Monday, 21 September 2009

"The Octagon" in Jupiter 26

Jupiter magazine's Issue 26 (Isonoe) is nearly here, and features my science fiction tale "The Octagon" which takes a look at the future of reality gameshows. This is my second sale to this magazine and my fifth original short story publication for 2009. Edited by Ian Redman, the other stories in the issue include:
  • "The Space Sphinx" by Edward Rodosek follows a reporter seeking to uncover the mystery of the 'Sphinx' on a colony world.
  • "Cold Pressure" by Rosie Oliver takes us on ocean voyage over a future Earth.
  • "In the Shadows of Hemera" by Will Styler looks at future space exploration.

GenCon Australia: Day 3

Today I get to upload some images from GenCon Australia 2009. Hoperfully pictures will tell a different story of my experiences from the previous two posts.

The first is an up high shot of the traders hall, just to give some perspective on what the venue was like. Around the corners there were role-playing, board games, card games and computer game arenas, so the space was much bigger than this picture depicts.

The second photograph is of me with four of Australia's leading speculative fiction novellests, from left to right Karen Miller, Kylie Chan, Rowena Cory Daniells and Marianne De Pierres with myself tacked on at the end where we were at the Pulp Fiction Bookstore stand. All four women gave me excellent advise on the world of writing and publishing and I thank them all for their time. They were also all very popular on all the seminars they attended.

The Dark Space and Nylon Angel posters are for Marianne's books. I picked up her Dark Space novel (which she generously signed for me) and started reading it on the flight back from Brisbane to Adelaide that night and really got into it.

The next image is of me with upcoming dark fantasy author (and GenCon event organiser) Peter M. Ball who has written the excellent urban fantasy novella Horn which is selling really well from Twelfth Planet Press. I highly recommend this book and find it to be one of the most original short fiction pieces from an Australian author in years. Peter also is a very generous and cool individual.
Here are some examples of the very cool costumes people have made for GenCon, including some Star Wars outfits that look like they've come straight out of Lucusville's production studios, they are that good. I had to include an image of Boba Fett as he's one of my favorite sci-fi villians. I wish I'd taken more photographs of people dressed up, and that I could have posted others didn't come out so blury.
GenCon was lots of fun all round and I got to meet some great people, including Matt Farrer, Ryan Naylor and Donna Hanson amongst many others. Special thanks also to all the GenCon volunteer players of the Saturday night session of "The Burning Stars", which was heaps of fun to run with such a great bunch of individuals, and sorry to everyone who missed out.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

GenCon Australia: Day 2

After a good night's sleep I was back at GenCon Australia. Today was busier, with many more people and many more costumes (or CosPlay as they call it). I was on two forums leaving me plenty of time to wander the stalls, gaming areas and displays. I caught up with Ron Serdiuk of Pulp Fiction Press who also owns a very impressive science fiction, fantasy and crime bookshop in Brisbane, Pulp Fiction Books. Also meet up with Ian Houlihan, GenCon Director and Show Manager.

During my spare time Rowena Cory Daniels and I discussed role-playing games and how to becoime a profession game writer. Peter M. Ball and I talked about his novella Horn from Twelfth Planet Press, which incidentially is selling very well from what I've heard, and definitely worth a read. And I picked the brains of Marianne de Pierres, Kylie Chan and Rowena on their thoughts on agents and publishers, and strategies to get my novel picked up when it is written (yes, I'm a writer, so like all writers I'm progressing througha novel).

That evening I ran a demonstration game for several fo the GenCon volunteers of my Call of Cthulhu scenario "The Burning Stars" from Terrors from Beyond, which went down really well and lots of fun all round. I had to rush it a bit as we were working to a fixed timeline, but I got all the important clues in there, and the secret surprise when revealled went down well, even though many of the players had guessed what was going on early on.

I'll have a more detailed convention report tomorrow when I return home to Adelaide.

