Thursday, 26 April 2012

The Girl With the Dragon Tatto DVD/Blu-ray Launch

Yesterday I went to the launch party for the DVD and Blu-ray of David Fincher's version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. The irony is I haven't seen the film yet (and sadly no freebies were available at the party). It was held in the new Covent Garden based London Film Museum, a place I didn't even know existed until I got the invite, in the appropriately named "Vaults". There was lots of scaffolding outside, making the entrance a bit hard to spot (thank you to the rep with the clip board standing outside in the rain - it was a clue for who we needed to talk to!) Inside were photos of the cast, particularly of Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara, as well as a select choice of props from the film. What can I say; sometimes there are perks to my day job.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Flash Fiction Challenge - "Death is on the Table"

I was thinking I needed to do a bit more fiction on this ol' blogshere shaped thought translator and waddyaknow (that is so a word) - my favourite foul-mouthed pen-monkey, Chuck Wendig, went and issued a challenge on his blog. The theme is death, where it is a main feature of a 1000 word story. To that I say;

Death Of Rats by Paul Kidby
"Challenge accepted, sir. Even if it's, you know, a bit bleak."

Then I thought, does it have to be bleak? Can I make a story where death is a main element, the raisin dental of the story, but not be depressing about it? It's worth a go anyway, so keep reading to see my entry, coming in at 999 words. (It was very hard not to write my own ode to the Death of Rats, of Discworld fame. I love the Death of Rats. With his little scythe and his little cloak.)


Death Duty - Apply Within

Some people think that dying is the worst thing that will ever happen to them. It isn't; filling in your forms so your spirit goes to the right place is the worst thing that can ever happen to anyone. I should know. I do it for a living. I'm an "Afterlife Co-Ordinator".

You see, there isn't a natural ascendance into heavenly space - death is complicated. Everyone has to be checked and assessed, before being assigned to their next life. Oh, did I not mention that? Yeah, you gotta do the whole thing again. And again. Once more around the merry go round. But next time you might be a cockroach, if you didn't behave yourself in your mortal coil. There's rumours of a next level, a higher state, but I've never seen it or known anyone to vanish into it. Likely a ruse to keep us keen.

It's a pretty dull job most of the time. The netherworld isn't the most glamorous (no nightclubs, no restaurants, no night for that matter) and those of us assigned this "honour" have to do it every day, hour after hour. It's not even as if we can simply stamp the form and send the floating essence on its way. Oh no, we have to interview them too, work out what their perspective is. Not everyone, just the "edge cases", the people who did some pretty bad things but may have had a reason, or seemed to accidentally do good things. Personally I envy those who only handle small furry mammals, or fish. How easy must that be? Oh, you were a fish? You bobbed about in the ocean until a bigger fish ate you? Let me stamp that form for you. Jeesh... some people don't even know how good their afterlife is.

I've been here for... well a long time. I can't honestly remember anymore. And, even though my head hurts at the thought of work, when I'm processing the latest form I always try to remember that the spirit before me is still getting used to this. Most are surprised they get to go back. And even more surprised when they find out they get to go back as a lion. Or a polar bear. Or an ant. That happens to more people then you might think, but then a lot more insects get to go back as humans then you might expect too.

I was starting another day, tidying my desk, when in came my first essence of the morning. I don't like to think of them as spirits; too spooky. But this one was different. It had a glow about it as it hovered between the filing cabinet and the Palm plant in the pink pot. Most of them have at least some features, the residue of the person they were, but this one had no face, no arms, nothing. Just a big glob of faintly glowing white-blueish mist. Then it spoke.

"What now?"

Short and to the point. I liked it already. I opened my drawer to pull out it's file, which normally materialise out of no where in there, as you need them. Oh, how I wish they would magically file themselves, but alas. This time though, there was no file. So I looked in my inbox tray. Nothing. I looked through the papers on my desk. Nothing. I began to feel a dread come over me. I'd lost a bloody essence's file. That's never happened before. I'd never even heard of it happening before. If I could have, I would have been sweating by now, but as it was I tried to act calmly in front of the client and looked through the filing cabinet. It floated over my shoulder, watching my movements as I again failed to find its file. I had to stall.

