Update March 2021

March updates are fairly sparse, COVID-19 is finally getting to me with regards all of the planning falling short hitting the wall where other people are supposed to pick up things and… just not being there reliably. In most other things the setup of company and Tax Compliance has been done, the profiles on online freelancer editors/publishers have been released and the freelancer company VAT business ID has been issued. All dressed up and nowhere to go… we’ll just have to see about clientele going forward.

Sales performances, book rankings and sundry business. For the most part I have been focusing on business as a self-publishing (micro-publishing author-preneur) in this space over the last six years, focusing on where and what to keep pushing for and what to step back from. Most of the several thousand hits on this site have returned on and off to keep track of their own enterprise, some mainly for a laugh and a few others to nod sagely and NOT do as I have done.

All of this is only possible as long as the (coza) domain is maintained, which of course is one of the mothball items to consider. Many of you have not put this together and will be wondering if, after July 2021 there will still be a website to return to. The short answer is: Probably not. The FPB Amendment Act passed in February 2021 by the South African government means that Online Publications need to be registered and licensed or must be removed from the Internet.

So to be clear, I am not going to register and license this site. I am going to shutter it. I will have three (3) more posts and then that will be all from me. If I move it to a (fi) domain, or not depends largely on the availability of the domain name, and considering there is already a metal band with the same registration I doubt that this mouthpiece will continue.

Keep writing, over and out

Update February 2021

It has been a long while since I updated anyone or anything, so I best play catchup. The site has had some cosmetic changes, with regard to actual pages and sorted index and menu items in anticipation of a major PHP update scheduled for April 2021. Also, the list of actual novels and short stories needs to include updated links and missing entries (sorry Triskele) that have been overlooked in the last several months.

Writing itself has been awkward with ‘Riggers’ missing a submission window and being incomplete as of right now, ‘Angels’ and ‘Policeman’ as well as ‘Ice Wall’, ‘Stone Snake’, ‘Papyrus and Parchment’ just lying around waiting for more words. While we have been editing and reviewing, it has not (unfortunately) been for us. Hopefully with spring on its way the work on that front will resume.

Keep Writing!

Update August 2020

I have been chasing my tail for the last several months and COVID-19 has not helped one bit. While I’m on about it, I was just racking up unpublished drafts to this site and that kind of sucked anyway. Seldom have I seen so much rubbish ooze out of my pen all at once and for so long. I imagine that this happens when you turn a page, as I have done and it is normal, even if you don’t think about it too much.

To catch everybody up, I have indeed emigrated from South Africa by now. This site, telephone numbers and various other contact details are slowly being mothballed and at least by the end of the year they will be abandoned. Yeah, that’s right… 19 years of blog and web pages, 25 years of mail and contact details all just being yanked away because it’s time is done. There is no point to continue with an existing edifice, when all of the contributors have been consigned to the South African State lockdown conditions and do not have the resources to continue. Things have to change.

The ‘Caldon Mull Publishing’ is also being transferred to ‘Silver Bark Books’ but the author brand is staying around. I have gone on at length as to why this decision was made in the first place. Essentially, the goal of the [eponymous] Publishing micro-business was to put 1 million unpublished words into print in 5 years, to make up for the several hundred rejection slips I have accumulated since the ’80’s. This has been Science-Fiction, Urban Fantasy and various other forms of Speculative Fiction that (apparently) people from the African Continent ‘just don’t read’ (sic).

By now, the rude awakening due to the West has been delivered by respectable bodies like the African Speculative Fiction Society and has corrected this statement. Just because Western Publishers have been lazy, self-referential and ignorant does not mean that the work was never there… simply that they could not be bothered to regard it. The real-time collapse of the Print Industries and the Publishing edifice of the USA and UK has exposed this fiction to a great extent. People are not buying as many print and traditional book products as they used to, Publishers and Agents are oversubscribed ‘echo chambers’ and the external stresses are telling.

Rather than spread out and diversify, these agencies have always tried to double-down and squabble for a bigger piece of an ever-smaller pie. This leads to a whole flurry of [insert identity politic]-only submission calls because… well, nobody actually learns from history. You don’t get to call out Imperialism, it always gets to call you out. This is going to stay messy for awhile and it is actually pointless to spend energy trying to do anything about it. The plea to ‘please don’t self-reject us’ is a bit hollow from places that have been part of the problem for a hundred years, and now have magically changed overnight, all is forgiven… so much of nope.

