Friday, December 11, 2009

A Little on Process - Part Two

I know. I do go on about this quite a bit, but when you’re at the end of a second book with a lot (I mean a lot) of editing ahead, it does tend to rub your nose in it. And writing’s a kind of nasal gazing activity, and I’ll be teaching the year of the novel at QWC next year, so how I write novels has very much been on my mind.

You see, I don’t plan them- not one little bit*. I tend to start a novel with a scene that may be the beginning and may be the middle, and I tend to have an end point, but that’s about it. I write in an extremely non-linear fashion. And it seems to work for me. I write and I fill in scenes and jump around, until I’ve written a book length manuscript, and then I move those scenes around, cut and change things, and fill in the gaps.

I write like people shoot films, quite often without any idea of what goes where, just trusting that it does. And sometimes it doesn’t, but usually I’m heading in one direction, even if the scenes don’t appear to at first.

So that first draft is all about energy, about getting the stuff in my head down. The second is about filling in gaps and moving scenes around, and the third and subsequent drafts are all about logic and internal rhythm, and working out what the book is about. Which, as you’d imagine is the longest stage.

I’m at this last stage with Managing Death. The bulk of the manuscript is written, people have suffered, major characters have died (no spoilers there, the books are about Death). And, until today, I hadn’t read the manuscript from A-Z. But now I have, and it makes sense – sort of, which is always an incredible relief to me. My ms is covered with hand written notes and post-it notes, some as detailed as actual scenes and others as vague as “write more here”.

From here I will spend my free time filling in the plot holes, and tidying the writing, looking at the consistency of the voice – it’s a darker story than book one, but the character is the same character and it is his voice that tells the story – and generally working on the novel until it makes sense to me.

Then, some time early next year, I’ll get my structural edits, and that will be the real test. Whether it makes sense to someone else, whether it works, whether the pacing is right, whether it’s funny, or dark enough.

That’s when the next level , the real personally challenging work will begin, because this story won’t just be something spun out of the illogical recesses of my mind it will be a novel with readers, and the questions they ask. And, as a novel, it will work or fail depending on how well I honour that connection. Because the process up to then is all mine, but after that it is a shared thing between me and the editors and the readers of the books. And it goes from being abstract and fun to something solid and capable of failure.

That’s the scary challenge of writing and publishing as opposed to writing alone. And you face that no matter how you get the words down.

Which sounds a lot grimmer than it is, because hey, I love this writing thing, and I’m dying for people to read these books, but I just wanted to share the chaos out of which they come, and the work that goes into making them make sense.

*I’ve tried, but I never read my notes. I just find them months after the event and it’s always interesting (to me) to see how far I’ve actually diverged from those notes (usually a lot).

For the QWC Blog Tour

Where do your words come from?

My head, there’s a long tunnel at the back of it and the words tend to stumble out of there at odd times and with peculiar rhythms. They also tend to come from the past, from dreams and memories, which makes them pretty unreliable, and quick to fade. I’m not that good at catching them, but I get some which is all you can really hope for, I suppose.


Where did you grow up and where do you live now?

I grew up in Gunnedah, until I was fifteen. It’s a smallish country town in North Western NSW. Then I moved to Lismore in Northern NSW for about six years. I live in Brisbane now, and have done for ten years. I love it here.

What’s the first sentence/line of your latest work?

When the day was longer than it is now in the three grand columns of the Lands Found, and all things reduced, Jackknife caught his first wife with a song.

I shouldnt actually be working on that story, but I was taking a break from this one:

There’s a knife cold and sharp, and pressed like a longing for extinction beneath my Adam’s apple.

Which is the first line of Managing Death, bk 2 of Death Works which is coming out at the end of 2010. Of course, it probably won't be once I've worked through the book again, and it's gone through the various editorial stages before publication. You can check in December 2010.

What piece of writing do you wish you had written?

As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner or Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian. They’re both transcendental works of fiction, every word is perfect. Oh, and Wuthering Heights, and The Man in the High Castle, and The Left Hand of Darkness, and To Kill a Mocking Bird. I could go on for pages and pages. Maybe though the one piece of writing I wish I had written is William Blake's The Sick Rose. It's just so evocative and deceptively simple.


O Rose, thou art sick!

The invisible worm

That flies in the night,

In the howling storm,


Has found out thy bed

Of Crimson Joy

And his dark secret love

Does thy life destroy.


Hey, at least I get to type it.


What are you currently working towards?

Getting better, trying to work to deadlines without going crazy, and finishing a good dozen or so projects that have been bubbling away in the back of my skull and on my hard drive for far too long. Which doesn't sound like fun, but it really is. There's a terror and deep, deep pleasure to it all.

Complete this sentence… The future of the book is nothing like anyone expects it to be.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Loud Music

I’ve been furiously working on book two*, after finishing copy edits of book one**.

I’m finding that it’s music that is getting me through the sluggish parts of the day, which are many in a Brisbane Summer. And what is it that I’m listening to. For one a whole heap of stuff by Killswitch Engage – metal seems to keep my mind on target – and then I’ve just started playing a newish album by Lightning Dust there’s a glorious and elegant apocalyptic flavour to their work.

It's funny but through most of the process of writing book one it was Spoon, Okkervil River*** and Gotye until right at the end when I went all Emo. This time around it was mainly Okkervil River, the Editors, and the Decemberists - with a touch of Killswitch at the beginning. I thought this was going to be my Americana book but the pendulum has definitely swung to metal again.

That’s about it as I try to unsnare odd and contradictory plots, and smooth out timelines. Brain is well and truly frazzled.

Hoping to get my read-through edit of book two finished tomorrow. Wish me luck.


*book two being Managing Death.

**Book One being Death Most Definite.

***Still the best band ever and, hands down, my favourite live act.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Aurealis Awards

The Aurealis Awards shortlist has been released, and what a great list it is. Congratulations to everyone that's on it. I've so many friends and favourite stories on this list that I honestly couldn't pick a winner without changing my mind half an hour later. Though it's particularly exciting to see Peter M Ball up for so many awards, and Tansy for her excellent Siren Beat.

Not to mention Keith for his excellent job editing X6 - he deserves it - and Paul Haines for Wives. Hell, it's a great bunch this year so good luck to you all, I'll be coming along for what I reckon will be a fantastic party.

