Where have you been?

Right here, to be exact.

Since I haven’t had much to say, I haven’t said much. but I thought to prove that I’m still alive (and haven’t been spirited away to China via submarine), I thought an update of my writing efforts would be worthwhile.

1. Nothing published since The Devil at Your Heels came out in Filthy Creations #6

2. I have, however, finished five stories (more or less). They are:

Widdershins – I’ve mentioned this before. After it was rejected several times, I took advantage of a free month’s membership with the Online Writing Workshop and received some very encouraging, very incisive commentary, mainly about how to improve the story. I took all of it on board and re-jigged the story. It isn’t perfect, but it is as close to perfection as it is likely to be. I’ve subbed it to Arkham Tales and now sit waiting with baited breath.

Masks – again, this was submitted to the OWW for more constructive feedback. As with Widdershins, reducing the number of flashbacks and remedying some internal continuity flaws have made the story a whole lot better. The second half is slightly at odds in tone with the first half, but I did have a flash of insight about how to fix that – basically, one character gets chopped to be replaced by someone introduced earlier who vanishes off stage – bringing him back I think while tie the story together. I know where I want this to be submitted, but will have to face the fact that the anthology I’m aiming it for seems largely to be invite only. I’m known for my stubbornness in the face of facts, so we’ll see how that turns out.

The Well – since I’m holidays from work for a couple of weeks, this is the story I’ll be concentrating on after tying up Masks. The tale of two brothers at odds with each other, working to renovate a house during the height of the Australian summer, is destined to only end badly. Which it does. This story is complete and only really needs to be worked over a few more times. I think it has some merit but you can never tell until the rejections inevitably start rolling in.

Shivers – this is a provisional title for a first person story that I wrote over the course of two evenings. Then discovered in the latest issue of Black Static magazine that Simon Unsworth has used essentially the same motif (snowmen) to tell his tale. And I was considering subbing it to BS. I suppose that’s out the window now. As I said, this is a first person short story. I’m still up in the air as to whether telling it that way is shortchanging the story as the limited perspective means a lot of colour and incident has to be left out. It makes the story more personal, true, but again, is the story being shortchanged? If I have the time, I may sit down and re-tell it in a more traditional manner and see which turns out the best.

Blood Fire – now this is a change of pace for me. Rogue Blades Entertainment deals in sword and sorcery fantasy (think RE Howard’s Conan and you’re most of the way there). They have released a number of themed anthologies and the latest is inspired by assassins. Prospective writers were invited to submit 500 words of their story (the idea was to save the editor the hassle of reading the entire story to determine its worth; if he was hooked by the 500 words, then that was the green light for the writer to submit a finished version, with no guarantees of publication). My 500 words got me a foot in the door and I await patiently (writers are being progressively advised of acceptance/rejection at the moment) any news on the story.

And that’s it – like the proverbial duck, placid on the surface but flat out underneath. I hope that in the next month or so I’ll have some more concrete news – positive or negative.

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