13 November 2007


A short link post today...
The Writer's Guild of America is on strike. Doris Egan explains why here, Stephen Gallagher explains what this means for UK writers and Joss Whedon adds his views here.

Oh, and in other news... Nanowrimo count = 80,045 words... Woohoo!

07 November 2007

nanowrimo is go!

If it's November, it must be Nanowrimo madness! My wordcount so far is just a few words over 40,000. In 6 days! Woohoo! Am starting to lose the ability to type though.
I blame the Word Wars. I love the Word Wars. We just got my region signed up to the UK & Ireland multi region war so the new goal is to whip the asses of everyone everywhere... Oxford are the reigning champions - for three years straight they've topped the daily average word count... this year victory will be ours!

Film Fun
Just watched Mirrormask - got a nifty box set with Dark Crystal, Labyrinth and MM in, and, actually, MM is better than I expected. Probably to do with the lead actress actually being good. The plot was a wee bit wobbly at times, but there were some fun visuals.
Have also discovered that I can't watch Dark Crystal without giggling at the voice work. Can't even watch it all the way through as it seems to drag a lot more than it used to do. (Oh, and according to the back of DVD box, 'Jen' is an official trademark! Perhaps I should be changing my name?)

Book Fun
Have also just finished reading the latest Tom Lloyd - The Twilight Herald. (Though after discovering his blog, keep wanting to call it Twiglet...) It's been a while since I read the first one, so there was a few moments of 'what was that about again?' and some of the early viewpoint changes almost lost me, then came a point about a third of the way through where the 'can't-stop-reading' kicked in, so all was right with the world! Utterly champing for the next one now.

31 October 2007

fantasy communities

So, across the blogosphere and other places has sprung a debate about the existence, or lack thereof, of a fantasy community in the UK. It kicked off in Nick Cirkovic's myspace blog here, (not to be confused with his other blog elsewhere) and after he posted his comments on the BFS forums a fascinating set of arguments have popped up. Mark Chadbourn has waded in with his feelings about the need for splitting the BFS as he feels it's predom horror and not serving fantasy as well as it could. This, of course, has garnered the same sort of responses as the last time it was raised on the boards...

The essence of the main points seems to be a desire for places that concentrate solely on fantasy, and not fantasy & horror, or fantasy & SF or all three. Which is fair enough, I've been carping for years about wanting fantasy magazines and anthologies and the like... although I'm always confused about the difference between horror and dark fantasy, myself, surely they're the same thing?

So, fantasy communities then... as the interweb is the new place for building communities, are there any just-fantasy places for a bod to hang out or get news and wotnot from? UKSFnews covers all three genres, as does Ansible and Locus.

Forums: apart from the BFS one, we've got SFFworld - which covers all three genres, as does the Chronicle Network. I know there are horror forums around, but are there fantasy forums around? Other than the ones specifically connected to author sites, that is. If there are, I don't currently know about them but a prolonged google might reveal otherwise. (And if you know of any, please post them somewhere on the BFS forum so's I can have a looksie, ta!)

And another thing that crops up, like it did the last time on the boards, is that the definition of fantasy is erring towards epic fantasy again. I like epic fantasy, but concentrating on the epic side (ie. Gemmell/Martin/Jordan/Brooks etc.) is abandoning a lot of other sub genres and personally my preferences are stronger towards contemporary and comic fantasy than epic and would I want a place/community that was just epic fantasy? Nope. Would I like a fantasy community that's as strong as the SF one? Oh hell yeah.

24 October 2007

fcon blog carnival

Ah yes, the Fantasycon Blog Carnival!
Roll up, roll up, ladies, gentlemen and those who have yet to decide... here's who thought what in the blogosphere...

Ah the awards... such a glittering event... Tim Lebbon was a shaking wreck, Mark Morris has been waiting 20 years for it and Ellen Datlow via her emissary, was very happy about her award too...

Chaz Brenchley has issued banquet connected grounds for committal... and GoH Stephen Jones agrees that, as usual, it was barely edible... (but you'll need to check out the 'appearances' page on his site as can't get a direct link!)

Meanwhile, the small press peeps were having an interesting time of it... oh the book boxes, or lack thereof... Chris Teague almost didn't get his but they were hiding being PS... Screaming Dreams were there in their first official capacity and will be doing a longer report in the next Estronomicon and Murky Depths fell asleep twice during the raffle...

Mark Samuels managed a feat that most Fconnies don't (unless it involves the fabled curry hunt) and got away from the bar to see the outside world... yes, apparently there is a world outside the Britannia Hotel - he has the photos to prove it. Dave Price also discovered the outside world.

Martin Sketchley had a short piece to say about the doom and gloom in all the panels about publishing

Gary Greenwood actually managed to do some work at the con!

And Allyson Bird teases us about Dracula, the hawthorn bush and jaffa cakes...

And that's it on Fcon for this year!

23 October 2007


Have I mentioned that Chaz Brenchley's River of the World is utterly lush? (As we used to say back when I occasionally went to school...) RotW is the sequel to Bridge of Dreams, (both of which are published by Ace Books, over the pond) and what a sequel it is. Chaz has this wonderful knack with language and a gift for creating vibrant cultures in his books which leaves the average reader utterly spellbound.

But what of the story? River of the World continues the story of Issel, the water seller turned mage & resistance fighter; and Jendre, the general's daughter who married a short lived sultan; and what happened when their two worlds collide...
It is, as you might have guessed, beautifully told, with action and emotional wrenches aplenty - the only flaw being that Jendre's story is wound up too fast at the end - or perhaps it's because what you really want to happen to the bridge doesn't, frustrating one of Jendre's main motivations throughout both books.

I hear tell that Chaz has sold a short story involving a couple of the chaps from Bod & RotW (yay!) - now any chance we can get a story about Armina and her lot? Pretty please...

25 September 2007

more fcon

Anyhoo, bouncing around forums to see what the peeps thought about Fcon gets some nice comments.
It's the not so nice comments which are illuminating though - I like those ones, it helps you work out what needs fixing for next year. (Not that I'm the one in charge next year... but you get the picture...)

So on Shocklines there's a thread here -

which pretty much summarises the main complaints we get from everyone. If you're a member of the Shocklines board please go ahead and post your thoughts...

