Monday, July 09, 2007

Moody Monday

The latest Macmillan New Writing publication is Michael Stephen Fuchs's Pandora's Sisters. This is interesting because it's Fuchs's second book for the imprint, the first being The Manuscript, reviewed here on 10 March 2006. Only a minority of MNW authors are succeeding in having book no. 2 accepted by the imprint, and this one certainly looks promising. As with Fuchs's first novel, Pandora's Sisters has its own web site.

The Manuscript, by the way, is now out in paperback, and no doubt your local indie can get it for you.

Maxine, bless her heart, has tried to make an old man very happy by sending me details of erotica in audible form. Martyn Daniels of the Booksellers Association has the details. All I can say is that the featured Susie Bright sounds to me like one of those frantically active high-energy American gals. She is said to have her own website, blog, store, entry in Wikipedia, generates over 400K hits on Google and produces a weekly podcast which is sold via Audible. Do you think she ever has time to, you know, actually do it?

Catherine J Gardner, at her Fright-Fest blog, offers tales of horror, suspense, and the psyche. It turns out that she has had over 60 short stories published in magazines and anthologies, but can't seem to raise any interest in her novels. Meanwhile, she has a new novella available through Lulu. And you can download it free.

May Sinclair is a poet with a PhD in the philosophy of metaphyics, and she has just published Infamous Eve, a book which discusses the historical and contemporary place of women in society. If I were female and a lot younger, I think I'd take a pretty close look at this one. The publisher, by the way, is Wheatmark -- yet another self-publishing service provider.

I have belatedly read Susan Hill's blog post in which she explains her reasons for discontinuing the Long Barn first-novel competition. Basically, it seems that many of the books submitted were pretty poor, and Susan Hill said so. The writers didn't like this home truth, and started bad-mouthing her in various quarters. Up with which Susan Hill does not have to put, nor will she.

I am not surprised by this. Ever since publishing began, it has been true that the vast majority of stuff submitted to publishers simply isn't any good. A lot of it is semi-literate at best. And it does no one any favours to pretend otherwise.

As for novel-writing competitions, well, I've noted previously (last December, actually, but will repeat now) that they usually throw up problems. In 1983 the Sunday Express ran a competition to find a new romantic writer. Over 10 million words were submitted, but unfortunately only one entry conformed with the requirements of the competition.

And I also remember an article which appeared in Esquire at least forty years ago. That told the tale of a competition (run by an American publisher, I think) to find a really great novel. The prize was huge (I seem to remember $200,000), and included sale of film rights to some Hollywood household name. In the end the entries were so poor that the publisher had to commission a professional to write the 'winner'.


Thomas said...

Semi-illiterate! Huh! What a fucking insult. My book is a fucking masterpiece. You can see for yourself: it's posted on my blog.

Anonymous said...

Ms. Gardner's blog is quite enjoyable. A fan of that nice little "flash fiction" niche, I also look forward to reading her "Deathwatch Maiden."

Anonymous said...

umm, first of all it's semiliterate. mr. allen said the exact thing. and you still didn't get it. and second, don't take the fight here. If you join a contest you should know that there are winners and losers and that they are determined by someone else, not you. if other people don't see your work the way you do,don't be surprised. it's this highly evolved concept called "Differences in Opinion". and why so quick on the draw? mr. allen didn't point your work out as an example.

btw mr. allen: I dl'ed your "Truth About Writing". to me it's funny, horrifying and sobering. as an aspiring writer who's in the Philippines (where a book that sells 1,000 copies is considered a Bestseller) your book is a really valuable thing to have.

Thomas said...

I wasn't having a go at GOB, dear mr verseman. I simply find it annoying that I should be written off and dismissed when I know I am going to be one of the greatest English writers of this century; I'll happily bet you dear mr verseman that in 100 years time my work -- the one that I entered for Susan Hills competition -- will correctly be viewed as a masterpiece.

astairesteps said...

Mr. Allen,

I'm grateful for your blog, grumpiness and all. Years ago, I lived and studied in England...I miss her terribly. Your blog now affords me a window through which I'm able to view a few of my favorite things. Thanks.

David Isaak said...

Well, the thread seems to have run down the "writing competition" pathway, but I'd like to drop in a word on the erotica:

As far as I can tell, Susie Bright indeed finds time to, ahem, do it. She's a lesbian, and fairly notorious for not only doing it, but doing it in public.

She is also very funny, very caustic, and very level-headed, and though she doesn't go in for us straight guys, she has a fine story, Dan Quayle's Dick in which she fantasizes about having sex with our idiot former vice-president.

She also has a fine manual on writing, How to Write a Dirty Story. She really is as prodcutive as the publisher says, and also that, er, active.

Unknown said...

Thanks again for the interesting read.

I shouldn't be surprised that someone who thinks blogging about their bowel movements and nothing else, is interesting (Note to TP - it's not) would think an entire book about same would win a lit contest.

Anonymous said...

What contests would you recommend? Almost a year ago, when my debut novel was published, I publicly vowed to never spend a cent promoting it or to enter contests. I'm having second thoughts about the contests as I've found that ones with "no entry fee" are few.

BTW, thanks again for the prior mention of my project that raises funds to prevent child abuse. Following is the most recent book review:

“Give yourself a treat with something different next time you're ready to read. Try Rarity from the Hollow. It is one of the most unusual novels I've read in a great while. Look in on a dysfunctional family, poverty, child abuse, and the thought processes of a young girl turning the corner from childhood to adolescence, then put them all together in a surreal setting that looks at our society from a distinctly different viewpoint. You'll enjoy the ride with Lacy Dawn and friends and family, but don't expect the ride to be without bumps and enough food for thought to last you a long time.”

Darrell Bain -- 2005 Fictionwise eBook Author of the Year
Double Eppie Award winner 2007
May 8, 2007

Fatcat Press --

Two other book reviews --

Author website under construction --

Awarded one of the best 15 releases in 2006 in Howard-Johnson’s "Back to Literature" column:

Expression of interest and upcoming review:

Thank you.

Robert Eggleton

Susie Bright said...

I am a complete sloth and utterly exhausted, so Martyn's depiction of me cracked me up. The reason I have so many "web pages" is because I've been a journalist for a couple decades, not because of my podcast. It all piles up like a gigantic heap after awhile.

the quite average susie bright

Anonymous said...

We aim to please!