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Showing posts from 2007

New Year's Resolutions

Okay, it's been a while.

New Baby News
Eden Joel Moan arrived in October, weighing in at a healthy 8lb 40z, before giving us a few fraught weeks as he was readmitted to hospital a couple of times after getiing himself all weak and feeble, but he's fine now (apart from lingering colic) and his weight continues to move in the right direction.

Open University News
Got my results just before Christmas for my Creative Writing (A215) course: Grade 2 Pass. Just a few percent short of a Distinction, but I'm happy with that. Next course will be Advanced Creative Writing starting in September '08.

Writing News
Not a great deal of success really, but then my mind has been on other things (see above!). I have managed to sell 'The Glamour' to Niteblade, my second contribution to this new and vibrant ezine. Also had my story 'Intervention' selected as one of the best of stories for the last quarter at Bewildering Stories. And my story 'The Devil's Bones' has pa…

Disappointed

Now that my Open University studies are over for another year I've been doing a little ctaching up with some of the movies I've missed this year. And I have to say, I've been pretty disappointed with the lot of 'em.

28 Weeks Later was great - for the first ten minutes, but the rest of it left me cold. Okay it did expand on the original but only in terms of a slightly larger scale. There were some nicely unpredictable moments (the reconciliation scene between Robert Carlyle's character and his wife certainly didn't go the way I expected!), but on the whole it just seemed like more of the same, and with a lot of characters I couldn't really care about. I know sequels are generally all about 'more of the same', but maybe because this was a British effort I expected something more substantial.

Next up was Eragon. Eek. Tiresome, plodding, oh-so-predictable, and ultimately pointless, with a lead actor so unconvincing I wanted to reach into the film and giv…

My First Cover!

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Just sold my very first piece of artwork to Fiction magazine and it’s gracing the cover of the current PDF issue. Check out the magazine here: Fiction
Also, my ‘military sf’ story Halls of the Tollomai is scheduled to appear in the November issue. How chuffed am I? Very.

Whispered Again

If you go down to the Whispers of Wickedness website today you will find my latest little shocker, The Witch is Dead. This is my third piece to be published by Whispers (the other two being Nan and Brain Food, still available for reading in the Whispers online archive section: just click on Story Store). I love Whispers. Not only is it a good place to find well-written dark fiction, it is also a thriving writer’s community. The forum there is very active and very friendly, and the editors occasionally throw little get-togethers open to all new and established “Whisperers”. I attended the last WhisperCon earlier this year and thoroughly enjoyed it (see earlier blog entry on that subject). They are also kind enough to provide author pages for every contributor, and I’ve just had mine updated, as much has changed since I submitted my first story to them back in late 2004.

So if you like your fiction dark, go take a peek. You will not be disappointed.

Midnight Men in Niteblade

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Just had my story The Midnight Men published in the first issue of Niteblade Magazine. The accompanying artwork and the general layout of this brand new ezine is very impressive. I even have my own "author page", with some info about me and a link to this blog. Editor Rhonda Parrish has done a cracking job, and on the strength of this premiere issue the future of Niteblade looks very bright indeed.
Here's a little teaser:

The Robinsons were the first to go.

It was the all-pervading purr of a powerful motor engine which dragged me from a deep and blissful sleep. The LED display on my alarm clock said: 12:03. It wasn’t unusual to hear cars on our street at that time of night--people being dropped home after a night out; nightshift workers heading off--but something about the drone of that car whispered to my subconscious. Something was not quite right...


Other News
Deeply frustrated at the moment. I have three writing projects on the go at the moment, two of them so close to su…

New Story in Revelation 4:1

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It's been a long time coming but the latest issue of that gorgeous-looking small press magazine Revelation has just been published. It contains my short story, The Man Who Ate Planets (one of my personal favourites), just one of the four pieces to feature in this issue. If you would like to purchase a copy, then hop over to the site for a little Revelation.

Also imminent is the publication of my story 'Pleasure Units' in the latest issue of Twisted Tongue. This is my second story to be published in their hallowed pages. The first was 'Death's Head', back in issue 3. The PDF versions of this magazine are now free, and print copies (available from Lulu.com) only set you back around £4 or £5.

Steampunk'd

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Right now, I am sixty-odd pages into my steampunk novel (and trying to contain my enthusiasm for it), and I was thinking about drawing some of the steampunk machines which are used by the main characters in the story. Typing the word Steampunk into Google, I came upon this site, rather helpfully titled How to draw Steampunk machines. Great stuff.