No matter what happens here in the next few months, you guys keep on writing…

Update October 2019

It’s that time of year again, the slow spiral of seasons where spring becomes summer and the heat and dust start to crowd you out of a comfortable spot. I think you know what I mean, where nothing you wear quite suits the day and momentary comfort slips into perpetual discomfort to small degrees. It’s time to take stock of the passing year and plan for the next one.

This year has been very busy for releases, I don’t know how that worked out that way but it just did. Often I’ve said one of the reasons I don’t like to write short fiction is that it takes as much effort for a 5000 word story as it does for a 25000 word story to get it right. I really don’t know how people cope with just spinning them out, personally I simply cannot. ‘Talus’ is moving well, the shorts I have in it seem to be working well with each other and resonating with the intended market.

Interestingly enough two of those stories were rejected stories from submission collections which didn’t think they would fit with anything else in the collection, and another two were scheduled for collections that just ran down and simply flat-lined as co-collaborators ran out of steam or simply dwindled. I think I am over that now, because material is material and I can always use if even if nobody else is going to.

As I’ve mentioned before, other publishers appear to be regarding their slush piles as intangible assets and the more value trapped there the better for their company. I disagree, as soon as something is ready it needs to go out. I also have vague premonitions about how fragile this whole set-up is.

All these projections of ‘the next best thing’ or this is ‘the NEW new’ is ringing slightly false to me. Sure, audio books are great for listening to on a long drive… but that is such a small market and I don’t think it is as important as it is made out. I mean… what if fuel prices rise to such an extent that nobody drive anymore and that particular market just vanishes overnight?

Sure, this is completely fanciful… like, nobody stuck in traffic on the highways, but just what if? Also, what if all of this call for diverse authors and more #ownstory voices is just a distraction so that it can all be collected into some dark alley and published in a separate stream. What if the NEW new is never meant to be mainstream and compete with all the sameness that the industry is currently publishing? What if our perception of how the world works is all simply a filter and that can all come crashing down at any point? What if what we think is valid market drivers is just some neoliberal USA national spin-fantasy that we need to be more cynical about? I like to think about these things, even if most people don’t.

Not to jinx things, you understand… but this year so far has been more successful than I had anticipated and I’m waiting for the other shoe to fall. ‘Memestalk’ and the Sera Blue variant ‘Hacked’ is doing very well for itself and has already paid for two novella-length edits for future works (Terraform Triptych and Weatherman), while Terraform Triptych has funded ‘Refugia’ and ‘Portmanteau’ and Talus and Weatherman has funded ‘Ferryman’ and ‘Riggers’.

The biggest problem with a micro-publisher is that missing a market sweet spot means that your forward motion, your so called ‘future-proofing’ (heh! I really do mean that) is curtailed because of cash-flow. I don’t think many people realize how fragile cash-flow is to SMME Business and what it means when that is threatened. ‘Weatherman’ has launched to tremendous commercial success, so much so that it looks to threaten the #1 spot in my SKU that is currently occupied by ‘Storyville’ in only the first year of it’s release.

The mistake I made in 2017 in focusing on short stories and trying to get through other submission channels won’t be another thing going forward. 2017 showed me precisely what happens to time when you are free to waste it waiting for other people to stop mucking around. The year 2019 is precisely what I should be doing, as well as looking to secure the business more than it is at present. It always pays to be mindful.

Keep writing!

Update September 2019

Catching up on the news as quickly as possible; Weatherman! So here is a novella I decided I wanted to do as a Cyberpunk style to finally outline why there are both ‘In-Systems’ and ‘Out-Systems’ technology based in my close ‘Future History’ set of the Sol Senate Cycle. The cyberpunk set of works were peripheral to the main threads of the First part ‘Estuary Tales’ and ‘Sphinx’ main narrative and the planning on the Second part, or ‘Diaspora’ sequence required the settings to exist before the stories were revealed. This proved more difficult to plot because the stories were strung out over space and some centuries of time.

