Today, my blog is open to a guest blogger: fellow BSFA Orbiter and SF writer friend, R.B. Harkess. I’ve met Rob and his wife at FantasyCon and NewCon as well as on facebook and of course as a critiquer. He writes fine science fiction and has just had a Young Adult novel published by Proxima – Aphrodite’s Dawn. Here is his blog. Feel free to click on his links and say hello.
Guest blogger – R.B. Harkess, science fiction writer.
When I first got into writing the internet didn’t exist. OK, so I’ve now established myself as either way older than you thought, or a liar. Seriously, though, back then we had bulletin board systems and modems, and they worked pretty much the same as forums do on websites today.
I was even a member of a writers group. We called ourselves ‘Writer’s Block’ and we lived in awe of the only two members who were published writers, Steve Harris (a horror writer) and a bloke named Pan Pantziarka. It was a great place to hang out, but the support was emotional and social, rather than practical or technical.
I gave up writing after a couple of years; there seemed to be so little opportunity, and the only resource we had to find markets was the trusty Writers and Artists Yearbook.
I got bitten by the bug again two years ago, after getting into podcasts. I started on short stories, which I still love to write, and was absolutely astonished at how things had changed; social media, online databases, and the number of anthologies and e-zines that were out there to help you showcase your work.
I met Geoff through a crit group, one run by the British Science Fiction Association. We don’t share that group any more, and I greatly miss his wisdom and skill. It was also Geoff who gave me my first real break in the industry, publishing one of my short stories in “Escape Velocity: The Anthology”.
And now, to my ongoing surprise, my first novel, “Aphrodite’s Dawn”, has been published as an e-book by Proxima, which is why I am creeping around on other people’s blogs. It’s a refreshing diversion in the YA market, involving no sparkly vampires or other objects of paranormal romance, and tells the story of three young people who find the tiny world they thought they lived in was actually a huge asteroid, kitted out as a rescue ship. The ship has 300,000 sleepers on board, but is out of control, and Garret, Pitr and Alyssa have to puzzle, and sometimes fight, their way through to the other end of the ship to give the engines the commands to save them all.
I’m not saying couldn’t have written it without the support and encouragement of the wonderful community of writers I’ve met since I sat in front of a keyboard and stared at that terrifying blank screen again. I am saying it wouldn’t have been as good, and it certainly wouldn’t have been as much fun.
R B Harkess was born in Bristol but now lives just outside London. Writing is constantly complicated by a real-world job in IT and two cats – one of which likes to lie on the printer whilst the other prefers to sprawl on the laptop. A blog can be found at www.rbharkess.com, where such wonders as links to facebook, twitter and email can be found.