I've been working away furiously on copy-edits for Death Most Definite. Finished them on Friday (I hope, any problems that book possesses are no-one's fault but mine now, I've had some of the best editorial guidance of my life on Death Most - thank you, Hachette) and then had two Xmas parties to attend - with work at Avid in the middle - seriously hit the wall today. Got up to work on a draft of the Business of Death and found I was just too tired* to concentrate at all. So have spent the day recovering, even went off and finished my Christmas shopping.

Now, I'm going to finish reading Jeff Vandermeer's Finch, then play around on what will hopefully become my new website in 2010.



*Okay, I may also have been slightly hung-over.



Saturday, November 14, 2009

These next two weeks

are nose to the grindstone sort of weeks. I'm close to finishing book two, which has been a perilous and fun endeavour, and I reckon isn't a bad book at all, and may even be a good book in which bad things happen.

I spent the last two days in Sydney which was great fun. Firstly the launch of X6 of which Cat Sparks writes about here. I got to feel all authorly and hang out with some of my favourite people, all of whom I count myself lucky to call friends. Even if Terry Dowling makes me feel tongue-tied, I mean, Terry Dowling! I've been reading him since I was a teen - so of course I forgot to get my book signed. And then Margo, I was too busy bullshitting on with her and Steven, to get my book signed. So I've got a half signed copy of X6, maybe I should fly back down to Sydney, just so I can feel a real sense of closure with this book

Keith organised a wonderful launch (damn, another person whose signature I should have gotten, sorry Keith) and he and Nicola were excellent hosts, putting me and Mr Paul Haines up for the night.

I also went to Hachette's offices, home of Orbit Australia, and met the wonderful staff there, and had coffee with my publisher, the lovely Bernadette Foley, and talked about deadlines, and books, and I got to see my cover.

How cool is that!

It's not quite finished, but what I've seen of it is excellent, and it captures the mood of the book, and what the book is very well. The moment I can show it here I will.

Yep, the cover.

The cover that is going to be on my US, UK and AUS editions. Not bad for a Brisbane boy.

Of course, I still managed to get lost on the way to the X6 book launch*, and get caught in a very Brisbanesque** storm - black clouds, crackling lightning, and drenching rain that ran through the city in less than half an hour.

I `ain't that clever.


*Sydney is so much bigger than Brisbane.
**Note how Queenslander's always appropriate the weather. It's what we do - we also wrestle crocodiles, when we're not at Broncos matches.

Monday, November 09, 2009

I work at

Avid Reader, which may just be one of the best bookstores in the world.

I love it there, and it's about my only solid social interaction and break from writing book two (almost there by the way, I don't do word counts here much, because they're dull and that usually doesn't inspire me, but fill me instead with some sort of existential word countish dread, and I start dreaming that I'm being chased by numbers, and stories aren't really numbers, well not that often*). Sure I work Sundays and, sure I have to get up around six in the am to get to work (yes there is a 6am on a Sunday Morning, I used to believe Sundays had a default start of 10 am, but I was wrong) but it's the best place you could ever hope to work.

And it keeps me sane(ish).

Avid has a new website up, and it's worth checking out. There's some great video of various book launches and what not, and some fabulous readings. Follow the link and you'll come across a little of the reason - in cyber form - that I love working there.









*Q. what's your novel about?
A. 90,000 words.


Thursday, November 05, 2009

A Link of Neatness

Storms have raced through Brisbane. We missed the worst of them here, though the lightning was spectacular.

I've had a slowish day writing wise. Just a bit under six hundred words, but they were important words. I'm glad I took it easy, I'm actually quite anxious to hit the novel tomorrow. I've that deep desire to push ahead and take my characters with me, which I certainly didn't have today - though I now have a relatively clean fishpond, and a replacement pump for the one that died*. So, hey, the fish are winners and I'm hungry to write.

Talking of writing there's a fab interview with Angela Slatter here. Angela is one of the most talented writers I know and she has some words of wisdom. My favourite being "Your guiding light has to be desire." You can put that into context by following the link.

Angela's a writer to watch**. She has been for years now. Expect her to explode in the coming year. Not literally but literaturally (yes, I just lamely invented a word, see that's why I stopped at six hundred words today).







*Yes I have fish. Three gold fish, it used to be five, but one of the bigger fish got hungry...
**Which is just code for "Trent is extremely jealous of her talent."

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Oh, and I'll also be doing this

Digital Pizza

7-9pm Tuesday 3 November - A cross-platform Writing Race with beginner, emerging and published authors. Held simultaneously at QWC and AWMonline, come on your own or grab your writing buddy, and join in this fun and productive casual writing group to boost your NaNoWriMo word count or just get your Write On for 2009!
Special guests: Writing Race Captain Kim Wilkins, online Captain Trent Jamieson

To get involved in Digital Pizza at QWC, call to book on 07 3839 1243
(cost: $10 on the door, towards pizza and goodies).

Wake up, Trent!

It's been a while since I've updated this blogs details. I mean, I didn't even have a link to Orbit in my linkage section, nor a reference to the Death Works books in my bio. Now that's just not on, I mean, talk about shooting yourself in the foot!

So, just in case you don't know. I have novels coming out in the next eighteen months. Three of them. They're about Death. Death in Australia. They're fast, they're funny, and people die in them. Lots of people. You can't write about Death, and not have death - well, you could I suppose, actually that would be a story in itself.

They also contain; something called an Orpheus Manoeuvre; Sentient muttering stone knives known as Bib and Bub; and a giant Moreton Bay Fig that extends in a creaking (always creaking) rickety way over an Underworld Brisbane. Think of that tree, over two kilometres high and branching out from Mt Coot-tha, it's massive root buttresses swinging down the mountain, blades of wood the size of a three-lane freeways cutting into the rich soil of the land of the dead.

I know, I keep on about it. But these books are very major part of my life right now, and I'm dying for people to read them. I want to know what people think about Steven de Selby - I mean, I love the guy, but he could do with a real kick sometimes - not to mention Lissa Jones, and the ominous Mr D.

In far less than twelve months I'll find out.

Scary.


Reviews

I've had a couple of stories out of late, which is nice because with the novels coming out next year I've not had a lot of time (well, no time) to write short stories. So my story in Aurealis and my novella in X6 are about the only fiction of mine that is likely to see the light of day until late 2010 - that said, I do have a few shorts on the backburner and they may get some work done on them after I finish book two this month, or I may just collapse in one corner of my study and stare blankly into space for a month.

Both stories have gotten some nice reviews over at Not if You Were the Last Short Story on Earth. The coolest thing is that the reviewers have gotten what I was trying to do - which, heaven help me means I might have actually managed to achieve it.

