Wednesday, August 7, 2013

A Pair of Projects and a new Who

Created by Liza O'Connor
Summer is a hard time for me to write when I have my three monsters home for the holidays. But this year I don't even feel the inclination. Having done a short story and three sets of edits since the start of the year, attempting and once more failing CampNaNoWriMo, plus waiting for news on four projects that I hope to have contracts on, has apparently drained my muse. She's currently taking a break on the outer rim of the galaxy, and will let me know when she's ready to teleport back. :P

But I had two main projects I wanted to work on as and when time allowed. Firstly, I bit the bullet and claimed my dealer's table for WorldCon - LonCon 3 to be held in the UK in August 2014. Eeep! I have no idea what I'm doing but hope to gain a bit of experience at another con beforehand. Aside from taking my own work to the world's biggest scifi convention, I decided I wanted to represent the SFR Brigade too (and the talented other scifi authors I have the privilege of knowing). Top of my list of things that I want to promote is Tales from the SFR Brigade. Now, I could just print up leaflets/cards and put up a poster about it with links to the retail sites, but I know that people still like to see a physical product in their hands, despite the huge leap in popularity of the ebook. So I discussed the possibility of doing a one-off print edition to take as a display item to the con with Laurie. Just one that I can hand to people to look at, then give them a leaflet if they express an interest. After all, the dang thing is FREE, and hopefully by then it'll be up on Amazon too. So, more than a year since I've last done any work with a POD service, I'm back at relearning all the things I learned back before I had a contract, when I thought I'd be self-publishing my work. At the moment it's still in the early draft stages as I need to reformat the master document to get rid of some weird spacings, and on the possibility of more artwork from the cover artist to give it a decent back cover. I'll update you all when there's been more significant progress. In the meantime, be aware that I'm willing to take swag (and even books as interest and packing space allows) from Brigade members and fellow scifi authors (it must be SF related) but I'll post again closer to the time. If you want to get updates, you can join the event on Facebook here.

Secondly, I volunteered to go review seeking for the anthology. I'd already intended to do so on a smaller scale as I'm still trying to cadge more reviews for my other June release - my YA scifi Gethyon - plus my extensive book reviewers list is in desperate need of an update. So I've combined the projects, working my way through the list updating as I go, adding new ones, and looking for reviewers that will accept either book. It's a slow process as there are far more romance review sites on the list than any other genre, and of those many prefer to focus on contemporary and/or paranormal rather than scifi. My small but favourite group of reviewers have already said yes (bless 'em!) but I still have a long way to go. Of course, there's absolutely no guarantee that the reviewers who accept the books will give a positive review, but that's a truth all authors have to face when they put their work out there. If you can't learn to shrug off the negative ones well...I'm sorry, but you're going to find it hard going. The SFR Brigaders have also been discussing reviews and how to go about seeking them - you can check out a couple of blog posts I did on how NOT to do it here.

Who's the New Who?

What kind of geek would I be if I didn't mention the recent announcement of who will play the next Doctor? With a 35 minute show devoted to the reveal (something never done before and a bit overkill IMO, but I understand why they wanted to make a performance out of the event) we learned Peter Capaldi will be the new Doctor.

