Posts Tagged ‘Suspended In Dusk’

I just sent this to Books of the Dead Press via email and will be sending it to their last-known mailing address via registered mail.  I have also decided to post this here to ensure that the message is recieved.

—–

Dear Roy,

I’m writing to you to express my sheer frustration and bewilderment at the lack of communication over the last few months.  I’ve tried contacting you several times and have not received any response to my attempts at contact since October 1.

 I signed Suspended in Dusk 2 with you on September 12, 2015.  On July 4, I gave you a fully-edited, triple proofread manuscript of an anthology featuring stories from some of the best names in the business.  You told me that the book would be released “in a couple of months”.  On October 1 2016, you told me the book would not be released until Q1 2017. The author contracts have now expired  and publication of Suspended in Dusk 2 with Books of the Dead is no longer feasible.  The headlining authors such as Stephen Graham Jones and Damien Angelica Walters have resold their work elsewhere and they would not re-sign with Books of the Dead Press given a year has gone by and the anthology was never published. This hasn’t just tarnished your reputation, it has tarnished my reputation and credibility as a professional editor to some of the best names in the horror fiction business.  I have already emailed you about this, and it is coming up to 3 months since your last email to me.
To make matters worse, your website has disappeared too and I’ve been fielding emails from the writers published by BOTD who are trying to work out if BOTD even exists anymore and what is happening with their books which they’re not getting royalties for  but which are still being sold on Amazon etc.  

In addition to the failure of Suspended in Dusk 2, each royalty payment I’ve received from Books of the Dead for Suspended in Dusk has been progressively closer to the “no later than 160 days from the end of the period” stipulated in my contract.  It has now been 168 days since the end of Q2 and I still have not received payment, as per the aforementioned paragraph of the contract.

I have lost faith in Books of the Dead Press to adhere to and fulfil the contract for Suspended in Dusk 1 and the contract for Suspended in Dusk 2 has been made completely redundant by the lack of communication and action from yourself which has resulted in the lapse of all the author contracts and the sale of their fiction to other markets. The virtual disappearance of your presence in social media, the disappearance of your website and the disappearance of royalty payments within the contractually agreed time period leaves me no choice as to my actions. I regret to say that I am—without delay and on the basis of there being no “notice of default and right to cure” clause in the contract requiring me to grant you time to correct this—reclaiming my rights to both Suspended in Dusk 1 and 2.  I will be requesting that Amazon remove Suspended in Dusk from their site and I will send you this as a letter via registered mail to the one address that ANY of the books of the dead authors have for you:

 

Books of the Dead

c/o James Roy Daley

742 Pascoe Crt.,

Oshawa, On,

Canada, L1K 1S9

 

I will also put the contents of this letter of this letter on my blog, in the hope that you have received this message. 

I don’t know why you’ve disappeared. Maybe you’ve had some life or health problem that you needed to take care of. It happens to all of us and I genuinely hope you’re well—but I can’t do business with you and I need to take my work to someone who is visible, communicative, is paying as per my contract and who actually has their hand on the tiller.

Sorry it had to be this way,

 

Simon Dewar

 

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good times

The last couple of weeks have been interesting with all the goings-on regarding RJ Cavender, PS Gifford, HWA and the traumatic podcast by Brian Keene with guest Kelly Laymon, and posts by authors such as Tim Waggoner, and author/editor Michael Bailey.

I’ve checked out on all of that, seriously struggling to give a fuck about any of it beyond a generalised and helpless kind of sadness and concern for Kelly Laymon and the other affected victims of sexual assault and fraud.  Whether people are being nice or naughty, treating each other well or poorly, whether they’re having fun or not, whether they’re being successful or failing… It’s freaking great to not know about it, and more importantly to not give a fuck about it either.

monkees

A corollary of that is, I’m taking a well-deserved break from social media.

man

I’m not quite The Man who Walked Away from Facebook (no one has stolen my horse yet!!), however stepping off the merry-go-round has allowed me to become far more productive.  I’m aware of some things that are going on in the horror/writing world and am maintaining some level of contact with some people. If you feel you need to speak to me, email me.