For myself, in response to the comments -
Publicity - you'll get no arguement from anyone on the committee that we screwed that one up this year. They'll do much better next year. Much much better. Trust me on that. They have people. :->

Attendance figures - just checked the final numbers and we had around 330 peeps there. (See my below post for why the place seemed empty!) This is a good number. Last year with the Gaiman and Barker duo we had 420-ish.

Guests mentioned: one we had a couple of years ago, one has been asked every year for the last few years and for various reasons can't make it, two have been asked a couple of years running and have commitment issues...

Goodie bags: we underestimated numbers - totally my fault, that one. There was some good stuff went in the bags if you signed in Friday/early Saturday morning (and about 80% of people arrived Friday!)

The other media guests: good god we tried. We really really did. No one we approached could do it. And we approached a lot of people.
They'll be trying again next year, I'm sure.

24 September 2007


And that, ladies and gentlemen, was Fantasycon 2007!

Give me about a week or so and I'll do the Fantasycon Blog Carnival I was muttering about on the BFS Forums - need to give everyone time to blog their thoughts first! (In case there's confusion, the Blog Carnival will be posted here, the idea was what was on the forums... sorry, still a bit dazed!)

So, how was it then?

Well, still mostly sick as a dog but managed to stay vertical long enough to do sensible things. General consensus is that the con was a bit on the quiet side - however there were more events going on so people were more spread out... (that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!) And next year they're getting a proper publicity dedicated person and more help to shout about it in the necessary places and I know they're also getting help to improve things to the next level. (Whatever that may mean!)

(And for some reason I also promised I'd do a couple of odd things for Fcon next year. But I'm definitely not on the committee. Oh no. Can't catch me that way.)

But back to this year.
Only panel I got to see this year was Jo Fletcher's editorial one which was absolutely brilliant. Would have liked to have seen Chaz's Write for Life thingy that came after, and a couple of the others but alas, could not be done. Will have to rely on others for panel chatter.

The bar almost managed to cope - except 4am Sunday morning they had to kick people out because they thought they were out of beer. (Actually they weren't, because when Richard, our go-to manager guy arrived in the morning he said there was a spare stash and he'd left instructions with them about where it was and he was going to kick their asses for being idiots.)
Also, one of the pumps broke.

The raffle... was long. Very very long. Had to leave after an hour or so (sick as a dog!) - apparently this one lasted about 3 hours.

The banquet... hee! Now that was fun. We did the room up Halloween style, with a couple of books on everyone's seats, spooky soundtracks playing, neon green cobwebs, candles...
Very cool!

As for the awards - well, it was a bit different this year - done properly on stage, with two presenters per award (and an attempt at 'Hollywood glamour', apparently)
The winners:
The Sydney J. Bounds Best Newcomer Award - Joe Hill (collected by Pete Crowther)
Best Non-Fiction: - Mark Morris: CINEMA MACABRE
Best Artist: Vincent Chong (collected by Pete Crowther)
Best Small Press: Peter Crowther, PS Publishing (who started to run out of room on his table)
Best Collection: Neil Gaiman: FRAGILE THINGS (collected by Steve Jones)
Best Novella: Paul Finch: KID (or K.I.D. if you're Chaz B!) from the Pendragon Choices thingy.
Best Short Fiction: Mark Chadbourn: WHISPER LANE from BFS A Celebration (collected by Sandy Auden. Also, rumour has it the story has been picked up by a couple of reprint anthologies too...)
BFS Special Award: Ellen Datlow (Collected by John Grant)
Best Novel: Tim Lebbon: DUSK (who needed a drink and Pete Crowther got a bit nervous so had to whip his wine away before it got it nicked!

All in all, rather good fun!
Thanks to everyone who came, you were all fab!

19 September 2007


The good: the fab Debs fixed the computer problem. Hurrah!
The bad: still sick as a dog. At this rate, I'll be spending Fcon in my hotel room...

Other Fcon news - that infamous duo, Smith and Jones, will be previewing Monstermania on Saturday night at 11.45pm - this will kick of the late night film program (of which I have no idea what's being shown...)

Mass signing: Peeps participating in the Mass Signing so far are:
John Grant, Stephen Jones, Michael Marshall Smith, Terry Brooks, Peter Crowther, Chaz Brenchley, Mike Carey, Allen Ashley, Joel Lane, John L Probert, Ian Watson, David Howe, Simon Clark, Tony Richards

So bring your books or buy some in the Dealer Room!

18 September 2007


The universe hates me.
Sick as a dog. In technicolour. Hoping it's just a 24hr thing. And you don't even want to know what the computer is doing... It couldn't have waited just one week, oh no. Bastards.
This is doing nothing for my sanity. Nothing, I tell you.

On the upside, if you want to catch Mark Chadbourn at Fcon he's popping over for lunchtime on Saturday for the BNH signing. Bless him. He won't be there the rest of the weekend though.

And if you're a BFS member and can drag youself out of bed on Sunday for the AGM, one of the items is going to be debating some proposals about the eligibility of BFS publications and their contributors for the awards. You may have read Steve's op-ed piece in the last Prism...

17 September 2007

...deep breaths...

3 days. Oh god.
Schedule's now totally done and confirmed though. As of 7am this morning. Oy, my nerves.
And we got a load of boxes of lovely stuff delivered from Gollancz a few minutes ago - raffle stuff, mostly.
Banquet is going to be bangin'! Oh yes indeedy. :->

And in case news hasn't filtered out anywhere else, (and I can't remember if I've blogged it before...) but Friday night we're doing a mass signing in the main Con suite - GoHs (their books will be available to buy from Erik in the Dealers Room, or you can bring your own) and other attending authors (you have to bring your own books or trust that some of the dealers have some copies lurking - again, Erik of Fantasy Centre or Bob of Talking Dead are your most likely targets there... Oh, and PS for their authors...)

The diddly bar outside of the Con room/Dealers room will be open until about 9pm/10pm but if you use that a lot they'll keep it open longer. The main bar, as always, will be open until there's no one left. They promise there'll be more seats this year.

