North by Southwest Launch

The North Bristol Writers group, of which I am a member, launches its debut anthology North by Southwest this Saturday 28th March at Forbidden Planet’s Bristol Megastore. The launch will be an informal event, which may involve some short readings. Most of the authors will be there, as will the editor, Joanne Hall.

We are also hoping to put on a reading event at Central Library in the near future, so look out for news of that!

The ToC for NbSW is as follows:

Miss Butler and the Industrial Automation Group – John Hawkes-Reed
A Bristol Pound – Jemma Milburn
Lye Close – Ian Millsted
Christmas Steps – Pete Sutton
Gardening Leave – Clare Dornan
Fisher of Men – Justin Newland
Top of the Hill – Clare Dornan
A Halloween Tale – Margaret Carruthers
House Blood – Ian Millsted
Latitude – Pete Sutton
Uncle Lucas – Clare Dornan
Hater – Pete Sutton
The Taxi Driver – Desiree Fischer
The Noon Train – Roz Clarke
Like Giants – Kevlin Henney

The anthology is available from Forbidden Planet, of course, from the publisher, Tanget, and and as an ebook from Amazon.

Stories for Chip: A Tribute to Samuel R. Delany

The Table of Contents has now been released for Stories for Chip, an anthology of stories put together to celebrate the work of Samuel R. Delany, multiple award-winning author of ground-breaking novels such as Dhalgren and Babel-17 and a truly fascinating fellow.

I was lucky enough to be taught by Delany at Clarion West. The story I wrote in the final week, the week Chip had us for, when we were all sleep-deprived and more than half crazy, was a cheerful little number called Haunt-type Experience. 

The anthology is edited by Nisi Shawl and Bill Campbell, and I’m chuffed to bits to be able to tell you that they’ve accepted Haunt-type Experience. It’s a true honour to be on this list.

  • Christopher Brown – “Festival”
  • Chesya Burke – “For Sale: Fantasy Coffin”
  • Roz Clarke – “Haunt-type Experience”
  • Kathryn Cramer – “Characters in the Margins of a Lost Notebook”
  • Vincent Czyz – “Hamlet’s Ghost Sighted in Frontenac, KS”
  • Junot Díaz – “Nilda”
  • Geetanjali Dighe – “The Last Dying Man”
  • Timmel Duchamp – “Real Mothers, a Faggot Uncle, and the Name of the Father: Samuel R. Delany’s Feminist Revisions of the Story of SF”
  • Hal Duncan – “An Idyll in Erewhyna”
  • Fabio Fernandes – “Eleven Stations”
  • Jewelle Gomez – “Be Three”
  • Eileen Gunn –  “Michael Swanwick and Samuel R. Delany at the Joyce Kilmer Service Area, March 2005”
  • Nick Harkaway – “Billy Tumult”
  • Ernest Hogan – “Guerilla Mural of a Siren’s Song”
  • Nalo Hopkinson & Nisi Shawl – “Jamaica Ginger”
  • Walidah Imarisha – “Walking Science Fiction: Samuel Delany and Visionary Fiction”
  • Alex Jennings – “Heart of Brass”
  • Tenea D. Johnson – “Each Star a Sun to Invisible Planets”
  • Ellen Kushner – “Delany Story”
  • Claude Lalumiere – “Empathy Evolving as a Quantum of Eight-Dimensional Perception”
  • Isiah Lavender – “Delany Encounters”
  • devorah major – “Voice Prints”
  • Haralambi Markov – “Holding Hands with Monsters”
  • Anil Menon – “Clarity”
  • Carmelo Rafala – “Song for the Asking”
  • Kit Reed – “Kickenders”
  • Kim Stanley Robinson – “Introduction”
  • Benjamin Rosenbaum – “The First Gate of Logic”
  • Geoff Ryman – “Capitalism in the 22nd Century”
  • Alex Smith – “Clones”
  • Michael Swanwick – “On My First Reading of The Einstein Intersection”
  • Sheree Renee Thomas – “River Clap Your Hands”
  • Kai Ashante Wilson – “Legendaire”

BristolCon Fringe Readings – March Available

Cheryl Morgan, who comperes the Fringe readings, always records and releases them as podcasts so that those folk who can’t make it down to the Shakey can hear what went down on the day.

