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nihilistic_kid August 1 2014, 15:42

Friday Quick Notes

The owner and head foreman of a farm in Greece have been cleared over the shooting of a group of migrant workers in which 30 were wounded.

The Greek left has to now focus its primary attention not on the troika or the euro, but on rooting out fascist elements in the state or society, which is the only reason these two were acquitted. If the far-right isn't destroyed, Greece will be a Francoist regime by 2020.

In other international news, we'll leave this right here: http://www.bdsmovement.net/


If you're in New York City and want some great homestyle Korean food served with all the warmth and tenderness of a mess tent, please try Kunjip on 32nd Street. I like Korean food fine and know it well enough to tell good from bad, but don't normally seek it out. But this stuff was amazing. It's also close to Penn Station, which is good since you're not allowed to linger in your seat and thus will never miss your train. Yelp explains.


Finally, I have ascended to the next level, by which I mean I have sold a novel before even writing one word of it. More details TK, but for now know that my next book will be a murder mystery and is tentatively titled I Am Providence.
nick_kaufmann August 1 2014, 13:45

Snowblind

SnowblindSnowblind by Christopher Golden

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A tremendous horror novel that brings to mind many of the best early works of Stephen King and Peter Straub. Golden understands that horror is more about the characters than the monsters, and SNOWBLIND is full of indelible characters you feel like you know intimately by the end. By following an interconnected group of townsfolk as they deal with the ghosts of their past, both emotional and real, Golden finds a way to remind us that horror is, more than anything else, the genre of tragedy, of loss, and ultimately of picking up the pieces afterward. An outstanding work that feels both classic in its structure and refreshingly new in its conversation with the genre. More books like this, please.

View all my reviews

Originally published at Nicholas Kaufmann. You can comment here or there.

nick_kaufmann August 1 2014, 12:36

New Interview with Yours Truly

Hunt reissue cover

Hey, folks! There’s a new interview with me over at the Book Plank talking about Titan Books’ re-release of Hunt at World’s End. In it, you’ll learn all about how I came to write this volume of the adventure series, what it was like to work with mad genius Charles Ardai, and the character who got edited out of the novel entirely!

Check it out here.

Originally published at Nicholas Kaufmann. You can comment here or there.

benpeek August 1 2014, 01:18

The Resurrection of William Holden

Originally published at Ben Peek. You can comment here or there.

 

Infamously, when the Wild Bunch was first sceened, a critic rose up afterwards and said, ‘Why was this film made?’

The fate of the film was anything but oblivion, fortunately, because I love it; but I also like that story and I cannot stop myself from sharing it here to begin with. It is Sam Peckinpah’s best film and, regardless of that critic’s opinion, the Wild Bunch is one that has continued to find an audience long after its 1969 release. If you haven’t seen it, the film follows five outlaws as they try to make one last good score, aware that their time of living by a gun is coming to an end, and it is defined by the impotence the men feel in a world changing around them. It is a film that details the slow, but violent suicide of this small group of men as they seek to reclaim a moral code that they have long ago left. It is, in all truth, great, with excellent performances by William Holden and Ernest Borgnine and Robert Ryan in particular.

I first saw it years ago and it left it a great impression on me – perhaps, in fact, a larger one that I ever realised, actually, for as I watched the film last night with my girlfriend, I realised just how much William Holden’s character of Bishop Pike looked like my internal visualisation of Aned Heast, the Captain of the Spine, in the Godless.

Here’s a clip from towards the end of the film: there should be sound when they walk up to the compound, a kind of marching music, but it’s not here in the vid, but the important thing is you can hear him speak, and have a close up on that face and the blue eyes. You can’t tell here, but Pike has a gunshot wound in his leg, an old one that causes him to limp.


I hadn’t seen the film for years – I saw it last long before I wrote the Godless – so Heast’s mirroring of Holden in the book is an unconscious one. But the look of Holden here, and the leg that is amputated and replaced with a steel prosthetic for Heast must have been inspired in a subconscious way by Holden’s struggle with the injury (of course, Heast doesn’t have a mustache; no character in any of my books has a mustache, because though William Holden is doing fine with his, most men are not doing fine with theirs).

What this means, of course, is when people ask me to cast my book as a film, I will now say, ‘Bring William Holden up from the grave, you bastards!’

kathrynlinge August 1 2014, 00:08

2014 Snapshot Interview: Marty Young

SnaphotLogo2014Marty Young (www.martyyoung.com) is an Australian Shadows Award-winning and Bram Stoker-nominated writer and editor, and sometimes ghost hunter. His debut novel, 809 Jacob Street, was released by Black Beacon Books on October 31, 2013, and won the Australian Shadows Award for best horror novel. Marty was the founding president of the Australian Horror Writers Association from 2005 to 2010, and was also one of the creative minds behind Midnight Echo magazine.

1. At the time of the 2012 Snapshot, your novel ‘809 Jacob Street’ was in its fifth draft and under revision. Two years later and it has been published by Black Beacon Books, and was recently named Best Novel in the 2013 Australian Shadows Awards. Congratulations! Can you tell us about the novel and describe the journey to publication? How did you connect with Black Beacon Books?

Thank you, and yes, it's been a long journey for that novel. 809 Jacob Street was the first novel I wrote, and I initially wrote it as a pantser - that is, by the seat of my pants. I had a rough idea of the story and just wrote, letting the characters dictate when we'd reach the conclusion. If I remember right, the initial draft was 300,000+ words. Subsequent drafts tore out huge chunks of that, and beta readers and mentors told me what else was redundant and needed to go. The final version (no idea what number version that was) came in at only around 45,000 words! It's clear to me now that I am definitely a plotter, not a pantser.