Steve Jones will be doing a mini launch/advance signing thingy of the latest Best New Horror in the main bar. And there'll be World Horror Con goodies for sale on the BFS book table out in the reception area.
If you check out the BFS forums, the current schedule has been posted by our Vicky - but I'll probably work my way to blogging it here in the next day or so.

Oh, and the awards thingy should be fun, we have many guest presenters for it this year! You don't have to have attended the banquet to see the awards - we'll wander around and give the all clear for sneaking in once the munching and wotnot has finished.

If there's any Fcon questions now's the time to post on the BFS forum or email one of us - no one will be around from Thursday so it needs to get to us Wednesday night latest...

Repeat after me: it will be fabulous, darlings!

14 September 2007


can't think. can't think. can't think.
Need lists.

Ok, laptop sorted. Now we just need the beam projector and some of the books for the mass signing (don't ask. No. Really don't. Thanks.)
Also, there's a semi slot on Sunday morning - it needs to be in the bar as the main room will be getting set up for the banquet and the second room will have the tail end of the AGM - but what to do? We've been trying to come up with something for about 2 months and still haven't got diddly. Gaaaah! Quiz? Informal reading? RPG game? Argh! Suggestions on the BFS messageboards if you will...

Admittedly, things seem more disorganised than they actually are, but panic is good for soul.
And this time next week I'll be wandering around like a madwoman with a clipboard pointing and shouting as it'll be a couple of hours until registration officially opens and there'll be someone turning up late with stuff they want put in the goody bags (not that we don't appreciate stuff for goody bags, but Friday morning's the time to deliver them pretty please. Ta!)
And 2 PA systems this year! Good god, I hope someone knows how to work them...

Happily, I can take a very very back seat at the AGM this year! Just got to throw together the Spec Pubs accounts and I'm done, mate.
(Don't say it Andrew, I'll get it sorted this weekend so that I can go to Fcon without getting duffed up...) :->

-Domestic Bliss

And on top of that, we just exchanged on a house today. It's been a very trying 3 months as the vendor is particularly dim and Evil Twin and the boyf will be renting it so they've been stressing a bit as they had to move out of their old house a month ago so have been dossing down here...

Have a cat picture...

Et voila - 2 of the psycho kittens of the apocalypse. They think books are tasty.

09 September 2007


Yes, that would be the sound of someone freaking about it being 11 days to Fcon. 11 days. F! me.
Banquet is full, Britannia is full, Dealers Room is full. (and yet, people are still trying their luck.)
Revised schedule still isn't finalised as we're still waiting on a couple of people's confirmation.
Don't mind me, I may be having several simultaneous nervous breakdowns
every day until Fcon Sunday...

On the plus side, Fcon mag looks great - we got it back from the printers last week.

Now all we've got to work out is where we can borrow a laptop with powerpoint on for someone's presentation, and we'll be laughing. (Hysterically. And possibly a little too loudly.)


13 August 2007

Fcon countdown

...6 weeks. Or about 39 days, give or take. OMG. So naturally, this is when we keep thinking of those brilliant ideas that would have been better thought of a few months ago. Feh.
The Britannia is just about full up, the banquet is just about full up, the Rutland Hotel has agreed to handle the overflow... so that's all sorted.
The schedule is still not finalised... argh! A few changes since the prlim one I posted way back. A wee bit more juggling to do.

Luckily I'm not doing the fcon mag this year, that's all I can say! :-> Pete's got that one well under control.

And we're probably doing pre-printed badges this year. Looking at a new way of doing the whole registration scramble too. And there's two dealers rooms... one in the main room as last year, and one in that boothed walk through area that you use to get from the main bar to the registration area.
And many many launches.

Ooh, and next year has definitely been booked now. It will be at the Britannia again, on 19th - 21st September. And that's all the details I know...

BFS Bits
Prism's getting a new editor come Sept. Lee Harris will be taking over from Jay and Selina.

19 July 2007

BFS in 'not another not-London Open night' shocker!

And if York wasn't enough for you, there's also been a BFS Open Night organised for Birmingham...
It'll be held: Saturday 15th September, from 6.30pm
At: The Cornerhouse pub, 110 Edmund Street/Newhall Street, Birmingham, B3 3PU.
Special guests: The Write Fantastic.
Free to everyone, and non-BFS peeps are welcome.

Gosh - that's the week before Fcon... :->

We're still discussing what's going to happen about the Sept London Open Night though - is 2 open nights and an Fcon too much for one month or do those of you who do the London one not mind a Birmingham one as well?

17 July 2007

Molehills of Madness

I'm about halfway through reading Rhys Hughes' At the Molehills of Madness (I promised I'd review it for Prism) and my goodness, young Mr Hughes has a very sick sense of humour! So far, there is the odd nasty story, some seriously twisted ones that will make you laugh and one very distasteful one that I couldn't finish because it was just too gross ('The Death of Ganymede', I'm looking at you.) Did get quite a few chuckles out of 'Necessity is the Mother,' which is a sort of time travelling serial killer thingy. Loving lots of the weird tales in the collection, though my inner prude witters quietly about the odd bit of crudeness in some of them.

Chronicles of Amber
Have also just finished reading the first 5 books in the Chronicles of Amber series by Roger Zelazny. (Well, Gollancz did put them in a nice compilation volume as part of their Fantasy Masterworks series...) The Amber stories were recommended me by Mike Chinn (buy his Paladin Mandates - there be a collection of riproaring tales, as I never tire of telling people!) and mostly, they were fun. The world set up is great - the whole Amber with its shadows and travelling between - I love that kind of stuff. The family politics, again, another thing that hits my buttons. Corwin started getting a bit whiny towards the last couple of stories in the book though. And I totally called the revelation about papa Oberon.
It would have been nice if the female characters had been better though. Flora - depicted as stupid. Most of the other sisters thought of as generally useless. Fiona got to flex some intellectual muscles due to her part in one of the conspiracies (won't spoil how in case there's peeps that haven't read it.) Dara - there was hope. Sneaky, excellent fighter, then you find out the whole point of her is to be mother and possibly wife... eesh-kabeesh. Apparently there are a few more Amber books to go so maybe things improve.

15 July 2007

Movie Madness

So they're doing a movie version of Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising... and Chris Ecclestone is it (yay!) but then the online gossip starts going wild... Ragnall will tell you all you need to know about the travesty here.

