Sunday, September 27, 2015


... is that there has to be a second rule because we have to have an even number of rules.....

I've spoken before about the benefits-- and far too often, otherwise-- of writing groups. But in Write Club, a loose conglomeration of practicing and aspiring authors who meet fortnightly to have lunch before invading the State Library or the Edith Cowan University library (on a rotating basis) with the sole aim of bashing out words, I think I may have found my intervention.

Due to Real Life (TM), Luscious and I only manage to attend on a monthly basis, when the group meets at the State Library. However, the opportunity to sit in silence-- well, relative silence, given that my entire music library sits on a hard drive smaller than my palm and I've just purchased some bitching, high-end Sennheiser cans that I need to use at every opportunity-- ignore the world, and simply focus on a page with no external distractions is proving valuable beyond words. or, to put it another way, valuable exactly in words.

Last month, it enabled me to crash out the first draft of a new short entitled General Janvier-- my first short of the year, would you believe-- which I've been able to redraft and get out into the world since. And yesterday, I was able to throw 2200 words at a 300 word stub called Plague Rat, finish the story and re-title it, so that the now-2500 word story Gun is ready to edit and send out. Those 300 useless words have been staring at the inside of my Incomplete folder for the better part of 6 years. This is valuable time indeed. It's nice to be back.

Between me and the outside world lie a wooden table, a breakfast bar, the kitchen sink, and the far wall of the kitchen.

He walks through them all.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015


So, yeah, I've joined Weight Watchers. In fact, as you're reading this, I'm sitting outside the meeting room, waiting to start my third meeting.

It's Luscious' doing, really. She joined some months ago, swallowed the pill without complaint, and has worked so hard she's lost a fifth of her body weight and been approached to become a coach.

Faced with that sort of dedication and positive results, what chance did I have?

So, I've a fitbit on my wrist and my sneakers packed in my work bag, and all the crisps and choccie bars and pizzas and beer have been banished to the you've-had-your-share shelves. And I'm eating lunch at my desk and going for walks at lunch time, and generally just trying to follow in Luscious' tiny, increasingly-light-on-the-ground footsteps.

I weighed 85 kilograms when I had my car accident, maybe a kilo heavier when Sharon died. What I weigh now is no longer the fault of those experiences. So, no more excuses, or justifications. Tackle the weight, and the pain and lifestyle will fall into line.

First week in I lost 2.6 kilograms, which felt like a good start but also gives you some indication of just how much I have to lose.

I'll keep you abreast of how I go.


So, the hideous carbuncle that was Unca Jugears has been deposed. And, to date, he's managed to take pet rocks Peter Dutton and Joe Hockey down with him.

It's a start. But don't let the elevation of Shitslick Turnbull fool anybody: the policies remain, the right-wing conservatism and disdain for social and cultural advancement remain, the contempt for the vast majority of the electorate remains. That they have a more appealing sales rep just makes the Liberal machine that much more dangerous.

Bill Shorten was a non-entity for a time of despair, but we can no longer content ourselves in watching ghosts fighting ghosts.

The Liberal machine remains as vile as it ever was. The Labor machine still has no wheels, no fuel, and no gears. More than ever, your vote will count, come the next election.

Just because a turd has been polished, doesn't stop it from being a turd.


Life's settled down a piece in the last week or so-- the display for Bricktober has been packed into boxes ready to transport; I've stopped compulsively building just-one-more-Viper for the show; General Janvier has been edited and sent out into the wild; and I've started to turn my attention back to novels, and specifically, the search for an agent to represent Father Muerte and the Divine.

Hopefully, that means I'll have a moment or two spare to update the blog on a more regular basis. Hopefully. But, in the meantime, I've guest-posted over at Andrew McKiernan's place on the tools I use to write, and it's made me realise: somehow, I've become old-fashioned!

Says the guy who's remained with Blogger for going on 14 years......

Tuesday, September 08, 2015


Way back when, I may have mentioned that I had foolishly agreed to build something for a Lego display in October called, you guessed it, Bricktober.

Yeah, so, October's nearly open us. And, if I'm honest, I may have gone a little mad.

