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28 June 2015

People often ask what a writer does, well I write and farm both, and that can keep me very busy, as in – mad day last Thursday. Typical writers day however. Got up at 7am, hauled in firewood, day is freezing, feed all the livestock including me.
     Started writing at 8.30. Stopped at 11am to go out and collect mail, tell friend, nope, no cash to loan. Give in to Thunder my Ocicat. Down to shop, and back for fast lunch and more firewood haulage. Better do so now because it’s starting to spit and I won’t want to do that if it’s raining.
     return to writing again until after 3pm. Eighteen pages done today on my new Holmes novella which is good because I want to finish it by Tuesday night so I can then do my IRD expenses and have them in on time.
     Stagger to bedroom, do three competition puzzles, read a short Heinlein story, go back out to haul in more firewood, feed the livestock, and – once in again – go on line for two hours to catch up on – emails, submissions, PR for the new book, and consider what new books my bookshop is offering. Reel out and stoke fire, bring in more wood, yes, it’s now raining so that’s the last lot. Feed the cat who’s convinced he’s about to die of starvation, tell friend, yes, if they’re away for a couple of days I’ll feed their animals, run the pump to make sure the header tank is full,
     7pm – Go get a small tub of strawberry yoghurt, a book, two magazines, turn on the TV news and die for the evening. Oh, and that isn’t counting three phone calls. Two out, one in, or the discovery that we have a mouse – again. But the phone calls were resolved (I hope) and Thunder will deal with the mouse in his own time.
Friday was no better, and in addition to all as above, I added feeding 2 pigs, a cat and dog all belonging to friends and doing it in the rain. (Thunder did deal with the mouse, plus a second one. However he ate part of one and threw up twice on the kitchen carpet.) Ah well. Life is what happens while you’re making plans to do something else.

Apart from two books out recently, one in April, the other the other week, the last few weeks have also seen a spate of my short stories published. SHEEP MAY SAFELY GRAZE appeared in BREATH AND SHADOW e-zine, UNDIPLOMATIC, APPEARANCES, DIPLOMATIC FRIENDS, appeared in STRANGE MYSTERIES 6, under three tales of the Boomgah (Whortleberry Press), UGLY GIRL appeared in THE DRAGON’S HOARD anthology (Sky Warrior Books), FIREDANCER appeared in FORGING FREEDOM II ANTHOLOGY (FF Press) and ERNEST appeared in ROAR 6 anthology (Furplanet). Wow. And all that in the last couple of months. Something is smiling on me.

18 June 2015

Yes, Lethe Press originally announced that my SF/Disaster novel, VESTIGES OF FLAMES would be out in July. However they liked it and it’s gone ahead faster than expected so it’s available now, yes, RIGHT NOW. So go buy it pleeeease. It’s cheapest and easiest to order at the source.

Yes, there are cats (dogs too); on the other hand, there are also – gasp horror – Lesbians! And – bigger gasp – two transvestites. There’s also worldwide disaster, death, and men, women and desperate children fighting to survive. So…? Surely you can identify with someone somewhere in that?

If you liked Day of the Triffids, The Death of Grass, or many of the other ‘end of the civilized world’ books, you may like this one. Buy a copy and find out.

14 June 2015

Published 2015 Abacus paperback.
Another gentle pleasant book in the series. I thought that perhaps this was a trifle more lightweight than previous books, but the sheer charm of the characters always carries me into finishing and adding the book to my shelves. And in this story there are genuine problems to solve. At Speedy Motors there has been a slow townturn in business and they can no longer afford to have two assistants there, so Charlie as the one who has still not gained his mechanic qualifications must be fired. Precious Ramotswe promptly hires him to work in the detective agency, but how will she pay him and can she find enough work to keep herself and Mma Makutsi going? And even if she can manage those things, how much use will Charlie really be? And while she is resolving those questions she is also coping with her assistant who has opened The Handsome Man’s Deluxe Cafe with dubious staff, and with the return of Violet Septhotho who has become a restaurant cric and is delighted to have the opportunity to criticize anything at all in which Mma Makutsi is involved. The story takes the scenic route through all these events and after I closed the book I decided that all in all it had been interesting. I’d enjoyed the tale, the characters and the events, and the book has joined the rest of the series on my shelf. Lightweight? Yes, a little, but it is still a ‘keeper’ to be re-read and re-read in future, and really, you can’t say better than that.

Yes, ERNEST sold to the ROAR6 anthology out of Oz, and I find that this story will therefore be eligible for the Ursa Major award as well. That’s very pleasant, NO guarantees of course, but I now have a book eligible for an award this August, two stories eligible for two different awards next year, and a book eligible for an award here in NZ next year too. Now if only I can win one of those I’ll be a happy bunny.

Well, it’s now winter, the fire is going day and night, (except when we have overnight gales and I let the fire go out. Better safe than sorry.) I’m back to hauling in firewood every day, the hens have finished their moult and are fully clad once more, they’re still laying in a trickle, about 2-3 eggs per day from the dozen, the sheep have been hauled in (protesting loudly) and had pants and tummies cleaned up and been drenched for parasites, and I’m settling in for the cold months along with Thunder who enjoys the season for two reasons. One is the fire, the other is that from now on until it warms again we’ll have a steady seep of mice sneaking in to relish the fire too. So Thunder won’t have to go into the cold to hunt, the prey, so to speak, are coming to him. We had a cold snap for several days a couple of weeks ago and he nailed three mice in as many days. Now with temperatures solidly into chilly and staying there, he will have constant good hunting. So we’re settling in for winter, the fire and prey for him, the fire and reading and writing for me. With luck it’ll be a productive winter for both of us.