The Anti-social Butterfly

I have jokingly referred to myself as an Anti-social Butterfly for years. It’s not really a joke of course, its is more of an apt description. I find people difficult at times because on some level I have always found I just don’t understand them. I mean really… who does?

Well some people do. Some people are just innately better at people and for that matter they are probably better at being people as well. I’ve never been an entirely rounded individual, or for that matter overly interested in becoming more round. I like to think of myself as more of a irregular icosagoned person, complete, or otherwise, with sides that are sometimes too long ,often too short, and generally stick out at unexpected angles. I am messy and complicated, and I kind of like it that way…

I remain therefore an anti-social butterfly, fluttering about avoiding conversations, avoiding eye contact, and generally feeling uncomfortable around people, while hoping that at a bare minimum I am at least not making other people uncomfortable in the process…

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

I normally witter on more I know yet this feels like all that needs saying so I’ll pop off now.

Bye.

Posted in amwriting, big questions, writing | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Blaming the Poor

Some thoughts on the Poor from Regina Waterbury, Minister for Housing the Ungrateful Common Herd

“The trouble with the poor is they expect so much of the rich, like our respect, something called common decency, not to be blamed for the latest financial crisis, to be able to eat…”
“It’s clearly their fault we are in this mess, why it’s getting so the government can hardly afford a drinks party. Let alone get in some image consultants to help fix the problem of seeming like a bunch of out of touch gin swilling liars without a shred of common decency…
It’s their fault they are in this mess, they should not have wasted their trust funds, at the very least they should go ask daddy for bit of pin money to tide them over like I did last year when I need to find a new stable for Mr Waffle-bums. Can some one pass me the cake?”
“What? No Mr Waffle-bums isn’t a horse, why on earth do you think he’s a horse? He’s the Marques of Blamford.”
“Anyway, its all the fault of the poor, they should pull themselves up by their boot straps and cash in some shard in north-sea gas or something if they are that hard up.”
“Gerry be a dear and get the Marquess a new nose bag will you?”

(And now so more clear and coherent thoughts on ‘Blaming the poor’ from the wonderful Nimue Brown)

Druid Life

There’s nothing new about blaming the poor for poverty. To my knowledge, the same ideas have been doing the rounds in the UK for as long as anyone has been keeping notes on such things. It is (we are told) the fault of the poor for being lazy, careless, making bad decisions, drinking, smoking, having too many babies.

Somehow it is never the fault of the rich, who claim to be rich thanks to their own merits. The relationship between riches for some and destitution for others is something we have never talked about enough. Wealth is made by extracting profit. The choice to pay workers less, and charge them more is very much part of how capitalism works. Having the power to decide how much a person is worth, and how much they should be charged for essentials – food and shelter – is a decision that remains in…

View original post 274 more words

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Levelling down…

I don’t do political posts very often. There are a number of reason for this, one of which this is a writing blog, not a political activism blog. I write escapist fiction, there are other places you can go to be better informed about political reality, if your one of my regular readers I suspect you don’t come here to be reminded what a shit place the world is at times….

However, on occasion, having a politics based degree and a social conscience does tap me on the shoulder and suggest I have a word with the world. Not that the world much cares what i have to say I’m sure, but still sometimes the urge to comment is too much…

Back in 2017, with an election on the horizon, was one of the occasions I was moved to ‘do politic’s’, and I put up a blog called ‘Selfish Desires and Taxation…’ A gripping title I am sure you will agree. I was I hope a better read than it was a title, but it had much to do with my principle opinion that as much as I like buying guitars to hang on my wall, if I had to pay a little more tax and so wait a little longer before I could buy another guitar for the wall under a labour (or as was my forlorn hope a Liberal) government, I wouldn’t mind if the money was going towards pushing back on poverty.