See, the thing I came up with was a diorama called Arrival at the Tomb of the Unknown Spaceman. A whole rabble of space-themed minifigs disembark from a shuttle that's over 2 base plates long (a minimum of 64 studs), and wander around what can only be called a significant investment in grey blocks. It's taken me nearly 7 months to build, and it looks a lot like this:

Which is not the me-going-mad bit, so much as the deciding-that-wasn't-enough-and-what-I-really-had-to-do-was-build-a-bunch-of-different-spaceships-to-go-on-stands-next-to-it was. So, if you come along to the Canning Showgrounds on October 10 or 11, you'll also get to see a 52-stud long star fighter:

Another, slightly smaller star fighter:


And a teensy, tiny, 16-stud long Vic Viper**:

Clearly, I have lost my mind.

Thankfully, I've finished all that, and have no plans at all to build, saaaaay, another Vic Viper in the 40-50 stud long bracket.


For more information on Bricktober, including the fantastic competitions, displays, prizes, and attractions that will be happening, visit their website.

GARC: Galactic Asteroid Rally Circuit. Each space-racer must have 2 crew members per ship (pilot & navigator), no weapons, and must look fast. The crazier the colour scheme the better



What time is it, Mister Wolf?

Fucked if I know, I've been hard up against it.

Godsdamn, but it's been a long time since I've had a chance to just sit around and blog at y'all. many reasons, but suffice to say, much of it has been down to general suckage, work-based suckage, business, distraction, and the feeling that I've got rather more urgent and important things to be doing.

The main thing of interest to this blog, however, is that Luscious and I have started hanging out with a group of Perth writers calling themselves Perth Write Club. They meet every fortnight at the State Library and Edith Cowan University, on a turn-by-turn basis, and well, they write. Hard. For an afternoon, with a bit of lunch beforehand and a chinwag after.

It's fab, and the kind of writing group I've been missing for quite some time-- every group I've been a part of over the last five years has eventually ended up with me acting as some kind of defacto free workshop leader, and there's only so much of that I can take before I want to hang out with some actual peers, please. Lyn and I attend the State Library meetings, and it's proving highly beneficial to my writing. In two meetings I've managed to complete a 4000-word synopsis for the kids novel Cirque and write a 3000-word short story entitled General Janvier. I'll be keeping this up!

In publication news, Magrit continues to lurk about the corridors of Walker Books. They appear to have some big plans for it-- I can't reveal what, unfortunately, but it might be a little more illustrated, and a little more hard-backy that first thought...... March next year is looking like the launch date, by which time it'll be older than the audience it was written for.

And I've been podded over at Far Fetched Fables: if you've not read my 2008 story In From the Snow, here's a chance to snuggle up in bed, cuddle your favourite teddy bear, and have it read to you. Sleep tight,

Thursday, July 30, 2015


One that not only made it to ink stage, but actually saw publication. In a newsletter I was editing, but they all count, right? Right?

Anyway. Daleks. On Ice. Comedy fucking gold. I actually wanted to call a revue I put together in my comedy days "Daleks on Ice", but was voted down by the other players. "Not Without My Cheesecake, You Don't" was the result, a title that sucked as badly as the show.

I like cartooning, and writing. you don't have to work with idiots. 

Thursday, July 23, 2015


"Yes, Mrs Tompkins, we do occasionally use the term 'gifted'. But in this case, I'm afraid 
young Nigel is simply weird.

Yeah, nothing to see here. Move along.

Thursday, July 16, 2015


"I suspect the 'how' of this case is going to be at least as interesting as the 'why', constable."

Elephants have been convicted of murder: witness the case of Mary, a circus elephant hanged-- yup, hanged-- in 1916 after being found guilty of murdering her trainer.

There is nothing so black that humans can't find humour in it. Or do it for real. Because, generally, we suck. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015


July is always a strange month. For me, it's the first month of the year: my day job is based around an annual budget that is approved in June and runs from financial year to financial year, so my programs and projects run along similar lines, meaning my work year coincides with the financial year. July is a time of renewal, of long-term planning, and new beginnings. And my Real Life (tm) is beginning to take on that cycle. July is where I look at the year ahead, and institute changes that I hope will carry throughout the rest of the year.