Saturday, 19 September 2009

GenCon Australia: Day 1

After a 4am wakeup and 6am flight from Adelaide to Brisbane, and then checking into my hotel I turned up at GenCon Australia feeling rather tired. However, excited to be there, I soon explored all the trade showrooms to be amazed at the number of gaming stores still selling role-playing games in Australia, despite my impression that the genre had been dying in Australia. Talking to store owners I soon discovered that games like Dungeons & Dragons selll well, and games like Call of Cthulhu don't, although this is not the trend in the United States. There were some Call of Cthulhu products, mostly Ken Hite's Trail of Cthulhu line from Pelgrane Press, which has excellent production values. I couldn't find any of my books, including Chaosium's most recent release, Terrors from Beyond featuring my scenario "The Burning Stars". In fact there was almost no representation of Chaosium products at all.

I'll freely admit I haven't been to a gaming convention like this one before. What first struck me was the number of people dressed as characters from their favorite science fiction and fantasy movies and television shows. I saw the Tenth Doctor, Stormtroopers (with excellent production values on their costumes), a transformer, wizards, fairies, elves and a whole host of Anime characters I couldn't even begin to identify. Star Wars characters by far were the most popular costumes, and far less Star Trek than I would have expected.

There are some impressive looking computer games, but not being a computer gamer myself, I just watched others play them (my time on the computer is spent writing).

I met several of Australia's leading speculative fiction writers including Karen Miller, Marianne De Pierres, Kylie Chan, Rowena Cory-Daneils, Peter M. Ball and Warhammer 40K author Matt Farrer, who are amongst the nicest people you could meet. I'll say that the Australian speculative fiction community is very friendly and encouraging when you get to meet them face to face. We sat on several panels talking on the business of writing speculative fiction, and attendance was much higher than I had expected.

Friday, 11 September 2009

I'm a Guest at GenCon Australia

I'm going to be a guest at GenCon Australia this year, after circumstances prevented me from attending last year. Held at the Brisbane Convention Centre 18-20 September 2009, so the event is less than a week away. Time to pack my carry-on luggage and go.

I'll be on various seminars as I've detailed below, talking about my fiction writing including The Spiraling Worm and Cthulhu's Dark Cults, my work with Albedo One and some tips on the magazine's Aeon Award for short speculative fiction with an annual price of 1,000 Euros, and on my gaming writing for the Call of Cthulhu role-playing game.

I also hope to run a couple of sessions of a demonstration Call of Cthulhu role-playing game based on a scenario I wrote. Which scenario that will be I will keep as mystery for the moment, but needless to say, it is one on this list. In between all of that I hope to catch up with people and meet a whole lot of new people. So I'll be busy, but if you are there, please say hello.


Hot Tips for Fiction Writers (Seminar Room 1, 2pm): Join Karen Miller, David Conyers, and Matt Farrer as they give away the hot tips that all aspiring writers should know.

Fights, Chase Scenes and Other Action (Seminar Room 1, 11 am): Want to know how to keep a reader on the edge of their seat? Join writers Kylie Chan, David Conyers and Marianne De Pierres as they discuss how to writer a killer action scene.


The Writer’s Journey (Seminar Room 1, 12 pm): Join Marianne De Pierres, Kylie Chan, and David Conyers as they talk about the journey from aspiring writer to published author.

Nothing to Fear but Fear Itself (Seminar Room 3, 6 pm): Want to scare your players? Join game designers David Conyers and Ryan Naylor as they discuss the techniques they use when writing for horror games.


Gaming and Writing (Seminar Room 1, 4 pm): How do you make the jump from playing games to becoming a writer? Join Matt Farrer, David Conyers, and Ryan Naylor as they talk about how they made the jump from gamer to author.

How to Make a Really Good Bad Guy (Seminar Room 1, 2 pm): What makes the perfect bad guy? Join authors Matt Farrer and David Conyers as they discuss the very best of the very worst.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Three New Reviews

Found some new reviews for three of my short stories.

