24 December 2005

Have a cracking Christmas folks! I'm off for the week now so I'll see you all in '06!

22 December 2005

More Mag Stuff

Right chaps, I must be having a good day today because it's now official - we're open for fiction submissions again! (Runs away in abject terror...)

The all new rules - just so you folks don't waste away in joint boredom and frustration while you're waiting for a response... we're implementing a reading period on fiction submissions. December to May is when I want to see your stories please. I'm reading for issues 9 - 12 (which, at the new bi-annually schedule takes us right up to the beginning of 2008. Of course, if sales pick up (and, hence, income, then we'll slide back to quarterly...) And if we get those four issues filled, then we'll close to fiction again, natch!
We really prefer email subs - see the guidelines on the website for details...

Oh, and faction and art subs are still open all year round.

Also, if you haven't subscribed, please do. If you're up for resubscription, please please do! (I will beg and plead until my knees wear out - I have absolutely no pride! )

BFS bits

Well, that was quick! Further to the new Prism editor details I gave a little while ago, Nicki has now decided she doesn't want to do any more issues past the Jan/Feb one - so for the time being, Prism will be co-edited by mum and, er, me. (She gets the hard work stuff, I get the fun stuff - great split!)

And on a BFS/H&N double hatted moment... send me your news please! For Prism, and for the new news page in H&N. Both the personal stuff - ie. been signed by agent/publisher, having a book coming out, having the next issue of your own magazine coming out, submission gls for any projects you're organising; and other genre news - details about conventions, launch parties/piss-ups, genre/writing course details, tv/film gossip, comic & RPG stuff...

You get the picture. The Prism [at] BFS email should be changed shortly to come over to us, but in the meantime, I've set up a gremlin[at]bradanpress email (or just send it to one of my other ones!)
Shocklines

So, apparently, Issue 5/6 is sold out at Shocklines! Wahey! This explains why they just ordered double the amount for Issue 7. (Please pause while I do a happy dance...)

16 December 2005

Oopsie.

Why do I not pick these things up in the proof stage, eh? Before you send emails to tell me, yes, I know, the contents page is totally cocked up - seems I forgot to alter it after adding a page in the middle of the mag... And there's box slippage... and Jamie Brindle gets called James.... (sigh!)

14 December 2005

H&N

....daaaan-cing...... wooh! Ahem. Yes, happy chappies, #7 is finally back from the printers. (And, as usual, I will be incapable of rational thought for at least a week now - getting a mag back from the printers always has this weird effect on me...)

Will get it in the post to folks Fri/Sat so UK people should get theirs next week. Non-UK peeps will probably be getting theirs after Xmas, depending on what all the postal systems are up to.

Hurrah! Now to get the website updated, get Issue 8 started and get the new submission guidelines sorted out for when we (finally) open back up to fiction.

02 December 2005

Funny....

Something to make you smile... apparently a columnist for a Norway newspaper has floated the idea that JK Rowling didn't really write the HP books all on her own... no, she's really the spokeswoman/actress front for an international conglomerate who employs a team of hack writers to do the books....
Uh huh.

Fun debate about it going on at Ex Isle too...
Even more Fcon stuff....

Guest no. 3 has just confirmed! Hurrah! Think I know just the chap to interview him too. (Mind you, this organising interviewers malarkey is always a delicate business, some people don't want to do print interviews so we've always got too many stage interviewers and not enough print ones... sigh! 'tis a challenge, so it is.....)

Guest no. 4 - his publishers won't contribute to airfare so we're frantically trying to find a way we can cover it - cos it would be exceptionally cool if we could get him over. Rumour has it, someone has a cunning plan...


More odd things

New entry to the Inventory Clerks' cache of urban legends - yesterday the old mother woman gets a call from a friend of hers (who she trained, and who has her own company down t' road in Bracknell...) ... anyhoo, this friend of hers had had a call from one of the Estate Agents she works for warning her that another one of their inventory clerks (are you keeping up...?!) had been in a house and had rubbed her fingers over a grubby patch to see if it came off (as we do...) .... then later in the day had stuck her fingers in mouth (or something..), then next day got rushed into hospital because she'd apparently caught Typhoid! Typhoid?! Good grief. Not something on the list of things to watch out for when checking over a house!

29 November 2005

Even more Fcon stuff

So, guest no. 2 has just confirmed. And our MC is also a happy chappie.
Just guest no. 3 to hear from now.
And, (shhhhh....) there is also the potential of a guest no. 4 if we can get his publisher to help out on the airfare. So that's possibly 2 US guests, 2 UK guests & our MC. Crikey.

There can be only one...

... which will make sense in a minute.... so, once upon a time we had 5 cats. The last couple of years, however, has seen a rapid decrease in numbers 'til we were left with just the one (who also happened to be the oldest of the lot, strangely). They all seem to get afflicted with this weird thing that the vet can't quite diagnose which basically ends you up with a skinny cat who can't bear to be touched or even come inside the house no matter how cold it is...

Anyway, one morning, a couple of weeks ago, dad comes in from his early morning whatever it is he does in the garden thing and says he's just done burial duty as the cat was found curled up dead in the strawberry patch. Nice image, and as far as we thought, she didn't have to suffer through the mysterious illness for as long as the other cats did, so, bonus.

However, last week, in random conversation, he actually admits to mum that it wasn't quite as simple as that.
Apparently something got into the garden and ripped the cats head off and he found her mauled body half way up the veggie garden. As yet, the head's still missing.
Crikey.
Current theory is that it was a fox, but we're not exactly in the most rural of locations. Do you get that kind of fox activity in the middle of the suburbs? And going after a cat?
Bizarre.

Naturally, the first thing that came into mine and evil twin's heads was that it was some weird cat version of Highlander...

And as an end note to this fascinating little story...when evil twin popped down for the birthday thing on Sunday she quite innocently suggested to mum that she let the local paper know so they can do a Pets Beware type thing. (Why would you want to? Honestly!) So she rang them up, they said they would (tried to go totally tabloid about it... was there any young children in the house/in the street/blah blah let's overdramatise it...) and it's going in tomorrows edition. They were after a photo of mum to go with it too, but, alas, she's down in Bournemouth wintering up the caravan so the world will have to miss out on that little pleasure!

23 November 2005

Fcon stuff

So, on a slightly Fcon related note, the BFS messageboards are finally back up and functioning - they've been down for the last couple of weeks due to some sort of weird spammer overload.

Why is this Fcon related? I'll tell you for why...! The 2006 Fcon, is, as I may have mentioned several dozen times already, the 30th Fcon. And for the Fcon mag this year we'd love to have retrospectives of each Fcon, ever. (I mention this now because it'll be January before it gets mentioned in Prism and I want to get peoples memories to work while it's still early!)
So, what we're looking for is your memories of either the first Fcon you went too, or any subsequent ones. 500 words or less (or if you've got a particularly funky story, as many words as it takes!) Email them to me, or post them up on the BFS board in the Fcon memories thread here

Alas, there is no payment involved for your participation :( but all items will be credited. Ooh, and if you've got photos you can email me, even better (though please identify people that are in the picture as I've a lousy memory for faces...!)

**
In other Fcon news.... guest no. 1, the same one we almost got last year, has said that he would love to come (yay!), only possible problem may be that he's got a film awaiting greenlighting and if that happens at the wrong moment he'll be directing it (or doing something with it... I get very confused..) so won't be able to make it. (sobs!)

Guests no. 2 & 3 have been asked and we're waiting back. And we're on the verge of asking our MC.
Now just the other million and one things to do... :)

Other BFS news

Prism is back from the printers and will be mailed off tomorrow morning - for all you folks who do the London open nights, the Xmas open night is on 2nd December at the Devereaux pub, 20 Devereaux Court, Essex Street, The Strand, London.
Apparently it's a little hidden away if you've never been there before so if you need to know.... Devereaux Court is a little side street off the Strand, at around the spot where the Strand meets Fleet Street.
Also, allegedly, the side street is next to The George Pub and opposite the Law Courts! (Okay, I'm getting confused now...)
Oh, and it'll be in the upstairs of the Devereaux.

It's from 6.30pm onwards and Chris Teague of Pendragon Press is the guest and may or may not be launching something book-like.

Prism news (well, sort of...)

And in other Prism news... the issue that's about to get mailed out is Debbie's last one (I'm sure I've mentioned that before as well...) and taking over from her in January is Nicki Robson, ex- BFS chair; and the infamous Pat Barber..., er, mum!

PB will also be helping Marie with Dark Horizons next year. (Aaagghh, please adopt me.... she's getting everywhere...)

And mum's taking a turn at running the 2006 BFS story comp too.. (ye gads!) We've got 3 out of 4 of the '05 author judges to come back for next year... haven't heard back from the fourth one yet.

(And now you see exactly where I get all this horrible volunteering malarkey from...)

:-)

17 November 2005

H&N

Yes! Finally. It's gone and will be back soon! Phew.

Have updated the website with a few bits inc. starter details for Issue 8 (There'll be a few more faction bits to add to the Ish 8 line up... just as soon as I read the submissions I've got waiting for me...!)
Have more tweaking to do on the website though.

Then, once I've mailed out Ish 7, I can work out the all new fiction submissions guidelines (version 132!).

Other Bits

Highlander. In 30 seconds. With bunnies. See it here

Lovely stuff!

Talking of, apparently they're making either one, or a whole trilogy of sequals to Highlander: Endgame. God that was an awful film... I'm actually something of a fan of the Highlander TV series... so the theoretical concept of the cast etc. didn't bother me but god that was a boring story. Apparently the one they're filming at the moment is going to be search for the Immortal holy grail/source of power thingybob. With more Methos & Joe Dawson (yay!)

Ooh, and American Gothic is finally out on DVD (double yay!) except, as far as I can tell, only in the States and on US format DVD (boo!) Ah well, give it another year and they may get smart and UK friendly it.

11 November 2005

Fcon'06

Yes! Venue booked! Definitely 22 - 24 September 2006, definitely Nottingham.
One of the hotels on St James Street, so it is. Room rates are something like £45 per night for single and £50 per person/per night for double (or possibly it's the other way around...)

Beyond that, I'm not allowed to get too gossipy with the details (as is my natural inclination..) as we're planning to do the big announcement stuff at the beginning of January... including a bigger Fcon website with more actual, y'know, details on it! :->
Plus, we've guests to chase down, and all that kind of junk...

Now if we can just get a venue for 2007......

31 October 2005

H&N

Gah! I know, running late again. Actually, I'm almost there with it - everything's in that needs to be in, just have to finish proofing and ironing out a couple of layout narks then it's off to print. Hurrah!

