Friday, 26 August 2016

The Literary Murder

It's a special kind of honour when a friend gives you a cameo in their novel, especially when they kill you off in horrible ways.

Hat's off to Edward Cox for including me in The Watcher of Dead Time - an excellent end to a fascinating series.

May I return this favour sooner rather than later ;)

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Dr Strange LEGO

I an unashamedly a fan of LEGO, having rekindled my love for it over the last five years. At some point I will even post my ye olde fantasy tavern for villains that I've been building, a haven away from those pesky do-gooder adventurers. 

The Dr Strange set was a lot of fun to build, much more interesting than many smaller sets, and the tentacle monster o'doom is fantastic. Of course I livened the scene up with a few of Dr Strange's colleagues. The story here is: Never let Deadpool play with your stuff!

Monday, 15 August 2016

Thirty Years of Rain

The Glasgow SF Writers' Circle 30th anniversary anthology is almost finished! *much excitement and celebration* We have called it Thirty years of Rain, and as anybody living in Scotland can tell you, it's an incredibly apt name.

A whole heap of work has gone into this, and some hard decisions too, and I'm so happy with how it has turned out. We have some truly amazing and wonderful, and creepily disturbing stories between the pages from well-known authors, and some old hands and up-and-comers alike.
Expect more exciting details soon! :)

I'm very happy to be returning to writing my own fiction, but I think I've learned some important things from this, not least polishing of my editorial skills, an improvement that I can hopefully apply to my own writing.

Friday, 27 May 2016

Satellite 5 - HEMA: put­ting fen­cing in­to fight s­cenes

On Sunday I will be on a panel at the Satellite 5 convention in Glasgow:

HEMA: put­ting fen­cing in­to fight s­cenes
17:30 - 18:30 in Destiny

HEMA is His­tor­ical European Mar­tial Arts. Jo an­d h­er help­er­s provide a quick tour of the weapon­s used in dif­ferent peri­od­s, with the main fo­cus be­ing on s­word­s.

Jo Thomas (M), Rob Adams, Cameron Johnston

Hope to see you there! Some of my esteemed minions will be taking photos, so after carefully eradicating the ones that make me look bad, I will post some up on here.

Monday, 4 April 2016

Satellite 5

Oh dear.

I've just volunteered to be part of a HEMA-for-writers panel at Satellite 5, a SF convention happening in Glasgow in May.

The panel on Historical European Martial Arts will be hosted by the fearsome Journeymouse, also known as Jo Thomas and my part will basically involve being stabbed, hacked, slashed and beaten up with a variety of swords (Yay for padding and masks!).

It should prove interesting! More details as they come...

Monday, 7 March 2016

Writing Resources

I've been doing this writing lark properly for a few years now and I've learned a massive amount, enough to be helpful to others. On the fantasy fiction and writing forums I frequent I encounter the same basic questions being asked again and again from less experienced writers:

-What do you think of my idea X (very cliched idea)
-I've written something - now what? this punctuation correct?
-How do I make it better? How do you edit?
-How do I find publishers/markets?

With that in mind I've decided to create a writing resources page on this site that I will update with other sites and resources of interest to people developing their writing skills. I'm hoping that some of you will find it useful.

Friday, 4 March 2016

Simple 4-in-1 chainmail

Over the last year I've been learning how to make chainmail, and steadily working away on a chain haubergeon. It's surprisingly easy....mostly.

The basics are very simple indeed. Here's how to construct European 4-in-1 maille.

You can either start with a spool of wire and construct a mandrel and cut your own rings or you can buy jump rings like I did (not having the space for such equipment, and I'm working in stainless steel to complicate things.) Sites I can recommend for supplies would be Armchair Armoury in the UK and The Ring Lord in the US/Canada.

Start with a pile of jump rings:

Taking two pairs of flat-nosed pliers, clamp them down on either side of the ring and twist to open some of the rings. I find doing strips of 10s works well for a larger project but you can do whatever length of strip you wish:

Once you have 10 open rings, get some more untouched rings and then close 22:

Put 4 closed rings through 1 open ring and then close that ring. That will serve as your starting point. Then put 2 closed rings over the other 9 open rings but do not close them just yet:

Lay that starting point out like so:

Notice that the middle ring has 4 rings though it. This is what we mean by European 4-in-1 maille, every ring should be joined to 4 others. There are many other kinds easily findable via web search, such as dragonscale maille.

Next, take one of those still-open rings with 2 closed rings on it and thread the open ends through the starting point's closed rings like so:

Flip the whole thing over and use your pliers to twist closed those open ends on the other side, then lay it back out as before.:

Rinse and repeat and soon you will have a strip of 10:

If you lay two strips side by side you will see four closed rings just ready to have an open ring threaded through (from right to left in this case, through the rightmost column's middle two rings, and then the second column's) and then the ends closed using pliers.

In this way you can easily create patches of maille ready to be joined together to make a larger item. Trust me, it's FAR easier working with small patches than adding row after row to a large, awkward and heavy shirt.
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