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Publication and other deathly creatures

A lot has happened in the last months, therefore my apologies to those few who visit here for keeping quiet.

Life is a strange thing. As is creativity. You can mill over a question in your head, a half formed idea and then just like in a cheap comic book, k-pow, in a middle of an unrelated sentence, halfway down a coffee cup or in a middle of a shower, the complete answer pops into reality. Sometimes. Other times it’s like pulling a millstone on your own – hard and with little visible result until you gather the dust and make bread. The months that has passed from my previous post were a full mixture of both of above.

14369911_715467695272365_5394313979286190288_nThe coming months will also be full of events and work.  Some of it, might even interest you (win
k, wink). Firstly, there is this big event called Fantasycon-by-the-Sea in Scarborough this weekend, which I will be attending. And I would not usually share it with you if not the fact that I will be present at a launch of “This Twisted Earth” anthology published by Six Minutes To Midnight, which contains my rather long short story. It goes without saying that I am really pleased to be published next to the fine authors listed in the table of contents. Things like that give me a kick in the back side and make me think that perhaps all of this was not a mistake after all.

Anyhow. The event will take place at 1pm Sat 24th, so stop by, grab a glass, chat, perhaps even get a scribble if you’ve bought a copy. The volume will be available at the con or via Amazon here. And… oh what the hell! Paraphrasing LMFAO’s lyrics, I’m thrilled and I want you to know it. We’ve already received some nice reviews on Goodreads. Check them out here. So, Saturday, 1pm, got it, right? See you there.

Moving on. As I said, this is an autumn full of pleasant happenings. I have managed to grab some tickets to see Jean Michel Jarre’s concert in Cardiff for myself and Magda, which was an item on the bucket list to be ticked and a childhood’s dream fulfilled.

Following galavanting in Caerdydd, I will be reading an excerpt from a new short story during the Egyptian event in Bristol Museum’s Assyrian Gallery. Ancient deities and science fiction will be combined for your entertainment, so come along. The event is part of Bristol Festival of Literature, it’s free and details about it can be found here.

And last but not least, I’m looking forward to seeing a lot of you during this year’s BristolCon, which will take place 29th October. I’m not on any panels this year (overslept with the participation form) so should have plenty of time to catch up with friends. And if there really are any gods of wine and tits and roleplay, make them hear my prayer and make them bless the gaming evening!

Traditionally, let me leave you with something for the ear. Or both. Jaromir Nohavica in a Czech blues and Kaminanda in atmospheric piece with flutes.

 

Night lights

I lost a friend today. He died few days ago but I’ve only found out today, blurring the then and now line. I’m left empty, sad, angry, but mainly I still cannot believe he’s gone. The surreality of the fact is too overwhelming.

He was one of the kindest people I’ve met since my migration to this country. I’ve only crossed paths with David couple of years ago, during one of the sci-fi pub meets and liked him from the start. We shared a few long conversations finding out our interests and tastes overlapped greatly, still leaving enough space for each one to be able to surprise the other.

I had not known David as long, or as well as I would have liked it, and here lies the main source of my anger. I egoistically feel robbed of his bright intellect, of the twisted corners of his sense of humour and the company of a person with whom I shared more things than not.

He was a person I looked up to, admired and respected for his cheerful relentlessness in pursuing his dreams, which were so close to my own. He was a great writer and a lovely human being and I will miss him. He inspired me and gave me confidence and faith in my abilities. I hope will rest in peace and that the rest of us will not forget him.

There is a beautiful piece of dialogue that I will quote, risking sounding like a pompous ass:
“I believe that when we leave a place, part of it goes with us and part of us remains. Go anywhere in the station when it is quiet, and just listen. After a while, you will hear the echoes of all our conversations, every thought and word we’ve exchanged. Long after we are gone, our voices will linger in these walls for as long as this place remains. But I will admit that the part of me that is going will very much miss the part of you that is staying.”

I know he did like the first piece of music below and I think he would have enjoyed the second one as well.

Farewell David J Rodger, the part of me that is staying will very much miss the part of you that has left.

Frome, Bristol and other ungodly places

A lot has happened since my last entry here, so I will try to recap the most interesting points.

Firstly, I’ve managed to sell a flash piece to the ‘365 tomorrows’ e-zine. It’s a wee little piece inspired by Popol Vuh, Zelazny and lack of sleep. If you wish to spend a brief moment of your life reading it, it’s available here.

Now, with that out of the way, let me tell you about a great literary evening I’ve attended in July during Frome Festival. It was organised by the Frome SF Group (yes, I am a member) and featured readings from a lot of local and slightly less local authors, including David J Rodger. He did a nice entry about it here. There are some pictures (in no particular order) available, so feast yer eyes.

