24 December 2010

Wildstacks - Issue One!

Oh yes! Wildstacks #1 is now live!
Cover illo by Sunila Sen-Gupta
Fabulous Fiction being:

PATCHES
By Rob Shearman

TO INFER IS HUMAN
By Rod Rees

THE FAMILY ROOM

By Nicholas Royle

NOT A MOMENT TO SWOON
By Ian Whates

CHASING WATERFALLS
By Andrew Hook

SALTUS LUNAE
By Kari Sperring

WASHING OF THE WATERS
By Marion Pitman

LANTERN JACK
By Christopher Fowler

09 December 2010

Random Blatherings: December Edition

Ah, December. Apparently some people have snow. Lower Earley, however, is sunny and snow free. (The joys of being a valley girl! Apparently our weather doesn't act like wot it does in the rest of the country.)

So, what news?

Well, Kari Sperring fans can soon look out for an interview of the fabulous award-winning multi-talented genius lady in the upcoming BFS Journal (being the new megamix hardback publication the BFS is putting out in a bid to merge Prism, Dark Horizons and New Horizons. Or something. I? Have no idea.) The cover is gorgeous though. BFS members can expect it as soon as it's back from the printers.

It's Women in SF week over at Torque Control! Go check out the many fabulous posts and discussions about women in sf!

If you're in need of some fun stories to brighten your December, go see the fantastic December Lights project organised by Stephanie Burgis and Patrick Samphire. Me, I loooooove Undead Philosophy 101 by Stephanie Burgis.

Women & Hollywood make mention of how Helen Mirren kicked ass at the Women in Entertainment Breakfast There is a video. And delicious quotes. (Helen Mirren also kicks ass in the film RED. Just sayin'. :-P)

M'good friends Pete and Jan (they of Wyld Stallyns... er, sorry, Wild Stacks fame) have now been made the editors of the BFS' Dark Horizons, and, thusly, are looking for subs.

-

On personal newsie bits -
The Nano thing - duly done so my record of making the 50k in November goes unblemished. (Huzzah!)
OU status - Fiiiiinally got the results of the last course/module/thingy back. Passed it! 85% on the examinable part, 75% average on the coursework part (which is, apparently, a bit weird as most people get lower marks for the examinable bit.)
Now, just got to fight my way through the current course from hell then see how many course/module/thingies I can get done before the prices rise astronomically thanks to the Bastard!Government!Trolls! Ahem. Yes. Studying is fun. Really. ;-P

04 November 2010

Nano (Day 4!)

I know, shocking isn't it, we're 4 days into Nanowrimo and I still haven't bored you with word counts and other Nano blatherings! Alas, poor people, that is about to change. ;-P

So, this year, unlike may others in recent memory, I shall not be going nuts in the wordwar due to the very distracting presence of coursework for the degree (specifically, a thingy on the rise of agriculture in the Neolithic that is due on 1st December. The bastards. November should be sacred. Really.) Meaning, instead of aiming for the brain-flipping 160k-ish totals that a true wordwar demands, I'm, apparently, going to be happy to make it to the 50k. (I say apparently because there's always the chance that Insane!Competitive!Jen! will wake up and insist on more, just because.)

Anyhoo, so where are we this year then? Planning? Hah! I wish. This year, again, unlike recent years, is going to be a total Pantser. (Ooooh, scary. Control!Freak!Jen! is attempting not to panic.)

Wordcount so far? 5129 words. Teeny, but just about keeping up with the minimum daily needs. (Insane!Competitive!Jen! would still like to make 50k by end of next week, just because. Insane!Competitive!Jen! may need locking in the shed to shut her up.)

Bodycount so far? 1 unconfirmed. (I know! I should be in double figures for dead people by now!)

Action so far? Daring!Smuggler!Girl! has broken into the Alexandrian Embassy during party night to return a love-token to a chap whose husband is a big to-do, she has also narrowly avoided getting killed by the Mysterious!Assassin! who has just committed Foul!Acts! that will come back to bite Daring!Smuggler!Girl! on the ass later.
In other news, Undercover!Revenue!Girl! is trying to close a sting on a renowned antiquities smuggler/crime-lord.(Crime-lady?). Hijinx are about to ensue.
One hopes that the two plot lines will converge in a useful manner at a later date. ;-P

31 October 2010

Wild Stacks!

Announcing: Wyld Stallions! (oh, sorry, must stop watching Bill & Ted!)Wild Stacks: The Library of the Imagination

Yes, there is a new online magazine on the interwebs! And this one is being run by m'good friends Pete Coleborn and Jan Edwards who are reviving their Alchemy Press in order to bring genre goodness to you (yes, you!) :-P
Currently it's a 4-the-luv market, published quarterly, with the aim of 1) becoming a decent paid market and 2) producing an annual hardback Best-Of anthology (for which royalties and wotnot will be paid). Further Alchemy Press cunning plans to be announced as and when.

Meantime, Issue #0 is up - with fiction from Anne Gay, Allen Ashley and Mike Chinn.

Annnnd, most importantly, Wild Stacks is open for submissions! Oh yes. ;-P
Also I'm an assistant editor! So I get to read 'em! The subs remit is for a broad range of genre fiction ... specifically "from horror to heroic fiction, sword & sorcery, urban fantasy, steam-punk, supernatural, surreal, weird fiction, and noir crime... but no hard science fiction, erotica or stories designed to gross out."

So let's see what you've got! Personally, I want to see more women writers, stories with kick-ass chicks and settings that haven't been used a zillion times by everyone else, but that's just me!

That link again: Wild Stacks! (Rock on!)

23 October 2010

Kari Sperring Interview

Oooooooh. My interview with the lovely and generally fantastic Kari Sperring will be appearing in the December BFS Journal. (The all new BFS mega-mix that, so rumour has it, will be a glorious hardback beast that combines Prism and Dark Horizons in one shiny package...)

14 October 2010

On Bullying

This - On Good Kids and Total Fucking Assholes - Kate Harding
Also, can we stop telling said tormented kids that the correct response is to ignore the bullies? Has that ever, in the entire history of weirdo kids and the aggressive little shits who enjoy hurting them, actually made a bully stop? Seriously, if I ever have a kid who gets bullied like I did — verbally, daily, constantly — or like Al did — verbally and physically, daily, constantly — my best advice will be this: “You know what, sweetie? That kid is a TOTAL FUCKING ASSHOLE, and you should feel free to say so — scream so — to anyone who will listen. I don’t care if you get punished for it at school, and you won’t get punished for it at home.” Honestly, I don’t think that would do much to stop the bullying, and it might even make things worse. But at least it’s the truth, and it feels good to say it.

But most especially this: Bitterness, Bullying and Breaking the Circle - Seanan McGuire

Fine. My day was fine. I had a lot of "fine" days back then. It's amazing how often "fine" meant "horrible, terrible, mortifying, humiliating, dehumanizing, brutal." All I ever had to say was "fine."

We've known for a long time that school bullying was out of control, but every time it gets "uncovered" again, people react like it's some sort of shock. Kids can be mean? HORRORS! Kids bully other kids? HORRORS!

Bullshit.


Go read the full posts and comments, because they say it far more eloquently than I could ever manage.

Bullying is why I hated secondary school with a black passion - possibly stemming from having so much time off ill that on those rare ocassions I was there... didn't go well. Because it's so much fun to play the 'let's keep kicking Jen in the back of the knee to see how long it takes to fall over' game.

This meant I started asking to be home schooled from the age of 11, because the learning side of things I liked. It was just the people. (Not that I'd ever admit it at the time, because you're supposed to shrug these things off, aren't you? And if they keep it up, it's obviously your fault for not finding the right way to deal with it. It's just words. Toughen up. Ignore them. Fight back. Speak out. Yeah, right.)

Homeschooling seemed the perfect solution, except the parentals routinely had to say no due to a) mum felt her education level wasn't sufficient to do the teaching herself and b) the financial situation was so not capable of funding tutors to come in. So I learned the subtle art of staying way the hell away from anyone while making it look like I wasn't bothered by the words and sniggering and mysteriously missing chairs and so on. I spent lunchtimes in classrooms (generally not eating) using the excuse of having homework to finish. Kept my head down and got on with work quietly. And hated every minute of it. Ask me in person and I'll deny that a block of my life ever happened, which is such a waste.

