I final submitted a short story to an online and print based magazine. It is a strange story that is a little sci-fi but not really and a little fantasy but not really. It moves away from character and focuses on implied mysticism. Safe to say that finding an appropriate magazine to submit it to was a challenge. The one I found focused on left field sci-fi. I suppose I really did not expect it to get in so when it was rejected I was not surprised, even when it got rejected for the reasons I thought it would. However, I thought I would be hurt when that happened but I am really not. Maybe it is because I know other people get rejected all the time or the fact that there are more magazines out there I can submit to. It could even be that I know I can independently release it through Smashwords or Kindle and it won’t cost me a penny (although it may also not get read). The thing that did frustrate me, though, is that many places that want short stories like ones that are about people and are a bit quirky. They call it contemporary but I call it things I don’t want to write about! That is why it is so hard to find a place for some of my writing. It is almost a little too mainstream whilst being not mainstream enough. So the search for my place in the market goes on.
I think another area that helps me is that I see myself as a hobbyist author. I have a full-time job and only write because I enjoy it, therefore if writing gets me nowhere it is no skin off my nose. As long as one person reads and likes my stories then I have an audience. Plus I will subject my children to my writing when they are older! So, being a pessimist has not always helped me but I do feel with writing it does. Robin McKinley said ‘Write what you want to read. The person you know best in this world is you.’ I write stories that I want to read so as long as I keep doing that I will be happy.
So what next for my short story? I will submit it to a few more magazines and if it goes nowhere expect it on Smashwords for free in the near future.
Well maybe not for the last time, but the last story of Super Lizard Returns is complete and is up on Wattpad. You can read it here. I am relieved that I can actually tell you of a success in my writing and that one of my plans for the year has come off. Well nearly. I still need to do a final edit on all four stories and place the finished ebook on Smashwords. I hope you enjoy Revenge of The White Steed as it moves into new territory by introducing the first super villain into the series. It also builds the relationship between Super Lizard and Tanooki and is actually my favourite story so far. I am happy with the other three but in this one I have tried to hammer out joke after joke which leads to what I think is a very punchy story. I had a large list of jokes before I started writing which I hope means it does not feel forced. I also feel that the story flows well and I could have added more description to it, that I have manager to cut some out makes the story move quickly and I think that is what makes it good for me. Right, I will stop waffling now. Hope you enjoy it.
I don’t really do fan fiction but after the death of one of my heroes, Terry Pratchett, I wanted to write something for him. It is a pale imitation of the great man’s work but at least I feel I am showing my appreciation. So here it is, I hope you enjoy…
Death at the Circus
Bonbon stared at the cloaked figure in front of him, mesmerised by the lights flickering off the highly polished blade.
YOU SEEM FAR TOO HAPPY TO SEE ME, the figure said in a voice like two rocks being repeatedly smashed together.
“It’s the face paint,” Bonbon replied, “anyway, you’re not allowed on stage, we’re in the middle of a performance.”
IN MY LINE OF WORK YOU GET, the figure paused, trying to form the rest of the sentence, CERTAIN PRIVILAEGED ACCESS
“Have you been talking to Meryl? I told him we didn’t want audience participation. We’re trained professionals, let amateurs on and anything could happen. Someone could get killed.”
OH, NOTHING, JUST THINKING TO MYSELF. I THINK IT MIGHT BE TIME FOR YOU TO GO.
“Time to go? But we’re nearly at the big finale.”
I AM AFRAID YOUR BIG FINALE HAS BEEN AND GONE.
“Oh, so that’s it,” Bonbon was quite irate now, how could Meryl do this to him, “fired in the middle of a performance, well he’s sunk to a new low now.”
FIRED ISN’T REALLY THE WORD, MORE THE END OF A GLISTENING CAREER.
“What? So that’s the line he’s spun is it? One little accident and all those years of entertaining the kids comes to an end.”
I WOULDN’T CALL IT LITTLE.
“Look, the act was successful, I drove the car like I was supposed to and the doors came off at exactly the right point.”
YES, BUT I DON’T THINK THAT ELEPHANT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE INVOVLED.
“It was…,” Bonbon started, trying to think of a suitably eloquent way of making his point, “…artistic license, taking what the audience expects to happen and twisting it on its head.”
IT’S THE TWISTING THAT ELEPHANT HAS DONE ON THE HEAD THAT IS THE MAIN ISSUE.
“Look, it worked and it’s not as if anyone got hurt,” Bonbon look towards the elephant sat on the now rather flat car, a small gloved hand poked out the side, “oh, yeah, maybe that wasn’t supposed to happen.” In hope of lightning the situation Bonbon continued, “I’d hate to be that guy.”
