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Saturday, November 17, 2012


For all the latest news on my books and writing, and the world of fantasy in general, I've set up a new page, LATEST NEWS, on my gigantic website, I'm updating the LATEST NEWS page almost every day with news, reviews, events, future plans and thoughts about the world of SF, the art of storytelling and the future of books. You can subscribe via RSS or email. See you there.

My latest book, out now in Australia

Monday, June 4, 2012

First Chapter of Rebellion

The first chapter of Rebellion, Book 2 of The Tainted Realm. I'll put it on my website with better formatting shortly, but in the meantime, here it is.

Rebellion will be published in Australia in October 2012, and in the UK and US in early 2013.

Copyright © Ian Irvine, 2012.



‘Lord Rixium?’ The girl sounded desperate. ‘You gotta get up now. The enemy are coming. Coming fast.’
Rix’s right wrist throbbed abominably, and so did the back of his head. He groaned, rolled over and cracked his ear on a stone edge. His cheek and chest were numb, as if he’d been lying on ice.
‘What …?’ he mumbled. ‘Where –?’ His eyes were gummed shut and he didn’t want to open them. Didn’t want to see.
‘Chancellor’s stolen Tali and Rannilt away, to milk their healing blood.’
He recognised her voice now. A maidservant, Glynnie.
‘And Lord Tobry’s been chucked off the tower, head-first. Splat!’ said a boy’s voice from behind Rix.
‘Benn!’ Glynnie said sharply.
Rix winced. Did he have to be so matter-of-fact about it? ‘Tobe was my oldest friend.’
‘I’m sorry, Lord,’ said Glynnie.
‘How long was I out?’
‘Only five minutes, but you’re first on their death list, Lord. If we don’t go now, we’re gonna die.’
‘Don’t call me Lord, Glynnie.’
‘My parents were executed for high treason,’ he said softly. ‘House Ricinus has fallen, the palace lies in ruins and I betrayed my own mother. I am utterly dishonoured. Don’t – call – me – Lord!’
‘R-Rixium?’ She tugged at his arm, the good one.
‘That’s what my murdering mother called me. Call me Rix.’
Glynnie rubbed his eyelids with her fingertips. The sticky secretions parted to reveal a slender servant girl, seventeen years old. Tangled masses of flame-coloured hair, dark green eyes and a scatter of freckles on her nose. Rix had not yet turned twenty yet he felt a lifetime older. Foul and corrupt.
‘Get up,’ she said.
‘Give me a minute.’
They were on the top of his tower, at the rear of what remained of Palace Ricinus. From where Rix lay he could not see over the surrounding wall, and did not want to. Did not want to see the ruin a hundred-foot fall had done to his dearest friend.
A freezing wind carried the stink of burned deer meat, the forgotten skewers Glynnie had been cooking over the embers of Rix’s artist’s easel. He would never paint again. Beside the fire stood a wide-eyed boy of ten, her little brother. A metal drinking cup sat on the stone floor. Some distance away lay a bloody sword. And a small puddle of blood, already frozen over.
And a right hand, severed at the wrist.
Rix’s right hand.
Something collapsed with a thundering crash not far away, and the tower shook.
‘What was that?’ said Rix.
She ran to the wall, went up on tiptoes and looked over. ‘Enemy’s blasting down the palace towers.’
‘What about Caulderon?’
Her small head turned this way and that, surveying the great city. What was left of it.
‘There’s smoke and flame everywhere. Rix, they’re coming. Tell me what to do.’
‘Take your brother and run for your life. Don’t look back.’
‘We’ve nowhere to go, Lord.’
‘Go anywhere. It’s all the same now.’
‘Not for us. We served House Ricinus; we’re condemned with our house.’
‘As am I,’ said Rix.
‘We swore to serve you. We’re not running away.’
‘Lyf hates Herovians, especially me. He plans to put me to death. But he doesn’t know you exist.’
‘I’m not leaving you, Lord – Rix.’
Rix did not have the strength to argue. ‘What about Benn? If the Cythonians find him with me, they’ll kill him too.’
‘Not runnin’ either,’ said Benn. ‘We can’t break our sworn word, Lord.’
Unlike me, Rix thought bitterly. The servants outreach the master. ‘Ah, my head aches.’
‘That mongrel captain knocked you out,’ said Glynnie. ‘And the chancellor – he –’ Her small jaw tightened. ‘He’s a useless, evil old windbag. He’s lost Caulderon and he’s going to lose the war. No one can save us now.’
You can, Lord,’ said Benn, his eyes shining. ‘You can lead Hightspall to victory, I know it.’