Then I hit 15 and finally things started looking up. There were only a few months to go until I was legally allowed to abandon the whole damn school system and do my own thing so the lovely parentals juggled finances enough to get a couple of tutors in to do the homeschooling thing and shut the education board up for a while. And after the point of freedom, mum insisted I go to night school to get some GCSEs. Adult Education? Best thing ever. Mature students are routinely awesome. (Which goes double for mum who consistently tried to find creative solutions for everything. Also, she did a couple of the GCSEs with me, which was fun. I beat her in English, we hit a tie in Spanish. Have I mentioned lately that my mum's very cool?)

Other adults, not so cool. Head of year? One of the Phys Ed teachers, so when, finally, I had a weak moment and told mum and it went to teacherly intervention, didn't go well. (Because, of course, the main instigators were also on the sports teams and popular and yaddah yaddah.) And predominantly verbal bullying apparently doesn't count. (So, what, you want evidence of serious physical abuse before you act?) The oh-so-useful teachers managed an assembly on bullying (like that was going to do any good) and, amusingly, in the next class, a couple of the instigators, in a very blatant fake-break-up ploy, sent a minion to ask if I was going to say anything. (I think I managed a vaguely sarcastic non-committal comment.)

I'll let Kate Harding sum things up:
But frankly, I don’t really give a rat’s ass why they’re like that — I just want them to stop. And I want every adult who has ever minimized the impact of bullying, who has ever made excuses for a bully instead of standing up for a victim, who has ever described a child known to viciously torment other children as “a good kid, really!” to know this: You are a total fucking asshole.

01 October 2010

insert something witty about studying

Apparently it's October. That's nice. Also quite surprising on account of September being blocked out by a little bit of Fcon but mostly by a month long obsession with the last assignment for the current OU module.

I was really organised, truly. I had the reading and note taking and quotes and *everything* done before Fcon, with about 80% of a first draft locked away. Because I know what Fcon does to me. Total wipe out for at least a week afterwards. And with the essay due two weeks after Fcon, prep was essential.

So last week was a haze of staring at the computer screen and not managing to do anything useful at all. (Except sign up for the free Kindle for PC app and spend money on e-books, which is a whole 'nother thing.)

And then yesterday I re-read the essay question to check all was well and polish up. And swore. Then swore some more. Yep, time to start from scratch. Bugger. And it was due today. High noon, baby.

Cue panic. (And there was No. Chocolate. In. The. House. Reader, feel my pain. Essay panic can only be alleviated by vast quantities of food of the gods. It is essential, dammit.)

So I tried to write. Which didn't work. And it got later. So I tried to write. And it still didn't work. No essay quality words would ease themselves out of my brain. So I resorted to foolishness, dear reader, as foolishness often works where all else fails. Yes, I wrote a whole essay in slang and swearing (a lot of swearing) and snarky comments. Apparently this was enough to unlock my brain, who knew! (Well, that and finding the right soundtrack to listen to, cos, apparently my brain needs music to type to and today's essay on sacred places was brought to you by the Italian Job. No, I have no idea why either. You'd have thought, given the subject matter, that something a little more atmospheric would have worked better. But apparently no.) And once tidied up (and rewritten sensibly), it's actually not too bad an essay. I hope.

Did I make the deadline? Oh yes. With 20 minutes to spare. And now I get a whole month off before the next module (World Archaeology) starts. Woohoo! (Can sleep now!)

26 September 2010

archaeo-tech

Here's something I never knew existed: Glyph for Windows. (Such a cool name!) Apparently the Centre of Computer-aided Egyptological Research based in Utrecht University has a bunch of groovy Egyptology programs, including the aforementioned Glyph. (Glyph! For! Windows!)

Alas, they are now having to upgrade to new programs for faster systems so they're having a sale! Yes, you too can have Glyph for Windows, or the even funkier named Hieroglyphica, or even the Coffin Texts Word Index.

What's even cooler is that someone (specifically, Kate Phizackerley) is developing a hieroglyphic plug-in for Word Press! Good grief y'all. Hieroglyphs on blogs. Sweeeeet!

And just to finish off the morning's archaeo-geekery, did you know field archaeologists are using iPads on excavations? iPads! Awesome-cakes! Specifically, the University of Cincinnati on an excavation in Pompeii who are inputting excavation data directly onto iPads instead of handwriting on a million forms and wotnot then having to type it all up later, thus saving oodles of time.

There really is an app for everything! :-)

20 September 2010

BFS Best Newcomer - On Film!

Oh. My. God. Someone filmed it! On camera! And posted it to YouTube!

(I'm on YouTube! Eeeeeek!)

I had no idea I was twitching my head that much. :-)

So, here, for your viewing pleasure, is the fabulous James Barclay doing his MC thing, the even more fabulous Chaz Brenchley doing his accepting thing (on behalf of WINNER KARI SPERRING!!!), the ever excellent Louise Morgan being the sane one. And some weird twitching woman showing why she avoids cameras of every kind...



And if the embedded link doesn't work, it's here!

Fcon 2010 - aftermath

Phew! That was the Fcon that was! (Don't mention the M1 on the way up to it. It is the devil and an affront against nature.)

Firstly, let's have big cheers for Guy Adams, Helen Hopley, Martin Roberts (and his fabulous mohawk - keep it! It's ace!), Stephen Theaker and Ranjna Theaker for putting on a fab weekend. Woot!

Managed to miss every panel and launch going, so others will have to spread gossip on those, but Registration was fun. (Going to need a Registration Chick t-shirt for next year, I think) :-) (And thanks to Debbie Bennett, Di Lewis and Pat Barber for all the work they put in!) We geeked out over Ipads and Kindles and had some very interesting conversations about E-books and the like. (Want BFS E-books, and want 'em now!)

Con attendance was around 300 or so, with a good few on the day walk-ins, and, last I checked, only a dozen of the pre-booked didn't turn up.

And, oh, Saturday night and the awards... it's a bit of blur as far as who did what to whom (official listing here!) - mainly because I spent most of the afternoon in abject terror at the thought of having to co-present one. On stage. In front of people. Saying words. ::faints::

Luckily Best Newcomer was the second award to be presented, so it was over quickly. And even more luckily m'fabulous co-presenter Lou Morgan (Go Lou! Woot!) was the brains of the operation, so we said the words in the right order. And didn't drop the award statue. (It's a new design! Can't say I'm all that keen on it, myself, though.)

Annnnd the winner of Best Newcomer was... Kari Sperring!!! WOOOOOOOOT! Picked up by Chaz Brenchley as the fantastic lady herself was up a mountain in Wales doing Milford writerly things.

After that, the rest of awards kind of fuzzed into non-stop riotous applause and funky double act presenters. And James Barclay was fabulous - someone organise another event so we can get him doing on-stagey things again.
Ooh, and Robert Holdstock won the Karl Edward Wagner Special Award. Very cool.

What else? Our table won the Fcon quiz! Despite the horrendously difficult questions. (Match up the precise vehicle make and models to the transformers in Transformers 2? Behave!)

Missed the Heavy! Metal! Karaoke! (Crashed out. No stamina, me!)

Sam Stone had an amazing outfit for her launch of Demon Dance. (Please tell me there's a picture of it somewhere!)

Remembered to bring books for the Bookcrossing, forgot to write the code in them.

Was a complete zombie brain during the AGM which was annoying as I wanted to add bits to the assorted E-pubs discussions. (Must remember to go to the BFS forum and say stuff.)

Missed the Fcon 2011 launch, but found out later that joining MC Sarah Pinborough in Brighton will be GoH Gwyneth Jones. Niiiiice!

Sure there was more, but am still running a little on the brain-dead side this morning... :-)

15 September 2010

Women of Fantasycon 2010!

In which we celebrate the awesomeness that is the Women of Fantasycon 2010!

