More On Workshopping & AltFiction

Only three days now until I take my first workshop at AltFiction. If you’re interested to see who else is teaching what subjects at the event, read on. And full details are here.

Saturday the 25th


Rod Rees – The All-Important First Page


Tony Ballantyne – How to Make Your Writing Boring


Kim Lakin-Smith – Fleshing the Bones – Dark Fantasy and Characterisation


MD Lachlan – Start Your Fantasy Novel – Six Principles for Success


Colin Harvey – Creating a Science Fictional Setting


Graham Joyce – Writing Sharp Dialogue


Graham McNeill?

 SUNDAY the 26th


Paul Finch – Prose to Screenplay


Juliet McKenna – Every Word Must Count


Dan Abnett – Shooty Death Kill in Space 101


Jonathan L Howard


Paul Kane/Marie O’Regan – Setting and Location in Genre Fiction

My workshop’s topic slightly overlaps with Paul and Marie, except they’re taking a broader approach, since setting a location in SF can differ slightly from other genres; nonetheless, it’s good to know that if people miss one workshop, there will be others covering similar themes; in fact, there are five different panels covering the start of a novel from different angles.

Perhaps I should have picked closing a story as my topic?

• June 22nd, 2011 • Posted in Appearances • Comments: 0

Alt Fiction 2011

It’s already been mentioned on their site that I’ll be attending Alt Fiction in Derby, but as it’s a 2-day event, I thought I’d better clarify; I’ll be there on Saturday 25th June only, rather than for both days…unless anything changes over the next month.

I’ve had my provisional timetable, which involves me in three panels — although panels isn’t quite the word. I’ll be participating in a podcast at noon; ‘Breaking into Writing is the subject, and I’ll be one of four  writers involved.

From 5 to 6 I’ll be reading in the Participation Space (I have a vague memory that that’s the middle of a big open plan area…).

And earlier, from 3 to 4 I’ll be involved in running a workshop, which is going to be erm, interesting….I’m not sure how exactly this is going to work; there’s no set format, so I may end up with people bringing things they’ve already written. If that’s the case, I’m happy to read previously written pieces. Or I may end up just fielding questions.

So let’s have a straw poll; if you were going to a workshop for one hour, what would you prefer to do?  Talk theory, or workshop written pieces? Is there a 3rd option, I haven’t thought of?

Feel free to feed back ideas to me…

• May 21st, 2011 • Posted in Appearances • Comments: 0

Anthology Update

This is the stage of editing Transtories that is proving most difficult, and most instructive.

It’s the first time that I’ve had to deal with the consequences of an open call for subs –Killers, Future Bristol and Dark Spires were all invitation only.

One practical effect is that there are far more stories to read for an open sub anthology than for one with an invitation only policy, which of course takes up more time. 

Unsurprisingly, stories fit into three roughly equal categories; the ones that are easy to accept, the ones that are easy to reject, and the last ones, which are almost there, but not quite. These are the ones that call for multiple readings.

I’ve asked for a couple of rewrites for my preferred ones, but in some instances there seems to be something of a communication gap, and I now have the dilemma of how much more time I spend trying to nudge these stories toward the quality I’m looking for.

Meanwhile, I’ve posted a couple of acceptances, and I’m intending to add more at the rate of about one a day; it might not be exactly that, but I need to have the line up completed by Eastercon.

Which is where I’ll be attending a launch party for not one but two books containing my work at the same time.  (I’m not the only person claiming this singular honour, so you have even more reason to turn up and buy both books!)

First up is Further Conflicts, Ian Whates’ sequel to his 2010 anthology.

It has a fine BSFA nominated cover by Andy Bigwood, and I get to share to Table of Contents with my stunt double Tony Ballantyne, fellow Angry Robots Lauren Beukes, Andy Remic and Dan Abnett, as well as Gareth L Powell, Eric Brown, Kim Lakin-Smith, Adam Roberts and others.

I’ll talk about -the other title- The Sixty: Arts of Andy Bigwood next time. 

Before I go, you’ll notice that I’ve posted links to all the books here; in the interests of full disclosure, I get a small fee if you buy through the site, and you get to save money – so it’s win-win. 🙂

• April 6th, 2011 • Posted in Appearances, Books • Comments: 0

Forthcoming Appearances

In two weeks time the convention season kicks off with Microcon 31 in Exeter. I shall be appearing alongside Beth Webb and Jo Hall on a Saturday afternoon on research and other writerly things. And I’m sure that  the odd beer (some of them very odd) will be consumed. 

Next up is Eastercon, which is in at the NEC near Birmingham from the 22nd to the 25th of April, inclusive. More on that nearer the time…

• February 18th, 2011 • Posted in Appearances • Comments: 0

Post Bristolcon Musings

Well, that was good. Bristolcon 10 was over three times the size of last year, with an attendance of over 150 people. Now, that’s a proper con. The panels were well attended — I opened on the Juliet E. McKenna moderated Publishing panel with Mike Shevdon, Andy Bigwood and Dave Bradley of SFX, then sat in on the Joe Abercrombie interview, both of which were excellent. I followed that with an hour on the con dealer’s desk and then the Dark Spires launch.