Realisation dawned and Bonbon staggered back as if he had been hit across the face by a rather large haddock, “but….but…but…” he started then concluded with, “that explains that sudden sickening smell of elephant innards.” A brief shudder came across Bonbon whilst he contemplated where his head, his physical rather than spiritual head, was at this present moment in time before being thankful that his mind was not there with it. “So what happens now?” he asked.
IT IS CUSTOMARY FOR THE MESSENGER OF YOUR GOD OF CHOICE TO TAKE YOU TO THEIR HEAVEN.
“But I’m not a religious man.”
I’D START PRAYING NOW THEN.
“But who to?”
I AM NOT ALLOWED TO GIVE ADVICE, ANYWAY THEY ARE ALL PRETTY MUCH THE SAME.
“I don’t know any Gods though.”
WHO DID YOUR PARENTS WORSHIP?
“Oh no, my Dad never approved of me being a clown, I am not going to spend eternity with him.”
WELL YOU BETTER PICK SOON, YOU’RE STARTING TO FADE.
Bonbon could only think of one God and even though fading into nothing would have been much more beneficial than praying to him the human condition is prone to wanting to stay alive. Well maybe those are the wrong words, prone to going on existing would be more like it. Bonbon clasped his hands together and screwed his eyes shut, he had not prayed since he was a small child and did not know how adults did it.
As thoughts ran through his head, as he wished the messenger would come, as he pleaded with a God he did not know there was a shudder in the earth below him. His eyes shot open, standing in front of him was an eight foot tall monkey. Furry wings sprouted from his back and he had a confused grin on his face.
“Well I have never wanted to live in the mountains, but he was all I could remember. My Dad used to tell me the story of how the God Simius rallied an army of monkeys to take the mountains from an evil sorcerer. Apparently he built a great city up there, could be worse places to spend infinity.”
IT WAS SIMIMON WHO USED AN ARMY OF MONKEYS TO FREE THE MOUNTAINS. “So who is Simius?” THE MONKEY GOD HE ASKED TO GET AN ARMY OF MONKEYS.
“So where does Simius live?”
IN THE JUNGLES.
“Does he have a great city?”
NO, JUST SOME TREETOPS.
“So where does everyone live?”
IN THE TREETOPS.
“People live in treetops without a city up there?”
HE IS THE GOD OF MONKEYS, EVERYONE THERE, APART FROM YOU OF COURSE, IS A MONKEY.
“No, that’s not right.”
DON’T WORRY, SIMIMON IS QUITE BORING, HE JUST GOES ON ABOUT THAT BATTLE ALL THE TIME.
“But he’s not surrounded by monkeys and at least has a city to live.”
WELL THERE IS THAT.
“This can’t be right.”
The winged monkey screeched.
I THINK HE WANTS TO GO.
“No,” Bonbon turned to the monkey, “there has been a mistake, I am not going with you. I’m going to pray to someone else.”
SORRY, I HAVE TO TAKE YOUR FIRST ANSWER.
And before Bonbon could reply Death had gone. ‘Well I’ll be a monkey’s uncle,’ Bonbon thought. He decided not to say it out loud. Not only would the monkey not understand him but it sounded rather wrong given the current situation.
It seems that I am, more recently, using this blog to tell you of things I cannot do. It has got a little negative. It is, therefore, we sadness that ‘I can hear your pain’ and the ‘Super Lizard Christmas Special’ have been cancelled. The reasons for this you ask, well…
I can hear your pain – if you follow me on twitter you will know a little of this short story that started as a five thousand word project for World Book Day and end up being over twelve thousand. I had intended to release it for World Book Day 2015 having missed the boat for 2014, however some issues have occurred. Whilst the first draft is complete, something has happened at work which is not related in any way. However, if you look at the themes of the short story and look at the school I work in there could be some connections made. Even though the story was written before the events at school happened and they is very little similarity I believe I need to play it safe for the moment and thus the short story is cancelled. My family comes first and holding down a job to support them is the most important thing. If that job is compromised so is my family. It is not to say that ‘I can hear your pain’ will not be released at a later date I just feel now is not the time.
Super Lizard Christmas Special – there are two issues here, firstly I did not leave myself enough time to write the short story. I feel that if I wrote it all today (Christmas Eve) it would not be as good as if I had taken time and care over it. Secondly, I am seeing why Christmas Specials are not always that good. If we think about the TV we watch year on year, how many Christmas Specials do you really remember? It is an excuse to make more shows or more money and that is what I felt the Super Lizard Christmas Special was becoming. It was a little challenge, filling in a gap and getting something released but did not add to my body of work. I wanted something akin to the Father Ted Christmas Special but it seemed more like a bit of tinsel on a cold turkey. The benefits of the story I have written so far is that it develops the characters, however I have one mission with Super Lizard, it must be funny. I struggled to put good jokes into the Christmas Special and at the end of the day if it isn’t funny I don’t want to release it. Also the story was set after Super Lizard Returns which is not fully written yet. After hours of deliberation I decided to cancel it. Again, it may be released later when I have the time to work on it further, also the odd good joke can be taken and placed in another Super Lizard story. For now, though, there is no Christmas Special.