(Bow down and worship them, for they are mighty!)

Here is where you can find just some of our fantabulastic Fcon females...*

Lisa Tuttle
Who she? Guest of Honour and author extraordinaire. Most recently published The Silver Bough (a romantic fantasy) and there are three volumes of her short stories due out from Ash Tree Press
What will she be doing?
Friday 17th September
22:30 - Panel - Get Real
Saturday 18th September
12:00 - GoH Interview
13:00 - Launch - Stranger in the House
23:00 - Panel - The Unbelievable Truth

Juliet E. McKenna
Who she? Author most fabulous and queen of the Write Fantastic.
Most recently published the Lescari Revolution trilogy with Solaris Books.
Upcoming: The Hadrumal Crisis trilogy, plus assorted short fiction.
What will she be doing?
Friday 17th September
18:00 - Panel - In The Beginning
Saturday 18th September
15:00 - Panel - The Great Escape

Sarah Pinborough
Who she? Multi-talented author who has committed horror fiction, tie-in fiction, and is about to let her alternate personality loose on the YA fantasy world. Watch out for Sarah Silverwood and The Nowhere Chronicles Book 1 - The Double Edged Sword.
What will she be doing?
Saturday 18th September
14:00 - Panel - The Grass is Greener

Sam Stone
Who she? Author, poet and editor of horror fiction and Dr Who related goodies.
Recently published: Demon Dance. Coming soon: an anthology of short fiction and poetry.
What will she be doing?
Friday 17th September
19:00 - Panel - There Are No Small Presses (Only Small Writers)
Saturday 19th September
18:00 - Launch - Demon Dance

Raven Dane
Who she? Author of comedy and fantasy, steampunk and vampires, dark fantasy and probably a few more genres too!
Recently published: The Legacy of the Dark Kind series. Coming up: The Unwise Woman of Fuggis Mire
What will she be doing?
Friday 17th September
19:00 - Panel - There Are No Small Presses (Only Small Writers)
20:00 - Launch - The Unwise Woman of Fuggis Mire

Jo Fletcher

Who she? Poet, associate publisher of Gollancz and BFS legend!
What will she be doing?
Saturday 18th September
16:00 - Panel - How Not to Get Published

Marie O'Regan
Who she? Author, editor, past and future Fcon organiser.
What will she be doing?
Saturday 18th September
17:00 - Launch - The Brighton Bash

Sunila aka Dragonladych
Who she? Artist extraordinaire
What will she be doing?
Artshow - all weekend!

Karen Reay - Davies
Who she? Mystery woman and artist extraordinare!
What will she be doing?
Artshow - all weekend!

Nina Allan
Who she? Awesome author of rather amazing short fiction. Her collection: A Thread of Truth was published by Eibonvale Press.
What will she be doing?
Friday 17th September
19:30 - Reading

Allyson Bird
Who she? Horror author, editor and publicity diva!
Recently published: Wine and Rank Poison from Dark Regions Press.
Launching at Fcon: Never Again
What will she be doing?
Saturday 18th September
11:30 - Reading

Marion Pitman
Who she? Author and purveyor of second hand books.
What will she be doing?
Sunday 19th September
12:30 - Reading

(and not listed on the main program, but still just as awesome)

Di Lewis - queen of Area 51
Helen Hopley - supreme goddess of sales and banquets and many other things too numerous to mention
Lou Morgan - empress of the Bookcrossing
Ranjna Theaker - the power behind the throne

And not forgetting all those (as yet) unknown last minute participants and volunteers who will bustle around to make sure you (yes, you!) have a fab weekend!

*not mentioned are signing appearances for anthology launches. Assume that if they're in an anthology being launched, and at the Con, then they'll be signing! And I've no idea who's turning up for the Heavy! Metal! Karaoke! either.

14 September 2010

Fcon Main Events!

Hurrah! We have more intel! Here's what to do if you want to wander away from the bar! (I know, it's a bizarre concept...)

Most of this will be in the main Con room, but those that aren't will be clearly marked. If in doubt, check your program guide or ask at Registration. (and say hi! Because I am that Registration Chick! Except for the odd moment when I bribe someone to cover so I can have fun watching one of the below...)

Friday 17th September

16.00: Registration Opens
17.30: Opening Ceremony
18.00: In the Beginning - Every story begins with a single sentence. Featuring James Barclay, Rio Youers, Tom Fletcher Juliet E. Mckenna, Conrad Williams
19.00: There Are No Small Presses (Only Small Writers) - Battling for sales and recognition at the thin end of the wedge. Featuring Sam Stone, Christopher Teague, Andrew Hook, Raven Dane, Douglas Thompson, David Rix
20.00: The FantasyCon Quiz: Hosted by David Howe
20.00: Heavy Metal Karaoke (The Salutation Inn) There's a free zombie book from Abaddon's Tomes of the Dead range for the first 50 customers and a prize for the best singer: a full set of any Abaddon series they choose.
21.30: Guest of Honour Interview: Garry Kilworth talks with Guy Adams
22.30: Get Real: Looking at how weird fiction can often be the best tool to address issues in the world around us. Featuring: Joel Lane, Simon Bestwick, Simon Kurt Unsworth, Lisa Tuttle, Stephen Volk, Allen Ashley

Saturday 18th September

09.30: Registration Opens
10.00: ART SHOW OPENS: (Gallery Suite)
11.00: Ray Bradbury: Seventy Years of Stories Featuring Pete Crowther, Joel Lane, Ramsey Campbell, Stephen Volk
12.00: Guest Of Honour Interview: Lisa Tuttle talks to Stephen Jones
13.00: Guest of Honour Interview: Bryan Talbot talks to Chaz Brenchley
14.00: The Grass is Greener: What are the complications on switching between genres? Featuring Mark Morris, Tim Lebbon, Sarah Pinborough, Conrad Williams, Mark Chadbourn
15.00: The Great Escape: Is escapism the key to fantasy? Is it the main draw for both writers and readers? Ultimately, do you write a world you would prefer to live in? Featuring Juliet E. McKenna, Liam Sharp, Chaz Brenchley, James Barclay, Garry Kilworth
16.00: How Not to Get Published: An Idiot’s Guide Featuring Jo Fletcher, Stephen Jones, Marc Gascoigne, Lee Harris, Jonathan Oliver
17.00: THE BRIGHTON BASH: A “thank you” from WORLD HORROR CONVENTION 2010 and a “welcome” from FantasyCon 2011, come along and have a glass of wine with the organisers and guests, and sign up now for next year’s 30th Anniversary convention at the special reduced rate offered exclusively this weekend! WHC Books and T-shirts for sale! Giveaways! Special Announcements! And much more!
19.00: Banquet: A hot buffet featuring both meat and vegetarian options. Tickets include half a bottle of wine per person
21.00: BRITISH FANTASY AWARDS: Hosted by Master of Ceremonies James Barclay
23.00: The Unbelievable Truth: A comedy panel show built on truth and lies featuring: Bryan Talbot, Lisa Tuttle,
Garry Kilworth, James Barclay, Lee Harris and Chair Guy Adams
23.15: John L. Probert reads “His Beautiful Hands” by Oliver Cook leading into: Pan Book of Horror Launch at Midnight

Sunday 19th September

09.30: The BFS AGM
10.00: What’s New?: How important is originality in fiction? Is there ever such a thing as a fresh voice or are we all hybrids of our influences? Featuring: Mark Morris, Tom Fletcher, Rio Youers
11.00: Are you looking at Me or Chewing the Black Stone? An Appreciation of the work of Robert E. Howard with Ramsey Campbell, Stephen Jones, Joel Lane, Mike Chinn
12.00: Special Guest Interview: Peter F. Hamilton speaks to Alasdair Stuart
13.00: Grandville and the Anthropomorphic Tradition: Bryan Talbot discusses his graphic novels Grandville and Grandville Mon Amour and the venerable and ongoing tradition of anthropomorphic characters in illustration and comics from which they have grown
14.00: The FantasyCon Raffle


11am start on Saturday? Methinks there's a panel or something missing... ;-) And it looks like all of Sunday afternoon is for torturing people with the raffle... Have fun with that!

