One Step Beyond

One Step Beyond is an anthology that came into being in the minds of a group of SFF writers–more specifically writers that have survived the gauntlet of the Milford experience (and clamoured for more)–who are also members of the ‘One Step Beyond’ writing and critiquing group.

410a739glglIt was decided that each member would donate a story (a reprint) and that all proceeds from sales (bar minimum admin costs) would go to the charity English PEN, which supports writers facing legal problems around the world.

The anthology contains stories written by: Jaine Fenn, Vaughan Stanger, Mike Lewis, Heather Lindsley, Alys Sterling, Mark Bilsborough, Liz Holliday, and there’s one in there from yours truly.

Many thanks go to Vaughan Stanger, who has done all the hard work of organising and editing the anthology; and to Jaine Fenn who is publishing the ebook via her Tower of Chaos imprint. The excellent cover art was created by Tony Hughes.

The official launch of the anthology is on 17th November, but you can get hold of a discounted copy if you pre-order now. Support English PEN and enjoy a raft of great stories!

Purchase links:

Order at Amazon (UK) for £0.99

Order at Amazon (USA) for $0.99
Order at Smashwords for $0.99

Making People In My Head – by Gaie Sebold

A fun and interesting look at writing characters from Gaie Sebold.

milfordsfwriters

babylon-steel-coverSomeone asked me recently, “Which comes first for you, character or plot?”

“Oh, character,” I said. “Character every time.”

And having said it, I realised that it might be generally true – at least, where novels are concerned – but of course, it isn’t as simple as that. A character doesn’t just stroll into my head, named, physically complete and fully costumed, with all their quirks, motivations, backstory, family and taste in beverages neatly arrayed.

I know one or two things about them, to start with. Generally I have a good idea what my major characters look like. In fact they’re often so clear in that respect that I have to remind myself to put some of that stuff on the page, because, unfortunately, readers can’t actually see the picture in my head.

dangerous-gifts-cover-32d6I know what they do for a living. That in itself is part, of course, of who…

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MAYDAY Magazine

Published by New American Press, MAYDAY Magazine presents new poetry, fiction, nonfiction, translations, commentary, and visual art to an international community of readers. And this issue has one of my stories in it! Hurrah! Not SFF though. But hey, I’m allowed to write other stuff. Hope you enjoy reading.

MAYDAY Magazine.

What’s in a name?

Interesting piece on the challenges faced writing fantasy in a historical setting. Have read Winterwood, and can’t wait for Silverwolf to come out!

Jacey Bedford

When writing historical fiction it’s sometimes difficult to pin down names. Things change and sometimes the change is gradual. For instance I live in a tiny Yorkshire village called Birdsedge, or maybe it’s Birds Edge. No one really seems to know for sure. It’s currently in a state of flux and both names work. (My preference is for Birdsedge to be all one word.) When I first moved here in 1980 the village sign when approaching from one direction said Birds Edge, but the sign when approaching from the other said Birdsedge.

Confused? You will be.

An old diary (Adam Eyre’s Diary) from the 1770s called it Bursage and if you listen to some of the long-time residents they pronounce it something closely akin to B’zzidge, the vowel after the B being an uh sound that’s not quite E and not quite U. (A schwa?)

freddraw1The village doesn’t seem…

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GollanczFest16 is Coming!

Guess where I’m going to be in just a couple of short weeks? The GollaczFest, of course! I attended last year and it was a real treat. Gollancz Fest Banner SquareThe panel discussions were particularly interesting, with authors giving candid views on topical issues. I especially loved the way Gollancz used the event to promote its debut authors.

This year I plan to split my time between the author panels and the events aimed specifically at upcoming writers. Have a look at the list of authors taking part. It’s going to be so  much fun!

Chilling out with Pratchett

There are times as a writer when I just need to step back and chill out. Give the creative side something else to do, a sort of re-charge of the writing batteries. pratchett dragon_2I love the quiet discipline of adding colour to someone else’s kick-ass drawings. I have several fantasy-type colouring books, but my favourite by far is the ‘Terry Pratchett’s DiscWorld’. It is packed with Paul Kidby’s amazing illustrations.

“The little dragon turned on Vimes a gaze that would be guaranteed to win it the award for Dragon the Judges would Most Like to Take Home and Use as a Portable Gas Lighter.”

Thank you Paul Kidby, and thank you Gollancz. I just need to decide what to colour next!

 

Thoughts on Editing

All very useful advice!

Jacey Bedford

I thought I’d toss out some thoughts on the editing process – or rather my editing process because every writer has their own way of dealing with edits, and if it works, then it’s the right way. No two writers are like or follow the exact same process.

There are two phases of content/structural editing. The first is my own, done before sending the first draft of my manuscript to my editor at DAW. The second is the edit based on what my editor wants me to alter or add (more on that later).

Sheila Gilbert wins the Hugo - 2016At this stage I want to stop and tell you that a few days ago my lovely editor at DAW, Sheila E Gilbert, was awarded the Hugo award for Best Editor, Long Form. I am absolutely thrilled for her because she’s been in this business a long time and is vastly experienced and a terrific editor…

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How to Sell a Lot of SF/F Short Story Reprints – Part 2, by Deborah Walker.

milfordsfwriters

This is the second part in a two-part blog post by Deborah Walker. You’ll find the first part here: How to sell a lot of SF/F Short Story Reprints – Part 1. See the original on Deborah’s Blog here.

Typewriter 3

Deborah writes:

This is the second post on reprints. The first post can be found here. The take home message was more submissions will probably lead to more sales.

This post comes with the same proviso. Every writer is different. Your mileage will vary. And if you disagree with me, do feel free to comment, because I’m interested in different opinions.

So after having made 67 reprint sales this year. (Yes, it’s gone up from the last post). I thought I’d share my process with you. This is how I make my reprint sales, I hope you’ll find it interesting.

Selecting a Reprint Venue

Once you’ve found your reprint venue…

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How to Sell a Lot of SF/F Short Story Reprints – Part 1, by Deborah Walker.

milfordsfwriters

Please welcome Deborah Walker to the guest spot on the Milford blog for the first of a two-parter on selling reprint stories. Subscribe to the blog so that you don’t miss Part 2 which will be up in a couple of weeks.

What’s a reprint?

When you sell a short story to a venue you’ll usually sell first rights with or without an exclusivity period. This means that once any exclusivity period is over, you’re free to sell the story to another venue as a reprint. Between zero and 12 months are common exclusivity periods.

Occasionally a venue will ask for all rights. That means you won’t be able to resell your story as a reprint. That’s your call. But remember that you can negotiate. I know of one short story publisher who requests to buy all rights as standard, but who will immediately offer a first rights contract if…

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Alastair Reynolds on Milford

What a great introduction and insight into the Milford SF Writers’ group. Alistair Reynolds is a real inspiration.

milfordsfwriters

revelation-spaceMilford came at a critical time for me – real make or break stuff. It was the year when I knew I’d have to decide whether I was cut out for this science fiction lark.

The year was 1998. I’d made my first sale nine years earlier. After a long apprenticeship collecting rejection slips it had felt like a significant breakthrough and I was excited when my first pair of stories appeared the year after. I sold two more in relatively quick succession and the reaction to that first clutch of stories was positive enough to provide some encouragement. I felt myself to be cautiously on the up: I had a novel in progress, and ideas for more. Some of my immediate peers were starting to get book deals and attention from international markets. I felt that if only I stuck at it, the same rewards might start coming my…

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