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!

Sunday 22nd February, 2015

An uneventful week with ery little to report on this week. However, things you might be interested in:

  • I took a flying visit (well, actually I went by train) to the Waterloo Sparring Group [External Link] on Saturday. Mainly so I could meet up with Fran Terminiello [External Link] to discuss our presentation thingummy at Dysprosium / EasterCon [External Link] but I also enjoyed the opportunity to spar have my rear end handed to me on a plate by some new people.
  • Although it didn’t really take that long (I was gone from 7am until 5pm with travel included) and didn’t use that much energy, I ended up going to bed by 8pm and sleeping for about 12 hours straight. I have spent today with a headache due to lying in bed too long but never mind!
  • Dora had her first stay in kennels (with Finn and Rosie, obviously). On the plus side, she didn’t partake in any jail breaks while I was gone. On the not so plus side, I’ve had three dogs all trying to sit on my knee and bask in my attention since we got back in from picking them up and our long walk…

See you next week!

Monday 29th September, 2014

Okay, so I’m a day late. I decided to watch Magic Mike last night. There was a disappointing lack of rainbows and unicorns for something with “magic” in the title, though!

For those of you who haven’t heard me say it a million and one times already: I’ve had a book published by the name of 25 Ways To Kill A Werewolf, thanks to the help and support of Fox Spirit Books [External Link]. The linked page will (eventually) get you to the UK Amazon but most other “local” Amazon sites should also carry it. The ebooks (epub and mobi files) are now also available from Spacewitch [External Link].

However you get your copy (oh, please say you’ll buy a copy, I fancy a new tattoo and I’m pretty sure the NAS [External Link] would like the donation I intend to give them by the end of the year), I’d appreciate some more reviews – on Amazon or the Goodreads page [External Link] or the Booklikes page [External Link] – or anywhere else that does liking books! (And if you think of anywhere I should be boasting spreading the news about my book-baby, please let me know.)

Yeah, that intermission in there was a reminder for the Ink Plan. There should be an update on that tomorrow!

I’ve set up links to my Booklikes and Goodreads profiles to the right. If you want some teasers of what I’m working on at the moment (Fool If You Thnk It’s Over) or what I’m reading (Ash by Mary Gentle), I put a quote up on Booklikes after every bout of #amreading, #amwriting or #amediting.

Sunday Stories have been on pause again but I promise we’re back on this Sunday. The last story that came up as a Sunday Story was Second Date, which is in the same world as 25 Ways To Kill A Werewolf and Fool If You Think It’s Over.

For your “awww” moment, there’s now a photo for Finn’s 8th birthday on his page.

Sunday 13th October, 2013

I missed doing the update last week because, basically, I didn’t feel like doing it. It wasn’t like I had much to tell you all apart from Finn’s diagnosis being confirmed by biopsy. So he has cancer but it’s not really the end of his world because it shouldn’t actually affect his health much. It’s just a case of seeing how quickly his lump grows back and whether it pains him. Which it didn’t seem to this time around.

A Pack of Lies went out to beta readers and I’m basically pecking away at a project that’s more of a re-editing and rephrasing of something that already exists. More obvious to site visitors, I had another article go up on Winterwinds Productions [External Link] and an anthology with one of my short stories in is out now (No Monsters Allowed (Anthology), Dog Horn Publishing [External Link], also see text box to the right).

Next week is a fencing weekend for me, so I won’t get around to an update. See you in a fortnight!

Sunday 29th September, 2013

I’m at the end of my week off. There are a number of parts of my brain that are currently begging me not to make me go back. Unfortunately, I think I’m going to be able to ignore the voices in my head…

In writing news, I’ve effectively finished the first draft of A Pack Of Lies. I finished the last chapter on Friday and next weekend I shall be stitching them together and making sure I’ve mentioned the things I thought I needed to and that there’s something vaguely resembling a flow. I have a handful of victimsbeta readers picked out so, after next Sunday, it’s all up to how fast they can read.

