Friday, September 25, 2009

Here's the story...

I've now been on this subject for several posts. With me, it's an exciting month when I'm here once.

The novella I'm doing at the request of StarShipSofa editor Tony C. Smith will be a one-off book with art and illustrations by Skeet Scienski. The sale of that book will be to benefit Spider and Jeanne Robinson. Jeanne has cancer and, even in Canada, the illness and the human complications that come with it have pretty much drained the Robinson's resources.

In the wake of the release of the StarShip's first print venture, Tony thought to put together a long story and the art that both inspired and will, I'm sure, enhance it, bring them together in a book -- One Book -- and sell that single copy to whomever puts up the most money for Spider and Jeanne.

I'm told that person has been identified and the money committed. Thank you whomever you are.


At present the title of the story is: LORD DICKENS'S DECLARATION. Not set in stone but that's how my computer knows it. When finished, LORD DICKENS will probably come in at 10 to 12K words. As mentioned, if you stop by the Starship and listen to Aural Delights 100 and 101 there are reports being posted. I've called them Progress Reports but they're less about progress than they are about process. Progress? A couple words can cover that: 750 words today... 825 yesterday... Cut some. Added a scene... Not very interesting audio.

What I'm doing is an audio diary of where the stuff is coming from as it arrives. For my own sake as well as anyone who's interestd, I'm trying to keep a record of the starts and stops, the surprises, how pissed off I get at myself, how good it feels to actually get through some passages and my ongoing reluctance at times to let something alone! It's about the frustration at my own limitations. Well, Tony wanted this, "warts and all."

In several publications and with all of the audio pieces I've done for the StarShip, I've provided short "making-of" documents. These are about finished products. LITTLE GIRL DOWN THE WAY, for example. I wrote that story in anger because a real little girl died at the hands of a loved one just down the way from my apartment in Chicago. I gave her a voice from the grave, gave her a happy ending. As I mention in that post-script, the story posits the not very original notion that heaven and hell can be the same place -- depending on who you are. That summary was arrived at only after I'd finished the thing, something I realized I was saying only after I'd said it. I could never have included that assessment while progressing with the story.

Does that make me glib? Facile but insincere? Well...

I've said to friends that my writing process is like dumpster diving. It's probably more like (nicer image here) running out a net and seeing what flops out on deck.

Generally, I've no idea where I'm going when I start a project. A whim, a notion, character, an image and I'll start typing. Then things happen from here to...wherethefuckever...then its over. I can be writing in one direction and some sonofabitch on the page says or does something and I'm off in another. Surprise!

Had one the other morning. Eating my Cheerios and the radio plays a song and WHAM... I know this story's going to swerve. It swerves. And I've got a new ending. No, to be honest, I should say, I have an ending!

Glib? I don't know. Bungling off without a roadmap in Storyland certainly makes me less intellectually rigorous than i'd like to think I am. And I suppose, in a nutshell, that's what glib is.

In any event, all I have to do now is finish the thing AND get enough pieces of it to Skeet so he can do his thing.

I'll keep posting Process Reports on the Sofa in hopes that listeners will have an interest in them.

I know I will.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Progress Report #2

I'm making a series of audio progress reports over at the about the novella I'm writing on request and which is due to be delivered, recorded and ready for publication on or about the beginning of December. It uses Skeet Scienski's cover for StarShipSofa Stories as inspiration... The illustration above is from Skeet's Virtual Art Gallery on Facebook.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


StarShipSofa Stories, Volume 1 StarShipSofa Stories, Volume 1 by edited by Tony C Smith

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This isn't a review but, rather, a notice that this book exists. I gave it five stars at GoodReads even though my story LITTLE GIRL DOWN THE WAY (from HELL IN THE HEARTLAD) is in it...not that I don't like LITTLE GIRL, it's just that the quality of the stories included in the book is so very high.

SSS STORIES is a compilation of 15 tales that the editors of the British podcast site, STARSHIPSOFA.COM have decided are the best from the series' first two years. I recommend it for all fans of science fiction, fantasy and horror. Have a look at the contents:

“Into The Blank Where Life Is Hurled” by Ken Scholes
“London Bone” by Michael Moorcock
“The Second Coming Of Jasmine Fitzgerald” by Peter Watts
“Lester Young and The Jupiter’s Moons’ Blues” by Gord Sellar
“Vampire Kiss” by Gene Wolfe
“Vinegar Peace (or The Wrong-Way Used-Adult Orphanage)” by Michael Bishop
“Godzilla’s 12 Step Program” by Joe R Lansdale
“Jesus Christ, Reanimator” by Ken MacLeod
“The Sledge-Maker’s Daughter” by Alastair Reynolds
“Mars: A Travelers Guide” by Ruth Nestvold
“The Empire of Ice Cream” by Jeffrey Ford
“The Ant King: A California Fairytale” by Benjamin Rosebaum
“In The Olden Days” by Spider Robinson
“Tideline” by Elizabeth Bear
“Little Girl Down The Way” by Lawrence Santoro

Obviously, I'm thrilled to be one among this group of writers. By the way, of the 15 stories in the book, I did the narration on the StarShip for four of them.

As an added treat for me, Tony C. Smith, founder/editor/paterfamilias of SSS has asked me to do a novella that will be published as a stand-alone book in late 2009, the proceeds for which will go to Spider and Jeanne Robinson.

The novella-in-progress -- scheduled for about 10 to 12 thousand words -- is inspired by the SSS Stories cover illustration by Skeet Scienski.

If you go here:

You can order a copy of the book and/or download a free PDF file of it.'ll enjoy the inter-tale ads and the story illustrations too.

View all my reviews >>

Friday, September 11, 2009

StarShipSofa Stories

The British podcast site StarShipSofa is about to release its first "Best of..." book. This paper and ink beauty will be released on the occasion of the Sofa's 100th 'cast.

I am pleased that my story, "Little Girl Down the Way," will be included. I'm honored to be nestled among the likes of Gene Wolfe, Joe R. Lansdale, Cory Doctorow... and others.

When I learn more, I'll post more!