So, a little news is that yesterday I submitted the manuscript of The Horseman (due out March/April next year) to my publisher. It's always wonderful to pass this milestone. Of course, there's work to come yet as edits are completed through the back end of the year, and I get started on the next project. In the meantime, here's a couple of photos from my research trip to the high country - it's a place of spectacular scenery, especially in summer.
Today in the post I got the first evidence that my third novel, Crystal Creek, isn't far off hitting the bookshelves. The advance copy is lovely - even nicer than the cover pictures I'd seen, and smells like a real book too. The official release date is 31 March, only a few weeks and just before Easter. If you're interested in pre-order, click here to see options. Also happening around Easter are two events in the Australian spec-fic calendar. Many of my readers would know that, in addition to my rural medical romance novels, I write sci-fi and fantasy short stories. This year I'm immensely honoured to have been shortlisted in two awards:
- the Ditmars (given at Swancon 40 in Perth, 2-6 April), where 'The Ghost of Hephaestus' is up for the Best Novella or Novellette.
- and the Aurealis Awards (Canberra, 11 April), where 'The Ghost of Hephaestus' is nominated for Best Fantasy Short Story, and 'Dellinger' for Best Science Fiction Short Story.
Of course, Murphy's Law says that all these exciting things are happening at the same time as another exciting thing - the addition of a little person to our family. So while I won't be attending the awards, or having a book launch this time round, I'm sure I'll be busy! I'll also be working on book four (The Horseman) in any spare moments I get. :)
A few years ago when hand-held GPS was kinda new, the ManBeast and I invested in a bright yellow Garmin. Not one with maps in it for the car, but a rugged looking outdoorsy thing. The reason? We wanted to try geocaching, a friendly sport where people hide caches, and post GPS coordinates online for other people to find them. As a keen fan of any buried treasure story, I found this awesome fun. The thrill of the chase! The highs and lows of finding (or not) the cache! And the fun times avoiding detection by muggles (non-geocachers). These days, of course, you can do it with a mobile phone.
Now, caches come in all sizes, but many are the size of an eclipse mint tin. Most caches contain simply a log-book and a few knick-knacks to swap in and out, like the stuff you get in Christmas bon-bons. But when it came to making our own caches, I had an idea for one with a difference. I called it The Travelling Epic and it began the tale of Gordo, the Magnificent. The idea was that each finder would add three sentences of Gordo's story, then move the cache to a new location and post the coordinates. The idea was that the story would grow and travel. I loved the idea. I still do.
Sadly, all has not gone smoothly for Gordo. Over my time in New Zealand, it appears the cache has disappeared. I went to the last posted coordinates last weekend to check for myself, and lo, he was not there. :( This happens. Caches get cleaned up (a cache I made called "Ripley's Cache", where finders had to solve clues based on Aliens to get the coordinates disappeared from its hiding spot) or succumb to the environment (another of my caches, "Shiver me Timbers!", which was a swap cache for foreign coins, disappeared in the 2011 flood).
However ... in the case of Gordo, it was fortunate that one of the earlier hiders sent me a type up of where the story had reached. More entries since this have been lost, but like any treasure, this is just part of the story. So, here, I give you the account of Gordo as I have it now. I'll try to get a new cache out there and circulating again. There's always more to the story :)
The Tale of Gordo, the Magnificent [a travelling geocache story]
6 February 2007 by WHITE HORSE (me) & KELVINATOR (the ManBeast)
Standing head and shoulders above other warriors, Gordo the Magnificent, blond and burly, was a king among men. On the third Sunday after Springfest, and after a long trek through the southern forest under stormy skies, he arrived at an unfamiliar precipice, yawning five strides across and deeper than what could be seen. Gordo cursed; there had been enough delays already on this errand and all ten men with him were getting edgy.
26 March 2007 by CEBIDAE
There was nothing that could be done about it tonight though, so Gordo had his men set up camp for the evening.
After a restless night contemplating his current predicament, Gordo was having breakfast in his tent when the watch reported that a dust trail was spotted on the horizon. As the camp was packed up for the trek to find a pass over the ravine, it became clear that a single rider was approaching them, fast.
11 June 2007 by WIZ & THE NAVIGATOR
He looked again, rubbing his eyes in disbelief. Never had he seen such an awesome horseman – or maybe this wasn’t a horseman at all…? Gordo woke up – realizing that the dream he had was so real – so vivid – so incredible amazing that he had trouble finding his path back into the real world – or was it …?
26 October 2007 by SUNSHINE TOLEDO
This dream had been haunting Gordo for many years as he was aware that there was no dry land around here. The forest was thick, lush and dripping with the fruits of recent rain, good soil and Spring weather. Why did he dream of deserts and dry dusty tracks across vast treeless plains?
16 November 2007 by CREW153
His mind went back to his childhood when the dreams first began. As a son of a farmer and brother to 3 older boys he had led an idyllic life of plenty in a land of prosperity. At the age of 18 this all changed.
18 August 2008 by K8’n’Co
Marauding hordes of barbarians were marching out of Dredendorf Land in the north, raping, pillaging and burning all in their path. The people of Nerengal fled before the ferocious invaders, but they would soon converge on the safe enclave of Sensursey in the Valley of Everog, the last stronghold of Gordo’s countrymen. All men of age had been summoned to defend Sensursey and as Gordo, his father and brothers stood at the fortified city walls, watching the rising dust of the approaching Dredendorflander onslaught, they knew that to defeat this juggernaut they would have to rely on their special powers.
6 August 2008 OMY130 X&S
Standing 10 abreast along the city walls, each man thought of loved ones which they may never see again. Gordo held his mighty sword high and conjured the thought of kindred spirits to make his blows fast and true…
17 December 2008 by the olly’s
all of a sudden the skies blackened, the winds roared, lightning blots blasted the earth and brought down trees around them and the heavens opened up, drenching Gordo and his men.
If you want to give geocaching a go, see: http://geocaching.com.au/.