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Some news on the writing front - I've sold a short story series to NineStar Press, and the opening story is now available for pre-order before release day on 2 January 2017. :-) Details below, along with selected links (I haven't had a chance to chase them all down yet, but am assured by my Shadowy Mistresses that it will be available in all the usual places).

Yes, that is a new pen name on the cover. This is because I decided a while back to have a separate pen name for material that's erotica rather than erotic romance. The primary reason is simply so that readers who were expecting a HEA or HFN aren't disappointed. It so happens that my long term plan for this series will involve a HFN, but this specific bit of it is basically two guys in an office thinking "I would not kick that out of bed on a cold night".

A Collision with Reality


by Storm Duffy


acollisionwreality-f500-400x600

Flynn’s new boss is so hot he can’t wait to get home to tell the chatroom how much he wants Dom’s cock down his throat. By Friday, he’s shared quite a few thoughts on what he’d like his boss to do to him. But he’s not as anonymous as he thinks, and Dom’s intent on disciplining him for breaching company policy on social networking. Dom gives him a choice of put up or shut up: he can play out the fantasy in real life, or he can walk out of the office without a word to HR as long as he never talks that way about Dom again. Flynn chooses “put up”—but he’s forgotten about one of the things he said he wouldn’t mind doing.

NineStar Press (where you can find an excerpt)

All Romance eBooks (where you can find an excerpt)

Amazon US

Amazon UK

SmashWords
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Woke up this morning to the news that Samhain Publishing is closing its doors. Neatly and tidily, and will be open for some time to come - but anything not ready to go will be released back to the author, and as contracts expire they will not be renewed. If you would like to buy any of their books, it would be a good idea to make it sooner rather than later. But not today, because I've seen something on Twitter this morning about a 40% off sale on Monday for purchases direct from their website.

I never submitted to them, in large part because I was reluctant to submit to a start-up with a 7 year contract term until they'd demonstrated they could stick around long enough to justify that contract length, and by the time they'd done that I wasn't writing because my health had dropped off a cliff. They've had a couple of wobbles over the years (the metadata copyright thing comes to mind), but in general have treated their authors and staff well, and I had some material in the pipeline I wanted to submit to them. I'm not surprised they're doing the classy thing, and planning to wind down the company in a way that maximises everyone's income, and the chances of the authors getting their rights back intact.

I've already seen some comments from the "self-pub rules, trad-pub sucks" corner of the internet about how evil Samhain is for not just letting the authors go immediately and going into bankruptcy, so that the authors can self-pub. That's not the way US bankruptcy law works, kids. The bankruptcy court can go after any assets deemed to have been transferred prior to the bankruptcy to avoid being seized as part of the assets, and that includes the book contracts - they are, after all, the primary asset of a publisher. It doesn't matter if you have a parachute clause stating all the rights revert back to you on bankruptcy - those aren't worth the electrons they're written on. The court can and does quash asset transfers going back months before the actual bankruptcy.

Oh, and as KJ Charles noted in Twitter this morning, any publisher gloating over Samhain's demise is a publisher you do not want to touch with a bargepole. They're demonstrating how they'll treat *you*.

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Jacey is a long time friend from the Usenet writing group rec.arts.sf.composition - the sf is for science fiction, not San Francisco, as the group had to regularly explain to bemused newbies. :-) Jacey's published by Daw; her second book was released a few months ago, and her third will be published early next year. If you want to know what it's like to be picked up by a major name in SF&F publishing, read on. If you want to read what caught the acquiring editor's eye, there's a giveaway in the post...



My first book, Empire of Dust, launched on 4th November 2014 from DAW. I was so excited. I'd waited a long time for novel publication.


Empire of Dust cover artI got the first review (http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-7564-1016-2), from Publishers' Weekly, no less, and read it with trepidation. (Hey, it was the first review of my first book, I was allowed to trepidate!) I read it and I read it again. Gradually it began to sink in. It was a good review. Then I looked back at the email that it had arrived in - a congratulatory email from my editor, enclosing the review. (I should have read that bit first and saved myself a giant case of the trepids.) It ends with: "Bedford builds a taut story around the dangers of a new world.... Readers who crave high adventure and tense plots will enjoy this voyage into the future."


