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First review of the latest in the Inspector Chen series is here:

SP isn't out quite yet, but I gather it's scheduled for August.


Nov. 5th, 2007 04:24 pm
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I haven't joined any of the novel-writing programmes (though I think they're a good idea) as raw fear (of not paying my mortgage) motivates me well enough as a deadline. But I'm still attempting, and mainly succeeding, in getting 1K of WINTERSTRIKE done per day and the new Chen book is underway as light relief. WS is annoying me: it has loose threads and lots of holes. It needs darns, and untangling, and then having all the loose bits grasped together and gently pulled. This will happen, just not yet.


Oct. 12th, 2007 06:34 pm
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It is on-going. I have started a new short story, sent out about 5, and have reached the 75K word mark on WINTERSTRIKE. Other than that, not a lot to report, except that I've been asked to contribute to the Jack Vance tribute anthology based on THE DYING EARTH, and it will be a pleasure.

There is a big project simmering in the background and it's in a totally new direction for me. But I don't know yet whether anything will come of this.


Jul. 2nd, 2007 04:46 pm
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I have been in the shop today so the writing has necessarily been interrupted, but I've managed to do some revision on Winterstrike (not as bad as I'd feared but there is still something missing and I think I know what it is now). Also some minimal research on a new short story featuring Alexander Pope, which has given me a possible first line ("It was pleasant enough, but it lacked nymphs.")

When I get home, there's some editing for Asimov's which needs to be done tonight, and also a revised proposal to be sent off.
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..has been varied but productive. I took my lodger to the airport this morning, as she is off to a birthday party in Hamburg. Apart from this, I've been writing - finished a short story and did a lot of work on a new project, which is in development hell, as they say. I've been taking a necessary break from Winterstrike, after Hebden Bridge, but have now returned to it and need to get its plot back on track.

Otherwise mowing, cooking (I went into the fishmonger in Wedmore this morning and got some sea trout and some samphire, which always makes me think of the 'dreadful trade' mentioned in KING LEAR), and other bits and pieces. Sid's ear is healing nicely but there have been many determined incursions onto my lap: Sid needs company today.

And the big deal of the day: we are going to Wells tonight to pick up a nucleus. Of bees. T has been spending the day making up frames and now the whole house smells of honeycomb. So in about an hour, my car will be full of bees. Ulp. Hope they stay put.
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There's an interview with me about PRECIOUS DRAGON, the latest book, here:


May. 28th, 2007 04:40 pm
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WINTERSTRIKE is now here:

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
55,000 / 120,000

It's going reasonably well so far. I'm also in the middle of revising THE SHADOW PAVILION for Night Shade and have finally managed to get a short story off to its editor. It is, however, summer, and I always find myself grinding down in the summer. Must be a legacy of school. Or reverse seasonal affective disorder.
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I got up to London last night about 5, blessed the food gods for providing a Yo!Sushi! bar at Paddington (blessed the food gods for inventing sushi, in fact. I try and eat something before these functions, otherwise I starve halfway through the evening, and sushi is great - it counts as dinner if nothing else follows, but if one does end up going out for dinner, it's light enough to eat other stuff). Anyway, enough about my food preferences. The Apollo did us proud, once again, although the venue was packed to the gills and ONE HAD TO SHOUT.

Kudos to those who uttered sentences they'd never thought they'd ever say ('So, have you actually been in the Sex Temple?'). Who says LJ has no function?

The ceremony was brief, to the point, and accompanied hy free ice cream (Purbeck ice cream sponsored the event). No bad, really. I'd like to thank Tom Hunter and all the team for a massive amound of hard work - the Clarke Awards always glides on like a swan, with legs paddling frantically underneath. So thanks to the legs! I though it was an interesting short list and I was pleased that Mike Harrison won, for NOVA SWING. He gave a short and modest acceptance speech.

Afterwards, I did in fact go out to dinner, at a Chinese place in Soho, with Chris Priest, Rob Holdstock, his wife Sarah, Brian Turner of the Chronicles website and Ian and Helen Whates - a pleasure to see everyone, and I'm only sorry it was so rushed on my part - I had a train to catch. Thanks to CP, who put me in a taxi, I got safely to Paddington to find that the train had gone.

Bout of cursing ensued. Luckily, Bristol is a major city and has two stations, about 6 miles apart. No train to Parkway, where I'd left the car, but there was a train at 11.30 to Bristol Temple Meads. I reasoned that I could catch this, and then get a taxi to Parkway and collect the car, which is in fact what happened. I got home about 2.30 a.m., having been helpfully but annoyingly flashed (I mean the lights!) by every trucker on the M5: I need to do something about the back brakelight. Off the motorway, saw a barn owl, a fox, a hedgehog and a mother and baby bunny, none of whom I ran over, thankfully.

Got in to find Sid sprawled luxuriously over the entire bed, with T consigned to a narrow strip on the side. Seriously considered sleeping in another room.


