Sunday, November 30, 2014

A Good Week.

I've sold a story to Aurealis, and I'm very excited by that.

Now this is something I've wanted for a very long time. I have previously submitted there, but not for a long time. I was never quite sure my writing was right for Aurealis. This time, however, I had a story I thought might suit them and I'm thrilled they agreed. I have no idea when it's slated for publication but I will post that information here as soon as I know.

And, of course, this week I had a story published in The Best of Galaxy's Edge, edited by Mike Resnick. Yeah, I'm still grinning from that one too.

And I received word that an anthology, which has one of my stories in it, is moving closer to fruition.

And I had my 500th blogpost.

What a great week. Yup, everything's moving ahead here at Chateau Cameron.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Best of Galaxy's Edge 2013-2014.

I'm delighted to announce that Mike Resnick has selected my story, Holland:1944, to be reprinted in The Best of Galaxy's Edge 2013-2014.

And what a TOC. I'm in there with Brad R. Torgersen, Andrea Stewart, Tina Gower, Marina J. Lostetter, Kary English, Lou J. Berger, Ken Liu, C.L. Moore, Nancy Kress and Larry Niven.


(So, is this a fitting entry for my 500th post?)

Run, Buy, Preorder, Purchase. It's due for release next week.

Here's the table of contents:

Introduction, by Mike Resnick
I, Arachnobot, by Brian Trent
Pocketful of Mumbles, by Tina Gower
Creator of the Cosmos Job Interview Today, by Nick DiChario
Will You Volunteer to Kill Wendy?, by Eric Cline
Neep, by Kathleen Miller
Effect and Cause, by Ken Liu
Ghost in the Machine, by Ralph Roberts
The Prayer Ladder, by Marina T. Lostetter
Holland: 1944, by Steve Cameron
The Spinach Can’s Son, by Robert T. Jeschonek
Intersection, by Gio Clairval
No Place for a Hero, by James Aquilone
Happily Ever After, by C. L. Moore
Upright, Unlocked, by Tom Gerencer
Love in Bloom, by Sabina Theo
Icarus at Noon, by Eric Lief Davin
Matial, by Lou J. Berger
Do You Remember Michael Jones?, by Nancy Kress
Zombies at Work, by Leena Likatelo
Exemplar, by Mercedes Lackey
The Nechronomitor, by Brad R. Torgersen
Today I Am Nobody, by Tina Gower
God Walks Into a Bar, by Larry Niven
Totaled, by Kary English
The Unchanging Nature of Stones, by Andrea Stewart

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Shhhh! Good news!

I have good news, although I can't share it yet. In fact I have three pieces of good news, and I'm hoping I'll be able to share two of those within the next few days. But for now, shhhh!

Yes, all are writing related. Three separate things that relate to projects which I've wanted to achieve for some time. As you young folk would say, achievement unlocked.

One of these I've known for several months. And I've wanted to tell people since I was first told. It can be frustrating at times, hanging onto news when you long to share it but editors won't permit it. I do, however, understand why that occurs. And I suppose it's better announced closer to fruition rather than far too early.

As for those stories hanging out there in the void? Let's hope I'll have even more good news to share shortly.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Ideas From The Backburner.

I've recently written a few stories for which I had little more than an idea that had been floating around for a while.

Of course an idea alone does not equal a story. It's merely the launching point. But I thought these were pretty good ones, and I dutifully wrote them in my notebook several years ago. At the time I didn't run with them for two reasons. Firstly, because I didn't know what to do with them, how to develop them into something more. Secondly, I didn't feel I had the skill to pull off the descriptions I knew these particular ideas would require.

But a few weeks ago I knew I had to ignore both those self doubts and just start writing them. And I did write them. And I finished them. And I'm really happy with how they turned out.

I usually have a rough idea of where a story is going to go, and tend to work within that loose framework. From time to time they take me in unexpected directions. And this is what happened with both these stories. It was actually rather exciting to see where they went, because in at least one of them I had nothing beyond the original idea and the first paragraph of setting and character.

These are good stories. They will sell. You will see them.

But now they're settling, before I go back in a week or two and give them the second draft they so long for.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Waiting Continues.

I don't usually sweat on stories.

Once they're written I send them off and do my best to forget them. At some later point I hear back, either a rejection or acceptance, and I'm either happy and beaming for a day or so, or annoyed for about five minutes. With a few rare exceptions, the days of stewing for days over rejections are long gone.

Mostly I have some idea as to when I expect to hear back from the editor or publisher. The submission guidelines give some clue of how long they expect to take. Other websites such as Duotrope or The Grinder keep data on submissions so a writer can anticipate response times.

But this week I've actually been checking my email a little more often than usual. I have six stories out, and most of them appear to be overdue a response, based on the data I'm seeing online. These are stories I have high hopes for, and I'm keen to receive a couple of acceptances.

But there's danger in reading too much into long response times. No news, after all, is nothing but no news.

In the meantime, I'll be over here refreshing my email.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Heal The World.

Thirty years later, and Geldof has marshalled a bunch of musicians into a studio to re-record 'Do They Know It's Christmas?'

This time to raise money for the ebola cause.

Some new faces, some old faces and some unusual ones.

Angelique Kidjo, Bastille, Bono (of U2), Clean Bandit, Disclosure, Marcus Mumford (of Mumford and Sons), Elbow, Paloma Faith, Fuse ODG, Ellie Goulding, Chris Martin, Olly Murs, Seal, Sinead O'Connor, Rita Ora, Robert Plant, One Direction, Emeli Sande, Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith, Underworld, Jessie Ware, Zoe Sugg, Alfie Deyes, Nick Grimshaw, Joe Sugg.

I've read that the UK government has made it tax exempt so more profits will get to Africa.