And it struck me, as I read it for the fourth or fifth time how author worries morph as you move along the path towards and beyond your publication. I was talking to Alastair Reynolds on Twitter not long ago (Al and I did our first ever Milford (http://www.milfordSF.co.uk) together back in 1998 before he got his first publishing deal and became mega-famous), and he reminded me that: 'Worry is the gift that keeps on giving.'


First, you worry that your writing just isn't good enough to make the grade. Despite all, you stay focused, finish your book, polish it, and think that, just possibly, it doesn't suck too badly, but then you worry about selling it. Your first step is to find an agent. It may take months, it may take years, but eventually (if you jeep trying) you snag an agent and all of a sudden it feels as though you've leaped an insurmountable obstacle with one huge bound. Are your worries over? Of course not. The next big question is whether your precious manuscript will ever sell. (Truth? It might, it might not, but while you're waiting keep on writing more.)


Craossways cover artIf you are very lucky (and luck does play a big part), all of a sudden, a sale, and your life changes in an instant. Are your worries over? Far from it, but they turn into different worries. Will the reviews be good? Will readers like it? Will sales be good enough to cover the advance your publisher has paid you? Will you get a follow-on publishing deal after this? I think most authors will recognise this cycle of self-doubt and worry (and hard work), but the thrill of seeing the finish line racing towards you makes you forget the speedbumps along the road to publication.


My first completed book didn't sell, and neither did my second (unsurprising because it was a sequel to the first - duh!), but my third, Empire of Dust, sold (though not until I'd written seven altogether!). I not only sold Empire, but in the same deal I sold my fifth completed manuscript (a historical fantasy called Winterwood) and got a commission for a sequel to Empire. Yeah, a three book deal with DAW, my dream publisher of science fiction and fantasy! Pretty cool, huh?


Winterwood cover artI was offered the first sale in July 2013. After a year of edits, rewrites, additions, inventions, reinventions, and just about the craziest most creative spurt of my life to date, my debut book, Empire of Dust, hit the shelves in November 2014 and the sequel, Crossways in August 2015.


Word of mouth and social media are hugely important, especially in these days of diminishing browsing opportunities as high street bookstores disappear from our towns and cities. If you like a book, SHOUT about it to your friends, on Facebook, Twitter, your blog and all the many possible outlets. Your shouts are the oxygen the publishing industry needs.


Thank you to Jules for hosting this. Thank you to you for reading.


I have a mailing list on mailchimp. If you'd like to sign up to receive occasional emails (and I do mean occasional) I'd be very pleased if you would go to my website and sign up here: http://www.jaceybedford.co.uk/contact.htm I will be giving ARC copies to random subscribers. The twenty third person to sign up will get a copy, as will the fifty-first



My Books, Present and Future


Empire of Dust, DAW, November 2014 - Psi-Tech #1

Space opera. Is there anywhere in the galaxy that's safe for a Telepath who knows too much? Evil megacorporations, planetary settlements, Psi-techs implanted with psionic technology, a star-spanning manhunt, treachery… and love. Cara and Ben battle huge odds to save a settlement, but can they save themselves?


Crossways, DAW, August 2015 - Psi-Tech #2

A hunt for survivors turns into a battle for survival. This follows on where Empire of Dust leaves off. An illegal freeport space-station, a lost ship full of settlers, renegade Psi-Techs… and the megacorporations want revenge on Cara and Ben. They'll go to any lengths to get it. But something is stirring in the depths of foldspace.


Winterwood, DAW, February 2016 - Rowankind #1

The start of a new historical fantasy series, set in 1800, in a Britain with magic, featuring Ross, a cross-dressing privateer captain who likes her life in the high seas accompanied by a boat-load of barely-reformed pirates and the jealous ghost of her late husband. On a deathbed visit to her estranged mother, Ross gets an inheritance she doesn't want. Enter Corwen, handsome wolf shapechanger…


Silverwolf, DAW, Late 2016/early 2017 - Rowankind #2

The further adventures of Ross and Corwen as they struggle with the changes in Britain after the events in the first Rowankind book.


