BATTBOY CATCHES UP

Okay, a bunch of things since the last post, so yoiks and away:

XMAS, THE MAKING OUT LIKE A BANDIT SEASON

So what was the point of packing away all the kids toys, when everybody just goes and buys more for them than we’d packed? My God, did the kids make out this year. My personal vote for cool present– the ant farm we gave Aiden, which uses not boring old dirt and earth but translucent blue gel developed on a space shuttle mission in an attempt to manufacture viable food sources for astronauts. Of course.

I did quite nicely myself, as it happens: 2, count them 2 volumes of the collected works of Theodore Sturgeon (Luscious and Fantastic Planet, I love you), a make your own Neanderthal head kit (from the kids. They know me so well.), the LP player for my computer I’ve been coveting, a CD/MP3 player for the car (all I have is a tape deck in my little green runabout)…. and in a long -standing tradition (ie: we did it for the first time this year), Lyn and I decided we would give each other a second-hand book as part of our presents, so I recieved the Best of SF&F.

Yay for me 🙂

Oh, and a couple of days before the event, Luscious came back from the video store with an ex-rentla copy of Finding Neverland for me, and a couple of days after, walked in and presented me with the DVD of War of The Worlds (NOT the Tom the Weenie version, tyvm!). Just because.

She loves me.

BATTERSBY ON THE WEB

The ultra-groovy and luvverly Anna Tambour has asked both Luscious and I whether she can post a story at her website. So as of this very moment, you can go here and read my story A Stone To Mark My Passing. Originally published in the CSFG anthology Elsewhere, it scored a mention in the Datlow/Windling Recommended Reading List, and is one of my better tales, imho. Go, read, enjoy. Consider it a taste of the coming-who-knows-when collection, where it will also appear.

Lyn’s story Simeon The Monkey will be up soon, and I’ll let you know.

ANOTHER NICE MOMENT OF RECOGNITION

On top of my Aurealis Awards nomination comes the news that Father Muerte & The Rain has been selected for inclusion in Australian Dark Fantasy & Horror: The Best of 2005. Pater Familias will cop a mention in the Recommended Reading list. Lyn’s brilliant story The Memory of Breathing will also be reprinted in the book, so start saving, Battfans.

SO SOON, SO SOOOOONNNNN……

You know how most drownings actually take place in sight of shore?

4 days until the new house is ours. 4 daaaaayyyyysssss…..

A NEW YEAR, A NEW SET OF RESOLUTIONS TO BREAK

Okay, so I’m going to: lose 10 kilos, write 10 stories and attempt to sell as many, write and sell a new novel, and I’ve set an amount of money I want to earn over and above my regular wages to contribute to the mortgage.

Odds anyone?

A nice task I set myself is to start each year by beginning a new story on the 1st of January, no matter what projects I’m already working on. Yesterday, I had 2 ideas while showering (I do some of my best work in the shower…), so Escapees and The Adding Machine have been added to the universal consciousness. I’ll let you know when they’re done.

WE’RE NOT GOING TO A PARTY, OR WHAT WE DID ON NEW YEAR’S EVE AND AFTER

So neither of us wanted to go to a party, we were both feeling peopled out and just wanted to stay at home, and Lyn felt the need for a personal shopping break. And while she was out I packed a million and a half boxes and was feeling pretty good about my work. And she bought herself 3 tops and a skirt for 70 bucks.

Which is why we ended up at PRK and Tori’s NYE gathering after all 🙂

It was fun, for the most part, although the two halves of the party who didn’t know each other seemed unable to share more than a few words before the inevitable butting in of mutual pals distracted everyone. Still, I had fun talking music with Sheldon, Chesh & the Perky One, and because of the kids we left late enough to have had a fab time and early enough not to feel drained. Apart from one pillock who needs a talking to I can’t be bothered to give them, it was a casual and entertaining night, and damn good for my spirits.