Back in the world

After almost two months without home internet access (thanks to Sky!), I was much relieved to be back online this last week. So much catching up to do, not least with the story submissions that have been out of circulation, etc. On the plus side, I have been working feverishly on a new steampunk novel, the first in a series, which I am very excited about. I'm also trying to hammer my novella The Hotel Galileo into shape ready for submitting somewhere. No new short stories of late, but I've got a couple of tales making appearances very soon:

Pleasure Units is to appear in the August issue of Twisted Tongue.
The Midnight Men is due to appear in Niteblade, issue 0, coming in September.
There's also the imminent appearance of The Man Who Ate Planets in Revelation 4:1 (been waiting a year for that one!) and the possible future publication of Halls of the Tollomai in Fiction. Fingers crossed there.

All in all, things have never been more exciting. I have a plan for the near future a…

Whisper-and-Fire Con

Last Saturday, June 9th, I went to my very first Con. It took place at the Coach and Horses, Great Marlborough Street in London. I went along with my brother and sister and it was a great introduction to cons in general, being a small-ish gathering of the good and the great. It was nice to finally meet D, editor and creator of Whispers of Wickedness (one of the leading small press magazines currently up for a few award nominations for the British Fantasy Awards) who I had only previously dealt with via email and the very active online forum at the Whispers of Wickedness website. It was also great to meet Peter Tennant, whose one-act play ‘Dialogue with Sexual Interlude’ I ended up playing a part in! I’m enjoying his book reviews at the new TTA website at the moment. And, of course, Djibril, who had a lot to do with organising this Con, being a joint venture between Whispers and Djibril’s own zine The Future Fire. Overall, I had some great conversations throughout the afternoon, and it…

Fiction Magazine

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There's a new genre magazine on the market and its name is FICTION. Not only is it a UK-based print mag, it's also a serious paying market, too. To see how serious, check out their online guidelines at the website: Fiction
What's more, it's a new magazine with a great deal of enthusiasm behind it. Editor Stuart Tracey, or Stoo, has big plans for this magazine, hoping to take it to retail outlets across Britain, which of course all depends on subscribers and advertisers as well as writers and artists to make it happen. So, why not drop by the website, pick up a copy (there is a free sample "Issue 0" available on request, as well as the first official issue, still available at the bargain price of £1.99) and support this exciting new magazine. You'll be glad you did!
'Nuff said.
Fiction Mag

Online Reviews for 'Juju'

My story 'Juju', which appeared in the second print issue of Hub Magazine, has received two reviews. The first was by Paul Raven at Velcro City Tourist Board, a great blog for fiction reviews and other fiction-related topics. The second review can now be found at Tangent Online, this time by Danny Adams. Both are fairly positive reviews, I think.
On the subject of Hub Magazine: it has ceased print publication and switched to an entirely different format: a free weekly ezine. It’s a format that seems to be working and I can fully understand the change of tactic. In this day and age it seems almost impossible for a mainstream print magazine devoted entirely to short fiction to survive in the marketplace without selling the kind of numbers that long-runners like Fantasy and Science Fiction and Asimov’s do. I wish Lee Harris and everyone at Hub every success for the future. They gave me my first big sale and for that I will always love them.
The current weekly story is the excellent…

Doctor Who Series Three

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Something’s happened to Doctor Who! Something bad.

Between the last series and this (the third) season, the show seems to have lost its mojo, and I’m not talking about Billie Piper here. David Tennant is still excellent (how lucky are they to have such a watchable and talented actor in the role!), but for some reason I’m just not feeling the love. I’m not sure if it’s me that’s changed or the series itself. Admittedly, I caught the first episode (’Smith and Jones’- not bad, a definite improvement on the other two season openers ’Rose’ and the lamentable ’New Earth’) the day before I flew out to Canada, then missed the next two episodes, and caught the Dalek two-parter on my return, and oh my God! For the first time I’ve been able to categorically say that an episode of new Who was actually, to use the correct critical term, rubbish. Clich├ęd, plodding and, for the most part, downright silly. The entire adventure robbed the Daleks of all their menace and that’s not a good thing. Bringin…

Going over to Myspace

I've spent the last few weeks getting my Myspace page into a reasonably presentable state. I'm quite pleased with the results so far, but it's always going to be a work in progress. I've added some music, Snow Patrol's Signal Fire (from Spider-man 3) and the accompanying video of the same song, just for people to look at if they're unimpressed with the rest of the page - you know, all that boring stuff about me. So far I've got 12 friends - hooray! If anyone - and I mean anyone - wishes to be my friend, just send me a Friend Request and I'll be glad to add you to my list. Writers, publishers and any other creative types are more than welcome. The link to my exciting page is here: Myspace!

