Productive week so far (lists alert)

I had a good day on Monday.

I sifted through the archives and I found 4 short stories and 1 reader’s true experience (RTE) that just needed a quick proofread before going off on their merry ways. I also:

  • found 2 1st drafts of stories
  • identified slots for 4 potential filler ideas
  • started the new WiP notebook
  • brought my fillers markets up to date with what 3 of the red-top magazines are currently looking for
  • proofed those 4 short stories
  • chased an overdue invoice
  • and pitched for 2 new editing or proofreading jobs

The poet worked from home yesterday, which was lovely – apart from him being full of cold again. He got quite a lot done, and much more than (a) he thought he would, and (b) he would have done had he been at work. He’s always said he wouldn’t have the discipline to work from home, but perhaps me sitting there working away helped. Here’s what I managed:

  • started the non-fiction manual edit, clearing 30 pages
  • pitched for 3 new editing or proofreading jobs (and have one reply to reply to already)
  • proofed the RTE
  • and did some banking work

We also took the dog for a walk and nipped to Tesco for milk and something quick for tea.

This morning I took my car in for an MOT.

The plan was to take some work down to the library for a couple of hours, but as I pulled up at the garage, they were waiting for me and they took it down straight away, telling me to wait in the office. Half an hour later they were back, having replaced 2 lightbulbs (front nearside sidelight + registration plate light) and switched off the Air Bag warning light, and clutching my shiny new MOT certificate. With a teeny tiny bill of less than £40 this time (apx $65), I was very proud of my little car and treated it to a smelly new air freshener – last of the big spenders, that’s me. 🙂

It meant the editing work I took with me didn’t really get done, but I did manage some reading. When I got back there were author revisions waiting for me on a historical novel I’ve been editing, so I shifted that and had a late dinner (lunch).

I want to have another look at the job boards this afternoon and maybe do some more of that manual editing.

This evening, though, we’re off to see Stephen Wade (aka the babe magnet) and Phil Whyman at the Doncaster Literary Festival, so we’re going to be in a bit of a rush and I’m cooking tea. It’ll be great to catch up with Stephen and his wife, Kate Walker, this evening as I haven’t seen them for a couple of years.

What a busy week. And there are still 2 days left.

Horror 101: The Way Forward

horror 101

Note: While this book has been published specifically with horror writers in mind, the information is just as pertinent to all writers. The eagle-eyed may also notice a contribution from Yours Truly. 

Horror 101: The Way Forward is a comprehensive overview of the horror fiction genre and career opportunities available to established and aspiring authors.

Have you ever wanted to be a horror writer? Perhaps you have already realised that dream and you’re looking to expand your repertoire. Writing comic books sounds nice, right? Or how about screenplays?

That’s what Horror 101: The Way Forward is all about.

Covering aspects such as movies, comics, short stories, ghost-writing, audiobooks, editing, publishing, self-publishing, blogging, writer’s block, YA horror, reviewing, dark poetry, networking, collaborations, eBooks, podcasts, conventions, series, formatting, web serials, artwork, social media, agents, and career advice from seasoned professionals and up-and-coming talents, Horror 101 is just what you need to kick your career into high gear.

Horror 101: The Way Forward is not your average On Writing guide, as it is more focused on the career options available to authors. But don’t fret, this book is loaded with career tips and behind-the-scene stories on how your favourite authors broke into their respective fields.

Horror 101: The Way Forward is perfect for people who:

  • are suffering from writer’s block
  • are starting their writing careers
  • are looking to expand their writing repertoire
  • are planning on infiltrating a different field in horror writing
  • are looking to pay more bills with their art
  • are trying to further their careers
  • are trying to establish a name brand
  • are looking to get published
  • are planning on self-publishing
  • want to learn more about the pros in the horror genre
  • are looking for motivation and/or inspiration
  • love the horror genre
  • are not sure where to take their writing careers

Includes articles by Jack Ketchum, Graham Masterton, Edward Lee, Lucy A. Snyder, Emma Audsley, RJ Cavender, Scott Nicholson, Weston Ochse, Taylor Grant, Paul Kane, Lisa Morton, Shane McKenzie, Dean M. Drinkel, Simon Marshall-Jones, Robert W. Walker, Don D’Auria and Glenn Rolfe, Harry Shannon, Chet Williamson, Lawrence Santoro, Thomas Smith, Blaze McRob, Rocky Wood, Ellen Datlow, Iain Rob Wright, Kenneth W. Cain, Daniel I. Russell, Michael McCarty, Richard Thomas, Joan De La Haye, Michael Wilson, Francois Bloemhof, C.E.L. Welsh, Jasper Bark, Niall Parkinson, Armand Rosamilia, Tonia Brown, Ramsey Campbell, Tim Waggoner, Gary McMahon, V.H. Leslie, Eric S Brown, William Meikle, John Kenny, Gary Fry, Diane Parkin, Jim Mcleod, Siobhan McKinney, Rick Carufel, Ben Eads, Theresa Derwin, Rena Mason, Steve Rasnic Tem, Michael A. Arnzen, Joe Mynhardt, John Palisano, Mark West, Steven Savile, and a writer so famous he’s required to stay anonymous.

