On Awards and validation

Lego Buruu approves this award.

Hello droogies!

It’s been an ice age since I posted, I know. I’m shit, I know. Shaddap.

Life’s been busier than a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs, as someone’s old granpappy used to no doubt say. In the last month, we’ve sold our old house, moved into a new house (moving blows serious goat), I’ve completed story edits on ENDSINGER, handed in my short for SLASHER GIRLS AND MONSTER BOYS and gotten about 90% of the way through story edits on ILLUMINAE.  So yeah, busy. But, my new study has an actual fireplace in it. All I need is one of those chesterfield lounges and a smoking jacket with patches on the elbows. And maybe some kind of pipe.

ANYWAY

I had some very good news last week which I should share: I am now officially an award-winning Sci-Fi/Fantasy author. Exclamation mark!

STORMDANCER got short-listed for a few cool awards, but never quite got past the finish line. However, I’m chuffed to report my novella THE LAST STORMDANCER won the 2013 Aurealis Award for best Fantasy Short Fiction. Which was very flattering and humbling and cool. Sadly, I wasn’t able to attend the show or the booze-up afterward because of the aforementioned moving house and goat blowing. Which kiiiinda sucks since I don’t get to wear a fancy suit all that often anymore, and my bride looks dynamite in evening wear. Alas.

Awards are a funny beast. It’s very nice to be nominated and even nicer to win them, but here’s the thing – I’m not sure you can let them occupy any space in your mind, or take them as any kind of validation of ability. And this is not to say I prefer the state of “not winning awards” to “winning awards”. I’m very flattered to have won. Given the choice, most artists would probably prefer the latter state of being – at least, people who rely on sales to pay their electricity bills. I am one of these, so chuffed to win, you may color me.

But you can lose or win on any given Sunday. A different jury almost certainly would’ve made a different decision. Talk to two different people, even people with common interests in genre fiction or marmoset death matches or hobo pit-fighting or whatever, chances are they’ll love and hate different elements of even the narrowest sphere. There are people out there who fucking HATE my books like poison. There are people out there who say I’m the greatest thing since time travel hover cars. Are either of them right? Both? Neither?

Dealing with a concept as nebulous as “making art”, how do you know you’re actually doing it well?

If you sell a lot of copies, does that mean you’re doing it well? Because Justin Beiber sells a lot of records and his music sounds like rhesus monkeys gargling jizz to me. 50 Shades of grey has sold more copies than any book in the history of the English language. Seriously, it’s sold more copies than the fucking bible. Lighting books on fire was a pretty popular pastime in certain parts of the world not so long ago. I’m not sure you can trust the opinions of the majority, is what I’m saying.

Awards? Again, lovely and flattering and wonderful to win them, but if awards were some kind of divining rod for quality, every show would be listing the same books, right? And one need only listen for a second to the latest shitstorm surrounding the Hugo shortlistings to get a glimpse of how far away from that sunny day we might be.

So again, very flattering to have won. It’s very nice, me ma and da were proud, and the trophy looks awesome next to my Stormdancer lego. Would like to continue winning them, if at all possible.

I guess I’m just saying this:

If you’re having fun making your art, you’re doing it well.

If it makes you feel better as a person, you’re doing it well.

If it gives you a reason to get up in the morning, you’re doing it well.

Everything else is just a bonus.

Thank you to all the judges, committee members and everyone involved with the Aurealis awards! And happy easter all!


Awards! (again!)

it's the first annual Montgomery Burns awards for... outstanding achievement... in the field of... excellence.

.Quick

Quicker than a promnight BJ post this week, because it’s 2.00am and since quitting my dayjob I’ve been slowly degenerating into some kind of twisted nocturnoid who only rises when the hated daystar had sunk below the WorldEdge.

It’s weird. I think if I let myself, I’d sleep all day and stay up all night. But that way lies Vitamin D deficiency and madness, so yes, basically I need to hit the Blanket Show and try and maintain some kind of regular human sleeping pattern. But, being quit of the dayjob is splendid (aside from the slow inversion of my sleeping patterns and my penchant for not putting on pants unless company is coming), thanks for asking.