Jamieson develops a compelling galaxy riven by turmoil and - as clever storytellers manage* - balances it finely with a very personal love story. It's the sort of story that dragged me on: there was no way I could not know what happened to those characters.

Random Alex

An ambitious space opera in miniature, this novella has the real feel of an old-fashioned SF adventure. Except for the fact that old-fashioned SF adventures usually bore the pants off me! This one has an appealingly flawed protagonist, a compelling AI whose voice gets creepier and more interesting with every new insight into its point-of-view, and some damn good writing. I particularly like the exploration of the relationship between Jack (human) and Trip (cat/AI/ship), which evokes the classic Ship Who Sang issues in a New Millenium kind of way. I also suspect deeply that there's some Stainless Steel Rat homage going on in here - and if not, it certainly has that feel to it!

Tansy Rayner Roberts

How cool. Good reviews are nice when you get 'em, though I never expect them, because, to be brutally honest, by the time a story has seen print I am usually over it - the flavours been chewed out of it and all I can see are large passages of clunk and things I would do differently because of the stuff I've learnt writing the story in the first place and writing subsequent stories. I'm a person very suspicious of my prose.

Still, Iron Temple was my first - and probably last - real stab at Space Opera and I was chasing some big dashes of rollick leavened with melancholy and, for two readers at least it, worked.

Tansy had nice things to say about my Aurealis story too - Neighbourhood of Dead Monsters. Which is very cool because I like to impress Tansy, she's one of my perfect readers (as well as being a very exciting writer and ROR mate) but very hard to please - happens when perfect reader meets less than perfect writer - so I'm always chuffed if she likes one of mine.

On the matter of X6, I'm reading the novellas now, and they're very good - seriously, I'm still bowled over that I'm in there, really, it's some very excellent real estate.

Which segues to:

I'll be in Sydney Thursday week for the book launch.

Details below.

Berkelouw Books Leichhardt (upstairs) 70 Norton Street, Leichhardt NSW Thursday 12th November, 2009 7.00pm

Come along if you're in the area, it's going to be a lot of fun.




*Blush



Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tomorrow

is a big day. The death march for Death Most Demanding's structural edits. I know it's as good as I can get it, but there's always that desire to do a little more (Tempered by the feeling that every sentence is clunky and every character's motivations suspect) and fear that I haven't done enough - or, conversely too much.

I'm itching to get Managing Death finished. I love my protag. Steven de Selby is fun to write, but you can spend too much time in a single character's head, and I've spent most of 2009 in Steven's head (or he's spent it in mine). I worry about him a lot. He's not a hero in the traditional sense and he goes to some pretty dark places - the kind of things I obsess about in my writing like they're a sore tooth that you can't stop running your tongue over until it bleeds.

Not the healthiest mind set to constantly inhabit. I'm looking forward to a couple of weeks off in January. Though I really want to see him through to the end of the next book, things only grow darker and I don't like leaving my characters alone. You know how it is.




Monday, October 26, 2009

Finally

the rain has come, the roof is singing, and I’m in the middle of my final read through of my structural edits for Death Most Definite. The book is going off to Orbit no later than Wednesday, and I’m doing a desperate last minute rush to make sure there are as few discrepancies, typos and passive sentences as possible for the next stage – the copyedit.

At this stage I am far too close to the novel to do anything but this line-by-line focus. I can’t tell if it works, if the pacing is right, if it even makes sense. Fairly standard feelings at this stage in the lifecycle of writing a book. At the same time I’m beating book two Managing Death into shape, there are some scenes in that novel that I am very proud of. In this final stage of getting the draft completed things are still exciting to me, but I can feel the lure of book three The Business of Death on the horizon – which is about right too.

Well, head down, arse up. There's books to be written.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Once a month

does not a vibrant blog make.

I'll be better, I promise.

This is my favourite little ramble-home, knitted up with my lit loves, and I've been so neglectful of late. That's because deadlines loom and the world has been a bit nasty (as the world often is - not to say that it isn't also wonderful, but it's a wonderful with teeth and an ironic sense of humour).

But I'll find more words for this space. Dear little blog has grown most gaunt, and for no reason but my own distraction.

It's draw a line in the sand time at Trentonomicon. Starting now.

Current things that excite me include:

1. Nearly finishing Managing Death - it's getting close, very close.

2.Jeff Vandermeer's new novel Finch - I was lucky enough to hear him read from it, which is really lucky considering the rather large distances that separate Qld from Florida.

3.My little bookclub at Avid. The Science Fiction Sunday folk who have let me and my partner in crime Paul Landymore direct their reading these last twelve months with everything from Moorcock to Mirrlees and de Pierres. We just finished reading Lud-in-the-Mist. How many reading groups read Lud-in-the-Mist after reading Behold the Man? They're a great bunch - and any Brisbanites are invited to join follow this link

4.My wife who has finally entered the digital age and bought a lap-top. A greater leap I have never seen her take. Of course, she always excites me - who else puts up with my jokes.

5.The possibility of rain tomorrow. Three wet days. All I need to blast deadlines into oblivion.

I'll let you know about 5, and 1 soon. Though 2 threatens to stall 1. 2 is extremely hard to resist - but I must, though we'll probably discuss it in 3. I wonder if 4 will check up on this?






Thursday, October 08, 2009

So

it's been quiet. Quiet is good. Quiet means that I've been busy, and that I've been working. And I always figure that it's better to be quiet here, than quiet on the writing front.

X6 is out. I finally picked it up from the PO box a few days ago - well, Diana did, bless her wonderful peripatetic heart. It's a fabulous looking volume. I haven't had a chance to do more than dip into it, but it looks great and anything that contains novellas by Margo Lanagan, Paul Haines, Cat Sparks, Terry Dowling, and Louise Katz is a must hunt down and buy at all costs.

You can check it out here.


Sunday, September 06, 2009

For Me it's All About Being Creative

Writing is about play.

For me that's the most important part. It's the joyous fusion of words to make cool sentences and stories. The snout that sniffs after obsessions. It's about making shit up. It's about getting into someone else's head with the most elegant and inadequate tool we possess. It's about yelling, look at me! Before you tumble into a heap. It's about being the fool, and the oracle, and hoping that your stuff doesn't stink too badly.

Writing is about surprising yourself. It's a ship of verse, a rattling hearse with two flat tyres. It's sitting on your arse and typing till your fingers ache and your eyes burn. It's scrawling in notebooks on the bus.

