Sunday, March 29, 2009

Signs and Co-signs

It's been announced on Facebook, so it must be official ... I'll be at Swancon on Friday 10th April between 3pm and 4pm to sign copies of the horror anthology Voices.

It won't just be me manning the desk - I'll be joined by three of my co-authors, Shane Jiraiya Cummings, Sonia Marcon and Martin Livings, so if you're in Perth and you fancy a natter there'll be plenty of us to talk to.

I'm sure I'll be allowed to sign other things too, so if you know someone who's got one of my Doctor Who or Bernice Summerfield stories they want scribbled on, feel free to point them in the right direction. I'll be happy, so long as things don't end up like this:


Friday, March 27, 2009

Out for a Duck

Didn't even make it onto the short list for the Tin Ducks. Ho hum.

Thanks all the same to those of you who nominated me - I appreciate the effort!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

There and Back Again

It's a ten-hour round trip from here to Albany on WA's south coast - hundreds of miles of road populated by maniac drivers who think the speed limit doesn't apply, spiced up by the possibility that a suicidal kangaroo could leap out in front of the car at any moment.

Not a lot of fun then.

It's less amusing still when you have to do the trip in one day, with a funeral at the other end. Yet somehow I contrived to make it even more disastrous.

08:30 - drop the kids at school, having instructed a friend to pick them up at 3pm (we'd still be hours away when school finished).

08:31 - run back to the car, causing the entire sole on one of my shoes to fall off. These are the only shoes I have suitable for a funeral.

08:36 - home. Pick up industial strength glue. Return to car and try to fix the shoe on route.

08:37 - glue so strong the lid won't come off.

08:38 - change into inappropriate boots. It's that or nothing.

09:50 - car hits a bump in the road. At the exact instant I'm drinking a cup of coffee ... Coffee decants down the front of my white shirt. White shirt no longer white. No available options regarding change of shirt.

12:15 - hit road works. Funeral starts in 45 minutes ...

13:00 - funeral starts. We're still in the car ...

13:47 - arrive at cemetery. Funeral finished 15 minutes ago.

14:00-16:00 - the wake. Somehow managed to get through that without stuffing anything up, despite looking and smelling like I'd jumped in the bins behind Starbucks.

16:00 - leave for Perth. At this time of day there are very few cars on the road. It's just a question of setting the cruise control and pointing the car in the right direction.

20:25 - arrive Perth, wondering how the return trip can be so damn fast. Collect one of my children. The other decides she's quite happy staying where she is, thanks. Somehow I can't blame her ...

21:00 - shoulders seize up from three hours behind the wheel. Ouchies.

Hardly the most fitting way to see off one of my wife's relatives, but the concensus seems to be that at least we made the effort. No matter that it was more 'UK sitcom' than 'dignified tribute' ...

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Wheels Off

Always the way, isn't it?

I had a grand plan, see? Spend a week clearing the decks of Paying Work so as to free up the following week completely. Then I'd be clear to dedicate a whole five working days to something unsolicited I've been aching to finish for some time now.

Naturally it all went horribly wrong. Raring to go at the start of the second week, I immediately lost three days to my daughter falling ill, then not even a day later one of my wife's relatives passed on suddenly. And that's the week gone, right there.

Nothing to be done about any of that, of course, but it means that until everything blows over there's not much to report here I'm afraid. I do have some writing news to pass on, but it's not set in stone yet so it'll have to wait. Only thing I can say is that it's scary ...

I'll just finish for now with something that had me rolling my eyes in exasperation/ despair/ amusement. I'd popped down to the doctor's to pay for my son's speech therapy (he has a bit of a lisp that we're working on) and was greeted by a smiling receptionist.

"I've come to pay a bill for the Stuttering Clinic," I said.

A look of puzzlement crosses the face of Smiling Receptionist.

"Is that part of the eye treatment centre?"


Monday, March 09, 2009


Some things I've learned in the last week:

I Really, Really Need An Overseer
... but until I get one I'm going to have to crack my own whip. Setting myself a deadline to work to made all the difference - by last Friday I had a servicable synopsis for something I've been sitting on like an old hen for almost exactly a year. There's quite a bit of work to do on it still, but I'm off the mark at least.

Nit-Picking - Once Learned, Never Forgotten
The proofs came back for my story in the upcoming Grants Pass, and after a couple of reads-through I shot them back to Amanda with my notes. A couple of days later she emailed me to let me know that the changes had all been made ... and that I managed to find more things to fiddle with than the proof-readers had. Unfortunately that says more about me than it does about them.

I Really Want To Watch This Is Spinal Tap Again
The film came up in conversation about something that might or might not happen soon, and I realised how long it's been since I saw it. Must find the time.

When I Grow Up I Want To Be An Acrobat
I got a late birthday treat in the shape of a trip to the circus - not the run-of-the-mill lion tamers and elephants variety, but the more sophisticated
Cirque Du Soleil. I've got to say that it's not something I'd have chosen to go to on my own initiative, but having seen it I was impressed. The contortionists, trapeze artists and various leap-aroundy people (stop me if I'm getting too technical) all pushed the limits of what you can do with your body, but my absolute favourite was the gravity-defying trampolinists. I want that job. As it stands the act I'm probably most qualified for, like most writers, is jumping through hoops ...

Not All Editors Are As Good As Mine
A friend of mine out east interviewed me for something recently, sending a sheet of questions onto which I had to type up my responses before emailing it back. It took about an hour all up, by the time I'd thought about the questions. A couple of days later, she sent me draft of the article. My contribution had been scythed down to a single sentence ... a sentence I hadn't actually written. Seems my pal's editor wanted less interview, more facts and figures, necessitating a large amount of reworking. The time to tell your writer these things, I would think, is before actually they start work on the story ... sheesh.