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The write-finer monologues So what's up man? Cooling, man. Chillin' chillin'? Yo you know I had to call, you know why right? To reprise the opening lines from the Wu-Tang Clan's classic track 'Protect Ya Neck'? Well, yes, but also to see how the writing's going. Are you doing it? The big push to finish Raven's Blood? I'm doing my best. Which is... what? Three chapters since...

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The big push Last week I talked about writing a polished (or at least satisfactory) foundation draft, which obviously takes longer than a rougher first draft. In saying all that, I wasn't trying to say that one approach is better than the other; it's all about what works for you as a writer. Write fast, write slow; it takes as long as it takes, and what matters is how happy you...

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First versus foundation (steel cage grudge match) There's been a pretty excellent blog post making the rounds lately. No, not one of mine, he chuckled... oh, no-one suggested it was one of mine? Oh. Okay. That's fine. No, no, just something in my eye. No, it's the very smart 'How not to write a novel' essay over at the Momentum Books blog. Go read it if you haven't already. I'll wait. I have fulfilled pretty...

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Everything I did wrong and more besides Lots of talk about how much money people can make - or not make - from independent e-publishing lately. Author Hugh Howey launched a site called Author Earnings, which uses some maybe-representative-maybe-not data to create complicated reports suggesting that self-publishers can make pots and pots of money. But in the same time period I've read a bunch of blog posts by...

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Wiggle my wordle (Alternative linkbait title: Try this one weird trick for finding repetition in your writing!) So I've had a long and kinda irritating day, and all I really want to do is drink Scotch and grumble, but I don't because I've got a work ethic and I owe you folks a blog post. And I don't want to drink because I have a platelet donation tomorrow. ...okay, fine, I don't...

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Obligatory end-of-year blog post

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Ah, the end of the year.

At this time it is traditional for us to gather together and paw through the smoking embers of the last twelve months, picking through the ashes for nuggets of gold and occasionally holding up charred bits of regret to ruefully show them off. Then we all get drunk and promise ourselves the next year will be totally different, completely awesome and hopefully less flammable.

Are you tired of that sort of thing? I think I am. I was getting ready to write a 1000-word post about the things I learned in 2013, but when I sat down at the computer I realised that I didn’t really feel like writing that – and that, more importantly, I was pretty sure that no-one else would be all that interested in reading it. We’ve done that before, we’ve all danced that dance, and it’s probably time to change the music and switch to the hokey-pokey instead.

So let’s cut to the chance and do an executive summary. (I do a lot of those, now that I’m an executive.)

Pros of 2013

  • I went to China, France, Germany and Finland
  • I got an awesome new job
  • GenreCon was totally excellent
  • We adopted a pretty great dog
  • The people in my life are pretty much all awesome

Cons of 2013

  • One of my best friends died
  • I didn’t finish writing Raven’s Blood
  • I didn’t finish writing much else either
  • The Abbott government

Things I Want Plan to do in 2014

  • Finish, revise and polish Raven’s Blood and find a publisher for it
  • Write and self-publish Obituarist II: 2 Pinterest 2 Posthumous
  • Write more short fiction and maybe even find someone to pay me for it
  • Become more involved with the Melbourne writing scene, or at least some other writers
  • Go to the US, eat barbecue and have a few drinks with Chuck Wendig again
  • Hang out with my wife and my dog

Things I Will Probably Also do in 2014

  • Drink too much
  • Spend too much time playing games and not enough time writing
  • Come home after work and feel too drained to write or do anything creative
  • Make excuses that I know are bullshit
  • Blog excessively

That probably covers everything. Man, if only I was writing this novel in bullet point form. I could have done the whole trilogy by now.

In closing, many thanks and much respect to everyone who’s stuck with this blog, and with me, in this year where I didn’t get a whole lot done. I probably would have done even less if I hadn’t been worried about disappointing you.

Hope you folks have a good end-of-year celebration, if that’s your bag, and I’ll see you in 2014 – The Year of Living Dangerously (Because You Keep Getting into Bar Fights with Robots).


Hello Europe, this is Melbourne calling


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Let the silence end, let the trumpets sound, let the word go out across the land – I have returned from my European tour!

…well, technically I got back last week, but I didn’t get home until really late on Sunday night and I was tired. So let’s just pretend that I snapped right back into my blogging schedule straight away rather than being a lazy arse for a week.