At the last reading, I appeared alongside Scott Lewis and Rosie Oliver, and Scott and I both opted, completely coincidentally, to read the second chapter of our novel-in-progress. My WIP is called ‘Liminus’, and involves bohemian artists, thieves, robot Nazis and inter-dimensional tentacled monsters – something for everyone, hopefully. One day I’ll finish it, in the meantime help yourselves to Chapter 2.

Rosie gave us a kind of mezze course – a short story, a novel extract and a preview of her next CAT piece. Scott’s was a rollicking romp, one of the lighter sections from his WIP Aetherjack. I’m looking forward to reading the rest!

All three are here, plus a Q&A with Scott and myself which revolves around the novel writing process, tricky second chapters and whether or not there’s any point outlining.

We Will Publish – Join Us!

A couple of days ago, fellow writer and Bristol SF clan member Pete Sutton announced on Twitter that he was going to write, and submit, a story every month in 2014. Working on the stories would, as an added bonus, serve as warm-up sessions for writing a novel.

I immediately shouted ME TOO ME TOO and boarded that bandwagon with my cutlass between my teeth.

We bandied around the notion of punishment vs reward. I realised that I’m pretty much a ‘stick’ person (insert joeks here); I work best my shaming myself into doing it, so this project – public goals and all – is probably enough motivation in itself. Pete’s a ‘carrot’ person though. We decided that, if we could get enough people on board to ensure a decent pool of stories (after all, some of them hopefully will be sold), we’d do an anthology in 2015.

Peer review of each story is optional; I will pledge to crit every story sent in to the group.

In quick succession we hooked a few more writers, and the roster currently looks like this:

Pete Sutton (@suttope)
Roz Clarke (@zora_db)
Jon Allison (@joncallison)
Ian Millsted
Christopher Caldwell (@seraph76)
Derek Zumsteg (@milhous)
Stephen Blake (@uncannyblake)
Piotr Swietlik

More people would be very welcome! We realise that it’s pretty late in January, but if you want to join, don’t be put off – a story you’ve already written but haven’t submitted to market yet would do, or scramble something together quickly, or just skip January and carry on. You get a free pass – just this once, mind!

Whatever happens, at least one of the stories you write will see print, and hopefully many more.


Radio, what’s new?

On Wednesday, I was honoured to be the guest of Cheryl Morgan on the Ujima Radio Women’s Outlook show. Ujima is an urban community radio station in Bristol.

Cheryl’s star turn was Emma Newman, who came on to talk about faeries, her current writing, and just a little bit of politics. I appeared alongside Becca Lloyd, a fellow writer I hadn’t had the pleasure of meeting before, to discuss travelling. Obviously I’ve spent some time in Africa, but I’m thoroughly envious of Becca, who recently attended the Jaipur Literary Festival.

I was as terrified as one can be when stuffed to the eyeballs with cold and flu capsules, but Cheryl is a superb host, put us entirely at our ease, and made the whole experience really enjoyable. You can hear the show here:

NaNoWriMo – Hot Compost Your Novel

It’s November again. The post I’m about to write would have been better written before the start of the month, but the fact that it’s the second of the month and I’m only now sitting down to write it does rather underline why it’s needed.

In November we grow moustaches, and we write novels. Unless you’re one of those people who hates NaNo, or is a less-than-optimally hirsute type. I don’t think I could manage a moustache worth sponsoring (maybe in a few more years), so I’m concentrating on the novel thing.