Honestly. Another one where they changed the English protag to an American?! An evil twin?! Sheesh.

13 July 2007

BFS in 'not in London!' Open Night Shocker!

Hot off the BFS forums - Lee from Hub magazine has organised a BFS Open Night in York for October! Woohoo!

Here's the blurb from himself:

On Saturday October 13th, Hub will be hosting a York-based BFS Open Night - a chance to catch up with all your buddies oop north. Trains to York are regular, and take a little over 2 hours from Kings Cross. Why not make a weekend of it? York is a fabulous place for a weekend break.

The Perfect Venue
The event will be held at York Brewery, which will hopefully put to bed the rumour that I couldn't organise a *&$^-up in one!

A private Brewery Tour will be held for anyone interested, prior to the main meeting. There is a small charge for this (£5, but that includes a pint of their brew). Similarly, anyone who requires feeding can book a buffet dinner, but the brewery (naturally) charge for this, also.

The bar is well-stocked (and not just with beer) and prices are surprisingly good!

What we need to know

We need to know rough numbers of attendees so the brewery know how many staff to lay on that night, so please head on over to: www.hub-mag.co.uk/bfs to register, or to book yourselves on the tour/order buffet.

Dealer Space

Anyone requiring table space for a launch or other promotion should email me with the details as soon as possible - there's not a lot of space for this, so it'll be on a first come, first served basis.

11 July 2007

Musical Weirdness...

... is Shirley Bassey covering Pink's 'Get this Party Started!' I'm still not decided whether it's a good thing or not but the video has a distinctly Bond feel to it and for a moment I was thinking hang on, is the new film out already?'

10 July 2007


So, recently in the news there's been reports of a mummy being identified as Hatshepsut, the first female King of Egypt. Now, personally, this couldn't have come at a better time as my current Egyptology paper is on Hatshepsut (hee! Finally working with current info!) although I was quite amused to read the Mail's take on Hatshepsut. Specifically the retread of the whole wicked domineering stepmother who stole the throne theory. Oy vey. Darlings, that little thing is so passe now!

While you could extrapolate that from the fact that some serious work went into removing Hatshepsut from all the records - chipping her name off monuments, cutting her image off of reliefs, totally missing her off the kings lists... there are still plenty of places where evidence of her can be found (and from all I've read, the surviving evidence is all of Hatshepsut before she made herself King) suggesting that it isn't so much Hatshepsut that was being objected to, more Hatshepsut as King - something which went against all the traditions up to that point.

Not that a female couldn't rule Egypt on her own - there was a queen, Sobeknofru, who ruled solo about 500 years earlier due to there not being any male heir. But she ruled as queen, not king/pharaoh which may be why no one had the a problem with her.

The other irritating thing was the glee the Mail had in announcing that the mummy was that of a fat, bald middleaged woman. What, they were expecting maybe a mummified supermodel? Sheesh. (Mind, really not a fan of the Mail style of reporting, makes me want to hit things.)

Touregypt.com has a better short article on Hatshepsut (written before the recent discovery) and the Guardian reports the recent discovery better, but if you want to read deeper into Hatshepsut then I totally recommend Hatchepsut: The Female Pharaoh by Joyce Tyldesley.

08 July 2007

So I'm currently reading Anita Roddick's 'Business as Unusual' and there's a chapter about women in business with a paragraph that goes "Corporations as we know them were created by men for men, often influenced by the military model, on complicated and hierarchical lines and are both dominated by authoritarian principles and resistant to change."

Hmm. Don't know about the whole military model thing, but the rest sounds disturbingly similar to things be debated on the BFS Forums.

It's tricky making too much comment about this here, though, as still being on the committee means I'm still in the position to change anything I may have a problem with. Not that I ever manage to do much good, but that doesn't stop the suggestions and 'oi, buts'.

For diplomacy's sake, I'll just say that I agree with Nick C. (Lermentov, on the forums) - I still think we are somewhat static, slow to do things and in absolute desperate need of a massive reworking of pretty much eveything.

On the plus side, I also know we're definitely making movements to fix a couple of things - the website and the publications. There are possibilities on the bubble for events and odd publicity bits but sometimes it just feels like it's going way too slow...

06 July 2007

Well if it's good enough for the BFS...

Ok, so I'm still not entirely sure what to do with the thing, but Myspace looks sorta fun so I signed up... Catch me here

(Yes, I know, I'm cheating a bit with the avatar... no way a photo of me is ever going on the internet... screens everywhere would crack in terror...)
A little more BFS

Yay! We found someone for the boxes! Woot! (Whatever 'woot' means. I'm guessing it's good!)

Also, the BFS is now on Myspace so if you're on it, do the friend thing here
(Of course I have absolutely no idea how the Myspace thing works...)

03 July 2007

Been a while again!

The inevitable BFS section.
News of the day... I'm standing down from Fcon and all BFS related activities as from Sept so once the AGM is done, I'm a free woman! (Although how long that'll last is anyone's guess. ) So at last discussions, Marie & Paul were going to take over as Fcon organisers, with Vicky on registrations for 2008.
Naturally this means the whole thing will run a hell of a lot more efficiently next year. :-> Ah well. Be nice to go to the '08 Fcon without having to work all weekend!

Now all we need is to find who's going to take the many many boxes of old BFS books off my hands... so far, everyone else is staying very quiet... :->

As for Fcon '07. It pootles along nicely. Schedule's been taken down while we rework it. Some people have changed and some times are changing. Won't have the next version ready for another week or so.
And just heard this afternoon that we can definitely have an artshow as we've now got the artboards. Though, apparently news leaked out before we could make the official announcement - this, and other interesting things turned up on the BFS forums... which have done their usual summer heat up. Don't know if it's the thought of awards, the agm or what, but it's always this time of year it happens.
Of course, there was also the inevitable whinging about people on the committee desperately clinging onto power, or some such twaddle. How people come up with these things I've no idea.
At least we've not gone back to the genre bias stuff, for that, small mercies. Kind of surprised gender bias hasn't reared its head though. Must be about time... :->

Oh, and mum's also standing down. (I stood down first! So nyah!) And there's a bit of a reshuffle of committee and other bits going on so hopefully that'll freshen things up a bit.