I've been transferring some of these recent blog entries to the Myspace blog, and fully intend to keep that blog updated as it seems to be getting more traffic than this one. I'm not sure if I'm going to discontinue this blog altogether. It's always goo…

Wizard's Gambit

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Just published is issue 2 of new ezine Sorcerous Signals featuring my story 'Wizard's Gambit'. The superb artwork accompanying the story is by award-winner Lee Kuruganti. Check it out here:
Sorcerous Signals

The Canada Experience

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Two weeks in Calgary, Canada, and I feel rested, invigorated and ready to get back to the writing with a fresh mind. Canada is an awe-inspiring place to be. Standing on top of Mount Sulphur, looking down at the stunning scenery spread out below me, was easily one of the most inspiring experiences of my life.
In the two weeks I was there, I visited the Calgary Tower with its freaky glass floor; I rode the gondola to the peak of Mount Sulphur; I walked on the frozen surface of Lake Louise; visited the amazing Tyrell Dinosaur Museum at Drumheller; went to the Calgary Zoo; and shopped at Wal-mart--a North American institution! There was so much more, all combining to make it a fantastic experience.
As an embittered Englishman, I couldn't get over how friendly people were over there. Even teenagers said 'hello' and 'how are you?'--and they weren't being sarcastic! There seems to be a healthy dose of respect in Canada--respect for elders, respect for wildlife, respe…

Jupiter SF #16

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My story 'Medea's Children' appears in the latest issue of UK SF mag Jupiter, edited by Ian Redman. The magazine also contains stories by Gareth D Jones, Ralph Greco Jr, Geraint D'Arcy and Caroline Bates. At 2.75 (GBP) a copy for a print magazine it's an irresistible bargain!

I don't regard myself as a science fiction writer. 'Medea's Children' is one of just a handful of SF stories I've written, but the science (what little there is) is only ever used as a backdrop for the deeply human story I'm trying to tell. In this case, the story is about a young woman's search for her infant child on an inhospitable planet. It was written quite some time ago and I'm very proud of it. I'm also glad that it's found a home in such a well-respected magazine.

Estronomicon

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My story 'Defence Mechanism', a sci-fi tale in the pulp style of Ray Bradbury, appears in the latest issue of PDF magazine Estronomicon. This is actually an "interim" issue, 6.5, which is offered in advance of the long-awaited issue 7. Check out the issue at Screaming Dreams.

Lost Love

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I, like thousands of others, was distraught at the recent shenanigans between Sky and Virgin media (basically a petty squabble between two billionaires - yes, Branson and Murdoch, I mean you!) which resulted in the loss of Sky One to all Virgin Media customers. That, of course, meant no Lost! Now hooked on this amazing series, I have recently been rewatching the entire saga from the beginning, obtaining the DVD boxsets of series one and two from eBay, and revelling in the "greatest show on television" (Matthew Fox said that, but then he would - he's in it!) Now, I either have to switch to Sky (which means changing phone suppliers, too!) or wait to buy the DVDs of series three when they eventually come out sometime later this year. That makes me so annoyed I feel like punching the television! Lost was literally the only show I watch on TV. I am not happy, and I'm sure there are many others in the same boat. Branson and Murdoch - sort it out! Or I'll never speak to…

Transcendence - Hub Issue 2

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The second issue of Hub arrived on my doormat Thursday morning and lifted my spirits no end. A very professional-looking publication, I must say, with glorious cover artwork by the talented Vincent Chong (the cover piece is entitled Transcendental Express). And how excited am I to see my name ON THE COVER! This is my first professional sale, and, I hope, not the last.The contents looks like this: In The Rivermen’s Lair by Barry J House
Little Sacrifices by Meg Kingston
Talent Search by Sarah L Edwards
Transcendence Express by Jetse de Vries
The Long View by Mark Torrender
Eight Excerpts from a Secret Interdimensional War by David Viner
ROH! by Douglas E Wright
Juju by Lee Moan
TLP by Vaughan Stanger
A bargain at £3.50 (£2 for PDF download. See the Hub website for more details.

Latest stories online

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The Boy Who Fell appears in the very latest issue of Bewildering Stories. I’ve already had some positive feedback from one reader.
The Glamour is also still available to read in the current issue of Chimaera Serials.

Juju finds a home at Hub!

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My supernatural short story 'Juju', longlisted for the Aeon Award back in 2005, has been sold to new UK print mag Hub. This constitutes my very first professional sale, I think - semi-pro at the very least. I am soooo excited to see my name listed in the coming soon contents of issue 2 alongside such noted authors as Jetse de Vries and Barry J House, amongst others. The issue is due out at the end of Feb. Looking forward to it.

Other news:
My story 'Medea's Children' has been accepted for publication in Jupiter SF mag number 16, due out in April. Another milestone. I subscribed to Jupiter a couple of years back and always dreamed of getting one of my stories published in its hallowed pages. Now - it's happening! How happy am I?