But yes, I’m back in Melbourne and into the daily grind after visiting Paris, Berlin and Helsinki, as well as coming home via Townsville (I had my reasons). It was a pretty awesome trip, spent wandering the sights with my lovely wife.


  • Exploring the Gardens of the Palace of Versailles
  • Witnessing the silent dead (and sleeping security staff) of the Paris Catacombs
  • Gazing at Monet’s Water Lilies in their original installation/gallery
  • Just so much art in general
  • Wandering the streets of Berlin and drinking its very cheap beer
  • The incredible DesignPanoptikum in Berlin, a ‘surreal museum of industrial objects’ that is basically the best place ever
  • Pretty much everything else in Berlin, which is like the 90s with wifi
  • Vodka with Cam Rogers and dinner with old White Wolf contact Mikko Rautalahti in Helsinki
  • Two days of non-stop beer and movies with Townsville friends to shake off the jetlag


  • Getting gastroenteritis on the third day and being left too weak to properly explore Paris with my wife on our freakin’ honeymoon
  • Saying goodbye to said wife as we left Berlin, when I headed to Finland and she went to the USA

It was kind of amazing. There are photos over on Facebook if that appeals to you.

And now I’m back.

The other thing I did in Europe was sit in bars, cafes and restaurants, pull out my laptop and work on Raven’s Blood.

That’s right. Writing while on holiday. Writing while recovering from sickness. Writing when I could have been drinking instead. Drinking Euro-booze.

The influence of GenreCon appears to still be in effect, and I may have at last found the writing work ethic I’ve been missing all these years. I keep wrapping up a couple of chapters a week, which isn’t all that much in real terms (about 4000 words) but it’s text that I’m happy with and that’s likely to stay fairly stable as I revise, tweak and polish. More like third draft than first draft, I think. I hope.

Anyway, even as lots of writers I know are smashing their NaNoWriMo targets, I’m achieving the less-impressive task of just getting my work done – and indeed of looking forward to working on the book. Which is a personal milestone for me.

Another will be finishing it, of course. Please keep holding my feet to the fire for that.

I also, while lying awake at 4am thanks to illness and jetlag, came up with the core premise and major character and plot elements of an entire horror/urban-fantasy (but mostly horror) trilogy called Underneath the Skin, which I can best describe as a mix between Silent Hill and Scarface. It’s a story about drugs, gangs and urban crime mixing with warped hell-scapes filled with blood, rust and atrocities; two underworlds colliding with one not-too-sympathetic protagonist in the middle.

(That could also describe Chuck Wendig’s rather awesome The Blue Blazes, except it’s totally different.)

Lying awake at night and thinking up plots is not that unusual for me – except that this time I wrote it all down in the morning, with notes for all three books and the progression of the main character. This is much better than what I normally do, which is forget all about it forever by lunchtime. So once Raven’s Blood is finished and I’ve taken care of The Obituarist II: Obit Harder, the next project may well be Scar Tissue, the first book of this new series.

That’ll happen any day now. Trust me.

And on that note – and because I don’t have a whole lot to say other than ‘hey doodz, I’m back’, I’ma gonna get back to work on the book. There’s a big fight scene I have to complete – and as we know, fight scenes are awesome.

I’ll be back another time to talk about Big Important Issues and similar stuff. After the crossbows and explosions are wrapped up.

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Our cat Graeme died this morning.

This is all I can say for a blog post tonight.

Me and G

A hiatus in E minor


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Hiya folks,

After much thought, I’ve decided to take a break from regular blogging for a while.


Come on, it’s not that bad, I promise.

It’s just that I have a lot on my plate now – day job, Raven’s Blood, some freelance editing, a semblance of a social life – and taking the time to write two posts a week is really eating into what I have left. (Especially as, despite all my sensible advice, winter weariness and SAD is kicking my butt right now.) Something’s gotta give, and for the next while it’s going to be the 2-3000 words I spend blogging every week.

That doesn’t mean no blogging at all, because having a platform for saying what I think (even if no-one’s listening) is more addictive than blue meth – so I’ll probably pop up now and then to spout off. But the usual two-posts-a-week schedule is getting retired for about, hmm, two months or so. Hopefully that’ll be enough time to really knock off a big chunk of the novel, get some other projects out of the way and build up a head of energy again for sharing my feelpinions.


