Arizona Afterwards – Chapter 18

Chapter 18 of the Zombie novel is now live.  I’ve written that “live” thing too often to make the usual joke about the word and Zombies…

Ever been to Winslow, Arizona?  Better go soon, as I can’t offer any guarantees for its safety.  If you haven’t caught up on the novel in a while, now’s the perfect time.  If you’re a regular reader, then Thanks!  If not, don’t waste your time here, click this link instead…   Arizona Afterwards

The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror (!)

Q:  What’s even cooler than knowing there are 33 awesome stories collected in Ticonderoga Publications’ inaugural volume of The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror waiting to be upended into my brain?

A:  Being able to say that my own “Where We Go To Be Made Lighter” has been selected for inclusion!  There are also quite a few friends and inspirations in the Table of Contents, which is always a thrill.

Edited by Liz Grzyb and Talie Helene, the anthology contains 150,000 words of the best of the best, along with a review of 2010’s fantastical and horrific fiction and a list of recommended works.

In alphabetical order by author, here’s the Table of Contents:

RJ Astruc: “Johnny and Babushka”
Peter M Ball: “L’esprit de L’escalier”
Alan Baxter: “The King’s Accord”
Jenny Blackford: “Mirror”
Gitte Christensen: “A Sweet Story”
Matthew Chrulew: “Schubert By Candlelight”
Bill Congreve: “Ghia Likes Food”
Rjurik Davidson: “Lovers In Caeli-Amur”
Felicity Dowker: “After the Jump”
Dale Elvy: “Night Shift”
Jason Fischer: “The School Bus”
Dirk Flinthart: “Walker”
Bob Franklin: “Children’s Story”
Christopher Green: “Where We Go To Be Made Lighter”
Paul Haines: “High Tide At Hot Water Beach”
Lisa L. Hannett: “Soil From My Fingers”
Stephen Irwin: “Hive”
Gary Kemble: “Feast Or Famine”
Pete Kempshall: “Brave Face”
Tessa Kum: “Acception”
Martin Livings: “Home”
Maxine McArthur: “A Pearling Tale”
Kirstyn McDermott: “She Said”
Andrew McKiernan: “The Memory Of Water”
Ben Peek: “White Crocodile Jazz”
Simon Petrie: “Dark Rendezvous”
Lezli Robyn: “Anne-droid of Green Gables”
Angela Rega: “Slow Cookin’ “
Angela Slatter: “The Bone Mother”
Angela Slatter & Lisa L Hannett: “The February Dragon”
Grant Stone: “Wood”
Kaaron Warren: “That Girl”
Janeen Webb: “Manifest Destiny”

The Year’s Best should be out in June of 2011 and is, better still,  available for pre-order here. (In other news, I am totally allowing you to judge this book by its cover, since the cover is so damn awesome!)

Holiday Update

4 of the things on that list have already occurred,  Guess which ones…

School Holidays (a snapshot of the day I’m about to have)

Yes, it’s the first day of School Holidays over here, so let me just get a few things out of the way.

1.  Your child has to be between 6 and 12 years old for that activity.  No, 5 doesn’t count.  That’s why we said 6.  Because they have to be able to read and write and pour chemicals, that’s why.  For safety.  No, 5 doesn’t count.  Neither does 4.

2.  The bathrooms (they say toilets here, which I will never get used to) are across the foyer, set into the red wall.  See that white door?  That’s them.

3.  I’m sorry, guys, but we’re not allowed to have food or drink in the exhibition spaces.  No, they won’t tell you in the cafe, because A) they want to sell you food and B) they are not mind readers and probably do not know that you are incapable of functioning without coffee.

4.  Where are your parents.  Let me guess, are they among the 2/3 of the parent population I can see from where I’m standing that are using their frigging iPhones instead of interacting with their children?  Go tell them that you can’t be in here without your parents supervision, then explain to them what supervision is.  maybe have them look it up.  I’m sure there’s an app for that.

5.  I’m sorry, the Planetarium/Lightning Room show has already started, and we can’t let people in once it has begun.  No, unfortunately we can’t offer refunds either.  Where does it say that?  See on your ticket how it says ‘No Late Entry’ and ‘Refunds Will Not Be Granted’.  There.

6.  Perhaps you thought we closed at 5, but that doesn’t make it a fact.  We close at 4:30.  You clearly also ‘thought’, if I may be so bold to presume you capable of thinking something through, that instead of calling us, emailing us or checking the website to see when we closed, you’d just show up at 4:21 and hope for the best.  Good plan.

7.  Ma’am?  Are you with this little one?  I’m sorry, but she’s got to keep her shoes on while she’s in the Museum?  Because we’re still trying to pretend we live in a 1st World country, that’s why.  Maybe you and you clan wander around Kmart without shoes and without shirts, yelling across the store at each other when you get into a disagreement about which type of motor oil to be buying, but you’ve got to keep your shoes on in here.

8.  I’m sorry, Sir, we don’t have baby nappies that you can borrow.  No, we don’t have prams you can rent.  No, there isn’t a shuttle from the Museum to the Train Station.  No, we don’t have extra shoes or hats.  Did you know you were leaving the house today, or did you just wake up and discover some trans-dimensional portal had deposited you at a Science Museum?

