Sunday, December 30, 2012

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Another Year of Writing

The end of another year approaches, and I look back to find its been a slow year for writing and publishing. There have been lots of other things happening to take my time and attention away from writing, and I have been persisting in my attemps to break into the top fiction markets, which inevitably means more stories rejected and less published.

I've had three stories published this year, all translations and all three new languages for me: Scottish Gaelic, Danish and Dutch. I also self-published a story for the first time, getting to grips with e-publishing and its complexities.

I've written six new short stories of between 500 and 6000 word, which is actually more than I thought I'd done. I also spent quite some time working on the plot and outline of my new novel Promised Land, though I've barely started on the writing itself. I also spent a lot of time editing my TV series screenplay, which I found rather enjoyable. Still no idea if anything will come of it though.

Next year: who knows? More of the same, though in what quantity I have no idea.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

World Wire Web in Dutch

The Dutch translation of my story World Wire Web appears in the new issues of SF Terra, the third language for this story and the 23rd language I've been published in.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Czeck Review - Phases of Gravity

Just in case you don't read English, you can now read my review of Dan Simmons' Phases of Gravity in Czeck, just in time for the release of the Czeck translation.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Steampunk Update

I noticed today that over on Goodreads, The Immersion Book of Steampunk has continuued to clock up ratings from readers. It now has a rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars, which is pretty fabulous.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Daybreak Now Available

After reading much about the self-publishing revolution, then struggling through the instructions for formatting a book for e-publishing and attempting to put together a cover, I have finally succeeded in producing a e-story via Smashwords, which should soon be available from all the usual venues.

Daybreak is an anthropomorphic fable of a story, quite unlike any of my usual SF and I've struggled to find an appropriate market for it, so it seemed the perfect candidate for my first experimental foray into e-publishing.

You can sample or purchase it here.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

World Wire Web in Danish

My short story World Wire Web, first published in Nature, has been published in Danish science fiction magazine Proxima. Danish is my 22nd published language!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Waiting to be Written

Having polished off 2 stories recently, I turned to my great spreadsheet of ideas to see what was next. Five more short stories are waiting to be written - though one of them is no more than a title so far. Four novels are also waiting their turn: one that I started a couple of months back, plus two sequels (optimistically) and another book.

Where to start...

Monday, August 27, 2012

Two Stories in a Week

I finished another story today, though it's been hanging around since February when I wrote the first draft. 200 words was all it took, and a change in the main charater's persona.

I didn't think I'd written much this year, but in fact that's the sixth story I've completed.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

When Objects and Characters Take Over

I've just written a 3000 word story based on a setting and concept that I've had floating round my head for several years. I was thinking about the plot on holiday last week and had the opening scene roughly formed, but couldn't decide which way to go with it. As I was sitting there my eyes lighted on a telescope, and suddenly the opening scene coalesced and I imediately wrote the first 1600 words.

Then I was stuck again. The plot arrived at a certain point, but I had no firm resolution in mind. The next scene came slowly to mind and I started typing it today. The two main characters fell into a conversation, and I realised gradually where they were going and what would happen. I finished at a completely unexpected destination, becasue that's where the characters wanted to go. It's only 3000 words but I really connected with theor world and their lives. It's a strange experience to have your story taken over by your own characters.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Held for Further Consideration

In the past couple of years the number of stories I've had published has plumetted dramaticaly, which is sometimes disheartening. I'm continually aiming for some of the toughest markets though, so persistence is vital. Several of my stories are being held for further consideration at some exciting magazines. Progress may be invisible, but it's still there.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Also in the Office

Following on from my previous post, I also found out last week that someone I work with in our Dublin office is the cousin of Eoin Colfer, author of the Artemis Fowl books and the sequel to the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, among other things.

I'm wondering what other secrets I might discover in the office...

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Other End of the Office

You never know who you're working with. I spend most of my time at work on a site of about 500 people, and there are lots of people I don't know, so I was surprised when an internal email anounced a debut SF novel publication.

