Monday, October 4, 2010

Crawling out from beneath the woodwork

At the moment it feels like I’ve been very busy but there are many projects still up in the air so I don’t really want to make mention of them until they’re finalised.

On the editing front things have been great, I’ve been working hard with my current batch of authors and am glad to see how some of the manuscripts have evolved to the point where they’re ready for the final stages of production. Authors are sometimes daunted by the amount of work that goes into their edits but what I tell them is simple: “You can never edit enough.” Every manuscript I take on receives a preliminary read-through before I offer my recommendation and a contract is mailed. After that, I ask most first-time authors to revise according to a checklist that catches the most common gremlins. My veterans mercifully figure out their gremlins and catch them before submission, so unless something is drastically wrong, that step can be skipped. Two rounds of content edits usually follow. I read the manuscript through from beginning to end each time.

I sometimes even complete a third round. Yes, that’s me reading the same novel four times in the space of a few months. After that the manuscript goes through to a line editor who catches anything I may have overlooked and **gasp** I read through the entire novel again after the line edits. Yes, dear authors, by the time I’m done with your novel, I’ve read it five or six times. So please return the favour by reading through your galley once or twice and really looking for gremlins. That’s after you’ve paid attention to my editorial requests. Yes, I know they’re requests and require you to change your precious words, but it’s because I’m investing my time and interest in your work, to both our benefit.

Reading… I think it’s quite clear I don’t get much time to read for pleasure, but I have been enjoying reviewing for the newspapers again. There aren’t a lot of reviewers who handle the fantasy and science fiction releases, which I’m more than happy to take on. This is a great way to read new books without paying for them while also getting my name “out there”. **waves nebulously in the air**

I must gush about Giles Kristian, whose Lords of Thunder I’m reviewing at present. His combat sequences leave me breathless and I reckon he’s got a handle on pre-Christian Scandinavian cultures and then some.

My writing’s going well. I don’t have another release until December, when Tainted Love (written as Therése von Willegen) hits the vendors, but I’ve completed my next erotic romance, Hell’s Music, which is sitting with a trusted beta reader, and I’m revising The Black Goat, a sort-of steampunk colonial-era fantasy involving a shipwrecked botanist-turned-vampire. Please don’t ask me where I got the inspiration for that one. I still don’t know but it seemed like a good idea at the time.

As always, I’ve been helping behind the scenes with BlackMilk Productions’ assorted short indie film projects. We’ve had a very busy past few months since completing post-production on Regression, and the boys and gals have been at it to wrap The Lovers, which is showing at Shortcut #6 on October 19. I’m not quite sure what my “official” designation is, because I do everything from running to helping pack up the set or removing fake blood stains. Oh, and sometimes writing press releases or sourcing poets. Or make sandwiches. Odd little things, I know, but it makes me warm and fuzzy when I see my name in the credits under “special thanks”.

One thing I’ve learnt: there’s no such thing as “let’s make a quick movie”. Oh, and it’s never cheap, either.

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Attention authors:

I’m always on the look-out for new authors. If you have a novella or story you think may interest me, please take a look at the Lyrical Press website ( to check the publisher’s submissions guidelines and mail me at

Some of my favourite authors include Storm Constantine, Jacqueline Carey, Neil Gaiman and Poppy Z Brite. Although I’m not restricted by genre, I prefer works of fantasy (urban or epic) and horror. I will consider well-written erotica and some science fiction (but please, no colonisation efforts to Mars where Earth is conveniently wiped out by falling debris, okay?).

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