It's the most terrifying thing I do.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Busy like a bee that's busy

Everything is busy-ness this week. I've worked out that between Avid and teaching (well, mainly marking) I've worked over a fifty hour week, and it's only wednesday. On top of that I've managed to get some work on my structural edit done.

Book two has languished a little this week, though I think that's a good thing. It's given me plenty of time to run various plot permutations through in my head - which happens at the most inconvenient times, usually in the middle of conversations or when someone is spelling their name at work. It's good to have some tension between what you're writing and the real world, it's then that you realize just what a comfort writing, and the act of writing is. It's joyous unconsidered comfort.

So, at this stage what have I got? Well, a reasonably well structured first quarter of book one - with logic holes plugged, and some clunky sentences removed - and a very rough, very shallow first draft - really little more than bones and hollow ones at that - but there's something there.

So not too bad.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Structural Edits and a Week of Hard Work Ahead

This was a week of distractions, as I tried to get my head around my structural edits. It wasn't so much that I disagreed with them - in fact I think I'm very very much on the same page(s) (and pages) with my editors - but how to get started.

I opted, as I often do, with the sidewise approach. A book of post it notes, a notepad, and lots of scrawling on the manuscript as well.

The story's already looking more cohesive - and post-it-note covered - and there's some nice character notes that weren't quite as pronounced in the draft I sent to Orbit. What's more I'm starting to get a better feel for book two. There were several story threads I'd actually forgotten about (oh, the shame) that explain things I was reaching for (without quite knowing why) in book two.

If I can pull this off book two will be rather entertaining indeed. Thanks too to my friend Krissy Kneen and her loan of the Penguin Book of Death. Another neat addition to my Death reading, are the works of Sir James George Frazer. Research is colour and breadth, my friends. And it's such a lot of fun. I really hope people enjoy my rather cut-up approach to death folklore. I'm a bit of a magpie, if something glitters in the right way I have to have it.

Have just started watching the Wire. What a fabulous series, between it and True Blood season two, I've more than enough television viewing for the next couple of months.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Not such a productive day

wrote about a thousand words, bumped against a brickwall, and, because we haven't been to the cinema since sometime in April, Diana and I headed off to see Coraline.

I enjoyed it quite a bit, not as much as the book, but, well, the book and the movie are rather different creatures. Still it was dark and bright and pacy, and the animation was superb.

However, my bespectacled eyes are not designed for 3 D glasses. They're just not. So, four hours later, and I've only just gotten rid of my headache.






Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Death in the Works

Things have been busy beneath the placid surface of Lake Trentonomicon. I taught a workshop on short story writing at Rockhampton on the weekend - which was a lot of fun, and, as usual, when I do these things I learnt a hell of a lot as well.

In the background, I've been furiously working on book 2 of Death Works - Managing Death. I'm hoping to have a draft finished by the end of August middle of September, so things will be very quiet around here for a while yet.

Excitingly the first book - Death Most Definite - is now up on Amazon.uk including a little blurb. Check it out. The structural edits of book one arrived in the post today. It all seems to be coming together. Spent most of the day walking around the house, cleaning, and trying to factor in some rather large changes in the first book that have rather important and (hopefully) interesting implications for the next one - let's just say big betrayals are afoot.

At the same time Aurealis 42 is now available. A new Lucy Sussex or Geoff Maloney story is always a reason for celebration. I'm in there too, with about the only short story I am likely to see published this year. It's called Neighbourhood of Dead Monsters and I'm rather fond of it.

Oh, and there was a storm.


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Sometimes it's the little

milestones that keep you going. I broke the 30k mark on the new novel today, wrote some rather harrowing scenes - the sort that pick at your personal fears - and started filling in some scenes that were rather loose.

My first drafts are rather windswept affairs, high on feeling and action, and not so full of sense, but the story is taking root and I 'm starting to catch sight, over this hill and that dale of text, of the ending, and I'm thinking that this book may even be better than the first one.

What's even more important is that, while each of these books is a separate entity, I now have a very clear picture of what the next book is going to be (and, heaven help me, if I get a chance to write it, the one after that).

I never thought I'd get a chance to create my own mythos*, but I have, and I'm taking a deathly** serious stab at it. How often do you get the opportunity to probe the loose teeth of your psyche and get paid for it?


*Though if you're interested I have another story cycle, which has something of a conclusion in this. Though I do want to write more stories about a certain cattish ship called Trim when I have time.

**yes, that really is a horrible pun.

Monday, July 27, 2009

A Little Linkage - It's all I have time for.

Peter Singer has written an interesting piece on the importance of an education in the Humanities here.

Certainly worth checking out.

And that increasingly exciting writer, Peter M Ball has written a fine story, read it here.

We're in the middle of a great and wonderful ferment in Australian SF. So much good stuff is happening. There's hardly a day when I don't come across some interesting bit of Australian SF, or hear of some new book coming out.

I mean we've new novels by Marianne de Pierres to look forward to, Richard Harland's Worldshaker is getting about, and there's a Deborah Biancotti short story collection nearly out. How can you not be excited?

And then my dear friend, and Avid colleague, Krissy Kneen's new book is being launched on Thursday. Let me tell you, this book is going to explode, and then the explosions are going to explode. It's not SF, but it comes from that honest place that all good books come from - and I'm not talking about Alstonville.

So what's getting past my radar?

Let me know, what I'm missing or have forgotten, or what you're writing, if you have more time than I do.

It's certainly more exciting than word counts and photos of me staring slack jawed at the camera from the dim distance of my holidays - oh, those halcyon days, I do miss you.


Monday, July 20, 2009

So, I'm a Tolkien Tragic


Yes, I've heard that Sean Bean is going to be playing Lord Eddard Stark in the HBO adaptation of A Game of Thrones which is very cool, but I'm even more excited by this. They've started rebuilding Hobbiton for the adaptation of the Hobbit. I'm such a LOTR tragic that I've actually been there (and Rivendell, and a whole bunch of other LOTR locations in NZ). The Hobbit is one of those wonderful books from my childhood. I was already reading Science Fiction by then, thanks to Dr Who, but the Hobbit was the book that got me reading fantasy, and is probably the reason I still see my self as a fantasist.

So here's me indulging in my dagdom to the max.

Here I am standing outside of a hobbit home. Note I am a little taller than the average hobbit.


Diana and I squat uncomfortably in Bag End


And here's a bored local.

