MIDNIGHT ECHO 1 IS GO!

The AHWA is extremely proud to announce the publication of the inaugural issue of Midnight Echo: The Magazine of the Australian Horror Writers’ Association.

Midnight Echo Issue 1 showcases the talents of 16 fantastic Australian writers:

Stephen Dedman
George Ivanoff
Felicity Dowker
Brendan Duffy
Andrew Macrae
Stephen Studach
David Conyers
Natalie J.E. Potts
Matthew Chrulew
Marty Young
Rachel Holkner
Dave Hoskin
Alice Godwin
Paul Haines
Deborah Biancotti
Martin Livings

Plus a new short story from UK writer and World Fantasy nominee, Robert Shearman.

In addition, Midnight Echo Issue 1 features what we hope to be a long running series of interviews with new Australian horror writers. In the first of this “New Blood” series, Stephen Studach interviews Dave Hoskin.

Midnight Echo Issue 1 is available to purchase online from Lulu.com in two formats:
Electronic PDF Download (ISSN 1836-3873) Cover Price: US$3.50
Paperback Edition (ISSN 1836-3865) Cover Price: US$12.95 (plus shipping)

Volume 2 will be edited by Shane Jirayia Cummings and Angela Challis, the squishy grey brains behind Brimstone Press, so you know it’ll be darkly fascinating. And I’m slated to edit issue 4, so if you want to see what I come up with behind the camera (so to speak) for once, make sure you buy enough copies of the first 3 issues to ensure it stays alive that long!

LIFE’S A BITSER AND THEN YOU… UM…

I feel like I’m galloping along in inches at the moment: I want to sit down and churn through some major work but I’m spending my time working on little bits and bobs that don’t add up to anything solid instead. Still, as one task this evening has been adding my 2 cents (or 500 words, whichever comes first) to the AHWA’s rather cool Nameless competition project and the other has been penning some thoughts for a discussion with David Carroll on Australian horror films for the second volume of Studies In Australian Weird Fiction, at least the bits and bobs have been fun

RED BULL GIVES YOU WINGS AND MAKES YOU STUPID

So let me get this straight: they’ve turned the water coolers off at work because there’s a power crisis, and they shut down half the lift shafts at work because there’s a pwoer crisis, and I’m paying a buck fifty a litre for petrol because there’s a petrol crisis, and in the meantime there are jet fighters screaming overhead in the name of entertainment?

Stupid fucking air race.

A SHARP NUDGE IN THE NETHERS

So: November in a couple of days. 11 days until my birthday, 26 days until the fortnight of kid birthday bashings, and 2 months until the end of the year. And here’s me in the midst of a Real Life (tm) driven writing lull. What to do? I’m finding the change in atmosphere from writing predominantly shorts to writing novels exclusively to be a bit of a bore. It’s like work, and you know, I started writing as a way to avoid work. I need a way to stay focussed and avoid the lure of trashy true crime documentaries on Foxtel. Again, what to do?

Well, in this case, I’ve joined Nanowrimo. I generally view it as a bit of a joke, to be honest: a way for people to pretend they’re real writers while purging their systems of the millions of bad words they need to get rid of before they can start learning the real lessons writing has to teach you. But, inspired by the example of Simon ‘Hal Spacejock’ Haines, who undergoes the program every year and now has (at least count) one hundred and seventy two Spacejock novels on the shelves, I’ve signed my name up and will spend the next month beavering away on new words. It’s a bit like joining SFWA, in a way– no practical use, really, but it’ll give me something to focus on when the attention starts to slip sideways. I shan’t be posting any buttons or regaling you all with wacky stories of how we all got together at midnight to count pages or whatever, but there it is.

So let’s see how we go, shall we?

A DIVERTING WAY TO SPEND MY MORNING

You know, once I’d uploaded the picture for the last post, I realised how much it resembled an old-fashioned Chinese menu, and how much fun you can have choosing one from column A and one from column B.

So just watch out for the vengeance of the Redneck Lord, all you Scientologist Sports Nuts and Buddhist Fornicators and Wifebeating Loud Mouth Women….