‘Hush, Benn,’ said Glynnie. ‘Poor Rix has enough troubles as it is.’
But he could see the light in her eyes as well, her absolute belief in him. It was an impossible burden for a condemned man and he had to strike it down. Hightspall was lost; nothing could be done about it.
‘Benn,’ he said softly, speaking to them both. ‘I can’t lead anyone. The chancellor has destroyed my name and all Hightspall despises me –’
‘Not all, Rix,’ said Glynnie. ‘Not us. We know you can –’
‘No!’ he roared, trying to get up but crashing painfully onto his knees. ‘I don’t even believe in myself. No army would follow me.’
Benn’s face crumpled. ‘But, Lord –’
‘Shhh, Benn,’ said Glynnie hastily. ‘Let me help you up, Lord.’
She was stronger than she looked, but Rix was a huge man and it was a struggle for her to raise him to his feet. The moment he stood upright it felt as though his head was going to crack open. Through a haze of pain and dizziness he heard someone shouting orders.
‘Search the rear towers next.’ The man had a heavy Cythonian accent.
‘Where are we going, Rix?’ said Glynnie.
He swayed. She steadied him.
‘Don’t know.’ He looked around. ‘I need Maloch. It’s enchanted to protect me.’
That was ironic. A command spell cast on Rix when he was a boy of ten had left him with a deep-seated fear of magery, and recent events had proven his fear to be justified.
‘Didn’t do a very good job,’ she sniffed. ‘Benn, get Rix’s sword. And … and bring his hand.’
‘His hand?’ Benn said in a squeaky voice. ‘But – it’s all bloody … and dead …’
‘I’m not leaving it for the crows to peck. Fetch the cup, too.’
Benn handed the ancient, wire-handled sword to Rix, who sheathed it left-handed. The roof door stood open. Glynnie helped him through it and onto the steep stair that wound down his tower. Rix swayed, threw out his right arm to steady himself and his bloody stump cracked against the wall.
‘Sorry, Lord,’ whispered Glynnie. ‘I’ll be more careful.’
‘Stop apologising. It’s not your damn fault.’ Rix pulled away from her. ‘I’ve got to stand on my own feet. It’s only a hand. Plenty of people have survived worse.’
‘Yes, Lord.’
But few men had lost more than Rix. He’d been heir to the biggest fortune in the land, and now he had nothing. His family had been one of the noblest – for a few moments, House Ricinus had even been a member of the First Circle, the founding families of Hightspall. Then the chancellor, out of malice, had torn it all down.
Rix’s parents had been hung from the front gates of the palace, then ritually disembowelled for high treason and murder, and everything they owned had been confiscated. Now, not even the most debased beggar or street girl was lower than the sole surviving member of House Ricinus.
Rix had also been physically perfect – tall, handsome, immensely strong, yet dextrous and fleet – and accomplished. Not just a brilliant swordsman, but a masterful artist – the best of the new generation, the chancellor had said in happier times. Now Rix was maimed, tainted, useless. And soon to die, which was only right for a man so dishonourable that he had betrayed his own mother. As soon as Glynnie and Benn got away, he planned to take the only way out left to him – hurl himself at the enemy, sword in hand, and end it all.
He reached the bottom of the tower stair, ignored Glynnie’s silent offer of help and lurched into his ruined studio. When Tobry had smashed the great heatstone in Rix’s chambers the other day, and it burst asunder, it had brought down several of the palace walls. There were cracks in the walls and part of the ceiling had fallen. The scattered paints, brushes and canvases were coated in grey dust. He crunched across chunks of plaster, stolidly looking ahead. He yearned for the solace of his art but had to put it behind him. Forever.
‘Where we going, Lord?’ Glynnie repeated.
‘How the hell would I know?’
Not far away, sledge hammers thudded against stone and axes rang on timber. The Cythonians were breaking in and they would come straight here.
‘We’re trapped,’ said Glynnie, her jaw trembling. She stretched an arm around Benn and hugged him to her. ‘They’re going to kill us, Lord.’
‘You could go out the window –’
Rix looked down. From here the drop was nearly thirty feet. If they weren’t killed outright, they’d break their legs, and in a city at war that meant the same thing. He cursed inwardly, for it left him with no choice. Glynnie and Benn were his people, all he had left, and as their former lord he had a duty to protect them. A duty that outweighed his longing for oblivion. He would devote his strength to getting them out of Caulderon, and to safety. And then …