Of course, I do that in January, too, but that's because I'm insecure and a whiner.

My first change this month has been to abandon Facebook, and boy, are my arms tired... Not entirely, as it turns out, because many of the fan groups I'm a part of exist only on the wide blue lifewaster, and I have a public author page that it's nice to update occasionally. But I've moved away from my private page for the month: I'm reading my news feed once every three days instead of six time a day; I'm not commenting on anything-- some very particular posts, and groups, excepted; and I'm just generally ignoring its existence as much as possible. And, surprisingly, I'm immediately happier. It's amazing what a sinkhole of whine and angst Facebook is, without anyone really being aware of it. It changes people, myself very much included, and like any obsessive death cult, you kind of have to escape it to notice. Half a month in, I'm noticing, and giving serious consideration to extending my self-imposed exile through August and beyond. I wonder if I can cut down my reading to once a week.

The other thing I've enjoyed is a return to writing. The kids have been at their grandparents' this last week as part of their school holidays, and without having to centre our daily life around them Luscious and I were able to wander up to the City this past weekend and partake of the fortnightly writing group put together by Perth SF author Martin Livings. This group meets at either Edith Cowan University or the State Library for lunch, before an extended writing session and a debrief in a cafe afterwards, and lugging two pre-teen kids along is really not achievable.

But Saturday, I was able to slip my headphones on and concentrate on the screen for Three. Solid. Uninterrupted. Actual. HOURS. And in three hours, I can knock out two 1500 word synopses for novels requested by my publisher. One in particular-- Cirque, a novel about a girl who runs away to join an alien circus-- has been kicking around in my skull for ages. I have 15,000 words written, so by the end of the weekend I was able to complete the synopsis, organise the 15k into sections matching the action arcs in the synopsis, and determine what I need t fill in so that by the end of this week, hopefully, I can have the completed synopsis and a three chapter package in my publisher's inbox, where naturally they will pick it up, publish it in every country on Earth, and make me rich and famous enough that I never have to speak to anybody ever again. Or something.

And that's the change, kiddos: a year ago I was immersed in social media. I had accounts on 9 platforms at one stage. Now I'm down to 2, and am all but abandoning one of those. (The blog stays). I was at my happiest, as a writer, when it was just me, Luscious and the kids, my blog and the writing. I'm not sure why I ever strayed from that, but I think it's time I went back to what makes me happy. And if you like my writing, hopefully that'll make you happy, too.

Thursday, July 09, 2015


"Tell me again why he said there had to be a second ark just for dinosaurs?"

An old gag retold. Let's say I did it for the practice and never speak of it again. 

Thursday, July 02, 2015


Simple and silent. Sometimes you don't have to go any further than whimsy.

Friday, June 26, 2015


I'm running a new series of guest posts throughout 2015: Fetish Friday. Don't get all sweaty in the pants—I’m going back to an older definition of the word, and asking artists to show us something that helps them with the ritual of creation, some part of their surroundings—physical or mental—that eases the path into the creative state, whether it be a location, a piece of music, person, picture, a doohickey, whatnot, curio or ornament without which the creative process would be a whole lot more difficult.

It's the last in the series, and we finish off with a visit from trasplanted Geordie, the Sweden-based author and general frenetic Master of Words, Steven Savile:

I’ll admit I’ve had the hardest time trying to come up with some sort of routine, habit, good luck charm, or indeed something remotely interesting about my working patterns. I mean, what do I do that’s so different from anyone? What little rituals or quirks? Err. Look, here’s the thing: I’m incredibly boring. I get up late because I work into the early hours, though now the new puppy—five months at the time of writing—doesn’t seem to respect the idea that I need to sleep, not when there’s bright sunshine out there to go playing in. So maybe I should say my new-found talent is writing with bleary eyes?

