Monday, 22 June 2015

Guest Post = Brian Freyermuth

Brian Small

Brian Freyermuth has had a lot of fun over the last 20 years writing video games and novels. His first game, the original Fallout, won countless awards and was featured at the Smithsonian, while his next title had him working with William Shatner, George Takei and Walter Koenig on Star Trek: Starfleet Academy. In 2012, he created a little bit of Disney history with Marv Wolfman by giving Oswald the Lucky Rabbit a voice for the first time in the game Epic Mickey 2: the Power of Two.
Creating the Sundancer series, which Brian co-authors with his wife, Juliet, has been an exhilarating process. In Demon Dance, private investigator turned novelist Nick St. James seeks help from a cranky voodoo houngan, a role-playing vampire, and Norse goddess to find out what killed his sister-in-law before it kills an innocent mother and daughter. In the sequel, Mind of the Beast, Nick races against time to find out why the Green Man keeps infecting people, animals and deities.
Brian dropped in to talk about Story - one of our favourite subjects here at Bristol Book Blog:

Friday, 19 June 2015

Next week I shall be at Archipelacon


I'll be travelling via Stockholm so expect to see some pics of the Nobel centre  and the SF Bookshop

Archipelacon looks like a fascinating Con (you can see the program here) and really looking forward to my first out of country con since Octocon in the early 2000's.

I'm on two program items - doing a talk

and moderating a panel

Which sounds like scary fun!

I may be a bit slow(er) to respond to mails and stuff until I'm back.

Friday, 12 June 2015

Interview with Ben Galley

Ben Galley is a young  author from sunny England. Ben has been writing since he was old enough to be trusted with a pencil, which, and if you know Ben personally you'll know why, was somewhere in his early teens. Now of course, he's much more responsible, and has moved from the pencil to the self-publishing world. He is the author of the epic fantasy trilogy - The Emaneska Series, as well as a comprehensive self-publishing guide Shelf Help. He has released four books to date, and doesn’t intend to stop writing any time soon.

As a proud indie author, Ben does everything by himself. He writes, edits, sketches the maps, manages tours, does the marketing... even this website was crafted by his very hands. Ben is a frequent guest speaker and lecturer on the subject of self-publishing, and is incredibly zealous about helping other authors and writers. He currently offers 1:1 sessions to other indie authors at his site Shelf Help, and is also a Guardian Masterclass tutor.

Ben is also the co-founder and director of indie-only eBook store Libiro. is a store exclusively for indie authors and self-published books. You can find it at

Aside from writing and lecturing, Ben dabbles in music, surfing, climbing, scuba-diving, rat-keeping, and apparently owns an acre of the moon. Ben can be found being loquacious and attempting to be witty on Twitter @BenGalley, or on Facebook /BenGalleyAuthor.

Ben dropped by to have a chat about his latest book, Bloodrush

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Some quick reviews

The reader over your shoulder by Robert Graves & Alan Hodge

The Reader over Your Shoulder: A Handbook…

This is ostensibly a book about English Prose style – and how to be good at it. The first couple of chapters have an interesting history of English and its usage. It then gets into “principles of clear statement” using examples from, mostly, non-fiction and the entire second half of the book is a nit picking study of several authors work, highlighting the principles in action (or, mostly inaction). As is common with some of these sort of books there is more than a hint of snobbery and a feeling that, to the author, form is more important than function. The title explains that to Graves & Hodge you are writing for a reader whose understanding should be your main goal.

Overall – A good book to have to hand when editing and to bear in mind whilst writing, but as with all such things not to be set in stone

City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett

City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett

The book opens with a courtroom scene. A man is accused of breaking a law imposed by the conquering Sayypuri on the conquered Continentals to repress any reference to the gods. The Saypuri used to be the ones oppressed by the Continentals, with their gods, but a Saypuri invents a weapon that can kill gods, and uses it, and so the situation becomes reversed. The story is set in Bulikov, the centre of the continent (and once the seat of the gods) and revolves around the investigation into the death of a history professor. Shara, our protagonist is a fully rounded character and her sidekick Sigrud is kick-ass, I also really liked the character of the female general Mulaghesh. Shara is a diplomat/spy with personal ties to the murdered professor and her investigation reveals much more than anyone bargained for. As we progress through the investigation we also explore the fascinating history of the world, the city and the gods as well as Shara and Sigrud’s personal histories. It is a lush world, lovingly detailed, that is a pleasure to explore.

The world is the real star here, although the plot clips along it’s not so groundbreaking. It’s one of those books that you read and wonder why no-one has done it before (or if they have why have you not read it). The gods bend reality so that when they are eliminated there is a “Blink” and the history of the gods is supressed by the invaders. The writing is fresh and fantasy is rarely this interesting or compelling for me. This is no stale Tolkein homage but an interesting blend of what feel like new ideas.

