Tuesday 28 January 2014

Here We Go Again...

Phew. Christmas and New Year were fine but now I need to get back to work. There seems to be a lot of it too, as if the list is getting longer every time I look at it. I've sent in several reviews though already this year so I'll add some of those here as soon as I get a minute.

So 2014. I'm trying to write. That goes with out saying, I guess, but I've also read the year's first 20 submissions for Albedo One magazine, a regular take-up of my spare moments, and put in a bit of time on Orbiter business, some of that concerned with adding a new member and forming a new group now the existing ones have got too full again.

Orbit groups, if you don't already know, are a bit like sand - they shift this way and that. New people join, older ones leave, or change groups, or change say from short story focus to novel, or vice versa. Some leave when they get famous or thereabouts; others choose to stay on and continue getting the feedback that may have pushed them to the fore. We started with one group nine years ago, moving from postal groups. We've expanded to eight. As I write we're officially six but I'm in the process of forming a seventh, and that's how it goes.

Orbiters come from all walks, all ages, and several genders. Some work full time, others less. Some come in from editing or science or other areas 'related' to SF, bringing their very useful expertise with them. What they all have in common - because that's the name of the game - is a desire to improve their writing and a love of genre rather than mainstream fiction.

Each time the BSFA Focus magazine comes out I get the pleasure of adding a Successes entry to my regular page there, to say who's sold what lately. These days the lists seems very healthy, which I think is a tribute to the hard work of those named and also the usefulness of the feedback passing through the groups.

Anyone out there wants a good quality, friendly crit group? I have several and we never close. Beginner or experienced, you're all welcome as long as you're prepared to work. And it doesn't matter where you hail from. We've had members in the USA, in Australia, in Holland. That's the beauty of the world wide web after all. We're all neighbours?

Next time, I promise, I'll pass on some of the publishers' reviews I've done on some brand new books. And this year I'll be including some writing and publishing tidbits, as I said I would.
And the best possible 2014 to all!

Sunday 5 January 2014

Review: Defy,by Sara B. Larson :)

I've just finished reading 'Defy', a YA fantasy about to come out from Scholastic Press. If you're into YA, for reading or research, then this is one I'd suggest getting hold of. It's a very polished debut novel, not over-complicated but credible and very well written. One can see why the publishers took it on but I'm not going to spoil anything by talking about the plot - if you are interested I'm sure you can look it up for yourselves?

On a side note, I was also interested to see that the YA target audience was described as 12 years and upward. I confess I'd never quite regarded YA as below 13, and it made me think. I wonder if the year younger is because this book is probably targeting girl readers more than boys? I doubt anyone would seriously contest the notion that 12 year old girls are generally 'older' than boys, that's certainly been my experience. But, in fairness, this book has lots of fight scenes, so maybe they're quite right to say that; romance for the girls and fights for the boys?

On which note I'll sign off, since that's a formula that I find depresses me, however effective it might be. But Defy, whatever my ramblings, is a very good YA, and I wish it every success.

Saturday 4 January 2014

And a Happy New Year to my Publisher.

I'm happy to say that Dragonwell Publishing, USA, who were rash enough to offer me a contract in the summer, have just hit the No 1 spot for Fairytales on Amazon with their anthology, 'Once Upon a Curse'. I can't even say I'm surprised because it's the only short story collection that's excited me in quite a while.

[Before that? 'The Bitten Word' from Newcon Press here in the UK.]

So congratulations, guys, on a job well done, and providing further proof that I've signed with a professional team!