Tuesday, 29 July 2014

What have I done for me lately.

July has been a busy month.

Apart from all of the usual life stuff I have been checking out sources to send stories to, yes, I've finally bit the bullet and started submitting things.

The short story market was something I had never really thought much about. To be quite honest I figured that there wasn't much to it regarding potential, but that's mainly because anthologies hadn't seemed as popular as they appear to be at the moment.

Until recently I had only sent two short stories away. The first was the result of a conversation I had with Sam Stone about clowns. She was busy writing a clown story for her Zombies in New York (and other bloody jottings) anthology, and as a former clown I gave her a few pointers. She suggested I wrote an 'evil clown' story and that she'd be happy to read it if I did, so I did. Sam suggested then that I send it in to the British Fantasy Society for possible inclusion in their annual journal (2010 edition). As I didn't want to look like a total knob I sent it in, after all, what's the worst that could happen? It was accepted, I hasten to add not by Sam as she wasn't editing the section I was submitting to. I was a bit surprised to say the least, and somewhat thinking it may have just been a fluke. Following that success I had a lot going on in my personal life, and writing took very much a back seat to other things, and so I was off the writing radar for quite some time.

When a lot of things calmed down I looked for other victims to subject to my stories and found a lot of listings on Duotrope, so I sent another story off to the Exaggerated Press who were taking submissions for Wordland 2- Hi Honey, I'm Home. My submission was accepted.  Sadly of the other five publishers I submitted to one closed down and the other four weren't interested, but that's the nature of the beast. I'm a big boy, I can take rejections. Sob... Choke... Sniff.....

Things got worse, basically it was all down to my best friend who had spent years fighting cancer. I spent much of my time trying to make her life better. I have no regrets, she was always more important than my writing or anything else.

She passed away on the 5th of March 2013. Four days after she died I sent a story away. It was a humour piece. I was trying to get back on the bike and pedal somewhere. I wasn't ready. I guess the story wasn't good enough as I never heard back from the publisher but discovered many months later that I didn't make it into the anthology. Some people got in twice, so I guess my story must not have been what they were looking for.

Personal  tragedy can wreak havoc on someone's mental state. It did on mine. I took a while to get my head together and organised a whole new life in a big way...  I emigrated.

Now I am in a whole new country, legally registered since June 11th, it's something of an adjustment with a new language and everything rather alien to me, but I firmly believe I made the right choice. I am reasonably settled now, still have some things to do regarding full integration, but I am getting there.

On the creative front I'm getting busy again. Some time ago David A. Riley over at Parallel Universe Publications had written a novel called Goblin Mire, which had a cover he was not happy with, so I provided one for him, that was a while ago, since which I have brushed up on my Photoshop 'skills' and reworked the cover.

This was the version he originally had and wasn't happy with, it was provided by the publisher he was using:

Here's my version:

He likes mine, admittedly the first version I did for him was crude, I had not long started using the software, wasn't used to it (still not), but even so I managed to provide a better version of the cover. I looked back at it when I learned more tricks and techniques and decided to revamp it, the version you see above is the final result and when he re-launches the book this autumn that's the cover he'll use. It's the first official book cover I have ever done, I am hoping it won't be the last.

Now the dust has settled with my emigration I am writing and painting again. Getting results too.

This month (July) I have started submitting writing and artwork. At the time of writing I have subbed two artworks to NAT.BRUT  which have both been accepted. I have a story accepted by Haunted Waters Press, and I have artwork which is going to be used in a campaign for LifeTime TV's show Witches of East End.

I currently have seven other stories submitted awaiting response, most sent in the past week, and am hoping to get a few more in before the end of the month deadlines, so I think it is fair to say that I am back on the bike.

This has been a Joe Young blog post.

Thank you for reading.