Category Archives: writing

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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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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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 – (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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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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Judith Tarr: Forgotten Suns for your reading pleasure

On the deserted world of Nevermore, a family of archaeologists labours to uncover ancient mysteries despite the threat of funding cuts which will lead to the United Planets stripping the planet’s resources in a legal invasion. Nevermore presents a conundrum. … Continue reading

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At Milford 2021

It finally happened. After last year’s Covid cancellation, Milford 2021 is finally happening. I drove across to North Wales on Saturday morning with Georgina Kamsika. We picked up Terry Jackman on the way (at Lymm Services) and had an uneventful … 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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How to Write a Speculative Fiction Book

I’m not going to be able to teach you how to write a book in the twelve hundred or so words in this blog post – even presuming I have the skills. Yes I’ve written books, seven published so far … Continue reading

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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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Flashing Back

It’s generally easier to start writing a book at the beginning, keep on going until you reach the end, and then stop. A story has a beginning, a middle and an end. Sequential storytelling mirrors the world we experience on … 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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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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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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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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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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My 2020 Reading

In picture form – newest first.

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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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Books etc. for Christmas

2020 has not been the year it was supposed to be. (Not fit for purpose. Can I get a refund?) I didn’t get anywhere as much writing done as I could have, but I read, and re-read an awful lot. … 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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The Road to Publication – a guest blog by Tony Ballantyne

Short story collections don’t sell. Everyone in publishing will tell you that. Every writer who has a few short stories under their belt loves the idea of having them collected into a slim volume.  Unfortunately, very few people are interested … 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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Domestication in a time of Coronavirus

I’m currently reading/listening to Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari who says that early farmers did not domesticate wheat, wheat domesticated them. By the process of gradually farming it rather than gathering wild grains, early farmers (previously nomadic) began to stay … 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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Style Sheets

Posted on February 7, 2017 by Jacey Bedford There’s a lot of information to keep in your head if you’re writing a book. There’s even more if you’re writing a trilogy or a series. I happily wrote seven books without … Continue reading

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Joe Abercrombie: Best Served Cold – for your reading pleasure

Joe Abercrombie never disappoints. 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 knew I … 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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