Fan F(r)iction Volume 3 - REJECTED! and also not.

"If you haven't heard back from the editors by now, then I'm sorry to say that you won't be hearing back from the editors at all."

I don't think he was sorry...

So it did not take me very long to fail at my self-set task of at least one blog entry a month, but nevertheless: Welcome to the third installment of Fan F(r)iction, my blog about my journey to become a professional author via the cunning plan to get my foot in the door through the Black Library, purveyors of all fiction of a Warhammer-bent.

I had submitted two stories to the Black Library during their open submission window last May. Unfortunately, despite high hopes and immense pride in my work, I was unsuccessful in my bid for publication with them at this time.

One of the unsuccessful stories, Honour Paid, has been uploaded to my main blog if you'd like to have a gander (I would welcome the feedback)

The other story is being...repurposed, but more on that at a later date.

Anyhoo, this was obviously hugely disappointing for me, as I really did believe my work was of a quality that stood alongside their existing published works. However, I am not one to let soul-crushing-depression-because-I-was-rejected-and-oh-god-why-won't-someone-give-me-the-approval-and-ego-stroking-I-so-obviously-crave get me down, so I continued on with writing, deciding to do something a little bit different and aim for other, smaller publishers and/or contests. I figured I would not have the greatest of chances at succeeding considering I had written so little original fiction, but that the practice would be handy and keep me sharp until the next BL window rolled around.

It was the first non-fist-pumping-baby image that came up when I searched 'Success!'

Then I wrote a horror short story and submitted it and got accepted for publication. In a book.

An actual, physical, book.

I'm not looking to go into shameless self-promotion here (ok, I am desperately resisting going in for shameless self promotion here), so I will provide a few, scant details:

‘Der Teufel Sie Wissen (The Devil You Know)’ is a horror story set in Berlin during the dying days of World War 2, and will be published in Fading Light: An Anthology of the Monstrous, edited by multi-published dark fantasy and horror author Tim Marquitz, and to be published by Angelic Knight Presson the 1st of September, 2012 (TBC)

This is naturally a huge opportunity for me, and I couldn't be more excited. The really hilariously awesome thing about all this is I will officially be considered a professional author (not that that really means a huge amount of course), having arrived there after writing a story on a whim in a genre I had never even considered writing in before.

So I guess if there's a writing lesson from this one, it's don't be afraid to work outside of your comfort zone. The internet has brought about a wealth of publishing opportunities and contests for people interested in any form of fiction, and short stories have quickly become a very large market again after languishing for years. I'm glad I took the advice to expand my horizons and do some searching online, and I heartily recommend that all budding writers do the same.

Now to decide if I'm going to use a pen name...hmmm

Irrelevant? Yes. Older than the Internet? Probably. The funniest fucking thing I've seen in years? Indubitably

In Gaming News:

Mass Effect 3 is great, but the news of ending DLC has made me hesitant to pull the trigger on starting the last mission. I find it weird that everyone is flipping out over the ending the way they are, but I'm not going to get all soapbox-y about it here.

Overall I think the game shows many signs of being rushed to market, but the strong dialogue and interesting major events make up for it to a large extent. Shame the side quests and other trappings are piss-poor.

Otherwise, my gaming time has been pretty limited. Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective on iPad continues to be phenomenal, and has made me somewhat reconsider my unreasoning hatred of everything gaming-related that comes out of Japan due to how amazing it looks and how charming it is.

Also, Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP is really freaking interesting. I love the style and the music, and even the mellow exploration is great in short bursts. Perfect for a train trip or a quick game before bed, but I'm reserving my final judgment until I'm further in.

Excerpt (because hey, I want to sell books to you in the future):

Honour Paid

They drifted silently toward the end of the world.

Matte black, invisible against the void, the unpowered Thunderhawk Grind-Two-Eight rotated gently along its axis, almost imperceptibly, one downturned wing lifting to allow the passage of a piece of hurtling debris.

Staring at the external sensor display, Veteran-Sergeant Fenan Husq of the Executioners grunted as he saw the twin-headed eagle of the Imperium etched into the detritus flash past, a mere whisper from ripping a hole in the side of the gunship.

