Friday, January 27, 2006


Well, we're in the new house: the computer is connected (although a fan did not survive the journey: it sounds like someone is using a chainsaw inside a light aircraft in here...), most of the house has been painted, the new floors have been laid, and we've almost chosen the new bathroom fittings. Whilst it's fun kneeling on the bare concrete floor to shave myself in my daughter's princess mirror, and sitting down in the bath to shower with a hand-held nozzle, I'd really rather like a bathroom that doesn't resemble the inside of a Beirut bombsite, ta muchly.

I've a lot to catch up on, a lot to chase after, and a lot to get back on track in the next few weeks. Bear with us while we try to get our life in order: renovations are, to put it in the mildest possible terms, a complete fucking bastard. Never again. Never again.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006


Gakked from Stephen:

Give me a topic and I'll give you my top five.

Song of the moment: Same Aerosmith song, half a verse later...

A little whimsy of mine called And Just Like That... up at Antipodean SF this month. I like Anti-SF. They're worth supporting, 92 issues without any of the grandstanding so prevalent in the OzSF scene. So go, read, enjoy.


A thoroughly enjoyable interlude to a packing-heavy weekend on Saturday night, when we mosied over to Shane Jirayia Cummings' and Angela Challis' house for a barbecue with them, Martin Livings & Dr Izz. We gossiped, we fondued, we stood agog upon their balcony and stared with mounting envy at their view across the lake... By God they have a fabulous house. I've been wanting to find a writerly social circle that would enjoy getting together and talking biz on a semi-regular basis, and on the occasions we've been together, it's felt very much like friendship. We were also hoping to meet Stephanie Gunn in more extended circumstances than the last time we were introduced (yum cha at lunchtime on the first day of a Con is not the best circiumstances...) but illness intervened.

In future years, they'll be talking about us in the same breath as those other great literary gatherings: the Algonquin Circle, the Dick/Powers/Jeter evenings, the second series of The Book Club...

We'll be at it again in a fortnight, showing off the new Batthouse. We're looking forward to seeing a lot more of these fabulous people, although in typical fashion, Martin & Izz respond to our moving closer by running to England in a few weeks....


So we're in a cafe the other day, and I go to the loo while the boys are up getting some food, and when they see I'm not at the table they ask where they are and Lyn tells them she killed me and turned me into their main meals (nachos) and it becomes a discussion of which bit of the meal is made from which bit of me, and so we arrive to:

BLAKE: So what's this corn?
LYN: His eyes.
BLAKE: How does that work?
AIDEN: His corneas.



Oh, I'm having fun. Thanks to Stephen Dedman, a writer who triggers both my admiration and aspiration, I'm currently engaged in a story for an anthology entitled Monster Noir, the central idea of which is that all the classic movie monsters upped sticks and settled in a nice Midwestern town, which then was bypassed and forgotten as the bypasses passed and the world moved on.

Thanks to a slow-work day the other day I managed 1800 words of the final act (working backwards. Oookkkaaayyy....), and thanks to another slow work day today managed to plot out the rest (as well as 3 other stories that should keep me busy for the next little while).

Dwight Frye in 3 incarnations; Dr Maurice Xavier (the inimitable Dr X, famous as one of Humphrey Bogart's he's in that? roles pre-big time); Vampira; Tor Johnson; Ed Wood; both Bela Lugosi and Christopher Lee's Draculas; a guest appearance from Dr Pretorius (the star of Stephen's own story); inter-species zombie sex; kitten eating; cross-dressing; and getting drunk on the blood of Mexicans, and I've only just started.

Oh boy I'm having fun...

Song of the moment: Eat The Rich Aerosmith

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


Connor had his long-anticipated eye appointment yesterday. Luscious went in with the knowledge that an operation could be on the cards, but rather hoped the solution would prove to be much simpler.

It doesn't.

Basically, the muscles that control the movement of his eyes are too far forward, and working too hard. The doctor has to cut them out, move them to the back, and sew them in again. A surgeon (and we all know how much I trust and respect those guys) will be waving a scalpel not near, not in front of, but in my son's eyes.

Right now I'm so terrified of what can go wrong I don't even want to think about it, never mind talk. The kids sat down last night with the long list of complications given to us by the doctor, and worked us all into a state of high anxiety. Cassie was reduced to tears at one stage, and I wasn't far behind.

I really don't know how to handle this. The only comfort we've found to take hope in is that there's a 70% chance that he won't have to go in and have a second operation. So that's a 70% chance he'll have normal vision after the first attempt.

I realised last night that every time any member of my family goes into hospital, probably for the rest of my life, I'm going to be a nervous disaster area. And no amount of "It's only one chance in a million/billion/squillion" is going to change that: I had that one chance run me over already. I spent the 9 months of Lyn's pregnancy a shivering wreck (doing her state of calm no end of damage in the meantime), and now we all have to go through it on behalf of a helpless little boy to whom it will be impossible to justify the pain and upset.

There's no fairness. I know it's for his own good. I know that if we don't do this, he will be blind in his left eye by the time he's five. I know that we are good parents, the best of parents, for doing this for our son. And I know he has the best surgeon in WA performing the operation.

But why him? And why us?

Monday, January 09, 2006


So many boxxxxxesssss, so much moving to doooooooo.....