Other Bits
We now have 3 kittens (yeah, yeah, I'm sure you really wanted to know that!) They're 10 weeks old and total pain in the arses. Why 3? Mum was supposed to come back with 1 and decided that she had to have 2 so they'd be company for each other, then it became 3 when someone didn't pick up one of the other kittens. Oy vey. And she went and got a couple of goldfish last week as well. That and the budgie are getting the kits very excited. Namewise, all my suggestions got vetoed so we're down to Benson (the scraggy grey and white one with a leg fetish), Indie (black and white and the obvious alpha bitch of the bunch. ) and the black one that is mainly being called Izzy, (short for Isis, apparently) but is alternately called fluffball and lampchop and git.

Yeah, alright, enough with the domestics...

Mindless Genre blather
Interesting Dr Who finale last week - like many internetweb peeps I'll just say Tinkerbell! and Dr Gollum! Apart from that, some interesting revelations. Last scene was funny. Shame that incarnation of the Master is gone now cos John Simms and David Tennant played off each other rather well.

Reread King's Skeleton Crew yesterday - my favourite story of it has now changed from The Mist to Mrs Todd's Shortcut. My, that was a fun one.

Ooh, and just under 3 weeks until Pothead day. :-> Yes, I preordered it months ago, and yes, I've got the publishing date marked on my calendar just in case I forget... what?!

More feminist genre links to chew on:
Feminist SF
Neither Doormat or Prostitute
Asking the Wrong Questions

20 May 2007

Fantasycon mega-post

As promised, here's everything you need to know so far...
When? Friday 21st Sept - Sunday 23rd Sept
Where? Britannia Hotel, St James Street, Nottingham
With Who? Terry Brooks, Michael Marshall Smith, Stephen Jones & M.C. Peter Crowther
Website: www.fantasycon.org.uk

Preliminary schedule of events:

*Please note – there will be some additional items and panellists added shortly. Panellists appear subject to prior commitments. Some times may be rearranged.

(JB blog note! Also, some of the descriptions will be expanded on - we have yet to pretty up some of the titles!)

Friday 21st September

Devonshire Suite

7pm – 7.15pm - Welcome to Fantasycon

7.30pm – 8.30pm - Mass Signing/autographing party with GoHs and other authors.

8.45pm – 9.30pm - Solaris Launch Party

9.30pm – 10.30pm - Chills vs Thrills - Discussion panel with Tim Lebbon, Mark Morris, Michael Marshall Smith & Nancy Kilpatrick)

10.30pm – 11pm – Chaz Brenchley reading

11.30pm – Midnight – Ramsey Campbell reading

Saturday 22nd September

Devonshire Suite

10am – 10.45am – Comics: Easts meets West – The rise of Manga & Anime. Discussion panel with Jay Eales, Mike Carey, Mike Chinn, Jonathon Oliver

11am – 11.45am – Terry Brooks interviewed by Debbie Miller

12pm – 12.45pm - Are Fantasy Tropes Dead & What is the Perception of Modern Fantasy – Discussion panel with Chaz Brenchley, Juliet McKenna, Sarah Ash, Mark Chadbourn.

(1pm – 2pm – lunch break)

2pm – 2.45pm – Trials and Tribulations of Publishing – Discussion panel with Stephen Jones, George Mann, Peter Crowther, Jo Fletcher.

3pm – 3.45pm – Crime Crossover – Discussion panel with Michael Marshal Smith, Sarah Pinborough, Chris Fowler

4pm – 4.45pm – In Conversation with Smith & Jones – Stephen Jones interviews Michael Marshall Smith, Michael Marshall Smith interviews Stephen Jones.

6pm – 6.45pm – What Makes a Book work on Film? Scriptwriting discussion panel with Stephen Volk, Stephen Gallagher, Tim Lebbon

(7pm – 8.30pm – Dinner break)

8.30pm – 9.15pm – Taboo – Discussion panel with Chris Fowler, Ramsey Campbell, Adam Neville, Nancy Kilpatrick.

9.45pm – 11pm – The Fabulous Fantasycon Raffle

11.30pm – Midnight – Michael Marshall Smith reading.

Gallery Suite

10am – 10.45am – Funding workshop – Chaz Brenchley & Alex Davis

12pm – 12.45pm - Write for Life – Seminar with Simon Clark

3pm – 3.45pm – Making a Living from Scriptwriting – Seminar with Stephen Volk

4pm – 4.45pm – Write for Life – Seminar with Chaz Brenchley

5pm – 5.45pm – Editorial Seminar - Jo Fletcher

Film show in the evening – times to be decided.

Dealers Room

5pm – 5.45pm – Monster Small Press Launch

Sunday 23rd September

Devonshire Suite

1pm – 3pm – Banquet (tickets to be booked in advance only)

3pm – 4pm – British Fantasy Awards Ceremony (all welcome!)

4pm onwards – Clear Up and Dead Dog Party

Gallery Suite

10am – 11.45 – BFS AGM (BFS members only)

- * -
Banquet Menu

(Tickets to be booked in advance. Limited numbers. Please indicate your menu choices and any food allergies/special requirements when booking.)

Choice of:

Cream of Vegetable soup

Fan of Charantais Melon served with a compote of Mixed Berries


Choice of:

Breast of Chicken presented on Bacon Mash, stuffed with a Herb farce & finished with a Madeira jus.

(Veg. option) Stuffed Roast Pepper with Zuccini, Aubergine, Red Onions & Cous Cous with a Tomato & Herb sauce

(Selection of vegetables & potato served with either)

Choice of:

Mixed fruit cheesecake

Chocolate Truffle


Coffee & Mints


Price also includes 2 glasses of house wine & water/orange juice at the table

- * -

Fcon 2008 is confirmed for the Britannia, Nottingham. Date and guests to be advised.
We'll have a decent amount of details about it well in time for this years event! Hurrah!


