Category Archives: Publishing

Post published


Waiting game again. The second proof copy of “The Cat Tree and other stories” has been despatched and will reach me by the end of the month. This should finally mark the end of the writing and editing process so I can move forward into the distribution and marketing phases.

While the interminable wait goes on, I will fill the unforgiving minutes between then and now with a little motorcycle riding, before the weather really closes down in October. Did try yesterday, but when I passed the eighty kilometre marker, what had been merely a little moisture in the air turned into enough rain to make the roads damp, so, being a fair weather rider, I beat a hasty retreat down the Island Highway home to Victoria, moisture rapidly beading my visor and the front of the fairing, as you can see in the attached video. Apologies for the lack of sound, but it’s my first time using this particular camera and I’d managed to mute the microphone.

Now I’ve ridden in far worse, everything from snow, hail, torrential rain and cold that put a quarter inch breastplate of ice onto my leathers. Cold that bit through three layers of gloves within a mere twenty miles so that I had to warm my gloves on the cylinder head. The worst of those times was over thirty five years ago, but now that I am over sixty summers, my taste and tolerance for such saddle bound masochism is much diminished.

Today my wife has the car for a lunch date with friends. Looking out of my office window, I see we have sunshine, which after I finish work today at lunchtime I intend to take full advantage of.

Proof of publishing


Had a word with the printers and they are sending me a new, hopefully no missing pages this time, proof copy of my book “The Cat Tree and other stories”. They were very good about it and will expedite matters to ensure the issue doesn’t happen again.

There will be just about enough time to do the final proof edit and approval before I head off to London in mid-October. Whilst I’m over in the UK, I’ll take a little time out and re-read the proof a few times before giving the green light for distribution in early November. Just in time to be out for distribution 1st December.

The book itself has four previously published stories nestled within it’s elegant hardback cover. One is a dark little tale of mix and match mythologies, the second a plain old fashioned ghost story. The third and fourth are both comic supernatural tales meant to act as an antidote to the seriousness of life. The story behind the five thousand word tale entitled “Three park benches and a bicycle rack” is a happy little anecdote where the title came before the story. As it sometimes does. Must start doing video’s of those. Just video commentaries about where some of my stranger ideas come from.

One of the comments I did get from the printers today was that the original MSS they received had no stray codes in it that could have accounted for the missing pages, so they were going to do a little due diligence on their own internal processes. Could have just been a one-off error, but I did submit a second, and triple checked MSS via their web portal to replace the first, which had two minor errors (One formatting, one factual) which escaped the proofing process. Spelling, apart from the dialogue, is OED standard. The typesetting is mostly in nice, easy to read Times New Roman 12point, with only the headings and title being larger. Overall it’s as nice a piece of work as I’ve seen, on or off a bookstores shelving.

This is one of the things no-one tells you about when it comes to publishing. First, that the manuscript has to be pretty damn good before anyone will even so much as glance at it, second, that you as the author have to do a hell of a lot more than just write. You have to give approval for designs, layout and any changes to the text. Procrastination may be the thief of time, but publishing is a whole different animal.

After your book is listed for distribution there’s the marketing. Which even big publishers tend to leave that to the author. I recall reading world famous Auto journalist and satirist P J O’Rourke’s account of sitting alone behind a pile of his own work in some remote midwestern US mall.

Which can midwife that nagging doubt in a writers soul. You wrote the book, of course it’s good. Isn’t it? So why haven’t you sold many? Why does no-one seem interested? Or why is it already in the ‘remaindered’ section of Barnes & Noble? There may be several reasons; not least of which is timing of the release. Any press releases you send out may end up spiked in favour of something much more newsworthy, or relegated to an obscure corner where few eyes ever stray. There are so many other possibilities they are hard to enumerate, let alone describe. It may well be simply that your work is in an unfashionable part of a genre. Your standard of writing may be on a par with the literary greats, your characters fully realised figures that jump straight off the page into a readers head, but if no-one is currently interested in the topic, this might well be a reason why it is not selling. Your initial premise might even have arisen from an idea that is too far ahead of it’s time. There is no one reason for a great idea not taking off.

Writing is a tough business, especially when the world fails to immediately share your good opinion of your work. Whenever rejection hits I find there is always a certain sensation of being more than a little crushed. The wounds of rejection re-open time and time again and during the upheavals of disturbed sleep the vampire of doubt bites, sucking creative blood from aching veins, draining the impetus, disconnecting the narrative drive. After a bad episode it’s often very hard to put fingers to keyboard.

Sometimes the only answer is to just keep your head down, try another genre and never, ever give up. Because even if you never sell much, at least it won’t be because you didn’t try.

