Rebellion and change

Otherwise entitled, “Kate, just freakin’ settle down and pick one job in one city.” Although actually I’ve been doing this job for four years now, so…I’m just adding a company?

So. Uh. I’m moving to Oxford after Easter, and changing my job (sort of) because I’ve been offered a position as an editor at Solaris/Abaddon, an imprint of Rebellion. They publish awesome fantasy and sci-fi, the sort I want to read, and it’s with an awesome team of people in an awesome city, and…

I might be just a little bit excited.


Guys. Guys. It’s a proper paid editing job. (Much as I love Grimbold, we’re a small press. Editors do get paid, but most of what Sammy and I – and the rest of the editorial, production and marketing people – do is unpaid, because it has to be. Money goes to the authors first, and at the indie level that leaves little to nothing for the behind-the-scenes teams. It’s why we all have day jobs!)

And I just…I may have squeaked. And burst into tears. And jumped up and down. I’m very excited, and very nervous, and it feels like validation.

The whole application process was a series of coincidences and I-nearly-didn’t and then I thought I’d messed up both interviews – my brain was doing the whole, “You know that thing you said? SO STUPID. And you gave that answer, they’re going to take it this completely wrong way. You’re such an idiot. You’re a failure. Of course you don’t have the experience they want, and you haven’t read enough books, and you’re waaaay down their shortlist. They’re only bringing you back for a second interview to have someone to compare the best candidate to. Why did you even try for it?”

Thanks, brain.

Well…they want me. Apparently I am well-read (SUCK IT, BRAIN WEASELS!) and my editorial experience is good and I got 100% in the copy-edit test! And I know enough random history facts to have been able to have a conversation with the CEO (trust me, that’s necessary)…

This is a job that I LOVE. I’ve only really been doing it – and even really aware of it as a job that I could do – for the past 3-4 years. Sammy at Grimbold Books took on the GreenSky series, taking a chance on that as the first novella series – and then, when I asked if there was anything I could help with, took a chance on me for proofreading. And then editing. And then website updates. And then formatting. She’s been a rock of support and I am so grateful for the things she’s offered – not that, y’know, it was without self-interest….as obviously it helped to have someone helping with everything!

But I don’t have training – I’m only just doing the official basic proofreading courses for the Sfep, and that’s only because I have to have official training despite having the work hours already. I don’t have a degree. I don’t have a piece of paper that says I can do this. I don’t have anything except multiple books out there that I’ve helped shape, and authors who are levelling up because I’ve supported them. I’ve read and commented and helped and been annoyed and frustrated  and happy and tired, and I’ve worked my ass off in between other proper jobs doing something that I love and someone’s just told me that, yes, that’s worth something. Yes, you can do this.

I can do it.

It’s gonna be a tough couple of months settling in, and I’m going to be working out how to balance everything – I will still be doing work for Grimbold and my own writing, but I’ll be stepping back a little while I get sorted. The blog’s definitely one of the things I want to keep up so I’ll still be posting here, but if I’m not around as much elsewhere, please forgive me – or give me a kick!

Gimbold Books wins British Fantasy Award 2017!

All of them. ALL THE AWARDS.

Actually, we won Best Independent Press. Whee! It’s amazing to know the work we’ve been doing over the past few years has been recognised, and it was definitely good timing to give us a boost! I love my lil’ Grimmie family, and it’s been great fun (ok, frustrating, but fun) working on the editing and slush pile and covers, as well as everything else that goes along with a small press. Sammy’s a superhero: it’s not the easiest job in the world to run a book publisher, but there’s always a lot of passion and love poured into every book, and it’s been amazing to be part of it.

And if you want to know why we’re awesome, check out some of our books…(plus mine, of course. Obviously check out all of mine.)

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A Year of Writing: 2017 – the start

For a start, I’m going to brush up on my touch typing. I’m drafting this in the dark with a cat on my lap, and I need to learn how to a) touch type better, and b) type with one hand. It’s needed!

So, 2016 was my Year of Hard Work. I wrote a lot of words, didn’t quite finish what I wanted (GreenSky) but did complete some new things (No Man’s Land), and I also just had news that I’ve had a fifth short story accepted, so my aim of 6 in a year wasn’t quite so ambitious! I’m really happy.