Nimbus, DAW, 2017 - Psi-Tech #3

Something is stirring in the depths of Foldspace and unless Ben and Cara can convince the megacorporations that dealing with it is more important than profit the human race is doomed.




Jacey Bedford

Jacey at Novacon 2012Jacey Bedford is a British author of science fiction and fantasy, agented by Amy Boggs of the Donald Maass Literary Agency and published by DAW in the USA, with (currently) five books under contract. She's also sold short stories on both sides of the Atlantic and has been translated into Estonian, Polish and Galician. She's secretary of the Milford SF Writers' Conference in the UK [Link: http://www.milfordSF.co.uk]


Writer Links

Twitter: @jaceybedford

Website: http://www.jaceybedford.co.uk

Blog: http://jaceybedford.wordpress.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jacey.bedford.writer




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Have some book log completely out of order, because otherwise book log won't be happening...


Short book (20,000 words according to the author), but packed full of useful advice presented in an entertaining manner. The most important piece of advice is right up front: not all techniques work for every writer, so take and use what works for you personally.

This isn't about how to type faster. It's about how to be more productive with your writing time, and that includes protecting yourself from burnout. A lot of it is stuff that should be obvious, but isn't until somebody points it out to you; other techniques are ones that all too often writers have been told they shouldn't do, by a writer/editor/agent who thinks that if it doesn't work for them, it's bad for everyone. Some are things that are much less obvious, and which you could go for years without working it out by yourself.

Even if you already know everything in this book, it can help to have the positive reinforcement from another writer who learnt it the hard way. And besides, I know everything in this book already, and I still found it an entertaining read, well worth the £1.26 I paid. This matters - you're more likely to remember and follow advice if it was fun to read.

Very much recommended for writers, and even non-writers who are interested in the nuts and bolts of writing.

Amazon UK
Amazon US
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The novelette now has a not-sucky title courtesy of Watervole, comments from one of my betas, and more wordage as a result of the comments. It is in fact now a novella, having crept past 20,000 words this evening. Revised draft has gone off to two of the betas for further comments. There may yet be another round of revising, at which point someone else can look forward to it arriving in their inbox in search of a fresh pair of eyes.

Shall reconsider the market list when I think I've got the thing pinned down to a submission draft. But it's not really getting any less vanilla or low-conflict, even if it's getting longer. It's got more lovingly drawn word pictures of cocks, though. (Yes, I've been reading too much Oglaf today.)
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Finished the revised draft of the novelette late last night. It's now standing at 17598 words, having grown from the original version at 12k, and is definitely better for it. Or at least looks less like the script for a radio play. :-) Of course, I still need to find a decent title for it. I suck at titles. And then I need to go and make a list of places to submit it to.

Contemporary m/m erotic romance, and vanilla, all of which affect the list of potential markets. It's not long enough for Loose Id, and I'm not convinced that another revision pass would take it up to 20k. I do have another market in mind, with a minimum word count of 15k, so I'll try there first. But I'm taking a pragmatic view of its chances there, which is "give the editor a chance to reject it, don't reject yourself by not even submitting". Time to trawl the market listings at ERWA and Absolute Write, so as to be ready to move on to the next in the list.

I need to let it sit for a couple of hours, and then go through for one last check for inconsistencies caused by adding a couple of scenes in the other character's POV. And maybe I'll get a bright idea for those last couple of paragraphs that still look like a radio script. But it will probably be heading in the direction of the beta readers today.
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This morning's cat-vacuuming -- setting up my Author Central account and author page on Amazon Japan. Here it is: http://www.amazon.co.jp/-/e/B002BMHH60

Top tip - use Chrome for this. The in-browser translation makes life ever so much easier. As far as I can tell you'll need an ordinary account on Amazon.co.jp first, which you then use to sign into Author Central at https://authorcentral.amazon.co.jp/

No idea why only some of my books are on .jp - I may have to pick up the Amazon IDs of the missing ones from .co.uk and try searching directly.
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"Please submit again" rejection from Dreamspinner a couple of days ago for the novelette I'd submitted to their Random Acts of Kindness anthology. I'm a little disappointed, because I'd written the story specifically for the submission call, but not surprised given how long it turned out to be. And that was after I'd trimmed it down to meet the length guidelines...