I'm pleased for several reasons. Aside from thoroughly enjoying Capaldi's protrayal of the twisted fallen Angel Islington in the BBC dramatization of Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere, Capaldi is a long time fan of the show. He's already appeared in DW in Fires of Pompei, and in Torchwood's Children of Earth (and, funnily enough, as a Time Traveller in The All New Alexei Sayle Show - an episode called Drunk in Time). I'm also glad to see an older actor take the role. I really thought the BBC would keep going younger (and Matt Smith was the first actor to be younger than me - an inevitable but disturbing fact). This has led to a lot of complaints that Capaldi isn't 'hot'. Well, aside from being in the generation where the hotness or not of the Doctor was irrelevant, I'd say it depends on your perspective. I know a lot of older fans who find Capaldi quite dishy, but I still say it wouldn't matter to a true fan. I'm sure there's a lot of male fans to whom it will always been inconsequential. If your enjoyment of the series is based solely on the attractiveness of the actor playing the Doctor to you personally, you're going to be disappointed at least once in a while. You're also missing the point of the show...
I also know there's a lot of unhappiness over it being yet another white guy. What can I say? Perhaps it makes me sexist AND racist, but The Doctor has always been that, and despite my desire for equality in SF, that concept is stuck in my head. I wouldn't have been horrified by either (but I can imagine there might have been a huge outcry from some areas having seen enough negativity simply over Capaldi, sheesh). It would have been a bigger surprise, and in some ways I almost expected it after the announcement of a special show for the reveal. I think it's unfortunate that we've lost the Time Lord society in the story, which at least would have allowed for diversity in their race - as shown in Star Trek Voyager with Tuvok, the first black Vulcan. If the Doctor can regenerate into anything, why not into another kind of alien? (Oh, all right, we all know in reality the expense and trouble that would be for the SFX department and potential discomfort for the actor make that less feasible). But then, the beauty of being a SF/SFR author (and one of the reasons I started writing) is that I can create my own universe of diversity, and accept the bias in an iconic show like Doctor Who without having to hate on it. As the Angel Islington once said when the heroes of Neverwhere laughed at his offer to join him, "Ah, me..."
In consolation to those unhappy with Capaldi I'll say this. The Doctor will regenerate again. And again. And again. He will always change, and there will always be people who don't like it. Personally I can't wait to see how Capaldi will play the part, and how this will change the dynamic between the Doctor and Clara. (BTW I also posted on my blog about the prospect of a female Who, and why, surprisingly, I'm not all for one. Check it out here).

Pippa's Journal

No solid news to impart. Gethyon was in the LASR Book of the Month Contest at the end of last week - sadly it didn't place. I have tentative progress on two pieces of work that I can't yet announce (I HATE sitting on things like that when all I want to do is share!), and by this time next week I'll know if my cyberpunk short story will have made it into an anthology. If not, I've also had an offer on that from elsewhere.


I was desperately hunting for blog post ideas and came across this - The Lazy Bloggers Post Generator. You can vary most of the information to be included, or just leave it and hit Create Post and take pot luck. Here's my maybe less than humorous result. :P

Dudes I just discovered I have not updated this since 1999... You would not believe the fairy dust I have to clean up. I'm so sorry!.

I am lost in a sea of pseudo-olde-english with setting fire to people wearing Crocs, being distracted by the shiny, just generally being the life of the party to my kids, my day is a nightmare I would like to wake up from 3am to way past dusk. I am not being a whinging Pom or anything. perchance.

I absolutely, positively promise won't blog until the next time booze prices go up and I have to get sober for a while. No, really! What do you mean you don't believe me?

Hey, some days that would be better than nothing, right? Er, right?


A contest for unpublished and published (but uncontracted) authors!
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Turn up the heat on your writing career. This contest is open to any unpublished/uncontracted romance manuscript by all authors.

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1) Historical/Regency
Editor - Holly Blanck, St. Martins
Senior Editor - Esi Sogah, Kensington

2) Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal
Assistant Editor - Kelly Quinn, Tor
Editor –Kristine Swartz, Assistant Editor, The Berkley Publishing Group

3) Romantic Suspense
Editorial Assistant- Lauren Plude, Grand Central Publishing
Editor Samhain -Tera Kleinfelter

4) Contemporary Long/Single Title
Editor –Deborah Werksman, Sourcebooks, Inc
Editor at large, Sue Grimshaw, Random House

5) Series ContemporaryAssociate Editor – Johanna Raisanen, Harlequin
Senior Editor Sweetheart Rose – Leanne Morgena, The Wild Rose Press

For More Information, entry form, and rules, see website at
For questions please email

Linda Andrews
Valley of the Sun Hot Prospects Chair
Ping Pong
@Donna - feeling a little envy over the conference. I have no idea if I'll ever be able to attend an event like that. And I'm still waiting on that Hollywood SF that will satisfy me fully sight, sound and story... And totally agree that Hollywood still isn't getting the great stories to match the great SFX. Why aren't they getting that?!
@Laurie - great review, and nothing encourages me to pick up a book than hear someone rave about something!

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Hosted by 5 Science Fiction Romance authors with 8 RWA Golden Heart finals and a RITA final between them. We aim to entertain with spirited commentary on the past, present, and future of SFR, hot topics, and our take on Science Fiction and SFR books, television, movies and culture.