31 August 2006

I'm not here. You haven't seen me. I'm really hard at work somewhere else...

... and can I just say... 22 days to go!

Fcon 2007
Have just discovered that the Birmingham possible is out of the price range, so it's definitely the Quality at Bentley for next year. (Probably!) Have got to sort things out with them, see what they can do, then by this year's Fcon we should have confirmation of date, place and 1st GoH. Which'll be nice.

Other BFS bits
(because I'm soooo not going to be able to concentrate on much of anything else until 25th September...)

Prism is pretty much done, DH is halfway done... which is a relief, so just the Fcon mag (won't take long as it's mostly done) and the Fcon micro newsletter (really won't take long... I hope).

Having the reviews back for Prism as from Oct will be pretty interesting... (and ex-editor Debs will probably think it's terrific revenge for me to have to chase up the reviewers, as I used to be abominable when I was Small Press editor.... but you're really not surprised about that, are you?)

Ooh, and I'm trying to get a regular opinion column thingy from a wicked UK fantasy author... and also trying to get a regular column from a horror author chap for balance.. (balance in Prism is a constant concern... check out the discussions on the BFS forum about perceived BFS inbalance... best I can do, is keep my area stable...)

Although, persnonally, I'm waaay biased towards the fantasy side so the trick will be to make sure I get enough horror stuff in to keep the half of the members happy.

Bradan bits
Slow Motion Wars still looking good for Fcon... definite details on it very shortly...

H&N #8, though... unless a minor miracle happens (and you never know, there's 22 days for it to happen...) will probably be bumped to the couple of weeks *after* Fcon.

Damn but all of this is just too much fun... :->

26 August 2006

26* days and counting...
*well it is if you have to leave on the Thursday... for Fcon, that is!

And Fcon panic has well and truly set in.... in the next couple of weeks I've got to get Prism, Dark Horizons, the Fcon Mag, the Fcon micro newsletter, H&N #8 and Slow Motion Wars all finished and off to the printer so that I can have them all back before Fcon.... (cue the annual chorus of whhhhhyyyyyyy do I always leave things to the last minute....?)

Then there's the Prism/DH/Cinema Macabre mailing to do, the trade orders for the BFS celeb book to despatch, and all those other tasks I keep putting off but need done before Fcon. (Like answering emails...)
And we've got to get the Fcon '07 hotel prelim. sorted as well. Definitely looking like the Quality in Bentley, with a return to a city venue for '08 (which we're also starting to plan...)

Happily, the ever so wonderful Chris of Pendragon has hooked me up with a cracking artist that I can grab for both BFS and Bradan things... round of applause for Steve at Estronomicon...

And for some light relief.... Desert Island Books.... what would you take?

Short stories...

So one of the other things I've been doing, is trying to read the entries for the BFS short story comp (there's a bunch of us who, long ago, volunteered for first round reading... what were we getting ourselves into...?! We've sent the shortlist off to the celeb judges now, so at least that's one thing off the long list of things to do...) - and that, along with catching up with the last few H&N subs has had me going quite potty... so many stories have good ideas in them that are let down by writing that could have been sooo much tighter. By language that could have just been... better. Or beginnings that take 3 pages before anything happens.
Not good. For a short story to work (or at least, for it to keep me reading past the first page) it needs to stop meandering and get right to it...

Actually, Nick 'Lermentov' who posts on the BFS boards, says it much better in his blog ... he's talking about books, but it goes for short fic as well... to steal one of his sub titles from the short essay "A Plot (to paraphrase Woody Allen on relationships!) Must Be Like A Shark: if it isn't constantly moving forward, it dies.."

Enough blather... things to catch up on...

22 August 2006

BFS Chat

Blimey... it's up to 12 pages now... the monster thread, I mean. Looks like it's slowing down now.

Although, the David Gemmell Memorial Award proposal thread on the BFS forums looks like it's taking the traffic...

Also, something came up in the DGMA thread about UK fantasy mags (look, I couldn't resist throwing in a reply when it was mentioned.) and so, crawling slowly towards the point... I started a fantasy mags in the UK thread in the Independent Press section of the BFS forum. Please pop over there and add your thrupenny bit...

Fcon 2007

So still waiting on prices for the Birmingham possible, but as a committee we're strongly leaning towards the Quality at Bentley...
Oh, and guess what... Alex Davis, he of the Alt.fiction event in Derby, will be officially joining the Headless Chickens for the 2007 Fcon! How cool is that!

Almost almost almost there with the submissions... by Fcon everything will be clear. All the queries, the orders, submissions reading...