There are as many ways to approach NaNo as there are NaNoers. Over 200,000 this year. But there are two broad types that you can fit people into: the planners, and the pantsers. The pantsers, as in fly-by-the-seat-of-your, are happy to sit down with no idea what they’re going to write about, wiggle their fingers joyfully above the keyboard, and set to. I’ve done it that way. It’s a lot of fun. However, if you want to practice shaping and developing a novel, it helps – I’ll refrain from underlining this three times, but imagine I have – to do a bit of planning in advance.

Continue reading

Clarion West Write-a-Thon, Chapters 4 & 5 done

Those of you with energy and alertness to notice details only relevant to other people (I know such people exist despite never having been one of them) may note that I never posted a ‘done’ post for Chapter 4 or a ‘due’ post for Chapter 5. You may also note that I’ve been quiet a looong time and am now considerably (woefully, agonisingly) behind.

Chapter 4 did go out, 3 days late or so, and Chapter 5 is done today, just, um, let me work this out, 11 days late.

Excuses? Nothing worth your time.

Chapter 6 was due on the 15th, meaning that nags, bothers and kicks-up-the-bum for Ch 6 are already worth $7 a go.

Chapter 5 is a 20k monster, so reads for Ch 5 will earn the Write-a-Thon $10.

Tally: $60

Write-a-Thon: Chapter Three out, come in Chapter Four…

My first missed deadline was Friday. I hang my head in shame. However, the good news is that my desperate whining produced some extra encouragement and a bump in my pledges to the Write-a-Thon.

Chapter Three is now out the door – as ever, please let me know if you have time to read this, or any earlier chapters. Each chapter read earns $5 for Clarion West, and Chapter Three earns a triple-shot venti $15.

Once again I’ve had to push a section of this chapter over into the next chapter, for reasons of length and weight. It looks like I’m going to wind up with more than ten chapters, unless I can start cutting the text harder than I’m managing at the moment.

Chapter Four is due on Tuesday 7th July. This is now the chapter in which Shelley storms the Majestic Hotel, is implanted with Underground technology, and has to make a decison about where her loyalties really lie.

Tally: $41

Write-a-Thon: The Third Chapter

Hi all.

I should have made this post yesterday. I’m not sure what happened to yesterday.

Chapter Three of Moss & Feathers falls due on Friday, which is July 3rd for those people who love actual dates.

Unfortunately, due to family commitments on Friday, I really need to have it done for tomorrow. I say ‘unfortunately’ because I’ve only tinkered around the edges so far, it’s the biggest chapter of the book anyway, plus I shunted the action-esque scene from the end of Chapter 2 into it because it really felt like Ch. 2 was getting unwieldy and a break was needed.

And I don’t want to do it. For the first time in a few weeks, my book-energy is at zero. My back hurts, my hands hurt, and the characters have abruptly stopped talking to me. It’s like I’ve made some terrible faux-pas, something worse than farting in a lift, but they’re not telling me what the problem is. In the last ten days I’ve been through employment despair, relationship rows and my dad being hospitalised with a collapsed lung, and not had the slightest problem picking the book up. Why does this happen?!


Tally a measly $14. Help me out, here! For this chapter I will triple all donations.

Write-a-Thon: Chapter Two is dust-free.

I can report that Chapter Two (The Scrawl, 12,800 words) is sorted, nailed, done and dusted.

Special thanks go to my friend Pamela Budge, who’s the only person so far to call in a read of Chapter One. If any of you want to sample Chapter Two, just let me know. Lie convincingly (which as ficition writers most of you should be adept at) and you won’t even have to read it to earn $5 for Clarion West!

Here’s a taster:

On the ledge above Barton Underway, where three narrow passages meet the stairs down from the square, she pauses for a moment and looks up. She has heard the hum of the engine, just a little closer than it should be. A jutting section of cliff shades this spot from the lighthouse beams, and the sun has gone, so when the airship slides into view the only light comes from its three blue-tinted spots, which pin the target down, dazzled. I chuckle.

– You’re cruel, Mal.

– How can I be cruel if I’m not human, Harry?

Tally: $13