Posts Tagged ‘peter ball’

(snurched from Jason Fischer)

Looks like it’s time for Ditmar voting again. As this is the year of AussieCon4, it’s a great chance to showcase some antipodean talent.

Tehani Wessely is compiling a list, checking it twice, for eligible Aussies – it lives here https://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0AhAUWipZqrNWdFljalBZWmJwSnc1cTJVT2s0ZnlMLVE&hl=en_GB#gid=0

It also seems I have four stories eligible:

Light as Mist, Heavy as Hope
The Girl with No Hands

Other awesome eligibles include LL (Lisa Hannett), Jason Fischer, Peter Ball, Cat Sparks, Chris Greene, Deborah Biancotti, Felicity Dowker, Dirk Flinthart, Alan, Baxter, Garth Nix, Kirstyn McDermott, Gillian Polack, Kaaron Warren, Laura Goodin, Jenny Blackford, Lee Battersby, Kathleen Jennings, Lezli Robyn (also a Campbell nominee this year), Sean Williams, Steph Campisi, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Thoraiya Dyer, and Trent Jamieson.

Nominations can be made here http://ditmars.sf.org.au/2010/nominations.html and the rules live here http://wiki.sf.org.au/2010_Ditmar_eligibility_list


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I did an interview with some of Australia’s up and coming writers, which is now up at IROSF (thank you Stacey Janssen). Funnily enough, the day we finished this was the day the dust storms started and the sun turned red – some of Deb Biancotti’s photos of the apocalypse are there too. Here’s a taste:

The Coming Dark
Australia, as everyone knows, is at the forefront of the coming environmental apocalypse—hell, we’re located almost directly beneath the hole in the ozone layer (which some of our politicians simply regard as a sunroof). Daily, our newspapers are reporting fires, droughts, floods, cyclones, whacked out weather patterns, soil degradation, desalination, excessive salination, koalas with STDs—you name it, we’ve got it. In short, the wide, brown land is getting wider and browner.

 Spec-fic writers tend towards the strange, the weird, the unpleasant—that’s their writing, not their personalities. We’ve had the apocalypse penciled in for a while now, so how are some of us going about documenting the coming dark? How is our changing, frayed environment affecting the writing of authors on our side of the literary divide?

A small chunk (really a thin, dietary slice) of these folk grudgingly agreed to answer some questions whilst waiting for the sun to burn and the moon to crash. So I locked them in a small room, put the kettle on and gave them some homemade biscuits to distract them. The subjects ranged across scary strangling vines, Mad Max, whether the environment really is out to get us, and the Age of the Puffin. The writers gromphing down the custard kisses and jam drops (and muttering about mandatory detention) are Deborah Biancotti, Kaaron Warren, Peter Ball and Jason Fischer.


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My talented friend and writing buddy, Peter Ball (author of the rapidly becoming notorious novella Horn) and I have been conducting Write Club for nigh on two months now. This started out as a result of me whinging about my writer’s block and Pete regaling me with the tale of how Holly Black (Spiderwick Chronicles) and Kelly Link (Magic for Beginners, Stranger Things Happen, Pretty Monsters) get together and sit in a cafe and just write (and presumably drink coffee). (Man, I hope that story’s true or my world is built on a marshmallowy foundation.) The idea is a support group of one to keep you on track putting down new words and to stop your inner editor from getting a hold of you.

So, once a week, we have Write Club in one of our living rooms – although I think my house may now be about to be deemed unsuitable as it has wireless, which defeats the purpose – we brew copious amounts of coffee, eat an amount of choclit roughly equivalent to the weight of a small child, and just write. If one of us stops writing for longer than 60 seconds, the other person must yell ‘WRITE!’ at an annoyingly loud volume. It’s like a jumpstart for writers – the literary equivalent of an electric shock. In a quiet room, with only the light tapping of keys, it can be quite effective – and messy if you’re in the middle of sipping your coffee.

But the point is: it works. I’ve managed to get the first draft of my novel done, to get a novella started, and am now on the rewrite of the first draft of said-same novel. Pete’s hit 60k on his novel and can now see the light at the end of the train tunnel.

Write Club works. I highly recommend it. It works best in a group of two or three – any more than that and the temptation to talk becomes a bit too strong – as Clive Barker said in Weaveworld ‘After three, the multitude’.

Next, Project Mayhem, writer-style.

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Peter Ball’s novella Horn, from punching-above-its-weight indie Twelfth Planet Press, got reviewed by the uber-redoutable (yes, ‘redoubtable’ is my word’o’th’month) Jeff VanderMeer over at Ecstatic Days http://www.jeffvandermeer.com/2009/06/24/first-and-short-horn-by-peter-m-ball/#more-5059.

 Twelfth Planet Press http://twelfthplanetpress.wordpress.com/

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From Nyssa at http://www.awritergoesonajourney.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=491&Itemid=203

“A brilliant and very unique story.

Miriam Aster was once a cop – and also dead, but she doesn’t remember much of it – and is looking for her next month’s rent, which comes in the form of a mate at the morgue with an unusual corpse.