13 September 2010

Fcon Art Show!

Aaaaannnnd, the Art Show is now full!

Confirmed artists are:
Bryan Talbot
Les Edwards / Edward Miller
Daniele Serra
Sunila aka Dragonladych
Andrew Bigwood
Russell Morgan
Karen Reay-Davies.

Fcon Launches!

Hello sweeties!

Herewith, news on the Fcon launches.
1) More launches to be confirmed as and when.
2) More info here!

FRIDAY

20.00: Raven Dane (Wollaton Suite)
The Unwise Woman of Fuggis Mire

SATURDAY

10.00: Eibonvale Books (Dealer' s Room)
Blind Swimmer (introduction by Joel Lane), an anthology on the theme of creativity in the wilderness
Douglas Thompson’s second novel Sylvow

11.00: Nightjar Press (Dealer's Room)
RB Russell’s ‘The Beautiful Room’
Mark Valentine’s ‘A Revelation of Cormorants’

12.00: Angry Robot (Dealer's Room)
The Road to Bedlam - Mike Shevdon
Damage Time - Colin Harvey
Soul Stealers - Andy Remic

13.00: GOH Lisa Tuttle Ash-Tree launch (Dealer’s Room)
Stranger in the House.
"Lisa Tuttle and Stephen Jones (who wrote the introduction) will be on hand to sign copies specially priced at £21.00 for the event (a reduction of eight pounds). Stock is extremely limited."

13.00: Solaris Launch (Main Bar) End of the Line - Ed. Jonathan Oliver

14.00: Gray Friar 'Never Again' (Main Bar) 17 authors currently scheduled to sign...
...‘The proceeds for Never Again will go to The Sophie Lancaster Foundation, Amnesty International and PEN - an international organisation set up to promote literature and human rights, encouraging translation and campaigning against political censorship.’

15:00: Stephen Jones “A MAMMOTH SIGNING” (Main Bar) presented by Robinson Publishing:
Launch & signing of anthologies: Zombie Apocalypse, The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror #21 & The Best of Best New Horror.
*A Free Glass of Wine with every book purchased - come early, stocks are strictly limited.

16.00: PS Publishing (Main Bar)
Catastrophia- an anthology of new stories about the end of the world, edited by Allen Ashley (£20)
The Seven Days of Cain - Ramsey Campbell (£20)
The Company He Keeps - the latest Postscripts anthology, edited by Crowther & Gevers (£30)
The House of Canted Steps - Gary Fry (£15)
Tales from the Fragrant Harbour - a collection from FantasyCon GOH Garry Kilworth (£20)
Cinema Futura - an anthology of essays on favourite SF movies, edited by Mark Morris (£25)
End Times - Rio Youers (£20)

18:00: Sam Stone (bar near Dealer's Room)
Demon Dance - Book 3 of The Vampire Gene Series.

Midnight: Macmillan 1st Pan Book of Horror
FantasyCon will be launching the book several weeks ahead of its publication date as a convention exclusive.


SUNDAY

15.00: Peter F. Hamilton Special Guest Signing
Hosted by Forbidden Planet (Dealer’s Room)

Fcon Readings

Hello again my darlings, further to my last missive, I now have the intel on the Fcon readings! Hurrah!

Friday 17th September

18.30: Simon Bestwick
19.00: Peter Mark May
19.30: Nina Allen
20.00: Douglas Thompson
20.30: Nicholas Royle
21.00: Simon Kurt Unsworth
21.30: John L. Probert
22.00: Pete Crowther
22.30: Ramsey Campbell

Saturday 18th September

10.00: Andrew Hook
10.30: Gary McMahon
11.30: Allyson Bird
12.00: Paul Meloy
12.30: Joel Lane
13.00: Paul Finch
13.30: Tom Fletcher
14.00: Rio Youers
14.30: Jasper Kent
15.00: Ian Whates
15.30: Mike Shevdon
16.00: Mark Howard Jones
16.30: Reggie Oliver

Sunday 19th September

10.30: Chaz Brenchley
11.00: David Rix
11.30: John Travis
12.00: Mark Morris
12.30: Marion Pitman

4 days to Fcon!

Woohoo! Yes, fantasy fans, there are only four days until the start of that orgy of alcoholic abuse known as Fantasycon!

So, apart from the competition to see how fast the bar can be drunk dry, what do we know about Fcon 2010?

Super Special Guests! Lisa Tuttle, Bryan Talbot, Garry Kilworth, with MC James Barclay and a special one day only appearance by Peter F Hamilton on Sunday.

Panels? Yes there will be some, no I have no idea what. Or with whom. Or when. Advance information on programming has been a wee bit sketchy this year. The one definite confirmed panel is on Friday at 10pm, starring Lisa Tuttle, Joel Lane, Stephen Volk, Simon Bestwick and Allyson Bird*
Said panel is entitled Get Real. The Use of Real-Life Issues in Fantasy and Horror. Annnnd, I quote
"looking at how weird fiction can often be the best tool to poke at the world around us. Whether seeking to inform, incite or simply offload, fantasists have often used the widest scope of their imagination to address society."


Launches?
Most definitely. A great many. So lots of free drinking. More details on exactly who is doing what when I wrench it out of people!

Readings? Yep. By whom and when is as yet unknown but the reading program is apparently completely full.

Heavy Metal Karaoke! Yep, you read that right. Sponsored by Abaddon Books, to be be held in The Salutation Inn, Maid Marian Way(across the road from the Fcon hotel) at 8pm on Friday. Awesome!

Bookcrossing! If you've got spare books you don't want, scribble the Fcon Bookcrossing code on them (or use a post-it if you don't want to find yourself guilty of booky defacement), then release them into the wilds of Fcon and track how far they travel!

Art Show? Well, it was a bit touch and go this year, but thanks to a last minute intervention by the very brave Steve Upham of Screaming dreams, yes, there will be art! If you're interested in displaying your work or want to volunteer for a shift of manning the room, contact him now! steve@screamingdreams.com

Film Show? Alas no, not this year.

Awards and Banquet? Of course. Saturday night. Kickoff time unconfirmed but likely to be Banquet at 7pm-ish. Will check and confirm.

BFS AGM? First thing Sunday morning, because we are just that cruel!

The infamous and terrifying Fantasycon Raffle? Oh god yes. (What were they thinking?!) To be held Sunday at 2pm.

More news as and when I get it! :-)

*Although standard convention disclaimers apply - ie. due to assorted reasons, peeps may change on the day.

03 September 2010

September Books

Books I'm looking forward to getting my hands on this month:

An Artificial Night - Seanan McGuire
More Toby Daye (this is book three out of, I think, five), what's not to love! I'm a new convert to this series and having burned through the first two have been looking forward to this immensely.

So what's the big deal?
October 'Toby' Daye is a half-fae who spent 14 years trapped as a fish after a P.I. job went a bit wrong. She's getting her life back and dealing with, ooh, many complications while trying to accomplish little things like not getting killed by the latest crazy fae who wants to have a go. And she is kick-ass. Very very kick-ass. And snarky. And there's all kinds of intriguing larger stories going on that won't see fruition until later books - which, of course, are going to be must-reads!

According to the blurb: Artificial Night "...brings Toby into unavoidable, disastrous contact with the darker realities of the fae as Blind Michael, Firstborn son of Oberon and Maeve, begins claiming the children of the Mists as his own...including several that Toby considers to be essentially family. Time is short and the rules are stranger than any she's ever played by, dictated by a mad Firstborn and his private army, but failure isn't an option. If she can't get there and back by the light of a candle, she may not get back at all..."

Ooooooohhhhh.... :-)

The Double-Edged Sword - Sarah Silverwood

First foray into the world of YA fiction from awesome writer Sarah Pinborough - that alone should be enough to make you spend your money...