Weatherman is an intensely personal and somewhat intimate tale for Esteban, for all that he is a media personality and is not an especially likable character at first impression. Hopefully this experience changes with the progression of the story, but as with everything I seem to write this may not be as obvious and as clear-cut as all of that. I think ‘Weatherman’ is the start of a new direction and hopefully signals an evolution of style as we move onwards into uncharted territory as an author. I’m not going to say too much about that as this month I prepare for some big changes in my personal life.

It appears clear to me that the current setup and circumstance in South Africa at this point in time is untenable and unsustainable. All the proposed new regulations and bills that are scheduled for enactment is punishing to anyone who is not engaged in, or involved with State-subsidized, State-sponsored or State-approved activity. The Amendment to Copyright Act, the Intellectual Property Commission and like tweaks to the artistic expression and freedom to express yourself in fiction and artistic mediums is being curtailed and captured one step at a time.

In order to continue my enterprise as an author, I shall have to look elsewhere to publish or to support my current set up. Many a tale can be told of ‘struggling South African artists’ and I don’t intend to subscribe to a continuation of this trend or allow myself to soldier on hoping people will see sense and recant all of this nonsense about what ‘Art’ is and means in a South African context. This is nothing new, you understand… the Apartheid regime needed a compliant set of social influencers and creators to draw from in much the same way as any social regime does; and this set of needs have not changed in modern times. My point being that it is becoming increasingly obvious that the best way the current State can see its way forward is to make illegal anything that is not state-approved. This is not something I am prepared to endure again.

With ‘Weatherman’ fairly settled and ‘Ferryman’ currently in draft, I shall begin to shop around for a new set of opportunities as my professional life winds down as far as gainful employment is concerned and market forces squeeze my publishing side-hustle to the bone. I am thinking of a couple of Short Stories to take to market to bridge the gap and to start populating the schedule for ‘Grabens’ (The Smithereens Volume 4) late next year or early 2021 and see if I can’t drag the next Agency Tales into life.

To be honest, the Urban Fantasy is simply not moving at all… while critically well received, this style of ‘Fantastika’ is not resonating at all with the market who seem to be set of consuming ‘YA-romance-fanfic’ formulaic narratives at an alarming and mind numbing rate. It appears to me from some initial research that the entire readership of SFS genres are snippy, teen-aged pedants who only read what they want to read and are out to #destroy anything they don’t like or can’t understand. As I’ve stated before, I’m ignoring that set of manic detractors because if I don’t, how else can I get anything out there? I think the stories are more important to record and get out, now more than ever.

Keep Writing!

Update August 2019

So this is late… really late, but I suppose this was the best that I could do with regards all the commitments I have to get through the next few months. So what I’ve been asked most often the last 6 months was why pull ‘Memestalk’ from publication, and what is the deal with ‘Weatherman’?

To answer the first question, ‘Memestalk’ was doing really well for itself (as people have pointed out repeatedly) but it was pulling along the same curve as almost everything else that we had released up to date. The type and style of Caldon Mull being a somewhat … uncomfortable… reading experience is resonating with increasing numbers of readers and reader awareness and is making it’s own footprints in the big, bad world. The thing is that we didn’t want it to be just another Science Fiction SKU in the stores and it had done well enough to experiment with a different set of eyes and a different set of skill applied to what I still think is a cracking yarn.

Fresh eyes, fresh markets and a fresh set of talent was what we decided we needed, so we approached Sera Blue Publishing for a re-vamp of ‘Memestalk’ and watched what they did with the work. I was both delighted and pleasantly astounded at what Kelan and Gina-Rae managed to accomplish. The editing tightened up a few dialogue ‘-isms’ and Gina-Rae spun magic on the cover. They have a keen eye on a specific market, release and reveal process that I knew about but never had the resources to incorporate. Also, re-branding the work as ‘Hacked’ (In ISFDB terminology – a revised Edition) they managed to breathe new life into a sleeker, more accessible product that is quite frankly – beautiful.

I’d like to think that the collaboration worked both ways. Sera Blue doesn’t have much in the Science Fiction genre, and the cross-pollination added value on both sides of the transaction. In my sales and tracking bots, ‘Hacked’ broke away from the mid-list of my products on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Rakuten/Kobo and Apple and soared to right up there with ‘Storyville’ and ‘The Sphinx’ in the sales figures. It is the first time I have seen a Novella pull close to the same numbers as an Epic-level work and considering the time and cost of production, it was well worth it. The original ‘Memestalk’ is still on option to re-release in July 2020, and I’m sure I will take that option just to refresh the Copyright but the variant ‘Hacked’ is spectacular and I will also try to keep that edition going as long as humanly possible.