So what positives can I take from this experience? Well, firstly, it will give me time to work on completing Super Lizard Returns. More importantly it now frees me up to focus on writing a novel. I have done a lot of short stories, given a lot away for free. Now is the time to focus on one of my novels and get that published. That, now, is my plan for the year. It has also got me wanting to write again and I can now set myself a realistic target and get some more work out. 2014 has not been good for my writing but maybe 2015 will be. So all that is left to say is, sorry I had to cancel the two shorts but look out for some more of my writing in 2015. Oh yeah, and have a Merry Christmas.
Super Lizard is back and I am not sure what is more amazing, that I actually managed to write something or that I think this might be one of the funniest shorts yet. You can read The Taking of York 456, Mandlebury Post Office and General Stores on wattpad by clicking here. It is the longest Super Lizard story yet and barely even features him. Please leave comments, either good or bad, as that helps me a lot. I hope to finish the fourth short in the series early next year and then I can get the e-book on Smashwords. Also look out for a Super Lizard Christmas special I am working on. Right, that is it, short and sweet. I could waffle on a bit more but I have nothing else to say.
Just a quick post from me to let you know that the e-book version of World Cup Dreams is now available for free on Smashwords. There is a foreword about the challenge of writing a short story of between three and five hundred words each day during the World Cup as well as details of results for each day. I am hoping it also makes the premium collection which will mean you will be able to access it on Kobo, Sony Reader, Nook and many other e-readers soon. You can get it by clicking on this lovely link. The original is still up on Wattpad and I would like to once again thank anyone who read even one of the stories. If you want to leave any reviews (both positive and negative) then please do, I like feedback and try to reply to every piece.
Further the this, look out for the print version of the book, World Cup Dreams: Extra Time Edition, which will cost a small amount but will contain six shorts exclusive to this version. I hope it will be out sometime in the next couple of weeks.
The World Cup is over and so too is World Cup Dreams, for the moment that is (I will explain later in this post). Whilst I now have three full weeks to survive without football to keep me going I am proud of my achievements. I set out to write a short story every day of the World Cup and that happen, there was a slight slip when I did not post one till after midnight but all in all I achieved my goal. As with previous posts, here is what has been going on…
Day 22 – A humorous poem about a young man that has married a die-hard Italian supporter
Day 23 – A look at flight technologists, those people that design the ball for the World Cup
Day 24 – A short from a player’s point of view, he gets an injury and cannot compete in the rest of the competition
Day 25 – A poem about the great football players
Day 26 – A look at how football functions in a similar way to religion
Day 27 – Someone is infuriated by the pundits on TV, he is sure they are watching a different game to him
Day 28 – A manager responds to questions using a lot of clichés
Day 29 – A fan is sitting at the top of the stadium and can barely see the action below
Day 30 – A frustrated player feels like his team have been robbed when they lose narrowly after extra time
Day 31 – Is the 3rd/4th place playoff pointless? The person narrating this short thinks so
Day 32 – It is electric tension as players and fans prepare for the World Cup final
I was not all that happy that Germany won the World Cup but fair play to them and at least it is what Klose deserved for being such a great player for so many years. As for World Cup Dreams, that will be staying on Wattpad for as long as I can foresee. You can read it here. As I eluded to earlier in this post, it is not actually the end for World Cup Dreams. As with all the work I finish, I am making it available as an ebook. Because I posted it on Wattpad for free it will go live as a free ebook via Smashwords. This will, hopefully, mean it will be on most major ebook platforms in a few weeks time. Before it can go up I need another proofread and to format it correctly as well as adding scores from the games to give the whole picture of when it was written. I hope to have this done by the end of the coming weekend.
But wait, there is more. I have been looking at using Create Space for some time and have decided to trial it with World Cup Dreams. Obviously as it is a print medium (as well as an Amazon Company!) you cannot put books on their that people can get for free. To alleviate this problem I have, what I hope will be, a fitting solution. I have six titles left, six shorts I did not write as I ran out of days. This print book will therefore have a new section entitled Extra Time where these stories will go. So you may have to pay but you will get six exclusive shorts that do not appear on Wattpad and will not be in the free ebook.
Keep checking this blog for details of the ebook and print book releases. Finally I would like to say thank you to all those that read World Cup Dreams as it was going up, I hope you enjoyed it because I loved writing it, particularly stories that were not from my point of view.