29 June 2010

Kaz's Summer Camp Week 4

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

28 June 2010

Stonehenge Apocalypse

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

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

Done? Good. Hello sweeties....

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

26 June 2010

Cool stuff!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ekaterina Sedia talks about anthologies here.

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

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

What's not to love! :-)

22 June 2010

The Gemmells, 2010

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

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

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

(Cool! That was a funky cover!)

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

(Have not read that.)

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

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

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

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

Kaz's Summer Camp week 3

Week 3 of Summer Camp! Woot! :-)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

15 June 2010

Alchemy Fiction

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

Kaz's Summer Camp Week 2

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

So, targets...

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

08 June 2010

Kaz's Summer Camp

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

01 June 2010

Last Lost

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

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

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

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