Sunday, November 23, 2014

Ideas From The Backburner.

I've recently written a few stories for which I had little more than an idea that had been floating around for a while.

Of course an idea alone does not equal a story. It's merely the launching point. But I thought these were pretty good ones, and I dutifully wrote them in my notebook several years ago. At the time I didn't run with them for two reasons. Firstly, because I didn't know what to do with them, how to develop them into something more. Secondly, I didn't feel I had the skill to pull off the descriptions I knew these particular ideas would require.

But a few weeks ago I knew I had to ignore both those self doubts and just start writing them. And I did write them. And I finished them. And I'm really happy with how they turned out.

I usually have a rough idea of where a story is going to go, and tend to work within that loose framework. From time to time they take me in unexpected directions. And this is what happened with both these stories. It was actually rather exciting to see where they went, because in at least one of them I had nothing beyond the original idea and the first paragraph of setting and character.

These are good stories. They will sell. You will see them.

But now they're settling, before I go back in a week or two and give them the second draft they so long for.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Waiting Continues.

I don't usually sweat on stories.

Once they're written I send them off and do my best to forget them. At some later point I hear back, either a rejection or acceptance, and I'm either happy and beaming for a day or so, or annoyed for about five minutes. With a few rare exceptions, the days of stewing for days over rejections are long gone.

Mostly I have some idea as to when I expect to hear back from the editor or publisher. The submission guidelines give some clue of how long they expect to take. Other websites such as Duotrope or The Grinder keep data on submissions so a writer can anticipate response times.

But this week I've actually been checking my email a little more often than usual. I have six stories out, and most of them appear to be overdue a response, based on the data I'm seeing online. These are stories I have high hopes for, and I'm keen to receive a couple of acceptances.

But there's danger in reading too much into long response times. No news, after all, is nothing but no news.

In the meantime, I'll be over here refreshing my email.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Heal The World.

Thirty years later, and Geldof has marshalled a bunch of musicians into a studio to re-record 'Do They Know It's Christmas?'

This time to raise money for the ebola cause.

Some new faces, some old faces and some unusual ones.

Angelique Kidjo, Bastille, Bono (of U2), Clean Bandit, Disclosure, Marcus Mumford (of Mumford and Sons), Elbow, Paloma Faith, Fuse ODG, Ellie Goulding, Chris Martin, Olly Murs, Seal, Sinead O'Connor, Rita Ora, Robert Plant, One Direction, Emeli Sande, Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith, Underworld, Jessie Ware, Zoe Sugg, Alfie Deyes, Nick Grimshaw, Joe Sugg.

I've read that the UK government has made it tax exempt so more profits will get to Africa.

Available either on download, or soon on CD (with remixes I believe, including one by Underworld).

Even if this song isn't your thing, consider supporting this cause. (and share this post.)

* Photograph: Band Aid Trust/Brian Aris/Camera Press

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Dimension6: Annual Collection 2014.

Keith Stevenson is reprinting my story, The Last of the Butterflies, in the first Dimension6 annual anthology.

From the blurb:
Dimension6 magazine takes you on a journey beyond the borders of the real. This first annual collection features all new stories from some of the best speculative fiction authors working in Australia today including Richard Harland, Dirk Strasser, Jason Nahrung, Alan Baxter, Robert Hood, Cat Sparks, Robert N Stephenson, Steve Cameron and Charlotte Nash.
 It's now available for Kindle pre-order at Amazon.

And for a ridiculously low price you get nine great stories by some great Australian authors.

Run, don't walk. Order now!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Someone Is Reading Me.

You write a story, you send it out into the world. It is published, and then you wait.

Usually there's nothing. Not a mention, not a ripple. Only silence.

Sometimes, if you're lucky, you see a review, a comment somewhere online. If you're very lucky, you receive an email or a message on Facebook from a reader.

And that makes for a very happy writer.

I feel very fortunate in that I've had both personal emails and published reviews. They've mostly been very positive, which is always wonderful to see, and they usually arrive at a time when I need a confidence boost. (Although for most writers I suspect that is 'always')

So I was delighted to see AntipodeanSF say the following about my story, The Last of the Butterflies, which Keith Stevenson at Coeur de Lion published in Dimension6.

Standout stories I've read in the past couple of months or so that have impressed themselves on me for one reason or another.
Short Story: The Last Of The Butterflies
by Steve Cameron

Post apocalyptic religious society study that hinges on undercurrents that threaten the survival of anyone that was bioengineered before the disaster. Bottom line? There's danger lurking in comfort, and the ideas of others. Go flying.
In Dimension 6 Issue 3

Rob Hood's story, The Shark God Covenant, from the same issue was included, as were half a dozen other names I feel more than honoured to be listed alongside.

Thanks, AntipodeanSF and Ion Newcombe. It's great to be mentioned, and to know at least someone is reading and appreciating my work.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Six Out.

It's been a long while since I've had this many out at once.

Yep, I currently have six stories out on submission, with one of those on hold, one of those still under consideration longer than others I know who submitted, and a couple more I have some confidence in.

Add to this another five stories congealing on my desk, waiting for a bit of distance and space before I have another look at them and send them out.

I also have at least three more publications in the next few months, and I'll be relieved when I'm given the green light to mention them. Plus a couple of stories underway.

However, it's been a while since I've received an acceptance email. Even just one would be great. Six would be better.

Editors, are you reading this? You know you want to buy my stories. Come on, do it!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Kicking Myself.

So that story I expected to be rejected was rejected. And the misread guideline was mentioned in the rejection.

And so I was really annoyed with myself.

I don't know whether my story would have been accepted had I got that one element right, but I'd like to think it would have. It would certainly have stood more chance than it did. But it's been given a quick once over and sent straight back out. I believe it's a good story and it will find a home.

I realised this week is the four year anniversary of my first publication. Now that was a feeling I'll never forget. It was a good sale, and it's a story of which I'm proud. Looking back, I can see how much I've progressed and how much I've achieved since then. Of course it's not as much as I would like to have achieved, but I plan to continue improving and selling stories.

Ahhh, hindsight. It's a wonderful thing, isn't it?