Mancunicon (Eastercon 2016)

mancunicon

I’m still recovering from a splendid few days at the annual British Science Fiction Convention, held at Easter and generically named Eastercons. 2016 was the turn of Manchester, England to host 1200 sci-fi and fantasy fans, and a fine job the organising team did. Continue reading

Writing in Groups

 

teachers-23820_1280I kept reading about them in the blogosphere. Everyone recommends them: Writers’ Groups!

So how do you find one? Especially if you live in the small, non-English-speaking country of Luxembourg. So I filed it away as yet more writerly advice I couldn’t take, like nationwide bookshop signings, getting into libraries… Perhaps I could find a critique group online, someday… I really had to get searching… When I had time…

But then I found one. Or rather, it found me. Continue reading

Dysprosium : SciFi Convention

dysprosiumDysprosium was the 66th annual UK SciFi Convention, held at Easter 2015.

(Yes, I’m still playing “catch-up”.)

Overview

Weird and wacky, thoughtful and intelligent, and a Real Ale bar permanently packed-out with hobbits. Well, not real hobbits, but hairy folk wearing homespun and sandals. (For my non-UK readers, Real Ales are traditional beers produced by smaller breweries with love and care and no artificial additives.) The Bar seems to be a popular recurring feature of these conventions.

Differences

This was my first “big” scifi convention. I’d attended Luxcon a week earlier (see post): the difference was remarkable. Most Luxembourg attendees lived locally and needed no hotel accommodation. UK attendees were from a wider catchment area so most needed hotel rooms. As a result, the age profiles were radically different. LuxCon folk were predominantly young adults, with a greater cosplay tendency: the UK folk were generally older, more likely to have spreading waistlines, receding hairlines and greater disposable income (to afford the travel and hotels).

I’d say there was more pop-scifi in Luxembourg, and more fantasy in the UK.

Workshops and Beyond

I submitted different pieces of writing to three writing workshops. Due to the number of attendees, time constraints prevented full analysis of the submissions, but each presenter team provided follow-up:-

  • Elsewhen Press – critique session
    • submitted : a short story, “Homo sapiens inferior
    • follow-up : Elsewhen invited attendees to submit a story after the convention for a full critique
  • Terry Edge and Kim Horwood – improving writing and achieving goals
    • submitted : the first chapter of my far future novel-in-progress, “Succession!
    • follow-up : Terry and Kim sat with me between other sessions for valuable informal chats
  • Donna Scott (editor and chair of the British Science Fiction Association) – critique session
    • submitted : the first page of my noir novel-in-progress, “Private Vices
    • follow-up : Donna edited the entire submission after the convention and sent me her comments

Thank you to them all.

Conclusions

Between the Real Ale and the wonderful attendees I met, the excellent session presenters and the great folk running the workshops, I had a great time and learned so much. Already looking forward to next Easter’s Convention, “Mancunicon” (in Manchester, UK).

Afternote : Only a few people ignored the “No Bare Feet” notices. I do hope they enjoyed their pedal fungal infection transfers.

 

Writing Fakes

In London, the Dulwich Picture Gallery (est. 1817) is running a competition. It claims to be displaying 269 genuine paintings by such Masters as Rembrandt, Rubens, Poussin… It is also displaying one known fake painting, commissioned by the Gallery itself. The game is to spot which is the fake. One has to assume that the other 269 are actually genuine. But who can tell? Does it matter? And to whom? Continue reading

Writing While Swimming

ID-100162643I have decided to exercise regularly in 2015. The treadmill in the den is too easy to walk away from when inspiration strikes. Not so with swimming – once you’re in the water it’s hard to walk away and immediately start typing.

Oh, and in the cause of precision, when I say “regularly”,  I should say “frequently” and certainly “irregularly”. But often. Honest. Continue reading

Anthologies and Contests #2

250px-Quill_(PSF)Last time, I praised the opportunities for unpublished writers offered by submitting to Anthologies and Contests.

So where do you start in your search for Anthologies and Contests seeking submissions? Continue reading

No Revolution Is Too Big: Finspace

cover

I am proud to announce that the latest in the series is my own work.

The alien Rescue Broker, Stelfson, visits a teenage Earth girl with whom he had worked as a small child, leaving confused memories. He needs a good swimmer for a mission to help a peaceful aquatic race who are being oppressed by a powerful, land-based civilization. Her mission — to block the pollution channels being used to poison the aquatics, while there is still time.

Trouble is, the aquatic race are shark-like creatures — and she’s terrified of sharks!

Available in the USA from Amazon.com

And in the UK from Amazon.co.uk

Barnes & Noble

Nook

Writers’ rules, rules, rules?

masksThere are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.” W. Somerset Maugham

Similar thoughts are applied to comedy, theater, even to relationships. P.T. Barnum’s solution: “There are two rules.
One: always leave them wanting more…

Continue reading

WHY Do You Want To Write?

It’s a good question.

In my case, I am retired; I need not work; I could just sit back and watch daytime TV. (The horror!)

The reasons why I want to write are manifold, and – yes – that early laptop is significant, keep reading!

Continue reading