Category Archives: fantasy

A book to beguile the tedious hours

If you follow my blog you might recall I extolled the virtues of Captain Grose’s Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue (1811) which has a glorious rundown of Georgian/Regency slang which is invaluable for those of us writing in that period. … Continue reading

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What I did on my (not quite) holiday

In May I took a week off from real life and went to the Milford Writing Retreat in North Wales. It’s held at Trigonos, a centre for conferences, courses and retreats on the edge of the Snowdonia National Park. We … Continue reading

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Behind the scenes – or – Why I did not write two new books during lockdown.

During lockdown I had the time/opportunity to write two novels. Did I do it? Of course not. Why not? I guess the reason is multi-layered and complex culminating in writerly inactivity. I didn’t exactly stop writing, but I ceased to … Continue reading

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Happy Endings or Not?

Do stories really have happy endings? They do if we choose to stop the tale at the point where the prince slips a golden ring on Cinderella’s finger, or where Beauty kisses the beast, or the princess kisses the frog … Continue reading

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What I’m reading (March 2022)

You absolutely can’t write science fiction and fantasy without knowing what’s being published. It’s always better not to reinvent the wheel unless you can make your wheel very different. Naomi Novik’s A Deadly Education begins a new trilogy about the … Continue reading

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Viewpoint

I’m in a Facebook writers’ group for writers of all levels. Someone asked what the POV (point of view) limit was on a traditionally published debut novel. The answer, of course is: there isn’t one. Sometimes you find prescriptive pieces … Continue reading

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Do You Need an Editor?

Yes, you absolutely do need an editor, but when? There’s a thread on one of the writers’ groups on Facebook as to whether you need to pay for a professional editor before you start punting your book to agents and … Continue reading

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Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy Short Stories

My favourite short SF story ever is ‘They’re Made out of Meat’ by Terry Bisson. It was published way back in 1991, but it hasn’t aged. It’s short, less than 800 words, but it perfectly encapsulates what a short story … Continue reading

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Giving it a Shove.

Word of mouth and the need for reviews. I was commiserating with an author published by a small press who said, “Small press books without a lot of push behind them don’t get noticed.” I replied: “If it’s any consolation, … Continue reading

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Ciel Pierlot Answers Six Questions

Tell us who you are in three sentences or fewer. I’m a smol disaster bisexual who likes cats and doesn’t like sunlight. I’m writing pretty much constantly, in between being a university student, being an artist, and playing a truly … Continue reading

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Does it Need a Map?

I should have asked this question earlier in the process of publishing, but I left it until the last minute. The answer from the office was, ‘No. If Sheila had thought it needed a map she would have said so.’ … Continue reading

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The Amber Crown is published today – 11th January 2022

After what seems like an age, the Amber Crown is out today. I’d already written a first draft before I sold my first book to DAW in 2013. That sale led to six books (two trilogies), so I didn’t have … Continue reading

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Countdown to The Amber Crown – One Week to Go

Only one week to go to publication of The Amber Crown, and there’s still so much to do. I’ve been writing blog posts for John Scalzi’s Big Idea, and Chuck Wendig’s blog, plus a piece for Jean Book Nerd, Paul … Continue reading

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Books Read in 2021

With the year drawing to a close, here’s my list of books read in 2021. There are 73 in total, including re-reading a couple of my own. I’d like to give a quick shout-out to T Kingfisher/Ursula Vernon, particularly for … Continue reading

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Countdown to The Amber Crown – (less than) 2 Weeks to Go

Happy New Year to all. This is my last post for 2021 and the penultimate post leading up to The Amber Crown. If you already have it on pre-order, thank you very much. If not, you can pre-order it now … Continue reading

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Countdown to The Amber Crown – Three Weeks to Go!

The Amber Crown is out on 11th January and TODAY my author copies arrived. Whoo-hoo. I have so many people to thank for this book. I only wrote it. Luckily I get the opportunity to name names in the book’s … Continue reading

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Countdown to The Amber Crown

It’s here is just four weeks! Published by DAW on 11th January 2022 my seventh book is already getting some good reviews/previews, and I’m revving up to do a blog tour. It’s available in Trade Paperback or e-edition, with the … Continue reading

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David Barnett: Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl – for your reading pleasure

Gideon Smith, son of a Whitby fisherman from Sandsend is an aficionado of the true adventures of Captain Lucian Trigger, Hero of the British Empire, so when his father’s fishing boat is found floating, abandoned, with all the crew lost, … Continue reading

