Hi I have been a member for a few months now and starting to really like this site. The weekly short story comps are great as it has given me a good push to start my writing practice. I'm not a published author so it's great to know that some people like my writing - I won the weekly comps 87 and 90 and the positive feedback really is a great prize. My main focus at the moment is trying different writing styles to stretch my skills. I am saving all my stories in my blog on this site, and you'll see I'm trying to make the style of each one something very 'different'. Some of them have had a great response, some people absolutely hated them. The latter is definitely fine with me because the purpose of me writing them in an unconventional style is to try something weird/different and see how people react. Even the people who hated the stories have given great constructive feedback, which is a good thing about this forum. About me - I am 34yo, I live in Auckland (New Zealand), am married with one daughter (toddler), and work in the field of public health emergency management. When I am not writing I am studying emergency management, reading mostly non-fiction, training for triathlons and spending time with family/friends. I have always loved writing, especially science fiction as I grew up on Heinlein, Orson Scott Card, Asimov and other old-school hard science fiction. My reading/writing interests are mostly about near-future (next 50yrs) speculative fiction and the implications & consequences of social changes. My goal this year is to make a big dent in my first novel (my other goals being to spend time with daughter/wife, run my first marathon and learn the piano!) but the problem with speculative fiction is when the world changes (recession/Middle East protests/earthquakes/etc) a lot of your near-future world building goes back to the drawing board. While I mull over what my first novel idea will be (yes, that sentence is intentionally double-edged), I'll be logging onto this site, trying for fame and glory in the weekly short story comps and trying to be as helpful for others in the forums as y'all have been for me in the short time I've been here.