May? Wait, what?

And then it was May. Beltane. May Day. Whatever floats your boat. You think about May and you think of things like this:

May. It should be like this.

Instead, we’re being treated to a surfeit of this:

Even the ducks have been complaining.

Honestly. The United Kingdom. The only place in the world where we have hosepipe bans and a drought in the ‘rainiest April since records began’. It’s not only been wet, it’s also been very cold. However, I am my father’s daughter and I staunchly refuse to put on the central heating unless I am shivering. More layers, he’d say. Go and put on a jumper. I grew up in a house without central heating (although we had some mad warm air convection heating thing downstairs. It was about as much use as a chocolate fireguard) and so I cope with the cold better than the Boys. I’m actually sitting here with my coat still on (I’ve been in from work for an hour) and even I’m thinking of putting the heating on ‘for a bit’.

My left shoulder-demon is telling me that I should enjoy the luxurious splendour of a centrally heated house. The right shoulder-angel is telling me that I should mind my pennies. Kronk has nothing on me, I swear. These guys bicker all the time.

I'm gonna lead you down the path that rocks...

In other news:

I haven’t seen Avengers Assemble yet. The current plan is to go and see it on Sunday when Dearly Beloved is not at work. The over-zealous enthusiasm for it that’s doing the rounds on the interwebs is kind of putting me off if I’m brutally honest. Sometimes I feel like that about books as well, or books by certain authors when people go ‘OMG IT’S A BOOK BY <INSERT AUTHOR HERE> IT’S BRILLIANT AND THE BEST THING EVER’ and God help anybody who has a differing opinion and dares to express it. Sometimes I find it disheartening that there are so many people out there who seem incapable of recognising that everyone has differing opinions (apart from those who can’t form opinions of their own).

Speaking of disheartening, the day job has become something that I can only just about bear. My workload has increased massively over the past six months or so, which may just be a slight glitch in the flow of patient referrals, but there’s no sign of it easing off. I work very hard at what I do for not very much return. Having one of my major projects ripped apart by a consultant who genuinely didn’t have a clue what he was talking about was galling, but I’m not massively concerned when the hard evidence exists to prove my point. But it just wears you down. I can never wait to be out of there so I can be at home, where I am happy and where I can do the things that matter. Spend time with Dearly Beloved and Smallish. Torment the cats. Write.

On the subject of writing (neat, eh?) I sent off the first drafts of Project: Loophole and Project: ME, ME, ME to the editor-beast over the last couple of weeks. Next to look at are (in no particular order at this point) Project: Hunting Wabbits and Project: Who Shall It Be? On top of that, Valkia the Bloody is due out in the next few weeks, too.

Architect of Fate is on release to the wider public now and a couple of very nice reviews have slipped in, including ones from SF Book Reviews and Starburst Magazine.

Project: Backburner is very low down on the agenda at the moment, but I’m thinking of spending a few hours on it over the next week or two whilst I draw breath and recover from Loophole and ME, ME, ME.

So the writing thing is going brilliantly. I’m job-hunting like it’s going out of fashion… and I’m going to go and put the heating on.

What a rebel.

Ups and Downs

Been a long, long week. As I mentioned in my alt.fiction update, I started to feel really poorly by Sunday afternoon. I went for a job interview on Monday feeling not unlike this.

Braaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaains.

Unsurprisingly, I didn’t get the job which was just what I needed when I was already at a low ebb. At this point, I was something like this.

I was a poorly bear.

However, being the Hero that I am, I went into work on Tuesday morning. I lasted until lunchtime before I was kicked out of the building and told to go home. I then spent the remainder of the week feeling very unwell and generally deflated. I rallied a little a couple of times, but then immediately felt the aches and general unwellness kick in. I did no writing, I largely stayed on the sofa feeling pathetically sorry for myself and wishing that I didn’t hate the taste of Lemsips so much. I can honestly say that’s the first time in years that I’ve felt like that and I hope it doesn’t happen again for a long, long time.

