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May 2: Another reading coming up, a Seven Towers event scheduled for 6.30 pm on Thursday May 9, part of the ‘Themed Thursday’ series in the Workman’s Club on Dublin’s Wellington Quay. The Workman’s Club is a great venue, a typical inner city building – all high ceilings and cornices – dilapidated but renovated if you know what I mean. One more snippet of news: another anthology sale in the USA: “Water, Some of It Deep” will appear in the forthcoming antho DARK VISIONS from the Chicago-based Grey Matter Press. It’s a long short story of over six thousand words, dealing with the difficult subject of child murder and our reaction to it. Not based on real-life experience, I hasten to add.
March 25: Waterford Writers’ Weekend took place very successfully last week in spite of a combination of ferocious rain, biting cold and high winds. A well organised series of events, if my reading on Friday was anything to go by. A good attendance turned up at an excellent venue: the Local History Room in Central Library. Many people stayed on for a few words afterward and sales were encouraging. Things ran very smoothly thanks to the friendly and courteous library and festival staff. See below for another photo of the reading. Next stop: Bradford, a hectic place come next Sunday evening, March 31. First up, Aeon Press will be launching our latest book, Bruce McAllister’s THE VILLAGE SANG TO THE SEA. I had no direct involvement in the preparation or production of Bruce’s book so it came as a pleasant surprise to read and discover just how good it is. More info, including a book trailer, is available at http://thevillagesang.com/#.UM55IR-Cxdc.twitter The Aeon Press launch will take place in the Conservatory of the Cedar Court Hotel at 6 pm and will be followed (or perhaps interrupted!) by a mad dash to the Hawthorn where, at 7 pm, I’m scheduled to read from my own work. It’ll probably be BIRD OF PREY but if time allows I’ll add an extra ingredient.
March 12: Waterford Writers’ Weekend takes place from 21 - 24 of this month. Those taking part include Jim Nolan, Ferdia Mac Anna, Dave Duggan, Marie Louise Fitzpatrick, Declan Meade, Kate Kerrigan, Jimmy Magee and my good self. Various events such as talks, workshops, readings and panel discussions are scheduled over the four days. Check it out at www.waterfordwritersweekend.ie My reading takes place in the Waterford Central Library, Lady Lane, at 3 pm on Friday 22. The reading will be in three parts: first, the short story “Lost Notes”, followed by an extract from the contemporary fantasy novella BIRD OF PREY, and rounded off with a Q&A session. Sound like thirsty work.
February 11: P-Con X – the tenth edition of Dublin’s Phoenix Convention, an Irish literary/speculative fiction event due to be held at the Irish Writers Centre early next month – has been cancelled for 2013. P-Con had become a regular fixture in the March calendar and is gone now. The question is: will it rise from the ashes next year? Otherwise this coming March will be a busy month. The Waterford Writers’ Weekend festival have asked me down to do a reading in the Central Library at 3 pm on Friday 22. More news of what the reading will be nearer the day. The following weekend, March 29 – April 1, Eastercon takes place in Bradford, an event to look forward to as by all accounts Eastercon is well organised and runs like clockwork.
Reviews of non-fiction books are not normally found on this site, but Oliver James’ AFFLUENZA annoyed the hell out of me so much that, even though the book was published all of six years ago and my review is consequently out of date, I don’t care – I only got around to reading it recently and feel compelled to put the review up. Mr James has another money-spinning tome released on the market just now. His latest offering is about office politics – a book to be avoided if AFFLUENZA is anything to go by.
January 21: Always Check Those Deadlines: Woke up on Friday morning, January 18, with a germ for a new short story. Later that day I scribbled a few notes on a piece of paper to set the idea in motion. On Sunday, January 20, I wrote a few hundred words and thought a lot more about it. Yes, certainly an idea worth developing – basically a mainstream plot with lots of appeal. What’s more, it would not be a long story, possibly in the 1800-2000 word range required for the Francis McManus Award, the most well-known story competition in Ireland. I rarely, if ever, enter because most of my stories are way beyond the 2000 word outer limit. (Quick check: of 75 short stories written, 65 are over 2k in length. Of the remaining ten, eight have been published and therefore ineligible. That leaves two – a glance at them and I think: naw, forget those). I start work on the story again this Monday morning, January 21. Excited now: this is going to be a good one and probably within the target word-count! I’d seen a McManus promotional leaflet recently and knew the competition was closing soon – at the end of the month? So, mid-sentence on page one, I googled and read that the competition had opened on Friday October 21 and was closing on Monday January 21. And I have in front of me the first half of the opening page of the definite winner. AAAAARRGH!! I could get the story rattled off and set it loose with a 4 pm postmark (last post from Lusk) but it would be rushed and anyway I have other things to do. If only I had checked the deadline on Friday. Maybe next year …
All of last year’s news items are now archived in Blog 2011 on the toolbar above. Seeing as it’s a new year, that page has been cunningly renamed Blog 2011-12.