Had a crap week last week: involvement in other things kept me away from the writing desk far too often, and pain from my back was a constant trouble. So when we dropped Erin off at her grandparents' place for her 4-weekly dose of cordial, late nights, and all the other things they know we don't let her have, it was with a certain sense of relief, because the weekend was shaping as a fun one and I really needed it.
Thankfully, it lived up to expectations. We went on a Valentine's Day picnic with Callisto and Cheshire (Lyn bought me the Gogs DVD: she lurvs me!) at which much champagne was imbibed, much MUCH food was eaten, and a game of Boules turned into a surreal street theatre performance involving duck-chasing, roo-poo stomping, and a complete inability on the part of all participants to get the balls anywhere near the damned jack. Needless to say, we all laughed our asses off the whole time. We ended up back at C&C's place, where we sat around (and in) the pool discussing video games, pornography, and everything else under the sun. We have more fun with C&C every time we hang out with them.
Sunday morning we attended the monthly KSP SF group. A bunch of new arrivals, including good pal Nigel Read ensured the conversation was lively and the critiques free-flowing. There are a couple of attendees with real potential, besides a bunch of hardened pros, so the group is getting better all the time. Added to our weekly visit to the Word-Thirst group at the centre, Luscious and I are enjoying the chance to get out amongst other writers on a regular basis. I was able to push forward a writing exercise at the end of the meeting, something I think is important (Writing groups should WRITE!), and I'm hoping I can get an increasing focus onto the nuts and bolts stuff as time progresses.
Then we headed out in the afternoon to hang out with Cheshire, Callisto, and Splanky. We attended a local lifestyle Con, a little affair with a few stalls, a couple of demonstrations, and a group of C,C&S's friends we hadn't met before. Had a fun time shopping, chatting, and just generally absorbing ideas and stacking up on information pamphlets (A gift from my late Mother, The Pamphlet Queen: I can't go anywhere and not leave with an armful). Lyn bought herself a beautiful burgundy corset from a stall, which makes her look dead sexy so I was not complaining. I limited myself to a small piece of line-art by a local artist, otherwise I'd have spent all our Swancon money and it would have been a hell of a short holiday in April. We went out to dinner in Mt Lawley, where the 5 of us ate brilliant Italian food and enjoyed our usual wide-ranging and bizarre form of conversation.
So back to work this morning, refreshed and happy after a damn good weekend. Just what the Fat Guy ordered: good friends, good food, good fun, and a happy fiance with jewellery and sexy clothes.
Two rejections waiting for me when I logged on this morning, so today's task: find new homes for my babies. Renamed Black-Painted Trees to Silk (thanks Joanne from Word-Thirst for the far better title) and sent it off to All-Star Zeppelin Adventure Stories. Many thanks to editors David Moles and Jay Lake for letting me e-sub this one, giving me time for 2 extra drafts. Hope it's resulted in a story they want to buy! It's a lot of fun to find a market with such massive strictures on what they accept (how many SF stories about inflatable airships have YOU read?): sometimes great art comes from finding new ways to deal with such strictures, and while I don't pretend to be capable of great art, it's still a challenging and rewarding way to create.
If you want to try the writing exercise I gave the KSP SF group, here 'tis:
Take the last line from an already-published novel or short story, and write it at the top of a blank page. Below that, start writing a story with the intention of reaching that last line. Don't worry about copyright or anything like that: by the time you get to the end of your story, it'll be so different you'll have your own last line all by yourself. This is more an exercise in working towards a solid end-point than trying to recreate anything already written.
A couple of examples, taken entirely without permission, so you'll need to track down, buy, and read the stories so the authors don't sue my ass off:
"There are some places no-one should ever have to go home to." Salvation, Stephen Dedman
"Sarat was right; he had imagined it would be a Union Jack." The World According To Kipling, Geoffrey Maloney
"And in my head the words begin, and the sky closes about me." Skyriders, Simon Brown
"I whisper it to my children every night." Written in Blood, Chris Lawson
"Wind picked up as dawn approached, but by that time Mac couldn't feel it." Rough Trade, Robert Hood
Luscious has come through sporting her new dye job. From copper to a deep, dark burgundy. Yum :)