I've always been a supporter of the Aussie scene, as my work with the AHWA shows, so I wanted to submit 809 Jacob Street to Australian markets as well as overseas ones. I saw that Cameron Trost had set up a new publishing house called Black Beacon Books, and I thought, why not? I've known Cam through the AHWA for several years and trusted he would do a good job. On the day I received an acceptance from him, I also received one from an overseas small-press publisher, too, but after some research and speaking to other authors, I chose to go with Black Beacon Books. Cam was brilliant, making it clear that as my book would be his first book as a publisher, I would need to do a lot of marketing myself etc, but he also gave me a lot of freedom with the designing of the cover, and the internal pictures and layout. I'm very happy with the final product, and think that it's great that the first book he has published as a publisher has won an award.

2. You’ve designated 2014 as your year of ‘Righting the Imbalance’, and you plan to focus this year on reading novels by female horror writers. Halfway through the year, how is that going, and have you got any recommendations? Why was it important for you to pursue the project?

My year of 'Righting the Imbalance' is going really well. This idea came about after I had forgotten to send Gillian Polack a piece for her Women's History Month in Australia earlier this year. We got to chatting, and after I explained to her that I would be spending this year only reading horror novels by female writers, she asked me to write an article covering the adventure. It's been an eye-opening trip so far; I have discovered many brilliant female horror writers I had never read before - the likes of Sarah Pinborough, Mary Sangiovanni, Alexander Sokoloff... I certainly don't consider myself sexist, but I was quite stunned at how dominant male writers were on my bookshelves when I stopped to consider it. I do admit to a certain naivety though; I thought Kim Newman was a female until last year! Keep an eye out for the article in early 2015.

3. It’s recently been announced that you will be editing a new anthology for Cohesion press, titled ‘Blurring the Lines’ and open for submissions between August and October this year. Do you see editing as an important facet of your writing career? How did the project come about?

Blurring the Line was an idea I brought to Cohesion Press a little while ago, and Geoff Brown liked it enough to discuss further. Fortunately, I was able to convince him to run with it, so now I open to subs on August the 1st (Editor's note:  that's today!). I have a number of high profile authors lined up to provide stories, which I'm really excited about (I'll release their names a bit later on - one of them is going to be twisting things quite a bit, too!), but I also wanted to have an equal number of slots open to everyone else, as that's something that annoys me about some anthologies that come out, with one, maybe two slots open to general submissions and all other spots going to stable authors. It's hard enough breaking into this industry without things like this. Anyway, there's also going to be an art tale, plus a large component of non-fiction in Blurring the Line, although not what people will expect when I say that. I'll release more info a little further down the line, but it is going to be great fun putting together.

I enjoy editing and definitely want to continue taking on editing gigs throughout my career. You learn a lot from this side of the desk, a lot of valuable lessons about writing. I have done two editing projects thus far (the award winning Macabre, and Midnight Echo Issue 8), and reading hundreds of subs gives you great insight into how much time you have to convince the editor your story is worth reading. But even putting aside the importance of good writing, a great story, believable characters, etc, you also see how tough it is, because it could be due to space or themes already covered that causes your story to be rejected, even if that story is wonderful. Perhaps editing toughens you up as a writer, while also showing you that rejections really aren't personal.

4. What Australian works have you loved recently?

Unfortunately, because I'm reading novels written by females only this year, I really haven't read a lot of Aussie books of late. I do have a big pile to get through once this year is over, though (Rob Hood, Alan Baxter, Cat Sparks, Joanne Anderton, Andrew McKiernan...), and there are a number of Australian novels by female writers for me yet to read and include in the article I'm working on.

5. Have recent changes in the publishing industry influenced the way you work? What do you think you will be publishing/writing/reading in five years from now?

Yes, most definitely. The publishing world is in utter chaos, and we're in the middle of it all. It's quite exciting, really. In five years from now, I have no idea what the publishing world will look like, and I doubt many people do; things are changing too quickly. However, it's clear that self-publishing is here to stay and will become an even bigger aspect of the industry. And I'm all for that; in fact, I can see myself self-publishing in the very near future (although I suspect I will continue to take the hybrid path), probably putting out 2-3 titles a year, because that's the other thing, isn't it? Readers expect more books from you all of the time. Releasing one novel a year, or even two, isn't sating their appetite anymore. All that does is loses you momentum.

Gone are the days of big marketing teams and budgets to bring your book to the world's attention. A writer is expected to do the majority of marketing and promotions themselves now, and I suspect that aspect will only continue. I also think more and more mid-list writers will turn to self-publishing (or small-presses), as nurturing careers doesn't seem like something the big publishers can do anymore. And I can see more new writers going that way too, after one book; the window they're given to make a mark is growing smaller all of the time, and if they don't do so, they're quickly forgotten. In that situation, getting a second book out is going to be even more difficult through those channels, if not impossible.

The traditional model of publishing doesn't appear sustainable; it's outdated, archaic, and authors have other options now open to them, options that provide them with full control and greater returns. Writing is a business, so to me it just makes sense to control as much of it as possible yourself. Hire folks to design covers, do the layout, etc. All good, as far as I'm concerned. The (writing-centric) stigma that used to be attached to self-publishing is definitely eroding - and fast, if it hasn't already gone completely. And actually, I remember asking a lot of friends who read but didn't write what they thought about buying self-published books, and the majority of them said they didn't often know what book was self-published and what wasn't. A top quality self-published book is indistinguishable from a traditionally published book. Distribution channels are also opening to self-published titles - yes, it is all more work, but I'm growing less convinced that's enough to hold onto these days, after some of the experiences I've been hearing of from other traditionally published writers.

