Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Into The Abyss (Of Full-Time Writing)


I’m not quite sure where June went. That’s a lie, or course. I know precisely where it went – I have my days mapped out in detail on Google Calendar. It certainly hasn’t been spent blogging, not here at any rate. Apologies to the seven of you who drop in for updates.

So what has been going on?

I found myself in enviable position of being able to write full-time, for a little while at least. And not a moment too soon. My test readers had given me plenty to think about with regards to book two of The Erebus Sequence, and so I started the third draft. It was good to revisit the novel after a couple of months off (‘off’ meaning freelancing and writing short stories for Fox Spirit Books and Jurassic).

Now the third draft is done and it’s back to book one of The Erebus Sequence. It’s been interesting to go back, ironing out mistakes, bringing the continuity in line, and making changes suggested by the editor, Simon Spanton, at Gollancz.

So far I’ve pursued two disciplines with equal fervour. The first is to do the actual work. No brainer. The second is to make sure I leave the house on occasion, less I lose the plot entirely. And that is my life as a full time writer, as remarkable as it is unremarkable. For every book launch I attend there are a handful of days I’m wandering around my flat, talking to myself in my pajamas until noon. For every swish publishing lunch I happily scoff there are scores of days where I end up making bacon sarnies.

Apologies if I’ve demystified whatever romantic notions you had of writers, like I say, remarkable and unremarkable in equal measure. And a lot of work.

And if you do feel the urge to see me in the wild (not wearing PJs), you might like to attend the Nine Worlds Convention.

Until next time. 

D.

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Nine Worlds Convention Appearance

I’ll be at the Nine Worlds Convention this August should you be inclined to see me in person. I’m unaware which day I’m currently scheduled for. This means you should attend the whole convention, lest you miss my rapier wit.

Update: I'll be on at –

18:45 on Friday 9th August (Finding An Agent with Juliet Mushens)
22:15 on Saturday 10th August (New Voices Slam Session)
15:15 on Sunday 11th August (Debut Novelists Panel)

I’ll be there with my partner in crime (read agent) Juliet Mushens of The Agency Group for my first appearance. Here’s what the Nine Worlds website says about us:

‘Agent Juliet Mushens and Gollancz author Den Patrick talk you through the publishing process from both sides. Den will share his writing tips, suggestions for preparing to submit to agents, and insights into the process from finishing your book to publication. Juliet will explain what she looks for in submissions, how to catch an agent's attention, and how her role continues far beyond when the deal is inked.’

I’m not sure there’s ever been an agent/author double act before, so this will (hopefully) be really useful for fledgeling writers. 

Nine Worlds takes place from the 9-12th August at the Renaissance and the Radisson Edwardian, near Heathrow. Buy tickets for the event HERE.

The guest list is long and impressive, there are a ton different events planned, and there is strong commitment to making sure everyone has a good time without fear of asshats.

See you there?


Thursday, 6 June 2013

Piracy from Fox Spirit Books – On Sale Now

Here's an excerpt form my story, Becalmed, which opens the Piracy anthology by Fox Spirit Books. You can buy it from Lulu in physical format. The digital version will be on sale in a month I'm told.

Becalmed

‘We’ll live like kings,’ the captain said. ‘We’ll not want for anything. Even death will turn his face from us.’
That’s what the captain said.
No one has seen him in three days now. He retired to his quarters and locked the door. The first day was all crying. The second day there were voices tangled in dispute, then a scream. We’ve not heard anything since. No one wants to go in there.
We’re becalmed. The sea is as flat as any mirror, reflecting the dull grey of the sky. The sun is a smudge of white light behind indistinct clouds that stretch to the horizon in every direction. Rotting fish float in the water, unholy flotsam, and I know in the marrow of my bones we’ve brought this on ourselves.
The Absent Friend isn’t like most ships, certainly not most pirate ships. Not that I’m an expert. This is my first time signed on under that shady profession. Still, how many ships willingly let women aboard? Much less three of them. And the none-too-small issue of them being witches. The captain calls them theurges, and I dare say there are prettier names, but we all know they’re witches. They were part of the captain’s great plan.
‘We’ll go ashore at night,’ he said, ‘only small towns mind.’ He was a hearty man in his fifties with a tangle of dun brown hair and a beard touched with grey. He wore a patch, but only to cover his cock eye and protect his vanity. His parrot had shed most of its feathers, always sick and withdrawn. ‘The theurges will scale the rooftops and position themselves by the chimneys,’ he looked around, daring us to speak out. ‘Your job will be to carry the dreams back to the ship.’
We all laughed at that. The parrot flapped its stunted wings and shat, jetting foul grey liquid across the captain’s frock coat. 

‘Dreams? What use have we for dreams?’ snarled Horgan. He was as sour as they came; his crimes didn’t stop at pillaging. They said he had cruel tastes to match his temper.

‘You’re all here because you lost something,’ replied the captain with one hand on the hilt of his cutlass. ‘Some of you have a name for the thing you lost, and some of you don’t.’ He eyed Horgan and there was an uncomfortable pause. ‘Some of you might even deny your loss, but no man becomes a pirate unless he’s missing something. Maybe you never lost it,’ his eyes settled on me, ‘perhaps you lacked it from birth.’