Simon West-Bulford works in an office a couple of hundred yards from me, across a carpark and past the restaurant. His hard SF novel The Soul Consortium has been published by Medallion Press and looks like the kind of enjoyably mind-blowing fiction I like to read:

In a future so distant that time is almost without meaning, death is defeated and immortality has been made reality through instantaneous cloning and synaptic transfer. But mankind, frustrated by the futility of timeless existence, chooses extinction. All but one man.

I'm looking forward to getting my hands on a copy.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Random Interview Question: Kim Lakin-Smith

After writing several short stories that I enjoyed, Kim Lakin-Smith's novel Cyber Circus was recently published by NewCon Press.

Q. If you ran away to the circus, what act would you join?

A. If I could be any act in the circus, I would be an animal tamer. Wielding everyday household objects like a wooden chair or a bullwhip, I would commune with Vermicious Knids, take my vorpal sword in hand against the Jabberwocky, and set monsters off on a wild rumpus. The top hat is rather dapper too.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Random Interview Question: Adam Roberts

Adam Roberts has produced several entertaining and varied novels, including the Gulliver's Travels fantasy sequel Swiftly.

Q. Would you rather move to Lilliput or Brobdingnag?

A. I'm a shade below 6'2". My wife is 5'0", my 10-year old daughter approaching that height, my son 4 years old. I'm already living Gulliver's life in Lilliput. So the answer to your question is: I suppose I should probably give Brobdingnag a go, just to see what that's like. And, actually, if you've read Swift's novel you'll know that the Brobdingnagians are a much more civilised, reasonable bunch of people than the petty, belligerent Liliputians.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Random Interview Question: Gareth L Powell

I've been following Gareth L Powell's writing for a few years now, since we appeared in the same TOC in Aphelion magazine. Gareth's enjoyable space opera novel The Recollection was published last year. This question may not make much sense if you haven't read the book, but I don't want to spoil anything by explaining.

Q. If you were swallowed up by The Recollection, who (from anywhere or anywhen) would you hang out with?

A. If I were swallowed up by The Recollection, I’d get Jack Kerouac, Philip K Dick, Walt Whitman and Hunter S Thompson together for a night of wild talk; I’d argue about science fiction with JG Ballard, Douglas Coupland, Cordwainer Smith and Samuel Delany; and I’d get Stephen Hawking, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Marilyn Monroe, Grace Marguerite Hay Drummond-Hay, and Brian Cox around a table and hang on their every word.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Promising Start

Several monts after finishing Gap Years, I've started work on Promised Land, my third novel. I've been working on the synopsis, plot summary and other supporting nformation on and off for several months, but the concept for the story has been developingin my head for so many years I don't remember when it started.

First 1000 words complete, 99,000 to go.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Random Interview Question: Aliette De Bodard

Aliette De Bodard has written numerous short stories that I've enjoyed, several of which have been nomianted for or won awards or been included in Year's Best anthologies. Her Aztec fantasy trilogy Obsidian and Blood concludes with Master of the House of Darts.

Q. If you didn't like darts, what House would you be Master of?

A. House of Flames, definitely! I like setting random things on fire on the internet, and reducing people's preconceptions to ashes (aka write rants on genre on my blog and monitor healthy discussion. I swear; I'm just keeping the flamethrower handy in case something breaks down :) ). Plus, I don't like cold climates, so having flames in the chimney is a nice bonus...

Friday, May 25, 2012

Random Interview Question: Stephen Hunt

Sephen Hunt's Jackelian series of futuristic steampunk tales includes The Court of the Air and The Kingdom Beyond the Waves. He also founded SF Crowsnest where over 100 of my book reviews have appeared.