"So, where are you from?"

The essence bobbed up and down a couple of times, its confusion obvious, before it responded. "I remember a boat?"

"Really? A boat?" I asked, rummaging under my desk now in desperation, "so were you a fisher... man?"
Again the shape was silent for a time, giving me a moment to curse under my breathe when the damned file still hadn't materialised in any place I could think of. Then it glowed a little brighter and said, "I was told to come here."

None of them had ever said that before. I looked at it puzzled for a moment before asking what it meant.
"I... yes, it's coming back to me. I went to another office before this. They were very nice. They said I was to come and relieve you. That you're free to go."

For a moment I was the one who hung there, silently. With a shake of my head I gave a nervous laugh and answered, "That can't be right. There is no where to go. This is my job."

The globule moved about on the spot, like a dog shaking itself.

"No, there's another place above this one. They said, you just need to go up the stairs and turn to the right. And to not worry. I'll be taking over and will be fully trained on the job, just like you were."

I honestly felt like I was going to be sick, which considering I don't technically have a stomach anymore, is impressive. I walked to the door and opened it. There, despite never being there before, was a staircase, leading upwards, with a blazing glow at the top of it. I turned to the essence, which was beginning to take on the shape of a woman.

"Thank you. I think."

"Not a problem. Apparently you've been very good at what you do here. I hope I get to join you one day," she said.

"Yeah." I couldn't think of anything else to say. I turned to those stairs, which had a golden hue to them and took a step towards the light and a totally unexpected future.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Stories and Hens

Hello wordseekers. Sorry I've been absent for a bit - I've been a tad busy. Those of you that follow me on Twitter will have seen my mumblings about Domains and Hosts; you see I'm realising this ol' blog here just isn't going to cut it long term. But I don't want to lose anything I've posted, so the plan (at the moment) is to set up a new website, with my own domain name, and move all of this over to it. Thankfully Wordpress seems to do the job, so I suspect that will be the platform I'll be using, once I have the other stuff done. This is all a bit scary/exciting as I've never set up a website before AND I want to do as much of it myself as I can. What can I say; I'm a control freak. That, and I've noticed the most successful indie-authors out there are in total control of their own sites. I also like the idea of not being dependent on a designer or architect to make changes in the future. It's going to be a hell of a ride.

In other news I'm working on a new short-ish story that may be coming out as an e-book in the not too distant future. It depends how it turns out and what beta-readers think of it. Oh, and on me finishing it in the next few weeks. Yeah. That's probably important too. It should come in at roughly the 40,000 to 50,000 word mark, all being well. And I even know what the cover will look like. But it still involves a lot of research, mainly imagery, and if anyone would like to see some of that research as it happens, head on over to my new pininterest page. Artwork from deviantART will feature heavily, as I've been in love with that site for a long time and have always turned to it when I need inspiration (or just want to look at amazing drawings). See if you can guess what the work in progress might be about...

The other thing I'm working on is planning a hen party for a very close friend of mine. Bit daunting to be given so much responsibility, especially by someone who I; (a) don't want to piss off and (b) actually really like, so don't want to disappoint. Thankfully ideas are flowing, and hopefully I will have something sorted out soon. Now, where did I put that number for the Chippendales...?

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Sour Grapes or Solid Points?

Last week I came across author Christopher Priest's blog, specifically his post about the recent Clark awards nominations. He's a novelist and Science-Fiction writer, probably best known in the mainstream for his book The Prestige, which was turned into a very successful film staring Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman. I'll admit I'm only familiar with that latter work of his, but I know he is a well respected and admired author. Unfortunately this only confused me more when I read his comments on the Clarke awards; you see, he's not best pleased.