19 May 2007


Yeah! A particularly fine Fcon meeting, thank you so very much. When I get my brain back tomorrow (3 hours driving on motorways does nothing for the concentration) - I'll get the schedule posted on here, the Fcon blog and and BFS forum. We've got a couple of peeps to get confirmation on, and a couple of panel/workshops we're waiting on confirmation on, but other than that, all done there. Everything from how to get into scriptwriting, editor seminars, publisher seminars, illustrated talks, late night readings, workshops, huge opening ceremony for which we will be plying you with wine and doing signings for the GoHs, all new and improved raffle, and, ooh, bunches of good stuff.

Hotel-wise, there's way more chairs and tables in the public areas now, and we've agreed better opening times for the smaller bar just outside the dealers room. More munchies available at the main bar, and we're getting a quote for getting real ale in. (And they promise the Theakstons is fixed.) Smaller bar should be open 7pm - midnight on Fri, Noon to midnight on Sat, and not sure about Sunday. Main bar will be open until dawn or beyond depending on who's still conscious and drinking.

And we're doing an art show! We weren't sure, but we had a walk around today and worked out a way of doing it with a little rearrangement of the Dealers room and spreading some things out to the room with the booths that you have to walk through to get to the main area. So now we know we've got the space, we're getting that sorted!

And we'll be in Nottingham for Fcon next year too - whether it's the normal Sept date, or the earlier one we may need to do for that year.

And we've sorted the banquet menu now. Better veggie option this time. Better organisation on the service so peeps get it hot. Hotel have asked that peeps choose their options before hand so need to contact peeps to get them to state their prefs for that.

We also decided what we're doing about the limited attendence for the workshops etc. There'll be sign up sheets somewhere prominant (probs near registration) so you write your name down on the day and when the list is full that's it. It'll most likely be something liked 30 - 40 maximum for most of the thingybobs so plenty spare. The room holds 60 so some seminars/workshops may have room for more peeps.

Also, if you're small press and want to launch, we'll be doing the usual in the dealer's room on Saturday afternoon so please let Vicky know if you're up for it. As luck would have it, the smaller bar is going to be right outside the dealer room entrance this year...

Erm. Think that's it. Got to get the attendee list up in places too. Fcon website will be getting updated next week and we may actually get the cafepress Fcon shop working. (Hope so, cos there's an Fcon tshirt I want done so I can wear it to the June open night.)

Word on the wossname is that it's back from the printers Wednesday and our Vicky will be doing the stamping and stuffing dance over the bank holiday Monday so expect it soon. There should be an Fcon Reporter going out with it too, also the voting form for the awards.

Other bits.
Don't know if I mentioned this before, but Slow Motion Wars, the fabalicious collection from Andrew Hook and Allen Ashley, wot woz going to be a Bradan book before we went kapootski... is now being published by those funky chaps at Estronomicon / Screaming Dreams. So buy it when you see cos it's cool!

17 May 2007

Morning. Been a while!

The obligatory BFS section!

Jay and Selina's first Prism has been proofed and should be at the printers now. Quite looking forward to seeing it - especially as I'm now in the position to be as surprised as everyone else about when it lands on the doormat! Word from those that have seen the proofs is that it looks good and has a bit of a comicy feel to it...

Fcon is getting rather interesting - or rather, Fcon and assorted BFS related events for 2008 & 2009. It's all very hush hush at the moment and I'll be skinned alive if I gossip too much about it yet. 'tis quite tickle-some, though... It may entail a slight shifting of next year's Fcon date to a smidge earlier in the year, though. Probs around late June or first week of July before the schools break up - depends what happens about some other things first.

We're doing a Britannia meeting this Saturday to give the hotel bods what for and decide if we can squeeze an art show into Fcon this year, or not. Have got the event schedule pretty much worked out now - solid double streaming with a good lot of workshops and seminars as well as the usual panels. There may be a chance that there's a smaller room we can use if we fancy, it only holds 2o peeps though so we're not sure what we can use it for, unless we try a lot more readings during the day this time.
If you want a space in the dealer room this year, you need to talk to Vicky sharpish as there's limited space and we're almost full up. If you want to pay online for your membership email Vicky or Pat - it's not a facility we can advertise widely on the Fcon site due to various, erm, complications, but it's there if you want it.
Those of you who have booked, confirmation letters will be on the way shortly.

And the raffle has had a complete overhaul. And we're doing a mass signing with the guests and a few other authors on the Friday night as part of the opening festivities (so no quiz this year.)

Ooh, and Mike Carey's coming! He'll be on a comics panel on the Saturday.

And Simon Clark returns with his Write for Life talk, also the utterly fabulous Chaz Brenchley will be doing one as well. We're just working out what the maximum numbers for these will be then we'll sort out if they're going to be ticketed events or not.

The obligatory technological whinge.

I hate broadband. It's official. Especially BT Broadband. Bastards.

Bookie bookie...

Kelley Armstrong's latest one, No Humans Allowed, is fab. Highly recommended.
Joe Abercrombie's Before They Are Hanged is also an excellent read.
Looking forward to the next Locke Lamora one, due 21st June... hurrah!

Have also been on a bit of novelisation jag - 9 Resident Evil ones and 5 Tomb Raider ones. My eyes hurt. Problem with the Resident Evil ones are that the non-movie ones are a bit out of step with the game continuity, and generally with each other - so, for eg. if Zero Hour, written as book #0 of the series, you have the lovingly described account of Rebecca Chambers and the whole crashed train thingybob, then in the next few books where she's gets her cameos in the mansion and in the further between-game adventures, it's written like the mansion was her first experience with the zombies. Logically this suggests that book #0 was written later than than #1 - #5 or #6 but it's still mildly irritating.

The non-movie Tomb Raider ones are between-game adventures now if only someone would do game tie-in novels like they did for Resident Evil, then I'd be a happy bunny as I do love me my Tomb Raider! The comic book TR wasn't bad, the novelisations are better. Although TR: Man of Bronze is a bit blah.

Game fun
Alas, TR:Anniversary isn't going to be out on a platform I've actually got (as I hate playing it on the PC, so it's Xbox or PSone, or not at all...)
TR: Legend's been giving me a bit of hassle though - no matter how many walkthroughs I diligently follow, I still can't get near the gold treasures in Bolivia or Kazahkistan. And don't even talk to me about that bastarding sea monster. Possibly the most irritating end of level bad guy in the world, ever.

