ON THE BRIGHT SIDE

I was, at least, able to finish and send The Metawhore’s Love Story, my submission for Agog Press’ upcoming Canterbury 2100 anthology and my 13th submission for the year. I set myself for a dozen this year, so with a month to go, I’m a bit chuffed.

Next up is to finish I’m a Boy by the end of the week and send that along to The Psi-Phi Show, and then I might be able to relax this weekend and plot out the Father Muerte novel that me and my big mouth have committed to delivering to the agent by the middle of next year.

THE DINOSAURS ARE EXTINCT, AND I DON’T LOOK TOO GOOD MYSELF

It’s been a week, so can I please stop feeling so damn sick? It’s been nothing but dizziness, nausea, pain in the stomach, and general shittiness beyond compare. I even spent most of the afternoon at the hospital today, establishing that yes, my GP was indeed a bit hasty, and it wasn’t appendicitis after all…..

Really, I’m over it. You’ve had your fun. Let’s move on.

C is 3!

Today, my little boy turned 3 years old. It’s hard for me to digest: at times, his life has been such a struggle, beset by problems and setbacks such that I wondered how he’d ever get past them. But here he is, a beautiful, rambunctious, intelligent, wondrous child, with a spirit and personality I’ve never seen in another child his age, and my love for, and devotion to, him grows greater each day.

Happy birthday, Connor, my darling son.

3 years old, and a paragon of grace and dignity. And ice-cream.

THE COOLEST CAKE KNOWN TO BOY

We threw a party for the C-Train on Saturday: the grounds of the Batthome were witness to runningandjumpingandscreaminganddrinkingandeatingandmorescreamingandplaying friends and family of the birthday boy, and Luscious and I were eternally grateful to our decision to use nothing but disposable plates and cutlery. But it was huge fun for all concerned, and especially gratifying was the number of times an accompanying parent said “Thank you for having (Insert child’s name). It was their first birthday party and it was great!”

But for special super duper greatness in the pike position, allow me to present the birthday cake, made from scratch by a woman who shall remain known only as my-bloody-genius-of-a-child-rearing-wife:

Ex-ter-mi-cake!

I ask you: how goddamn cool is that? Even the chocolate dalekanium buttons were hand made. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with in ten years time, when he starts to take an interest in girls….

Yes, she is a clever girl, then.

AND ON THAT NOTE

Congratulations to Sarah and Jon on the arrival of Jack Raven Aubrey. May he grow up happy, and tall, and just to be different….. purple.

Not that I’m out of the loop or anything, but I guess if you don’t have Livejournal you can’t expect to find things out on time.

NIGHT’S EDGE…

…was a fun two days away from the world. Rather than bore you with a detailed Con report (If you’re like me, detailed reports of Cons you didn’t go to leave you a wee bit disinterested), some random personal highlights:
*Two days away from the world, in a hotel room, with Lyn. People should be glad they saw us at all…

* The Wacky Weapons of WWII panel with Paul Kidd. I don’t know Paul socially, but he and I seem to work really well together on panels. It may have something to do with being two geekboys with rampant senses of humour. But it was a funny panel, a very funny panel indeed.

*A spur of the moment pool tournament between me and the boys, in an empty bar during two hours of panels we didn’t fancy attending. For the record, Blake Henry Triffitt, aged 13, is a bloody shark.

*Aiden Triffitt, Mobile Daycare. Three sets of friends brought their under-3s to the Con, and at several moments, Aiden took it upon himself to look after the kids and give said parents some adult time. Nobody told him to, nobody even asked him to. Aiden simply decided that he wanted to help, and what’s more, he was brilliant at it. And to me, it’s a measure of how trusted and respected he is already, at age 14, that the parents in question handed over their babies and then turned their attentions away without constantly checking to see if their kids were okay. They just knew that they were.

*Aiden and Kaneda Go Large. I’ve joked before about how Aiden is turning into ‘One of Ussssssss’. But I will remember this as the Con when he stopped turning, and simply was. We allowed Aiden his freedom, within the usual parental limits, and he didn’t let us down: attending panels on his own, wandering the convention space on his own merits, consorting with the friends he has made by himself (And while many of those friends are also ours, not once did I feel they hung out with him, when we weren’t around, out of anything other than genuine friendship towards him), and interacting with the convention environment as a member in his own right, rather than just ‘Lyn & Lee’s boy’. And when he attended the Saturday night party wearing his pal Kaneda’s hat and boots, and announced that they were heading down to the fan lounge to practice their stunt falls, a Fen was born 🙂

*The Legend of Mothers Sarah. Okay, Kylie as well, but that buggers the Manga reference….. I’ll admit it: I’m a sucker for the teensy-tiny people. So I loved seeing babies Nora, Vincent, and Ellie at the con. And much kudos to a monumentally-heavy Callisto for getting through the two days with body and emotions intact.