Note: I have no updates on the RJ Cavender scandal.  No further news from Indiegogo than that they’re investigating whether the campaigns. RJ Cavender’s Indiegogo campaign site are still live. I have received no word from Stanley Hotel or Winchester mystery house and no response to the long emails I sent both.  Well, I threw that shit at the wall and it seems like nothing has actually stuck, so I’ve turned my attention to other things which are more interesting and better for my mental health.

In the last week:

  1. I’ve sent edits to 3 authors for Suspended in Dusk 2.  I have a small number of edits left before proof reading begins and I finally compile the final manuscript and send it to Books of the Dead Press.
  2. I have sent three lots of edits, and 1 manuscript assessment and suggested markets for story submission, to people who bought edits out of the StokerCon or Bust fundraising campaign for Marni Molina.  Marni is probably at Las Vegas or landing there now, ready to enjoy a weekend away, maybe learn some things, catch up with old friends, network with new ones.
  3. I have written several thousand words of an essay on nailing the start of a new short story.  The essay will be published in the next few weeks and will include quotes from some fantastic authors and editors and my own general spin on things.
  4. I have received my royalty statements letting me know that I’m still selling roughly 750 (mostly ebook) copies of Suspended in Dusk a quarter.  This is encouraging because, I’m quite proud of that book; there’s lots of great stories in there; I’m very happy that some of the less established authors are getting “exposure” (heh.) to a wide reading audience via my book—one that was released in 2014! (Note: The publisher did also pay them money.)
  5. I feel like I’ve levelled up a bit with my editing or have certainly attained a greater amount of confidence, especially in asking authors to make changes that I feel are necessary for a story. Ultimately, this is good for both me and the authors.

I’m super pleased with this new direction and I’m happy that Suspended in Dusk 2 is moving more swiftly towards its final published state.

Good times, great (lack of social media) company.

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I have some catching up to do now so this will be the first of today’s WIHM interviews. I met Sarah Read in Jack Ketchum’s horror class a couple of years back. I liked her writing. She like mine and we developed a cool bond because we’ve both been having new additions to our respective families.  Sarah is a talented writer and I collected one of her stories in my debut anthology, Suspended in Dusk.  Thanks so much for stopping by, Sarah!
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Q. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I’m a freelance writer and editor. I used to edit for a large publisher, but I left that last year when my youngest son was born and needed a little extra care. Before that I worked in libraries, and before that I worked in bookstores. Always with books and words! I’m really enjoying the freelance work, though. I also knit, crochet, weave, spin, and collect fountain pens.

