Wednesday, December 31, 2008

SHOOTING FOR GOAL

There's 5 or so hours left between me and January 1st. To be honest, I don't give much of a rat's: I've never once woken up on the morning of January 1st and thought "Oh my goodness, the world seems completely different to the one I went to sleep in. Lawks-a-lordy, what a fresh start this portends!" (Or, you know, words to that effect.) It's a calendar thing, an arbitrary line drawn between 'then' and 'now', and whilst I guess I'm grinchish about it, there you are: I'll still have to do the dishes tomorrow, and clean the bedroom, and staying up past midnight will only mean I'll be tired and grumpy while I do them.

Still, as arbitrary underscores go, it at least draws people into examining the year just gone, and into making outlandish promises to themselves that they have neither the intention nor ability to keep. Let's be honest: if you've never climbed the Matterhorn wearing only a yamulka and a willy-warmer before, being a year older and fatter ain't gonna make it any easier. But, call 'em resolutions, or goals, or emotional signposts to a better me or whatever, we all do it, and so do I, and so I have.

It's quite simple, really:

I'm too fat. I did well at the start of last year. I went from 110kg down to 93, and was feeling the benefits. Then I got complacent, I got lazy, yadda yadda whatever, and the wheels fell off. Onto my stomach. So, having proved I can do it once, I get the opportunity to do it again. 13 kilos by the end of the year. That's one a month plus one, and will bring me down to 90kg, which is still too heavy but better than where I am. Plenty of exercise, better foods, better eating practices, you know the drill (More to the point, I do). And no booze, thanks to the gout, which will be easy, because I'm not that much of a drinker and I prefer my ankle to the taste of beer.

I'm not a novelist. Well, I could have been, this year, but in the end, Napoleone's Land was just one hurdle too difficult to sell-- the book was fine, barring rewrites, but the difficulty in getting publishers to look at a novel containing Aboriginal spirituality, written by an unknown white guy, defeated me. I'll come back to it, no doubt, when I've got a credit or two to play with, but right now, my priority is to finish Corpse-Rat King and get it sold, and finish the first draft of another novel. I have five or six in various states of decomposition, from a 40K draft of Public Savants to 5K and a full plot outline for The Last Death of Vaz Te, to the TV script of Cirque that I could adapt... there's plenty to be going on with. I'll likely be around the interwebs even less next year than in 2008 (my google hits quartered over the course of the year), but that's all part of moving on, I hope.

My house is not perfect. Don't get me wrong, I love my house, and I love the life my family leads here. But it's not perfect, as anyone who's pulled up to the front garden can attest. And truth be told, I spend my money on the wrong things: for the price of that graphic novel I could have fixed that hole in the downpipe at the back of the house, and the price of that DVD could have bought a can of paint for the garden wall. If I do one thing a week, that's 52 areas of my home I could improve by the end of the year, and 52 ways I can give my family a better lifestyle. I've lived inside a Work-in-Progress for too long,

And that, apart from a bunch of family goals that remain private property, is it, really. 2008 was one of those years where you endure the bumps because you can see the plain sailing beyond. Only three things will matter in 2009: my well-being, my writing, and my family.

TWEET TWEET

  • Agh: remember when 'Snap Crackle Pop' described your breakfast cereal and not your back?
  • Forest 3-2 Norwich, and we're out of the bottom three for the first time this season. You beautiful Reds!
  • So that would be *my* 4yo wandering round the house, snapping bubble wrap and shouting "Who done a popoff?" every time it pops.
  • No better way to spend a summer holiday afternoon than down the pool with the kids. All hail the inventor of the water slide!
  • What's the point of sending me all those emails promising me a larger erection when I'm taking anti-inflammatories?

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

TWEET TWEET

  • There is nobody as inconsolable as a 4 year old boy who has lost his new Ben 10 thongs he got for Christmas
  • 2009 has started and I've already clocked my first gym session of the year, Don't you all feel bad for waiting until Jan 1st to catch up?
  • Also: ouch, my everything hurts.
  • @matociquala It's okay: Russell Davies will be gone very soon, and then Dr Who can go back to being not shit for a while.

Monday, December 29, 2008

MORE MEMAGE

You have a sexual hidden talent


You have a sexual hidden talent. You might not look it but you are a dynamo in bed. Most of your lovers think that it is from years of practice, but really, you were just born with it.



Take this quiz at QuizGalaxy.com


Laaaaaaaaaaaaadies......










You fit in with:
Atheism



60% scientific.
80% reason-oriented.


Your ideals mostly resemble those of an Atheist. You value objective proof over intuition or subjective thoughts. You enjoy talking about ideas and tend to have a lot of in depth conversations with people.

Take This Quiz at QuizGalaxy.com

If I can quote Iago from the animated Aladdin movie (and I think I can): Oh, what an amazing surprise. I think I'm going to have a heart attack from that surprise.

WELL, THAT'S THE NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS DONE








You will take over Bahrain using only pseudo-pretentious banter

countrypic!
Take this quiz at QuizGalaxy.com

TWEET TWEET

  • 2009 starts tomorrow*. You have been notified (*- for me, anyway. Y'all can start whenever you're ready, but I need to get back to work)
  • I shall join the list of twitter announcements and let you all know that Gardner Dozois has bought sweet fuck all from me for anything :)
  • A whole extra second has been added to 2008! Now I have time to be interested in Adam Sandler movies! www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28392450/
  • So tonight it's be KFC and BSG. Put 'em all together and what have you got? KFCBSG.....
  • So that's my last fast food for the foreseeable future eaten. Now I shall drink my last beer. Yes, I have taken my anti-inflammatories....
  • Am I the only one who thinks 'The Yes Man' just looks like a not-particulalry-original revamp of 'Liar Liar'?
  • @seanlindsay It can be done-- Shadow of The Vampire is a highly original revamp/re-imagining, but this sure doesn't look like one
  • They look like us, they act like us, some have been programmed to think they are human... Cylons are Liberal Party volunteers, man!
  • @seanlindsay The problem with fickle minxes is knowing what to feed them...
  • Got me a Twitter Grade of 79/100 from @grader. See: twitter.grader.com/leebattersby. I'm ranked 95,930 out of 788,106

Sunday, December 28, 2008

THE STORY WITH NO NAME

Nameless Part 10. Paul Haines picks up the cudgels and swings them about with merry abandon.

WE CONTROL THE VERTICAL, WE CONTROL THE TICKING OF YOUR CLOCK....

....at precisely 23:59:60 at Greenwich, England, on New Year's Eve, there will be a one-second void before the onset of midnight and the start of the New Year.

A timeless void, exactly one second long. A space in the continuum: no time; no forward chronological momentum; no measurement of our passage through the universe. Exactly one second of nothingness. An irreversible split between 2008 and 2009. Emptiness, everlasting, with no guarantee that the universe will start again on the other side. The void. The vaccuum. A glimpse into the other side of consciousness.

Nothing.

Exactly one second long.

Now I have somewhere to store my appreciation of Adam Sandler's film career! :)

TWEET TWEET

  • Forest 2- 4 Doncaster, and our manager sacked!! What a fucking disaster.
  • Family is not a matter of blood-- family is the village you build around yourself with ties more important than any accident of genes
  • Which is to say: we had a wonderful family occasion today, with the family that we have created between us, no matter where they started
  • Somebody. Please. Kill Noel Fielding. That's all I ask.
  • Frankie Howerd- Rather You Than Me. David Walliams as Frankie. Heartbreakingly sad docudrama

Saturday, December 27, 2008

TWEET TWEET

  • Christmas Day + gout = the innate understanding that I am now a teetotaller.
  • Help me: I'm waist deep in a pile of Disney Princess dolls, Wii games, guitars, omnitrixes, twist ties and wrapping paper, and I can't move!
  • The Colbert Xmas Special: Willie Nelson singing about the 4th Wise Man giving a gift of dope to the baby Jesus-- comic fucking GENIUS
  • Boxing Day: traditionally when Masters rewarded servants. We gave the kids their presents today. Coincidence?
  • Half time, Man U/Stoke nil-all, me listing what I'm unsatisfied with in my life and want to change: 45001 unsatisfied people in my house
  • Short version: too fat, too unfit, too not-novelist, too poor, too shoddy house, too crap gardens. Action plan seems somewhat obvious...
  • On the other hand, you all look great! Especially you.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

UP, UP, AND AWAAAAAYYYYY....

...from the interwebs for a few days, anyway.