Go on, try it. It’s more fun than it should be 🙂

Incidentally, anyone care to guess what a PK is? Does the Redneck Lord damn all chewing gum, or just that particular brand?

GRATUITOUS PRODUCT PLACEMENT MOMENT

I’m not one for waxing rhapsodical about particular brands or products. No sirree, no capitalist-logo-wearing-corporate-free-advertising-whore me.

However: we laid our new lawn in the backyard a few months ago (I saw we. What I mean, of course, is since we dug out the old lawn and then paid a friend of ours to do the laying of the new lawn for us. However, I digress), which has necessitated the purchase of a lawn mower.

I hate mowing. It is a necessary evil, I understand that, but pushing a heavy, wheeled bastard of a petrol-powered food processor through a cloud of midges, flying twigs and grass clippings for a couple of hours is not my cup of meat, thank you very much. And lawnmowers are one of the world’s most annoying inventions: they get bogged, they cut out, the wheels gouge trenches into your lawn, they’re obscenely heavy. There’s a reason so many of us pay a commercial contractor to do the mowing for us. Anyone that stupid deserves a few bucks to help with therapy.

So let me just say this, in my non-commercial whore way. My new Flymo is THE dog’s bollocks.

$199 for a machine so light I can pick the box up with one hand. It operates by creating its own hovercar-like cushion of air, which meant I was quite literally mowing the lawn one handed, wafting it about in front of me like a vaccuum cleaner. It slides up inclines and bumps that would have a traditional style lawnmower bogged and boggled. It adjusts height by moving the blade up and down, not the entire chassis (anyone who’s tried to adjust height on a petrol powered Victa with a full tank will understand the significance of this). It’s quiet. It’s easy.

I just mowed a 20×15 metre lawn in 15 minutes, with no frustration, no swearing, and not an ounce of pain to my back. Zoom.

The dog’s bollocks.

WIND… WIND… CRICKET CHIRPING… WIND….

So Erin went to her Nanna’s this afternoon, and will be off to see Disney Princesses on Ice (or something. It’s on ice, anyway) this weekend.

Lyn, Aiden and Blake will be catching the train tomorrow morning to go to a little minicon in Perth, and won’t be back until late in the evening, and then they’re doing it again on Sunday.

As of 8 o’clock tomorrow morning it’s just me, Connor, the car, money for lunches, and a whole weekend of playing, shopping, and tickle fights. *

Sweet.

* Contents of weekend may differ from those advertised. Depending on individual hour, may contain traces of gardening, house painting, digging holes, carrying heavy rocks, editing, writing, scanning photographs, door hanging, house maintenance, cleaning, sweeping or laundry.

WARM NOT YOUR HEAD WATER MICROWAVE UNIT INTERNAL

As is my wont, I occasionally purchase items of a useful and pleasing nature. You know, like Lyn >:)

And, like Lyn, the instructions are sometimes a little on the, shall we say, interpretive dance level.

However.

Yesterday, oh, yesterday my friends, we reached a level of English-as-a-guideline-only-ness that even Samuel Goldwyn would have viewed with pride. I don’t know what it’ll be yet, but I’m bound to have something cool kicking about the house I can give away as a prize for the first person who can tell me what these instructions relate to. It’s a personal item, and it’s blue. That’s all the hint you get 🙂

ON THE SUBJECT OF COFFEE WITH FRIENDS

A big hulloo to Michelle & Adrian Bedford, with whom we shared a happy and enjoyable couple of hours yesterday talking about everything from novels to paleontology geekery to airliner geekery to finding the benefits of driving through Kwinana at 10pm on a Friday night, all in the warm and friendly confines of that coffee house of note– Toddler Town playgym in Morley.

It’s been too long since we sat and chatted with two of our favourite people in such a relaxed and enjoyable manner.

SHE’S JUST A LITTLE TEASE (SHE’S A FEMME FATALE)

Marriage to my darling wife has countless charming and wonderful aspects. One of the funniest, thanks to umpteen years spent as member of a religious order that frowns upon many aspects of modern living, is discovering just how many sections of popular culture she hasn’t experienced. The sentence “You haven’t seen (insert movie here)?” in an incredulous tone, is a standing joke these days (Alien? Really? Predator? Really? Inside Seka? Really?).

The flip side to that is watching as she discovers something wonderful that she’s missed along the way, some popular icon or form that has passed by her radar while she’s been focussed upon doing the right thing by her beliefs. Kurt Vonnegut, Phil Dick, a tolerance of punk music….

Yesterday, driving out to coffee with friends, I turned to say something to her and found her with her eyes rimmed by tears. She had discovered the Velvet Underground 🙂

NEW HEAD

I turn 38 next month. I started wearing glasses when I was 11, after my teacher noticed me leaning forward and squinting to see words written on the blackboard, even though I sat in the front row. For all of those years, with slight changes for fashion, I’ve worn essentially the same style of glasses- simple, rounded frames, with a decent amount of lens below and outside the eyes for peripheral vision. The last time I replaced them, the optometrist called me old fashioned. This, I assumed, was her attempt at customer service.

This week, however, I replaced my scratched, wobbly and ailing visual aids, and discovered that the style I have worn for 27 years is no longer available. They don’t make ’em no more. Now that’s old fashioned. I had to strike out into new ocular territory. Suddenly, half an hour was added to my shopping trip. I had to actually look at what was on the shelves.
If I can quote Randy ‘Macho man’ Savage, and I think I can: Oooooh, trep-iDATIOUS is the word.
Anyway, down below is a picture of the pair that Lyn and the optometrist decided suits me best: half-frame sort of trapezoidy lensed in a couple of shades of dark grey. A new pair of glasses changes the look of your face- it covers different areas, highlights others. People tend to see the glasses rather than the general layout of the face behind them. A new style of glasses does the same, only more so. I knew I was overweight (I mean, duh), but to me, this pair shows up just how fat my face is. There’s less to hide behind, more left open. A new style of glasses, and it’s changed the nature of my face, and that’s an odd feeling. Erin is convinced that my eyebrows are darker, for example. But they’re a permanent fixture now: lighter than my old pair, stronger, and much clearer. That alone is an improvement
Now all I need to do is lose 50 kilos from my head……

Now you see why Michael T Weiss is so upset…

SOMEBODY PASS MY DAUGHTER HER ROSE COLOURED GLASSES, PLEASE.

So, thanks to our tax returns, we’ve been able to purchase a few necessary things, including a new desktop computer for Lyn, which I’ve spent this evening setting up. Of course, a computer screen must have a desktop. A desktop must have an image. A Lyn must have something to drool at while waiting for the authorly thoughts to arrive.

Hence the Michael T Weiss picture.

ERIN: Who’s that man?
ME: That’s an actor Mummy thinks is handsome.
ERIN: But you’re handsome!
ME: Aw, thank you, sweetie. You don’t think he’s handsome?
ERIN: (Pulls face) No! He doesn’t even have a beard!

Ha! Take that you clean-shaven bastard!

Sob. If only I had a beard, I might be as handsome as Battersby… or Kenny Rogers… or Grizzly Adams….

YES, ACTUALLY, I COULD BE WORKING ON A NOVEL WHILE EVERYONE’S BUSY…. WHAT’S YOUR POINT?

Your result for The Awesome Test of Awesomeness….

Awesomely Respected

20% Scary, 53% Respected and 27% Cool!

It looks like Respected was your greatest variable! That means you are awe-fully awesome. Folks know you and your awesomeness. You don’t flaunt your powers in front of the general public. You probably don’t want to make others feel bad, and we respect you for that. Not everyone can be as respected as you. You are Awesome!

Take The Awesome Test of Awesomeness. at HelloQuizzy

AAAAAND ANOTHER ONE….

