An author of Speculative Fiction, speculates about fiction.

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Writing contest! Awesome prizes! (Not from me, so they really are)

Hi everyone. Here’s some information about a writing contest I thought you might all be interested in. Have a go!

NEWS FROM THE EVESHAM HOTEL

Still Time To Enter AsparaWriting Festival Short Story Competition

 

Do you fancy yourself as a budding writer? If so, there’s still time to enter the AsparaWriting Festival short story competition.

 

The quirky competition is being run ahead of the AsparaWriting Festival at the end of April and is open to three age categories – adult (17+), seven to 11 year olds and 12-16 year olds. Writers in each category are asked to come up with a short story of no more that 6,000 words for adults and 3,000 for juniors. Stories must be set in the Vale of Evesham or the Cotswolds, fit the crime genre and include asparagus.

 

Said Sue Jenkinson, Festival organiser and owner of The Evesham Hotel: “We’re so excited to uncover the undiscovered literary talent in the Vale and can’t wait to read the entries. This really is a chance to get creative and get involved with the first ever AsparaWriting Festival. Good luck to everyone who enters!”

 

The winners of each category will be published in this year’s anthology, ‘AsparaWriting 2014’ and receive a free copy. The adult winner will also receive a £100 prize and a trophy whilst both junior winners will be awarded a £20 book token.

 

All winners will be invited to attend the Festival Finale with author Simon Brett, who will present them with their prizes on Saturday 21 June 2014.

 

Contestants can enter by post or online. Closing date for entries is Saturday 29 March 2014 at 11.59pm. All details can be found at asparawritingfestival.co.uk/short-story-competitition

 

For more information, or to book tickets for any AsparaWriting Festival events. including Simon Brett and award-winning author Stella Duffy, visit asparawritingfestival.co.uk

NOTES TO EDITORS

The Evesham Hotel has 39 bedrooms and is set in 2.5 acres of secluded grounds, located in the heart of the historic river market town of Evesham. Built in 1540, it was once a Tudor farmhouse and is full of unique style and character.

Ideally located to explore the Cotswold’s, Stratford upon Avon, Warwick and Malvern hills. The Evesham Hotel has a unique atmosphere and the staff ensure a very comfortable, pleasurable stay for both business and leisure guests.

Single rooms start from £85 B&B per night and include use of the leisure facilities including an indoor heated pool, free Wi-Fi and ample parking.

Happy New Year!

Hello, fellow readers!

Once again, time seems to have totally evaded my grasp. I can’t believe how fast everything seems to be moving of late. As a Whovian, I’d suggest some kind of time-dilation anomaly that only The Doctor himself can save us from. But until he turns up, we’ll just have to deal with it.

In case you missed the title of this post, and have been in a particularly potent coma of late, you’ll know that we are now firmly placed into the year 2014. Every time I look at that date, I can’t help thinking how close we are, or even how we have passed by, some of the predictions made by favourite sci-fi movies. Here’s hoping that Skynet doesn’t finally get traction, eh?

But this year, while swift, has been good to me. Greaveburn has sold more and more copies and gained a growing group of appreciative readers (Fans is too strong a word). The reviews have remained brilliant, although I’m still waiting for that first stinker of a one-star, since I’m an optimist, you know. And I think it’s time for this year’s Greaveburn Awards. Three people made special contributions to my sanity this year, letting me know that it’s ok to get lost in my fantasy worlds. And those are:

Jess Booth

jessJess bought Greaveburn at the 2013 Weekend at the Asylum convention, and promptly read it in about 6 hours. She also left a lovely review on Amazon. This kind of book-fanatical behaviour warms the cockles of my heart. Thank you, Jess. The next time I’m in Widow Cullen’s Well, I’ll make sure to buy you a pint ;D

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ash Lithgow

ashI think Ash made it into the awards last year, too, but he has maintained his uber-fandom this year by reading Greaveburn more times than I ever did. He also stepped in as assistant fact-checker in a workshop I did at the Steampunk Doncaster convention this year, because he knows the characters better than I do. I actually had to defer to him once or twice in the workshop. God bless you, Ash!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Frances Rockett

Not only does Fran win an award for the most Steampunk name on her birth certificate, she has been a huge help to the Greaveburn movement this year. She has acted as shop girl for me at several events, drawing in the crowds and then promptly sending them away again, one book heavier. She’s  a machine. A book-selling automaton.

fran

So thank you to those three people in particular, but to everyone else to picked up a copy of my work, read it, borrowed it, reviewed it, entered the Readers’ Gallery, Liked, Shared, or told a friend. You’re all my favourite people.