Enjoy the season, everyone. Enjoy, enjoy enjoy. Here's to a giant ninja assassin daikaiju monster robot year for me in 2009: y'all can have whatever year will fill you with froody! :)

MERRY.....THING

We don't do the traditional capitalist Western Christmas thing at the Batthome: Lyn's religious beliefs are such that she does not partake, so those of us who do, do it in as compromisey a way as possible so that we all get a taste of what we want from the season. This year, Erin and Connor are spending the day at their Nanna's house (who Christmasses LARGE), while Aiden is at his Dad's (it's his turn). Lyn and I will be enjoying each other's company alone, with a side trip to her brother and sister-in-law's place to eat, drink, and play with our neice for a couple of hours. Come boxing days, the Triffbattlets return, and we settle in for a day of justusness.

So to all who partake, in whatever form of seasonal celebration you choose, may it be happy and fulfilling and full of frood. And to those who choose not to partake, best wishes to you too: imho the right to choose not to partake is as important as the right to join in, and I hope that the coming week is a good one for you.

And to all of you, thanks for dropping by this year. I'm taking a few days off, so big walloping ones for a killer 2009, everyone.

I have a cheese platter, a four-pack of Guinness, and a beautiful wife. I'm gonna go and enjoy them all now :)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

THAT OLD END OF YEAR THANG

2008: International Year of Meh.

1. What did you do in 2008 that you'd never done before? Have a story podcasted. Nanowrimo. Visited Adelaide. Pitched a television series. Joined Twitter. Joined Kingdom of Loathing.

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year? No. I don't do resolutions. Too busy running in place just to appear like I'm managing

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Jasoni and Kate, a little baby boy.

4. Did anyone close to you die? Nope.

5. What countries did you visit? Adelaide? No, wait, that's not another country, is it? What is it again? Oh, that's right: 1973!

6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008? A novel sale.

7. What dates from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? Swancon weekend-- having it forcefully presented to me how I was perceived by the local SF community enabled me to step back and concentrate on greater goals.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Pushing The Corpse-Rat King past 70 000 words-- I think this novel, when it's finished, will be the one that changes my career in a significant way.

9. What was your biggest failure? Failing to advance on so many fronts: personal, professional, and financial. I'd like to think that 2009 will represent a quantum leap for me.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Gout in my right ankle, although this year really was the year of the Connor injury-- axe wounds, shovel wounds, underside of bicycle wounds....

11. What was the best thing you bought? Lawn for the backyard, which enabled us to put up a sandpit, and a swing set, and give our kids a proper place to go outside and play. Now the garden looks and feels like a place we want to spend some time around.

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration? Lyn. No matter what fears she may possess, she always faces them head on-- witness earlier this month, when my afraid-of-heights wife went abseiling off tall buildings with her work mates. Aiden, as well, for the continuation of his journey towards adulthood. I have never met a 15 year old more ahead of his age in terms of maturity, trust, and comprehension. He makes me immensely proud. Cassie continued her downward spiral for much of the year, only to start December by introducing us to her fiance, with whom she's in love, and a whole new positive attitude towards her life that provided a cooling tidal wave of relief. My big hope for next year is to see her continue to set her life on the right path. Lastly, it's worth mentioning the American voters, who were at least willing to take a punt on positive change. Fingers crossed it all works out for them.

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed? The Perth fan who came out of this year's Mumfan awards and started to openly pimp herself for the award by listing her 'achievements' and loudly declaring how much she'd love to win the award some day, thereby pointing out her complete non-understanding of the award, as well as her level of egocentricity and shallowness. Subsequent behaviour has only confirmed it. The members of the local SF community who waited for the perfect opportunity to give me a kicking, then didn't hold back when it arose.

14. Where did most of your money go? Ummm....... (turns about, looking for money).... the garden, I guess.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Nothing much. It was a year of steadiness, rather than massive spikes of emotion.

16. What song will always remind you of 2008? Johnny The Horse, by Madness. Had a big impact on me, as the lyrics and general air of sadness that permeates the song really struck home.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:i. happier or sadder? ii. thinner or fatter? iii. richer or poorer? More content, and happier with my home life, although sadder about many other aspects of my life-- work, Perth SF, et al.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of? Completing novels and pushing my career ahead.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of? Being distracted from my life goals. Focussing on the weights of the present rather than those aspects of the future for which I'm bearing them.

20. How will you be spending Christmas? All the kids will be at grandparents' and/or other parents' houses for Christmas Day, leaving Lyn and I to enjoy the day together. Boxing Day we'll all be back together.

21. Who did you meet for the first time? The extended Fischerios, and sales staff across the Adelaide area.

22. Did you fall in love in 2008? Possibly developed a slight man-crush on the workshop area of the Adelaide air museum. But, you know, I met the love of my life when I met Lyn, so it's easy to stay in love.

23. What was your favourite TV program? Top Gear. Blackpool. Dexter. Life on Mars.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year? Some contempt for certain individuals, but not outright hate. You save that for people who are worth it.

25. What was the best book you read? A toss-up between Happy Like Murderers- The True Story of Fred and Rosemary West and Bind, Torture, Kill- The Inside Story of the Serial Killer Next Door. Both stunning, revelatory works on a subject that abhors and fascinates me in equal measure.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery? Madness' 1996 album Wonderful, which is. The Fratellis, whose first two albums have added swagger and bounce to our playlist.

27. What was your favourite film of this year? It's been a very Hollywood year in the Batthome. Kung Fu Panda was a hoot, as was Iron Man, which wasn't particularly great as a movie, but was certainly great as an excuse for my inner 8 year old to go utterly spaz. The Dark Knight was mesmerising, especially Heath Ledger's performance. Special mention to The Golden Compass, which was such a towering pile of shit that it romped in for worst film of the year in January!

28. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? 38, and it was all low key. The kids' birthdays are the big ticket birthday item round our parts-- Lyn doesn't do birthdays, and I get a lot more excited about the kids' ones than my own.

29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Contentment in every direction. 2009 may provide this: 2008 was one of those years where you endure the bumps because you can see past them to the clear, flat plains ahead.

30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008? Oh, let's just accept that I don't have one and leave it at that.

31. What kept you sane? My family, their belief and love for me, and their delightfully deluded assertion that I know what I'm doing.

32. What political issue stirred you the most? The US election dominated everything, although I was interested to see how much of the supposedly right-on, leftie attention was focussed on Barack Obama's skin colour. In a truly equitable culture, only his qualifications for the job would matter.

33. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008. Don't mistake a loose collection of people with similar interests for friends.

34. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year. Well, it hit home hard enough that I place it permanently at the top of this blog, so the choice is farly obvious, in the end:

Would you believe he came out well
He had a bright inquiring mind
His family knew that he'd go far
If he applied his time
But he started out standing on corners
And talking out loud, too loud
You see he couldn't believe in himself or the world
Or anything he heard
Will you remember his name?

-----Madness, Johnny The Horse

Sunday, December 21, 2008

COME ON IN: THE 21st CENTURY IS LOVELY

Some things just make you sick.

Come to Saudi Arabia, where paedophilia is just a matter of finances.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

TWEET TWEET

  • Well *that* didn't pan out- back home from work because of pain. Wireless connection and my bed for the rest of the day
  • @matociquala You know, male character default number of testicles is two. Just saying.... :)
  • Quantum of Solace: a series of explosions that once met a plot at a party but can't quite remember its name.
  • Corpse-Rat King has passed 70 000 words and is now encouraging me to get back to writing every day instead of being such a slack-arse
  • Off to have a blood test now. I know I have some, I just need to find out if it can pass a test.
  • How to get a path nurse to like you-- offer referral, say "Hi, my doctor gave me this gift certificate..."
  • Blood test over: I got a 72.
  • @thesciphishow Never underestimate the value of a good freak show :)
  • Crisps, alcoholic ginger beer, BSG box set, the boys, and my beautiful wife. The evening, she is booked.
  • Just for the record #1- my wife is the Queen of roast dinners
  • Just for the record #2- Galacticapalooza does *not* roll easily off the tongue
  • @jstrahan Capricalooza!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

FREE LEE!

Over at Sci-Phi Journal, they've had a change of format, and right now you can download You Pretty Thing, my story from January's issue, for free. That's right, peeps: you can listen to an entire story, read by Rick Stringer, and still have all of your free-money-for-free-from-the-bank-of-Rudd left at the end!

While you're there you can also pick up stories by Geoff Maloney, Michael Spence and Karl Johansen, and all for free, I tells ya, freeeeee!

You should probably just go straight there now.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

TWEET TWEET

  • Sick day two. Swollen ankle day two and a bit. Two episodes of Top Gear saved on Foxtel IQ. Morning would appear to be taken care of.

  • New couch arriving this morning, just in time for me to lie on it all day.

  • Have to go to hospital for an ultrasound on my ankle in case I have blood clots. Looks like another day off work at least.

  • Ultrasound shows no blood clots. Which means I probably have gout. At 38............................... shit.

  • @thesciphishow Haven't tried Frisky Dingo, but love the others, as well as The Brak Show and Aqua Teen Hunger Force (though the movie stank)

  • @thesciphishow The all-time best, though, is The Venture Brothers. Go Team Venture!

