Sunday, December 30, 2007
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.
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 passed its initial reading at Whispers of Wickedness and is now being considered for the print magazine of that famed instituion. Whispers don't pay contributors, but the mag has garnered such a good reputation in the small press that being published in its pages brings with it some serious kudos. (I've probably jinxed it now!) My 'weird western' story 'Inheritance' is still under consideration at Interzone. It was submitted during their last email sub period, November.
New Year, New Goals
Well, actually, they're the same goals I have in the back of my mind week in, week out. But I'm going to put them down here in the hope that it will spur me on to actually achieve some of them. (In the interests of honesty, these aren't my actual NY Ressies. They're taken from the excellent blog of crime writer JA Konrath, entitled A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing. They're pertinent and better than I could've come up with, so I'm 'aving them!)
And they are:
1) I will start/finish the damn book
2) I will always have at least three stories on submission, while working on a fourth
3) I will attend at least one writer's conference, and introduce myself to agents, editors, and other writers
4) I will subscribe to the magazines I submit to
5) I will join a critique group. If one doesn't exist, I will start one at the local bookstore or library
6) I will finish every story I start
7) I will listen to criticism
8) I will create/update my website
9) I will master the query process and find an agent
10) I'll quit procrastinating in the form of research, outlines, synopses, taking classes, reading how-to books, talking about writing, and actually write something
11) I will refuse to get discouraged, because I know JA Konrath wrote 9 novels, received almost 500 rejections, and penned over 1 million words before he sold a thing--and I'm a lot more talented than that guy.
There we are. I've already started on Number 4 - my Christmas pressie from my wife was a year's subscription to Black Static. What a great wife I have. And of course, I'm doing Number 8 right now.
My best wishes to you all. Have a fantastic New Year.
(I'll return to these resolutions in the near future, see how far I get.)
Saturday, October 13, 2007
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 give him a vigorous shake. I so wanted it to be good. But it simply confirmed what I've always felt: that every effort to do epic fantasy outside The Lord of the Rings is just a waste of time and effort. I mean, how epic was it gonna be at 98 minutes? It was so dull I can't even remember what happened in the end. It reminded me of Dungeons and Dragons (another Jeremy Irons' cinematic faux pas) and that's not a good film to be reminded of any day of the week.
Last night, I rented Next. Hmmm. Yes it had an interesting central conceit (Nic Cage can see two minutes into the future and thereby avoid all manner of scrapes and stop the occasional mad gunman from blamming people, which is a handy skill to have). But despite the action set-pieces and the chases it just didn't satisfy on any level. The romance between Cage and the lovely Jessica Biel didn't convince ("she's young enough to be your daughter!") and the 'rewind' ending, whilst interesting, just felt a little too much like "he woke up and it was all a dream", and I just couldn't help but feel cheated in some fundamental way. Once again this was based on a story by Philip K Dick, (or a 'novel story' as the credits claim, whatever a 'novel story' might be in these prosaic days), and I think the poor chap must be spinning in his grave. Maybe if the Hollywood filmmakers could trust themselves just a little bit to do justice to their source material more often, they might end up with a few more Blade Runners and a few less Paychecks. Next? Quite.
All in all a lacklustre bunch that have done nothing to convince me that Hollywood are still able to turn out 'great' sf films like they used to. CG technology is so advanced now the filmmakers can pretty much film anything you can imagine. Why, oh, why, then do we keep getting fed the same old 'safe', imaginatively-stunted stuff? Big-budget blockbusters in particular need to get smarter, and by that I mean more imaginative and challenging, if cinema is to survive the next twenty years. I know every film can't scale the heights of the Rings Trilogy, but they could at least try.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
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.
Thursday, September 06, 2007
So if you like your fiction dark, go take a peek. You will not be disappointed.
Sunday, September 02, 2007
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...
Deeply frustrated at the moment. I have three writing projects on the go at the moment, two of them so close to submission stage that it's painful, but I have zero time to commit to them. The Hotel Galileo, the novella I completed during last November's NanNoWriMo contest, is undergoing a bit of tweaking. It was actually in a form that was passable as a complete work, but I had to go back and tinker with it because it didn 't fit in with the steampunk detective novel I'm currently working on. And then there's Lazarus Island, still needing that one final edit and minor rewrite. I would feel so much better if I could get Galileo and Lazarus out there, but family, work and study commitments continue to demand all of my time. Well, it's just a case of one little step at a time. If I manage to write 500 words of an evening, that's an achievement. If I write 50, well that's a step in the right direction, too. All these words add up in the end, so they say.
Friday, August 17, 2007
Monday, August 06, 2007
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
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 and intend to follow it through with all my energy.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Sunday, June 03, 2007
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!
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
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 ‘Wings of Night’ by Allyson Bird. Check it out.
The Hub website can be found here.
Monday, May 21, 2007
Anyway, after all that moaning, I’ll probably see it through to the end of the series (John Simm as the Master should be good) but I really need to see something good to restore my enthusiasm. I wonder if David Tennant will stay for a third run . . .
Monday, May 07, 2007
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 good to have as much web presence as possible, but then I don't want to give myself twice as much work. For the time being I'll try and work on both, but if it gets all a bit tedious and time-consuming I might suspend this one. Or maybe I'll think of something more exciting to do with Probability and Chaos. [Strokes chin in a thoughtful manner...]
Thursday, May 03, 2007
Saturday, April 28, 2007
Monday, April 16, 2007
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.
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Saturday, March 17, 2007
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.
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.
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
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?