I'd already had thoughts on revising it to novella length, but hadn't done anything about it while I was waiting for a yes/no. I may make that my next writing job once I'm out from under a sore throat and Interesting Times At The Day Job. I have also had an idea for another novelette about an off-stage character from this one. That will take care of my PicoWrimo project this year. :-)
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I've been mostly offline for the last couple of weeks, so I'm late with this news. Romance book blogger Jane Litte and her group blog Dear Author have been sued by erotic romance publisher Ellora's Cave for reporting on the problems experienced by some of EC's authors. Those problems include allegations by a number of authors of late or non-existent royalties payments, and books being put out with little or no editing.

There is now a defence fund, as this is going to be an expensive suit to fight. I've donated, because I believe that Dear Author should be able to report legitimate concerns about a publisher's behaviour without fear. There's more information about the fund at Dear Author's post. As some people in comments have been concerned about their legal name being exposed by the donation process, I can report that the GoFundMe site asks for your name twice, the first time being the name to use on the public acknowledgement, and the second time defaulting to using the same name but allowing it to be changed to the name on your credit card. There's also an option to be anonymous on the public acknowledgement.

It's been mentioned in the comment threads at Dear Author (and in the coverage at the Absolute Write Water Cooler, which is where I first saw the news) that a few authors have been publicly gloating about the lawsuit. The authors in question have had poor reviews, and as a result think that the Dear Author blog deserves everything it gets by way of punishment. They're being very short-sighted. It may give them a warm happy glow now to see their supposed nemesis punished, but the chilling effect of this suit is going to have major repercussions for authors if bloggers decide it's safer not to report on publishers' misdeeds. That includes the self-publishing platforms -- some of those have done some very naughty things that I'd rather know about when I'm deciding where to publish.

No, I'm not just saying this because Dear Author was nice to me. The only review I've ever had from Dear Author was a D, and I think it did hurt my sales. I'm saying this because I think that Dear Author's reporting is good for authors in general, and I resent someone trying to make them shut up.

wordage

May. 22nd, 2014 07:33 am
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I finished a novelette first draft on Sunday -- some 12400 words, which took exactly a month to write. I sent it off to the alpha reader for comments, and she seems to think that the basic story is good, so on to the revision pass at some point. That's going to include cutting enough words to bring it under 12,000 words, because the story was written for a market with that maximum.

No hurry on doing that, because the submission deadline is some months away. The problem I've got is that there are three other anthologies I'd like to write something for, and they all have deadlines of 1 July. Thank you, muse, for handing me ideas out of deadline order. It looks as if my current output rate of raw draft is 5 to 10 kwords a month on a good month, which means I'm not going to be able to write something for all three. One is 2.5 or 5 kwords, one is 3.5-12 kwords, and one is minimum of 8 kwords, which means that unless I get an attack story, the latter is the one that's not happening. It's also the one where I've pretty much blanked on story ideas. Which is annoying, because it's one I'd really like to write for.

I also need to get back to the novel-length WIP, but I need to do some research for that one and haven't had a chance to do so. Don't think that one's going to be ready for publication this year, which is a shame.
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Nice Tie is currently scheduled for release in next week's batch of new books from Loose Id. This is subject to the usual caveats about problems in getting the formatted ebook files onto a working server, but you should be able to get your hands on the book on Tuesday. Herewith the blurb and buy link -- excerpt to follow as soon as the approved excerpt is available.

Nice Tie

Nice Tie cover art -- gay romance novel Alex Hall likes watching good-looking men doing up good-looking ties, a kink he can safely indulge on his morning commute as long as he’s discreet. At least until the day he meets new client Robin Wood, whose face seems oddly familiar. Embarrassingly familiar, when Robin recognizes him as “that guy on the bus.”

Lusting after the client and his tie is a really bad idea. Acting on it would be even worse. Which doesn’t stop Alex’s impulsive suggestion when he realizes that Robin's as intrigued as he is awkward. They’re both grown-ups, they can handle the conflict of interest, and if nothing else it will get the awkwardness out of the way. And there’s a cheap hotel at the end of their bus route.

