booksandstories.com

July 2004 Review

Web Page Progress

A few small changes in the layout this month. I've put the windows for the Order Page and pay chapters back into the main frame rather than in separate windows. This is back to how they were originally. For some reason it stopped working that way. But as it seems to be okay now I've put it back as it was. I've checked it all but if you have any problems please email me to let me know. Cheers!

PS:- Guess what? It stopped working again so I have had to change it back. Oh, well...

Writing Progress

To all of you in the USA, Happy 4th of July! To everyone else -including me- its business as usual, and that means work. I'm still tired at the weekends and I'm still a bit disenchanted with writing at the moment. But at least I am not as down-hearted as I was. As I said last month, I've gotten back into reading rather than just dwelling on my own stories, and I've now managed to read another book, one I actually bought this time.

True to my word I picked a science-fiction story by Anne McCaffery. This one was “The Dinosaur Planet Omnibus”. I enjoyed it a bit more than “Atlantis Found”, mainly because it was science-fiction, had the odd dinosaur in it, and also because there was a leading female character I could get interested in. There were also several other female characters that featured prominantly. But the men were not absent either. It's interesting to note that male writers often write male dominated stories, while female writers tend to feature both men and women in their stories about equally. I'm sure that says something about male and female psyche, but I best not go there.

“The Dinosaur Planet Omnibus” features two stories that were written about ten years apart. The first one ends with a bit of a cliff-hanger, with the hero and heroine forced to enter cryogenic sleep. The second story begins with their rescue forty-three years later. I enjoyed both stories, and if they hadn't been together in the same volume I probably would have gone out to buy the second one. But having said that I was again somewhat surprised that the writing technique wasn't that much better than mine. Anne McCaffery is a well established and accomplished writer whose stories I and many others enjoy. “The Crystal Singer” stories are still my favourite. All this tells me is that I can't be that bad a writer. Maybe all I need is a chance. Well, someone might be about to give me one.

As is my want from time to time, in May I decided to have another go at approaching agents and publishers about taking my work. As usual, those in the UK are rather disdainful and uninterested. Both agents and publishers here are either overloaded or particular in what they take. I am rather used to this now and the rejection letters did not come as a surprise. But in addition to applying to agents and publishers in the UK, I have also begun approaching those in the USA. Some of the American agents can be reached by email, but up to now I have had no more success with them than I have had with those in this country. However, I keep trying.

One of the American based publishers I found was PublishAmerica (use the link at the bottom of the page). They accept submissions by email, so I sent them “The Friendly Ambassador” with a covering letter, synopsis and some additional information. They replied very favourably, and after a few exchanges of emails they have decided to take me on. To say that I was ecstatic was an understatement. My head exploded. As I write this I am still in a bit of a state. It's always been my dream to be a real published writer, and the possibility of finally having one of my stories in print, as an actual book, on a bookshelf, in a shop, is rather daunting.

Will it sell? What will it look like? Will it be a hardback or a softback? What will the cover look like? What happens next? Yes, I am in a bit of a state.

Not wanting to get completely out of control, I keep reminding myself that any book's success is based on how it is received by the paying public. I know people visit this site and read my stories. Some of you even tell me that you like them. But is browsing the web the same as browsing the shelves in a bookstore? And will the cover and the description on the back be enough to attract someone to open the book and begin reading? And will the opening paragraphs be enough to get the reader to buy the book?

I'm told that it might take a year to find out. How impatient I am.

I know, I know, I still haven't finished “A Fine Woman”. I'll get round to it, I will, I promise! Just let me savour the moment.

What do you think of it so far? Email me!