Overall – A hugely enjoyable fantasy

An Egyptian Journal by William Golding

An Egyptian Journal by William Golding

Golding seems to have been ‘pursuaded’ to write this book, a journey along the Nile with his wife, on a boat. He certainly spends the first chapter detailing why he could have written the book without actually visiting and then the rest of the book complaining about all and sundry. The boat is on the verge of breaking down, runs aground in one place and is staffed by people Golding feels no affinity for and finds difficult to relate to, especially since they speak amongst themselves in a language he doesn’t understand. There is an “unspeakable” problem with the toilets, his wife is very ill during the trip and the boat doesn’t travel as far and as fast as he’d like. There isn’t enough space in the cabin and little to do at night. He spends the first few chapters complaining that they can see nothing from the boat as they travel when the Nile is in ebb and they cannot, generally, see over the banks. When they do land and perform excursions in the car carried aboard, the car is always on the verge of breaking down and Golding never seems to enjoy visiting the things the locals want him to see. At one point he is feted as a visiting author and meets the literati of the local area and then complains afterwards that he gets enough of that thing at home. In short he has a thoroughly miserable time, constantly wishing he were elsewhere, which oddly makes for an entertaining read. At the end his summing up takes a few pages to basically say – “well we went there and done that and now it’s over.”

Overall – Oddly compelling contrary travelogue

The write attitude by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

The Write Attitude (WMG Writer's…

A collection of Rusch’s blog entries about how to cultivate the proper attitude as a writer. Essentially – ‘this is how I work, it gives me the results I want, you should do the same thing as me too’. Interesting insight into one writer’s work ethic & attitude but ultimately very narrow in purview.

Overall – If you like Rusch’s blog then you may enjoy this book, which does at least frame and comment on the blog entries collected.

Explore everything by Bradley Garrett

Explore Everything: Place-Hacking the City…

Part political polemic, part ethnographic study (although it is a poor one), part ‘tales of derring do’ and part biography. This book is also well produced and stuffed full of breathtaking photographs. Garrett tries to be an ethnographer of the urban exploration ‘movement’ (a very loose community exists) and his part in one of the ‘crews’. Garrett calls UrbEx ‘Place-hacking’ and it does have great similarity to computer hacking. Garrett and his fellow explorers arm themselves with cameras and scale the heights and plumb the depths of the built environment. Whilst championing the explorer’s vision of entreating people to imagine the city in a different way it also discusses the dangers (some explorers die whilst exploring) and legality (Garrett himself is arrested, as were many of the crew in a crackdown following breaking into the Mail Rail system under London).

Garrett is a writer that has the knack of making you think, and sparks the imagination, at the same time he has crafted a narrative out of several years of exploration and the relationships between the crew. The adrenaline junkie aspect, always wanting bigger, more dangerous, more illicit is dispassionately assessed and the psychology of both those that design the city and those that refuse to conform to the way the city is ‘supposed’ to be used.

Overall – Fascinating and beautifully photographed. Thought-provoking and feeds the imagination

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Guest post Mocha Pennington - Why I'm Kickstarting my book

Why I’m Kickstarting my book

I’m Mocha, author of The Angel at the Devil’s Gate, a psychological suspense, which I’m hoping to raise enough funding through Kickstarter to self-publish. My novel is about Eli Nunn, a troubled teen who is moved back to Kansas City following the aftermath of a violent drug deal. Returning to a school where his ruthless reputation still thrives, Eli encounters and instantly connects with Angel, a beautiful and mysterious black-clad orphan. Their flourishing romance begins to grow darker when Eli learns details of Angel’s chilling past. Conflicted with alarm and intrigue, Eli accepts a proposal from Angel that puts both their relationship, and lives, in danger.

 The concept to my novel materialized while watching an all-day marathon of true crime investigations on the ID channel. After watching three or four episodes, I was eager to write a novel based around a well-plotted murder, but I didn't want to the novel’s main character to be a detective who is using his expertise to solve the murder. I wanted the novel’s leads to be the murderers.

What is Kickstarter? Launched in 2009, Kickstarter is a crowd-funding site with a mission to help creative projects, like art, design and literature, come to life. Since Kickstarter has launched, the company has helped successfully fund over 200,000 projects. In 2014, 22 million dollars went into publishing projects, making them the third most funded projects on Kickstarter that year.

My favorite thing about Kickstarter is that the people who donate money to a project do not walk away empty-handed. Backers receive rewards as a “thank you” from the project’s creator. All the backers who donate to my project will receive my novel in one of its various formats. Among other rewards, I’ll be giving away bookmarks, postcards, one-on-one interviews, posters, and the upper-level backers will receive my next novel upon its completion.

Why Kickstarter? I believe Kickstarter is a perfect recourse for authors who want to self-publishing their work, but they do not have the finances to really give their novel the treatment it deserves. A lot of money goes into producing a successful self-published novel. Professional copy-editors and designers are not only expensive but they’re essential. A main factor to a self-published novel’s success is discoverability. Without your novel actually being discovered and easy to find on the market, the chances of it finding the eyes of readers are very slim. How does one make their novel visible? Promotion. Social media campaigning, Google Search Program, Press Releases and NetGalley (a book reviewing site used by publishing insiders) are among the tools that can help promote a novel and find its audience, and like copy-editors and designers, they can be expensive.

My goal is to raise $6,500 to cover all production and promotional cost as well as the cost to print my novel and to ship it along with all the rewards to my backers. If my project becomes overfunded, I plan to add more rewards for my backers, and depending on how overfunded I am, I’d love to an audio version of my novel.

My project will be live from June 1st – July 10th. If you have any questions or concerns, I’d love to hear from you. Send me a tweet @Mocha_Writer. If you’d like to learn more about my project, see a detailed outline of how I plan to use the funding or to make a pledge, drop by my Kickstarter page, you can also contact me on there.

Many thanks to Mocha & Good luck on the Kickstarter - go and check it out!

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