As much as I love paper books, I also travel to the jungles of PNG for 4 weeks at a time, so ebooks are just practical for me when I'm reading 6 or so novels a trip. Ebooks will continue to grow in dominance, too. How can they not? We are a digital society, and we will only become more entrenched in the digital. All you have to do is think about the film industry, or the music industry. Publishing is going through what they went through before. Bookshops will continue to struggle in the new world, unfortunately, much like music and DVD shops do today, and that is a real shame. I suspect I will be reading mostly ebooks in the future, but still buying signed printed editions of the books I love.

And Amazon isn't going anywhere.



This post is part of the 2014 Snapshot of Australian Speculative Fiction. We’ll be blogging interviews from 28 July to 10 August and archiving them at SF Signal. Snapshot 2012 is being conducted by Tsana Dolichva, Nick Evans, Stephanie Gunn, Kathryn Linge, Elanor Matton-Johnson, David McDonald, Helen Merrick, Jason Nahrung, Ben Payne, Alex Pierce, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Helen Stubbs, Katharine Stubbs, Tehani Wessely, and Sean Wright. To read the interviews hot off the press, check our blogs daily from 28 July to 10 August, 2014.
jack_ryder July 31 2014, 23:51

2 LonCon hotel rooms available

Originally posted by ellen_kushner at 2 LonCon hotel rooms available
Due to my own stupidity, I am blessed (or cursed) with a spare set of rooms for LonCon3 which I do not need but cannot cancel and must therefore pay for:
2 rooms at the Ibis Styles London Excel-custom House Hotel, right across from the convention center & next to the tube stop for easy escape from ExCel-land.
I booked 5 nights each (August 13 - 18) for:

* 1 Standard double, GBP 540
* 1 Superior Double, GBP 590


All offers gratefully considered.
Please feel free to pass this on to any friends who might be wavering about attending, or who were not able to book at hotels close to ExCel, or who signed on for a super-crowded share and have since thought better of it....

I can be reached directly on gmail at KUSHNER (dot) ELLEN etc.

Delia & I WILL be attending the con - but I subsequently booked us at another hotel and then forgot to cancel this one. I do hope my carelessness will allow someone else to get a good room at a good rate!  All offers gratefully considered, however small.  I'll feel a whole lot better knowing someone will get the good of it!

ETA:  And, no, we do not sleep in separate hotel rooms - the second room is for a friend!
jack_ryder July 31 2014, 23:48

Day Zero - Loncon 3 trip

Our last day at home before we head off to Loncon 3 (via Singapore & Norwich.)

A good friend will be looking after the house and the mistress of the house whilst we're gone.

I will be posting via tumbler whilst we're away (which xposts to twitter and FB, but not to lj) so feel free to follow that. I imagine murasaki_1966 will be updating her lj occasionally too.

Looking forward to seeing some of you over the other side of the world.
rosefox July 31 2014, 06:28

"Intermittent failure"

From back when I started the Zoloft:

Taking Zoloft with lunch means it wears off enough by bedtime that I have a bit of trouble falling asleep (my old anxiety-induced awakeness) but stay asleep all night. Taking it with dinner means I fall asleep easily and then wake up every few hours. I'll stick with lunchtime for now.

(I cannot overstate the value of having this journal to track medication use and effects. It's a personal PDR. So essential.)

I'm still taking it at lunchtime, but reducing the dose has me waking up every few hours again. Last night I kicked the cats out so I could get a solid night's sleep, and then I woke up two hours later thinking I'd heard the doorbell. I hate it when that happens, because I don't even check the time and realize that it's 6 a.m. and I'm imagining things; I just leap out of bed to go answer the door.

Presumably this effect will fade either once I get used to the new dose or once I go off the meds altogether. Hopefully the former, since I've got three and a half weeks to go.

Yesterday I actually felt a little flirty, which was very nice.

Tonight I made a joke that fell very flat and J (who is also underslept) got upset and I got upset and we got into one of those stupid conversational spirals where we knew nothing useful was happening but we couldn't stop, and finally I had to text X and ask them to come in and intervene. That broke the spiral but left us all pretty thoroughly done in for the evening. We all forced ourselves to eat and then went our separate ways. I did the dishes and found my brain filling with angry upset self-loathing thoughts, so after I was done I pinged X and they let me cry on them. I am so, so, so tired of crying. On the bright side, I did resist the urge to smash all the dishes, and I no longer feel so awful at/about myself.

I don't think any of that is about the reduced dose, though who knows? But mostly it just felt like being underslept.

I took taurine and put on "Thursday Afternoon" (eternally grateful to [twitter.com profile] meetar for introducing me to it) and now I'm feeling calmer, though I made the mistake of playing a rather intense game on my phone and now my heart is pounding a bit. Might take more taurine. No more intense games tonight, for sure. Just Wanikani kanji practice (I totally blame [personal profile] yhlee for getting me into this) and a bit of Swords & Potions 2.

I really hope I can sleep tonight.

EDIT: I slept for a solid seven hours, woo! I think I'm going to keep taking bedtime taurine until I'm entirely done with the Zoloft; it clearly helped a lot.


