Friday, 28 May 2010

Hay Festival

Back in Hay for the Literary Festival. Left just after lunch and had a trouble free journey down. It takes about three hours when we're towing the caravan. It's been sunny all the way, despite gloomy Met office predictions, but we've hedged – we've packed everything: wellies, sun-block, woolly jumpers, shorts and T-shirts. This year we will not be caught out, the weather can do what it likes.

We've already had our first talk, all about the rise of Islamic calligraphy, by Alain George. It sounds heavy but was actually very interesting and there are a lot of things in there that I might be able to use in future stories. This is what Hay is all about – learning about strange esoteric stuff and never knowing when something might just come along and poke you in the eye and get the ideas juices flowing.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010


What a fine weekend, Tranmere Rovers avoided relegation, an excellent gig with the Big Band on Saturday, and then Monday... well...

Monday night is band night, always has been, and so I give myself a night off from writing. In compensation, though, I’m in the habit of getting my weekly fix of StarShipSofa while driving out to the club were we play. So on this week’s Aural Delights, what do we have? Woo Hoo! Tony has served up my Writers of the Future story, Risqueman. It’s done as a head-to-head, new vs old, Mike Wood vs Frederic Brown. Hmm, time to acquire a thick skin, methinks I might be about to get my ass kicked. The Frederic Brown story is really spot-on, tight, concise, and a time-travel story that hasn’t dated one jot.

If you don’t know about StarshipSofa ( then you should pop over and have a listen. StarshipSofa is the first ever podcast to be nominated for a Hugo, and deservedly so. Each week her brave Captain, Tony C Smith, serves up an entertaining brew of fact articles, SciFi news and classy fiction. I’ve been hooked for a long time, at least a couple of years. Last summer I was honoured to be teleported all the way from Hollywood to the bridge of the good Starship, along with Sean Williams and CL Holland, for a chat. (And come on, how often do you get the chance to blog a line like that?)

Monday, 3 May 2010

Worldcon 2011

Just signed up for Worldcon 2011 in Reno. Woohoo! I sneaked in just before the cost went up on 30 April. All I have to do now is figure out how we're going to afford it. Shouldn't be too bad, inflatable raft across the Atlantic then hitch all the way across the US, sleeping rough beside the road. There again, Sarah might insist we fly and, you know, stay in hotels and stuff. So I'd better start saving and maybe staying clear of bookshops. (Dang! Too late. Just been in a good one in Llangollen. And the Hay festival is coming up at the end of the month.)

For more on Llangollen you might like to take a look at the sister blog at which I'm trying out at the moment. It's an experiment to keep my SF and writing stuff at arm's length from the Sofatravel. Writers and SF fans probably don't want to read about 'the science of emptying chemical toilets' is my guess.

Right now the SF world is quite slow. Lot of character-building rejections coming in. Lot of stuff going out. I've been working through the backlog of short-story ideas that have accumulated in my little black book, but maybe it's time to start on the next novel, because it's certainly cheaper in postage, at least in the short term.

And I really do need to save for Reno.