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4 August 2017

Yes, QUEEN OF IRON YEARS, my collaborated (Sharman Horwood) alternate history fantasy, is now out again. With a new cover, re-edited (by the estimable Carla at Wildside) and Sir Julius Vogel Award winner of 2013. I don’t count it again on my list if published books, but it’s really great to see it back out there once more.

9 May 2017

Yes, SHERLOCK HOLMES; FAMILIAR CRIMES is out with Wildside. And for those who may not have run into my system yet, I write doubles. That is two 50,000+ word books in one volume. So Familiar Crimes has two books, each with its own title within that overall title for the volume.
I enjoy doing shorter books, they feel more ‘right’ to me with Holmes as the subject. I do know that I don’t usually like reading the full-length books, once they get up past 60,000 or so I find myself wondering why he hasn’t solved the mystery yet. So when I started with Beastly Mysteries, I was more confortable doing two shorter books per volume. And then there are the ‘Mandalay’ books, CATALYST was out December last year and I’ve signed contracts for CATACLYSM. Their natural length seems to be writing about 25,000+, so three of them and a short story, still add up to a reasonable book length, and are fun to do. So enjoy.
I am also definitely planning – bar hell or high-water – to attend the Conclave III natcon in Auckland next year. (Run by old friends Keith and Jacqui Smith who always put on a great con,) and I am considering offering a tuckerisation at the auction there (for one of the Holmes books,) please let me know if anyone would be interested. If there is interest, then I will. (Oh, and for those that haven’t met THAT term, it’s from Bob Tucker’s habit of auctioning off the right to have your name as a character in a book.) It’s more usual for SF/F, but wouldn’t you enjoy hanging around with Holmes and Watson? If so, this could be your chance.

22 April 2017

Quite by accident too. A friend emailed me, partly to show me a new poem of hers. I emailed back, inspired by her poem, with a brief 10 line fantasy one of my own. She snagged that for ALTERED REALITY, the magazine she does. So, ON CONSIDERING ALICIA AUSTIN is out, Interesting how things happen.

24 March 2017

URBAN LEGEND appeared in CRANIAL LEAKAGE Tales from the Grinning Skull Vol. 11 anthology. Nov. 2016. Yes, the print copy finally wandered in, no idea if it was going around in the mail for months or if it was sent after Christmas, but there it was and I’m very pleased. A classy presentation, interesting group of stories, and I was particularly pleased to see that story appear. It was one I wrote for an episodic novel years back and tried to get published in New Zealand.
As usual, not only no luck, but some idiot at one of the publishers suggested that the work was ‘too similar’ to some movie he’d once seen. I may add that I chased up his reference and discovered that the only thing movie and book remotely had in common was that they were ‘episodic.’ sigh.
So, since then I’ve been cannibalising the novel by selling single stories from it where I think an anthology would find one suitable, and by now I’ve sold most of the book. I regret I couldn’t get a book set here accepted here. But then, that’s applied to a lot of my writing over the years, and I can’t regret selling it elsewhere – and often being paid much better than I’d have been paid here. Swings and roundabouts.

15 March 2017

Yes, HARVEST TIME appeared in Robert Stephenson’s THE WORLDS OF SF, FANTASY, AND HORROR 2 from Altir Press. So far I have a perfect record, I’ve had a story in both anthologies. I can recommend these anthologies too, he gets authors from a wide range of countries, with stories that range even further, and I enjoy reading the book when it arrives. This one has a particularly striking cover as well, a stunning piece from Kirsi Solonan of Finland. A nice job all around.

5 March 2017

I enjoy writing new work, the revision is less popular, however I’ve spent much of my writing time over February revising what will eventually be CATACLYSM, the new Mandalay volume. Like its predecessor, this one too will contain three novellas, and a short story. The novellas come out one after the other a couple of months apart and as e-chapbooks, then, once all three have been published, they are gathered into a book along with the bonus story, and are then available for purchase as a complete volume. All the revision being now completed, and some of the galleys too, I am also starting to make notes for the next Holmes double, FOUND DEAD. Never a dull moment – happily.