Q. Would you like to live in a court in the air or in a kingdom beneath the waves?

A. Well, my answer to that one has to be 'The Court of the Air' - especially if I was running the joint, as I could sit up high watching everyone and ordering the arrest without trial or murder of anyone who did bad stuff down in the world... and it doesn't get any better than that.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Gondolier in Afrikaans

Unable to find a market for this translation, I've decided to post it here instead:

Die Gondolier

Die swart neus van my gondola sny glad en stilweg deur die kalm waters van die kanale. Die elegante tuig het my vir baie jare getrou gedien. Hy het passassiers onder die leidende hande van my voorouers deur die stad se waterweë gedra.

Die son sak weg oor die oeroue stad en die water word 'n donker lint tussen elegande sandsteengeboue. Ek neem 'n diepe asemteug van die koel aandluggie.

Is daar enige pragtiger plek as hierdie wonderlike stad van kanale? Soos wat die boot in sy ankerplek inbeweeg stop ek, en kyk ek met tevredenheid op na die naghemel bo Mars.

Die Einde

Friday, May 18, 2012

Random Interview Question: Michael Cobley

Michael Cobley is the author of the Humanity's Fire sequence among others. The first of those, which I particularly enjoyed because of the diverse cultures and accents used, was Seeds of Earth.

Q. What kind of planet would you grow if you had the right seeds?

A. If we were talking about a planetary biosphere, I would definitely try to grow one with a species of plant with a complex crystaline network within its trunk, branches and leaves, which converts sunlight into electricity, perhaps linked to large underground organic batteries/heating web - perhaps this plant came about as a result of evolutionary symbiosis with some burrowing creature/insect which benefits from warm ground and which somehow protects the sparky lightning plant. Anyway, some subtle genetic engineering could result in a cheap, easily grown, easily maintained form of organic power generator which would make life in sunny climates rather different from how they are on our world.

If we're talking about the socio-political world, well, we really need an international social democratic movement ready to curtail the power of international finance, and we need a United Nations that is able to defend weak nations and promote democracy, and which provides worldwide forums for debate, and which provides means whereby joint action can be taken against climate change and other international crises. I know, dream on, eh?

Friday, May 11, 2012

Random Interview Question: Jack McDevitt

Jack McDevitt is the author of over  dozen novels, including the Alex Benedit series I've been enjoying for the past couple of years. The first of theose was A Talent for War and inspires the first question in my RIQ feature.

Q. What would you like to have a talent for?

A. I guess I’d settle for the ability to be objective. If I could learn to look at issues based on the facts rather than on my preconceptions (my ‘gut’?), I’d get a lot closer to the truth than I’m currently able to--

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Steampunk Cover Kudos

Charles Harbour, the artist behind the fabulous cover of The Immersion Book of Steampunk has more good news this week:

The Immersion Book of SteamPunk  cover has been accepted for inclusion in this year’s Spectrum: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art Book no.19

Pretty pleased as it’s pretty stiff competition to get in, with judges including Art directors from Blizzard, Wizards of the Coast and Disney.

Judging process

If you look closely you can spot the cover at about 35 sec’s in, apparently this room was filled and cleared 3 times.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Random Interview Questions

Inspired by the random thoughts that some book titles evoke, I decided to come up with some random questions based on various author's titles. I've been sending the questions out and the answers have started coming back.

Begining later this week I'll be posting the answers here in a new feature called Random Interview Question (RIQ).

Get in touch if you're an author who'd like a question, or you'd like to suggest an author or question for me to include.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Dutch Acceptance

My short story World Wire Web, first published in Nature magazine, has been accepted by Dutch magazine SF Terra. I'm particularly pleased with this as I've already had 2 near misses with Dutch magazines so I'm glad to be finally making it into this language.

This will be the 4th language for World Wire Web as I'm already expecting translations in Galician and Danish. Along with a German story I'm expecting, this will take me to 24 published languages.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Forgotten Experiment

I've just discovered blogger's new statistics and analysis (I say new, I have no idea how long it's been available) and I discovered the answer to a forgotten experiment from November 2007.