Now… ‘Weatherman’. The string of Novellas I had planned to release as part of the ‘Sol Senate Cycle – Part One – Future History’ had to include all the actual Chapters I have excised from the two Primary works. They didn’t fit then… and were more likely better off being released as stand-alone Novella-length works than shoe-horned into ‘Future History’. Some of those begged other problems and hence the ‘Sol Senate Cycle – Part Two – Diaspora’ had to be envisaged and designed.

The works are all already complete in design and dialogue, the ‘Diaspora’ series is the Mundane Science Fiction (yes, that’s actually a thing) that I prefer writing and comprise of the ‘Weatherman, Ferryman, Policeman, Beggar-man and Thief’ volumes. ‘Policeman’ is a full-length long Novel and the rest are Novella-to-Novel length. The sum total of all of these volumes equals about 145K words and is the approximate length of The Estuary Tales and The Sphinx. This signals the last of the work I am prepared to put into the Sol Senate Cycle for now, in the ‘Earth-Near Space-Beyond’ triple fare to round the writing for the Sol Senate Cycle.

It appears we are forever destined to produce (in Trade terms) the ‘fixup’ novel. But where ‘Future History’ extends 500 years into the Future, ‘Diaspora’ spans an additional 500 years. So which of the Novella to present first? ‘Ferryman’ and ‘Thief’ were ready, but felt too distant to introduce Diaspora, and ‘Policeman’ is fairly bulky. So we decided to launch Weatherman instead, because it’s set earliest in the string of volumes. I’m glad I did.

With all the change looming on my horizon, Weatherman has been an exceptional anchor. I hope the rest of Diaspora continues on in this vein. More on that later.

Keep Writing.

Update July 2019

So it’s been awhile, but we are rushing to get the titles out for the rest of the 2019 year and tidy up. The Nommo nomination ( I love the way those two work together in a phrase!) is eating me up. It really has boosted the sales for Neid-fire since it was announced and I am thrilled at the short-list… but I’m not sure I’d actually like it to win. I’ll explain this… You see, I’m thrilled at the recognition of my peers and the identification of the work in a body of cultural and storytelling traditions that are finally breaking through into a bigger audiences. The thing id if we do win… we have to then manage the ‘expectations of constancy’ in which every single work thereafter has to be the best-est… most excellent… blablabla when that is NOT the thing I do.

So… we write GENRE fiction, not literature. We don’t try and write literature, we don’t care about literature… we think literature sucks moose-cock. It’s part of the the decades-long relationship of rebuttals and rejections that South African ‘literature’ has had with authors in the country since … well, forever. Nobody can define the elements of ‘literature’ in this country, so it provides a fence to exclude… almost everybody. In the last decade or so, anybody who has had any success, either commercially or critically is suddenly ambushed with the nomer of ‘literature’ and invited into the fold, like the prodigal son, like the machine that spins the Bell-Pottinger narrative out their a**, like it was all a mistake… welcome back… !

It’s enough that nobody accepts ‘Science-fiction’… because they only want ‘Literary Science-Fiction’ in South Africa (WTF? that means, you guys make this up as you go…?) because if the state doesn’t buy 2500 copies of whatever you publish, nobody ever will. When we first started publishing in 2014, we were doing great until some numb-nuts decided to re-brand the ‘Sci-Fi’ classification we had launched on to ‘Literature and Fiction’ instead. The difference was immediate and remarkable… the page hits and searches dropped to 10% of what they were (Yes, one-tenth of the previous search and page hits.) Apparently nobody searches for, or gives a s**t about ‘literature’… so why drag me kicking and screaming into this pool of cess?

