Friday, 10 November 2017

Argyll Adventure

I recently took a few days off and ventured to the west coast of Scotland to explore the wilds and ancient sites of Argyll. We stayed in a castle in the village of Kilmartin, and with more than 350 ancient sites within six miles of the village (150 being prehistoric) we were not going to be short of things to see and do.

Unfortunately our first night away coincided with the arrival of gale-force winds of Hurricane Ophelia hitting the west coast. So that wasn't great. Except, it seemed to have gone further south than forecast and instead we got a brief period of breezy weather and a half hour of pounding rain. I call that a win! We were more than happy to sit in the castle by a crackling log fire, reading books (Chaosmage by Stephen Aryan, highly recommended), listening to vinyl records and sipping Laphroaig whisky.

The weather was incredibly atmospheric. A little drizzle and a lot of low-lying mist up in the hills and forests makes for some awe-inspiring views.

There are some spectacular ancient sites in Kilmartin Glen. Standing stones, cup and ring marked rocks, cairns and stone circles abound. A fantastic place to explore Scotland's distant past.

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Quiet Around Here

It's been a bit quiet around here lately. And there are reasons for that. Delicious, wonderful, amazing reasons that I can't quite discuss at the moment.

More information will be forthcoming...

Meanwhile, I'll be back to posting all sorts of other nonsense shortly.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Sale to Far Fetched Fables

What a week! I just received a lovely email from Far Fetched Fables accepting my short story, The Economist and the Dragon, for their podcast. I'm really looking forward to hearing their audio adaption :)

Monday, 7 August 2017

Sale to Kzine

An acceptance email is always guaranteed to brighten up a writer's day!

My short story 'Surviving Life' has been accepted by the excellent Kzine. They have a lot of horror at the moment so it will be a while before my story sees publication, probably late 2018 or early 2019.

After a glut of rejection emails for various stories (boo! hiss! mope!) it's great to get an acceptance.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

James White Award Winner

So I didn't win the James White Award in the end, but it's still a great thing to have been shortlisted in the first place so I take heart from that.

The winning story, 'The Morrigan' by fellow Glasgow Science Fiction Writers' Circle member Stewart Horn is an excellent and well-deserved winner. I'll look forward to seeing it in print in a future edition of Interzone.

Monday, 19 June 2017

James White Award Shortlist

This morning I awoke to some good news - my short story The Dying Glass has been shortlisted for the 2017 James White Award.

The stories that have made it through to the final selection are:

Don – Steve Dubois
May the Pain Guide You Home – Daniel Roy
The Morrigan – Stewart Horn
Skin and Bone – Beth Plutchak
The Cut – Elsie WK Donald
The Dying Glass – Cameron Johnston

My short story has some really good company on that list :)
We should find out soon who the winner will be *fingers and toes and eyes all crossed* *falls over*

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Special Effects

I am finding myself a little bored of all the CGI special effects in movies at the moment. It feels like they are all too often sacrificing character, plot and dialogue for whizz-bang spectacle.

While I enjoyed Wonder Woman I was switching off during the third act with all the lingering on big fancy explosions and magical effects. I would much rather have seen more of that screen time devoted to the Amazons and more of Diana exploring the modern world. It was the same with The Avengers, which I loved, and the countless CGI enemies in Avengers: Age of Ultrabore - I'd much rather have had more character interactions than yet another mashing of an anonymous metal face. Man of Steel was interesting to begin with and then quickly descended into a one long, drawn-out duel with buildings exploding everywhere. Lots of spectacle and some amazingly cool visuals, but at what cost?

Practical special effects and clever puppetry have always appealed to me more than CGI, things like Gremlins, The Terminator, Aliens, Dark Crystal and Robocop. Heading further back, I will always watch Ray Harryhausen animations.

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