A day later, Diana was so embarrassed by her geekdom that she jumped off this*









*yes, that is my wife. I stayed bravely on the ground, someone had to guard our things.

Today was

a productive day.

Three thousand and a bit words, which is pretty good for me - and I even managed to clean the bathroom. I now know all the major threads of the story, and I'm even beginning to understand my character's motivations - thank goodness for that, eh.

This stage of the writing process is very much like wiping the steam off the bathroom mirror and discovering that you have a good half dozen scary, horrible, and, hopefully, interesting things standing behind you.

Still a lot of steam to remove though.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Buranda State School Fete and Science Fiction Sunday



I had a fun day at the Buranda State School Fete, talking about writing and books, with school kids and parents, and hanging out with Louise Cusack and Meg Vann - it was great to get to know them a little better.

Thanks to Anthony Brown for organising the whole thing. It's a fantastic school, and I managed to pick up a swag of really cool secondhand books at one of the stalls. I now have a very well -loved copy of T.H. White's Once and Future King, a book I've always wanted to read but have never gotten around to, and an equally loved copy of Ray Bradbury's S is for Spaceship. I ended up with six books in various states of belovedness, and now have two thirds of LOTR with cool covers from the seventies (yeah, it's a weakness, like buying copies of the Ballantine edition of Lud-in-the-Mist whenever I find it*)





*Talking of which we'll be discussing Hope Mirlees' classic novel in an upcoming SF Sunday at Avid Reader. We're** doing a lot of cool stuff with SF Sunday, our next meeting's in a couple of weeks where we'll be discussing psychedelic fiction and then reading Michael Moorcock's classic Behold the Man.

**that being the hyper organised much less flighty and given to rambling Paul Landymore


A Bit more on Slights - Warning. May Contain Enthusiasm

So I'm not the one for indepth criticism, and I've been known to get madly enthusiastic. But there's so much interesting fiction being written in Australia right now. More authors than I can name without forgetting someone, and that's not counting my ROR family: all of whom are thrilling me with their fiction.

Slights is Kaaron Warren's first book from Angry Robot (she has another two coming) and I can't wait to see them. Slights is to Australian Horror what The Shining was to American. I honestly believe that if anyone ever says to you that the Great Australian Horror novel hasn't been written then you can point to Slights, or bash them over the head with it. It's a masterpiece of voice, a bleak and haunting novel that gets it's hooks into you and yanks, all the while scratching its broken nails down the blackboard of your psyche.

Kaaron Warren has set the standard by which all future Australian horror novels will have to be judged*.

That is all.


*of course, feel free to disagree, but I'm glad I'm not writing horror.



Thursday, July 16, 2009

Slow and Ache Aloud

Slow and Ache is up and aloud at Terra Incognita, Keith Stevenson's SF podcasting site. Check out all the other stories there too.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Sometimes when

the writing’s not going as well as I would like, and I get a bit grumbly, I suddenly remember what it is I’m doing, and how bloody lucky I am.

I’m getting to write three books about Death, my favourite literary character (or nature incarnate or whatever). I’m getting to put my own stamp on it, and that’s a very cool opportunity to have. Sure, I’m not the first, the last, or even the only one doing it, but I’m the only me doing it, and if I’d told my fifteen year old SF writing self that this is what I would end up writing about, he’d have looked at me and said: Of course.*

That fifteen year old always knew I’d have a shot at this. He was a pretty dreadful writer, and the progenitor of a lot of my bad writerly habits (run-on sentences anybody?) but he never stopped believing that this was where I was headed. Of course, he expected it to happen a lot sooner. Fifteen year olds always do.

So, yeah, I’m writing about Death. Even on the worst days that cheers me. You rarely get the chance to write (in a paid capacity with real books coming out) exactly what you want. I hope people will want to read them just as much as I’ve wanted to write them.




*He’d have also asked, when I got the glasses and if that wasn’t caused by something that fifteen-year-old boys are fond of to distraction.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Coming up.

From July 15 over at Terra Incognita you'll be able to hear me read Slow and Ache. There's been some fabulous readings from the likes of Bill Congreve, Cat Sparks and Jason Nahrung. Definitely worth checking out. And, if you're interested in finding a partial context for my upcoming novella Iron Temple, Slow and Ache is a good start.

This story won me an Aurealis Award back in 2005, and was read by about ten people, so if you want to know what all the fuss was about - and if it was J.F. (Justified Fuss*) check it out .


* not to be confused with F.J. (Fuss Justified): the distinction is subtle, but it's there.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Slights

I bought a copy of Kaaron Warren's novel Slights at work (my other work, yes I have three jobs) yesterday. What an utterly compelling read, if I wasn't being such a disciplined writer (yes, I can be, thank you very much) I would have given myself over to it.

Kaaron like Margo Lanagan*, and, well, like all my favourite writers, is at once disturbing, dark, and utterly truthful, in the way that good fiction is truthful. It's a wounding, powerful and fascinating read - I'm utterly jealous of her.

Get yourself a copy today.

*who's been in the news of late - you know you're doing something right when you make a bit of a stir.

I'm not

a big fan of word counts - though I'm always curious to see what other writers are up to, it's never really the number of words that I'm interested in but the particular words used and their combination with other words, that make up the molecular chemistry of their stories. Which is really just to say that numbers aren't that exciting, unless they're your numbers.

The words I got down today are very much keeping me on track - hoping to have a rough (very rough) draft of the next book finished in the next six weeks. Also discovered a few things I didn't know about my characters, which is always exciting - one of my leads is developing a drinking problem (and, no, that is not autobiographical), another is seeing rather too much of themselves in a person they despise, and Snowball Earth is proving to be an important and rather unexpected plot point.

I've pretty much put down the pivotal scenes, and am starting to link them up and, in the linking, see what's working and what isn't. If it all goes to plan I should have a cohesive draft by the middle of August. Fingers crossed, eh.

A few things arrived via email and the post today that made me feel rather chuffed - including the copyedits of Iron Temple (maybe the last Space Operaish thing I ever write. Keith Stevenson's done a fabulous job, and I don't think I made it easy on him) and a package from Orbit of some very enticing novels - more about these later, eh.

Iron Temple's noisy and messy, and I'm really very nervous about it. I know X6 is going to be fabulous but that story burned serious holes in my cortex. I'll be interested to see how it's received. In fact, I'll be interested in what I think about it when I read the copyedit.