On Friday, I braved the outside world and took the train down to London, in preparation for Salute 2012, which was held at the ExCel Centre over in the Docklands. Much rage was experienced and contained on the train trip down, followed by meeting with my dad and brother at King’s Cross. We wandered to Soho and popped into the new Choccywoccydoodah shop on Foubert’s Place, where I dared to try a slab – and a slab was what it was – of their spectacular ginger cake. Oh my god.

Oh. My. God.

It was immense. It was delicious. And it complete beat me. Phenomenally delicious and served with raspberry coulis and a blob of ice cream. It was, as they say, just what the doctor ordered. Wish I’d had that on Tuesday when I was at my lowest ebb!

Once that was dealt with, we braved the horrors of the Tube and found our way to the Ibis Hotel, Docklands.

Instead of the Ibis Hotel, Docklands ExCel.

I’m sure you can see where this is going.

After making some embarrassed noises to my family, we continued down the Docklands Light Railway to the wrong station and walked the rest of the way. Finally, we located theright hotel, where a poor unfortunate couple were trying to check in, only to be told that they should have been at the Ibis Hotel, Docklands. I felt their pain.

My dad and brother departed and I chilled out for a while before meeting up with the BL and Forgeworld guys for dinner. I can honestly say that a night of that much laughter really did me good (although being made laugh so hard that you snort rum and coke out of your nose is not THAT good) and come Saturday morning, I was up bright and early for breakfast. I fought my way through the hotel-full of synchronised swimmers from assorted countries (no, really) and discovered that there were no bowls, cups, coffee, spoons or in fact anything useful. Eventually I managed to get a bowl of cornflakes and a croissant. Hooray!

Headed into the ExCel with the guys and ran around making myself useful. It’s an interesting personality quirk; if I’m with people who are being busy, I have to help, even if only to fetch gaffer tape, or do a coffee run. I’ve always been like that. When I was a kid, I’d go to birthday parties and spend a lot of the time helping the Mum tidy up or prepare things. I can’t help it. It’s like my pathologically early for everything character trait.

I was astounded by the size of the place. Seriously, it was huge. This was my first time at a Salute event and I was blown away by the number of stands. I took a wander around and went ‘oooh’ and ‘aaaah’ a lot at the various things and was really impressed at the range of figures. After it all kicked off and I signed a few books and spoke to a few people (sadly not copies of Valkia the Bloody: she didn’t make it to the event), I noticed the vast difference in the wargaming hobby as a whole to Warhammer in particular. I’ve been to several Games Days now and I can say that the male/female ratio is far less even at Salute. The appeal of Warhammer clearly involves women far more: I guess it’s the high street element of the hobby, or perhaps the books (which was what got me into it, after all).

I spent my money at Forgeworld; I now own a Contemptor Dreadnought who’s waiting patiently to be built and painted before taking his place alongside the Silver Skulls army. I also bought a Minotaurs Chapter Master/Chaplain for Dearly Beloved, because he wanted one and I’m justnice.

All too soon, it was time to depart and find my way back across London. I was quite glad, because by now I was starting to flag again. M’colleague and mentor Jim Swallow escorted me all the way back to the train like the true gent that he is. The train departed without a hitch and before I knew it, Durham was the next station. Came home. Collapsed in a little heap and slept.

Sunday, I slept some more.

Today, I went back to work although I’m still not at 100% fitness.

Project: ME, ME, ME is a bit behind as a result of being poorly, but my INCREDIBLY KIND AND HUGELY TALENTED EDITOR has given me an extension. Me being me, I’ll probably still hand it in on time, though. I can’t help myself. But it’s nice to have the safety net.

So it’s been a week of ups and downs, but now normality – or at least what passes for it – has been restored.

To end this entry, here is a picture that makes you REALLY THINK.

NEVER TRUST A DUCK.

Give Them An Inch…

…and they’ll take the damned globe.

