2015 – A Year in Review

2015. Well, a year of many changes. I had the short story published at the start of the year. Moved back to Adelaide. Started a TAFE course and a new job.

Not a great deal on the actual writing front but what I have written for TAFE has been well received (except for the Write Articles for Publication subject which was quite painful, but also gave me a greater respect for those who work in the journalism industry). But TAFE, oh TAFE, what a ripper you did just before our last assignment was due. In short, due to budgets and other factors, TAFE decided to end the course I have been studying. TAFE gave us the option to exit with the Diploma at the end of Semester 1 in 2017. Now this left me in a place that for the topics I really wanted to do as electives, that was pretty much impossible to gain the Advanced Diploma with a full time work load, which from day 1 TAFE stated was impossible to complete. After much frustration and looking at other options, I let the deadline to register for next year pass me by and decided to not continue with the course. I didn’t see the point in doing the subjects and only receiving a Certificate of Attainment, or exiting with a Diploma that turns out isn’t even recognised nationally (I was under the impression when I enrolled, the course was recognised nationally). With this, I’ve become quite disillusioned with TAFE and won’t recommend anyone studying through them for any Creative Writing course they do offer.

On the positive side, the short story I wrote for the TAFE course is being expanded upon at the moment, reinstating a whole section that I had to cut out from the original version due to the word count length. Since starting work on it just before Christmas, another 1000 words have been added and quite a lot more to come.

On the reading side, I managed to read 23 books for the year. I burnt through the rest of the entire The Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher. Some books have been fantastic to one or two being in the okay range. Highlights for me included the last few Dresden novels particularly from Changes onwards, Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence was a real find (one I was interested in reading but was hesitant to pay full price until I found a second hand copy), Leviathian Wakes by James S.A. Corey (quite possibly my favourite of the year, a true SF novel that did so much world building and told a fantastic story, which the TV series The Expanse is based upon), and The Martian by Andy Weir, which packed so much fun and real science into a brilliant novel.

So bring on 2016, which I hope to have more written and more books read.


2015 – The Year Ahead

So 2015 is upon us well and truly. It’s already 11 days in and I’ve received two awesome pieces of news. More on that shortly. With 2015 comes a new year with many changes ahead.

First off, my family and I are moving back to Adelaide this month, so it’s been a mad rush of packing the house to move in the next few weeks. Writing time has been almost non-existent. It has meant that I am leaving a job to unemployment for hopefully a short while. If no work does come up, at least after doing job applications each day I can spend some more time writing!

I have decided to set myself some goals for this year. My biggest goal is to completed the first draft for the zombie novel which I started in 2012. Last Thursday night, I did crack the 50,000 words of the planned 75,000. Now this novel is aimed at the Late Young Adult range, it does have some swearing and graphic scenes.

My second goal is to complete several short stories (aiming for a minimum of 5) and send them off for submission. I completed another short story for consideration for another anthology late last year that got rejected. Have decided to expand it, adding more to it and then send on to another market.

My third goal is to read 20 books this year. I’ve gone back to using Goodreads to keep track of which books I have and set the goal through the iPhone app. So far I have completed 2 books (admittedly, the first one I started in September last year). The most recently finished is Bound (Alex Caine #1) by Alan Baxter. Was a brilliant read.

Now onto the news. I received an email that my application for the Advanced Diploma in Professional Writing has turned into an offer of acceptance. I should hear from the TAFE in a few days.

fromoutofthedarkThe second piece of news is that the story I sold last year has been publication and is now available! The paperback edition is available through Amazon whilst the ebook is available through Smashwords. When I saw the list of other authors appearing in the anthology, I was pretty excited. The contents are:

  • Gene Stewart – Eschaton’s Fate
  • Tony Shillitoe – Hope
  • James O’Keefe – Light in the Darkness
  • Alexander Zelenyi – In a Room Empty For You
  • Rob Bleckly – The Grim
  • L.E. Bodillo – The Dead Kind
  • Mark Rookyard – Between the World
  • Victoria Dylan – Out in the Dark
  • Jason Andrew – Fading Light From a Dying Star
  • Gregory L. Norris – Fleeing into the Darkness of Disaster

Having my own story appearing right after Tony Shillitoe is something to be very proud of as he is quite a well known Australian author.

With many thanks to Robert N Stephenson for publishing this piece. I have known him for quite a few years now. He has a new book coming out this month, which I am really looking forward to reading. It will be available through Satalyte Publishing from January 30th 2015.

So some great news to kick the new year off and some goals set to achieve. Let’s see what the rest of the year brings.

Revamp & NaNoWriMo

Decided upon a bit of a revamp of my blog. Funky new header image and design to streamline the site.

If you don’t follow me on Twitter, I have now joined the Australian Horror Writers Association.

On that note, this month is NaNoWriMo again. I’ve put a story that I have finished another draft on hold for a short bit that will be submitted by end of the year for another anthology. In the mean, I have put an idea that I was going to use for another sub that didn’t happen due to working on the Out Of The Dark submission. Decided to turn it into a novella that will fit right in for the word count of NaNoWriMo. Started late, but already over 5000 words for only 2 nights writing. Would love to be a winner again for this, as it’s only ever been achieved once. If not, it’s still a good thing to get another story out of my head.