But now we have hit 2014. A new year means moving forward.

This year is going to be a busy one, too. The itinerary goes something like this:

  1. I turn 30 (yikes!)
  2. I finally finish my university course, giving me my second degree (this times in English). So look out for photos of me in a silly hat later this year!
  3. I get married (double yikes!)
  4. My next novel, The Adventures of Alan Shaw gets released! YIPPEE! That’ll be around June time with a new shiny edition of Not Before Bed, too.
  5. At some point, Greaveburn will develop a cult following and the masses will demand a movie be made. I already have the cast list in my head ;D

Ok, so maybe that last one is a push. But the others are very true, and very scary. I really can’t wait for you all to meet Alan Shaw. But I’m very nervous about it, too.

Anyway, whatever it is you have planned for this year, I wish you all the best of luck and happiness. Remember that the lows never sink the highs, they’re just anchor points between your adventures.

 

Thanks for reading for another year.

In my absence

It seems a lot of my recent posts have been apologising for not being around very much. This one will be no different, it seems.

Still, I’m sure you lovely folks don’t exactly live your lives waiting for me to post my next little ditty, so no harm done.

Anyways, I hope you’re all well! It seems that this year has moved along at break-neck speed and I can barely turn around without whole weeks having scurried by. The Steampunk season, as it seems to be to me, is coming to a close, I think. At least in the North. Howarth has a charity  Steampunk event in aid of cancer research this weekend which I’ll be attending and hopefully doing some good there. Leeds has its usual Christmas Market coming up as well as an event on the 29th of November (which I can’t remember where it is at the minute but I’ll be there, anyway). There is also a Steampunk craft fair in my own fair Doncaster on the 1st of December which you should all try to get to. It’s their first time so it’d be great to show them some support. I’ll certainly be there if only because it’s above the Salutation pub and the bar will be only a few steps away :D

And that will no doubt be very much done and dusted until after Christmas, I imagine. At least in my neck of the woods. But with a new year will come a lot of new, fun stuff. I certainly can’t wait for you all to meet Alan Shaw and join in on his adventures. I’m so excited that a wee just a little every time I think about it. I have reports from my excellent editor, Peter, that it’s well underway and the lion’s share of the edits might be done by the turn of the year. I’m really looking forward to reading his comments, as he always has a great insight, especially as a fan of Steampunk himself.

Other than that, I’m off to try and catch up with some more uni work. I seem to constantly be on the back foot this year and I need to get that sorted out.

Anyway, salutations, my friends.

Thanks for reading.

Steampunk Tsunami

Steampunk has taken over my life. And I love it.

This is the best part of the year for Steampunk events. Starting with Steampunk Doncaster in June, then the Leeds Central Library event, building up to Asylum the other week, and now Leeds is holding its annual market this weekend. It’s a non-stop roller-coaster of Steampunk action.

This means two things.

One: I’m knackered. Blissfully, wonderfully knackered.

Two: I get to meet all my Steampunk friends from all over the country on a regular basis which I just don’t get enough chance to do.

I’m particularly looking forward to Leeds this weekend as I know most of the northern contingents will be there at some point. The White Rose Steampunks, the Cottonopolis Coglective, Lincoln’s lovely group, and many from Doncaster, too. In case you don;t know about it yet, it’ll be held in the Armley Mills museum (perfect for Steampunks) on Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th from 10am to 17:00pm. I’m sure there will be some form of beverage sharing afterward, too ;D

Well, I’m off to sort my boxes of books for the event, so apologies for a short post today. Check back this weekend for a guest post all about Heracles Flint, a new Steampunk Adventure that I’m sure you’ll love.

 

Thanks for reading!

Post-Asylum

Once more was I interned in the Asylum in Lincoln. And once more have I escaped.

The Weekend at the Asylum convivial, as most of you will know because I’ll have told you at great length, is one of the biggest Steampunk get-togethers in the country. It’s certainly the closest for all us oop noorth. And it’s always a great time.

If you’re into attending organised events such as a ball and a fashion show, then there’s things to do. For me, it’s more about having the opportunity to meet old friends and make new ones. Just wandering around the extensive site in Lincoln’s historic quarter is where it’s at for me, chatting in the street, meeting traders and suchlike that I haven’t met yet, and then off to The Victoria or Widow Cullen’s Well for a brew with friends.

This year was far from a disappointment in that regard.

