Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Eeek - deadlines

Various deadlines that still seemed to be a comfortable way off a few weeks ago have started to loom ominously, so I got my head down and worked on a story for one of them. 'Sticky Wicket' is a short, sex'n'cricket story that I'm hoping to sub to a Torquere anthology by early January. It had stalled rather while I was in hospital but a writing friend urged me to lavish some time on it, give it chocolates, take it to the movies and give it another go. I'm not sure if it was the cinema tickets or the hot coffee LOL but something worked and I've made some headway at last. Still not finished, mind you, but I've only really got the sex scene and some final 'wrapping up' to do now.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Response - or lack of it

I'm getting really tired of publishers who don't respond within the time they say they will. Currently I'm waiting on three different publishers, none of whom have replied within their own stated response time. One (a well known US print publisher) has even forbidden writers from calling or emailing to check the progress of their manuscript. Since they haven't even acknowledged receipt I have no way of finding out if they got the damn thing in the first place! Another that I'm waiting on is a multi-authored anthology, and I can't keep the other writers informed because I'm not being told myself. It's all very aggravating, not to mention disheartening. You go to all the trouble of following a publisher's guidelines on formatting, content and style of submission, you post it off (and as most publishers are in America these days that's no small price to pay) and you wait patiently for the end of the response time to be up. And wait... and wait... and go on waiting... and in some cases, simply never hear.

Don't get me wrong. I understand that publishers and editors are extremely busy, harrassed people. Their desks probably have piles of unread manuscripts that resemble the Tower of Pisa and their bosses are probably holding them to all sorts of unreasonable targets and deadlines. But it's common courtesy to send a reply of some sort, and it only takes a minute to drop a one-line email to a waiting author to say 'sorry we haven't got back to you, we'll write as soon as we can'. And it takes only a few minutes to set up an automated response to submission emails, that will at least let writers know their material has been received. Some publishers can do it - so why not all? I honestly don't know. But I can't help thinking they'll start to lose the goodwill of potential authors - which can hardly be a Good Thing for their business....

Monday, November 28, 2005


Worked really hard over the weekend tidying my study and especially my desk. I usually work in a welter of gadgets and gizmos and fluffy toys and bits of paper and other crap that 'might come in useful one day'. Every now and again, though, it gets completely out of hand and I find I can't see the desk any more. The worst offender was a set of three overflowing desk trays, supposedly labelled 'in', 'out' and 'pending' but really just three versions of 'should have been filed weeks ago'. LOL. I set to work, went through everything and threw out most of it, with the nice result that I have a clean tidy desk and hopefully a clean tidy mind along with it. Dunno how long it'll last but I'm going to enjoy it while it does!

Oooh - a new book!

Press Release from ERWF Member Kay Derwydd:

"Novel Visions" by Kay Derwydd
Available at Chippewa Publishing

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Jonathon Cayle is a horror novelist visiting New Orleans for a two-week long book signing stint. Unhappy with his life back in Atlanta with his girlfriend, he is grateful to be able to explore his preference for men while he’s out of town. What he finds in New Orleans, however, is the last thing he ever expected.


He sat down on the bed, kicked his boots off, and draped his coat over the end of the bed to let it dry out. The stability of a regular mattress was a welcome relief. He was sick to death of Nadeen's obsession with waterbeds. He switched on the television to the news then began to undress. He only watched the news half-heartedly, feeling a bit out of the loop with the local bits, but he left it on as he went into the bathroom to fill the tub. He had an hour before Jess would be back and a nice soak in hot water would do him some good.

As he sank down into the steaming water, he felt calmness sweep over him. Now this was heaven. No Nadeen, no ringing phones, no socialite visitors; just himself, a hot tub, and the decadence of New Orleans right outside his window. With the soothing effects of the water, he was finally able to think about his next book.

He was in town to do the signings for The Hart Files, but he knew the plotline demanded another book. Rather, the main character demanded another book. Kain Hart: now there was a man to be reckoned with, and what better place to do a book signing for a vampire novel than New Orleans? Jonathon smiled and closed his eyes; if only Kain Hart were real. He chuckled quietly. If Nadeen knew he lusted after men, she would have a fucking heart attack. Jess knew, however, and she was constantly trying to set him up with some cute guy she knew.

Jonathon groaned at the thought of finally touching a man again. The last time he had was nearly a year ago, long before he started dating Nadeen. Within two weeks of the beginning of their relationship, she had made it clear she was not fond of gays and lesbians. Jonathon's heart collapsed in on itself that day, but he stayed with her; only the gods knew why.

As the steam wafted up around him and the tub, Jonathon felt himself drift off to sleep several times. If he had more time, he would give in. Every time he did, he was treated to a delicious dream of Kain Hart, his darkly sensual vampire from his latest novel. Oh, if only he were real. With a Kain Hart to keep him company, Jonathon would never return to Atlanta or Nadeen. He could not help but grin at the thought of the socialite bitch's reaction should that happen. So lost he was in his daydream of Kain, he did not hear the knock on his suite door until the person was nearly banging on it.


Friday, November 25, 2005

Time wasting

I cheerfully wasted almost the entire afternoon hunting down, re-coding and previewing different blogger templates for this site. There are some truly amazing designs 'out there', only some of which are too complicated for this css-dunce to understand. LOL. I finally plumped for this one because it has a writing theme. Thanks to blogspot templates for the design.

Of course, all that messing about meant that I didn't achieve a single thing I actually wanted or needed to - including chasing down stories for Forbidden Fruit, reading stories for Forbidden Fruit, accepting stories for Forbidden Fruit (LOL) and emailing one of my publishers about payment terms. But I figure everyone needs a day off now and again.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Sultry Christmas

The contract for the Sultry Shades of Christmas anthology came through yesterday but I didn't have time to look at it. I put that right today and after querying a few minor details with the editor, I printed it out, filled in the blanks and shoved it in an envelope ready to mail to Canada. I might have been a bit previous with my announcements, though. It now looks as though the anthology's planned for Christmas 2006, not Christmas 2005 as I'd thought. Not that it matters - it gives the editor and publishers longer to ensure a really good product. Must admit I'd been wondering how on earth they were going to get it out in time for this year's festive season!

And talking of anthologies, I've given Chippewa Publishing permission to put one of my contracted stories in a new one they have planned, called (rather wonderfully) 'The Twelve Elves of Christmas'. LOL I think 'Lost Property' was due to come out at stome stage as a stand-alone e-book, but I'm happy to have it included in an anthology and although the overall return will probably be less, it'll be nice to have a payment in hand rather than waiting for the royalties to come through!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Coming back again!

I've had a request from one of my readers to reinstate this blog because it's easier to track via RSS than the one on my personal webspace. Which is a very reasonable request - and as I'm a very reasonable person *grins* - here I am, back again, turning up like an old penny.

Not that there's much to report just now. I've been scribbling away on one or two new ideas, I'm betaing a novel for a friend, and I'm sorting out edits on a story that I hope is going in the latest Chippewa Publishing anthology. But for now, that's it! I'll check in again soon when I should hopefully have some more news.