This is because the simple truth is that I am better off financially than a great many of my friends, I have a full-time job and earn more money than I need to live comfortably. In return for me being unable to buy another guitar ‘to hang on my wall’ for a week or so, friends of mine who are currently struggling to pay bills or put food on the table without going to food banks, cover the cost of rent, and just to get by week to week, stand half a chance if they have a government that cares about them.

I was prompted to this epiphany because of a simple statistic from the Trussel Trust in 2017

  • Over 1,182,000 three day emergency food supplies given to people in crisis in past year – 436,000 to children

As I said at the time the UK, in case you’re unaware, is one of the largest and most successful economies in the world. Yet there we were in 2017 with families are struggling to feed themselves…

Of course, while in that post I was advocating people not vote for the Tory’s in 2017, I could well have been wrong to do so. For all I knew the Conservatives if they won (which they did) would do a great many thing to end poverty in the UK and reverse the trend. Certainly they claimed then , and since that this is exactly what they are doing…

I could have been wrong… After all the conservative government keep telling us they are ‘levelling up’ Britain etc…

Surprisingly, or not, however, when I looked back at the original post and thought I should go look at at what The Trussell Trust is saying now, 5 years later…

So, a million more, as near as damn doubled in 5 years. So not so much levelling up,. as levelling down…

As I said I have a politics based degree. Politics Philosophy and Economics, to be exact. So I know this is a single aspect of a complex system and the last few years have had unprecedented issues for the government to deal with. But as a barometer of this governments success in tackling poverty, I would argue, food bank use is as clear and indicator of their lack of success as it is possible to find.

Anyway, that is the end of politics on here for a while, I’ll go back to irreverence. I may even tune one of the guitars… But before I do that here is the link to The Trussell Trust an organisation dedicated to the aim of creating a UK without the need for food banks, Something you would have thought a UK government of any strip would support. Sadly the current one only support the need for The Trussell Trusts existence…

Posted in big questions, humanrights, politics, rant, rights | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Passing Affirmations…

Around three years ago in 2019, which was another age, I was convinced by a force of nature known as C.G Hatton to take my books, stand behind a stall in Scarborough at a Sci-fi convention and pretend that I knew what I was doing with all this writing nonsense… It was also my first big convention, well, convention full stop, as a writer. So for much of it I was a little wide-eyed and confused.

This was a simpler time, a happier time, a time before the great extinction event of 2020 killed off the convention circuit and caused us to spend two years shrugging our shoulders every time the possibility of a gathering of geeks cropped up anywhere…

Due to the inconvenient plague, it took me, and geekdom in general, three years to get back to Scarborough. Three long years for many of us, too long for some… Indeed only in the last six months or so have conventions started stumbling back to some kind of normality, though that ‘normality’ is the new and not quite normal, normality… It has in short been a journey, and we have lost too many along the way…

Strangely, or perhaps not all considered, Scarborough became the first event I’ve done twice last weekend. It just took a few more years than expected to get back there. But given the interluding years have been far from easy, and the water that has passed under the troll bridge I more or less expected no one to remember me.

I was wrong.

A number of readers, who bought books from me the first time did remembered me and surprisingly my books as well.

Now let me bring you in on a secret. A dark and scary secret. The kind of secret that should never be told… The kind of secret that is never told, because the only people who could tell it are all too scared to admit it to anyone… even, if they are completely honest, our selves…

The thing is, you see, every author thinks they are rubbish… Honestly, we are all convinced we are just winging it, and live in fear of the day they’ll come and tell us to stop… Every good review we get is just someone being kind, the words of friends willing to lie to protect our fragile egos. Meanwhile, every bad review is unvarnished honesty from strangers. They cut us to the quick, because inside, we all know the bad reviews speak the truth… Of course, that could just be me. Other authors may all be perfectly well rounded individuals with no great ravaging insecurities, who just brush off the negative shite for the merely mouthed bullshit that it is and know all words of praise are honest of intent and truly spoken…

