Back from travels

Apologies; it’s been a while since I updated. I was in Marrakech without e-mail access. Trips off the tongue fluently doesn’t it? You might think that I went to seek inspiration for my next novel, but it was because we were sick of the miserable weather in England. Actually Marrakech was colder when we first arrived than Surrey, but it soon warmed up to a very acceptable 22C.

We stayed in a riad; a restored palace in the middle of medina (old walled town), hidden away down alleyways so that you would never find it without a guide. It was fabulous! Walking around the souks of the medina felt like an authentic medieval experience (minus the crazy moped riders and mobile phones) with the hundreds of stalls crammed in to the tiny streets and no street signs to navigate by. We took a 4×4 trip into the High Atlas and visited Berber villages where the design for the waterwheel that turns the quern stone looks unchanged in three thousand years.

I read a couple of good books while I was there (Shopocalypse by Dave Gullen and Last to Rise by Francis Knight – both fellow T-Party folk) and guess what? I found inspiration in the souks and High Atlas and I think I know what I’m going to write next.

Just as well as I came back to a form rejection of my first novel from Simon451 – a new SF/F imprint from Simon & Schuster. You might think that a novel that was good enough to snag an agent and get to editorial meetings at 2 different publishers would be good enough to come through the slush of an open call at another publisher – you would be wrong!    

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February already?

Is it February already? It must be because I just ran my quiz for the first Sunday of the month. Where did January go? I was going to write so much more. That’s not to say nothing got written, the sequel is now past 20k, but I had intended to get more done.

Some of the time was devoted to watching football. Southampton have really picked up and are playing well. I went to the Arsenal match, which was drawn 2-2. I had gone in fearing they would get a real spanking, but they played well enough to win. Great result against Fulham on Saturday too.

The organisation for the writing workshop at Worldcon is moving forward. There should by now be a page up on the con website (http://www.loncon3.org) with details of what we’re doing and how to apply. I’m working on some other workshops and masterclasses too, more on those later.