Sunday, January 25, 2015

Tokyo To Toronto.

I've just returned from visiting my friend Alan in Toronto. We were pretty close in Tokyo, and always stayed in touch, but we haven't actually seen each other since 1996.

It was great, and we very quickly fell back into the easy relaxed friendship we had in those days. Our interests and tastes are still very similar so we discussed a lot of film, music and literature. There are not many people who I can sit and discuss The Beatles with, and even fewer who are familiar with the differences between various takes of their songs.

But I'm back now, and almost ready to return to work this week.

It's going to be interesting, returning to my old school. A place I feel so familiar and yet have not been part of for almost a year.

But 2015 is the year of changes for me. In many ways. And, I hope, most of those changes will be for the better.

Monday, January 19, 2015


Dear Steve's story,

Thanks for coming along to the party. It was great having you here.

You're a lot of fun. You were well written and action packed and we loved everything you said, but ultimately you just don't fit in with the rest of the guests. I'm afraid we're going to have to ask you to leave now.

Don't take this the wrong way. You're a good story, and we hope you can find another party where you will fit in. We'd certainly be delighted should one of your friends join us at our next party.

With love,

The other stories who were accepted.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Ditmar Awards Again

Nominations have opened for the 2014 Ditmar Awards.

I'm eligible with a whole bunch of stories, but there are two in particular that have achieved some success and recognition.


published by Mike Resnick in Galaxy's Edge #7. It has garnered some great reviews, and was selected by Mike for inclusion in The Best of Galaxy's Edge.

The Last of the Butterflies

published by Keith Stevenson in Dimension6 #3. Again some great reviews, and reprinted in Dimension6: Annual Collection 2014.

Should you feel these stories are worthy of a nomination, I would certainly appreciate the support.
Nominations for the 2015 Australian SF (“Ditmar”) awards are now open and will remain open until one minute before midnight Perth time on Sunday, 1st of February, 2015 (ie. 11.59pm, GMT+8). Postal nominations must be postmarked no later than Friday, 30th of January, 2015.
The current rules, including Award categories can be found HERE.

You must include your name with any nomination. Nominations will be accepted only from natural persons active in fandom, or from full or supporting members of Swancon 40, the 2015 Australian National SF Convention. Where a nominator may not be known to the Ditmar subcommittee, the nominator should provide the name of someone known to the subcommittee who can vouch for the nominator’s eligibility. Convention attendance or membership of an SF club are among the criteria which qualify a person as “active in fandom”, but are not the only qualifying criteria. If in doubt, nominate and mention your qualifying criteria. If you received this email directly, you almost certainly qualify.

You may nominate as many times in as many Award categories as you like, although you may only nominate a particular person, work or achievement once. The Ditmar subcommittee, which is organised under the auspices the Standing Committee of the Natcon Business Meeting, will rule on situations where eligibility is unclear. A partial and unofficial eligibility list, to which everyone is encouraged to add, can be found HERE.

Online nominations an be made via this form.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

On A Tangent.

What a great way to start the New Year.

I woke up this morning to find my story, Holland:1944, had made Tangent's recommended reading list. 

This story has a strange genesis. 

The short version is it evolved from an anonymous post I made on a forum in response to comments made by someone who, I found out much later, had been bullying some friends of mine. That post became a running joke on the forum for well over a year before this story was published. 

The long version is probably best told over a couple of beers - especially if you're buying.

Mike Resnick bought the story for Galaxy's Edge #7, and then selected it for his anthology, The Best of Galaxy's Edge.  Tangent's list is quite long, so I won't reproduce it here. Congratulations to everyone who made the list. Below are inclusions by some of my friends.