I edit the fiction bit of Pantheon Magazine. I love doing that so much! I get to read so many amazing stories. And I get to work with some of my favorite authors.
Q. What draws you to horror generally, and was there a defining moment where yousomething mad you think “Fuck it, I’m writing a horror story!”?  
I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t into spooky stories. Even my childhood picture books reflect it. One of my favorites that I still have is “The Glow-in-the-Dark Haunted House”. When you’re reading, you can turn off the lights and ghosts appear in the windows. And the illustrated kids’ bible my grandmother gave me always fell open to the massacre of the innocents. It had a really horrific illustration where a soldier is holding a naked baby up by the foot, with a dagger in his other hand. The religion didn’t take, but that image has stuck with me. I used to stare at it till I cried. So I guess I’ve always had a (questionably healthy) need to stare into the abyss.
I wrote my first horror story in 6th grade, and I remember my teacher, Mr. Evans, correcting me when I used the phrase “ravenous beauty” instead of “ravishing”. The beautiful ghost was the protagonist. I think Mr. Evans was the one who set me on the writing path–he would let me stay in at recess and help me write cover letters and submit my stories and poems to kids’ magazines. I never got accepted, but he always encouraged me to keep trying.
Q. What is your favourite horror story and what about it specifically rustled your jimmies?
“Father, Son, Holy Rabbit” by Stephen Graham Jones is my favorite horror story of all time. It builds anxiety perfectly. And you can see what’s coming, eventually, but it still completely knocks you over in the end. It so perfectly articulates a parent’s love for their child. It always leaves me a bit shaken. All the horror of it happens in your heart, rather than on the page.
Q. What have you written? And what is your personal favourite of your own work?
I’ve written short stories, mostly. You can find them in Black Static, Exigencies, Suspended in Dusk, and other places. I do have a novel-length manuscript that I’m currently shopping to agents. I’m working on a revise and resubmit for one of those agents. My favorite thing I’ve written is always the thing I haven’t written yet. The one I’m writing next, the shiny fresh idea.
Q. Do you have a favourite form or media for story telling?  E.g Short story, Novel, Audio drama or podcast, audiobook
Well, my favorite to write is a short story. But I love reading novels, too, and I listen to a LOT of podcasts. I’d like to get more into audiobooks. I used to listen to them when I had a commute. But right now I’m mostly sitting in the dark with an omg-please-go-to-sleep-now baby, reading a novel or short story collection on my kindle.
Q. What are you working on at the minute?
I’m working on a short story for you, Simon! It’s almost done, I swear. You just said “February” and it’s still February.
I’m also outlining a new novel or novella–I haven’t decided how broad to go with the concept, yet. I don’t tend to work on more than one thing at a time, with my own fiction anyway. The freelance writing is forcing me out of that habit, though.
Q. Who is your favourite woman writer?
Shirley Jackson. Though from contemporary writers, I’m falling head-over-heels for Helen Marshall right now. And Caitlin Kiernan has always been a huge influence for me, especially when she writes about bugs and other crawly things.
Q. Are there any projects involving other women that you’re looking forward to or would like to get on board with? 
Everything? I mean, nothing specific to women–there are just awesome women everywhere and we’re all very busy doing awesome things. I’m very excited about the launch of Gamut magazine. A lot of my favorite women writers will be published there (if it funds–go give them money), and Richard Thomas, the editor, has asked for a few pieces from me as well. And I’m super excited for Suspended in Dusk 2. I think it’s going to be even better than the first one–and obviously that’s saying something.
As for things I’d like to get on board with, I really want to get a piece in Shimmer. I’ve been shortlisted there the last few times I’ve subbed, and I’ve gotten really kind, helpful personal rejections from the team there. I feel like my face is pressed up against the glass, all smeary-like, but I just haven’t broken through yet.
Q. What book/s are you reading at present and what is in your TBR pile?
My TBR pile has always been ridiculous, but having an infant in the house has made it even more so. I’m very, very behind. But up next, I think, are the Nightmares Unhinged anthology, Zeroes by Chuck Wendig, and Damien Angelica Walter’s Paper Tigers (which I already read, for blurb reasons, but that was an earlier draft, so I get to read it again). I also feel an Erik Larson nonfiction bender coming on.
Q. What challenges have you encountered that are unique to being a woman in the horror genre, or can you describe some of the  challenges have you faced that are complicated by your gender?
I’ve been very fortunate in that regard. I haven’t been the target of any outright hostility. I get the occasional “who would have thought a sweet girl like you would write something so dark” (well GEE WILLIKERS, MISTER), and I did once have trouble with a male writer that I was beta reading for who didn’t like my suggestion that maybe not EVERY woman in his book should be a rape victim tearfully confessing their victimhood to his male protagonist that they had never even met before. But mostly I’ve had awesome interactions and felt very welcome in the horror community. I do get a little steel in my heart every time I see an anthology or magazine issue come out with only one or two women in it. I make a note of who those editor are. And I make plans to send them lots of stuff. I don’t want them to have any excuses.
Q. Why is Women in Horror month important/important to you? 
I know it’s controversial. And I totally understand why many don’t want it. But I try not to look at it as a condescending token, and think of it more as a way of finding out about more women writers that I may not have yet come across. Every year I find a new author to read, thanks to the WiH blog lists and interview series like this one (thanks, Simon!). There are still people who haven’t realized what amazing work is out there. And I don’t think it’s a conscious bias in many cases. Volume and visibility are the fastest ways to get through to those who don’t know what they’re missing. So let’s shine some lights, make some noise.
Q. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Write first thing in the morning, if you can. It makes the whole day better, knowing you got the important thing done already. And read read read.

 

Sarah Read Links:
Website: I don’t have one because they’re expensive and I’m terrible with computers. I know. I know. It’s one of my main goals for 2016.
Blog: Same as above.    (Simon’s interjection:   WordPress is free. I badgered Karen Runge till she made a site, your turn now. DO IT!)
Twitter: @inkwellmonster
Lnkedin: pfft!
Pinterest: inkwellmonster
Instagram: @inkwellmonster
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Sarah-Read/ (I see that almost nothing of mine is linked to the correct me. I should fix that.)
Book Links: (* American, UK, etc.)
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8283885.Sarah_Read (this one actually has my stuff!)