Wednesday, July 01, 2009

A Typical Writing Day

Today was a typical writing day. Once I'm in a project the writing doesn't really stop, the file stays open and I'm back and forwards, adding things, thinking about things. Trying to find the right way to describe a character's movements, or their voice, or the way a particular bit of the world works.

The writing tends to fuse with the rest of my day creating a bit of tension between what's going down on the page and what's distracting me from it. It seems to work, but is never really all that relaxing. That said, it's one of my favourite bits of the novel writing process. It's still all new and shiny and full of possibility - particularly in the things that I can link up to the previous book. There's a lot of dialogue, a lot of action, and not a lot of concrete detail - that's for draft two, when I try and sort out the logic not only of plot, but of space, and motion (oh, and what the hell it is that I'm actually saying).

Another twenty thousand words and things will be a bit more of a challenge, but at the moment I'm still finding connections with the stuff I'm writing and the stuff I've written, and it's all rather fun.

My turn to cook dinner.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Some things to get Excited About

There's a whole heap of stuff be excited about if you're a reader of a somewhat dark and fantastical bent.

For one Jeff Vandermeer has podcast the first chapter of his new Ambergris novel Finch. You can click to it from his blog here. He's going to do the whole thing in November, but, for now, this will have to be enough. Can't wait to see the book in print.

And then there's China Mieville's new novel "The City and The City" and who wouldn't be excited about that? A police procedural that explores the idea of crosshatched spaces. A term I first came across in Clute and Grant's Encyclopedia of Fantasy and, as John Clute says, "Crosshatches invite journeys*." Who better to take you on such a journey than Mieville?

I mean, all cities are essentially crosshatched. There are things that we let ourselves ignore when we're walking down the street, when we're living our lives, because they makes us feel uncomfortable (or stretch our own belief in our own compassion). Or maybe you're all better than me - I sincerely hope you are.

Oh, and then there's Peter M Ball's excellent noirish novella Horn. Twelfth Planet Press are one of the most exciting small presses in Australia - and I'm not just saying that because they've published some of my shorts. If you're after a dose of grit with your urban fantasy you really can't go past Horn. Buy yourself a copy here.


*Oh, and he says a lot more - but my dinner smells like it's just about ready

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Ziggy Sleeping


After a night of chasing Chris and Sandra McMahon's kids around the house - while we adults discussed the serious matters of the world (and I lent Chris one of Glen Cook's great Dread Empire novels) - Ziggy collapses into a deep and dreamless slumber - you can tell when he's dreaming, he yips and yaps and scrawls weird automatic poems onto yellow pieces of card.


Good night all.



A Little on Process

And I mean a little. Having written a little on my process (or lack of) over at ROR, along with Tansy and Rowena, I think the most important thing is to not get too hung up on it, or on how anyone else writes.

I used to panic, or feel an immense sense of guilt, if I wasn't approaching my writing in the same manner as writers I admired. But the truth is you can only do what you can do, which isn't to preclude being open to change, but an acceptance of this can remove a lot of the anxiety tied up in writing. And anxiety can stop you dead.

It's the end result that matters, talking about how I get there is often like snatching at smoke. I really don't know. I sit down, think really hard, and write. And then I work on that until it succeeds, or it doesn't - and a lot of the time it's the later, and a lot of the time I don't really have a clue.

I'm happier when I don't think too hard about the process at all, and just inch my way to end.

That's about as honest as I get.

Friday, June 26, 2009

It's Finally Official

So, it's true - it still doesn't feel like it, and I've had a couple of months to digest it - I've sold three books of a series called Death Works to Orbit UK, US, and Australia. The first one called Death Most Definite will be launching at World Con in Melbourne next year, the second around Christmas 2010, and the third around Easter 2011.

I've got a lot of work to do, but this is a series I've been chipping away at for years so the groundwork is pretty much laid. It's bleak, it's funny (I hope), it's Australian, and it's about my favourite obsession: Death.

I promise I'll provide more details later, but the next year is going to see me hunkered down and writing. There'll be a lot of blood, sweat, tears, and a considerable amount of beer.

Thanks to Marianne de Pierres, who kicked this book out of me* ( I swear it would still be just a couple of chapters if she hadn't pushed me to finish it) and Deonie Fiford who helped me beat a rough first draft into shape. Oh and then there's my family ROR - best writing group ever! And Diana, always Diana because she has to put up with me wandering around the place in a vague state of writerliness, instead of out in the world earning money, and she's never complained once.

So, yeah, that's my news. Me and Orbit, how cool is that?



*and who I don't think gets nearly enough acknowledgement for all the wonderful things she's done for a lot of Australian SF writers. She's amazing, and I'm lucky to count her as not only a colleague but a dear friend

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

It being



a rather productive day, and a good day to blog, I thought, well, why not? I'm up to my elbows in a new(old) book and am loving its squelchiness. The words are sloshing around nicely thank you very much, and some of them are even splattering onto this poor neglected blog.
There's a picture of the dear creature below should you have forgotten him.




I'm promising to feed him, and even get him a new pair of pants. Soon enough he should look like this. What a merry old fellow.





Blog coming to your door.










You know you're deeply embedded in your thirties when...

you start listening to A-ha's Take on Me without a sense of irony. Can my forties be too far away?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

No, I haven't died

It's amazing what a house move can do to crush your spirit, particularly when it's combined with a nasty cold, a major weather event, assignment marking, and almost total lack of internet access. Well, the house move is almost done - other than the stuff in storage - the cold is little more than a lingering cough, and I have internet access!

Spirit is slowly uncrushing, particularly when combined with the various bits of excitement on the horizon, not to mention the increasing order of my study - I can actually find my dictionaries now. Productivity gradually increases, now if I can just get rid of this cough...

And the new place is lovely. The other day there was a koala (and its baby) in a gum tree, just behind our fence, and a pretty faced wallaby chewing on leaves nearby. Nice to know there is a ready supply of food.

In my spare moments, I'm reading Richard Morgan's "The Steel Remains" which has to stand as one of the finest pieces of Heroic Fantasy written in years - excellent stuff.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Never Try and Move House on the Wettest day in Decades

Well, we were supposed to move house today, and tomorrow I was going to blog about the whole thing. The last few months have been rather dislocating to say the least. So, it's been head down, getting the work done that's needed to be done, and waiting, surrounded by a wall of boxes, until we moved out and into our new place.

