Saturday, April 29, 2006


I'm forced into a position I hate. I have to write a complaint letter. Not about a faulty product (and the makers of the sonic screwdriver I bought at Swancon, I'll be getting to you shortly...) but to the KSP, an institution I am very fond of, and with whom I've been in a relationship of mutual benefit for a few years now.

Because the woman who runs a writing group I attended for almost 2 years took exception to some of the contents of my collection, and instead of speaking to me directly, wrote 2 pages of what I can only call hate mail, handed it to Lyn, said "See Lee gets this." and disappeared into the sunset.

No return address. No way to engage in a dialogue. Just sputum and bile, leaving Lyn and I feeling attacked and unwelcome at an event to which we give a lot of attention and care.

Now, I'm not exactly a delicate little wallflower, here. I'm not so blind as to be surprised if I offend somebody, or if what I write hurts or causes a negative reaction. What I write is often very dark (and not just the fiction: it's the afterwords that caused the offence on this occasion), and I am aware that I have a personality which is large, loud, and generally uncompromising. I've received hate mail from my own relatiuves, fer Pete's sake. And I've had friends call me obnoxious, and ask that I change my personality or they'll refuse to hang around with me. It's not like I haven't noticed, non?

But in each of those cases I've had some sort of right of reply. And in each of those cases, it's been just me, not Lyn, that's had to bear the pointed end of the stick.

So: a letter of complaint, to a group of people I like, because one of their members is a coward, and unprofessional, and is undertaking a deliberate attempt to spoil my reputation within a body I turn to for workshop work and residencies (Oh, it's a good letter, folks). What would you do, if somebody came into your workplace, and tried to break down the way you make a living?

Some days, to misquote the great Emo Philips, it's just not worth chewing through the leather straps in the morning...


We were lucky enough to catch up with two of our fabourite people for coffee during the week: Michelle and Adrian Bedford. As always, the conversation was warm and relaxed, but we were rewarded with a happy moment when Adrian misheard Lyn say 'remedial massage' and spent a fair part of the conversatiuon wondering what sort of career she was going to have in media massage.

Send your suggestions ina sealed envelope...


The kids have been with us this week, for our half of the school holidays, and goddamn, I'm loving it. I've been out with the boys, riding our bikes down to the beach to climb rocks and discover a whopping great treasure trove of fossilised shells and eggs (summer, hammer, chisel, oh yeah baby...). We've watched Godzilla movies ("We shall call the red one Baragon!!!"). We've made art, and framed the pictures we painted last time we were all together. We've picknicked and watched the kids going mad in the surf. And I've laughed more in the last week than I have in a long time. It's been exactly what being a family is all about. And on Monday night it has to end.

Still, when you have photos like this, the memories really do last forever:

A pretty good definition of family

The bright side is: Aiden is with us full time now, where he was wanted to be for quite some time. And while he's sad to leave his Dad's house, well, if we actually undertake every plan he wants to now that he's here, I confidently predict he should leave home by the time he's 43...


As of now, our good pal Stephanie Gunn will be a married woman. (And I'd like extra credit for never once referring to the occasion as a Shocked-Gunn wedding...)

Well done, Steph! Have one on us!

Drink, we mean...


There's been some interesting discussion on the Southern Horror mailing list regarding horror movies, and remakes thereof. So it was with interest that I settled in with Luscious and the boys to watch Blake's movie of choice tonight: David Cronenberg's remake of The Fly. Well, truth be told: I settled in to watch it. Lyn & the boys settled in to look at the inside of their blankets and ask me when the scary bits were over.

It's damn good, I was happily surprised to see. The special effects and storyline stand up remarkably well twenty years later, and while Geena Davis is nothing to write home about in the acting stakes, Jeff Goldblum's performance is hypnotic. If you've not seen it in a while, there are worse ways to spend a couple of hours.


So: Seth brundle (Goldblum) opens up his bathroom cabinet to store some teeth that have just fallen out, and we see that he's been storing his own body parts for some little time. Someone who shall remain nameless, but who was actually Blake, points to a curiously shaped nubbin of flesh and says, in a proud happy voice:

Ewwwww. It's his first syllable of cockateil!