Please. It’ll be okay. I’ll be back soon enough. Just like Dan Harmon.

Got my hands full

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Hey space cadets,

I’m kind of distracted right now because I’m working on my pitch/application for the Wheeler Centre’s Hot Desk Fellowship, a great program where the Centre gives writers a desk, a quiet space and a thousand bucks and asks only that they knuckle down and write in return. If that sounds cool, you should apply for consideration, as they have several slots free; just make sure to a) get it done by Monday and b) not push me out by being better than me. I WILL take that personally.

I’m also distracted by my aged mother, but the less said about that the better. It’s all a bit crazy up in here.

Anyhoo, in lieu of me entertaining you this evening, how about you go read the AMAZEBALLS responses to Text Publishing’s editorial want ad, download the new Splendid Chaps podcast and check out Subatomic Party Girls over at Comixology. That should keep you going until Sunday night.


The dog ate my homework and other true tales of early onset dementia

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I think there’s something wrong with my brain.

I had tonight’s post 80% written earlier today, but not quite finished, and saved it to my USB drive to finished and post tonight.

I love my USB drive; 8 gigs filled with music, story notes, RPG PDFs, works-in-progress and various e-miscellanea, including some day-job page proofs I wanted to double check over the long weekend.

So I saved some stuff onto there, got it all ready, and then cheerily got the train home without realising that I’d forgotten to take it out of the work computer and put in my bag. Despite thinking less than two minutes earlier that I had to remember to take it out of the work computer and put in my bag.


I think there’s something wrong with my brain.

(Yes, yes, I know, Dropbox. But work is a bit leery of people using Dropbox, and I have to respect that.)

So no clever blog post tonight in which I present and then dissect a prose fragment I found in an old notebook. No chance to look at the page proofs this weekend. No possibility of working on the Raven’s Blood manuscript despite this being the perfect goddamn time to nail a couple of chapters.

Sigh. I hate me sometimes. My own worst freakin’ enemy.

Anyhoo, no point crying over spilt neurons; I gotta head out to start reviewing Comedy Festival shows for Crikey. Let’s hope I don’t misplace my review notes or forget how my autonomic systems function on the way to the train station.

Ignore me

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Hola folks,

My peoples and I have gone down to a property outside Ballarat for the long weekend.

It’s fucking hot, internet access is intermittent and I’m spending most of the time drunk, so it’s not the best environment for writing a good blog post.

So here’s a picture of some random meme crap, and a promise to come back next Sunday with something more interesting and coherent.

Now if y’all will excuse me, there’s a hammock with my name on it.


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And he’s back!

In the last seven days I’ve flown to Shanghai, ridden a maglev train at over 400 kph, drank lacklustre cocktails in a bar with an incredible view, wandered through street markets, gotten lost, saw a cute baby nearly cause a riot in a department store, bought a bespoke suit and additional clothing items for practically nothing, witnessed a marriage proposal on the bullet train to Beijing, was turned back after entering the Forbidden City (ironic), nearly froze to death in Tienanmen Square, ate duck, walked on the Great Wall of freakin’ China in subzero temperatures and surrounded by impenetrable fog, read and then deleted a whole pile of ebook samples on my Kindle, explored the alleyways of the French Concession, paid my respects at the Jade Buddha Temple, got dressed up to drink better cocktails in a bar with a lesser view, sailed the MoonBoat, went to the world’s most amazingly shithouse chocolate-based theme park (complete with Harry Potter’s Murder Room I SHIT YOU NOT), walked out of a goddamn terrible restaurant, bought a friend a Godzilla onsie and flew the redeye for 10 hours back to Australia.

What have you been up to?


Me being me, I also spent some time thinking about what I could draw from the experience to use in my writing, most of which came back to my current theme of worldbuilding.

And I’ll make some posts about that, but not tonight. Because I’m tired.

So wǎnān, peeps – I’ll start throwing around the thinkwords again this time next week. Tonight I’m off to bed.

Open mike spambot night

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Hmm? What? Who’s supposed to make blog posts twice a week?

…oh shit, I knew I forgot something!

Sorry, devoted readers; last week kind of slipped away from me for various reasons, and rather than make late posts and all kind of excuses, I just decided to take an impromptu holiday from the Blog Mines.

But now I’m back, and I’m ready to share poetry with you!