He headed down the steps into his once-magnificent, six-sided salon, now filled with rubble, dust and smashed, charred furniture. The crashing was louder here. The enemy would soon break through. The only hope of escape, and that a feeble one, was to go underground.
‘Get warm clothing for yourself and Benn,’ he said to Glynnie. ‘And your money. Hurry!’
‘Got no money,’ said Glynnie, trembling with every hammer and axe blow. ‘We got nothing, Lord.’
‘Tobry –’ Rix choked. How was he ever going to do without Tobry? ‘Tobry brought in spare clothes for Tali. She’s nearly your size. Take them.’
She stood there, trembling. ‘Where, Lord?’
‘In the closet in my bedchamber. Run.’
He still had coin, at least. Rix filled a canvas money belt with gold and other small, precious items and buckled it on one-handed. He packed spare clothing into an oilskin bag to keep it dry, and put it, plus various other useful items, into a pack.
The crashing grew louder, closer. Glynnie filled two another oilskin bags, packed two small packs and dressed herself and Benn in such warm clothes as would fit. She strapped on a knife the length of her forearm and collected the dusty food in the salon.
‘They’re nearly through,’ she said, white-faced. ‘Where are we going, Lord?’
Benn still held Rix’s severed hand in his own small, freckled hand. His wide grey eyes were fixed on Rix’s bloody stump. Benn caught Rix’s gaze, flushed and looked away.
Rix gestured to a broad crack, low down in the wall at the back of the salon. The edges resembled bubbly melted cheese, the plaster and stonework etched away and stained in mottled greens and yellows.
He hacked away the foamy muck to reveal fresh stone, though when he flicked the clinging stuff off the knife the blade was so corroded that it snapped. He tossed it into the rubble. Benn ran back and fetched him another knife.
‘Go through,’ said Rix. ‘Don’t touch the edges.’
‘What is that stuff?’ said Benn.
‘Alkoyl. Mad Wil squirted it around the crack to stop us following him.’
‘What’s alkoyl?’
‘An alchymical fluid, the most dangerous in the world. Dissolves anything. Even stone, even metal – even the flesh of a ten-year-old boy.’ Rix took Benn’s free hand and helped him though.
‘We’ll need a lantern,’ said Glynnie.
‘No, they’d track us by its smell,’ said Rix.
He handed the boy a glowstone disc, though its light was so feeble it barely illuminated his arm. Tobry, an accomplished magian, could have coaxed more light from it, but – Rix avoided the rest of the thought.
‘We’ll need more light than that,’ said Glynnie.
She bundled some pieces of wood together from a broken chair, tied them together with strips of fabric, tied on more fabric at one end and shoved it in her pack.
They went through, holding their breath. The crack snaked ever down, shortly intersecting a network of other cracks that appeared to have freshly opened, and might close again just as suddenly.
‘If they shut, they’ll squeeze the juice out of us like a turnip,’ whispered Glynnie.
Rix stopped, frowning. ‘Can you smell alkoyl?’
‘No,’ she said softly, ‘but I can smell stink-damp.’
‘That’s bad.’
Stink-damp smelled like rotten eggs. The deadly vapour seeped up from deep underground and collected in caverns, from where it was piped to the street lamps of Caulderon and the great houses, such as Palace Ricinus. Stink-damp was heavier than air, however. It settled in sumps, basements and other low places, and sometimes exploded.
I can smell alkoyl,’ said Benn.
‘Good man,’ said Rix. ‘Can you follow it?’
‘I think so.’
Benn sniffed the air and moved down the crack.
‘Why are we following alkoyl?’ said Glynnie.
‘Wil was carrying a tube of it,’ said Rix. ‘He also stole Lyf’s iron book, and if anyone can find a safe way out of here, Wil the Sump can, the little weasel.’
‘Isn’t he dangerous?’
‘Not as dangerous as I am.’
The boast was hollow. Down here, Rix’s size put him at a disadvantage, whereas Wil could hide in any crevice and reach out to a naked throat with those powerful strangler’s hands.
They squeezed down cracks so narrow that Rix could not take a full breath, under a tilted slab of stone that quivered at the touch, then through an oval stonework pipe coated with feathery mould. Dust tickled the back of Rix’s throat; he suppressed a sneeze.
After half an hour, Benn could no longer smell alkoyl.