Mother scolds. Bonus Dad collapses in laughter. They swap. Brother spends whole time laughing his ass off...


As of Monday, my darling wife will return to full time studies, where she will spend the next 6 months learning to become a professional masseuse. Because she's in the later half of her 30s, and has realised that she wants to spend her working career doing something which rewards her personally as well as just financially. It's a brave move, and I couldn't be prouder.

She's come a long way over the last 3 years. When I met her she was a loving, self-sacrificing woman who automatically put herself last in every situation. Now she has a fierce streak of independence, and understands that her happiness is important to those around her, and that those who love her want to see her fulfilled. She's always been tough, and stronger than she realised, but now she has found the self-belief that allows her to express herself and her needs.

I can't wait to see her flourish and grow throughout this new part of her life. I'm extraordinarily proud.


Ahhh, children. You just can't predict what they'll learn next.

Who'd have thought the darling little boy who so cutely refuses to learn to say 'Mummy' would so quickly seize upon 'Shutup' as his next word?

And, because I'm a self-indulgent dad, a picture. Because he's beautiful, and because I can :)

The most beautiful little boy in the world


We needed a big piece of art to hang in our dining room, and Battersby had himself an idea. Down to the art warehouse to get himself 8 canvasses, draw a design when the Battfam aren't in the room, gather them round the table, give 'em a canvas each and tell 'em they can't look at each other's art and they can't go over the lines...

What do you get when you combine Aiden's...

With Cassie's...


Lyn's, Connor's, Erin's...

One the kids did because there was one left over and they were in a groove...

And mine?

Why, apart from one of the funnest family-togetherness afternoons we've had together, and the highlight of our holiday, you get this:

Family art, to hang on our wall forever. And a big fat case of the warm and fuzzies.

Some days, being Dad to a large family has a definite upside.

Thursday, April 13, 2006


Sent The Ballad of Dwight & Renfield away earlier in the week, and in return, received news that my pitch for the Doctor Who anthology has been accepted. The 2nd Doctor and Jamie, battling a creature made from an unknown form of electricity, under the streets of Prague whilst above, the city's history intrudes upon its present.

Should be fun, non?

I'll be sharing pages with Aussies Sean Williams, Stephen Dedman and Rob Hood, so I'll be in some fine local company.


Well, it seems Tansy Rayner Roberts is an unabashed Luscious fan. She's reviewed her favourite 18 stories from 2006 so far, and Lyn has two mentions. Tansy says:

Edges, Lyn Battersby, Shadowed Realms 9: Despite the disorientation at seeing my baby's name attached to a sexually aggressive character, I thought this was a really effective piece of horror about multiple personality syndrome - shows the amount of story you can actually pack into flash fiction.


The Hanging Tree, Lyn Battersby, Borderlands 6: I'll be reviewing this issue for AS if - but this is one of the two standout stories in the issue, an angry but controlled story with strong characters and a sense of Australian history. It's based on a premise that could easily turn ugly (or, at least, trite) in the hands of a less accomplished writer, but the fierceness of the narrative transcends the story's gimmick. Where "The Memory of Breathing" was restrained and tense, this story is wild and raw and emotionally violent (though, I believe, less actually disturbing than TMOB - but I don't particularly want to imagine a story that's *more* emotionally disturbing).

And in even more exciting news, Her Lusciousness was this morning contacted by an independent film producer who wants to option The Memory of Breathing. It never rains, non? :)

Saturday, April 08, 2006


Sometimes, the soundtrack of your life says something perfect...

Did something I haven't done for a long time this morning: jumped on the bicycle, banged the ipod in my ears (took it out, attached earphones, put them in my ears. More comfortable, and there's music!), and inflamed my arthritic knees down to Bunnings and back to pick up a couple of things for the house.

It's early on a Saturday morning, it's a sunny day, I'm riding through deepest, darkest, middle class suburbia, people are out in their front gardens, doing all those middle class things middle class people do on a Saturday morning-- mowing, washing the four wheel drives they never take further than the shopping centre, wiping down the lawn furniture for another garage sale...

And what comes on the playlist? Pleasant Valley Sunday by the Monkees. Followed by REM's The End of The World As We Know It.