*The all-in jokefest that started out as a panel on how to survive the apocalypse and ended up as a discussion on whether we could create a horse-drawn internet in time.

*A brand new Grant Watson comic book. My inner Grantfan says Yay. My outer Grantfan agrees.

*Dinner with friends and general attendance. I’ve been away too long.

At this stage, Swancon is theoretically possible, but financially problematic. But unlike last year, I at least want to go.

BIRTHDAY

I turned 37 on Sunday, and didn’t really care, other than that my family showed their love for me by making sure I was well rewarded, and I was able to bask in the glow of their happiness. The boys, especially, blew me away, taking money from their Con budget to sneak out and buy me three DVDs when I wasn’t looking, despite the fact they’d been told that there would be no more money once they’d spent their lot. Having already bought myself the present I desired (a potentially magnificent rare protea longifolia (piccie down the bottom of the page) sapling currently dubbed The Fifty Dollar Stick), it was a touching gesture that genuinely left me speechless. I have a wonderful family, and at the risk of sounding all tree-huggy about it, I’d much rather spend a day in their happy company than be showered with all the gifts in the world. Not that I’m giving any back….

Many thanks also to my good friend Stephen Dedman, who not only presented me with a copy of Men And Cartoons by Jonathon Lethem, over which I’d been seen to lust, but led the assembled crowd in a chorus of Happy Birthday at the end of my last panel, causing me to lapse into embarrassed mumbleness.

And thank you to the long list of friends, colleagues, and facebook pals who have contacted me to wish me a happy one. A happy one was had, everyone. (Incidentally, big slaps on back to Simon Haynes and Chris Barnes, fellow no-longer-unique Remembrance Day birthday boy writer types)

But, as has become my tradition, at least mentally, I now present thee with the by-no-means-comprehensive list of famous people wot I have outlived. To whit:

THEY DIED AGED 36, POSSIBLY WITH BOOTS ON

Marilyn Monroe; Diana, Princess of Wales; Georges Bizet; George, Lord Byron; George Armstrong Custer; Veronica Guerin; Doc Holliday; Blind Lemon Jefferson; Casey Jones; Phil Lynott; Bob Marley; Maximilian Robespierre; Henri Toulouse-Lautrec; Gene Vincent; and Nathanael West.

This is, of course, hardly an exhaustive list. Feel free to contribute your own favourite dead 36 byear old, and we’ll start the cloning process.

SOLD!

It’s been an interesting year, as far as story sales have gone. What with other projects and Real life ™, sales have somewhat resembled a cowboy riding a falling nuclear bomb. That is, they’ve been Slim Pickens (Zap! Pow Kapiiingggg! Comedy GOLD!)

Ahem.

Aaaaanyway, the good news is that I received an email from Stuart Mayne of Aurealis last night, to tell me that they’ve accepted my urban Peter Pan fantasy story Never Grow Old. Which makes me happy indeed. It will appear in issue 40, which is due to be born in December. Never Grow Old marks my 5th sale to Aurealis. If the magazine were the Luftwaffe, that’d make me an ace, and I’d get to wear a little square of coloured cloth on the breast area of my t-shirt when I go to Cons.

Damn I’m in a strange mood today.

AHWA MENTORSHIPS ON AGAIN

Marty Young, happy and disturbingly attractive severed-head honcho of the Australian Horror Writer’s Association, contacted me during the week to sound out my interest in being involved in their mentorship program again next year. Given the fantastic time I had working with Mark Smith-Briggs this year, my reply was an immediate and enthusiastic Yes!

This time around, I’ll be making myself available to work with short stories, and scripts of up to 45 minutes length. No official announcements yet, but applications are likely to be open as of January 1st for mentorships to begin sometime towards March. I’ll let you know as details become available.

REMIX MY LIT

Also from the cool project front comes my participation in the Remix My Lit project. Several established authors will have their stories ‘remixed’ by up and coming new scribes, and the results, as well as the original stories, will be made available using a Creative Commons license, for people to read and to remix themselves. A dauntingly-talented list of writers from a wide variety of genres, including our own Kim Wilkins, has already signed on for what should be an awful lot of fun. More details are available at the website, and like always, I’ll keep you posted as details present themselves.

A BIG SHINY FLOWER AT THE END OF THE POST

Ooooohh, gardenporn 🙂

ONE AMONGST US IS A SOPPY OLD WOOSBAG

So Lyn’s out with Aiden, I’m alone at the computer, and Nick Caves’ The Ship Song has come on, which is the song we were married to.

Sniff. Bloody dusty in this office……..

A SHORT PAUSE

Off to Night’s Edge tomorrow, where I shall eat, drink, be merry, and mark Remembrance Day by participating in a panel on wacky Nazi weapons of World War II. Classy…..

Normal service will be rant-sumed as of Monday.

