Tuesday 23rd August, 2016

I’m doing this getting distracted thing far too much. I’m also doing far too much “What day is it?” to just about everyone. My apologies for being a terrible correspondent. Basically, more reading and more Civ V since the last time I wrote here.

That said, I’ve written the first draft of that final Alex & Conn story. It may or may not be the last one I ever write about Conn or Alex but it’s definitely the last one in their time-line.

Other than that, I am off to the Fox Pocket party on Thursday so maybe see you there!

Monday 8th August, 2016

I got a bit distracted last week, so here’s a round-up of the last two weeks.

I’ve read the six nominees for the British Fantasy Society (BFS) [External Link] Award for graphic novel / comic. I’m not going to tell you what my thoughts were other than it was pretty clear why they were all picked. (You can find the shortlists here: [External Link]).

I have read a fencing acquaintance’s WIP through – and she was kind enough to send me through a novella she’s published along with the works of a couple of her writing friends / fellow writing acquaintances. Worth a look if you’re into that kind of thing:

  • Mab Morris’s The Red Khemeresh (Goodread’s page here: [External Link]) is a fantasy set in a very large world she’s building but this corner of it bears some similarities to the Steppes. I was taken with the way the shamnism and magic of the world were described.
  • Kathryn Hinds’ The Healer’s Choice (Goodread’s page here: [External Link]) is closer to a late iron age / Roman invasion of Gaul or Britain parallel. The story has a flow that grabbed me – but it’s the first in a series so be prepared to wonder what happens next (in a good way).

    ASIDE: Incidentally, Kathryn is a historian. She’s got an interesting back catalogue of history books, too!
  • Claire Ryan’s The Melding [External Link]) is a world without the parallels – and a strong romantic plot. Again, it’s the first of a series.

I’ve read through my feedback on my Feathers WIP and had a crack at the next draft. Next thing is to let the Alex & Conn idea that seems to percolating come to boil. Maybe it’ll in time for a short story first draft for next week.

Final thing to mention: Fox Spirit Books will be celebrating the complete set of Fox Pocket anthologies in a(bout a) fortnight. See you there if you can make it!

Monday 25th July, 2016

Welp, what have I got to say this week?

I have started shipping The Knight’s Daughter (my Greenwood project) to beta readers, whether they want it or not. I haven’t decided what my next first draft project will be but I have plenty of other things to worry about, anyway.

Amongst them, British Fantasy Society (BFS) [External Link] award jury duty. I have now read the five novellas. All I’m going to tell you about that is every one of the novellas was worth the read and I understand why they were nominated. Anything else I could say is down to personal opinion and doesn’t reflect the jury as a whole. I hope to get through the five shortlisted graphic novel and comic nominees this week. If you’re curious as to what those are, you can find the shortlists here: [External Link].

See you later!

Monday 18th July, 2016

Hi, guys! It’s official. The UK is now having a three day heatwave – with today being the first day. So I shall be walking the dogs last thing tonight and getting up early tomorrow to get their exercise in before it gets too hot for them.

(Actually being okay with doing this may also be the first sign of finding a new level slightly above the “down” I’ve been experiencing recently.)

In writing and reading news:

  1. The first draft of my Greenwood project – actually the title emerged as “The Knight’s Daughter” about half way through – is finished. It made 40,000 words. It’ll probably be next weekend before I start organising the file with everything in it and beta readers, though.
  2. I intend to start redrafting my “Fistful of Feathers” novel having got my notes back from my beta readers. But I shall be pecking at it because,
  3. I have the British Fantasy Society (BFS) [External Link] award jury duty to attend to. I have to start doing the reading for the Novella and the Graphic Novel / Comic awards. This week will be the novellas.
  4. I also have some reading to do for some writing acquaintances so that will also come before Feathers.
  5. I’ve decided to stop work on the Otherworld Gazetteer [External Link] at just over a year and 89 posts. (For those of you who don’t know, the Otherworld was the world I used in the story “Hunting Unicorns”.) I came to the end of my notes some time ago and started filling in the logical holes, and then chased a few other ideas. This is not to say that the world is complete and I may come up with other posts – particularly if people ask questions about things they feel are missing – but I won’t be doing the scheduled updates.

All done. See you next week!

Monday 11th July, 2016

So. Civ V. Rather addictive despite being a few years old, yes?

I’m also struggling with an overflow of negative feelings and hormones at the moment. I’m working on it but things have been quiet and communication will probably be intermittent for a while. Mostly, it’s just working through it and pulling myself back together.

