Traveling, Euro-holiday and Nineworlds

If you haven’t seen me online much, it’s because I’ve been traveling. I had a fantastic six week holiday across Europe, starting at Poland and gradually moving West, to Germany, France, England, Scotland and Isle of Skye (I know it’s not a separate country but hey, neither is Scotland according to some folks). I had a fabulous time, ate waaay too much food, consumed far too much local beer and gin (got to try the local colour!) and bought too many books and movies in the UK. They’re stupidly cheap compared to Australia, with the max price of a paperback being 8.99 pounds (about $15 AUD), whereas books are no less than $20 here, if you’re lucky. And I like supporting bookstores and fan-stores like the awesome Forbidden Planet, which I’ve always heard people gushing about but never been myself, where I got most of my haul.

I’ve also been known to have a gin or two. Or three. Or more, if the company is right. But if you want the good stuff, you’re looking at bleeding your wallet dry sooner rather than later. Thankfully, we stopped by a gin boutique store in Berlin, which had gins from across the world. Combined with duty free shopping, I got to add a few to my collection.

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There was also a meeting with my awesome agent, John Jarrold. Can’t talk too much about what we discussed, but things are moving along and I hope I’ll be able to talk in more detail soon.

I also got to stop by Nineworlds, which is significantly smaller than WorldCon…and very, very different. I’ll go into more detail with another blog, but I’ll admit that while I got to catch up with some friends, I was very disappointed with the programming, the panels (including one I was on, which was a disaster), the general audience and mood of the con. It wasn’t a place for the majority of readers or writers or creators, with half the panels being very fan-driven, most of which were about dating simulators, the sexual politics of anime, or how *insert piece of media here* is problematic. None of these things are bad, of course, but when they become pretty much all a con’s got to offer…it makes for a very specific and one-sized audience. But that will be discussed later, but suffice to say I felt very isolated and out of place, and the people I was with shared my feelings.

Anyway. It’s back to normal life, work, study, gym and writing. I do wish I was back driving along the highlands of Scotland, scoping out the pubs and eateries of London and walking down the sun-showered streets of Paris, but I like getting back into my routine, and living for 6 weeks out of a suitcase is more tiring than it sounds. I’m already deep into some new projects and should have more news on that front soon.

Onwards!

 

Story release: Traumahead and other sales

Well. I’ve been busy. You know how it goes.

But: a few days ago one of my stories, Traumahead, launched over at Nature magazine. You can check it out over here.

It’s one of the more scientifically denser stories I’ve written, about an alien who’s collecting the memories of his fellow fallen soldiers before their civilization is wiped out by xenocidial humans, and searching for his daughter amoung the wreckage. It’s probably got the highest number of made-up technical jargon I’ve had in a flash piece,  and every sentence had to work double-time to cram the narrative into such a short space. But I’m pretty happy with it, and I got to play with weird and gooey alien biology and fragments of space opera wonder among the darker side of the story. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to sell a first-person story about highly advanced aliens to Nature, but I was happy to be proven wrong. Hope you check it out and enjoy.

Otherwise, a reprint of my “The Bronze Gods” appeared in Grimdark Magazine Issue 16, alongside work from Ed McDonald, Rebecca Kuang and Michael R. Fletcher. Give it a lookesy…

Also, my story “The Galaxy’s Cube” is going to be translated into Estonian by the magazine Reaktor, making it the fourth language the story has appeared in, and almost my most reprinted work. This would be the 10th time it’s been reprinted, methinks. It’s not my favourite story, but all these years later I find it still holds water, and if people want to continue reprinting it, I won’t object.

As always, until later…

Freelancing Editing Services: Open for Business

I’m open for business as a freelance editor of genre fiction, specializing in science-fiction, fantasy and horror.

In today’s competitive market, your short story, novella, or novel will need to stand-out and be as thoroughly polished as it can possibly be to stand a good chance at getting published. Having an extra, professional eye cast over it can greatly increase those chances in your favour.

A bit about me and my qualifications: Ongoing since 2014, I am the fiction editor-in-chief and producer of Hugo-winning audio magazine, StarShipSofa. Authors who I’ve worked for as editor include George R. R. Martin, William Gibson, Robin Hobb, Harlan Ellison, Peter Watts, Robert Silverberg, Hannu Rajaniemi, Joe Haldeman, Nnedi Okorafor, Neal Asher, Joe Lansdale, Marc Laidlaw, and hundreds of others.

I acquire stories both through the slush pile and through solicitation, usually working with the authors directly. In some cases, I go through rewrites and line edits with the author to improve the story’s world-building, characterization, plot direction, prose and narrative arc. I select and purchase the stories before finding an appropriate narrator, selecting the narrator’s gender, accent, nationality, pitch and tone to suit the story.

I am also a writer of science-fiction, horror and nonfiction, both in novel length and short form. My work has been traditional published in venues such as Nature, Abyss & Apex, Lightspeed, Tor.com, Tales to Terrify, Strange Horizons, and multiple anthologies. My work has been translated into Mandarin, Polish, Arabic, Bulgarian, and Spanish. I have appeared on multiple panels on editing and writing at WorldCon 75 in Helsinki, Finland, and I have a BA in Film Studies and Creative Writing from the University of New South Wales.

Whatever editing project I’m working on, I approach it with the same work ethic. I respect the author’s vision for their story and want to help bring that vision to its full and upmost realisation. Whether it’s characterization, world-building, plot or tonne, I want to dig deep into the foundations of a story and find that indelible spark, and polish it until it shines. Whether it’s the weird or traditional, far-flung space opera or gothic horror, light and funny or dark and morbid, my philosophy is to commit myself fully to its tone and voice and style, and help build upon that.

Whatever you write, and whatever editing services you’re looking for, I’d love to hear from you.

These are the types of editing services I offer:

Line Editing: This is the small-scale stuff, the sentence-by-sentence, paragraph-by-paragraph nitty gritty that helps put forward a professional-looking product. The focus is on issues such as continuity, dialogue, clarity, awkward sentences, repetition, consistency, word choice, style, voice and tone. I’ll see to these issues by way of comments in the margin and, when appropriate, directed changes in the document.

Developmental Editing: This is big picture stuff, the issues that focus on a product’s overall, large scale quality such as inconsistent and poor world-building, pacing, characterization, motivations, plot holes, narrative frameworks and story. If you want to focus on a particular aspect, such as clarifying character motivations or fixing broken world-building, that can be done, too. I’ll work by reading the manuscript and making notes in Track Changes, noting the strengths and weaknesses of your work, and where I think things can be added, clarified, or cut out. I’ll tell you things along the lines of “adding this would make your character’s actions much clearer, and provide emotional context” or “I felt this aspect of world-building was introduced too late, and as a result the earlier chapters are still clear. Maybe introduce this world-building on page 5 instead of 20?” I’m happy to discuss the manuscript and provide possible solutions via email.

If you are interested, please contact me to discuss your project and rates. My email is: jeremyszaleditor@gmail.com

What people have been saying about my work:

“Working with Jeremy and StarShipSofa was an absolute pleasure. He’s a class act (in spite of being willing to use one of my stories) and a true champion of the science fiction community.” – Michael R. Fletcher, author of Beyond Redemption, The Mirror’s Truth and Swarm and Steel