So, 2017? While I’m not doing a Year Of Anything or setting official goals for myself, I’ve got some ongoing aims:

I want to try to get 6 short stories accepted in 2017. It’s the same aim as 2016, as it keeps me writing and keeps me interested in things other than the ‘big’ stories, and I think that’s a good thing. It also sparks ideas – No Man’s Land came from a short story!

Write two ‘other’ stories per month. I’ve got a little side project going, under another name, and I want to continue writing flash fiction for that – 2 stories per month.

Finish the GreenSky series. Hopefully this should be in the next few months; I’m editing at the moment, and I need to get Book 10 finished. I’m aiming to have that wrapped up soon. Potentially I’ve also got the novels to work on, but at the moment I seem to be pushing on with other things.

Do something with No Man’s Land – currently in progress. I want to finish the series, too, or at least get them plotted out.

Other work? We’ll see. I’ve got the Shadows series to re-plot, Madcap Library if I feel like picking that up, some Dresden writing to potentially re-work (although my energy for that is going into gaming at the moment), and some odd stories to pick up if I felt like it. I’ve got enough to be going on with, I think!

Reading? Well, I’m still doing the Discoverability Challenge, which is 12 – or 24 – books in the year. I also want to read & review two books a month for SFF World (down from my previous one a week, but then I’m not commuting at the moment so don’t get the dedicated reading time), and I don’t think four books a month is particularly ambitious for me.

I’m going to update my sidebar to reflect the changes, and I’ll see how things progress over the course of the year. It feels exciting – I’m looking back to 2016 and thinking “wow, I didn’t expect No Man’s Land, I didn’t expect the short stories, I’ve had so much fun with the Discoverability Challenge…”

I wonder what this year’s going to bring?

The Year of Hard Work: the end

Well, I started my Year Of Hard Work this time last year, pre-NaNo 2015. It doesn’t feel as if a year’s passed, but…welp, guess it has!

Green Sky Writing

My original plan was focused around the GreenSky series; I wanted to get Books 5, 8, 9 and 10 finished, and then by NaNo 2016 have the novels planned and write the first.

Well, I screwed that up during NaNo 2015 by finishing Books 8 and 9! I was then focused on finishing the series and plotting the novels. That got pushed back again at Easter, mostly due to Empty Skies rewrites (but hey, at least Book 5 got finished). I tried to kick-start it again at the start of Summer, failed, and haven’t managed anything much since. That said, I have roughly plotted out the three novels, provisionally titled the “Three R’s”. So not too bad!

So…my aim for the rest of the GreenSky series is twofold; get the novellas finished and edited, and plot and write (at some point) the novels. I’m also still writing short stories in the GreenSky world, which is fun.

Other Writing

My original plan was to look over Shadows in the Light and Ghosts in the Fog, and keep working on short stories. At Easter, I added the goal of having six short stories published this year, and I’m currently on four! Two are GreenSky and two are set in the world of No Man’s Land.

‘Bluesky’ and ‘No Man’s Sky’ – now No Man’s Land and No Man’s Stars – made an appearance at the start of summer. I promptly got sucked into No Man’s Land and I’m 2/3 of the way through No Man’s Sky, with No Man’s Stars being plotted for NaNoWriMo 2016.

Shadows hasn’t got any further; I was wondering about doing work on this at Christmas, but I’m still mulling over possibilities. The third book in the series has been roughly plotted too, and has gained the working title of “Hunter in the Dark”.

The Wider World

I had three aims in my first post; get more involved on social media, do more with  Swindon FreeWriters, and get more involved with Grimbold Books.

By Easter, I was doing pretty well. I’d gotten up to 300 followers on Twitter and got my own author page on Facebook. SFW always takes a while to get going after Christmas, but Grimbold was definitely going strong – I’d gotten roped into helping read submissions, which was amazing, and helping with editing.

And now? I’m up to 600 followers on Twitter and trying to use my Facebook page more. I’m just taking it slow and trying to be me – hopefully interesting! I’m editing four books for Grimbold, including an anthology, and generally getting myself involved. It’s fun!