MEMITY MEMITY MEMITY

You know, it’s been a bloody while since I clogged up the electrothingywebboglassteatosphere with a pointless meme. And I don’t have time to do one now, so here’s one I did earlier (okay, a minute or so ago), courtesy of Luscious.

Four places I have lived…

1. Nottingham, England
2. Narrogin, Western Australia
3. Rockingham, Western Australia
4. Maylands, Western Australia

Four TV shows I love to watch

1. The City Gardener
2. Snapped
3. Time Team
4. The English Premier League (not this season though, sigh…)

Four places I have been on vacation…

1. Phuket
2. Brisbane
3. Melbourne
4. Albany

Four Places I Plan to go on vacation…

1. Rome
2. Great Britain
3. New Zealand
4. Egypt

Four of my favourite foods…

1. Cottage fish pie
2. Canneloni
3. Caesar Salad (especially if it contains pineapple. Try it. Go on…)
4. Creme caramel

Four Places I would rather be Right Now…

1. Night’s Edge convention. First Con I’ve been eager to attend in over a year.24 hours to go.
2. On holiday with Lyn, wandering through somewhere spectacular for the soul.
3. Riding an elephant.
4. Inside the TARDIS. Yes, it is shallow. Shutup.

THAT’S OUR BOY

So how proud were we when we recieved an invitation to attend Aranmore High School’s end of year awards ceremony because Blake was due to receive a gong? Bursting with, is the correct answer.

We don’t often get a chance to say it, because Blake doesn’t stay with us anywhere as much as we want, or as he should. But he is a deeply special young man, and carries limitless potential in his hyperactive young frame. In a school with such demanding academic and social requirement, to achieve any sort of award is no small thing.

We’re proud of you, Blakey-boy.

Source of pride and his happy Mum

THASS MAH GIRL!

Question time: what is the figure in this picture, presented to me by a certain sweetly-smiling 5 year old daughter yesterday?

Princess? Hawaiian dancer? A friend from school? Mummy?

Allow me to quote: It’s a zombie. See its dead hair and its smelly feet? And its bra!

Snurk snigger snort gasp choke……

IT’S BEEN A WHILE

Yeah, it has, hasn’t it. Much Real Life ™ has been the cause. Anyway, moving on….

TWO THOUGHTS THAT OCCUR TO ME WHILST WATCHING MATT JAMES ON THE CITY GARDENER

1. Cor, I love the gardens he creates

2. Why, in 5 years of high school guidance counsellors, did nobody ever offer ‘celebrity gardener’ to me?

THE HIDDEN SECRET OF THE MELBOURNE CUP

It’s just a fucking horse race.

BATTERSBY’S OBSCURE ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS FOUND IN THE DUSTY CORNERS OF POPULAR CULTURE: THE FIRST IN A SERIES

Where: The Best of Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, Ballantine Books, page 378
Answer: No, it was Keith David.

FOR I HAVE BOOKS!

Reading has been high on the agenda at the Batthome in days recent: a plethora of books have come our way, courtesy of contributor copies and the good folks at Powell’s. To whit:

My contributor’s copies of Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror Volume 20 and Year’s Best Australian SF & Fantasy Volume 3 are here, both of which contain Father Muerte & The Flesh.

Daikaiju III, the last of Rob Hood & Robin Pen’s outrageous and fun Daikaiju series stomped into the house as well, containing Beached. Lyn’s story Born of Woman is a highlight of DII, so pick them both up at the same time and see how differently we treat the same brief.

And thanks to the Lords of Paypal, The Best of Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet now sits upon my reading table. By turns outlandish and delightful, this is rapidly becoming my book of the year, filled with a terrifically entertaining array of weirdness. It’s certainly the most I’ve been engaged in a book since reading The Book of slipstream earlier in the year.

MOVIE PROGRESS

Contracts arrived, were signed, and sent back. Now we wait for the Director to read the script and decide on what (if anything, he says with an air of utter naivete) needs changing. The project remains at a fork: we still move forward, although, should the producers fail to attract a shooting budget, and the film not reach principal photography stage, I could still walk away with nothing but a large chunk of the year chalked up to experience.

Dear God, I’m a simple man…….

CLARION 2009 TUTORS ANNOUNCED

Durnit: I had a blast at Clarion South 2007, and it stands as a highlight of my professional career. But I’ve not made the cut as far as being invited back to teach again next time out. That, however, is my disappointment. You, on the other hand, should be very excited indeed by the ‘greatest hits’ lineup of former tutors who have been announced as your guides through the emotional and professional bombardment that will be Clarion South 2009. In no particular order except the actual order in which they’ll appear, they are:

Sean Williams
Marianne de Pierres
Margo Lanagan
Jack Dann
And two entire weeks of Kelly Link & Gavin Grant.

Call me biased, but to me, that’s a genuinely exciting line up.

A CRYPTIC MESSAGE OF LOVE TO TWO OF OUR LOVELIEST FRIENDS

Star Wars on the accordion to you both, guys. We miss you.