Yesterday, halfway through the afternoon, bogged off with packing and in possession of hamburgers and buns, we rang up Calli and Chesh and spent the early evening eating home-made burgers, chips from the chishunfip shop and downing cold drinkies. Which was pretty near the perfect way to end the day.

The older I get, the more I want my social gatherings small, intimate, intelligent and casual. And that’s just what I got yesterday. Aaaahhhhh.

LUNCH WITH LILY

A pleasant afternoon was spent in the company of Lily Chrywenstrom today, long time pal and editrix of the stylish magazine Fables And Reflections. Apart from using the occasion to thrust a story upon her, Luscious and I enjoyed the chance for a delightful conversation over lunch, and then the three of us wandered over to the nearby Elizabeth’s and went bookshopping. There’s something quite intimate about shopping for books with other people. You get a glimpse into their psyche from an angle you might not otherwise see, and any sharing of passions is an intimate thing. And booty was rescued from the cruel clutches of the shelves– I walked away with an old Kitchen Sink Press graphic novel entitled The Upturned Stone, a biography of Elizabethan mystery man Dr John Dee (Is that a Muerte plot I feel unfolding?), and a copy of Ambrose Bierce’s The Devil’s Dictionary.

I am a happy fat little Bierce fan tonight, my friends.

Back to work tomorrow, but at least it’s only a 3 day week, what with having Friday off for house moving purposes.

Song of the moment: Wuthering Heights Kate Bush

2005

I was going to save this until the 31st, but Luscious and Connor have gone out, Erin’s happily watching Pete’s Dragon, and I’ve got little to do before I make dinner and settle into some line editing, so what the hell:

1. What did you do in 2005 that you’d never done before? Go away on holiday with the full Triffbatt family. Attend the Aurealis Awards.

2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year? No, and no.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Callisto Shampoo and Cheshire had a baby boy, Vincent.

4. Did anyone close to you die? No.

5. What countries did you visit? None.

6. What would you like to have in 2006 that you lacked in 2005? A feeling of achievement. A copy of my short story collection in my hands. An agent. A completed novel. Another completed novel. A contract for one or both of them.

7. What dates from 2005 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? 26th March, our wedding date.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Marrying Luscious. Seeing a (protracted) end to the court case.

9. What was your biggest failure? How long have you got? Let’s keep it to a couple of the biggies: having to go back to a day job, and failing to have Napoleone’s Land completely edited and finished. It’s finished, but I’m still fiddling with it, so it doesn’t count as ‘past project’ in my mind.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? No, just the usual constant pain and discomfort I’ve grown used to over the last 4 years. Although I did have my first real back spasm during the year. That was tops.

11. What was the best thing you bought? The holiday to Brisbane for the family. An iPod for Lyn.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? Luscious, as always. I could have no better partner to take through my life. Without her, all would be dust.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? At times, almost everybody. I’ve had a low year, as goes other people.

14. Where did most of your money go? Didn’t have enough of it to keep count 🙂

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? My wedding. Erin and Connor’s birthdays. The move to the new house.

16. What song will always remind you of 2005? Chicago by Sufjan Stevens.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:i. happier or sadder? ii. thinner or fatter? iii. richer or poorer? About the same, although perhaps more reconciled to my life; fatter; richer, but making plans to change all that.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of? Writing, as always. Being with my family, especially as the current day job means over an hour’s travel each way.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of? Travelling to my day job. Having my day job. Wasting time. Relying on others.

20. How will you be spending Christmas? With Luscious, Erin and Connor, hanging around the house and relaxing. Boxing Day we have relatives coming over for lunch.

21. Who did you meet for the first time? Anna Tambour, online. Zoran Zivkovic and Jeff Vandermeer, ditto. The cool and froody Matt Farrer, in the flesh. Other than that, I can’t remember if I met any new faces. Apologies if I did, and it was you. I’m not having a good time for memory at the moment. Ask… you know… my wife… wossname…

22. Did you fall in love in 2005? Stayed in love. Much better.

23. What was your favourite TV program? I watched surprisingly little TV, for a guy with cable. The English Premier League, as usual. Lots of documentaries.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? No, but there are a few colleagues I think a lot less of.

25. What was the best book you read? Hmm, hard to say. Read some damn good ones, and some bloody awful ones. Right now I’m halfway through Tim Powers’ Drawing Of The Dark and Gregory Frost’s collection Attack of The Jazz Giants. That’ll do.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery? Sufjan Stevens. Also Tom Waites, who I first heard twelve years ago and hated. Stumbled across him again this year, and took the time to really listen. Loving it.

27. What was your favorite film of this year? Charlie and The Chocolate Factory goes close. The Corpse Bride, perhaps. Finding Neverland.

28. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? 35. Spent it at the day job, for the first time ever. Sums up my year, really.

29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Spending it writing, at home, with Luscious. More time with the kids. Less time dealing with arseholes who have it in their mind to disrupt my life.

30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2005? Same as usual. Sartorial dyslexia. Barefoot as often as possible.

31. What kept you sane? Having Luscious, Erin, and Connor to come home to.

32. What political issue stirred you the most? I hate politics, I hate politicians, and people who bang on about it have no concept of how boring they are.

33. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2005. Pick who you trust, and don’t pick too many. Do not let those who don’t matter distract you: they won’t be there to hear you regret things on your deathbed. Friends are only friendsa while they want to be: once they decide you don’t suit them they’ll issue ultimata or simply leave you to hang.

34. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

Your beauty and kindness
Made tears clear my blindness
While I’m worth my room on this earth
I will be with you
While the chief, puts sunshine on Leith
I’ll thank him for his work
And your birth and my birth.
– The Proclaimers, Sunshine on Leith (For Lyn, from our wedding)

And, scanning the posts from this time last year, I noticed I’d set myself some goals. Let’s see how they went, shall we?

1. Finish Nouvelle Hollande and sell: Nope

2. Write and sell my second novel: Nope.

3. Sell a short story collection, just in case the current publisher doesn’t pick it up: Nope. The current publisher picked it up, they just haven’t, well, published it.

4. 500 words every day of the year: Nope.

5. Sell 10 short stories: Nope.

6. Hey, remember those comic book ideas you had?: Nope.

So, the verdict: FAILURE.

Ah well, onto bigger and better failures next year.

Song of the moment: Christmas Card From a Hooker in Minneapolis Tom Waites

GIVING INTO TEMPTATION

All right then, everyone else seems to have had a crack at this 2004 list. Here’s mine.

1. What did you do in 2004 that you’d never done before?
Get nominated for an Aurealis Award. Witnessed natural childbirth.

2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I set some writing and personal goals, and achieved more than half, so for me that’s a win. I don’t so resolutions, but I do set personal and professional goals each year.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
You mean apart from Luscious? J
Lyn’s brother Ray and his partner Donna had a baby girl, Grace, about 2 months before us.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
My maternal grandfather, Eddie. We hadn’t been close for a few years, but he played a role in my childhood and taught me the only card trick I’ve ever learnt.

5. What countries did you visit?
Kidding, right? Much domestic travel but nothing overseas this year.

6. What would you like to have in 2005 that you lacked in 2004?
A feeling of professional success. A contract for a short story collection or novel wouldn’t hurt.

7. What dates from 2004 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
23rd January. Finally managed to extricate myself from the soul-hell that is the Australian Public Service.
26th November. Our son Connor was born.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Apart from Connor, and surviving the pregnancy with my nerves intact, probably getting out of the APS. My KSP residency was successful for the most part, too.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Not completing the novel in the time frame I set myself.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Not myself, but Lyn had enough problems with the pregnancy for both of us. I continued to carry the neck and back problems that have dogged me for the last 3 years.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Time with a chiropractor. I’ve had back neck problems since a car accident in late 2001, and by my first appointment could not turn my head to see my shoulders. Now I am able to do all sorts of groovy things people take for granted, like gardening, and seeing my shoulders.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Luscious Lyn, for facing a painful and horrible pregnancy with faith and determination, and the first weeks of Connor’s life with unparalleled love.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Some people in my private life, particularly one friend of Lyn’s who has since moved.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Into creating a lifestyle for my family.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
My son. Having the kids over when they came for their weekends.

16. What song will always remind you of 2004?
I rediscovered a lot of music this year. None really stand out as indicative of the year. I had my mind on other things, and frankly most current music is appaling shite.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder?
Happier, more settled.
ii. thinner or fatter?
Fatter, but don’t tell my doctor.
iii. richer or poorer?
Richer, both financially and spiritually.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Writing, selling.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Being afraid of the pregnancy.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?
Christmas morning opening presents with Lyn & the kids, then we’re going over to Ray & Donna’s for lunch and swimming in the pool. The kids go back to their father’s in the evening. Boxing Day my side of the family is coming over for lunch and more prezzies!

21. Who did you meet for the first time?
Not for the first time, but get a lot closer to the Sunday Night Crew, much to my benefit: Callisto Shampoo, Cheshire, Splanky, Mynxii, Kaneda, Sheldon, PRK & Torrie.

Also met the fabulous KA and Michelle Bedford, & the equally groovy Geoff and Diana Maloney, as well as some of the Vision crowd who came out to dinner with us during our abortive Brisbane holiday.

22. Did you fall in love in 2004?
Too late: I already am.

23. How many one-night stands?
None.

24. What was your favorite TV program?
Battlefield Detectives. The English Premier League. (Hell, I bought cable just so I could continue to watch it.) Invader Zim. Mythbusters.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Nope.

26. What was the best book you read?
The Compulsive Spike Milligan, complied by Norma Farnes.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Coin Operated Boy by The Dresden Dolls, and my stepdaughter Cassie’s musical taste.

28. What did you want and get?
Name Of The Rose on DVD.

29. What did you want and not get?
To get to Canberra for tha National SF Convention. To travel more, and get to more Cons.

30. What was your favorite film of this year?
Nothing really stands out.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
34. Spent it with the family.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
To have finished the novel or sold the collection.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2004?
Sartorial Dyslexia.

34. What kept you sane?
Luscious.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Meh. Silly question. Move along.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
Whilst it would horrify many of my peers, I really don’t give a rat’s arse about politics. I’m sure many of my colleagues would think me naïve, but I consider their passionate declaration for one clan over another the same way.

37. Who did you miss?
My pals from the Eastern States. I was very much looking forward to seeing them at Conflux, but events conspired against us. Hopefully one of my bestest pals will be coming over next year as Guest of Honour for one of the local cons, so I’m happily looking forward to catching up with him then. Also my mother, Monica Nelson, who died last year, and who deserved to see me reach some sort of happiness, and to meet her grandson.

38. Who was the best new person you met?
Met a bunch of new people, all of whom were groovy. I shan’t pick between them.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2004.
Don’t get distracted. Only one person will be to blame if you don’t achieve your goals. The speed of light may be the fastest speed in the Universe, but the speed of litigation is the slowest.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
When I get home from work, I want to wrap myself around you,
I want to hug you and squeeze you until the passion starts to rise.
If I could take you to heaven, that would make my day complete.

You and me ain’t no superstars,
What we are is what we are.
We share a bed, some loving, and TV.
That’s enough for a working man,
What I am is what I am.
I tell you sweetheart, that’s good enough for me.
-You and Me, Alice Cooper.

ON SETTING GOALS, AND THEN WHISTLING HAPPILY AS THEY SPEED BY…

So with only 4 1/2 days left in the yera, and with no chance of me clearing any more goals off my to-do list, let’s have a look at what I set myself way back in January, and whether I did in fact get through them.

1. Complete and send out 12+ short stories, including 2 new Father Muerte tales (and especially including the much-talked-about-to-anyone-who’ll-listen-but-not-actually-started-yet Father Muerte & The Flesh)

We’ll halve this one. I completed the 12 short stories, but as of writing have only written one Muerte story (although it is And The Flesh), which I’ll be sending out in the next week or so.

2. The spine of the Napoleon novel worked out by 31st March. An actual title beyond The Napoleon Novel might be good, too.

Yup. Got this down.

3. Said spine fully fleshed out, with detailed character run-downs and plot twists engaged, by 30th June.

Yup. In fact, started writing earlier than anticipated.

4. 10 000 words of the novel written by the time I start the residency on 15th August.

Fell slightly behind with this one, but more than made up for it whilst at the residency, so that was okay.

5. 10 000 words of the novel completed during each week of the residency.

With ease 🙂 In the end I managed 50 000 words in the 4 weeks I was there, plus 5 short stories.

6. Complete enough of the novel by 31st December to enable me to start contacting agents and publishers.

Ummmmm…….. lot of weather we’re having, isn’t it? Hey, isn’t that Elvis?
FX: Footsteps running off into distance.

7. As part of my desire to start making my name overseas, send stories to the following magazines: F&SF; Asimov’s; Sci-fi.com; Chi-Zine; Oceans Of The Mind; Leading Edge; Gothic.net; Interzone; The Third Alternative; Strange Horizons; Weird Tales; The Strand; and 3SF.

Close, ever so close. Managed to send stories to all but Gothic.net, leading Edge, the Strand, and Weird Tales, plus managed to send to several new markets not on the list including Argosy and Brutarian. Call it a win.

8. Dust off those old comic book ideas I’ve had kicking in my files for donkey’s, and actually send a completed script to DC and/or Marvel

Ah well, can’t win ’em all.

All in all, I’ll accept it as a reasonable year, especially as the pregnancy derailed many career-based plans that Luscious and I had for ourselves.

SO TO 2005

Now, next year’s goals:

1. Finish Nouvelle Hollande and sell

2. Write and sell my second novel. The idea is in place, along with a tentative title of Lethologica.

3. Sell a short story collection, just in case the current publisher doesn’t pick it up.

4. 500 words every day of the year

5. Sell 10 short stories.

6. Hey, rememebr those comic book ideas you had?

Let’s see how that goes, shall we?

NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS

Ah well, I suppose everyone else is doing it, so I should make some goals for 2004 (apart from the obligatory “Lose all this weight currently turning me into Perth’s finest Peter Jackson impersonator”)

So, after due consideration, and in the full knowledge that I have to get off my ever-widening ass and write my Napoleon novel now I have a residency in August solely predicated on me working on the damn thing while I’m there, here are my writing resolutions for yon upcoming year:

1. Complete and send out 12+ short stories, including 2 new Father Muerte tales (and especially including the much-talked-about-to-anyone-who’ll-listen-but-not-actually-started-yet Father Muerte & The Flesh)
2. The spine of the Napoleon novel worked out by 31st March. An actual title beyond The Napoleon Novel might be good, too.
3. Said spine fully fleshed out, with detailed character run-downs and plot twists engaged, by 30th June.
4. 10 000 words of the novel written by the time I start the residency on 15th August.
5. 10 000 words of the novel completed during each week of the residency.
6. Complete enough of the novel by 31st December to enable me to start contacting agents and publishers.
7. As part of my desire to start making my name overseas, send stories to the following magazines: F&SF; Asimov’s; Sci-fi.com; Chi-Zine; Oceans Of The Mind; Leading Edge; Gothic.net; Interzone; The Third Alternative; Strange Horizons; Weird Tales; The Strand; and 3SF.
8. Dust off those old comic book ideas I’ve had kicking in my files for donkey’s, and actually send a completed script to DC and/or Marvel.

Check back here at irregular intervals for GOAL-WATCH, to laugh and throw rocks at me for how badly I’m achieving them 🙂