I suppose that in a blog about writing I ought to say just what I’m writing and the stage everything has reached. Then I can refer to it and you’ll know, or you can look back at this post. So here goes!
The order in which I deal with these is alphabetical by title.
(1) Angus (and other stories)
Angus has been published by Forbidden Fruit, an e-zine that is now defunct. I rewrote it for submission to one of the I Do Two anthologies but it didn’t suit the theme. I am thinking of putting it with some of my shorter non-fantasy pieces as an anthology on Smashwords.
(2) Answering Emily
This is a children’s story. It was originally written as letters to a friend’s grandchild who left notes for the fairies at the bottom of the garden. Nobody wants to publish as it is because it relies on coloured fonts, different fonts, etc. and would cost a lot to print. I have had favourable but negative responses from agents. Emily’s family are pushing me and we are currently saying that if the new Kindle colour version takes off, then it might be a self-publishing venture – but then I’ve been warned that Kindles are quite fragile and not child-friendly. Any comments? I suppose Kindle for PC would somewhere children could access it. Meanwhile, I have changed computers and no longer have the fonts I originally used. I have downloaded some new ones but there is quite a lot of reformatting to do. The work is thoroughly beta’ed and finished in other respects. Incidentally, it was the springboard for the Harlequin diaries.
This only exists in planning form. It is a story based on my mother’s WW2 experiences as a teacher taking children to the countryside under evacuation plans. I have a lot of notes and also audio-tapes of her recollections. I have a plot roughed out. It will contain a heterosexual romance based loosely on my parents but will focus mainly on the wartime ‘adventures’.
This is another in planning form only though I have tried out various chapters within a writing group. The story is based very loosely on my experiences as executor for the UK will of a non-UK citizen. It contains a bitter lesbian relationship between two of the lawyers involved – totally fictional and in no way based on the actual lawyers I dealt with.
(5) Harlequin’s Diaries (working title)
These started when the older brother of the fairy in Answering Emily demanded a book of his own. I ignored the demand but started a Live Journal muse account, interacting with others in extended role play and answering prompts. The whole thing just grew and grew. I was fortunate to find a beta/editor/co-writer/agent who helped to sort it out. So far, we have at least three volumes but there might be more material (especially the stories of Harlequin’s father’s present life) that doesn’t fit in these and will spill over into a fourth. And the ideas keep coming… My co-author (from vol 2 onwards and editor in chief on vol 1) has suggested we give the author’s name as Harlequin, avoiding concerns about human editors, co-authorship, etc.
Volume 1. Growing up Fae
This is ready for submission and is having a final proof read. We decided to submit it to a recommended publisher. If they don’t want it we will consider self publishing. This first volume starts with Harlequin’s childhood and finishes with the birth of his nephew. It covers his sexual adventures (he is bisexual) and his eventual established relationship with another (male) fairy. But it is not primarily a romance. It deals with fae culture, unicorns, travel, monsters, family problems, etc.
Volume 2. Life on the Edge
This is the sequel, following Harlequin and his family and friends through their adventures on and off Alderley Edge in Cheshire. It starts immediately after the first volume and finishes as various nieces and nephews are beginning to grow up. It is all written but is still in a muddle as some of the sections (especially the role play ones) were created out of sequence. Plus, some of them still need to be reorganised into narrative form.
Volume 3. Tales from Tara
This is not a sequel though it could be read as such. It is concurrent with the other books and recounts the adventures of Harlequin, and Yarrow, his lover, in the court at Tara (separately, not together). It also contains the adventures of some of the fae they met there. A great deal of it is written but there is still work in progress.
(6) Lords and Gentlemen
This is an anthology of m/m romance stories loosely based on legends and fairy tales. Most of them have been published to at least a limited readership but I think they go well together and as they are all mine and there is therefore no problem relating to prior publication I intend to use them as my first venture into self-publishing later this year. Apart from checking the font consistency across the five stories, they are ready to upload to Smashwords/Kindle.