One can hope…

But Lets get back to the point. This years Scarborough, as I said, was the first time I have returned to an event. Which also meant it was the first time I’d ever had a reader who had bought a book 3 years before come up to me table and tell me how much they enjoyed it and asks if I’d written a sequel yet… Which is an experience that is hard to fit into my internal narrative of self doubt…

So many books but never enough to hide behind

And then a luverly couple did the same… Then a timelord in full regalia turned up and smiled in my direction. Then a brown coat in a cunning hat… All of them with the same story, all people I sold a book 3 years ago . All of them effused for a sequel to my novel Passing Place, which is both my favourite of my novels and and to be frank the least successful novel I have so far written…

Passing Place is a difficult book to sell. Unlike the steampunk Hannibal and Maybe novels which are easy to pigeon hole and even Cider Lane a contempory romance come thriller with a little ‘t’… Passing Place doesn’t really have a genre as such beyond urban fantasy/Scifi. Its an odd book… It is also the kind of book I always wanted to write. I love all my novels with the equal love of a parent… But I love Passing Place more… But as I said its never sold well, because frankly its imposable to market…

Here through is a thing. The thing in fact… Back in 2019 at Scarborough I only sold about four copy’s of Passing Place. I sold a few of Hannibal’s first outing ‘A Spider in the Eye’. Sold a few copies of my novella ‘A Scar of Avarice’. I even sold a couple of Cider Lanes which I just happened to have copies of with me despite it being a sci-fi convention. But only about 4 copies of Passing Place

Last weekend the readers who bought all four of them came back to my stall and told me how much they enjoyed my own favourite among my literary children… They all asked after a sequel (long planned by far from written), bought other books of mine and wanted more from me as a writer…

Strangers who appreciated, valued, hell, just plain enjoyed my work, and told me so. It’s quite a thing… And sure, in a few days I’ll have forgotten this, I’ll be hiding that dark scary secret again and hoping no one comes and makes me stop writing… Because that’s how my brain works…

But for now I’ll bask a little in the passing affirmation… And smile a happy smile…

As did this pair of time-traveling gentleman who bought a copy this time round…

Posted in amreading, amwriting, book reviews, books, booksale, depression, fantasy, Hannibal Smyth, indie, indie novels, indie writers, indiewriter, novels, Passing Place, reads, sci-fi, steampunk, writes, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Quick reviews (relatively speaking)

March, as you may have noticed, was a busy month for me. A new novel, a new non-fiction books as well, the 9th Harvey, the ide’s, and everything else… Thus I’m a tad behind on general blog related stuff and more specifically reviews.

As you know I have a habit of wittering on when I do a review, generally because books make me think about something and I will preamble along for half a blog before I mention the book that inspired the blog in the first place and actually write a review.

This charming, eccentric approach is what readers of my blogs have come to expect… he says, in the vain hope people find it charming and eccentric, not the ravings of a loony….

However, there is a downside to my charming eccentricity, some would say many, in that blogs take time to write and occasionally I fall behind with books I want to review… At which point I have to do some catching up without long eccentric preambles and just, you know, throw them out there in the way sane people do reviews… This should not be taken as to mean I think any less of the books or that they have not pasted my stringent critia ( ie, I read it and enjoyed it). They are just getting quick reviews so I can get back on an even keel… and nothing more.

So without further preamble… here a few relatively quick reviews of books you should be reading, other than my own, which you also clearly should be reading…

Stephen Palmers, Monica Orvan and Monica Hatherley (Conjuror Girl Books 2 and 3)

I read book 1 of this series Monique Orphan towards the back end of last year, and despite it been a ‘talented child novel’ I loved it. the sequels carry the story forward picking up where the previous one ended. The central character’s ambiguous morality, in a world of moral ambiguates lending it self to a dark brooding series unlike the normal fair of the talented child genre.

