||||The Larks|||||All This Way for a Shilling|||||Yellow Impi|||||Back Burner|||||Other Nonsense|||||About Me|
One of many advantages of having a publisher as experienced as the redoubtable Peter Coleborn in your corner is that he knows what he's talking about. If you listen, it's amazing what you learn. Of course, that's not easy if you're the world's greatest expert on absolutely everything, and so obviously know better.
So it's hugely annoying when I have to admit he's right.
My intention with Discollection, my next release of short stories, was to put together a full range of my scrivenings. So all the WW1 stories from It Never Was Worthwhile would go in, along with a bunch of new war stories from both of the great conflicts. So far so good, but I've also amassed a fairly sizeable body of work on other topics, from doubting missionaries to thoughtful zombies, so these would go in to form a distinctly eclectic collection. Hence Discollection, get it? Oh please yourselves...
Then Peter makes that 'Mmm,' noise through his whiskers, and you know he's about to pour custard on your chips. 'It's not a bad idea,' he says, meaning that it's a bloody awful idea. 'But your existing readers won't want the ghost stories, and your new readers won't understand what genre you write.'
Of course, I voiced a crushing counter-argument - I am a marketing man for Christ's sake - but then had that uncomfortable 3am moment when you wake up knowing you're more wrong than the guy who nominated Jedward for a Grammy.
So here's the plan for 2018: First to appear will be the war stories. I'm still considering a title for it - it might even just be called War Stories. Suggestions on a postcard...* Next will be the collection of wider-ranging stories. That one concludes with a novella-length tale of Zulu mythology called Yellow Impi, so that collection will probably be called, with devastating originality, Yellow Impi and Other Stories.
The intention at the moment is to have both of them out by the end of March, clearing the decks for a series of new stories featuring the spectral Rossmuirs. I have my fellow Penkhull Press author Misha Herwin to thank** for this one. Misha made a persuasive case for removing the four Rossmuir stories from Discollection - hence giving me even more work to do to replace them - and creating a book-length account of their ghostly antics.
Of course, that moves other projects, Like Maybe It's Tonight and The Kingfishers off the back-burner and into the chest freezer, to be defrosted at a later date.
Life's too short innit?
* ...or in the comments section below. Ideas anyone?
** For 'thank' read 'blame'