BUT FIRST THE BIG NEWS
I sold my most recent “heart” novel, Dawn’s Bright Talons, to Crossroad Press. Although Crossroad Press specialises in reviving the backlist titles of established authors in digital and audio, it is expanding its line of original titles (this is where I come in). Crossroad Press follows an author-first digital model, and includes international bestsellers William Bayer and Steven Savile, and award-winning authors Melissa Scott and Jo Graham.
A little bit about Dawn’s Bright Talons… It’s a full-on fantasy epic best described as what happens when a pseudo-Victorian colonial setting meets vampiric Machiavellian power struggles. Central to the plot are Michel, a vampire who’s sent to investigate the disappearance of his sire, and why a missing dancer might be at the heart of a secret that threatens his entire race.
We’re looking at a release some time next year, but more on that later when I’ve started the editing process and cover art is underway.
I’ve inadvertently found myself writing (and selling) short fiction this year. So getting this novel contracted made me very happy. I didn’t set out to write more short fiction, but it kinda sorta happened. I see myself chiefly as a novelist, and not a short story writer.
Another big wow so far was selling a short story to Pandemonium for its Ash anthology. I’ll be sharing the spotlight with Richard de Nooy, whose writing I absolutely adore. As well as Charlie Human, who's just released Apocalypse Now Now and who owes me a coffee. And yes. This is a Very Big Thing for little old me. To give you an idea, I tried for many years to write and sell short fiction to paying markets. I lived with the preconception that one needed to have a few short story sales notched on your belt before trying the dreaded debut novel.
The irony? I had to sell my first novel before I seemed to break the seal and started to write marketable short fiction. This just goes to show that there’s no template for writing success. It’s a blank canvas for each writer. Don’t beat yourself upside the head if you don’t have a meteoric rise to fame. It’s different for each of us, and that is how it should be. You are not JK Rowling. You are not George RR Martin. Nor are you Stephen King. And you shouldn’t compare yourself to them either.
And now... drumroll please, the works in progress...
My works in progress are chugging along nicely. I’ve got three short stories out on sub at the moment, which I’m waiting to hear. I’m planning on writing one more short story this year, and that will be for the Midian Unmade call for subs.
On the novel front, I’m currently giving a novella I wrote last year a complete overhaul for a publisher that’s keen to see me turn it into a novel-length work. All I’m able to say is that The Call of the Jackal (AKA Jackal when I tweet about it) is a post-apocalyptic African setting with strong GLBT themes. It’s as close to SF as I’ll get, and I’m thoroughly enjoying the writing process.
Then…during April this year, I wrote a MG fantasy novel. I loved it. My betas loved it. They also had lots of feedback. Then I heard about Strange Chemistry’s open call for subs and I’ve thought why the hell not… So once I’m done writing Jackal, I’ll be going into an intense period of revisions to convert The Guardian’s Wyrd from MG to YA. Since one of my betas already said the tone was more YA than MG, this shouldn’t be too difficult.
EVIL EDITOR STUFF
On the editing front, things are chugging along nicely. I’ve got two announcements about authors contracted to Dark Continents Publishing’s Tales of Darkness and Dismay line (which I direct) that I’ll be making. We’re busy finalising the contract details for The Sea anthology (so I’ll be announcing the final line-up for those too). I’ve also been inundated with entries for this year’s Bloody Parchment short story competition, and I’m wrapping edits for the Dark Harvest anthology.
The BIG editing news is that I’ll be working with Liz Strange again. I first picked her out of the slush pile when I was author-wrangling over at Lyrical Press, and she’s just had her novel, Erased, contracted by Dark Continents. I’m looking forward to sharpening my editing scalpel for her again. You can check out her Dark Kiss Trilogy in the me
Other than that, I’m working with a select few clients on a freelance basis. I’ve grown to know and love these authors dearly, and I’ve seen everything from dubcon capture fantasies with strong BDSM elements through to cosy mysteries and ass-kicking vampires. Never a dull moment. I also do believe that my rates are extremely competitive, so if you’re in the market for an editor, feel free to query me at firstname.lastname@example.org
You can see a list of some of my recent editing milestones here…