You’ll never look at the fey or unicorns the same ever again. Ball uses a more traditional fey for this brilliant novella, dark manipulators that pull on the puppet strings of humanity. Of the unicorn and its appearances within, there is no like in any other story. Forget Peter S Beagle’s classic tale, forget the legends of the purity and innocence of the magical horned beast. This is Horn …”

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I arrived a day early, which was great because it meant I got to spend some time with the awesome La Belle Hannett, my fellow Clarionite and the other half of my brain. We found a cafe, Notcoffee (which provided much bacon) and talked; we talked a lot; then we talked a bit more. Her partner Dr Chad had cleverly acquired a set of earplugs to make sure his five days went smoothly.

So I guess if we just cover the highlights or Good Stuff that Happened:

The wonderful Sean Williams’ pirate party – an event filled with Haighs choclit frogs, munchies, drinkies, and much talk. It was also a great chance to catch up with Kirstyn McDermott, Jason Nahrung, Kate Eltham and Rob Hoge.

Notcoffee (for the second time) in Rundle St, where LBH and I met with the most excellent Peter Ball and Jason Fischer for a writing intensive. We wrote, ate more bacon and drank a lot of coffee and wrote a lot more. A major distraction – which I was lucky enough to have my back to – was a series of paintings on the wall. One of them the one we named ‘Baboon Goat Butts’ and I give it to you below:

A rocking dinner at Concubine in Gouger St, in the company of the superb Ron Serduik of Pulp Fiction Books (and Press), Sean Williams, Karen Miller, Jonathan Strahan and Dr Helen Merrick. It was noisy, it was fun and it was clever. And I had duck – duck for entree and duck for mains – had there been, as Sean suggested, duck ice cream, I would have had that. It was ducktacular.

Two hours spent with Karen Miller discussing novels – specifically my novels – she knows her stuff. Any time you hear the words ‘Don’t worry about making word count: you’ve got enough there for two books, maybe three’  is a good time.

Guest of Honour Julie Czerneda was superb. She totally rocked – she’s funny and smart and was, unfortunately, a bit underutilised.

Caught up with the inimitable Dirk Flinthart – this con was good coz this time he didn’t attempt to use me to demonstrate martial arts throwing techniques. And we scoped out a new novella (working title of Flying Willow) and generally did what writers do best: see who can tell the biggest porkies and exchange the most unusual and useless facts. [Ten points to Mac North, who managed to tell DF something he did not know … I don’t imagine it’s happened very often and has earned Dr North as much Jameson whisky as he can drink for the rest of his life.]

Jason Fischer provided the frog cake – which I must say was delicious. It was filled with cream and covered with icing is so thick and gooey it will stop your arteries.  And it inspired this t-shirt design by Jason’s mate Liam, and the Lovecraftian wordery by JJ Irwin:

Peter Ball’s launch of Horn – which both rocked and scared small children. It’s put out by super indie press Twelfth Planet Press. You should go and find it on the TTP website http://twelfthplanetpress.wordpress.com/.

Ditmary goodness went to Sean Williams, Dirk Flinthart, Alisa Krasnostein and Kirstyn McDermott amongst other legends.

Lowlights? All the goodwill in the world cannot make up for a lack of organisation. This con was almost completely uncontaminated by any kind of organisation. The program felt very much last minute and by-the-seat-o’the-pants. Panels had no designated moderator and not all of them had the ideal number of members (three panellists, one moderator – and ideally those people will have had a chat beforehand). For those of us who had people to catch up with, professional contacts and the ability to network, it was okay – we had the time and the place to catch up with folk. However, had I been a newbie, someone who didn’t know anyone and had paid my money for the con and the flight to Adelaide for an experience that included learning opportunities as well as the chance to discuss the state of the genre, I would have been a bit disappointed. This is to in no way denigrate the hard work put in by volunteers and the committee … a con is not an easy thing to do, it is time-consuming and can’t be done well at the last minute. Personally, I like organisation. I like certainty. I don’t necessarily cope with with a mid-range chaos factor, but I recognise that may just be me. But hey, everything happened that was supposed to happen; the launches were terrific, the dealers’ room was filled with books; the Maskobolo was superbly DJ’d by Sean Williams and some of the costumes were amazing. People were friendly and I guess it wasn’t intimidating – I was at the EasterCon Orbital last year in the UK and that was intimidating.

Ultimately, a good con had by most of my crowd; a chance to relax, chat, drink and eat too much, sit on our backsides and make up stories. And eat frog cakes. Huzzah.

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I am sitting in  a cafe in Adelaide’s Rundle Street, in excellent company: LL Hannett, Peter Ball and Jason Fischer. The company had better be excellet for it is freaking freezing here! We’re all writing, at different speeds, but we are writing (with intermittant yelling of ‘Why have you stopped writing???’). This works well. The second toe on my left foot is an astonishing shade of purple, but no longer hurts (possibly coz it has frozen) after falling victim to my natural clutziness and the 4.30am stumble around the house while getting ready to go to the airport. In my favour, I kept the profanity level to a minimum out of consideration for the neighbours.

Last night’s Sean Williams-sponsored pirate party was great (but has contributed to today’s headache somewhat, but we salved that with an application of bacon). Later today we head off to register. Dinner tonight with friends at the wonderfully named ‘Concubine’. Tomorrow night, the Masked Ball thingy – for which LL and I have lovely Venetian masks.

Got another new story at The Daily Cabal http://www.dailycabal.com/ – Part Four of Brisneyland by Night.

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