“Close,” muttered Kruss from his seat opposite the Sergeant, the words buzzing through his damaged vox. The burly assault specialist, one of the First Company Vanguard, cradled a huge power axe across the knees of his battered, bastardised armour. Kruss, like the rest of the infiltration team, had daubed himself in Codex-approved swirls of white and blue, the better to suit the icy hellhole they flew toward. Read More

Final Word:

I'm getting married in just over a month. Everything has come together surprisingly well, and I can't wait to leave Sydney on the cusp of winter to head to (hopefully) sunny Hawaii for the honeymoon.

Been hitting the gym to ensure that I don't look like an albino beached whale by the time the honeymoon rolls around, plus I want to look as sexy as possible in my kilt and fly plaid for the wedding (especially since I've lost about 15 kilos since the last time I wore one as a groomsman), to ensure that the wedding photos don't show my gorgeous bride standing next to a tartan-coated meatsack.

Life is really fucking weird.

Tim the Corsair on Steam or XBLA

@TSPSweeney on Twitter

Or just send me a PM.

Hope this was interesting to somebody,

Tim ‘the Corsair’ Sweeney (maybe T S P Sweeney as a pen name?)


Fan F(r)iction Volume 2 - I Never Asked For This

So it turns out I like dubstep. How weird is that? Fucking Syndicate trailer.


Welcome to the second instalment of Fan F(r)iction, my blog about my journey towards becoming a professional author via the Black Library that I am inexplicably posting on a Gaming Board (I figured I'd just point it out myself and save someone else the hassle).

Last time I waffled on a bit about my own history, why I like the Warhammer 40,000 universe, and why I feel that the Black Library is the way to go for me to try and cross the border from amateur to professional writer.

Today, boys and girls, we're going to discuss what I've actually done to achieve this dream, as well the numbing, soul-destroying wait for a response to submissions. Ooooh drama!

Me in my work uniform

The Black Library, like some (but not many) other publishing houses, have an open submissions window once per year. This means that any man and his dog can send in a flurry of poorly written, barely spellchecked work in the hopes of making a few quick bucks.

What this ALSO means is that a guy like me - that is, a fairly young (fine, late 20s, I'm old compared to most of the people that might read this on here), unpublished author - actually has a shot of getting his work read by a publishing house without needing an agent, to know someone (although that never hurts), or knowing how to give one hell of a blowjob.

When this opportunity came up earlier this year (I had a tonne of advance notice, having begun preparing in February), I decided that I was going to make a go of it. Rather than overextend myself with a tonne of short story and/or novel submissions, I decided to weed myself down to my two pieces that were furthest along and polish the living shit out of them, with the goal of getting them sent off and then worrying about any further work.

Unfortunately I can't discuss these subs in TOO much detail, but essentially they were both Warhammer 40,000-themed short stories, both about Space Marines (seeking to maximise their selling potential, but also because I liked these two stories the most). One of these was a slow-burn thriller style story ending in a fairly good (at least, I think so) action sequence, while the other was a more cerebral piece involving cannibalism and drug-induced psychic visions.

I am insanely proud of the work I put into both of them, but both stories would not have been anywhere near what they are without the help of a few wonderful assistants acting as both beta readers and editors.

For any budding writers out there, I cannot stress enough the importance of editing. It doesn't matter how good your idea is or how talented you are; your first draft is NOT gold, and it never will be. Furthermore, after a point, you lose the ability to adequately assess your own work. I was lucky to have my fiancée and a couple of friends (none of whom read 40K, which was crucial for me to ensure that the story held up regardless of the setting) help guide me through about ten drafts of each story, and the final products have little in common with the originals beyond the basic themes and characters.

Me lounging around the house

Anyway, the submissions window has been closed since the end of July, but the promised eight week read window (that is, if you haven't heard from them in eight weeks, you ain't going to) blew out massively due to the sheer volume of entries, which is kind of scary in its own right.

It has been a real challenge to keep on focussing on other work while I wait to be rejected (I'm a pessimist, what can I say?), and as such my writing scheduled slipped right off until recently. After all, it's already pretty easy to just tell yourself "I worked a full day today, I have to go home and exercise, there's a 50/50 chance I'll be cooking dinner for the missus and I...fuck it."

