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2018 wasn't a lot of fun, for reasons given at length in a locked post, but which can be summarised as I spent it being not well. I'm still not well, but things are slowly getting better.

On the writing front, Loose Id closed its doors after 14 years, leaving many of my titles without a home. My titles at NineStar Press are fine and I'm not having any problems writing new material, but I have to stay off the computer as much as possible for now, which means self-publishing the out of print works won't be practical for a while.

In summary: 2018 sucked, and I am grateful to my immediate management at my day job who did their best to make it suck a little less.
julesjones: (Default)

Occasionally a silly idea seizes my brain and won't go away. If you aren't familiar with the #cockygate nonsense, this may not make a lot of sense.

Kevin the Knap: Volume 1 of the TrollBane Chronicles

julesjones: (Default)

My primary publisher, Loose Id, has alas closed as of 7 May. My books published through them are now out of print, although you may see them on third party distributors for a short period while the out of print notices work through the system.

I do intend to make the books available again, but that takes a lot of time, which is a resource I'm rather short of at the moment. I'm also waiting on Loose Id to finish working on the rights releases for the cover art I'd like to re-use. I'm focusing on writing new material for now.

If you're still looking for something of mine to read, I do have books at NineStar Press under the name Storm Duffy, which are still available and will be for the foreseeable future.

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In the never ending quest to tidy my room, I decided to have a cull of the pen herd. I have many, many pens of various types accumulated over the years, some dating back to when I was at university [mumble] years ago. I can tell, because they're in the biscuit tin I used as a pen case.

I was going to be ruthless about throwing out the ones that didn't work anymore, but some of the ancient and venerable have sentimental value, or are promo pens in a barrel style that I find very comfortable to use, so I set about investigating the availability of refills.

First port of call was the Cult Pens website, a wondrous cavern of everything pen. It turned out they were having a three for two special deal on Schneider products, and Schneider make All the Refills, or pretty close to it. I already had a Schneider disposable courtesy of a sample in a previous order, so I knew they made decent cheap pens. Cue buying binge…

I needed a selection of refills, and I haven't had a chance to do much with most of them yet, but so far -- nice refills. They write smoothly and don't need much pressure to get them started. I really like the Slider 755, which is a Parker style G2 filled with Schneider's ViscoGlide hybrid ink. It writes very smoothly with no skipping and almost no pressure once it gets going, but can write on gloss paper without smearing even if it gets wet. It's described as combining the best features of ballpoint and gel pens. It's moderately expensive but I think well worth it if it continues to perform like this. I do love my fountain pens for not needing any pressure to write, but this refill comes close and is waterproof to boot.

The refills are all clearly labelled with brand, model number, colour and tip size, even the tiny D1 format multipen refills. This might not sound important, but when you've just opened an envelope full of miscellaneous loose refills, it's very useful for matching refill to pen. Definitely for my "buy again" list.

You can find the Schneider range in lots of pen shops, and as of the time of writing there is still a three for two offer at Cult Pens for the entire range.
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"The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:
Of fountain pens and sealing wax
of binding combs and rings."

I've been on a bit of a binge on stationery and office supplies of late for a number of reasons. Chief amongst these is the latest medical reason for staying away from a computer, but it doesn't help that the WIP features a hero with a passion for pens beyond even that seen in racsf's collective obsession with writing paraphernalia. I can't type, but I can put ink on paper and dictate the results into Dragon, and only look at the screen to set the transcription running and then error-correct the result. I have a genuine justification for having acquired a breeding herd of fountain pens over the last few months, inasmuch as a good fountain pen needs no pressure at all to glide over the page, and this is an important consideration for those with RSI. All of this is to explain why there may be stationery-related wibble in lieu of anything else I can focus on for long enough to write a blog post. You have been warned.
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My primary publisher Loose Id has announced they're closing, with the current timescale being final closure in early May 2018.

