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Simon Clark visits Derby Scribes

Posted by Stuart Hughes on March 9, 2011 at 7:43 AM Comments comments (0)

It was great to catch-up with Simon Clark again recently when he visited the local writers group Derby Scribes. I first met Simon at a Fantasycon convention in the late eighties/early nineties and went on to publish some of his short stories in the quarterly magazine Peeping Tom I used to edit and publish with my good friend David Bell. One of those stories, “Salt Snake” (published in Peeping Tom 1993) was deservedly reprinted in DAW's The Year's Best Horror XXII (1994), edited by Karl Edward Wagner.

Since those days in the early nineties Simon has gone on to publish twenty-one novels, six novellas, and five short story collections. I remember when Simon’s first short story collection “Blood and Grit” was published in 1990. In fact, I was so taken by the final story in that collection, a story titled “Sex, Savagery and Blood, Blood, Blood” that I wrote a pastiche of it called “Pay Back Time” which Simon kindly allowed me to publish in my own short story collection “Ocean Eyes” and fittingly it became the final story in my book.

At Derby Scribes Simon talked for approximately an hour and a half about his writing career, about how he got his big break, and offered up many interesting anecdotes including the evil robot in his loft that scared all of his school friends; he described his euphoria at seeing his first short story in print, talked about how he got to write the sequel to John Wyndham’s “The Day of the Triffids,” and about his experience writing “The Dalek Factor” – a Doctor Who novella featuring the Daleks.

Simon answered questions from the Derby Scribes and provided the group with useful hints and tips and advice for our own writing. Needless to say he sold some of his books too – I purchased a hardback copy of “The Night of the Triffids” to add to my existing Simon Clark library.

All in all a very interesting and entertaining Derby Scribes session and inspiration for me to continue with my own work in progress novel.

Simon has also kindly provided the writing group with a short story titled “In the Spirit of Darwin” which will be published in the Derby Scribes anthology later this year.

2010 - a very good writing year

Posted by Stuart Hughes on January 14, 2011 at 7:27 PM Comments comments (2)

2010 turned out to be a very good year for my fiction writing and by the end of it I had accrued a further nine publishing credits, including two short stories in my local newspaper the Derby Telegraph.

The highlight of the year for me has to be the camaraderie of my fellow writers at Derby Scribes. I joined the writing group in November 2009 but only really got into it during 2010. Derby Scribes meet on the first and third Mondays of each month and sessions consist of storytelling evenings, writing exercises and theme based discussions. We also have established authors and professionals from the writing community as guests from time to time to do readings and talks based on their own work. In March I ran a session on characterisation and other Scribes have run sessions on various writing related subjects throughout the year. We've even created our own shared world where a castle floats above a village, tethered to the ground by great promethean chains, and its turrets scrape the underbelly of the clouds. It's not a flying castle though, it's a library.

But without a doubt the best thing about Derby Scribes is the people who belong to it. Not only has the camaraderie and encouragement of the Derby Scribes motivated me to keep writing but I've made some wonderful new friends too.

During 2010 I completed seven brand new short stories and have half a dozen more in various stages of development. I also embarked on what I hope will be a series of short story collaborations with fellow Derby Scribe Richard Farren Barber - we are currently doing final edits to the first two stories and will be starting a further two shortly. One of my stories also won the Derby Scribes Short Story Competition.

As if that wasn't enough, I finally got stuck into that novel I'd been promising myself I'd write for so many years. Provisionally titled "Guardian Angel" (although that will probably change) I wrote 35,000 words and a detailed synopsis which suggests it will comfortably expand to novel length. Unfortunately the first person viewpoint I chose isn't working out. I'll be reworking it into a third person, multi-viewpoint narrative this year and aim to have the first draft completed by the end of June 2011.

And I wasn't done there either. The Derby Telegraph accepted me for their Rams Fans Panel which means I get to write pre- and post-match comments on Derby County's games this season for the local newspaper. I also write opinion pieces from time to time for the Derby County fans websites Derby County Mad and RamZone.

As far as my fiction writing is concerned, 2011 looks like getting off to a good start as I ended 2010 with five story acceptances - Alt-Dead, Dark Horizons, Derby Scribes Anthology, Golden Visions and Sex and Murder.


All things considered, 2010 was a very good writing year. Here's to 2011, may it be even better.