• science

    role reversal

    The above photograph of a sea horse was taken in July, when I visited the Galway Aquarium with a good friend who was staying with me on vacation. I’d been to the Aquarium once before and had been surprised at how much I’d enjoyed the excursion. The Galway Aquarium is tiny by international standards, but there are plenty of cool creatures to oogle. The Aquarium even has a very large tank where you can touch the Rays as they zip by. One of them seemed to be quite keen to be petted, and kept doing chin lifts out of the water as it glided past. Perhaps it was showing off…

  • Ireland,  News,  Thoughts

    cresting the big wave

    I’ve been working on the web site redevelopment of the Irish Playwrights and Screenwriters Guild for a long time. I do a lot of web-related work for the Guild, including managing all of its social media outlets, which every organisation needs to maintain these days. A big job like a web site overhaul requires large periods of allocated concentration, and that’s been problematic in regards to divvying up my few resources. Working with advocacy organisations means you’re always scraping the pan for those last scraps of funding, and this year the Guild absorbed several funding cuts: there is nothing lurking at the bottom of that pot now. Still, I’m glad…

  • Fiction,  Reviews

    racing hearts and relief

    There’s a review of Fantasy (« available for pre-order on Amazon) over on Tangent Online, written by Alex Dally MacFarlane. I will admit that my heart did the clichéd thing of revving like a joyrider in a souped-up Honda Civic as I clicked on the link. It was terror, not excitement. Thankfully, my story, “Bone Mother”, was well received, as were most of the stories in the anthology. It’s a deserved endorsement for the talented writers included in the volume, and the hard-working editors. Now, I have to return to writing.

  • Fiction,  Reviews,  Thoughts

    generic thinking

    As I’ve noted before, I have difficulties reading and writing fantasy fiction for a variety of reasons. Yet, there are a couple of stories brewing in my head that insist on the genre. So be it. In a quest for inspiration on how to write good fantasy I turned to the master: Fritz Leiber. Luckily, I was able to snag the two volumes of collected Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser tales, so I’m currently embroiled in adventures across the dangerous smog-drenched streets of Lankhmar. Leiber, along with his peer, Robert E. Howard, trailblazed the modern notion of heroic fantasy. These chaps were churning out tales of adventurers abroad in strange…

  • Fiction,  News

    : )

    Sean Wallace has published the Table of Contents for the collection in which my story, “Bone Mother”, will appear. I’m in good company. “Goosegirl,” by Margaret Ronald, 3200 words “Zombie Lenin,” by Ekaterina Sedia, 3200 words “Sugar, by Cat Rambo, 3600 words “Bone Mother,” by Maura McHugh, 3800 words “The Salvation Game,” by Amanda Downum, 4300 words “Brother of the Moon,” by Holly Phillips, 5000 words “The Greats Come A-Callin’, by Lisa Mantchev, 5400 words “Somewhere Beneath Those Waves Was Her Home,” by Sarah Monette, 5300 words “Shallot,” by Samantha Henderson, 2180 words “All the Growing Time,” Becca De La Rosa, 2500 words “The Yeti Behind You,” Jeremiah Tolbert, 3100…

  • Thoughts

    why I think writing good fantasy is a difficult task

    It’s been a long time since I’ve picked up any fantasy novel without a modicum of suspicion. Actually, let me be specific: I’m referring to what could be termed “high” fantasy in particular. This is because the genre seems particularly influenced by the formulaic. It’s a kind of inertia: the prose is tugged towards the verbose, the plots towards hackneyed yarns, and the characters inevitably wander into the graveyard of the stereotypes. Watch young man, the zombie of “youth who is unaware of his special lineage” is shambling towards you! Jeepers girlie, you were nearly impaled by the shade of the “sword-wielding bimbo who is also a magician, and smart”.…