I had to get off the bike I was laughing so hard.

It's just a pleasant valley Sunday-hey! Here in status-symbol laaaannnndddd........


Gakked from a whole bunch of people.

Go to Wikipedia, enter in your birthdate (sans year), post three events, two births and one death.


1215 - The Fourth Lateran Counil meets, adopting the doctrine of transubstantiation, meaning that bread and wine are transformed into the body and blood of Christ. (Heh. Given my views, somewhat ironic, non?)
1634 - The Irish House of Commons passes "An Act for the Punishment for the Vice of Buggery".
1930 - Patent number US1781541 was awarded to Albert Einstein and Leo Szilard for their invention, the Einstein Refrigerator.


1821 - Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Russian novelist (d. 1881)
1897 - Lucky Luciano, American gangster (d. 1962)


1917 - Liliuokalani of Hawaii, Queen of Hawaii (b. 1838)

There's really a very long list of happenings on this day. It's here. Check it out, there's quite a lot of fun stuff, if you've got a mind like mine.


Couple of events on the horizon at which you may like to join myself and Luscious.

Luscious and I will be reading at the Katharine Susannah Prichard Writer's Centre Open Day on April 23rd, between 11.15 and 11.45. I'll have copies of Through Soft Air there for sale, as well as copies of Aurealis 36 and some of the other magazines in which we've appeared.

I'll be placed under the microscope at Australian Science Fiction in Focus for a 2 week stint as guest interviewee starting the 14th of June. Luscious will take her place before your gaze for a fortnight from 23rd August.

I'll remind you closer to the dates, but at least now you know!

Song of the moment: Even Flow Pearl Jam

Monday, April 03, 2006


Interested in learning more about writing speculative fiction to enter in the KSP SF/F Awards?Have we got the workshop for you!

Writing Speculative Fiction for Competitions Workshop with Lee & Lyn Battersby
Saturday 8 April at KSP Writers Centre, 1-4 pm

For those of you who want to enter the Awards but feel you could use a little help, our 2005 judges will be presenting a workshop for just that purpose. Lee and Lyn Battersby are Multi-award winning SF writers and will discuss the common mistakes and tropes that led to many of last year's entries falling short of the winner's circle. Indispensable advice and examples to help anyone wanting to invest their work with something extra before this year's competition closes.

They might even tip you into the winner’s circle……

Contact Ramona Janssen
Office Manager
11 Old York RoadGreenmountWA 6056
Tel/Fax 08 9294 1872

Critiquing Workshop with Lee Battersby

Thursday 6 April 9:30-11:30 am

Writing is the art of putting the right words in the right order, to pinch a phrase from Wordsworth. Award winning short story author Lee Battersby will be taking participants through the act of editing their own work, from line level to the narrative arc, and discussing how killing the lines you love can make for a tighter, more effective work.
This workshop is invaluable for any writer, and an absolute bargain for KSP members - just $3.00!
Bookings are essential.

Contact Ramona Janssen
Office Manager
11 Old York RoadGreenmountWA 6056
Tel/Fax 08 9294 1872

Literally the moment I posted the last post, there was a knock on the door and a courier guy handed me a box with 20 copies of Through Soft Air within.

20 copies of my collection currently at my house.


Contact me.

Thanks to the kindness of the lads at Aurealis, I have 10 copies of their latest issue, #36 currently sitting next to me on the bookshelf (that's right, I work from a bookshelf. It's cramped, but cozy...)

Even if I do say so myself, and I do, this is one hell of a doozy of an issue: apart from mine own story, the Australian Shadows Award-winning Father Muerte & The Flesh, it also contains Trent Jamieson's Aurealis Award winning Slow and Ache (Best SF Short Story), and Kim Westwood's AA-nominated Terning Tha Wheel (also Best SF short story) as well as tales from Jay Caselberg, Rob Hood, Tansy Rayner Roberts and others. Australian SF legend Van Ikin, Ben Payne, Bill Congreve and Kate Forsyth are amongst the non-fiction contributors.

The magazine normally costs $12.50 plus postage, but thanks to the miracle of contributor discounts, you can get it from me for $9 plus postage.

Contact me to order a copy.