Just one date. One night for Alex to enjoy watching beautiful hands managing a tie with style. One night for Robin with a man who can understand his own grooming kink, even if it’s not quite the same as Alex’s. One night, and then just good friends, while they’re working together. Nobody else’s business.

But Robin has entirely too much experience with romance at work, and the past isn’t staying past.


ISBN: 978-1-62300-771-3
Publisher: Loose Id
Author: Jules Jones
Cover Artist: Valerie Tibbs
Length: 42,000 words
Price: $5.99
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Doing edits on Nice Tie. Note back to editor re one suggested edit:
We have something in British sf fandom called Thog’s Masterclass, with a section entitled “eyeballs in the sky”. If you want me to change it, I will do so, but I warn you that some of my readers will snigger…


Pavlovian conditioning at its finest. Thank you, Langford.
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Just received the finals for the Nice Tie cover art. :-) I still don't have a blurb or buy link to share with you, but you can see Valerie Tibbs's work below the cut. Note that there is mantitty, although it's not particularly NSFW.

Read more... )
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I've been doing Stuff over the last couple of weeks in preparation for new releases. It's good, but slightly overwhelming, to be doing this again, and in duplicate. One brand new novel, one short story I wrote some years ago but never found a home for until now, both needing admin paperwork done. That needed careful attention, because Loose Id's pre-release admin stuff has changed a lot in the last few years, and Dreamspinner is a new market for me. At least with the short in a Dreamspinner anthology I don't have to do anything about artwork, but I still had to do a blurb worksheet.

Speaking of art, I've seen a draft of the cover art for Nice Tie. Only a draft so far, so alas I can't share it yet. Soon, I hope, for indeed the book is scheduled as Coming Soon(TM). (I hope that that I've correctly remembered the Loose Id Sekrit Code for release dates. :^)

Other stuff has changed in the last five years. When I joined John and Mary's Insect Army a week or two back, I mentioned being qualified for RWA Pro status. Pro, not PAN, because although I qualified for PAN in the past, that was some years ago and they keep changing the rules. I don't know if I still qualify, and I can't work out from their website whether I do or not.

And I've got another short story due out in a print erotica anthology next month. Again, brand new, and actually written specifically for the anthology. That one doesn't need any more paperwork on it, though.

I've also been pottering around various submission calls, and feeling enthused by several of them. Whether anything comes of it is another matter, but at least I'm interested in writing something for them. Fair warning, I'm going to want to noodle about this at Eastercon. In the meantime, I have the novel WIP to work on. Contemporary m/m romance with caning BDSM, and I do hope GCHQ is enjoying my Google search history. :-)
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Just had an email to say my short story "Bread and Butter Pudding" has been accepted for Dreamspinner's anthology "Not Quite Shakespeare", due out in June. Paperwork still to be done, but pleased with this. :-)
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Email this morning to say that Nice Tie has been accepted by Loose Id, subject to the usual tweaks. :-) So the rest of my free time this week is going to be taken up with reading the fine print on contract paperwork, as I've out of circulation for so long that all of the paperwork is different now.
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Doing some tidying up, both physical and virtual, and came across the email conversation with my editor discussing the recently submitted draft of Lord and Master 2, and my plans for the third Lord and Master book. *Detailed* plans, and whether what I had in mind would fit in with Loose Id. But with a comment that if a job resulted from one of the interviews that week, it would take a while to write.

That conversation was five years ago this week.

It wasn't just the new job that resulted from one of those interviews, although that basically chewed up six months of all of my time and energy. A lot of it was one medical issue after another over the last four years, starting with the vicious viral infection that started a couple of weeks before Redemption 2009 and wouldn't go away.

At least now I'm back to being able to write reasonably consistently for stretches of several weeks at time, and did actually manage to complete the first draft of a short novel over the last 7 months, in spite of a couple of interruptions. That doesn't mean L&M3 is going to get worked on any time soon -- it's a complex story that needs to be very carefully managed and will take some time to write even if I'm fully fit and can give it my undivided attention. Realistically, I'm better off doing another one-off short novel I'd outlined last year, and getting Nice Tie up to submission standard. Any serious work on it is at least a year off, I suspect. Bit I do still intend to write it some day.
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May royalty statement has just arrived from Loose Id. Items of interest:

-- First Footer's first quarter at ARe, 50 copies, first complete month at Amazon US 51 copies, nil to 3 everywhere else, including Loose Id's own website. It's a solo re-issue of something that was previously available for years in an anthology, so this pattern may not hold for a brand new title. (I'd expect higher numbers all round, for one thing.)