Please buy a house
Nope, they've still not sold the Blandford house. Someone please buy it. Or rent it. Or something.

Other fun
Some of the Write Fantastic will be knocking around Uxbridge library next Thursday as part of the Hillingdon litfest - may make it as Hillingdon's near my old turf. It's Jules McKenna, Sarah Ash and Jessica Rydill I believe.

Didn't make it to Alt-Fic after all that, someone decided to take the weekend off (bad boss) so had to work on the Saturday. Apparently it was really good too! Damn it.

28 March 2007

Psst, wanna buy a house...?

If you're interested in moving down to the wilds of Dorset, Evil Twin and the boyf are trying to find buyers for their one bedroom mid terrace place in Blandford... It's only been on the market a couple of weeks...
It's on Right Move here if you've the inclination.... They really need some better photos (or any!) of it though....
Everybody's going to Canada...

World Horror Convention starts up in Toronto at the end of the week, and how jealous am I that I can't go. Too much work, not enough money. Bah. And it's Toronto people. The land of Charles De Lint! (Ok, I think technically he's Ottawa, but still, I've always wanted to go to Canada!)

So the lovely Chris Teague is going to be there, also Pete & Jan on their belated honeymoon, also Paul & Marie on their actual honeymoon (they got married last Friday, did I say?) And I have to confess to being quite curious about what a Steve Jones organised convention is like - plus there's rumours that they're introducing the Canucks to the raffle and after the Fcon debacle last year I'm quite interested to see how they do it. Have to rely on M&P reporting back, though...

Imminent technological doom...

Finally have the date for the dreaded broadband conversion. April 3rd. Eek. The seas will boil, the sky will be split asunder and it'll all go terribly terribly wrong. It's new tech in this house, so what else would we expect!

Get thee to a play...

And Chazzie baby has his play wot he writ opening next week. According to his latest blog, the opening night tickets are going slowly so if you're up Tyneside way, pop along and cheer him up!

The play's called 'A Cold Coming', and will be performed over April 3rd-5th at the Library Theatre, South Shields.

And in other Chaz related news, if you missed his Lit & Phil Xmas ghost story evening last year, the stories have been published in book form with an extra audio CD!
Blurb direct from himself: "Volume two is now available, featuring: Sean O'Brien, Gail-Nina Anderson, Chaz Brenchley, Ann Cleeves, Simon Morden and Carol McGuigan
The official RRP will be £18 (and, as Chaz says, six stories, two CDs, lovely binding - it's a bargain already...)," but for a limited period only, you can buy it directly from Lord Brenchley of Desperance via his website, for just £12 inc. p&p.
Any profits go straight back into funding next year’s event.
For the full skinny pop over to his website

Story Comps

Book2book recently gave a flying mention to an interesting sounding thing - apparently Gollancz & the Daily Mail are getting together on a novel writing comp, the prize being a £30,000 book contract and book published next spring. All you have to do is post your finished book ms to the Daily Mail by beginning of July... Full r&rs on both their websites.

Also, rumour has it that this year's SFX pulp idol continues a tradition of funny rules... this time, if you've ever been paid for piece of fiction, no matter where it appeared, you can't enter. Lo, the sounds of many dreams crashing...

Never mind... there's still the BFS story comp. Mum's admin-ing it again this year, and apparently we've got 3 author judges for the final round...possibly 4, I'm never sure, I stay well out of it... There's a 3000 word max set, but no theme thank god! It was bad enough getting the funny questions about the anniversary theme last year. How do people get our phone number to ask them? It's just a bit freaky. We've already had one chap ring up about this year's one asking if the title counts as part of the word count... (I've no idea, so don't ask me. Logic suggests no, but if you're that worried, surely you'd just cut a couple of superfluous words from the story text to allow for the title? Unless the title is one of those horribly long ones that are only sometimes amusing...)

Comics bits...

Apparently Power Girl's boobs are making for hot debates at the moment... the most recent JSA/JLA cover (for #10, I think) has Power Girl depicted with massive flesh coloured beach balls somehow magically attached to her torso. You have to wonder, how she can actually do any superheroing without getting brained by them... and that's without wondering how she doesn't just pop out through the costume window first time she moves... Mind you, that would make a hell of a distraction...

Shellyscomics made a good blog post about the subject, and here's where you'll find a scan of the image in question. (Second one down). Over at Greenlantern'sbutt you'll find a pic that works better for PG.

26 March 2007

Happy happy happy

Ha hah! No more Prism for me!! Finally finished the March Prism last week (yeah, I know, it was supposed to have been the Feb Prism... but honestly, what else did you expect?) Sent off to the printers and it's sooooo out of my hands now! Vicky's on the mailings now which is beyond fabulous as I can now sit back and watch as Prisms magically appear in the letterbox!

Of course, this didn't happen without the usual run of disasters. This time, it was all the Fcon photos fault. Ok, so technically we're a few months late for doing an Fcon 2006 report, but there were a heap of other BFS AGM type stuff that needed to be published for the members so it seemed churlish not to add the Fcon report (a multi person deal with bits from Allen Ashley, Pete Coleborn, and Paul K & Marie O'R.) So the first batch of photos I had were from uncle Pete, and I'm sure that last time I fiddled with them they were fine... but alas, when I really needed them to work, just touching one of them froze up my machine to the extent where plugs and batteries had to be yanked before it would do anything.

Luckily, ace reporter Sandy A. takes bucketloads of photos so I had those. Except, after inserting every thirdish one, my poor machine crashed... cue many reboots. But it got there eventually.

So, this week our Vicky will be mailing out awards recs forms & an Fcon newsletter/progress reporter thingybob.
Next week, probs towards the end, there'll be a jumbo Prism (108 pages!! 108 freaking pages people... for Prism, that's damn near illegal...) and a jumbo Dark Horizons (about 112 pages I think uncle Pete said. Or possibly 140. Probs somewhere inbetween...) DH is the 50th issue so they're doing something or other there. The Anne Sudworth cover is gorgeous (a bit horror-y, for which I'm sure there'll be the usual complaints from the horror bias obsessed crowd.).

But mainly, I'm just looking forward to having Prism out of my brain. And I don't have to mail it anymore! Tee hee!