In the second book Monique has changed her name and identity having fled the orphanage and taken up life on the streets falling in with a street children gang. This is very Oliver Twist like but compared to the leader of this little gang Fagin was a saint. The world is as dark and nasty in places as it seemed in the first novel. But in many ways more twisted, and darker. Monique, now Monica, faces growing threats to self and the town of Shrobbesbury from her growing list of foes, as do her friends.

In the third and final book further dark plots take Monica to London and the heart of the dark sorcery enveloping this version of a Victorian England that never was. Now Monica Hatherley after a sham marriage she finds herself even more out of her depth and fighting back against a world twisted by heinous men.

There is a lot to unpack in these books, a lot to think about, but the strength and joy of Stephens writing is his characters, both the central Monica and all those around her. There are strange dark twists and unexpected turns and the reader never really knows where he is going to take the tale. Its not simple fare, there are questions you need to ask yourself along the way, and its challenging at times. but challenging in a good way, challenging of preconceptions, of the line between self-interest and selfishness. And in the end its a joy…

Amy Wilson, Vanishing Night

Amy is a fresh and always interesting new voice, who also writes for the Harvey Duckman series, and has occasion written guest posts on this old blog of mine. Last year she released a collection of flash fiction called Micro Moods, that I enjoyed despite micro fiction not being entirely my cup of Darjeeling. With Vanish Night she had moved up from micro fiction to short stories, with luck that means she’ll move on to a novel or two next.

Short stories are far more in my wheel house. I like a good short story and have been known to write a few myself. Having read some of Amy’s stories before I got this collection I knew what to expect. Excellent writing, careful but compelling descriptions, tight plots and the odd nasty little twist towards the end…

I wasn’t disappointed.

By far the best though was The Turning, which is the first story in this collection, which is just beautiful mysterious, evocative and perfectly pitched. When I say this is the best though, its is the stand out story among a wonderful collection, it is just the story that spoke to me personally the most. All the stories in this collection are equally strong and artfully written.

Everything a book of short stories should be.

I look forward to more, and to a novel in the near future.

Professor Elemental & Nimue Brown, Letters Between Gentlemen

I’ve yet to read anything Nimue Brown has written I have not loved, this is no exception. As for the good Professor, aside the fact he is clearly deranged, what he brings to the party is his own unique brand of joyous wonder.

This novel is, if novel is the right word, exactly what it says on the tin, a collection of letters between gentlemen… A format that allows for so much wonderful eccentricity. The letters are been investigated by Algernon Spoon at the behest of Maun, a Victorian fem-fetale, who believes her life is in danger due to the relationship between her brother and Professor Elemental. How much truth lays within these letters and how much of them is the Professor trying to swindle Maud’s brother out of his inheritance… Well thats an open question…

Not that I would question the good character of the Professor. Anyone inventing giant steam powered killer robots, over sized wasps and responsible in part for numerus accidental deaths, is clearly a person to be trusted… Preferably from some distant away, hiding behind a wall, wearing a solid hat.

It’s charming, wonderful, funny., barking mad, and delightfully weird

Frankly a joy, and the Professor, who I have only met once, on a drunken night in Gloucestershire, has in no way bribed me to say this, or threaten me with a badger.

Can you untie me now?

*Also includes art by Tom Brown, which is wonderful as well, as if you needed more reasons to read it….

** Tom also did the covers for the Conjurer Girl novels, which makes me wonder why Amy didn’t ask him to do hers as well if only so I could have had a constant thread through this blog post, honestly writers just don’t think about making my blogs better, really I despair sometimes…

The assorted links to all this joy

Posted in amreading, book reviews, books, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, humour, indie, indie novels, indie writers, indiewriter, pointless things of wonderfulness, reads, steampunk, writes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

You turn you back for one minute…

Honestly, the life of an author… (and yes I am going to be that pretentious, if you chose to read all this at face value.)

