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.