I still can’t work it out, mainly because I’m all about the story-telling with futuristic elements and advanced characters that don’t have to apologize for who they are. Under the previous-previous-previous regime Sci-Fi was a way to criticize the previous regime because you could get away with a ‘Fantastika’ GENRE work or piece, whereas ‘literature’ would always kow-tow to the accepted way of things and kumbaya the gross-ness of that regime. The fact that then and now has the equivalent level of censorship still rankles with us, but that is just a fact of life…

So I’d like to win, I want to win… but if I don’t I will escape the expectation that goes with winning and fall under the bar where the State will try and buckle me to only reflect the best things about themselves, from an ever-decreasing set of virtues… and there is a mercy in that. I will still have the freedom to say what I want, when I want to and no matter what the consequence. The point was that ‘Neid-fire’ was rejected by the original commissionaire of the story, and later went on to its current form is enough for me for now. There is always next year.

For us, it’s all about what’s next… maybe ‘Hacked’, perhaps ‘Talus’ or maybe even ‘Weatherman’… sooner or later something is going to click and we’d really like to be there when it does. If we never move away from short-lists – (always the bridesmaid and never the bride…) that is also good enough for me. It really is all about being there! Next post will be about what we did with ‘Memestalk’ and why… and why ‘Weatherman’ is so important to finish.

Keep writing!

Update June 2019

The Smashwords Winter/Summer sale is pending again, and we’re just going through options at the moment. From a Business perspective, the March price increases have thrown a little more effort into the selection because at the same price, irrespective of length the whole catalog can be set with a click of the button. 75% discount, free to the public and costs covered… BUT, while this has worked in the past, recent changes in the eBook domain with regards to sales tax, with-holding tax and download charges creeping in, the sales month becomes a loss-leader and the hidden costs that the public don’t get to see drag the unsuspecting author into the black. So this year, a 75% discount will still avail the novella and short-short titles free to the public, and cost the larger works at USD1. This not only balances the catalog, but the bank balance as well. Click on the button and lets see what July brings.

More on ‘Weatherman’; I’m loving what is coming out of our crusty old trunk. It is definitely a Novella, with an approximate length of 30K words and is an ideal piece to examine the sacred and the profound view of what the human body means to the Cyberpunk community. Keep posted on more of how that’s going over the next few updates.

On the business front, my review is complete for the year and we have a Plan for the next five years. Our Business model is sound, at least 2 major releases a year, every year until we hit the ‘magical number’ of twenty titles in the catalog. That way we are able to position ourselves for the 20title/USD50kpa model without too much fuss, even if we don’t leverage that immediately, the door isn’t blocked. I would have to schedule release of ‘Grabens’ and ‘Canyons’ (Smithereens 4 and 5), the untitled Steampunk 1 and 2, and the untitled Agency Tales 4 to take us to 19 titles of the ’20 title’ model. That would take us to the end of 2022. That gives three years to leverage the existing catalog for marketing and for boxed sets. If ‘Weatherman’ is loosely positioned in the ‘Sol Senate – Future History’ milieu, then we can box all of those titles with another edit and get to the 20 title number with that. This would make an Agency Tales box set viable, if not with me then perhaps in collaboration with another publisher. So off we go on that, then.

Other Business is that this blog/portal is about to get 10k hits! People are actually reading this. In 2014 when we repackaged the old HTML site, we were hovering at around 1600 hits, and had been constant on that for awhile, mostly for the Wargames, Role-Playing Modules and Computer games posts. It was a good idea to transcribe to the WordPress engine and focus on the writing instead, even if there were some teething problems and abuse. If you go back, you’ll remember that we had serious spam issues of hack attempts, nefarious individuals trying to insert viagra spam into posts and lacing the comments section with malware and exploits. We decided to close down the comments section, because hey… if it’s not concerning or related to the blog post, why would I care? And there was a lot of that nonsense… people trying to use MY blog to tell everybody about their shit. Over 900 spams a minute at one point in the game, so we shut it down and have never looked back. I’ve done the business model and costed this portal for a shopping cart for the Title range to be available directly on a Print-on-Demand ordering system, and to date… it doesn’t pay. It MAY still pay on an eBook .pdf or .epub model with a specific volume of orders, but we haven’t exceeded that number reliably over the last 60 months and we really should before we start on that. So that’s shelved.

More Business… editors! So this is going to turn into a rant, but bear with me here! Editors are not an all-purpose label for someone who can use a spell-checker, and those who can only do that shouldn’t really call themselves ‘an editor’ and expect a constant flow of the good cash into their wallets for no value. I use an emeritus editor that is specialized in Science Fiction, SpecFic and Fantastika and is quite frankly brilliant for his insight and his oversight. I would NEVER submit Yaoi-Regency-Historical-Romance works to him, because why…?

