Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Warrior Wisewoman 3 got its Publishers' Weekly Review. I didn't get mentioned as a 'standout' this year, but that doesn't surprise me as I rather think 'Working The High Steel' is better than 'The Race'.

No. I don't have a formal release date yet, but here's the review...and assuming Roby doesn't tell me next week when I'm out of town again, you'll know as soon as I do.

Thank you, Roby, for your wonderful job.


Also, 'Walking Through Fire' has been accepted for the Library of the Living Dead's 'Zombiality' anthology. Not sure when that will be published (I'm hoping Zombist will show up here soon), but it's likely to be an awesome collection...because Bill Tucker rocks.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Random and coincidental awesomeness

It was incredibly of the awesome to randomly bump into Beth Waters of the Library of the Living Dead Press at Origins...where I thought there wasn't going to be a writing track this year.

They're giving incredible support to their authors for what's basically a micropress that prints digitally...far more than most small presses. Far more, in fact, than most large houses give to people they aren't convinced are going to sell tons of copies.

Now I really can't wait to get 'Zombist' into my grubby little fingers.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Heading out...

Going to be at the Origins gaming convention from tomorrow until Sunday. Hoping for better writing stuff than last year, but not really expecting it. So, calling it a vacation. Not like I don't need one.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Nostalgia trips

So. I am about to make a rather large confession here.

I love 70s and early 80s American TV shows. You know the kind of thing...formulaic episodes, ridiculous tropes, overacting and overkill. Things happening that no reasonable suspension of disbelief would allow, yet somehow, in their own context working. Stuff like Knight Rider. The Six Billion Dollar Man. The old Wonder Woman live action series.

I adore that stuff. It's crazy, and it has, arguably, no literary value whatsoever...pure, raw, check your brain at the door entertainment.

However, I have rather mixed feelings about the current trend towards remaking these old 'gems'. Take the new Battlestar Galactica. Is it good television? Yes. Is it Battlestar Galactica? Umm. Not really.

So, I approached the idea of an A Team movie with trepidation. Would they take it too seriously? Would they rack up the body count? Would they, like many of the original fans, miss the point that it is not supposed to be realistic? More than anything else...

could ANYONE other than Mr. T be BA?

But when I saw the trailer, I was halfway convinced. Today I saw the movie.

Yes. Somebody other than Mr. T can be BA. It's not quite the same BA. For once, casting a wrestler worked...the guy can actually act and he looked right.

Yes, somebody other than Dirk Benedict can most definitely be Face. Bradley Cooper rocked. Sharlto Copley was delightfully unrecognizable as Murdoch (He looked quite, quite different in District 9).

Oddly, Liam Neeson was the weak link.

I only have one complaint.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

So, opinions...

I'm fiddling with my layout. Does anyone have any thoughts on this current one? Would a blue background be better?

I'm not the best person at graphic design...tend to leave it to people who are actually good at it, so am honestly seeking some opinions and criticism here. I do much prefer the sidebar on the right, though.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Why I don't talk about WIPs much...

I'm going to be honest here and admit that I have an aversion to blogging about the novels I'm working on.

Why? Because they might never be published. I have a feeling that it is unfair to get people excited about something that could easily never see the light of day.

In all honesty? Am I right to feel this way? I realize people might be interested in the writing process, but I want to enthuse. I want to gush. I want to get people all excited...and then I'd be letting them down.

I dunno. It's something I feel quite strongly about...that only something that's going to be released for sure should be enthused about in public. I do have some stuff coming out, but I'll talk more when I have release dates.

Or maybe I'm just afraid I'm going to jinx myself.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A couple of news bytes...

Sci fi people might be interested in these two.

First of all, we have the god particle. No  we don't. We have the gods particles? Apparently cosmology may be more polytheistic than we thought.

Don't try to understand this unless you're the kind of geek who can get your mind around the full intricacies of modern physics. But it might be time to rewrite all the laws. Again.

The second one makes moon colonization more feasible. There's a little bit of water on the moon, right?

No, actually, there could be...quite a lot.

Not sure how much direct use either of these are, but they're definitely interesting. Now, excuse me while I go get some chocolate to deal with my cosmology headache.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Emotional writing: Horror and erotica

I'm the first to say I'm no expert on erotica...take this with a grain of salt.

But it has come into my mind that there are certain strong similarities between horror and erotica.

Specifically, horror and erotica are genres of emotion. A writer of erotica has as her ultimate goal instilling the emotion of arousal.

Erotica is written to titillate, and sometimes to fulfil. Everything that happens in an erotic piece is focused towards that one goal...although if there isn't at least some plot, you're writing pornography. Erotica is about desire.

Horror is written with the specific emotion of fear in mind. The goal of the horror writer is to...well...horrify. To induce a controlled, cathartic state of fear. It's not dissimilar to the goal of designing a roller coaster, really. The reader wants to be frightened, whilst knowing he is safe.

In both cases, the primary goal of the writer is a pure, raw emotion.

Meanwhile, if one is writing a western, one's goal is quite different. Westerns, science fiction, fantasy, historical. All of these are genres of setting. The place defines the genre. The reader becomes, in this case, an explorer.

Crossing between the two...between western and romance and fantasy and horror brings these things together. I think it might be a worthy exercise for writers of 'setting' genres to dip into the emotional genres in order to hone the ability to write for emotional effect.


Thursday, June 10, 2010

A quick recommendation...

With the disclaimer that Lynn Price is an absolutely wonderful person...I wish I could clone her then alter the clone's brain to like speculative fiction...I have to recommend her book 'The Writer's Essential Tackle Box'.

It's not a how to write book...there are tons of those, and frankly I tend to take the advice contained within with a pinch of salt...it's a quick insider's guide to how publishing works for unpublished writers.

And her beagle is cute.

The Writer's Essential Tackle Box: Getting a Hook on the Publishing Industry

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Writing for Effect

I was reading a writer board the other day, and somebody said that writing for effect was 'bad'.

What they meant was that they dislike the type of 'literary' writing that seems to require a thesaurus within reach...of the reader.

But what about 'writing for effect'? Is it bad?

My answer to the question is fairly simple. We are always writing for effect. That is to say, everything we write is intended to serve a purpose.

The 'effect' of this blog post is quite different from the 'effect' I might be seeking in writing a battle scene or a death scene...or a sex scene, for that matter. Fiction requires a different set of 'tools' from non-fiction.

A thriller writer is writing for a particular effect...pace. No matter how much some people might criticize Dan Brown, the man is a genius for pace. His stories balance perfectly and even though I actively dislike his writing, I have to admit...it flows.

A writer of erotica is writing for a different effect...arousal. When you write horror, you are writing to invoke fear. All of these 'effects' are something one has to write for.

I think the original person confused 'effective writing'...writing that evokes the correct mood or conveys the required information...with 'affected writing'.

The latter might well be considered 'bad'. Of course, there are readers who want to see the craft of writing overcome the story...and at its best, this kind of writing has a certain brilliance to it. It's not the effect, though, I'm ever likely to seek myself.

Monday, June 7, 2010

A thought on bad reviews...

Here is my terrible confession.

Nothing gets my blood pressure up faster than a bad review. I have enough restraint and professionalism not to respond to them, but...I hate bad reviews. Hate them. They always make me wonder if I should have bothered ever writing the story. (Good reviews, of course, have me dancing on air).

I'm sure I am far from the only one.

So, I'm going to share what I think of every time I get a review that makes me want to tear out my hair.

Post movie reviews. As in, the Washington Post. I find them incredibly useful every time I am borderline about bothering to see a film.

If they love it...I can be absolutely certain it's two hours of my life I won't get back.
If they slam it into little pieces...time to look up show times.

Enough said.

There is something far, far worse than a bad review: No review.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


It often comes from news stories. I trawl the news for story ideas every day.

Every so often, however, you come across a story you can't use for inspiration...because, as they say in our household, 'Even the cat wouldn't buy it'. (No, we don't own a cat. Long story).

Let's take this.

I thought the headlined, 'US porn star in cliff-fall death' had promise. Click.

So. This guy got fired from a porn studio. He promptly went to the props department and stole a katana. He used it to attack several of his former coworkers, killing one. Chased by police, he goes up a mountain in California, stands on the top threatening to kill himself. Police shoot him with rubber bullets, but he's so close to the cliff behind him that he falls to his death.

How can I use that? Nobody would ever believe it! It's like the plot of a bad movie. Of course, its likely to sit around in my brain and escape at a later date.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Commercial Space news?

On the one hand, this is good news. Another company has produced a rocket large enough to possibly carry astronauts into space.

The bad news? Its a rocket. Falcon 9 is honestly little different from the Apollo rockets. Will it do as an interim thing? Yes.

Is it progress? Not remotely. If we are going to move outward into space and stay, we need a good alternative for getting out of the gravity well. Rockets are, frankly, a semi-obsolete dead end except perhaps for some unmanned applications. They are expensive. They are not reusable. They use more energy to get to the same height than an airplane.

Of course, the much-vaunted shuttle was a rocket. And it was barely reusable, and it was VERY expensive. The failure was in not moving towards a replacement the second the thing was in flight. But I've said that before, in all kinds of forums.

I do give kudos to SpaceX and Elon Musk for a successful maiden launch on only the second attempt. I am just hoping to see something truly new streaking through the skies soon.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Realms of Fantasy asking for help

Having just spent too much money on web domains (note to others: Registering a web domain is a privacy nightmare and avoiding said nightmare will cost you a premium on top of the domain registration fee)...I can't afford to subscribe right now.

But I don't want to see this magazine close again.



Everyone else has one, so I decided to jump on the bandwagon.

I'm going to talk about books. I'm going to talk about writing and publishing. (Books might have to wait, I'm currently working through SHELVES of old Asimov's and Analog before I start on the new stuff).

I might even talk about the occasional movie, too.

I'm also going to opine about stuff of interest to science fiction and fantasy writers.

Please feel free to toss up a comment if you want to trade links...I love to trade links.