02 November 2004

Oh, and I've added H&N messageboards here so go play!
Oh, and I've added H&N messageboards here so go play!

01 November 2004

Le mag

Yes, yes, I know, the all new publishing schedule (version 156) is all shot to shit. Ish 5 will be going out in December no matter what. Ishs 6-8 will be out in 2005. No matter what.
The website is about due a total overhaul so I'll be working on that one, most likely over Xmas. (This includes link fixing and vanishing the dead ones and updating the submissions guidelines etc.)
Have been doing some serious thinking about the mags future recently and was on the verge of sending it to the dead zone but after juggling and wotnot, we're good. (And when you get down to it, I love it too much to quit.)
We will be implementing a couple of changes in the new year to help make it easier to produce, both financially and other.
For one, cover price will be going to £3.50 for UK, (and similar hike for you foreigners.) So subscribe now if you want it at the cheapy prices.
For another, the current payment rates are crippling me so we'll be looking at either a 50% cut in rates, or a total downgrade to '4theluv'.
Also, when fiction subs re-open we'll be accepting emailed submissions.

(and talking of emails - if anyone's got any outstanding queries that I haven't answered, email again and put 'H&N kick' in the subject header)

Fantasycon 2005

Can you say Mark Chadbourn (woohoo!)? I knew you could! That lovely chap and fantabulous author dude, of whom I may mention occassionally on this very blog, has agreed to be a guest of honour! Oh yes! Knew there was a perk to this committee organising malarkey! (Please pause while Jen does the happy dance of the shameless fan-girl! I thank you!)

We've also got the hotel confirmed now - definitely the Quality Hotel, Bentley, Walsall... but we couldn't get the date we were after (weddings...boo... hiss!) so the all new Fcon date will be (drum roll please...) Friday 30th September - Sunday 2nd October 2005.
It's a wee bit early to know anything panel related but there'll be the GoH interviews, late night readings, some indie horror film showings and, most likely, some RPG stuff - as well as all the Fcon regulars like the infamous raffle, the quiz, the banquet, the AGM... :->
Booking forms will be going out with the current Prism mailing (which I'm in the middle of doing at the moment - you get a Prism, a Dark Horizons & a funky dunky calendar with this one, though for size reasons the calendars are going out seperately. Please take a moment to sympathise with the poor people who have had to lick all those hundreds of envelopes and stamps - we have no tongues left at all now.)

02 October 2004

So many things, so where to start....

Alrighty then, let's do this as logically as we can:

Le Mag
Ish 4...

was back from the printers and waiting for me when I got back home from Fcon on Sunday.
It's getting posted out Mon/Tues.

Ishes 5 & 6

Now here's the dilemma - given the lateness of Ish 4, do I stagger the dates on the next 2 to compensate, or do I combine 5 & 6 into a bumper Xmas issue to keep 7 & 8 on track for next year?
Currently I'm leaning towards the joint Xmas issue but need to work out the figures properly so will update as and when.

When we re-open for fiction submissions next year, I'll have a new submissions editor to handle things.... still working out the finer details.


Was great! Despite the fact that I spent most of it sick as a wotsit. (So apologies for those that tried to get some sense out of me and were met with zombie brained blank looks.)

Unfortunately I missed ALL the panels, which was a shame cos from what I could hear, there were some good ones with Juliet McKenna and Graham Joyce and many others...

Argh, just don't mention the Sunday BFS AGM.

Fcon 2005

Now here's where the fun starts.... Debs & Nicki decided they didn't want to organise it again next year so Vicky Cook and myself promptly went and opened our gobs and volunteered.

So what are we looking at for next year...? Well, we'll be in the same hotel as this year - The Quality Hotel, Walsall. (Yes, we know it looks like a motorway hotel, but trust us, we can do things with it....)

On dates, we're looking at mid September... sometime around the weekend of the 16th/17th ish.
(Difficult year next year as there's Worldcon up in Glasgow in August and some folks have said they won't be able to afford both... to them I'd say come to Fcon instead, it'll be lovely!)

