SUN, WATER, SCREAMING, AND TUNNELS OF DARKNESS

Went to Adventure World with the kids yesterday. It’s been about 8 years since I’ve been, and there have been a few changes: more rides, everything about twice as expensive, and weirdly enough, the rides I used to love seem slower. I would understand that if I’d been a kid the last time I went, but I was in my mid-twenties…

Anyway, much fun was had by all, and my personal highlight was giving in to Aiden after 4 solid hours asking and going on the ‘Tunnel of Terror’ with him: a water tube with the lights out so the interior is pitch-black, that goes near-vertical for most of the way, with twists, and then dumps your two-person tube into the water with about that much warning.

I laughed my ass off, in between threatening to kill him.

It was a hoot, albeit a hideously expensive one (The better part of $150 just to get in), made all the better by the fact the kids thought they were going to their Uncle & Auntie’s place, and then when it became obvious we were going in the opposite direction, a chick-flick screening at the nearby Uni.

The one thing better than doing cool stuff with the kids is surprising them with it πŸ™‚

ROLL OVER BEETHOVEN

Connor rolled over for the first time yesterday. You’d think he cured cancer by the way his ridiculously over-proud parents behaved. Of course, blogging it is in no way over-proud at all πŸ™‚

JAPANESE NAME GENERATOR

My Japanese name is 原 Hara (wilderness) 駿 Shun (fast person).

Cooooollllll…..

<a href="Take your real Japanese name generator! today!
Created with <a href="Rum and Monkey‘s <a href="Name Generator Generator.

I WANT TO KILL NICKELODEON

Took the kids to see The Spongebob Squarepants Movie today. Now, the boys and I are big Spongebob fans. It’s silly, it’s funny, it’s weird. You know, like us πŸ™‚

But the movie was awful. Pained, padded, and slow. There might have been enough plot to fill a normal episode, and the lame-ass songs they crammed into the rest of the film with were simply awful. Not even a kack-funny cameo from David Hasselhoff (I should perhaps point this out for those old enough to remember the Hass: deliberately funny) can save it, although you’ll never look at the Hass’s pecs the same way again…

Even three year old Erin, who insists on absolute quiet so she can watch ‘Spongepants’ was bored and restless by the end.

Avoid.

COOL E-BAY STUFF

As if the Cyberman fridge magnet and the Madman magnet set weren’t cool enough, this morning I bought myself a Hong Kong Phooey beach towel.

He’s got style, a groovy smile, a bod that just won’t stooooopppppp……

GENIUS

We’ve watched 3 of the movies in the Myazaki collection so far: Princess Mononoke, Porco Rosso, and Grave of The Fireflies. My God, the man is incredible. Such range, such fierce imagination, such an intellect, such humanity. Having already seen Spirited Away and My Neighbour Toturo, I find myself utterly enthralled by the man’s work. I’m hooked. I’m a fan. I have to have more.

Thankfully the kids and Lyn feel the same way. This is one thing I will be eternally grateful to the boys for: after watching some of the most awful movies I’d ever seen at an anime festival 10 or so years ago, I swore I would never watch the stuff again. And then I met a woman with two manga-mad boys, and have watched some of the most wonderful stuff I’ve ever seen since. Jin-Roh, Vampire Hunter D, Cowboy Beebop… and still 8 more Myazaki movies to watch…

So thank you, Aiden and Blake. You’ve enriched my imagination in many ways, but this is one we get to share whenever you want.

RICH HORTON GETS IN TOUCH WITH HIS INNER SWEETY

From Rich Horton’s review of Aurealis 33/34/35, which you can find here

The best ofthe novelettes was Lee Battersby’s “Father Muerte and the Rain”,definitely one of the “striking” pieces. Father Muerte seems to be the dominant personality in a curious isolated touristy sort of town, where strange things happen and some people live for a long time. One day there is a rain of insubstantial coelacanths — insubstantial to most people, but not to Father Muerte, nor, significantly, to an elderly man who has just arrived.

Wheeeee! January 2005: Lee Loves Being a Writer Month!

