Archive : Month

The Obligatory 2011 Review

POSTED ON December 31st, 2011  - POSTED IN Games, Writing

It’s typical when it comes to this time of year to look back, complain how shit the previous year has been and spout optimism for the one ahead.

In many ways 2011 was a difficult year for me. However, I wouldn’t say it was so much ‘shit’ as ‘challenging’. And for the most part, I think I managed to overcome those challenges. That makes it a successful year, right?

Short Story Interlude

POSTED ON December 29th, 2011  - POSTED IN Writing

I don’t really consider myself a short story writer. The way my brain ticks and my ideas mature into plots seem to suit novel length fiction. However, I’ve been known to write short stories and that’s what I’m doing this week.

Behind it all is a thought that my fiction is sometimes a little too rounded, that my stories are ones with a regular rhythm and beat, to a degree that it almost works as foreshadowing. At the back of my mind is a desire to try and write a story with a missed beat, something that still has structure but in terms of nuts and bolts behind-the-scenes is a little dirtier.

The story is an urban fantasy so I think it’s ideally suited to this little experiment, and 1200 words in, the story already has a bit of soul. I hope it works out.

Writing Update

POSTED ON December 27th, 2011  - POSTED IN Writing

So Christmas is over and we’re heading towards the New Year. My arts and crafts gifts for 2011 have been given out and I can finally reclaim my kitchen into being … you know, a kitchen, rather than a production line.

So we’re now in those few days on the calendar where we like to reflect on the year just past and make predictions and resolutions for the one ahead – both of which will not happen.

I’m not quite ready for my 2011 post but some people have noticed that I’ve not talked a lot about writing lately and wondered if that has been a casualty in 2011.

In some ways it has, in other ways it hasn’t; writing has been tough in 2011 – this year I’ve had to climb mountains, but I’ve reached peaks. THE novel got finished, got a positive assessment and started the slow agent rounds. It’ll continue to do this in 2012.

Substance Abuse And The Creative Mind

POSTED ON December 26th, 2011  - POSTED IN Writing

I’ve not watched a lot of TV over the Xmas period – I’m even waiting to watch Doctor Who until I’ve got my new monitor set up – but one of the things that I did was a documentary on the late comedian, Bill Hicks.

I never got into the whole Bill Hicks thing when he was at the height of his popularity. Some friends were but it largely passed me by. I’m not sure whether I would have liked it had I been introduced to his comedy back then. In those days, there were very few comedians who made me laugh and it was only when friends kept riffing off Eddie Izzard that I discovered that comedian.

But you know, every so often a friend will post a Bill Hicks Youtube clip on Facebook and I’ll wonder whether humour now 20 years old would have appealed to a 20-year younger me. I can’t honestly call it.

Bill suffered with substance abuse and died tragically young of cancer, and it’s the abuse, rather than the comedy, that had me really interested in him.

A Walk Along The River Chelmer

POSTED ON December 23rd, 2011  - POSTED IN Travel

As many regulars will know, outside of writing one of my big passions is Geocaching – hunting the countryside for Tupperware contianiners.  What started out as an added incentive to go out for a walk has grown into a near-obsession, with over 9000 finds since I started ‘caching’ back in May 2008.

Some caches are placed in an interesting location or are uniquely camouflaged to add a challenge but some are part of series, where the hide isn’t the challenge so much as the walk.

There is huge reverence placed on finding 100 caches in a day.  It’s not an easy task mentally nor, given the rule that no two caches can be less than 0.1 mile apart, physically.  Being in the “hundred club” is a badge of honour that denotes you as a hardcore cacher.

And so it was no surprise that a large group from many miles away gathered in Essex on a mild but cloudy Wednesday morning to attempt a new series along the River Chelmer between Maldon and Chelmsford.

Top Ten Things To Incite Shopping Rage

POSTED ON December 20th, 2011  - POSTED IN Uncategorized

Normally, I’m a placid, tolerant kind of person. I think it’s fair to say that I am a nice person. However, yesterday I went Xmas food shopping and it brought out some inner rage.

I am practicising to become a grumpy old man – I believe after years of being nice, I have earned this right – and so, for your amusement, I present, in no particular order, the top ten things that nearly prompted a spat of shoppercide (mancepsicide? My Latin is limited to Google translate)

My Problems With Atheism

POSTED ON December 19th, 2011  - POSTED IN Uncategorized

I consider myself an atheist but I have real problems with it.

I’m a pluralist. Belief is a personal thing and as such, each must choose their own way. It’s a shame that so many atheists feel the need to attack religion, to the extent that I don’t like to call myself an atheist, because I’m not like that.

I think it’s as fair to have buses plastered with “there is no God” as much as I think it’s OK to have one plastered with a quote from Proverbs. I also think those that calling the Catholic Church into question over child abuse is the right to do so. Those that deny people medical treatment in favour of divine intervention are wrong and should be labelled as such. But those that throw “there is no God” in people’s faces equally annoy me.

Star Wars: The Old Republic

POSTED ON December 15th, 2011  - POSTED IN Games

I’m still unsure whether this really has an endgame or not, but I’m currently in the early access for the latest MMO; Star Wars The Old Republic.

I played beta back in November and had to stop myself from spoiling the game for release, but now we’re there and I’m having a lot of fun taking my time to level.

And one of the most enjoyable things – finding out that there’s very little crafting information out there and having to figure it out for myself. I feel like a pioneer. Will be even better in a few days when some of my WoW guildies get in and we can start the TOR guild.

I’m also proud how I’ve managed to play like a fiend and still make priority time to get important things done. I mean… I’m writing this blog post instead of…*disappears*


POSTED ON December 14th, 2011  - POSTED IN Writing

I have always been a deadline person. Admittedly, I am usually pretty close to the deadline but that’s because I do tend to leave things to the last minute. I think that’s because there’s no time for doubt or options, leaving you to just worry about making what you have the best it can be. It’s probably not the most productive way to work but I guess it’s not the biggest crime.

Deadlines however, I see as a professional courtesy. I’m not saying I haven’t ever asked for an extension, but it’s been for good reason and as a last resort. I like making editors life as painless as possible and up until now I’ve been good at doing that.

Life has been pretty hectic the last few weeks. Lots of things have been going on in “real life” that’s stolen time away from the things I love and want to be doing. I wish I could say that it was writing related, but it’s really just real life throwing everything it can at me. Always seems to happen in November.

And as a result, I missed a deadline.

OK, so it was not a promise, more “I’ll try and get something to you by…” but still it’s a point of professionalism and it bothers me. I didn’t even have time to follow up with a polite “sorry I’ve not been back to you…”

That’s unprofessional and it’s not me. OK, so I’m sure given the reasons people will understand but still it irks me no end. Grovelling letter of apology has been sent along with the promised item and I hope that’ll be the only time I’ll ever have to do that.