According to the blurb: "Finmere Tingewick Smith was abandoned on the steps of the Old Bailey. Under the guardianship of the austere Judge Harlequin Brown and the elderly gentlemen of Orrery House, Fin has grown up under a very strange set of rules. He spends alternate years at two very different schools and now he's tired of the constant lies to even his best friends, to hide the insanity of his double life. Neither would believe the truth! But on his sixteenth birthday, everything changes. The Judge is killed, stabbed in the chest with a double-edged sword that's disturbingly familiar, and from that moment on, Fin is catapulted into an extraordinary adventure. Through the Doorway in Fin's London, a hole in the boundaries of Existence, lies another London -- and now both are in grave danger. For the Knights of Nowhere have kidnapped the Storyholder, the keeper of the Five Eternal Stories which weave the worlds together. Because of the Knights' actions, a black storm is coming, bringing madness with it. Fin may be just 16, but he has a long, dark journey ahead of him if he is to rescue the Storyholder and save Existence!"

Crikey!

The Road to Bedlam - Mike Shevdon

Will be buying both this and the earlier Sixty-One Nails just as soon as possible because a) sounds cool, and b) when Juliet McKenna and C.E. Murphy recommend something, you damn well listen y'all!

“Sixty-One Nails is Neverwhere for the next generation. The pacing is spot-on, the characters engaging, and the world fits together beautifully to create a London that ought to be. I stayed up too late finishing it.”
- C.E. Murphy


“Mike Shevdon strikes sparks from the flinty core of English folklore, as a hero every reader can relate to finds he’s part of an incredible and scarily believable parallel realm. If you’ve been thinking urban fantasy has nothing fresh to offer, think again.”
- Juliet E. McKenna


According to the blurb: "Learning to cope with the loss of a child is only the beginning of the new challenges facing Niall Petersen. An old enemy has returned and Niall already knows it’s not a social call. As the new Warder of the Seven Courts he will be forced to choose between love and honour, duty and responsibility. Those choices will lead him to discover dark secrets at the core of the realm, where the people in power have their own designs."

Ooh er...

25 August 2010

Copyediting the Mother Ship

So, anyone who's been to a Fantasycon in the last few years might recall seeing my mum around. (She'd be the one that deals with con-running problems by being a weird combination of sensible, sane, calm, collected, diplomatic and pleasant to deal with. Unlike yours truly who tends to morph into a snappish bitchy bossy headless-chicken of a control freak...)

Um, yeah, anyway, so mum, being a woman of many talents (with a tendency to neither speak of them or generally accept that she has them) had a book published three or four years ago. 'twas non-fiction and was a helpful guide to tenants (with many wild and wacky tales of life in lettings) so that peeps not get royally screwed over by many and various when renting. It went to about three reprints before it was remaindered, but she was quite chuffed with it, what with the walking into WHSmiths and seeing it in the wild. :-)

And now she's finished writing her second book: a guide to self employment for Inventory Clerks, full of more wild and wacky tales to help the newbie Inventory Clerk with those tricky challenges that arise when you just get started in the biz.*

The book was commissioned by the training department of the Association of Independent Inventory Clerks, so it's a bit of an extreme niche subject and won't be going mass market, but it plays into her two expert subjects as a) she's been an Inventory Clerk for over twenty years and b) this is the woman who has spent most of her life running many other successful home businesses while wrangling children and aged relatives in varying degrees of health and still managed to keep a sense of humour. (And is not only the primary household earner, but singlehandedly built up the current business so that all the immediate family plus a few other peeps are gainfully employed in it... Did I mention my mum's the awesome?**)

All of which means I get to have fun doing the proofreading/copyediting thing for her, which, apart from being a bit brain-bleeding from having to read it fifteen squillion times and badger her for rewrites, is proving most interesting with regards to comparing shared writing quirks. Like the excessive use of 'of course', 'though' and 'however', and the instinctive habit of scattering en-dashes like confetti. (Punctuation? Nah. Stick a '-' there! Honestly, I thought it was just me that did that. But no. Tree. Apple. Not falling that far. She has, so far, avoided my excessive 'so' habit...)

And, oh, the dropped plot points! (Er, I suppose technically, as it's non-fiction it should be something along the lines of topics of discussions raised but not followed through on...) Apparently we are both easily distracted by shiny new ideas.

The other interesting thing I'm also noticing is the difference between her fiction voice and her non-fiction voice. Her fiction (cosy crime for long & contemporary ghost stories for short) tends to be written in a somewhat quaint voice. Exactly the tone you'd expect from an aged aunt or something written many many decades ago. Her non-fiction, however, is punchier and deliciously snarky. And fun. Goodness, yes. Now there's my kick-ass mum. :-)

--

*Like: what do you do if you're in a house you thought was empty and discover a naked man wandering about on the landing. Or how to gently explain to a landlord what those pretty plants under the heat lamps really are. Or the lost art of staying calm and continuing to talk sensibly to a tenant when a Bloody Great Rat has launched itself onto your leg and despite shaking and kicking of said leg, will Not. Jump. Off! Or fleas.#

#Oh god, the fleas. We're talking mega-colony epic quantities here, where you discover them not by the odd random itchy/crawly sensation, but by glancing down and sudenly noticing that your clothes are covered by a layer of black hopping things desperately trying to find the nearest bit of nekkid skin to chow down on. And, of course, you can't just walk out of the house. Oh no. You have to finish the job. But talking faster and staying in constant motion in the offchance that you can outrun the rest of the little buggers.


**Actually, several blog posts could be written on how awesome she is. This is the woman whose general policy is: if you want to do something just go do it; nothing's impossible. And she does. Over and over. The woman is totally fearless and has more energy than the rest of us put together. All hail the mum! Huzzah! (No, she didn't pay me to say that.)

15 August 2010

Interview Live!

Woohoo! The first half of the interview of Aliette de Bodard is now live on the BFS website here!
The full version can be found in Dark Horizons #57 sometime in September. But feel free to enter the competition for Servant of the Underworld anytime you like! :-)

13 August 2010

Interview coming soon...

Have just today sent DH Editor chappie Stephen Theaker the final proofs for the interview I've done of the fabulous Aliette de Bodard. It'll see print in September in Dark Horizons #57. Woot! And, for double woot! points, there'll be an extract going up on the BFS website as soon as Mr T. has a moment to get it up there!

And for triple woot! points... you (yes, you!) will have the opportunity (actually, two opportunities, but who's counting...) to win a copy of the very excellent Servant of the Underworld. BFS members will find competition details in DH #57 after the interview, and for the rest of y'all, there'll also be a comp with the extract on the BFS website. Link to follow as soon as I have it!

Praise the Angry Robot and High Priestess de Bodard, for they are mighty! :-)

08 August 2010

Gettin' all judgy

Tee hee. Have very recently found out, I'm on the judging panel for the 2010 BFS Sydney J. Bounds Best Newcomer award. (For authors first published in 2009.)

How cool is that?! (And what were they thinking? :-P )

We have five fantastic authors to consider (though not much time to do it in, all told. Luckily I'm already very familiar with the works of 4 of the 5,) and the award will be announced at Fantasycon on 17th-19th September. (Think the awards banquet is on the Saturday evening but can't remember seeing anything definite to confirm that...)

The lucky winner gets a delightful awards statue thingy plus £100 from the Sydney J Bounds estate.

And that, my little possums, is all I can tell you about that... :-D

Except... tee hee! :-D

03 August 2010

Kaz's Summer Camp Week 9

Yes, I know, missed the update last week. (very bad Jen!)

So, with no further ado, here's the Tuesday Kaz's Summer Camp update!

Has been a week filled with research and editing and mad story planning so new words a bit on the pathetic side.

Also, given a sudden explosion of, everything, I'm redefining the targets for the last month of Camp!

So:
1) Taurus - my baby! Is doing quite well over on Authonomy. (Phew!) New wordage for last week: 2500. I think. It's hard to tell because I deleted vast chunks and rewrote quite a bit but it's still holding together.
Target for the end of August - another 35k new words.

2) Aqua Vitae: more plotting and planning and a shedload of research. Keep wondering whether I ought to be splitting my brain with this and Taurus, as the deadline for the competition is December 31st. Four months to write, edit and rewrite a full alt-history novel? Ooh, tricky. Very almost dropped it last week, but then got a flash of plot & character that might just work, so I'll see how this one goes.
Target for the end of August - 20k new words.