Hi everyone,

Suspended in Dusk is now out in paperback format. I know a few people were hanging out for a paperback copy rather than ebook version. You can log on to amazon now and order a copy!

For those of you who haven’t heard of or already read the anthology, it’s a horror and dark fiction anthology featuring an introduction by Bram Stoker Award winner and World Horror Convention Grandmaster Jack Ketchum, and stories by:

Ramsey Campbell, John Everson, Rayne Hall, Shane McKenzie, Angela Slatter, Alan Baxter, S.G Larner, Wendy Hammer, Sarah Read, Karen Runge, Toby Bennett, Benjamin Knox, Brett Rex Bruton, Icy Sedgwick, Tom Dullemond, Armand Rosamilia, Chris Limb, Anna Reith, J.C. Michael.

Amazon link:

http://www.amazon.com/Suspended-Dusk-Ramsey-Campbell-ebook/dp/B00NIE6E2S/

In conjunction with a 5 year anniversary sale from Books of the Dead Press, the anthology is currently selling for 99c on Amazon.com.  http://www.amazon.com/Suspended-In-Dusk-Ramsey-Campbell-ebook/dp/B00NIE6E2S/ref=zg_bs_157061011_2

Please consider checking out the other Books of the Dead titles many of which are free or reduced to 99c. There are some fantastic books by amazing authors. You wont regret it.  http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=ntt_athr_dp_sr_2?_encoding=UTF8&field-author=Books%20of%20the%20Dead&search-alias=digital-text&sort=relevancerank

I’ve been busy of late doing promotional work for the anthology and along with the sale this has achieved some success.  For a while at least Suspended in Dusk was the no.1 best selling #horror anthology on Amazon.com.  This is great news for the authors whose stories are within the collection.

 number1

There have been a few good reviews of Suspended in Dusk of late. My personal favourites were the review on Lurid-Lit.com and one of the reviews on Goodreads.com

But besides the buckets of gore, blood, creep and crawl these stories present smarts. There are morals hidden beneath the piles of bodies and in back of the winding spirits; modern parables all for our times that set this collection above most of the recent anthologies being hawked today.

This is a solid investment of your time and eye sight.

1. http://www.lurid-lit.com/2014/12/book-review-suspended-in-dusk-edited-by.html

The cover is exquisite. The editor did a good job selecting the content authors, and the editing is of high-quality. The roster contains talent from all over: Australia, UK, US and South Africa, which has a healthy pulse of fresh voices. Overall, I suggest this to any horror author, because chances are, there’s a story within tailored to your liking. As Jack Ketchum states in his introduction—”You’re in good hands here.” More from Simon’s editing desk, please. Call me greedy.

2 . https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1065595300?book_show_action=false&page=1

In coming days we should have news of the print run of Suspended in Dusk. I know there are a few people out there at least who are hanging for a paperback version, in which case you’ll be able to pick one up in the early new year. I’ll update with more info when it’s available,

Other News:

I am currently in the process of planning the next project and will have news in coming days once it’s all be ironed out with the publisher. Hopefully will have news early next year.  I can only hope that project #2 is as well received as Suspended in Dusk has been. What a privilege this has been for my debut editing gig.

Wishing everyone a Happy Christmas, Hanukah, or holiday season.

Now that Suspended in Dusk has been in the wild for a while, reviews are starting to roll in!
Up on Amazon.com are 12 reviews, 9 of which are 5 Star, 3 of which are 4 star.
I’m super excited that the stories I chose and loved so dearly are being well received by Readers.

You can check out the reviews here: http://www.amazon.com/Suspended-In-Dusk-Ramsey-Campbell-ebook/product-reviews/B00NIE6E2S/

Forgive me for shameless preening, but I’m dying to share my favourite of them here with you:

They’ve been saying for over forty years that horror’s dead. I bet they’ve (‘they’ being either blocked horror writers or the reader equivalent of Mary Whitehouse) been saying that ever since the genre erupted nearly two centuries ago in the Gothic imagination of a precocious seventeen year old Englishwoman. Though to be accurate, horror fiction has existed since anxious humans first learned how to communicate.