You're welcome to comment on LJ, but I'd rather you leave a comment on the Dreamwidth version of this entry. The current comment count is comment count unavailable.
kathrynlinge July 31 2014, 00:51

2014 Snapshot Interview: Patty Jansen

SnaphotLogo2014Patty Jansen is the author of the Icefire Trilogy (which has been a bestseller on Kobo and #1 fantasy in the iBookstore Australia), the Return of the Aghyrians series (final book out in July) and the Ambassador series. Visit her website http://pattyjansen.com/ to see her books and visit her blog (mostly about photography, writing and art)

1. You are predominantly known for your hard SF writing, but I note that your most recent releases, Books 1 and 2 of the ‘For Queen and Country’ series (Innocence Lost and Willow Witch) are classed as history-inspired fantasy. What has inspired this shift in genre and are you reaching a new audience with these releases?

I have never written only hard SF. It was hard SF that I was able to sell to magazines, but I describe myself as a writer of “space opera, hard SF and weird fantasy”. It is in fact my fantasy series, the Icefire Trilogy, that has, over the past few years, vastly out-earned any advance I would have been able to get as debut novelist.

It is true that with my latest series I’m reaching for a slightly different audience: that of voracious readers. People who read only ebooks, and read a book a day. They tend to prefer shorter works. Each installment in the series will be about 45-60,000 words. But the story structure and style is similar to my other works.

2. Your novel ‘Ambassador’ was published by Ticonderoga Publications last year. However in that sale, you retained the electronic rights and published the ebook yourself as the first in new series. Why was this important to you and what are your plans for the series?

It was important to me to retain the ebook rights precisely because I had the second book already half-written and wanted to bring it out quickly. Russ concentrates on making beautiful print books. Ebooks are not very high on his priority list, so keeping the ebook rights was the best thing for me.

The Ambassador series will have at least one more book, but I’m also toying with ideas for a novella that takes place in between book 1 and 2, and I will not rule out any future projects, because the possibilities are endless. In fact the Ambassador series takes place in the same world as some of my other fiction. The Far Horizon is about the same character as a child. The Shattered World Within is a novella that goes into detail about the society structure of one of the alien races.

3. Since 2011, you have published over 20 books in a variety of different worlds and genres, and you seem very confident in your self publishing niche. Is this the way forward for you, or are you still pursuing more ‘traditional’ publishing deals as well?

With every day that passes, every time I hear how “much” (ahem) advance a traditionally-published author in Australia gets, every time I see my friends being dumped, short-shifted or screwed by a publishing deal, I’m more confident that I will never sell the ebook rights of any of my books to any publisher unless they can convince me that it will be beneficial to me. To be honest I don’t believe large, traditional publishers can make such an offer under their current modus operandum without a rights grab. If one of my books suddenly becomes runaway success, and they offer me a contract, I don’t need them anymore and will certainly earn more by keeping the rights. Ridiculous clauses such as non-compete clauses and right of first refusal would be a no-go for me. I really cannot believe the crap contracts people sign. For 15% of the cover price? Really cannot. And the more I talk to people in the industry, the more I’m convinced that at some point in the near future, one or two (or three) of the main publishers will see a major restructuring. I do not want my books tied up as collateral damage in a big company’s restructuring or filing for bankruptcy. Been there, done that. Never again, thank you very much.

4. What Australian works have you loved recently?

I’ve read books by Aurealis-nominated authors Graham Storrs (his self-published work and that from Momentum) and Andrea Host (all self-published), also Dionne Lister.

5. Have recent changes in the publishing industry influenced the way you work? What do you think you will be publishing/writing/reading in five years from now?

The major change since last snapshot is I have totally bombed out on short story writing. When my brain is set on novels, it can’t do short stories. I quite enjoy writing hard SF stories, but it becomes a matter of income. I can spend two months writing eight short stories or I can spend the same amount of time writing a novel. I can maybe sell two of those stories for a few hundred dollars and the rest for a hundred (just a guesstimate). After the rights run out, I can bundle the stories and sell online as a collection… except short story collections don’t sell worth squat.

So I can invest the same amount of time writing a novel. Especially if the novel is book 2 or 3 in a series, it’s a huge investment. I can not only sell it for—say—a few hundred dollars the first month, but I can do the same thing the next month, and the month after, and… OK by the third month I’ll have written the next book in the series, and the income jumps yet again.

It’s really a no-brainer.

Five years from now? That’s a looooong time in publishing, especially if you sell mainly ebooks. The landscape changes all the time. I let my decisions for what to write next be guided partially by what works right now, and write more of that, but I also want to develop different income streams. Since I have no interest in game writing or writing media tie-in fiction, writing in a different subgenre is a type of diversification.



This post is part of the 2014 Snapshot of Australian Speculative Fiction. We’ll be blogging interviews from 28 July to 10 August and archiving them at SF Signal. Snapshot 2012 is being conducted by Tsana Dolichva, Nick Evans, Stephanie Gunn, Kathryn Linge, Elanor Matton-Johnson, David McDonald, Helen Merrick, Jason Nahrung, Ben Payne, Alex Pierce, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Helen Stubbs, Katharine Stubbs, Tehani Wessely, and Sean Wright. To read the interviews hot off the press, check our blogs daily from 28 July to 10 August, 2014.
porphyre July 30 2014, 21:32

a collection theory of unlinear operators

Frida Kahlo to Marty McConnell

leaving is not enough; you must
stay gone. train your heart
like a dog. change the locks
even on the house he’s never
visited. you lucky, lucky girl.
you have an apartment
just your size. a bathtub
full of tea. a heart the size
of Arizona, but not nearly
so arid. don’t wish away
your cracked past, your
crooked toes, your problems
are papier mache puppets
you made or bought because the vendor
at the market was so compelling you just
had to have them. you had to have him.
and you did. and now you pull down
the bridge between your houses,
you make him call before
he visits, you take a lover
for granted, you take
a lover who looks at you
like maybe you are magic. make
the first bottle you consume
in this place a relic. place it
on whatever altar you fashion
with a knife and five cranberries.
don’t lose too much weight.
stupid girls are always trying
to disappear as revenge. and you
are not stupid. you loved a man
with more hands than a parade
of beggars, and here you stand. heart
like a four-poster bed. heart like a canvas.
heart leaking something so strong
they can smell it in the street.

