Saturday, September 29, 2007

Mainspring Madness

Currently reading Jay Lake's Mainspring, and it is an excellent way to spend the weekend. Check it out here.

Loved Trial of Flowers and Mainspring is a different kettle of fish, but a no less enjoyable one.

Next cab off the rank Ben Peek's Black Sheep. Spoilt for good reading at the moment.

Shiny is Here

Get yourself a copy of the excellent Shiny here.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Small Change

That's the name of the YA short story I have in the upcoming and inaugural edition of Shiny.

You can check out an extract here and extracts of the other stories, all of which I am sure are going to be excellent, here . I am extremely fond of Small Change. So do yourself a world of good and subscribe, now, now, now, now, now!

As an aside, I found the whole editorial process to be a delight.

And once you do that go here, and buy the next edition of Zahir (14)*, where you'll be able to experience my story Hardeen Reflects on the Dark Arts and his Wife. It's part of a quiet, reflective (and slightly bleak) sequence of stories that are ostensibly about wizards in Brisbane.

*available any day now and, while you're at it, why not subscribe to the magazine?

Sunday, September 23, 2007

The longer I write

short fiction the less I know about the form.

I've been writing short stories since I was five, which makes it coming on to thirty years in December. I think the first story I ever wrote that was any good was my first sale, a story called Threnody to Eidolon way back in 1994. Since then I feel that I've managed to get a handle on basic story structure, which is only useful some of the time, but that is all.

I know that some stories take me a day to write, and that others take a decade, and that sometimes the stories that come out in a burst are better than the cellared-fictions, and sometimes they're worse.

I know that I can't recognise if a story I've written is good or bad, until it's in print, and that I'm fond of all my stories - even the shockers - but I don't expect other people to be fond of them, and am usually surprised if they are.

I rarely know I've finished a story, until I've written past the ending.

I rarely start at the beginning, the beginning is usually somewhere in the middle.

Quite often I miss the two previous understandings (until the story is in print).

I'm never ruthless enough. Even when I write short, it is usually too long.

I'm far too fond of whimsy*. Neither of which have any relevance when it comes to understanding the form, but a little when it comes to understanding me. The same can be said for my less than regular syntax. Must watch those run on sentences.

Sometimes all I know about short stories is that they're short.

I certainly don't trust people who tell me they know how to write short stories.

One of the happiest moments of my writing life was when someone told me that I story I wrote made them cry(not once, but twice, on separate readings) and I had never met them before.

I've really only just started writing novels, so novels, yeah, I know all about writing novels.

Friday, September 21, 2007

I hate to say it...

but I didn't think that Spiderman 3 was that bad.


liked it





still a

kid's movie.


it worked

as an end to the story arc.

It finished

in the right spot.


the glasses of champagne

made it seem better

than it


Perhaps not.

It did rely on

coincidence though







(I even loved the dance sequence)

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Eds and BWFS

Just finished up some edits on a short story that I am extremely fond of for a magazine that I'm very excited about. When I say finished I mean, sort of, there may well be a few more changes to make. The editors of said magazine have impressed (and delighted) me mightily with their rigor and enthusiasm.*

The story should be available very soon, and I'll ramble on about it at length then.


Well, another Brisbane Writers Festival is done and dusted. Didn't get to that many panels, and there were a couple that I was very disappointed to miss, but it was a great few days.

I watched my wife bravely talk to her favourite writer, Armistead Maupin, Diana who is normally too cool for school went all fangirl on him, and Armistead was utterly charming.

Also caught up with Margo, Marianne and Rowena, I have made plenty of friends through my writing, but these guys are family.**

On saturday night, Marianne chaired an interview with the lovely Kevin J Anderson, and a bunch of us sat around afterwards drinking beer, and wine, and watching the beautiful Brisbane river change with the evening. Sure I was nursing a hangover the next day, but it was a fine night, particularly the ride home on the City Cat, there was some serious lighting crackling down over the western edge of Brisbane, no rain though.***

*see that's what this blog needs.
**talking of family...HAPPY BIRTHDAY, KARA! You're starting to make me feel old, sis.
***what an abrupt end to this entry. It's late.

Friday, September 07, 2007


Just watched Sunshine, and well, have to say, what the hell was going on with the end of that movie*? I can totally understand the criticisms of the movie suggesting it was little more than an SF movie that referenced other SF movies**. About the best thing I can say is that there have been few SF movies as pretty as Sunshine, the fx were gorgeous.

And the alternate ending, pray tell, how was it fundamentally different to the ending of the cinematic release?

Possible tagline: In the future, the sun will dim, and everyone will become an emotionless arsehole that you don't care about.

*Sure I'd had a couple of glasses of merlot, but hey, that usually doesn't impinge on my comprehension of movies.

** Silent Running, Alien, Solaris, Event Horizon(see Alien and Solaris).

Rewrite Finished

I've been head down arse up these last two weeks finishing a rewrite of a novel, trying to get to the core of the work, and quick unpick the errant illogical strands that had crept in. But now I am free of it, and the novel is a stronger beast, and I've learnt more about what makes novels tick.

Can't wait to work on some shorts and get back to the first draft of the Brisbane book I've been powering through, and, hopefully, what I've learnt working on this rewrite will feed into that. Meanwhile, I've been sketching my pets - they're about the only thing I like to draw, and, because I have no shame, I give you Ernie and Ziggy, both sleeping because it's the only time they're still enough to sketch*.

*it's sad, I know, but, I don't have kids.

Monday, September 03, 2007

was that a tumbleweed?

My, but it has been quiet here. Still, one less voice cluttering up the blogosphere can't be too bad.

Lots of writing going on, and writing related stuff.
Sent my contract off to Jack Dann for a story of mine that's appearing in his antho Dreaming Again. It's called The New Deal and I'm pretty pleased with it. Working with Jack was an absolute joy and an honour, and just, well, cool.

Also, sold a story to the extremely nice Sheryl Tempchin at Zahir it's called Hardeen Reflects on the Dark Arts and His Wife, it's always lovely to find a home for a story that's dear to your heart and Hardeen was one of those. It should be out in the October edition of Zahir. There's Brisbane, there's beer, and there are ruminations upon love and the dark arts, what more can you want?

And for those who get the Writing Qld Magazine I have an article in there on writing (well, duh) and anxiety, two things I have a reasonable acquaintance with. Thanks to Katherine Lyall-Watson editor of WQ who accepted the article in under ten minutes, making it my fastest acceptance for a piece of writing ever.

Currently reading Sean William's Saturn Returns, nearly finished, and it's been an total delight: certainly a fine addition to the Space Opera genre, and one as entertaining as John Clute's Appleseed, and perhaps not quite as vexing (though I adore Appleseed*).

Talking of Space Operaish delights, if you've not read any Neal Asher Hilldiggers is a fine place to start. There's some quite pointed and timely political commentary* in the book as well, this is as close as Neal's work has come to satire. It may well rate as my favourite of his Polity books. Just like Sean, I really felt he was stretching himself with this book, and loving it. Both novels take you on quite a ride.

Expecting a copy of the New Space Opera in my hands tomorrow, then it might be time to take a break from all the spaceships. Hopefully, Mr Peek's Black Sheep, and Mr Lake's Mainspring will have arrived from O/S by then, and I do have a copy of the new(ish) Chabon to read.

Something that is most definitely not Space Opera is our dog Ziggy, behold him below, in all his cute-sketched-sleepy-puppy-glory.