Saturday, November 18, 2017

With Infinite Complacency.

I'm proud to announce the publication of my story, With Infinite Complacency, in the anthology Beautiful Lies, Painful Truths. Published by Left Hand Publishers, this release is described in their own words as a collection of short stories from writers around the world, spanning different genres, to bring you a compendium of tales to provoke thought, entertain you, and even mystify your imagination.

My story has its origin in a throw-away comment made by one of my students one summer afternoon many years ago. But it stuck in my mind, ended up in my writer notebook, blossomed into a story and ended up in this marvelous publication.
Australian astronaut Amanda Jefferies finally makes it onto the International Space Station only to watch in horror as the apocalypse unfolds on the Earth below.
Interested?  You should be. This story has everything. Space, the Rolling Stones and Vodka. And I even throw in some bananas. There is, of course, a lot more - but to find out you'll have to read it.

I know I can't wait to receive my copy, but you can order yours now.  In the meantime, sit back and enjoy the book trailer.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Sherlock Holmes: The Australian Casebook.

I've finally received my author copy of Sherlock Holmes: The Australian Casebook, and it is stunning. hard back, with embossed cover, beautifully illustrated and some incredible names within. I feel so honoured and privileged to have been included.

This one has been a long journey. And at times I didn't think it was ever going to happen. Editor Christopher Sequeira, however, kept the faith. He knew he had something special and took his time to find the right publisher. Echo Publishing didn't let us down either. They created an absolutely beautiful book, one that will take pride of place on my shelf.  

I've receieved a  few personal messages telling me how much they love my story and the book. Out in the wider world reviews have started rolling in, and I'm thrilled to have had my name included in a review as the author of one of the outstanding stories.

This is a fantastic book.

But don't just take my word for it - check this blurb out.

It is the year 1890. Sherlock Holmes’ fame has spread even to the colonies as he and his stalwart chronicler, Dr John Watson, are swept up in an array of mysteries ‘down under’. They find themselves summoned from location to location, traversing all corners of the strange island continent of Australia, challenged with mysteries and a geographical and cultural landscape with which they are unfamiliar.
From eerie shadows on cave walls, to an actor’s most grisly curtain call, an abduction by a demon, and an inexplicable drowning, to the odd affair of the reputed biggest man in Australia, a purloined bunyip, and to sinister, bearded bushrangers, the tales within this collection provide fresh perspective to the Holmes phenomena and will intrigue, delight and entertain readers.
The stories are written in Conan Doyle’s classic Watson persona by a range of Sherlockians, historians, established writers and some exciting emerging talents: Kerry Greenwood and Lindy Cameron, Meg Keneally, Kaaron Warren, Lucy Sussex, L.J.M. Owen, T.S.P. Sweeney, J. Scherpenhuizen, Will Schaefer, Robert Veld, Doug Elliott, Philip Cornell, Raymond Gates, Jason Franks, Narrelle M. Harris, Steve Cameron, and editor Christopher Sequeira himself, and with an introduction by Baker Street Irregular Bill Barnes, and illustrations by Philip Cornell, J. Scherpenhuizen and Marcelo Baez.

It is in the shops, and it is available online. You know you need this.

I hope you enjoy reading this. I am.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Finding Homes.

I'm pleased to have actually sold a couple of stories in the past few months. And, with the impending launch of Sherlock Holmes: The Australian Casebook, it hasn't been a bad second half to the year. I also still have a couple of submissions out, so it could improve further.

Of course this isn't a patch of a few years ago. I haven't written lots of new stuff this year. My attentions have been focussed on other, more pressing matters. But that's OK. Swings and roundabouts and all that. The way things are going I expect I'll be into half a dozen new stories before you know it.

Timing, as they say, is everything.

I love both the stories I've sold. There's something quite special about them. A lot of work went into each of them. A lot of research, editing, and rewriting. I cut some great words, but I believe that made them even better stories.

I'll keep you informed closer to publication date.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Who's Pushing The Pedals On The Season Cycle?

Soon I'll be dragging out my winter coat and scarf as the days grow short and the evenings close in. But for now we're enjoying lovely days. Blue skies, fluffy white clouds and an array of autumn colours in the village.

Ask people around here about winter, and they'll tell you it's not like it used to be. They used to be long and cold, but the last heavy snowfall that brought Lincoln to a standstill and closed the schools for four days was in 2010.  I've seen pictures of it. Family sent them to me at the time.

Last winter was mild in comparison. We really only had two light snowfalls, and the flakes melted quickly - all traces gone within an hour or so. Not that I desire to be snowed in, but it would be nice to have some real snow around - if only for the photos. Long range forecasts for this year are mixed, and suggest it could either be mild again or we could have a really cold one. They just don't know.

Either way, we've already stocked up on firewood. Last Friday was quite cold, and we used that as an excuse to light our first fire for the season. It was lovely, homey and comforting. I can't tell you how much I enjoyed it. I won't need too much pushing to light another one soon.

