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EasterCon 2011

In the early 1990s, we used to save up for months to go to EasterCon.

A pack of us, crammed in the back of a van, laden with re-enactment gear and scrounged-together dressing-up kit (the word ‘cosplay’ hadn’t been invented). We’d rent a room between us, two in the bed and six on the floor; we’d sneak out to the local corner shop and come back laden with cheap food and salty snackage and two-litre bottles of bad white cider.

And it was awesome.

I remember attending Writers’ Workshops, wide-eyed and wanting to learn everything, participating in the Masquerade (the immortal comment, ‘S&M rubbish, 8/10’ has stuck in my mind ever since) and falling flat on my face when a picture of my mate and I in full (brief?) costume appeared in centre spread of Starburst magazine. I think it was Issue 5.

This year’s EasterCon, then, was rather a landmark event.

I’ve grown out of my costumes (sadly sideways) and these days the van is packed with books and not people. I’m still not quite over the novelty of having a room to myself, never mind the engorging breakfast… and the use of swimming pool, jacuzzi, sauna and steam was verging on surreal.

Not as surreal, though, as the deluge of congratulations and questions that followed the announcement of my deal with Titan Books.

The wide-eyed twenty-something that attended those Writers’ Workshops is not really that far in the past – and the realisation that sometimes these things do come true is still a little overwhelming. It’s magical, it’s scary, it’s not quite solid. There’s a part of me that still expects to wake up with my mates all snoring round me.

Slotted in with all of this were other moments of bizarre comedy – moderating a panel with the Guest of Hono(u)r and a line up of fantastic authors, being asked to attend a Con event as an author in my own right (which I didn’t) and seeing my name in print for the first time… it all added up to blow my little mind.

Though that might’ve been the (cringe) Johnnie Walker…

Back to the point though. Thanks to the ludicrous overpricing of the hotel, Alex and I resorted to sneaking carrier bags of provisions into the building. Between gasping in horror at the bar prices, and counting out our pocket-change like skint and errant kids, the irony of this wasn’t lost on either of us.

While ‘Illustrious’ could well have been renamed ‘RandomCon’, the humour of it all did reveal one core truth. Seems time goes in a circle – no matter who you are, where you go, or how your life changes, it’s all comes back to where it started.

And to who you started it with.

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Book Deal Announcement!!

From the Titan Books website - as I'm still kinda speechless...

Titan Launches Original SFF Initiative with First Time Author

In the week preceding key science fiction and fantasy convention, EasterCon, Titan Books are delighted to announce the acquisition of worldwide rights to a fantastic debut fantasy novel and its sequel by first time writer, Danie Ware.

In searching for fresh talent to kick-start Titan’s new SFF enterprise, editor Cath Trechman unearthed exactly the kind of inventive manuscript she is looking for from within the Titan Entertainment group itself: a fantasy story written by historical combat enthusiast Danie Ware. As the publicist and event organiser for Titan sister company and cult entertainment retailer Forbidden Planet, Danie is already known and respected by many in the SFF community and has been writing epic fantasy at every opportunity her busy work schedule allows.

The currently untitled novel following Ecko, a cybernetics-enhanced warrior, is scheduled for publication in 2012. Cath Trechman says “Danie has created an extraordinary fantasy world, filled with rich, vibrant characters, and a story that is thrilling, compelling and wonderfully unpredictable. We at Titan feel very lucky to have found such a remarkable talent so close to home.”

(Ummm - Squeeee?!)

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2010: A Review Of The Year

I'm not writing one.

Nope, it was a year that really didn't go where or how expected - and writing a full review would be a pretty dismal task. Instead, better to focus on the good things that the last 12 months have bought: -

1: I've learned (actually remembered) how good it is to be independent. Single Mum, hectic though it is, is actively preferable to living under the weight of my relationship. The eight months that my now-ex was away touring made me realise many things - not least of which is that I'm a far, FAR happier and more capable person without him.

2: I have a Literary Agent - I'm now represented by The Cooke Agency in Canada, and the last year has taught me a LOT about writing professionally. Not all of it's been entirely comfortable - but learning to good stuff never is.

3: Taking on board points 1 and 2 above, I've written a 90k novel in four months flat. And really enjoyed doing it. I've also tackled the Short Story thing, and had an absolutely amazing response to the pieces that have been published online. This year has seen me actually paid for a piece of creative writing for the very first time.

4: I'm fitter than I've ever been - chronic financial meltdown has led to ever-more cycling just to get to work and back. Hell, I can pound the x-trainer to a shuddering pulp and shatter wine bottles with my thighs alone. Scary.

5: Bizarre, but oddly reassuring: I can make a solemn promise and uphold it, no matter how severe the temptation to fall off the wagon.

