A BIG SHOUT OUT FOR MY HOMEY

 

A massive raise of the glass to one of the loveliest people in the Australian literary industry, Kate Eltham, who will be leaving her role as CEO of the Queensland Writers Centre in October to take over the reins as Director of the Brisbane Writers Festival.
 
The QWC is a fantastic organisation: in my honest opinion, the best writers organisation I’ve worked with, and they’ll survive Kate’s departure with aplomb. But Kate is a very good friend, and this is just the sort of challenge that she can take on and make her own. Kate’s got an unbelievable set of skills, knowledge and charisma, and the BWF is going to be that much more rewarding an experience for bringing her on board. It’s a real coup for them.
 

EVERYTHING IS IN JASONI’S YARD

A great big woot for my man Jasoni Fischerio, who has just announced his debut collection, Everything is a Graveyard, forthcoming from Ticonderoga Publications in late 2013.

Jason is supremely talented, not to mention as mad as a ferret in a bucket of ice cream, so you know he’s one of my favourite fellows. You really want to be getting on to this book. Really. It’s going to be the most entertaining book you read all year.

Don’t believe me? Try some short samples on for size.

See?

IN BETTER NEWS

Some major word to my homey Mark Farrugia, who suffered under my tutelage back in the day as part of the AHWA’s mentorship scheme. One of the stories we worked on, Allure of the Ancients, has found a home in Midnight Echo #5 in comic book format.

I’m still to receive my AHWA member copy of ME#5, so now I have a reason to really look forward to it.

WORD

To my buddy Grant Stone, whose story Wood has been published in New Zealand’s premier SF market Semaphore. I worked on this story with Grant when he placed himself under my dubious care through the Australian Horror Writers Association mentorship scheme, and I’m pleased as punch to see it hit print, and also to note that it’s as creepy and icky-making as it was when he first sent it to me.

Go, read, enjoy, send him your creepy stalker love….

YOIKS, AND AWAY!

Lastly, a fond farewell to Perth writer, cartoonist, actor, and all-round fine fellow Grant Watson, who has taken his ball, his wife and cats, and his massive talent, and skedaddled to Melbourne on the flimsy pretext that he’s got a job there and quite fancies the notion of a regular pay cheque and the chance to eat every now and again.

The are few people in the Australian SF community I respect as highly as Grant, so it’s somewhat paradoxical that I welcome his moving several thousand kilometres away– after all, I don’t see a time or place where we’ll ever meet in the flesh again because of it– but I think Melbourne is going to be a boon for him: he’s a big talent, and I firmly believe he’d just about exhausted his opportunities in the small sphere of influence that Perth afforded him. Ensconced within a bigger community, with exponentially greater opportunities to further his craft, I think he’s going to bloom like a triffid in a school for the blind. And I think Australian SF fans, not to mention cartooning and theatre fans, will be the beneficiaries.

The very best of luck, Grant.

FRIEND FOR LIFE STATUS CONFIRMED

A massive vote of thanks to that master of all things rocking and obscure, Master Paul Haines, who responded to my whining regards my lack of Painters & Dockers material by sending over a DVD filled with no less than 2 CDs worth of Drinkin’ Jimmy and his pals, along with much in the way of Captain Sensible and other weird and wonderful stuff from the decade that taste forgot (that’d be the 80’s to those of you who didn’t live through Hypercolour, mumble pants, and The Human League).

Much in the way of odd and enjoyable singalong-type activities have since commenced…

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.

WHO’S A CLEVER BOY THEN?

Oh, you meet some weirdos in our line of work, you really do.

One of the nicest, and frankly, most attractive, is the Manchild known as John Robertson: fanboy, bon vivant, wearer of natty purple jackets, and as of quite recently, winner of the national Green Faces Comedy Competition, the final of which was held in Canberra. Swanconners already know John’s non-stop and wildly inventive comedy style, so it comes as no surprise that he’s beginning to garner wider attention. Those who haven’t seen him in action (and those who have) should catch him at Lazy Susan’s Comedy Den tomorrow night and Friday.