GOOD ASIM NEWS

The ever-fabulous Tansy Rayner Roberts, who had the good taste to buy Murderworld for issue 23 of ASIM, emailed me this morning to say she’d been gazumped by another editor and the story will be appearing in an earlier issue. No mention of which issue, but I’ll tell you as soon as I know. I do have another story I was planning to send to ASIM this week, which I’ve offered to her. Fingers crossed: it’d be nice to sell 2 stories to the same editor, non? πŸ™‚

WORDS WORDS WORDS

A very interrupted writing day today, with visits from friends (Hi Anna!), rambunctious and rampaging kids, dinner to cook, cleaning to perform, fighting kids, punishing fighting kids, business emails to answer, and on and on and keep taking the pills, Battersby…

Consequently, ended up working on a bunch of things. managed to get just over 1000 words done (had to make up for doing nothing yesterday. Ah sue me: I was going down waterslides), as well as line-editing Blake The God ready for sending out.

Tomorrow, Luscious is heading out to her best friends’ place and taking the kids for an afternoon of beachy goodness, leaving me behind to do writer-guy stuff and write our wedding invitations. With any luck I’ll crank out some real numbers, get some stuff into envelopes, and who knows, maybe even line-edit a story or two for the collection, which at the moment is going under the name Lethologica. Gonna have to face that pile sooner or later…

Words For The Day: 1245
Words on Nouvelle Hollande: 610
Words on The Squire: 127
Words on Muerte & The Joy of Warfare: 508
Year Total: 9626

WHAT TO DO WITH FIVE MINUTES

Had a few minutes to myself just before going to bed (the house is gently snoring around me…) so filled in the time at Ebay while I was waiting for other stuff to download.

I’ve just bought a 1977-issue Spiderman comic book and record set for 5 bucks.

No, I don’t know why!

Somebody stop me…

MY DAY JUST GETS WEIRDER

One of the last 10 search terms that sent someone to this blog was “should I have a shower with a ferret picture”.

I can’t think of a single funny thing to say…

WASTELAND

Had a mixed time at this excellently-run Convention. Cheshire and Callisto did a fantastic job, and everyone had a great time. The writing guests were excellent: Sean Williams is genuinely one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met, and it’s always a real pleasure to run into him. Paul Kidd was brilliant: I sat on a panel with him and discovered a real connection of shared humour, irony, and outlook that made it an absolute barrel of laughs. And I thoroughly enjoyed the experience every time he was in the room: he’s a genuinely funny and engaging man.

On the downside, our Saturday night suffered a major interruption when a tiny kitchen fire prompted hotel staff to evacuate the entire building. Luscious had to drag her heavily pregnant self down three flights of stairs, which caused her to suffer terrible leg cramps, which resulted in her waking twice in agony, screaming and panicky. The night was so bad she had to leave the Con at lunchtime on Sunday in order to come home and get some rest. I dropped her off and returned, but I was so tired and grinchy I don’t think I did anything positive for the rest of the day, and left the Con feeling very down and depressed.

But all in all I thought the Con was a good experience. Luscious and I don’t get a chance to get out and indulge our fannish sides as often as we’d like, and Cons like this are the perfect opportunity to catch up with people we rarely get to see. Let’s hope someone picks up the franchise next year and gives us another gathering of the Clan to attend.

4400 REASONS TO SIGH

The most anticipated television event of the year, huh? Well, maybe if you’re not an SF fan. Seen it before. Seen it all before.

THE KIDS ARE BACK!

Woohoo! It’s our turn to spend a week with the kids for the second half of the holidays! Fun fun fun fun. We’ve got some serious fun lined up. The kids belong here, and we belong with them.

MORE EBAY MADNESS

Won me an ancient Greek arrowhead from circa 1000-300 BC today (Nice how they can narrow it down so easily πŸ™‚ ). That should spell the end of my Ebay adventure for a while: I’ve not got enough of my spending money left to make a tilt for anything impressive. Luscious, on the other hand, decided to have a bit of a search while we were waiting for my bidding to reach the last 15 minutes, and ended up buying a ruby ring for (wait for it)……

A buck.

One dollar. For a ruby ring. And it’s a real ruby, nothing cultured or paste.

One buck.

NO, YOU DON’T GET A SHOWBAG

It was Luscious’ first ever voting experience on Saturday. She used to be part of a religion who are exempt from voting, and this is the first election since she left.

I’m striding across the carpark to the polling line, eyes front, dismissing the likes of Christian Democrats and Family First lunatics with a curt “No” or “I’ve decided” whilly nilly. And I realise that the Luscious One has fallen behind.

Because she’s merrily accepting how-to-vote cards from all and sundry and getting excited because she didn’t realise you got handouts and oh wow these ones are green! and……

I swear, if they had a bumper car stall we’d have been there all day.

