GENERAL BITS AND BOBS AND THINGS AND STUFF AND JUNK

Adam Browne’s book, Pyrotechnicon, Being the Further Adventures of Cyrano de Bergerac Among the States & Empires of the Stars by Himself (dec) moves ever closer to its release date of September. I’ve extolled the virtues of this wonderful book to you before, having been lucky enough to beta-read it, and you can do worse with a few minutes of your time than head over to Adam’s blog and see for yourself some of the illustrations that will accompany the book. And if that doesn’t make you salivate with anticipation, then I cannot help you, sirrah.

Word up to the froody Mr Wes Chu, latest member of the Angry Robot Waiting Club to score himself a big-ass publishing deal with the Robot Overlords. Wes’ book The Lives of Tao is full of mad space opera skillz, and will be on my pile come publication time in spades!

Also word up to Aurealis and Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, two of the finest Australian SF magazines to ever grace the readerverse, who both reached 50 issues in the interim. No mean achievement, especially in a country like Australia where the potential reader base for niche magazines is small, and the financial support can be non-existent at best. Props, my friends, props.

A belated and sadfaced RIP to Maurice Sendak, the children’s author whose wondrous Where The Wild Things Are was such a happy part of my childhood, and which has been a shared part of my life with my children as well. The wild rumpus has ended, and we are the poorer for it.

Lastly, on the personal front, I’ve finally weakened and been persuaded to buy a dog. So welcome to the household, Rory the ball-of-fur-with-eyes. Yes, you are adorable, and I will progressively weaken to the point where I’ll talk to you in silly baby words just like everyone else.



SNAP! SHOT, THAT IS.

Every couple of years, the Australian SF Snapshot series of interviews gears up and pins a cross-section of the Australian SF scene under its glare with a view well-placed questions.

I’ve been lucky enough to have been questioned in each of the previous incarnations, back in 2005, 2007 and 2010, and this year I’ve come under the relentless Gene Hunt-like attentions of David McDonald. You can read the interview over on his blog Ebon Shores, and eventually all the interviews will be archived on the Australian SpecFic in Focus website.
Until then, engage in some link-hopping at the bottom of the interview and pick your way amongst the gems. It’s a huge enterprise, and there are always some excellent surprises to be had.

BATTERSBYS, BATTERSBYS, ALL AROUND, AND NOT A DROP TO… UH…

Damn, but whilst I’ve been off lounging about the beach crapping about with artists, but people have only gone and bought stories and the like from her Lusciousness and myself.


Where, I hallucinate you asking? Funny you should bring it up….







This friendly little fellow is the cover to Midnight Echo 7, unfortunately harmless. He’s the official magazine of the Australian Horror Writer’s Association, and undoubtedly the nastiest little read you’ll read this year, at least until issue 8 comes out. It contains my short story Ghosts of You, which is quite unpleasant, and I say that with all the love in my heart. 


Purchase ye here.


Next to him… the nasty Year’s Best Australian Fantasy & Horror 2011. His tiny fangs cause creeping ulcerations of the skin, and his pages contain Europe After the Rain, a story originally published in Fablecroft Publishing’s After The Rain anthology and which I thought had disappeared with a dull whoomph of disinterest, so I’m pleased to see it up and about and being appreciated. 



YBAFH11 can be found at Ticonderoga Publications.


And coming soon… my prize, ASIM 56. Isn’t she lovely? And so deadly. Her pages contain twice as many Battersbys as that of other magazines. You see, her contents include The Blind Pig, that is to say a modern fable of the depression by my beautiful wife Luscious as well as my own Comfort Ghost, and eventually… oh sod it, i can’t keep that up.


Everyone knows ASIM is a ripper of a magazine. Their website is here, and I’ll let you know when the issue is due to come out. The Blind Pig is the best short Lyn has ever written, and if you know Lyn’s writing, you’ll know what that means: you want a copy of this magazine, and you want it ASAP.


And if that isn’t enough to make you wonder at just how many people you can fool all of the time, be sure to check out Bete Noire in July, where my poem Three Messages will appear. 

MARCHING DEAD: A TOTAL CRK-TEASE

 

“I’m going to be sick.”
            Just look at the basket.”
            “I mean it. I’m going to be sick.”
            “Dead men don’t vomit, Gerd.”
            “Don’t care.”
            “Just look at the basket. Nothing else exists. No cliff, no sky. You’re standing on a nice, flat piece of land, and there’s only you and the basket, nice and close and easy.”
            “You’re a lying bastard and I’m going to be sick.”
            “Just close your eyes. Go on, close them.”
            Slowly, reluctantly, Gerd did so.
            “You have no idea how many things I blame you for.”
            “Yes, I’m a truly terrible person. Now, there you are, on a flat piece of land. You feel it, beneath your feet?”
            “Of course I do.”
            “That’s good. Now, can you see a cliff?”
“Of course I can’t see the sodding cliff!”
            “It’s not there.”
            “I’ve got my eyes closed, you git.”
            Marius poked him in the ribs. “It’s not there,” he said through gritted teeth. “And there’s no sky. Just you and the basket. That’s all. Open your eyes and all you’ll see is the basket.”
            “How will—“
            Marius took a step back, and to the side, so that he stood directly behind his friend. “Open your eyes.”
            Gerd opened his eyes.
            “Do you see the basket?”
            “Yes, I—“
            “Good. Don’t forget to grab it.”
            He drew his elbows back and pushed Gerd as hard as he could, flush in the centre of his back. Gerd teetered for a moment then, with a scream, pushed off from the cliff’s edge and fell into the basket. It swung out from the cliff with his momentum, swung back to crash into the white stone, then slowly, in diminishing arcs, returned to its original position, twisting this way, then that, around the taut line of the rope.
            “Gerd?”
            “You’re a bastard.”
            “Are you all right?”
            “I’m going to be sick.”
Marius turned to Brys.
            “He’s all right.”
48 500 words in, three beta-readers killed off, two to go, and it’s all progressing rather nicely. Marching Deadcomes out in early 2013.