6: My not-divorce has really shown me who my friends are - and whom I can trust. And I'm hugely fortunate that there are so many of you, people I've met and people I haven't, people all over the world and people I see every day. It's been a year where the line between friendship and 'Social Media' has become extraordinarily blurred - and that can only be a good thing.

7: And with that in mind, the year ended with a wonderfully unexpected Stateside vacation, meeting Twitter friends I'd known for years - a chance to unwind and think about the future, not get deluged by the present or miss the best bits of the past... sometimes, the presence of a friend is all you need to hold on to hope - and to remember who you are amid the maelstrom of everything that's happening. A little stillness.

2011 has started with family that are still close, and with new determinations for the future. There are still demons - enough to wake me in a cold sweat at three in the morning - but I'm calmer-hearted and happier that I've been in years. When I have the patience to build Lego and the confidence to attempt baking... well, shit... anything can happen.

The demons haven't retreated yet - but I can see the light that they're hiding.

Bring it on.

This was 2010

Blood from Stone

The hardest...

Piece of writing...

You will ever do...

Is the five line synopsis of your own sodding novel.

(Other people's don't count - they're easy).

All that love and passion and outpouring and character and speech and imagery and cleverness and plotting and scheming and visualisation - and it has to fit *where*??!!

Shoot me now, for the love of the Gods.


Okay, this 'relaxing' thing...

I don't get it.

Plate-spinning is an art - keeping all of the damn things going, racing from one to the other, keeping everything in your head at the same time, it's a multitask mania that means you're wound-up to fever pitch almost constantly. At night, you're so damned tired that you just conk straight out and then you get up and you start it all again. Your brain never stops - up at 6am, commuting, working, signings and events, cycling, house and child and errands and Mumstuff, endless flyers from the school and the scout group, trying to keep your creativity fired and focused to write in the evenings and meet the incoming deadlines, remembering to call and placate your hyper-neurotic and elderly mother, and then dealing with the separation from your partner and his forthcoming engagement and fucking marriage, and then there's the money and the accommodation issues and the making sure that the child is informed but not distressed and that he knows that Mummy and Daddy both still love him and can still be friends...

...breathe, dammit, breathe...

This is the first weekend in - months, probably, that I've had nothing to do.

And I'm lost. I'm rattling round the house too fidgety to be actually still; my brain is overflowing with a supernovae of new ideas but I can't settle for long enough to actually make use of them.

In less than two weeks, I'm going on holiday. Yes, actually taking a week away. I'm nervous and exhilarated - the idea of flying across the Atlantic by myself is thrilling and chilling me. Quite apart from the claustrophobia of having to sit in one spot for nine hours (I may well explode), I'm taking on the reality check of meeting some wonderful twitter people for the very first time (my Mother is having kittens about this, obviously).

And I have no wish to freak them out by doing a maniacal wall-of-death round the house my first evening on American soil.

This evening, the ex is at a gig. I shall have a quiet front room, a glass of wine and a movie.

Tomorrow, we'll try this again... 

Keef says...

New Tricks!!

There are (ironically really) a thousand and one different websites that will tell you how a short story differs from a novel.

In keeping with the theme, it can be distilled down to one word: -


Narrative format, single incident, character that reveals itself at a critical point in the storyline… I’m sure we’ve all studied this stuff.

The point is: this is where your close analysis kicks in - you don’t have room to fuck about. All that artsy scenic description and character motivation and exploration and development and yadda yadda… sod all of that, get to the point.

So – I will.

The guys at GeekPlanet have been kind enough to host my short story, ‘Valkyrie’, here.

This is completely new – not only the story itself, but the fact that it’s read aloud – a creative venture that’s been fun to undertake. It’s a very short short story, hearkening back to my wannabe-warrior-maiden days in the Vike… and hence seemed to lend itself to an oral (aural?) tradition.

Music is courtesy of Thumpermonkey and my despicably talented friend Mike Woodman – check out the full album here.

Oh - and forgive (enjoy?) the polished public school tones…

…some things you just never grow out of.


In response towishus  comment on my previous post, I will sadly be missing both FantasyCon and NewCon both.

As you can imagine - a weekend away with beer and buddies and lots of writing talk would be exactly what the Doctor ordered right now... but sadly the Doctor didn't order any extra finances to pay for such shenanigans, so I will be watching the FaceBook updates and pictures and becoming quite grumpy about the whole thing... though I do get to catch up with Rob Rankin on the Saturday instead ;)

On the plus side though, I will get to BristolCon (the company pays for that one!) so all is not lost.

Have a (large) glass of wine for me. I wish I could go!!

Seventh Daughter

And I'm *DONE!!*

Four months, 90k of completed MS - not bad for a working single mum ;)

Time to let it stew for a week or so, then knock the corners off it and sent it to Special Agent Sally.

Can I dance now?!

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April 2011



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