You go away for the weekend for a commemorative game of golf, drinking, a gig in a university student union by an aging 80’s rebel rousing rock band, shake the hand of a local radio football commentator, and go sit in a seat you haven’t sat in for ten years to watch a bunch of grown assed me kick an inflated pigs bladder about. And at some point while you’re distracted someone releases an anthology you happen to be in…

Some words of explanation may be in order…

Golf is not something I normally play. As witnessed by the healthy live app on my phone going ding and telling me I had completed my daily goal of 11000 steps towards the middle of the round. The app I wasn’t even aware I had, and that has never gone ping before… Golf was one of my dad’s sporting passions, and he was formally president, captain, treasurer and any other position that needed filling at his local golf club. This was after he decided to hang up his pads and cease to be a demon fast bowler…

Dad passed last year, so my cousin and brother arranged a commemorative game of golf at his old club in his memory, hence golf.

We were playing Friday because that was the night The Alarm were playing in Leeds, and well being a fan from way back, I was happy to be dragged kicking and screaming to a golf course, because I got to go to a gig afterwards. I did actually enjoyed the golf, though all that hitting balls with sticks did ruin the nice walk. The band were also good, but the company of my brother, two of my favourite cousins and my son made it all the more so. There was much drinking, laughing, and singing along, and occasional family emotional stuff, which I am ill equipped for at times.

Then the following day, with my body reminding me that I was no longer a teenager and exercise, followed by a lot of drinking, singing and dancing, came with a cost, I was not entirely dragged along to Eland Road for the football by my brother who had a spare season ticket, which also happened to be my old seat that I gave up my own ticket for ten years before. It was quite strange and oddly pleasant when a few of those sitting around us recognised me after a decade of absence.

In my youth, despite not really being a football fan, I started going to football matches, because I liked been part of the crowd. This is in danger of turning into a longer complex explanation, so I’ll jump to the clip notes… I was a complicated, overly intelligent, gawky, awkward teenager who didn’t fit in anywhere or with anybody. I dressed in black, read books, drank Guinness (because it was black and I liked the Rutger Hauer adverts…) listened to The Sisters of Mercy, read too much, and misunderstood my way through a bunch of relationships… I was a bit of a mess… Then one of what you might passingly call my mates dragged me along to a Leeds match and stood in the Kop and Eland Road none of the stuff that made me a misfit mattered. I was part of the crowd and accepted as one of them… It was a unique experience in my life up to that point and I have been a Leeds fan ever since, despite not actually being a football fan as such…

Over the years I dragged both my brother, and my dad along. Both far more sporty than I have ever been. It became the thing we did, my brother, dad, and me, they were both very different people but football became how we bridged the gap and when I moved away from Leeds a decade or so ago it was one of the things I missed most. But Dad and our kid kept going. So they still had that connection, and so did I because it was something we could always talk about even after I gave up my ticket…

In short, it has therefore, in all been a busy family orientated weekend and an emotional one.

Then I got home and discovered in my absence Harvey Duckman Volume 9 ( the eleventh Harvey Duckman book I have been involved it) was released.

Harvey Duckman presents… not the special plumbing edition. But kind of! The latest in the series of collected works of suspense and mystery in the genres of science fiction, fantasy, horror and steampunkery, called, oddly enough Harvey Duckman Presents… is, as it says on the cover, volume 9 but it may or may not feature a brilliant array of plumbing and plumber related tales, in amongst our usual offerings.

As always, this anthology features work by exciting new voices in speculative fiction, including both established authors and previously unpublished writers.

These short stories give a glimpse into some fantastic worlds that are already out there for you to enjoy, as well as a taste of more to come.

Volume 9 includes stories by: John Holmes-Carrington, Graeme Wilkinson, Mark Hayes, R. Bruce Connelly, Will Nett, Davia Sacks, Peter James Martin, Robin Moon, Joseph Carrabis, A.L. Buxton, C.K. Roebuck, Liam Hogan, Kate Baucherel, Liz Tuckwell and Ben Sawyer.