Fantasycon '06

Almost got a venue! Manchester, unfortunately, was way way too expensive, so a little more digging around and we've got a close run thing between a place in Coventry and a place in Nottingham. Went to see the Nottingham one yesterday and it's looking like the favourite - room rates are about the same as the Walsall one, the actual events room hire rates are more expensive than Walsall but we can deal with that... the hotel is right in the city centre, with parking next door, bars and restaurants all within spitting distance and if your bedroom is on the right side of the hotel, you get a fab view of Nottingham and the castle!

We've also got tentative dates for next year - 22nd-24th September; and with that in mind are pestering our potential GoH to see if we're in time to book him for those dates or if his overactive publicity machine has snatched them from us!

More as and when.....

04 October 2005

Best. FantasyCon. Ever!

Not that I'm biased or anything.....

So we got back yesterday afternoon and evil boss/mum immediately insisted on dragging me out to work til early evening... bah.... no xmas presents for her this year.... spent all today waiting for my brain to wake up...

So, crikey, so much to tell, where to begin.

The guests... yes, that'll do ya fine. Steve Erikson - can't say overly much about as didn't see much of him through the weekend but he seems like a nice bloke and gave a funny after banquet speech.

Ooh, Graham Joyce, what a wicked sense of humour the man's got! I can proudly say I was there to witness the sacred wafer incident! And I now know exactly (and in fine detail) why he hates the raffle so (and he does make some very good points...) And, of course, it was his social responsibility to highlight the awful wrongs done against the fey kind... you see, everytime you go in the Dealer's Room and walk past a stall without buying something, a fairy dies.... this message brought to you from Mr Joyce, chair of the society for the prevention of slaughter to pixies.... He also kept us organised rather nicely too!

Simon Clark... OMG, what a totally lovely guy! He's about 7 1/2 feet tall yet very softly spoken and gave an excellent talk on the Saturday. Had never read any of his stuff beforehand (except the extract of his latest book, The Tower, which was in the Fcon mag..) but I totally need to track down some of his stuff. Right now!

And then there's Mark Chadbourn, another fab bloke with a great sense of humour and the ability to talk about anything. (Anything? Yes, anything!) But then, I was already a huge fan...

So, one of the organiser's perks is dinner with the guests... which was great (especially as I was sitting opposite three of them in the row)... but, alas, a whack yourself about the brain with a baseball bat moment was had when I spent the entire evening unable to respond to their conversational delights with more than 'yes', 'cool', 'uh-huh' (and other similar monosyllables) - sometimes it's a real pain in the ass being socially inept.

Apart from that.... who else was there... oh yeah, loads of H&N peeps who I got to say hi to... John L. Probert, Steve Dean, Gary McMahon, Tony Richards, Allen Ashley, Andrew Hook (more on him in a mo..), Jetse De Vries (although I was little zombied by the time he signed in and had trouble understanding what his name was for quite an embarrassing long time... then the lightbulb flashed on...)
Oh, and Gary Fry (appearing in issue 7, which I'm just putting together,) was also about but I didn't get to speak to him as someone else signed him in and he spent the weekend flogging Poe's Progeny in the Dealer Room... so... Hi Gary! Meant to buy a copy of PP, forgot, will do it online...

Gail Nina's talk on Friday night was totally cool and she's promised to write me a version for the mag... just got to work out how to go about acquiring copyright for some of the pictures... may have do without the pics which would not be good as the flow of it is kind of dependent on some of the images. But then, G.N's wicked intelligent and can probably write her way around that!

Oh, and Andrew Hook, top bloke! Won TWO! awards this year... one of which was for Best Small Press which knocked PS Publishing off their winning streak... which was good... I mean, not that PS doesn't deserve an award, but, yay, Elastic!!

Forget who took the other awards.... except Stephen King got Best Novel for The Dark Tower (book seven of the DT series) - someone from Hodder was supposed to collect it but they didn't show - the committee has since had a nice little email forwarded on from the man himself saying that 'he and Roland thank everyone big-big'... cool beans!
Would have liked it if the win could have gone to a Brit author (like Mark Chadbourn for Queen of Sinister...) but, still, I absolutely adore the Dark Tower series so am still chuffed about the choice.

Oh, and we had new awards this year ... instead of the amazing golden cthulonic dildo of legend, we've now got an anatomically correct demony looking thing (apparently each award has a different facial expression too...)

According to sources the mass book launch was Best. Launch. Ever!

Didn't get to see many of the panels as was behind the registration desk but the Write Fantastic one was fab (and I totally need to get them to do Reading - either the main Reading Library or maybe the one in Woodley... alas, the one in Lower Earley is a bit on the titchy side...)

I shocked and stunned Dave Howe in the Quiz when I could pin point the exact episode a certain Buffy line was spoken in. (It was the one about happy meals on legs, said by Spike in Becoming part 2! Hah!) Don't know how I remembered it as usually I've got total sieve-brain when it comes to things like that.

Also won a few bits in the raffle (which I then offloaded on evil twin... be nice to me for the rest of the year, girly girl...!!)

What else, what else....
Bad: some idiot at the hotel double booked the function rooms on Friday and said we couldn't have the main room until 5pm as some business types had got it... I mean, we've had them booked since this time last year but apparently someone got confused cos the big room (with it's own name) can also be split into 3 smaller rooms, each with different names, and the gits had booked the smaller rooms and no one had the brains to notice the clash.... were we furious or what! And what did we get in compensation? Some chips and sandwiches at lunchtime for free! What a gyp....
Fortunately the business types were all done and gone by 1pm ish so we swooped...