For “Stomach Acid” which appeared in Cthulhu Unbound 2, Matthew T Carpenter said: “Once again we and Australia's finest, Major Peel, have been asked to do the impossible, given no choice but to risk life and limb (or other organ) and sanity at the intersection between humanity and the unknowable cosmos ... I'm a big fan of both Conyers and Sammons and I have to be grateful for what we have (feel free to expand it for the next collection, guys). Stomach Acid was a fine edition to their ongoing story arc.” Read the rest of the review here.

I found this review for “Homo Canis” from 2008 Award Winning Australian Writing in an unlikely publication, the Bellarine Times. Written by Mark Farrugia he lists my story as one of his favorites. “"Homo Canis" by David Conyers, which takes a less than conventional look at corporal punishment. This story won the Australian Horror Writers Association's Flash Fiction Competition in 2007 and is an excellent example of how an abstract idea can be entertainingly expressed under 1,000 words.” Read the rest of the review here.

The Fix gave “Black Water” from Jupiter #24 an overall positvie review with: “Conyers is pretty good at evoking his future, in particular by dropping in telling little details that hint at broader goings-on outside the frame of the narrative.” Read the rest of the review here.

I’m proud to have been published in Jupiter, as I’m find its stories to be rather good compared to other magazines that are unable to pay for stories. To its credit Jupiter gets consistently good reviews from SFRevu, SFSite, SFCrowsnest and other places. I just hope that the editor, Ian Redman, makes enough in the long run to be able to transform the magazine into a professional status publication and become the next Interzone or Albedo One.

Monday, 7 September 2009

Fun with a Digital Camera

I was given a 12.1 mega pixil digital camera for Father's Day, so you can imagine how excited I was taking photographs and videos on Sunday. On a whim I decided to snap a photograph of many of the anthologies and a few of the small-sized magazines I've been in. Sometimes it takes stacking them next to each other to see how many I've been in.

I've always been impressed by the production values of the Elder Signs Press, Permuted Press, Mortbury Press and Brimstone Press titles, which is testimount to what a few skills in graphic design and marketing can do for a publisher. That said, I'm proud of all the titles I have here, because they all look good. The only problem was that I've misplaced my copy of 2008 Award Winning Australian Writing from Melbourne Books for the line-up, because that is another impressive looking book. Others such as Jupiter or Rainfall Books don't work in the line-up because they are staple-bound.

I've also include The Spiraling Worm in the mix, as that contains five of my short storires and novellas.

My favorite cover of all the books here would still have to be the first anthology I appeared in, Horrors Beyond.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

New Short Story Sale

I've just sold a short story to Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine Issue 47, out in time for WorldCon 2010 (or AussieCon4) which will be held September 2-6, 2010 in Melbourne, Australia. The story is a short science fiction piece called "Emergency Rebuild" set on Mars. This is my second sale to Andromeda Spaceways.

Adding to this news I've been reliably informed that Scenes from the Second Storey from Morrigan Books featuring my tale "Dream Machine" will also be launched at WorldCon 2010, so two stories out at once at this major sci fi convention for Australia. This publication is the brain child of Mark S. Deniz, who always wanted to do an anthology of short stories with each tale based on the track listing of the album of the same name by God Machine, and as often happens with these things Mark decided to do two books. One features Australian authors and the other authors from the rest of the world. I guess it's pretty easy to work out which one I'm in. When I was asked to write the openning tale I couldn't turn the offer down. Finally, I'll appear in a Morrigan Books anthology (not for want of trying).

"Dream Machine" (my version) is set in Hell and in the same series as other dark fiction tales of mine that include "Cactus", "The Lord of the Law" and "Hell's Ambassador". I'm certain I was also influenced by Barry Adamson's album As Above, So Below as much as I was by Scenes from the Second Storey.