A very brief background

Approximately 8 months ago (mid-2003), I gave up a position as rising-star manager with Centrelink (Australian Federal Government social security/welfare agency) to pursue a full time speculative fiction writing career. The option remains to go back, as I’m hedging my bets until mid-2004.

My masterwork novel has (and always will be) Harbinger, a dark supernatural action tale. This is a story I started abortively years ago. It has only been in the last 12 months that I have seriously had the determination to see it to completion. As I write this, the dream is more a reality than a dream.

With that reality comes a few other naked truths. I embarked on full time writing with a sheepish naivete worthy of a B-grade horror movie character. Savings and frugality mean money is okay for a while to come. However, I had no connections, networks, publishing credits or even manuscript formatting knowledge. The learning curve has been steep, but belief in my ability and a sense of heady fatalism have helped immeasurably, as has the support and heretofore unknown but brilliant editorial ability of my partner Ange.

Looking back over the last 8 months, I was pleasantly surprised to realise I had penned and edited over 80,000 words (short stories and Harbinger). Unfortunately, my target for Harbinger was 1000 words/day, 5 days per week. So in reality I am only halfway where I should be.

I console myself with the deviation I have taken into short stories. When I started getting into the novel in earnest, short stories were a vaguary that I had little intention of pursuing. I soon came to realise agents and publishers only took first time novelists seriously if they had some kind of track record. Along the way, some excellent stories have popped out of my head. Many more remain locked away, waiting to be unleashed. They will be, but not before I concentrate more on Harbinger (and latter novels).

Details of my stories are on my website. Personal favourites include Hear No Evil (one of my very first) and Sobek’s Tears (one of my latest). Both are being considered by major spec-fic magazines. Borderlands requested a re-write on the former. I have little doubt both will find a home in print soon enough.

In the last two weeks, all my months of writing and waiting have come together (short story wise). My flash stories On Dark Clouds Borne, and Hell, have been accepted for publication this year (Hell was accepted in a record 14 minutes! How’s that for a return time – special mention there to FLASHSHOT). I have also had three re-write requests (two Aussie mags and an anthology).

I have submitted the first chapters of Harbinger to most Australian agents. I have had rejections from many, but now realise I was doomed from the start. I stated it would end up at 150,000 words. Way too long for a first timer. I am revising it down to 110,000-120,000 and then intending to try the US market.

All in all, things are looking up professionally.