Also, the hotel housekeeping was appalling, a lot of people's rooms hadn't been cleaned from the previous guests (luckily mine was fine, for a change, I even got a heater that actually worked which had me well shocked... first time I've not frozen at an Fcon..)

We'll not even mention the food...

Good: the posse of about half a dozen porter types led by the brilliant Glenys, who all wore Fantasycon tshirts through the weekend(!), were very helpful and sorted out most of the problems to do with the function rooms...

The fact that the Fcon tshirt, despite only be a Large, actually fitted.

The fact that every year I get to have longer and longer conversations with people like Chaz Brenchley, Jo Fletcher, Ramsey Campbell etc. etc. Not bad for someone who avoids the bar because I don't drink and gets odd reactions to cig. smoke.

Plus, I got more hugs and kisses over the one weekend than I get over the course of the average year, which was nice! :-) Heh! Of course, I've spent many many years training the home peeps to keep their distance... touchy-feely I'm not. But still, Fcon affection is different.

Oh, and I did my first ever signing!! Okay, so technically it was only a half dozen Fcon mags that Bob of the Talking Dead was going to get signed by the GOHs and auction off for charity but Debs suggested to him that I ought to sign it too as I edited it... so I did! Double heh! And a hee, too!

The AGM was very quiet... some git asked about membership stats, but apparently Debs was in charge of doing that and admitted she hadn't had time so I was off the hook! We got some good publicity suggestions, Chaz B. volunteered to help out with a couple of bits (which shocked even him I think!), Jo Fletcher offered up £50 of Gollancz books as an incentive to get people to respond to an Fcon short and easy questionnaire we're doing to get an idea of things you lot think important when choosing to come (eg. how far you'll travel etc. Pretty much the same sort of thing I floated on the BFS messageboards...)
Gary Couzens stepped down as Awards admin and Dave Sutton (one of the original creators of the BFS and also, I think, organisor of the first Fcon) stepped up to take his place. And we're doing some juggling with the editors of DH & Prism... but more on that when it's official...!

On next year's Fcon, the lovely Ariel suggested Manchester - which went down rather well... research is happening as we speak. For 2007 (yes, we really are planning 2 years in advance..) Fcon I'm still holding out hope for getting something in Reading. Apparently getting it right in town centre isn't so vital, so long as it's near enough to the train station... there's a travelodge on one end of the Oxford Road(do I mean Oxford Road??... it's the one that has either a tescos or a Sainsburys on it and a PCWorld near it..) that might do... it had it's function rooms redone a couple of years ago and the accomodation should be more sensibly priced... ah well, have to investigate....

Debs & Vicky are also coming back next year as organisors, we've got a nice lady from Hadesgate publishing offering to help out on publicity and mum reckons she's going to do the nagging hotel liason stuff (ye gads, can't escape the woman...!)

(Talking of whom, this weekend the issue of Chat magazine that had her 'spooky story' came out - easiest £50 she's ever made, she reckons.... the whoever at the mag completely re-wrote her original sort of true ghost story into something which is, well, pretty much tabloid style fabrication. And my name comes up about 8 or 10 times in it!! And will she give me a cut... oh no....)

So now that Fcon '05 is done (and Fcon '06 & '07 are nicely distant), I can concentrate on getting the mag done this week, off to the printers and back next week. Lovely.

Happy bunny all round.

27 September 2005

Fcon.. counting down

Being. Very. Calm. 2 more days to go (well, technically, 3, but we leave for it on Thursday..) and should just be ready in time :-) If you're going, hi! If you're not, shame on you... :-P

Actually, as far as the actual event is concerned, we've all done everything that can be done in advance and taken delivery of everything that we need. It's the BFS AGM I get to worry about next (not just because I hate hate hate public speaking and my brain freezes up when peeps ask questions and blech...), what with having to do something sensible with the Publications accounts and try and remember membership stats that I sort of said I'd put together, but soooo haven't had the time to. So please don't ask for membership stats. Really. Ask something else that the other smarter committee peeps can answer instead. Ta muchly.

So Friday = manic day. Bag stuffing and set up until late afternoon then sitting behind the reg. desk for the rest of the evening signing people in. Oh, and the quiz! A chance to hear how many ways my mate Dave can heckle everyone in the room....
There's also a Write Fantastic panel thingy, Gail Nina Anderson is doing a slideshow talk with the fab title: "From Goddess to Dominatrix - a fantasy quest through art, archaeology and
some dodgy mags I got from Simon R. Green.", and Ramsey Campbell's doing a late night story session.

Then Saturday is the big panels day (and always the day I forget to eat), and of course, evening brings the Fabulous Fantasycon Raffle.
Panels then..... we've got a comics one, a scriptwriting improv session, a 'swords and sandals' one, a comedy/horror one, a writing for TV one (not to be confused with the scriptwriting thingy), a bunch of live interviews (and Ariel says his interview with Steven Erikson is going to be recorded and broadcast on his blog eventually so that'll be nice!) - as well as a huge book launch in the main bar - mainly with PS Publishing's joint BFS thingy Cinema Macabre, but also with Telos, Hadesgate Publishing and, I think, Gary Fry with Poe's Progeny, and a few other folks.
And if you're still awake after the raffle, there's a couple of storytelling sessions going on with Alison Davies and Joe Hill.

