Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Andy Remic: Writer, Film-maker, Mentor and Friend.

I had the privilege and honour of spending an afternoon with Andy Remic. Not only is he a friend, but he's a fabulous author with more publishing credentials than I could ever achieve.

Yeah, we hang out from time to time. We meet up for drinks, to watch TV shows, to listen to music and just chat.

Among our many chats, we've talked about writing before - quite a few times. He's also done me the great honour of reading some of my work and offering fantastic advice and feedback. We've even talked about the industry. We've talked about the work involved, the contracts, the business, the hopes and dreams, the problems encountered. And all the while he's been patient, encouraging and supporting.

This time, however, was different, and I can't quite put my finger on how. Sure, we talked about the same range of writing topics, but there was a lot more about the mechanics of writing, of getting published. It seemed to me as though the discussion was more focused and structured. More than that, though, I think I was more active in my listening (not that I don't ever listen to advice from someone who know what they're doing) and I think I asked better questions.

I left feeling energised and inspired. Thanks Andy, for your time, your advice, your encouragement and your friendship.

And if you're not familiar with Andy's work, check out this review in last week's Grimdark

Remic is so good at creating a horrific vision of the front—of hopelessness and horror, of surrender and grit, of the randomness of death when a million people are trying to kill you in a million different ways.
A fun book, with a big mid-novella twist and a constant sense of foreboding, Return of Souls gives fans of this series more of what we loved about A Song for No Mans Land, and then turns up the fantasy dial.

 Surely that's enough to get you started.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

The Ever Sneaky and Mysterious Thoraiya Dyer.

Thoraiya Dyer is a name many of you will recognise. She's a great writer and also a friend - although we've only really met twice in person, chatted once on the phone, and never spent anywhere near enough time together. We don't even e-communicate very often. Her online presence is restricted to a website, a few tweets and, like many mysterious and elusive beings, a couple of photos. (which may or not be her)

So it's no surprise to accidentally discover she has a new release on Tor books.'Part two of A Titan's Forest series, Echoes of Understorey continues on from last year's Crossroads of Canopy. Already it has received excellent reviews - including a star review in Publisher's Weekly.
"There’s far more to this story than can easily be summarized, and readers will savor its intricacy, depicted in evocative prose (“the monsoon greeted her with a wet slap across the face”). Dyer skillfully weaves elements of mythology, family loyalty, and divine destiny into a distinctive, enchanting, and complete world."
But if that's not enough to convince you, consider the following as well:

"I am majorly impressed with Thoraiya Dyer's Crossroads of Canopy. A unique, gorgeous, and dangerous world, a stubborn female hero, and a writer to watch!"--Tamora Pierce

"For her striking first novel Crossroads of Canopy, Thoraiya Dyer reworks the stuff of epic fantasy in ways that seem organic, rooted in the natural world but just as true to human experience." --Locus magazine

"Recommended for readers who appreciate nuanced world building, as both Canopy and Understorey arestrange, fleshed-out lands thrown into turmoil."--Booklist

I've read quite a bit of Thoraiya's work, and I can highly recommend both her short and longer fiction to you. Although I have yet to read Echoes of Understorey, I look forward to doing so. And I must admit to being jealous of those of you who will encounter Thoraiya's writing for the first time.

Congratulations, Thoraiya.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Another Impending Publication.

Did I mention I have another story being published in a few months?

I certainly hinted, back here, but I don't believe I have given any further details.

The Lady who Sings to the Dead is set in Australia long after an apocalypse but in a non-technological time. This story occurs in the same world and many years following the events depicted in two of my other stories, The Last of the Butterflies and Fireflies.

I can trace its origins to a tour I undertook many years ago in Port Arthur - a convict colony in Tasmania with a painful and violent history in the most glorious surroundings. Those familiar with Port Arthur will no doubt easily find the connection.


This will mark my fifth publication in Outposts of Beyond, the first since 2014. And it's good to be back. Alban Lake has always been a supportive, encouraging and fair publisher. I look forward to receiving my contributor copy. Keep an eye out for the release date in July.

As for other stories set in this same world? I have a few ideas. Watch this space.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Home Again, Home Again?

I'm confused.

I'm currently in Australia, at the tail end of a two week visit, and in a day or so I'll be heading home. Or am I currently at home, and heading off again?

Since July 2016 I've been working and residing in the UK with Lindsey. That's where you'll find our dogs, our TV, my Beatles' albums and our car. But I grew up in Australia, so for so many years that was my home. Before that, however, I was born in Scotland and emigrated to Australia when I was a tot.

So which is my home?

Both, in different ways. But for now I'm heading home, with a bag full of Tim-Tams to share with Lindsey. If you drop in for a coffee after I get back, you might just score one.

Monday, February 12, 2018

The Weather With You.

The past week has been cool, although milder than it has been. Temperatures have ranged from 6 to 10c and mostly dry. Yes, there have been a few showers, but nothing terrible.