On guests - we're plotting to get a US guest over, as well as UK ones.

We're still in the early discussions stage so that's about as good as the interesting details get.
Naturally, since this our first Fcon, we want thoughts and ideas on what folks want to see/do. Either email me or leave a message on the BFS boards here

Meantime, I've discovered it's possible to function with only 4 hours of sleep a night!

Other bits

So mum wrote this tenants help guide book thing, drawing on her centuries of experience as a letting agent/landlord/tenant/inventory bod etc. and a publisher accepted it and she's signed the contract and it's coming out in April. Blimey. Don't know where she gets the energy from.

At the moment, she's at the proofing stage which is quite a fascinating process. She got sent a copy of the manuscript with these coloured sheets with all kinds of suggestions & questions on.
Some of the questions/points were a bit daft, most were more sensible - like grammatical points on the mixing of tenses & possessives etc.

One of the things up for discussion is the title - she wanted to call it The Tenants Survival Guide, but unfortunately someone's already done one with that name (which is currently out of print, but still...) so we spent an afternoon bashing names around and have got it down to about 3 we really really like.
Which I can't remember off the top of my head.

Apparently she's got 2 weeks to look it over and change/discuss. (Hasn't had time to look it over properly yet, given the usual end of month frantic-ness the Barber Empire suffers from. She's scheduled it in for next week so will add more later about the weird world of factional book publishing...)

And, naturally, mum being mum, she's already plotting the next few books.... she's already started an 'interesting' retirement guide book, and wants to drag me in to co-author a couple of sacred site type books. My favourite potential project idea being the 'The Lazy Bastards Guide to Ancient Sites' :->

21 September 2004

Good grief, it's Fcon time again. Naturally this means that the ensuing burst of panic has gotten more things done in the last few days than I usually pack into a normal week. There's various annual accounts for the BFS AGM, all the admin-y bits for the BFS calendar (of which the printer says he can get 50 copies to us before Fcon, all the rest will have to be after... sheesh), and assorted other bits that I promised to do/bring/find.

Plus, the H&N printer chap swears Ish 4 will be back at the end of this week so I've been getting things ready for a speedy ship out as and when the mags hit the lounge.

And it's income tax time again, which is a pain in the ass cos I always put off doing the forms til a week before the deadline, then spend days worrying about all the receipts I know I have but can't find (and which will innocently turn up in 6 months or so when I'm looking for my socks).

And, on the day-job front, Fcon means losing a couple of the busier work days of the month so we've been on trebled workloads to clear it so we can leave the rest of the staff with a sensible amount of jobs while we're away.
(and, heh! finally dad gets to see what it's like to run the business on his own while the rest of us swan off, usually it's me that gets stuck with it!)

So it's back to comfort reading Stephen King to wind down from the hyper spells and, yay, The final Dark Tower book is out (actually, today I think, but will hold off from buying it in case there's any publisher freebie copies knocking around at Fcon.)

Aagh, too jittery to write calmly. Still got a ton of stuff that needs doing.
See you the other side of Fcon.

30 July 2004

BFS Calendar 2005 

Hot off the press - the British Fantasy Society is proud to announce its first Special Publication of 2004 – a Fantasy Calendar based on the legend of Gawain and the Green Knight

The calendar will be officially launched at Fantasycon in September but is available for pre-ordering as from today.
All members will receive one copy free as part of their membership, any extra copies should be ordered from the BFS Cyberstore  It willl be a limited run doo-hickey so if you're not a member, or just want a few extra copies, get your orders in early!

What's it all about then?
The calendar breaks the story of Gawaine and the Green Knight into 12 parts, with a different author & artist for each part.

