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Off to the London Book Fair…

Monday this week saw the arrival of the London Book Fair to Earl’s Court, and with it, a little more knowledge about the tics and tocs of the publishing world. You might recall that a few months ago I was e-mailed by Medallion’s foreign rights consultant asking if I’d like to drop by and have a chat with her. Well that happened on Sunday, just before the book fair, and the poor woman spent a whole two hours having her earholes bashed by my waffling and blathering about my books (well, she did make the mistake of asking!) Actually it wasn’t completely one sided, she shared plenty of interesting anecdotes about the world of literary agents and I came away much the better for it (not least because of the eggs on toast she treated me too – food always makes me happy). Our meeting reminded me how fortunate I was to get noticed in the first place; everything you read on the internet about those slush piles is true! So if you’re a budding writer hoping for a shot at getting published, always, always, always follow the submission guidelines and get everything as damned near perfect as possible, because making it through that slush pile is no easy thing.

It was a while ago – April of 2010 that I first received the incredibly good news that Medallion wanted to publish my novel, but I’ve since discovered that it’s not just a simple case of them taking my book, printing it, and then slapping it on book shelves. Medallion currently own the world-wide rights to publish The Soul Consortium, and The Beasts of Upton Puddle, but that’s just the start of it all. I hadn’t even heard of a foreign rights consultant until February! Her mission is to promote my books to publishers in individual countries. The London Book Fair is host to a great many scouts, agents and publishers from around the globe, all looking for the next big thing.

And so, armed with a brochure bursting with literary goodness, she showed me what else she was promoting. I got the feeling that this was what it all came down to – this is where the real selling happens. Each novel had a page or two dedicated to it. There was a picture of the author together with their credentials and any literary achievements that might stand out. There was sometimes a brief excerpt from the book, a picture of the cover, lines from ARC (advanced review copy) reviews, tag lines, and that all important sentence that’s designed to grab a prospective buyer by the eyeballs and convince them the book’s a guaranteed seller.

If they do like the look of it, they get a copy of the manuscript to mull over, and if they decide they want it, Medallion sell the rights to that publisher to publish it in that country. Ever wonder why some books have loads of different covers? Well this is one reason for it – different publishers in different countries get their own cover art. You learn something new every day.

So, cross your fingers for me. The book fair is over now but I’m told there has been interest in both my books. We’ll just have to see what happens.

Happy Easter !

Aaaah, Easter bunnies, Easter eggs and hot cross buns and stuff. Brilliant! Seems like a few of my writerly friends are feeling generous this holiday because there are a couple of books going free in electroic format. Both Craig Wallwork and Eddy Rathke have books out: Quintessence Of Dust and ASH Cinema (respectively). I have tremendous respect for their talent and will be digging a hole in my reading agenda to digest these. Highly recommended.

Fairy Tales

It’s been an abnormal week for me this week. I’ve been crawling around on my hands and knees with a terrible case of the man-flu. Off sick from work for most of the week and unable to apply my befogged brain to anything constructive, I chose to let my DVD collection and books inspire me afresh. Reading traditional fairy tales and watching the Hellraiser movies again is an odd combination, but entertaining nonetheless. So the Hellraiser movies are a bit dated now when you look at the SFX but I’m still awed by Clive Barker’s imagination. And the fairy tales are interesting too. As my latest novel is of a similar ilk, it was useful to draw from them. Amongst the tales were Jack the Giant Killer, Robin Hood and the golden arrow, King Arthur and the hideous hag, and a bunch of others which were new to me. What struck me was the simplicity of the stories. They were completely predictable yet still entertaining because of their simple charm, mythological tone and sense of innocence. I guess that’s the sort of flavour I need to aim for in mine too.

I have a few other projects still peeping over the horizon, one of which is a sort of resurrection from something I started with a work colleague. I caught up with Adam Wakeling last week who is as immersed as ever in creating new and inspiring music (look him up on iTunes – a varied artist with a lot of talent), and a while back he took one of my early short stories (Koma) and put music to it. He’s told me he’d like to complete that, so hopefully, fingers crossed, this will emerge in the near future.

Anyways, enough about me – since I’ve made a pledge to post here more often (I only skipped last week because I was ill – let me off!), I want to use it as a platform to highlight some publications from other writers I’m acquainted with. I found out the other day that my friend Craig Wallwork has had his story included in the first edition of Dark River. He’s an excellent writer, so if you have the stomach for horror, please go check it out.

Bye for now.


Could this be the creepiest ever music vid?

Despite the lure of StarCraft 2, cigars and Christmas guzzling (yes, I started early), I’ve still been plugging away at Gaia’s Engine. I’m almost 60,000 words in (two thirds complete). It’s around about this stage that I’m feeling the pull to look a little more closely at my early chapters though, which will slow my progress. Because the first few chapters will posted at WriteClub for review soon, I need to slip some more stuff in at an earlier stage of the draft, tidy things up and change some details.

One of the details I’m changing is the descriptions of the ghosts. I wanted to push a really creepy look for my apparitions, and as I strolled around my back garden puffing away at a miniature cigar (this is where I get my inspiration much of the time), it hit me. Many moons back I remember watching a music video while jogging away on the treadmill at the gym. It gave me the right willies (not the treadmill, the video), but those images always stuck with me (particularly 38 seconds in – spooky!) Check out those weird faces and you’ll see the look I’m aiming for. Maybe not so exaggerated, but you’ll catch my drift. What vid am I talking about?

Remember Sound Garden? Black hole sun?

Creep factor 10 – go watch it. It’s weird. Enjoy.

Black Hole Sun