My Thing Flowered

Trying to be a writer has a lot in common with trying to be a gardener. You put a lot of work in, then wait weeks or months to see if something grows fruit and flowers, or gets accepted by a magazine or anthology. (Or withers and dies right in front of you. RIP 2018’s attempt at growing a passionfruit up the three storeys of my house).

I pondered on this metaphor late last year, when the lilies on the balcony produced four beautiful flowers despite little attention over spring. I wondered if this was perhaps a sign that I would sell four stories in the following year. (I sold two in 2017, so four felt like a realistic expectation for improvement.)

I never told anyone about this thought, but wouldn't you know it? I have sold four stories this year! (So far, I'm happy to exceed flowery predictions…) Only one has actually made it to print so far, but I remain optimistic...

When November rolled around, I checked on the lily pots to see their progress and I saw that my thing plant had a flower.

image 1813 from bradism.com

I like this thing. I don't know what it is, but it's been on our balcony for at least a few years after it was given to us by our friend Elliott. It's still in the original pot, and only gets occasional love from the watering can, but it always plugs away growing new fronds to replace old ones, never dying. I didn't even know it could flower!

image 1814 from bradism.com

So the question is, what prophetic sign is this? If a lily is a short story sold, is a thing-flower an agent? A manuscript request? A book deal? My first subscriber to the bradism.com mailing list?

Only 2019 will tell.


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Working Overtime

image 1812 from bradism.com

The NBA season tipped off about a month back, and I still don't know the results of a single game. Usually I have my foreign-priced League Pass account setup by now, would have fallen asleep to a couple of games each week, watched a bunch of highlights whenever time allowed.

This year I'm giving up basketball until I finish the manuscript for my third novel - Law and Odor: Cold Case.

Doing this probably isn't necessary. No doubt I'd finish that manuscript at some point anyway, but I just feel like some extra motivation might help me get it done sooner. And every NBA gif in Messenger is a handy prompt to get back to work, and not just a reminder of my separation from the sport I used to love. I read that pain and trauma is the source of many great artworks, and perhaps this could be mine.

It has nothing to do with the cost of a League Pass subscription, or Golden State being unreasonably stacked.

Re-Up

Received another dozen refills for the 207 today.

image 1746 from bradism.com

Let's see if I can beat my record of 35 months.

Celebrating Nothing

A year ago, Vanessa won a door prize at a conference. It was a bottle of Veuve Clicquot Brut. Now, I doubt Roger Federer would even wash his dog with this champagne, but to us it was the fanciest champagne bottle we'd ever owned. We stored it in the cupboard, next to the potatoes.

image 1745 from bradism.com

Then the waiting began. Waiting for the right opportunity to pop that special cork and pour that sparkling wine into the $1 IKEA champagne glasses we had left over from our self-catered wedding. What occasion would we deem worthy of these luxury bubbles? Summer came and went, as did our six year anniversary - not significant enough? I thought maybe we'd celebrate when I cracked the semi-pro spec-fic market, which I optimistically hoped would come last year. It did happen this year - out of the blue, but not for lack of trying. Sometimes you work so hard to achieve something that when it happens, you kind of don't feel anything at all.

By last weekend a year had passed. Birthdays, half-marathons, promotions all unacknowledged by Veuve Clicquot. So we decided to pop it. Not for any specific occasion. Sure, it was father's day, and it was the first weekend of spring, and the world premiere of my Winter 18 movie, but none of those reasons were why we drank. We sipped a glass of champagne for no reason. We celebrated just the fact that we could choose to spend free time on a cold yet sunny day with family and do whatever we wanted. Celebrated that we could have hope, always, that something worth celebrating might be on the horizon.
Sometimes it feels like there's pressure for events in life to linearly lead up to one shareable, social media moment. It felt better just to drink champagne with no one else watching.
It tasted nice.


Like my words? Want to buy one of my books? I think you'll like this one:

If you met yourself from the future, what would you ask your future self?
What if they wont tell you anything?

Chase: A Tomorrow Technologies Novella. Available Now for Less than a dollar!


Is This A Good Author/Bio Pic?

image 1744 from bradism.com

Yes, obviously.