21 August 2006

BFAs 2006

Rightio chaps, just got the official shortlist for the BFAs for this year...

nb. Where the list has more than 5 nominations, this is due to voting ties for one or more runner-up places...

British Fantasy Awards 2006

British Fantasy Award for Best Novel: The August Derleth Award
Ramsey Campbell, SECRET STORIES
Neil Gaiman, ANANSI BOYS
George R. R. Martin, A FEAST FOR CROWS

British Fantasy Award for Best Novella:
Guy Adams, DEADEAT

British Fantasy Award for Best Anthology:
Peter Crowther, FOURBODINGS

British Fantasy Award for Best Collection:

British Fantasy Award Best Short Fiction:
Ramsey Campbell, JUST BEHIND YOU
Marie O’Regan, CAN YOU SEE ME?

British Fantasy Award for Best Artist :
Clive Barker
Randy Broecker
Les Edwards
Dominic Harman
Richard Marchand
Robert Sammelin

British Fantasy Award for Best Small Press:
Peter Crowther, PS PUBLISHING
Christopher Teague, PENDRAGON PRESS

16 August 2006

Gosh, the BFS forum's getting some action today... (3 pages worth of posts in one afternoon...blimey...)
So there's this one thread that started out as a discussion on the BFS awards process and has now turned into a debate on the genre split of the BFS and is there one, and are we too horror and if you've got an opinion please drop over and add something.... We're here...

15 August 2006

Fcon again...

... because we just can't get enough....

First up - the banquet is now sold out! Crikey oh riley. When's that ever happened?

Next up: the events schedule (which I've also remembered to post to the Fcon blog and BFS boards...)

*nb. all guests appear subject to other commitments, panel personnel may alter slightly by the time we go live…

Main events (all hosted in the Albany Suite, unless otherwise specified)

(nb. [the 2nd], some panels listed as being 1 hour long, will actually be 50 mins/55 mins to allow for short break between items…)


18:00 – 19:00 Registration (suite foyer)
19:00 – 19:30 Welcome to FantasyCon 2006 – David Howe welcomes all, plus launch of the BFS: A Celebration book
19:30 – 20:30 Genre Quiz – join a team to break the ice, or just sit back and heckle
20:30 – 21:30 Panel: UK v US – Neil Gaiman, Juliet E. McKenna, Ramsey Campbell & Raymond E. Feist discuss fantasy on both sides of the Atlantic (moderated by Cheryl Morgan)
21:30 – 22:30 Interview: Guest of Honour Ramsey Campbell interviewed by John L Probert
22:30 – 23:00 Reading: late night reading from John L Probert
23:00 – 23:30 Reading: Tales from the Cryptkeeper – Ramsey Campbell sends you to bed with some nightmares …


10:00 – 11:00 Panel: Children’s Fantasy – Terry Edge, Neil Gaiman, Juliet E McKenna & Amanda Hemingway
11:00 – 12:00 Interview: Guest of Honour Raymond E Feist interviewed by Sandy Auden
12:00 – 13:00 Scriptwriting Improvisation: Stephen Gallagher, Paul Finch, Clive Barker & others TBA
13:00 – 14:00 Official Lunch break
14:00 – 15:00 Interview: Guest of Honour Neil Gaiman interviewed by Paul Kane
15:00 – 16:00 Panel: Indie v Mainstream Editing – Allen Ashley, Peter Crowther, David Howe, Andrew Hook, Jo Fletcher & Piers Blofeld
16:00 – 17:00 Interview: Guest of Honour Clive Barker interviewed by Paul Kane
17:00 – 18:00 Panel: Crime in Fantasyland – James Barclay, Chaz Brenchley, Neil Gaiman, Raymond E Feist & Juliet E McKenna
18:00 – 19:00 Monster Book Launch: come and see what’s new! (suite foyer/dealer’s room)
19:00 – 20:30 Official Dinner Break
20:30 – 21:30 Interview: Guest of Honour Juliet E McKenna interviewed by Chaz Brenchley
21:30 – 23:00 The Fabulous FantasyCon Charity Raffle: great genre prizes to be won!
23:00 – 23:30 Reading: Late Night Fantasies – with Alison Davies
23:30 – 00:00 Reading: Stay Up if You Dare – Tina Rath takes over the helm with her own special brand of storytelling …


10:00 – 11:00 Panel: The Changing Face of Horror – Ramsey Campbell, Simon Clark, Mark Morris, & John Connolly
11:00 – 12:00 British Fantasy Society AGM: come along and make your voice heard
12:00 – 13:00 Telos Book Launch – celebrate new books from Telos and meet some of the authors - includes launch of their charity anthology
13:00 – 15:00 Banquet
15:00 – 16:00 British Fantasy Awards – all welcome
16:00… Clear Up & Dead Dog Party – for those who aren’t ready to go home yet!