Oh good lord, not mine. Trust me, I don’t write poetry, and if I did I would scrawl it only in my private ShameJournal that will be burned after my death, if not before. Preferably long before.

No, these works come from unsung genius of the written word. I mean those poets who drop nuggets of gold in passing while trying to sell me ugg boots, viagra, pornography and SEO results – the spammers that give so much and ask so little in return. For in their vain attempts to wriggle into the comments section, they fill their bots with random jibber-jabber that, with only a few line breaks, becomes poetry so blank and dadaist it would make Kurt Schwitters swallow a live starling and take up automotive repair.

The following collection has been curated by Akismet, WordPress’ rather amazeballs spam-filter. I hope you appreciate all the work it does for the arts, not to mention bloggers too lazy to write their own Thursday night posts.

First, this heartfelt paean to God and architecture, using family drama as metaphor:

Word for word after I read this story later,
my heart can’t be calm once in a very long while, shock!
Why would like a son that like!
In BBS in horizontal network in my years,
from thinking any further can’t there any son can move me,
have never thought to come in sight of such ingenious and incomparable today
such a son!
The building Lord, is you let me deeply understand
the “someone outside the person, day outside have day”
profoundly this sentence. Thank nong!

Thank nong indeed. A little mawkish, true, but we’ve all mourned our sons in horizontal networks.

This one is short but very powerful:

I’m gonna watch out for brussels.
I will appreciate if you continue this in future.

I won’t lie, guys; I watch out for Brussels 24/7. BRUSSELS COULD BE UNDER YOUR COUCH RIGHT NOW.

When this next one is performed live, it’s done in a fevered rush on a single breath while a second participant plays a haunting theremin:

free big tit broads naked uncut frat guy shemale grace toronto kat young movie megaupload muscular dystrophy hardcore video ileana telugu actress video john c pleasant valley high school star gaysexs aquarius sex horoscope little girls pussy where to find movies uci cinema andria woman young boy NASA PICTURES

It’s a rousing performance, similar to that long bit in Billy Joel’s ‘We Didn’t Start the Fire’.

This one is entitled ‘ee cummings and the global financial crisis no capslock no capslock’:

Circumstances wherein wipe is unexceptionally
individual’s libel may expert strategy.
injunction accumulated ways complete.
vulgar rate,
expert agencies are scour approaches most talented amongst issues
smear individual’s orchestrate is repaired advantage restored.
in the matter of credit,
the link.

The link, motherfuckers. You feel me?

From the same author (with some edits to remove links, as that’s just too experimental even for this forum)

Kinsfolk buttocks either dom weselny or spiffy tidy up agency.
Your skirt would upon dignify your public credit.
Type who are nearby ingenious agency.
enactment is surrounding client’s around an rulership
or view with horror generally repaired.
Robangelosi in the flesh
such regular could rumbling their team a few
Relations either impassion wesele or redress agency.

I believe ‘Robangelosi’ may be a TS Eliot reference. Intertextuality!

Last, this epic piece is… look, the recurring motif is the monopod, but surely we all know what that’s a metaphor for, right? Right?

Dicks. He’s talking about dicks. Like all the best poetry.

Another underhandedness stabilizing clever is constrain
camera link your over monopod completely exerting warm strap. Similarly, you butt
In exclude crush situations put in order
appropriately tripod bonus is shipshape and Bristol fashion
Forth you’ll masterly monopod about tripod, discourteous anyway.
They’re bonus thus carry. You oferty
them be required of repairs delirious away.
Record to hand scour subject,
disposed picture.

A-one Cooler

A Monopod

Harry contingency. Unfortunately,
despite the fact that you around you’d involving answer field,
you’d circulate Bedouin trader.
You unruffled camera gear,
balk carefully. Realize those alcohol cozies you around freezer.
Those determination your devoid of bringing
fraternize with temp close to cooler.
gummy atmosphere. clap you do.

supposing you’re slow up courthouse hinder op,
wind cups swing thicknesses,
be advantageous to stabilizing neat
muscles well.

Bedouin trader.
clunk home.

Neat as a pin Cooler

Working Far Sand

Snap your goddamn fingers, people. That shit be art.


This concludes our inaugural Akismet Open Mike Spampoetry Night.

Look out for a second one once the spam filter fills up and I can’t think of anything more interesting to share with you.




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