Exciting News

Well, the submission for the From Out of the Dark anthology has sold. After the publisher sent me feedback, with some suggested changes etc to help make the story stronger, I resubmitted. I received an email a few days ago saying he was happy with the story and will buy it. That’s nearly 12 months of hard work now paid off. Publication should be sometime on December. As soon as I know when, I’ll be posting links to it ASAP.

In the mean time, it’s now time to turn back to my zombie novel to finish the first draft and maybe draft a few more short stories that could be submitted for other publishers.

Writing Challenge – Flash Fiction

This last Writer’s Group session, it was another Shut Up and Write week. I am having a short break before I continue on with the Out of the Dark story, so went back to one of the unfinished Word Blurt stories we had done as a writing exercise one night. During the week I had read some blogs on Flash Fiction. Now Flash Fiction can range from less than 250 words to 1,000 words, there is no real set definition. I thought whilst reading these blogs, it would be a great idea to revist some of these works and finish them off.  The art of writing Flash Fiction is a tough one. You have to make very word count and get right to the point of the story.

Out of the five stories I had on my hard drive from these Word Blurts and Writing Prompt ideas, I chose one to finish off. It was already at around 300 words when I started and wrote to around 1,300. I then started the challenge of making every word count and cutting the number of words down to under 1,000. The story now sits at 995.

With having finished this story off, at least in a first draft mode. With that now completed, I have set myself a challenge to write a short story each month up to a maximum of 1,000 words for each one. The Shut Up and Write sessions will be the ideal time to undertake this challenge.

In other news, the Out of the Dark story has been sent out to some beta-readers. Hoping to hear back from them soon so I can continued with the rewrites and eventually submit the story for the anthology.

Out of the Dark – First Draft Completed

It is done! The first draft of my story for the Out of the Dark anthology is now done. Had a good session at writer’s group tonight plus did a lot more after that. Total word count on the first draft is nearly 5,900 words, so pretty happy with that. I had already excised a whole section as I felt it slowed the story down but gained enough ground to reach the 5,000 minimum.

So now begins the fun process of editing it until it’s in a publishable form!

Call for Submissions

No, I’m not starting my own anthology by my friend Robert N Stephenson is putting out a call for submissions.


From Out of the Dark
Horror from the emptiness of the space between the galaxies.
Words required – 5 000 to 10 000
Subject explanation:
I am seeking short stories to a maximum length of 10 000 words with a minimum length of 5 000. All stories are to he set in the gap between galaxies, the immense darkness of space and all the frightening aspects and contemplation of billions of light years of unseeable entities can bring. These are not just first encounter ideas as the bent is strong horror memes within science fiction framing. This is not horror added the SF or SF added to horror by slight of hand. What is required is a true as possible journey into a place we cannot and will never imagine outside of telescopes and maths. This is science fiction, so no fantasy worlds please. Space ships and rays guns are fine, but if I spot a dragon I might not reply.
From Out of the Dark requires some deep thinking and frightful manipulations of emotion and events to create fiction that can cause a sweat and a gasp for air lost to vacuum.

There are no entry fees, no costs other than postage if using mail or a few nips on your bandwidth if emailing. Please, no queries, you either understand what is being asked or you don’t. I will be able to read if you do not get what is being sought after here.

The editor is me, Robert N Stephenson, I am an award winning author of several novels and non fiction/fiction collections with over 100 published short stories. I have edited over 30 full length novels for publishers as well as edited Altair Magazine for 3 years as well as several anthologies in SF and Horror. Altair Australia Publishing has published 23 titles in all and there has been a 4 year gap between publication of the last one until now. I don’t like to edit hard, but if I do find something that could aid in the end product I will suggest and encourage you to consider and apply.

The anthology open date started a couple of weeks ago, but things have been hectic and I have only now formulated the guidelines, but the closing date is October 31st 2014. I will be buying stories as I go along so don’t wait until the last minute to submit, I will be filling this work as fast as possible and with the best available before or on that deadline.

Rights – first time world print rights and first time world digital rights (print – ebook – kindle) Rights expiry of individual stories end after 12 months from actual publication date. The book and ebook will remain on sale in its designated form for a while, quite a while I hope.

Payment $75 per story and a print copy of the book.

Royalties – selling price through amazon etc will be at a cost price and no earnings will be made from the sale of these books. If Possible the ebook will be free of charge, but sometimes amazon requires a 99 cent payment so they get their cut. The aim of the book is to get out there widely and quickly, highlighting the great work of authors. The $75 payment may not be a great payment, but I am not earning anything from the books sales and am personally contributing all payment money. Money paid on acceptance, not on publication as most collection are. While the print date is set for late December please note delays can occur due to my own work commitments and project deadlines.

Contract will be a simple email acceptance, an ‘on trust’ arrangement. If you are prepared to break that trust then no written contract would be of value.

Submission details
Post = Altair Australia Publishing ‘From Out of the Dark’ PO Box 475 Blackwood SA 5051 Australia

Email = author@altair-australia.com
Email Subject line = Submission, submission title, author

Attachment file as, rtf, TXT, pdf and even docx, I will also accept odt

Word count on the top of the first page, plus a short bio if you think I will be interested.

Reply = As soon as capable given my own limited times. It is hoped no longer than 12 weeks waiting time. No posted MS will be returned, so do supply email address for my rejection/acceptance.