Archive for May, 2009
Well, today was the day I’d set for anyone who was interested in forming a Speculative Fiction Writer’s Group in Albany to meet at the Dome Cafe. One person — Tammy, who by chance had seen the notice in Angus and Robertson this very morning — turned up. So, that makes two of us to start with. I’ll persist and try and get a few more people, and assess if this idea has some promise in a few months. I really hope I (or we) can get it up and running.
It’s 2009 — many years since 2001: A Space Odyssey — and today I had my first every video call! My Dad who got a webcam for his birthday last week, called me up and we had a nice chat. Unfortunately, it was all a bit one-way as I don’t have a webcam myself!
Yesterday I investigated The Dome café in Albany, and enjoyed their Wi-Fi, a peppermint tea and a big bowl of their lovely potato wedges.
People who know me well will be amused (yet unsurprised) to learn that I absent-mindedly dipped a wedge into my peppermint tea instead of the sweet-chilli-sauce; and furthermore, I came disturbingly close to taking a sip of sweet-chilli-sauce instead of my peppermint tea!
On Sunday, we did the first climb in the Stirling Ranges this year! We did Mt Hassell, which is a relatively quick and easy one (847m according to Wikipedia). We took about an hour getting to the top, and 35 minutes back down — to be home in time for lunch (herb bread cheesies with warming tomato and capsicum soup) with friends.
We took the wombats with us, and as usual, they entertained us with their antics.
There’s Mt Toolbrunup in the background, and me with my new haircut, which was particularly awful this time
Another cover for 19 Nocturne Boulevard, for the episode Exit Strategy. Anthology shows are so much fun because it’s different every time, and now I’ve gone from science-fiction to “fairytale/noir” and landed on the “modern thriller” square on the board.
This art was not commissioned; it was my alternative to The Outpost as a sample of work. I had the idea and sketch prior to Cry Wolf, but it was actually completed afterwards. I had the concept in my head almost immediately on listening to the play, but I lacked two important elements: the D&D rulebook (which you can scarcely see anyway), and, most importantly, the D&D role-playing dice. Eventually I caught up with my brother and he loaned me the dice, and my Dad loaned me one of his old pocket-knives with more character than my own Swiss Army Knife. The blood stains I added in “post” neatly hides a rust stain.
Only the blood and the combi-van photograph are elements I had to add in. Kicking myself that I’d made life difficult for myself by not including a dummy photo in the photograph for placement and easy-resizing. Made it a 10 minute job instead of a 30 second job.
Licencing and Attribution
Went to a “Writers Workshop” on Wednesday evening at the Albany Dymocks on Wednesday afternoon, run by local author Elizabeth Newell, who recently won the BIC Australia Young Australian Writers Award for her short story Shaking off the Dust.
It was a fun, informative evening on characters and characterisation and general writing notes. Elizabeth showed us this photo and challenged us to write down who this character is, what he does, name and so on. I surprised myself by coming up with something promising. At the end, Elizabeth told us it was a picture of Joseph Stalin!
Made the first move in my attempt to start a “Speculative Fiction Writers Group” in Albany. I’d been thinking about the idea some time before we left on holiday, but shied away from doing anything as leaving the district for a month would kill any momentum stone dead. So, yesterday I printed up some notices with my contact email, and have arranged to be in The Dome on Saturday 30th of May to meet anyone who might be interested.
Nothing may come of it — my brother is a member of the KSP Writers’ Centre Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers, and he tells me that despite being in the general metropolitan area, it struggles for membership and interest. However, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained”, and I have hopes.
On Thursday evening, Sue and I went to the Circus Joseph Ashton. It’s been a long time since I’ve been to a traditional cirus (the last two times was the Cirque de Soleil who are extraordinary but very “arty” which can get tiresome after a while). It was a four-peaked big-top, pitched over grass.
Some fun clown acts (antics with a floppy raggedy-doll were hilarious; a SuperWash 3000 washing machine act which shrunk clothes and people, and a brilliant knife-throwing act that was an enormous joke — I’m being deliberately vauge here since it’s not fair to spoil the punchlines and comic dimensions of these things). There was also juggling (balls, pins, fire sticks), acrobatics, performing animals (dogs, miniature-horses, and some rather reluctant goats). And some contortion/balancing. We had traditional circus “cuisine” — hot chips and hot-dogs, although we eschewed the fairy-floss!
Anyway, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. A nice, fun evening.
Another cover for 19 Nocturne Boulevard, for the episode Cry Wolf. This was my first comissioned piece. Julie Hoverson and I discussed several ideas … but in the end I reigned in my instinct to be complicated and kept it simple.
Noir is fun to do — it’s typically characterised by a black and white (or desaturated) palette, possibly with some colours (commonly red) made striking or vivid in constrast. Noir also emphasises the play of light and shadow. The bars cast by vertical blinds is a common motif. So the mood and tone I was very clear on.
Rather than go for black and white, I’ve opted to give a slight green colour cast for two reasons: the first is that it’s “fairytale” noir, and green is a colour associated with fantasy and fairytales (witches, goblins, emerald cities etc), and also because I gave the subject green-eyes and wanted to subtly echo that.
I changed the complexion and lighting of the original photograph of Red Riding Hood, and added another cloak over the shoulder to make her a bit more “hood”y.
Reducing the Wolf to a shadow (as he is dead when the story opens) worked nicely.
Quite happy with this one.
Licencing and Attribution
I’ve been doing a few CD format covers for 19 Nocturne Boulevard. It’s an audio drama podcast anthology show of horror, fantasy and science fiction.
The first cover I did was for the episode The Outpost just as a sample. I’m doing them semi-regularly now. They’re great fun to do, and the anthology format lets me stretch myself creatively in a number of genres I like. It’s also good to work to some kind of deadline, and to try not to get hung up on getting it “perfect”, just to get it “done”.
I’m pleased most of all with the colour — the main theme of the play is gender, and while the male/female eyes shows it obviously, the pink and blue shading reinforces it subtly (as long as your culture subscribes to the “dress boys in blue, and girls in pink” cliché of course).
Licencing and Attribution
After a catastrophic server-crash (including corrupted backups), and a holiday to Tasmania (where it would have been actually useful), I’ve finally restored this blog. Yay!