WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THEY GIVE ME A TEXTA….

So I’m drawing with the kids after dinner tonight, and, you know, we’d watched Walking With Dinosaurs with dinner, and, you know, Erin was drawing a tyrannosaurus, and Connor was drawing a stegosaurus, and, you know, I wasn’t reeeaaalll sure what I was going to draw…..

Wot choo lookin’at, you ugly Paki triceratops poof?

Skinosaurus. Because I am the drawing equivalent of the bloke who comes out of the shower after yowling the house down and announces “Never been formally trained…” to his bleeding-eared family….

THE AHWA MARKET HIVE WANTS YOUR OPINION

Have a look at this message from AHWA Market Hive collator Ray Gates, then email him and give him your opinion.

As part of the July news, I put out the call to see how many members were interested in listing poetry-specific markets in the Market Hive. The response, so far, has been somewhat underwhelming…

So if you’re keen to find good homes for your sonnets and odes, your ballads and verse, your limericks and haiku, you need to let me know!

Either send me a message at: markets@australianhorror.com, or duck into the member forum and leave a message under ‘Calling all Bards’ in the AHWA News section.

Want it? Need it? Let me know!

Personally, I’ve said yes, but then, I’m a “Best of” included poet, I am…… 🙂

PREDATORS…

…is actually 2/3 of a really good monster movie, much to my surprise: genuinely creepy, and with a good build-up of suspense, not to mention a movie-stealing performance of much fun by Laurence Fishburne, and a performance from Topher Grace that suggests he’s finally ready to hold a big-screen audience. I went along with my ever-eager Teen Twosome, expecting to be there only because I was having a night out with my boys, and found myself actually having a whale of a time.

Yes, it’s a pity it runs out of ideas and resorts to big lashings of dumb to get the job done, but until it does, it’s better than all bar the original movie in the franchise. Not that that’s saying much, but, still, get it out when it hits the DVD stores and pair it with Arnie’s Big Boy Gunfest first version for a fun boy’s night in.

WIP IT, WIP IT GOOD

Apart from all that palaver above, I do have some fresh pieces I’m working on, or at least, am supposed to be working on. Nothing upcoming in print: the last year has seen very little in new short story material and what I do have is in slushpiles here and there at the time of writing. However, I currently have on my thumb drive:

At the End There Was a Man: a straight SF piece (something I haven’t written in the longest time) I’ll be submitting to the upcoming Cour de Lion’s anthology Anywhere But Earth, which currently weighs in at a smidgeon over 4400 words.

Europe After The Rain: I’ve been wanting to write something inspired by one of my favourite works of art, the incredible Max Ernst painting of the same name. When Fablecroft Press announced the submission guidelines for their upcoming anthology, with the title After The Rain , welllll……. The Dresden fire bombing, golems, Hitler Youth: I’m definitely in the saddle on this one 🙂

Attacking Waters: Horrible title, but it’s only a place marker until the real title is washed up by the text. Seven cowards, from different times and places scattered throughout history, meet in a Budapest backstreet bar and head out for a mythical city that can only be found when there is nowhere else to run. But when they get there, something starts hunting them…. 750 words in, so far, and no pressure to send it to anywhere specific as it’s completely on-spec, so this is one I’m doing for fun.

So, you know, along with finishing the long-overdue edits on Napoleone’s Land and Corpse-Rat King. Enough to be going on with…

OCCASIONAL WRITING, WITH MUSIC

What an interesting couple of weeks it’s been, my friends. Lots of sound and movement, signifying…. well, signifying something, I suppose.

There’s been a lot of writing work happening, although, bizarrely, very little actual writing. I started by attending Toe In The Ocean writing festival in Warnbro on the 17th, where I delivered a 90 minute SF/F writing workshop to just over a dozen attendees, many of whom had never dipped their toes (see how I work that in? See, see?….) into the genre, so it was really energising to see them wrestling with conceits they had never before encountered: once you start getting into unicorn horn physics you really have everyone’s attention…. I also spent some time in the ever-lovely company of Tehani Wessely and managed to catch up with Heidi Kneale, whom I’ve not bumped into for far too long, so it was a damn good day all round.

And it seems to have rubbed off on some of the writers who attended, as well: this morning I received an email invite to join a new writer’s group that has sprung up in the wake of the festival: The Full Time/Part Time Writer’s Group, who will be meeting once a month, starting this weekend.

Anybody who’s in the Rockingham region might be interested in the following set of details:

The Full Time/ Part Time Writers Group

The problem: For those of us who work full time, it can be hard to find the time to write, let alone talk about it!

The solution: We’ve decided to form a writing group that meets the first Saturday in every month, in the Rockingham area.

The inaugural meeting will be held 10.00am, Saturday 7th August at the Dome on the Rockingham foreshore (15 Kent Street).

Anyone can join; you don’t have to be a full time worker, just willing to have a little fun.

To get to know each other, for the first week write 100 words about yourself from a different point of view and bring it to the meeting…

Join us on Facebook: Rockingham Full Time/ Part Time Writers Group:

If you have any questions, please contact group organiser Eryn Bicker

I’ve also been heavily immersed in the creation of an online SF course for a writing institution on the East Coast, which currently involves reading scads and scads of free online SF for use as reading materials (Awwwwww, shame 🙂 ) If you can, I thoroughly recommend heading over to Project Guttenberg, as I did, and settling in to read Mary Shelley’s almost-forgotten masterpiece The Last Man – an astonishing piece of work that deserves to be remembered far more than it is. Consider this my public service education announcement of the day 🙂

It’s interesting work, preparing an extended course in this manner—it’s designed to be 6 weeks in length, performed and assessed completely on-line, and powered by the Moodle engine, and as I’m determined to include reading material with each lesson it’s resulting in me having to complete a self-paced crash course in creating copyright contracts and lesson planning. Still, once it’s all finished and up on the site I think I’ll be as proud of it as anything I’ve achieved in writing so far. I enjoy teaching writing: it’s a buzz to watch concepts hit home in a student, and creating something that (hopefully) will run for multiple sessions over an extended period of time feels like I’m giving something significant back to the genre that spawned me. I think it’s time to get business cards drawn up that say “The James Gunn of Mandurah Science Fiction”……

I’ve also spent a fair amount of time swearing into a microphone whilst feebly attempting to record two stories for Coeur De Lion Publishing’s excellent podcast series ‘Terra Incognita’. Assuming the ever-brilliant Keith Stevenson can assemble something from the combination of mondegreens, mis-pronunciations and bad boy words I’ve sent him, somewhere in the future you should be able to hear Father Muerte & the Flesh and/or In From the Snow in my dulcet tones down your earphones. In the meantime, there are over 20 much more erudite and capable authors than myself in the TISF archives: go, listen, enjoy.

In between, there have been a couple of reprint sales: ASIM have picked up two pieces for their upcoming “Best of Vol.2” series— the story I co-authored with Nigel Read, Instinct, will be appearing in their “Horror” volume, whilst my poem Working for a Greener Narrative will appear in the “Fantasy” volume. I’m particularly chuffed about the latter—it’s the first time I’ve had a poem reprinted, much less chosen for a Best Of, so it’s a very pleasing achievement.