Eric Nash

Eric Nash

Justin Newland

Justin Newland

John Walton

John Walton

Andy Bigwood

Andy Bigwood

B Anne Adriaens

B Anne Adriaens

David J Rodger

David J Rodger

Piotr Świetlik

Piotr Świetlik

After that, the holidays happened (they do have a tendency to creep up on one) and I was lucky enough to be off and away for three weeks. Return to the real world was somewhat painful but it was quickly sweetened by the fabulous BristolCon. It has been my fourth appearance and as always I enjoyed it immensely. The event is steadily growing each year, which is both good and bad. Good, because the quality and interest from the fandom are increasing; bad because the more people come, the harder it is to catch all of them within a space of a day as well as attend panels, view artists room and check what the dealers are offering. That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed it and managed to catch up with some friends from as fas as London whilst managing to meet some new ones. The only disappointment was that the gaming evening to which I was looking to, didn’t happen. But well, will make it up next year!

Since I’ve covered most of the events between March and November (the interesting ones anyway), let me tell you about something that is about to happen. It is with great pleasure that I can say I will be reading my work as part of the North Bristol Writers group during the Sanctum. Don’t know what the Sanctum is? Despair not, my friend. Check the link instead. Unfortunately, we are not allowed to publicise our timed slots, but if you know me (in ‘real’ life, through Facebook or other), there’s a good chance you’ve already received a pestering message from me inviting you to the exact time and date to listen to me ramble to the microphone. If not, let’s get acquainted. As you can imagine, I am thrilled to be reading there and really looking forward to it.

And that is, as they say, it. For now anyway. There is more to come pretty soon, so hope you’ll stay with me and I promise to update things a little more frequently. To keep a tradition going, have a listen to the superb Kayla Scintilla’s ‘Light of the North’, as mentioned in David’s post.

Expect me, when you see me 😉

Para-ranting

As time moves on I’m getting tempted to write about the recent distractions in my life especially that there’s been a few. The first and foremost, my daughter, but I already boasted about her earlier, so will refrain from it this time. Her subject does, however indirectly, lead on to one of the projects I’m working on, which is an educational board game for kids and adults taking place in the solar system. The first draft is nearly completed, so we’ll be doing some test plays with my son next week. If all goes well… well, then I’ll let you know.

On another note, I wanted to share some of the good things I’ve seen and read recently. First was the ‘door wedge’ style novel “Great north road” by Peter F Hamilton. A murder mystery/action fiction set in futuristic world where the only know alien life form is inadvertently hostile and alien to the point of working under different physics rules. I’ve seen some complaints on the net about this book, mainly because of the level of detail given to the police investigation. However, although I can see why that could be seen as a negative trait by some, the narration is so fluent, I didn’t feel I was losing time reading about it.

Speaking of great sci-fi visions I have to mention the few good movies I’ve managed to watch in the past few weeks. Admittedly not all of them new, but hey – c’est la vie. Firstly, I’ve finally got to see the ‘Elysium’, which was visually stunning, though had predictable story-line. What I really liked about it, was the vision of ultimate gated community and relentless use of robots and drones to control the population. Tim Maughan reviewed it very well here, so I will refrain from further comments, just stating that it was well worth watching.

Secondly, slightly fresher picture, was the ‘Edge of tomorrow’ with Tom Cruise. I know that a lot of people don’t like Cruise because of his Scientology connections but frankly, on the screen I prefer to judge him as an actor. And when it comes to acting, he does a good job, no questions asked. ‘Edge of tomorrow’ is a story of alien invasion on Earth that did not go well for the humans. It was actually a relief to watch it, while still having in memory the boring ‘Battle for Los Angeles’ or even ‘Pacific Rim’ (don’t get me wrong I loved the latter movie because of the BIG ROBOTS but it had a story as flat as a pancake). Although ‘Edge…’ geographically spans through several countries, most of the story is neatly compacted to a single day’s events. Somebody called it a combination of Groundhog Day, Starship Troopers and Source code and it’s not a far fetched comparison, as it borrows from those movies a lot. The CGIs are smooth and visually it’s a feast. The tone of the movie, despite the backdrop of invasion and soldiers dying by the dozens, is rather light and tends to veer of towards wit, fun and action. All in all, a good evening entertainment.

