Friday 24 April 2009

Wise words from Pooh's creator

'Almost anyone can be an author; the business is to collect money and fame from that state of being.'
A. A. Milne (1882-1956)

Now you see, there he's gone and hit the nail on the head. When I've managed it myself, I'll let you know...

Saturday 11 April 2009

Human Nature reviewed on Amazon

The 'official' reviews have spoken very favourably of Human Nature (Ulysses Quicksilver's third outing) and now the punters themselves are having their say.

This very positive review by M. R. N. Shackelford appeared on the Amazon site recently:

A delightful tale of derring-do, damsels in distress, Frankenstein monsters, Victorian heroes and dim policemen - this is a sort of dubious offspring of Conan-Doyle and Steam-Punk. We are in the year 1997, but Victoria is still on the throne and the magnificence of the British Empire is undimmed. But although they have "personal communicators" - made of brass, teak and enamel (!) - they also suffer the worse side of the Industrial Revolution - with smog and pollution everywhere, and the poor still live in rookeries and hovels, dressed in tatters. This book follows on from the (equally amusing) "Unnatural History" and "Leviathan Rising", and observes the adventures of our hero - Ulysses Quicksilver - dandy and secret agent... in a "Hound of the Baskervilles" in Whitby adventure - with the occasional Fagin character, and some great names - "Molesworth" the butler scores 10/10, and another character (who only appears for a moment) is called Mycroft, in a nod to Mr. Holmes. This is NOT great literature and the prose does sometimes hiccup in its enthusiasm - but read fast enough you don't notice it. Definitely recommended for that long flight / train journey / weekend with Great Aunt Gloria.

If you've not read Human Nature for yourself yet, why not pick up a copy and see if you agree with Mark's assessment?

Friday 10 April 2009

Black Library Live!

Tomorrow, Black Library Live! will be taking place at Warhammer World (at Games Workshop's HQ) in Nottingham. The great and the good of the Black Library will be there to sign books, talk about upcoming projects, read extracts from books and take part in themed battles.

If you haven't already got a ticket you can still get one on the day (I think they're £10). It runs from about 10.30am until 5.00pm, so if you're in the area, why not pop along?

I won't be there. Much as I would like to be, other... commitments... prevent me. It was the same a few years ago. I was invited to take part in Black Library Day when Inferno! magazine was still being published and Necromundan Underhive Bounty Hunter Nathan Creed was something of a big thing in certain circles. Unfortunately, I couldn't make it and apparently missed a stonker. I went the following year and chatted to Gav Thorpe but didn't see much front line action.

Anyway, here's wishing everyone well for tomorrow and if you do manage to get there yourself, why not stop by later and post how you got on here?

Until next time...

Wednesday 1 April 2009

Writing is a lonely business... isn't it?

When people envisage the life of a writer they probably picture somebody scratching away in their notebook in a draughty garret somewhere, but most importantly, by themselves!

Well, I work in a garret of sorts (our loft conversion - but there is a draught!) and I tap away at my laptop rather than wear out nib pens on a daily basis, and, yes, I'm there by myself. I spend hours at a time immersed in my own thoughts (an interesting place to visit, but you wouldn't want to live there) and then, when I've got something that I feel is worth showing to others, I send it to an editor.

From there on in, writing is anything but a solitary business, as Juliet McKenna explains over at the Solaris Books blog.

Another (vague) acquaintance of mine, Gav Thorpe (ex-Games Workshop games developer and now full-time freelance writer) also has this to say about why we choose to pursue such a (seemingly) lonely profession in the first place.


A story in six words? Really?

I spotted this on the Angry Robot blog* the other day:

The concept of Six Word Stories apparently started, or at least gathered a great apocryphal origin, when someone bet Ernest Hemingway he couldn’t tell a story in such a short space. The response of the great man - “For sale: baby shoes. Never worn.” - still carries a real punch today, where in these times of Twittering and Flash fiction the six worders have made a real comeback.

You can find the best recent Science Fiction entries here. My personal favourite has to be this one by Watchmen scribe Alan Moore:

Machine. Unexpectedly, I’d invented a time

* BTW - on the same blog was this exciting news!