Who am I talking about, you wonder? Where will this rant lead? Politicians, perhaps? They’re notorious for such behaviour. How about book reviewers, or film critics, or the people who complain that the shade of blue on the in-game rendering of Grits McLargehuge the Valiant Warrior’s armour in the PS3 OMFGAWESOMES game ‘Final Dawn of Mass Assassin’s Gears of Duty (FIFA Version)’ is two shades darker than it should be?

No. I’m talking about none of these people, although that game has great potential.

No, I’m talking about characters. Specifically, characters who saunter up, take over and then leave you by the wayside gasping in their wake like a fish out of water. Or any land-bound mammal IN water. Why don’t you ever hear anybody say ‘he was like a badger in the Baltic’? Or a monkey in the Mariana Trench? (Probably because, like me, they couldn’t remember the name of the Mariana Trench and accidentally typed ‘Mariachi’. That would be something else entirely).

Baaaaaaad pun.

So yeah. Characters. The Esteemed Mr. Abnett has discussed something similar this week at his blog over here.

I’m writing this story, which I’ve referred to as  Project: Loophole. And like any other story, it has characters in it. A good start. Characters are the flavour on your piece of Secret Midnight Toast. Some of them are evil, some of them are heavenly. Heavenly characters are the topping you spread with abandon on your… hang on. A visual reference may help:

Characters who make you think of the delightful fellow on the left are what you want. The interloper on the right is just wrong, quite frankly.

Anyway.

I have this character. And he’s heavenly. Which is to say, I’ve grown incredibly fond of him over the course of Project: Loophole (which is pretty much at first draft stage now by the way). But tonight, he did something unexpected. He made a decision. And I don’t know what he decided. I’m sure I’ll work it out, but for a fraction of a second, I was infuriated with him.

How can this be? He’s MY creation! My character! And he didn’t even so much as send me a text! I’ve frequently been startled in the past when my characters have done something I’ve not expected them to do. One of my characters in an online roleplaying game I used to participate in did that and his story arc went off in a whole new direction. For me though, that’s what I like most about writing. It’s the fact that I don’t have full control over the characters. I create the situations for them. How they react is almost spontaneous. Obviously, some things happen because they’re meant to. But frequently, the repercussions of those events don’t make themselves properly known until crazy things happen. Like decision making.

Also, they’re not real. Remember Father Ted.

This.

So. Watch out for your characters. They may startle you in ways you hadn’t anticipated.

This rant has been brought to you this evening by the letters ‘P’ and ‘I’ and the number 3.14159265.

 

Drive-by Update

A fleeting update. For those of you who aren’t aware, the Black Library is celebrating its 15th birthday with a new eShort every day for 15 days. Each little piece is around a thousand words in length and available for download for the cost of 79p a pop.

My contribution to this, Blood Blessing (a Valkia short) went up on the second day and can be found here. It’s in advance of Valkia the Bloody which is due to be released in early July. I can’t believe the year has moved on this quickly to the point that Valkia is only a couple of months off release. Looking out of the window now, there are buds on the trees (which you can just about make out amidst this very foggy morning) and spring is definitely in the air.

Things coming up:

* Architect of Fate due for release in May: my 30,000 word novella Accursed Eternity is the first story in this anthology. Having now read the other three stories (by Darius Hinks, Ben Counter and John French respectively), I feel honoured to be in their company.

* Looking forward to alt.fiction – April 13-15th in Leicester. I went to this event last year and it was incredibly useful. Lots of tips and lots of lovely people. M’colleague Jim Swallow is one of the guests at this event and will be holding court on All Things Gamey. As in games, rather than, y’know. Venison and whatever.

* I will be going to the Salute wargaming event on April 21st down in London and am looking forward to that enormously.

* Valkia the Bloody comes out in July.

* The Black Library Weekender event is in November and I can’t wait for that. It’s going to be huge.

On top of these Things Coming Up, I am busily working. Project: Loophole is almost at first edit stage and Project: ME, ME, ME is fired up and ready to go. Project: Backburner is suggesting something of a tweak to me and I’m just generally thrilled to be so busy and to still be enjoying being so busy.