Who's involved?
Les Edwards is the cover artist
Clive Barker does the introduction
Our pack of willing authors are:
Neil Gaiman
China Mieville
James Barclay
Juliet E McKenna
Cherith Baldry
Graham Joyce
Jon Courtenay-Grimwood
Mark Chadbourn
Kim Newman
Chaz Brenchley
Katherine Roberts
Steve Lockley

And our fabulous artists are:
Lara Bandilla
Sara Zama
Bob Covington
David Bezzina
Alfred Klosterman
Russell Dickerson
Steve Lines
Michelle Blessemaille
Kathy Hardy
Ian Simmons
Chris Leaper
Tina Roberts

And the price for all this is just a mere £7.99  
Oh and it's edited by Paul Kane & Marie O'Regan

H & N News

In other news.... Evil Twin Hell is shifting down to Bournemouth to be with her Collective so I've now got sole editorship of the mag.  Oh the power!  :->
While Issue 4 is at the printers, I'm starting to put Issue 5 together so (crossing fingers... again) while it will be a smidge later than expected, due to the later Ish 4; it won't be too much later. 
Realistically I'll try and get Ish 5 to the printers in September, ready for early October publish; then I want to squeeze Issue 6 out for the end of December. 
Then Ish 7 should still be March, and Ish 8 June 05.  

That way, fiction submissions will re-open for business somewhere between #7 & #8.

So have I spoken ;->

25 July 2004

BFS books for sale!

So, sorting through the pile of BFS books I have, I've now got the following titles for sale at lovely special deal prices:
(Hoping that the links will work!)

Spiral Garden - the gorgeous signed, numbered, limited hardback edition of Louise Cooper's short stories.
Ebay auction: http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=7912901728 
Amazon:   http://s1.amazon.co.uk/exec/varzea/ts/exchange-glance/Y06Y6750641Y8127090 

And the paperback edition
Amazon: http://s1.amazon.co.uk/exec/varzea/ts/exchange-glance/Y04Y0622923Y6345496

Then there's Shocks - an A5 booklet of short stories by R. Chetwynd Hayes.
Amazon: http://s1.amazon.co.uk/exec/varzea/ts/exchange-glance/Y05Y6110014Y9939919

And Long Memories: recollections of Frank Bellknap Long
Amazon: http://s1.amazon.co.uk/exec/varzea/ts/exchange-glance/Y07Y0545394Y8490819

And, of course, the F20s - Both signed, numbered, limited edition paperback books.
Issue One has stories by Derek M. Fox, Steve Savile, Paul Finch, Tim Lebbon, Steve Lockley & Paul Lewis
Amazon: http://s1.amazon.co.uk/exec/varzea/ts/exchange-glance/Y07Y4773522Y6396375

Issue Two has stories by Juliet McKenna, Freda Warrington, Storm Constantine, Louise Cooper, Jane Welch, Justina Robson & Suzanne J Barbieri
Amazon: http://s1.amazon.co.uk/exec/varzea/ts/exchange-glance/Y06Y4873727Y6123859

So there you go!
I'm hoping to get some sort of mass-book pack thingy up on ebay sometime today so will add that in a bit.


24 July 2004

Damn machines
So, the computers are still giving me hell.
The main PC went away again, and I got to pay 70 quid for the priviliege of having someone else reinstall the original system.  What was wrong with it?  No one seemed to know but reinstalling seemed to fix it.
Could have done that for free at home though, mumble grumble.

The poor virus-ridden laptop, on the other hand, attracted one of those bugs that's disables the anti-virus program (which is just insulting, if you ask me) so being smart, I reinstalled the whole system, reinstalled the programs, got my files back on, then diligently got anti-virus updates daily to stop it from happening again.... so of course something really nasty got in and really fucked everything up.
Bloody internet.  I spend half an hour doing some 'ahem' research, then I get an unknown virus report, then the antivirus program stops working, then when I try to drag the last couple of weeks worth of files onto a disk in a desperate file save I can't touch anything as the whole thing is well and truly destroyed.
Oh joy.