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Seanan McGuire: Every Heart a Doorway – for your reading pleasure

Nancy is sent to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children because her parents can’t cope with her. They think she has a screw loose and don’t believe that she’s been through a portal into another world, a world of the … Continue reading

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Paul Cornell: Five Lychford Novellas – for your reading pleasure

I read each of these novellas as they were published. Each one stands alone, but together the five novellas make a complete story cycle. The Witches of Lychford A neat novella set in a sleepy Gloucestershire town threatened with the … Continue reading

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The Amber Crown’s First Review

Though it’s not due out until 11th January 2022, ARCs (Advance Reading Copies) are going out now, and the first review of The Amber Crown is here on Nimue Brown’s blog. It’s a very considered and thoughtful review without giving … Continue reading

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First Person Narrative – a guest post by Juliet E McKenna

Thoughts on writing a first person narrative when that person isn’t you. Early reviews for The Green Man’s Challenge are coming in, and readers are commenting favourably on the way Dan Mackmain’s character comes vividly off the page. This isn’t … Continue reading

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Random Pics from Milford 2021 to Give You a Flavour of the Week

Can’t wait to go back there. We still have places for the writing retreat in May 2022. All places for the Milford critique week in September 2022 are booked up but we operate a waiting list system. We are now … Continue reading

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The Subtle (and Unsubtle) Art of Critiquing

At the end of August I did a post about the run up to Milford. It starts next Saturday so I’m deep into reading and critiquing the 23 pieces submitted by the fifteen attendees. I’m obviously not going to comment … Continue reading

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The run up to Milford.

I’m very busy with the day job this week. I’m a music booking agent for folk-type artists from a Canadian-Cowboy bluegrassy duo called Over the Moon, to a troupe of Zulu singers and dancers from KwaZulu Natal, South Africa, called … Continue reading

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Genevieve Cogman: The Invisible Library – For your reading pleasure

This is the first in an ongoing series, and a terrific starting point. As an ex librarian I have a fondness for anything library-oriented so I wanted to like this a lot – and I did. Genevieve Cogman’s debut novel … Continue reading

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C.E Murphy: Heart of Stone – Negotiator Trilogy/Old Races Universe #1 – For your reading pleasure

Loved this.Margrit Knight, a lawyer and negotiator in New York City gets involved with a world she never knew existed when she meets Alban – a gargoyle and one of the Old Races. Someone is killing women in Central Park … Continue reading

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What Am I Working On?

C-19 Lockdown hasn’t been a very productive time for me, writing wise. When self-isolating should have given me loads more time to write, for some reason I simply couldn’t get started on anything. I’m not alone in this. Talking to … Continue reading

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Terry Pratchett: the Shepherd’s Crown – Discworld #41 – Tiffany Aching #5 – For your reading pleasure

Ah, the very last Terry Pratchett and a farewell not only to the author but to one of his most endearing characters, Granny Weatherwax who sets her affairs in order, cleans the house, weaves her own coffin and meets Death … Continue reading

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Tom Pollock: The City’s Son – Skyscraper Throne #1 – For your reading pleasure

A gritty, smelly, enthralling original which races around a hidden version of London introducing an assortment of bizarre nonhuman characters here in a supporting role from the pavement priests (living statues entombed in marble) and the street-lamp dancers (the orange … Continue reading

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Sorry I missed…

I missed last week’s blog post – mainly because I was engrossed in editing, so engrossed that Tuesday came and went without me really noticing what day it was. I’ve worked from home since 1980, so you’d think I’d have … Continue reading

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Back, Just, and Other Superfluous Words

I’ve recently finished a structural edit on a YA manuscript, involving swapping some scenes around, making changes that needed to be worked through from beginning to end. In other words a proper structural edit, not a copy edit (which will … Continue reading

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Terry Pratchett: Dodger – For Your Reading Pleasure

I’m a big fan of Pratchett’s discworld and although this book is set in London in the early years of Victoria’s reign, the feeling is very Ankh-Morporkian, or maybe that should be that Ankh Morpork is very much based on … Continue reading

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Brave New Worlds

Brave New Worlds I’ve been invited to be an anchor author in the upcoming anthology Brave New Worlds, to be published by Zombies Need Brains Press in 2022. I’m looking forward to writing a story for it, and my first … Continue reading