  • Sitting in a cafe, waiting to go in and watch 'Four Holidays', wondering if we're about to make a horrible mistake

  • 'Four Holidays' not a *complete* mistake, but I could have waited until it was on weekly hire and not felt ripped off at paying $1.95 for it

  • One publishing house following another's tweets? Could that be the world's crappest industrial espionage? :)

  • TV taglines I want to hear: "The 21st century is when everything changes. Except for you. Sorry."

MORE BATTGADGETRY

Check out the sidebar: I've added a couple of new widgety things to make visiting here more... widgety.

You can now become a follower of the blog, and/or join a Battersblog Community via Google Friend Connect. Damned if I know what either of these thing actually do, mind you, but that's not the point, surely? :)

I consider myself a facilitator....

Monday, December 15, 2008

LISTEN UP, MALE UNITS!

From that paragon of cool, Jason Crowe, a timely warning for Christmas present-buying men.

Think long, think hard.

NUMBER 9... NUMBER 9.... NUMBER 9....

Will Elliott, author of The Pilo Family Circus and winner of just about every award except the Golden Testicle of Buenos Aires, takes over the Nameless Saga and make chapter 9 all icky and wrong.

Icky-er and wrong-er.

This story is too much fun for words.

BIG GIANT EXCLAMATIONS OF JOY AND WELCOME

To Jasoni and Kate, on the arrival of Little Fisch!

The loveliest couple in South Australia will not be sleeping in 2009 :)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

TWEET TWEET

A couple of days worth, in lieu of actual content (Tomorrow, my dears, tomorrow)

  • Perception is nine-tenths of the law
  • Meet for lunch to discuss work, end up deciding to redecorate the entire house. It's another day with Lyn and Lee!
  • @seanlindsay My hero was getting attacked by a dead guy wielding a hoe with intent. It was his only option :)
  • One is quite capable of ignoring one's inner fanboy until one reads the sentence "Stan Lee has accepted your friend request"
  • Greg Proops, but then, don't we all?
  • Sentences you really want to hear from your wife at age 38-- "Maybe your kness hurt so much because you have gout"
  • Sinead O'Connor singing "She Moved Through The Fair". Oh God, my heart is breaking.
  • And then I read the first line of page 269 of 'Choke', and that's when I began to laugh my arse off.
  • @drewbeatty Actually, we *all* dislike your neighbours. Somebody really should tell them.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

THE FIRST LOOK BACK AT 2008

Gakked from my darling wife, the first of the end of the year round-ups:

Post the first line of the first blog entry for each month:

January: Check it out! The first issue of new magazine Sci Phi Journal, with stories by the likes of Stephen Dedman, Geoffrey Maloney, and yours truly.

February: It had to happen: the A-Boy turned 15 on Saturday, and for his present, we acceded to his desire to invite a whole bunch of friends to go paint-balling.

March: So we're back, after a week in Snoozing-By-Sea.

April: According to Westnet, yesterday's welcome-to-the-run-up-to-winter thunderstorms knocked out our local server, and they've no idea when it will be back on line.

May: The Katharine Susannah Prichard Speculative Fiction Awards 2008

June: One of the most outlandishly talented of my Clarion South students, Peter Ball (he of the unicorn porn physics) has a story up at Fantasy Magazine this week.

July: Goddamn, it’s been a year for losing genius’. Now George Carlin is dead, aged 71.

August: This Sunday, 17th August, at 3pm, the Chairperson of KSP, the CEO of the Shire of Mundaring and the Competition Judge - that would be me - will present the awards to the winners of the KSP Speculative Fiction Competition.

September: From their weekend trip to their Nanna's, my cool kids:

October: Seanie, you’re my best and oldest friend, and you know how it is: some days, you don’t choose the music, it chooses you.

November: Over at the Specusphere, they've posted a review of The Beast Within, and we all come out of it rather well, don't you think?

December: Ugh.


What does it all mean? Write your answers on the back of a brick marked What Does It All mean? and send it to anybody but me....

COMING IN FROM THE SNOW

This year's list of Aurealis Awards finalists has now been released, and it is with some measure of chuff that In From The Snow has made the shortlist for Best Horror Short Story.

Reaching an awards shortlist is always an achievement: you're competing with every story published by every Australian across an entire year, and banking that 5 disparate judges whose qualifications can be as little as "I want to do it" or as much as "Dr of SF at SF University of The Future" will agree to not hate your story as much as they hate everybody else's, and that's assuming you're even nominated-- In From The Snow was nominated by Harper Collins, who published it, but in the science fiction category. I nominated it within the fantasy and horror fields myself (if you've read it you'll understand why it could be considered any one of the three). There are no guarantees: reaching the ballot means you've been given a ticket to the lottery, nothing more. Under those circumstances, to be held up as one of the 5 best stories of the year, in any field, feels like a significant achievement.

It would be nice to win. Hell, it's great to win. I've been fortunate to do so once before, and it's one hell of a good feeling. It's a quality field- if you picked up a magazine and saw Trent Jamieson, Deb Biancotti, Kirstyn McDermott and Ian McHugh on the contents page, you'd be a happy camper. But I have one advantage they don't: I'm quite willing to kill and impersonate them for as long as it takes to get my hands on the gong. After all, I already wear Deb's underwear....

Check out the full list of nominees for these year's awards. I've a lot of friends there (waves), and there's a lot of damn fine material. Pick one, buy it, read it. Let me know what you think. I'd be surprised if you were disappointed.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

FAME, THE PRICE THEREOF.....

One Erin Jane Battersby, in JB Hi-Fi, sees an advert for the iphone with a teensy picture of The New York Dolls on it.

"Daddy," she says, pointing. "Are they Bratz?"

FROM CONVERSATION TO PITCH IN 12 HOURS

Dogs trained to find people seem to be good at either live searches or dead searches, but not both-- a trait that can be easily detected when they are only puppies.
Ann Rule
Green River, Running Red- The True Story of America's Deadliest Serial Killer

At about 9pm last night I mentioned this quote to Lyn whilst we were discussing stuff and junk and things, as something that had piqued my interest. By 9.10pm we'd both decided we wanted to write stories around the idea. By 10pm we'd worked out titles, the fact that we wanted to write two novellas back-to-back like one of those old Ace Doubles, which bit we both wanted to write, and who we wanted to pitch it to.

By 8.30am I'd found the quote within the book, written the pitch email, and sent it. By mid-day, the publisher had responded to say they liked the idea and wanted to see what we came up with.

So: Bone Dogs/Flesh Dogs. Lyn to write 'Bones', me to write 'Flesh'. Because what you want, when you're 65K into a new novel, is to have the idea for a 20K word novella... :)

I'm guessing it's going to take longer than 24 hours to write.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

TWEET TWEET

  • 13:01 Happy birthday to my beautiful daughter Erin, who turns seven today
  • 13:02 There's so much tinsel hanging over my desk it's like sitting inside one of Michael Jackson's jackets.
  • 13:06 Finally have the same number of followers as following. Curse those high school years for my sad, needy ways of measuring popularity
  • 19:03 @jelundberg I'd just be in a land of awesome at having gas-powered trees!
  • 19:41 Why don't my tabs disappear back up into the top of the monitor all of a sudden? FUCK I hate computers!
  • 19:55 Gingko and St John's Wort-- best stress remedy we've found, as reminded to me by my darling wife with instructions to take some right now
  • 19:58 My wife has no idea that Dog Soldiers isn't going to be as twee and comfy as An American Werewolf in London and The Howling...
  • 20:00 So it's official? I'm the only being in the Universe who thinks Patterson Joseph will make a shit Doctor?
  • 20:03 @garykemble Oh yes, my vibes have performed for the Queen! Of course, they were arrested, but.... they are yours to do with as you will.

Friday, December 05, 2008

NAMELESS PART 8

Nameless Part 8.

Jack Dann.

You know the drill.

(Come on, people. Free Jack Dann! What more could you want?)

AND PURELY BECAUSE I LOVE PIRATE PHOTOS OF MY KIDS

Yo ho ho and a bottle of Ribena




No self-indulgent Dads here, no sirree....

CAREER PATH: SORTED

ERIN: ... and today, at assembly, three people wanted to be my partner! Three!
ME: I'm not surprised, sweetie. People like you. You're popular.
ERIN: I know. It's because I'm an artist.



Well... that's that explained, then.....

SEVENTH HEAVEN


Happy seventh birthday to the nuttiest, funniest, loveliest, most inspiring and caring daughter a family could ask for: Erin Jane Beetlebottom-- pirate, artist, dancer, rock and roller, and Queen of all she surveys.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

HIT AND RUN

Now, normally, when Connor has one of his so-painfully-ridiculous-it-could-only-happen-to-the-C-train accidents, there's an element of comedy involved, even if it's hidden way down deep and available only as an Easter egg on the extras DVD of his life.... but not today.