Writing Audit

Word count…uh. Lemme go count.

Lots. Will that do?

When I checked in October last year, I’d written over 654,000 words over two years.

Well, I’ve done nothing more on Shadows, but Dresden had one long story (42,000 words) and several shorter ones (probably about 15,000 words in total, possibly more). GreenSky has had Book 5 finished (10k words), Books 8 and 9 finished (40k each) and Book 10 part-done (5000 words), plus a rewrite of Book 5 (20,000 words), totalling 115,000 words.

I’ve done 70,000 words on No Man’s Land and 50,000 on No Man’s Sky. I’ve done about 5000 words of erotica and 14 finished short stories at about 5000 words each, so that’s another 70,000 words, plus let’s say 8 unfinished stories at about 1000 words each…

So that’s another 203,000 words plus GreenSky’s 115,000 and Dresden’s 57,000…that’s 375,000 since October 2015. And that’s a conservative estimate, as I suspect some of the totals are less than the actual story lengths or I’ve forgotten things…

I was aiming for 100,000, and I’ve done at least 375,000 words in a year.


The Result

So…what have I learned?

  • If you’re interested in something, throw the ‘should’ out the window and write the thing occupying your brain. It’s how I ended up with No Man’s Land!
  • Keep working on short stories. I pick anthology calls that inspired me as that seems to make me write stories (instead of random snippets), and I’ve been checking for them every fortnight or so. I’ve ended up with a number of short stories on the go as well as my completed ones, and it’s been a good challenge to get better at them.
  • I can’t predict what I want to work on…I didn’t expect to start an entirely new series of novels or get one finished and the second half-done in a few months! That said, not planning seems to work pretty well for me as long as I just keep writing.
  • I write stupid numbers of words without really thinking about it. I just keep writing the stuff that interests me!

I’m not going to bother doing another official Year Of Anything, or keep track of my word count – it’s not that interesting or useful to me beyond an “oh that’s cool” stat. I’m happy writing what I want to write, and working on what I want to do; it’s the method that works best for me.

So for the next year, I’m just going to keep going and keep writing!

No Man’s Land: Alpha

It’s just occurred to me that you’re seeing a book all the way through creation here…I only thought up the concept back in May! I started planning immediately and I’ve been writing since then, so it’s taken shape quite fast.

I’ve just had feedback returned from Alpha Reader A, and I know Alpha Reader B is about halfway through. I warned both of them that they’d hate me, and I’ve had suitable screams from Alpha A… YOU KILLED [redacted]! HOW COULD YOU YOU COW! is possibly my favourite, closely followed by WHAT! NO WHY! WHAT! I! HOW COULD YOU! She’s currently not talking to me because of That Ending, which is making me chuckle an evil little author laugh. This is Not A Nice Book, and I love it.

I’ve also been amused to see what comments are the favourites – Alpha A’s favourite is “No one likes additional butter when they didn’t expect it”, whereas Alpha B is plumping for all the crude bits – mostly involving Luk. He has a certain turn of phrase, which seems to be amusing Alpha B greatly!

To give some overview, essentially this alpha read is for the major things; it’s plot holes and problems, it’s “they wouldn’t do that” and things that cause more trauma than necessary; I want to make my reader cry but I don’t want to do it needlessly! (Despite what Alpha A thinks). However, so far it sounds like I’m doing ok, which is really good – there aren’t any major plot holes and the pacing’s good, so I’ve got a few bits to shift around and add, but no major reworkings. I’m waiting on Alpha B’s feedback and then I’m going to do a rewrite, and then it’s off to Betas: two people have already volunteered, which is fantastic! NB. don’t accept too many readers when you ask for feedback, otherwise you end up with too much to follow. I tend to ask one or two people, use that feedback and then ask more. It’s much more manageable.

So there you go, No Man’s Land is progressing nicely! I’m going to finish my alpha rewrite and then probably start working on No Man’s Sky while I’m waiting on beta feedback, as that always takes long; it’s the nitpicky bits. But wheeee! *happy author dance*