i.The Lord of Shalott
What if the curse of the Lady of Shalott was that in fact ‘she’ was a man, a transvestite youth (not a curse in our day but certainly one then)? This has been ‘published’ on Live Journal to a literary community. It has now been removed from the archives and extensively re-edited so is ready to meet the world. Torquere Books didn’t want it because it’s the wrong length…
ii. Silkskin and the Forest people
I wrote this recently for a ‘fanfic’ challenge. It’s the story of Snow White, turned into an m/m romance and relocated in mediaeval Africa. It’s ‘published’ on Archive Of Our Own, but as fanfic in the fairytales fandom. It has been well received and as fairy tales have no copyright to worry about I think I would like it to reach a wider public.
iii. Jingling Geordie
I wrote this some years ago as a gift-fic for one of the organisers of a fanfic convention I sometimes attend. It is based on a local legend set in Tynemouth, Northumberland, the seaside resort where the convention was held that year. The legend deals with caves of treasure, hero explorers, magic and mystery. My version attempts to answer the mystery but in a supernatural way.
iv. Hare’s Children
This is a short story set in early mediaeval England which is in the form of a legend but is not in fact based on anything I have read or heard. It was published in the e-zine Gay Flash Fiction which has now closed and re-opened in a different format. The story has timed out and has been removed from the archives.
v. The Time thief
This is another short piece that was published in Gay Flash Fiction. It is a modern fairytale, in which a new lover is not quite what he seems.
(7) The Skilled Investigators
This is a fantasy detective series. (In fact it’s the series I wish someone else had written for me to read…so I had to write it myself.)It is set in a world where there are both elves and humans, and follows Genef, a young elf, as she tries to become an official investigator or detective. Helping her in her ‘cases’ are her gay brother (who provides some romance interest), a young dragon who imprinted on her accidentally when she was present at his hatching, and an older elf, her mentor in the guild. It is aimed at the upper end of the Young Adult market, and is a coming-of-age series. It is, however, suitable for anyone, from younger teens to adults who like fantasy. I read some advice that to write a sequel before a novel has been accepted for publication is brave but to write a third book is foolhardy. I must have taken this firmly on board as it is only now, as I consider self publishing, that I feel able to set volume three down on the screen! There will be six books in the series, based around the magical skills that Genef is gifted with each time she solves a case. The first book is ready. The second needs a final proof read. The third is in progress. The other three are planned but not written.
i. The Scroll
Genef has to fight to follow her ambitions, and in the process has to solve a murder that occurs at home but takes her on a journey to the capital, the court, and of course the guild of investigators. She gains the help of Fel, one of of her brothers, Scratch, a young dragon, and Rath, a guild mentor. This is ready to self-publish.
Genef and Fel travel overseas to trace some royal jewels that are missing. There is murder to muddy the trail, Fel is kidnapped, and Genef has find the jewels as well as the murderer and get everyone home safely. I hope to have the final rewrites/proof reading done within the next few weeks.
iii. The Snow Queen
When Genef and Rath travel to the Ice Kingdom to find the last of the jewels, Scratch succumbs to the lure of the ice dragons and as well as her official task, Genef must try to rescue him (if he wants to be rescued) and solve a couple of murders that get in the way. I will almost certainly have this written at least in its first typed version by midsummer.
Genef and Rath go undercover to investigate some thefts and a murder. The trail leads across the border into the kingdom of men and the elves have to pass as human to fulfil their mission.
There is murder, mayhem and smuggling in the sea caves where Rath was born. He and Genef have to tread a fine line between officialdom and family matters.
vi. Home Run
Genef, fully qualified, goes back to her parents’ house to celebrate but there are dark mysteries in her home village. This is her first solo case, officially without Rath’s guidance, but he is still available to advise. Fel finally finds love, Scratch matures gracefully and Genef is all set for an illustrious career.
(8) The Virgin and the Unicorn
This is written but needs extensive editing after a lot of beta work. It concerns an arranged marriage between a young nobleman from one country and a prince from another. The story is perhaps more explicitly erotic than most of my writing. It explores themes of culture clash, arranged marriage, attitudes to same gender marriage, and the problems of compromise faced by any young couple. The setting is a fantasy one but there is little magic; however, there are unicorns. I think it could be ready to self publish later this year. I used a group on LiveJournal as betas and more than one person has asked for a sequel – mainly for more unicorns. We shall see.
So, quite a lot of unpublished work and nothing worrying in terms of finishing/plotting/etc. I told you, I think, that I have submission block rather than writer’s block. Self publishing should sort me out! And then I can justify to myself carrying on writing Genef’s third adventure and more of the Tales from Tara.