Other than that, I might, if you pushed me, confess to committing random acts of Lost fanfic. (Well, there were these persistent plot-bunnies that wouldn't go away... it had to be done...)

01 August 2010

Fantasycon 2011 - official!

Yep, it's definitely Brighton!

See the BFS announcement here for the full details...

But, in short:
Fantasycon 2011 will be held at the Royal Albion Hotel, Brighton (right opposite Brighton Pier)
On: 30th Sept - 2nd Oct 2011
Early ticket price is £35 until this September when it will rise in stages 'til the event next year. (You're all con-goers aren't you? You know the routine!)

Mistress of Ceremonies is Sarah Pinborough, and other Guests of Honour to be announced at a later date.

The official website will eventually be at: www.fantasycon2011.org (but isn't quite up yet.)

The brave fools (er, stalwart organisers) who are in charge are:

Chair - Marie O'Regan and Paul Kane
Associate Chair (Logistics/Volunteers) - Alex Davis
Hotels - Helen Hopley
Memberships - Mia Morgan-Ford
Online PR - Martin Roberts
Site - Marie O'Regan and Peter Keighrey
Dealers' Room - James Bacon

So there you go. More info as and when I can wrench it out of someone! ;-)

Fantasycon 2011

Ooooooh... sneaky advance news...

According to Martin Roberts (via facebook,) next year Fcon will be in Brighton, in the same hotel wot WHC was in this year. With the ever awesome Sarah Pinborough as MC.

Nifty! The drive's much nicer than the Nottingham trek and there's a sea view! A sea view, people!! And I may get to actually walk outside and see it this time! ;-P

(Alas, the parking is utterly shite. And you need a second mortgage to pay for it.)

But, still, Brighton! Woot!

And next year is also the British Fantasy Society's 40th birthday so expect fun stuff. And parties. With drinking. Lots and lots of drinking. And shenanigans. And more parties. Possibly there might be some convention stuff slipped between parties. But you can still drink during the aforementioned convention stuff. (I don't drink, so the whole convention boozing thing remains a strange custom... but y'all go ahead and get bladdered. I'll collect the blackmail... ;-D )

No news on who is doing the actual organising of it yet, though given the location, I have a few suspicions...

20 July 2010

Kaz's Summer Camp Week 7

::Looks at calendar.:: Yep. It's still Tuesday. How'd that happen so fast?

So, ladies and gentlebeings, it's time for the Kaz's Summer Camp update.
(Yes, I know, I missed last week. Bad Jen. I claim excessive OU work. And that's the story I'm sticking to...)

No surprises, due to a rather complicated essay that kept my brain all tied up, (also there were wasps! In the walls! Then crawling all over the floor in their final death throes!) not a lot of fictional writing got done last week.

However - targets:

1) Hunting Ground: Glanced at the edits, didn't do much on it. Did try and find a potential market for when it's ready but can not find one that quite fits.

2) Emerald Eyes: Stands at 2339 words. Now know where it's going as the end is all written out, but the middle is still somewhat, er, lacking.

3) Kill the Wizard: no progress. Kill the story? Possibly. ;-P (Also I've got a shiny idea for an entry for the Pratchett prize thing in December so am quite tempted to do a binge writing month next month to bang out the first draft which will leave plenty of time for edits.) Yep, sounds like a plan. So, new target = Aqua Vitae. Smuggling and sea monsters and a watery apocalypse!

4) Taurus: 1500 new words. (I know, pathetic!) However have done a lot of plot fiddling and there's an actual decent motivation for the secondary bad guys/problem causers. Plus it seems to be going quite well on Authonomy (which is nice!) and I've had some useful feedback for purposes of editing. But enough work avoidance, back to the word-mines!

06 July 2010

Taurus!

Can haz Authonomy now! W00t!

Ahem. Hi. Sorry about that.

So, if you're an Authonomy peep and feel like having a wander over to read a thrilling tale of kick ass chicks, Minotaurs and mermaid-pirates, have finally uploaded the first five chapters of Taurus here. Crits welcome. :-D

(Am waiting for Authonomy to approve the cover art. But it's lovely. Really. And courtesy of fellow Autho member Bradley Wind.)

The pitch:
Karis was content to live a life of raiding the waters around Marigan. Until a distress call from her human sister brings her against the might of the Gethine Alliance and the secrets they’ve uncovered in the ghost city of Sagara.

Amy Morgan was only supposed to recover a sword from a maze. One pack of Minotaurs later and she finds herself caught up in a new world where mermaid-pirates hunt the seas, her friends are captured and there’s all manner of trouble waiting for her if she can find her way home.

Kassia was looking for adventure, but an expedition to Sagara gives her more adventure than she ever imagined when she finds something that the violent Gethine Alliance has spent years searching for.

But surviving the Alliance’s attentions is easy compared to what’s waiting for them back on Earth.

That link again...

Kaz's Summer Camp Week 5

Must be Tuesday again! So here's the Kaz's Summer Camp update! :-D

Weird thing? It feels like I've written a lot, but I've also been editing and deleting a lot so the technical word counts of many and various have actually dropped. Happily, they have better words in, but still...

So:

1) Wicked Sisters - done. That's so last month! :-D Therefore, new target #1 is edit Hunting Ground story and send off somewhere.

2) Emerald Eyes - 500 new words, and the plot is getting a wee bit unexpected. I have absolutely no idea how it's ending now, it's all gone from plotter to pantser.

3) Kill the Wizard - no progress.

4) Taurus - 2000 new words, plus a metric ton of edit-fiddling. I now declare it ready for Autho! Woohoo! Just got to write the pitches and upload. (Then try not to spend too much time playing on Autho when there's a million other things to do, like bang out the next few chapters.

Which does mean new target #4 is write another 40k of the all new and improved Taurus!

Though I'm about to enter another assignment deathmarch week so immediate progress might be slow...

04 July 2010

More fun on t'internet

Been having fun listening to podcasts this week.

Over on Podcastle, and highly recommended, is the beautiful tale: And Their Lips Rang With The Sun by Amal El-Mohtar, gloriously read by N.K. Jemisin (I could listen to Jemisin read things all day!)
This originally appeared in print in Strange Horizons so you have the bonus option of reading it there or listening to it here!

Alt fiction have added another couple of podcast panel things...

There's the Publishing Panel with John Berlyne, John Jarrold, Jon Weir, Peter Crowther, Jenni Hill & Stephen Jones and a panel on Blogging and the Internet with Alasdair Stuart, Lee A Harris & Vincent Holland-Keen.
Only downer is most of the questions from the audience are inaudible, otherwise fascinating listening.

Over at the Happiness Patrol, Sam Stone and David J Howe join regulars Lewis, Tara and Dale to talk about the Dr Who finale. Also there are secret volcano lairs. :-D

Moving away from the podcasts... for a damn fine piece of fiction, try
The Six Skills of Madame Lumiere by Marissa Lingen to be found in the latest issue of Beneath Ceaseless Skies.

On the non fiction front, over at Fantasy Magazine, Genevieve Valentine tells you Ten Things You Should Know About Eclipse. Fun stuff.

For more educational matters, over at Clarkesworld Sarah Goslee's Packing for a Very Long Trip talks about space agriculture. Awesome!

In the department of 'Bet you didn't know that!' over on the Bitch Magazine blog, Ashley McAllister talks about Melvil Dewey and female librarians in From the Bitch Library: Outing the Father of Librarianship.

Over on Deadline Dames, the fabulous Lilith Saintcrow talks writerly solitude in By Yourself.

Elizabeth Moon tells you why Women Writers Are not Pets. She also does an excellent summary of the ramifications of the Gulf oil spill.

Oh, and Liz Williams has got a stunning deal for anyone wanting to read more of her fiction...

Mmmm, lovely!

29 June 2010

Kaz's Summer Camp Week 4

If it's Tuesday, it must be time for the Kaz's Summer Camp update! Woot! :-)

Slower week this week due to OU assignment bashing and sinus explosion (eurch, must be summer), but words were still done. Oh yes indeedy.

