Friday 20 January 2017

Fetch me my periwig

The BBC recently reported that coffee shops are shouldering traditional pubs aside as, amongst other reasons, they become informal centres for doing business, and a younger generation eschews alcohol.

Am I the only one to get a sense of history repeating itself, of what goes around comes around?  Hasn't the 'bitter Mohammedan gruel' done its best to push aside ale before?  Perhaps somebody would care to trade some stocks and shares over a tall silver pot of chocolate?  Have the tea clippers arrived in the East India Dock, anyone?

I, for one, intend to cash in on the boom when my ten gross of powdered wigs arrive from China, to be placed on eBay at vastly inflated sums.  Laugh now, but every hipster will have one by 2019.

Friday 13 January 2017

"Mrs Lombard, there are some situations which are too stupid to be allowed to continue"

I was going to post a review of the Doctor Who Christmas special (still watching Christmas TV, which seems supremely appropriate given, if you work in marketing, it starts in October), but the perfect summation appeared to fall out of Malcolm Tucker's face halfway through.

In any case, I'm not sure I'd know where to start with this one.  Doctor Who appears to be in a race with Sherlock, both BBC money-spinning staples, to see who can be the first to wave out of their own mouths having wedged themselves up their own fundaments with plots that owe more to Dada than three-act structure.  Bigger doesn't equal better, nor does more absurd, unless you're trying to use the dancing dolphins and fire-eating unicorns to distract from problems at the centre.

I'll leave you with that image.

Friday 6 January 2017

End of term report

I think I've already noted in these postings that I have an annual target of selling three stories.  I tell myself anything less and I'll give up.  However, as stories are constantly tumbling around my brain, always have, always will, like cats in a bag on acid, I'm not sure if even a fallow couple of years will stop me.  (I've suffered for my art; now it's your turn.)

Well, the numbers, short-story-wise for the calendar year 2016 are these:
  • 170 submissions of
  • 40 different stories, of which 
  • eight were newly written this year, to
  • I haven't checked how many publications, which garnered
  • 135 rejections,
  • three and a half acceptances, with
  • 31 still pending, and
  • earnings of $45 for stories accepted this year (of which $10 is yet to be paid)
I say three and a half as, at the very end of the year, Flash Fiction Online (professional SFWA market!) accepted a story pending edits (make it shorter, yet add information - ??!), which I'm yet to complete.  So, I'll take the creative accountants' line of counting it for both 2016 and 2017, if it's taken.

Otherwise, the small victories were:
  • 'Where do all the Accountants Come From' in Beyond the Hedge vol.1 (which appears to have generated my first substantive review, of which I'm pretty happy - "though it wasn’t my favorite story of the collection, I thought it had the most original take on the theme"); and,
  • 'Litterpicking on the Moon', which was sold to PunksWritePoems for their Don't Open 'Til Doomsday anthology at the beginning of the year, and the Chronos Chronicles from Indie Authors Press at the end.  So my first reprint sale.

But that doesn't tell the whole story.  Analog encouraged submissions on strength of one story, which has been with editor-in-chief of Spark since May (although my reading of the runes is that there's an awful lot in the editor-in-chief's in-tray).  Another was a near miss with Asimov's (although the story that was with them for five and a half months just seemed to be slow rather than good-but-not-quite-good-enough).  A third was a near miss with Daily Science Fiction, the same story that has made it to within spitting distance of the inner sanctum of Flash Fiction Online.  Another fell in final round at New Myths, and also received positive feedback from Grimdark.

So, overall, a better year than 2015.  However, there does appear to be a consistent theme appearing in that editors find my pace and style more suited to the long form than the short.  I'm even beginning to wonder whether what I write is a series of chapter 1s, set-ups which are never resolved properly.  I've long passed them off as artfully ambiguous; maybe I should see them for what they really: unfinished.  Hence I've decided to concentrate on the novel this year.  I'll see if I can ignore the short story itch that I'm all too eager to scratch when it comes.  Watch this space for growing frustration.

Oh, and, yes, I'm still awaiting payment of the kill fee from Carrie Cuinn at Lakeside Circus.  Unsurprisingly...