Oh, and there's the Editor appointments (John Jarrold dropped out because he can't come, Jo Fletcher stepped up to help, because she can!) , Simon Clark talk (for which you need to have booked in advance for), and the Indie film show (might be starting a little later then scheduled depending on how long the last Editor appointments go on... oh cripes, I've got to do the film program thingy for that yet..... oh no... knew there'd be something....)

Then Sunday is AGM (aaaggghhh!), banquet (which I never go to, being the ultimate fussy/faddy eater.... this week, if it's not a cheese, peanut butter & ketchup sandwich then forget about it!), for you regular eaters, the banquet menu's fairly harmless and the pudding sounds nice.
Then we've got the awards... according to my sources it's very very close this year, with a couple of unexpected leads. Gary, our awards admin chap, says he'd liked to have seen more people voting this year.

Oh, and last I heard, there's after dinner speeches from Steven Erikson & Mark Chadbourn; and Simon Clark and Graham Joyce are hosting the awards for us.

So it should be good, then!

And I'm very, very, calm.

23 September 2005

Random rant
Argh! 1 week to Fcon and still shitloads to do..... staying very calm.... oh yes. And no venue for 2006 yet. Bloody hotels and their bloody extortinate rates.... bastards.

And just what about the, ahem, 'on-track for end of July' mag? Don't ask. August surprised me. (How it does this every year, I'll never know. And where's September gone, ey? I demand an answer...) So, we're looking at first week of October (ie. when Fcon is safely over) with Ish 8 in December.

More sensible things to follow when my brain gets off the ceiling.......

31 July 2005

Arrrgh.

So there I am, happily bouncing around the internetweb when suddenly all manner of weird things pop up on my desktop (cue 5 minutes of kicking oneself for not getting around to installing the firewall on the new machine...) and suddenly I'm the proud owner of 3 automatic diallers to 'adult' sites that seem to have hijacked all my connections. Bastards.
Have just spent the morning cleaning things up, putting in the firewall and in my usual stable-bolted-horses-long-gone way, have also finally got around to installing Mozilla Firefox. Good lord, it's done bizarre things to the Bradan website. Next time I've a spare few, it'll be straight to the CSS sites to see what can be done to clean up the code. Hopefully this Firefox thingy should help slow down the frequency of viral attacks I get.
Grrr, argh.

19 July 2005

Quickie update

Head down, working ass off.... hate July and August......

However, Issue 7 is coming along nicely, so still on track for end of July publication. Am attempting to catch up on the mass of emails waiting attention so sit tight.

21 June 2005

More BFS bits

Should probably mention that the BFS boards are here: http://www.marieoregan.net/bfsdiscuss/index.php

Ooh, just remembered, we've (BFS Publications... so many hats...) just announced the latest Special Publication (as opposed to the regular ones eg. Prism & DH..).
So: (drum roll...) the BFS 2006 Horror Calendar......
Featuring stories from:
Clive Barker, Neil Gaiman, Ramsey Campbell, John Connolly, Christopher Fowler, Simon Clark, Muriel Gray, Stephen Gallagher, Kelley Armstrong, Poppy Z. Brite, Stephen Laws & Graham Masterton.

And artwork by:
James Ryman, Mike Bohatch, Lew Lehrman, Michael Ian Bateson, David Anthony Magitis, Ian Simmons, Russell Dickerson, Lizzy Shumate, Lara Bandilla, Michelle Blessemaille & Bob Covington.

With stunning cover and internal artwork by Lord of the Rings, Constantine and Sin City matte artist Paul Campion. (Who's also doing the Fcon souvenir mag cover for me as well... but that's another hat.....)

Anyhoo, the calendar retails at £8.99 (plus p&p) and is now available for pre-ordering on the BFS cyberstore at http://www.britishfantasysociety.org.uk/shop/bpub.htm

It's going to be officially launched at Fcon at end of September but BFS members will receive their free members copy as soon as it's back from the printer. Which I think the Spec Pub Eds said would be early September.

Also also... in case you hadn't heard from other sources... PS Publishing are launching their book Cinema Macabre at Fcon and BFS members will also be getting a basic standard edition of the book free in whatever mailing comes after Fcon and before Xmas.

So there you go, 2 great reasons to join /re-join! And just wait til you see what we've got planned for next year...
BFS bits
Ick, got a severe case of stamp licker's tongue! Yes, that's right, it's BFS mailing time again! In this month's mailing you BFS bods will get Prism, the latest Fcon Reporter (done by yours truly!), the Fcon booking form (do it if you haven't yet,) the awards showcase flier thingy and most importantly, the BFS Awards voting form. (Where you can vote for H&N in the best small press category, if you really want to.... oh, go on....) Also, if you want to nominate an H&N story from Issue 4, just pop it in the 'other' box. (Or if you're using the online form on the BFS site, just type it in any of the boxes in the Short fiction category. Of course box 1 will get you more points!)

Fcon bits
Still not having any luck with next years hotel. Everywhere in Reading is terribly expensive. Which is a shame, cos there were a couple of nicely positioned ones....
So we're looking at other areas.... priorities are:
1) single room rates that don't kill you - plus that are held at same rate for Thurs - Sun nights.
2) good transport links and a car park so everyone can get there easily.
3) size, of course. We need somehwere that has a minimum of 110 ish rooms.
4) Near to some shops/pubs/eateries so that you've got somewhere to go if you want to skip the hotel
5) cost of the function rooms & misc. hotel bits, is, of course, a factor, but the above are more important.