- Marty McConnell
  • Leatherdo - a stainless steel multitool hair clip designed by Yaacov Goldberg.

  • Beautiful Beast - a golden spider broach worn as a temporary piercing.

    I'm flying out again on Saturday. This time to Vegas for a week of security conferences: BlackHat, B-Sides, and DefCon. I'm only official for one, but another is free and the third I shall attempt to sneak into, because I probably can and it'll be fun. Also, what else is there for the poor to do in Vegas?

    My time "home" in Vancouver has been busy, but mostly without anchor. I domesticate well and gladly, but my attachments are to people, not places. My days, instead, have been spent on phone calls with New York and messages on-line with Michigan, Washington, Ontario, and Oklahoma. Nothing that digs me in where I am. I have spent the majority of this summer away, living basic out of a suitcase, and confirmed that not only do I enjoy/prefer it, the only things I miss are my ferrets and (sometimes) Seattle. So the crusade to pare my apartment down continues. The desire for rococo minimalism continues. Soon my life will be nothing more than a pair of ferrets, some media and data devices, a spot of taxidermy, some art, a few weapons, and an elegant wardrobe of motorcycle and combat gear, Victorian lace, and kevlar flounces.

    A more telling list may not actually exist.

    Which reminds me, as soon as I get an influx of cash, I have projects to work on again. I've been window shopping for a used motorcycle, drive shaft, no spokes, a machine with muscle unlikely to break down, but first is safety. Sewing with leather, something light-up with spinal protective armor, and a jacket to resurface. LED's, el-wire, arduino VS raspberry pi. Ideas nipping at my heels like starved little purse chihuahuas shaking in the harsh reality of my financial winter. Ideas that had long been erased. My resources are shifting, bruised heart on my sleeve, capabilities ratcheting back into gear, the coastal combinations of care like cards on a table. There are no aces hidden next to my wrist, but perhaps I'll embroider one in. I have a deep love for those tiny, clever touches.

    Meanwhile I find myself unable to spend more than three nights in a row in my own bed. Crashing over at Nathan's, crashing over at Nicholas and Esme's; laundry, dinner, a long run of Orphan Black. Different reasons, but the same underlying dis-attachment to my where I keep my things. To further push this, I am attempting to sublet my room for the month of August. I should have done it sooner, for June and July, given how little I was there, but starting now will have to do. I don't know the map past August 12th, but even if I do not find my way to the desert, I will make do. I am inhabiting my language, embracing my internal architecture all the way to the edges of my vision and I have the keys to five other houses on my key-chain. I will be okay.

    It is an awful place, but I am beginning to look forward to Vegas. The teal sky stretched like silk over the blind roads and senseless cacophony, the inevitable black t-shirts with witty taglines and open bars buzzing with abuse. It is not going to be at all like my last time there or the time before that or the time before that. Each visit before has been fraught with conflict, stress a thin note running through every decision. This time I will not be alone, isolated or rejected. I will not have been sent for to stand as a peace-maker to sordid drama, I will not have been brought along as a sop, I will not be going as a dismantled half. No matter how this week unfurls, (and it does have some very interesting possibilities), none of the previous scenarios will have a chance to duplicate. There will be a tribe this time, there will be people I care for who care for me. (My best medicine). New people, new skills. This trip will be unique and for that I am grateful. The city will not poison me. Though the Vegas strip is a manipulative construct, a gigantic shrine dedicated to the worst of the states, the people I will be walking with share my inherent refusal to genuflect.
  • rozk July 30 2014, 11:16

    Perhaps a piece of closure

    TINDER

    I also know my muse will go away
    to lovers, young and lithe, well-groomed and hot
    who want to fuck. Which really I do not,
    nor put my naked body on display,
    its creases and its sags, its whitened scars,
    my guts too near the surface and my bones
    too far beneath my fat. A knee that moans
    and clicks when I exert it. Sat in bars
    and being charming, I can hold their eyes
    upon my dancing lips and witty tongue.
    They're easily distracted because young
    and sometimes stroke my arms or upper thighs
    which is enough. My poems, wit and charm
    don't get me laid. But keep my passion warm.

    That otherwise would cool. My aching heart
    would stutter into age. I make my art
    from broken twigs of hope, and dried out flowers
    spring left on my chaste pillow, or between
    books' uncut pages. Half-thought lines I mean
    to use one day, but stare at for six hours.
    I stack these on my desk. Piles that grow higher
    More and more useless clutter in my head,
    dust, fluff and crumbled leaves, ochre and red.
    These never come to life except as fire.
    But sparks will come. Affection or disdain
    my muse will bring me. It all ends the same
    She brings my store of words the gift of flame.
    She strikes my heart to joy, or lust, or pain.
    kathrynlinge July 30 2014, 01:32

    2014 Snapshot Interview: Gerry Huntman

    SnaphotLogo2014Gerry Huntman is a speculative fiction writer and publisher based in Melbourne, Australia, living with his wife and young daughter. He mostly writes dark fiction and has published over 50 stories spanning many genres and sub-genres. Latest publications include Night Terrors III anthology, Lovecraft eZine, Aurealis Magazine, and Our World of Horror anthology. His all-ages fantasy novel, Guardian of the Sky Realms, will be published in 2014. His author blog is at http://gerryhuntman.livejournal.com and he tweets at @gerryhuntman.

