R. I. P. K. D.

I was very saddened to hear of the death of K. D. Wentworth this week. I only knew her from her critique of my Writers of the Future semi-finalist story and a subsequent e-mail exchange, but she seemed like a genuinely warm person who was devoted to the contest and to helping aspiring writers. My thoughts go out to her family and all those close to her.

Today I received her last “message” to me: an Honorable Mention in the 2012 Q1 competition. I’ll take that to mean “not bad, but raise your game”.

And, you know what? That’s really the best advice any writer can get.

Some Angels I Have Met

WotF Semi-Finalist CertificateAfter receiving my snazzy WotF Honorable Mention certificate last month, I decided to be cheeky and ask for a 2010 Q4 Semi-Finalist certificate retrospectively (I received a critique from K. D. Wentworth at the time, but no certificate). The contest co-ordinator Joni Labacqui happily obliged (thanks, Joni!) and I received it in the post today, which was just what I needed because I also received two rejections as well — the perfect antidote!

Angel with the Superscription

The other exciting news is that “Amy’s First” is due to be sent out to Daily Science Fiction subscribers as an e-mail story tomorrow morning. (It’s not too late to subscribe — it’s free, and you’ll receive bite-size speculative fiction stories in your inbox four days aweek, with longer stories sent on Friday, just right for the weekend.) A week from now, the story will go live on the DSF website.

In honour of the story’s appearance (which features an angel, of sorts) here are a couple of angels I’ve encountered during my travels. First up is the “Angel with the Superscription”, one of the angels which line Rome’s Pont Sant’Angelo. The original was by Bernini, but this copy is by Giulio Cartari. Under the noon Rome sun, with a crisp blue sky backdrop, these sculptures are truly sublime — and highly photogenic.

Saint Michael's Victory over the Devil

The second is a snapshot of a small sculpture I noticed whilst exploring the chapel on St. Michael’s Mount, in Cornwall. It features a quite different aspect of the angelic, “St. Michael’s Victory Over the Devil”, and is probably more indicative of the intended tone of “Amy’s First”…

(The original image which inspired the story can be seen here.)

Albino Angel Apes and the Unashamed Gloat

Received my WotF certificate today, and very handsome it looks, too. I’ll have to see if I can polish up and rescue the actual story in question — it features albino angel apes, so I can’t give up on it yet. 

The other piece of good news is that Daily Science Fiction have revealed their October schedule, and my flash story “Amy’s First” is slotted for e-mail distribution on Wednesday 19th October (sign-up – it’s free!), and then featured on the front of their website a week later. This makes me both excited and…nervous! Flash is not my natural form — I’ve always struggled with burgeoning wordcounts and invasive infodumps (and too many damned adjectives) — but maybe the discipline it requires, in knowing what is vital and what to omit, is something I should extend to all my writing now…

"The Right Honorable Mention"

An honorable mention

No update yet on when “Amy’s First” is to be scheduled at DSF (it could be any time in the next 11 months), but I have received notification my second entry to the Writers of the Future contest has been given an “Honorable Mention”. A few steps down from the Semi-Finalist position for the last entry, but it does show that wasn’t just a fluke (he says).

The great feature about this contest is that entries are anonymous when judged, so reputation or past contest history count for nought. I hope this means my writing has achieved some level of consistency…something like beaten egg whites, I suspect.