Crysis (revisited)

Posted in Critical Failures

Am playing this again. Am remembering how awesome it was the first time. Tanks! The tank level rocks!

And now I am remembering how crap the last 40% of the game is about to be. OK, to be fair, *relatively* crap.


And *now* I’m also remembering that I need a better graphics card. And Crysis Warhead.

Acts I, II and III complete (27/10/08)

Posted in News

Oh man, what a long couple of days it’s been, and for more reasons than I’m going to go into here. The restructuring of King of the Crags is largely finished. Acts 1-3 (that’s about 88k words) are good to go. Wordcount stands at 96k, although the last few thousand may still get dumped and reworked. Finished by the end of this week? Not a chance but it won’t be much later than that.

Now I need ice-cream, coffee, sleep and to watch reality TV folk eaten by zombies.

My dad makes a rubbish character for a book

Posted in Critical Failures

It’s half term. Half the family are packed off to Germany to see relatives. It’s just me and the toddler. I’ve got the week off, and I’ve got plans. I’m going to watch lots of movies, eat lots of ice cream and I’m going to sort out all the stuff that’s bothering me about King of the Crags. And I’m going to play Assassin’s Creed at last. And I’m going to play with my little one, just the two of us, which isn’t something I get to do all that often.

On Saturday morning, my dad went into hospital. For a little while, before the doctors came, that was pretty scary. By the time the ambulance took him away, I think we were pretty sure he’d be coming back again, but there were some moments early on when we just didn’t know what was happening. Scary indeed.

The good news is that it looks like he’s going to be OK. He’s still in hospital and under observation, but he seems more himself again (I have to take the word of others for this, since I have flu and would be a very unwelcome guest. Which sucks). It got me thinking, though, about life and death and mortality. We had a couple of cats die this summer. I know it’s a trivial comparison, but so far the parts of my family that I’m closet to have been stubbornly healthy and so it’s the only one I can make. I gave my cats a little bit or immortality in the book that I’m writing because that’s one of the cool things about being a writer – you can do that. So it got me thinking – how could I do that for my dad? He’s very much been a role model for me over the years and he was the one, once upon a time, who threw some money at this whole writing project thing I was doing just when I was about to give up. So I couldn’t. And then, slowly, it all worked.

So I started thinking about I might say about him. He’s kind and loyal and clever. Pretty conservative on the outside but a little more liberal when you dig underneath. He worked hard all his life and did pretty well for us. He doesn’t say much and he doesn’t need to. I don’t think he has any strong beliefs except maybe that we should all just live and let live. He wasn’t domineering, just quietly strong. I didn’t have lots of touchy feely high-energy high-involvement dad-parenting because that sort of thing hadn’t been invented then. He was (and is) still a brilliant dad. Once I got to know him as an adult, I’ve always had the impression of someone who is quietly very content. Who worked hard, didn’t ask for all that much and mostly got what they wanted.

Which, for a writer, is rubbish. I mean, there is nothing there, nothing. There’s no drama, no tragedy, no endless great challenges. The story of a quiet man who quietly got on with life, was good to everyone around him, did his best and was actually reasonably well rewarded by life for his efforts. I can’t write that! There’s no material here!

And of course, thinking about this sort of thing puts everything else into perspective. So all of you with quietly brilliant dads (or mums for that matter) who are getting on a bit, go tell them how great they are and so will I. There might be far better writers than I who could turn a life like his into the story of the decade, but not me. So, dad, if you happen read this, get used to the fact that you just have to live forever. We’ll all appreciate it if you did.

Reorganisational Notice (26/10/08)

Posted in News

It seems I can’t resist the urge to rant at the foolishness of others or (frequently) myself. This sort of nonsense has no place in the News archives, which are are purely intended for book-related updates. Therefore the new thread ‘Critical Failures’ has been created, which can be accessed via a link on the body of the homepage. If you go and have a look at what’s there, remember: no one forced you.

King of the Crags is, has metaphorically, been disassembled into component parts which are all spread across the garage floor. A certain restructuring of the first three acts is now underway, after which the trajectory of the final act may be sufficiently different that it needs to be scrapped and done again. We shall see over the next few days…

(wordcount currently 95k, but this doesn’t mean much right now).

How to Eat Food for Beginners

Posted in Critical Failures

We are trying to teach number one son not to use his fingers to push his food onto his fork, but to use something else, preferably cutlery. So I show him how it’s done – hold your fork in your left hand instead of your right (we’re both right-handed), and hold the knife in you right hand. Push the peas onto the fork. Yay! Hurrah! Now just eat the peas!

No, I didn’t spill them all over the floor. I was so busy making sure that I didn’t do that that I somehow missed my mouth entirely and stabbed myself in the cheek. Then all the peas fell off.

First reviews (14/10/08)

Posted in News

The first reviews of the Adamantine Palace have begun to appear, on The Wertzone and SFFworld

“…traditional-style fantasy, but written in a contemporary manner…”

“…characters and storylines are not so much flying past but feel like they’ve been blasted out from a minigun like the one Blaine had in Predator…”

Dragon anniversary (12/10/08)

Posted in News

On the 11th October 2007, this appeared in my in-box:

“I had a phone call yesterday… Very occasionally a publisher will have a general idea and ask if I feel there is anyone they might discuss it with on my books. Simon [Spanton] is keen to discuss intelligent dragon fantasy – not busty girl with sword on dragon, but something that would appeal broadly, including the intelligent fantasy-reading audience… Is this something you would be interested in?”

The Adamantine Palace and the dragons within were first conceived the following day, exactly a year ago. It seems a long, long time ago.

Anyway, back from work-related travels yesterday with no idea what timezone I’m in. Everything is a blur. The cover proofs arrived while I was away. They’re subtly different from the draft I put up a while back, but you have to really look to spot the differences. They’re also shiny and glittery and gleamy :-)

I still managed to get some real work done while I was away. King of the Crags is up to 85k word and I’m still hoping (without a great deal of optimism, I must admit) to have the first draft finished by the end of the month.

Rumours of impending reviews are starting to arrive. It’s kind of scary knowing that the bound proofs are out there, being read by people who have absolutely no reason to be anything other than honest about what they say.

Off to Los Angeles (4/10/08)

Posted in News

Seems like I’m being bundled off to California after all (sadly for nothing remotely related to books and writing). This week hasn’t been particularly productive so far, so I’m hoping for better in the small hours of the morning in a quiet hotel in the middle of nowhere LA outskirts.

First ever royalty cheque metaphorically arrived this morning. Much celebrating (family trip to Costas for toasted cheese and ham sandwiches and coffee. Truly I am the king of partying).