That means all of my books still with them will be out of print by then at the latest, as will all the other titles in their catalogue. The LI contract is a periodic one generally renewed every year or two years, and any contracts which expire before May will not be renewed and the title will go out of print at that point. I can't remember off-hand which of my contracts might expire before then, so no guarantees that all of my books will still be available after the end of the year. Skimming last year's contract renewal emails suggests that they'll start to fall out of print around February/March.

I gather the usual Boxing Day sale will be going ahead.

I'd like to say that I'll self-publish to get them back in print, but realistically that's not likely to happen for quite a while, given my current health issues. OTOH, if I do self-publish I'll do so at a significantly lower cover price. In the unlikely event you'd like to buy any of my Loose Id titles and haven't got around to it yet, you'll need to weigh up those options.

I know some of the other authors aren't planning to do new editions of some of their titles, or have put it at the back of a very long "when I have time and energy" queue, so you might want to check out what any favourite authors are planning to do if there are any books you hadn't got to yet and would be sorry to miss out on.

Make sure you have copies of all your purchases downloaded, and that you have cashed in any Id Points, gift certificates etc and claimed any prizes before shutdown.
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I ended up with a new and exciting medical excuse for staying away from the computer and thus not posting anything online during NaNoWriMo. However, I have several fountain pens, a stack of paper, and an edition of Dragon Naturally Speaking that will do transcription from a digital recording. Last time I dumped a batch of text into the computer it was up to 20 kwords, and I've probably added another couple of thousand since then. I have also experimented with Scrivener, which was one of my goals, and decided that it is not the gift from the gods many of my peers believe it to be, but it does do most of the things I found I missed on moving from Lotus Word Pro to Microsoft Word. I have *also* done something else on my to-do list, which is to track down a free speech recording utility for Windows 10 (it's part of Windows and is called Sound Recorder for those who may want to know this) and try it with Dragon's transcription module, as it would be useful the next time I mangled my wrist tendons. I hadn't really anticipated finding myself *needing* to use it for PicoWriMo, but at least I now know this system works.
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Been keeping off the computer because of a new and exciting medical reason not to look at backlit screens, but I've been working on the fountain pen story anyway. Just dumped the last few days' worth of manuscript into Windows Sound Recorder and thence to Dragon's transcription function, and imported the resulting text files into Scrivener. I hit the 20 kword point in the manuscript today. :-) Still less than half the official Nano target, but so far I have achieved my personal target of writing something every day in November.

Er... This was supposed to be a short story. I had a bright idea while talking to [personal profile] jacey  and [livejournal.com profile] carl_allery  at Worldcon 75 in early August, and scribbled down the first 100 or so words then and there. I was writing on and off over the rest of Worldcon. I thought I'd get a draft finished and give it to Carl if I saw him over the August bank holiday. That... has not happened. :-)

It also provided a certain amount of amusement to the Lyst silver anniversary meet in London at the beginning of this month, because I was busy scribbling my daily word count at one point...
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So the countdown begins to the release of my short story collection. :-) Stormy Nights is now available for pre-order direct from the publisher's website and from all the usual suspects including SmashWords, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, and the many and varied Amazons - UK, US, AU or search on your local 'Zon for the ASIN B073RRNKBD.

Official list price is US$3.99. Looks like local prices are currently £3.09-£3.49 and AU$5.25 for the UK and Oz.

StormyNights-f500

Sex and love, lies and truth, shades in between. Happy endings and might-have-beens. Nine tales of these things between men.
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I have a collection of short stories wending its way through the production process at NineStar Press at the moment. I don't have a release date yet, but I do have a fully edited/proofed manuscript and cover art that went off to final production at the weekend. It includes stories from both pen names, covering a variety of genres - which made for fun times on the cover art and design, let me tell you... More news as soon as I have any to share.
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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




julesjones: (Default)
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
julesjones: (Default)
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
julesjones: (Default)
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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