, and after reading the ARC I was fortunate enough to interview the women involved.  This was a huge thing for me, I  respect the writers not just for their written work, but in their other achievements outside of writing.

While I am sure some would have approached the interview differently, I felt it important to reflect just how different each authoress approached the questions and so split the interview into two parts.

Fight Like A Girl Part One

Fight Like A Girl Part Two

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The Value of Words

Words are everywhere. We don’t realise just how much we use them, even when there aren’t any actively visible. We need them to communicate, to talk and of course, to insult one-another on Facebook. They are the hidden force behind your favourite TV Drama and the real menace in the mobile contract.

And the writers of these words? It’s common knowledge to those who work with words that it doesn’t pay much, bestseller or not. Anyone can string a sentence together, right? Not everyone can do it with finesse needed to make a business stand out from the crowd or make you believe in the character setting out to save the world from impending doom. It’s a talent. Grammar and punctuation is only one part of the tale. Creating awesome fiction is a skill which cannot be taught. It doesn’t much help when those who are published vie over whose publication format, or words on the pages are best.

Novel, script, play, game or story – the authors will tell you there’s no money in it. Regardless of book deals, acceptances, and best sellers, the financial aspect is a massive factor in a writer’s self-worth and therefore lifestyle and mental health.

A Reader’s Measure of Success?

Perhaps we should stop valuing the stories we read by the money it brings, and the format it’s presented in. Yes, I know it’s an utterly idealistic thought.

Sure, a good review won’t buy a can of beans any more than an “I loved your story” will pay for the heating, but what if your story stopped a person from committing a crime? How does that measure on the scale of worth? There are plenty of novelists out there who point to readers who have claimed their book has changed their life for the better, provided support through the loss of a loved one or simply made them feel less alone in the world. Wouldn’t it be great to pay the mortgage with ‘amount of laughter caused’?

All right, it’s a tricky currency to measure, but can’t we value it? Why isn’t there a national award for “Most Read Book in the Library”? A celebration of the work inside the cover not selected by an award panel, voting system or committee, but purely on the number of times it has been read?  Would winning such an award make a difference to how a book is received? Sheffield’s certainly trying to acknowledge the effort! There’s the Reader’s Choice Award, but this award is based on voting from a nominated list. The National Television Awards uses viewer numbers to propagate the longlist for a public vote.

Less numbers, more words!

While we as writers continue to measure our success by the money we earn, we will continue to come up short in system not designed to value the creative individual. Amazon’s system is designed around numbers, not words.  Words don’t fit into databases and percentages particularly well, they don’t follow the same rules as numbers. Bookshops offer more of a personal buying experience by engaging with readers on behalf of the publishers and authors, but these outlets still have to sell to cover costs. If you write for the love of a story, tailoring your words to fit sales predictions and best seller charts lists isn’t likely to produce you any sense of achievement. I know it doesn’t work for me. Writing for the reader and valuing their praise is still hard to measure because goodwill is no longer a bankable asset. A satisfied readership is something money can’t buy. Their genuine, passionate word of mouth recommendation is irreplaceable and outstrips any marketing budget.

If reaching ‘bestseller’ accreditation causes the stress and anxiety that it appears to, I’ll take the feedback from my readers, thank you very much. I’ll repay that loyalty the way they want-more adventures with words. For those books I read and love, I’ll let others know about it. Loudly.

I’ll also research rice and potato meal plans, I hear they’re a good cheap store cupboard staple.

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