Sunday, October 23, 2011

Brisbane Zombie Walk 2011

I actually wasn't intending to go this year, because every year I try to go, something happens and then I can't go.

But of course, I didn't plan to go, so I found myself not only free this afternoon, but also in the Valley.

Here's some photos...


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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Macabre: out now on ebook

Just in time for Halloween, the award-winning Macabre is out now in ebook format!

Macabre: A Journey Through Australia's Darkest Fears features a whopping 205,000 words of Aussie horror -- the classics (Henry Lawson, Marcus Clarke), the modern masters (Terry Dowling, Kaaron Warren), and some of the nicest people I know (Stephen M Irwin, Shane Jiraiya Cummings and the rest of you... you know who you are!).

Oh, and if that's not enough for you, my short story about the dark heart of journalism 'Feast or Famine' is in there too.

When I first held Macabre in my hot little hands at WorldCon last year, I remember thinking, 'This is awesome. This is massive. What's the shipping cost going to be on this thing?' So it's awesome that it's now being offered as an ebook, so that this weighty tome can be offered without the weight.

It's currently available at Smashwords and Amazon, and will be available elsewhere before Halloween.

And, if you still decide you want the brick, I'm told POD versions will be coming soon.

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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Grant year, week 41: 1st rejection

Well, I didn't get into the Hachette MS Development program. They had 260 applications, and from those chose 10 to take part.

I have to admit, it knocked me around for an hour or so. But I've bounced back well. I think in part because of this article by Tobias Buckell, where he talks about 'milestones' and 'goals'.

Milestones are things you’d like to have happen to you. Selling a story. Selling a novel. Getting nominated for an award. Winning an award.

Goals are things you can actually achieve. Finishing writing a story. Writing a certain number of words. Writing a certain kind of story.


Early on in my career I hit upon a method of focusing and rewarding only the activities that I could control. I knew I wanted to sell a story, but that it was a random pellet. So I focused on writing and submitting stories. No one could stop me from that. I celebrated every 100 rejections (with champagne and nice food and a little mini-celebration) I got as proof that I was laying down the right actions toward hopefully getting a story sold.

So, even though the rejection was initially painful, I'm still on track to reach my goal -- to have a polished MS by the end of the year.

Where do I go from here?

At the moment I'm in the process of printing out the second draft to send back to the editor and also to an early beta reader.

After that, I need to polish, and then send to a couple of other beta readers.

Then a further run-through of the MS to incorporate feedback.

And then I just have to sell the damn thing!

The other thing that's helped me keep my chin up is attending the Emerging Writers Festival yesterday.

I got to catch up with writer/editor friends, and the festival itself resulted in some interesting ideas/opportunities.

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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The process of writing — Speakeasy

I used to be very much seat of the pants but I generally like to have an idea of how the story ends these days.

I had too many experiences where I had 2/3 of a story but couldn’t finish it. And for novels—I definitely plan. Even though pretty much everything ends up changing.

I think you’ve got to have a plan, but be flexible.

That’s how it is for me, anyway!

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Sunday, October 02, 2011

Grant year, week 39: 2nd draft finished!

Well, kinda. I think it was Trent Jamieson who said that the rewriting is finished when you run out of time. So, I think I would like to rewrite the epilogue, if I have time.

I've been really slack with my updates on the blog. Apologies for that. The reality is that there hasn't been a hell of a lot of news. I've been slowly plodding along with what I'm calling my 'continuity sweep' of the second draft. I rearranged so much, structurally, that I needed to go back and make sure that it all made sense.

And it did, pretty much. There's one thing that's niggling me, so I think that means that it's still not quite right. But I feel like if I had to send it off to the Hachette thing tomorrow, I'd feel okay about it. And I'll only have to send it off to the Hachette thing if I get shortlisted. Which, obviously, I hope will happen.

So, from here. I'll probably give myself a night off tomorrow. (I'll most likely still be writing, but just not working on Skin Deep). I've had some ideas for the follow-up book. One of which, bizarrely enough, came from my daughter. She said that she'd seen mandarin skin on the nature strip outside the house. She said maybe it's a burgular.

It got me thinking about a guy who's under some kind of magic spell and the mandarin is some sort of hypnotic prompt. He's out there, watching, quietly eating his mandarin. I don't know. If Skin Deep is anything to go by, by the time it reaches the book, it will bear no resemblance!

Anyway, next steps are to send the second draft to a couple of people who have offered to be early beta readers (if there is such a thing) and also the editor, who has kindly agreed to have another look.

And then hopefully, if I can iron out this final problem, it will just be a text edit and it will be good to go to the second round of beta readers.


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