Today, while he and his Mum were walking back from dropping Erin off at school, he was run over by a kid on a bicycle. Ploughed under by a little bastard who then raced off without making sure he was okay, because, as we found out later, he "thought he'd get away with it."

Erudite readers may realise, from that last sentence, that he didn't.

Later in the day, after she'd taken him to the doctor, and had all his contusions cleaned up and dressed, and received the news that they won't be able to tell whether the mess his nose has become is broken until the swelling goes down, Lyn went to the school to make a complaint. After all-- one of their students, on their grounds, during school hours. If we were going to receive any medical bills, they were going to be forwarded somewhere.

And guess what? Someone had seen the incident, and reported the kid to the office. And he'd been identified. And slapped with detentions. And once they copped a look at Connor, they upped the ante-- more detentions, and now his parents are going to be brought in to have the matter discussed in the sort of detail that I can only hope leads to him nto being able to sit on that bike for a very long time.

So: kudos to the person who did the rigth thing and reported the little shit's actions, and kudos to the school for taking the matter seriously and acting quickly and decisively to instigate appropriate consequences.

But, still-- my little boy may have a broken nose, and still-- he's spent the day in a daze, and still-- someone out there hurt my little boy. And I'm consumed by rage when I consider what could have happened, and how a ten year old kid can do something so heartless and then ride away as if nothing had happened.

Simple rule, people: hurt my child, run for your life.

THE TRUTH ACCORDING TO ASSHOLE LEPER HERO

Thanks to that sprightly cool dude Jason Crowe, Fantasy book covers that tell the truth from Mighty God King.

5 Invisobucks to anyone who doesn't laugh.

Monday, December 01, 2008

MEMES MAKE SICK LEE FEEL... NO, NOT BETTER, ACTUALLY

Ugh. Home sick. Need distraction. Or sleep. Find meme at groundbyground. Do that instead.

Pro-writer career path meme.

Current Status as of this morning:

Short Stories: One The Possession of Mister Snopes. In line-edit phase for about a yera now, will probably remain that way for anywhere up to another year while I concentrate on novels.

Novels: Napoleone's Land-- finished, awaiting courage to tackle agent-requested rewrites I've been avoidiong for months. The Corpse-Rat King-- 65K through first draft. The Last Death of Vaz Tey-- 5K through first draft, awaiting me to throw it all out and start again. Public Savants-- 40K thorugh third draft, 30K of which will be discarded when I start it all again. Genuine expectations of being somewhere around finished with at least 3 of these by end of 2009.

Age when I decided I wanted to be a writer: 18

Age when I wrote my first story: Outside of a class project? 16

Age when I got my hands on a typewriter: 18. A massive, clunky old Imperial 80 manual typewrite that I still miss, even if only out of a sense of nostalgia.

Age when I first submitted a short story to a magazine: 18

Thickness of file of rejection slips prior to first story sale: Very few. I quickly gave up and move on to other things. When I returned to writing fiction, I made my first sale after only a few attempts. Maybe a dozen rejections in total?

Age when I sold my first short story: 30. The Divergence Tree to Orb, followed half an hour later by Carrying The God to Writers Of The Future.

Age when I killed my first market: 31. Whispers From The Shattered Forum.

Approximate number of short stories/novelettes/novellas sold for copies (small press): 2

Approximate number of short stories/novelettes/novellas sold for cash money: Cash? None. Money? Plenty.

Age when I first sold a poem: 19. I sold several poems before my first short story.

Age when I wrote my first novel/book: Finished Napoleone's Land at 36.

Age when I sold a first novel: Not yet.

Awards won: 1 Aurealis Award, 1 Australian Shadows, 1 Ditmar. 3rd place, Writers of the Future, 2nd quarter, 2001.

Age when a work was first shortlisted for a Hugo, Nebula, World Fantasy or Stoker award: Not in this lifetime.

Age when I became a full-time writer: 34. Age at which I admitted defeat and went back to a full time day job, 36. Age by which I want to be a full time writer again, 45.

Age now: 38
Now I need a lie down.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

TIMELY REMINDERS, NOW WITH ADDED SHAKES OF THE HEAD

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, dear. Every time I wonder whether I was too hasty in removing myself from Perth fandom, along comes this sort of catty infighting to remind me.

'Tis to laugh.

WELL, THAT'S NOVEMBER....




So, there it is. 52 097 words completed during Nanowrimo, as of this morning, and as I'll have no chance to add to them today, I think we can call that a wrap.

The Corpse-Rat King itself is nudging 65 000 words, and Marius don Hellespont has taken his first steps towards redemption, accepting the facts about what he has done in the past and where his life has led him. The narrative is firmly turned towards home, and while there are a few wrinkles to be had along the way, we're now stepping along the road towards the inevitable climax. All the travelling outwards has been written, now it's just a matter of bringing everything back towards the single, defining point.

Due to the kids' party yesterday, and the need to take all our household junk out to the verge for kerbside collection today, I'm having a weekend off. But the 1500 word a day habit begins again tomorrow, so I'm looking towards having a first draft in place by (roughly) the end of the year.

Then we'll see how much of a fool's errand this second novel has been...

NO REST UNTIL... WORK TOMORROW?

There are times when having a big backyard and jumbo sized patio makes this house the best investment we've ever made.



Yesterday, for example.



Whilst a dozen kids aged between Jack (one) and Cassie (seventeen) rampaged their way back and forth from sandpit to swings to multi-ball brandy to climbing logs and back, we adults who had gathered for Erin and Connor's joint birthday get together sat around the patio table in relative peace and quiet, quaffing mint juleps and watching the sun set over the cotton fields..... okay, so we had a sausage sizzle and beer and stuff, but it was still good. And Connor and Erin made out like bandits, the lucky doers.



We started the occasion with an influx of friends and family at 11am, and ended it 12 hours later with our in-laws and Cassie & her fiance Mark, who had been unable to get to our place before the evening due to work. We had a brilliant time, and the kids were in kid heaven, so a big thank you to everyone who joined us.



Now to clean up.....

SUCH A SHAME HE HAD TO DIE

Amongst my students at Clarion South 07, there were a couple of real stand outs. Jason Fischer, who I talk about regularly on this blog, was one. Peter M Ball was another.

When it was mentioned to him that I loathe stories about unicorns, he set out to write one that even I couldn't object to. The result was a stomach-churning mix of detective noir, gross supernatural sex, maggots and blood. Frankly, I loved it. It was an utter hoot.

Peter went on to publish equally disturbing and wonderful stories, such as The Last Great House of Isla Tortuga in Dreaming Again, and On The Finding of Photographs of My Former Loves in Fantasy Magazine. It was all going so well for him.

And then Twelfth Planet Press announced this week that they had bought a story from him for their new novella line: an expanded version of that unicorn story he had presented to us back in January of 07. Peter even announced that it would see light in the latter half of 2009. And that was why I had to hunt him down and kill him, your honour. Because I couldn't stand the poor fellw being known as Unicorn Boy his whole life. Because he was such a talented guy, and the readers of this blog, having already seen his above-mentioned work, would go out and buy the novella, and he'd never be able to dress in a fairy costume in public again....

It was a mercy killing.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

PORTRAIT FROM THE ARTIST AS A 17 YEAR OLD GIRL

Cassie's over, she's waiting for her fiance to turn up so we can have dinner, she's doodling idly on a piece of paper.

"Tell me what to draw," she says.

"A chicken."

"What, just a chicken?"

"Okay," I say, kinda concentrating on my own thing and not really paying attention to her. "Solving binomial equations."

Two minutes later:



This, from the child who will insist she has no appreciable talent whatsoever. Don't you just want to slap the self-knowledge into her? :)

CHEER UP, EMO BOY




Your Goth Name is:



Marquis de Reaper








*Chortle* Goths-- making ugly kids feel interesting since 1978.... >:)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

FULL OF SUGAR, SHOWERED WITH GIFTS, HAPPY

Well, we managed to avoid a watermelon dinner :)

Thanks to a concerted campaign from Mummy, the brand-new four year old settled on tacos for tea, and scored himself a whopping great jam doughnut for his dessert. Needless to say, he was pleased with his choices, as were the rest of us-- much wolfing down was accomplished.

And see if you can guess what present he loved most-- the play-doh and accessory set from the whole family; the two Ben 10 Alien Force figurines (Spidermonkey and Swampfire, I'm told, for those with a need to know. I know them only as 'the blue one' and 'that one looks pretty cool') from the same source; or the Ben 10 soccer kit his big brother Aiden bought him?

I'll give you a hint: he's sleeping with his shinpads on....

I think it's fair to say he had a good birthday :)

HAVE YOU SEEN HER DRESSED IN BLUE? (DUM DUM DUM-BE-DUM DE DUM)

Your rainbow is shaded red, black, and green.


