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 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 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 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.

Sunday 1st November, 2015

I have been a particularly bad correspondent of late. Think about how difficult a mouse would find it tapping out words on a keyboard. Now you have that mental image, ignore the fact that I’m actually a human who just ran out of time and energy.

Perhaps the first thing I should mention is my current giveaway. You have just under a week to enter to win a set of 25 Ways To Kill A Werewolf & A Pack Of Lies and / or a copy of European Monsters. There are a number of entries so far but all you have to do is comment! (With the proviso that I’ll not be posting them outside of the EU / EEA – and Switzerland – due to postage. You can live somewhere else buy the address I post to needs to be “local”.)

So, I’m in the process of relocating – in work and in habitation. I’m about to embark on my last week with FCC Environment and I start my new job the week after. I may have just about secured a place to rent that will except three dogs (although, due to paperwork, it’ll be sometime this week before the letting agents give me the final “yea” or “nay”). I still have a house to get on the market (once the dogs aren’t there so people can view it in peace) and tidy up a bit at weekends. Thankfully, the Rugby (Union) World Cup is now over – grats to New Zealand – and I have one less thing to distract me while I get things sorted.

Last weekend, I attended FantasyCon in Nottingham [External Link] (around house viewings in North Yorkshire and Lancashire, as well as handing in paperwork). I met up with some lovely people – for name dropping purposes, have a gander at Steven Poore [External Link] – who just launched his epic fantasy, but there’s a tonne of blogging about people’s impressions linked from a BFS round-up post here: [External Link].

Apparently I did okay in my panel where I shared space with, amongst others, Juliet McKenna [External Link]. However, I’m not in a position to commit to anything next year until I have moving sorted and a house sold. Until then, I have to pay for two households, so it’s unlikely I shall have spare monies for con-attending. Wel, aside form the already having got a membership to Satellite 5 [External Link] (Glasgow, 28th-29th May, 2016), which I am currently determined to make.

Other things currently up in the air include my current WIP (Feathers), which I’m about two thirds of the way through – at least in first draft. I hope to get it sorted soon but I may detour into redrafting the last Elkie piece as that’s on a deadline for next year. I’m still working on the African Monsters anthology with Margrét Helgadóttir [External Link] with the intention of publishing it this year but the official launch will be in February next year.

Advance warning but I will be committing further bloggage at The Finishing School [External Link] this week – it’s the first Wednesday of the month, after all. If you have any HEMA-related things you want me to post about at the TFS, please let me know but I’m not sure how things will fit in with the time left over from the house-related responsibilities. Fingers crossed that I can manage a December post!

There may end up being a slight hiatus on the Otherworld Gazetteer [External Link] posts and site diary posts here for much the same reason. I should, however, be back next week to let you know a bit more about how things are working out.