So:

1) Wicked Sisters - done, status as last week.

2) Emerald Eyes - 200 new words, and plot shifting in interesting new direction. Goodness knows where it's going to end up now.

3) Kill the Wizard - no progress. There's ages yet to fiddle with this one.

4) Taurus - 2000 new words, plus more edit-fiddling. Yay! Still lovin' it.
Merc girl is kicking major ass. Adventurer girl is staying in the background so that the spotlight can be on ghost-singer girl. Mermaid-pirate girl is still awesome. :-)

It's not quite ready for Autho. Very very close, mind. Got to work out a few bugs in the third chapter.

Am now also getting a wee bit distracted by the Terry Pratchett novel comp thing. There might be something I could batter into shape for it. Or could maybe try something shiny new. Dunno. Needs thinking on, that one.

28 June 2010

Stonehenge Apocalypse

So yesterday I watched an intriguingly titled film - Stonehenge Apocalypse...
Just take a minute to appreciate the gloriousness of that title: Stonehenge. Apocalypse.
Yep, ancient monuments are Evil and want to Kill You.
(And strangely this makes perfect sense within the context of the film...)

...there will be BIG spoilers, so look away now...

Done? Good. Hello sweeties....

Stonehenge Apocalypse is all kinds of terrible, but it's all kinds of fun too. Definitely one I'll be watching again if only to giggle, snark and occasionally drool at the lovely gentlemen who put themselves through the torture of being in it...

There's the scientist-in-charge who Will Not Listen to our brave hero until the Last Minute (and for Highlander TV fans, hello Methos, that's a lovely suit you're wearing...)

There's the scientist who Will Listen and gets to follow our hero on the madcap dash for the plot coupon (and for Stargate fans, hello Dr Weir*, what the hell was that accent supposed to be?)

Then there's our gallant hero - a prodigy turned fringe scientist with a radio show on all things weird, who is, quite naturally, laughed at for his theories until he is Proved Right (and for Supernatural fans, hello Castiel, and goodness, I didn't know it was possible for a pair of legs to be so...distracting... :-) )

There is also the last minute bonus addition of an apocalypse cult led by Castiel's BFF. Oops. Surprise!

But enough about the people, lets talk Evil Ancient Monuments!

Stonehenge moves. Yes. Moves. Round and round. And there's a glowy thing in the centre stone and somehow this all combines to a) kill anyone near it, and b) wake up the other Evil Monuments so they can kill people.

Of course you will have to get past the fact that it is quite possibly one of the worst CGI/imitation Stonehenges ever seen. And its first act of terror is to kill the tourists who are taking a guided tour through it. Yep. Through it. ::headdesk::

If you've never had the interesting experience of visiting the Evil Monument in question, perhaps I shoould make mention at this point that There Are No Guided Tours Through It! Because it's fenced off.** And there are signs and everything. People have to stand and stare from a safe distance and talk about how much smaller it is and why isn't there a waterfall because there was one in the photo in the brochure. (True story!)

Also, in Apocalypse-land, there is a nice convenient patch of trees and undergrowth right next to it, useful for purposes of hiding and watching the poor beleaguered army/scientist types trying to find out what the hell is going on.
(Er, no. Road. Teeny tiny visitors centre. Flat plains. Film peeps, at least attempt to do your research!)

But what of its Evil Monument friends? Well, I don't know how to break it to you, but they are secretly volcanoes. Yep. All those pyramids and temples across the world are hiding molten cores, and when Evil Stonehenge gives them a call, they pop their tops and cause mass destruction. (You have been warned.)

Apparently it's something to do with ancient terraforming and using a network of electromagnetic lines to do weird science. Or something. Don't ask. Just enjoy the spectacle of pyramids shifting like giant stone Transformers and spitting out lava.

Oh, and there's a Secret Pyramid buried under Maine that will rise up to protect people inside from the other Evil Monuments and their terraforming shenanigans.

And apparently the British Army all use left hand drive cars and can't be trusted to handle Evil Stonehenge on their own so the US military gets to come in and boss everyone around. And try and blow Stonehenge up. Twice.***

And the words "Stonehenge is a threat to national security" get used. (Or something very close to that.) Hee! Bad Stonehenge!

This film is such total bobbins. Must watch it again.


* Yes, I know, Dr Weir is not a gentleman, however she is one of the few female presences in the movie, and an Authentic Main Character, so worth mentioning.

** If, however, you do want to walk through a stone circle, might I recommend Avebury instead. It's awesome. Also there's a shop. And a pub. And other lovely things to see very close by.

*** Stonehenge Kicks Ass when attacked by naughty humans and their C4. Stonehenge vs Tactical Air Strike is undecided due to Gallant Hero and Plot Coupon interferance.

26 June 2010

Cool stuff!

Being a celebration of fun things genre on the inter-webs... :-)

First up: Alt Fiction!
Did you go? If, like me, you could not, here's the word from some peeps that did - Magemanda and Cheryl Morgan

And, lo, there were podcasts! The lovely Alt Fiction peeps will be bunging a new one up every Monday so you can listen to panels without leaving the comfort of your own bedroom/living room/office/beachside residence... So far there's Stephen Jones & Ramsey Campbell in conversation about all things horror; and Kim Lakin-Smith, Tim Lebbon, Marie O’Regan and Paul Kane talk Dark Fantasy vs Horror.

Had been a bit meh about the whole idea of podcasts, but podcasting conventions is definitely a cool way to experience the things you missed. Hope more conventions do it.

Shall now have to look out for more podcasts of stuff... and maybe listen to some of the Clarkesworld podcasts of their fiction... :-)

Talking of Clarkesworld... in their latest issue, they've got an interview of Caitlin R. Kiernan which is quite cool.

And going a few issues back, an absolute must read is Kari Sperring on The Celts (writing as her alternate self, Dr Kari Maund.)

Over on Strange Horizons, C├ęcile Cristofari writes about Aboriginal Lovecraft. Now there's two words I've not seen in the same sentence before!

Fantasy Magazine has a very interesting piece on Eastern Europe's Hidden Castles, by Aidan Doyle. Apparently "Eastern Europe is home to a vampire citadel, a fortress built by God and a castle whose herd of goats saved Christendom". Who knew?! :-)

If you haven't seen the new Robin Hood film yet, Mari Ness makes it easy for you...

Ekaterina Sedia talks about anthologies here.

Seanan McGuire's got a nifty story up on Edge of Propinquity:
Sparrow Hill Road - Last Dance with Mary Jane

And there's more Aztec goodness to be had from Aliette de Bodard in the latest Beneath Ceaseless Skies with Memories in Bronze, Feathers, and Blood

What's not to love! :-)

22 June 2010

The Gemmells, 2010

And so, more awards.
The David Gemmell Legend (and bonus added extra!) awards were announced at the weekend after their swanky do at the Magic Circle (which, alas, I could not go to. ::cries:: Missed Mr Barclay doing whatever awesome piece of drama-speech he did do. ::cries again::)

So, here's who won, in case you missed it elsewhere: (Thanks to Mark Yon, via Facebook)

Ravensheart Award: Best Served Cold – Didier Graffet, Dave Senior and Laura Brett. For the shortlist poll there were votes from 64 different countries, with the top voters being from the USA and the UK.

(Cool! That was a funky cover!)

Morningstar Award: The Cardinal’s Blades by Pierre Pevel. For the shortlist poll there were votes from 34 different countries, with the top voters being from the USA France and the UK.

(Have not read that.)

Legend Award: Empire by Graham McNeill. For the shortlist poll there were votes from 91 different countries, with the top voters being from the USA, the UK, France and Canada.

(Have not read that either. Apparently he's a big deal in Warhammer circles?)

And apparently there were over 15,500 votes made in total, which is about twice as much as last year. Go them! :-)

Of course, looking at the list of winners, am now desperately trying to resist the urge to start singing "men, men, men, men, manly men, men, men..." (Shut up, I'm not obsessed!)

