A Sinful Query Dear Agent Fullname, Light Yagami wants nothing more than to get through each day of his senior school year without dying of boredom. When a mysterious notebook finds its way into his hands, Light is intrigued by its magical properties. The notebook—called the Deathnote—has the power to kill anyone whose name is... Continue Reading →
Planetfall by Emma Newman My rating: 4 of 5 stars Planetfall came to me well-recommended from a number of sources (two CPs, and my agent) so I was keen to give it a try. Overall a very enjoyable book, and one I read at a fast pace. The mix of nuanced interiority, bizarre setting, and... Continue Reading →
The Outcast Hours by Mahvesh Murad My rating: 4 of 5 stars Nota bene: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, via Netgalley. All my opinions are my own 🙂 How does one review a short story collection? Specifically, a large anthology with a wide selection of authors... Continue Reading →
via Examples of Successful Query Letters Original article by Ellen Brock, featuring an (older) version of my ANCHOR query, and the successful version of Essa Hansen's NOPHEK query.
via How to Write a Query (with examples of real successful query letters) Original article and video by Ellen Brock, professional independent editor, but her video also features the query for Anchor (my second MS), and for Nophek (a ms by my critique partner, Essa Hansen.)
The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North My rating: 5 of 5 stars I am so fucking angry over how good this book is. I might have to go void-scream into an abyss because of its incredible scope and ambition, of the depth and the beauty of its writing, of the sheer... Continue Reading →
Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay My rating: 4 of 5 stars I read this in about three hours (what can I say, I'm fast and already know the plot, having seen the show.) It certainly fascinating and enjoyable, and the dialogue fantastic, but I'm spoiled a bit from the show, which I think had... Continue Reading →
String City by Graham Edwards My rating: 4 of 5 stars I received a free copy of this book via Netgalley, in exchange for an unbiased review. Straight off the bat: I LOVE the world-building for this book. As a writer myself, world-building is an area of weakness for me, and I always get a... Continue 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 →
Wolfwater by Alia Hess My rating: 5 of 5 stars Disclaimer: I read an Advance copy of this novel, although I think it is now for sale. I've been following Alia's work for awhile, quietly amazed to watch as an already-strong writer has continued to grow from strength to strength. I enjoyed Travelers (book 1)... Continue Reading →
City of Saints and Madmen by Jeff VanderMeer My rating: 5 of 5 stars This type of narrative is usually a difficult sell for me. CSM contains a number of shorter stories (novellas and novelettes) which are loosely connected, and weaves a single narrative thread through them. The reason I find this sort of thing... Continue Reading →
I've never really done much with Instagram, except be vaguely baffled by it. Hopefully, that will change. A couple years ago, my partner's uncle passed away (cancer is a bitch.) In addition to being a really awesome person, Gethyn had spent years and years cultivating a wonderful SFF book collection of around 4000 physical volumes... Continue Reading →
Five-Twelfths of Heaven by Melissa Scott My rating: 3 of 5 stars I have so many mixed feelings on this novel. So... context first. I picked it at random off the shelves, and decided to read it because I liked the title. If you look at the cover, note that it shows a blond woman... Continue Reading →
The Keys to the Kingdom by Elliott Downing My rating: 5 of 5 stars Surprising and fantastic story Pretty much everything I look for in weird fiction. First person present tense always gets a thumbs up from me. If you are one of those readers who are dubious about FPPT, give this a try; it... Continue Reading →
You Should Come With Me Now: Stories of Ghosts by M. John Harrison My rating: 4 of 5 stars Swinging back to leave a review for this book, although I finished it a few months back. I think this is a must-have for fans of genre-bending literary short fiction. The writing is stunning, in a... Continue Reading →
The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier My rating: 5 of 5 stars I seem to be having an AMAZING reading month. I can't remember the last time I read so many 4+ star stories in a short time frame (we'll give 'Consider Phlebas' a pass, and roll it into the Culture books... Continue Reading →
How NOT to open a novel.
The Player of Games by Iain M. Banks My rating: 5 of 5 stars Late to the party, but this was excellent. I stayed up far later than I should have done to finish it; the kind of story that reminds me why I love scifi so much. This is what I mean about Banks... Continue Reading →
The Southern Reach Trilogy: Annihilation / Authority / Acceptance by Jeff VanderMeer My rating: 4 of 5 stars Fascinating NB: Review is for the trilogy overall. On an individual basis, I'd probably give Annihilation 5 stars, Authority 4 stars, and Acceptance 4.5 stars. ### Short review: As fascinating as it was frustrating; as triumphant as... Continue Reading →
When Strange Horizons asked me to contribute to their 2016 Best of the Year wrap-up, I immediately knew my entry would have to discuss Too Like the Lightning, my favorite novel not only of 2016 but of the last decade. The natural question to ask me, then, one I certainly asked myself, is if it’s so great, why haven’t I actually written a review of it? Well, for a variety of reasons I haven’t reviewed much of anything in a while, so with the sequel arriving today it seemed like a great time to both reread Too Like the Lightning and actually write about it this time.
The novel takes place in a future where humanity has flying cars, a moon base, and robots that make full time jobs strictly optional. Humanity is also enjoying lasting world peace, having given up geographic nation states, organized religion, and even gendered…
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Here is an abbreviated list of hoops that a trade published book often jumps through (apologies to those for whom this familiar); finishing agent querying pitch to publishers request & first reads second reads acquisitions (itself a multi-stage process) offer & contract negotiations At every stage the book can die. For writing, it might never... Continue Reading →
I wrote this as part of a general info post for a Facebook group I'm in. The level I’ve aimed at is introductory, so my apologies to those who are already well into the querying trenches; you can probably skip this. ### Basic Query Structure Info The query should be about a page in length,... Continue Reading →
I participated in my local Leeds Writer Circle “Anything Goes” competition this summer. Results are below!
Monday, Sept 10th saw the adjudcation for our own “Anything Goes” competition. Judge Andy Humphrey gave excellent feedback on all the entered pieces of writing, which was much valued by everyone attending. The winner was Sunyi Dean for her story “Ice Cream and English Summers”. Since entering the piece for this competition she has succeeded in getting a version of it published by Flash Fiction Online. Read it here. Double congratulations are therefore in order. In second was Jason Heppell, also winner of the Annavation Prize. Third was Peter Richardson. Full details on the Competitions Page.
Sunyi will be a familiar face to those in the Novelist’s Group. Members will be delighted to know that she’s on something of a roll at the moment, having just secured an agent for her adult speculative fiction novel “Anchor (To Your Other Self)”. There is an online interview here that gives…
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A new publication of mine in FFO: Ice Cream and English Summers I wrote a little bit about this on Twitter but basically, this story has a Dramatic History. The short version: I wrote this, got some feedback that burned because I was oversensitive about the content of the story itself, and I nearly trashed... Continue Reading →
My form interview with Querytracker
A random tea-related rant from a couple years ago that I wanted to salvage before closing down my previous FB profile. It also happens to rhyme. You’re welcome 😛 FYI, the original version was written on paper, and pinned meaningfully to the cupboard. *** My dear Gareth Dean I cannot help but observe The vast tons of... Continue Reading →
New publication of JOHN KILLS JENNY via Sub-Q, a magazine of Interactive Fiction. Every choice matters, so pick your options carefully. A convicted murderer must play through a "rehabilitation game" to earn his own release.