My current rule is to write 3K a day, which I’m sticking to like white on rice out of some misplaced Irish Catholic Guilt. I’m still waiting like a patient little PenBitch for the final edits on ENDSINGER, and ILLUMINAE edits aren’t due for a little while yet, so to stop myself trawling Crash Course and Idea Channel vids all fkn day, I’ve started working on a new single book project to tide me over. It has talking wolves and it’s kinda fun. So there. :P

But now, to business.

Some of you might already be aware, but I wrote a novella last year called THE LAST STORMDANCER to coincide with the release of KINSLAYER. A few of you were even nice enough to pre-order a copy of KS and get yourselves a free copy of LSD (insert Bill Hicks joke here). ALTHOUGH – I’ve heard a couple of people didn’t get their copy in which case, shoot me an email and I’ll hook you up!

ANYWAY

THE LAST STORMDANCER has been short-listed for Best . . . (runs and checks website) BEST FANTASY SHORT FICTION at the 2014 Aurealis Awards, which are Oz’s premier genre awards. This is very cool! For folks who haven’t read LSD but want to, physical copies are a little difficult to come by nowadays. BUT, you can order it on audio book HERE.

My ILLUMINAE co-author Amie also had her first novel THESE BROKEN STARS nominated in two categories, so yay team Melbourne.

Award shows are always a bit of crap shoot, but at least this gives me an excuse to head to Canberra for the booze up. And Margo Lanagan isn’t up for any awards this year (Margo is an awesome lady and brilliant writer who clean swept Aurealis last year, winning pretty much every award she was shortlisted for, and I think even dominating a couple of categories she wasn’t listed in), so some of us mere mortals might even bring home some bacon.

Mmm. Bacon.


Illuminae News

Blog BG.

News! News, I say!

Although the exclamation points would seem to indicate I’m shouting. Whatever.

SO we get to announce some foreign rights sales on ILLUMINAE today. These announcements tend to take time, but I swear by Thor’s hammer and Odin’s Beard and Loki’s perfectly sculpted cheekbones (seriously, wtf Hiddleston) there will be more. They just take time YES I KNOW I SAID THAT ALREADY.

First, the wonderful folks at Allen and Unwin will be bringing ILLUMINAE to all our fellow Aussies, oy, oy, oy. Second, the lovely people at Novo Conceito will be publishing ILL to all our friends in Brazil oh hey that rhymes.  (I actually have no friends in Brazil, and have no idea if the Novo Conceito guys are brutal tyrants who beat their authors with willow switches but I trust both of these situations change soon – here’s hoping it’s a “no” on the brutal tyrants thing).

To friends in other nations, like I say, we hope to have more news soon.

What’s that? You haven’t heard of ILLUMINAE? You cut me, bro. Cut me deep :(

We dont’ have official jacket copy yet, but you can read a little about it here on Goodreads. And you know, add it to your TBR and tell all your friends and drive your parents/partners insane with your incessant ranting about how awesome it sounds.

K go.


What’s in a name?

Letters, of course. *ba-doom tissssssh*

- crickets -

It’s a little over 8 months until the final book of the Lotus War hits shelves. 8 months until the series that completely changed my life does it’s final twirl upon the stage and makes you all ugly cry like a 5 year old Jay when Bambi’s mother buys the farm (Spoiler for those who haven’t seen it - she doesn’t really buy a farm, that’d be silly, she’s a fkn deer how in god’s name could she operate a tractor or complain about the injustice inherent in the subsidy system).

Since STORMDANCER sold waaaaay back in January of 2010, the day to day of being me has changed a little . . . radically, and like a random Vlog Brothers video into a never ending youtube hole of Sci-Show and Crash Course, this trilogy has pretty much been the gateway drug into some seriously incredible times for me. I’ve met a ton of amazing people, had people make me songs and poems and art and got fan mail from countries I’ve never visited, had my work translated into a bunch of languages I can only say a few choice curse words in, and of course, I’ve had the singularly amazing experience of walking into a bookstore and seeing something I created siting there for all the world to see and buy and enjoy/light on fire. To everyone who’s come along for the ride – you’re 100% awesome and I’m eternally grateful.