    1. You are the Managing Director of IFWG Publishing, which started in 2010, and IFWG Publishing Australia, which started in 2013. Can you tell us a bit about the company, and the rationale behind starting up a specific Australian imprint? Both IFWG Publishing and IFWG Publishing Australia is currently open for manuscript submissions – what are you looking for?

    IFWG Publishing was originally formed in 2010, by four people: Esme Carpenter (York, England), Warren Goodwin (New Jersey, USA), Randy Knowlton (Missouri, USA), and myself, based in Melbourne. We created the company with the express purpose to provide another market opportunity for upcoming authors, particularly in the speculative fiction super-genre. Esme and Warren are largely 'silent' partners, although provide extremely useful help in a few fields, particularly submission reading. Randy was the Managing Director, and I, because of my editing background (member Editors Victoria), became Chief Editor. Because the US reading population was the largest, we decided to focus on that group, and all our publications, with few exceptions, were published with US readership in mind (for example US English, oriented toward the Chicago Style Manual).

    Last year, two things happened at the same time, but coalesced to me. Firstly, I decided to create an Australian Imprint of IFWG, for the simple reason that a substantial percentage of our authors were Australian or UK based, and I felt that their target audiences should be their fellow nationals. The logic was that it is better to 'conquer' one's home turf before the world, or foreign lands. The second event was a personal one, where Randy had some life issues that eclipsed his commitments to IFWG, and the baton was handed over to me. On top of all of that, I have a special love for my ezine, SQ Mag, which is published by IFWG Publishing Australia, but is independently managed under the very capable hands of Editor in Chief, Sophie Yorkston (who is also a Melbourne person, but is currently spending time in Canada).

    I made the decision to move the entire IFWG operation (both imprints and SQ Mag) to Melbourne, and operate them in most ways separately. Australian, UK and NZ products are published through IFWG Publishing Australia, and the rest through our US mother company. The latter has some very good fiction by mainly US and Canadian writers, but also from Nigeria and South Africa. SQ Mag is delighting me with its quality and market penetration, featuring writers such as Cat Sparks, Kaaron Warren, Gary McMahon, Jay Lake, Daniel Russell, Alan Baxter, Ken Liu, Angela Slatter, and Laird Barron. And every story we have published (approaching 100 over 15 editions thus far) is original. The Australian imprint of IFWG Publishing also has a special place in my heart - and is producing outstanding fiction in its first year of operation.

    Both title publishing imprints are definitely open for submissions, but not for very long. We have a strong selection of titles already solicited, and we are looking for 1 or 2 unsolicited editions for each. We already have a strong field for our children's/young teen range, but if a story is strong in the 12+ age group, we will consider them. We are a speculative fiction publisher, first and foremost, and we will look at almost anything, but they have to be fresh, interesting and very well written. We are a small publishing company, and yet we strive for excellence. Quality horror is in shortage in our catalogue, and we would pay special attention to submissions in that style of speculative fiction. Note, however, we are an 'adult' publication (for our adult range) - which means we are willing to accept language, sex and violence - but these elements must be tools to support the story and characterisation, not the other way round.

    2. Your short fiction publication rate is very impressive, and spans horror, science fiction and fantasy. I note that many of your stories are placed in newer markets that are probably unfamiliar to the Australian speculative fiction community. Do you have specific networks that you use to place your short stories, and what is your overall aim in targeting these particular markets?

    My writing started decades ago, but the serious effort to publish only started back around 2009/2010. My early short stories were published in markets that were appropriate for the level of expertise I had as a writer - particularly the technical elements. Since then I have 'climbed the ladder' and am now publishing in professional markets, and I can pick and choose more than I used to. So, while I was not fussy in my early career, now, if I am not solicited, I write a story, and then I think long and hard about which market best suits it - not only because I will have a comfortable place to bed down my tale, but it also improves the chances of the market accepting it, and avoiding iteration on my part. I use Ralan.com and Duotrope.com extensively to assist me with identifying markets, worldwide. Just as a side point, my steampunk and Lovecraftian horror stories have a much greater reading population in the US, and I tend to send those stories there - the market is simply bigger, and better paying. Australia is a great place to publish short fiction, but the market isn't, in my view, keeping up with demand - particularly in some fields, such as horror, and certainly not great from a payment point of view (important, if one is making a living, or part-living, from writing).

    3. You recently announced that your young teen fantasy novel, 'Guardian of the Sky Realms', originally published in 2010 by IFWG Publishing, will be republished by Cohesion Press. What motivated you to re-release this book and do you have any other novels in the pipeline?

    I published Guardian of the Sky Realms, a young teen fantasy novel, through IFWG Publishing because it was easy to do, but soon afterwards I regretted the decision. The main regret was the possible perception that I didn't go through a quality control process and simply used my influence to get it published. This was not the case (I actually had the story blind submitted), but that doesn't matter at all. Perceptions are what count. The other regret was that I had it published in US English, even though the main protagonists and much of the setting was Australian. I had promised myself after that move, never again to publish any of my stories through IFWG Publishing, to avoid the issues mentioned above.