On a related note (it involves werewolves), my Twitter friend Margrét Helgadóttir [External Link] asked me to do a guest blog – which can be found here: [External Link]. It’s very flattering to have been asked to do a guest blog by a writer whose short stories I admire. And Margrét is also a fellow member of the Fox Spirit Books [External Link] Skulk. One of her stories is in the Piracy Fox Pocket. If you follow the “Stories” link on her website, you can find some more reading material.

And now for the Hellhound related stuff that you guys probably don’t want to hear but I feel the need to say.

It was Finn’s birthday on Monday and long walks were had. There’s blurry photo of the same now in Finn’s gallery. On Wednesday, he went in to the Vets’ to have a lump removed. The lump had been there for a couple of weeks and the appointment was booked the week previous when it hadn’t responded to anti-inflammatories. The lump itself didn’t really bother him but, if nothing else, the only way to find out what it was for sure was removal. Anyway, he’s had stitches and was bandaged up until yesterday – and then he got the traditional “Cone of Shame” to keep him from licking the airing stitches.

Finn sitting on the stairs wearing a cone

Finn Thomas and The Cone Of Shame

After being a bit freaked out by having plastic apparently conspiring to stop him go through doors and up steps, I let Finn move on to the slightly more reasonable “Sock Of Mild Embarrassment” (item name changed due to Ruth Booth / @RuthMidget [External Link]).

And that’s pretty much the end of what is definite and now we’re on to the “awaiting biopsy results” bit. From the way the lump was situated, it couldn’t all be removed. The words used by my friendly vet on Wednesday were “tendrils” (indicating the lump / growth) and “tendons” (indicating why the hell no-one in their right mind would dig deeply). From the look and growth, it’s likely that Finn has rhabdomyosarcomas – or soft tissue cancer. This is due to muscle cells becoming cancerous and doesn’t respond to things like chemotherapy well. On the plus side, it’s highly unlikely that this cancer will ever spread in such a way that it’ll affect Finn’s life span. The lump will probably grow back – it’s a question of how quickly and whether it bothers him. If it does bother him, we will have the dubious pleasure of finding out whether three legs are as bouncy as four.

(But I’m still a wibbling wreck on the inside because “my baby has cancer”.)

Sunday 22nd September, 2013

So, as promised, an attempt at heroic fantasy: Broken Bear. Those of you who keep track of these things may realise that Broken Bear was once accepted by Ricasso Press for an anthology. However, Ricasso Press fell through at some point and I’ve had difficulty finding a suitable home for Broken Bear since. I hope you enjoy it anyway and please let me know what you think!

Assuming things go according to plan with the A Pack Of Lies writing, I may be finishing the first draft this week or next week. I have about 12,000 words to go and this week is booked off work. There’s a chance I will get distracted, though, so I can’t promise anything.

Part of the distraction being, of course, that it’s Finn‘s birthday tomorrow. He will be seven years old and, as my similarly aged niece now has school and plenty of friends to distract her, he’s now too old for dress-up birthday parties. (He’s doing a victory lap as I type. Really.) So we shall be going for a drive and a long walk somewhere a little bit different – but not too far away because I need to get back to the writing at some point tomorrow! There may also be blueberry muffins with candles, as is traditional. Either way, I shall attempt to get an all action photo for his page.

Sunday 17th June, 2012

Well, I guess you may notice a few changes around here. And I owe anyone who wandered in here in the last three or four days an apology for constantly meddling with the site design. What happened? Well, just my usual “here’s a good example of how not to do it”.

For the last two, or maybe even three, years, I’ve been using the Graphene wordpress theme [External Link]. If you follow the link, you will notice that it doesn’t really match up with the way the site used to look. That’s because I tinkered quite a lot with the underlying stylesheet and some of the functions. Because I do these things in my half-a**ed manner, I didn’t bother with a child theme. Where there have been updates, I just copied and pasted code over. Up to last week.

On Thursday evening I thought “You know what? I’ll do this properly. I’ll make a child theme and update Graphene to the latest version and it will all be perfect.”

My current answer to that involves swearing. There was something about the way the parent Graphine stuff was put together and / or the way I put together my child theme alterations that meant the changes that can be made in the WordPress GUI (the casual customisations) overrode almost all of my child theme. On Saturday, I gave up fighting the set-up and called it a day. I probably should have asked the developer for help (he’s probably a lovely person and it was probably a simple fix) but I decided I’d had enough. I’m now eleven years away from my computer science degree and I have no interest in working to keep up my skills.

So, after much playing around and trying on new themes for size, I’ve landed on the current one. This is the free Platform theme from PageLines [External Link] and all the modifications in layout and colour have been achieved with the WordPress GUI (yay!). Which means I won’t have to tinker with CSS and php. It’s far from perfect and I’m missing a few things extra to what you can see:

  • I’d like a Google+ link button up there with my Facebook and Twitter links.
  • I’d like links to work in the front page / archive pages.
  • I’d like in post images to show in excerpts.
  • I’d like a slider again so I can promote the online fiction, just in case you guys are actually paying attention to the fact that I, you know, write.
  • I’d like to be able to do different types of post.

But, I have my two columns, my excerpts on the front page and archive pages (you have no idea how few themes do that, comparatively speaking), the chance to use promotional boxes (see the bottom of the page) and it’s free. Also, I could do all of the stylistic modification without messing around with child themes and in other people’s coding and formatting. If I were to do that, I’d probably find a way to get everything I wanted. I could even get some plug-ins to patch a few of these things up. But, frankly, I can’t be bothered. After all, I just spent about fifteen hours over four days sorting out this much.

So, what else is there to tell you? There have been a few tweaks to the contents. I’ve added a “The Pack” page for the dogs with Finn’s page now being a child of that. Rosie’s (child) page will appear this week. The Gens was getting back up and running, right up until I got distracted by the website. We find out tomorrow evening if I can pick it back up again where I left off. I didn’t get any more weeding done but I did get that door waxed.

I’ve been good and took my dad out for a Father’s Day lunch – along with my sister (who’s birthday is soon, so “Happy Birthday!” and my niece – and then out to see Snow White and the Huntsman. My short review: it was never quite as good a movie as it could have been, the controversies / logic flaws (dwarves stand in for dwarves played by taller actors, women must be pure or damaged, lack of religion) were fairly obvious, and there’s a strong Princess Mononoke [IMDB: External Link] influence. Oh, and it has Chris Hemsworth in it, who is quickly becoming a new crush.

Sunday 27th May, 2012

Well, you may have noticed the Strong Women: Perverted By Choice post go up on Wednesday. (And if not, why not?) As I’ve seen The Avengers (Avengers Assemble, here) recently, I rely heavily on it for examples so avoid the post if you don’t want to know what happens. Not that I deliberately set out to spoil things but, you know, examples of character strength here.

It’s another one of those weeks with not much to show for it. I’ve done a bit on The Gens, which suggests that big idea is back up and running and otherwise been waiting to hear back from attempts at short story rehoming.

On the good side, there should be a few non-site-diary updates over the next month. I’ve got some notes for another language-orientated post and, in a fortnight, Rosie comes home. So, expect to see a shuffle around with Finn’s page and a new page for Rosie soon! (To avoid jinxing their meeting, I won’t be putting it up until at least a week after Rosie’s come home.)

Sunday 29th April, 2012

Introducing Rosie

Another week of not much done. Except for watching the rain – sometimes outdoors (work) and sometimes from behind windows wishing it were good enough to go for a proper dog walk. Walking in the rain and getting both Finn and I all clarted up (i.e. muddy) isn’t really an option. I did, however, make another weekend visit to my sister’s. I love my sister dearly but we all know the main motivation. Your clue is to the left. Rosie, whom my niece is determined to turn into a Pink Princess and whom Finn is likely to convert into another Hellhound, is now six weeks old and a champion napper. She can sleep anywhere and in any position.

Other than cuteness, not much to report. I’m working on a beta reading of a friend of a friend’s work and concentrating on it’s kind of interfered with my own writing. Or, perhaps more honestly, I don’t really feel like working on my own stuff at the moment. When I’ve got the reading out the way, I’ll warm up on a blog post on language (hopefully sometime this week or next) and then get back into some fiction ideas. I think the Gens idea has run away and decided not to come back but I have other projects I wanted to get back to and a few newer, smaller ideas I should probably work on if I expect to submit them to the anthologies whose submission requests prodded them into life.