I wasn’t intending to work this Asylum after I took Greaveburn there last year. I wanted to get out and about instead. I ended up tending the Greaveburn stall in the Assembly Rooms for far longer than I intended, but still had a great time regardless. Lots of folks came over to say hi. We sold quite a few copies, which is always good. But what really struck me was the feedback. Several people who had bought Greaveburn either the year before or in events since had come back to let me know what they thought. And the feedback was good. God bless them. They came out of their way to give a personal review face-to-face and that was a real boost. If only I didn’t get all shy and stupid in the face of compliments, I might have come across better :D

Anyway, that was lovely.

I also got the chance to meet Inspired Quill’s latest author, Hugo Jackson. British by birth, Hugo now lives in North Carolina with his wife Maddie, and he flew all the way back to launch his book Legacy. I can only describe it as a cross between Brian Talbot’s Grandville series and a fantasy epic. Great book! It has magic, Steampunk, dragons, and all manner of awesomeness. It also turns out that Hugo is the nicest guy you’re ever going to meet. I can’t wait to read the next book in the tetralogy (made up word, I know, but brilliant).

Anyway, that’s a brief summary of the weekend. Next on the agenda? Check out the TOUR DEETS page for where I’ll be next.

 

Thanks for reading!

Reader’s theories on your work.

As soon as your novel, poem, screenplay or artwork leaves your hand, it’s open to the interpretation of others. That’s just how it goes. And to a certain degree, that’s the whole point. Especially with books. How I imagine one of my favourite characters, Harry Dresden, is mine alone and will be subtley different from how others imagine him. It’s part of the fun of picturing things in your head.

The way that I’ve come across this kind of thing is in readings, workshops and at signings. People seem to really want to know what Greaveburn “is”.

There have been several theories offered to me:
1. Greaveburn is an alternate history.
2. It’s a parallel universe.
3. It’s an alternate dimension.
And, most recently,
4. It’s a post-apocalyptic city.

That last one came from a recent review by Scott Kinkade, which I won’t link to as it has lots of spoilers in it, but his theory is a good one, as theories go.

I’ve wondered whether to dispel these theories or just let people carry on, and I’ve finally decided to do the latter. What people get from the book is their own personal experience and I’m happy to have it that way.

But it points to something interesting in human nature, I think. The constant search for solid answers. None of the people who made these theories could just let Greaveburn be. It has to be something. Odd don’t you think? And worth bearing in mind when you write your own work.

Thanks for reading.

My terrible poems…

Someone once said to me “is there anything you don’t do” when I said I’d have a go at pretty much anything when it comes to my writing. Screenplays, comic scripts, prose, haiku, I’ve had a bash at it all. With varying degrees of success (mostly varying into the “that was abysmal” area of the gauge). But one thing I’m really quite terrible at is poetry. I don’t think I’ve read enough of it, or know enough about it, to have a decent idea of what makes a poem good or how one works and another doesn’t.

But… (you were waiting for the “but” weren’t you?)

Despite all that, I kind of enjoy writing poetry. Especially when i’m having a blank spot with my prose. It’s a great way of making your brain take a step back and do something different. And I find that even thought my poems are pretty damn terrible, the occasional line comes out of them that I can then use in my prose later.

And so, because I love you all (or hate you, depending on your perspective) I’m going to subject you to….I mean…let you read some of my poems! These should come with a government health warning, so remember to ward yourself against the dark arts before you read on.

A Tree

In coldness I’m naked,
In heat I’m stifled with clothing.
My feet are bare in the rain,
My skin splits int he sun.
I eat nothing,
Say nothing,
And watch politely as you
roll and screech and chew
at my feet.
 
 

The Fence

They said the grass is greener.
So here I am, to find out;
To frolic on your rockery;
To peep inside your potting shed.
 
I hopped the fence,
landing bare foot on your lawn,
And marveled at the greener than green,
the new scented breeze.
 
But now I’m ready to go back home
to familiar soil,
I see that on this side
the fence
is higher from the ground.
 
 

Short sighted

I don’t want to know
every hammer that forged you,
only to study you as you are.
 
Let me admire the scar
as part of you.
the strike of an expert chisel
 
Rather than some half-remembered story.
I’ll trace the coloured lines
across your skin
 
Not questioning what whim of
inspiration decorated you.
You were born with them,
 
Only moments ago
when we met and nothing
you have done matters now.
 
With no past to spit at each other,
no future to plan,
or weighted expectation,
we’ll exist only in this moment
and those like it.
 
 

Well, I hope you enjoyed them, or at least didn’t pluck your eyes from your head in disgust. Any comments, as always, are most welcome.

Thanks for reading.

 
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