Sunday, February 19, 2012

Finnished Works

So here we are with another of our occasional spotlights on fellow creative spirits. Today, it's the turn of Heikki Hietala, Finnish author and Senior Lecturer at the HAAGA-HELIA University of Applied Sciences. Like many of the writers you'll see featured here, I first encountered Heikki on HarperCollins' authonomy and had the pleasure of reading the sample chapters of his novel, Tulagi Hotel. Smart, intelligent, *literary*. Respect.

He has a short story collection out,
Filtered Light.

Over to you, Heikki.

Now that PfoxChase Publishing again displayed their trust in me by publishing my short story collection, I think it's time to discuss short work a little further.

The other day, I was actually asked why I don't write novels but short stories. I told the person asking me that it's not really something I choose to do - the stories choose me instead. Short story as an art form is curiously underrated even if some of the biggest name in literature have invested a lot of time and effort in perfecting it, such as Roald Dahl, HP Lovecraft, and Hemingway to name but a few.

My own entry into the world of the short story surprised me. It was after I had finished Tulagi Hotel, and my father passed away in the spring of 2008 that I wrote my first real short story - my signature piece of sorts, The Summerhouse. It is a very personal story, in effect a way to say goodbye. The bigger surprise however was that I wrote more than ten other stories in the span of a few months. Many of these have seen the light of day on websites, some in anthologies, and a few on shortlists in competitions.

In all, I have 109,000 words in 34 finished stories now. That's four fifths of the words in my novel. This would make me think that if it were just the number of words, I might just as well have written another book (and I have a couple of ideas for a book). It's just that I found the form of the short so interesting to explore that I've let my subconscious come up with short rather than long form.

If you look at the styles or genres of the finished stories, you'll see that there's 15 that can be slapped with the category "speculative", another 15 that are mainstream without any supernatural element, four flash stories, and a couple of humor and scifi stories. History also features in many of these regardless of the style. Someone might say that I am wasting my talent (if any) by not sticking to a genre, much as Lovecraft and Poe did.

To these I should like to say that my own preference in reading is to read anything I can get my greedy little paws on. Similarly, I want to try my hand on different ideas and ways of delivering a story. This is very much so in Flash work; with only 500 words to set up, plot, and solve a story, it's very interesting to go from Scifi to Historical fiction and see whether the outcome is believable.

I've had the great fortune of acquiring a set of beta readers who I can trust to tell me when I succeed, but much more importantly, when I fail to deliver. There's a few stories that I liked a lot myself, but got a lukewarm response from the gang; after the indignation and irritation at this treatment of my darlings has waned, I usually go back, read the story, read the response, and agree with the comments. Thank you one and all for that - it's been vital in my development as a writer.

So what's in the pipeline now?

There's 25,226 words in 12 stories now. They range from the supernatural to real life to my favorite, mild horror, and to scifi. For the scifi story I have already requested and received utterly valuable help from my bestest beta lady, Greta van der Rol, whose eagle eye can spot looming trouble from the first five lines of text. I hope to finish these one by one, and I will probably be camping at the PfoxChase offices to try and get a second compilation published too; however, that will only happen if the current compilation, "Filtered Light and Other Stories", actually sells some copies.

So please have a look at the book, and see whether my variety of short stories works for you. It's at Amazon.

Thank you, Heikki. All I can offer are my apologies for the post's subject header, along with my recommendations to folks to go check out your book!

Also, people can visit his blog site and download a five-story sampler in PDF Format.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Tour d'Evil

With the recent launch of Evil UnLtd's second book - From Evil With Love - we've been busy on our world tour. Of course, it's not the sort that demands a T-shirt with a flashy pic on the front and the list of tour dates and venues on the back. It's not even the sort that requires a great deal of travel.

Still, in the absence of all that, we figured we should do something to commemorate and record the event(s). So with that in mind, we've set up this blog post as a one-stop guide and we'll add further links to other locations around the worldwide web as the tour continues.

We're trying to keep it varied, so there should be something in here for everyone.


License To Write. Topic: Writing Licensed Fiction. Host: Kay Drew, writer & blogger.

Now A Major TV Series. Topic: A TV Series in Book Form. Host: Stuart Douglas, all-round nice guy of the net and the man behind Obverse Books

The Newest Profession. Topic: The Perils of Indie Publishing - Writers and Readers Beware! Host: Alexander McNabb, PR supremo and author of Olives

Sequality. Topic: Writing Sequels Host: Phillipa Fioretti, gifted writer down under and author of The Book Of Love and The Fragment Of Dreams

Doctor Why. Topic: Fun Reasons To Watch Doctor Who - for anyone who's never seen it Host: Patty Jansen, talented and prolific SF author - who's never seen Doctor Who!

Zealous Guy. Courting controversy in a mad modern age. Or why we'd quite like to really. Host: Heikki Hietala, Senior Lecturer in Applied Sciences and excellent author who recently guested here.

Watch this space for more to come. And of course, do visit the official Evil UnLtd site for articles, interviews, serialised short stories and other Evil nuggets.