15 February 2017

Yes, REDEMPTION is out in Whortleberry Press’s new 2017 anthology, 50 FLASHES. In fact that story was written for the anthology. I got the info on the anthology from Jean, and something sparked as I read. I sat down and in a couple of hours I had the story written. Since then I’ve also had the idea for a second story with those characters and will be writing it as soon as I can clear current revision, and find time.

9 February 2017

Yes, with the New year, and the slowing down of news coming in, the local paper’s slush pile of my consumer/recycling articles came into its own again. ICE TRAYS GOOD FOR LEFTOVERS appeared in the DANNEVIRKE NEWS Saturday January 14th 2017. while USES FOR PLASTIC SHOPPING BAGS appeared in the DANNEVIRKE NEWS Saturday January 21st 2017.
(Why always on Saturday? Because that’s when the supplement comes out and when they find my articles ideal to fill it if they don’t have quite enough news/photos.)

24 January 2017

This is the variant Sherlock Holmes that I write. I started writing very much in ‘old canon’ Holmes. (REPEAT BUSINESS, BEASTLY MYSTERIES, POISONOUS PEOPLE, FAMILIAR CRIMES) But while what I call the ‘Mandalay Variations” are still solidly old canon, they have something else – a cat. I’ve always considered, that were Holmes and Watson real, Watson would like and understand dogs, while also being an animal lover in general. Holmes on the other hand would like and understand cats, while regarding all other animals as ‘okay.’ And cats too would accept both, while knowing themselves understood by Holmes.
And that was where Emily Jackson (26, modest inherited personal income, esteemed freelance secretary) and her much loved brown Burmese cat, Mandalay, came in. Emily has a suite in a large old house, run by a widowed landlady, Mrs. Jane Knox. Emily was well educated, works because she does not appreciate being idle, and much of her work is the typing (and checking terminology, spelling, punctuation, and grammar, and producing work that an editor can read and make notes between the double spaced lines of) manuscripts at the author’s home.
Where the author is a cat lover and has a house, Mandalay may be permitted to accompany his mistress. Sonmething increasingly common as authors find he is a sensible animal, and that they can get more work done than if his owner must travel to and from her rooms each day. However Mandalay is a cat burglar. As are many cats, (particularly those of the Oriental breeds) he is prone to bring his mistress odd items he has found, as gifts for her.
Some of these are so odd or questionable that Emily calls on Holmes and Watson with them, having met the duo when she was kidnapped by a spy who believed she was in possession of unformation he required. That short story, A MISTRESS – MISSING, appeared in 2015, in a hardcover anthology trilopy out from the Uk, of new Holmes and Watson short stories. I loved Emily and Mandalay and didn’t want that to be the only story about them – and so it isn’t.
Since then I have written three novellas (SOMETHING THE CAT DRAGGED IN, CAT WITH A VESTED INTEREST, CAT WITH ENOUGH ROPE) and another story, (PINNED TO A CRIME) all of which appear in CATALYST. And, still enjoying the duo, I am working on another set, which, if my publishers likes them too, will appear, firstly one by one as three e-chapbooks, then as a book (working title CATACLYSM) which contains the novellas and a new short story too.
Mandalay is based primarily on my Octicat, Thunder, but also on my previous Ocicat Tiger, and on the siamese cats of several author friends. Not that the habit of hauling home strange things is confined to Oriental cats either. A year or so ago the major newspaper where I live printed a photo of a very smug-looking black and white feline posed behind a whole long line of items he’d hauled home, and I know of others. It seems that sometimes a mere dead mouse just won’t do. And so we have Emily Jackson and Mandalay. May you enjoy reading about them as much as I enjoy the writing.

4 December 2016

Our local newspaper used several more of my ‘consumer/recycling’ articles recently. There were – JARS HAVE A NEW LIFE AS CONTAINERS, MORE USEFUL JOBS FOR THOSE SILICA PACKETS and FIND USES FOR THOSE CHOPSTICKS.
And the SPCA’s summer Quarterly, ANIMALS’ VOICE published my article on pets, KEEPING COOL. Many of my articles arise from things I do myself, or from conversations with friends. And the one on silica gel packets seems to have struck a chord as I had three phone calls after it came out, with callers saying they found the article very useful.

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