clhollandwriter: (poppy)
I meant to post an end of year update ages ago, except there didn't seem to be anything worth updating beyond "2014 sucked". This seems to have been the case for a lot of people. In fact I haven't seen a lot of people at all saying they had a good year. Here's hoping 2015 is better for all of us.

There's actually not a lot to update. I've got two stories sold last year due to come out this year. One is a podcast of "This is the Way the World Begins" at Meduspod. The other is the website release of "The Silver Spoon" in The Colored Lens Winter 2015 edition. That's already available as an ebook, but I think will be available on the site at a later date. No idea on when either of these stories will appear, but will mention it when they do.

So far this year I've written two flash stories which very much want to be longer, and another that I'm now sure I can do much with. My plan is to move away from flash and work on longer stories, but that's been the plan for a while now. I also started a novella in November, but the plan to finish that in December was scuppered by two weeks of flu right before Christmas. It's still on the to-do list, but will now have to fit in with all the other things on the list that are time-dependent. These include either the Month of Blogging Challenge or Poem a Day, in April. I also need to finish my series of POD blog post, since I'm very much aware I've left those off in the middle.

Unfortunately there's been a lot of life getting in the way over the last few months, not least of which was a change of role and working hours at the day job. I know there are those who think that writing should be Most Important of All or you're just a hobbyist. I personally think a lot of those people are operating from the position of privilege of either already being established, or have someone who can financially support them while they write. The rest of us have to eat and pay rent, and don't have the luxury of treating the day job as anything less that the source of our livelihood. That's a whole other blog post though.

The other thing I did recently was change some of my ebook covers. A World in Clockwork and Dark Ghosts and Flamingos are mostly the same, although I played around with the positioning of the text. I haven't been happy with the covers of The Reflection of Memory or A Primary Function for a while though, so here are the new ones.

The Reflection of Memory 2Primary Function dark

And that's it for now.
clhollandwriter: (poppy)
Picture I have some free time at the moment, so I put together another ebook collection of previously published stories, Dark Ghosts and Flamingos and Other Stories. This one contains "A Celebration in Blue Silk", "Of Corn and Crows", "The Clay Men", and "Dark ghosts and Flamingos."

It's three fantasy (one dark historical), and a science fiction, so a bit of an odd mix, but I don't write enough science fiction to give it its own collection. Two of the flash stories are already in A Primary Function and Other Flash Fiction, and the other ("This is the Way the World Begins") I don't have reprint rights back for yet.

At some point I'll do a print collection through Lulu, but that's a while off yet.
clhollandwriter: (Default)
Another bunch of writing links I've linked from the last week:

Writing for Women's Magazines
Five Ways to Write When You Really Don't Want To
The Business of Writing: Turn Your Income Stream into a River
and Terry Pratchett interview: Sex, Death and Nature

That's pretty much it. I'm behind on my novella, but did manage to get the flash challenge done over at Liberty Hall last night. I updated all the links in the Bibliography section on Saturday, and found a few that are no longer working. That's the reason for putting the stories out in e-books. I should think about doing another one soon, but I think it might be May before enough rights have reverted to me to make it worth doing.
clhollandwriter: (Default)
It's almost time for my e-Books to start migrating over to Smashwords, so I've redone the covers:
golems          memory          primary          clockwork
The main reason for it was to bring some sort of cohesion to the reprint fiction collections. I think these look better.
clhollandwriter: (Moogle)
I've been busy sorting out my ebooks this weekend. "The Reflection of Memory" is now available at Amazon and Smashwords for $0.99. I decided not to go with KDP Select this time, and release it on both sites at the same time.

In conjunction with this, "A World in Clockwork and Other Stories" is free at Amazon today and tomorrow. "Golems, Vampires and Wanderers" is free too, because I fixed some formatting issues and put a new version up. I also used it to practice formatting for Smashwords, since it will be available to put up there in a couple of weeks.

Any reviews would be welcome, even if you don't like what you read!

Yesterday I did the Flash Challenge over at Liberty Hall, so I need to do my crits for that this week. I also got three poems drafted last week, so overall I'm feeling quite productive.
clhollandwriter: (Moogle)
Now that I've got your attention, shameless self-promotion first - I have a new e-book, "A World in Clockwork and Other Stories", up at Amazon today.

It's a collection of previously published works - the title story, "Mr Bad Man", "When the Harlequin Dances" and "In Search of Camanac".

And to celebrate, "A Primary Function and Other Flash Fiction" is free today and tomorrow.

Yesterday, I sat down and did the first exercise of my proofreading course. It was fairly simple, only two symbols to work with (insert, and substitute), but I still made some fairly basic errors. Fortunately only one of those was something I missed. The rest were down to inexperience - forgetting to circle a marginal note, for example, and using a "close up" symbol when I didn't need to.