So how come I am constantly tripping over Yaoi-Regency-Historical-Romance-Unicorn-Fantasy editors who will take my cash in order to flat-line my Sci-Fi and Fantastika? This ‘you should explain’ more about the world dumbing-down handbrake is because said unicorn-vampire-halfling-thief-heroine-editor has never even read a Asimov robot novel in his/her life. This problem extends all the way through the futurism, magical reality and hard science-fiction streams and is annoying as all hell. Sure, I’ll pay you for your work, but don’t expect a reference form me… expect the reverse. If you don’t come as advertised, then frickin’ set boundaries so I know what I’m getting up front! Do the whole world a favor, just do that! Okay… done now…

So… not I’m not! I’m not done now. So if I’m using Afrikaans/Spanish/Swahili patois in an imagined world, or a pseudo-code conversation between AI… there is NO WAY a spellcheck is going to force a realization of what the conversation is about. Taking it out of context, explaining it with frickin’ Grammerly or something is not what I would expect. If I wanted to write in Grammerly,  then everything would look like fantasy fan-fic and I would only produce the average of what I wanted to say. I would also use Grammerly or something like it instead of any reason to get an Editor! So do yourself a favor and do some reading into the subject matter before you go hunting for marks. Now, I’m done!

The last of the Business is in expanding the reach of the brand. I’ve done some research on the titles for Caldon Mull and I think I need something more for certain titles. African continental writers need to shimmy up their game a bit, but I can’t identify where just yet. Their output seems to languish unnoticed in some or other trap of obscurity, unless it streams out willy-nilly into online niche publications to likewise languish there. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of what respected publishers like Ivor W. Hartmann or even the Luna Press is doing by compiling and collecting and thereby introducing Africans onto the International stage as authors. Perhaps this needs to change, perhaps unusual collaboration is the key here. I have to think some more on this.

Perhaps we do need to collate a body of work that is distinctly African first, and then move to a more granular view of the people within that body of work over some more time to come.

Keep Writing!

Update May 2019

So I’m trailing a few updates, I should just get to it. What with all the disruption in the last few weeks, we’re looking at where to go and what to do for the next quarter or so. ‘Neid-fire’ has made the shortlist for the Nommo Novella of the year for 2019 and I am way chuffed with that. I have immense respect for the work of my co-nominees and I must admit that we only have an outside chance of breaking through. That doesn’t matter much to me, sitting in a Shortlist for the first time in decades is validation enough. The biggest thing for me is where the writing style elements that define ‘African SpecFic’ is gaining some acceptance in the Genre worlds. Elements of kinetic motion, character transgression and staccato interaction that seem to be mostly present in the arena of African SpecFic are beginning to filter through in almost all of the output that is considered cool and part of the movement. It’s there, it’s working and the style seems to be gaining more general acceptance in it’s own right. It must be working because the somewhat dreary literature crowd have started to riffle through the SpecFic titles to stake claims to these Genre catalog headers. I do find it amusing when blurbs come out in the lit stream with words like ‘lush, evocative…’ (SpecFic) and ‘innovative and thought-provoking…’ (SpecFic), a ‘magical and engaging…’ (yup, SpecFic again). So this book-whacking will continue for some years to come while the Literature streams drag the edge into the center and quietly smother the edgy Genre work with the expectations, classifications and limitations of their herd.

In other news, ‘Tanzen die Spielsachen’ came out of edit this month and stayed a short-short. We re-branded the name and sent it off to an online publisher and we’ll see where it goes with that. A great many western publishers say they want AfricanSF work, but never accept it. If they do… it certainly isn’t from us. I actually doubt the sincerity of these guys, because I don’t think they recognize what is going on, or their filter is broken on some or other weird virtue-signalling setting. We are experiencing no action here, only continual effort in the submission process. So here is our take on what’s happening… someone can’t flex to pidgin and vernacular, can’t edit it and don’t understand it. So ask for it anyway and lead it down a dark forest path to murder it quietly in the slush-pile. Make sure nobody else gets it while you check to see how strong the growth in the area is… You can always say you got the stuff in your catalog if anybody else starts to pull ahead and a couple of years later slap-dash out a few submissions and pat yourself on the back. To that end, I have started to submit to African publishers to see if we track differently within the same context. More on that later, we might have some interesting announcements to come.

