Monday 30 April 2018

On being the Captain

A few thoughts today on my alter-ego cosplay identity, Captain Janeway. I appear as her often at SF conferences, comic-cons, young writers' events, Halloween parties, even home movies. Of course I like her stories on Voyager; it was a natural progression to consider how I might sew a version of her uniform jacket, and once I put it on, I began to notice that "acting the Captain" was something I really enjoyed. There's something about wearing a uniform, the collar pips, the inherent authority, that makes me stand up straighter and walk more decisively.

I suppose it feels like an outward reflection of the leadership roles I hold in real life, though these are definitely not military in nature. I ran a small publishing house for a while, steering my authors to publication and later guiding most of them in the jump to indie publishing. I still work as an editor and mentor for indies. I've long been on the committee of national writers' organisation, most of those years as president - just a title, but someone's gotta do it. Then I signed up to be the chair of next year's SF Natcon (New Zealand's 40th) and that promises to be an exciting ride. Already I'm loving seeing the team come together, people bringing their strengths in areas where I am clearly helpless.
(Go check out, by the way. More on that some other time, I'm sure.)

Anyway, all that to say, it's amazing what effect an authoritative persona can have on how I feel when I'm her. I'm not the only one to experience or consider this; let's just say I have a great deal of empathy for a certain Admiral Naismith and his search for identity.

And just for fun, and in case you haven't seen it, here's one of the home movies facilitated by the excellent and all-round fun Mitchell family in Arkansas, with help from lots of friends:

Monday 2 April 2018

Mariah's Prologues collection wins Sir Julius Vogel Award

It's my first actual award! I can still hardly believe it. Of all my books, I didn't really think about this one winning a prize - a slightly random collection of short stories that I began as background work for the Vortex of Éire series. Each story follows a character from Mariah's Dream in the weeks and months before the start of the novel, providing a little bit more of a basis for when their adventures begin. Necessarily these tales are not the full story, merely vignettes of normal life such as it was in Europe of 2078. I say Europe because although Mariah's Dream and most of the prologues take place in Ireland, there are also a few here that are set in France and one in Wales. But although the main action is saved for the novel, I have chosen significant encounters from the characters' earlier lives, things that have shaped them into the people you meet later in their chronology. How Darian got his dog, and his girlfriend. How the other dog escaped a negligent owner and became an observant wanderer in Belfast. Mariah's Da, helping people at work. Even the cyborg guards get a look-in. They're people too, after all.

 My thanks to all who voted in both rounds of the SJV. I'm more than stoked. Here you see me with Lee Murray on the night - she got hers too, of course, which should not come as a surprise to anyone. Thanks also to the organisers at SFFANZ, and congratulations to all the winners! There's a full list at this link:

Thursday 15 February 2018

A New Book Baby!

I'm a book parent again! This anthology project for SpecFicNZ is one I've had in the back of my mind for years, and I'm so pleased how it turned out. All the crazy late nights editing; all the mind-crunching typeset and publishing tasks; all the publicity collaboration; all the tiny last-minute details. It's been fabulous. Thanks to everyone who's been a part of it.

More of my thoughts on the entire process can be found here at the link below. Do check out the other contributor posts while you're there, too, by clicking on the post tag "Te Korero Ahi Ka".

You can get hold of a copy here:

Amazon Paperback and Kindle:

Other ebook sites including Apple and Kobo:

Wednesday 30 December 2015

Walk 14 - Just the usual

Today I walked the big kauri loop again. It's fast become a favourite! I figure it takes about 45 minutes to get through the ancient forest and up to the head of the coastal track; then 45 more on the coastal track itself round to Manuka boatramp; then 45 more to come home along the road. When I got to the boatramp, the tide was so high that I badly wanted a swim, even though it was overcast. Well, in I went, clothes and all. Then walked home wet, which strangely enough did not cause any issues. This walk was only 7 km but I got up to 10 for the day wandering around Takapuna Beach in the early evening with Chieanne.

Monday 28 December 2015

Walk 13 - The Whole Shebang

Today I started out towards the north and returned home from the south, taking in Glendhu, the entire coastal walk, and Kaipatiki Forest. It was a hot day, but I only had a half hour at the beginning and end to walk on sunny roads, and the rest was in the bush. 13 km. My best ever!
I also found a great map on a sign by Eskdale Road, that seems to have most of the tracks in the forest marked on it. For scale, this part of my walk took about two hours from end to end and was less than half my total distance.
Yesterday's walk was the big kauri loop once more, but with the extra block included, for a total of 8 km. I see there's a new insect-friendly garden at the northern end of the track - with swan plants and indeed some very tiny Monarch caterpillars.
On previous days, I made my minimum quota by smaller walks plus mucking around the garden and in one case by jogging on the spot during a Doctor Who marathon. It got me to 8 km without ever leaving the house!

Tuesday 22 December 2015

Walk 10 & 11: Urban Life

Yesterday I got to 5 km just by dint of wandering a few big-box stores. There was no real need, and traffic was awful getting there, but at least I got to my minimum quota. Today I visited a friend who lives about 4 km away, and that was all road walking, so it wasn't as picturesque as my usual forests and shores. At least there were glimpses of the Waitakere Ranges and the vast valleys of suburbia. She was going out afterwards and dropped me a couple of blocks from home, so I just made it to 5 km again. We'll blame the silly season, eh? But I'm itching to do a longer one again. Perhaps tomorrow.

Sunday 20 December 2015

Walk 9 - Kauri again

After a day off, I decided to repeat my last walk since it is so new to me. The deep, dark forest is very different from a lot of the other places I walk - much taller trees, more native trees and less imported types. Love it. Went the slightly shorter route by omitting the Glendhu block, so only just busted 6 km, but will likely hit 7 before the day is out.