But, all good things come to an end, as they say. D:

BUT, don’t despair – you may have seen the news about my new co-authored SciFi series, and hopefully there’ll be some MORE news soon one some solo stuff, AND we still have 8 months of reveals and giveaways and all that awesome stuff on tLW#3 to go. I’ve seen preliminary sketches for the cover, and Jason Chan has done an AMAZING job again – I realize at this stage, me saying Jason Chan has done another awesome job is like saying HOLY SHIT THE SUN CAME UP HOW DOES IT KEEP DOING THAT, but bear with me. I can’t show you anything as cool as cover sketches today, but I do have something of a reveal for you – the title for tLW#3. Now don’t scroll down to the bottom of the page until I . . . . goddamn it, I told you not to do that.

Coming up with the title for KINSLAYER was like masturbating with a cheese grater (mildly amusing, but mostly painful) but I’ve pretty much known what book 3 would be called since I started planning the trilogy – the name can actually be found in STORMDANCER if you look hard enough. A couple of you clever types have even written/tweeted/smoke-signaled me and told me you already know what the title is and YES YES YOU’RE VERY SMART HERE IS A COOKIE FLAVORED COOKIE.

Now, many of you have said KINSLAYER was a pretty dark book. Someone suggested FEELSCRUSHER should be the title for tLW#3, and while I was fully prepared to roll with it, my editor threatened to release a vid of me performing Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You”  at a dodgy karaoke bar in downtown Melbourne, and while I THOUGHT all copies of it had been destroyed, apparently not, so FEELSCRUSHER . . . no.

Instead, we have:

Blog BG

This title maybe feels a little . . . grim. And if you’ve read KINSLAYER, you just KNOW that not everybody in this story is getting out alive. Hell, maybe the bad guys win – I’m probably enough of a bastard to pull that one on you, right? So, in an attempt to alleviate any dread/foreboding/general squirtiness in your guttywuts about the fate of your favorite characters. I’ve put the title on some pictures of happy puppies and smiling children to maybe lighten things up a little.

After all, everything looks better with a cute kitten in the picture, right?

cute-baby-puppies-sleepinghd-wallpapers-cute-kittens-and-lpk9gqnc copy

Episode-20-happy-fairy-tail-10932305-1276-720 copy

Happy-Puppy-Pictures-1280x720Happy-Baby-1152x864 copy

Yeah, no.

Everyone’s going to die in this book, aren’t they? D:

ANYWAY, loots!

To celebrate the name launch, I’m gonna give away books – most book 3′s in series don’t get ARCs and tLW is no exception. BUT, I’m about nothing if not the lurve, so I’m gonna give away a signed copy of STORMDANCER and KINSLAYER instead!!!!11!1one

How to go in the running to win? Pimp my shit, damn you!

Link this article in your FB or Twitter or whatever. Make sure you tag my Facebook or Twitter page when you do it, so I know you’re pimpin’.  I hate providing sample tweets – they make me feel like I’m telling you what to say. But a sample pimp tweet might look like:

So @misterkristoff ‘s new book has a title, and it’s <insert expletive/praise here> http://misterkristoff.wordpress.com

I’ll draw a winnah at the end of February. The random number generator’s decision is final, and no arguments with the random number generator will be entered into because it’s a random number generator and it can’t do anything except randomly generate numbers so why in the hell you arguing with it, jesus…

I just like saying it, okay?

Random number generator.


Don’t quit your day job

FORCE SOLO.
So, I quit my day job this week. I’d been building up to it in my head ever since the deal on ILLUMINAE broke, but it’s still left me a little . . . bitey. I’m sitting here at 10pm, having written 3.5k of my SLASHER GIRL AND MONSTER BOYS short today, and I’m in no way able to relax. SO I’m writing a post for my poor neglected blog. The idea of forcing myself to stop is foremost in my mind. My fun muscle seems to have atrophied through disuse (that wasn’t a euphemism, minds out of the gutter people jesus).

