Thursday, November 27, 2008

Pointless words from hell

Having adapted, rewritten or edited several older stories lately, I'm getting very frustrated with myself and the number of completely pointless words I fill my writing with. All those 'so', 'really', 'a bit', 'that', 'almost', and 'already's are bad enough, but now I've noticed that I constantly use 'began to' or 'started to' instead of just saying what the character did. The number of 'he began to wonder...' or 'she started to feel that...'s I've had to chop out of stories is incredible. I can't believe I didn't spot them while I was writing!

So, does anyone else have any 'words from hell' that they use when they don't need to, and fill up their word-counts with? If so, I'd love to know what they are.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Anthology for a good cause

I heard yesterday that I've had a story accepted for 'I Do', an anthology in support of gay civil partnerships in California. All proceeds from the sale of the anthology will go to the Lambda Legal Fund to assist in the fight against Proposition 18, the recent law-change which has left thousands of civil partnerships in limbo.

The story is called 'Salad Days' and is another of my 'kitchen sink' romps, this time involving two men and some fennel. ;)

The anthology will be due out early next year and I'll keep everyone posted on release dates etc in due course.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Odd socks

What does happen to all the odd socks that get lost in the wash? For a fun take on this perennial problem, why not head over to Cobblestone Press and download their free magazine, CPQ. The September issue (out a little late due to editorial constraints) includes my short story Washday Blues, which is a complete romp involving two men, a washing machine and a pair of navy blue socks!

You can download the magazine, free, as a pdf file from the Cobblestone Press catalogue.

Have fun with the story, and watch out for those socks!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Worth a few pennies...

I don't often have adverts on my blog - but then I don't come across the sort of gritty urban fiction I like all that often. But here, for a change, is an anthology of hard, dark, urban short stories from Byker Books. Their tagline is 'industrial strength fiction' and their stated aim is to publish an antidote to chick-lit, which should give you some idea of what they're about!

For the record, I don't have a story in this volume, although I'm hoping 'Rock and a Hard Place' will be included in the follow-up.


‘Radgepacket – Tales from the Inner Cities Volume One’ will be available from 17th November. This is a strictly limited edition publication featuring brand new fiction from up and coming British authors Andy Rivers, Will Diamond and Nick Boldock amongst others as well as an exclusive story from renowned novelist Danny King.

‘Byker Books have mustered a cabal of writers who write like men possessed about men possessed. Tales from the Inner Cities wades into the British underclass with tight clenched fists and eyes wide open.

Pick it up if you’re hard enough – put it down if you can.’

Matt Nesbitt, Oxfordshire Press

Radgepacket Volume One


And what's more, it's only £5.99! I'm off to order my copy today.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Heat Haze

Velvet Mafia have duly uploaded their latest issue, complete with my short story 'Heat Haze'.

This is a very naughty little story set in a desert, where nothing is quite what it seems. English gentleman Edward lusts after his Arab guide Rashid, and gets more than he bargained for when they set up camp in the desert. But the story's title gives a clue as to what's really going on... ;)

Click the button below to read the story (for free!) at the magazine's website and as usual, I hope you really enjoy it.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Great news

It's not often I get two acceptances in the same week, let alone on the same day. But that's what happened today, much to my amazement and delight!

First of all the gltb online magazine Velvet Mafia emailed to accept 'Heat Haze' for an imminent issue. It's a naughty-but-fun tale set in a desert, where nothing is quite what it seems.

I'd just written back to thank them when a second email bounced into my inbox, this time from Byker Books who have taken 'Rock and a Hard Place' for inclusion in their Radgepacket - Tales from the Inner City anthology next year. The story should appear either in the second volume in the spring, or if that gets too full too quickly, in volume #3 in the summer. I can hardly wait!

I'll obviously post more details about when and where as soon as I have them. Right now I'm just glowing. It's a nice reward for some very hard work.

Lots of submissions

I've been sending stories off rather madly in all directions the last couple of weeks, to markets including a flash contest, various magazines, and the prestigious Aeon Award.

I'm not particularly hopeful on the latter; it's a national contest attracting some of the best names in sf and fantasy and I'm not sure I stand a chance against them. I've never had the courage to even enter it before. But this year I happened to have a story about time travel, which I've always liked, floating about, so I thought I'd bung it in and see what happens. If nothing else it's good experience. Hmm. Why does that sound ominously like the old 'it's good for the soul' whenever anything awful comes along? :D

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Litfests - is this the end?

Private Eye had an interesting snippet on the future for literary festivals in the current economic crunch a couple of weeks ago.

Although some of the best known, longest running and most popular festivals (such as Hay-on-Wye and Edinburgh) may be financially secure enough to survive, a lot of the others apparently depend for their existence on the attendance of authors who are paid (or at least heavily subsidised) to go along by their publishers.

The only trouble is, Random House have already announced they will no longer pay for author 'jollies' of this kind and other publishers are likely to follow suit. This could easily mean that the rash of literary festivals that sprang up in virtually every town and city (heavens, even Birmingham has one *g*) may find themselves at risk.

Has anyone ever been to a literary festival? I keep looking, but they all seem so dreadfully woolly - it seems virtually impossible to get details of exactly what's on when, and how you pay, and whether you can pay for the whole festival or only for individual workshops. As for accommodation and food, those have obviously never even crossed most of the organisers' minds.

It'll be interesting to see whether Private Eye is right, and the number of festivals falls off sharply during the next few months. In which case I might have missed my chance...

Saturday, November 01, 2008

It's like buses...

None for a while, then two come along at once! I had not one but two stories released yesterday - first the Byker Books one (see previous post) and then Aspen Mountain put out 'Shifting Perspectives 2'.

This is a follow-up, unsurprisingly, to 'Shifting Perspectives' and contains sequels to both Feathered Friend and Emily Veinglory's The Rat Burglar, as well as a brand new story (about a shapeshifting fish!) by Sharon Maria Bidwell.

In my sequel, Steal the Sky, Avery insists on entering a pigeon race but gets off course and finds himself locked, naked, in a stranger's garden shed!

As ever you can find more details including full size cover art, a blurb, and how to order the book, on my website.

I had a blast writing Steal the Sky and hope you get as much enjoyment reading it.