May. 1st, 2007 02:39 pm
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John Klima's LOGGORHEA is out today. TOC behind the cut.

Read more... )

"This book is a logophile's dream—a left-field collection of stories inspired by winning words from the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Anyone who has ever spent an hour or two happily browsing the pages of a dictionary will find something to love here."—Kevin Brockmeier, author of A Brief History of the Dead.
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Tout Glastonbury was a bit fragile this morning, after last night's gig. We had to get up early and have a meeting with the bank manager (our instigation, I might add, and positive), and since then it's been a varied day: someone has sold us a batch of Medieval dresses at a discount price and just as the dresses arrived, so did the BBC, who are filming a documentary in Glastonbury and wanted to borrow a robe. They have duly filmed T doing his 'suits you, sir' bit on their presenter and departed until tomorrow.

The presenter claimed to be nauseous (unrelated to setting foot in the shop, happily). Not what you want to hear from a man standing amid a lot of expensive frocks.

Fame at last, then. A national newspaper has also been in touch, looking for someone who has become pregnant through magical means (DON'T get started - I know what you lot are like). I am framing a suitable reply.

Meanwhile, WINTERSTRIKE has reached this point:

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
22,000 / 120,000
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...can be found here:

and here:

Many thanks to Robert Thompson for taking the trouble to review these (and check out the rest of the site while you're there).
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Amazing! Water has been falling from the sky, an unfamiliar occurance in recent weeks. Been doing housework and writing. Have just discovered Prodigal Cat (she's been away for a month but strolled in on Friday) on the spare room bed, radiating defiance and guilt as she and her sister are not officially allowed in the house, due to insufficiently advanced sanitary practices.

Apart from that, WINTERSTRIKE is at this point:

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
12,000 / 120,000

A brief explanatory note: I won't be contributing to the technopeasant thing. I don't have time to read either the reams of correspondence, acrimony, debate and so forth (or, unfortunately, the pieces posted: I've got the IZ slush and someone else's novel backing up behind me). I did skim the original post and don't agree with the work-for-free issue, but thought he had a point about the net as a whole. Yet another SFWA storm-in-a-teacup. Now, on with the novel.


Apr. 22nd, 2007 11:26 am
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WINTERSTRIKE is about 8K in already, because I had to submit chapters with my outline, as is usual. Thus far, it's based on two short stories: THE AGE OF ICE, and LA MALCONTENTA (which appeared, I think, in Asimov's and Strange Horizons respectively). I didn't know whether the protagonists had anything to do with one another, but it seems that they do, in one of those odd 'aha' moments where your characters tell you things.

I have now begun writing from the POV of someone else, a reluctant alien pilot. How I write: I've done a fairly exhaustive outline, because I cannot afford in terms of time to go off the plot rails with this book. However, I've made very few notes. This seems to be one of those books that, in Graham Joyce's phrase, emerges out of smoke and lamplight: one learns about the world through writing it. Ideas are multiplying as I write (although it should be born in mind that since this is the same universe as BANNER and a couple of further short stories, I already know quite a lot about it).

I'm aiming at a steady 2K a day. I usually write a bit more, but not (generally speaking) more than 5K per day. I tend to write fast, and edit much later. I don't edit day by day and thus there is a need for the afore-mentioned outline, because books have gone wrong before now and I can't stand desperate attempts to fix them at a late stage.

Other writing: I am about to complete a short story set on Earth in this same universe, and suspect that there will be some bleed-over between that and the novel. Also, we've just done the final edit on PRECIOUS DRAGON, which goes to press very soon now.

On a wider note, the thoroughness of the W/S outline is a reflection of what has to happen generally. The last couple of years have been chaotic (for the new folk - a new relationship, the financial aftermath of T's divorce, a house move, serious injury on my part, my partner's diagnosis of and treatment for cancer, and moving the location of our business). Add to this the day-to-day stuff and it all adds up to potential chaos. We had a think about this last month and realised that, in effect, I'm still moving in. Gradually, over the course of this year, things have become a lot more organised* as I've worked out ways of more effective time-management in a new situation, and this is a continuing trend.

*Unless one adds Cat to the mix, of course. A wild and random card!

New book

Apr. 19th, 2007 10:07 am
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I've sold a new book to Macmillan. It's titled WINTERSTRIKE, and it's in the same 'Martian' solar system as BANNER OF SOULS, but some hundreds of years earlier. It's scheduled for August 2008.
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It's like hearing the first cuckoo - the first tourist who walks in through the door of the shop and remarks, "Do you sell the Nimbus 2000?" Well, we've never heard THAT one before!

A sure sign of spring.

We don't go much for jokey plaques, etc, but we do have one that reads "A lovely lady and a grumpy old git live here.' I'd have put it outside our own front door, but Trevor objected to being described as a lady.

*Every woman* who comes into the shop comments favourably on it. I don't even have to raise my head to see what they're looking at any more.