Back then I was posting a short story most Fridays and one week, as an experiment, I based the story on several keywords that were trending that week, a story called Let Me Entertain You.

I now find that that post has had as many hits as the second and third most popular posts on my site combined, five times more hits than any of my other stories and twenty times more than the average post. I think the experiment worked.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Unhelpful Writing Advice

I recently dreamt I was giving writing advice to some people and awoke with 2 bits of almost-plausible sounding advice in my head:

1. Don't allow your character to remain inactive for more than 2 hours.

2. Always write death scenes in the morning when you have more emotional energy to put into them.

After posting about this on a writing group I'm in, Helena Bell was inspired to blog about The Greatest Writing Advice in the Entire World. Take a look - it's brilliant.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Eastercon 2012

As usual I was just at EasterCon for the Saturday, and this year spent most of the time in the dealer hall helping out and standing in at the TTA Press stand with Roy Grey, wandering round, chatting and drinking tea.

I met lots of people I've spoken to before at other cons, plus a whole selection of new people who wandered past the stall or who were manning other stands. In vaguely chronological order:

Martin McGrath, Ian Whates, Tony Lee, Gareth Powell, Chris Priest, Nina Allen, David Tallerman, Aliette De Bodard, Rochita Loenen-Ruiz, Damien Walter, Ian Sales, Terry Jackman, Mike Cobley, John Meaney, Charles Stross and probably many others. So many others went past in the crowd too...

Monday, March 26, 2012

World Palindrome Championships

After some delays' I've heard that issue #8 of The Palindromist magazine is due out next month, including my palindromic story of time travel and bio-engineered lycanthropy entitled Time Did Emit. I discovered The Palindromist when it was featured on Have I got News For You? last year.

Meanwhile, The Palindromist's editor Mark Saltveit has been crowned World Palindrome Champion at the first world championships in New York. From the press release:

A standup comedian from Portland, Oregon defeated two professors, two computer programmers, a cartoonist and a book clerk to win the first World Palindrome Championship, hosted by Will Shortz, the New York Times' crossword puzzle editor.

600 word nerds filled the ballroom at the Marriott Hotel at the Brooklyn Bridge and watched seven prominent palindromists deliver new reversible verses written on the spot. Audience members voted by deploying signs that said "WOW" on one side (for their favorite) and "HUH?" on the other. Portland comic Mark Saltveit squeaked past Minnesotan John Connett, a professor of Biostatistics, by an audience vote of 169-165.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Victorian SF Adventure

The final editing of my slightly steampunk, Victorian SF adventure story The Journey Within is now complete and both myself and the editors of the Ancient New anthology are happy. Now just awaiting a publication date...

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Anthology Wins Steampunk Award

The Best of Steampunk Awards are given out annualy by the Steampunk Facebook group, the largest steampunk community on Facebook with almost 175,000 members.

Among this year's awards are:

Best Anthology "The Immersion Book of Steampunk" by Immersion Press

Best Short Fiction "Cinema U" by G. D. Falksen, published in The Immersion Book of Steampunk

It's a wonderful recognition of the fabulous stories I was fortunate enough to receive for the anthology.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Eastercon 2012 Approaches

It's 4 weeks until Eastercon arrives and I'm looking forward to a day of meeting up and chatting with numerous other authors, publishers agents et al in the SF field. I've not looked at the programme yet, but I've really enjoyed myself the past couple of years and I'm sure this year will be no different.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

The Gondolier in Gaelic

The Scottish Gaelic translation of The Gondolier appears in issue #71 of Cothrom, the magazine for learners, supporters and readers of Gaelic. My contributor copy arrived today - a glossy, colour A4 magazine full of all kinds of articles in Gaelic and English.

This is the 21st language I've been published in, and the 11th for The Gondolier.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Gondolier in Slovenian

Although the Slovenian translation of The Gondolier has been accepted by the Prizma SF society for publicaiton in their newsletter, I'm not sure if or when that will happen, so here it is for your enjoyment.


