Life gets in the way

I wish I could say I’ve been neglecting this blog because I’m hard at work on my novel edits or learning ebook formatting. Something productive.

Nope. Just been busy with life stuff. Work’s been a bit more demanding than usual, the kids have activities, the batteries have been running low. Life stuff.

After a couple of weeks of “just not feeling it” on the novel, I realised what the problem was: I’ve strayed from The Plan.

I need one of these

For the past couple of years I’ve been pushing myself to get writing done by creating weekly, monthly and annual plans. (Apparently I respond well to the dopamine hit of putting a line through an item on a checklist). From a master list of Stuff To Be Done, I’ve taken a little time every Sunday to revise my plan and figure out the list of Stuff To Be Done Right Now. For a good year now, that approach has helped keep my on track and moving.

But since I came back from overseas, I’ve been running just to stay in place. The weekly planning ritual was just one more thing, where I needed to economise on one-more-things. So I let it slip.

Productivity, as they say, went out the window. I don’t know if I’m unusual in this regard, but I find it hard to build new habits – the good ones, at any rate. On the other hand, I’m world-class at letting them unravel in a heartbeat.

The realisation that I had dropped the ball on the writing coincided with the eventual break in the other stuff. Or maybe it was not a coincidence – maybe I just didn’t have the space to figure myself out until I had a bit of breathing room.

Either way, the weekly planning session is now firmly back in place. I’m making a checklist of old projects to finish and new work to explore.Just as soon as I’ve taken the kids to their swimming lessons and vacuumed the floors.


Share : Share on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on GooglePlusShare on PinterestShare on Linkedin
Posted in Weekend reset, Writing news | Tagged | 1 Comment

Mnemo’s Memory – The Worlds of Science Fiction Fantasy and Horror Volume 2

Ooh, it’s here at last!

My novelette “Mnemo’s Memory”, an airship romance with sky pirates, mnemonic robots and a villain skulking in a volcano lair, has been published!

The Worlds of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror, Volume 2 is out now from Altair Australia.

The Worlds of Science Fiction Fantasy and Horror Vol 2

I’m very fond of this story, which is an unapologetically implausible adventure yarn featuring a resourceful inventor, her steam-powered butler and a grizzled airship captain on a desperate manhunt in the Antarctic.

It’s big, ridiculous steampunk fun – if steampunk had been popular in the 60’s, the movie version would have starred Natalie Wood and Tony Curtis, with the voice of Dick Van Dyke as Mnemo, and George Peppard as the villain, being paid by the scenery-chewing pound.

Damn, I’d really like to watch that movie now.

I haven’t had a chance to read the rest of the anthology yet, but I’m excited to dip into it. I share a table of contents with Australian authors Samantha Murray and Victoria Knight, and New Zealand’s Lyn McConchie. As for the rest of the contributors, it’s an international affair, with authors from the Americas, throughout Africa and Europe, and Singapore.

The Worlds of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Volume 2, edited by Robert N Stephenson (Altair Australia 2017) is available in all ebook formats from Smashwords, or in paperback from Amazon Createspace.

(Oh, and it’s free from Smashwords!)

Share : Share on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on GooglePlusShare on PinterestShare on Linkedin
Posted in Announcements | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Temporarily elsewhere

In a few hours I’m catching a plane to some far-flung corner of the earth. Or maybe not that far-flung, but I will cross more time zones and lines of latitude than I’m used to.

The wide teal-and-orange yonder

I know there are people who travel regularly for work and love it. I’m not one of those people. My stress levels tend to spike in direct correlation with my unfamiliarity with the people, places and situations I find myself in. My job for the next week will be training strangers in a foreign country – hello, stratospheric anxiety levels.

There’s a silver lining for my writing. I have a stack of editing to do, and a couple of short story ideas gnawing the back of my brain. Travel involves a lot of downtime in airports. I won’t have much access to the internet.

Three great problems that taste great together.

