Queens Birthday Weekend 2017 saw me and the family making a road trip to Taupo, so I could attend LexiCon, New Zealand’s SFF Natcon which I had had a part in bringing about. Despite some fairly heavy personal goings-on, I managed to have a fun, productive time at the Con, helping keep things ticking over, catching up with old friends, making new ones, too many good people to even try and start naming here for fear of forgetting someone, and all that good stuff.
Sunday night also saw the SJV Awards, and I’m stoked to have jointly won another pointy trophy for Best Collected Work for At The Edge. Our humble little antho also took the SJVs for Best Professional Artwork for the cover art, and Best Short Story, for AJ Fitzwater’s stunning apocalyptic tale of disintegrating identity, Splintr. My partner in darkness, Lee Murray, also took away the Best Novel category for her sphenodon-horror Into the Mist, as well as recognition for all her hard work in the form of the SJV for Services to Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror. Congrats Lee, AJ, and all the other winners, including Octavia Cade who won the SJV for Best Novella which I was also in the running for. Couldn’t hope to lose to a nicer person.
Hot on the heels of what felt like a sweep of the Awards, the AHWA’s Greg Chapman hunted us down for an interview, which we were more than willing to provide. Because we do like getting ourselves some interview-type attention, us writers. You can read that over on the AHWA site.
But that’s not all my weekend was about. Over the month leading up to this, my paternal grandmother had been in a state of serious decline in her health, and we had been making the trek from Wellington to Hamilton to spend some time with her for the previous weekends, as well as slipping in some time during and after LexiCon. We drove home on Tuesday, and got word on Wednesday morning that she had passed away in the night. After a weekend of amazing positivity and inspiration, I was already on a good wave for making positive changes and getting things done, and while the passing of a loved one always has the potential to break one’s spirit, my Nana shuffling off her coil has served to remind me that life is short, utterly finite. This on the back of my mother recently having medical issues which saw me travelling to Australia to spend time with her and support her, and a growing sense over the past twelve months or more that I’ve been slightly overwhelmed by life, work and everything. Driving back and forth up and down our beautiful country, shimmering in its autumn glory, also gave me lots of time to actually sit and talk with my better half, something we don’t seem to get much opportunity to do in this frantic world we live in.
And it all comes crashing down home, how we only have so much time on this earth with the ones we love, and how we should always be striving for the things that make us want to be alive; the things that make us glow with passion. I haven’t been doing that a lot over the past couple of years, despite what it looks like. Many things have been getting me down and it sometimes takes a kick in the guts to get me to admit to that. So I’ll be making a few changes in the coming months. Without being financially irresponsible, I’ll be turning my attention to applying even more of my “spare time” (yes, I say that with a sad little cough and a laugh that verges on tears) to writing projects with a sound business model behind them. A determination to keep driving this thing I’ve got going on with words on the page and whip it until I can stand on its back like some demented beastmaster, thrashing sentences to do my bidding.
So yeah, some things will be changing. Because change is thrilling, and beats the snot out of slowly suffocating on the blood of your own paralysis.