            When I was younger I used to have a lucky sea bean that I took to all of my exams – it was with me through my mocks, my ‘O’ Levels, ‘A’ Levels, my accountancy degree before I dropped out and sold my soul to politics for the BA and then Religion and Philosophy for the MA. It was there on my desk forever. The first girl I’d ever kissed had given it to me. It was what the movie people like to call a meet-cute. I’d been running up the stairs in the hotel, she appeared at the top and flashed this gorgeous smile, which resulted in me slipping and falling down a full flight of stairs. Yeah, you’re just not going to forge that kind of meeting. I had been fourteen, coming up fifteen I guess. That sea bean came with me to Sweden and survived my first marriage, but somewhere along the way with so many moves it got lost. So the one interesting fetish I have to talk about… consigned to the dim and distant dusty archives of the past.

            In the immortal words of the poet of Springfield, “Doh!”

            Which basically left me thinking what the hell am I going to talk about?

            What one thing is ever present in my work ritual?

            What one thing could I not do this without?

            What makes it all right with the world?

            And it hit me, it’s the most honest answer I could give: music.

            I used to be the kind of writer that couldn’t manage a word if there was the slightest noise in the house, I needed absolute silence, needed the wife out at work, not banging around with the vacuum cleaner while I laboured over my ‘Art’ ahem. And then a little coffee shop opened up just down the road from our flat. I used to work for 3-4 hours at home, then hustle down to get my caffeine fix, maybe read or make notes in a good old fashioned notebook (remember these were the days of 40 minute batteries on the laptop) as a reward for a decent day’s writing. Then I started to think, hmm, I’ve got 90 minutes battery on the new laptop, maybe I could try… but it was so noisy with people talking that I was going crazy. Second day, stubbornly, I decided to try again but this time with my iPod (the original one, the white brick with the less than intuitive wheel) and this time I maybe managed a couple of paragraphs in the 90 minutes, because I had to turn the music up so loudly I couldn’t hear the constant blather of people around me. One thing I really ought to admit up front is I’m stubborn. It’s not my most endearing trait, but when it comes to work, it’s pretty useful. I kept at it, for a week, then another, then the strangest thing happened—I noticed that I couldn’t really concentrate without the music in my ears because it had a way of tunnelling the world down to just me and the page, nothing else. The trick, I realised, was to only play tunes I knew the lyrics to so well I wasn’t actively listening to them. So I took what had been something I used to love—listening to music—and turned it into an essential part of the background for my working life.

            The thing is I love music. I will consciously end my working day by turning the lights off in my study (I converted the basement into a proper man cave) and cranking up the volume on some crackly old vinyl and simply sitting in my leather armchair, closing my eyes and just listening—actively listening for the sake of listening—to the music, deliberately making it the sole activity, like it used to be when we were young. So many of my favourite memories involve putting LPs on for the first time, listening to the sequence of songs as the band wanted them to be listened to, the big opening track, the triumphant end to side one, opening to another big opening track on side two, rather than listening the way my iPod is set, which is that wonderful chaos of random shuffle, with around 15,000 tracks to choose between. I’ve even got to the stage where I fetishise my music – I’ve got limited edition picture discs, rare German pressings of the same album I’ve already got on CD, MP3 and vinyl (purely because the cassette I grew up with had a different mix of a single track on it and I was gripped with something akin to horror the first time I heard the vinyl and it was just wrong… yeah thank you Hue and Cry!), I scour Ebay and Tradera, the Swedish version of Ebay and spend hours on Discogs which is basically black crack heaven, looking for songs I used to love and rebuilding the vinyl collection I sold when I emigrated in 1997.

            I’ve divided my listening, too. There’s work listening – like right now, typing this The Lightning Seeds’ Ready or Not just came on. A couple of minutes ago it was Camelogue from the Single Factor by Camel, 3 mins 44 seconds of Prog Rock awesomeness recorded in 1982 at Abbey Road, and as Ian Brody’s voice fades it’s Neil Peart’s drums that kick in for The Good News First. There’s no rhyme or reason to what shuffle throws up, but they all have one thing in common, I love every single track. And then there’s pleasure listening, where I do nothing but listen. The music is the be all and end all, not the background.

            My routine is pretty much the same every day, order the latte and a coke, which will see me through a 2 hour plus session, headphones on, hit play, find the right opening track, open the laptop, abuse Lee or Brian or Stefan on Facebook over the football, and then write. The acoustic demo of This Land is Your Land by the Counting Crows just replaced Rush by the way.

