Tuesday 26 April 2016

Guest post - Juliet McKenna

Juliet E McKenna is a British fantasy author. Her debut, The Thief's Gamble, appeared in 1999 followed by 14 further novels. She also writes diverse shorter fiction, reviews for web and print magazines, teaches and comments on book trade issues. Currently exploring new opportunities in digital publishing, she’s re-issuing her backlist in association with Wizard’s Tower Press. This week sees the ebook publication of Eastern Tide, final volume of The Aldabreshin Compass. Find out more at www.julietemckenna.com

Juliet has dropped by to talk about the women of the Aldabreshin Compass

Monday 25 April 2016

Guest Post - Martin Owton

Martin Owton is a Fantasy and Science Fiction writer represented by Ian Drury of Shiel Land Associates. He is a member of the T-Party Writers Group and Rushmoor Writers. He runs and takes part in pub quizzes and follows the fortunes of Southampton FC. In his real life job he is a scientific researcher for a major pharmaceuticals company. He is married and lives in Lightwater, Surrey.

He's dropped in to talk about what he learned whilst writing his book Exile - which is available now!


What I learned writing ‘Exile’

  1. I can write a novel length story. Before ‘Exile’ I had only written short stories, indeed ‘Exile’ was a short story that just didn’t want to stop, and I didn’t know that I could build a solid enough story arc to last 100k words complete with subplots.
  2. It is possible to leave a manuscript alone for months, come back to it and pick it up smoothly enough that no-one notices the join.
  3. Critique is good, and if more than 3 people raise the same point you need to do something about it.
  4. When you come to reread the story you can’t tell the difference between the sentence you wrote when you were really flying, and the sentence that was ground out on a night when you wrote 100 words.
  5. That your characters really do tell you what they’re going to do next. This shows that they are well-realised and you understand their motivations.
  6. That once the story is rolling I like working with readers who are into the story. I did this on ‘Exile’, sending out a finished chapter to my readers, getting their feedback and then storyboarding what would happen next. I’ve written subsequent novels without this and missed it.
  7. That a paid edit can be very valuable. I paid John Jarrold (before he took up agenting) to read ‘Exile’; he found flaws others had missed. On the basis of his comments I added two chapters which improved the manuscript greatly and taught me how to work with an editor. It was this version of the manuscript that gained me representation.

Friday 22 April 2016

Guest Post - Stephanie Burgis

Stephanie writes fun, funny MG fantasy adventures and wildly romantic historical fantasy novels for adults.
You can sign up for her newsletter for news about upcoming books and stories; you can read her blog; and you can find her on TwitterFacebook and Pinterest.
Stephanies book - Masks and Shadows“An eloquent and offbeat mix of dark fantasy, alchemy, and spycraft.”
– Faren Miller, Locus Magazine

Is available to purchase now:

Stephanie dropped by to talk about music and writing

Friday Flash

I did this quickly - on a Facebook post about the government burying bad news - 

Bad News

"What we need," said the government PR guru, "is some really bad news."

 "Bad news?" the Prime Minister said, "we've got tons of bad news!"

"No what I meant was we need to bury our bad news under worse news."

"Go on." The Prime Minister leant forward with a hawkish expression.

"Well, if a loved celebrity dies, or a boat sinks, or there's a massive fire, all the news will focus on that and we can quietly announce these policies. So let's wait for an opportune moment."

"I have a better idea," the Prime Minister said as he sat back and steepled his fingers, "let's engineer some worse news. Who would you say the proles would miss more, a pop star or a comedian?"
He picked up the black ops phone and pressed the speed dial. "Hello? We have some wet work for you..."

Tuesday 19 April 2016

Interview with Matt Duggan & review of Dystopia 38:10

Matt Duggan is a Bristol born imagist poet, who won the prestigious erbacce prize for poetry from well over 5,000 entries worldwide. Matt has had his poems published in over sixty journals and magazines, and is involved in many other artistic projects.


Friday 15 April 2016

Interview with Kate Coe

I'm a librarian with a background in classics and law, I live with an engineer and very grumpy bearded dragon, and I fill my spare time in between writing with web design, geeky cross-stitch and DIY (which may or may not involve destroying things).

My writing swings wildly depending on what is in my head at the time, and this has led to genres including urban fiction, steampunk-style fantasy, and a series of children's stories based on a library that I used to work in. My favourite character is a sloth with a speed addiction, my best writing moment was when one of my characters fell in love and completely changed the plot, and I write because I can't imagine not doing it - and it gets the voices out of my head for five minutes...