ELECTION RESULT

Fuck. Fuck fuck fuck fuck.

Fuck!

GOOD COOKIN’!

Have to send a big fat thanks to the ultra-fab Adrian & Michelle, who returned from Worldcon with a fangroovelus gift: I’d asked them to bring me back a “strange book of some description”. Oh, and as they were going to Canada on their big trip, a moose πŸ™‚

Today they presented me with a stuffed moose (I have a ‘weird stuffed animals’ compulsion: it’ll fit nicely with the seahorse, the blue-ringed octopus, the stingray, the thylacine…) and drum rolllllllll Gourmet Style Road Kill Cooking by Jeff Eberbaugh.

It’s going to sit beautifully between my Doctor Who Cookbook and Tastes of Wales.

Thanks guys, the gifts are brilliant!

EBAY MADNESS!

Have a bit of money to spend on myself this week, and in a fit of madness decided I’d see what Ebay was all about on the off-chance I might be able to get myself something unusual and funky to sit alongside the ammonite fossils, the talking Dalek, Lyn’s chain mail earrings, and all the other flotsam and weirdsam with which we fill Triffbatt House.

At 11pm last night I snared myself a Roman ring from around 100AD.

Now the ring is groovy, and I can’t wait to get it in the mail and so on, (and I’ve subsequently bid on a bunch of other stuff too…) but I can’t help thinking that Ebay does remove a bit of the storytelling aspect to hunting down unusual items: “It was a terrible travail, son, to get this ring. I sat on my office chair so long my ass went numb…”

Weird: I actually think Ebay makes it too easy. I’m not sure I’ll use it a lot. I like the thrill of the hunt.

Of course, you’ll notice I mentioned that I HAVE bid on other stuff…

MORE WEBPAGEY GOODNESS

My Story Page is up! Snippets from all my sold stories specially handcraved in pleasing shapes to entice you to buy their parent magazines and make us all rich rich RICH!

You can also access this page from my biblio. See, ain’t I thoughtful?

OOOOOHHHHH, PRETTTYYYY….

Blogger has colours now…. Oooohhhhh…..

Okay, I’ll stop now.

ON TO REAL, ACTUAL, IMPORTANT NEWS

We just got back from the 20 week ultrasound. Everything looks okay. We also gave in to temptation and found out what sex Nemo is.

He’s a boy πŸ™‚

We’ve decided on Connor James for names, so I’ll finally put Nemo to rest now and start referring to him by his proper name.

The kids came with us, and got to see images of Connor for the first time. The boys are well excited at the thought of a baby brother. Cassie is slightly less pleased at the idea of another one like the boys running round the place πŸ™‚ On the other hand, she’s realised that it means she can go on specific-clothes shopping expeditions with her mum, so there’s a bright side to everything… We got the obligatory video as well, so visitors may have previews. You have been warned.

TICONDEROGA ISSUE 2

Is up! Short stories by the altogether groovy Geoffrey Maloney and Trent Jamieson, interviews with fabbo Perth writer KA Bedford and Agog Press’ Cat Sparks, book reviews, an editorial by yours truly, and more free items of gonzo goodness. Go see!

WHO IS NUMBER ONE?

Watched the 2nd DVD in The Prisoner series the other night, comprising episodes 5-8. I’m still loving it: I haven’t been this excited about a TV show since I discovered Red Dwarf about 10 years ago, and I don’t remember an SF movie or series this dense, intelligent, and enigmatic. Good pal Cheshire sent me a list showing various orders in which the episodes can be watched: Patrick McGoohan’s order for the ‘core’ 7 episodes leads me to ponder the phrase “Movie Night”… πŸ™‚

GROUPS, AND WRITING IN THEM

Attended the monthly KSP SF writing group today, and came away with mixed feelings. To my mind, the main function of a writing group is to write, and I’m bemused by a group that doesn’t take the opportunity of being together to do just that. Being the obsessive writer-geek that I am, I’m aware that all I need to write is an excuse, but I’ve never been terribly interested in getting together and spending 3 or 4 hours critiquing everyone’s work with nothing else involved. It’s important to get another’s view on your work, b ut it’s not the only thing you can do with a dozen like-minded people in close proximity with the sole purpose of being SF writers.

It brings back to me very strongly the notion that it’s important, if you’re going to be part of a group, to be part of one that fits your needs. After all, it’s voluntary, and any activity that doesn’t involve writing is taking you away from the reason you’re in it for the first place: the writing. I’m coming to the same conclusion with some of the mailing lists I’m on: a quick scan of the members shows that almost none of the big-name Oz SF writers are present, and it’s impossible to escape the feeling that while the rest of us are gabbing, they’re off somewhere else, writing. And I don’t know anymore if I can afford the time…

Events in the real world over the past few weeks have left me pondering my approach to most of what I do, and it’s beginning to feel like I need to turn that re-assessing eye onto my writing practices as well.

FAT LITTLE HAIRY WRITER ON THE WEB

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is pretty simple, actually: go along to Peridot Books and read my story in issue 21, posted this month– The Habit of Dying has a somewhat long and colourful history, involving non-payment, legal threats, and blacklisting (Remember kiddies, do NOT submit to Alien Q…) but thankfully the urbane and altogether froody Ty Drago and friends have rescued it from story oblivion, and you can see it at their brill website right now.

Go on then. Off you go…

TICONDEROGAPALOOZA

Only a couple of weeks now until the 2nd issue of Ticonderoga Online hits the virtual stands. The Luscious one was due to edit, as a result of having so recently helmed what is easily the best issue of Andromeda Spaceways In-flight Magazine yet produced, but has been unable to because of the threatened miscarriage. So the task has fallen to me, as editor of issue 3 (Lyn will take over that one if she’s well enough).

So keep some time free on the 15th of May: 2 stories have been chosen, from top-notch Australian talent, and there will be another first rate non-fiction article, as well as book reviews and me spouting opinions left, right and centre in my editorial. And if you haven’t seen issue one yet, get your asses over there and have a read: you just might learn something πŸ™‚

CHAT

So, due to public demand (okay, a couple of people asked), I’ve added a discussion board to the blog. The link’s down the bottom left of the page, to discuss stuff and things and stuff…

INCOMING MAIL

Got my bright, shiny, copy of the Luscious-edited ASIM 11 in the mail today. (Lyn got hers yesterday, but you know, RHIP…). It looks very cool, and the Luscious One has been bouncing around the place for over 24 hours, clutching it to her chest and singing “Look what I did, look what I did…”

I may be biased, but “Best issue ever” in my Simpson’s comic Book Store Guy voice. There’s a really talented group within its pages: the likes of Martin Livings, Dirk Flinthart, Rick Kennett, Paul Haines and Stephen Dedman have stories, while Kim Wilkins, Robert Hood, Terry Dowling, Stephen (again) and Greg Bear contribute to interviews.

Buy. Buy. BUY.

OUTGOING MAIL

Popped Love Me Electric in the mail today. Now to sit back and wait…

ON THE SOCIAL FRONT

My brother’s getting married this coming weekend, so on Saturday, Luscious Lyn went out on the Hen’s night while Scott and I performed the very manly Buck’s Night task of staying at home and looking after the babies πŸ™‚

Pizza and wrestling videos were the order of the night. Small question: what do wresting fans do with the brain cell when they’ve all had a turn with it? We also suffered through The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Not sure how seriously Scott was taking the whole thing: at the point where we see the Nautilus steaming across the surface towards Venice he turned to me and said “If you can read this, I’ve lost my skier”.

Sunday night found Lyn, Erin and I having dinner at Callisto and Cheshire’s place. It’s always fun with those guys. After a viewing of Pirates of The Caribbean (Arrrr!!!!), they showed us an Andy Lau movie called (I think) Mahjong Warrior. Don’t ask. Just picture us laughing in disbelief πŸ™‚ However, we did manage to formulate….

THE ORLANDO BLOOM PIRATE DRINKING GAME

It’s very simple. Put on Pirates, and every time pretty-boy Orlando tries to act by doing that little furrow with his eyebrows, take a swig. If you’re not rolling about laughing your ass off by the time they steal the Interceptor you’re either: a) a teetotaller, or b) a teenage girl so in love with PBO you’re cursing my bones for daring to intimate that this generation’s Keanu Reeves can’t act….

BLOG-NERDINESS

Got my 1500th hit on this blog a couple of days ago. Thanks for reading guys, I hope you enjoy my aimless ramblings

YOIKS, and AWAAAAYYYYYY!!!!!

Woohoo! Finally, after months of anticipation, the Battersby-Luscious-Farr-Grzyb edited e-zine TICONDEROGA ONLINE has launched its first issue!

Stories by Martin Livings and Jay Caselberg. Interviews with Sean Williams, and Stephen Dedman & Grant Watson. A science column by the merely brilliant Chris Lawson. Book reviews. Nice purple pages. Go read. NOW!!!!

A NEW VENTURE!

Well, after weeks of behind the scenes panicking and email-chatter, I’m proud to announce that I, along with Russell B Farr, Liz Grzyb, and the awesomely lovely Lyn Triffitt, am now one of the proud proprietors of the gonzo SF e-zine Ticonderoga Online.

We’re looking for original short stories, between 1,500 and 5,000 words, written by Australian residents. We want bizarre, gonzo stories; SF in the tradition of Howard Waldrop, Jack Womack, Tom Reamy, and Alfred Bester. We want stories that make us as excited as the first time we read “San Diego Lightfoot Sue” or “Night Of The Cooters”. Send us the stuff that even you think “What the hell kind of monster have I created here?”.

Get over there and read the guidelines, and then submit to us, goldurnit! We want to be the premiere venue for truly cutting edge Australian fiction, so if you’re getting a little bleh at all the pale imitations of each other you see when you look around, support something that aims to break some truly new ground.

Besides, if I’m giving up the 6 seconds free a day I was using for sleep, I want it to be worth it…

That address again: Ticonderoga Online. That’s Ticonderoga Online.

Okay? πŸ™‚

YEAH, WHATEVER

Okay, a new blog, just to chock up the internet with more pointless waffle of the “My name’s Persephone, I’m 8 years old, here’s a poem about my cat” variety…

All right, maybe not, but given this is supposed to be all about my writing I suppose I should start with a state of the nation address of some sort.

Having walked out of my much-loathed job in the middle of July with the prospect of a little less than 6 months Long Service Leave before me, I decided to set myself a couple of targets before they forced me to return in early January: write at least 12 short stories, including another in my series of Father Muerte stories and turn my 35000 word, hole-riven first novel draft into a shiny, gleaming, 90000 word magic masterpiece. Hmmm.

If I want to be a full-time writer and escape Public Service Hell, I thought, I’m goign to have to prove that I can do the business. Hmm and double hmm.

So, how am I going, halfway through my idyll?

Not too bad, actually. I’ve completed and sent out 5 stories: Goodfellow, a speculative romance starring the Merry Andrew manifestation of Puncinello; His Calliope, a murder/horror story set during the London Blitz; Jaracara’s Kiss, a vampire story that takes place amongst the snake-handlers of 1920’s Appalachia; Stalag Hollywood, in which the famous Holywood ‘uglies’ are rounded up and herded into a forced labour camp; and Rise of Nations, a feghoot with a truly awful pun. I even have a poem under consideration at Andromeda Spaceways In-flight Magazine, a rare occurrence indeed. The novel has been line-edited, and I plan to spend the next couple of weeks ploughing through and filling the many holes and correcting the pages and pages of horribly clumsy writing it contains.

Currently in production are: The Imprisonment of Marianne, a good old fashioned ghost story concerning a young female prisoner and the deal she makes with the spirit trapped in the walls of her cell; Through The Window Merrilee Dances, an anti-fantasy in which I try to inject just a little bit of reality into the traditionally shite fantasy milieu of castles and Kings; Elyse, a post-apocalyptic tale of what it means to be an invader, and how invasion doesn’t always involve territory; Vortle, a first-alien POV story about a different kind of first contact; Dying With Eddie, a story about immortality and the choices that go along with it; A Fork In The Sky, an actioner set in on an island community thousands of metres above sea level; The Communion of Big Numbers, about death, loneliness, and little messages on bits of paper; Eat The Moon, a story about Old Gods and what happens when they visit new towns with old names; Raquelme & Palermo, a mainstream story about two friends on a mercy dash; and Penny on the Tongue, about how childhood pranks have to change to keep pace with technology.

And in late, just-breaking news— I’ve just this moment received an email telling me that Aurealis want to buy Father Muerte & The Rain, the sequel to my story Father Muerte & The Theft which appeared in Aurealis 29 last year and went on to make the Recommended Reading List in Datlow’s Best SF & Horror Vol 16. Happy dance of joy! Father Muerte & The Truth , the third story in the series, is in pre-production (ie: the reading piles of books phase) so this is a real fillip to get in and get the new one started. Pope Joan, globsters, the Tunguska meteor and Lowenmensch statues. That’s all I’m saying at the moment, coz that’s all I’ve got… πŸ™‚