            I think in part my love of music goes back to my youth. I was a fairly solitary kid, one of the first with divorced parents actually, which had the headmaster telling me they had their eye on me, like they expected me to fly off the rails at any second. It’s Big Dish now, Faith Healer, if you’re playing along at home. Anyway, the first time I had money I had a choice, buy a Sinclair Spectrum or a hifi – I bought an AWIA all-in-one – the best decision I ever made. I spent a small fortune collecting 12” singles and 7” versions of the same songs. Last week I actually bought the hand written lyrics to Love is a Wonderful Colour by The Icicle Works which I had framed with my 7” single and is now on the wall in my office. I’ve got my eye on Hue and Cry’s Labour of Love and Love and Money’s Hallelujah Man to make up the hall of fame above my desk, and if Roddy Frame ever decides to do handwritten lyrics for Oblivious, well that would be my holy grail. So, yeah, music. Oh, Moist, See Touch Feel.


Funny story about Moist, when I was finishing Silver, I mean literally finishing, random shuffle kicked up the last song, Silver, by Moist (spooky eh? The last words were written as David Usher sang the last words of the song) and when I took my headphones off, the cafĂ© was playing Madonna’s True Blue, which had been one of my girlfriend’s favourite songs back in the day. I checked my email and got the news from Vicky’s sister that she’d committed suicide. Yeah, music. Not so funny, maybe, but the sheer force with which memory binds to music is incredible.

I got to meet one of my favourite musicians of the 80s (and now, his new stuff is excellent), James Grant, and was lucky enough to become friends with him… so we were chatting one day and I said, you know, it’s weird, but you, Roddy, some of the other guys, you’ve been with me at every major life experience, an ever present. He smiled and nodded, said yeah, and I said, which means, I suppose you were there when I lost my virginity. That shut him up.

Well, well, haven’t listened to this one for a while, Howard Jones, Hide and Seek.

            Every now and then when I want to relax I’ll trawl YouTube and make a Top 20 tracks according to my state of mind that day, which is rarely the same as my other Top 20s if you’re paying attention. I’m even part of a group on Facebook where we take photos of our equipment (mind out of the gutter, Battersboy) and whatever album cover we’re listening to. It’s all vinyl lovers and its about showing off the art and, essentially, fetishizing the experience of what we’re listening to. I prefer it to that little notation Spotify used to post that said ‘Steve just listened to Marillion’s Gazpachio on Spotify’. Sometimes all the mod cons just aren’t the same.

            But that’s it.

Nothing that exciting really.

The only ever present when I write is music.

Well, music and coffee, but I figured a 1700 word post about the right coffee bean might have been a bit much… 

Steven Savile has written for Doctor Who, Torchwood, Primeval, Stargate, Warhammer, Slaine, Fireborn, Pathfinder, Arkham Horror, Risen, and other popular game and comic worlds. His novels have been published in eight languages to date, including the Italian bestseller L'eridita.  He won the International Media Association of Tie-In Writers award for his Primeval novel, SHADOW OF THE JAGUAR, published by Titan, in 2010, and The inaugural Lifeboat to the Stars award for TAU CETI (co-authored with Kevin J. Anderson). He                                                                                       has lived in Sweden for the last 17 years.

Well, biddy-biddy-biddy, that's all folks. At the start of the series I set out to get an insight into those little momentoes, rituals, and all-round fetishes that help define the creative practices of some of my colleagues, peers and friends. It's been a fun ride: I hope you've enjoyed it.

Thursday, June 25, 2015


Sigh. There's a growing up phase we all have to go through, right? Talk about give-an-old-joke-a-home-week......

"The bottom's really dropped out of the virgin business, hasn't it?"

Friday, June 19, 2015


I'm running a new series of guest posts throughout 2015: Fetish Friday. Don't get all sweaty in the pants—I’m going back to an older definition of the word, and asking artists to show us something that helps them with the ritual of creation, some part of their surroundings—physical or mental—that eases the path into the creative state, whether it be a location, a piece of music, person, picture, a doohickey, whatnot, curio or ornament without which the creative process would be a whole lot more difficult.