Published by Crystal Lake Publishing
Edited by Joe Mynhardt and Emma Audsley
Cover art by Ben Baldwin
eBook formatting by Robert Swartwood

Final line-up:
Foreword by Mort Castle
Making Contact by Jack Ketchum
What is Horrorby Graham Masterton
Bitten by the Horror Bugby Edward Lee
Reader Beware by Siobhan McKinney
Balancing Art and Commerce by Taylor Grant
From Prose to Scripts by Shane McKenzie
Writing About Films and for Film by Paul Kane
Screamplays! Writing the Horror Film by Lisa Morton
Screenplay Writing: The First Cut Is the Deepest by Dean M. Drinkel
Publishing by Simon Marshall-Jones
Weighing Up Traditional Publishing & eBook Publishing by Robert W. Walker
Glenn Rolfe Toes the Line with Samhain Horror Head Honcho, Don D’Auria by Glenn Rolfe
Bringing the Zombie to Life by Harry Shannon
Audiobooks: Your Words to Their Ears by Chet Williamson
Writing Aloud by Lawrence Santoro
Ghost-writing: You Can’t Write It If You Can’t Hear It by Thomas Smith
Ghost-writing by Blaze McRob
The Horror Writers Association – the Genre’s Essential Ingredientby Rocky Wood
What a Short Story Editor Does by Ellen Datlow
Self-Publishing: Making Your Own Dreams by Iain Rob Wright
Self-Publishing: Thumb on the Button by Kenneth W. Cain
What’s the Matter with Splatter?by Daniel I. Russell
Partners in the Fantastic: The Pros and Cons of Collaborations by Michael McCarty
The Journey of “Rudy Jenkins Buries His Fears” by Richard Thomas
Writing Short Fiction by Joan De La Haye
A beginner’s guide to setting up and running a website by Michael Wilson
Poetry and Horror by Blaze McRob
Horror for Kids: Not Child’s Playby Francois Bloemhof
So you want to write comic books… by C.E.L. Welsh
Horror Comics – How to Write Gory Scripts for Gruesome Artists by Jasper Bark
Some Thoughts on my Meandering within the World of Dark and Horror Art by Niall Parkinson
Writing the Series by Armand Rosamilia
Running a Web serial by Tonia Brown
Reviewing by Jim Mcleod
Avoiding What’s Been Done to Death by Ramsey Campbell
The 7 Signs that make Agents and Editors say, “Yes!” by Anonymous
The (extremely) Short Guide to Writing Horror by Tim Waggoner
Growing Ideas by Gary McMahon
Filthy Habits – Writing and Routine by Jasper Bark
A Room of One’s Own – The Lonely Path of a Writer by V.H. Leslie
Do You Need an Agent?by Eric S Brown
Ten Short Story Endings to Avoid by William Meikle
Submitting Your Work Part 2: Read the F*****g Guidelines! by John Kenny
Rejection Letters – How to Write and Respond to Them by Jasper Bark
Editing and Proofreading by Diane Parkin
On Formatting: A Concise Guide to the Most Frequently Encountered issues by Rick Carufel
How to Dismember Your Darlings – Editing Your Own Work by Jasper Bark
From Reader to Writer: Finding Inspirationby Emma Audsley
Writing Exercises by Ben Eads
The Year After Publication… by Rena Mason
Writing Horror: 12 Tips on Making a Career of It by Steve Rasnic Tem
The Five Laws of Arnzen by Michael A. Arnzen
The Cheesy Trunk of Terror by Scott Nicholson
How to be Your Own Agent, Whether You Have One or Not by Joe Mynhardt
Networking at Conventions by Lucy A. Snyder
Pitch to Impress: How to Stand Out from the Convention Crowdby RJ Cavender
You Better (Net)Work by Tim Waggoner
Friendship, Writing, and the Internet by Weston Ochse
Buttoning Up Before Dinner by Gary Fry
How to Fail as an Artist in Ten Easy Steps by John Palisano
Writer’s Block by Mark West
Be the Writer You Want to Be by Steven Savile
Afterword by Joe Mynhardt

Available from Amazon, or direct from Crystal Lake Publishing.

w/c 10 Feb: to do list

I’ve been very busy trying to keep on top of the work I won while also trying to claw in some money. Being busy is one thing, but I can’t wait until I can carve some time out for my own work, and I can’t do that until people start to pay me on time and when they say they will.

