Category Archives: reading

Space Opera

I write science fiction. I’m pretty sure my sub-genre is (so far) space opera. I’m happy with that definition. I grew up reading my dad’s Lensman books and the distinctive Gollancz yellow jacketed SF which (sadly) I only have a … Continue reading

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Winston Graham: Ross Poldark: A Novel of Cornwall 1783 – 1787

I’m not sure why it’s taken me the best part of forty years and two TV dramatisations to read this book. Perhaps because it was written in the 1940s I assumed the prose style would be a little stodgy, but … 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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Ann Leckie: Ancillary Justice – For Your Reading Pleasure

Breq was a space ship, the Justice of Toren, equipped with enough power to destroy planets and enough ancillaries to invade and conquer ‘uncivilised’ worlds in Radch ‘annexations’, however now she’s just Breq, human (more or less) and alone despite … 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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Sherwood Smith – Rondo Allegro – For Your Reading Pleasure

I’ve always enjoyed reading Sherwood Smith’s fantasies, in particular the Inda sequence, and I just realised there are more books in her bibliography that I misse4d, so I can see I’m going to have to spend some time catching up. … 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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Elizabeth Chadwick: Shadows and Strongholds – For your reading pleasure

The story of Fulke (known as Brunin) FitzWarin and Hawise de Dinan from the time Brunin is taken into the de Dinan household (Ludlow Castle) as a ten year old squire, at the request of his father who wants 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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Ann Aguirre: Grimspace – for your reading pleasure

I really liked this one. Telepathy, space travel, adventure, a damaged heroine and tormented telepathic hero. What’s not to like? Sirantha Jax carries the J-gene that enables her to jump ships across space. It’s a talent that’s likely to kill … Continue reading

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In My Other Life

I have two blogs, this one and a book blog at https://jacey.dreamwidth.org/ where I blog every book I read and every movie I see in the cinema – that one’s a bit thin on movies this year, but rich on … Continue reading

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Lisa Shearin’s Raine Benares books – for your reading pleasure.

I’ll be perfectly honest, though I liked the first Raine Benares book, Magic Lost, Trouble Found I wasn’t 100% in love with it. Luckily I liked it enough to get the second book, Armed and Magical, which picks up just … Continue reading

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Scene 1 of Winterwood – author analysis

This was first written for Tiffani Angus’ blog. Tiff teaches creative writing and publishing. Story interspersed with my comments in bold italic. This first scene pretty much sprang into my mind fully formed. When I started to write I didn’t … Continue reading

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Anne Lyle: Night’s Masque Trilogy – for your reading pleasure

Published by Angry Robot, The Alchemist of Souls, Merchant of Dreams, and The Prince of Lies are the three books in Anne Lyle’s Night’s Mask Trilogy, set in Elizabethan London with (kind of) aliens. Queen Elizabeth has married, produced heirs … Continue reading

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Scott Lynch: The Lies of Locke Lamora – for your reading pleasure

Thoroughly absorbing, interesting characters who are changed by events that happen to them, great backstory, twisty plot in the front-story leading to nail-biting tension. Highly recommended. Trying not to give away too many spoilers we get to see the formation … Continue reading

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What I learned about Tallinn that I couldn’t have found out from a guidebook.

I was supposed to be going to the World Science Fiction Convention in New Zealand this year, a country I’ve never been to, even though I visited Ausralia in 2000. Australia and NZ look conveniently close when viewed on a … Continue reading

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Liz Williams: The Snake Agent – for your reading pleasure

Any book which opens with the main protagonist swinging by his heels in Hell has got my attention from page one. This grabbed me and never let me go. Det. Insp. Chen is the cop whose responsibilities include the underworld … Continue reading

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Georgette Heyer: The Toll Gate for your reading pleasure

Everyone has their favourite Heyer. This is one of mine. When Crazy Jack Staple, lately of Wellington’s army returns to civilian life after the defeat of Napoleon, he finds that there’s not much to satisfy the adrenaline junkie he’s become, … Continue reading

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Joe Abercrombie: Best Served Cold – for your reading pleasure

Joe Abercrombie never fails to disappoint. After thoroughly exhausting myself reading his First Law trilogy towards the back end of 2011 it took taken me a while to come to Best Served Cold. I anticipated reading it last year but … Continue reading

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The Rule of Three

This post first appeared on David Tallerman’s blog. As humans we look for patterns. Three is the smallest number of elements that can form a pattern. Superstition suggests that three is the magic number, or that both bad things and … Continue reading

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Boy Wizards on the Lam. Three series beginnings – for your reading pleasure

This is the first of my new alternate Tuesday reading posts, so I thought I’d dip back in time to tell you about three books that are each the first in their own well-loved series. They all owe something to … Continue reading

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Space Opera

I write science fiction. I’m pretty sure my sub-genre is space opera. I’m happy with that definition. I grew up reading my dad’s Lensman books and the distinctive Gollancz yellow jacketed SF, however I wasn’t aware of any distinction between … Continue reading

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Book Blogs

I’ve been posting writing-related blogs every other Tuesday, and I’ll continue to do that, but from now on I’m also going to do reading-related blogs on the intermediate Tuesdays. Yes, that’s right, this blog is going weekly. I blog everything … Continue reading

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Game of Thrones Revisited

Just after Game of Thrones finished, Iain Grant sent a few of us some revealing questions about Game of Thrones. I know the ending was contentious, but though I would have wished for a happier ending, I wasn’t honestly expecting … Continue reading

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The Belgian Refugees of World War One

In 2017, when Alma Alexander asked if I’d be interested in writing a story for her refugees anthology, Children of A Different Sky, I jumped at the chance. There are so many refugee crises in the world that a writer … Continue reading

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The Geography of Words

Writing science fiction and fantasy involves worldbuilding. Sometimes we take a concept, strip it right down to basics and invent a planet where the sea is pink, the sky is upside down and the dominant life form has seven tentacles … Continue reading

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Rejectomancy

I don’t write much short fiction these days unless I get an invitation to contribute to an anthology. Mostly it’s because I’m too busy writing long fiction. My novels are published by DAW in the USA. I’ve just signed a … Continue reading

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Getting Things Done – a guest post by Gail Z. Martin

I’ll admit it. I have a reputation for getting a lot done. People ask me if I sleep, or take vacations, or have down time. And the truth is that I generally log about seven hours sleep a night, take … Continue reading

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How Long is a Piece of String?

Chopping and Changing – Revisions, Cuts and Additions. How long should your story or novel be? A piece (story, novel or poem) should be as long as it needs to be – but that’s not always as long as you, … Continue reading

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How Much is Too Much History? – A guest post by David Tallerman

Though I’ve gone on to write a couple of things since, my novel To End All Wars, out last week from publisher Aethon, was my first stab at writing historical fiction.  It was a dramatic about-turn for me after years … Continue reading

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Crew Dragon Launch – 30th May 2020

I watched the SpaceX terminated launch last Wednesday 27th May, and then again the actual launch on Saturday 30th – immediately followed by watching Apollo 11, the documentary using newly unearthed film footage and audio recordings. Apollo 11 was the … Continue reading

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