Wormholes and the Woman with the Fake Tan

This week my short time-travel noir Wormholes and the Woman with the Fake Tan was published in Aurealis Magazine, Australia's longest running small-press science-fiction and fantasy magazine! This was super exciting! I have been wondering for a long time if anyone other than me (and Vanessa) liked the idea of a detective who could smell the future after a time machine fell on them.

image 1740 from bradism.com

If you'd like to read the story, you can buy a copy of Aurealis #113 here: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/888305

Yes, I know what you're going to say. Brad, $3 for an ebook!? I could buy a can of Fanta at the airport for that much! But think about it, how many of those bingeworthy TV shows that you love were inspired by books? Game of Thrones, OITNB, Dexter, the whole Marvel universe (and DC too I guess). How will we have TV shows in ten years if no one supports writing? Don't you want to see what a Bradism.com Mini-series has in store in 2031?

If $3 is too much, you can also buy my Novellete Chase on Amazon for less than a buck. (Or, if you sign up below to the bradism.com mailing list, you can get it for free. Or you could do both.)

Five Lessons from Speculate 18

Speculate was the inaugural Speculative Fiction Writers festival, held in South Melbourne on a clear, chilly autumn Saturday.

A great assortment of authors, scholars and others from the writing community shared their wisdom and experiences, too much for me to summarise in a review. Instead, I thought I'd share a single takeaway and challenge from each of the sessions:

Session 1 - The Once and Future Fantasy.

The opening session of the day spoke about the realm of fantasy, from origins to now.
On the topic of tropes, and Tolkien’s influence on the fantasy genre, the panel discussed how Tolkien’s races were inspired by his desire to create a mythology for England at the time of his writing.
Similarly, superheroes like Spiderman and Captain America were born out of cultural fears of their era, like radiation, and Nazis.
Challenge: If you feel like there are no original characters left, look at what's in the public consciousness now. What defines contemporary times? What are people afraid of? Leverage that.

 

Session 2 - The Language of Imagination.

Hair is 90% of your selfie, proclaimed a salon’s curbside chalkboard that I passed on the way to Speculate. It's also the first thing 90% of writers use to describe their characters, according to the second panel. Alison Arnold argued that the less you show of a character, the more the reader can invest with their own imagination.
Challenge: While there was debate about how much, or little, of a character's demographics and appearance should be described, the request was made to rely less on hair.

 

Session 3 - Science Fiction: The Past, the Present, and What's to Come.

image 1693 from bradism.com

The rapid pace of technological change (in contrast to the slow speed of the traditional publishing process) means speculative fiction at the time of writing might be out of date by the time it's written.
Aurealis co-editor Dirk Strasser listed some 2018 trends in the science fiction genre: Cli-Fi, social-issues space-opera, generation ships, and gender identity.
Before taking this as a challenge to cram all those plots into a single story, consider
Sean McMullen’s monologue about how all future trends had been done before, and even the ideas we think are modern were technically possible decades earlier.
Challenge: Go back to the past - the conflicts, struggles and characters of yesteryear - to find fresh inspiration for the future. Time is cyclical anyway.

 

Session 4 - Dungeons & Development: Character Under Pressure.

The post-lunch session gave me chills, because of the live string section who knew just the right moment of the roleplaying display to fade in with a long note from a violin.
The Dungeons and Dragons scenario was part narrative, part improv, and highlighted the importance of giving characters three dimensions, and the ability to make mistakes.
Challenge: Write characters strong and deep enough to mess up, and then recover. What the author knows is the wrong decision might seem like genius to the character, and stimulate new, unexpected conflict.

 

Session 5 - Setting: Colouring the Pages.

The final session. Four seated authors, illuminated under the warm spotlights of the dark theatre, spoke to setting and its importance.
Setting is non-negotiable, its the world the author delivers to the reader, and without it the tale loses its authenticness.
Alison Goodman spoke about aesthetic cohesion, that the setting should be in service of characters, to bring out the best in them, or test them in the most interesting ways.
Challenge: Identify in your work were setting and character are adjacent, but not touching. For example, instead of “It was cold,” it could be “The freezing air stung her cheeks.” Or, “the blizzard concealed her attackers from view, they circled each other, footsteps in the field disappearing under fresh powder as quick as they were spotted.”

Did I mention that Melbourne was chilly?

My Weekend In Melbourne

A mug of coffee on a table next to a notebook.

Coffee, Writing...


A man with the face of a little girl, and a little girl with the face of a man.

Family...