On top the on top of the Things Coming Up, there are planned visits to wonderful folks down in Kentfordshire at some point; two weeks off in August (our original plans may be scuppered due to the sheer cost of travelling anywhere in the school holidays)… and continuing re-decoration to the house. Somehow I will find the time.

All is well in the World of the Second Job.

Delayed Response…

I’ve been thinking about this post for a while as it’s in response to a question put to me at the recent Black Library Live event. It was a pretty straightforward question and it went something like this. It’s paraphrased. I’ve slept since then.

“How does it feel when you read a negative review of your work?”

Now, my assorted colleagues have touched on this subject in blogs across the interwebs in the time that I’ve known them. Mark Charan Newton’s comments here, for example along with the musings of the very fine Chris Wraight (Nicest Man on Earth, pat. pend.) There’s not really a lot more that I can add to this. When reviews of The Gildar Rift started trickling through the filter (the filter being my struggles to avoid fora and Amazon and the trickle being my inability to resist), I was – and still am – pleased that the majority of feedback has been pretty good. There have been one or two comments made in an assortment of places that have made me go ‘wait, what book were you actually reading‘, but on the whole, I’ve managed to store the negative comments away in a box. Very few of them are constructive negative comments. Those thatdo carry useful nuggets of information within them are considered.

It’s the most obvious thing in the world, it really is. Everyone likes different things. Some people like Twilight. I don’t, but that doesn’t stop others from enjoying it. Some people like Harry Potter. I do, but I’m well aware plenty of other people don’t. Each to their own. Different strokes for different folks. Horses for courses. (Would that be starter, main or dessert? YMMV.)

So to answer… once you get your head round the fact that all folks are different, it’s actually easy to deal with negative comments.

What else is new then? Project: Loophole has been bouncing along at a very satisfying pace this week, and Project: 4am is pretty much done and dusted subject to the relevant person’s approval. I’ve been contemplating putting a few words into Project: Backburner, but then got caught up in Loophole. I also have a previous project to re-visit and re-consider when one or two people have some time to spare me. So the writing’s been going OK. This pleases me. Ilikewriting. I never want to find myself in that place where it becomes a chore. When that happens… stop doing it.

Work… less said about that the better. This picture probably conveys far more than words.

Even the bunny can't comprehend the sheer depth of NHS-related stupidity.

The loft was boarded out and we’ve turned it into a useful space where the GW modular boards are now permanently set up. The scenery actually needs painting, but it does mean that now Dearly Beloved and Smallish have somewhere to thrash out their battles. And me too, I guess… once there is time, I shall be practising using those delightful Silver Skulls fellows. Thus far, they’re unbeaten. Get them!

Been watching Merlin from the beginning. It’s one of those TV shows that I always forget is on but have always enjoyed whenever I’ve sat and watched it. In this instance, I’m nearly done with season one and already find myself wishing I had season two. Pay day will come around soon enough, I’m sure. Incidentally, I’m aware that Merlin is another one of those TV shows that divides opinion, but I’m thoroughly enjoying it. It requires no heavy thinking, no deep, hidden meanings and the cast are great and interact very well.

Lancelot, though. Yeah. You would. Well, I would, anyway.

So all in all, another week trundles by without anything new to report other than an increase in the volume of Project: Loophole… and that was categorically meant to happen.

So here’s a picture that made me actu-lol today.

 

 

Black Library Live! 2012 – The Aftermath

And relax.

This weekend just gone was the third BLL event that I’ve had the pleasure of attending, but the first one I’ve attended from the ‘other side’. It was a whirlwind of activity, people, signings and near-hysterical laughter on Sunday, and a lot of things have faded out of my memory already. But here’s what I recall.