I've been here more than a year now. We've been through one complete cycle of seasons, and I've enjoyed them all.

But enough on the weather report. I do have more publishing news to share, but I'll save that for my next post.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Pieces Are Falling Into Place.

When I was a teenager I loved doing jigsaw puzzles. For some reason I haven't even attempted one in years. About seven years ago, I think, was the last one. I was in a holiday rental in Germany with family and someone started one. We all joined in and had great fun.

Every now and then I think about buying a jigsaw again. I'll often have a look when I see them in shops, or sometimes I'll browse the second-hand ones in op shops (charity shops). I haven't seen any that interested me enough to buy one.

Until this week.

I was shopping with Lindsey in the local supermarket when my eye was drawn to a 1000 piece puzzle. A photograph of boats in a harbour with sandy coloured buildings in the hills behind. I grabbed it, then went through all the others on the shelf. Again, none of the others stirred even remote interest in me, but I loved the harbour scene. I bought it, and I'm really excited about starting it this weekend.

I think I inherited my love for jigsaws from my aunt. She always seemed to be doing them, and I recall her sharing a few with me. There was one in particular she gave me, and it's the only one I recall from my teenage years. I loved that picture, and I wish I still had it. A few years ago I wrote about my search for it. It continues, albeit irregularly. Every now and then I'll get into google, ebay and jigsaw websites trying to find it. No luck so far.

This is how I remembered it back in 2014.

It's a photograph along a cobbled street in Europe, with an outdoor cafe. Set in the late 60s, I think. I think there was probably a harbour on the right, with boats and yachts. Everyone is simply enjoying the sun, eating, drinking. I remember a few people wearing RayBan style sunglasses. No one pays any attention to the camera - except one kid who is gazing directly at the lens, and therefore, at me.

This week I've remembered more. I'm not convinced the street is cobbled. And I'm not even sure it is a street anymore. I think it was probably just a waterfront. There were boats on the right, as I said, but now I remember one of those dark timber speedboats with chrome fittings that seemed so exotic and European when I was a kid. I have a feeling there were other boats, with masts and rigging. Above the cafe I think there were canopies or umbrellas - probably white and square.  And somewhere in the depths of my mind I recall mountains in the background, with a stone square tower nestled among them. I suspect it was between 350 - 500 pieces. My research this week suggests it may have been either a late 60s/early 70s Tower Press puzzle, or possibly a Milton Bradley. Or maybe not. The picture as I recall it certainly had the feel of some of the Tower Press puzzles.

Of course some of the details may be imagined, or meshed with images of other puzzles I did around that time.

Edited to add: Three days later and my research seems to be paying off. I mentioned it had the feel of a Tower Press puzzle,. The photos they used on their European puzzles were of a similar style. Now I discover TP were huge in Australia in the 70s. That fits. Researching European harbours has helped too. I can't find any photos from the same angle, or from the same time period, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if this puzzle is of Portofino, Italy.

I do know that when I see it, I will recognise it immediately. And if anyone remembers the same puzzle, finds an image of it, or can point me in the direction of a hardcore jigsaw puzzle forum, I would be most appreciative.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Another Sale.

It's been ages since I've sold a story, although until about six weeks ago I hadn't submitted one for a very long time. So you can imagine how thrilled I was last week to receive an acceptance email from a publisher in the U.S. It is an anthology with an interesting theme and I was fortunate enough to have a story sitting here doing nothing which I felt would be a good fit.

Now this is a story I really like. And it's a story which came close at a couple of pro-markets, receiving personal rejections and fabulous feedback. I rewrote and slashed away at the story based on those comments and I believe it was an even better story because of it. I am so pleased I have finally found a home for this piece.

Don't forget I have a story in Sherlock Holmes: The Australian Casebook which is due for release in November. This is going to be a fantastic publication and I can't wait to get nmy hands on a copy. The names in here are fabulous, the stories are great and the artwork looks wonderful. I am truly excited to be in this one. Keep an eye out for it in your local Australian bookshop. Hopefully it will do well enough to warrant an international release.

I have a few other stories out at the moment. Again these are good pieces, and I have a feeling at least one of them will sell. Of course I have my fingers crossed for all four - but publishing rarely works that way.

I shall, of course, keep you informed.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Seeking New Opportunities.

Have you heard of the hidden job market?

It is believed as much as 80% of jobs are never advertised. These positions go to people through other means - usually networking, headhunting and referrals.

Of course this can make life difficult for someone like myself who has only been in the UK a short time and doesn't really have a local network. There are ways to grow a network and I am taking those steps. But it can be a long, slow process.

I have decided to take the slightly unusual step of promoting myself as a potential employee. No, I haven't splurged out and bought time on one of the TV stations, instead I've created a web page. Check it out here.

And if you know of anyone who needs a hard-working administrator, please don't hesitate to share the page with them.