A Happy New Year to one and all, and may it bring you everything you are working for or hoping for. New years mean new projects, and that’s the way it is for me. Since my partner Anthony was diagnosed with Huntington’s Disease in October last year, I’ve been thinking about ways of hitting back at HD generally.
Being too creaky and arthritic for the more energetic forms of fund-raising, my thoughts turned to my writing. My fiction and poetry has been published in a variety of print magazines, e-zines and competition anthologies, but I think the main reason why I haven’t been more concerned about getting my own books into print is that I haven’t needed to make any money out of writing. I didn’t start creative writing at all until retirement, with the aim of keeping the little grey cells ticking over; flogging books was never the point. I don’t decry making money out of writing when people can; it’s just that enduring pubishers etc. requires a greater motive than just making myself more comfy than I already am.
For those who don’t know much about HD, let me say that it isn’t brought on by bad habits or indulgences, it comes about as a result of inheriting a faulty gene from a parent, which neither parent nor offspring can do anything about. Patients suffer physical and cognitive problems of varying degrees of severity and their lives are likely to be shortened as a consequence of it.
So my two HD fund-raising 2017 projects will be:
ODDS AGAINST – a collection of fifteen stories which have all won prizes, commendations or listings in U.K. short fiction competitions and which share a general theme of people doing what they can, both seriously and humorously, to deal with the difficult situations they face. Five of them have female central characters, five have male and five are couples or multi-person scenarios. The length of the book is just over 40,000 words, which will mean, depending on size of print of course, some 90-140 pages. I will meet all the production costs if I have to, but help from sponsors or publishers would be welcome and would mean all the money the book makes in sales will go to Huntington’s Disease charities and research organisations. And when I say all, I do mean all; no percentage deals, no admin costs, no expenses. All. Sales figures and revenue contributed can be monitored by more than one individual or organisation, and will be reported on HARRIS CENTRAL – my second project, a combination of my present site, www.bruceharris.org with the contents of last year’s Writing Short Fiction site which were my own work. The ‘teaching’ and resources parts of the WSF site, including advice on writing short fiction, resources and questionnaires, will be available free, in the hope that visitors will contribute to named organisations.
Whoever can help is invited to do so. Both projects will be up and running as soon as possible after preparation and production. If you are an editor who has published me in the past who would be willing to read the manuscript and review it favourably (if you think it’s alright, of course, otherwise obviously you can’t), a publisher interested in looking at the book or helping in some other way, a sponsor willing to help (though the book will only include acknowledgments, not adverts) or anyone willing to buy at least one copy of the book when it comes out, please do get in touch.
I am not, repeat not, asking anyone to send me money. Some people reading this will know our address, but the time for that kind of support will only come when the bills arrive.
Many thanks, and once again, hope your 2017 shapes up as well as it possibly can.