Friday

We arrived in Nottingham at around 11.15am and headed straight for the bar where we acquired the life-giving coffee. No sooner had we sat down to start drinking it than the fire alarms went off and we were pitched outside in the sunshine. We stood around for a few minutes looking like tourists before whoever had burned their toast (which is what invariably happens in the NHS, I may be generalising) sorted it out. So deprived of my coffee, we headed into the hall with Alec, one of the many Boltholers who made this weekend so much fun. We unpacked armies and began what turned into the longest game ever. This is largely because I’m a complete learner, and Dearly Beloved has to tell me every few minutes what the heck I’m meant to be doing.

It was a fun game; Space Marine-on-Space Marine action. Because we both fielded loyalist armies, we called it a ‘training mission’, and there were a few really entertaining moments. My Dreadnought stomping his way across the table to boot the Master of the Forge. Toe-to-toe Assault Marine action and Xhalax’s all-important ‘Kiss the Librarian’ ritual which ensured Prognosticar Phrixus was as enormously cool as he turned out to be. Much fun was had and when the army had won, which I am not smug about at all, oh no, they were put into one of the display cabinets in the main hall at WHW. Very pretty they looked as well. Dearly Beloved did a brilliant job with them.

Across the Stormraven into the cabinet.

Across the Stormraven into the cabinet.

I was very proud.

We retired to the bar where we chatted well into the evening with the many folks who turned up. I popped across to the hotel so I could check in and then came back. Even more people had arrived and Bugman’s was heaving with people laughing and chatting and drinking… I had far too many glasses of Coke and bottles of water trying to keep up with them. Spent an inordinate amount of time chatting with Josh Reynolds, who is frankly great company and his stories are out of this world. Eventually headed back to the hotel and sat in the hotel bar for a last-of-the-night drink with Josh and Dearly Beloved. Spent the rest of the weekend recovering from the sheer horror of hotel drink prices.

Went to bed. Failed to sleep.

Saturday

The day of BLL2012 dawned and we met Bill and Josh in the foyer so we could head off for breakfast. We arrived at BL Towers around 9.15am or so and the queue was heading around the building already. People certainly seemed to be in very good spirits and so we headed indoors and got our badges. Dearly Beloved engaged in the important task of buying New Things and we now have copies of Void Stalker, The Primarchs, The Best of Hammer & Bolter Anthology and a couple of audio dramas – Eye of Vengeance and Butcher’s Nails.

I like new things. Managed to read Void Stalker and the first story in The Primarchs so far. Graham McNeill is my hero. That is all I have to say on the matter.

I was on three seminars throughout the day and had a signing session at lunchtime. The morning kicked off with a seminar on Space Marines, at which point my memory closes down completely. I am actaully incredibly nervous when there are so many eyes on me and being seated on a sofa at the front of the large room with Many Faces means that my mouth opened and words came out. I possibly said useful things. I don’t know. The same was repeated an hour later during the Warhammer panel.

Then I ducked off for my signing session, 12.30 to 1.30pm. And the queue kept coming, depositing gloriously lovely people in front of me. I love these moments; I get a kind of surreal buzz out of it and am always genuinely delighted to spend time talking to people. In fact, I latterly heard that a few people didn’t make it to get their stuff signed as the time ran out and I’d clearly wittered on for too long. Sorry about that. 😦

Then I had some Spare Time, where I went and drank the largest cup of tea known to mankind and grabbed a bag of crisps. I was too buzzed to sit and relax, so I went back downstairs and enjoyed conversations with an assortment of people in the bar before heading to the other seminar room for the last panel of the day. This one was a lot easier; it was the ‘Hammer and Bolter presentes… New Talent’ forum and there was Andy Smillie, Josh, myself and John French having what turned out to be a pretty informal chat with a bunch of awesome folks.

The fantastic artwork that had decorated the stands during the day was raffled off, and the lovely man who won the Valkia poster made a gift of it to me. It’s now hanging in my boarded-out-loft, waiting for the games table to get set up. I was really touched by that… thank you.

Valkia Artwork

Valkia checks out her new home.