Looking good, but…


I received my proof copy of “The Cat Tree and other stories” on Thursday 12th September, so in my naivete I thought I’d do a mildly tongue in cheek ‘unboxing’ video. What the hell, everyone else does them.

Here’s what happened (Do not watch with the volume turned up too high)

Can you hear my teeth grinding from here?

The proof


Well that’s it for the most part. The heavy lifting is done and here’s the screenshot of the first proof copy which should reach me by mid-September for final proof and edit.

After many hours checking and re-checking I’m fairly happy with the content, but if asked to go through it one more time, I’m not sure that I could resist the temptation to tinker.

As advertised this small collection is like an old brides wedding dress list. Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. Although without the traditional sixpence in the shoe. I like it. And if asked would add that this is primarily fiction to my taste.

Once I have the actual copy in my hot little hands I’ll be busy for a week or so checking on the finished result before approving the design and outline of the hardback edition for distribution. Thence I may send a couple of copies as gifts to friends. The eBook will follow in December, all things being well.

Last chance to see..


Well, me for a while. I’ve recorded a video reading for the story “Just another day at the office” from the forthcoming “The Cat Tree and other stories”. The recording is now live here on Bitchute. This will be the last video reading from this particular collection. Commentaries will be available on Subscribestar when my profile is ready.

Apologies in advance for all the fluffs and mispronunciations. I know I messed up ‘Dafydd’ several times, but every time I tried to say it I hardened the last two letters. Fortunately, no Welsh people were harmed in the creation of the story that I know of and the few instances of mild profanity are necessary for dramatic impact and tone of the narrative.

So if you don’t like mild swearing, don’t bloody watch. Okay? There is a PG 13+ warning on the title page.

Scheduled publication of the collection is for late November / early December 2019 when I return from London to approve the final design and editing.

Finally…


At last I’ve managed to put together a video reading for ‘Blink!’ that I’m half way happy with. The short YouTube version of which can be seen below. Hope the multiple fluffs and tongue stumbles don’t prove too stressful for any viewers. Dailymotion and Vimeo will also be getting a copy.

The full 2500 word reading can be found here on Bitchute.

Note 1: In future, all YouTube / Vimeo / Dailymotion versions will only be partial readings. Full story readings will henceforth only be found on my Bitchute channel.

Note 2: The colourful tropical and Provencal shirts are going to become a feature of future readings as I have quite a nice selection. Doing straight readings, although not my greatest strength, are a lot less work than producing multiple simple artworks for a story like I did for ‘The Cat tree’. Such graphics also distract from actually writing, so I’m going to try and keep that side of things to a minimum.

Note 3: Work on the supernatural compilation ‘The Cat Tree and other stories’ continues and I hope to be proofing the first hardback version in September prior to visiting London in late October. Work on ‘Darkness between the Stars’, the third volume of the Stars trilogy should be close to story completion by Spring 2020, ready for what I’m starting to think of as ‘the great edit’.

Note 4: Have moved all my (admittedly minimal) social media activity over to Minds.com here and will be opening a Gab account in the next week or two. This may sound like opening the door to the Lions cage and strolling inside, but I’m game if they are.

Happy reading and viewing.

Update:

Looks like Vimeo and Dailymotion don’t want my content. Dailymotion want me to pay them to upload and Vimeo say I’ve gone past my monthly upload limit when I haven’t put anything on their platforms for months. This is why YouTube is the biggest player in the market.

The stories so far


Regarding the short story collection ‘The Cat tree and other stories’. Hardback scheduled for October 2019 release. eBook scheduled for mid / late November / early December 2019. I’m taking a break in London UK from 2nd week October 2019 to 2nd week November, so will check the final edit and proof of the Hardback edition before then and the eBook version after I return home.

I will be taking two free copies of the hardback edition as gifts for friends who have expressed an interest.

The stories so far;
From ‘The Cat Tree’ series
The Cat Tree Completed. Supernatural
White Noise Transcribing from old paper MSS artwork in progress. Supernatural
The Unwelcoming Transcribing from old paper MSS artwork in progress. Supernatural
Josephine Transcribing from old paper MSS artwork in progress. Supernatural None of these will make the cut. Too much rewriting needed. Too many negative memories. Too personal.

From the 1990’s
Polish Ted Completed. Ghost story

Post 2004 tales
Moonlit Shadow Completed (Minor changes from Underdog anthology 7.) Horror
Just another day at the office Completed. Horror / Comedy
Good here, innit? Completed (Minor changes from copy submitted for Underdog anthology 9.) Horror / Comedy
A Coelacanth in the bathroom Completed (Minor edits from Underdog anthology 8.) Horror / Comedy
The hunting of the Squonk Work in progress 50%. Supernatural Horror
Restoration Completed. Ghost story
Honey tells Completed. General / Social commentary
Three park benches and a bicycle rack Completed. Horror / Comedy
Coffee House Completed. Supernatural
Bats! Completed. Horror / Comedy

I’ve a couple of older tales which need a lot of work, so they may not make the cut by the September 2019 deadline.