The painter starts tomorrow. The tiling guy and the wood floor guy come in next week. We make the final move next Friday. It's all so close.


Managed 600 words on an almost forgotten project entitled A Good Year for The Roses tonight, a gentle little horror-ish story that's sat, partly completed, in my In Progress folder for rather a while. Not a big achievement, 600 words, but it was nice to clear the pipes after having been so hectic with moving stuff, renovation stuff, kids, and day job for the last few weeks.

Little self-satisfied sigh.

Song of the moment: Wings of a Dove Madness

Monday, January 02, 2006


Okay, a bunch of things since the last post, so yoiks and away:


So what was the point of packing away all the kids toys, when everybody just goes and buys more for them than we'd packed? My God, did the kids make out this year. My personal vote for cool present-- the ant farm we gave Aiden, which uses not boring old dirt and earth but translucent blue gel developed on a space shuttle mission in an attempt to manufacture viable food sources for astronauts. Of course.

I did quite nicely myself, as it happens: 2, count them 2 volumes of the collected works of Theodore Sturgeon (Luscious and Fantastic Planet, I love you), a make your own Neanderthal head kit (from the kids. They know me so well.), the LP player for my computer I've been coveting, a CD/MP3 player for the car (all I have is a tape deck in my little green runabout).... and in a long -standing tradition (ie: we did it for the first time this year), Lyn and I decided we would give each other a second-hand book as part of our presents, so I recieved the Best of SF&F.

Yay for me :)

Oh, and a couple of days before the event, Luscious came back from the video store with an ex-rentla copy of Finding Neverland for me, and a couple of days after, walked in and presented me with the DVD of War of The Worlds (NOT the Tom the Weenie version, tyvm!). Just because.

She loves me.


The ultra-groovy and luvverly Anna Tambour has asked both Luscious and I whether she can post a story at her website. So as of this very moment, you can go here and read my story A Stone To Mark My Passing. Originally published in the CSFG anthology Elsewhere, it scored a mention in the Datlow/Windling Recommended Reading List, and is one of my better tales, imho. Go, read, enjoy. Consider it a taste of the coming-who-knows-when collection, where it will also appear.

Lyn's story Simeon The Monkey will be up soon, and I'll let you know.


On top of my Aurealis Awards nomination comes the news that Father Muerte & The Rain has been selected for inclusion in Australian Dark Fantasy & Horror: The Best of 2005. Pater Familias will cop a mention in the Recommended Reading list. Lyn's brilliant story The Memory of Breathing will also be reprinted in the book, so start saving, Battfans.


You know how most drownings actually take place in sight of shore?

4 days until the new house is ours. 4 daaaaayyyyysssss.....


Okay, so I'm going to: lose 10 kilos, write 10 stories and attempt to sell as many, write and sell a new novel, and I've set an amount of money I want to earn over and above my regular wages to contribute to the mortgage.

Odds anyone?

A nice task I set myself is to start each year by beginning a new story on the 1st of January, no matter what projects I'm already working on. Yesterday, I had 2 ideas while showering (I do some of my best work in the shower...), so Escapees and The Adding Machine have been added to the universal consciousness. I'll let you know when they're done.


So neither of us wanted to go to a party, we were both feeling peopled out and just wanted to stay at home, and Lyn felt the need for a personal shopping break. And while she was out I packed a million and a half boxes and was feeling pretty good about my work. And she bought herself 3 tops and a skirt for 70 bucks.

Which is why we ended up at PRK and Tori's NYE gathering after all :)

It was fun, for the most part, although the two halves of the party who didn't know each other seemed unable to share more than a few words before the inevitable butting in of mutual pals distracted everyone. Still, I had fun talking music with Sheldon, Chesh & the Perky One, and because of the kids we left late enough to have had a fab time and early enough not to feel drained. Apart from one pillock who needs a talking to I can't be bothered to give them, it was a casual and entertaining night, and damn good for my spirits.

Yesterday, halfway through the afternoon, bogged off with packing and in possession of hamburgers and buns, we rang up Calli and Chesh and spent the early evening eating home-made burgers, chips from the chishunfip shop and downing cold drinkies. Which was pretty near the perfect way to end the day.

The older I get, the more I want my social gatherings small, intimate, intelligent and casual. And that's just what I got yesterday. Aaaahhhhh.


A pleasant afternoon was spent in the company of Lily Chrywenstrom today, long time pal and editrix of the stylish magazine Fables And Reflections. Apart from using the occasion to thrust a story upon her, Luscious and I enjoyed the chance for a delightful conversation over lunch, and then the three of us wandered over to the nearby Elizabeth's and went bookshopping. There's something quite intimate about shopping for books with other people. You get a glimpse into their psyche from an angle you might not otherwise see, and any sharing of passions is an intimate thing. And booty was rescued from the cruel clutches of the shelves-- I walked away with an old Kitchen Sink Press graphic novel entitled The Upturned Stone, a biography of Elizabethan mystery man Dr John Dee (Is that a Muerte plot I feel unfolding?), and a copy of Ambrose Bierce's The Devil's Dictionary.

I am a happy fat little Bierce fan tonight, my friends.

Back to work tomorrow, but at least it's only a 3 day week, what with having Friday off for house moving purposes.

Song of the moment: Wuthering Heights Kate Bush