Back in the Saddle

The first weeks after the Xmas break have been so intensely busy for me that my feet have barely touched the ground. Constructively busy however, which is good.

I wrote my first professional blog post last week for Guardian Unlimited. Following the tremendous response to Sam Jordison’s look at the Hugo Award’s, I pitched a few ideas for science fiction and fantasy blog posts to the Guardian eds and they said yes. It was very exciting to go ‘above the line’ on a blog I’ve read for some time, not least because it actually pays! I’m looking forward to pitching a few more ideas over the next couple of months but have to be careful not to let the cheap thrill of reaching hundreds if not thousands of readers distract me from my career as an unknown fiction writer. You can see the problem.

Also in the world of non-fiction I’m continuing my reviewing for The Fix. I’ve recently posted a review of Farrago’s Wainscot and will be reviewing one of the ‘Big 3’ genre magainzines for the next few months – Fantasy  & Science Fiction. F&SF is my favourite of the big three (the other two being Asimov’s and Analogue) but its been interesting comparing it to the small press and online publications that I have reveiwed or read recently,  I think this might be an interesting angle to take in the review.

I have been a little undisciplined with the writing in the last two months. Foreign and domestic holidays followed by  a slew of freelance work meant I’ve had to put the novel on hold until February, although I start back in earnest in February once the Writing Industries Conference is out of the way. I have been working on a number of short stories instead so the time hasn’t been wasted. The first to be finished will be ‘The Great Western Pile’ which is a steam-punk, hard SF spy story. i’ve had great fun writing it and with luck will finish it over the weekend.

Following my ‘Week of Rejection’ between X-Mas and New Year I got right back in the saddle and got everything back out on the market. ‘Rings’ AKA ‘My Zombie Lovesick Boy Band’ is at Weird Tales, ‘Meat’ is with Strange Horizons, ‘Circes’ and ‘Momentum’ are both with audio podcasts (The Drabblecast and Escape Pod respectively) and ‘Horizon’ came back from Ideomancer with another rejection. ‘Horizon’ is my problem child at the moment, but I have faith it will find a good home eventually.

Back to ‘Great Western Pile’ anyway. If I get the first draft done over the weekend I’ll post an extract to the blog.

10, 000 Hits. W00t!

In the early hours of the morning this blog, The Fiction Front, passed the big one zero zero zero zero. I’d been watching the stats for quite some time and menaing to make a big thing of it but I’ve been so busy I almost missed it. Congratulations to whoever visitor number 10, 000 was. There is I am afraid no special prize.

Hooray!

The New Weird on Guardian Books

I’ve written an introduction to the New Weird and experimental SF for the Guardian book blog.

When M John Harrison started the debate that would crystallise definitions of the term “New Weird” in 2003, much of the creative energy that had driven the movement had already moved on. As editor Jeff VanderMeer says in his introduction to the first comprehensive anthology of the movement, the New Weird is dead. Long live the Next Weird.

Read more

Astromonkeys

OK, so I’m not sure if laughing at the idea of green space monkeys with fire coming out of their butts is too mature but it has certainly improved my evening. Escape Pod comes up trumps again with one of the funniest stories I’ve heard for quite some time. Head on over to the Escape Pod site and listen to Astromonkeys! by Tony Frazier if you have a few minutes to spend chuckling.

Double Whammy

Two rejections today. One from Fantasy magazine saying no to ‘Rings’, after a re-write and retitle to ‘My Lovesick Zombie Boyband’. I like the re-write however so it was worth doing. Horizon was also rejected for Nemonymous 8, which makes rejection number ten for that story. I maintain faith in it though even after some harsh criticism and will find a home for it yet.

Following Heinlein’s law number four, both stories have gone straight back on the market. ‘MLZB’, formerley ‘Rings’ is now with Anne Vandermeer at Weird Tales (my second attempt to break into that market) and Horizon goes to the team at Ideomancer. All available appendages crossed.

Season of Mists

Its that mystic time of year when the mists of fate part to reveal a veritable hoard of awards in the speculative fiction field.

The Fix is nominated for the Critters.org awards in the category of best review site. It certainly gets my vote, although I did almost succumb to the last minute temptation to throw my support behind Erotic Escapdes. Voting is open to all at the address below.

http://www.critters.org/predpoll/reviewsite.shtml

Everyone’s favorite home for off the beaten track speculative fiction Electric Velocipede has two qualifying issues for both this year’s Hugo and Nebula awards, the highest honours of the speculative fiction field. These include the obviously amazing Issue #13 featuring my short story ‘Momentum’. Nominations for the Nebula awards are open to all members of the Science Fiction Writer’s of America, whilst the Hugo’s are open to any registered attendee of the ’07 or ’08 World Science Fiction conventions. If you qualify for either be sure to cast your vote before the relevant deadlines!

Writing Industries Conference 2008

My big work thing for the new year is a Literature Network project, the first East Midlands Writer’s Conference, dubbed the Writing Industries Conference 2008. If you are within spitting distance of Loughborough on Saturday 9th February 2008 then get along and join in. Agent one-to-ones, keynotes speakers, editors and other industry professionals from across publishing, poetry, spoken word and all other types of writing. Be quick getting your ticket though as they are selling out quickly. I’ll be posting more news about this as and when it becomes available. See website for all the details.

http://writingindustries.wordpress.com