Category Archives: Weekly Update

My Week In Writing (13/08/17)

20170811_183900Well, first of all the big news: the book I’m in came out yesterday! Shoreline of Infinity Issue 8 1/2, available now in ePub, PDF, Kindle and print formats. Price starts at £3.50. Go grab a copy! I’ll be sure to shill it again once I’ve read it.

The launch is on Wednesday evening, and I’m very excited.

Otherwise: still settling into my new job, and looking for something more permanent.

I’m working my way through my novel – so far, I’ve only found one pressing issue with this draft, so I’m feeling pretty happy with it. I wish I had more time to devote to it but, work.

I’ve been listening to Doom Coalition 2, which so far I’m enjoying more than the first volume. Also, I only just now realised River Song is in it (spoilers!) – really excited to see what Big Finish does with the character, because I adore Alex Kingston. Otherwise, full review upcoming.

I’m still reading The Thirteen Guests, which is taking longer to get through than I expected – it should be quicker now, though, because the murders have started and I’m itching to find out where it’s going.

And I went to see a PBH Free Fringe production of Julius Caesar – now with pirates! I intend to review it when I have the time (preferably before the run finishes) so watch this space.

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My Week In Writing (30/07/17)

20170730_155734Well, the big bit of news this week is: I found a new (temp) job, starting tomorrow! Which means I’ve spent this weekend a) relaxing and b) buying new shoes. I don’t know what the dress code for my new office is so I’m not sure if the new shoes are strictly necessary, but I figured it was about time I had a pair of smart shoes I can walk in.

All in all, operation ‘quit my job’ has been more or less successful – I was unemployed for five weeks, which is longer than I hoped but not as long as I expected, and I have a (hopefully glowing) reference for what I was doing.

In other news, my data recovery was a success – they weren’t able to recover my entire hard drive but I should be getting back all the writing I lost, hopefully tomorrow after New Work.  Very relieved and very much looking forward to sorting my writing projects out!

This week, I’ve been plugging away on the same writing projects, with variable success – between wanting to relax a bit before starting work and knowing I’ll be able to commit better after getting my files back, it’s been difficult to motivate myself these past few days.

I listened to the first three episodes of Doctor Who: Doom Coalition 1, which I have complicated feelings about. I’m enjoying it more than Dark Eyes, though, which I found grim and a bit disappointing.

I watched Captain America: Civil War, which I found acutely disappointing – I don’t know anything much about the comic arc it’s based on, but as a sequel to Age of Ultron it’s not wholely satisfying and as a sequel to Winter Soldier is a full-on disappointment. It did get me hyped for Black Panther, though.

And on a whim, I watched Psycho and enjoyed it more than I expected to – I was a little nervous about watching it on my own because I don’t do well with scary (I’d been informed that it isn’t scary but I’m very easily frightened) but I’m glad I did because there are certain, um, sequences that the people I generally watch films with probably wouldn’t have taken entirely seriously…

Anyway, the first act is definitely the highlight but I was sort of expecting that. If anything I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the rest of the film – I was half expecting to be bored stiff.

So, next week: new job!

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My Week in Writing (16/07/17)

20170706_115132I had four job interviews this week. I’ve not been up to much else. I’ve been rejected for all four of them already, so it wasn’t… the most productive week I’ve ever had. Two more coming up next week. Here’s hoping.

Still no update on the hard drive situation – if I haven’t heard by the end of tomorrow I’m going to have to get in touch and find out what’s happening.

Otherwise: I wrote a new short story, about zombies. I’m not sure about it, thematically speaking, so I should probably get some feedback pretty soon.

Still plugging away at my other projects – I only have two chapters left on my read-through of Summer and I’ve declared part one of ‘Annique’ as finished as it can be, considering that I’m missing a chunk towards the beginning.

So, since my life hasn’t been that interesting: that Doctor Who announcement!

I’m amused by how absurdly British the whole affair was – all of the articles about it just said the announcement would be made ‘after the Wimbledon finale’ because of course the whole country knows what that means. In truth, I didn’t even know it was Wimbledon season. I was told to expect it some time after six o’clock and… missed it.

But I’ve seen it now! And so far I’m deeply relieved (Kris Marshall seemed like a dead cert for a while, and I did not want that) and tentatively excited.

Jodie Whittaker wouldn’t have been my choice but I’m really, really pleased that they’ve cast a woman and I’m looking forward to seeing what she’ll bring to the role. I’m not 100% sure I trust Chris Chibnall to handle the gender change well but so far things seem hopeful.

So, here’s what I’d like to see:

  1. A Thirteenth Doctor who’s non-gender conforming. I recognise that this would be tricky to handle without making it seem like the Doctor has to be butch because their previous selves were all male, but it’s just what feels right to me for the character. Plus I was always vaguely uncomfortable with quite how feminine Missy was.
  2. A female companion. I really hope they don’t feel that they have to have male companions now the Doctor is a woman – if they want a male lead, bring back the 1960s model and give the Doctor a male and a female companion.
  3. Some kind of well-written, sensitive acknowledgement that certain things are going to be more difficult for the Doctor now that they’re gendered as a woman by the people around them.
  4. Some kind of well-written, sensitive discussion of Gallifreyan gender fluidity.
  5. Otherwise, for this to be handled exactly like any other regeneration. Big Finish did this beautifully in a recent release – it can absolutely be done.
  6. Absolutely no sexualisation of the new Doctor, and please no male love interest. If the Doctor had unambiguously been shown to be attracted to men in the past that would be okay, but given that so far all of their actual, canonical romantic interactions have been with woman, now is a really bad time to pair them up with a man. The implications would be kind of uncomfy.

So, those are my thoughts. As I said: tentatively excited. Very aware that if they mess this up it might never happen again. But mostly excited.

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My Week In Writing (03/07/17)

20170630_202109Well, to lead with the bad news: my harddrive suffered a mechanical failure yesterday. It happened too quickly for me to be able to back up, so I lost a not insignificant amount of writing. I’ve sent it off for data retrieval so, keep your fingers crossed for me.

Fortunately though, most of the writing I’ve done since my last full back up was novel drafts, which I backed up on completion, so all things considered the damage is minimal!

In better news, I found out this week that my story 3.8 Missions is going to be featured in Shoreline of Infinity’s special anthology of Scottish science fiction for the Edinburgh Book Festival, which I’m very excited about. I’m going to be rubbing shoulders with some book festival authors, as well as Shoreline reprints. I feel very honoured!

This week, I’ve been taken a break from long form fiction, so I wrote two new short stories… both of which may now be gone for good. Fortunately, the two slightly longest stories I started I have at least some of and I’ve written as detailed notes as I could manage on what I’ve lost, so re-writing should be relatively easy…

I went to Hear Hare Here at the Golden Hare Bookshop, where I heard some really great poetry and picked up a very tiny book containing an essay by Phillip Pullman, an excerpt from his upcoming Daemon Voices.

I listened to the first two stories of Big Finish’s newest volume of Companion Chronicles The First Doctor: Volume Two. Fields of Terror, starring Maureen O’Brien as Vicki, is a historical, a kind of sequel to the William Hartnell serial The Reign of Terror. It’s one of the creepiest Doctor Who stories I’ve encountered in a while, delving as it does into a dark portion of French history.

Across the Darkened City, starring Peter Purves as Steven Taylor, is a Dalek story co-starring the incomporable Nicholas Briggs. In my opinion, the Daleks are at their best when their numbers are low, and this is a story that really gets that; Steven is stranded on a strange and deadly world, his only companion, and only chance of survival, an injured Dalek.

Along the way, he grapples with a question that has occupied at least three Doctor Who stories: could a Dalek ever become good? However, unlike its predecessors Across the Darkened City comes to a bleak and unsettling conclusion that’s both shocking and inevitable, with a delicious final twist that I did not see coming.

(If you listen to this boxset, be aware that Across the Darkened City is best listened to after familiarsing yourself with the Patrick Troughton serial Evil of the Daleks).

Next week, I’m planning to listen to the next half of the boxset, plus I’m going to be starting some volunteering work. And I’ve ordered a 2-in-1 tablet to replace the somewhat creaky backup laptop I’m currently reliant on, so that should be an improvement!

 

 

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My Week In Writing (25/06/17)

20170614_192709Well, the big news for this week: I finished Settlement 359! Final count: 153,000 words, ish. I may or may not write a sequel – for now, it’s a happy ending.

So, what next? For now, I’m planning to do a little work on a short story collection I’ve been picking at for a while, featuring characters etc from my everpresent novel (the one I haven’t figured out how to write yet).

I planned to work a lot more on Summer this week, but life got in the way. I’m still not over my lingering cold, and I’ve had a total of three job interviews, with a fourth one coming up on Tuesday. I’m at 2/3 on rejections, so far.

I also had a Doctor Who short story rejected by the charity anthology I sent it to, which means I can now post it only whenever I want, without having to hack it to bits to fit a wordcount. Silver linings.

Still working on my entry for Big Finish’s short story contest. I’ve written the section I wanted to use for a sample, but it’s over twice as long as the word limit.

I started reading After Me Comes The Flood by Sarah Perry, which I found really gripping for the first couple of chapters, but now it sort of feels like everything’s been resolved and it’s still going… I assume it’ll pick up again, if I keep at it.

This week’s Doctor Who was… well, I have complicated feelings. Loved the plot, loved the classic Who references and the final twist, in deep denial about the ending. I’ve no doubt they’ll reverse it next week but frankly it was unnecessarily dark.

Next week: figure out what I’m doing with my life, now I’m unemployed.

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My Week In Writing (19/06/17)

20170617_132652It’s been a strange one. My last day at my job was Wednesday – the last couple of weeks of my notice period just flew by.