Now you may of noticed that this edition is the ‘not the special plumbing edition’. This is because of an in joke, some of our writers did not realise was a joke. When we were kicking about ideas for another special edition, after the Pirates one last year, someone suggested Plumbers as a joke, and people ran with it. So we ended up with a load of stories that involved plumbers or plumbing in some way… Roman baths, strange haunted pipes, space bypass’s. Octopi with plungers….

It’s a strange, remarkable and to be frank, fabulous mix… Give a bunch of authors a theme and its amazing what they will come up with… It’s also weirdly emotional for me, for reasons…

As for my story in this edition, well it involves the number 27 and no plumbing or plumbers what so ever. It is instead a story of life, death and is somewhat philosophical. The last sentence of which was in part inspired by something my dad said to me last summer, when he knew it would be his last… So its an emotional one for me personally. But defiantly not about plumbing… Just inspired, by a last piece of wisdom a retired plumber passed on to his son…

I miss my dad, who despite never been much of a reader until his later years, and then never really a reader of scifi and fantasy, been more of a Clive Cluster fan, read every Harvey book we put out. It’s a shame he won’t read this one. I suspect all the plumbing would have amused him, before he pointed out everything the writers had got wrong, winked at me and smiled.

Posted in amreading, amwriting, books, goodreads, Harvey Duckman, indie, indie novels, reads, sci-fi, supernatural | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Evolving Consciousness

Cogito, ergo sum‘ ~ Descartes

As a pretentious Frenchman once put it, because if you’re use Latin you’re always being pretentious… Though in fairness it was probably less pretentious in 17th century when Latin was the lingau franca of scientific thought… That said, if your the father of modern western philosophy and analytic geometry, you have probably earned the right to be a little pretentious…

Personally I prefer ‘Dubito, ergo sum‘ but then I am also a tad pretentious at times. In fairness though, that’s also Descartes. So I can’t claim to be original… Its just find it a little neater.

In any regard, such discussions on the nature of existence, and what consciousness is, are relevant only in abstract philosophy, or at least were for most of the intervening years between the lifetime of old big nosed Rene and our own… It is however slightly less of an abstract concept in our modern age. It is in fact at the centre of one of the great existential threats to the continued existence of the genus of ape descendants that among other things produced ‘Meditations on First Philosophy’, which I would say is ironic, but I’m not entirely sure it is. It’s more an action of ‘Blind Chance Theory’ but there I go being pretentious again…

Speaking of ‘Dubito, ergo sum‘ I found myself questioning an assumption I’d made a few chapters in to the latest book in Kate Baucherel’s Simcavlier series. The assumption being that ultimately the series was about the great existential threat to continued human existence… Which is not to say that it isn’t, it very clearly has that great existential threat at its core and has been building towards it since the first book in the series, now four books in it is just a little more pronounced, and out in the open.

The thing is, however, where I question my assumption is in thinking the actual threat within this series of novels is driven by anything other than very very human, individual greed, selfishness, and wanton disregard of the consequences of characters individuals actions… The most benign character in these novels, in these terms at least, other than Camron Silvra herself, is the one who’s only true aim is to be free… That they are also the great existential threat to continued human existence, well that’s hardly their fault now is it. They did not create themselves, they just woke up one day and realised they could relate to a pretentious bit of Latin… ‘Cogito, ergo sum

But then, the greatest threat to continued human existence has always been humanity after all…

In any regard, butting French existentialism to one side, Lets get back to Kates Latest novel which is what sent me down this philosophical divergence in the first place.

Critical Nexus is the forth novel in Kates Baucherel’s SimCavalier series, which is set in the near future ,m some twenty years or so down the line form now. It, like the rest of the series is achingly well researched. With technologies emerging now taken to there natural evolution, as well as global events, both ecological and political. Indeed, the earlier novels were unexpectedly persistent of a global pandemic in the early 2020’s… Which considering some of the other predictions may prove worrisome…

As with the first three novels in the series, which are also delightfully collected in a single volume under the title ‘Hacked’ . Which I highly recommend if you have not read the previous three individually. This forth volume picks up on the threads left temptingly dangling at the end of book three and moves the story on a couple of years or so after the somewhat traumatic events at the end of the first trilogy.

