What I’m Reading

What I’m Currently Reading

Here is a list of books I am currently reading, or which are in my 'short' queue. I also keep track of them on my Goodreads page. Netgalley TBR: DAYS BY MOONLIGHT - Andre AlexisTHE OUTCAST HOURS - story anthology Personal TBR: QUIETUS by Tristan Palmgren (REREAD)TERMINUS by Tristan PalmgrenSOME DISTANT SUNRISE by Elliott DowningTHE FIRST... Continue Reading →

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Writing in troubled times

Leeds Writers Circle

At the time of the Coronavirus lockdown, the biggest success to report is the continuing functioning of the Circle on-line. Ian Harker’s “Places of Poetry” workshop successfully moved to Zoom and proved a great success. The first remote Manuscript Evening was held on Monday, April 6th. Hosted by Graeme and chaired by Lucie, with no less than 18 members appearing on screen at the same time, it worked very well . The other groups are continuing to function too. Writers are irrepressible people.

The adjudication evening for the poetry competition had to be cancelled. The brief from judge Mark Connors was for a Persona Poem and the full results are now on the Competitions Page. Many congratulations to Gail Mosley, Andrew Lambert and Joanna Bucktrout as the main winners, and also to Sue Ryder, Adelle Kirk and Sunyi Dean. Hopefully we can celebrate and hear your poems at an…

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THE PLAGUE by Albert Camus

The Plague by Albert Camus My rating: 5 of 5 stars The last time I read a Camus book was 17 years ago, and it was a life-changing experience. Ever since then, I have studiously avoided Camus' writing in case his other novels were similarly affecting. But with the onset of Covid-19 and so many... Continue Reading →

NOPHEK GLOSS by Essa Hansen

Nophek Gloss by Essa Hansen My rating: 5 of 5 stars Caveat: This is not your usual book review; I've included some "behind the scenes" musings for once. If you prefer my usual reviews, this may not be your cup of tea. Okay, caveats out of the way--let's go! There's a lot of mutual back-scratching... Continue Reading →

King Far

I will not live in silent rooms
where all my mothers died;
forgotten women lost in time
feet bound by cultural pride.

Writer Alliance: Publishing Round-up!

I try not to do promo-type stuff very often, either for friends or myself, but I want to talk very briefly about my amazing online writer group. Good critique groups make all the difference in a long writing journey. I remember all too well the confusion and mild horror of sifting through one bad beta-read... Continue Reading →

DARK PLACES by Gillian Flynn

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn My rating: 3 of 5 stars Ehhhhh. In a nutshell: strong characterisation and good craft/writing, with a very atmospheric setting. But the novel was structurally messy, the main character has motivation and/or passivity issues, and the final reveal is incredibly convoluted. Without wanting to give any spoilers, I feel like... Continue Reading →

TELEPATHIST by John Brunner

Telepathist by John Brunner My rating: 4 of 5 stars #shortreview for Instagram: I finished reading the Telepathist this morning. It was a sad and rather brutal novel, about a man whose physical deformities enable him to develop powerful mental capabilities (telepathy, in this case). There's some dystopian-esque spy stuff going on in the background... Continue Reading →

Coming off submission: some thoughts

So much of an aspiring author's time (at least, for those aspiring towards trade publication) is taken up with querying. I can understand this, having been in the querying trenches last year (and the year before that). Doors open with agents, you might say, meaning it's natural to focus on such a big goal. Querying... Continue Reading →

Deserted Lies the City reprint

Feel silly listing this as a Publications but here we are anyway 🙂 I've put up an older short story whose publication rights have expired elsewhere. You can read it here, where it will remain permafree. As more of my shorts become available, I'll probably put them up here as reprints with links to the... Continue Reading →

GONE GIRL by Gillian Flynn

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn My rating: 4 of 5 stars It was perhaps a mistake to embark on a novel which is, one way or another, centered on a tumultuous marriage, particularly when your own marriage is somewhat tumultuous. Still, I suppose it speaks to the relatability of the novel that, despite its bizarre... Continue Reading →

TOUCH by Claire North

Touch by Claire North My rating: 3 of 5 stars I have enormous respect for Claire North's writing. She has fascinating ideas, beautiful prose, poignant characterisations, a lively yet literary style, and keen observations on society/humanity. However, I didn't love this novel as I hoped I would. I started off thinking it would be a... Continue Reading →

The Best Of Gene Wolfe by Gene Wolfe

The Best of Gene Wolfe by Gene Wolfe My rating: 5 of 5 stars Awesome Obviously, I loved it. My favorite was The Eyeflash Miracles. Absolutely stunning story on every level. Here were my other standout stories: “The Island of Doctor Death and Other Stories,” copyright © 1970 by Gene Wolfe; first appeared in Orbit... Continue Reading →

Tales of the Fantastic — Leeds Writers Circle

Success comes in many shapes and sizes and we like to celebrate everything achieved by members here, whatever form that takes – a hint that we can’t publish those achievements unless you tell us about them. Don’t be shy. We’ve already celebrated some big successes this year and we now have a few others. Sarah […]... Continue Reading →

“Are You Gay, Like Your Character?”

I very much agree with the points made in this article. I tick quite a few #ownvoices boxes and feel that pressure, both spoken and unspoken, to flog them like job credentials. But I’d rather my writing spoke for itself, to be honest.

Mary E. Roach

Update 5/3/19. The author and I are both surprised by how much this has taken off! She (and I) are grateful for the real, thoughtful discussions you’ve been having around this. I do want to note, though, because I’ve had lots of comments (which I have chosen not to approve) from white folks using this as an opportunity to say they should get to write other folks’ stories. A lot have been specifically talking about how they, as white authors, want to write POC struggle stories. That’s not the conversation we’re having, and that wasn’t the point the author intended to make, so please don’t take it that way. We believe in #ownvoices stories. We don’t believe in white folks taking over the space that POC authors inhabit. The author’s story was one of a person in a position of power (an agent or editor) policing her marginalized identity. It…

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The Garments of Caean by BJ Bayley

The Garments of Caean by Barrington J. Bayley My rating: 5 of 5 stars This is one of those odd little gems that has stood out in my memory as a really sublime sf novel. On the outset, it's a book about a psychic suit that bonds with, controls, and manipulates its wearer for amazing... Continue Reading →

The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks

The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks My rating: 2 of 5 stars From 5 stars, to 2 stars: a great concept, enjoyably written, that nonetheless lacked payoff (either emotional or plot-based). The ending hinged on a very unbelievable revelation that I couldn't buy into and which didn't wrap up all of the interesting elements that... Continue Reading →

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