Category Archives: reading

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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A Moment of Stuckness

Anyone who knows me will testify that I’m not usually stuck for words. It’s not that I don’t believe in writer’s block (obviously it is a thing) it’s that I’ve rarely experienced it. However, recently I had a period where … Continue reading

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How I Got Here From There

First published on Gillian Polack’s blog in March 2020 for Women’s History Month It took me a long time to get here, possibly too long. If I’d known then, what I know now, it might not have taken so long… … Continue reading

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The New Normal

To meet or not to meet – that is the question. I’m a big advocate of critique groups. I’ve been attending the Milford Writers’ Conference since 1998 with enough regularity that eventually I’ve ended up being the secretary. Milford is … Continue reading

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Fiction Must Make More Sense Than Real Life

Fiction must make more sense than real life. I think we all know that real life isn’t making much sense at the moment. If we wrote about a global pandemic in which presidential staff held hands and prayed that it … Continue reading

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House Arrest

Due to Covid 19 we’ve pulled up the drawbridge and dug a shark infested moat around Bedford Towers. No, we’re not sick, but I’m diabetic and my other half has suddenly become classified as elderly. How scary is that? Our … Continue reading

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An interview first published in SF Signal

I like doing interviews, especially when the questions are both thoughtful and taxing. Carl Slaughter presented me with an intriguing set of questions way back in 2016. I thought I’d revisit them. CS: Your first series is cyberpunk space opera. … Continue reading

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Reading Writing and Rewriting

I was a voracious reader as a child, working my way steadily through the stock of my local public library children’s department. My literature of choice was anything with horses or ponies in it. Some of the books in my … Continue reading

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Useful book cover tool online

I posted this to the Milford blog this week, but I’m so taken with it, I thought I’d post it here, too. Whether you’re self-published or traditionally published there’s a good chance that you’ll need to shout out about your … Continue reading

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Quantifying Success

A few years ago, Chuck Wendig posted to his Terrible Minds blog saying: ‘It Only Gets Harder Once You’re Published’. (http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2015/08/19/it-only-gets-harder-once-youre-published/) How true. That article really resonated with me. I wonder if authors ever get over the self-doubt thing. When … Continue reading

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Fantasy Food to Go – Part 2 – Overland

Land journeys Looking at the amount of storage required on board ship for all the provisions, it quickly becomes obvious that carrying anything close to naval rations for even a small party travelling on land would require wagons or, at … Continue reading

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Fantasy Food to Go – Part 1 – All at Sea

As a fantasy writer I’ve given much thought to what characters eat on those epic journeys by land and sea. My Rowankind Trilogy involved stocking the Heart of Oak, Ross’s tops’l schooner, for an Atlantic voyage. You need to base … Continue reading

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Updated Blog Archive: 2013 to 2019

  2013 Bated Breath Seven Short Men and a Waif Preparing for Milford Jumping in at the Shallow End Serendipitous Book Browsing Four days to go Three Book Deal Milford Writers Publishers Marketplace Announcement Editor Talk New Book Log on LJ: Karen Traviss: … Continue reading

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2019 – Retrospective

2019 has been a pretty good year. I did a few conventions, read a lot of books, finished editing a couple of my own, saw a lot of movies, kept up with the day job, organised (and attended) a couple … Continue reading

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Creativity and the laugh-track of my life

I signed up for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) at the beginning of November, a commitment to write 50,000 words in a month. It’s fewer than 2000 words a day, so it should be—if not easy—not all that difficult. I’ve … Continue reading

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Process

I’ve been thinking about process over the last few weeks. I’m writing a new, story which I hope will turn into the next novel project. It’s as yet untitled, and if I had to describe it at all it would … Continue reading

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It’s not too late to join up – NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo – National NovelWriting Month-takes place each November. You sign up Her: https://nanowrimo.org and commit to writing 50,000 in November, which means writing just a little under 2,000 words a day. It’s only 3rd November, you still have time to … Continue reading

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