Minor update

29 10 2009

It’s been quiet round here because:

a) work is a little bit mental.

b) I am in a frantic push to finish The Scarred God

c) In a fit of sheer lunacy I have decided to do NaNoWriMo this year, with a slight difference in approach to my previous attempt and have been planning for that.

More information will follow as I attempt to shamelessly drum up interest for my experiment/blogged insanity…





Troughs

20 10 2009

Things sound quiet on the writing front because I am working on what I am now affectionately calling the-absolute-final-unless-someone-buys-it draft  of The Scarred God. I’m at the all too familiar middle point sag where motivation dips and self-doubt swings a low blow. I’ve been here before with this manuscript, I recognise the signs and have deployed counter measures.

Still.

I want to start something new. I’m about done with Anya’s story, this one at least and I have another, entirely different, story I want to write – one more ambitious than anything I’ve ever tried and I have a ton of reading to do before I can start it. I have a protagonist in my mind, a premise and a loose idea of the world(s). Much to my surprise it’s SF not fantasy.

Anyway, my plan was to be ready to go on Nov 1st and therefore be able to run in NaNoWriMo. I’m not sure I’m going to make that deadline now because I was supposed to finish TSG last weekend and then go into creative rest for two weeks while I read the research material. I’m behind on TSG but still making progress and I really want to finish properly. At this stage I have too much time invested to rush it and fumble the ending, again – the last act being the area that require most work as regards pacing and somewhat left field developments. I still think I’ll finish up before November but whether I’ll have enough time to recharge is anyone’s guess.

In other writing related updatery I finished a new piece of flash that read well with my test reader and so I think I may try and flog that for a change. It’s also SF.

And now: back to TSG.





Back

16 10 2009

I have been away. I am now returned.

Thanks for all the comments on the last post and apologies for the delay in approving comments. I find myself increasingly unwilling to pay the ever inflated internet charges in international hotels and that goes in spades for 02 roaming charges for data (£3 per mb!).

Anyhow, nice to be back. Normal service resumes soon. etc.





Comfort food

11 10 2009

As is customary on the first day of a holiday, for me anyway, I have been ill.

I spent most of Saturday on the sofa feeling sorry for myself and ploughing through a research book for the next project and then Gene Wilder’s autobiography. There are worse ways to spend your time.

G was out doing a shoot in the evening and so I took the opportunity to indulge myself with some comfort food. I hadn’t felt like much during the day and so when I started to feel better I went a bit mad. One of my favourite meals when I was a kid was burgers and mash. I totally indulged with some expensive burgers and some decent spuds. I followed this sophisticated meal with a tub of ice cream.

Funny, the way food can make you feel better or evoke memories. I still like tomato soup for the same reason.

What are your comfort foods?





Where am I?

7 10 2009

Presently, I am in Dorking on day job stuff.

It is unlikely – between a fairly intense few days, peppered with occasional wordcount – that I will have a huge amount of time to post.

Trying to remind myself that not everyone gets my snarky sense of humour. Not entirely succeeding.

What personality pitfalls do you try to avoid?





Other brave adventurers…

5 10 2009

I see my friend GLP is also braving the direct-to-audience model.

Having a copy of Future Bristol I can assure you “What would Nicholas Cage do?” is indeed worth a donation in order to read and in this case I am clearly a little biased but hey: that’s what friends are for. However, you don’t have to take my word for it: Gareth’s first novel is out next year, he has been published in Interzone more than once and kicked arse in their readers’ poll for best short story in 2007.

Go on: you know you want to.

PS – There is a degree of cross over between our sites and so this is aimed at readers who don’t know GLP’s work. I’m assuming the rest of you already know about this…





Chartwell

4 10 2009

My parents have been down (or I guess up and slightly to the right like) visiting.

The last couple of times they visited my mum has wanted to go to Chartwell and this time we finally got our shit together and went. Chartwell, of course, was the home of Winston Churchill and his family from 1922 until his death in 1965. It’s been maintained by the National Trust ever since as part historic house and part museum to Churchill’s life. Located in the Kent countryside it’s about sixteen or so miles from my house making it a quite easy afternoon out.