‘Have we gone the wrong way?’ said Rix. ‘Or is Wil in hiding, waiting to strike?’
Neither Glynnie nor Benn answered. They were at the intersection of two low passages that burrowed like rat holes through native rock. Many tunnels were known to run under the palace and the ancient city of Caulderon, some dating back thousands of years to when it had been the enemy’s royal city, Lucidand; others had been forgotten long ago. Rix’s wrist, which had struck many obstacles in the dark, was oozing blood and throbbing mercilessly.
‘Lord?’ said Glynnie.
He did not have the energy to correct her. ‘Yes?’
‘I don’t think anyone’s following. Let me bandage your wrist.’
‘It hardly matters,’ he said carelessly. ‘Someone is bound to kill me before an infection could.’
‘Sit down!’ she snapped. ‘Hold out your arm.’
An angry retort sprang to his lips, but he did not utter it. He had been about to scathe Glynnie the way his late mother, Lady Ricinus, had crushed any servant with the temerity to speak back to her. Yet Rix was forsworn and a condemned man, while Glynnie had never done other than to serve as best she could. She was the worthy one; he should be serving her.
‘Not here. They can come at us four ways. We need a hiding place with an escape route.’
It took another half hour of creeping and crawling before they found somewhere safe, a vault excavated from the bedrock. It must have dated back to ancient times, judging by the stonework and the crumbling wall carvings. A second stone door stood half open on the other side, its hinges frozen with rust. To the left, water seeped from a crack into a basin carved into the wall, its overflow leaving orange streaks down the stone.
‘I don’t like this place,’ said Benn, huddling on a dusty stone bench, one of two.
‘Shh,’ said Glynnie.
In the far right corner a pile of ash was scattered with wood charcoal and pieces of burnt bone, as if someone had cooked meat there and tossed the bones on the fire afterwards.
Rix perched on the other bench and extended his wrist to Glynnie. ‘Do you know how to treat wounds?’
‘I can do everything.’ It was a statement, not a boast.
‘But you’re just – you’re a maidservant. How do you know healing?’
She pursed her lips. ‘I watch. I listen. I learn. Benn, bring the glowstone. Rix, hold this.’
Gingerly, as though she would have preferred not to touch it, she pressed Maloch’s hilt into Rix’s left hand.
‘Why?’ he said.
‘It’s supposed to protect you.’
‘Only against magery.’
She knelt in the dust before him, then took a bottle of priceless brandy from her pack, Rix’s last surviving bottle, and rinsed her hands with it. She laid a little bundle containing rags, needle and thread and scissors on her pack, poured a slug of brandy onto a piece of linen and began to clean his stump.
Rix tried not to groan. Blood began to drip from several places. By the time she finished, Glynnie was red to the elbows.
He leaned back against the wall and closed his eyes, for once content to do as he was told.
‘Hold his wrist steady, Benn,’ said Glynnie.
A pair of smaller, colder hands took hold of Rix’s lower arm. He heard Glynnie moving about but did not open his eyes. She began to tear linen into strips. Liquid gurgled and he caught a whiff of the brandy, then a chink as she set down a metal cup.
‘I could do with a drop of that,’ he murmured.
Glynnie gave a disapproving sniff. She was washing her hands again.
‘Steady now,’ she said. ‘Hold the sword. This could hurt.’
She began to spread something over his stump, an unguent that stung worse than the brandy. Rix’s fingers clenched around Maloch’s hilt.
‘Ready, Benn?’ said Glynnie.
‘Yes,’ he whispered.
Her hand steadied his wrist. There came a gentle, painful pressure on the stump. Where his fingers touched the hilt, they tingled like a nettle sting. Then Rix felt a burning pain as though she had poured brandy over his stump and set it alight. His eyes sprang open.
Glynnie had pressed his severed hand against the stump, and now the pain was running up his arm and down into his fingers. Blue were-flames flickered around the amputation then, with the most shocking pain Rix had ever experienced, the bones of his severed hand ground against his wrist bones – and seemed to fuse.
He had the good sense not to move, though he could not hold back the agony. It burst out in a bellow that sifted dust down from the roof onto them, like a million tiny drops falling through a sunbeam.
What are you doing to me?


