SOWIDITMSTLTIWAE* (abridged version)

Well, I’ve been writing, just not blogging.

I’ve also been gardening. I say gardening; I actually mean hard landscaping a mahoosive area, trying to combine two gardens into one, with (hopefully) a Skyrim-ish twist, or at the very least, with an added dash of fantasy. Anywho. At the moment it looks like the Somme. We’ve dug a bijou amphitheatre for messing around with swords in and suchlike shenanigins. We’d also like to build a cob summer house. Now, this is easier said than done as our ‘soil’ is pretty much sand and pebbles. Apparently in the Triassic period a river ran through it. But I needs clay goddamn it! How else will I be able to build a Yoda-meets-hobbit stylee summer house?

You may have noticed that I have not been blogging. This is something I intend to remedy forthwith as I know you’re all dying to know what crazy antics I get up to when not sitting in an office…writing and er…digging dirty great holes in the garden. The excitement, it never starts.
I’ve just got back from a flying visit to Nine Worlds Geekfest. Alas, we could only make it for a slice of Saturday then off early(ish) on Sunday. Such a shame because it is simply lovely. The venue was the Radisson Blu Edwardian near Heathrow which is on Death road, AKA the Road of Despair, the Avenue of the Damned, That-liminal-place-between-flights-that-grabs-your-wallet-by-its-tiny-breasticles-and-squeezes-until-blood-pours-forth-and-all-the-dosh-and-joy-are-slurped-up-by-the-corporate-leviathans-that-hunker-beside-the-runway Street.
In short: Nine Worlds is a great con for all things geeky, but the Radisson is a truly awful venue. Don’t get me wrong, it’s clean and shiny (although our room smelled of cigarette smoke), but the service makes Faulty Towers look slick. Also, London prices, which bite harder when the service is soooo slow (except Shivani(SP?) who did coffee at breakfast, she was lovely). The bar however was a joke. And, it’s a weird place, badly laid out. Its feng and its shui are proper bu hao. Anywho.
I now know something of fanfic, of which I knew next to nothing before. I watched the Gemmell Awards, which were short and sweet, and mostly spent the rest of the time catching up with lovely folk, failing to catch up with lovely folk, and talking about swords, and books, and comics, and larping, and games. I also picked a few worthy brains re: publishing shizz, and feel that I’ve gained a tick in my ‘how to develop your writing career’ box. I’m pretty confident it’ll go up when I roll as I’m starting from a preeety low skill level.

However…All is not lost in the writing dept.
My second novel, Breed has been shortlisted for the British Fantasy Society Best fantasy novel (the Robert Holdstock Award). Now, I know some of you might be quite surprised, nay, shocked by this, but I can promise you, it’s nothing compared to how stunned I was when I heard I was on the shortlist via the miracle of da Twitters. Just to be in such fine company is an honour.

*cue violins*. I’ve only ever won one thing before in my life. It was an Easter bonnet competition, held somewhere in the wilds of Preston at a local youth club. I was about seven, visiting a family friend. I won a box of Maltesers. But, oh, my! It was a controversial decision. Some of the mums, who had spent the morning ‘helping’ their kids glue tiny replica ponds (complete with ducks) onto bonnets, didn’t think it was proper for an outsider to win, or even take part, especially since I had done nothing other than make and stick about a thousand tissue paper flowers onto my hat until it could takes nay more. You should have seen it. It was a riot of colour, frivolous, garish. I put my heart and soul into it— lost a morning to that ridiculous labour of love.

but I digress.
I’m a finalist for an award. I’m stunned. Don’t mistake me; I think Breed is fucking awesome. Like Shrek, it has layers. Sure, if you just want a fast fun read then that’s cool, it’s got buckets of fast and fun, but if you like something with a bit of subtext, Breed is also your huckleberry. Anyway, don’t take my word for it, go read it, dig in, fill your boots.

I also have a story in an anthology that’s up for the Best Anthology Award. The book is, The Alchemy Press Book of Urban Mythic 2. My story is called For the Memory of Jane. It’s Norse myth in Yorkshire, tha’ nos. I feel entirely legit writing this, as a friend once pointed out to a Scandowegian chum of ours, “We’re descended from Vikings. You’re descended from the wusses who stayed at home.”

And finally, re: awards. Both Alchemy Press and Fox Spirit (Breed’s publisher) are up for the award for the Best Independent press. I know I should be all cool and blasé about this sort of thing, but I’m not, I’m thrilled, tickled pink, as over the moon as a premiership footballer.**
In other wordy news, but still word related, I’ve been writing a lot of short stories, the majority of which have been politely rejected, but some lucky few have been accepted. You win some, you lose some, eh? Writing and subbing short stories is helping to make me a better writer (I hope) and is also helping to inure me to rejection. No matter how nicely it’s done, having a story or novel rejected is way more painful than a knife in the thigh. I say thigh instead of gut, because I’ve never been stabbed in the gut.
I mean, first world problems and all that, (not being stabbed, that’s fairly serious whichever world you’re in). Rejection hurts, and I don’t mind saying so, because I’m not some kind of super Buddha-Jesus, teflon coated, Zen machine. Ah gits the sadz when a story is rejected, but in a sick and twisted kinda way, it just makes me want to try harder.

I think basically, it’s because I’ve always had a bad case of the Marty McFlys. I recall once, this big girl was kicking the crap out of me (we had such larks on the estate, quite the proving ground). I wouldn’t stay down, despite her polite, boot-punctuated requests for me to do so. A bigger boy came along and chased her off, but I swear, I would rather have died than stay down. Stupid really, but there you are, I am. I’m also somewhat pig-headed. Pain is a spur, you know? No coward soul and all that.

 

*Some of what I did in the months since the last time I wrote an entry.

**I will most likely be as sick as a parrot when they announce the winner, but in the words of Roy Batty, “Not yet.”

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