"A Perfect Day Off the Farm" by Patty Jansen (Extreme Planets)
"The Nursery Corner" by Kaaron Warren (Fearsome Magics)
"Elsa's Spheres" by Marina J. Lostetter (IGMS #37)
"Human Strandings and the Role of the Xenobiologist" by Thoraiya Dyer (Clarkesworld #90)
"Holland: 1944" by Steve Cameron (Galaxy's Edge #7)
"The Nechronomator" by Brad R. Torgersen (Galaxy's Edge #7)
"Pocket Full of Mumbles" by Tina Gower (Galaxy's Edge #8)
"Honey, Plums and Cinnamon" by Andrea G. Stewart (Galaxy's Edge #9)
"Matial" by Lou J. Berger (Galaxy's Edge #9)
"Song of the Sargasso" by Marina J. Lostetter (Galaxy's Edge #11)
"The Mandelbrot Bet" by Dirk Strasser (Carbide Tipped Pens)
"Imma Gonna Finish You Off" by Marina J. Lostetter (Galaxy's Edge #6)
"The Cuckoo" by Sean Williams (Clarkesworld #91)
"The Newboy’s Last Stand" by Krystal Claxton (UFO 3)
"Life Flight" by Brad R. Torgersen (Analog, 3/14)
"Recapturing the Dream" by Brad R. Torgersen (Racers of the Night)

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Start All Over Again.

I was hoping to have more good writing news to finish off the year, but sadly it seems as though that's not going to be the case. On the other hand, I do hope to shortly have some to see in the New Year. And that would get 2015 off to a flying start.

It's been a good year for me, although one that has been slightly odd. Changing schools in March, then finishing up there as the work dried up. Prepping to return to my old school. A great trip to the UK and Turkey, catching up with family and then going to Worldcon in London. A fabulous week in Istanbul and spending time with an old friend from Tokyo days. Setting goals and focusing on writing self-discipline, and actually seeing results from it. (Who'd have thought?) And having a few epiphanies about myself along the way.

Resolutions? I don't believe in them, and I don't make them. I believe if you want to change something, then just get straight into it. You don't need to wait until New Year to get started.

I do, however, see New Year as a time to wipe the slate clean and start again. Time passes, and years are what we use to measure that passage. As a teacher, who works to a calender academic year, I see this time as very much the ending and beginning. A time of recovery, re-energising and rebirth, so to speak.

And I feel writing wise, 2014, although successful in many ways, was not all I hoped it would be. It was the year I put several plans into action. It was the year I developed long-term writing plans. I know where I'm going and what I'm doing next year. And I have high hopes it will happen.

Happy New Year.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

View Who?

Doctor Who was something I watched only occasionally as a child. I'm not really sure why. I suspect one TV, four channels and six people had something to do with it.

When new Doctor Who started in 2005, I made the decision to hold off watching it til I ran through all the old episodes. I eventually started doing just that, a year or so ago, and from time to time continue on from where I left off. I still have quite a way to go.

So I made the decision recently to watch in parallel. Continue with the old Who, and start on the new Who. I also decided to do my research, to find the viewing order for each of these series, specials, spinoffs, and mini-episodes.

I figured it would be quite easy. Surely in fandom someone would have sat down and worked out an easy-to-read viewing order for every single piece of Who that has been shown. Well if they have, I've yet to find it.

I found several where fans have constructed an order for the bits they want to include. Some were very detailed indeed. But I wanted a simple plan. I wanted one where I could, for the most part, switch between entire series of Torchwood, K-9, Sarah Jane and Doctor Who rather than alternating single episodes. And so I've started constructing the order I plan to watch them in. I still have some work to do on my order for old Who.

On the menu to the right is a Doctor Who tab. You'll find my viewing order there. It is a work in progress, as I'm sure I've missed bits.

Oh, and for an Whovian experts out there, I would appreciate any ideas, comments or inclusions.


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Another Dimensional Foray.

Another sale this week.

Keith Stevenson at Coeur de Lion has bought a story to be printed in Dimension6. He previously published So Sad, the Lighthouse Keeper in Anywhere But Earth, and The Last of the Butterflies in issue 3 of Dimension6. I'm thrilled I'll have the opportunity to work with him again.

This story, entitled Lodloc and the Bear, will be published in Issue 6, due in October, 2015.

Congratulations to my writing buddy, David McDonald, who also sold a story to Keith this week. His work will be available in the July issue alongside a piece by Stacey Larner.

Dimension6 publishes three issues a year, each with three stories. Keep an eye out for them in 2015. Based on the first three, you can't go wrong. Oh, and did I mention they're free?

A sale like this certainly puts you in the right frame of mind for the festive season, now doesn't it? If I don't see you before, have a great Christmas.