Notes from New Sodom

... rantings, ravings and ramblings of strange fiction writer, THE.... Sodomite Hal Duncan!!

Friday, March 05, 2010

The Scruffians Project: New and Forthcoming


The Story So Far

If you know the score, you can skip ahead to the New and Forthcoming heading. If not...

So I decided to try out an experiment in direct distribution: offer a story in pdf form to anyone who donated an amount at their discretion via PayPal; and should the story reach a target of two-thirds SFWA pro rates (five cents a word), said story would be put on general release for free download. That worked rather well, so I decided to try out a second stage: if the donations reached a secondary target of full pro-rates, I'd do the same for another story in the series. That worked too for a few stories... up until the last one

Anyways, we now have four stories available in various formats in this shared folder, direct links below:

Stories Available

"Scruffians Stamp"

"Jack Scallywag"

"How a Scruffian Starts Their Story"

"An Alfabetcha of Scruffian Names"

New and Forthcoming

So, the original Scruffians Project wound down with "The Beast of Buskerville" never quite making it to free release. I'm not perhaps the best self-promoter, and had other writing to be getting on with, so as the storybusking ran out of steam, I moved on. Fast-forward to 2013 though, and a few developments brought me back to the mythos. For my first short story collection, SCRUFFIANS!, Steve Berman at Lethe Press asked me for a few new stories, and the ones that popped into me noggin, why, blow me if they wasn't Scruffians stories. That's the first bit of news then: due out April 2014, along with a selection of stories outside the mythos, SCRUFFIANS! will contain the above stories and a wee scatter of fresh tales of these indestructible tykes.

But there's more! No sooner had I got those stories off to Steve than an offer came in from La Case Books, who were looking for a novella to publish in ebook form. And as luck would have it, from the get-go with this project there was a story brewing in the margins and interstices of these tales. With some set in the Victorian era, when the Institute was Fixing waifs with the Stamp, and some set in the modern era, when the Scruffians themselves have the Stamp, well, that makes for the story of the pivotal event in that history. Why, it's only the most importantest fabble EVER, innit? It's THE TAKING OF THE STAMP, available now on all major platforms.

And last but not least, what to do with the Scruffian stories there wasn't room for in the collection? How to get The Taking of the Stamp in dead tree form to those who were asking after it? How to set it up so that people could buy SCRUFFIANS! and not have to wait however long for the next collection in order to have the complete series to date? What to do with "The Beast of Buskerville," the last storybusked tale that never quite made it to free release, and "A Scruffian Christmas," which was released as a free gift only available to sponsors, in thanks for their support? The answer: FABBLES: 1, a chapbook containing "A Scruffian Christmas," "The Beast of Buskerville," and "The Taking of the Stamp," a perfect wee Christmas stocking-filler, which should be out on Lulu from the 1st December, 2013, and is available now for pre-order direct from Yourst Truly in a special edition--signed, lined & dated by meself, and decorated by the Scruffian of your choice. Click through for details.

So there we go. Feel free to download any of the stories linked above. If you like them, you'll be able to buy these and more in the collection from Lethe Press. And in the meantime, those of you with ereaders can buy "The Taking of a Stamp" at a bargain price of £2.99 right now, and those of you who like the feel of a real book in your hand need look no further than FABBLES: 1.

A little taster of what's in store for you? Why, I'll even go beyond those stories linked above and give you the opening of "The Beast of Buskerville," to maybe whet your appetite.


The Beast of Buskerville
Hal Duncan

The Beast of Buskerville? Now there's a tale! Why, it's only the tale of old Whelp, eh? The tale of the most frightsome hound as ever haunted London, and of Yapper, the Scruffian as learned to speak dog, the Scruffian as tamed Whelp... well, as near to tamed him as that snarling, slavering, scurrilous cur of a canine ever could be tamed. But more'n that, scamps, this here's a tale of the single most villainest villain ever to prey on the likes of us, the vulture of vagabonds, the buzzard of beggars, the scavenger of Scruffians... the Waiftaker General himself.
Now, you all's seen the Waiftaker General with yer own peepers, so there ain't no need for conjuring him, right? Back when this story took place, he'd the same beak nose of a bird of prey, the same beady eyes with pin-prick pupils, the same scrawny neck to angle his head this way and that, to size up a Scruffian just Fixed or all set for a Scrubbing. Only thing different back then... though his hair it were slicked back to his skull the same, so's he looks a true hawk -- back then it were black instead of white.
So. It began on a day as seemed like any others for the Waiftaker General, as he rose from his fancy four-poster bed, bid his butler hold the piss-pot for him whiles he drains his bladder, then pour water -- piping hot! -- for him to wash his fams. Why, that butler even buttons up his breeches, he does; helps him on with his big black frockcoat what flaps like wings when he pounces on yer; and knots his white silk cravat so sartorially sophisticated... what only makes his neck look scrawnier, poking out as a vulture's from its ruff.
All the whiles he were dressing, of course, he were already at work, calling in his lieutenant to tell him how many waifs was took for Fixing in the dead of night, and was they Jews or gypsies, paupers or carnies? Was they boys or girls with black mops or blond curls? What ages and stages of starving was they? So what was their worth at the going rates? And all of this writ in his little black book. And then lastly he spins, with a smile cruel as sin, and asks, How many scruffs did the stickmen bring in?



Blogger Alex Draven said...

Ah, so that's what I'm going to do with the current contents of my paypal account!

12:44 am  
Blogger Colin Meier said...

Okay, PayPal (from SA) only work if you have a credit card...which is frustrating, since I actually have some cash...

6:44 pm  
Blogger Colin Meier said...

By the way, I'm only whinging because I support your idea 100%, and I'd like to show that support. Maybe you should also have a higher-value edition - illustrated, perhaps...just a thought.

6:58 pm  
Blogger Hal Duncan said...

I'm kind of playing around with ideas of where the project might go down the line -- which sounds really vague, I know, but I don't want to start talking about stuff I can't follow through on yet -- and, yeah, I'd *love* to do something with illustrations.

Tis a looooong time since I did any drawing meself though, and I don't have a scanner anyways. And whether I could get an illustrator involved when there's probably not a lot of money in it for them comparative to what they'd normally expect to earn from their work... I dunno. It *would* be cool though. There's at least one story that I think is crying out for artwork.

5:34 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yeah Vellum! im only new to your writing Hal and you have such a gift with words but i do find it hard going to keep my backgrounds in focus with all the skipping around. particularly as i have just started reading ink (after reading vellum about 8 mths ago) and i tend to forget that we are in a different reality - as it is all first person i forget that he has horns or wings and think of him as human again...

to put a context to my words - i do read before i go to sleep at night -perhaps its just me being too tired - the way the titles of chapters move (ie left or right aligned) is very effective at drawing my attention to the change of setting however perhaps you could start the title of each heading with the name of the reality/time/fold - ie Aerth: Once Upon a Time...

I really admire your writing and i enjoy exploring your imagination. thanks for the stories : )

i would so love to see what your worlds look like....
-Erin in Aus

7:24 am  
Blogger Marjorie said...

Ooo, new scrufficans! Excellent :-)

9:03 am  

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