However, in somewhat more interesting news, I’m near the end of the Greenwood project. It has limped to 37,000 words and should pass the 38,000 mark with the last chapter / slice. It may even make it to 39,000. It should get done this week – and then it’s back to editing Feathers now I’m ready to take on my awesome beta readers’ notes.

Monday 20th June, 2016

Well, FantasyCon is now booked. I’ll only be attending Saturday pm and Sunday as I’ll be spending the Friday celebrating Finn‘s tenth birthday. Given that my fur-baby has cancer, I feel it’s kind of important to spend the day with him (and the other two) even if it makes no actual difference to the dogs.

In other news, I got Steam [External Link] working on my Scientific Linux [External Link] installation – and now I waste my time playing games when not more directly procrastinating on the Greenwood WIP (a grand total of 1,000 words written on it since last Monday). This is not to say I haven’t written other words as well, but somehow writing non-fiction never feels like it counts in quite the same way.

(In a related line of thought, please don’t tell e about Civ VI when it finally lands. My time does not need to be used up quite that much.)

And, finally, Happy Birthday to my big sis! Love you!

Monday 13th June, 2016

I didn’t say anything last week as I had nothing to say. Until Tuesday when the British Fantasy Society (BFS) [External Link] announced the shortlists for this year’s awards (Full lists here: [External Link]). So, as well as being a juror for the novellas (for the third year) and the graphic novels / comics awards, Margrét Helgadóttir and I’s book-baby, African Monsters, is up for best anthology. Margrét’s book-baby, The Stars Seem So Far Away, is also up for best collection and our publisher is up for best indie press (again – they won last year). This means it is highly likely I shall be attending FantasyCon in Scarborough [External Link]. I intend to but I still have to book things so, just in case, let’s not say things are definite, eh?

(I can also give you a hint of a rumour in that I have booked a train ticket to Leicester for 25th August. I can’t tell you what for, yet, but there will be a writing type announcement.)

In a semi-related writing note, my current WIP (that Greenwood thing I occasionally mention) is crawling to the finish line. I’m currently at about 32,000 words and I expect it to end somewhere before 40,000. Of course, once draft one is done, I get to send that out to beta reader or two while I return to my Fistful of Feathers bit and knock it into shape for draft two from the feedback I’ve had on that.

However, life got interesting for my word-processing last week. My old computer – parts of which dated back to 2004 and the youngest parts dating back to 2011 – started to rattle the Friday after Satellite 5. I bought a new box rather than work out what may or may not be compatible with the working parts and wrestled it into submission from Wednesday to Saturday. People who know me and talk to me in person, though, know I’m still sulking. I used to run my old box on Ubuntu [External Link]. However, the new box appears to have some kind of objection to this and I’ve had to install Scientific Linux [External Link] – basically because that was what I had to hand as it’s what I use at work. We’re gradually coming to an understanding but I may have to investigate what flavours of Linux my box will accept (easily, as I’m not interested in fighting, as oppose to at all) and find a better fit.

Monday 30th May, 2016

I missed a couple of weeks. I’m not entirely sure how that happened. Did I mislay them? Are they really just hidden under the sofa or something?

Anyway, I am returned from Satellite 5 [External Link]. This time around, I’m apparently patient zero for everyone else’s con crud (I started showing cold symptoms on Friday evening. Sorry.) and I continue my spotless record of not killing or drawing blood from any of my co-presenters for a “HEMA for writers”-type demonstration. So, thanks to the Satellite 5 team – and to my co-presenters Cameron Johnston [External Link] and Rob Adams [External Link]. Our sibling-in-ink, Ruth EJ Booth [External Link] captured some photographic evidence and you can see a piece of it here:

My quick round-up wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the rather impressively omnipresent Neil Williamson [External Link], who seemed to be everywhere, and Jaine Fenn [External Link], the Guest of Honour who was spotted almost as often as Neil. Thanks both for the conversation. Oh, and Neil has a competition on his blog to win a copy of his new collection of stories.

As Satellite 5 was in Glasgow, I also came back with a couple of bottles of whisky. They weren’t both for me but I did have help selecting them from yet more Satellite 5 attendees, Brian M Milton [External Link] and Sharon Dennett. Munchkin (yes, we really call him that) has just had a story published in this weekend’s KZine [External Link] and you can have some of that as it’s free on Kindle and I’m not sharing the alcohol!