2012-2013

Happy New Year! I thought I’d take a few minutes to write a short review of my 2012 and how I see 2013 unfolding.

My plan for 2012 was to write and publish as many stories as I sensibly could – a mix of mostly shorts with some longer form stories of about 40K words, at the hotly disputed novella/novel border. I didn’t set a concrete target for how many, but I imagined a pipeline of sorts: in parallel I’d be writing one book, revising a second, and publishing/pimping a third. I wanted to end the year with a pleasing body of work for sale and an increasing trickle of revenue.

Of course, no plan survives contact with the enemy.

In 2012 I wrote many words: over 200,000 for sure. The bulk of Till Undeath Do Us Part was written in 2011 but it increased in length in 2012; and I wrote all of The Pink and the Grey and the first draft of my next novel. The balance of the word count went on stories I decided, for one reason or another, to shelve uncompleted. They remain in suspended animation: I hope to resurrect at least one eventually, even if only the core concept and the title remain.

I can’t truly say I met my goal for the year. But to publish a novella and a novel in one calendar year across a whole bunch of formats ain’t so bad, and I’m aiming to rattle through the remaining stages of the next novel as quickly as I can. Two novels and a novella in roughly twelve months sounds very good to me.

As to sales: well, I still suffer from invisibility, and that’s something I need to address in 2013. I’m grateful to So So Gay magazine for reviewing both books — and even nominating Till Undeath Do Us Part for Best Book of 2012 — but so far that remains the only publication to take a punt on either book. These reviews — unbiased by rose-tinted friendship — give me the confidence to keep writing, keep publishing, even when the gremlins of self-doubt mutter dark words in my ear.

That’s not to say I don’t value the support and kind words of my family and friends, especially those who’ve bought one or both books and evangelised on my behalf. It means a great deal to me.

What’s my plan for 2013? I wish I could say same as 2012 and carry on as before, but that’s not possible. I’ll write as many stories as I can, yes: but I can’t live on dust and air and junk mail. So I suspect I’ll be writing less for myself, and more for others. I have plenty of ideas that I’d love to flesh out into stories, if I can. I want to revisit St Paul’s College from The Pink and the Grey, and see if I can resurrect one of the suspended stories. We’ll see.

The first goal, though, is to publish the new book as soon as I can. And since a deadline doesn’t exist unless you tell someone, here it is: it’ll be out by the end of this month.

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Till Undeath nominated for Best Book

The seven rowers who’ve abandoned their duvets for eight o’clock in December, half-mummified in college-branded tracksuits against the freezing fog, mill around King’s Front Court stamping and blowing under the sombre, ghostly gaze of Henry VI
“The seven rowers who’ve abandoned their duvets for eight o’clock in December, half-mummified in college-branded tracksuits against the freezing fog, mill around King’s Front Court stamping and blowing under the sombre, ghostly gaze of Henry VI.”

I took the above photo yesterday as Cambridge was enveloped in freezing fog almost as I’d imagined it in an early scene in Till Undeath Do Us Part. Add a few rowers, a marginally denser fog and the weak early morning light, and it would be a perfect fit.

Today I’ve discovered that Till Undeath has been nominated for Best Book at the 2012 So So Gay Awards. This is gobsmackingly exciting and entirely unexpected. Voting is open to the public, with the results announced on Friday 28th December.

Here’s the bit where you imagine me on my knees in front of you, hands as in prayer, puppy dog eyes pleading with you to vote for me. Thanks in advance…

In the media

Review by So So Gay: The Pink and the Grey

Leading and fast-growing online LGBT lifestyle magazine So So Gay has reviewed The Pink and the Grey, awarding it four stars. I’m happy with that – who wouldn’t be happy with a review that starts “Undefinable and brilliant”?

Read the review

Interview for Stonewall Times

The internet-based role-playing game Star Trek Online has a large and active community of LGBT players, Stonewall Fleet, and there’s a community magazine called Stonewall Times. A few weeks ago its editor interviewed me about Till Undeath Do Us Part, and has kindly given me permission to reproduce the interview here.

Read the interview

Coming soonish

Hello! I’ve been far too quiet here and on Twitter, so here’s an update.

It’s been a few months since the release of Till Undeath Do Us Part and I’m extremely pleased with the critical reaction. The book has some very complimentary reader reviews on Amazon and I’m proud that So So Gay magazine gave the story a five-star rating. Great incentives for me to tell more stories.

As for sales — well, for any new name, especially a self-published one, miracles are unlikely. Slow but steady is the best spin I can put on it. We can’t all be Fifty Shades of any colour. Self-publishing is a long game, and the book never goes out of print. I am nothing if not patient.

And nor am I inactive. Since the beginning of the year I’ve completed the first draft of a new story which is not far short of three times the length of Till Undeath. That’s heading into novel territory in all senses. The story’s called The Pink and the Grey, and it’s about revenge and truth. I can promise a lighter tone, some interesting new characters like Conor and Spencer and Dennis and Amanda, and precisely zero zombies.

To answer the most common questions: Yes, it’s set in Cambridge, and yes, it has gays in it.

To answer the least common questions: No, there’s no reference to Thora Hird, and yes, currently H&M, Zara and similar shops.

I’ve just started the second draft, so it won’t be appearing on Kindles and iPads for a time yet. After the second draft is complete I’ll cajole a friend or two into giving me some feedback, and that’ll probably lead to a third draft that — depending on the feedback — might or might not need further revision. In summary, then, don’t hold your breath.

And what have I been doing between drafts? There’s a tale. Several tales. Several unfinished tales.

It’s been a frustrating time. I’ve developed some promising ideas and characters but then, for one reason or another, stalled. Sometimes the concept doesn’t feel right: too familiar, or lacking a spark. Sometimes the concept’s great but the plot elusive, a head and a tail whipping around and refusing to join up.

None of it is wasted. The characters are still there, the ideas still fizzing away. And I do have a solid outline — well, pretty solid — well, an outline — for a third story. In fact, most likely a third and a fourth. But I won’t jinx it by saying any more.

I’ll try to post updates pretty regularly, and if you have any questions feel free to tweet me @anthonycamber or comment here and I’ll attempt to answer them. I also plan to revisit some of the locations from Till Undeath Do Us Part, and post a few photos.

That’s if the glorious English summer permits — out of my window right now it’s grey and damp and blowing a gale. There’s a draft/draught gag there, but I’m not going to make it.