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 😉

The FWC – Who are you? Blog Hop

fwc-logo

The FWC – Who Are You? Blog Hop is a chance to visit the online homes of many of the talented members of the Collective and learn a little more about who we are. The Collective, and unfortunately Eric beat me to pointing the connections with the infamous Borg, is a wonderful idea made flesh. I have lived in Frome for a decade without realising how many people involved with literature live here too. So if you’re a writer, illustrator, poet, editor or publisher – be warned, YOU WILL BE ASSIMILATED!

I was kindly nominated by Eric Nash, who’s entry can be found here: https://eanash.wordpress.com/2015/03/08/the-fwc-who-are-you-blog-hop/ Read it, it’s good.

Done? Ready? Let’s roll then.

Frome Writers’ Collective is home to a range of writers, poets, illustrators, editors, and publishers. Which one best describes you?

Writer. I usually write technology rich science fiction, though have occasionally veered off towards fantasy. To make it even more confusing, my first story ever published in English was a steampunk adventure. So there you go. I’m fascinated by weird physics theories and progress in genetics, which is why there usually is one or the other present, or both. In this form or that, or… Yeah, I tend to go on. I like to mix fantasy and science-fiction elements with various mythologies, which might be caused by my love for the works of Roger Zelazny. He influenced me for good or bad and I would not change that. Mainly because, if I was different I would not be myself. And I am myself. Or am I?

What are you working on at the moment?

Edge of sanity, which is a short story containing swords and elements of Cthulhu Mythos, Polish professors and alien ninjas. I originally started writing if for a particular anthology but unfortunately didn’t made the deadline.  The Nameless Writing Group is, as always, providing critique, guidance and occasional kick in the back side, so I’m hoping to find home for it soon.

Not quite what I've imagined but the main two elements are here. Seen on https://cacodaemonia.wordpress.com

Not quite what I’ve imagined but the main two elements are here. Seen on https://cacodaemonia.wordpress.com

I’m also working on the first draft of my first novel, which will be a sci-fi murder mystery.

Jack London said that “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” Would you agree?

As one of my character’s like to say ‘there’s a bipolar answer to that question’. My inspirations comes from such wild collection of incidents and accidental experiences (not least of them the famous thing called “Shower”) it’s hard to say I’ve really looked for them. Pretty much everything I see or experience inspires some more or less random strand of thoughts. Some of them make it to the page, though most just clutter my brain. Sometimes, if I’m struggling with a particular scene I use graphic or even musical stimuli to get my head to where I need it to be.

Staring at a blank page can be daunting. How do you get from brain to page?

I hardly ever face the dreaded “blank page” situation. I mostly start writing when there is something in my head I want to write about. Which is the case almost always. If it’s a new story, I tend to write down the first thing about it that comes to mind, whether it’s a dialogue or just a simple description of a place. Then I either let it fly on its own or think and tinker with the idea until I like what I see. Quite often there is some research involved, but usually the stories more or less gradually just pop into my head. There is a quote by one of my favourite authors, Phillip K Dick which I think describes it quite well: “The SF writer sees not just possibilities but wild possibilities. It’s not just ‘What if’ – it’s ‘My God; what if’ – in frenzy and hysteria. The Martians are always coming.”

P K Dick

This is not me

You’ve finally stopped procrastinating and you’re ready to get creative or tackle that manuscript. Have you a particular place where you like to work?

Once upon a time there was an armchair. In its youth it served people proudly, but as it grew older its owners put it out for an auction, which hurt the feelings of the armchair profoundly. (If you don’t believe furniture can have feelings… why are you reading this?!) It stayed in the auction house hurt and abandoned, shedding dead mites and thinking about retirement, until it has been bought by a young man, naive and ignorant of certain things. He gave the armchair a good wash, repaired the small tears and sat in it every evening. The armchair quickly grew to like his new master and became a perfect lair for his musings and occasional nap. They lived happily ever after.

I also tend to write wherever and whenever I can focus enough. In the kitchen, on a train, at work… A necessity caused by having a full-time occupation, wife, kids, dog, fish and occasional visiting aliens.

Thanks for stopping by. Be sure to check Eric’s entry and hop to the virtual homes of:

Crysse Morrison at http://www.crysse.com/

I’m a free-lance writer with a patch-work portfolio of experience from novels and short stories to performance poetry ~ you can see samples of various aspects of my work here. I live in Frome, southwest UK, and currently my passion is stage drama, both as a playwright and reviewer.  I also enjoy involvement in Frome’s poetry cafe, pub theatre, and summer festival, and am open for contact about writing from community projects or individuals.

and Doug Hilditch at www.dhilditch.blogspot.com

For over 20 years I worked in the printing and publishing industries doing everything from proof-reading and copy editing to book production consultancy for most of the leading UK publishers. I left publishing to set up my own business as a freelance technical illustrator which I ran successfully for 14 years. I am currently employed as a fraud investigator. For the last 10 years, my beautiful wife Tess has been my biggest fan and critic and her help and encouragement has spurred me on. I have currently written five novels, numerous short stories and have recently rekindled my love for humourous verse.

Their posts will appear on Sunday 22nd – don’t forget to check them out!

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.