Today we welcome author and best possible buddy movie companion to the teensiness that is my wife, Marianne de Pierres:

My writing fetish works in reverse. That is, instead of using it to prepare myself for writing, I employ the reward strategy. I tell myself that if I complete a good writing session, I’m allowed to watch my favourite TV shows afterward. That, in turn, feeds my creative needs and stimulates my story-brain.

It’s a little loop that’s been working well for me for a while, though I have to guard against it getting out of balance – i.e. more TV watching that writing! I found that being able to submerge into someone else’s world both calming and energising. Occasionally, I’ll broaden the reward system to include an outside event. For instance, this week I went to a dramatic read through of a steampunk adaptation of The Secret Garden. It was great to hear some oral storytelling for a change: story-brains need to be very well fed on interesting characters and engrossing plots.

Marianne de Pierres is the author of the popular PARRISH PLESSIS trilogy and the award-winning SENTIENTS OF ORION and PEACEMAKER series. The PARRISH PLESSIS series has been translated into many languages and adapted into a role-playing game, while the PEACEMAKER series is being adapted into a novel adventure game.
Marianne has also authored children’s and young adult stories, notably the Night Creatures trilogy a dark fantasy series for teens.
Marianne is an active supporter of genre fiction and has mentored many writers. She lives in Brisbane, Australia, with her husband and three galahs (and once upon a time three sons–before they grew up). Marianne also writes award-winning crime under the pseudonym Marianne Delacourt.

Are you a creative artist? Fancy joining in and letting us know about that special item, object, location or cosmic state of being at the heart of your creative process? There's always room for another lunatic in the asylum: email me and make your most excited Horshack noise. 

Thursday, June 18, 2015


"Before we start tonight's lesson, let's say hello to a new student."

I can't remember what point I was going to satirise in this one. There's a bunch of ideas going on here, but maybe I've just grown beyond a point where any angle on domestic violence is funny anymore, or maybe it's just one of those convergence of ideas where it's more intriguing than funny to begin with. Ah well, for what it's worth......

Friday, June 12, 2015


I'm running a new series of guest posts throughout 2015: Fetish Friday. Don't get all sweaty in the pants—I’m going back to an older definition of the word, and asking artists to show us something that helps them with the ritual of creation, some part of their surroundings—physical or mental—that eases the path into the creative state, whether it be a location, a piece of music, person, picture, a doohickey, whatnot, curio or ornament without which the creative process would be a whole lot more difficult.

Today we welcome Queensland author Trent Jamieson:

I have so many fetishes that they circle me in a confused maelstrom of pay-attention-to-mes and you-must-do-thises. But there is one constant, and it's been that constant for nearly eighteen years. The city of Brisbane.

I know it's more a place than a thing. But it fills me with such pleasure. I catch my bus into work, and I'll write there, or I'll write in the office before I start work on certain days, or in a cafe (I have my favourites), or I'll walk around GOMA and then try and sneak a writing session in the Red Box at the State Library. I do most of my writing at home, but so many of my favourite scenes in my books have been written on buses or in those places.

Brisbane is my first city (I grew up in Gunnedah, finished my schooling in Lismore so I'm very much a country child) and it is the ultimate city to me. And it always will be.

When I write here, when I travel through her streets, or look down at the placid Brisbane River (like all rivers given to the occasional rages), or up to the supple rises of Mt Coot-tha I feel better for it. Brisbane is a small city, but it still surprises me, and comforts me, and irritates me - and all those things make stories.

As fetishes go it is a hard one to put in your pocket or on your wall. But Brisbane is generous. She's given me a piece of her and I keep her in my heart.


Trent Jamieson's Death Works Trilogy of novels is available from Orbit books, and a continuation The Memory of Death is available through Momentum Books. Roil, and Night’s Engines are available from Angry Robot. His latest book Day Boy will be published by Text in June. His webpage is

Are you a creative artist? Fancy joining in and letting us know about that special item, object, location or cosmic state of being at the heart of your creative process? There's always room for another lunatic in the asylum: email me and make your most excited Horshack noise.