Saturday 30 May 2009

The Pitch is the Thing!

Writing a novel is one thing. Being able to get someone else to read it or even, heaven forbid, publish it is another thing entirely.

Many doubtless fantastic writers never get to see their dream of becoming a published author realised (remember - there's no such thing as an unpublished author) because they don't make it easy enough for the Powers That Be (i.e. editors) to see how good they are. In other words, they don't pitch their Pitch properly. (Did you see what I did there?)

Lee Harris, one of the editorial team at Angry Robot Books, has written a piece for SFX Magazine about how to help yourself on the road to authordom (if that's a word), outlining twelve handy hints (a.k.a. The Twelve Commandments Of Preparing A Pitch That Thou Shalt Stick To) to make sure that you do all in your power to get someone else to read the labours of countless hours of blood, sweat and tears-style toil.

Then it's up to The Work itself to sell you The Writer. Gulp!

Friday 29 May 2009

The Official Doctor Who Annual 2010

Those of you suffering withdrawal symptoms from the fact that there is no regular series of Doctor Who this summer should note that the The Official Doctor Who Annual 2010 will be available to buy from August, and is already listed on Amazon.

This official Doctor Who annual is the perfect gift for any budding Time Lord. Packed with exclusive comics, stories, features and activities, the Doctor Who Annual is the one book no fan should be without!

I mention this mainly because I ended up contributing about a third of it, including a feature on the CyberKing as well as various other activities and games. In the meantime, fans of the Cybermen might also like to see this, which is currently adorning my desktop.

Tuesday 26 May 2009

New Match Wits quizzes available for download!

I am very pleased to announce that Icon Books have posted a series of brand new quizzes for Match Wits with the Kids on their website.

To access this entirely free, downloadable material, simply click on the appropriate link below.

And for the ANSWERS to all of the above, click here.

A Christmas Miscellany

Coming this Christmas from Skyhorse Publishing...

A new edition of What is Myrrh Anyway? for the American market.

Now entitled A Christmas Miscellany: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Christmas, the book is going to be chock full of photographs and illustrations along with a full colour design throughout.

Click here to visit Skyhorse Publishing's website to find out more.

Sunday 24 May 2009

In praise of the novella

There is an interesting opinion piece in the latest issue of Death Ray magazine (#19) about the novella. Longer than a short story and not as long as a novel (obviously), according to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, the novella is a work of fiction 17,500 - 39,999 words in length.

Staff writer Thom Hutchinson goes on to argue that it is the ideal form for fiction. I am certainly a fan of the novella, having just finished one. Entitled Conqueror Worm, it is to be published along with Evolution Expects (my fourth Pax Britannia novel), and comes in at 17,527 words.

For me, the novella presents me with the opportunity to tell a story that wouldn't stretch to a whole novel. The world of Pax Britannia has generated a host of ideas for stories, but not all of them warrant a 90,000 word novel, but I can still indulge in writing of many more of them through the novella. In the past, people have praised my short fiction, sometimes over the long form stuff, so in the novella I think I have found a happy medium.

As it happens, I'm also enjoying the novellas of another writer at the moment, reading as I am The Taint and Other Novellas by Brian Lumley (published by Solaris Books). And considering the subject matter of these Cthulhu Mythos stories, who's to say that Ulysses Quicksilver and his friends might not one day uncover hints of a world beyond our own inhabited by the Other Gods?

Saturday 16 May 2009

Marie Brennan on writing women

I came across this post the other day, written by fantasy author Marie Brennan, about how she writes female characters. It makes for interesting reading and what she has to say was a great relief to hear, for me, as I have just finished a short story featuring a female protagonist.

We'll see what everyone else thinks of it when Evolution Expects is published.

Monday 4 May 2009

May the fourth be with you

It's an oldie, but it's a goodie

And the reason for reminding you that today is Star Wars Day? I'm studying aspects of a long time ago, in a galaxy far far away for a potential new project. It's too early to say more at the moment, but fingers crossed and the Force may yet be strong in this one.

Current workload includes the aforementioned Star Wars-related research, completing the Pax Britannia short story Conqueror Worm (which takes the Pax Britannia universe in a whole new direction) and concluding my work on Stormslayer. (The illustrations are all in for this one and, I have to say, there are some doosies amongst them. I'll try to give you a sneak preview of some, if and when I'm allowed.) Oh and there are the next three - yes, three! - Pax Britannia novels to plot out.

That should keep me busy through May.

Until next time...

Saturday 2 May 2009

Free Comic Book Day!

Today is Free Comic Book Day - hurray! Yes, it's true - today participating comic stores around the world are giving away free comic books. I know, it sounds unbelievable, but it's true!

Click here
to find out how Forbidden Planet are helping those who can't easily get into one of their stores to participate. And this is what my local comic store They Walk Among Us of Richmond is up to.

To find out more about the event in general, click here.