Point is, this state of being will take some getting used to.

The job I had was a pretty cool one for a lot of years. Many chapters of the LOTUS WAR trilogy were beaten out on my lunchbreaks, ditto with ILLUMINAE. And while I wasn’t doing anything as worthy as curing cancer or as exciting as playing high stakes poker against Le Chiffre and making sweet, sweet lurve to Eva Green, I worked with nice people and the gig left me the energy to write when I got home.

But things change. In recent months I found myself with a new boss I . . . was not fond of. A very wise man once told me “life is too short to work for ass clowns”, and I found his disembodied Obiwan Kenobi-eqsue mantra (yes, this makes me Luke Skywalker, bitches) ringing in my head in recent months. And so I dropped the bomb. Pulled the pin. Choked the chicken . . . no wait that means something else doesn’t it.

It’s a strange feeling (not choking the chicken MINDS OUT OF THE GUTTER PEOPLE). I’d bet my collection of naughty French lithographs you’ve all worked for a boss you disliked at some point. Like most of you, I’d find myself fantasizing about the way I’d quit in darker hours. Generous heapings of profanity would be involved. Bodily orifices and directions where jobs could be forcibly inserted would be mentioned. The bridges I burned would light my way.

But as I was on the final run up to Q-Day, a workbuddy of mine gifted me some words of wisdom, and the need to prove anything pretty much vaporized. When I finally pulled the trigger, I was 100% polite. No profanity or mentions of bodily orifices anywhere.

Looking back a few days later, I’m kinda proud of that. Just washing my hands and waving bye-bye. And I’m not about denying you the pleasure of venting your spleen, but if any of you lovely folks are lucky enough to be able to tell the boss where they can shove it . . . I’d at least entertain the thought of refraining. If only because you’ll probably feel better for not having gone out of your way to make someone else feel bad. The boss you dislike is still going to work tomorrow, after all. And you get to sleep in for the first time since forever. Winnnnningggg.

So I’m quit. Full time author. Amazing and terrifying. Driving home from work that last day, I was wondering when the glee would kick in. I didn’t quite know how to feel. I rang my bride and told her the deed was done and the first thing she said to me was “I’m proud of you, baby.” I knew exactly how to feel, then.

Lucky.

I’ve basically been working two full time jobs for five years straight. Every lunch time, I’d sit in a meeting room and write stories about gryphons and insane artificial intelligences for an hour, then try to switch my brain back into Regular Life Mode. I’d get home from work, walk the dog, eat, hang out with my wife for a bit, then write until 2 or sometimes 3 in the morning. Saturdays, I’d write all day. Sundays, I’d do the grocery shopping, then write some more. That’s been my life for five years. And believe me I’m not complaining – I am so, SO INCREDIBLY LUCKY to be doing what I do. But jesus, it’s going to be nice to get a few hours extra sleep a night.

To everyone who has made this possible, to the awesome folks and Macmillan and Random House, all my readers, all of YOU, much, much love.

The next chapter awaits.


Awards!

it's the first annual Montgomery Burns awards for... outstanding achievement... in the field of... excellence.

.

Hello droogies,

This is the mandatory holiday blog post, posted well after the holidays are over in keeping with my “too busy to scratch himself, let alone engage in bloggery, holiday-themed or otherwise” motif, which seems to be coming along swimmingly, thanks for asking. I hope you all had a splendid break and are now shuffling miserably back to your respective work unit receptacles, counting down the days to the next public holiday. Seriously, three weeks wtfffff.

To sum up the year that was, I’m reviving an old favorite and hereby vow to make it an annual experience, presuming I’m not stricken with some terrible brain-eating parasite, inherit a vast sum of money (avast, yarrr!), or simply CBF’ed next year. Trawling through the search strings that lead some people to stumble into my louse-ridden corner of the internet is always an amusing way to kill a few brain cells, and this year was no exception.