I love it when the naysayers are proved wrong. Simon Dewar’s new anthology, Suspended in Dusk, is a celebration not only of the far-reaching range of horror, but of its world-wide appeal. As an editor Mr. Dewar possesses the catholic tastes of the much-missed Karl Edward Wagner, who loved Jamesian ghost stories as much as he did vampires, werewolves (both had to have some original twist), and modern body horror. Quiet co-exists with graphic, urban with rural, ghosts with splatter. Dewar also possesses a keen eye for quality.

Nineteen stories for £2.58 is a pretty fine deal, too. Though not every theme is to my taste, there isn’t a duff piece in the lot; if you’re a zombie fan this book will put you in dead heaven. I really enjoyed Jack Ketchum’s entertaining introduction which is also a bit of a horror history lesson. All the stories are beautifully written but my favourites included, in no particular order, Alan Baxter’s tender and furious elegy; Karen Runge’s creepy do-gooders; Sarah Read’s awful sun-drenched paradise with its neat end flip; Tom Dullemond’s space oddity, the kind of story that lends itself to repeated readings; and a study in terror from the magnificent Ramsey Campbell, who, after over four decades in the business, still packs a powerful punch.

Despite being American-born, I get tired of horror fiction being Americentric, as so much of the really disturbing stuff doesn’t come from American pens. I’m thrilled to see great horror literature emerging from a variety of countries, as I am to see an anthology that boasts, for a change, a list of names that are new to me. Long may these trends flourish – it can only be good for both writers and readers. I look forward to seeing the future offerings of this very talented editor.

This is the kind of glowing endorsement that I never even dreamed of receiving for my first anthology.

If you haven’t checked out Suspended in Dusk, give it a try. You won’t regret it.

S.

Oh god, I’ve been dying to let this out… and now I finally can!

Living legend of horror and suspense writing, Dallas Mayr (AKA Jack Ketchum) has written a *fantatsic* introduction for my Suspended in Dusk anthology.

Who’s the scariest guy in America? Probably Jack Ketchum — Stephen King.

I can’t tell you how excited and honoured I am. Dallas Mayr is a true professional, an awesome guy, and one hell of a scary writer.

Dallas (writing as Jack Ketchum) burst onto the horror scene in 1981 with his novel Off Season, that caused such an uproar that his own publisher actually removed it from print. In 1999, an unexpurgated version was released by Cemetery Dance. In his career, Dallas has won four Bram Stoker Awards, and has earned the title of World Horror Convention Grand Master, placing him in the august company of the likes of Stephen King, Tanith Lee, Clive Barker, Robert Bloch, Joe R. Lansdale and many others.

I think my favourite Ketchum story is one called Hide and Seek because it takes three things we all know… the child’s game hide and seek, self-destructive teens, and the classic haunted house tale …and does something new and terrifying with them. There is a particularly good audio-book version of this read by a narrator called Wayne June, whose deep bassy voice and fantastic vocal skills really bring this one to life. Check it out, along with the rest of Jack’s bibliography.

Jack also periodically teaches a four week horror writing course via Litreactor.com which is fantastic and I recommend those horror writers out there who want to take their writing down avenues they hadnt even imagined: If it comes up again, take this course. You won’t regret it.

This (along with the fantastic endorsements from Kaaron Warren and Jonathan Maberry and the fantastic line-up of authors) is just one more reason why you should pick up the Suspended in Dusk anthology upon release.

Hope to have a release date for you in coming days.

S.

 

As I send the Suspended in Dusk anthology off to James Roy Daley at Books of the Dead Press for publication, I think now is probably the right time to look back on the experience and see what lessons I learned. So I guess this post is as much for my benefit as it is for all you guys and gals.   I think, ultimatley, these piece of advice are values based and really translate to anything in life.. or at least to writing and publishing generally. Editing a short story anthology was a truly educational experience for me and here is what I learnt.

