25 August 2010

Copyediting the Mother Ship

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

15 August 2010

Interview Live!

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

13 August 2010

Interview coming soon...

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

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

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

08 August 2010

Gettin' all judgy

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

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

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

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

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

Except... tee hee! :-D

03 August 2010

Kaz's Summer Camp Week 9

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

01 August 2010

Fantasycon 2011 - official!

Yep, it's definitely Brighton!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fantasycon 2011

Ooooooh... sneaky advance news...

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

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

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

But, still, Brighton! Woot!

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

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