Without further ado, it’s the almost annual

MOST FUCKED UP GOOGLE SEARCHES TO HIT MY BLOG AWARDS

The entry criteria was simple: any Google search that resulted in a visit to my blog was eligible for entry, and may the Black Goat of the Woods make mildly amusing balloon animals of my large intestine if I speak a lie, I’m not making any of these up. Screenshots can be provided on request. What you don’t trust me, that cuts me deep :(

(Dun da da dunn da da daaaaaaaaaa)

The I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS BUT IT’S STILL KINDA AWESOME award

Honorable Mentions

Knight rider world ebay pants (???)
I hate when i’m eating and a t-rex steals my chair (Me too, buddy. Me too.)
Теслапанк
Giant ass space dinosaur
Fuck the world im a unicorn (How you type so good with them hooves, bro?)
Angry squid has no time for jibba jabba (or any of your crap, dammit)

Winnah

Snape i will only drop the base once

(Once, do you hear me, Severus? ONCE! *boom**tish**boomboom*)

The DOUBLE YOU TEE EFF ARE YOU DOING ON MY BLOG award

Honorable Mentions

Angry hobo spanking homework (…what?)
Twilight moms (To the wrong place, you have come, my friend)
Doing the robot angrily
Snape obviously (Well, OBVIOUSLY)
Katie see a man and a woman standing close together at a bus stop. although they are not speaking, she perceives them to be a couple. which gestalt p… (This search string was so big it actually broke my blog’s analytics. Who the hell types that into google?)

Winnah

Sew your own pet pillows choly knight

(BEWARE THE DREAD CHOLY KNIGHT AND HIS PET PILLOWS OF DOOOOM)

The OUSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN THE FIELD OF SEXUAL DEVIANCY award

Honorable Mentions

Kili/Legolas slash (Kili is way too short for the Legster, kids, it’s never gonna happen)
Sexy story ffffffffuck new full squid ovies (WHAT)
I’m fucking a unicorn (Yes, but WHY?)
Sniffing saddle (So YOU’RE the one)
Bobies and vaguna (Yeah, luv dem vagunas, son…)

Winnah

Filmino erotico di ribar

(Apparently my agent’s assistant Lindsay Ribar has started shooting porno and no one told me WHAT THE HELL PEOPLE)

The SEARCH STRING OF THE YEAR award

Blogs about disappointment

(hahahah)

(. . . no waitaminute . . . )

D:


Best present evarrrrr

My report on the tomfoolery, shenanigans and jiggery-pokery of Brisbane and Adelaide supanova will be coming soon, but I have something too awesome to sit on a moment longer.

SO, it was my birthday last week, and my wife got me pretty much the best present anyone has got in the history of birthdays, presents and wives. I’m sure there was some Empress or Tzarina or whatever in history who gave her husband a country or harem full of nymphos or somesuch, and that’s a pretty cool present, no doubt, but I’ll say it now – those ladies have nothing on my bride.

She got me STORMDANCER LEGO.

I don’t know how she managed it. Some witchcraft and a custom lego artist were involved, I’m pretty sure. But she got me an enormous diorama made, complete with Yukiko, Buruu, the Thunder Child and OH MY FUCKING GOD THE AWESOME.

Gentleman, if there was any question about who has the best wife in the world, it’s now settled.

Pics of the awesome below.

Yukiko and Buruu

Yukiko and Buruu

Hiro and Kin

Hiro and Kin

The Kage - Kaori, Daichi and Maro

The Kage – Kaori, Daichi and Maro

The villains - Guild marine, Shogun Yoritomo, and a Lotusman

The villains – Guild marine, Shogun Yoritomo, and a Lotusman

Oni! Rawwwr

Oni! Rawwwr

The Thunderchild

The Thunderchild

Yuki and Buruu lay the smackdown on Mr Oni

Yuki and Buruu lay the smackdown on Mr Oni

The whole shebang

The whole shebang

Now is that awesome, or is that STONKINGLY AWESOME?


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