Let me lick your shoulderblades……

THIS MAN IS A HIGHLY REGARDED AUTHOR

I’ve always like Pat Rothfuss. Way back in 2002, when I attended the Writer’s Of The Future workshops in LA, Pat came to my rescue in a big way. Let me ‘splain–

Partway through the week, we wrote a story, and several of them were picked out to be critted by the group. One was a crime story, set south of the US/Mexico border, and, well, it didn’t paint Mexicans in the best of all possible lights. In fact, I thought the damn thing was racist, and showed a very American contempt towards a less affluent and tertiary production-based culture. And I said so. Now, the workshop had 17 participants. I’m from Australia. Tom Brennan was Liverpudlian. And Seppo Kurki was a Finnish guy living in Japan. Guess where everyone else came from?

I was rounded on in no uncertain terms. All the arguments came out (including that old classic, the “You don’t understand, they’re just like that” line of reasoning). Things got heated, and I took some comments I wouldn’t take in a place I can walk home from. When we broke for lunch, everyone zigged, and I zagged. The last thing I wanted was to be around the group that had delivered such a verbal mauling (One of my over-riding memories of the week was just how personal that argument became, and how quickly) Had one of the co-ordinaters offered us a spare plane ticket at that point, I would have been gone.

Pat caught me up about a street and a half away. He steered me to a little Mexican cafe where we ate some truly awful burritos, drank several gallons of Coke, and he sat and listened to me be upset, cheered me up, made me laugh, and just generally acted like the adorable and lovely-natured pal that all who meet him immediately know him to be. I went back after lunch, and though the week wasn’t as it had been before, I got through it and came home at the right time.

Since then, Pat’s gone on to bigger things. He’s an award winner, author of the oodles-selling Kingkiller Chronicles, listed in various Year’s Best Reads-type lists, is widely announced as ‘One To Watch’ and generally considered a warm and sensitive lover by all.

You might have guessed by now: I have huge respect for the guy.

Until I saw this photo 🙂

You know that joke about “But you fuck one goat”? Dude, you’re a furry! :)))))

ART THAT SCARES YOU

I’ve been amiss in not mentioning this so far, but an online auction is currently underway to help the Paul Haines Relief Fund.

As you know, Paul has cancer, and the treatment he faces is going to cost upwards of $20K, money he just doesn’t have. So far, SF community efforts have raised 80% of the money needed, and now Art That Scares You has been set up to help raise the rest.

I’ve donated a signed copy of Through Soft Air, Lyn’s donated her last copy of the rare Luscious-edited ASIM 11 (containing Paul’s story Hamlyn, it sold out in first run and to the best of my knowledge there are no more available), and a gajillion others have pledged novels, collections, artwork, manuscript assessment, blankets, soup, and a small child called Colin.

Get into it. The auction is online until 28th August. You can win yourself something cool and help Paul win his battle at the same time. It’s noble, with added booty!

IRON MAN IS NOT A SEX TOY

Yes, only one of the inspiring and, frankly, disturbing, items of information to come up on Saturday, as we played host to some of WA’s, if not finest, then certainly rowdiest SF friends. A lunch date featuring Tehani Wessely and kids, Terri Sellen and family, Stephen Dedman, Elaine Kemp, Martin Livings, Dr Izz, Alisa Krasnostein, Angela Challis, and Shane Jirayia Cummings: well, what did we expect? 🙂

Our first guests arrived around 11.30am-ish, and the last rolled out at 1am the following morning. It was that kind of lunch, and we had an absolute blast the whole time. For some reason, Eastern States’ SF folk get together all the time, whereas Western SF writers don;t seem to (or, you know, just don’t invite us…). The weather’s turning fine, our backyard is big enough to hold the children of many families (including the weird doppelganger kiddie who lives next door and freaked out many of us there, not least Tehani, whose daughter Gwen is the dopplegangee…)– we’ll be doing it again.

