HIGH PRAISE INDEED

Some good news for Luscious Lyn yesterday. She put up a story called The Memory Of Breathing for critiquing by the KSPSF group we attend each month, and boy, were the comments positive or what!

Perhaps the highest praise came from Dave Luckett, the excellent and highly experienced facilitator, who admitted to a resistant reading of the story because “It’s just too horrible”. which is the kind of thing you want to hear in reference to a horror story.

Dave’s comment that “…this story has the true horror story’s power to keep you awake at night, while you question your own ethics” caused much pleasure for the Luscious One, but when she got to the end of the e-mail and read “This could become the best horror story of this length that I’ve ever read. It’s certainly one of the best ideas. I hope you will forgive me if I tell you that I don’t wan’t to read it again. I’m an old man, and it’s already cost me badly needed sleep”, well, the happy dance was much in evidence.

Sometimes, feeling like you have the chops can be one thing, but being shown such a belief by someone who is there already is worth more than your weight in gold. Needless to say, I’m as proud as can be. I’ve an unwavering belief in Lyn’s talent, and seeing that belief mirrored in those who know these things is very gratifying. Girl’s got game 🙂

MORE MIKAL

Another 425 words on Mikal this afternoon, just over 1700 in total, with still quite some distance to go before the thing wraps up. A couple of possible endings are making themselves apparent, although I’m in no hurry to get to them. It’s shaping up as one of my longer short stories, but it’s enjoyable to work in new ways and blow out the cobwebs. Getting away from the former-real-soon-now job is resulting in a rediscovered sense of excitement about writing.

ON WRITING GROUPS

There’s a new monthly SF writing group at the Katharine Susannah Prichard Writer’s Centre, chaired by the excellent writer Dave Luckett. Luscious Lyn and I went to the meeting in December and found it an interesting mix of newcomers and established writers like ourselves. There are few, if any, better teachers of SF around than Dave. Just being in his presence is a guarantee of picking up enough tips and ideas to keep you going for weeks.

We came back for more yesterday. This time we managed to bring Lyn’s daughter Cassie along for the experience. Cassie, at 12 years of age, is a fabulously talented young writer: she was awarded a Commended in the Junior section of this year’s KSP Science Fiction & Fantasy competition, an achievement made all the more commendable by the knowledge that the winner of the section was her senior by a clear 6 years. She’s a keen writer, but like all kids, needs encouragement and belief in herself to consistently make a go of her hobby, something she gets in a house with 2 writers in it (duh!) more than anywhere else.

Cassie had a good time, enjoying the presence of other writers who treated her like a peer and not just a kid. One of the great things about the writing community is that it considers talent an important commodity, and will respect someone with talent no matter their age. It was great to see an excited youngster like Cassie talking with a seasoned pro like Dave, and gaining more encouragement, knowledge, and desire from the experience than a month of English classes. She wants to come again next month, with a new story in hand to be critiqued, and we can’t wait.

Hell, if the Partridge’s can play in a band, we can all be writers 🙂

PROGRESS

A good morning for living up to New Year’s resolutions. Completed the second draft of The Dark Ages, a story about immortals, toddlers, and medical history, adding 380 words and creating a much stronger opening. Then added 712 words to the first draft of Mikal, a rather odd little thing about clones living together in a house. I’m having fun with this one: I normally go the pen and paper route with my first drafts, but I decided to work straight into the computer this time in an effort to shake off a bit of a dry spell. It’s worked: 1100 words in two days, and as I generally have no idea how stories are going to end when I start them I’m enjoying the journey to boot.

Started researching for Napoleon last night, a strange and interesting book called The Mechanical Turk, about a chess playing automaton of the late 18th Century. Trust me, it’s relevant… honest… really…

WHO’S A CLEVER BOY, THEN?

Picked up a copy of the Gardner Dozois-edited The Mammoth Book of Best New SF 16 today. The Luscious Lyn had a read while I was out of the house, and found that Father Muerte & The Theft has made the Recommended Reading List, and I copped a mention in the volume’s introduction as having published interesting work. Apart from the rub to the ego (I wasn’t aware I’d made the list at all), it’s good to be given an indication of the level I need to be writing at on a regular basis.

Now, all I have to do is manage it 🙂

FAN MAIL

Got an email this evening from a guy who pops along to the blog every day or so to have a read. He accords me one of the highest compliments a writer can receive, to whit: “I always enjoy reading Lee’s self indulgent bullshit on the Internet.”

How can you not love fan mail? 🙂

BIG DECISIONS

Well, here’s some news: the much-loathed job now, well, isn’t.

I handed in my resignation today.

Two weeks from now I shall be free of the stinking shitpile that is the Australian Public Service, to spend the rest of the year pursuing my writing and other financial options (of which I have a couple, although I’m afraid I shan’t be sharing those with you just yet…)

Is it a big gamble? Yep. Is it as scary as hell? Ho Yus! But the simple truth is that after 10 years I just couldn’t take it anymore. I’ve paid my pound of flesh many times over in both my professional and private lives. If I didn’t take the opportunity to free myself of the depression and stress associated with the hated-8-hours then I was going to crack up and/or never get out.

The impetus to get the Napoleon Novel underway and make a successful product out of it keeps growing.

LEE IN PRINT

Got my copy of Andromeda Spaceways In-Flight Magazine Issue 10 today, with my story The Hobbyist as the lead story. My subscriber’s copy, that is, not my contributor’s copy with the luvverly cheque included. That’s still coming 🙂

Anyway, I’ve got a soft spot for ASIM. They’ve had the odd problem with internal mistakes and layout during the last 10 issues, but they’re generally quite well disposed to my stuff, and have a habit of liking stories from the wackier end of my writing spectrum. As a writer, they’re very good to me. So, shameless plug here: if you haven’t sampled their wares, bang on over to their website and take a gander. If you keep buying, they’ll keep publishing, and buying my stories I hope. I’ve another story in their next issue, edited by the more-than-lovely Lyn Triffitt. Ecdysis is a police story, involving snakes, dream analysis, and a future LA that isn’t so far-fetched if my visit there last years was any guide…