I don’t have another job yet, but I’m signed up to do some digital marketing volunteering with a local charity and I have four job interviews in the next couple of weeks – two of them with the same company, weirdly enough.

Settlement 359 hit 150k this week which is very exciting. Haven’t made as much progress as I’d have hoped but I think I’m over the tricky part of the climax so it should be done reasonably soon. Then, I don’t know what I’ll do. Start another novel, maybe!

Speaking of, I finished going over Summer and now I’m going to have to do some tough editing. Boo.

I went to Event Horizon’s fantasy special at Banshee Labyrinth, where there was some really great live music and some interesting writing. I got a copy of Shoreline of Infinity 8, which I’m reading at the moment.

I also went to Edinburgh Pride which is always a bit mixed – it’s a fun event and it’s important to me to go, but there’s usually too many corps and this year, bizarrely, there was a Royal Navy recruitment stand. (I could have forgiven this if they were playing In The Navy which would have been very funny, but alas they were not.)

However, I got rainbow cake, donated some money to some worthy causes in exchange for some very nice badges, and I now own a pride flag, so mostly a win.

I read Bed by David Whitehouse, a charity shop impulse purchase. It’s a good book, but unsettling in a way that wasn’t really for me – frankly a good portion of it just made me kind of nauseous.

I watched two episodes of Doctor Who this week (I missed last Saturday’s). Empress of Mars was some quality Ice Warrior content, but I have to say I’m a little sad that they featured an explicitly female Ice Warrior – up until now you could assume that Ice Warriors aren’t sexually dimorphic so any of them could be female, but alas, now they’re all boys, apparently. (I’m going to assume that Ice Lords are sexually dimorphic but Ice Warriors are not.)

I was really looking forward to Eaters of Light – it’s by Rona Munro, the first Classic Who writer to work on the new series and author of Survival, the final Classic Who serial. I’m very slightly disappointed – I really enjoyed the characters and the themes but I didn’t find the sci-fi especially interesting. Which is better than the alternative, I suppose.

I listened to two Big Finish stories, Criss-Cross and The Two Masters. Criss-Cross is a Colin Baker historical story set in Bletchley Park and featuring new companion Leading WREN Constance Clarke. It’s solid stuff, and I’m looking forward to listening to more Constance stories.

The Two Masters is exactly what it says on the tin, a multi-Master story featuring Geoffrey Beevers and Alex MacQueen as Big Finish’s two incarnations of the Master. It’s a proper epic with some genuinely unexpected twists and turns along the way.

Unfortunately, I also came down with a filthy cold this week – I haven’t had more than two hours continuous sleep since Friday night. Hopefully I’ll be recovered before my interview tomorrow. We’ll see…

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My Week In Writing (11/06/17)

20170610_141155

Look what came in the post!

Just a short update this week – I continue to be trapped in job search hell. One of the application forms I filled out today felt eerily familiar – so much so that I had to go through my files, just to make sure I hadn’t applied already.

As it turns out, I had – way back in September. I’ve applied for all the jobs in Edinburgh, and now I’m going around a second time…

Settlement 359 is, sadly, stalling right before the climax. I know where I need to get but I haven’t quite figured out how to get there. I just don’t have the mental energy for it at present.

Good news, though – Wednesday is my last day at my job, so pretty soon I’m going to have all the time in the world. I’m taking a week out, then doing doing some social media volunteering.

I read Sirens by Simon Messingham, one of the books I’m reviewing for Shoreline of Infinity. It certainly wasn’t boring – I blazed through it – but I have some, hm, complicated feelings about it and I admit I’m a touch disappointed. I’ve read one of his Doctor Who novels (The Indestructible Man) and thought it was pretty good so I was expecting more interesting things.

I listened to Big Finish’s Fifth Doctor Boxset, which features two stories, Pyschodrome and Iterations of I.

Both stories feature Matthew Waterhouse reprising the part of Adric for the first time since the 1980s. I’ve heard him reprise the role before, for A Full Life, but this was the first time I’d heard him in a full-cast play, and it really was a joy.

Adric is (unpopular opinion) one of my favourite companions and a big part of the reason why I got into Classic Who. The two stories provide a lovely set of bookends for season nineteen, Pyschodrome adding some much-needed character bonding and development, while Iterations of I provides some more conventional Doctor Who action. If you’re into the Peter Davison era, I thoroughly recommend it.

I also listened to the first two installments in last year’s Master trilogy, And You Will Obey Me and Vampire of the Mind. I enjoyed them, but I’m reserving full judgement till I listen to the conclusion, The Two Masters.

And – as you can see! – I got The Doctors: The Pat Troughton Tale, a bumper collection of behind the scenes interviews. I made a start on it today, and I’m having a great time.

Next week, I’m going to leave my job. It hasn’t sunk in yet and probably won’t until it’s really over. We’ll see how that goes, I guess.

 

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