The house itself is set in amongst a small set of hills and a generous sprawl of gardens populated with a range of plants and water features. The house rises up on a raised flat that gives a series of breathtaking views across the rolling fields of Kent that, reportedly, was part of the reason Churchill fell in love with the property and bought it, against the advice of friends and, indeed, his own wife. It is an odd red brick Victorian building that, taken in another setting, I’m not sure many would care for, in spite of the changes Britain’s most famous Prime Minister wrought on it.

Thankfully, no one really comes to look at the architecture: they come to look at the grounds – beautiful – and the interior – strange but fascinating – and therein is its charm: for the interior is more or less preserved as it would have been when Churchill lived there. I’m not sure what I expected but walking through the house produces a weird, not unpleasant, presence of its famous owner, as if he just stepped out for the moment to walk in the garden, perhaps enjoying a cigar. Perhaps its the relative closeness of the period in which he lived, the furnishings are after all not that out of date really – not to my tastes but certainly not Victorian or Edwardian – and that adds a false familiarity of time if nothing else. Or maybe, in spite of the scale of the house, the distinct sense of family about the property.

The point is it was a more intimate kind of history that the building gave off and I thoroughly enjoyed exploring the house. Not least because nearly every room had a bookcase of some description, crammed with books, and a library room filled with rather more books. I managed to resist making off with some. Just. I remain somewhat in awe of Churchill’s own literary output and wonder – in spite of the servants – if he ever slept. It was a pleasant few hours, take a look next time you’re passing.

The rest of the weekend has been just as pleasant and a welcome break at the end of a crushingly paced week.





Story Acceptance

2 10 2009

I am delighted to shamelessly plug myself by letting you know that my story “The Room” will appear in the Valentine’s Day issue of Tales Of the Moonlit Path. This story was written some time ago and given a final tweak at last year’s Arvon course and I am thrilled it’s found a home.

While I’m at it: a quick reminder that my story “Crunch” will be appearing this year in the Autumn (and final) issue of Ballista.





Thursday Tabs

1 10 2009

Right: on to more cheery things. Some tabs need closing:

Today is, at least for a couple more hours, Support Our ‘Zines day. I personally read across quite a few magazines and constant readers will know I’ve a particular affection for Interzone, Black Static and Murky Depths. Yes: I’m being quite British in my choices. For balance I also enjoy Strange Horizons, Fantasy Magazine and Weird Tales.

Have a poke around, donate, show your support. Tell me your favourites…

*****

Today is also the Angry Robot launch of Colin Harvey’s new novel Winter Song. Winter Song is Colin’s first book with the Harpercollins’ imprint SF Angry Robot and, having heard the opening last weekend, I shall be picking up a copy at Forbidden Planet on the 10th (Angry Robots’ launch BTW). Colin’s a talented writer and a passionate participant in the SF scene. He’s also a nice guy who was willing to take time out to talk to a very shy writer at his second con.

Check Winter Song out.

*******

Music fans should check out Neon Highwire. A friend is a member, G occasionally takes pictures of them but most importantly of all: they’re really rather good. Don’t believe me: take Abbi’s word (a much harder critic than me).

*****

Now I must sleep.





Utilitarian headlines

1 10 2009

I was dismayed, for various reasons, to see the Evening Standard’s headline the other day: “Pregnant Woman Raped By Burglar”.

Whilst I understand the reasons why the paper chose to draw attention to the victim’s pregnancy it is rather troubling, implying, as it does,  that this is somehow more newsworthy – or worse – than the alternative “Woman Raped By Burglar”. This somewhat utilitarian view doesn’t really stand up to analysis because, of course, rape of any kind whether the victim is pregnant (or female for that matter) is totally unacceptable and making value judgements on the newsworthiness (or evil quotient) of such an act is repugnant.

Headlines are an attempt to capture the attention of us – the audience – and so to a certain extent reflect the writer’s opinion of the society around them. In this context the headline above – unwitting or not – is deeply troubling.

I think too much. Anyone else find the headline odd?