Current word count circa 37,000. On schedule for estimated completion word count 55,000-60,000 50,000. Total estimated length around 170 pages in current updated format.

Artwork is about 75% complete. Nothing fancy. All black and white in similar style to the cover at 300 DPi. I’ll triple check the proof copy before allowing distribution.

May collate a couple of sci-fi novellas with a few other sci-fi short stories for the New Year 2020. Work on ‘Darkness between the stars’ continues. Will re-issue heavily edited trilogy as three volumes when complete, day job permitting.

Note; this post is subject to periodic update.

The stories so far


…for ‘The Cat Tree and other stories’ which is a collection of tales from the supernatural and comedic side of my back catalogue.

Here are the titles so far;
The Cat Tree……………….. The first of ‘The cat Tree’ series
White Noise………………… The second of ‘The cat Tree’ series
The unwelcoming…………….. The third of ‘The cat Tree’ series
Polish Ted…………………. A modern ghost story
Moonlit shadow……………… Is Santa who we think he is?
The Coat…………………… Can an item of apparel be possessed?
A Coelacanth in the bathroom…. A nasty shock on a wet English Monday
The Hunting of the Squonk……. A hunt for a legendary North American creature
Restoration………………… A ghost story
Honey Tells………………… Homeless woman haunts herself
Coffee House……………….. A meeting with a famous ghost
A barbecue of bats………….. You’ve got an infestation of what?

There are two others which might make the cut, but this looks like being a slim volume of around 120 pages. The above list is subject to change. I’m keeping the artwork simple. Mainly line drawings and silhouettes.

New project


As Xenophon said to Claudius; “Better out than in.”

With luck there will be a new project available in hardback and eBook format by the end of May. Should be on Barnes & Noble and Amazon by then. The working title being ‘The Cat tree and other stories’ Essentially it’s going to be a collection of my short fantasy and supernatural fiction, the raw text of some which can be found on the pages of this web site. What the hardback edition will have is artwork as illustrations to accompany the text. I’ll try and add some of these to the eBook if formats allow. Artwork for front cover will include this image.

All the twisted tales from my back catalogue, including several which have never seen the light of day, will be in this modest omnibus edition. This renewed focus is because paying work has slacked off considerably and Angie is going away with house guests for a couple of weeks, which means I can focus on getting the literary side of things done and out there, so there will be a video for the short version of ‘Blink’ while our house guests are elsewhere.

A full list of edited and improved stories will be available shortly, although I’m writing a couple of fantasy tales especially for this edition. Working titles are “The hunting of the Squonk” and “The coat”. I may also create a similar package for my back catalogue of short science fiction stories. That project will include novella versions of ‘Blink’ and ‘Oggie’ which are significantly longer (and better) than the originals. Better fleshed out characters and backstories, more savage twists.

Work proceeds very slowly on the third volume of the Stars series. So far I’ve carved off most of the fat, which leaves around 70,000 words to date but there are two main story threads which need tying off and completing from ‘Falling’. Also two spin off projects at around 30,000 words each and counting.

A word of advice for those looking at online payments processors; Don’t bother with Patreon. One very good reason being that they’re very limited. Payouts only go via PayPal (More fees) and one other online service. You can’t actually, as an individual, transfer funds directly from Patreon to your bank account like you can with Subscribestar. This is very limiting and another very good reason not to use Patreon. Payment speed is also snail-like. Up to ten working days for an online transfer between Patreon and Paypal? I have transferred thousands in under forty-eight hours from the UK to Canada using only my regular bank accounts and the worst that happened was an early morning phone call from UK bank security. By contrast my last royalty cheque from Leg-iron books cleared immediately after taking four days to arrive via airmail from Scotland. Draw your own conclusions. In crayon if you must, but draw them nonetheless.

Changes


Having been contacted by another publisher via a third party for one of my quirkier brand of short story, I’m having to rethink my communications strategy. This means getting out of some aspects of social media entirely and getting new, paid, email services that have nothing to do with Silicon Valley.

Now I’ve had one of my novels disallowed by one Silicon Valley owned platform for being ‘against community guidelines’ whatever that means. To me a story is a story, and whatever happens from premise to conclusion is narrative-necessary. No-one asked me if I wanted to be part of any ‘community’, in which others set the rules to which I have no real say, apart clicking ‘accept’ to the constantly changing ‘terms of service’ one has to accept when using any given online platform. I’m not part of any ‘community’. I’m an individual who can stand on his own two feet.