    Over the last year I developed a good working relationship with Cohesion Press, based in Bendigo. Like so many things in small communities, Geoff Brown, the Managing Director, heard about my story, read it with another submissions reader, and loved it. This was a godsend for me, as it enabled me to correct what I believe was a mistake, and it also gave me an opportunity to publish it exactly how I originally wanted it to be published - an Australian novel for Australians of all ages. It gave me an opportunity to revise the novel, under the expert eyes of Cohesion's editors and proofreaders, which was nothing short of fantastic. Finally, it now has a cover design by a leading artist from the UK, who, among other credits, is currently creating the covers of some Stephen King novels. From my point of view, Guardian of the Sky Realms has finally found its rightful place in the market.

    I am currently in discussion with an Australian publisher to publish a collection of all of my science fiction short fiction (running from flash all the way to novella). I am looking at something like 19 stories - a good sized product. News will be announced, hopefully, soon. Additionally, I have a series of heroic fantasy novels developing, and another Australian publisher is receptive to looking closely at the first instalment - which may possibly be split into two novels, given its size. Several other novels are bubbling away in my head for next year, more in the horror and science fiction fields.

    4. What Australian works have you loved recently?

    I love Australian genre fiction, and due to my strong affiliations with horror/dark fiction writers in the Antipodes, much of my reading has been in that space. As a long fiction judge over the last two years for the Australian Shadows Awards, I have got to read a large percentage of current dark fiction (novellas and novels), both from large and small presses. I have, over recent years, become a huge fan of Kaaron Warren, and have read her latest collections - The Gate Theory and Through Splintered Walls, both masterpieces of subtle, disturbing fiction. Other writers, who I have read over recent times, include Robert Hood, Kirstyn McDermott, Jason Nahrung, Angela Slatter, Michael B Fletcher, Alan Baxter, and many more. All of their work delight me. Outside of the dark fiction space, I enjoy Sean Williams, Margo Lanagan, Lee Battersby, Ian Irvine, and many more again.

    5. Have recent changes in the publishing industry influenced the way you work? What do you think you will be publishing/writing/reading in five years from now?

    The recent changes, and the continuing changes in the industry, have profound effects. As a publisher, I need to make sure that I can cater for all publishing channels - if I stuck just to print, I would be out of business, but at the same time I have to cater for the substantial readership who love the physical book. I read in both forms (ebooks and print), and no doubt will continue to. As a writer, I find no difficulty if I am commissioned to write for ebooks only, or even ezines online-only. The important thing is that I am recognised as a teller of tales, and people get exposed to my efforts in the art.

    The most impactful dimension of the changes in the industry is the way in which self publishing has created a tsunami effect in fiction hitting the western world. Hundreds of thousands of titles come out each year, and whether they are good, bad or so-so in quality, it doesn't matter - it dilutes the efforts of everyone who plays in the sandbox. We all make less money, we all must work harder to become different. Many of these obstacles are unfair - but they are also part of the reality of where we currently are.

    I suspect in five years from now I will be writing more, and hopefully better, fiction, and IFWG Publishing (the two imprints and SQ Mag), will be a respected member of the Australian (and world) genre publishing community. I suspect ebooks will be more prolific, but I also believe print will still retain a place, albeit in a different form.



    This post is part of the 2014 Snapshot of Australian Speculative Fiction. We’ll be blogging interviews from 28 July to 10 August and archiving them at SF Signal. Snapshot 2012 is being conducted by Tsana Dolichva, Nick Evans, Stephanie Gunn, Kathryn Linge, Elanor Matton-Johnson, David McDonald, Helen Merrick, Jason Nahrung, Ben Payne, Alex Pierce, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Helen Stubbs, Katharine Stubbs, Tehani Wessely, and Sean Wright. To read the interviews hot off the press, check our blogs daily from 28 July to 10 August, 2014.
    cassiphone July 29 2014, 22:24

    Musketeer Space Part 11: The Friand of Aramis, the Espresso of Athos, and the Convenient Boyfriend o

    Originally published at tansyrr.com. You can comment here or there.

    Fleur de lis littleMusketeer Day again! For those of you who listened to the SF Signal podcast on space opera, we had a discussion on how space opera needed more bagels &http://tansyrr.com/tansywp/#8211; and I claimed that mine, at least, had friands.

    Friand, by the way, is a terrible word to try to type if you have any kind of predictive text activated.

    But they taste good.

    This is, by the way, my favourite chapter title so far in the Musketeer Space project. It&http://tansyrr.com/tansywp/#8217;s going to be hard to top. This is also a month with five Wednesdays in it, which means I was totally entitled to skip a week and take a small Musketeer holiday. But I didn&http://tansyrr.com/tansywp/#8217;t, because I <3 you all.

    50 Patrons! And only $8 away from that tantalising Christmas festive story that I am dying to write. I accidentally started plotting it the other day. Had to sit on my hands to stop myself typing&http://tansyrr.com/tansywp/#8230;

    Start reading from Part 1
    Missed the last installment? Track back to Part 10
    Main Page &http://tansyrr.com/tansywp/#038; Table of Contents


    PREVIOUSLY IN MUSKETEER SPACE: Dana D&http://tansyrr.com/tansywp/#8217;Artagnan is a Mecha cadet who longs to be a real Musketeer like her friends Athos, Aramis and Porthos. Dana&http://tansyrr.com/tansywp/#8217;s landlady Madame Su has begged her to find her abducted husband, Conrad, who works for Prince Alek of Auster, consort to the Regent. Intrigue is afoot, involving an old scandal, zero gravity sports, the Duchess of Buckingham, and the sinister Captain Rosnay Cho. It&http://tansyrr.com/tansywp/#8217;s really getting quite complicated now, isn&http://tansyrr.com/tansywp/#8217;t it?

