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Showing posts from December, 2017

An Inish Carraig Christmas

I'm working on Inish Carraig 2 at the moment, and back with the characters and I wondered what a Christmas would be like in that world. And here's what it was.

I'm signing off now for a couple of weeks - for all those who are doing the same, have a lovely holiday. I hope 2018 is great for all, and many, many thanks for all the support through 2017, as ever.



John perched on the window-ledge of the house he, Josey and the kids had been allocated. Carter would have conniptions, but after a year in a house with no windows John found the centrally heated interior stuffy, almost nauseating. He stared over the flat, reclaimed loughshore to a snow-covered Belfast, its two giant cranes visible in the distance. Even the invasion hadn't seen to Samson and Goliath, although it had flattened much of the rest…

What's in a book's dedication - and how I got dragged around Yeats' land as a teen holidayer

A few days ago I got talking to the fabulous Anne McMaster about the title of Waters and the Wild. For those who know their poetry, they might recognise that I took the title from a line in Yeats' poem, The Stolen Child.

To explain a little about my Yeats background. My mother is a huge fan of Yeats. So much so that she decided one year the ideal family holiday with a bunch of teenagers was visiting Sligo, and lots of his writing sites. Which sounds strange and not quite up there with Disneyland but, actually, that holiday has always stayed with me.

Suffice to say if you have a childhood that incorporates a holiday like that, you'll have a passing knowledge of Yeats' poetry. (An admission: I like poetry to read. I don't write it. I wouldn't have a clue where to start and, frankly, I like my blasters, but I do enjoy a read of it.)

Now, I do think a title is worth thinking reasonably hard about. Despite Inish Carraig's apparent irrelevance to science fiction, for…

On beta readers

One thing I get asked a lot when running courses etc is how to get beta readers, how many to have and what sort of skills they need to have.

Firstly, though - what are beta readers? They're readers who look at the early manuscript and tell me all my horrors. Technically there are alpha readers, who look at the first-first draft, and beta readers who look at the reasonably tidied up version. But, for the purposes of this blog, I'm going to just refer to them all as beta readers.

This is a timely thing to do since I've just put together a team of willing victims - cough, volunteers - for Inish Carraig 2, so it's something I've been thinking about, and the process is reasonably fresh with me.

So, where did these volunteers come from. All 4 were met on one forum or another - two through the sffchronicles, whose writing community I've been a member of for some time and under whose guidance I cut my writing teeth, one through Skypen, a local forum which is now sadly …