Which, naturally, pissed me off enough to finally give Linux a go.
Wiped the hard drives, then spent 3 hours installing Red Hat 9. 
So far it's more a testement to my own lack of savvy than anything else.  The word & spreadsheet programs are fine (if a bit slow), there are a nice lot of desktop games included (yay!  more excuses not to work) but can I get online?  Can I bog roll.  Mozilla seems to be under the misapprehension that I'm connected to something, when in fact there's not even a bloody modem cable plugged in.  And despite scouring the books and searching the menus, and attempting to tell the thing that, yes, actually I do have a working modem, and here it is, and it's plugged in now so please use it to dial up my ISP, cheers; it still refuses to cooperate.
and is it me or is all this 'mount floppy' malarkey just a tad disturbing... :->
So H&N just went to the printers on Friday.  (I know, just a little bit later than expected!)  I forgot what time of year we're in (ie. family biz explosion time - blue assed flies or what.)
Must remember to update the website again.

Oh we're having a fun time on the BFS committee at the mo! 
There's a fiction/art showcasey 2005 calandar thing that's in the midst of production, with a some nicely sized names involved.  All being well, it should be launched at Fcon in September.
And we're just narrowing down the stories from June's short story comp, ready to to send the shortlist to our final judge.
And Prism & DH are having a shift around in editors, content & frequency which should be officially announced in September.

Renting in Reading
My god the property market has changed up here.  I remember when you could get a decent 2 bed furnished flat for something like £550 a month; now, with all the spanking new developments that keep popping up, you're looking at £1000 a month.  Grief.  You might as well buy one and get a mortgage.  Of course these are all 'riverside' developments, bang smack in the town centre.  River in most cases being a grotty overpolluted canal thing (I think it's an offshoot of the Kennet, but it could be a spit of the Thames)

And it's not as if the local Lettings Agents are any better for the higher fees.  Truth is, services are, for the most part, getting worse.  They don't communicate with you at all (regardless of whether you're the landlord or the tenant) and usually they rush new tenancies through so fast they haven't sent in cleaners or maintenance chappies to fix the mess from the last tenants. 

Not naming names as we deal quite heavily with about 7 of the main agents in town and mum'd kill me!

Babylon 5: Crusade
Yes, you too can see Sheriff Buck as a space captain (which is better than seeing Hercules as a space captain!)
Starting from the 28th July, the Scifi channel are now showing the 13 eppys of B5: Crusade on Wednesday nights at 9pm. 
(Which, since I missed it when they allegedly showed it on C4 years and years ago, is nice.)

Naturally I will be recording each episode (minus ads) to add to my to collection of obscure scifi series that no one else admits to watching.  (Mutant X, Andromeda, Highlander: Raven, Seaquest... step on up!)

And just when is American Gothic going to come out on DVD, ey?  I'm missing the 1st episode (which, happens with every series I record, bizarrely.)

08 May 2004

Oh yeah, and Stuart Young has a blog!

(Knew I should have popped into the BFS forums more often.)
H&N (again)

Forgot to say, we're definitely closed to fiction submissions until further notice, but still open to articles/interviews/artwork etc.
The lovely H&N
Alrighty then. Issue 4 goes to the printers next week. I can say this confidently because I've just got to squeeze a couple of articles in and it's done. Phew.

I tell ya, this catching up malarkey can be quite scary. I was rifling through the old emails before chasing up contributors who I was fairly sure I hadn't received stuff from, and I find that half of them had sent the stuff and I'd forgotten I'd gotten 'em, and a couple of peeps have been waiting since, oh, forever, for me to tell them how I want their bits sent over. Which I have now. So quite a few people will be getting emails today from little miss dazed & confused!
Oh, and if you do get one, and you've moved house since last we spoke, please mention it!

Oh, and (the second), I'm looking for someone to interview the lovely Mark Chadbourn as his latest book 'Queen of Sinister' is just out and I love his stuff! Email me if you're up for it, and the interview will appear in Issue 6 which will definitely (and I truly do mean it!) be coming out at the end of November.