This is so frustrating cos we've got this lovely guest just waiting for us to say what the dates are, which we can't do until we've got a hotel.

Of course, it would be much easier if we just went for this years hotel next year, but we were rather hoping that we could get one nearer to a town centre - with, hopefully, better transport links for the non drivers.
Not that there's anything wrong with the Quality Hotel - it's dirt cheap, they've done the rooms up right nice since last year etc. etc. It's just that there's a minimal amount of local facilities for folks if they don't want to eat in the hotel.

Mind you, I really wouldn't mind doing the Quality again next year. Personally, it's easy for me to get to (only about 2 hours max drive up the motorways), the car park's handy (a necessity when you've got to lug the amount of boxes me and the rest of the Fcon girls have to) and it's nice and civilised!
Hmm, think I'll pop over to the BFS boards and start a 2006 poll/thread (will be in the 2005 Fcon section) - do me a favour and drop by to voice your opinions please. Along the lines of what's your most important considerations when you're thinking about attending...

Cheers

08 June 2005

Ooh ooh ooooohhh, we're on Shocklines now!
Issues 1 - 5/6 are up on this page here:
http://store.yahoo.com/shocklines/henowmasiis.html

06 June 2005

H&N bits

Just when I thought I'd got on top things, a few cock ups come to light! Turns out a couple of orders vanished in one of the computer implosions so if you haven't had your copy of 5/6, tell me. (and if you've got your order details handy, that'd be a help to.)
Competency? I wish.

Ish 7 is bundling along nicely. Should go to print end of June/first week of July for appearance in the latter half of July.
Would love to see some more articles in it so you know what to do...

26 May 2005

H&N News

How chuffed am I? Very very... not only have we sold out of issue Five/Six but Shocklines have agreed to stock us. Copies of all issues of H&N to date, were despatched to them today and they'll be taking copies of all future issues too so those of you in the US/Canada areas can get hold of the mag so much quicker now! It should be up on their catalogue in about a week I think. Will post the exact catalogue page link as and when....

25 May 2005

Ok, think I fixed the size problem. (At least, according to all the computers I've got access to, I have. If it doesn't work on yours, let me know!)

Now to sort the blog...

20 May 2005

There's always something.... so apparently the new design works fine on some screen sizes (at least I think it's the screen sizes, could be the browser...) and on others it explodes out of all proportion with hideously magnified text and layers all over the place. Arggh. Am fiddling to fix it.
Even more H&N bits!

New version of the website is now live! Wahey! Seems to be working ok so far, despite the plain design.
Check out the expanded links sections - which now have webpages for almost every single H&N contributor (excepting the ones I can't find any pages for) as well as links to a few contributors books (which I don't earn money for btw, they're a 4the luv thing!). If you've been in the mag and your website is wrong or missing, let me know and I'll wang it in for you.
And don't forget to add your latest news to the promo thread in the messageboards too...!

Then there's the all new issue extracts pages which include the reviews of each issue. (Except I'm missing the Fix #7 review of H&N #3 as I 'safely' stashed my copy somewhere and can't find it. so when I can get hold of it, it'll get added.. unless someone wants to photocopy the page and fax/post it over to me? )

I've mucked around with the submission guidelines again and added the new contributor payment rates (applicable from Issue 9); and the new cover price (which I mentioned months ago, which is, basically, only 25p more).

Also, there's a few commercial bits - google ads (which I'm still working out how to use properly) and Amazon links (both of which I get click-thru on apparently, so please do...!) as well as a paypal donation button in case you've got a spare 50p you want to throw my way! (Spare money, I remember the days...sigh....)

And there's a google site search facility too!
Phew.

I'm also mid-process in getting us on that Froogle thingy in the vain hope of getting more people to buy the mag (which benefits you, the contributors, natch!)

Which pretty much wraps up the web changes. (when I can get my brain working, I'll be attempting to match the look of the blog to the look of the rest of the site. God knows if that'll work though.)

I'm also midway through doing a proposal for an artsboard grant - which would be handy (but not essential to survival!); as well as sorting out Shocklines & Project Pulp thingies. Will let you know how they go!

19 May 2005

More H&N bits

(because someone hit the publish button instead of the return button...ahem...)

So where were we...(and I really must stop starting each post with 'so')

News, news... ah yes. Apparently someone nominated us for a BFS small press award (which is a little embarassing because it's for work in the year 2004 and last year was one issue and worse than lousy response times.) On the plus side there's about 20 or so other things nominated in the Small Press category so we can just ignore that blip this year. Now next year, we might actually deserve the nomination.... (still be a bit embarassing though... would rather one of the stories won best short fiction, then the mag won best small press...)


BFS bits

While we're on awards, it's always so tempting to gossip and I'd get strangulated for going into actual details... but at the moment the BFS committee bods have started up the annual discussions on who's going to get the Special Award this year. (The only award where final voting is down to the committee & RAmsey C., whereas all the rest are membership voted.)
Anyway, we had about a dozen nominations from the membership and the fun always comes because one portion of us go for one type of person, another portion go for another type of person and we then spend weeks seeing who can argue their case best.

As for the rest of the voting... the forms are getting copied up at the moment, ready to go out with the next Prism (which should be due in a couple of weeks) and there's tons of buggers nominated for the first wave.