Which was supposed to be today, until the heavens opened up. Looks like it's going to be a few more days. But then, in new house, and unpacked, expect much more regular programming. I'm itching to fill this space with things, and news and musings, or maybe even relocate.

We'll see...

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Balloon Landings and Five Hundred Words

Today has already involved a nearby balloon landing - which actually looked like it was going to be in our backyard, and which freaked out the dogs mightily - a coffee - which even with the 15% surcharge seemed remarkably expensive - a perusal of the paper, and five hundred words of a scene that ends with a hand gripping my protagonist's shoulder*. 

So fairly productive, so far.


*I'm putting my character through hell in this story, and am finding it painful to write, as I'm prodding a few obssessive sore points of my own. Hopefully there's a few laughs in there too.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

This Writerly Life o' Mine

One of the joys of the Writerly Life tm is that just a couple of moderately successful writing events (a few plot problems solved, a couple of pages of draft written) can lift a rather crappy day into a good one. Writing can be very potent medicine.

And, how good is the Fleet Foxes Album*? Perfect for writing, and long moonlit walks down lonesome streets.

Talking of bands and such, only two and a bit weeks until Okkervil River play the Zoo. You know you want to see them.



*Yeah, I know, they're so yesterday.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Interfretting

Today I've been a bit worried by just how quiet I've become on my blog. Not much is ostensibly afoot, so I've been interfretting. 

It has been quiet around here - my brain has been focussed on other things, and this little bit o' the web gets neglected and grows little cobwebs of its own. Still, there's doings afoot, readings and writings, and whatnot, maybe even a couple of sketches of the dogs: you might be so lucky.

It's not just the bloggery, that's caused this interfretting, I'm a bit behind in keeping up with what's been going on. Anything interesting that I've missed out on?



Monday, April 13, 2009

Back from Lismore

through the driving rain, with two dogs on my lap. It's been a while since a trip from Lismore has broken the three hour mark, but this did it (un)comfortably.

Still, we're home, though not for too much longer. We've already had a bit of interest in our place, and I get the feeling we'll be out sooner than later. I'm going to miss this unit, but it's time for change. A study where I can't hear the television would be nice.

Hope you all had a fine easter break.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Weekends

are never what you expect them to be. I was hoping to pop into Supernova, but ended up visiting the storage unit where, increasing bits of our book collection are headed. We're getting our house ready for market and the decluttering has begun in earnest, which is a good thing, as we only have a couple of days to go. 

I'm starting to realise how spacious a place can be when you remove a couple of thousand books from it. 

I love books, not just for their contents, I love the smell of them, the weight of them, but sometimes I think I would be so much better off if I could contain my entire library in just one handheld device (come to think of it, if I had the money, I could).

And then I could collect wind-up robots instead...




Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Slights

In case you haven't heard, Kaaron Warren has three (count em, three) new books coming out through Angry Robot. The first is called Slights, and it looks very interesting indeed - which it will no doubt be, as Kaaron is one of Australia's finest short story writers.

And the cover, well, it's a mite disturbing. You can check it out here

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Some days you get more exciting news than you could possibly expect, and then, well, you can't tell anyone about it, so you start referring to it tangentially, which is better than nothing. 

This was one of those days, so, well, crikey.  If something like this were to happen tomorrow I wouldn't believe it. I actually checked the calendar to make sure.

The moment I can say something official I will, but I am excited in a rambling and non-specific way.

Think I might take the dogs for a walk.

And, yes, Okkervil River is touring next month. 

Monday, March 30, 2009

Sometimes

you work on a project that just seems to take up so much mental space that you end up feeling like you're under a cloud every single day, a low black cloud that has you hunched over - much as I am hunched over the keyboard now - and frowning. 

Which isn't to say that it isn't fun as well, but jeez Iron Temple has taken a lot out of me, and I think I've learnt as much how not to write a novella as how to write one, and that next time I get the chance to - if there is a next time - I'll work on something a little less complex - maybe my boy and his monster idea (set around the Gunnedah golf course) or maybe something with only one POV character.

I just wanted to do something very different for X6, and I don't know if it's worked or not.  To be honest I'm so close to it that I'll never really be able to judge, but at the moment it's clunky and glorious, and difficult, and stupid and glimmering. All of which I kind of wanted it to be. And it may just suck - which I certainly don't want - but you'll get the chance to see in a few months when it comes out.  And if it doesn't work, no loss to you, dear reader, there's five other wonderful novellas in there.

Of course, my ego will be somewhat bruised if it is awful. But the amount I've bled over this, and the stuff I've learnt, well maybe that doesn't matter. If it's a failure, then it's an ambitious one - that's got to mean something, right?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

In Which

I beg your pardon for a less than frequent bloggerly presence, but rest assured there are some writings afoot.

It seems that Summer is not my friend, last two years I have been visited over January to March, with the worst sort of fatiguey virus, which has made everything a wee (well a great honking) bit of a struggle. But, now Brisbane has entered a slightly more temperate period, I'm starting to feel much better.

Iron Temple is almost re-writ - and this time I believe it makes a sort of sense. I've longer projects ahead and shorter, and I am suddenly starting to feel that I might finish them all.

Life is good.

And when life is good the words follow.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

X6 the cover Exists

Well, check out this cover for the X6 novella anthology.
If you're interested in seeing the development of the design check it out here. Must say that I've loved working with Keith, he's an editor that really drags the best stuff out of you.

I'm busily engaged in rewrites of Iron Temple, and expect to have it finished next week - I promise, Keith. This has certainly given my enthusiasm a shot in the arm. I'm quite proud of what I've done, and as I iron (hee hee) out the clunkiness I think it might be rather good.






Tuesday, March 17, 2009

ROR and Back Again

Back from a wonderful weekend of critiquing, catching up with friends, and eating some damn fine food, thanks to Mr. Flinthart's cooking. My critiques were vague and rambling, more so than usual this time, but I now know how to kick my novel into shape, and where I was being lazy and where I wasn't.

I'm already missing everyone terribly, and 2011 is far, far too far away. This Ror, I predict, is going to see some very wonderful novels move into print, and I'm proud to say that I've gotten to read them first.

On the plus side, this blog should start rambling and shambling again. You thought it was dead, didn't you? Well, it wasn't. It's been watching you.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Clarion South Needs a Hand

This hasn't been the bloggiest blog of late, though I expect that to change in the near future. This entry isn't about me.

Clarion South needs a hand. Having taught at Clarion South, I can say what a wonderful job they do. It's professionaly and passionately run, and just a hell of a good workshop.

