I cycled to hospital today to collect my new hearing aids. So that’s me fixed up with better hearing – no excuse to ignore folk speaking at me, but why do they have to make clocks with such load ticktocks?
It’s a shame that my favourite science fiction & fantasy writers website has closed, at least temporarily. http://www.speculations.com was an unusual open forum where no post was ever deleted. They could be hidden by members voting spam or offensive posts into invisibility, and obvious spam found itself shuffled to a holding bay to obscurity. The official reason for its closure is that it became untenable with too much spam. Umm. The owner, Kent Brewster, is a fine man, a British programmer at Yahoo, and I thank whenever I glance at my own website because he helped tweak the code to speed up its loading. Speculation had a forum, The Rumor Mill, in which we’d post our acceptances and rejections from publishers, discussed all aspects of writing sf&f and other genres. We had our own page and Robert Blevins and I were allowed to promote Escape Velocity and meet so many authors there. The telling point is that there was an active thread about the US publisher, Publish America (PA). Calling it a publisher might be being generous. As Wikipedia and other sites mention, many writers turn to PA after failing to get mainstream publishers to accept their novels. Compared to other ways to get your ouevre printed, PA is expensive with the average paperback priced at twice others you find by small and large press publishers. Also there is ample evidence that little editing and promotion is done at PA. There is the famous case of Atlanta Nights where writers, mainly at Speculations, compiled a complete nonsense book – plot all over the place, characters popping up in late chapters after they died in early ones. PA accepted and printed it with no edits. Ironically, after the sham was outed by the Washington Post, PA then rejected Atlanta Nights and was consequently printed by Lulu.com – one of their best sellers. If you rummage around on the web you can find a pdf of it for free. Worth every penny! So was Speculations bombarded with spam – overloading its server – by PA? That’s just speculation. Consider this though. A strong member of Speculations was Dave Kuzminski. Another fine man and friend to honest writers. He owns Preditors & Editors. a site dedicated to compiling information on literary agents and publishers to help writers make decisions on who to select. PA was a not recommended publisher because of many reasons such as these on Wizardessbooks. Many writers’ hearts have been broken by PA and similar alleged vanity press outfits.
Robert Blevins written a fine article at Newsvine about the closure of Rumor Mill.
Having said that, there are some good books that have been published at PA. Some writers signed their contracts without researching the allegations on PA and voila their books are there for 7 years with a near-impossible-to-break contract. One such good book is Sand in the Painting, by Catherine Edmunds here. That’s the PA link to it but you’d find it also at Amazon. Catherine is a friend and a good writer, who has painted this character-driven novel well.
Have I mentioned that the excellent bookshop, Borders, now take my humorous thriller, Escaping Reality. Wheeee. Fair enough it is only at one of their outlets – the one at Cheshire Oaks, near Chester. The buyer is keen for me to do signings and events so I’ll cook something up for them when I return from Cyprus in April.
Other writing news is that Screaming Dreams have accepted two short stories, and I’ve sent my novel Exit, Pursued by a Bee back to the editor in the US, after another copyedit pass. I’ve sent a revamped short story, Slow Crash, to my BSFA Orbiters for critique. BTW Screaming Dreams needs more sci fi short stories and so does Escape Velocity. Write, submit. Write, submit!
One thing that puzzles me with my hearing aids when set to the loop system. I have a home loop system plugged into my TV scart connection. When I turn the TV off, I can still hear it through the T-loop system! Even if I go upstairs and get into bed forgetting I have my aids in, I can then listen to the turned off TV downstairs! hah. It reminds me that I’ve yet to write that story Acoustic Crescendo about a similar situation…