It’s been a long time coming, my debut novel. Finished my first draft in late 2009 and believed it was all fine and dandy. I even had it spellchecked! In my grubby mitts I held a copy of a Vampire novel set in the Soviet Union of the 1930s with Stalin in it and everything. What more could any editor want? Lots, as it happened. Early the next year I submitted three chapters to an editor at a conference in Loughborough. He panned it. Not the idea, mind, just the execution. Told me to change it around to his specification and come back to him the next year. Head bowed, a tear in my eye, I swallowed my pride and knuckled down.
After a year I asked about submitting, but the agent concerned seemed less than keen. So, back to the drawing board, I began submitting to small presses with my updated version. Again, no luck.
My last batch of rejections included a good one. Kate Jonez the guru of Omnium Gatherum Press in far off Los Angeles, sent me a letter telling me she rejected the manuscript as it stood. She liked the strong female character at the centre of the novel, but the manuscript needed another thorough revision. Again, I went away and did as I was told. This time (it was getting on for 2011 by now) success. Kate gave me the OK to send the full manuscript and in time, gave me a contract to sign. Success!
Well, sort of. Another rewrite was necessary. Again, I did it. By now 2012 had danced its way across the world until the beast had finally been tamed. Only minor corrections and proofreading remained. The beast of Vampsov had been conquered.
And so here it is, five years later, a lean, mean 80,000 word book with my name on it. Prould of the little fella, as it happens. Like all five year-olds its bursting with energy, ideas, imagination and thought-provoking questions –but it doesn’t start having tantrums in the supermarket when you don’t buy it sweets. I think you should own one. I’ll sign it for you too, if you like. You can buy them at Amazon or the good folks at Omnium Gatherum. Available to you from June 7th 2013.
Ooh, been months since I updated you on what’s been happening in my little corner of the multiverse. As always, there have been big chunks of ennui, despond and insouciance to get through, and the world outside is getting scarier by the day (see New Zealand -quake, Japan -Tsunami, Libya, Bahrain, Yemen, Egypt, Tunisia, Iran – political turmoil, Portugal – economic meltdown… etc) but apart from the impending apocalypse, the main edited FBS news highlights are these:
* Jim Worrad has been accepted to the 2011 Clarion Workshop in San Diego. This six-week Californian summer school trains the next generation of superstar SF/Fantasy writers and is usually taught by top genre authors (John Scalzi, Elizabeth Bear) as the students’ writing skills are honed through constant workshopping. Congratulations, Jimmy boy! Sadly, even this life-changing opportunity has a downside. Poor Jim has had to be dragged kicking and screaming into the authorial fast-track of webdom. This involved the ignominy of signing up for facebook and twitter. Facebook, as it does, suddenly threw up a bunch of long-forgotten embarrassing images of poor ol’ Jim. This one is perhaps the best of them.
* A bunch of writers I’ve been meeting with for ages to critique our scribbles has just got a name and logo (see below). I remember our early get-togethers in pubs, cafes and wherever we could commandeer a table to share writing, gossip and future plans. Well, we finally have some status as the Phoenix Square Cinema has given us a place on their website. We are now official! So, to my fellow ‘Phoenix Writers’; Maria Smith, Keith Morley, Keith Large, Sheila Kondras, Krys Wysocki, Pat Kings, Pete Kings, Sally Knight and Brenda Bernard, a tip o’ the ol’ topper from me.
* I have had a number of stories and articles appear since I last posted. Mostly, these have been in horror publications (Dead Mans Tome, Violent! (forthcoming) and Sex & Murder). The Avatar also published a wee story of mine in their third issue. Meanwhile, I had a couple of articles on this very blog featured in the Starbase Leicester/Avatar 2011 Annual.
* Talking of Starbase, they held a couple of fun events that I managed to attend. A Quiz Night (February) and a Superhero Night (March) both held in Lucie’s splendid Dark Side Cafe. Word on the street is that there will be a Starbase film festival at the Phoenix Square in the summer. May 7th
* Conferences seem extremely popular at the mo. A bunch of people I know are off to Eastercon in Birmingham, I myself ventured to the 2nd States of Independence day conference organized for the small presses of the Midlands. Catherine Digman is also going to the York literary festival and is rounding up a possee for Winchester. Alt.Fiction is coming round again as well. All go, it is.
* The Speculators, ‘Leicester’s Foremost Speculative Fiction Writers Group’ ™ is growing. We’re going to need a bigger room as weekly meeting numbers are starting to regularly attract double figures. Plans are afoot for more dreams and schemes and circus crowds that will hit the pipeline as soon as poss.
* Started reading lots of fantasy and sci-fi to bring my knowledge up to date. So far I’m faced with a China Mieville, a Gaiman, an RR Martin and a Bacigalupi. It should be fun, but the door-stop sizes do intimidate me somewhat. On a side-note, my WWII Stalinist vampire novel, Vampsov 1938 is now finally complete and looking for a publisher/agent. If I don’t place it within a year, gentle readers, I’ll let you have a free copy for your kindles/i-pads. If I do place it, drinks are on the house.
* Comic Book Classics will be on a hiatus for a few months. I have sixteen cracking comic books/authors in the series and I need to make sure the site does not become unbalanced in terms of content. It will be back in a few months, I expect, when I’ve run out of other stuff to write about.
All the best and may the springtime be kind to you.