Finally, there was ‘Utopia’ upon which I stumbled accidentally few weeks ago and its first few minutes swept me off my feet. First of all I have to admit I’m wary of European  sci-fi series, which is I admit, a bit ridiculous, but there you go. There reason for that is I’ve seen few and they lacked some kind of finishing touch that would make their otherwise interesting stories, compelling. Having said that, ‘Utopia’ represented everything I was looking for in a mystery/conspiracy/sci-fi series. Let’s start with story arc. Being aware that a lot of people haven’t seen it, I’ll just say that the characters (who are – with few exceptions – a regular bunch of people) and their personal stories neatly intertwine with the evil (or not so?) corporation agenda that is indeed world spanning. The actors are decent and I have a high praise for Neil Maskell for his fantastic creation that will haunt my dreams for years to come. Now, I have to admit that for a couple of episodes I wasn’t sure if ‘Utopia’ will turn into a bizarre comedy like ‘LEXX’ or not. The credit for that goes to Cristobal Tapia De Veer, who’s weirdly joyful compositions thrown in contrast to the scenes of brutality and remorselessness are a big part of the series’ charm. And while mentioning scenes of brutality, although corpses are not short in supply, the creators managed not to show most of the actual action, which seems to be the ache of a lot of American productions. What finally needs mentioning and praise are the outdoor shots, which are done with high colour saturation and add to the general surreal atmosphere of ‘Utopia’. Definitely worth watching.

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Since this post took me over a week to write in small instalments, there’s one more thing alas a major one to mention. BristolCon 2014. Posts and blog entries pop around with high praise and rightly so, still I decided to add to the pile. This was the third time I’ve attended BristolCon and as far as one day conventions go – it’s a perfect blend of panels, workshops and ‘off-the-record’ discussions. This year As always, I came back with a backpack full of books. Some of them purchased, some swapped on the book exchange table which debuted this year and seemed to be an immediate success. One of them was a comic album ‘Hector Umbra’ by Uli Oesterle. Great artwork, interesting, intricate story lines and the colours! The sentence that summarises Hector: Hellboy and John Constantine, meet Hector Umbra. He’s got a cooler record collection than either of you. Read it, you won’t regret it.

This years BristolCon was also my first time participation in a panel discussion on author’s inspiration. We’ve covered subjects spanning from Bible through Moliere, Agatha Christie and Joanne Hall to Dan Brown, archeology and movie inspirations. It was a scary type of fun, but I hope to repeat it some time again. I then went to a workshop with Pete Newman on ‘getting unstuck’, which was accidentally very helpful. I say accidentally because going in I was not sure if I was really stuck or whether I just lacked the kick in the back side to push on (bit of both it turned out). I also owe Pete thanks for his ‘just 50 words’ advice which made me white a couple thousands words in the last few days. The day closed with a gaming session of ‘Ricochet Robots’ and ‘Warewolf’ which made me regret not living nearer to Bristol.

Summarising a fantastic day of excitement, laughter and interesting conversations that requires a massive thank you to Jo Hall and all the organisers. I shall definitely be there next year. May BristolCon live long and prosper!

And to revive and old tradition of mine, I leave you with something for the ear. Or even two. Or more if you happen to have any lying about. Enjoy.

Bristol Invaded

In the beginning there was thought. Then there was an intention and finally… there was failure due to the lack of time.
Initially I was going to invite you to the BristolCon invasion of Watershed on Sunday 5th of October, but hence that date is long gone I’ll just say thank you to all organisers and all who attended. It was fun. After all not every day am I being asked for writing help – immensely nice and I sincerely hope my rumblings were of any help. That aside, I myself feel, have learned a lot from the talks and those super-intelligent ants and laser-eyed pigeons will haunt my dreams for many weeks to come.

Just a gentle reminder, there is a short story competition following that event, with some prizes and help from professional editors, so ‘to your keyboards’ fellow writers. All the necessary details can be found here.

Now, hence you’ve already opened up that link, you might as well sign up for the BristolCon that will happen the following Saturday. It’s a year of first time experiences for me, as I will be taking part in a panel discussion about what influences us, authors. This will take place in the fine company of Joanne Hall, John Baverstock and Tricia Sullivan. And while this is clearly not the main reason to turn up at DoubleTree hotel that  day, I do hope to see lots of you there.

On more personal note, the most amazing thing happened on the 9th of October and my daughter, Jagoda, was born. This leaves me slightly overwhelmed and enormously happy. It might also explain my occasional loss of concentration, plot or sanity.

I leave you in peace (hopefully one) with a nice tune that was recently stuck to my neurons.

Kraken rises again

I’d like to invite you to The Shakespeare Tavern, Prince Street in Bristol, where readings of some of the stories from ‘Kraken rises’ anthology will take place. The date and time: Monday 22nd September at 7:30pm.

More of the details can be found here

As it will only feature fragments of five of the ten published stories, you might want to consider buying the e-book anthology here. Proceedings will go towards the Bristol Festival of Literature, so you will be supporting local cultural development.

Hope to see you on Monday!

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