Saturday, August 24, 2013

Hi everyone,

just a quick update to let you know that I have (finally) gotten a Twitter account. You can follow me @sorchawriter, or simply click on the Twitter icon at the top right of the main blog page. A new website is also coming shortly, along with a Facebook page. All of these sites will feature some regular updates about my upcoming short story collection The Question, which I will be publishing in the next few months.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Mythago Wood - A Journey Through the Psyche

I read quite a lot as a child and teenager and, like many treasured memories from our childhoods, many of my favourite books have somewhat lost their sheen as I've grown older. So it was very little expectation that I returned to a fondly remembered book from my early teens; Mythago Wood by Robert Holdstock. My memory of that novel was of a fantastical story involving the then fascinating concept of racial consciousness and a mysterious wood in which figures from imagination came to life. However there is much more to this book than that, as it is one of those great works of literature that has more and more secrets and lessons to divulge on each read.

The premise of Mythago Wood is fascinating and in many ways unique to my experience. Here we have an ancient wood in which the racial memories of local people, their subconscious imaginings of great heroes and historical figures, are incarnated in corporeal form. So far, so Disney, you might think. However, what Holdstock does brilliantly well is bring these figures back in a vivid, unapologetic, unsettling, and often threatening way. Here is a portrayal of our ancestors in their most unromantic form - filthy, violent and alien.

Monday, June 3, 2013

How much does it really cost to self-publish?

In today's world, most writers have at least flirted with the idea of self-publishing. Among the many advantages that are often cited by proponents of self-publishing in ebook form is of course the relatively low price when compared with hard-copy formats. At first glance, it does seem that ebook publishing should be an extremely 'cost-effective' means of getting an unsigned author's work in the public domain. However a number of articles on this topic challenge this view.

For example, Miral Sattar's post The Real Costs of Self-Publishing a Book gives a reasonably detailed and possibly surprising breakdown of the costs of publishing a high-quality book. Even if costs associated with hard-copy items (such as printing) are eliminated, the typical author is looking at a minimum investment of approximately $3,000 dollars according to Sattar. These expenses include developmental editing and copyediting, along with cover design and formatting.

Of course, just about all of these expenses can be avoided if the author simply chooses to do all of these tasks themselves. However in that case they're obviously running the risk of ending up with a less polished and possibly amateurish finished product.

How do you feel about the expenses listed above? Do you generally invest in professional editing and design services or do all of the work yourself? Let me know in the comments below.

P.S. If you are interested in reading an established author's view on self-publishing there is a reasonably informative Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) by Angela S. Stone here.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The White Review Short Story Prize

Hi all,

just a quick note to let people know about The White Review Short Story Prize. This is a competition for writers resident in the UK and Ireland who do not have a publishing deal. There is an impressive prize fund for this contest and a number of bonus prizes for the winner. The deadline is March 1st and full details can be found here.

The White Review Prize

Monday, September 3, 2012

Short Story and Creative Writing Competitions


it's been a stressful and busy few months but now I'm finally able to get back to writing. I'm working on some short stories at the moment, and as always I'm trying to decide what to do with them once they are finished. A Google search threw up this really useful page from Pearl Luke's Be a Better Writer blog, which features a list of upcoming short story and creative writing competitions. No matter your genre, you should find something of interest here!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The World's Greatest Fantasy Writing Contest


just a quick note to let all the fantasy writers out there know about a great competition with an imminent deadline! Fantasy Faction are putting together a short story anthology, which will feature works by both well-known fantasy authors and newcomers/unknowns. Full details can be found here.

Deadline is June 30th, if you plan to enter then good luck!


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Lucky 7 meme

Hi there! Nick Wilford tagged me in the Lucky 7 meme, another fun blogging game that lets you showcase your work and talk a little bit about yourself. The rules for the Lucky 7 meme are as follows:

  1. Go to page 77 of your current MS
  2. Go to line 7
  3. Copy down the next 7 lines-sentences or paragraphs--and post them as they're written. No cheating
  4. Tag 7 authors
  5. Let them know

Ok, so here goes. This is from page 77 of my WIP. (Character names are provisional, as I'm aware the majority of readers might find the ones I am currently using difficult to pronounce.)

A pair of horses saddled with the livery of the royal family stood directly below her, surrounded by a group of horsemen she recognised as members of the royal family’s personal guard. Their presence was unusual, given that protocol did not require it – a hunt in the forests beneath the plateau would not be regarded as hazardous enough to warrant the official protection of the king’s trusted guards. They were most likely there out of habit or a sense of duty she decided, but part of her wondered if there were dangers in the king’s forests that had not been mentioned in the marriage negotiations. She frowned, knowing full well that her uncle would have told her of any such threats without hesitation.
           As her eyes skimmed over the crowd, Flannbhui’s gaze fell on Fiachna and Aodh. They were walking side by side towards their horses, and were surrounded by a close knot of squires and guardsmen. Again she frowned, noting how the servants scanned the crowd constantly.

What is the title of your current WIP. Tell us about it? 

I'm still working on a title at the moment. (I'm not good at names and titles obviously!) The provisional title is The Betrayed, but I'll probably be changing that in the future. 

This book is the first in a trilogy. The story itself begins with a princess, Flannbhui, who comes to marry a wealthy prince, Aodh. However her relationship with the prince's cousin, Fiachna, changes the lives of these two men dramatically. 

The decisions that Fiachna and Aodh make throughout the rest of the story are an exploration of the nature of good and evil, sin and forgiveness. Is it possible for an 'evil' act to be redeemed? At what point does an originally good person truly become evil? 

There's a lot more to the story as well, including one other major character, but it would take too long to explain it all here.

When did you start blogging and why? 

I started blogging late last year. I felt that it would be a good way to get in touch with other writers and to publish some of my work. I also use my blog to talk about writing and related topics. 

If you could do anything tomorrow, what would you do? 

Probably work. I'm finishing a PhD at the moment, so that's taking a lot of my time. I fit writing and music in when I can, along with sports training. 

Describe your happy place. 

I don't think I have one...that's probably weird, right?

What was your first happy memory? 

Bringing my mother breakfast in bed when I was about three. I remember I put too much milk on the cornflakes and spilled them on the tray coming up the stairs.

What was the scariest thing you've ever done?
There are some martial arts throws that scare me. I've knocked bones out from falling incorrectly, so having to come back and do them again always worries me a bit.

What is the funniest thing you did today?

It's early! Em...I thought I could get a holiday to Cambodia for 300 euro, until I realised flights weren't included. They cost about 2 grand. That was kind of funny, in a crushingly disappointing way. :)

What is the strangest place you've ever got an idea for a story?

During a meeting with my supervisor. He was writing something on the board and I was taking notes, and I started thinking about my WIP. I had a Eureka moment, and at the same time he turned around and said something like, 'And this fits perfectly here'.

For a minute I wondered how he knew about my story, until I realised he was talking about the work. Hopefully my expression didn't give me away.

Where do you write?

On my laptop. The locations change.

If you just won a ticket to anywhere in the world and you had to take me, where would you take me and why?


Thanks to Nick for the tag! I'm going to tag the following seven bloggers:

                                           Elise Fallson
                                           Cherie Reich
                                           Diane Gillette
                                           Michael Haynes
                                           Nick Hight
                                           Michael Offutt

Head over to their blogs for more sneak previews of page 77!