Monday, June 05, 2017

GOG and Steam

For approximately 10 years, I played and wrote personal reviews on PC games. Mainly adventure games or RPG but there were a few simulator games, puzzle games and random games. But I stopped playing PC games barring Sims (2, 3 and 4) so I stopped writing reviews about 2007. The old reviews still exist but there hasn't been a new one in a decade.

I was inspired to purchase a new game - The Witcher 3 - because it was on special at Steam. I adored Witcher 1. I tried playing but couldn't really get into Witcher 2; the controls were too complicated if you were using keyboard and mouse. I have a game controller now so decided it was time to try the latest Witcher.

What I found interesting while I was there was both the number of older games available and my reaction to seeing some of them. Myst was a game I played which I reviewed way back in 1996. I still remember how cool it was at the time. There was a package of games from The Adventure Company and I remember working on some of those titles.

Any titles I know I played, but I had no memory of, it was probably an okay game but nothing special. The titles I remember are games that I loathed or loved. While memories of actual game play has long since faded, the general fondness for the game remains.

I have no desire to replay most of these games. I fear that they may not live up to their memories or that they won't play well on the current laptop. It is amazingly cool that they still exist though, and nice to see that they can be bought at bargain prices.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Writing Prompts

I belong to a local writing group and our meetings usually start with a writing prompt.

The fascinating thing about these prompts are how many truly different stories can arise from a single prompt. Since our group has horror, sf and fantasy authors; all three types of stories may well be represented.

If you gave the same writing prompt to 100 different writers, you would get 100 different stories. It's quite likely that some would be similar, but you have a few people who took the prompt in a completely different way. You would have a few people who managed to create a twist for the ending. Some of the stories would be short, others would be much longer.

A couple of the flash fiction stories I have posted on my web site started as a group writing prompt. They needed a bit of work, and usually a proper ending, before they could be posted. They were quite different from stories by our other members though.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Most recent story

Forgot to mention that a new short story Seven Years Bad Luck is available to read from my web site.

The story begins with a vampire who smashes a mirror. When this vampire's luck is bad, it's very bad indeed.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Finishing stories - can be harder than it sounds

As of now, I have about a dozen short stories in various stages of being written. A couple of them are just started, most are toward the middle of the tale in question.

Short stories need to have a good tale, well told, with just enough detail to allow the reader to see what you see. But given that you are asked for 3000 to 8000 words, if you want to submit it for publication, you have to keep verbosity to a minimum.

So, I tend to go off on a tangent, then start a new story rather than finish and fix the one I'm working on. This is a bad habit.

At least with novels, I do have a better habit of attempting to finish one before starting the next. Of the various novels I am working on, only one still doesn't have any sort of end. The others, generally need more work on both the first chapters and the final one, but they do reach some reasonable end point.

Thursday, March 16, 2017


It's worth always double checking urls and online submissions before you submit. (I tend to start an email and work on it for days checking and double checking things before it's sent.)
So far in 2017, one of the book publishers I listed in my google spreadsheet has decided to close their doors. Today, I found that Australian Literary Management - has a base wordpress site instead of content. I had noted that ALM wasn't keen on representing Spec Fic - they had three fantasy/horror titles and the most recent was from 2006. The wordpress thing may be temporary or they may have just changed hosts but it could be that they've abandoned the site.
So, since my manuscript has been to the one agency in Australia currently accepting fantasy, it's time to send it overseas.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

New story online

From the Tales told by Grandfather Sammy we have The City of Gilgam.


Literary Agents vs Direct Submissions

In the quest to become a published author, I have developed a list of publishers interested in the genre I write and are willing to online submissions directly from authors.

But instead of sending my first novel to all of those publishers, it's going to make the round of literary agents. Why?

  1. Agents have access to publishers that a new novelist does not.
  2. If an agent accepts your novel, you know that they are going to work at getting it published because their fees depend on it.
    (Subnote: do not ever submit to an agent who charges reading fees. Reputable agents will not charge a reading fee.)
  3. The agent should be able to advise on contract offerings from a publisher.
  4. As one agency site pointed out, you don't want to submit your novel to many publishers and use an agent as a last resort. Publishers are NOT going to want to see the work twice, so you are hampering the efforts of the agent.
The first two agents I have in mind will be seeing the manuscript exclusively. After that, it's time for the shotgun approach, find 5 or 6 agents will to look at manuscripts of the right genre from new authors and submit. Repeat as required.

Friday, February 03, 2017

Too Many Options

In a way, I think there are too many options for self-publishing these days.

What brought that thought on was my first visit to Interesting platform and if you have the social media in place to build a following, it could be a great option. I even found two traditionally published fantasy writers who are now using Patreon to generate a steady income.

The main Patreon site isn't particularly friendly toward discovering writers though. It took a couple of tries to start finding fantasy writers - which is why I believe that you need good social media contacts. It covers all sorts of creative endeavours, and is far better than kickstarter for regular revenue streams.

Other platforms include Smashwords, Amazon has kindle direct and CreateSpace, and many more options. Of course, there are still vanity/scam publishers out there so you must be careful.

Thursday, February 02, 2017

Celebrating David Bowie

My husband and I just came back from a mini-holiday in Sydney, the main purpose was to see this show.

Three hours of Bowie music, with a large number of performers many of whom had worked with David during his long career. This includes Mike Garson, Earl Slick, Adrian Belew, Mark Plati,  Sterling Campbell, and Holly Palmer plus Angelo Moore from Fishbone, Bernard Fowler from The Rolling Stones, Gaby Moreno and Scrote. Several Australian artists (Bernard Fanning, Sarah Blasko, Paul Dempsey and Chris Cheney) came out and sang. (List taken from the official Sydney opera house list)

I had two criticisms of the show. The balance between the band and the vocalists changed over the course of the evening and by the end of the night, it was really hard to hear the singers. If they weren't singing at full volume, they were overwhelmed by the musicians. The second is that they didn't play much from David's more recent work. There was one song from "The Next Day" and nothing at all from "Blackstar" or other later albums.

Those to the side, it was a wonderful show and I was glad that we managed to catch it. Several times the singers told the audience to get up and dance because this was a celebration. Some did, some didn't but a good time was had by all.