Motivation is key, and that is something I have always traditionally lacked. That was, at least, until I found the secret:

A secret I will share with you all:

Seriously, I'm getting to it right now:

Muse: now in bottled form

Alcohol. That's right, alcohol.

Finally, I understand why all the greatest writers in history drank themselves to death! Having a beer or two at night after a long day of work immediately gets me chilled out enough to just sit down and start typing. It may not all be gold, but writing shit is better than writing nothing at all.

Actually, that's another lesson to any budding writers out there: Write, always, as much as you can, even if it is utter bollocks. Freezing up is a terrible thing and can stop you from ever trying again if you aren't careful.

Anyway, I'm back to working on this little first-person Inquisition story I've been fiddling with for almost a year now, then back to my two non-BL novels. Lucky there are no good games coming out, hey?

Well motherfuck.

In Gaming News:

Orcs Must Die! is fan-freaking-tastic on the PC, absolutely love it to death. I've beaten it on War Mage with 5 skulls on each level (that last level...), and I am working my way through Nightmare now...something I NEVER do with games.

Seriously, best 15 bucks you could spend on Steam, can't recommend it enough.

Finished Deus Ex: Human Revolution last night. I started to like it again by the end, especially with all the shit that goes down (obviously don't want to spoil it).

Saw the specific story beats coming from a mile away, but I did enjoy the endings. Kept to that Deus Ex moral ambiguity I like so much, and the ending videos themselves were actually really cool.

TF2 keeps being TF2. I keep backstabbing fools. I suddenly find myself good at sniping and playing Scout again, which is odd.

I need Batman in my life, going to pick it up at the airport tomorrow when I pick the missus up after her sojourn to Thailand - how's that for multitasking?

Excerpt (because hey, I want to sell books to you in the future):

“I told you this would happen,” whispered Cerck as he drove his fingers through the Iron Warrior’s eyes.

Final Word:

The Stickybomb Launcher is a goddamn skill-less weapon. I hate saying that; hell, I use it myself, but it is the biggest fucking easymode gun in an online FPS ever and probably needs a slight nerf to punish air-bursting. Just saying.

18/f/brazil - wana chat? LOL ^_^;;

Tim the Corsair on Steam or XBLA

@TSPSweeney on Twitter

Or just send me a PM.

Hope this was interesting to somebody,

Tim ‘the Corsair’ Sweeney


Fan F(r)iction Volume 1 - Thank You Mrs Silva

My name is Tim Sweeney and I’m a writer.

It actually feels kind of weird saying that, as I think it’s the first time I’ve described myself as a “writer”, as opposed to someone who writes.

Up until recently, when asked the old ‘so what do you do?’ chestnut at a party, I’d typically just inform them that I was a contractor for whichever company I was working for at the time, and that I did some freelance article/critical/fictional/erotical/what-have-you-ical writing on the side.

One of my old lecturers told me he knew he’d made it as a writer when he started introducing himself as such. I don’t consider myself to have made it, exactly, but I feel I'm on the way, and that the word describes who I am about as well as (and with a great deal more efficiency) than ‘weeeeeeell, um, I, um, contract for the NSW Government, but um, my real passion is writing…oh you know, Fantasy and Science-Fiction and stuff…umm yeah.’

Rambling introduction filled with sudden self-discovery aside; let’s get on with the show!

This blog is going to be a (hopefully) regular feature talking about my walking down the path of madness in an attempt to become an author who gets his works published by an actual publishing house that pays actual money. Furthermore (and hence the terrible, terrible blog name), I’ve decided that the best way to approach this goal, while simultaneously honing my craft, is to aim specifically at getting published by the Black Library.

For those who don’t know, the Black Library is the publishing house run by Games Workshop, purveyors of all things Warhammer and Warhammer-related. I’ve always had a love for the 40K universe, going back to first being introduced to Second Edition as a rampaging 8 year old. I’ve never been a huge lover of the game itself, but I always enjoyed building and painting the models, and I have spent many years immersing myself in the gooey ocean of chaotic pus that is the Warhammer 40,000 lore.