Which means I can finish up the H&N wind up stuff, focus properly on Fcon and do other funky stuff...like finish up the Egyptology course, (which is a bit lightweight, so I've turned into something of an extra-credit junkie what with extra research and the like...) , then I can do a part time Uni course in October.
The course'll be a little scary as apparently it'll be equivalent to a first year undergraduate thingy and this from someone who didn't stay in school long enough to get GCSEs, let alone A levels... (got a couple of GCSEs and an A level Archaeology at night school years later, but that's by the by...) And since the uni course is archaeology/history thing with optional modules in art & architecture, it's not totally impossible. Plus, as it's adult ed, lack of formal qualifications is not a problem. Which is nice.

And in other news, the Evil Twin is moving back up north with her boyf. Probably around the Hook/Basingstoke area, and intends to join the family business for her main income (despite maintaining for years that she would never, ever, indulge!) So we've had to rework the office to accommodate her, and it means less work for me, (and less money, but I'd rather be skint and less stressed). May just drive me a bit potty though.

Harry Dresden
And I've just discovered the Harry Dresden phenomenon. Had flicked on the TV proggy the other week but wasn't overly bothered either way, but then Orbit send me a copy of the latest book in the series so I found a few hours spare to settle down and give it a go.
Proven Guilty is the 8th book in the series, so right off the bat there's the threat of missing backstory... and I wasn't too hopeful when it started off a tad slow. Then something clicked and I couldn't stop reading the damn thing.
Needless to say, I now think it's the hottest thing eva! Since the last hottest thing eva! :->

It picks up and speeds along from crisis to crisis to disaster to almost certain death and back again and a good portion of it is set in a horror film convention. Which was a bit of added fun.
The few back references to previous Dresden adventures don't impede on the enjoyment if you've not read them as it's easy to get the gist of what happened. And I love the politics between the various supernatural factions. And the hints of greater machinations. Truly excellent. And, of course, I now need to read the other 7. Like, now.

20 March 2007

Bloody hell! We got Terry Brooks for Fcon!!!

That's all I'm sayin'!

(That and I'm still in the middle of wrapping up the things that need wrapping up amidst file corruptions and mysterious dead phone lines....)

12 February 2007


This probably comes as no surprise at all to anyone but H&N is well and truly dead. I'm attempting to email everyone about stuff today. So, subscriptions will be refunded shortly, other outstanding bits and pieces will be well and truly sorted by the end of this month. If you've concerns you might be forgotten, please email the majorarcana (jen [at] majorarcana [dot] demon [dot] co [dot] uk ) address and copy in isisdirect [at] aol [dot] com.
Issue 8 will not be going ahead. I'd hoped otherwise, I really did, but there's just no way.

Huge apologies to all those who've be hanging on waiting to hear about submissions - I'd been certain things were going to be otherwise, but they weren't so it's not fair to anyone to keep things up in the air like this.

BFS bits
Also, Prism is getting new editors as from April - Jay & Selina being the more capable hands. And Vicky is taking over various BFS mailing and cyberstore duties. Bless her.
So all I've got to do is sort out the Feb Prism and I'm done there too.

(Still doing Fcon, though.)

Other bits
So Demon, or possibly BT Surftime are changing their bloody packages again. Bastards. This would be the blatantly obvious attempt to get everyone on to bloody broadband else face paying by the minute again. I don't want to go on to broadband, I've heard nothing but bad from all sorts of people using all sorts of different packages. Bastards bastards bastards. Possibly I'm over-reacting due to being permanently pissed off at the moment. Or possibly I'm just a luddite... Mind, swapping to a new ISP might actually be a bonus, given various problems, and if nothing else it may stop the ridiculous prawn spam levels that have started flooding in again. Ah well, got 'til March to sort that one.

Whinge whinge whinge.

Department of Work Avoidance
Lets Go!

Department of Work Avoidance II
When Fangirls Attack!

Pretty, Fizzy Paradise

Stressed, depressed & terminally jaded, signing off...

05 February 2007

Remind me not to be optimistic. It's lethal.

For various reasons I've been mostly offline since November (eek!) ... I won't bore you with why, (think the usual reasons, plus a few more for added spice) - it's too depressing and I'm trying to keep to a mostly upbeat blog...

Updates on that H&N thing (Hi Fran, thanks for reminding me, thought I'd done it!) & misc. BFS things another time. Later this week, maybe. I've got masses of end of month accounts to sort first else I'm getting evicted.

Apart from that... happy things to blather about... hmm, tricky... give me a minute, something'll occur... erm, the last Lucifer graphic novel is due out shortly, likewise the latest Fables... and Resi Evil 3 is still set for coming out this year, so that'll be nice... :-> (You can tell I'm really reaching here, can't you!)

Erm... snow! Okay, so it was last month, but how (briefly) cool was that!

Erm... erm... oh, just heard the Fcon hotel have a small room they're going to give us for free so we're double & triple streaming this year with more workshop type things and I wasn't going to do BFS stuff today so I'll stop...

Ugly Betty! Not a great TV watcher as a rule (who has the time!) , but Ugly Betty rocks!

Other people. That's always more cheerful... so that mother person has started up yet another new business - chiropody (cue cries of 'why would you want to play with manky feet all day?' apparently she enjoys it!) - of course, there's still the massive family business to be looking after so guess who gets lumbered while madam is doing unmentionable things to old people's toes... ok, so probably not a good topic to go into after all...

Magic Rob! That's always fun. Magic Rob is Evil Twin's other half - a gigantic 7ft tall guy (who makes her look like like a pygmy in comparison... and we're not a tall family to start off with...) and they had their first Xmas together this year (aah!) So in a carefully calculated fit, he threw in his job as a financial advisor and has taken to doing his magician thing full time... (mind, he did start off wanting to do mentallist magic, but childrens parties is where the money is...). And he has puppets! A duck and a dog, apparently. Both with the same name, because, according to himself, only one gets to make an appearance at a gig so it doesn't matter.
Luckily, it seems to be going quite well but they're currently considering moving up nearer the M3/M4 corridor as the money is better this way (whereas, down in Blandford, it's fair to crap.)

Enough. Burnt out.