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Andrew's horror novella, 'The Bathtub', is now available.

Sunday, 28 July 2013

eTreasures Publishing Facebook Page

Well SmalleTreasures Publishing (publishers of ‘The Well’) now have their own Facebook page

The page already has a lot of stuff on it and there is a promise of regular giveaways, so it should be well worth liking.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

The Works in Progress

It’s been a while since I gave any sort of update.  There’s a lot going on in my writing world at the moment, with several projects in various stages of happening.  Here’s a summary:

1.  ‘The Torridon Witches’ was accepted by Damnation Books earlier this year.  I’ve already shown off the cover.  It’s a novella about four backpackers who are accused of witchcraft in remote Scotland.  I’m waiting to receive amendments from my editor.

2.  ‘Dana’s Children’ was also accepted earlier this year, this time by Wild Child Publishing.  It’s a violent horror novella about archaeologists who uncover a mythical tribe.  Like ‘The Torridion Witches’, I’m waiting for edits.

3.  I’m polishing another novella about archaeologists making an unpleasant discovery.  This one is a tongue-in-cheek undead story based on a remote Scottish island.  It’s great fun to write and definitely not serious.

4.  I’m writing a science fiction/horror novel based around World War One.  I don’t usually touch science fiction (I don’t ‘get’ it), but there’s enough horror for me to feel within my comfort zone, and I’m enjoying doing something different, too.

5.  A historical fantasy a novel based on a medieval Welsh legend is just about complete.  The story is about a king who needs to keep his foot in a maiden’s lap.  Despite that unusual summary it’s a wonderful story of love, power and war.  I can’t claim any credit for the plot but I hope my retelling does justice to one of my favourite Welsh tales.

6.  An erotic piece featuring Kerry-Jane and Amy, who ‘starred’ in one of my other erotic works, ‘Art Class’.

7.  Now Dark Realm Press is no longer with us, ‘Andraste’s Blade’ has reverted to me.  It was the first novel I had published and is a bit ropey in places.  A longer-term plan is to improve it and self-publish.

8.  ‘Snuff’ is a violent horror I wrote some years ago which hasn’t got picked up.  I think I’ve had weaker published, so I’ve dusted it off, reedited, and will be trying again.

Saturday, 13 July 2013

On Being Critiqued

I’m fortunate to have very good writing buddies who give me solid and honest feedback.

I’ve also been a member of large and small critique groups over the years.  I can show my age by admitting I was even a member of a postal critique group before the internet took off.

A lot has been written on how to write a good critique.  Having been on the receiving end of ‘crits’ as well, I think there’s also a skill in having your work critted, particularly in interpreting some of the crits.  Here are some tips I’ve taught myself over the years:

1.  Ignore the most positive critique.  Yes, honestly!  Online critique groups often insist on a certain number or ratio of critiques.  Sadly, some members simply play the system by writing positive, generic critiques, usually saying how good the work is.  That boosts the ego for a few seconds, but isn’t useful.

2.  Ignore the the least positive critique.  Some critiquers give consistently poor reviews.  I don’t know whether it’s a power thing, or insecurity, but a proportion of reviews will be destructive, or choose not to ‘get it’, just for the sake of it.  That’s not to be confused with constructive criticism – the best reviews can be from people who genuinely don’t like the piece.  This point is more to point out that some critiquers decide to give a bad review before even reading. 

(As an aside, when I do receive a destructive review bluntly telling me I can’t write, I add to my over-polite thank you E-Mail a signature linking to my publications.  It’s childish, but gives me some satisfaction.)

3.  Don’t engage in correspondence.  A short thanks for a critique, or a request for brief clarification, is fine is fine.  I don’t think sending a lengthy E-Mail explaining why the critiquer didn’t do a good job, or explaining the story, serves any purpose.  If someone doesn’t grasp my story it’s my fault for writing it badly, not the reader’s fault for not getting it.  I delete long explanations of what the writer was trying to do unread.

4.  If everyone tells me the same thing, they’re probably right, even if I disagree.  Or, even if I know I’m right, I’ll still consider going along with the majority as the chances are a publisher will disagree with me too!

5.  Some people have strange ideas.  I have occasionally had criticisms that may been been well meant, but are so way out they are easily ignoreable.  (Like the reader who told me my work wasn’t valid because writers should always state their character’s species in the first line of a story.  I think he genuinely meant it.)

6.  Use your own judgement.  Critiquers usually do a damn good job, but aren’t infallible.  This is usually a judgement call and ‘gut feel’.  In particular, where critiquers are split on something I tend to go with my opinion as a deciding vote.

So, there we go with a few things I’ve learned from being critted.  Despite some of my points, I strongly recommend having work critiqued.  Critiquers have given me so much invaluable help during my writing career.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

A Moment of Personal Pride

Picnic, fire, people

When I had ‘Andraste’s Blade’ published back in 2005, I took great delight in printing a copy of the cover and hanging it at the bottom of the stairs.

I wasn’t really expecting any more successes, so when I told my wife that one day I’d have book covers running all the way up the stairs we both treated it as a throwaway, tongue-in-cheek remark.

As I’ve had more publications, the wall running up our stairway has become more crowded.  I’m not sure what some visitors make of the scantily-clad models on the front of ‘The Shoot’ or ‘Art Class’!

Now, six years later, I’ve received a finalised cover for ‘The Torridon Witches’ from Damnation Books.  I printed a copy and went to hang it along the stairs with the others, and…no room!  And I’ve still got artwork for ‘Dana’s Children’ to come from Wild Child Publishing.

I may not have made a fortune from my writing.  I may not be a household name.  I may not be as prolific as some of my writing friends.  My works may not all be novel length.

However, realising that I’ve written enough books that editors have thought good enough to be published, for their covers not to fit on my wall, is a moment of personal pride.  I hope readers will forgive me the indulgence of mentioning it.

I wouldn’t have reached the landmark without the support of my writing buddies (you know who you are) and especially my wife and son, who tolerate (or celebrate?!) me disappearing to the computer to indulge in my passion.  Thank you.

My publications (together with their cover art) are listed here: