Monday, May 31, 2010


This past week I've been off work, using up some of my holiday. And it's been bliss. I've planted tomatoes, strawberries, runner beans and both red and green peppers in the garden (as well as a patio rose bush), did a little writing, and, on Friday, hired a car and went to Chatsworth House. It was absolutely beautiful. The house is striking in its grandeur against the lush countryside around it. To be honest though, I was a little disappointed when touring the house - the state rooms were lovely, but the rest of the house we were allowed to tour was more like a museum than a residence, and it's the people that interest me. The gardens, on the other hand, were magnificiant. If you can't find inspiration for a Fantasy world setting there, then I don't know where. The rock garden in particular was beautiful - going to bore you with a few photos, but you get the idea!

Officially I am now part of the Speculators group, which is a SF writing group that meets every week on Queens Road. They're producing a magazine to promote the group, and this was the motivation to finish my short story "Tick", which is the steampunk reworking of Inter Vivos. The word limit for the mag was only 1,500, so I think I'm going to go back to the story and develop it further.

Development for my Corrie Flint/Selena Waterford/Mattthew Gray story is coming along, although I still don't have anything to link all the stories together - aside from the fact that they all take place in London. I'm sure my brain will puzzle it out eventually though.

Hope you all enjoy your bank holiday Mondays!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


I'm on a bit of a diet/health kick at the moment, as it is more economical for me to fit into my old clothes than to have to go out and buy exactly the same but in a larger size. I've been doing really well, except that after lunch and dinner, I always want something sweet. I'm sitting here now, typing this, trying not to eat all of the Aero Bubbles that I bought just a minute ago, after my fairly healthy red chard and parmasan salad. Just so tasty though... I feel I'm fighting a losing battle.

I can't start the Three Sisters story. It just won't come. I've been trying to write it for about 3 weeks now, and it's just painful - both in the writing and the reading sense. So, I've decided to shelve that story, and instead I am going to work on my second draft of Dorcas Grubb, and also a couple of short stories I started that I want to finish. A bit of a recap for you: Dorcas Grubb was my NaNoWriMo winning novel of 2008. It features a teenage girl called Dorcas, who's father has just died, and so the family (her mum, older brother, and baby sister) move in with their maternal Grandfather in Leicester (UK). That is where she discovers that the family have a genetic abnormality which means they can travel back in time.The story is about a girl who is dealing with a lot of grief, about a family falling apart and then falling apart some more before finally coming back together, and about a girl who isn't the brightest, or prettiest, or thinnest, but who has a good heart, and wants to find her place in the world. I think it would make a good series, maybe 3 or 4 books, aimed at early teens. Then I'd fast forward in time to start a new series centred around Tabitha, Dorcas's baby sister, all grown up - she's the one with the uber-powers, you see (Dorcas in the first book is constantly over-shadowed by her baby sister!). As usual, I'll keep you updated on my progress.

There, all my Aero Bubbles are gone now. Good job I'm doing aerobics tonight. Sigh.

Monday, May 10, 2010

My First Convention!

I'm going to my first SF convention in June. I recently bought a ticket to Alt.Fiction, which takes place in Derby. Apparently it's a good one to start off with, so I'm pretty excited to go. I only really got in to Science Fiction and Fantasy in 2008, after I was told that that's what genre Inter Vivos was. I grew up reading Roald Dahl, Point Romance and Point Horror (back in 1993 when they were popular, so don't scoff!), and children's versions of classic novels - Great Expectations, Tale of Two Cities, Stories of Edgar Allen Poe. It wasn't that I was snobbish against Science Fiction, but those SF stories were always marketed as "Boys' books", and I was never exposed to them. I was aware of Sci-Fi only through Star Wars (a film I didn't watch until I was 17). I first heard of The Hobbit at age 15 and I'm sad to say I probably didn't know anything about Lord of the Rings until the first film came out. So I've been playing "catch-up" since 2008. It's important to know about the genre that you're writing in - not just what's current and what sells, but the history and roots of the genre. I think I'm doing a pretty good job at catching up. I don't like the hard Sci-Fi stuff, as I tend to find most that I've read is not character-focused enough for me. I'm reading Octavia Butler (Wild Seed) at the moment, and she is brilliant in the way she crafts a story - she doesn't mess about, just gets on with it, somehow seamlessly filtering in the back story so she doesn't have to worry about exposition. I wish I could do that.
If anyone has any suggestions of good SF/Fantasy books to read, then please let me know. I'm on to either Ursula le Guin or Orson Scott Card next.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Quick Post...

...Just to prove I'm still alive. Last week I drove almost 400 miles for work (which is a big achievement seeing as it's only my second trip out in the car). Went to Esher, in Surrey, and Canterbury (Kent). Was very nice, weather was lovely, and it was nice to be away, even though it was for work and not a holiday, even though I did get to see the sea. Have been enjoying a lazy bank holiday, but back to work (in more ways than one) tomorrow!