Friday, January 13, 2012

So, the Latest Latest

Now have to change the "Latest" board, which as of early last week has read:
My latest writing work: a flash fiction for an online competition. 100 words story, or about a moment, inspired by something on YouTube. No lo credo, but instantly thought of the beautiful Orkney lament "The Heroes of Longhope" about 8 guys from the tiny village of Longhope who were drowned in a lifeboat capsize in the late '60s. The village was literally decimated. One woman lost a husband and two sons. And 20 minutes later, flash fiction we have.
Now am truly amazed and also thrilled Friday morning to have received a post from the convener - organiser? instigator? of the anthology, saying the Heroes of Longhope story wd. be included in the published 100. Wow! That has to be the fastest written, submitted and accepted of anything I ever wrote - not to mention the smallest, so far as publication goes!

The 100 writers to go in the antho are listed here

I only know one other person in the list, but congrats to everyone on it, and congrats to everyone who entered a story. Flash-fiction is flipping hard!

Title is still to be decided, but the entire antho sales proceeds will go to One in Four, a UK charity, and I think it's kinda neat that a tune about a great loss shd. be included in an anthology raising funds for those who have also suffered losses, of a different kind. I like to think Ronnie Aim, the composer, and maybe the Heroes themselves would like this follow-on.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Latest Finished - NOT Where I'm Going

Back at the end of December I finished a steampunk vampire story (I know, I know, I didn't think it was possible either) set in South America - the home of the original vampire. Bat, that is. Called, eventually "The Honor of the Ferrocarril." Currently sitting in the editor's Inbox at an indie press. Started with the impossible-to-ignore sentence from hell:
 "As the train pulled out of La Paz (station, added later) the man standing beside Concepcion Gonzaga in the corridor made her an offer that took her breath away."
Turned out he was offering her immortality if she wd. let his "little bat" share her stateroom that night. Which shd. be a dead giveaway to anyone seeing the target antho's title, Vampire Steampunk Tales. But I, at that point, had no idea who Concepcion Gonzaga was, whether trains ran to La Paz, or even where La Paz might be.
Challape Bridge on the Central Line
In fact La Paz is 12 thousand feet up in the Andes, in Bolivia, at the bottom of a huge valley in the bleak Altiplano, about the Highest Plain in the world. And, yes, there are trains. Amazing railway tracks going back to the 1870s, climbing to 15K feet at times through Peru, designed and partly built by a must-have-been-genius Yanqui engineer and entrepeneur and speculator called Henry Meiggs. Just the pix are enough to take your breath away.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Latest Published - The Solitaire Ghost

The big deal for 2011 was the release of my contemporary Australian-sort-of setting fantasy. It came in two volumes, as a series called Blackston Gold.

The cover copy says:
"Dorian Wild has a car, a good apartment, a junior partnership in a law firm, and a solid relationship. Then a seeming ghost walks out of an elevator floor, and rebalances a miner’s panning dish on top of her head.
Suddenly Dorian Wild also has danger, tragedy, mystery, break-ins, mayhem, an unscrupulous megacorp on her trail, and a whole new concept of reality. Especially when it involves a nineteenth-century Irish activist called Jimmy Keenighan, and a  tangle of gold-mines old and new, dangers past and present, deceit, death and violence, that centers on the town of Blackston, with its once rich and still potentially viable goldfields, and the great mine called the Solitaire." 

Where I've Been II

2010 the travel site was Orkney, retro-researching for the fourth Amberlight novel - still hasn't seen the light of publication, but it's also still being revised, so probably just as well.

2011 turned out to be the Year of the Rivers - the Rhine and the Danube, both rivers I always wanted to travel, and in this case covering some of Eastern Europe, and a good number of places on the To-See list: Cologne - magnificent Gothic cathedral - Prague, so many superb buildings, including another Gothic cathedral par excellence - Budapest, Gothic church/cathedral in spades, and the Hungarian plains or Puszta as well. And then on down the Danube to the "new" countries of Slovakia (once the second half of Czechoslovakia), Croatia, once part of Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and Romania. With a side-slip via air to Istanbul, still one of my most favourite cities in the world.

 This is Budapest as we sailed in at dawn. The tall spire is  Matthias'  Church, the grey spire in the middle is the front of the famous Fishermen's Bastion up on the castle hill, and the big block on the right is the latest (Hapsburg) palace. The amazing roof on Matthias' Church is special ceramic tiles for Pecs, down the river in Hungary. Gorgeous and also very long-lasting. (It's not St. Matthias' Church because the builder played up with the women too much and the bishops wdn't hallow him. Though he was a great church-builder.)