Friday, 31 December 2010

Year's end

All over the world, people are wondering where on earth 2010 went, and I'm no exception. Another New Year's Eve? Doesn't seem possible - surely it's at least three months too soon!

All the same, it's been quite a year, and for me, another year of change. The book I started writing last June  was published this September in the UK, and just this month in the USA. I have a story in the current issue of  Out of the Gutter (which means my year has been topped and tailed with stories in OOTG, as I had a piece in the last one, too) and I currently have a wee festive flash over at Do Some Damage. My story The Black Dog was one of three selected as winners in a ghost story writing competition run by the Lit and Phil in Newcastle. I'm currently working on a rough draft of the novel I mostly wrote during NaNoWriMo to get it up to scratch for submission. Prompted by Paul Brazill's  interview and egged on by others, I established this blog and my story blog. I have a nice bit of freelance work to see me out of this year and into next.

As well as writing, I picked up jewellery making again. I opened a little shop on Folksy and started going to craft fairs to sell my creations. Those two things - writing and crafting - will come together at the Maker's Market craft fairs next month, in an exciting and innovative initiative I'll be blogging about very, very soon. Which leads me to another thing - I've met some amazing people this year, for which I am extremely grateful.

There have, of course, been disappointments, things which didn't work out as hoped and planned, but whilst I aim to learn from them, I don't intend to dwell on them. Rather, I'm working out what needs to happen in 2011 to keep things moving forward. I don't have a shortage of plans and ideas, I just need to get things into some sort of order.

So, as we each look back and reflect on 2010, and look forward and speculate on what 2011 might bring, let's raise a glass. I don't think next year is likely to be an easy one for most of us, but that doesn't mean it has to be a bad one. My year will, whether 'successful' or not, undoubtedly involve yet more change. Whatever you are planning, hoping for or aiming to achieve, I wish you the very best of luck. Cheers!

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Opportunity knocks

As all you budding writers out there will know, most publishers will only accept submissions via a literary agent, and finding an agent is not necessarily any easier than finding a publisher. Angry Robot are taking a brave step and opening their doors in March 2011 to unrepresented writers. They promise that all subs will be read - and I suspect there will be many! While that may sound like a lot of competition, it's a fabulous opportunity for those of us who are unagented to get our work looked at. Check out their submissions page,  too - full of good advice.

Angry Robot are looking for adult novels that fall under the following genre headings: fantasy, science fiction, horror, and urban or modern fantasy.These may be broadly interpreted, however, as you will see from their guidelines.

I've got a couple of novels, complete, but currently at rough draft stage, that may well fit the bill. Assuming I get one or other of them to the required standard in time, I'll be chucking my hat in the ring and having a bash at this. Be nice to have some company!

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Just when you thought...

...the government couldn't sink any lower, this happens. Booktrust, whose strapline is 'Inspiring a lifelong love of books for all' and which aims to provide free books to children at strategic points in their lives, has had 100 per cent of its funding (in England) taken away from next April. As a mate of mine observed, 'When you're taking books off babies you've really lost your moral compass'. Hard to argue with that.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Festive tales!!!

There's a Christmas themed noir flash thing going on over at Do Some Damage. At the time of writing the first three are up, and stories will be posted at regular intervals until early January. Enjoy!

Free books!!!

Those nice people at Caffeine Nights are getting into the spirit of giving with this offer of free books. Go get 'em!

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Creative writing course

There are lots of creative writing courses on offer, but this is the first to be offered by a literary agency. Curtis Brown are taking a pro-active approach to finding new talent. At some £1,600 a go, it's not a cheap option, and since the weekly classes are to be held at Curtis Brown's offices, students will have to live in or within reasonable travelling distance of London. However, with the additional carrot of representation for the most promising students, it is likely to prove to be popular. It'll be interesting to see how it all pans out!

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Fantastic news!

I heard some great news the other day about a mate of mine, Ian Ayris. He's a cracking wrtiter, and those nice, perceptive and insightful people at Caffeine Nights have snapped up his debut novel,  ABIDE WITH ME. I've read some excerpts and I totally understand why they did. Now I can hardly wait to read the book, which will be out next year.

So, massive congratulations to Ian; his success is very well deserved indeed! :)

And if you can't wait to read something by Ian, his story BY THE DIM AND FLARING LAMPS is up at Beat to a Pulp. Stunning stuff!