In more serious news, I have finished the line edit on PRECIOUS DRAGON - happily, as an express train deadline rushes towards us. I'm about half way through the short story that will accompany the limited edition. Also, sitting in the dealers' room yesterday and idling about with stories, I suddenly had an idea for the ending of a stalled story and set about finishing it. So, in between accounts and Milford and shop and waiting for proposals, I'm going to try and get some short fiction done this week.
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Spent yesterday running about like headless chicken, but was saved from total loss of sanity by the arrival of [ profile] elen_sentier, who also assisted with the radio show last night (talk about having to sing for your supper) and was interesting about saints of the Welsh Marches, among other things.

Today, we have spring weather, after the torrential rain and raging winds of the previous three days. For the animal fans, or those just simply reading for the horror value, Sid spent his first night out, all night, due to accident (black cat in the dark) and is predictably smug about the experience. They grow up so fast. Pippin is here with me in the shop, and I am making him stay behind the counter. HAH! No more playing in the traffic for you, sunshine. He is groaning, like something out of a Gothic novel.

One proposal has gone off to agent, shortly to be followed by another: this latest one is a book set in the same Martian world of BANNER OF SOULS. It feels very odd to revisit this universe, for some reason, but I'm enjoying it. Edits of PRECIOUS DRAGON continue apace.

But the biggest news of the day is that T has had his latest clinic appointment. The consultant oncologist continues to be very pleased (we sent some wine and Venetian chocolates to the consultancy team today and I'm going to enquire about fundraising for the hospital. Fuck's sake, they've saved his life. It's the least we can do). They're putting him on 6-weekly visits for the immediate future, rather than monthly.
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For those Sid-fans out there, this was more or less the conversation when we got home:

Dog 1: ARF! ARF! ARF! GETOFFMYTERRITORY OR - oh. It's you. Oh GOD, I'm SO SORRY! I thought you were burglars. Look, I'll abase myself, OK? Really low?

T: You're an arsehole.


Dog 2: OMIGOD, it's you! Ithoughtyouwerenevercomingback! OMIGOD!OMIGOD!

Me (to Sid): SIDNEY! Did you miss us? Did you? [scoops up cat]

Cat: [thinks for a long moment]. You were away?

Me: You didn't NOTICE?

Cat: Meh. Whatever. I hung out with your lodger. I took some naps, ate some stuff. It was cool.

In other news, I've written nothing for a week, due to having been on pleasure-bent. I have to write a little bit more on the proposal tonight (I'm supposed to be going to a Druidic thing, but a rather searing headache and a general feeling of having Got Something suggests that I'll be in bed with tea instead), and we have embarked on the editing for Night Shade's PRECIOUS DRAGON. My very patient editor has it well in hand, however.
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A lovely time was had, basically. T couldn't come with me, as he was doing the Pagan Federation con in Reading, so I drove up to Bath (26 miles but an hour's drive no matter which way you go) in time for lunch, parked the car (this is a big deal in Bath: any Georgian town was designed for coaches and horses, not the modern vehicular conveyance) and found lunch in a very nice noodle bar near the station.

After this, I located the Guildhall and was immediately sucked into the engine that is the Bath Lit Fest - this is a seriously professional operation, with sound checks, teams of staff, and am imposing green room that is, in real life, the Mayor's parlour. My fellow interviewee, author Alan Campbell, was already there and shortly we were joined by Christopher Cook, the interviewer: Cook is a BBC R4 broadcaster, if I have this correctly, and is the artistic director of Cheltenham Lit Fest. He is a delightful, avuncular and thoroughly professional man. He'd read Alan's book, SCAR NIGHT, and also mine, and he was extremely well informed about SF and about the process of writing. Alan and I both did short readings, and then the interview itself. [ profile] palecast or Cheryl M can assess this better than I can, but I thought it went very well.

MUST read SCAR NIGHT, now. It sounds great. Go and check it out - he's another Tor Macmillan author.

After this, we were back in the green room for a short chat with some of the festival staff - all SF readers, and this is good to see. Genre is, as we all know, under-represented on the lit fest circuit.

And then Alan made the radical suggestion that we go to the pub. So we did, although due to the nature of driving, a wild time was not had - at least not by me! I got back home in time to rescue our house guests and watch a small, bloody moon be eaten away by the eclipse. Even before the eclipse, it was stunning coming back over the Mendips and seeing the huge yellow moon rising over the brow of the hills. It's weather for hares.


Feb. 25th, 2007 03:40 pm
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More editing than writing: I've been looking over the sample chapters and writing a synopsis, which I hate doing but which has to be done. I am about to embark on some further work for Macmillan. However, the bulk of the most recent round is finished, I turn 42 tomorrow (and if I do indeed wake up to the meaning of life, I'll let you know) and we are flying to Venice until Thursday, so I am likely to be a little bit quiet until then.


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