Other Events:

Saturday, 10am - 5pm: one to one literary appointments (room TBA)

Saturday, 5pm - 6pm: Play - Frankenstein in Love (Gallery Suite)

Saturday, Midnight: Indie Film Show (Gallery Suite)

There will also be a couple of extra events on Saturday, but details for those are still being worked out.

Also, have just noticed that we've got the scriptwriting improv thingy down as only an hour... and I know we planned on it being hour and half as it tends to go on a bit... so cue frantic discussion with the Headless Chickens Brigade and will let you know what's happening with that...

Also also... the AGM - if you've points to raise, motions for changes to things, or just general BFS questions could you PLEASE let one of us know (either Marie or me, for preference) before the event so we can make sure we have the right information on stuff with us on the day, thus ensuring a proper discussion instead of ...oh, er, um, we'll get back to you.... :->

14 August 2006

Technical Whinge

...because, really, computers hate me and this is cheaper than throwing the bastard thing out of the window...

So, apparently I can't send email from the bradan email account, can't pick up email from the fcon@jennyb address and I've recently had reports from people that emails I've sent from the demon account have arrived 2 months after they've been sent (so it's not always me being a bit slow, then...) I mean, where do they go for 2 months? I have these weird visions of a bunch of recalcitrant emails sitting around in a cyber-bar somewhere getting totally mullered and going 'ey up, think I'll just stay for the next round...')

Mind, the first two problems will be related as they're both on the same server, so a bit of grouting around the techie support area should help there.
God knows what's up with the demon account though...

And... (yes, there's more... it's like buses, isn't it...) the machine's been acting gronkier than usual ever since I downloaded a service pack from them who we don't mention. Should have known better as I've been religiously avoiding downloading things since the mass virus damage last year but one of them computer doctor types got all in a tizzy when he found out mum hadn't ever upgraded her machine's software (and then promptly charged her way too much for doing it) so I figured, why not, and spend hours (still in the stone age with dial up) downloading things.

And lordy, it's just so slow to open files and the like at the mo... I can get a couple of pages of reading done while I wait for a doc to open, and that can't be right...

12 August 2006

Ah, much calmer.

H&N stuff

Have almost broken the back of the last H&N submissions... have 20 stories left to read and hope to be emailing people Sunday about assorted bits. Also hope to get the next H&N out before Fcon too. (I'm a very hopeful person...) :->

Fcon stuff

And of course, you do realise that every Fcon post from now til kick off will have at least some small portion of panic in it... panic is good, it focuses the mind.

So... did I mention that the Britannia is completely sold out? Think I did. We've got a deal going with the Rutland next door.

Have also got confirmation on meal times from the Britannia (which I'll post on the Fcon blog in a mo.) (But they're still teasing us about midnight munchies... we only asked them back in March... and of course, the person we were dealing with has left so we have to go through everything all over again with the new one. Which has happened with every Fcon I've been involved in. Sheesh!)

If you want to volunteer to help us set up on the Friday, we need to know beforehand - we start at 10am on the Fri, but mainly need the manpower around early afternoon for help with goodie bag stuffing (as the morning is usually full of swearing and trying to remember how the PA system works and pestering the hotel for the hundred and one things they should have done, and that table goes there and what the **** is up with the air con... )

And just when we thought we had the programme completely locked down, a couple of surprise items had to be squeezed in... we just love a challenge... :->

And we have a short play. And an indie film show.

And I've still got the Fcon Reporter to do... (this weekend. Definitely.)
Happily the Fcon mag is going ok - we're still waiting for Ray Feist's stuff but other than that, crossing fingers that all will be nice and smooth there.

No news on Fcon 2007 hotel yet (and can you hear the edge of hysteria creeping into my voice there...? Ah-ha... that's the panic bit then.)

Other BFS bits

So the next Prism & DH are due for publication first week of Sept. Prism will be fine, cos I'm putting it together now, DH I'm mildly worried about as it takes more time and the wait for stuff from t'other editor gets a bit nervewracking... :-> Hence, doing Prism now.

Oh, and on top of the reviewer appeal I've done elsewhere, we currently have a shortage of book reviewers for the fantasy titles - email Chris Teague if you're interested.

Still need help with news for the comics/RPG/DVD/film/events sections. See BFS messageboard, the Sept Prism topic.