I just received this from Kate Eltham:

You probably heard on the grapevine - and our most recent students experienced it first hand - that we encountered a few challenges indelivering the latest Clarion South workshop. Not only was our contractwith our original venue at Griffith University cancelled at shortnotice, requiring us to find a new and more expensive home, but we hadnot one but three (!) unexpected tutor cancellations.

We're proud of the way we handled these challenges to deliver anothersuccessful workshop in 2009, but financially it wiped us clean. We'dlove your help and support to refill the coffers so that we can plan forour future workshops and put Clarion South on a more stable financialfooting.Australia is fortunate to have a thriving, supportive community of speculative fiction writers.

We're grateful for the enthusiasm and support you've shown to Fantastic Queensland and Clarion South in the past. We appreciate any small token of support you canprovide at this time. There are a few ways you can help...

1. Donate to our Fundraising AppealSimply go to http://www.clarionsouth.org/donate.htm to make a PayPaldonation directly to Clarion South. We know it's not the best time belaunching an appeal, just after Christmas, during a global financial meltdown, and during some very real human crises such as the Victorian Bushfires. You have our heartfelt appreciation for even very small donations, and if you are not in a position to give, that is perfectlyokay.

2. Spread the wordEven if you can't donate to the Appeal we would love your support tospread the word about our fundraising drive. By the end of March we are hoping to raise $4,000 for Clarion South. If you know any friends whoare sympathetic to the aims and activities of Clarion South, please letthem know - via Facebook, MySpace, your blog or any other means.We'll have a Facebook group up shortly, but in the meantime, please feelfree to direct people to our website at http://www.clarionsouth.org

Thank you in advance for your love and support. We're incrediblypassionate about Clarion South and would like to see it thrive andcontinue into the future.

Your contribution can help make this a reality.If you have any questions at all, or can think of any other suggestions,we'd love to hear from you. Feel free to call me direct on 0407 695 950 at any time, or email us at info@clarionsouth.org.

Best wishes,Kate Eltham, Robert Hoge, Robert Dobson and Heather Gammage.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Thank You

Thank you to whoever nominated Day Boy for a BSFA award. That was very nice indeed. Day Boy is one of those stories that I still get nice emails about, which pleases this little writer very much.

I've been all novelish and novellaish of late - more on the latter soon - but after the busyness of March, I am expecting to finish some new shorts. They're there, the foundations are poured so to speak, I've just got to work them into a presentable state. If I don't finish "Rope" and "Secret Dialogues of Birds" this year, I think I may just pull out all my hair.

That said, my story "Neighbourhood of Dead Monsters" should be out in Aurealis 42 in the next few weeks, and I've another story "The Driver's Assistant" (a jolly little tale about water shortages and infanticide) due out in the next little while.

That and the Iron Temple novella in X6 look to be the only stories I'm expecting to see in print this year. So it could be a bit of a quiet one.

Early days though, early days. And there are three different novels circling around like sharks, so you never know...

Furiously Drawing to a Close

Now, I've mentioned Chris Currie's wonderful story-a-day-for-a year-blog Furious Horses here before. But let me mention it again. Chris' Sisyphean task has nearly drawn to a close.

In the past year other writers were busy out getting drunk, driving expensive sports cars, and having adventures with their agents, Chris has sat in his room, his sensitive face lit by his computer monitor, and tapped at the keyboard with increasingly long and twisty fingernails - occasionally one breaks, and he has a finger better able to type: they're the weeks where the stories run to thousands of words.

Soon though, he will finally cut his nails, wash his scraggly Jesusesque hair, shave his beard, remove the sundry effluvial buckets that line his room*, and return to the world. Let's make him feel that it was all worth it.

Check it out while there are still fresh stories coming. You'll be delighted, I guarantee it.**


*he'd get more visitors if he just paid someone to do that for him.




**but not in any legally binding fashion.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Ernie


Bondi Vet, Really?

Um, am I the only one who can't believe that Channel Ten is doing a show called Bondi Vet? What's next? Maybe Bondi Writer. Picture it, writing and surfing, with just a touch of skin cancer. Oh, and they'd need an author with abs, serious abs. Any suggestions?

Monday, February 09, 2009

Happy Birthday, Diana

Happy birthday, babe.

Back

well, I've been back from teaching at Clarion for a couple of days. I had the most amazing experience, the students were generous, and courteous. Their critiquing of a very high level, as you would expect: after four weeks. And they were just a fine bunch of people to be around and get to know a little.

Considering when I got the offer to do this (little more than two weeks ago) I thought I was going to throw up, I didn't do too badly. And, as always I learnt so much: not least, this time, that putting yourself out of your comfort zone is one of the most important things you can do (that, and eating oily fish).

Jeff Vandermeer has them this week, and I know he's going to energize and excite them: not only is he a very fine writer, but a fabulous and insightful teacher. Glad I could steer them through the perils and weariness of week five. Now Jeff's going to bring it all home.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Get a Copy of Shiny Issue 2 for $1

Ok, so it's getting a bit late in the week, but there's still a couple of days to go. If you'd like to check out my Aurealis Award winning story Cracks you can buy a copy of Shiny issue 2 for just $1.*

They've got a few other deals going at the moment, so have a look. Shiny is such a wonderful magazine. And it's good to see it ticking along. I've had nothing but wonderful experiences with them as a writer - and, hey, they've published two of my favourite stories (both of which came out better than they were, going in: thanks to some fine editorial guidance).

Yes, I'm finally starting to feel better* - which is good, because next week is going to be crazy busy.


*I tell you, the buzz of an award win really doesn't hold up well against a virus.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

February and Beyond

Well I've a busy February ahead, and I'm still feeling quite poorly, though not as feverish as yesterday*.

Clarion South next week, then prep for tutoring at QUT, which shouldn't be too hard as I've all my notes from the previous semester, but there's a few new things I want to try to get my students trusting each other a little earlier on. I've found that if you can develop trust then you get more risk taking, and, let's face it, fiction that isn't taking risks is, well, kind of dull.

I'm also doing this at the Toowong Library on Saturday the 28th. Check it out, it should be fun. Toowong Library has a fond place in my heart, and not just because it's where I wrote the first drafts of two novels last year.

Talking of which, I've a new novel to start...maybe tomorrow.


*Last night I had the craziest dreams of Egypt and the return of my cat, Cosmo - whose disappearance a couple of weeks ago has utterly devastated me.