With luck – and if I can hold off the cold everyone else in my house caught this week – I can make up for the unproductive couple of weeks that led up to this trip. I could hardly do worse!

See you after next weekend, folks.

Share : Share on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on GooglePlusShare on PinterestShare on Linkedin
Posted in Personal | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Fauxcon and the Aurealis Awards

Headlining this after-action report: I did not win an Aurealis Award.

Watch this, Lise. You can actually pinpoint the second when his heart rips in half.

The gong in my category, Best Fantasy Short Story, went to the very deserving “Where the Pelican Builds Her Nest” by Thoraiya Dyer from the In Your Face anthology. (I highly recommend the anthology, although be warned that many of the stories are confronting, if not gut-wrenching). My sincere congratulations to Thoraiya, who is one of my favourite Australia fantasy authors.

A dozen or so Canberra writers gathered in the chilly northlands to follow the action on Twitter and Facebook, whilst swilling various warming beverages in a convivial air. Our host Ian McHugh even stoked the fire pit so we could sit outside toasting marshmallows and more effectively disturbing the neighbours.

For lingering evidence of how the evening went, you can search Twitter for the hashtag #Fauxcon. I accept no responsibility for anything you may find if you conduct that search, but consider this a content warning for bad language and ribaldry.

Writers in their natural environment, gathered about the cheese platter

And happily, we had winners in attendance on the night. Tim Napper picked up his first Aurealis Award for “Flame Trees” in the Best Horror Short Story category, and Kaaron Warren won Best Horror Novel for “The Grief Hole”. Both were over the moon at their wins (“over the moon” was not the expression we used on the night, by the way).

Leife Shallcross, who graciously agreed to deliver my acceptance speech in the event of an incredible upset, got to deliver her own speech – she won Best Young Adult Short Story for “Pretty Jenny Greenteeth”. So it was a pretty good night for the CSFG crowd.

And I was delighted – very loudly so – when my friend Andrea K Höst won Best Fantasy Novella for “Forfeit” from her self-published collection The Towers, The Moon. “Forfeit” is a fabulous romantic adventure set in her Trifold Age series, and might be my new favourite work in her impressive catalogue.

Huge thanks to the Aurealis organising committee for another fantastic effort in coordinating the judging panels, trophies and ceremony. They do an amazing and important job each year – thank you Katherine Stubbs, Tehani Croft, the judging panels and everyone else involved.

Thanks too to the committee for providing a live stream of the ceremony on Facebook so that we could watch the action unfold. My phone reception wasn’t up to the burdens of streaming video, so I missed the announcement in the moment, but for the record you can scroll to 13:30 on that video to see my category being presented by the lovely Satima Flavell.Congratulations to all this year’s winners and commiserations to my many fellow runners-up. I feel like I am in the very best of company. And I’m not heartbroken in the least.

Share : Share on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on GooglePlusShare on PinterestShare on Linkedin
Posted in Writing news | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

When the waveform collapses

Tonight, at a Swancon event in Perth, the Aurealis Awards winners will be announced. By 10 pm local time (or so), I’ll know if I’m an award-winning short story writer or – far more likely – someone who gets to add “Aurealis Award finalist” to his submissions cover letter for the foreseeable future.

Still a potential winner at the time of writing

I will spend the evening in the company of a cadre of lovely Canberra writers, several of whom are also up for awards. There will be conviviality and cheer, the odd spot of drink, and fervid checking of Twitter for the latest updates from across the Big Dry.

If you’d care to join us, the official Twitter hashtag is #AurealisAwards. The unofficial one will be #fauxcon. I don’t know what shenanigans to expect, but I feel confident a language warning is called for.

Good luck to everyone.

I’ll be sending out a newsletter as soon as possible after the results are announced,
because it’s not as much fun to celebrate/commiserate alone.
If you want to get it, along with a great chunk of exciting adventure
fiction and some upcoming publishing news, sign up here:


Share : Share on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on GooglePlusShare on PinterestShare on Linkedin
Posted in Announcements, Writing news | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment