Monday 27 April 2015

Cover Reveal; 'Ashamet, Desert-Born' - At Last!

And here it is. Not the first cover, but the last and I think the best.

I hope you like it as much as I do.

Who knew cover art was such an adventure.  Frankly at the start I was expecting the worst. Well, one hears horror stories. And I knew at least  two of them were true because I knew the authors, with two different publishers, who were horrified by what they got as illustration for their books.

So I figured there was now way I was going to get any say in what went on.

But an email asked if I had any thoughts about the cover, and from that question came a host of other emails, as ideas were trolled through, till we had a cover. Sorted. On schedule. Done.

Except then my eagle-eyed publishers spotted another book with a very similar cover, one they said they didn't want Ashamet to be in any way associated with! [I never did find out why, and wasn't asking] So it was back to the drawing board. And no time to lose.

In the UK, that meant yours truly entering discussions with a cover designer a pal recommended. We were starting to get somewhere, to the point of advance payment in fact, when in the USA said publishers came up with another option, the one above, and I liked it at once. So I said no thanks very politely to a company I'd have been happy to go with - and said so - and we were almost there, after a few tweaks to make it our own.

It's nothing at all like the first, which was now a good thing. It's quirky, which was something I wanted, noticeable but different. [Like Ashamet himself] It's not yet another hooded figure, or hair blowing in the wind, or face staring out at the reader, all of which are being done to death right now. It's... Ashamet's world. Not quite real, like something in your mind more than something you can touch. And it's only delayed the launch by mere weeks.

So I hope you like it too. Please tell me if you think it's right. Or wrong. I'd love to hear.

Saturday 25 April 2015

Review: Beyond Hercules, by Paul Bussard, 4* :)

Beyond Hercules, by Paul Bussard - 4*
pub Montag Press
out August 11th

A wealthy inventor, his teenage girlfriend, an astronomer and a Russian cosmonaut face the thrill, and the danger, of discovering anti-gravity. and not all those dangers lie within their own world. [In fact that aspect delivered some of my favourite bits!]

This one is definitely hard SF with the science content one might expect, but for the non-scientific reader, like me, it is happily wrapped in an adventure story coating that still keeps it enjoyable. Whether the science content is reliable, or merely 'creative' I wouldn't know. No doubt other, better-qualified readers will decide. But the adventure was fun and I wouldn't at all mind finding out what happens next. And I have to figure any hard SF book I find enjoyable must be better than average, right?

Review: A Creature of Moonlight, by Rebecca Hahn, 5* :)

A Creature of Moonlight, by Rebecca Hahn -5*
pub Houghton Harcourt Muffin Children's Books
out May 6th 2015

The Flower Girl, rightful heir to the kingdom, lives with her Gramps the deposed king at the edge of the woods - where strange creatures live and other girls are lured away, never to be seen again. add in a castle and court, a dragon and a very feisty young heroine and you've got the recipe for a fairytale - and this one doesn't disappoint.

There are books you label exciting, or complex, or just a fun read. All good. There aren't so many for which the word that comes to mind is 'magical' but this is one.
 The story is deceptively simple, beautifully written, and the POV character has a fresh, distinctive voice from page one. Definitely one to look out for.

 Though maybe not what many people are in the habit of reading I'd say try it anyway and be surprised. It's unique and that's always worth a look?

Eastercon; After The Fact

I am, as usual, catching up with my life. Where the days go I have no idea, then suddenly I'm thinking, "When was the last time I blogged?"

So I hope you found Eastercon enjoyable. I know I did, helped along by the fact the hotel this time was MUCH better than previous Heathrow venues. Even the prices were, for London, very reasonable.

Meeting friends is a bonus prize for me at cons but I confess I'm unfashionable enough I really go for the panels etc. And Dysprosium was no exception. Naturally I sat in on the agenting panel, and most of the items where Jim Butcher was involved, being a Dresden fan. Laughed through Professor Elemental's performance, frowned through 'Asymmetric Warfare', listened to Jaine Fenn and Al Robertson read, snuck in to hear Jacey Bedford discuss game of Thrones - which I still haven't read but gather with some relief I'm not alone at.

Sunday was mainly about critting, since I joined the Tea Party for the second time on the pre-booked critique sessions. The crittees were receptive and polite about being mauled. My fellow critters were impressive. As always, listening to other crits gave me insights as well. One can always learn.

Monday was my journey north, so I only had time to attend the Milford meeting before heading out. Sadly I've had to drop out from my booking this year and lose my deposit, but I hope to get back there again for another. It's one of the best writing experiences. If you haven't heard about it it's worth checking out, though you need to have a sale to qualify.

Well, that's a race through dysprosium. Since then I've been off to a NorthwriteSF meeting as well, and, ah yes, that's why I haven't been blogging!

I've been roughing out a line of guest blogs before Ashamet comes out. So I have been blogging. That's a relief.

Wednesday 1 April 2015

And m ore Eastercon thoughts... How About the Less Obvious Things?

The Dysprosium 'final' programme is available [Cos we all know, don't we, that things can change due to those unforeseen circumstances.]

All I've had time to glance at so far is Friday's listings, but there are already several panel items I'll definitely get to.

But what about the not-so-panel items? Ever really considered stepping out of the groove?

Maybe a reading? I've promised myself to hear more of those. They're usually shorter, and will hopefully either tell me which writers I should look out for, or show me what my already-known writers have coming out new.

And how about taking in a performance? 'Professor Elemental', for instance, in the evening.

Or a game, like 'Vote with Your Arse'!!!

Or have you ever dropped into a Filk? It doesn't hurt, honest.
The term 'filk' is said to stem from a printing error. It was supposed to be 'folk'. Ah, now you've guessed it, filk means folk music - though that can be very broadly defined. A bunch of musical people turn up with songs, instruments etc. and just jam for a while. It's OK to just listen, to wander in and out again, the idea is to relaxed about it. Of course that means you have no idea what sort of session it is, but that's OK too. If it's not for you, then vote with... :-)

But hey, this Eastercon, make a resolution to try something new?

And if you should see a rather pretty card on the freebie table with my name on it, take a look at the cover for Ashamet before it comes out in May? And even stop long enough to read the short 'blurb' on the back?