S R Silcox - Author

Blog updated every Sunday - more often than not.

Month: May 2014

How Hugh Howey changed my mind

Sunday - fish


A few weeks ago, I wrote a short story in less than a day. I had a title in mind, and was mulling over what sort of story would go with it. I’d used the same title quite a few years ago with a short story I wrote for a competition that will never again see the light of day, but I really loved the title and wanted to use it again with a new story.

So, I discovered a new writer’s festival was coming up, and they had a short story competition. I vaguely thought I should write a story for it, if I found the time.

That same week, I was heading to bed late one night after a long day of writing and plotting when the title popped into my head again. Maybe it was my sleep-deprived brain doing the talking, but I let my mind wander and within an hour of going to bed, I had come up with a character and a setting I thought I could work with.

Instead of getting out of bed to write down those first thoughts and ideas, I slept on it. Lo and behold, the next morning when I sat down with my coffee and began to write, the words flowed. It was a fantastic feeling, and the fact that I actually liked what I was writing made it all the better.

I got to around 2,500 words and still hadn’t finished the story when I decided to stop and take a break, because the competition had a 2,000 word limit. I re-read it that afternoon, wrote it until the end, and then cut mercilessly at anything that didn’t belong until finally, exhausted, I got it down to 1,997 words.

As soon as I finished it, I wanted people to read it, but I knew I had written it with the competition in mind, so I sent it to my beta readers for feedback. I filled out the entry form, printed out the story, and then….

And then I didn’t post it. I’m not sure what stopped me, but something did, and I’m glad. Because then I read this facebook post by Hugh Howey –


Hugh Howey - Facebook

That post made me reassess what I want from my career as a writer. I asked myself what I wanted most from my writing. The answer?

I want people to read my stories.

I want to write stories and I want people to read them. It made me think about whether that competition would help me move forward with that one goal. It wouldn’t. Entering that competition would lock that story up until November, when the winner would be announced. If I were lucky enough to win or get selected for inclusion into the anthology, it still wouldn’t allow people to read my story. Why? Because that anthology most likely wouldn’t be available to people outside the festival or the organisation that was printing it. It certainly wouldn’t be available on amazon, where people who bought the anthology to read other authors could discover me.

That one post by Hugh Howey made me remember why I do what I do, and what I love most about writing. It’s the sharing of stories that I love. The sharing of characters and thoughts and ideas with people who might enjoy them and connect with them.

Last night I commissioned an ebook cover and started getting the file ready to compile and upload. This morning, after some final checks, it’s ready to go.

You can buy my new story, Sunday – fish, from amazon. The other stores will follow on the weekend.

And by the way, I bought and read that short story Hugh was referring to in his facebook post, Promises of London, and highly recommend it. You can buy it from amazon for 99c here.


And the winner is….

Thanks to everyone who voted on the poll to name my stable of horses for an upcoming book. We had over 2,600 votes over 7 days, and the lead changed 9 times.

Here’s how the race played out –

It’s Taxman out in front by half a length in front of Cruise Junkie. Notadonkey is managing to keep pace with Nekminit and Pushing Daisies close behind. Sotally Tober is looking a bit confused and is caught in the middle a short head in front of Belle’s Magic, Helen’s Courage and Dream Date. Bringing up the rear is Giddyup, Elay Princess, Indienile and the as yet unfired Rocket.

We’ve rounded the final turn and it’s Taxman holding steady, but she’s lost ground to Sotally Tober who’s come screaming up the inside, jumping to second ahead of Notadonkey and Cruise Junkie. A half-length behind is Nekminit and Pushing Daisies, who have fallen off the pace and are followed closely by a late-running Indienile. Helen’s Courage is having a good go at it, neck and neck with Dream Date and Belle’s Magic. Rocket seems to have misfired completely this time out and brings up the rear with Giddyup and Elay Princess.

We’re in the home stretch now and Notadonkey is really showing his credentials, edging ahead of Taxman and Sotally Tober. Nekminit, Cruise Junkie and Pushing Daisies are fighting it out for the final spot while Indienile is pushing hard. Helen’s Courage is showing some ticker, but Giddyup might have left its run too late. Belle’s Magic might still have something up her sleeve, and Rocket seems to have finally lit its fuse, nudging ahead of Elay Princess and Dream Date.

Aaand it’s Belle’s magic defying a slow start to storm home on the outside right at the death ahead of Taxman, with Notadonkey rounding out the top three.
Sotally Tober kept his feet running on into 4th despite a stumble on the first turn, nudging ahead of Nekminit who galloped into 5th.
Cruise Junkie faded late into the middle of the pack along with Pushing Daisies and Indienile. Helen’s Courage ran on late but finished out of the placings.
Closing out the field are Giddyup, Rocket, Elay Princess and Dream date, who all suffered from poor barriers and bad starts and never recovered.


Final Placings

Belle’s Magic
Sotally Tober
Cruise Junkie
Pushing Daisies
Helen’s Courage
Elay Princess
Dream Date


I’m still working on the first draft of this one and I can’t wait to get it finished. In the meantime, I’ll have another short story coming out in the next week or so.


Name That Horse

I’m terrible at naming things. All my books have working titles like “The Space One” and “The Cosy Murder #1”, and my character names look like the unnamed extras in a movie (policeman #1, Guy at the Bar, Stripper #4, Main Character etc)

So when I needed some names for some racehorses for a story I’m working on, I thought I’d hit up facebook and see what my friends and family could come up with. Turns out, it was more successful than I imagined and I ended up with around 50 potential names.

My problem now is that’s there’s too many to choose from. So again, I’m calling on the assistance of anyone who wants to have a say in naming my racehorses what I should call them.

You’ll notice a poll has popped up on the right side with my top choices. You can choose up to 5, since that’s how many horses I have in my stable, with the winners getting a shout-out in the book when it comes out.

Want your name in the book? Feel free to share this post and the poll with your friends and family and get them to nudge your name to the top.

The poll closes in a week, so get to it. And don’t forget to check back to see how you’re doing.


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