What is says about you: You are an intelligent person. You appreciate mystery. You may meet people who are afraid of you. You get bored easily and want friends who will keep up with you.

Find the colors of your rainbow at spacefem.com.

LAUGHING MY ASS OFF

When the kids have a birthday, one of the things we do is let them have whatever they want for dinner— doesn’t matter if it’s McDonalds or Chinese or Sizzler or something home cooked, as long as it’s not too outrageous, they get what they ask for. For Aiden’s birthday, went out to our local curry house. For Blake we made pizza pie and home-made wedges, and so on. We asked Connor this morning, fully expecting the answer to be one of pizza, sushi, or McDonalds.

He said ‘pineapple’

He’s said ‘pineapple’ now for just on 5 and a half hours. Until Lyn rang me five minutes ago to say she’d finally, after 5 and a half hours of solid negotiation, managed to get him to change his mind.

Now he wants watermelon……

FOUR!


My beautiful, wondrous, excitable, life-affirming, insane, funny, loving, incredible, terrifying, delightful, atonishing boy.

Monday, November 24, 2008

AND THE WINNER IS.....

ME: (Strikes muscle pose): Sixty thousand words!
LYN: How many Nano?
ME: Forty five thousand, eight hundred.
LYN: You're ahead of me again. It's so hard to go back and write filler. You're going to win.
ME: Well, you're winning the race that actually matters.
LYN: What do you mean?
ME: One novel beats one bit of a novel.

Pause

LYN: Well, yeah...


PS: Apocalypso in my pants. Sob....

THE REVIEW WITHIN

Over at ASiF, they've published another very positive review of The Beast Within. I've yet to see a negative review of this anthology, and if you're at all a fan of the big three (Werewolves, Vampires, Frankensteinian monsters) you really want to add this to your bookshelf.

Were-frogs, people. It has were-frogs.


PS: Face The Face in my pants. Stop it, just fucking stop it.....

60 000 CORPSE RATS

The Corpse-Rat King passed the 60 000 word mark tonight. This is a substantial mark for me: Napoleone's Land ran its course in 78 000 words, (Yes, actually, I still have to do those rewrites and get back to the agent I've been avoiding admitting my lack of working on the damn thing to for months, since you ask. Now go and play on the freeway, kid, you're bothering me) and there's a lot more land to cover in this one before I start to think about winding it up.

I killed someone tonight: a character who began as a one line throwaway some thousands of words ago but who sat in the back of my mind in such an insistent way that the last part of the story has directly involved him, and who has evolved into a major driver of the narrative. He didn't even exist in my original visualisation of the story, but like all good characters, once he was given life he refused to just go the hell back into the dark. As a result, he's moved the story in a much stronger direction than I had originally intended. Therein lay his doom because, in order for the next part of the narrative to resolve itself, he had to go.

And I'm genuinely sad. I liked him, and he was enormously fun to write-- a character who grew before my eyes from a lampoon into a fully rounded person, not only conceptually but within the text, so that the reader (I hope) will see his personal growth and respond to it, and will feel some measure of sorrow when he dies. And, you know, it's me talking, so you know it ain't gonna be pretty. A writer wants his readers to identify with his characters, but that often means we have to do so first. If we feel pain at a character's loss, then hopefully it means we'll have done a good job at passing that pain on to you. Which, when I consider it like that, doesn't sound like the nicest thing you can do to a pal...

Kill your babies. It's a central tenet of writing effective fiction. But sometimes you can find yourself being surprised and delighted by one of the little mutant babies at the back of the room, one you really weren't expecting to pay attention to, but who suddenly learns how to scratch their own name into an etch-a-sketch with one tentacle finger. Then having to put them down bites just that bit harder.

All in a month's work.



PS: (Nothing But) Flowers in my pants. Oh, it's going to be hard work to cleanse myself of this meme.....

FUNNIEST MEME OF THE DAY

Okay, it's another in the endless procession of playlist memes, but this one is bloody funny!

Gakked from musesrealm:

1.) Put your media player of choice on shuffle.
2.) List the first fifteen songs that come up and add "in my pants" to the end.
3.) Bold the ones that actually made you laugh out loud.


1. Johnny The Horse in my pants
2. Stay With Me in my pants
3. Message to My Girl in my pants
4. Girl U Want in my pants
5. Blister In The Sun in my pants
6. Sowing The Seeds of Love in my pants
7. My Sharona in my pants
8. Rocket Man in my pants
9. When Doves Cry in my pants
10. At First Sight in my pants
11. Let There Be Love in my pants
12. I Eat Cannibals in my pants (Oh, the winner and still World Champion...)
13. Forever Autumn in my pants
14. You Shook me All Night Long in my pants
15. A Heady Tale in my pants
16. Who Can It Be Now in my pants (yes, I know that's an extra one, but seriously, can you leave something that funny off the list?)

Honestly, sometimes these things just write themselves....

CROSS-GENERATIONAL HEAD BANGING

I'm working in the office. Aiden is on the couch watching the Foo Fighters Live at Wembley concert film. Suddenly he starts shouting at me to get in here, quick! So I haul in there. It's the Foo Fighters. I'm not a fan. What am I going to be interested in?

Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones guest spot. Rock and Roll in front of 86 000 screaming fans.

86 000 fans going absolutely apeshit, plus two blokes in Clarkson, plus Dave Grohl bouncing around the stage in absurdly grinning fanboy heaven with the words Look at me, I'm drumming for Led Fucking Zeppelin! appearing above his head in thought bubbles fifty feet high.

Totally. Fucking. Awesome.

Friday, November 21, 2008

NANOWRIMO PART THE SECOND

A day late, yes, but Real Life (tm) will do that to you.

20 (21) days in to Nanwrimo. Two third of the way through. If I'm to be on track for completing 50 000 words by month's end, I need to have written 35 000 words by now.

So: How's it all going?

As of tonight, it's going 41 339 words of froody, thanks for asking. The Corpse-Rat King is now 55 500 words long, and we've reached the major turning point of the novel. Marius don Hellespont, our (for want of a better word, or indeed, any other word) hero, has had his epiphany, and has set in motion the initial act necessary to drive the narrative towards the climax. I've got a good grasp of the next story arc, and this weekend looks to be good for some decent writing hours, thanks to a Tupperware party and two empty evenings.

There's a long way to go yet-- right now, Marius is on the rotting hulk of an ancient warship, a dozen feet under water, with only an animated skeleton formed from the remains of a mad, dead King and his favourite horse for company, and somehow he has to get from there to.... well, I know the ending, but I'd be expecting you to buy the book, eventually....

But there will be redemption; there will be fighting; there will be corpse-robbing; love; fire; a cat called Argo; and very possible a long scene involving a dead thief trying to crap out a giant emerald without having eaten anything for several weeks beforehand.....

Admit it: you're curious, ain't ya? :)

MY SEXIST LAPTOP!

I’ve just noticed that my laptop play-list has 21 songs whose titles start with “Mister” but only five that start with “Mrs.” and six that start with “Miss”.

Come on, rock and roll! More cool songs with female honorifics, please!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

REMIX MY BAUM

Oh my goodness, you have to read this.

Matthew Lowe accepts the Remix My Lit challenge, and mixes Alchymical Romance in with The Wizard of Oz. And it rocks its little arse off!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

CORPSE-RAT PROGRESS

The Corpse-Rat King passed 50 000 words tonight. Happily, I feel like there's a hell of a lot of narrative still in front of me: Marius, my protagonist, still has to reach his moment of epiphany, and turn events towards the climax. It's first draft, which means there will be a lot of fat to trim once I'm editing, but it's beginning to feel like this story has some real legs.

Next target-- the 50 000 words for the month that Nanowrimo aims to achieve, and then see where I am at the 75K mark.

PART SEVEN OF THE NAMELESS PROJECT

Thanks to the one and only (sacrificial virgins across the globe are thankful) Stephen Dedman, Nameless Part 7 has arrived at Horrorscope.

The thick plottens....

THE REST WILL BE T-REX SHIT

How much of your body could be recycled?

WELL, THAT'S GOOD TO KNOW

How long would it take for a Tyrannosaurus Rex to digest your corpse?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

KEN, BY REQUEST ONLY

Thanks to the brilliant Jasoni, a link no lover of fine music should go without: Worst Album Covers.



Oh God, I think a sprained a side muscle.... I mean, check out these fine examples:








Do I lie? Do I lie?








HAPPY BIRTHDAY

A big happy birthday to my gorgeous niece Zara, whose 6th birthday party I attended with the kids yesterday, where we replaced our bodily fluids with cool drink, battered our internal organs into submission with sugar, and generally ran around like nutbars having three-legged races, pin-the-horn-on-the-unicorn games, and more cool drink.