Fcon bits

The Walsall hotel visit was a fun one - they've repainted and fixed the air-con so it was actually possible not to freeze this time. And not only did we get free rooms as con organisors, but it was an executive suite! Thank you very much!! (I've never had a kitchen in my hotel room before! Or a living room!)

We've had Steven Erikson confirmed as our 3rd guest (cue grumbles becuase it's an all bloke line up this year) and Graham Joyce has kindly agreed to be Master of Ceremonies.

For next year we've got a Big Name American Guest semi confirmed, pending confirmation of dates from us.
But to do that, first we need to lock down the venue.... argh!
The first hotel I scouted looked perfect... right up until they gave me their best prices. The award for biggest bunch of jokers go to the Renaissance Hotel in Reading! You don't even want to know what their room rates rise to for the Sunday night...
Next on my list is the hotel on Caversham Bridge (down the road from where they do the Reading Festival...) - which looks like it might be a possible (pending prices) - although it is further away from the town centre than I'd like. (Close enough to Reading Station though..)
At least there's a couple of restaurents/cafe's etc nearby so if we do get it, and the hotel food stinks, then there's other options available.

If their prices are stupid though, I'm not sure where to look next as that's it for suitable Reading hotels. We want somewhere near civilisation for '06, but town centre hotels with conference facilities tend to go for a vast hike in prices. We can deal with pricy venue hiring I think - at least as far as next year is confirmed, but the goal is to get decent rates on the accomodation.
So if Reading bottoms out where next? Stay south and hit Bracknell or Swindon, or move back to the middle and go for maybe Birmingham or Manchester or similar.
(Or really shock the northerners and do a Newcastle one!)

Will keep you updated!


Other bits

So (argh! did it again!), mum, the publicity slut, is going on the local radio next week to pimp her book. (Then she's got Newcastle radio in Sept/Oct and various student paper articles/columns/ god knows what as well..)
And, the funniest thing is that, according to mum's publisher chappie, the AIIC (Association of Independent Inventory Clerks, to you. Regulatory body kinda thing.) want to incorporate vast chunks of the book into their training courses. The funny bit being that mum knew nothing about this and she's actually on the committee!
H&N bits

So I've just spent 4 solid days doing nothing but mucking around with the new version of the website - we're almost there. Packed with content, but the design's still a bit iffy. One day I'll have no trouble with getting images and amazon product links to actually appear... however that day is not yet here. And the title/header thingy is still a bit boring. Think I'll get that one sorted out in the version after the one I'm working on!

Meantime, big thanks for all the words of encouragement and wotnot that have been coming over the email - totally appreciated! Glad you all like the Fabulous Beast!
Now I'm waiting with bated breath for the reviews... should eventually see one on the Whispers of Wickedness site, also in one of the BFS mags. And have sent review copies off to Locus just on the off chance; also Year's Best F&H cos they really do need to honourably mention some of the stories in #5/6. Oh yes they do.

13 May 2005

So there I am, just flicking through the latest issue of Fables when I come across... ta daah.... a preview for the new comic adaption of Neverwhere (due out June, I think). Good grief. Actually doesn't look too bad, I can buy the artist's rendition of Door, not too sure about Croup and Vandemeer though. Much prefer the original TV versions of The Old Firm.
And it's being written by Mike Carey which is good, cos I'm a big fan of the Lucifer series. Just hope they don't Americanise it too much.

Speaking of, have so far diligently avoided the movie version of Hellblazer (although I might waste the money to rent it, just the once, just to see how toe-curling it is). I mean, Canoe the walking plank as Constantine? Do me a favour.

Actually, seems to be a bit of a comic book movie thing going on at the moment as Sky have got Hellboy and Punisher showing on the boxoffice channels. Now is it me, or is the chappie who played Punisher the dead spit for a younger Christopher Lambert. If they ever resurrect the Highlander films they've at least got someone who can do the not too old and fat version of Connor McLeod...

09 May 2005

06 May 2005

Blog feed thingy:

No idea what it is (must now go surfing to find out!) but apparently I do have one!

So if you know what to do with a feed URL, here it is:
Smug Mode

It's back, it's back, it's baaaaaccckkk! Oh my goodness, yes. Took delivery of the fabulous beast an hour ago... shiny cover (which I didn't ask for but got anyway!), printed spine and all.

Happily the internal attempts at design carried over ok (perils of doing things in MS (bastards) Word - grey scale pretties usually look better on screen than when they print out...). Spotted a couple of format oopses which I should have picked up in the proof stage but didn't, but other than that, oh my goodness, yes.

I absolutely love it!

Have to pop up to Walsall now for a couple of days to do a Fantasycon Hotel trip with the other organisers (it's a hard life, really...) so mags will be going in the post Monday morning.


Then next week it's web re-design and just how fast can I learn CSS? Doesn't look too hard... It's the PHP & SQL thingies that worry me....

28 April 2005

Whispers of Wickedness! That's the name of the site with reviews on that I mentioned below. Completely slipped my tongue for a moment there!
Happy Happy!

So the printer says the mag should be delivered Monday/Tuesday. All 128 pages of it... Hoo yah!
Because of the size of the bugger, and the multiple computer crashes losing contents, a couple of items that were originally slated for 5 or 6 have been bumped to 7. (one story, 2 articles if memory serves...)
And the cover... oh man, love it. I nicked one of Greg Cartwright's Mage in Training cartoons for it (thanks mate!) and will get the pic (along with updated issue details) up on the website soon-ish.