We've agreed that the BFS edition of Cinema Macabre will be posted out with the Sept mailing - which will save space in the car for Fcon. (Need a tardis car for packing things in and some big stong men for unloading, cos, seriously, I hate unloading. Too many years doing markets. Ah well.) Oh, how the BFS edition differs from the PS editions... 1) it's a members only trade paperback edition and will not be available for sale (as, y'know, PS did theirs for sale!) 2) New cover by Les Edwards 3) introduction by Paul Kane and Marie O'Regan (instead of Jonathan Ross who did the PS edition). Think that's it.

Oh, the BFS Celebration book thingy (that's getting launched at Fcon), is, indeed, super lovely. Have flipped through it and there's some nice things been said about the BFS and Fcon by various contributors (which was rather heartwarming, esp. since it's v. easy to get jaded doing this volunteer malarkey.) Haven't had the time to read any of the fiction in it, though.

BFS Awards - if you're a BFS member, you've still got time to vote. I'm reliably informed that you can find online voting details at http://www.britishfantasysociety.org.uk/info/vote2006.htm

Other stuff

Gosh, you want more? :->

Erm... apparently the Discworld convention has been sold out... (damn... wanted to go, but the timing was dodgy so was putting off booking...)

Next years Alt.fiction event in Derby is motoring along nicely. Check out Alex Davis' blog for the latest gossip. (Mental note: this time, don't book the Fcon hotel meet for the same day...)

Emerald City is closing.

Mark Chadbourn has gone off on a research break so Ariel is taking over his blogging duties.

Oh, and Mark C.'s Jack of Ravens is utterly, utterly, brilliant. (Ye-gads, I'm such a fan-girl...)

04 August 2006

Excuse me a moment while I sit here in mild shock. And I shouldn't be really, because I was warned. I was expecting it. I've been at things long enough to know what the score is. But still...

This morning, on the way out to work, a lorry pulls up. (Timing could have been better as I was running late and really didn't have time to be doing anything other than jumping in the car and racing off to the first appointment...which was going to be a nasty one, anyway, by all accounts...)

I was expecting the BFS Celeb book. That was fine. I was expecting there to be rather a lot more boxes than there usually is with a BFS book because the book's thicker and a larger format than we usually do. That was fine too. What I wasn't expecting was for it to be delivered with the BFS edition of Cinema Macabre that's going out as a members only freebie. 50 odd boxes worth of stuff.

Still, even that would have been ok. Book boxes (and indeed, magazine boxes for that matter) are generally small and manageable, even if there's rather a lot of them. They can be sneakily stashed behind chairs and under tables and piled up in corners with table cloths thrown over to disguise them... And at the very least, the nice delivery men always tote them into the hallway for you...

However, this particular time, they all came shrinkwrapped in one large pile on one large pallette and fork lifted onto the road and bye bye lorry. Oh what fun. And it must be time for the annual threat of eviction as nobody likes *that* many boxes in the house...

Sigh. And I so don't have my logistics head on to deal with the whole mess yet. Not after the horrible week that's just been.

But enough of the self indulgent whingery (which, alas, has been too common an occurrence lately... but, crikey, I'm just so damned *tired* and there's still a zillion things that need doing, all to be ready for exactly the same time. Or possibly even earlier. Or 4 months ago.)

Happy book things

Before the week that's best forgotten, was book binge week. Otherwise know as the annual Summer Spending Spree.
So, the very short version: The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch is so much better than the hype. I didn't think I could be that impressed by a book. But wow. It's truly, totally, utterly fantastic. Chock full of I-gotta-read- a-bit-mores...
Keeping it Real by Justina Robson is also fab.
Bridge of Dreams by Chaz Brenchley is excellent with some delicious language in it. Can't wait for the next one in the series.. (according to his blog... LJ.... thingy... he's just finished pruning the 2nd one...)
Danse Macabre by Laurell K. Hamilton (look, I know I said I wasn't going to, but it was on sale...) is actually better than expected. Skip the inevitable and relentles sex scenes and you have some interesting continuances of the vamp & shifter politics, and that's one of the things I like about the series. At this point, I'm hanging on to see how she resolves the mother of all vamps plot arc cos Anita as a protag is getting too whiny and the continued oops-there's-another-super-power is getting boring.
Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman was also better than expected.
Broken by Kelley Armstrong was... strange. Never been all that keen when it's Elena the wolf's turn to narrate as I find the character almost as irritating as Paige the witch. But it was...ok.

Other bits
Ooh, the Write Fantastic have started up their group blog thing.. that's lovely stuff.

(No, sorry, that's all I got... unable to think while my brain cycles between stressed and depressed and back again.)