A fun time was had by all attending Triffbatts. Hope your day was a great one, Z!

AS THE LAPLANDER HOUSWIFE SAID AS SHE BENT DOWN TO OPEN THE OVEN DOOR

Oh, my baking yak.

5561 words today, bring The Corpse-Rat King to just under 50 000 in total, and my Nanowrimo total to a squeak under 35 000. Tomorrow I'll pass both milestones, but right now I need to get off this office chair before my back gives out totally and I start whimpering like a Nigerian Spam Puppy.*

Whilst I'm not at liberty to discuss details of the plot, or what is yet to come (mainly because I don't know what's yet to come), I can tell you that so far I've set a village on fire whilst drunk, started a war between two bridges on the same river, sunk a horse-captained warship off the coast of the Dog Crap Archipelago, and had a dead guy receive a handjob from a nine hundred year old island witch.

All in a month's work.



* Before the hate mail starts, I mean the puppy whimpers, not the non-potential-owner....

Saturday, November 15, 2008

SATURDAY NIGHT WAITING FOR EVERYONE TO GET THEIR SHIT TOGETHER SO WE CAN WATCH AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON HANGING OUT BY THE COMPUTER TYPING MEME

Via just about half the people on Lyn's LJ's friends page:

If you saw ME in a police car, what would you think I got arrested for?

TWEET TWEET

09:10 I am the Emperor of home-made ginger and apricot biscuits. Yum!
09:14 @thesciphishow Fantastic news! Great to see Sci Phi Journal kicking on! Best of luck with the new issue.
12:54 Ah, the joys of youth, when 'gourmet eating' meant getting chips with your spaghetto bolognaise...
12:54 Here's a hint for aspiring novelists-- when ordering lunch, make sure it's something you can eat with one hand
12:55 my Twitterank is 4.41! twitterank.com/?u=leebattersby@gmail.com
19:10 The Corpse-Rat King has passed 43 000 words

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

ENGAGE SATISFIED MODE....

The Corpse-Rat King passed 43 000 words tonight, 29 300 of them since the start of Nanowrimo. What's most satisfying is how much of the plot I still have left in front of me- with Napoleone's Land, it felt like a struggle to come up with enough words to fill a full-length novel, but the lessons I learned from the experience are playing themselves out much more easily this time around, which bodes well for when I finish this first draft and go back to do the Napoleone rewrites.

What's most pleasing is the feeling that these are 43 000 saleable words. It's one thing to slap words down on a page and pass a distant finish line, but unless you write with the aim of publication, that's all you're doing-- slapping words down. I may not be winning the Nanowrimo 'race', but I'm gonna sell mine!*

The part of me that has been resisting the change in focus from short stories to novels is getting smaller and smaller.


*This, of course, has no bearing on whether other Nanites will sell their words-- only a mug would bet against the likes of Simon Haynes, Stephen Dedman, and Lyn. But the egomoster don't play like that......

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

ASIF REVIEWS CANTERBURY

Canterbury 2100, the Agog Press anthology containing stories by both myself and Lyn, amongst others, has been reviewed over at Australian Specfic in Focus, which has very positive things to say about both stories.

The Metawhore's Tale is described as fascinating, sordid, sad, and, ultimately, wonderful; while Lyn's The Conductor's Tale is an appropriate concluding story that neatly rounds out the whole set.

Nifty!

TRANSFORMERS BY CONNOR BATTERSBY, AGED THREE

I'd correct his pronunciation, but frankly, Octopus Prime is so much cuter.....



I shall crush you, Spidertron.... I mean, Megaparker.... wait.... my head hurts....

NAMELESS PART SIX

Nameless Continues.

You should be following this story. Apart from the damn cool prizes to be won, this is developing into one of the most fun stories of the year.

BLURGH TAP TAP TAP BLURGH

Home today with a sick wife and a mad-as-a-cut-snake three year old. Poor old Lyn is confined to bed until it's time to visit the doctor, and then she gets to go as far as the bath. I'm thinking it's lucky that Bunnings has a cafe and a free playground.

TWEET TWEET

  • 07:51 38 years old today, and I don't feel a day over 90
  • 13:33 Just so you know, it is entirely possible that Madness' 1996 album "Wonderful" is the greatest pop album in the history of the entire world
  • 13:34 Of course, we all know that Brian May is the greatest guitarist who has ever lived, so that goes without saying

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Monday, November 10, 2008

BECAUSE I'M A TWIT

I have succumbed to the modern age, because the SFWA Bulletin told me to....

I'm on Twitter. My username, in a burst of creativity, is leebattersby.

Feel free to link and I promise I'll be pithy in a Steven Wright kind of way.

(Sings in his best Phil Collins voice-- I will follow you, will you follow me, I will something something, la da dum dee dee...)



According to Loud Twitter, my tweets should show up here every 24 hours. They're not so far. Accursed twenty first century.....

NANOWRIMO, ACT ONE

Always remember
The tenth of November
Coz if you don't you'll be standing in Kings Park at dawn a day early wondering where the hell everyone else is.

Also, today marks the one-third mark in this year's Nanowrimo. Keen-eyed readers will remember that I'm giving it a go this year, for the first time. (Anyone who wishes to link up with my progress on the site itself can look for me under the username CRKIng). The idea is to write 50 000 words of a novel (okay, strictly speaking,a 50K word novel, but I'm playing slightly differently. It's my prerogative as a woman...) in 30 days, an average of 1667 words per day over the month. I've chosen to use the time to continue working on the first draft of The Corpse-Rat King, my second novel, which had encountered a little bit of stallage in recent days. The hope was that committing to the project would help kick-start the work again.

So how am I doing?

As of today, I have completed 22 752 words, approximately 45 and a bit percent of the target total. More importantly, when added to the 11 689 I had already completed, it gives me a grand total of 34 441 words under my belt, enough that I can be pretty happy with where the book is heading and start thinking about the path I want the middle of the novel to take (I have a pretty firm idea of the final third, which, amongst other things, means I write novels a little bit like Underpants Gnomes make money...)

Tonight I am going to reward myself with a night off, and I shall eat ice cream and watch documentaries about dinosaurs. Or whatever Lyn wants :)

HAPPY.... (creak)..... BIRTHDAY.... (groan)... TO.... I NEED A REST

I turn 38 tomorrow.

To be honest, it's kind of snuck up on me this year, and I find myself wholly unprepared. The family, however, are far more prepared than I, so last night all six of them (including Cassie, and her boyfriend Mark, who we met for the first time) took me out to dinner, where they presented me with a new Tim Powers novel for my reading pleasure (Three Days to Never) and forced me to eat until parts of my insides seceded in protest. Much big news was revealed, and although I can't discuss it just yet, those on Lyn's LJ flist will know of which I speak. Suffice to say, many gasteds were flabbered, but I, for one, am pleased as punch.

Moreover, in what is becoming, at least for me, an enjoyably morbid tradition, I can now present to you the list of far more famous and/or talented people than I who I have now outlived:

  • Lou Gehrig (All together now: Lou Gehrig, died of Lou Gehrig's Disease. How'd he not see that coming?)
  • Jam Master Jay
  • Medgar Evers
  • Michael Hutchence
  • Bobby Darin
  • Sal Mineo
  • Robert Burns
  • Colin Clive
  • Samuel Taylor-Coleridge
  • Marie Antoinette
  • Raphael
  • Arthur Rimbaud
  • Irving Thalberg
  • Vincent Van Gogh

Does it say something about me that I'm fine with the idea of being older than the likes of Rimbaud, Burns and Queen Marie, but being older than Michael Hutchence makes me feel like a fat old bloke?

Thursday, November 06, 2008

NAMELESS CONTINUES

Over at Horrorscope, the Nameless saga continues, with excerpt five being penned by none other than the Luscious One herself. Read all the other bits first:

Bit the first (Felicity Dowker, Stephen Studach, Simon Petrie)

Bit the second (Talie Helene, Marty Young)

Bit the third (Shane Jirayia Cummings, Kirstyn McDermott)

Bit the fourth (me)

then follow straight on to Lyn’s effort here (link).

Getting good, innit? :)

MICHAEL CRICHTON

News has filtered down the Battpipe that Michael Crichton died today aged 66. I wasn’t a fan of his work, although he produced some works that have become minor classics within the genre—most notably Jurassic Park and The Andromeda Strain, in terms of novels, and the movie Westworld as director.

As a writer he was very much the product of a mindset that wrote with one eye on the film adaptation, as a quick look at his bibliography will show: apart from Jurassic Park, at least seven more of his novels were filmed. I generally found his work to be mechanical and somewhat soulless, but there’s no doubting that he was a major figure in the SF/Hollywood amalgam, so his presence will undoubtedly be missed by the genre as a whole.