Available either on download, or soon on CD (with remixes I believe, including one by Underworld).

Even if this song isn't your thing, consider supporting this cause. (and share this post.)

* Photograph: Band Aid Trust/Brian Aris/Camera Press

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Dimension6: Annual Collection 2014.

Keith Stevenson is reprinting my story, The Last of the Butterflies, in the first Dimension6 annual anthology.

From the blurb:
Dimension6 magazine takes you on a journey beyond the borders of the real. This first annual collection features all new stories from some of the best speculative fiction authors working in Australia today including Richard Harland, Dirk Strasser, Jason Nahrung, Alan Baxter, Robert Hood, Cat Sparks, Robert N Stephenson, Steve Cameron and Charlotte Nash.
 It's now available for Kindle pre-order at Amazon.

And for a ridiculously low price you get nine great stories by some great Australian authors.

Run, don't walk. Order now!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Someone Is Reading Me.

You write a story, you send it out into the world. It is published, and then you wait.

Usually there's nothing. Not a mention, not a ripple. Only silence.

Sometimes, if you're lucky, you see a review, a comment somewhere online. If you're very lucky, you receive an email or a message on Facebook from a reader.

And that makes for a very happy writer.

I feel very fortunate in that I've had both personal emails and published reviews. They've mostly been very positive, which is always wonderful, and they usually arrive at a time when I need a confidence boost. (Although for most writers I suspect that is 'always')

So I was delighted to see AntipodeanSF say the following about my story, The Last of the Butterflies, which Keith Stevenson at Coeur de Lion published in Dimension6.

Standout stories I've read in the past couple of months or so that have impressed themselves on me for one reason or another.
Short Story: The Last Of The Butterflies
by Steve Cameron

Post apocalyptic religious society study that hinges on undercurrents that threaten the survival of anyone that was bioengineered before the disaster. Bottom line? There's danger lurking in comfort, and the ideas of others. Go flying.
In Dimension 6 Issue 3

Rob Hood's story, The Shark God Covenant, from the same issue was included, as were half a dozen other names I feel more than honoured to be listed alongside.

Thanks, AntipodeanSF and Ion Newcombe. It's great to be mentioned, and to know at least someone is reading and appreciating my work.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Six Out.

It's been a long while since I've had this many out at once.

Yep, I currently have six stories out on submission, with one of those on hold, one of those still under consideration longer than others I know who submitted, and a couple more I have some confidence in.

Add to this another five stories congealing on my desk, waiting for a bit of distance and space before I have another look at them and send them out.

I also have at least three more publications in the next few months, and I'll be relieved when I'm given the green light to mention them. Plus a couple of stories underway.

However, it's been a while since I've received an acceptance email. Even just one would be great. Six would be better.

Editors, are you reading this? You know you want to buy my stories. Come on, do it!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Kicking Myself.

So that story I expected to be rejected was rejected. And the misread guideline was mentioned in the rejection.

And so I was really annoyed with myself.

I don't know whether my story would have been accepted had I got that one element right, but I'd like to think it would have. It would certainly have stood more chance than it did. But it's been given a quick once over and sent straight back out. I believe it's a good story and it will find a home.

I realised this week is the four year anniversary of my first publication. Now that was a feeling I'll never forget. It was a good sale, and it's a story of which I'm proud. Looking back, I can see how much I've progressed and how much I've achieved since then. Of course it's not as much as I would like to have achieved, but I plan to continue improving and selling stories.

Ahhh, hindsight. It's a wonderful thing, isn't it?

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Guidelines And M&Ms.

Before I submit a story, I research the market. I like to determine the kinds of stories the editor likes, word length, sub-genre and so on. I read through the guidelines and do everything I can to comply. I have, on occasion gotten it wrong, like the time I sent a story as a DOC rather than a RTF file. They still read my story, but made a comment that I should have sent the correct format. I had actually prepared a RTF but simply attached the wrong document when I was writing the email.

But a couple of weeks ago I made a bigger mistake. I read the guidelines several times, as I do, and missed one word, one simple word that would have changed the way I would have written the story. I'm not going to go into details at this point because, surprisingly, the story is still at the market. I've seen evidence that other writers have already had their stories rejected. Of course this could simply mean the editor has yet to read my story or, and I am quite optimistic, it's sitting in a 'hold pile', having been read and passed the first round of reading.

I'll have a better idea when I receive the email that accepts or rejects the story.

But I am frustrated at myself for not having read the guidelines closely enough to have picked up that one, small, game changing word.

Sometimes I read the guidelines and see requests for stories to be submitted in only one particular font, or with particular spacings, or selected words in the heading. I shrug, comply, and then wonder whether the editor is being a bit rock star - you know, all those demands rock stars make? Van Halen are infamous for their contract demand that a bowl of M&Ms be backstage, but with all the brown ones removed.

Many times the request is simply to make the editor's life easier. For example, it saves them reformatting the many stories they receive to suit their particular reader. And I can think of a bunch of other reasons why they request particular formats in the emails, cover letters and manuscript.

Or maybe it's to simply weed out those who haven't actually read the guidelines.

Van Halen's request is not as ego-based as it first appears. Their contracts include a lot of technical and safety requirements, and generally run to something like 150 pages. Hidden in the middle of all this is the M&M clause. And should they arrive at a venue and find a bowl of M&Ms with brown ones included, then they know immediately the contracts haven't been read, which could lead to safety issues.

I know the judges at Writers of the Future, a speculative fiction contest and publication, receive manuscripts of all sorts. Everything from romance, to memoirs and even recipe books. Seriously.

Too many writers, particularly 'newbies', send their story to every single market without researching properly. Perhaps some of those submission guidelines are the editor's brown M&Ms.

The wrong heading might mean they don't even bother reading it.