Saturday, December 10, 2011

Kim Wilkins' Top Writing Tips

In the past 15 years Kim Wilkins has written 21 novels, including supernatural thrillers, horror, fantasy, books for young adults, books for children and, in recent years, contemporary epic romances. Her books are published in a dozen countries. She teaches at the University of Queensland in the postgraduate writing program, and at the Queensland Writer's Centre, and also mentors emerging writers, some of whom have gone on to brilliant success. 

Kim has also won a shelf full of awards including multiple Aurealis Awards for her speculative fiction, a Romantic Book of the Year award, plus awards for Teaching Excellence, Research Excellence, and Criticism/Review. Topping it off, Kim's latest book, Wildflower Hill, recently made the USA Today bestseller list, so when she talks about writing, it's a good idea to listen.

These are my top quick writing tips of all time that I think every writer should know. They represent, of course, my opinions, but I think you'll find I'm always right. ;)

  • Look to your verbs. If you read a page back and it seems lifeless and flabby, find every verb on the page and see if you can improve it. Make a point of collecting great verbs every time you read or watch a movie or have a conversation. Verbs like gasp, surge, quiver, and drench work so hard. Verbs are the muscle of a sentence, and can punch up dull writing in a moment.
  • Chillax on chapter one. Easily the most common writing problem I see is the writer trying far too hard to impress in the first few pages of a story. Many stories warm up and get fantastic after page five, but by then the publisher has already put you on the "reject" pile. Often your first chapter is so overworked that it's uncomfortable to read. My advice is to finish the book, then scrap the first chapter all together and write it again without looking at the original.
  • Don't write all your fun scenes first. Write in order. If you give a child her custard first, she's probably not going to be all that interested in her Brussels sprouts.
  • Be in a viewpoint, always. At the start of every scene make sure you know exactly whose viewpoint you are going to be in, and write the scene from inside their head. A story details a relationship between characters and events. The most impact is always achieved from describing that relationship from the inside.
  • Plan your story in advance, even if it's only loosely. It will save you so much time and heartache and, contrary to popular belief, it's actually MORE fun to do it this way. When you know that an exciting turning point is approaching, the scene and the ones around it can play out in your mind over and over as you think them through, becoming richer the more you anticipate it.
  • Most important of all: keep going. This is a tough craft, and it's an even tougher business. Dream big if you want, but your dreams can't sustain you on a day-to-day basis. The only thing that can sustain you is the work. Do it because you love it; because not to write hurts. Do it because you are mad about your story and obsessed with your characters. Don't make it another chore to fit into your busy day: make it the special place you go when your day has been rubbish. Keep going and keep going, and then keep going some more.

Thanks very much, Kim. I've made a note to work on my own flabby and under-exercised verbs. 

Kim's pictorial guide to editing: Kim's main website is here, And the Kimberley Freeman site, for Kim's epic romances, here:

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Robyn Wardlaw on Running a Fan Site

Robyn Wardlaw set up the fan site, Triune, way back in 2002, when she was 16 – well before I had my own site up and running! She has been runningTriune ever since. Who could be better qualified to talk about the challenges, the troubles and the rewards of running a fan site. 

Robyn is 25 years old and runs the Ian Irvine fan site Triune from her home in Scotland. She has a degree in Maths along with a vast array of skills and talents that people are currently refusing to pay her for.

Imagine you open up your inbox one day to find an email from one of your favourite authors. Imagine that you're not entirely surprised by this because you have, after all, been running a website about this author for over nine years – wait what, nine? – and you've had semi-regular contact with the author throughout that. Then imagine the email is a very polite invitation asking if you'd be interested in doing a guest-post on the author's own newly started blog.

If you're anything like me your response to this would be an incoherent garble of keyboard mashes followed, some very long time later, by a quiet “Yes please.”

This is not something I could have imagined happening nine years ago - come on, seriously, nine? I started my site for one reason and one reason only: because nowhere on the vast internet could I find another site devoted to Ian Irvine. I had been using the internet pretty heavily for about three years at that point, and had some use of it for a couple of years before that. Being a teenager with somewhat geekish tendencies I used it mainly as a source of information and to socialise with other geeks. A friend of mine that I met on one such discussion forum had recommended a series of books to me and I had hunted them down, devoured them, and desperately desired more. I took to Google (at least I think I was using Google at the time) and searched high and low for information on these new books.

Other than online book stores selling the books, I found all of three pages. They were all interviews that had been conducted with Ian about the time of the initial releases of the View from the Mirror books, on various book news/reviews sites. They had a complete lack of useful bits of information – more books were planned, three whole different series even – but nothing particularly recent.

This was somewhat aggravating. The internet had never before failed me in such a catastrophic manner. I couldn't believe there was not one single website out there devoted solely to the works of Ian Irvine.