The poet has relieved me of gig list duties as it was a non-earning chore and took away valuable time. I still forward messages and keep half an eye on things, but he’s picked it up very quickly and gets more chance to do updates than I did. He’s also able to do more maintenance, such as checking links work and taking them off if they don’t.

It’s still been a very busy time, though. But I’m getting there.

Here then, late, is this week’s to do list:

  • check job boards daily 
  • debt management daily x 5 
  • walk dog daily x 5 ××
  • write 1,000 words daily x 5 ××
  • daily comps x 5 ××
  • write blog x 3 ×√
  • finish electronic edits on client’s YA novel 
  • finish electronic edits on client’s non-fiction historical #1
  • manual edits on client’s non-fiction historical #2
  • electronic edits on client’s non-fiction historical #2
  • manual edits on client’s non-fiction historical #3
  • electronic edits on client’s non-fiction historical #3
  • check 3rd proofs on client’s non-fiction historical #4
  • check author comments on non-fiction historical #5
  • diary work
  • band practice
  • invoicing (hurrah!)
  • credit control (boo!)
  • 1 x gig

Gosh, even I feel faint after writing that lot out. I’d best crack on. But at the moment, I wish I was somewhere else today.

I wish I were here ...
I wish I was here … (Picture: Diane Parkin)

w/c 3 Feb: to do list

I didn’t get as much work done as I’d like on Friday, and Friday evening was initially spent shopping at the supermarket followed by a mad rush to get out to see one of our friends in his ska covers band. We made it before the end of the first set and were able to have a chat with him as well before they got up again. It was a good night and we tried their new kitchen for the first time … the poet wasn’t keen on the chips …

Saturday was mostly spent visiting my parents in Birmingham. We had a good run down and back, and a nice visit. Then Saturday evening we went out with the gig buddy and her husband for a meal and the tail end of another gig, and another good night.

On Sunday morning the “business manager” showed his face and we discussed the several novels I already have planned and mapped out, both in my head and on paper. He’d thought they were just ideas floating around the brain matter and was surprised at how much work I’ve already done on all of them. He gave me a good talking to and, supportive as ever, convinced me to just do it, just get cracking on one of them, and switch my critical brain OFF for the duration of the first draft at least.

Later that morning we went to collect the bird table and the outdoor cat kennel. We also dismantled my mini-greenhouse and made that safe and secure after the recent winds. The bird table was reassembled (again, it was damaged in the recent winds but repairable), and then we took the dog for a brisk walk around one of our local reservoirs. It was great to blow the cobwebs away for the first time in ages. The greenhouse may be coming over on the next trip.

When we got back the poet cooked a Sunday dinner and we baked. I made a fruit cake and he produced his fourth or fifth loaf of the week. He’s making bread almost every day now, and it’s very nice.

Sunday evening we chilled and recovered from a busy but very satisfying and productive weekend, where we managed to get a lot done.

This morning has so far been mostly spent trying to pay the council tax bill, but the website was down and then the payments line didn’t work. I got through to the council tax office to let them know I couldn’t pay, and within minutes the website was back up and running again.

Here are the rest of this week’s jobs so far:

  • surf job boards daily x 5
  • daily competitions x 5
  • write and submit walks report to 6 local newspapers
  • write blog x 3 
  • walk dog daily x 5
  • write 1,000 words per day x 5
  • tackle debt management plan daily x 5
  • daily banking x 5 
  • edit non-fiction history book …
  • … send non-fiction history book back to author via publisher
  • proofread YA book  …
  • … send  YA book back to author
  • gig list weekly update
  • continue to explore gig list Facebook page
  • diary work
  • edit new non-fiction history book …
  • … send new non-fiction history book back to author
  • invoices (hurrah!)

What’s on your to do list this week?

All coming together

It’s been another fair week.

I’m still in the midst of a client’s non-fiction book, but a regular client’s previously promised non-fiction finally arrived on Wednesday, and I also won a new job on Wednesday where my quote included a deposit, for the first time ever.