    NOW READ ON!

    musketeerspace_banner

    Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )

    nihilistic_kid July 29 2014, 21:18

    Out East

    I am on the East Coast. O's parents are churchy, so we baptized the baby in their a United Methodist church, which takes about five minutes. (An Orthodox baptism ritual is both interminable and spectacular, with flames and threats of drowning, yeah!) Also, their whatevertheycallit was a woman, so there were calls for a do-over. Anyway, here is a photo from the party afterward.

    image

    I have a red-haired gray-eyed baby. Whodah thunk it?
    las July 29 2014, 12:00

    My tweets

    rosefox July 29 2014, 05:58

    "Hurts so good"

    This userpic isn't applicable to many sorts of pain, but it is perfect for physical therapy.

    PT is EXHAUSTING. I'd forgotten. Also, going straight from PT to walking half a mile to the subway station, sitting on the L for 45 minutes, and then driving from Manhattan to Brooklyn was maybe not my smartest move ever.

    The physio thinks my lifelong right hip wackiness is the cause of the knee issues, which would make a whole lot of sense. Apparently my right ITB and quad are "astonishingly tight". "Wait until you get to my hip flexors!" I said cheerfully. Then he tried to make my right hip bend the way most people's right hips bend and I yelled a lot.

    Prescription:
    * 8 weeks of biweekly PT
    * Daily exercises at home w/ Theraband: 3 x 10 @ leg press, 3 x 10 @ hamstring curls, followed by ice (have the ice pack handy before starting to exercise so I don't have to hobble to the freezer for it)
    * Start taking glucosamine/chondroitin/MSM (I've ordered an unflavored drink mix version that I can mix into chocolate milk or something, rather than swallow those enormous pills)
    * No more sitting with both knees pointing to the left <.<

    I'm seriously tempted to just keep going weekly or every other week after my eight weeks of intensive PT are up. The physio is hands-on and terrific, and therapeutic massage is amazing. And because I'm going to a shabby little PT clinic over in Brownsville (also known as "the neighborhood that will never, ever gentrify"), it's only $50 a session. That's the uninsured rate*. O.O The physio was telling me that he moved to Staten Island because he can't afford Brooklyn--maybe it's because he's seriously undercharging his clients. At that rate I really could go just for... well, not fun, exactly, but because it would probably be good to work on fixing my hips so that the knee problems don't recur, and because it feels good, and because I'm a lot more likely to exercise if it's been prescribed by someone I have to fess up to every week or two.

    * I have insurance, but my plan year just started and I haven't met my deductible yet. Insert standard "American health care system is broken and bullshit" rant here.

    The drive from Manhattan to Brooklyn was because auntyglory is in town and she hasn't driven to our place before. Giving her directions would stress her out and navigating from the passenger seat would stress me out, so she drove into Manhattan from her cousin's place in New Jersey, and I met up with her and drove us home in her car. This was definitely the least mentally and emotionally taxing option, but NYC traffic means a lot of right-leg work, and by the time we got home I was very thoroughly done with any sort of moving around. She wants to go shopping tomorrow; I hope I'm up for it.


    You're welcome to comment on LJ, but I'd rather you leave a comment on the Dreamwidth version of this entry. The current comment count is comment count unavailable.
    rosefox July 29 2014, 03:20

    "And what did you do? And what did you think?"

    Today I went looking for a paper I wrote for a college course in 1996--and found it. It's... um. It's not bad, by the standards of papers written by white freshmen about AAVE. There are surprisingly few parts that make me cover my face and shake my head, probably because most of it is primary source quotes. I'm amused to realize that I still write articles basically the same way: quote primary sources as much as possible, with just enough link text to provide some structure and flow.

    Anyway, that got me looking through my folder of old text files, and I found a diary entry of sorts, dated December 3, 1996. If LJ had existed at the time, it would have been an LJ entry, so I posted it, backdated. It's here if anyone's curious. I find it of interest mostly because it establishes a date for my first self-diagnosis with depression and describes my experience of being depressed at the time. Also little notes about my life that are very telling:

    "I've found a job that makes me almost as happy as writing for a living would, and which requires much less courage." That job was copy editing for the NYU student newspaper. I admire 18-year-old me for being so perceptive; I continue to cherish editorial work, and to choose it as a career, because it requires far, far less bravery than writing.

    "I still have my writing talent, but no time to exercise it, and it's trapped in a cage where I can feel it reverting from housepet to wild animal, all the training eating itself away.... I still have story ideas, though they rarely get to bloom, and the only thing that hurts worse than the unsprouted seed is the one which pokes up a few shoots, looks promising, and then withers away because I don't have the time to care for it properly." Clearly I came into my talent for metaphors at an early age. And... yeah, this is all still true, except that I've gotten a lot better at not looking at it.

    "The present never interested me; the past, the future, and the timeless are my domain. The present is vaguely repellant. The past is warm and familiar, the future softly bright and promising..." The positive descriptors are misleading. I'm not drawn to the past or future. The description of the present as "repellant" is much more accurate; specifically, it describes what I would now call anxiety. The past and the future are places to hide from the present.

    "I use that word a lot these days. 'Safe.' I wonder what I feel that I need to be kept safe from. My own weariness, maybe. Or the world. Or time." These days I challenge the whole notion of wanting to be kept safe. Risk and bravery are better.

    And now I'm going to close those folders before I start reading old chatlogs. That way lies days of secondhand angst and misery.


    You're welcome to comment on LJ, but I'd rather you leave a comment on the Dreamwidth version of this entry. The current comment count is comment count unavailable.

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