CORPSE-RAT KING: ALL DRESSED UP AND READY TO PUBLISH

Things are moving along sharpish, now that we’re 3 months out from publication—that’s right, you few remaining Battfans. The Corpse-Rat King goes on sale as of September 1st 2012.
You’ll have seen the cover art, of course, although it’s always nice to see it again, at least, it is for me and it’s my blog so I’m going to put a picture up again:

You want me. You know you want me.
Still so pretty J

I’m compiling a list of possible review outlets, so if you’re a reviewer and you’d like a sneak preview via the loveliness of the Angry Robot overlords, flick me an email and I’ll point you out to he-who-must-send-out-ARCs to have you added to the list. I’m also lining up a bunch of interviews and contra-posts on blogs, so over the next few months I’ll likely be flitting hither and yon about the internet whilst a stream of relative strangers settle into our little armchair-corner-of-the-netiverse to regale you with stories of that one time in college when they were really curious and shared a bottle of crème de menthe with their transsexual history professor….
And, in one of the more enjoyable tasks available to an author on the promo trail, I’ve been pimping for testimonials. And have a listen to what two authors, for whom I have unlimited respect, have said:
“A stunning debut novel, well-crafted and grotesquely inventive. With its madcap story, unforgettable characters and fine balance between humour and pathos, The Corpse-Rat King ticks all the boxes. Fans of Joe Abercrombie will love this.”

Juliet Marillier, award-winning author of the Sevenwaters series and Bridei’s Chronicles

The Corpse-Rat King is rugged, muscular fantasy, sure to please those who like their adventures rough around the edges, with wit and style to burn.”

Karen Miller, author of The Innocent Mage and the Godspeaker trilogy.

It’s all shaping up rather nicely, is it not?
So I’ll be around a bit more over the coming months, ringing you all up individually at 3am asking you why you haven’t pre-ordered your copy of the book. But be sure to answer: it’s a pain having to explain to the police why I broke your window and climbed into your bedroom in the early hours.

(BLOWS INTO MICROPHONE) IS THIS THING ON?

Been a while.

I don’t normally talk about my day job on this blog. I like to keep my writing world and my employment world separate, for the very good reason that I don’t want the one to affect the other— working in the arts field leaves me too open to accusations of using my employment position to advance my writing career, and it’s a lot easier to simply keep the two things disassociated and avoid the possibility altogether. However, this is one of those rare occasions where I’m going to break that self-imposed taboo, because my day job is the reason I’ve not been around here lately, and I think that deserves an explanation.

I work as the Arts Officer for a local government. Every year we produce a beachside sculpture exhibition called the Castaways Sculpture Awards—50 or so sculptures along our officially-the-second-best-beach-in-the-country foreshore, each one made from recycled materials. It is, without patting myself on the back too hard, pretty bloody specky. You can check it out here, here, and here if you don’t believe me.

See? Good, innit?

The event has been steadily growing over the past 5 years: apart from the central exhibition we run a week of schools workshops, a separate two-day schools exhibition, a flash opening night and a free public forum featuring a series of guest speakers. We co-ordinate a team of community volunteers to staff our information tent, and many of the artworks are for sale, and we co-ordinate those sales as well. This year, the event expanded to incorporate a poetry competition that received over 150 entries and a photography competition which, at the time of writing, had attracted 140 entries with a few days to go until closing. All this, organised by two people—myself, and the Co-ordinator, my immediate superior.

Six weeks before this year’s event, she resigned and left.

Since then I’ve been co-ordinating this event as well as taking on the duties of both the Co-ordinator and Officer positions, essentially working two jobs as well as applying for the vacant Co-ordinator job and going through the application & interview process for that, culminating in working a 19-day week during the exhibition and aftermath. The event went off like a bomb. I got the job. It’s all ended pretty darn well. But in the meantime, it damn well ate my fucking life. Things are back to normal now: the beach is back to its pristine self, I’ve had a normal-person weekend, and I’ve got a week off coming up where I’ve been able to tie my fingers to the keyboard and undertake mass wordage.

But in the interests of catching the hell up, and there are a few things that’ll sound a bit out of date along the way, let’s settle in for a bit of updatery, shall we?