I felt a bit strange asking for the deposit, but I used to get a deposit when I first edited books freelance, and that was back in the 1990s. Since I’ve been doing it this time out, I’ve not asked for a single deposit. Until Wednesday. And I won the job. I’m very happy about that, particularly as this first deposit is due for payment today ahead of work starting next week.

Since then, all jobs over £120 (apx $200) have included a deposit and a balance, and all jobs over £300 (apx $500) have been bid for in 3 equal instalments.

I currently have 3 books in for editing or proofreading, then, which brings the money in but also allows me time to pursue some writing.

There has been an additional distraction this week in that my mobile phone didn’t work very well at the new house. It’s been hit and miss for as long as I’ve been coming here, but my provider assured me the fault was temporary. However, it obviously wasn’t temporary and the provider finally admitted that their service wasn’t great in this area and there are no imminent plans for an upgrade.

The clue being in the name (“mobile” phone), I was able to negotiate a signal boost box (for this address and for one time only) that’s normally worth £110 + VAT (apx $180 + tax) for FREE. I like FREE things. They promised that the box would arrive between 15:29 and 16:29 hrs the following day (it arrived at 15:49!), and within an hour of setting it up, my mobile phone worked perfectly.

Today the internet’s a bit hit and miss, but at least I can still make phone calls or send text messages. I have the laptop for the internet, but I think it’s the poet’s provider today that’s having a slight glitch.

Fancy them normally charging £110 (+ VAT), though, to make their mobile phones work. I think that’s a bit naughty when we’re already paying for a service and usually locked in for 2 years at a time.

Anyway, all is well now. I have phone, I have internet, I have work, I have money on its way. This is all very good.

At the weekend we’re fetching a few more things over, like my baking goods and those of my possessions that have so far won the mine’s-better-than-yours battle. I also need to fetch things like outdoor coats over and walking-wear. When we can afford it, we’ll hire a van to fetch the bigger stuff over.

What’re you up to this weekend? Whatever it is, have a goodun. 🙂

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Waiting …

And so I find myself waiting again.

Waiting for a client to approve milestone 1 of 3 so I can continue with the next part of the job.

Waiting for a new non-fiction to arrive so I can start editing it (and invoice it …).

Waiting for 4 books to come back from 1st proofs so I can crack on with the next stage.

Waiting for potential clients to respond to emails and messages.

Waiting for promised work to materialise from regular client.

Last week I offered to write a short article for an ebook. I’ve been given the go ahead on that and if no other work comes in that’ll be next on the list.

Last week I was approached to see if I’d like a regular writing gig. I’m now waiting to see if she was happy with the cuttings pack I sent.

This week I’ve pitched for about 24 jobs so far. So far, 2 have been declined, 1 has asked if we can Skype, and 1 has said she’ll respond when she’s trawled through the 60-odd other bidders.

This week I’ve had 1 fiction book come back from the proofreader but I’m waiting for the author to supply his corrections too.

This week I’ve caught up on banking, admin, job hunting, competitions. I now need to catch up with some writing – but I also need some money.

What are you waiting for this week?

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Happy New Year!

We didn’t do too badly. The only things I didn’t manage on the list were: make a yule log; ice the Christmas cake; Santa run to Leicester; trip to that thar London. Everything else we did. I’m very happy with that.

I’ve been having a think of what I’d like from 2014 but, once again, I’ve decided not to do a massive great list for the whole year, but to do just a smaller one each month, as things change. I don’t really feel as though I achieved much, work-wise, in 2013, and this has to change.

So, for January, my main target is to write at least 1,000 words every working day. I know I can do that because I did it in April, 30k in 30 days. At the end of the month that gives me a target of 24,000 words, which means just 24 working days. (There are fewer in February.) I’ll still have my monthly Do Diddle Day.

Other targets for January include (on every working day):

  • write 1,000 words a day
  • surf job boards
  • daily competitions
  • at least 4 hours on paid bread and butter jobs (editing and proofreading)

Weekly:

  • blog (3 times)
  • walks report
  • diary work
  • invoices
  • weekly gig list update

Monthly:

  • monthly gig list update
  • Do Diddle Day

Personally, there are daily, weekly and monthly targets too, such as:

  • walk dog
  • yoga
  • go walking
  • days/trips out
  • loads of gigs

And that’s it. That’s my list for 2014. Sorry for any disappointment, but with work coming in all the time, it’s difficult to plan too far ahead. And when work does come in, I can be booked for several weeks.

Here’s to a very happy, successful, healthy and prosperous new year.