In a couple of days it will be high 20s into the 30s. Not in Lincoln, of course, but in Melbourne, Australia.

Apart from articles about my Australian Football team, and the odd bits of news I pick up through Facebook, I have no idea of what's happening back home. Entertainment, politics, news or sport - none of it. I stopped reading the Australian news and weather a few months after arriving over here. There just didn't seem much point, and I felt it was more important to be aware of what was happening here in the UK.

But I've been tracking the Melbourne weather for the past few weeks as I'm heading home in a few days, time to visit family and friends. It appears I'll be arriving into a 33c day. Guess I won't be needing my winter jacket and scarf.

I was planning to get up to a football match, although I think that's now fallen through. I have made some plans to hang out with my best friend, to have dinner with others, to visit my school, and to catch up with family.

I've also made arrangements to visit Deakin University, where I studied all those years, and to chat with some staff there regarding the differences between the Australian and UK tertiary systems. Aaah, Professional Development - grab it where you can.

When I booked my ticket I wasn't too fussed. Yes, I was looking forward to going, but as the departure date approaches my excitement continue to grows. I really can't wait to see my family and friends.

And Tim Tams. There will be Tim Tams.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

With Infinite Complacency: Some Reviews.

Goodreads and Amazon have received excellent reviews for the Beautiful Lies, Painful Truths anthology of which I am a part. And I'm excited by the number of these that mention my name and story in particular.

Unlike the review of Sherlock Holmes: The Australian Casebook in The Australian, Steve Connor doesn't make an appearance. These all get my name correct.

For those who missed the earlier announcementLeft Hand Publishers describe this release as a collection of short stories from writers around the world, spanning different genres, to bring you a compendium of tales to provoke thought, entertain you, and even mystify your imagination.

My story, With Infinite Complacency,  is about Australian astronaut Amanda Jefferies, who finally makes it onto the International Space Station only to watch in horror as the apocalypse unfolds on the Earth below.

The publisher describes my story as a "sci-fi saga about the end of the world, cosmic lies, and bananas."

Some Goodreads and Amazon review quotes:

"Steve writes with authenticity about his characters and their true-to-life scientific environment."

"...there are some incredible pieces of short fiction in this anthology. Among my favorites 
     With Infinite Complacency by Steve Cameron ..."

"... With Infinite Complacency by Steve Cameron is a science fiction tale. ... I love the concept in this story and the twist at the end. I also loved the idea how would you feel if you were  alone in the universe?" 

"I enjoyed them all, but those that stick with me are Red Carnation, With Infinite Complacency, Death and the Horse, The Fall, and The Half-Dead Man." 

Thank you for the reviews, and thank you for reading our stories. 

Friday, January 26, 2018

James Worrad is a Very Naughty Writer.

I first met James Worrad at Loncon in 2014. I knew someone, who introduced me to two other people, who then introduced me to three other people, of which James was one. Really, this was exactly how it happened.

We stayed in touch online, and then when I moved to the UK, we continued to stay in touch online. Although James lives about an hour from me, we rarely manage to be in the same room together. From time to time we catch up, and can I just point out that he continues to be as bad an influence as he ever was.

He is corrupting, naughty, and sometimes very funny. Oh, and he is a writer.

His first novel is out. Or about to be out. Or something like that. The Scalpel is the first in him Feral Space series, and draws on the weird story of the Gibbon Sisters. Now this is a case I am actually familiar with, and I love the idea James has put it to good use.
"Eerie as heck but oddly moving. The two girls couldn’t function apart but knew they were consuming each other’s identities as time progressed. They announced one of them would die and, hey presto, one of them did that very day, just collapsed in her sister’s arms. Feral Space doesn’t go that way, but I wanted to take the twins’ predicament to an extreme: two sisters sharing a single body and presenting themselves as one to the rest of the world. The idea of showing that in a novel set my keyboard alight."
Keep an eye out for James, and if you see him around take pity on him and throw a few pounds in his direction.  Seriously, buy this book.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

New Years And New Plans.

At the beginning of every year people make plans and resolutions.

Not me.

If I want to make a change, then I try to do it. No need to align with a date of imaginary importance. I think the last resolution I made (and didn't keep) was back in the 20th Century. I just don't really see the point. I suppose a large part of that is my failure to keep my resolutions.

I do, however, use New Year as a time of reflection and planning for the future. Nothing formal, simply a few thoughts about what I have done and what I hope to achieve. Writing usually pops into my brain, as does playing my guitar more often with the intent to improve. And there's sometimes something about exercise and planning earlier for work.

You might be asking right now what the difference is between these and resolutions. Simple. This is merely planning, and I don't make it a promise.

As the Australian academic year rolls around, this was the time when we had our summer break. This was when I had some free time to get on with things and I needed to start preparing for the commencement of the school year.

Of course that doesn't apply here in the UK. The extended break is in July and August. So this year I took the opportunity to eat well and go for long walks with Lindsey and the dogs.

Hope you all had a good Christmas and New Year.