BEST REACTION TO THE ELECTION RESULT SO FAR

Thanks to the anonymous workmate I overheard as I was taking a shortcut through the tea room yesterday:

"Americans think they’re just the most important people on Earth. Mind you, so does my cat."

A SMALL PIECE OF ADVICE FOR AMERICANS

You seem to have elected a reasonably decent man as your President.

Try not to shoot him.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

HOW TO ENJOY A CHILD-FREE WEEKEND PART 2

  1. Sleep in
  2. Eat breakfast while reading blogs
  3. Write
  4. Go out for lunch
  5. Watch Hull almost complete the comeback of the season but go down to Man U 4-3 in the game of the year so far
  6. Write
  7. Watch half an hilarious documentary on macrophilia (Go on, look it up. You know you want to)
  8. Laugh ass off at wife's face while watching documentary of macrophilia
  9. Drive down to pick up kids, singing at top of voice to Madness songs the entire way
  10. Bring kids home
  11. Watch Muppet Show while eating dinner
  12. Put kids to bed
  13. Change picture on blog
  14. Buy wine
  15. Drink it
  16. Watch rest of hilarious documentary on macrophilia
  17. Watch Top Gear African Special
  18. Wipe tears from eyes
  19. Offer multitude of praises to BBC Knowledge for saving me from weeks of watching pale, crap Australian version of Top Gear
  20. Blog
  21. Bed

STRETCHES, LEANS BACK, FEELS SMUG

6000 words in two days, and the novel as a whole cracking past the 17 000 word mark.

Engage smug mode.... smug mode engaged.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

HOW TO LOSE FANS AND IRRITATE MOVIE GOERS

So Lyn and I got out to see a flick today. And because we're Simon Pegg fans, not to mention Jeff Bridges fans, the choice was obvious.

My word, How to Lose Friends and Alienate People is a disappointing movie. There came a point, somewhere towards the inevitable turning-the-plot-for-home moment, when I actually thought "God, I remember when Simon Pegg was funny." I know this movie is based on a biography. I know that what I was watching was, by and large, supposed to be based on real events. But gawd all bloody mighty, did it have to be so obvious? So thuddingly unoriginal? When I know the outcome of each scene, each character arc, each subplot, before the setup of each damn thing even gets underway...... and it was billed as a comedy, it was promoted as a comedy, it said 'funny' on the posters.... It isn't. It just really, really isn't.

Simon Pegg and Jeff Bridges are both excellent actors, but watching this movie, you wouldn't know it. Okay, so Bridges paid his rent in Iron Man. I wasn't expecting Shakespeare. And okay, Pegg did a director mate a favour and plodded his way through the utterly second rate Run, Fatboy Run. But what's their excuse for this one? Add Kirsten Dunst, who extends her ouvre as an actress of no special interest whatsoever, and the whole thing felt like what my mother used to call a Tuesday Movie-- Tuesday afternoons, half-price for pensioners, beats being at home but not by much.

In all honesty, I got more laughs from the trailer for Four Holidays, And that's a Vince Vaughan movie......

HOW TO ENJOY A CHILD-FREE WEEKEND PART 1

  1. Stay up until midnight the night before
  2. Sleep in
  3. Mooch about
  4. Go out for a pancake breakfast and end up having a doughnut instead
  5. Write
  6. Go to the markets
  7. Buy fruit without slapping the hand of a single person under (or over) the age of seven
  8. Eat take away for lunch
  9. Watch an unintentionally humorous documentary about the link between death metal and Satanism (Um, 'Necrobutcher'? If the Dark Lord really is all-powerful, couldn't he have done something about your receding hairline? And, you know, given you a chin?)
  10. Write
  11. Go to the cinema and watch a flick in the middle of the day
  12. Write*
  13. Potter about in the garden until dark
  14. Eat pizza, cheesecake and beer for dinner
  15. Watch cheesy documentary about vampires without single interruption for hugs, nightmares, toilet visits, or drinks of water
  16. Blog
  17. Bed

*3074 words, since you ask...

THE STORY WITH NO NAME CONTINUES

As mentioned earlier, I've just finished penning my contribution to Nameless, the fab and groovy contest Horrorscope are running, based around a Narrative Corpse-- a serial short story written by several different people. My bit has just been posted here.

And you can see the full thing going on here. Scroll down the bottom and have a look at the prizes-- they're shit hot, and were it not for being on the contributor list, I'd be entering and beating you all to them.

Next up is one Battersby, Lyn. Couldn't you just die waiting to find out where she takes it? :)

MORE BEASTAGE

Over at the Specusphere, they've posted a review of The Beast Within, and we all come out of it rather well, don't you think?

Startlingly good wordplay? I'll buy that for a dollar....

Friday, October 31, 2008

MIDNIGHT ECHO 1 IS GO!

The AHWA is extremely proud to announce the publication of the inaugural issue of Midnight Echo: The Magazine of the Australian Horror Writers' Association.

Midnight Echo Issue 1 showcases the talents of 16 fantastic Australian writers:

Stephen Dedman
George Ivanoff
Felicity Dowker
Brendan Duffy
Andrew Macrae
Stephen Studach
David Conyers
Natalie J.E. Potts
Matthew Chrulew
Marty Young
Rachel Holkner
Dave Hoskin
Alice Godwin
Paul Haines
Deborah Biancotti
Martin Livings

Plus a new short story from UK writer and World Fantasy nominee, Robert Shearman.

In addition, Midnight Echo Issue 1 features what we hope to be a long running series of interviews with new Australian horror writers. In the first of this "New Blood" series, Stephen Studach interviews Dave Hoskin.

Midnight Echo Issue 1 is available to purchase online from Lulu.com in two formats:
Electronic PDF Download (ISSN 1836-3873) Cover Price: US$3.50
Paperback Edition (ISSN 1836-3865) Cover Price: US$12.95 (plus shipping)

Volume 2 will be edited by Shane Jirayia Cummings and Angela Challis, the squishy grey brains behind Brimstone Press, so you know it’ll be darkly fascinating. And I’m slated to edit issue 4, so if you want to see what I come up with behind the camera (so to speak) for once, make sure you buy enough copies of the first 3 issues to ensure it stays alive that long!

A WEEKEND IN THE PLANNING

  • Erin off to Nannas
  • Connor off to Nannas
  • Aiden off to his father’s
  • Beer
  • Medianoches
  • Movie tickets
  • Writing
  • More writing
  • Sleeping in
  • Writing

And on Sunday morning, Ovation’s showing a one hour live concert: Madness, in front of 75 000 screaming fans.

Sor-TED!

LIFE'S A BITSER AND THEN YOU... UM...

I feel like I’m galloping along in inches at the moment: I want to sit down and churn through some major work but I’m spending my time working on little bits and bobs that don’t add up to anything solid instead. Still, as one task this evening has been adding my 2 cents (or 500 words, whichever comes first) to the AHWA’s rather cool Nameless competition project and the other has been penning some thoughts for a discussion with David Carroll on Australian horror films for the second volume of Studies In Australian Weird Fiction, at least the bits and bobs have been fun

RED BULL GIVES YOU WINGS AND MAKES YOU STUPID

So let me get this straight: they’ve turned the water coolers off at work because there's a power crisis, and they shut down half the lift shafts at work because there's a pwoer crisis, and I’m paying a buck fifty a litre for petrol because there’s a petrol crisis, and in the meantime there are jet fighters screaming overhead in the name of entertainment?

Stupid fucking air race.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

AND JUST BECAUSE THAT LAST POST WAS PROBABLY A BIT TOO CYNICAL AND SNIDE FOR ALL THE KITTEN EAR-WEARING HAPPY BUNNY TYPES IN INTERNET LAND

A picture in very poor taste:


A SHARP NUDGE IN THE NETHERS

So: November in a couple of days. 11 days until my birthday, 26 days until the fortnight of kid birthday bashings, and 2 months until the end of the year. And here's me in the midst of a Real Life (tm) driven writing lull. What to do? I'm finding the change in atmosphere from writing predominantly shorts to writing novels exclusively to be a bit of a bore. It's like work, and you know, I started writing as a way to avoid work. I need a way to stay focussed and avoid the lure of trashy true crime documentaries on Foxtel. Again, what to do?

Well, in this case, I've joined Nanowrimo. I generally view it as a bit of a joke, to be honest: a way for people to pretend they're real writers while purging their systems of the millions of bad words they need to get rid of before they can start learning the real lessons writing has to teach you. But, inspired by the example of Simon 'Hal Spacejock' Haines, who undergoes the program every year and now has (at least count) one hundred and seventy two Spacejock novels on the shelves, I've signed my name up and will spend the next month beavering away on new words. It's a bit like joining SFWA, in a way-- no practical use, really, but it'll give me something to focus on when the attention starts to slip sideways. I shan't be posting any buttons or regaling you all with wacky stories of how we all got together at midnight to count pages or whatever, but there it is.