When I was still working as a freelance something-something writer, my lovely fiancée began to encourage me to start working on fiction again, something I had largely abandoned since high school. After much balking, I eventually did, knocking out a trilogy of (rather terrible) short stories about my homebrew Space Marine Chapter. These were surprisingly well received by the gents over at the Bolter and Chainsword forums, and this encouraged me to keep practicing, eventually knocking out a few more 40K stories.

I keep getting asked ‘why not just make up your own stuff?’ (as well as many a ‘hurr durr licensed fiction sucks!’ comment, but I just ignore those). I initially wrote that ‘the answer to that question is simple’ here…but it’s actually not.

Part of it has to do with ease of use; I have a great deal of working knowledge of the universe, and research is easy to do. Plus I absolutely love the setting, and it has a huge scope to play around in, letting you encompass everything from a space war encompassing multiple races fighting across whole star systems, through to the tale of an individual gang member trying to survive in the depths of a hive city, and everything in between, and all without the pain of world-building in the traditional sense.

"Sup Fulgrim?" "Yo Horus." "Nice shoulder wing, brother."

I also have developed a huge respect for a bunch of the authors writing for the Black Library, who have almost single-handedly proven that even fiction based off a niche game universe can still be well-written and thought provoking. Aaron Dembski-Bowden’s Night Lords novels, for example, are an absolute inspiration, both due to the stories themselves, as well as his craft and sheer awesomeness (seriously, his blog alone is better than 98% of the content on the internet, my own included).

The Black Library is one of very few publishing houses that solicit unpublished, un-agented writers, via their yearly (sometimes bi-yearly) open submission windows. Several members of the Black Library Bolthole forums (which I frequent) are now published authors thanks to these windows, and it is so incredibly encouraging to know there are people out there that actually like the publishing process, rather than just doing it because it’s their jobs. Even if I never make it, I still really appreciate the way they do things.

Finally, there’s the success. It’s actually quite amusing to have people scoff at the idea of writing licensed fiction for a table-top wargame…until you tell them that several of the books published in the setting have been New York Times best-sellers. It may sound a little mercenary (I hope it doesn’t actually, as I think I’ve expressed my love of 40K enough above), but getting published by such a company in that sort of manner (even without the NYT bestseller status) is basically an instant gateway to other publishing houses, cutting out a great deal of the bullshit that makes life so very difficult as an author with new work.

So that’s enough of that for now. Tune in next time to find out where I am at with achieving the dream, and just what it has taken to advance into the insanity that is attempting to make writing stories a paying career.

In Gaming News:

To keep this even mildly on-topic with the purpose of our wonderful Giant Bomb, here’s what I’m doing in games!

Just bought a sweet 24” LED to go along with the new PC I’m building next week. I couldn’t wait, however, and wound up hooking it up to the current computer.

Surprisingly, Deus Ex: HR runs pretty much perfectly still…it’s just a shame that I find it impossible to play it for more than ten minutes at a time at the moment, as I am so goddamn burnt out on hacking and tranquilising the same four models over and over again while Jensen does his best Batman impression. Game is pretty good, but damn rough around the edges.

Been mucking around a great deal with the Binding of Isaac, which is great fun overall and a pretty terrific distraction to have going on my second monitor while I try and get some writing done.

My dog + Santa Hat = TF2 related image

Finally, TF2 runs like garbage on the new big monitor, but I don’t care too much as I mainly play Spy and the frames jerking around doesn’t hurt me too badly. Trying to snipe was a bust, however, which was disappointing after I just renamed my Machina the ‘JC Dentowned’, with the description: 'Login: NSF001 Password: SMASHTHESTATE'. Childish? Yes. Amusing? For me, at least.

Meanwhile, I’ve been thrashing out some Horde mode with the missus in Gears 3, where we keep getting smashed by about Wave 20. Great fun though, and I really like the addition of the Tower Defence element.

Berserkers are fucked. Seriously.

Final Word:

Planning a wedding is surprisingly difficult. Working for the government is incredibly different to working in the private sector.

Contact Me:

If you’re at all interested in me, my plight, my writing, or my stunning good looks (ha!), feel free to get in touch with me via:

Tim the Corsair on Steam or XBLA

@TSPSweeney on Twitter

Or just send me a PM.

Hope this was interesting to somebody,

Tim ‘the Corsair’ Sweeney