Monday 26th September, 2016

I’ve been home since around lunch time today and I’m just about starting to admit that FantasyCon by T’Sea is over. It was great to see people again (although I didn’t spend as much time catching up with people and attending panels as I should have done). There are, of course, people who blog more clearly than I ever could about these thing. Spotted so far:

And you can find the list of BFA winners here: [External Link]

Oh, and Finn has made it to 10, which is awesome for a staffie cross bullmastiff (not especially long-lived breeds) with cancer! I intend to update his page for next week but some photos of Rosie and Dora have already been put up.

Monday 19th September, 2016

In a continuation of my last update post: Dear reader, I passed [my ITIL foundation course].

If you follow me on Twitter (tweet here: [External Link]), you may also have realised I didn’t post last week because I was concentrating on writing. I’m only about 5,000 words in but it involves fairies. I’m not entirely sure how long the work will be but I do know it seems to flow better when I’m listening to 70s disco. I’m not sure what this says about my interpretation of fairies.

So, other than that, the only thing to mention is the BFS FantasyCon by t’Sea. It starts Thursday evening but I won’t be arriving until Saturday afternoon – Friday is actually Finn’s birthday and I’ve decided I deserve a day off to celebrate. Things I am committed to:

  • Paint it Black on Saturday at 8:00 pm, Palm Court Ballroom – The Grand Hotel
    Why is Horror so often incorporated into other genres? Chaired by Phil Sloman
    … And I’ll be on the panel.
  • The British Fantasy Awards Ceremony on Sunday at 3:30 pm, Royal Ballroom – The Royal Hotel
    Book-baby African Monsters (I’m co-editor along with Margrét Helgadóttir) is up for the Best Anthology award.
  • The Banquet
    Food was mentioned and I am not-so-secretly a hobbit, so there’s no way I could resist.

Monday 5th September, 2016

Welcome to September. It’s not so much that time flies past as it sneaks away behind me before I manage to get a grip on things. Last week, for work, I attended an ITIL Foundation course. That was an exceptionally good way of letting time sneak past me. A few times I think I might have spotted it but it’s all a bit of a blur.

That said, I have two new flash pieces for you that came out of the the “oh gods, I really ought to try creating something just so I can still prove I can do it” feeling that hit me every evening after “homework”. These are Insomnia and Once, Upon Reflection. I have to admit I’m not too certain of the latter one. It didn’t come out quite the way I expected and my POV character feels… not good. I’m so glad I didn’t have to spend more than 500 words with them.

The Fox Pocket party was two weeks ago, now, but it seemed to go very well – much fun was had by all – and it was quite nice to spend an evening somewhere else.

There are other bits and pieces in the pipeline but I’m not in a position to tell you anything concrete, so that’s it for this week!

Once, Upon Reflection (Flash)


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Once, I knew a girl who didn’t like mirrors.

She told me so, apologetically, when I brought her back to my room. I dragged the throw Mum had given me from under the single bed and covered the mirror that came with the room.

“It’s okay,” I said, trying to be reassuring. “Lots of people find their reflection disconcerting.”

She frowned at me. “It’s not that.”

“Sure … Continue reading

Insomnia (Flash)


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Laurie never did sleep well – and she always manages to disturb me when she’s restless. I’ve never been sure whether or not she does it on purpose. So tonight is a night like any other, then, with me dragged from the warm and comfortable bed by the creak of floorboards under her pacing feet.

I say nothing, not even wiping the early stages of sleep from … Continue reading

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!