The evening rolled on and much more mirth and merriment abounded in the bar. Again, I was all out of space to store water and orange juice, so we headed back to the hotel.

Where I didn’t sleep.

Sunday

We returned to Bugman’s for breakfast in torrential rain and largely chilled out for the entire day. We indulged in the company of people who’d travelled far and wide for the event – Jeff and Kay from the USA, Abhinav from Dubai… and I marvelled, as I always do, at the loveliness of these people. Much hilarity ensued during a conversation where we were substituting words of book titles with a specific Other Word that made one member of our table laugh uncontrollably every time he heard it.

In time, we were summarily kicked out of Bugman’s and drove home, where I finally got some sleep.

It was an amazing weekend, with conversations with some incredible people and a meeting with folks both known to me and who I really look forward to seeing again. A huge, huge thank you to all the Black Library staff, the other writers and especially to the fans who made it such a wonderful weekend.

Not long to the BL Weekender! OK, it’s eight months, but you know what I mean.

Rollering and Coastering

I’m tired. It’s been a week of ups and downs. This is therefore a bit… stream of consciousness.

It started on a down with the death of the hard drive, as immortalised in my previous ‘Hard Drive Lament’ entry. It dragged me back, kicking and screaming, from my previously easily attainable February target. Let me just digress for a moment or two on the subject of targets. I’ve discussed them before in depth, but just to recap.

I set myself ‘bite-sized’ targets. X number of words by the end of January, Y number of words by the end of February… and so on. I have these written on my white board and it acts as a motivator to look up at it and go ‘YEAH! Only Z number of words left to go to reach target!’ Usually at that point, I do something painfully cliched, like this:-

Take that, air, you sunnovvabitch.

I know, OK? I know. But anyway, I glance up at the whiteboard and go ‘oh yeah. My golden target is within reach.’

After the hard-drive death, that attainability became less likely and I’ve been totally putting myself through hell over it. And here’s the really weird thing: I have no idea why! It’s not like I’m not well within the overall target or anything. But I have this near OCD-like need to reach (and exceed) that February target. As a result, I may have been pushing myself a lot harder this past week than I would otherwise have done. Not that this is particularly bad, or anything. Well actually it is bad. I work full time. Coming home and writing until my eyeballs threaten to pack and leave due to being so tired hasn’t done me any favours this week. But I’ve caught up. At least, as much as is humanly possible. February’s target is now back in my grasp. I am off work Tuesday and Wednesday. Hopefully at some point in the next three days, I’ll achieve Target Nirvana. The air will suffer more punching.

So that’s a kind of up-down thing; both good, bad and frankly, bloody silly. But that’s what I do best.

Let’s look at the UP of this past week, because there’s been a damn sight more of it.

UP NUMBER ONE

Aaron and Katie’s baby showed up on 21st February. After countless months of referring to their unborn child as ‘she’, they were probably somewhat alarmed to discover that ‘she’ was in fact a ‘he’. Alexander is no less gorgeous for the fact and little boys are the stuff of legend. (I may have a certain bias in that direction; although I was convinced Smallish was going to be a girl as well). There are very few things in the world as uplifting as the joy of a friend becoming a parent. They have all the tough early days and nights ahead of them, but all of us Experienced Parents know that it doesn’t last. I wish them every joy and happiness in their new family unit. I predict Alexander will commence his efforts to take over the world in approximately five years.

I predict he will be successful in six.

UP NUMBER TWO

Warhammer 40,000 celebrated its 25th birthday on Saturday 26th February. To mark this occasion, the Black Library released a special anthology of short stories called ’25 for 25′. 25 short stories all collected together in one place. Works out at… whatever it is. Something like 56p per story, which is frankly a bloody bargain. I am thrilled that one of my own short stories, Bitter End featuring everyone’s favourite deranged villain Huron Blackheart is one of those stories. It’s an ebook download which you can get here – no worries if you don’t have an eReader, simply acquire yourself a bit of free software like Adobe Digital Editions (free) and you can still enjoy it. I heartily recommend At Gaius Point by Aaron Dembski-Bowden – that’s been one of my favourite short W40K stories so far.