Other news is that we have started on ‘Weatherman’ and it’s going in surprising places, definitely Sci-Fi and almost entirely Cyberpunk. With the big anniversary in 2020 for the Genre, I think we’re onto something to follow in that wake. Also, the pending release of Cyberpunk 2077 set for 16-04-2020 is an ideal opportunity to pump the genre into an excited crowd all geared to consume Cyberpunk. The ‘Weatherman’ story is as old as Memestalk and needs some polishing and updating from its 1988 debut, but it comes out of the trunk as feisty and as spicy as ever. More on that in coming months. I have to position it as far as presentation and category and see what resources we can bring to bear as we push it kicking and screaming into the light.

Keep writing!

Update April 2019

So this month has both good news and bad news. The Good is that TT launched and is already doing well, Triskele is out and Talus… is finally out. The Bad is that we were burgled and our post-production laptop was among the casualties. Such is the constant price of living in a Gangster State… Needless to say, I am furious! Other Good News is that ‘Neid-Fire’ has been long-listed for the Nommo 2019 for Novella of the year and is running for the Short List. So… what do I feel about all of this?

About the Bad is that people in this country who are doing their best trying to produce world-class stuff and be competitive in markets are frickin’ doomed. Crime besides that, I have to shuffled frantically to replace the 90% completed Talus with another story that fit the Collection. The big casualty was ‘Stones’ which now only exists as a dot-matrix printer copy from 1988 somewhere in my bookshelf. All the editing since then is just GONE! The craven weasel who cleaned us out doesn’t care about any of this, we’re just a storehouse of value to tap whenever he runs out of nyope and my three decades of work will wind up in pieces at a chop-shop to sell for as much quick cash as the junkie can get. So to you, our burgler, I can say a big F*** You! I can put out a book from the only smart-phone you left me, and I don’t care about you at all.

About the Good, is the nomination for ‘Neid-Fire’ has really made my day, no… decade. It was rejected from the collection it was intended for because ‘it wasn’t what we are looking for…’ and I put it out myself because I thought it was a great story, and my trusty editor emeritus Russel agreed with me. We wrote the story as if we were telling the tale, like we used to do on the farm when we were young. Pulling on the Oral traditions with interesting noises for the kids who are listening; leaving certain parts hanging and going back to them; mixing funny with creepy; we pulled out all the tricks. That a whole lot of people noticed this, is immensely gratifying. I hope it has the legs to do as best it can in the run-up to the Awards.

About the Good… Talus! This battered episode of ‘Smithereens’ is a survivor, pure and simple. I have respect for Talus. Originally put on hold at the death of my step-father and all the things that followed from that; the 2016 launch was delayed indefinitely. Then the ‘Metamorphosis’ Novella that rested in the failed ‘All Eternity’ was pulled with the rest of the work-stream. Then “Portmanteau”, “Jamias Vu” and “Dancers” all went into submission-cycle-hell where I couldn’t use them until I got a refusal (remember my ‘no-simultaneous-submission’ clause that I keep ranting about?) from the submission. Then ‘Terraform Triptych’ went into delivery crisis because of the dialogue, and was pulled from the ‘Smithereens’ to off-set Risk on such an experimental Novella breaking the concept of Talus. Then the collection was stolen on the production laptop at the final hour… Well! Talus made it and is stronger than ever, and than ‘Neid-Fire’ IN the Anthology along with the other magical reality short pieces is perhaps the best thing that could have happened, looking back on it. It’s 2019, baby… and Talus is here!

About the Good… 2019 production year is done! The milestones I set are all completed as near as damnit and the way forward is clear. We gave ourselves 5 years to bring out the Titles; a goal of 1 million words published in this time. We gave ourselves sales targets to reach, and channels to penetrate; …also done! We set up a regular delivery schedule of at least two titles a year to publish… done, and done (sorry, 2017! You were the odd kid out). Here’s to another good five years! Hopefully another retrospective in 2024 will be as positive!

Keep writing!