9.  I’m sorry guys, you still can’t eat in here.  For the same reasons as before.

10.  You got a parking ticket because you parked on the grass.  After you jumped the curb.  And you blocked in three other cars.  And it looks like you might have scraped the building, a little, while you were at it.  No, the Museum won’t pay for your ticket.  No, the Museum won’t pay for the damage.  No, we don’t have spare shoes.

Lessons from 13 weeks of Zombies

Arizona Afterwards, my online Zombie novel, has been going for 13 weeks.  In honor of the moment, here are the 13 most important things I’ve learned since Chapter 1.

13.  WordPress is good for a lot of things.  Heaps, I’d say, but God help you if you want it to do something it might not be “meant” to do, because then you find yourself lost amidst an ocean widgets and addons and poorly worded forum advice.

12.  Visitors to a blog will wax and wane.  For some reason, Tuesday (Monday in the States) is the most popular day for people to read AA.  Dunno why…  Maybe work’s not as much fun as me?

11.  The Walking Dead is a good thing to watch a couple of times, even though I think they’ve got some work to do to come close to the graphic novel.  The CDC?  Really?  Sigh.  Test Subject 19 turns out to be the person every viewer guessed it was once the sob story started?  Double sigh.

10.  The Pumping Station is STILL a good place to write ~2,000 words in an hour.  Thank you, customers who never walk across the field to the red brick building!

9.  Returning to work isn’t all that bad, mainly because of the aforementioned Pumping Station.  🙂

8.  When writing a Zombie novel and trying to break a bunch of rules, the phrase “My Elves are Different” will echo around in your head for a really long time.  Maybe forever.

7.  Saturday night’s alright for fighting (at least in 2011)

6.  Planning is important.  As much as I once disliked outlines, firmly believing that things should evolve “organically”, I have since discovered that most of MY stories longer than, say, 6,000 words, organically want to be a big pile of crap.

5.  The twitter name ZombieNovelist wasn’t taken.  It is now.  🙂

4.  The head of the Old Trails Museum of Winslow, Arizona gets a little antsy when you email her a bunch of research questions about their bank vault.

3.  However, once she discovers it’s for a Zombie novel, she was more than happy to help (and very informative)!  Thanks, Ann-Mary!

2.  Having a deadline that rears its ugly head week after week is a very good thing.  A Novel every year is a very do-able thing, and a hell of a lot of fun besides.

1.  My wife is awesome.  She edits, she web-site-administrates, she slices and dices.

A review with two words that I am very happy to see together

The good denizens of Scary Minds have reviewed Midnight Echo #5, and amongst a few people I am proud (but unsurprised) to see have been well-received, I find my name mentioned.  Here’s the quote… “And Christopher Green’s simply excellent Letters Of Love From The Once And Newly Dead, that blew away the AHWA Short Story judging panel in 2010. Issue Five is worth an investment on Green’s entirely unique take on the zombie yarn alone.”

Yep.  That’s right.  They used the words “unique” and “zombie” about my story in the same sentence.  I swoon!  Go buy Midnight Echo here, available in electronic or print flavor. Thanks to Mark Farrugia for pointing me in the direction of the review!

The Zombies are still out there, and they’re getting closer

Which is just another way of me saying that Chapter 12 of is up.  Readership is picking up, too!  Huzzah for foolish deadlines and writing without a net!  (Without a safety net, that is.  Writing without THE net is a different thing entirely…)

Hono(u)rable Mentions

Ellen Datlow, a woman who must read more words in a week than the average person reads in a year, has put out her list of 2010’s Honorable Mentions for Horror and Dark Fantasy.  No happy stories allowed.  🙂  It’s a great list, full of friends and icons, and I’m excited to say that I’m on it too.  Twice.  “Jumbuck” from Aurealis #44 and “Linger” from Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine #46 are both on the list, which thrills me to no end.

For those of you keeping score, it’s proof that me obsessing over a story for four months, starting over eight times (Jumbuck) is just as memorable as a story that I wrote the day before a deadline once I’d finally found an idea in my head that could pass for ‘Science-fiction” (Linger) and that’s pretty awesome.  It gives me a confidence in my writing that can only come from somebody who knows what they’re talking about saying “Hey, yeah, I remember that story.”

Go me.  🙂  You can view the whole list (in two parts) here A-K and K-Z (yes, the list dares to divide up the Ks, a bold new trend I hope catches on.  Damn uppity Ks…)

The thing I keep meaning to mention

Ditmar voting closes soon.  Like now.  Stuff I’ve written this year is eligible.

In terms of voting, I’ve read some cool stories that I’ll be nominating, but would you really trust the recommendations of a guy who left a Ditmar Voting  blog post to this late in the game?  I wouldn’t.  Just vote.  Google it.  That is all…

Little Victories

So, went back to work yesterday.  Nothing makes me appreciate the Writing break I had as much as the end of it, but…  Between a quiet 45 minutes down at the Pumping Station and a 30 minute lunch break, I was able to write 1,200 words.  Good words.  Better still, when I got home and plugged them into the Arizona Afterwards chapter to which they belonged, they fit.  They worked.

And so did I.  (Today was my usual day off, which will make waking up to go to work again tomorrow feel like a sharp and shiny horror again, but oh well.)