Its good to meet

I spend far too much time hanging out on a writers’ forum called AbsoluteWrite, this is mainly because its a great site full of sound advice and interesting people… and no, I’m not going to tell you my username. It is a US-centric site, but there’s a decent number Brits on there and we decided to have a real-life meet-up which was this week. Some of the folk I knew because they are in the T-Party, but others I was meeting for the first time even though I felt I knew them from their online persona. We met up on Saturday in The George where the T-Party meet, sat around, drank beer, talked about writing and lots of other stuff and guess what? We all got on well, it was great, lets do it again.

Novel sequel did grow a bit, now up to 8.5k, no news about novel on submission.
Southampton lost badly (0-3 at home) and had 2 men sent off; doubly glad I went to the AW meet-up otherwise I would have been at St Mary’s to see it.

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A rather noisy week

Rather noisy because I went to a gig on Wednesday night. I used to go and see a lot of bands and played some gigs myself with various bands, but I’ve rather got out of the habit; there aren’t very many bands that I’ll travel to see these days. One of the few was on tour though so I hiked over to The Garage in Highbury to see Finnish power metal band Sonata Arctica. I’d not seen them before though I have several albums. The Garage is a sweaty little venue that holds maybe 500, standing only. It was comfortably full but not shoulder to shoulder and fortunately they turned to air con on after the first band. I only caught a couple of songs from the first band, Neon Five but they sounded OK. I was very well impressed with the second act Pythia – a harder-edged Nightwish-alike. Sonata Arctica were excellent though they could have played a few more older numbers.  A good night!

I finished reading ‘Fade to Black’ by Francis Knight this week, the first book in her trilogy from Orbit. Francis is a member of the T-Party who I know fairly well, but I hadn’t seen any of this one before it was published. It’s great to see her getting the recognition her talent deserves. I enjoyed ‘Fade to Black’, but thought her central character was a bit passive. The next book is out soon so I’ll be ordering it and I know she has already delivered the final manuscript of book 3. She writes so fast it puts me to shame.

Another week

Another week, no news on the novel submission front and a few more words written on the sequel, which now stands at 8k words.
Reviewed 2 stories for the T-Party writing group meeting on Saturday. Both from recently joined members and both good ones. One dark fantasy which had a really nice idea at its core but needed a fair bit of expanding, the other fully realised about which I couldn’t make much comment beyond ‘well done’.
I didn’t actually attend the workshop as I went to watch Southampton play West Ham; 1-1 draw in very wet conditions. Had more than enough possession, but Saints didn’t turn the possession into chances. Still they’re safe from the drop for this season.

Busy week

Short but busy week this week. I ran my quiz tonight at The Inn at West End which meant the picture and  History&Geography rounds had to be set on Wednesday. Thursday night my quiz team tackled the Crab and Dragon quiz. We won but I picked the wrong envelope and won 10 free entries to the quiz. Try again next week.

Main event was a really cool party last night to celebrate the combined birthdays of 3 friends from the T-Party. The venue was The Cavendish Arms in Stockwell; an unexpectedly nice pub in an unpromising area of South London. The party was Steampunk-themed, featuring a Ceilidh and a set from the splendid Professor Elemental. We didn’t do the fancy dress, but a damn fine time was had by all and we got home very late.

Some words did get written on the sequel; not many, but enough to move me on to the next major event so the writing should get easier.

Oh, and Southampton had a good win away at Reading. End of the show for Reading in the Premiership, I think.

Eastercon

This weekend I attended Eastercon in Bradford. Drove up on Friday and took forever on the M1 to get there. Stopped for a nice lunch at The George in Kilsby though.
The writing workshop that I have previously run with the T-Party writing group wasn’t running this year and I hadn’t been invited onto any panels so I was completely free for all 4 days of the con. Inevitably this meant that a lot of time was spent in the bar. Much of it with Brian from SFF Chronicles http://www.sffchronicles.co.uk/forum/ and the greatly talented and completely mad Francis Knight http://www.francisknightbooks.co.uk The beer was a bit expensive and rather weak, but we were in an hotel. I went to a lot of panels, many aimed at teaching aspiring writers the craft of writing. While I hope I am familiar with what they were teaching, it never hurts to hear it again.
I also had a brief chat with my agent who had no news about my novel that is on submission. I talked with editors from several UK publishers and learned that Tor(UK) were inundated when they opened to unagented submissions – no surprise there. I wonder if they will end up buying anything that came in that way. Gollancz are getting plenty of epic fantasy but the demand for that is still strong, they aren’t seeing enough high quality epic SF.
Some of the organising folk from Nine Worlds http://www.nineworlds.co.uk a new London con were there and it seems likely that the T-Party will be running a writing workshop for them at their inaugural con in Aug. This looks like a very ambitious undertaking; they have booked 2 big hotels near Heathrow for it, having raised funds through Kickstarter.
I met loads of other people too and if I’ve not name-checked you then it’s because it is now midnight and I didn’t get much sleep over the weekend.

Oh, and Southampton beat Chelsea while I was away.