The subject of eReaders and the attitude of folks towards them may be the subject of a future rant, incidentally.

UP NUMBER THREE

It’s Black Library Live! 2012 this coming weekend (March 3rd). Lots of people gathered up at Warhammer World and taking over the tables in Bugmans Bar to talk about All Things Warhammer. I’m taking part in no less than three of the discussion panels (Space Marines, Warhammer Fantasy and Hammer and Bolter) and am looking forward to it enormously. The last two years have been great fun; but this will be the first time I’m there on the ‘other side’ of the table. If you’re going, I look forward to seeing you there. Among the pre-release books available on the day is the four-book anthology Architect of Fate which contains my novella Accursed Eternity.

UP NUMBER FOUR

Despite being off work for a week, I got caught up again. Huzzah for that. Additionally, I am in tomorrow (Monday), but am then off for the rest of the week. Such a nice warm feeling. Mmmmmm.

So yes. This week has been a bit of a wild ride, but I always liked roller coasters. Occasionally though, it’d be nice to be cruising along on the flat for a while.

Mind, that’d mean life was boring, and mine’s been anything but that over the last three years.

Long may it continue.

Additionally, how much fun does this roller coaster look?

DIVE! DIVE!

Out and About

I don’t get out much. So to actually look ahead to Things I Am Doing This Year is quite startling. As an aside, whilst Google-searching for appropriate images to use for ‘Out and About’, I found this one. It worries me enormously.

Bury People First? BEFORE you push them in front of the bus? WHAT? Oh, English language, you are funny.

 

In a week’s time, we’re taking a short trip Down South to see friends. It will be Smallish’s thirteenth birthday whilst we’re away and I have it on good authority that he wouldn’t dare to turn into Kevin the Teenager at midnight in someone else’s house.

Just a little over three weeks to this year’s Black Library Live event! Really looking forward to it. This will be our third year of going and we’ve had a blast both times previously. The difference this year is that I’ll actually be on the ‘other side’, sitting on seminar panels and what have you. I enjoy that kind of thing, I’ve invariably found it a lot of fun. Add to that the fact that I’ll be seeing many awesome people and meeting new ones and all in all, I can’t wait.

I’ve also signed up to this year’s alt.fiction event as well. I definitely enjoyed last year’s and found it to be incredibly interesting and useful. I picked up quite a lot of good hints ‘n’ tips on writing in general and met a bunch of very nice people. Looking forward to that as well.

A week after getting over alt.fiction, I’ll be heading down to London in April for the Salute wargaming event. I’ve never been to this one, but looking at some of the photographs from last year’s event, I’m VERY much looking forward to seeing some of the miniatures there. There’s a whole swathe of insanely talented people out there who can paint the most incredible models and I’m filled up with complete respect for them. My Silver Skulls army is largely being painted by Dearly Beloved, who has the patience and ability that I don’t have. I’ve been doing the ‘necessary evil’ element of basecoating and black washes for the most part, but I’m trying.

Later on in the year, depending on a few factors, we will be taking a trip to the US to see friends in Texas. Now that I’m looking forward to for the fact that it’s seeing friends and involves a trip to a part of the US I’ve never been anywhere near.

All these things make the nasty work element that fills in the time inbetween a little more bearable.

The day job continues without ever improving, but conversely doesn’t really get much worse. Mustn’t grumble and all that.  Project: Loophole is now more than half-done and I’m looking forward to that fun ‘bit just after the middle’ I experienced with both TGR and Valkia when the writing mojo gets a proper lick on. I had a couple of good writing days over the weekend (in terms of actual output volume), but then proceeded to delete a whole bunch of it after shouting a lot at the computer.

Oh well, back to it! Not long until the Out and About starts. Until then, I’m In and Here.

To wrap up, a picture about confidence.