I decided to do something about it.

Aside from my heroic attempts to rescue the internet from this dire lack-of-author-website predicament, my desire to make the site also probably had something to do with the fact that I'd been wanting to make a site for ages but never found a good subject matter. Finally getting to put these new found HTML skills to use, I began constructing the layout for the site. But then came the next problem – content. I didn't really know how to go about finding out the information that I wanted to put on my site. My experience of finding out information mostly consisted of Googling it, and that just got me right back where I started.

So I opened the book again, and I re-read the “About the Author” page, which I recalled had an email address in it. Scrounging up some courage I sent an email telling Ian I was making a website about the View from the Mirror series and asking for some information on his forthcoming books. Although I probably didn't use the word 'forthcoming' – I tried to check, but apparently Hotmail has taken to deleting emails from accounts that are largely inactive. [Ian: The date of that fateful email was August 17, 2002, and you're right, Robyn, you didn't. You said 'new']

To my great surprise I received a response within about a day. It had never occurred to me that I would hear back from him so soon, him being a busy famous author and all, but there it was, in my inbox, Ian telling me he'd be delighted to give me whatever information I wanted for the website. Awesome.

The first site that went up looked atrocious. I can barely remember it but I know that much. That said, it had the most up to date information of any version since then, so its key desired outcome was a success. It didn't take me long to revamp it into something less offensive to the eye, and it was at the point that I added something else: a forum. A horrible, freely hosted by someone else piece of discussion board software, but a forum all the same.

That particular version of the board probably had in total about ten registered members, and maybe about five of them posted regularly, but it was the start of a real community. I always felt we were limited by the board software and I wanted to host my own forums, but that would involve actually paying for my own web host, and I was an unemployed teenager living off of pocket money. It was almost a year before I got a job and could convince my parents to loan me the use of their credit card (since that's the only payment method the hosting companies took).

With the move to a new host, I was going all-out. No longer would this be some childishly-designed, Geocities-hosted, unprofessional array of large buttons. This thing would have its own domain name, and that's a coming of age for a website. It got a new name, it got a new look, and – yes – it got its own forums.

So was born Triune. The original layout of the site is what I would consider the alpha version of the current look (it's still essentially the same layout and colour scheme, just with some added functionality as I picked up one or two more bits of web design knowledge).  The improvements from the previous site were tremendous, and the forums provided the ideal place for the newly formed community of Ian Irvine fans to grow.

I learned something then that I've recently re-learned in Real World work: communities are hard. They require a lot of time and effort to keep them going. Mostly they have one or two key individuals that put in this time and effort, and when sufficient time and effort are put in the whole thing just looks effortless. But as soon as your life starts getting a bit busier – the very moment that you decide you just can't be bothered for a while – you come back and find it's gone.

The Triune Forums have always been like that. There are periods of high activity – usually surrounding the release of new books, but not always – and there are times when you'll be lucky to see a tumbleweed. Occasional events such as The Great Web Host Screw Up of  2008, which included three months of site-wide downtime and precipitated a change of hosts, not to mention domain names, haven't exactly help such matters.

Or alternatively the What The Hell Has Happened To My Database of 2011 (Ongoing), an issue I had hoped to have resolved before sending this off (and in fact delayed its writing somewhat – sorry Ian!). I am almost at the point where I don't know if it can be fixed, and I'm wondering if I should just start fresh. At the same time, I'm not sure exactly how much discussion forums fit in to the Ian Irvine fan community these days. He's gotten much better at it himself recently – his website is updated frequently (far more frequently than mine), he blogs often, and he's even gotten on-board with this newfangled Facebook concept.

Robyn and Ian at Worldcon, Glasgow, 2005
During the bad days it's easy to start thinking about packing it all in, letting someone else take over, maybe just shutting it down altogether. Not too long ago, after spending almost an entire day trying countless fixes for my current problems, I thought to myself “Why am I doing this?” But then you remember the good days. Making friends. Meeting Ian at WorldCon. Silly word association games. Marriage proposals based on internet-rare good grammar (and refused because that's no reason to get married). Invitations to post on Ian's blog. Yes, today is a very good day.

Imagine that all this happened to you, then go and check your emails. Maybe tomorrow will be a good day for you.

In 05, Robyn travelled right across Scotland to meet me at Worldcon in Glasgow, and kindly came to my exclusive 'reading for one' there – the most focused audience I've ever had. Thank you for that, Robyn, and for the past 9+ years of Triune.

Triune can be found at