And to give you an idea of the sort of things that get covered when the (allegedly) finest SF minds in WA get together, a smattering—

  • When a bed is that close to the ceiling, all sex is experimental.
  • There’s a fine line between footsies and rough sex.
  • Aaron Eckhart’s jaw: like Dib’s head, why is it so biiiiig?
  • If fortnightly sex is in the diary, well, what can you do?
  • Oh God, Battersby children really do play those sort of games. The blogs aren’t exaggerating! (Lifesize doll, dragged around by her tied-together feet, Erin deciding who is and isn’t a zombie. That’s all I’m saying)
  • Come to Christmas Island: we’ve got guano and jumping crabs!
  • Black, Issue 2: look for the surprise book spine.
  • Oh, and the writer’s names spelled out in acrostics.
  • Grasshopper pie: alcohol and fake grasshoppers. Look for them in your local Coles.
  • All the chocolate covered jelly snakes have gone. Back to Ireland. Won’t they be surprised?
  • It’s a suit of high grade metal polymer carrying the latest in space-age technology, repulser rays, and flight rockets, not a dolly.
  • Seriously, what’s with Aaron Eckhart’s fucking jaw?
  • And if you are going to use Iron Man as a sex toy, take the visor off first…..

Too. Much. Fun. Roll on spring so we can do it again.

 

PAY ATTENTION: THIS IS IMPORTANT

Paul Haines is one of the good guys. One of the best. And for the past ten months, he and his family have suffered the toughest times of their lives: Paul has bowel cancer, and after all the pain and fear, and losing part of his bowel to it, he thought he’d conquered the bastard, only to find spots on his liver during the past week. He’s been blogging his experience, and frankly, it’s nothing you’d ever want to go through.

Paul’s a fighter, and he’s going to fight this with two other forms of chemotherapy for cancers like his, combined with a monoclonal antibody called Avastin. Avastin, however is not part of Medicare or the private health system’s funding at this stage. It costs $20,000 to do it. Money that he doesn’t have.

That’s where we come in. We’re a community, with all that implies: we’re going to do what we can to raise the money for his treatment.

And that’s where you come in. Because you can go here, like a lot of us have already done, and you can make a payment via Paypal. Or you can email me, and ask for bank details to make a direct deposit. Or you can click the button below, which (hopefully) will take you to the payment screen.

Either way, if you’ve ever enjoyed one of Paul’s stories, or one of mine; if you’re a friend of mine and you just want to give me a warmenfuzzie; or you want to make a difference, this is the way to do it. If you’ve bought a copy of my book, or a magazine with my story in it, I insist.

Paul’s one of the good ones, people, and he needs our help.

 

BOUQUET FOR A FELIDAE

You don’t have to know me very long to become aware of several things about me, including: I hate cats. Not big cats: lions, tigers, leopards, etc. Not the smaller wild cats: lynx, serval, ocelot and the like. Wild animals, in their native habitat, doing what they do, is something to be treasured.

Nope- domestic cats is whats I hate: introduced destroyers of local wildlife, stink creators, hair shedders, foul nasty disgusting creatures and I loathe every single one of the fuckers on sight. And no, trust me: it’s not just because I haven’t met yours, or haven’t got to know them properly or whatever. Domestic felines are fur-lined arseholes and I would cheerfully kick each and every one of them into the nearest river and laugh merrily as they drown.

Just in case you were wondering.

However, I must make public a small amendment to this statement of revulsion: there is one cat with whom I semi-regularly come into contact, and who recently, and not for even close to the first time, showed such a lovely side to her nature that it went a long way towards dispelling a sense of gloom and despair I’ve been carrying around with me. I’m very fond of this cat indeed, and have been for several years, and it’s a relationship I see as rolling and tumbling along for years to come. So this is just a public note to say that yes, there is one cat who I look upon with friendship and affection.

Of course, this cat is a human 🙂

A CALL TO FRIENDS

Anyone know if everything’s all right with Martin Livings? He’s deleted his LJ and a couple of friends report non-replies to emails.

Addenda: A couple of hours later– it’s all good, peoples. Martin’s been in touch. It’s just a streamlining thing. Nothing to see here, folks, go about youse businesses.

A JEALOUS AND WHINY RANT ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE AND HOW MUCH BETTER THAN ME THEY ARE: THOSE WHO HATE ME SHOULD GET SOME ENTERTAINMENT FROM IT

Stephen Dedman’s story collection Never Seen By Waking Eyes has come out. And he’s just sold a story to a pretty damn good market.

Sean Williams has been invited to join yet another major project where he’ll be side by side with numerous famous and groovy people.

Claire McKenna has her novel with a US agent.

Martin Livings has just about finished his story for Fading Twilight.

Adrian Bedford is writing and selling books like some sort of insane book writing selling thing.

And I’m so stupid I leave my tie at home so I can’t go into town with Luscious for breakfast and have to leave her at the train station so I can go home and get the stupid tie for the stupid work that I don’t even want to stupid bloody stupid want to go to today because God knows, it’s not like I’m a real writer, just some stupid fucking amateur pretending he deserves to be with the big boys instead of just accepting he’ll never get anywhere and all he’ll ever manage is to sell a few pieces to local magazines and be forgotten the moment he dies or leaves the scene. Not like I’m actually fucking writing anything anyway, fuck it.

Right now I feel like the character from the Rowan Atkinson sketch: “Robert can not be here tonight, because he is in Hollywood, starring in a major Hollywood blockbuster. I, on the other hand, am here, not having been offered even a walk on role in an 8 millimetre pornographic movie…”

I hate myself so much I could spit at my reflection.

SO MUCH WORSE THAN YOU THOUGHT IT COULD BE

Well, the movie night went off all right. Had visitations from Chesh, Calli, and the newly-returned Splanky, who brought her sick ferret to the accompaniment of much excitement from the boys and a solid 24 hours of asthma from Luscious. Splanky also brought a chocolate mousse that I’m still having to stop Lyn from licking off the inside of the bin 24 hours later…

Hell Comes To Frogtown is not only worse than I remember, it is worse than any movie has a right to be. Despite much giggling at Sandahl Bergman’s outfits, everyone else’s outfits, the make-up, the special effects, the plot, the fact that it would have been better as a bad porno, pretty much everything else and so on, it was still unanimously decided that I’m not allowed to pick the movies for a while. I did point out that I had mentioned it was a BAD movie night, but as Calli responded, I hadn’t pointed out that nobody was allowed to complain… Quote of the evening belongs to Aiden. In response to a comment regarding when the movie would please be over, he said “This movie was over before it began”. Chesh had his copy of the new Chances DVD with him, and the fact that we couldn’t wait to view an episode after the movie finished and the boys went to bed should let you know how bad we’re talking here.

Anyway, next week it’s Tank Girl and another episode. 6pm, our place, bring a dish for a pot luck 🙂

RESIDENCY DAY ONE

Arrived at the KSP at 9am and got straight into it. By lunchtime had banged out 2450 words of Nouvelle Hollande. As I’m aiming for 2000 words a day, was a pretty happy little fat man over lunch. With the Olympics playing silently off to the side of my room (yay, Australian woman can cycle and swim faster than other women, but we’re all crap at volleyball…) decided to unwind a bit after lunch by working on a story I’d started yesterday at the KSP SF group called Blake The God (Anybody who’s met the B-boy knows: he’s petite. So in the story he is worshipped by a bunch of teeeeensy tiny little aliens. Trust me, it works on paper, okay?). And I added another 1800 words on that before home time, for a grand total of 4267 words on the day! Not a bad total, to be sure. Almost KA Bedford like 🙂 The day finished with Luscious, Erin and I attending a cheese and bikkies soiree at 5.30 to officially welcome me, and now Erin’s in bed and an exhausted Triff and her exhausted Batt are going to follow her example.

Night all.

4th JANUARY 1913 – 28th JULY 2004

Just returned from my Grandfather’s funeral. We weren’t overly close, especially not these last few years as he got much older and frailer, and my adult life left me with little time to travel and see him, but it’s still a sad occasion when a family member passes. Besides, he taught me the only card trick I’ve ever learnt.

As a final gift to his family, Granddad paid for us all to go into Kwinana after the service and have lunch at his local cafe. Which was lovely, but I think the tone is set for your funeral when those attending know they’ll finish up eating at a place called “Mr Food”.

I’ve had the ‘Mr Plough’ song from that episode of the Simpsons stuck in my head since the funeral ended…

SO COOL, SO DAMN COOL

Readers of this humble blog will be aware how much of a fan I am of pal KA Bedford. Pop over to his blog and bask in the warm glow of his new novel’s cover. So very cooooolllll………