-- Buildup 2: Pulling Strings has finally reached 1000 copies sold since it was first released. *Exactly* 1000, copies, as it happens.

-- Almost all sales come from third party distributors these days. Whether that pattern would hold with a brand new release, I've no idea. The big ones are Amazon US, then ARe and B&N, but the cut varies from title to title and month to month. The other Amazons sell a steady trickle. It would appear that Sony readers are not into m/m erotic romance, or at least not *my* m/m erotic romance. And RIP Fictionwise.

***

All of which prompted me to check the statistics on the short story I have up as a free download at Smashwords, Naked. That went up at the end of October last year, and has accumulated 454 downloads as of this morning, i.e. in seven months. It's running at around 1 download a day these days.
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On Thursday Predatrix sent me some comments on the rough draft of Nice Tie, which I will be trying to work on over the bank holiday weekend. Not that I've got to it as of late Saturday afternoon... The gist of it is that a) the story works overall, b) the first four fifths is mostly pretty good, the last fifth has a bad case of plot being obtrusive.

I'm not surprised by (b). When we discussed it, the section she pinpointed was precisely the section I'd been wrestling to get down over the last two months. A couple of other comments about spots earlier where the characters were doing things for the sake of plot also mark points where I was hit by an inspiration particle that changed what I was doing with the plot. So one of the things I need to do is go back and make that all blend together a bit more smoothly. (Amongst other things, I need to do a bit of in-cluing much earlier on about Alex having seen a colleague's problems with an abusive/controlling partner, plus make it clearer that the reason for the lack of "why did you not mention this boyfriend before" is the lack of privacy to have that conversation.)

The other thing that I think is going on is that for much of the last section it's almost all dialogue and very little description/business, which makes the pace feel forced and is adding to that feeling of things happening for the sake of Plot. Predatrix agreed when I suggested that -- she hadn't consciously noticed it, because she's even less visual a writer than I am, but on having the possibility pointed out to her she thought it was a likely component of her reaction.

But (a) is good. Given the way this story changed and grew as I was writing it, I did wonder if it made sense outside my own head, and if there was enough story to support the word count it had grown to. (b) I can fix, as long as I have (a).

It's gong to take me a while yet to get this ready for submission, which is a shame because I'd hoped to have it ready to send off to my editor by now. But at least I've got something novel-shaped to work on, which is a distinct improvement over the last few years.
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Nice Tie now has a finished first draft. A very, very rough first draft, but it is, nevertheless. done. All 40 kwords of it.

I'd been hoping to get it down in draft by the end of March at the latest, but was rudely interrupted by a bad bout of Real Life. Also, I was visited by Plot in the course of writing it, and while I knew what was going to happen, I was failing to find the exact words to describe it. Even the words I had found earlier had escaped me, scattered on the four winds, during a previous hiatus after the initial burst of writing during PicoWrimo.

It's going to need some heavy revision, not least because the chunk I've been wrestling with over the last two months is happily demonstrating that I do not see my stories inside my head as films, but hear them as radio plays. There is much dialogue, and little description, and I need to improve the ratio somewhat before it goes anywhere near Ye Editor. It has for now gone off to Predatrix for some alpha-reading, to see if it makes sense anywhere outside my own head.

I should probably leave it alone for a bit and come back to it with fresh eyes in a week or two. Time to think about what to work on next, particularly with summer PicoWrimo coming up. There's Taxman, which has been worked on fitfully for some six years now, and can perfectly well wait a bit longer. There's the story idea that I was using to experiment with using Dragon to write a first draft, which I think might work well as an offering for Loose Id's tenth anniversary next year. And there are a couple of... things... which my muse handed me recently, apparently after a hard night binging with the girls on cream cakes and hard core porn DVDs.

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