Črni kljun moje gondole je enakomerno rezal mirno vodo kanala. Sloka ladjica mi je zvesto služila, saj je že vrsto let pod vodečimi rokami generacij mojih prednikov prevažala potnike po vodnih poteh mesta.

Sonce je zahajalo nad starodavnim mestom, da se je voda spremenila v tintast trak, položen med elegantne stavbe iz peščenjaka. Globoko sem vdihaval hladno večerno sapo.

Je mar na vsem svetu kaj lepšega od tega fantastičnega mesta kanalov? Ko se je barka počasi bližala privezu, sem se za trenutek z zadovoljstvom zazrl v temneče nebo Marsa.


Thursday, February 09, 2012

Five New Stories

I've written five new flash length stories in the past month, bulking up my rather depleted selection of stories I currently have under submission. I need to do some editing on them next, and two of them I've decided need more developing, so will probably end up longer than flash length. I have specific markets in mind for two of them too. Not a bad start to the year's writing.

Monday, February 06, 2012

New Immersion Steampunk Review

The new issue of Vector, the Critical Journal of the BSFA, includes a review of The Immersion Book of Steampunk.

In summary it says:

As a whole though, the collection is a stylish and interesting assembly of tales from authors who may normally live in the shadows cast by the zeppelins of more instantly recognisable heralds of the subgenre but here are given a chance to showcase their talents and do so in fine fashion.

Friday, February 03, 2012

The Sound of Kulturkampf

You can now listen to Anatoly Belilovski's Kulturkampf on the Cast of Wonders podcast. It's a great little story and one of the first that I selected for The Immersion Book of Steampunk. This presentation, with accompanying soundtrack, is a marvel of steampunk audio.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Gondolier in French

I sent this translation to various French magazines, and had an encouraging personal rejection from Canadian magazine Solaris (it was too short for them). In the end I've decided to post it here.

Le Gondolier
Par Gareth D. Jones

L'étrave noire de ma gondole tranchait doucement les eaux calmes des canaux. L'élégante embarcation me servait avec constance depuis des années. Dirigée par les mains de mes devanciers et elle avait conduit des générations de voyageurs à travers les canaux de la cité.

Le soleil se couchait sur la vieille cité. L'eau semblait changée en un ruban d'encre étalé entre les élégants immeubles aux façades de pierre. Je pris une profonde inspiration dans l'air frais du soir.

Existait-il où que ce soit un lieu plus beau que cette merveilleuse cité de canaux? Alors que le balancement du bateau s'atténuait dans son amarrage, je m'arrêtai quelques instants pour admirer les cieux assombris de Mars.


Translated by Emilie Harry

Proofread by Aliette De Bodard

Friday, January 06, 2012

Danish Story Sale

My short story World Wire Web, first published in Nature magazine, has been accepted by Danish magazine Proxima. It's scheduled to appear in the spring issue in May. Danish will be the 21st language I've been published in.

I'm hoping to have news soon on three other translations too.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Favourite Stories of 2011

I read much less short fiction in 2011 than in previous years, but enjoyed a huge amount of it. My favourite stories of 2011 were:

Teamwork by Jonathan Pinnock – Murky Depths #16
The Orchid Hunters by Priya Sharma – AltHist #2
The Ceiling is Sky by Suzanne Palmer – Interzone #234
The Bitter End by Simon Kewin & Dominic de Mattos – Jupiter XXXIV
Digital Rights by Jim Hawkins - Interzone #237

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

First Review of the Year

I've seen a few positive comments and ratings for The Immersion Book of Steampunk in places such as Amazon and Goodreads, but the first full review has now appeared, on the Abyss and Apex website. Altogether it's pretty positive:

I love steampunk, but so rarely find one that will fit my magazine’s needs. So it was a pleasure to shuck off my editorial hat and just dive in and enjoy this collection of “everything steampunk could be.” Most of it went down well.

You can read the full review here.