Of course that means I'm still walking around in a post-layout pre-publication euphoria - which on the one hand is lovely because it more than compensates for all those hide under the table days, but on the other hand is getting a little dangerous.

Why? Well, see, there's this discussion going on in the TTAPress boards about doing an online version of The Fix but Andy C. wants someone else to organise. Now, personally, I think an online Fix is a brilliant idea (especially if he's thinking of discontinuing the print version) and from what I recall of the conversations, the Fix reviewers would pretty much be the same. (Must drop over there and actually post something in the conversation...)
And I'm so so tempted to volunteer (then my sensible voice points out that I'm already attempting to balance H&N, BFS Publications, this year's Fantasycon, next year's Fcon, other BFS duties and all the many Fam Biz bits I do to earn a living... and do I want to totally explode my brain or what?)

But then the Voice of Euphoria points out that it would be such a neat idea. Ok, I know that there's a good review site here and you can get your Small Press info from such places as Ralan... but still... how cool would an Online Fix be? It'd need to be a HUGE site, maybe integrate a feedback area for submissional experiences with the mags reviewed. (so a Ralan/Black Hole/Review site crossbreed then?)
Of course you'd need someone with some competence in web design to make it look nice..but the whole thing is just busting with possibility.
Maybe splice in a couple of small press feature articles each month. (Oh god, here we go, columns, interviews and articles dedicated to all things small press with cross links all over the place...)

And I've always (quietly) been all for promo-ing small press peeps (even pre-H&N, oh cynics you...) which is why I want to expand the link section of the H&N site to have a contributors dedicated section so there's links to the websites of everyone who's been in the mag, and also get extracts of their H&N work up. (part of the revamp)

But an Online Fix...

17 April 2005

Technical support now claims that the messageboard problem has been fixed... what a load of bollocks. All the user accounts and archives are still evaporated so the new start-from-scratch board is permanent.

And now all my emails have decided to go off in a huff too. Hammer. Computer. Let me introduce you to.

In brighter news, at least mums new website at www.first-time-tenant.com seems to be working out all right. The photo's a bit scary though.

16 April 2005

So technical support isn't being very (supportive, that is). Apparently most of the core programming php files got sucked up in wherever all the files got sucked up to. I dunno.

So new boards now wanged up on http://bradanpress.netfirms.com/chat2/nfphpbb - have altered links on the main site so off we go again...
And the forum seems to have completely disappeared to. Arrrrgh. If the technical support chappies don't come up with answers in the next few hours (like what they did promise), I'll wang up a new board.
I told you, technology hates me.
Good grief

So now all my web pages have managed to magically disappear off the server overnight? I mean, I could maybe almost sort of understand it if I'd actually been transferring files to it but nope, been nowhere near it, I swear.

The world's going mad.

07 April 2005

Le Mag

How long's it been? At least 22 years, and now at least half of you are drawing your old age pensions... (Or in the case of one Steve R, died, passed right through the light and reincarnated...) :->
So Issue 5 then, is now going to be a double with Issue 6, due out end of this month. Oh yes.(Another computer blew out on me, losing about half the contents of Ish 5 in the process - hence delays on mags & website updates etc. Have now given up using other peeps gronky second hand machines and have got a lovely new HP beastie that seems to be behaving itself so far.)

Issue 7/8, another double issue, will be out July.
After that, we'll be open to submissions (new guidelines & rates etc will go on site in June) and I'm looking at sorting out a more sensible (timely) schedule. Ideally I'd like to get another issue out this year, most likely Nov/Dec - after I've got Fantasycon out of the way, then after that we'll probably be shifting to a bi-annual schedule for '06.
Will update the the website with the basic details this week, and will save the complete site overhaul til June/July.

Fantasycon

Yoiks. We've got Simon Clark and Mark Chadbourn confirmed as GoHs, and are waiting to hear back on an MC and third GoH.
But more on that another time, else I'll get distracted.

The fabulous book de la mama...

...is going to be launched next week! That mother person got her freebie copies a couple of weeks ago and has been nagging me to get a website up for her before the thing hits the streets. No pressure. Oy vey.
Actually the book don't look too bad (forgetting the completely jumbled contents page and the last minute addition of pictures in odd places because they'd decided they'd finalised the text layout, finito.) And can I just be a little bit smug in the fact that half the editorial changes the publisher guy asked for were ones that I'd suggested to herself but she decided to ignore (snigger!) - plus the layout people used a couple of things in the book that I'd put on her manuscript to neaten it up. :-> It's the small things...!

So the beast is called 'First Time Tenant' by Patricia Barber, available for ordering anywhere you like. (And a good daughter would be organised enough to put a link up, but the good daughter's down in Bournemouth so you're stuck with me...)
Her website will (eventually) be at www.first-time-tenant.com next week (oh grief, I think it was .com, it's on my list of things to check.)

And herself has started the first draft on a companion Landlords book (meant to be more of 'here's how to get a stress free tenancy' than the bundles of bizarre techy stuff most other buy-to-let books do).

And wouldn't you know, now that we don't need funny renting stories for the PR (we spent December/January racking our brains for oddities); funny stories are popping up all over the place. Like Tuesday, herself had to check out a flat previously occupied by a total nutcase who was evicted because he shit in the doorways of all the other flats in the block. And apart from trashing the place, he left a live chicken in the oven. (Well, I'm sure it was live when he left it there, by the time mum got in to see it it was going green and pretty much as gross as you'd imagine!)

Lovely.