Skip to main content


Showing posts from March, 2016

Mancunicon 2016

So, now my head is showered (Norn Irish for I needed a few days to recover and chill out), it's time to blog about an awesome weekend at Mancunicon.

Mancunicon was my third convention and my second as a panellist. Luckily, a few people from the sffchronicles - my genre home-from-home - past and current were going, so I wasn't on my own, and I was looking forward to meeting up.

Ha! A few people to meet.... I came home hoarse. I barely got a foot forward for the first day, catching up with people I know on line but had yet to meet. With my name - I was the only Zebedee in the building - I'm easily identified! In fact, the few hours when I forgot my badge on Saturday and became 'Jim' for the morning where the only quiet ones.

Which was all fab. I came to meet people and meet them I did. (Mostly. James Worrad still remains a an enigmatic Con-rumour. A larger than life one, albeit.) From published writers, to self-published, genre-fans to organisers, I had great craic c…

The Vindictiveness of Vicious Vixens

Anyone who's following me, like anywhere, knows I have been raving about a fantasy book coming out from Tickety Boo Press on 31st March. 
The Adventures of Sir Edric by Thaddeus White features the most un-pc knight you will meet and, as a beta, had me doubled in laughter on every reading. 
Anyway, since I'm off to Mancunicon I invited Sir Edric along to the blog to have a chat about things close to his heart. In this case, he wanted to talk about women and his - um, shall we say - unique take on them.

[A special guest post, dictated by Sir Edric Greenlock, the Hero of Hornska, to his manservant Dog].
The wife. The sister. The mother-in-law.
Female villains take many forms. But just why are they so devilishly good at wickedness?
One need only look at Adam and Eve to see how easily women lead pure and virtuous men such as Adam (or myself) astray. By cunning…


Something I’ve been posting about on forums recently and felt the need to rant about: authors trying to get noticed. (This isn’t a rant against the authors but the stupid system that means the world of writing is ridiculously competitive and soul-destroyingly hard to get recognition in.)
I don’t mean legitimately chasing interviews, contacting review sites, posting the best of your reviews, any of that. Even the odd little reminder that a review helps – especially since that supports your writing friends, too – is okay, I think. It’s a tough world and we’re all competing in it.
What I’m referring to are some of the ways I see authors trying to boost themselves, or engage with others, which I think are potentially damaging.
Some are obvious. Like giving themselves a rating on Goodreads (everyone can see they did it), or worse still Amazon*, or getting their mates to turn up on a forum and wax lyrical about their book in their first post (really: it happens all the time).
I know wh…


It occurs to me that about the only thing I haven’t blogged much about is blogging.
I didn’t set out to become a blogger. I don’t keep a diary, and any journal I have tends to get a guilty update every decade or so.
I started with a blog on a website I frequented, moved onto an earlier version of this blog, and then started this.
I wanted to capture some of my thoughts about the journey to becoming a writer. I wanted a place where I could measure my own progress. So much in writing is about the next step, and the next, and not enough (at least in my world) is about stopping to look back. The blog gave me room to do that.
What it was never intended to be was anything other than a place for musings. In recent months, I’ve become more aware that what I’m raving about gets read. Quite a lot these days. That, for a few weeks, made me freeze and look at the screen. I had to be clever. I had to come up with something show-stopping. I had people’s expectations to fill.
And then it occur…

Must do, should do, would like to do

Last weekend, I read about an interesting (to me, read for that lightbulb-moment) exhibition dedicated to women's To-Do lists. Since this week included International Women's Day and since some of my to-do list was about running an event in conjunction with it, it seemed a good week to blog about it.

My life is one long to-do list. Between work, the house, the kids and writing, that's what governs my time: what needs done now, quickest, is most critical. This week mine included:

Work things - reports, emails, pay claims, book-keeping, meetings, phone calls, that sort of thing.

House things - school runs, washing, school uniforms, tuning in new set top box for teen-party at weekend, organising two birthday parties. Oh, and tidying. Apparently. And the dog needs the vet at some point. And the fish need cleaned. And, allegedly, people need fed.

Writing - promote TV interview, complete new short story, write a blog, check a promotion is up and running on both sides of the Atla…

Room to Mature.

This might be one of those blogs that starts in one place, wanders off and scratches its nose, and then goes back to the point in the end. They do that, sometimes.

I've reached the end of two long edits. Prior to that, I was reworking an older book. I feel like an editing machine and am looking forwards to a week catching my breath and writing something new.

It's been a useful exercise in seeing my growth as a writer. A lot of the editing has been in the areas of stronger verbs (he leaped, rather than he jumped; he strode rather than walked) and the killing of passive voice - one of my first draft sins, still, and, apparently, my every-drafts two years ago. I feel that, at the end of six weeks, I have two much stronger books (which is good because they've both got publisher homes).

It got me to thinking about reading other writers' early works. I'm on record as regularly fan-girl squeeing over Lois McMaster Bujold. I adore the Vorkosigan books. Yet, I very nearly d…