I really enjoyed it, even if all the mistakes in the text did make me want to grind my teeth - I kept having to remind myself they were the whole point. This weekend I intend to work my way up to the second exercise. There are four in each unit, and then a marked assignment. Lots of work, but so far enjoyable, and hopefully worth it in the end.
clhollandwriter: (moon)
It's been a lovely long weekend. I excavated my desk from beneath a pile of random stuff, and tidied up some books and CDs into the charity shop pile. Unfortunately the spare bed is now underneath most of the dumpage, but I at least have a work area again.

I also started my proofreading course, and wow it looks hard. I'm up to the first exercise, so I'm waiting for some quiet time so I can sit down and concentrate on it. It's like a whole other language, and I'm terrible at those. Still, at least no one expects me to speak it.

Writing-wise, I haven't done much lately. I'm supposed to be working on a project, but that's sort of fallen by the wayside while I putter with shorts. I'm trying to come up with something to submit to Cucurbital 3, and also kick-start some unfinished projects, since I appear to have run out of finished stories that aren't either sold or trunked. (Seriously, I've got one left.)

Of course, the amount of books I'm reading probably doesn't help. It's been almost non-stop since I bought my Kindle - I don't remember enjoying books this much since I was about 15. It's nice not to have the pressure of wondering if I have the room or will have to get rid of something else to fit it in. In fact, my book-buying seems to have polarised into fiction on the Kindle and non-fiction in real-book form. At least that's my excuse for buying Food in History, and a copy of The Book of English Magic to replace the one I dropped in the bath.
clhollandwriter: (Default)
I've collected together a selecton of flash stories and published them at Amazon: A Primary Function and Other Flash Fiction.

I'm working on a short story collection next.

Cross-posted from Conversations With Dragons.
clhollandwriter: (Default)
I have to admit, I'm becoming addicted to e-books. Not only for reading, because I love the scope the Kindle gives me, but creating them too. I've already got a collection of flash stories ready to go up on Amazon, and last week I started working on "The Reflection of Memory" as a standalone novella. There's a lot of work to do on that though, as the PDF to Word conversion did some very strange things to the formatting. I've probably got enough short stories out of contract now to do a couple of mini collections too.

Of course when I run out of back catalogue I might have to start writing again....
clhollandwriter: (Default)
"Child of the Pact" is reprinted at Sorcerous Signals today, and I've recently found out my poem "Meeting Before Breakfast" will be published at Every Day Poets on 30th April.

It's been a productive weekend, even though I spent precisely none of it writing. I finished setting up my website. It came down to a choice between Weebly and Moonfruit, but Moonfruit's website seemed slow and clunky so I went with Weebly instead. It's free, so I don't have my own domain, but I present to you Conversations with Dragons. Now that I have a dedicated website I hope to be a bit more focussed on writing-based content, which I can cross-post while still spamming about cats here.

The other thing I did instead of writing was teach myself about e-book publishing on the Kindle. It's taken most of the weekend, which should indicated how desperately I was procrastinating. Getting all the formatting right in Word is a pig, especially as you can't see what it's hiding until you upload the preview. It was worth it for the experience though, and I experimented on turning my Masters essays and dissertation into an e-book since the content was already there and I wasn't invested in getting it out. Although by the end of it, I'd made so many tweaks and changed I might as well get the thing up, so it's due out sometime tomorrow. It's fairly niche though, so I doubt it will be a bestseller!
clhollandwriter: (Moogle)

And that's why I finally cracked and bought a Kindle. I hope it arrives soon, my Amazon Wish List is already three pages long.

It wasn't just the free books that swung it, although it helps. It was more that I can fit 1400 books on the thing and I'm sick of not buying paperbacks because we don't have the space, or because they're small press and I can't afford to import them. The BF is not a fan, he thinks they're evil and soulless, but as I pointed out it allows me to have a library without actually having a library.
clhollandwriter: (marchin)
I sent another reprint submission to AnthologyBuilder today. Someone a little while ago ([ profile] tchernabyelo , I think) said they weren't sure it was worth it as with the ability to put reprints up on the Kindle etc it seems like there's too much competition. I'm not sure that's true as AnthologyBuilder caters to a different section of the market (those who prefer print books) to places like Amazon and Smashwords. I think the issue may be one of exposure - I don't get the feeling that AnthologyBuilder is very widely known, for all that the goal of having a pick-and-mix archive of stories is great.

Not only that, but I like the fact I can send them a standard manuscript and then I'm done. I've thought about looking at reprints as e-books, but decided not to go that way simply because it seems to be a massive time sink. There's preparing the books for all the different formats, designing a cover, checking each different type for formatting errors, getting it up on all the different sites, marketing, monitoring take-up and tweaking where necessary..... That seems to be massively labour and time intensive. All the hours I spend on that are hours I don't spend writing - and I've got precious little time for that at the moment.

So it's something I might look at at a later date (if I lose my job, for example, and suddenly find myself with a lot of time on my hands), but for now I'm happy to let others blaze that trail.

What about the rest of you? Have you tried self-publishing reprints as e-books? If so was it a success, or did it turn out ot be a lot of work for nothing? For those of you who haven't tried it, why not - is it too time consuming, too technical, or do you love paper too much to go over to the dark side?
clhollandwriter: (Default)

It's not-quite-but-almost-out - The Best of Every Day Fiction Three, which contains my story "Beauty Sleeping" is available for pre-orders, although apparently already for sale by and B&N.

The main consensus I found so far on e-book readers is that everyone who's got a Kindle loves it. It certainly seems to be great for convenience, apart from whole not supporting other platforms thing. However there's something a little creepy and Big Brotherish about Amazon being able to delete books from it whenever they feel like it. It's like someone from Waterstones breaking into my house to steal my paperbacks.

Today's adventure in TV dinners: Waitrose mushroom and chestnut risotto for the BF - I hate risotto, and things overly flavoured of mushrooms, so it's not something he'd get at home and he said he really enjoyed it. I had chilli prawn linguine, which was nice but could have done with a little bit of veg adding - say a bit of sliced pepper or something. We also did an experiment in microwaving asparagus, which turned out better than we expected.

Today we invested in a cheap George Foreman-style grill and a microwave egg poacher, and tomorrow or Monday a friend is giving us an electric steamer, so hopefully pretty soon we'll be able to cook properly, albeit a bit haphazardly.

clhollandwriter: (Default)
Today I read [ profile] rflong 's The Wolf's Sister, which was released by Samhain Publishing  yesterday. Before I give you my opinion, let me just point out that normally I wouldn't touch romance with a ten foot barge pole (too girly), that I hate e-books (too much eye-strain, plus I like paper). Also, I was reading at work having been co-opted into covering reception - my old job and one I heartily despise - so I wasn't in the best of moods.*

Despite the things weighing against it I bought this e-book anyway, on the strength of a couple of excerpts and the fact that I've liked everything else of Ruth's that I've read.

I wasn't disappointed.

Some of the things that turned me away from romance when I was younger was the lack of a plot, and flimsy characterisation. Neither of these things were evident here. While the plot is simple, it's no more so than a multitude of other fantasy tales, and in fact a more complicated story would have detracted from what I think is the novella's real strength - the characterisation.

The heroine, Jeren, is very much a product of her society, and has been brought up to be quiet and obedient, "no more than a beautiful decoration." For all this she's no passive female, waiting for a man to complete her. She takes control of her own destiny. Likewise Shan is more than just the mindless killing-machine that poor writing and cliche could have him be. There's a real depth of pain there that makes him real.** The greatest piece of characterisation though is that of Anala, Shan's wolf companion. Finally, a fictional wolf that actually acts like a wolf!

This isn't to say that The Wolf's Sister isn't without its problems. For one it's too short - the ending came too abruptly for me, as it felt like there was so much more to the story. This may be because of the planned sequel, but I felt like I'd had the other half of a novel taken away from me. The other problem I had was also to do with the length. There are a few, not exactly loose ends but thing's I'd have liked to have seen explained. Like the braids, and why losing them has the effect it does.

So all in all, I enjoyed reading The Wolf's Sister so much that I didn't want to put it down, and am eagerly waiting the next installment. I'd recommend it to any fantasy fan, even ones who don't like romance, because the worldbuilding has depth, and the prose is beautifully-written enough to allow forgiveness of the occasional "romance-ism."

Plus, the more people who read it the more of us there are to nag for the sequel. ;)

*It should be pointed out that I had permission from my line manager to skive, as I can't actually access any of the information I need from reception. :D

**I may be biased though, as I'm a sucker for the pale-and-interesting fay-warrior type. ;)
clhollandwriter: (Default)
So, another sub rejected and back out again, and one hold notice. Plus I did a bio for WOTF, and am now working on the rewrite request and a first draft. I've also started thinking about my plans for next year, since my stock of stories is quite small. I intend to add to it over Xmas but what will probably happen is I'll spend the whole holiday curled up on the sofa reading like I did last year.

More about cats. )

I made my first foray into e-book territory yesterday, when I went and bought [ profile] rflong 's novella The Wolf's Sister. I've really liked what I've read of hers so far so I thought I'd give it a try.

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