TwentyFourth Time

August 18, 2009 at 7:02 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

It’s funny, how life turns itself around, isn’t it?

NOTE: I warn you now that there’s good news coming, so everyone who enjoyed the relative solemnity of last week’s blog and was hoping for another week of non-chirpiness, turn away now. There’s a huge wave of good cheer coming, it’s top foaming white. Depressives are surfing it’s tubular length – look, one just fell in and drowned! Should we worry? No, fuck them, let’s get on!

So, anyway, good news: I am to have an Ash Tree Press collection! An ASH TREE PRESS collection! YEAH!

What happened was this: I was already in conversation with ATP (see how easy I slip into the jargon? I’m almost a natural) about pitching them a second collection – I had several stories ready to go, some that I thought I could work into shape and some ideas that I hoped they’d like. Barbara and Chris and I met at World Fantasy 2009 in Calgary and got on well, so most of the conversations had been more along friendly lines rather than anything formal, but things looked hopeful in the sense that they were at least happy for me to pitch. After making my decision about Ghostwriter (and thanks for all the messages of support that came in about that, by the way – much appreciated), Barbara and I had a chat about the newly free stories. I didn’t think they’d be interested, they said they were, and Bob’s your aunty’s live-in lover, suddenly I have a viable pitch. I sent along the new stories, plus some that had been intended for the GWP mini-collection we’d planned for Christmas, and a few days later ATP got back in touch to formally offer me a collection. The full listing for this masterpiece (I’m nothing if not slightly egotistical and very hopeful), which we’re calling Lost Places, is:

Haunting Marley
The Animal Game
A Meeting of Gemmologists
The Baking of Cakes
Station Waiting Room
The Pennine Tower Restaurant
A Different Morecambe
The Lemon in the Pool
Where Cats Go
Stevie’s Duck
The Church on the Island
When the World Goes Quiet
Old Man’s Pantry
The Derwentwater Shark
Flappy the Bat
Forest Lodge
An Afternoon With Danny
We haven’t sorted out the order yet and one story needed revising (which I’ve done), so now I need to redo the acknowledgements and story notes, but the plan is to have the collection out in time for World Horror 2010! How cool is that? I’m enormously excited by this development. ATP, as well as giving me my publishing break, are one of my favourite small presses (and certainly are the one most in tune with my personal preferences for reading material), and I always hoped that one day I might get an ATP collection of my own. It’s still a disappointment the way Ghostwriter turned out, but this more than makes up for it. In fact, I genuinely couldn’t hope for a better result. My own hardback ATP collection, with a title I like (I know it’s similar to the planned Ghostwriter title, but I came up with that and always liked it – especially the Lost Places part, which seems to sum up my fiction best of all. It’s all about lost places, and finding them even if you don’t want to…). As you might have noticed, we’ve dropped 2 stories from the Ghostwriter collection and added in 10 more, including some of my most recent writing and a couple of older pieces of which I’m hugely proud (well, okay, I’m proud of all of them, but there are some things you particularly want to see in print for entirely personal reasons, and a number of stories in Lost Places fit into that category).
Should I stop going on now?
No? Okay. Well, the other piece of news this week is that Gollancz ‘aren’t grabbed’ by the novel chapters I sent them. Now, this may on the face of it seem to be bad news but it’s not, because when i reread the chapters, you know what I found? They’re right. The chapters are dull. Turgid, even. What’s good, though (before you badnewsniks get all excited) is that they’ve given me some feedback and a chance to rewrite them. So, now I’m in serious Chop and Change mode, and trying to remember my new golden adage: Stop Trying To Impress With Your Writerly Skills And Get On With The Story!
Did I mention, by the way, that I have an Ash Tree Press collection of my stories out in time for March 2010? I did. Good. Wouldn’t want that news to slip by unnoticed!
Right. Time to do some work…

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