So I’m starting a new non-google, non-silicon valley affiliated email provider account and shifting this site to a fully paid WordPress plan, which should give me more overall control and no adverts for anything else but my work. If conditions change, I may even forgo the assistance of their ‘Happiness Engineers’. There’s a satirical title for a story right there. Can you ‘Engineer’ happiness and what form do the perpetrators of that blessed state of mind intend it takes? I was wondering about what to submit to the editor of that horror eZine. Now I think I know. Something unexpectedly nightmarish for preference.

On the topic of publishing Transgenre Dreams, the latest from Leg Iron books containing my short story “A Coelacanth in the Bathroom” is now available via Amazon. It’s also available from Smashwords and Kindle A linked picture should shortly be available on the sidebar.

Here are some opening paragraphs from ‘Coelacanth’

Finding a four foot long fish occupying the bath was a bit of a surprise. Especially at six fifteen on a Monday morning and particularly before breakfast. “I know it’s an old bathtub.” Perry muttered to himself, blinking wearily at the large, strange looking fish peering dopily back at him through vaguely green tinted water. At this time of day his sleep fogged mind was still running far too slowly to register any shock. “But this is ridiculous.”

Maybe if he left the bathroom and came back it would maybe disappear. Maybe he was still dreaming. He pinched himself and blinked hard, twice. No. The fish with skin like Van Gogh’s starry night turned in the confined space of their claw footed cast iron antique with a sluggish sploshing and waved an amiable tail back at him.

Who had filled the bathtub anyway? Wouldn’t they have heard their flats notoriously eccentric pipework in the middle of the night? And greenish water? Their venerable plumbing occasionally dispensed liquid with a brown tinge, but never green. Perry sniffed. Was that the taint of old seaweed? Sea water? This far inland?

An expression of pleasant surprise


Last night I got an email from Kevin Hillman over at Leg-Iron books who recently accepted my short story submission “A Coelacanth in the bathroom”. Apparently there’s a small eZine publisher based in California that is looking for original horror writers. They have expressed an interest in the kind of quirky, off the wall story I like to write and asked me, via Kevin, if I had anything. So, pleasantly surprised, I said yes. So I dashed off a brief email explaining who I was and what I did and the response was guardedly positive. They don’t pay, but they do have a fairly good distribution spread.

Now I’ve offered them a short story, currently a work in progress; target length about five thousand words that is kind of a spin off from “Coelacanth” in that it includes one of the characters from that tale. Without giving too much away, it’s mainly about an infestation of semi-mythical beasts who are a little, but not quite like they are portrayed in mainstream fantasy stories.

I did my research and looked at the crypto-biology behind these creatures before fleshing out the details and making them a little more believable. Nothing much, just playing around with the how, what, why, when and where of their mythology. I haven’t gone the full J K Rowling on them because I’ve always considered using the Harry Potter style of magic and wand waving as a bit of a cop out. Far more fun to take the impossible and set it off against the mundane. I mean, what would someone do if they found an endangered species in their bathroom or a plague of mythical beasts in their place of work? Whose job is it to deal with these things? How big a crimp would it put in their day?

It’s oddball questions like these that make my mouth twist into a villainous little smile and make me take to my office for so long that my wife greets me with “Oh, hello stranger” in the evenings when I finally surface.

A Coelacanth in the bathroom


… is the title of my latest short story with Leg-Iron books for their spring anthology. I’ve decided to err on the lighter side of things with a dark little comedy of errors which I hope readers will enjoy. Sort of a comic tale of the unexpected. Currently just under five thousand words and in the final editing stage before publication. Will post the links to Amazon etc when available.

In the meantime, here’s the artwork frontispiece. If this is the version Leg Iron books choose to use, if at all.

Still working on the artwork for my reading of ‘Blink’. Stars trilogy is still being restructured. Not much more to say. Manuscript at 69,000 words, which is still only about half way.

What can I say. Fiction writing isn’t much of a spectator sport. On the technical side, have just adjusted the site to make Smartphone surfing possible.

Update: Contracts signed for the text. Not sure about the artwork.

Deleted


After much prevarication, I have deleted my presence on LinkedIn and Facebook. Their facility has proven very limited because the people who inhabit those platforms do not share the same interests as myself. Patreon has proven too vulnerable to political meddling, so all my links from my few Internet presences will disappear to that platform. Once I get my payment out of their clutches, that account too will disappear into the great nothingness of the Internet’s archives.

Which leaves me with the old model of publishing eBooks and hardbacks via various publishing platforms. Where possible doing readings for YouTube and Vimeo. This will continue. Next offering will be a shortened version of ‘Blink’.