That went pretty well, although it became a little chaotic (mea culpa) as the event progressed. There were definitely learning points to be taken from it. Like, put the box -and the designated treasurer- at the end of the line. Still, we had  good sales, and people seemed to like the actual finish of the book, which is marvellous, IMHO.

After a late lunch and a visit to the Dealer’s Room to pick up Murky Depths 14, containing Neil Beynon’s ‘Stone,’  onto The Future of Science panel. Impressed as expected by Alastair Reynalds and Gareth L Powell, but it emerges that Paul Cornell’s urbane exterior camouflages an Inner Science Geek…

The Programme culminated with ‘Writing Fight Scenes,’ in which Joe Abercrombie was repeatedly thrown down by Juliet E. McKenna and Meaney-san. I was supposed to moderate this panel, which turned out to be an exercise in futility, but by this time a worsening chest infection (which has seen me confined to barracks while Kate and Sharon hit Bath) forced me into withdrawing from both my panel and the 6.50 reading.  Cheryl Morgan was a more than adequate replacement.

And so, here’s looking forward to next year…

• November 7th, 2010 • Posted in General • Comments: 3

Bristolcon 2010

For some not-so-unfathomable reason, all roads in England lead to, through or around London and/or Birmingham. Getting from North to South and vice versa is comparatively easy as well; but heaven help you if you want to travel West to East, or East to West in the South without going via London or Birmingham.

Most of the conventions in England tend to be held in the Eastern side, which is understandable, since the organizers tend to be from around there. But getting from the South-West to Nottingham, Northampton, Derby and York tends to be a bit of a pain in the Arras. So last year some nice people organized the first Bristolcon.

And now they’re holding another one.

With 85 pre-registration memberships, it’s already almost twice the size of last year’s event. Juliet McKenna, Mike Shevdon and Paul Cornell  are all braving the motorway to come down on on a Saturday; Paul to be one of the GoHs, Juliet to Moderate like it’s 1999, and Mike to be, well…Mike, one of the nicest guys around, who writes achingly good novels for Angry Robot Books.

Joe Abercrombie is the main GoH but the con also boasts John Meaney, Alastair Reynolds, Eugene Byrne, Kim Lakin-Smith and Stephanie Burgis, as well as graphic illustrators Simon Gurr, Terry Cooper, and Craig Lewis; Talis Kimberley will be providing music, Wizard’s Tower Press will be arranging a book launch, and Murky Depths will be there as well as Forbidden Planet bookstore, and — oh, just go to the site!

And you’re going to be there, aren’t you? Go on, you know that you want to…

• October 13th, 2010 • Posted in General • Comments: 0

Dark Spires Stories

Earlier this week, Salon Futura ran the Table of Contents for the Dark Spires anthology.  It’s not quite finalized, as the running order of the last few stories needs to be ironed out (I’ve blogged before about the importance of the order of stories).

But while they thrashed out here is the interim Table of Contents for Dark Spires:

  • Sarah Singleton: “The Preacher”
  • John Hawkes-Reed: “Pump House Farm”
  • Adam Colston: “Cobalt Blue”
  • Joanne Hall: “Corpse Flight”
  • Colin Harvey: “Spindizzy”
  • Eugene Byrne: “Spunkies”
  • Christina Lake: “The Sleeper Stone”
  • Guy Haley: “Outside”
  • Liz Williams: “Milk”
  • Roz Clarke: “Last Flight To West Bay”
  • Gareth L. Powell: “Entropic Angel”

I’ll talk more about the the anthology nearer the launch date of November 6th.

• September 4th, 2010 • Posted in General • Comments: 0

Dark Spires Update

I’ve posted an update on Dark Spires over at Suite101. I’m hoping to be able to announce a confirmed ToC in the next week or so, but that depends on the last few writers coming through — including one very late signing. More on that another time.

• August 25th, 2010 • Posted in General • Comments: 0

Babies, Chameleons & Other Arrivals

It’s been a busy old morning with lots happening, so if this string of bulletin points sounds a bit breathless, that’s maybe because it is.

First of all, so much for the power of 31. Anne and Brian’s baby girl decided not to hang around until the end of the month, but instead emerged into the world at about 6.30 am yesterday morning. I’m delighted for them.

Also soon to emerge into the world is ‘Chameleon,’ my flash story that will available to  subscribers of Daily Science Fiction in the first week of September.

Finally, the podcast of my panel on ‘The Future of the Future’ is up at alt.fiction’s website.

Right, time I sorted out some lunch.

• August 19th, 2010 • Posted in General • Comments: 0

Off To Eastercon

If he’s running to time, Gareth will be here in 30-40 minutes, and then we’ll be off to not-so-sunny Heathrow for the madness that is Eastercon, held again in the Hotel Non-Euclidean, aka the Radisson (people who’ve stayed there and emerged will understand the reference).

Details of the programme are at Suite101.

Hopefully the onslaught of spam (about 100 spam posts a day) will abate while I’m away — touch wood, they seem to have slackened off already.

• April 2nd, 2010 • Posted in General • Comments: 0