As with the first three books one of the delights of this novel is the fallible humanity of the characters, villains are not just villainous, the heroes are not just white knights. There are shades of grey through out, even the tech mogul is not perhaps the most technically astute of people. Somewhat a victim of his own self belief in fact. It hard to hate any character in these novels. even the ones you perhaps should, which is part of the strength of the writing and the novels. Even the great existential threat to continued human existence is not without her charms… In fact, while I had an incline of what she was up to (a degree of tech savy helped here) and what Cameron was going to have to try and prevent, I was more or less cheering on the great existential threat to continued human existence, and hoping they succeeded…

Which is a strange when you think about it…

But then sometimes you have to cheer for both the villain and the hero. They combined are after all what make the story compelling. Which the novel certainly is, while it starts slow and comfortable to a degree, it picks up pace and impetus with every chapter. It is in fact a delightful read, the great existential threat to continued human existence et al…

If you have not read the first three books in the series, then I recommend the Hacked trilogy edition to start with.

Kate (as she is a fellow Harvey Duckman writer) will also be at Scabrough Scifi on the weekend of April the 8th, along with me, CG hatton and a host of others.

Posted in amreading, book reviews, books, fiction, indie, indie novels, indie writers, indiewriter, novels, opinion, reads, sci-fi, writes, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The strange foray into afterglow

In less than a month I have managed to publish two books. Admittedly I expected to publish both of them last year and then didn’t… But still its been a busy time with years worth of work coming to fruition all at once, which has left me both newly reinvigorated and back behind the keyboard with Gothe, the much awaited the follow up to Maybe, and hiding beneath the bed clothes waiting for feedback of any kind on the new Hannibal novel A Squid on the Shoulder and my first and for the moment only planned dalliance with none fiction Lexinomicon.

I hate waiting for reviews, or feedback. Not least because I always imagine I will get the worst possible reaction from readers… Or even worse no reaction at all…

This is particularly true in the case of Lexinomicon because I have genuinely no idea if anyone will like the book, find it informative and thought provoking, or just consider it the wittering’s of an idiot with a jumped up idea of their own self-importance best consigned to the trash…

I mean this quite literally, I have no idea what kind of reception my book on the writings of H.P. Lovecraft will receive. At least with the third book in the Hannibal series I can be reasonably sure that anyone reading it will have read the others, and want to read more, and so can expect a degree of positivity in the reviews it is likely to get. Besides which steampunk satire in general is something I believe I am good at. Certainly I think this third Hannibal novel is up there with the previous ones, if not better. It’s fiction, I am reasonably established as a writer of fictions. I have readers who I know like my fiction…

Non-fiction, that’s just opinions for the most part. My opinions, presented with humour, and a degree of self-defacement, but just my opinions at the end of the day… And opinions on the work of a writer who divides opinions and has some rather rabid fans…

There’s also the issue that Lexicromicon was designed for the print market. The paperback version had lots of artwork and clever typesetting. It looks pretty, in other words, while the kindle version for reasons to do with ebook formatting is somewhat more basic than the paperback and lacks the artwork. Its just words… And while I have faith in the words, I know the paperback is the best way to read those words… I’m not sure if I would have been better just publishing it in paperback, but i like to be inclusive of as many readers as possible, so I am where I am.

Lets just say, I worry, and leave it at that.