 

1.  Aim High

aim high2

When I started this project, originally with my dear friend Nerine Dorman, I thought I’d see whether I could get a favourite author of  Nerine’s (Angela Slatter) to submit a reprint story.  I contacted Angela and told her about the project, told her how we’re great fans of her work. I then told her that it wasn’t a pro-paying market and that I understand if she’s not interested but I was wondering if she’d contribute a reprint. Well guess what? Angela offered to submit a BRAND NEW STORY.  A brand new story from a British Fantasy Award winning author… in my anthology? No way?? YES WAY! ❤

This then lead me to think … “Well.. if I asked Angela nicely and she said yes.. what happens if I ask one of the other great authors I admire? The worst they can do is say no, right?”  Wrong. The worst they can do is actually not even respond, which I did learn. But that’s cool. Some didn’t respond, some responded and said no for various reasons. And you know what..? Some said YES. Specfically… British Fantasy Award and Bram Stoker award winner Ramsey Campbell. Bram Stoker Award winner John Everson.  Super disturbo writer, Shane McKenzie.   Editor extraordinary and self-publishing powerhouse, Rayne Hall.

What a coup!!  And how did I achieve it all?  Aim high. Hell, go for the freaking throat, man. Just don’t sell yourself short or be all half-assed about it.

 2. Connect. Network. Reach out.

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I call this anthology a triumph of networking. Both classic and in the modern social media sense. The majority of the writers that I invited to this anthology were via Twitter. Twitter is an awesome place to meet other people and writers in particular. Don’t ask me why but they love Twitter.

In addition to Twitter, as discussed, I reached out to well known writers via email. For the most part it was via the contact section of their websites. Sometimes I even emailed their webmaster and nicely asked if they’d forward on a message to the writer. They did.  This is how I met some writers who contributed stories and how I reached Jonathan Maberry who read and endorsed the anthology with kind words.

I also sent out a call through my local writing group, Canberra Speculative Fiction Guild, and to the Litreactor community and some of my writing friends I’d made during classes on the site.  I was also able to approach one a writer who teaches at Litreactor through the site’s admin team and was able to ask them about writing an introduction to the anthology.  Month’s later, they had a read of the final product and agreed and wrote a fantastic introduction. (can’t say yet who it is, but I’m super thrilled by this).

What was my secret?  Read on, dear reader. It’s covered in the next point.

 

3. Be Gracious, and don’t be an ass!

Teach-good-manners-to-kids

One of the best piece of advice I’ve received.. succinct, to the point, and utterly true… was from Angela Slatter:   Don’t be an ass. Whether it’s in life or in the publishing business, everyone appreciates basic courtesy and basic manners.  If you’re going to approach someone and ask for something (especially an established or professional writer) … it’s you who is asking them. It’s you who wants something. They don’t owe you any favours. Hell, they probably don’t even know you.  Be nice. Ask politely. Be friendly.  Good manners don’t cost you a cent, sprinkle that shit around liberally.   Don’t just ask nicely, thank people for their time. Everyone lives a hard life. Everyone has jobs and kids and obligations. These people are taking time out of their lives to work with you on your project.  Nobody owes you anything. Be gracious. Say thanks.

4. Do your best work

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without wanting to sound too preachy or pompous:  Always do your best.  When I started the project I felt like I was a little in over my head. So what did I do?  I started the editing rounds  and focused on what I knew I was good at or what I was most confident in. As I progressed, I polished up on my grammar, the elements of style (I even read The Elements of Style!), and tried to really hone my critical analysis skills and my understanding of story mechanics etc.  In the subsequent rounds, I implemented this new knowledge and allowed myself a little more latitude to request developmental edits or to query writers on matters of style . Boy did it pay off.  I’m a much better editor now. I’m much more confident with grammar. I’m much more confident and excited about editing my own fiction now. And I’m much more confident that I understand what makes a good story and my ability to assess that.

Moral of the story? Do your best. By really working your hardest and pushing the boundaries, you hone your existing skills and you open yourself up to new abilities and new vistas of awesomeness. Just do it.

4. Roll with the punches

boxing_punch

 

When I started the Suspended in Dusk project, I originally intended to co-edit it with Nerine Dorman, who is one of the editors at Dark Continents Publishing.  Nerine and Dark Continents were sadly unable to continue with the project and it all looked like it was done and dusted.  By this point, however, I had already taken submissions from around 60 authors and was in the process of shortlisting and finalising the Table of Contents.  I won’t lie.. this was crushing for me. Projects not going ahead are relatively common in the publishing industry.. but I felt like I’d come so far. Not only was I heavily emotionally invested in the project, I didn’t want to let all the authors down. Nor did I want the embarassment of going back to many of the well known industry veterans and saying “hey, sorry, shows off!”.

So what did I do? I pitched it to another publisher. And when they had a long look at it and decided to pass, what did I do?  I pitched it to another bloody publisher.

The end result? Suspended in Dusk found itself a worthy home at Books of the Dead Press, a respected North American small press.

I can’t even begin to describe how satisfying and rewarding it is to have perseverance like that pay off.  This is how PhD grads and olympic athletes and novelists must feel.

Wow. Just wow.

5. Persevere

Stair-Climbing

There will be times that you look at your writing or the book your editing and think:  “When will this end?” or “I’ll never finish this.”  or “I can’t even focus my eyes anymore.. I’m blind! I”M BLIND!”

Ignore this.  Take a break. Rest your eyes. Focus on your own writing for a while. Watch some TV or kick back with a friend. Get a friend to proof what you’ve done to prove you’re not going mad.

Do all of these things, but don’t give up.   One of the great truths in life is this:  After every hardship, there is ease.   This truth is constant, no matter how morbid you want to get with it.

Eventually, things get better.  You wake up more rested and the blurry words are clear.  You have another read of the story and you capture the filter words you missed the first time.  You get through the first round of edits and the second round is comparatively easy because you’ve torched all the really horrible grammar and its a pretty solid set of stories now.

You push, you keep on at it, you sink your teeth into the jugular for one last dogged shake.  And in the end you know what?  You’re done. It’s finished. Book complete. You win.

6.  PARTY

party

Congratulations!  You just finished writing your novel. You just finished editing your novel. You just finished editing your anthology or painting that piece of art you’v been toying with. Hell, maybe you finished cleaning your room and your mum is finally off your back.  ENJOY IT.  Celebrate. Read a book. Smoke a hookah pipe. Go out for a few drinks or paint the town red.  You earned it.  You’ve beaten the boss at the end. Achievement unlocked.

Just don’t forget points 1-5

 

 

S.

Icy Sedgwick is a PhD student, a fantastic author and an all round arty person.  She wrote the super cool pulp western novel The Guns of  Retribution that I thoroughly enjoyed and the newly released Necromancer’s Apprentice from Dark Continents Publishing (That I have yet to read, but look forward to!). She’s also written some great short stories and featured in several great anthologies.  Enjoy my little chat with Icy!

 

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Tell me a bit about yourself, where are you from and what brought you into writing? What drives you to continue writing? 
I’m from the north east of England, and I’ve always written for as long as I can remember. I wouldn’t say I’m driven to keep writing – I do it because I enjoy it, and I like entertaining people. My prime goal has always been to provide escapism in some form, and if I can do that, then it’s worth writing.
What genres interest you most and which do you write in? 
I love Gothic fiction, I think that’s my first love. I mostly write my own version of it, particularly in the horror vein, or fantasy in the JK Rowling sense of the word. That said, I’ve written historical fiction, steampunk and a pulp Western so I don’t like to be constrained by labels too much. I think the only genres I never write involve romance or erotica.
What are your thoughts about short stories and the short form? Do you have a particular favourite short story? 
I love short stories! Anthologies are particularly good because you’re always bound to find something you enjoy. I love Oscar Wilde’s short stories, although Wilkie Collins and MR James wrote some real zingers. I think the beauty of a short story is its compact nature – there’s no room for diversions, or irrelevant flights of fancy. You have to ditch what’s unnecessary and focus solely on the story. I think that’s why I enjoy Stephen King’s short stories more than his novels – I sometimes feel his books lag a bit in the middle, but his stories don’t have the same problem.
For those who submitted new stories: (without giving your story away!) What did you find interesting about writing a story for an anthology with the suspended in dusk title/theme? Was there anything in particular that you wanted to write about or explore?
I’d already written the story but given its setting in the twilight streets of Victorian London I thought it fitted in well with the concept of dusk, and a suspension of time, particularly given the timeless nature of my particular ‘monster’.
What has been the highlight of your writing career so far?
Getting published for the first time was naturally a high but I’d say getting a review which favourably compared me to JK Rowling is probably at the top of the list!
Do you have any outstanding writing goals you’re working to achieve? (sale to a particular market or publication/book deal/award/NaNoWriMo/etc) 
I’d really love to finish editing my YA novel and place it with an agent with a view to trying the traditional publishing route. I love working with independent presses and I like the ‘family feel’ you have with the editors and other authors, but for that particular novel, I’d love to see it on shelves in bookshops or available in train stations and airports.
Do you have any interesting projects on the horizon that you’d like to share some info with us about? 
I’m currently working on the sequel to my most recent novella, The Necromancer’s Apprentice. This one will be wider in scope and further explore the world that I built, as well as delving into the background of Necromancer‘s villain, Eufame.
What advice do you have for new or aspiring writers? 
Some writers think they can learn by doing, and while you do learn a lot from the actual process of writing, it’ll drastically cut your learning curve if you read blogs and books about writing, study novels that work, and treat writing like a craft as much as an art form.

I first bumped into Benjamin Knox on the pages of Bloody Parchment: The Root Cellar and Other Stories.  Bloody Parchment is the literary component of the South African Horrorfest. It’s a competition held every year and the finalists are published in the Bloody Parchment anthology edited by the fantastic Nerine Dorman.   Ben Knox is one of the most exciting new writer’s I’ve come across and his story “A Keeper of Secrets” in Suspended in Dusk, is some seriously creepy shit.

I hope you enjoy my little chat with the super talented and super creepy, Benjamin Knox.

 

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Tell me a bit about yourself, where are you from and what brought you into writing? What drives you to continue writing?

I’m mostly known for my short dark fiction. I’m of Scottish origin but have lived in too many countries to name here (my folks moved a lot, hmmm, – dawning realisation – perhaps they were secret agents?). I was always making up stories and drawing pictures, so I can’t believe it took me until my late twenties to realise that I should be writing them down. Since then I’ve not stopped.  I can’t stop and don’t want to. I think I’d’ve been that weird type back in prehistory that made up weird stories by firelight to entertain and terrify.

It’s just in me. Besides, it’s too much fun.

 

What genres interest you most and which do you write in?

Mostly I’m into Pulp Horror, you know the type with slimy monsters and classic tropes. However I do like my grim, eerie and creepy stuff too. Both of which I write as well as read. Also there is a wonderful overlapping where horror meets thriller, that is a place I am very comfortable in; non-supernatural suspense.

 

What are your thoughts about short stories and the short form? Do you have a particular favourite short story?

Tough to choose. Probably Thomas Ligotti’s The Red Tower or maybe The Bungalow House (anything from Teatro Grottesco really). I love short form fiction. Personally my preference both for writing and reading is the novella. Enough length and depth to sink your teeth into, but not too much that it gets bogged down – or if you have a short attention span like me. More often we have little time to dedicate to reading these days. What time we do set aside is often short, hence reading habits have changed. Reading during a commute is now more prevalent than in the evening curled up in bed.

Also, as a reader myself, I’m much more likely to invest my time in a new author with a short story or novella than I am with 300+ pages. I’ve discovered many authors I thoroughly enjoy this way. And it’s because I’m willing to give 100 or so pages of almost anything a shot.

 

What has been the highlight of your writing career so far?

So far; having VIRAL, a four part novella series (which I wrote with Toby Bennett) published through Dark Continents Publishing. It’s 30 Days of Night meets Resident Evil by way of Bladerunner.

 

Do you have any outstanding writing goals you’re working to achieve?

I’d really like to have work published with DarkFuse. They are home to two of my favourite authors (who have influenced me quite a bit) William Meikle and Tim Curran. Meikle is fun adventure pulp all the way and Curran’s undead are ultra-violent and ghoulish, totally up my alley. DF also do limited edition hardbacks of the novellas they publish, which certainly appeals to the book-geek in me.

 

Do you have any interesting projects on the horizon that you’d like to share some info with us about?

Too many to name here. I’m gearing up to release four novellas each year, one every season. Each will be stand alone and will be different in theme and style from the others. I also am looking forward to starting a fresh project with Toby Bennett before we get stuck into a possible VIRAL sequel.

 

What advice do you have for new or aspiring writers?

Little that would be encouraging. Basically if you are looking for praise, money and fame…you are in the wrong industry. However, the main bit of advice I can give aspiring authors is this; turn off the internet and get your daily word count done. If you actually want to write, no excuses. Get it done.