So let's see how we go, shall we?

THE REVIEW WITHIN

Yes, it's been a while. I've been busy with an intrusion of Real Life (tm).

You might like to know, however, that Booksmuggler has reviewed The Beast Within. The Claws of Native Ghosts rates a 'very effective', which is a bit like being called handsome by your Nanna, but I'll take it.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

A DIVERTING WAY TO SPEND MY MORNING

You know, once I'd uploaded the picture for the last post, I realised how much it resembled an old-fashioned Chinese menu, and how much fun you can have choosing one from column A and one from column B.

So just watch out for the vengeance of the Redneck Lord, all you Scientologist Sports Nuts and Buddhist Fornicators and Wifebeating Loud Mouth Women....

Go on, try it. It's more fun than it should be :)

Incidentally, anyone care to guess what a PK is? Does the Redneck Lord damn all chewing gum, or just that particular brand?

YOU HAVE TO ASK?

Discovered via Dave Cake



Personally, I love the Devil because he gives me candy :)
* I showed this to Lyn, who is a Jehovah's Witness, and she is definitely not amused.
** I'd show it to Aiden, but he'd be more upset that I called him an Emo than the whole Devil thing....
*** Why do apostrophes love the Devil so much?

CLEVER BUGGER

Let us consider the great Jasoni. Jason Fischer. The man I like to call Fischermus Prime.

Got in Dreaming Again. Won the Conflux short story contest. Now this.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again-- Next. Big. Thing.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

GRATUITOUS PRODUCT PLACEMENT MOMENT

I'm not one for waxing rhapsodical about particular brands or products. No sirree, no capitalist-logo-wearing-corporate-free-advertising-whore me.

However: we laid our new lawn in the backyard a few months ago (I saw we. What I mean, of course, is since we dug out the old lawn and then paid a friend of ours to do the laying of the new lawn for us. However, I digress), which has necessitated the purchase of a lawn mower.

I hate mowing. It is a necessary evil, I understand that, but pushing a heavy, wheeled bastard of a petrol-powered food processor through a cloud of midges, flying twigs and grass clippings for a couple of hours is not my cup of meat, thank you very much. And lawnmowers are one of the world's most annoying inventions: they get bogged, they cut out, the wheels gouge trenches into your lawn, they're obscenely heavy. There's a reason so many of us pay a commercial contractor to do the mowing for us. Anyone that stupid deserves a few bucks to help with therapy.

So let me just say this, in my non-commercial whore way. My new Flymo is THE dog's bollocks.

$199 for a machine so light I can pick the box up with one hand. It operates by creating its own hovercar-like cushion of air, which meant I was quite literally mowing the lawn one handed, wafting it about in front of me like a vaccuum cleaner. It slides up inclines and bumps that would have a traditional style lawnmower bogged and boggled. It adjusts height by moving the blade up and down, not the entire chassis (anyone who's tried to adjust height on a petrol powered Victa with a full tank will understand the significance of this). It's quiet. It's easy.

I just mowed a 20x15 metre lawn in 15 minutes, with no frustration, no swearing, and not an ounce of pain to my back. Zoom.

The dog's bollocks.

A JOKE FOR MY ACQUAINTANCE, MR RUSSELL B FARR

Q: What's the difference between Tottenham Hotspur and a triangle?

A: A triangle has three points.

Friday, October 17, 2008

WIND... WIND... CRICKET CHIRPING... WIND....

So Erin went to her Nanna's this afternoon, and will be off to see Disney Princesses on Ice (or something. It's on ice, anyway) this weekend.

Lyn, Aiden and Blake will be catching the train tomorrow morning to go to a little minicon in Perth, and won't be back until late in the evening, and then they're doing it again on Sunday.

As of 8 o'clock tomorrow morning it's just me, Connor, the car, money for lunches, and a whole weekend of playing, shopping, and tickle fights. *

Sweet.

* Contents of weekend may differ from those advertised. Depending on individual hour, may contain traces of gardening, house painting, digging holes, carrying heavy rocks, editing, writing, scanning photographs, door hanging, house maintenance, cleaning, sweeping or laundry.

WTF?

What do you say to a three year old who sits down to dinner and proudly announces "Dinosaurs eat our brains!" ?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

FUCK YOU, SAMBOY!

First of all, don't think we haven't noticed you replacing 200g bags with 175g bags for the same retail price, you cheap skive fuckers.

And secondly, bring back Tomato Sauce flavour now!

That is all.

WARM NOT YOUR HEAD WATER MICROWAVE UNIT INTERNAL

As is my wont, I occasionally purchase items of a useful and pleasing nature. You know, like Lyn >:)

And, like Lyn, the instructions are sometimes a little on the, shall we say, interpretive dance level.

However.

Yesterday, oh, yesterday my friends, we reached a level of English-as-a-guideline-only-ness that even Samuel Goldwyn would have viewed with pride. I don't know what it'll be yet, but I'm bound to have something cool kicking about the house I can give away as a prize for the first person who can tell me what these instructions relate to. It's a personal item, and it's blue. That's all the hint you get :)




ON THE SUBJECT OF COFFEE WITH FRIENDS

A big hulloo to Michelle & Adrian Bedford, with whom we shared a happy and enjoyable couple of hours yesterday talking about everything from novels to paleontology geekery to airliner geekery to finding the benefits of driving through Kwinana at 10pm on a Friday night, all in the warm and friendly confines of that coffee house of note-- Toddler Town playgym in Morley.

It's been too long since we sat and chatted with two of our favourite people in such a relaxed and enjoyable manner.

SHE'S JUST A LITTLE TEASE (SHE'S A FEMME FATALE)

Marriage to my darling wife has countless charming and wonderful aspects. One of the funniest, thanks to umpteen years spent as member of a religious order that frowns upon many aspects of modern living, is discovering just how many sections of popular culture she hasn't experienced. The sentence "You haven't seen (insert movie here)?" in an incredulous tone, is a standing joke these days (Alien? Really? Predator? Really? Inside Seka? Really?).

The flip side to that is watching as she discovers something wonderful that she's missed along the way, some popular icon or form that has passed by her radar while she's been focussed upon doing the right thing by her beliefs. Kurt Vonnegut, Phil Dick, a tolerance of punk music....

Yesterday, driving out to coffee with friends, I turned to say something to her and found her with her eyes rimmed by tears. She had discovered the Velvet Underground :)

NEW HEAD

I turn 38 next month. I started wearing glasses when I was 11, after my teacher noticed me leaning forward and squinting to see words written on the blackboard, even though I sat in the front row. For all of those years, with slight changes for fashion, I've worn essentially the same style of glasses- simple, rounded frames, with a decent amount of lens below and outside the eyes for peripheral vision. The last time I replaced them, the optometrist called me old fashioned. This, I assumed, was her attempt at customer service.

This week, however, I replaced my scratched, wobbly and ailing visual aids, and discovered that the style I have worn for 27 years is no longer available. They don't make 'em no more. Now that's old fashioned. I had to strike out into new ocular territory. Suddenly, half an hour was added to my shopping trip. I had to actually look at what was on the shelves.
If I can quote Randy 'Macho man' Savage, and I think I can: Oooooh, trep-iDATIOUS is the word.
Anyway, down below is a picture of the pair that Lyn and the optometrist decided suits me best: half-frame sort of trapezoidy lensed in a couple of shades of dark grey. A new pair of glasses changes the look of your face- it covers different areas, highlights others. People tend to see the glasses rather than the general layout of the face behind them. A new style of glasses does the same, only more so. I knew I was overweight (I mean, duh), but to me, this pair shows up just how fat my face is. There's less to hide behind, more left open. A new style of glasses, and it's changed the nature of my face, and that's an odd feeling. Erin is convinced that my eyebrows are darker, for example. But they're a permanent fixture now: lighter than my old pair, stronger, and much clearer. That alone is an improvement
Now all I need to do is lose 50 kilos from my head......

Now you see why Michael T Weiss is so upset...

Friday, October 10, 2008

SOMEBODY PASS MY DAUGHTER HER ROSE COLOURED GLASSES, PLEASE.

So, thanks to our tax returns, we've been able to purchase a few necessary things, including a new desktop computer for Lyn, which I've spent this evening setting up. Of course, a computer screen must have a desktop. A desktop must have an image. A Lyn must have something to drool at while waiting for the authorly thoughts to arrive.

Hence the Michael T Weiss picture.


ERIN: Who's that man?
ME: That's an actor Mummy thinks is handsome.
ERIN: But you're handsome!
ME: Aw, thank you, sweetie. You don't think he's handsome?
ERIN: (Pulls face) No! He doesn't even have a beard!


Ha! Take that you clean-shaven bastard!



Sob. If only I had a beard, I might be as handsome as Battersby... or Kenny Rogers... or Grizzly Adams....