Wednesday, April 27, 2016

He's Doing Alright, Isn't He?

Much congratulations to my writing buddy, David McDonald.

Although this news is a few weeks old, it's never too late to recognise the achievements of a friend. Especially when those achievements are so very fine.

David was very excited to announce the forthcoming release of his original Guardians of the Galaxy novel, Castaways.  I'm sure you'll agree the cover art is fabulous. And if you loved the film and the characters, you need to read this.

The Guardians of the Galaxy are back in a new adventure, Castaways. Marooned on a mysterious planet that is trapped centuries behind the rest of the galaxy, Peter Quill, Gamora, Drax the Destroyer, Rocket Raccoon, and Groot go their separate ways. But when an alien technology threatens their new home, Castaways becomes a race to see if the Guardians can reunite in time to save it.
But wait, there's more.

David's novelisation of Backcountry, a recent movie, has been shortlisted for a Scribe Award (Adapted Novel – General and Speculative category). For those who aren't aware, these awards are run by The International Association of Media Tie-In Writers.

And he has more exciting news on the way. Keep an eye out for that announcement.

Congratulations, David.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Submissions And Other Debris.

I spent last weekend at a writing retreat with three fellow writers.

We booked a place down on the peninsula, spent lots of time in front of screens putting words down, had a great crit session of our stories, and wonderful discussions on a range of topics. A fantastic time was had by all, and I suspect that if I weren't moving to the UK in a few months, this might have become a regular event for me. As it is there will be another, only I won't be there.

So I managed to get new words down, plus I rewrote three stories that have been on the backburner for quite a long time. I was pleased with how these pieces turned out. They're good stories. Now they just need to find homes.

In the past week I've sent out four stories. And already had four rejections.  Which is painful. I had hoped for at least a personal rejection on two of them, but only received form rejections. Those stories went straight back out again.

I'm kicking myself because I missed three deadlines. Two are my fault. I was travelling, and forgot about them. The other was brought forward due to the high number of submissions. Sigh.

I started a four-week fantasy writing course with the fabulous Michael Pryor. Not only is he a well respected author and editor, but a fantastic teacher. I'm loving the time in class, and learning lots.

So my writing is on the move again, which is good. But it's been a while since I've had a sale. I need one soon.

Real soon.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Congratulations Jason.

And so my story, Lodloc and the Bear, didn't win the Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Novella. That honour went to Jason Fischer. Congratulations, Jason. Well deserved.

It was an honour to be shortlisted for an Aurealis Award, and it was amazing to have been a finalist along with so many great names - writers I admire and some whose work I have been reading for longer than I can remember. It was a real thrill to have had my story considered worthy.

Awards are a funny thing. Most writers will tell you they're not that important, that they're not the reason we write. Which is certainly true in my case. But they are something many of us long for. I know I would love to receive an award or two. Writing is a solitary endeavour, and contact with our reading audience can be minimal. We might receive an encouraging note or an email, usually from someone we know. We might even be lucky enough to get a positive mention in a review. But an award or nomination, especially for a jury-judged award like the Aurealis, gives us some sense of validation. It makes us feel like maybe we can do this, and maybe we can do it reasonably well.

Many writers, myself included, live with nagging self doubts. About our abilities, about our words, about our goals. In the weeks leading up to the Aurealis Awards ceremony I honestly gave little thought to the outcome. Occasionally it would cross my mind, and I would swing wildly between 'I have no chance' to 'You never know - after all my story was deemed worthy enough to be a finalist.' In the last few hours leading up to the announcements, however, I must admit the pending result played on my mind quite a bit. I was walking through the streets of London, checking my phone for free wi-fi as I passed coffee shops, updating my newsfeed, and hoping I would be lucky enough to see my name as a winner.

Unfortunately that wasn't to be.

I had the amazing Cat Sparks lined up as my proxy to accept the award (and ensuing free drinks), and despite Cat's assurances I only needed to say "I love youse all", I had written something a little longer than that. My speech included thanks to the publisher, Keith Stevenson, my crit and writing buddy, David McDonald, my best friend, Fenna, and my wife Lindsey.

Was I disappointed I didn't win? Of course. Did I feel cheated? Not in the least. Jason is one mean writer, and it truly was an honour to be shortlisted alongside him and the others. Indeed, congratulations to all winners and other finalists.

And if I've done it once, I can surely get my name on that list again. Surely, I can.

And I do love youse all.