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Cover Reveal: The Amber Crown

At last I’m allowed to show you the cover of my upcoming book, The Amber Crown. It’s not out until 11th January 2022, but that will be here before you know it. It’s available to pre-order from Amazon and other … Continue reading

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Cory Doctorow – Little Brother – For your reading pleasure

This was up for a Best Novel in the Hugo awards and if I’d been eligible to vote that year I’d certainly have voted for it. Yes, it’s aimed at YA, but what the hell, it has Important things to … Continue reading

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Researching Historical Fantasy

The first scene of Winterwood came to me almost fully formed. I knew there was a young woman paying a deathbed visit to her estranged mother and finding that there was still no forgiveness between them. I knew the young … Continue reading

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Brent Weeks – The Way of Shadows – The Night Angel Trilogy #1 – For your reading pleasure

I discovered Tanya Huff in 2003, Lois McMaster Bujold was a couple of years after that and Patricia Briggs in 2008. Brent Weeks become my discovery of the year in 2009. His Night Angel trilogy is riveting. Having bought the … Continue reading

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What have I learned about writing?

Writing is a funny old business. Writers probably learn most by reading. You are what you read. Reading develops your ear for tight prose and snappy dialogue. Without even thinking about it, you learn about character and plot. The difficulty … Continue reading

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Kari Sperring: Living With Ghosts – For your reading pleasure

This is a gorgeous multi-layered work with a cast of characters which includes the city of Merafi – as much a part of this as are Gracielis, failed Tarnaroqui assassin-priest now courtesan and spy; Thiercelin, husband of one of the … Continue reading

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Sea Shanties, and Elizabeth Ann Scarborough’s Songkiller Saga

As a long-time folkie I watched with great amusement as the Good Morning America TV show interviewed Nathan Evans – the twenty-six year old Scottish postman whose Tiktok renditions of sea shanties seem to have sparked off their discovery by … Continue reading

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Building a Universe – Law and Order in The Psi-Tech Novels

More about the universe in which the Psi-Tech books are set. The Monitors – Galactic PolicingFormed in 2391, the Monitors are an interstellar policing force largely concerned with providing law in the space-lanes and for those newly established colonies that … Continue reading

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Patricia Briggs: Steal the Dragon – For your reading pleasure

There are no dragons in this book – well there is one, but not a significant one and it only appears on the page once, in a dream.  So having got that out of the way, this is early Briggs … Continue reading

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Building a Universe – Folding Space – The Psi-Tech Novels.

Early Space ExplorationHumans established several stations on the moon, and a joint scientific facility on Mars by 2050. At the same time commerical expeditions to mine the Kuiper Belt proved successful, and, following a twenty year scientific study, shipyards were … Continue reading

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Lois McMaster Bujold: Legacy – Sharing Knife # 2 – For your reading pleasure

The continuing adventures of Lakewalker, Dag Redwing Hickory and his ‘farmer’ wife Fawn Bluefeld, following on directly from the events in ‘Beguilement’ which ended with Dag and Fawn’s wedding at the Bluefeld farm, having more or less overcome her family’s … Continue reading

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Building a Universe – The Psi-Techs

My Psi-Tech Universe has implant-enhanced humans who have telepathy to a greater or lesser extent, combined with other psi talents. My main characters, Cara and Ben are psi-techs. Cara is a top class telepath with a side order of empathy, … Continue reading

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Lois McMaster Bujold: Beguilement – The Sharing Knife #1 – For your reading pleasure

All the reviews said: ‘Good, but not as good as Curse of Chalion,’ so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. On the whole I would agree, but to my mind it will be a very exceptional book that is … Continue reading

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Building a Universe – Power Structures and Personal Stories.

When I started to write Empire of Dust I didn’t really know much about my setting. I didn’t build my universe first and then people is and dream up stories. The people came first, and along with them a predicament. … Continue reading

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Charles Stross: The Bloodline Feud – for your reading pleasure

Charles Stross: The Family Trade – Merchant Princes #1 Two books, one story. I bought them as individual books, but they are now available in the omnibus The Bloodline Feud. Damn you, Charlie Stross! I was just getting into this … Continue reading

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Looking Both Ways – 2020 and 2021

As a year, 2020 sucked bigtime. It was not fit for purpose. If I’d paid good money for it I’d want a refund. Sure, it wasn’t too bad in January and February. The weather was miserable so I mostly stayed … Continue reading

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