(Which reminds me, must send out a newsfeed thingy today - haven't done one of those in about a year. Bad girl.)

BFS Stuff

So I'm back as stockholder again. Which is fun! (Tony M. is off for foreign climes to teach... I think English, but not absolutely sure.)

Those of you who are BFS members should know that it's BFS award recommendation time and the H&N Issue 3 stories/authors are eligible for the short fiction award this year. (plug that plug!)
Although since I'm on the committee, the actual mag is NOT eligible for the small press award. But the stories are, so nominate, and then later in June, VOTE, gorramit!
The deadline for recommendations is about the 17th May.

If you haven't received your Prism mailing (and more on that in a mo.), then email Gary Couzens at : bfsawards@britishfantasysociety.org.uk and in the email, include your BFS membership number (if you can't remember it, just say so and ask him to cross reference you with the active member list), plus the things you want to recommend for awards. Or there's one of those submitable form things on the BFS website at www.britishfantasysociety.org.uk

Prism, you may have noticed, hasn't been seen since November 2003. This is due to that gremlin called 'unforeseen circumstances' but Marie, who edits & mails it out, says the latest bumper issue was sent out last week. The next issue is in the midst of preparation.
The next issue is the one that will go out with the actual voting forms for the awards.

Also, in the next couple of days, BFS peeps past & present should be receiving some newsheets to tide you over while you wait for Prism. There's details about the BFS short story competition, Fantasycon and some of the other social events that have been organised. Like the Bath fantasy week, and a few author readings dotted around the country.

(There, that's my BFS PR thing done... I feel much better for that!)

27 March 2004

One more week and finally things can get back to normal.

Since I last blogged, I've quit the main job (or did I mention that already?) therefore freeing up oodles of time to do the stuff I actually like doing. (And, yep, you've guessed it, catch up on stuff. Is it me, or has the last couple of years been devoted to catch up work?)

Also, the building work is now finished so we have the house back to ourselves. (Yay!)
And wasn't that a fun experience. No, really. The window guy decided it was so hot he just had to take his shirt off (yum. nice tattoos too!)
The foundation & brickie guys were a laugh and one of the carpet guys was an expert in Resident Evil (which was handy as I was stuck on this one bit....well actually, quite a few bits but there you go...)

And once the furniture comes in on Tuesday I can finally finally rediscover that concept known as efficiency. Well it's taken long enough, I swear. Fitting 3 businesses into 1 tiny bedroom? Never, ever, again.

All of which means Issue 4 is waiting until next week before I can look over the layout before sending it to the printers. (I know, I know. This is totally, absolutely, the last bump in scheduling.)

So end of next week is when the website will finally, definitely, get updated. I've got issue contents for the next few issues, plus new publication dates & a couple of other bits to add.
And for US peeps, H&N will be getting stocked on Shocklines &/or Project Pulp soon so that'll make it easier for you to get your supplies!

30 January 2004

Ooh, and Mark Chadbourn's new forum is now up at markchadbourn.net
So, before Xmas I wrote this absolute beauty of a post. Went on for ages, covered everything that needed covering. Then the machine crashed when I hit the submit button and, well, meh. Lost the will to live for a while. Too much work over Xmas (I'm sorry, was that supposed to be celebratory type days off..?) means that now (and OMG, I can't believe it's the end of January already. Mentally I'm still in the first week of Jan...) I'm behind in everything again, and back in another furious catchup phase.

So updates then:
Issue 4 - still haven't sent it off to to the printer. Waiting for artwork.
Mag generally - will attempt to go triannually this year in the hope of managing to get to a regular schedule. Will update the website sometime in Feb to show the new dates. Will also email everyone who's had work accepted to tell them the new dates of their appearance.
Outstanding Submissions - anticipate reply by the end of Feb
Submissions generally - may have to close to submissions longer than June, but haven't decided yet.