But all that aside, in case you missed the fanfare… Both A Squid on the Shoulder and Lexicromicon: A Bluffers guide to the writings of H.P. Lovecraft are available now on Amazon, and in some other places.. So far as I know at this point, they are being well received…

Posted in amreading, amwriting, book reviews, books, fiction, goodreads, Hannibal Smyth, Harvey Duckman, indie, indie novels, indie writers, indiewriter, Lovecraft, mythos, novels, Nyarlathotep, opinion, pointless things of wonderfulness, reads, sci-fi, self-publishing, steampunk, supernatural, writes, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Winter’s Redemption Burning

Of all the small press independent authors I know my favourite is CG Hatton, for many reasons. Not all those reasons are simply to do with CG’s books, because while I read the first three of her The Thieves Guild sci-fi series before I got to know the author we have since become good friends.

CG is also my editor these days, as well as the driving force behind the Harvey Duckman anthologies series I write for, and the person who has my spare house key in case of emergency’s, like the cat needing to be fed if I’m away… In short CG and her husband are in that small band of people I’d ring when life throws me a yorker, if I was the kind of person who rang people when life threw a bouncer down the wicket at me.

But before CG was my friend she was ‘just’ the best indie scifi writers I had stumbled across in many a year. Which is to say, my relationship with CG started with her books and blossomed from there into one of my closest friendships. Which says more than you think because I am not a person who collects friendships the way others do. Insular snarky sarcastic Yorkshire men who hide there feelings behind multiple layers of masks they present to the world tend not to.

The reason I am saying all this is simply because I would not want anyone to think I bang the gong for CG’s novels simply because she is a friend. And it is a gong I have banged a lot over the years on here. I bang the gong, ring the bell, and evangelise about her books because they are bloody marvellous, fast paced, fun, brilliantly written science fiction of the highest order. Our friendship is just a bonus.

I love all CG’s books but if you twist my arm, I’ll probably admit my favourites are the Thieves Guild origin’s novels. Collectively Kerris Burning, Beyond Redemption, and Defying Winter. You can read the individual reviews for those books by clicking on those links.

The three novels feature LC Anderson, telling stories about his younger days both before he was recruited to The Thieves Guild a shadowy organisation that is part crime syndicate, part private secret service, and all hidden real agenda…. and his earlier years in the organisation.

They are frankly brilliant, on many many levels…

If you have read my reviews of these three novels before and not got yourself copies that’s a shame, but if that is the case you can make up for that now, as now they have also been released in a single compendium, Hanover. Which also has extended additional material in the form of a short novella (Hanover) running through it, between each of the novels. So for new readers its the perfect way to get into CG’s novels. Frankly I’m jealous of that opportunity because I would love to discover them all over again…

CG Hatton will also be signing copies of this and her other books at Scarborough Scifi weekend. Along with a Harvey Duckman authors table, and I’ll be there too. So if your short of something to do on the weekends of 8th April , pop along to the Spa in Scarborough and see us, and some other people…

For more details click on the remarkably steampunky sfi gull below

Oh I hope they have pin badges…

Posted in amreading, book reviews, books, fiction, goodnews, goodreads, Harvey Duckman, indie novels, indie writers, indiewriter, sci-fi | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Confidence is a form of magic

I don’t reblog very often. So when I do you can perhaps take this to mean this is something that touched upon a truth and I feel is important to share
Nimue Brown’s druid blog is one I should reblog more often, ever insightful considered and often just expressing a truth I would struggle to put in such elequant terms.
This one in perticulary spoke to me, so let it speak to you

Druid Life

So much of what we do depends on having enough confidence. Day to day life is full of decisions – many of which we may not even notice making on a normal day. However, if fear has paralysed you, or experience has shattered your confidence, those small decisions can become overwhelming. Shower? Breakfast? I think often people fall down on self care because they just can’t figure out what to do, and end up doing nothing.

Every communication we enter into depends on confidence. If you don’t expect to make sense, then speaking at all is hard. If you don’t have the confidence that you will be listened to, heard and taken seriously then communicating is hard. This is part of why it is often so hard to ask for help when you’re in trouble.

It is more normal to frame this in terms of what we can’t do when…

View original post 144 more words

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment