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Showing posts from September, 2017

Sff cons - paying your way

Right now, lots of my sff mates are boogie-ing at Fantasycon. Next weekend I'll be at Octocon. We are on panels, we are on the programme - and almost all of us will pay for the privilege to do so. Octocon will cost me in the region of €400 - and I can't wait.

Hold on, says my other writing mates. No pay for doing a panel! No expenses: not even travel?

Nope. That is the culture, the norm and what makes sff cons special. The creators don't turn up, do a panel, get paid and go. They do a panel and head to the bar to talk with the other geeks.

You simply do not write sff unless you are a significant geek. I might appear pretty ungeeky but scratch the surface and I've spent a lifetime reading and watching all things sff. And our cons are about the genre more than any personality or knowledge imparted. I get such a buzz out of feeling part of that 'tribe',nothing more is needed.

And the upshot of that? A sff con has a unique feel - a mix of readers, gamers, and watch…

Writing what you love

I know some authors who are very disciplined and able to write for a market. They ride the trends, they deliver a story and cover that is bang on right, and they make a nice living at it. Once, I wished I could be one of them. But as I increasingly come to believe a full time writing career isn't just no longer an aspiration for me but something I actively don't want, it's become easier for me to decide not to follow that model (which is good because my screwy brain won't anyway....)

Last year, I got funding to write a book and that means that that particular book before it sees the light of day is probably my most profitable to date. I like it very much, I enjoyed writing it for the most part, but the last 8 weeks or so were a slog for me. Whatever passion I bring to my writing left the building. I began to fear IT had finally come - the moment when I'd get bored of writing and stop.

Now, all writers go through fits and starts like this. I've never been a beli…

On having many babies

On Twitter, recently, George Martin was chastised for choosing to spend his time on a project that wasn't completing Game of Thrones (he also gets chastised for going to baseball games, travelling and doing anything that isn't being stuck to his writing desk). Couldn't he, the person wondered, hand this new project to someone else. Alas no: George loves all his projects equally.

I love having more than one project. I love that just in the last two days I have heard from people reading Abendau, Inish Carraig and Waters and the Wild. I love that my conversation for each project is different and fresh.

When people talk about Abendau, they talk about the influences on it (Abendau is the joy of cheesy Space Opera on a stick). They talk about the characters and world. They open up the terrifying prospect of convention panels about Space Travel and science (no, no, not terrified at all. Just feeling like I'd like a pocket Orac with me...)

In Inish, the setting comes up all th…

Ask Sir Edric Anything - And I did!

Today, I’m joined by Sir Edric, pretty much my favourite Un-PC knight. Boringly, his new book is out today on special offer at 99p (lots of links below), and I guess that's what I was supposed to ask about (it's ace, by the way, but I should know since I beta-read it and fixed all Edric's dodgy bits), but instead I took the chance to ask Sir Edric Anything, and I went for all the burning questions we need to know.


Jo: You’ve had a long (what age are you, by the way?) and busy life. What would you select as the highlight of your existence to date?


Sir Edric: I’m in the prime of my life, that happy apex where youthful vigour encounters manly experience. Undoubtedly the highlight would be escaping my wife’s lethal clutches, although I suppose other people would mention the Battle of Hornska. I saved the entire world of men and elves from enslavement (and enlunchment) to the Ursk. Sadly, there’s a shockingly small number of statues to me…




Jo: Some storytellers make up their mo…

Funky brain: a short song storyboard

A glimpse into the writer's brain (well this one's)

First a song:

https://g.co/kgs/izfnpc

Hopefully that took you to Muse's Invincible.

Now a scene (spoiler alert for Abendau's Heir!)

This is the scene where the palace is attacked by Kare and co from the port. The one where he goes in barefoot, they cross the parapet and exciting things happen. (They do! You should read all about it!)

This is what really happens:

Opening stanza: Sonly/Kare in the hangar where she puts him to rights
Second stanza: Silom/Kare preparing to line up
Third stanza: the lovely Lichio when Kare tells him he's in charge.

Nice little bit of marching music - leaving the port. Many blasters. Space Opera gloriousness.

Next stanza: Sonly (off screen but poetic licence is okay)
Next stanza: Kare getting his arse over the parapet.

Little slow bit where things get tough. Many many many blasters. Gunfire from all around. Smoke. Soldiers falling off the edge.

Solo guitar fun bit - our heroes getting up…

Inish Carraig 2 - In which I impart bad news

For some time now I've had calls for a sequel to Inish Carraig https://www.amazon.co.uk/Inish-Carraig-alien-invasion-novel-ebook/dp/B012782E0G/ref=pd_ecc_rvi_2So far this week I've fended off four enquiries about it. Which is lovely and I love that so many people love my quirky little book baby.

But there will not be a sequel - or at least not anytime soon.

I have tried to write one. My initial plan was to take Henry, John and Neeta off Earth onto the Zelotyr world. The first line was immense (shite, shite and more shite) but it quickly fell apart. You can take the Belfast out of the boy it seems but not the boy out of Belfast. Which brought me to plan b - another Belfast based story. But that is dreary and stodgy and not at all what the Inish Carraig world should be.

And I have no plan C.

In 2013 I attended a fun panel with William F Nolan, writer of Logan's Run, a film and book I adored. I also read the first sequel - Logan's World - and, whilst I enjoyed it, I didn&…

The perils of being a pantster…

I was writing another blog, but it turned out miserable. TL:DR – the market is tough. Your book might be brilliant and still not sell. Someone else’s might be Fifty Types of Shite and sell. Live with it, keep writing, and see as a lottery: you have more than one chance to win and just cos the first draw didn’t deliver, the next might.
Right, onto happier matters. This morning, as I worked at my Incredibly-difficult-jigsaw-my-husband-bought-me-to-shut-me-up, I had a revelation.
I’m about 20 pages from the end of the third draft of The New Thing (it does have a name, honest) and, as ever, I struggle with endings. Sometimes, as with Inish Carraig, I rush them a little and get complaints (although wanting more isn’t the worst complaint a writer can have), sometimes I get a little muddled about what I want to do at the end and sometimes, as with Abendau, I have no idea of the end. That one took me a quarter of a million words to inform me that Kare… but that would be a spoiler, so I’ll …