Shotgun Linkstorm is most definitely my new band name. Anyway, dragging myself from the hibernation pod for another year I discover it's 2014. It's way too early in January to expect anything coherent so:

Super Secret Project Zeta

I will most definitely have some news on this, probably even next week. It's very exciting. To me, anyway.

The Year of Awarding Things

So yes, it's self promotion season, when we writers creep hermit crab-like from our shells and crouch on the sand waving our claws in the air until we get eaten by a seagull (1).

I'm not necessarily expecting to make enormous ripples when I cast my stones into the pond, but it's nice to note that War Master's Gate is on the eligibility list for the BFS awards 2014. Also up is my short story "Family Business" that appeared in the Alchemy Press Book of Urban Mythic. Urban Mythic itself is in the anthologies list, as is Tales of Eve that I was also in. Eligibility to vote is extended to BFS members and attendees of Fantasycon 2012 and 2014(2).

There's the BSFA and Hugo awards as well, each of which has its own body of votables, and the above works would all be eligible for those, if anyone with a vote is just sitting there thinking "Damn, I really love Tchaikovsky's writing. On an unrelated note, I have this vote just going begging and can't think of anything to do with it." Other vote-worthy items inclide the Solaris 2 anthology from waaaay back towards the start of 2013 and my story 'Feast and Famine' contained therein, seeing as some reviewers were so kind as to give it a mention.

Alan Brooks' cover for War Master's Gate deserves some recognition as well. At last Stenwold Maker!

In fact, Solaris 2 has been shortlisted for the Philip K Dick award this year which, for all I'm just one oar in the galley, is still very flattering. Crossed fingers for that one.

If you do have a vote, but are still shopping around, you could do worse than check out Adam Christopher's post here or Paul Cornell's here (and seriously, London Falling is eligible for the Hugos owing to its US publication date, and it is a damn fine book), and Emma Newman's here. Emma's got three books of her Split Worlds series out in 2013 and I would be very surprised if she doesn't net at least one award for it. And I called last year's Clarke awards, so I am obviously an infallible oracle on these matters.

Diversity Linkage (4)

Social media has recently bunged me a number of interesting links on this topic, and I want to pass a few of them on as definitely worth a read. Firstly I can recommend both Chuck Wendig and Sam Sykes on the subject of the "masculinity" of fantasy (or otherwise).

Secondly, I came across a couple of articles on the subject of cultural appropriation by writers. This is something that cuts close to the bone for me: The Tiger and the Wolf is a fantasy that I am trying to take outside the customary Medieval/renaissance Europe model, and although I am creating my setting from whole cloth, this is inevitably going to include taking inspiration from other cultures. There is a tightrope, therefore: on the one side, the War of the White Guys, on the other, well, the War of the White Guys wearing funny clothes and using the occasional odd word to show they're foreign, I guess. The articles are: The Appropriateness of Appropriation by NK Jemisin, which refers to Nisi Shawl's article here. All good food for thought.

Convention Season in 2014

Yes, this is the year I cut down. The last two years have been con-heavy, and this year… I am doing three large cons within 4 weeks, FFS. Anyway, I plan to be at:

Nine Worlds, Heathrow, 8–10 August

Loncon 3 (Worldcon), London Excel Centre, 14–18 August

Fantasycon, 5–7 September, York

Bristolcon 25 October, er, Bristol, I assume.

(1) A simile  that rather got away from me.

(2) Anyone who went to Fantasycon 2013 can suck it.(3)

(3) and was presumably rather lonely as there wasn't one.

(4) Diversity Linkage would most definitely be a Pratchettean witch if I ever got to do a Discworld homage story.

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