Your result for The Literary Character Test…

Prospero

Dark, Human, Side Thinker

Consumed with revenge, Prospero uses all his abilities, his resources, and his mental capacities to create the most epic scheme he can, in revenge. However justified, his original goal is of a dark nature, and it luck more than his planning that makes it end happily. He, his enemies, and his allies are all driven by the most human of emotions, and even his meddling with their affairs stems from an oh so human desire to design events in ways he would like them to be. At times negligent of the deepest feelings of those around him, he nevertheless pursues his goals and does eventually seek and attain redemption for what wrongs he committed in the name of revenge.

Take The Literary Character Test at HelloQuizzy

DOES IT COME WITH DOCTOR DOOM ARMOUR?

Your result for The Mythological God Test…

Coyote

Indeed, you are 79% erudite, 79% sensual, 58% martial, and 71% saturnine.

Coyote was an important being to several Native American tribes. He was one of those tricksters that are found in several world mythologies, in fact very close in temperament and deed to Loki of the Norse pantheon.

Eternally scavenging for food, he represents the most basic instincts, but in other narratives, he is also the father of the Indian people and a potent conductor of spiritual forces in the form of sacred dreams. In the “Myth of the Stars and the Moon” he is shown as a wise counsellor even.

There are more stories about him than stars in the sky. For example, did you hear the one about the “Spying Moon”? It seems that someone had pinched the moon, and Coyote offered to stand in as replacement. Everyone agreed that he made a fine moon, but from his elevated position Coyote could see everything that was going on. Being of an irritating disposition, he couldn’t resist blowing the whistle on friends and enemies alike. “Hey, look what Badger is doing behind his tepee!”

Pretty soon everyone was sick of his snooping and voted him out of the sky. But nothing can keep Coyote down for long. Being an old show-off, he loves to impress the girls by juggling his eyeballs. One day he threw one so high it got stuck in the sky and became the star Arcturus. So even now he’s keeping an eye on us all.

The Fifteen Gods

These are the 15 categories of this test. If you score above average in …

…all or none of the four variables: Dagda. …
Erudite: Thoth. …
Sensual: Frey. …
Martial: Mars. …
Saturnine: Mictlantecuhtli. …

Erudite & Sensual: Amun. …
Erudite & Martial: Odin. …
Erudite & Saturnine: Anubis. …
Sensual & Martial: Zeus. …
Sensual & Saturnine: Cernunnos. …
Martial & Saturnine: Loki. …

Erudite, Sensual & Martial: Lug. …
Erudite, Sensual & Saturnine: Coyote. …
Erudite, Martial & Saturnine: Hades. …
Sensual, Martial & Saturnine: Pan.

Take The Mythological God Test at HelloQuizzy

BUT I HAVE ALL THIS OTHER WORK….

There are places in the world where the laws of the Universe are not applied in the correct order. Since it is built in the shape of a tessaract, Costa Satanas has become one of those places. It is a magnet for those whose fate is still to be decided: those who have reached the beginning, or those who require an end.

Yup.

Two novels already in progress, plus one plotted out and ready to go should I get the grant to do it, and what happens?

The plot of the first third of the Father Muerte novel falls on me from out of the sky, and 1000 words are written in a day.

Sigh.

A NOTE TO MY BEST FRIEND ABOUT THE CONTENTS OF MY PLAYLIST

Seanie, you’re my best and oldest friend, and you know how it is: some days, you don’t choose the music, it chooses you. Doesn’t matter about the screwed up face of the sour old octogenarian in the next cubicle, or the sniggers of the pony-tailed whelp in his washed-clean bandanna and his Slipknot tee. Some days, you just gotta fulfil the need: back to back, both albums, one after the other.

It’s been seventeen years, old friend, since that summer break we spent camped out at your place because your parents had gone to Europe or somesuch for three months and you had the run of the place: French doors open, couple of hundredweights worth of pool salt making the water too acidic to swim in, a diet of nachos and whatever the 7-11 had available… and two brand new CDs on constant rotation, 24 hours a day, for the entire break. Seventeen frigging years! Can you believe it?

Some days, the music chooses you, and Friday morning, at this work I’m forced to attend, surrounded by these people, oh, it was necessary.

It’s been seventeen years, Seanie, and even though I haven’t put them on for years, I still prefer Use Your Illusion II.