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!

Monday 9th May, 2016

It looks like my update day will be shifting to Mondays. It’s not intentional, at least not the last couple of weeks, but as I now fence on Sunday afternoons (when I make it to fencing) it’s likely that I won’t get around to writing a diary entry until Monday evenings. So, why not make it official and just make Monday the update day, eh?

For those keeping track, Greenwood has inched its way over 20,000 words this weekend. So, all of 2,000 words achieved this week! On the plus side, I now know for sure that “Greenwood” is just a working title and I have some more story ideas stacked up in the notebook – you know, for when I magically have time to write up all of these ideas I have into 80,000+ word novels…

In slightly more obvious news, the British Fantasy Society (BFS) have announced the juries for this year’s awards [External Link] and I’m on the list. Twice. This year, I’ve volunteered for the novellas (again) and for the comic / graphic novel category. I fully admit to not being as well read as I ought to be and sitting on the juries a) gives me the chance to pick up some recommendations and b) forces me to actually make some time to do it.

Monday 2nd May, 2016

I’ve been good, after a manner of speaking. I have Greenwood over 18,000 words, which isn’t bad going considering how little time I’ve been spending writing. I’ve been a bit distracted lately reading books. I’ve just finished one on the War of The Roses and I’m part way through the Lays of Marie de France. These may have some bearing on the WIP, so consider it research.

Something I forgot to report last time is that I’ve reduced The Otherworld Gazetteer [External Link] posts to once a week. Well, the spotlight is now once a week. The preload on the 15th of the month will be four to five posts. I’m using Thursdays to tie in with #FolkloreThursday on Twitter [External Link] but I won’t actually be using the tag as my stuff is intentionally made up, just based on folklore. The main reason for the reduction is that I’ve got to the end of my original notes (some time ago) and beyond the initial subject areas that these tied into easily. Now I’m having to expand a bit more slowly as I think about how the world behind Hunting Unicorns might function. Although I’m pretty sure I’ve made statements that don’t really stand with the story. Oh, well!

And that is pretty much it. See you again soon.

Sunday 17th April, 2016

Right. New house rule: I will remember to post every weekend. Well, maybe not every weekend but as I don’t have as much running around to do, I should be able to summon the energy to tell you I haven’t actually achieved anything more often. Real life, eh?

This weekend I’ve had a more relaxing time with a day off on Friday to join my current HEMA club (Academie Gloriana [External Link]) in a trip to the Royal Armouries at Leeds [External Link]. We got to handle some rather lovely swords and look at some gorgeous manuscripts. And I got to catch up with my sister on Saturday and a friend (and oppressed alpha reader) today.

In possibly related news, my current WIP (to be referred to as “Greenwood” from here on in) appears to be working as intended. Yay! Now to get back to writing it…

Next weekend, Academie Gloriana will be doing some display work at Clitheroe Castle for St George’s weekend [External Link]. (Multicultural saints apparently get more time, especially when their day falls on a weekend!) I will be visiting as a member of the public but please say “Hi!” to Mark Hillyard and the gang if you’re in the area.