Kaz's Summer Camp week 3

Week 3 of Summer Camp! Woot! :-)

Better week this week (woohoo!) as writing was done! So, targets:

1) Wicked Sisters - done and splicing process into Taurus in effect.

2) Emerald Eyes - up to 1000 words now, have also changed the sex of the evil vamp and have a lovely opening scene that only verges slightly on the purple. Evil lady vamp is working so much better then cliched evil guy vamp. Now to start killing people...

3) Mysterious new short - might possibly be a comic fantasy entitled Kill the Wizard. I might even have the grand total of 109 words on it... :-) It's the last on my priority list though...

4) Taurus - Yay! I am officially back in love with this one. The mermaid-pirates have plot related stuff to do; girl-adventurer is romping around underground city with old gal-pal and new gal-pal (the latter of whom is having a larger role to play now); and the unfortunate mercenaries (now with brand new kick-ass chick leader) have had their first encounter with the minotaurs (Of Dooooooom! :-) ) and are getting ready to go in the maze. (and despite the fact that I've edited and rewritten that particular scene about a dozen times now over the last couple of years, this latest variant is the best yet! (I blame the mermaid-pirates!)

And the whole thing is actually hanging together and working now. (Finally!) ::is happy, cries:: :-)

As far as Autho goes, technically I've got the wordage for an upload (10,006!) but they're not quite consecutive... so, just got to fill a few gaps and it's altogether possible that next week may see jumping on the sofa. And backflips. :-)

15 June 2010

Alchemy Fiction

And over on the Alchemy blog is a story from Mike Chinn featuring an incarnation of the one and only Damian Paladin. (Yay!)

Kaz's Summer Camp Week 2

Arrgh. Not a good week on the KSC target front. For this, I blame academic deathmarch!
(On the plus side, an essay on Pugin, dissent and gothic architecture is all done and handed in!)

So, targets...

1) Wicked Sisters - finished it last week, so that's good!
2) Emerald Eyes - wrote words, deleted words, wrote words, deleted words, decided it's still crap, will keep on keeping on...
3) Hah! Got a few ideas but no words have landed on page yet.
4) Taurus - still floating at the 7k mark. Need to do slight rewrite on the mermaid-pirates chapter to match the tone with the minotaurs & treasure hunter bits. Also invent the back story for an Ancient Civilisation (tm) so that my daring girl-adventurers can secure a map/guide to accessing multiple other worlds from the secondary world they're already playing in... Also fiddle with the on-Earth treasure hunt bits to merge the plot line with the shiny new stuff! (LOVE multi-world fic!) :-)

08 June 2010

Kaz's Summer Camp

Wahey, I'm in Summer Camp! Kinda. Virtually. Specifically, the funky writerly summer camp started up by Kaz Mahoney.

Our mission: to use the months of June, July & August to achieve writerly goals of our choice.

So, my goals: (being teeny as there's OU coursework and an impending bout of holiday cover to contend with...)

1) To finish edits on Wicked Sisters story and send off
2) Finish gorgon vs vamp short story (temp titled Emerald Eyes)
3) Write another short story (write, meaning, *write&finish*)
4) also I'd like to get enough decent wordage together to upload something to Authonomy but I forgot to add that one to the sign up post...

So, since today is the first goal update day...

1) Wicked Sisters edits finished. (Hurrah!) However, according to my many different beta-readers, it still reads more like a part of a longer work. Which is actually handy because I had this idea the other day of making it the start of an all-new B plot in the current novel-in-progress (see 4.) So, junk it as a short story and weave it into n-i-p? Possibly best. Plus, what isn't improved by the addition of mermaid-pirates? :-)

2) Emerald Eyes. Oy vey, is this one kicking my ass. It was started with the intention of submitting it to a monster mash anthology that Pill Hill Press is doing. (Blimey, but they're doing a lot of themed anthologies!) The aim: a scary story featuring at least two classic monsters. The problem: I suck at scary stories. Might work better as comic fantasy though...

3) Behave! There's two months to go yet! :-)

4) Taurus! Aka the current novel-in-progress. Aka, the Nano thing from a couple of years ago that just won't die. The original Nano version was just a little over 50k, being a fun romp with multi-world treasure hunting, insane death count and Minotaurs. Except it was a bit thin and cliche. However, latest version now has bonus extra mermaid-pirates and more action in the not-Earth worlds which is making it way more complicated but also way more lovely! I love multi-world fic!

I've got this pegged as the Authonomy one mainly because I asked a nice chap over there to do me cover art about a year ago so it would be quite nice to actually use it... :-)

As far as Authonomy & Taurus goes... I only need a 10k minimum of decent quality words (it's the decent quality bit that keeps blocking me... that, and them being consecutive words...) - so far, though, I've got just over 7k, so victory may still be mine. ;-) (Then I'll have to whip some semblance of sanity out of the rest of the plot...)

01 June 2010

Last Lost

Gosh. Finally watched the last episode of Lost, fully prepared to hate it given the many internet reviews... and yet... despite it being the biggest most shameless piece of emotionally manipulative tv I've watched, since, ever, I liked it. (Having the benefit of a fast-forward button helps, as the boring bits can be easily ignored... like most scenes with Jack being emo... or Jack&Kate doing the 98th variation of soap opera antics...)

Ahem. Sorry, where was I? Right... so, from an emotional stand point, a satisfying finale. Juliet&Sawyer reunion! Many other happy people! Ben&Hurley on the island! (Tries not to lose the last vestiges of cool by sobbing at the all round gushiness of everyone back together...fails completely...apparently I'm secretly a bit of a sap...)

But the unanswered questions are still going to bug me. A cork? Seriously? At what point in island history did someone come up with that and what in hell did they think they were doing? And I so need to see the island during the Ben/Hurley reign. And more back story on Jacob/MiB (if only to get more of the excellent Pellegrino/Welliver double act.) And what about pre-Jacob times? I still want to see the temple builders, other guardians, what the hell was up with Widmore, more Dharma in the pre, during and post Lostie time travel visit eras. More on the Others, especially during the early Richard years. And how did he get off the island to test Locke before Dharma arrived? Or while they were there? And how did Jacob get off the island? And what was the big dealio with Illana and Jacob, given that she said he was like a father? That implies frequent contact, yes?

Seriously, if the Lost peeps ever decided to cash in by doing tie-in novels of the missing stories, I would so be first in the queue...

08 March 2010

Author pimpage!

Ooh, it's been a while, hasn't it? :-)

BFS News!

The BFS Forums now have their own dedicated Ask the Author threads and they're inviting any authors, whether BFS members or not, to come in and play. All you have to do is pop over and post yourself a thread in the section, then all us adoring fans can hang around and ask you questions and generally squee over your latest wordage! :-)

Go, have fun, see you over there!


More Author Love!

And talking of author squee, been catching up on some reading recently... (can you tell I'm trying to avoid OU work? :-) )

....anyhoo, as there is an OU deadline looming, I'll keep this short, but...

Daniel Fox's Jade Man's Skin? Awesome with a slice of how gorgeous is that?! Language to drown yourself in and loved the way the story's going. Really, really need to read the next one... Please tell me there's a next one... :-) If you haven't already availed yourself of a copy, do so posthaste.

Then there's Aliette De Bodard's Servant of the Underworld. Aztec mystery! Very cool! (Did you need more than Aztec mystery?) It is utterly brilliant, completely absorbing and totally edge of the seat stuff. Also, don't forget to nom this one for the Best Newcomer awards next year... :-)

On the short fic side, I can definitely recommend:
Doctor Diablo Goes Through the Motions by Saladin Ahmed, which appeared in Strange Horizons here... Funny and pretty damn excellent.

Also, the very beautiful and moving After the Dragon by Sarah Monette, which appeared in Fantasy Magazine here... And since I've got all the sensitivity of an iron clad rhino, it's got to be very good to get me saying that! :-)

Random me-me-me
In other news, apparently my BFS Balance post is now the guest editoral for the next Dark Horizons. Tee hee! Also, eep! (Although Cheryl Morgan and Maura McHugh both say it better, IMHO)