News and thoughts on my writing can be found at www.writingandcoe.co.uk, and I'm on Twitter @writingandcoe. Come say hi!

Kate has dropped by to talk about the discoverability challenge

Saturday 9 April 2016

Review - The Redensive Epiphany of Pouty McNavel

The Redensive Epiphanies of Pouty McNavel

It was upon one of my infrequent trips to the conglomeration of buildings known only as - The Centre - where I happened upon an anonymous diary in a back street shop I have not been able to place since. This diary was written by someone obviously undergoing a psychotic break and I present the opening pages here, only in the hope that the diarist will recognise himself and get in contact; or at the very least seek the redensitive help he so obviously needs...

Thursday 7 April 2016

Review - This Census-Taker by China Mieville


China Mieville returns with yet another different book. This one a novella. It is extraordinary (being both remarkable AND unusual)

The narrator is less than reliable, in identity, in time, in tense, in age...

A boy ran down a hill path screaming. The boy was I ... He was nine years old, I think, and this was the fastest he'd ever run, and he stumbled and careered and it seemed many times as if he would fall into the rocks and gorse that surrounded the footpath, but I kept my feet and descended into the shadow of my hill.

This uncertainty in perception runs through the book. It opens with the boy telling the people in the village that his mother has killed his father, or was it that his father killed his mother? The narrative is built upon shifting sand and with each page Mieville poses a new question. But then answers each with ambiguity. This could, in lesser hands, be terribly unsatisfying but Mieville pulls it off with a flourish. It is all misdirection, all illusion, none of it is misdirection, none of it is illusion.

Why 'this' census taker? Who are the census takers and what are they taking censuses for? There are hints and prompts for supposition but there are no easy answers. I expect that this is the type of book that you have to read several times to fully experience, and that is either a masterpiece or not worth the effort - depending upon your point of view.

With well-written books you get the impression that the book is only the visible part of a larger body, like an iceberg. With this book Mieville has obfuscated the visible part and you are left with glimpses of a much larger world, through a foggy lens. It is a masterfully crafted puzzle box that ends on an acrostic. The meaning of which is just another hint, another question, another mist-shrouded viewpoint that makes you wonder, makes you question, makes you want to read it again.

A boy ran down a hill path screaming...

Overall - Mieville fans will have scooped this up, devoured it, left satisfied and yet wanting more. Non-Mieville fans can't really exist, can they?

Sunday 3 April 2016

Fight like a girl - the launch

Yesterday, in Bristol, on a quiet sunny afternoon, some fantasy elements descended upon the Hatchett pub (one of three pubs that claims to be the oldest in Bristol) in the centre.

Fight Like A Girl by Joanne Hall

It was billed as a book launch, but it was no such thing. It was a min-con hosted by the inimitable Roz Clarke and Jo Hall

There were readings - awesome ones from Lou Morgan,

Danie Ware

and Sophie E Tallis

There was a panel featuring Joanne Hall, KT Davies, Gaie Sebold and Dolly Garland mistressfully (masterfully would be the wrong word to use for this launch!) handled by Cheryl Morgan 

And if that wasn't amazing enough there was a fantastic demonstration of martial prowess by Juliet McKenna

and Fran Terminiello

ably helped by her friend Lizzie

Oh and there was food, and drink, and fans, and other local writers (too many to mention, they know who they are), and chatting about books, and the buying of books and old friends and new.

In short it was a fabulous event that sets the bar very high as far as book launches goes (gulp - got to organise one for A Tiding of Magpies!)

The Bristol Book Blog review is here: and I hope to entice some of these brilliant writers to the blog to talk about, well whatever they want to really, but hoping for tales of swords and representation and discoverability.

A big shout out to Sammy Smith who really deserved to be there, but fate intervened. Kristell Ink  have done a top job on the book. The cover is even more fantastic than we imagined (get a copy and put it under a blacklight to see why), the quality of the stories is very high and it is a very nice addition to the bookshelf (especially signed by many of the contributors - with others to be stalked and forced to scribble in it at a future date!)

Friday 1 April 2016

Guest Post - David Tallerman on short story compilations...

David Tallerman is the author of the novel Giant Thief- described by Fantasy Faction as "one of the finest débuts of 2012" - and its sequels Crown Thief and Prince Thief, all published through Angry Robot.  He has also written the Markosia graphic novel Endangered Weapon B: Mechanimal Sciencethe Tor.com novella Patchwerk, and around a hundred short stories, comic and film scripts, poems, and countless reviews and articles.  Many of these have been released in one form or another, and others are forthcoming over the next few months. This post is about the recently released The Sign in the Moonlight and Other Stories,  

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