2005 News

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This copy of the blog doesn't have a comments facility, because it's manually written html. But there's another copy on Livejournal with user name julesjones and comments are welcome there:   http://www.livejournal.com/users/julesjones/. You can also email me at jules.jones@gmail.com

December 2005

28 December (later):

My erotica noir short story And the lights go down has been published in issue 16 of the webzine Suspect Thoughts, available from today. This one's a rarity for me -- it's m/f. It's also *not* romance...

Loose Id's New Year's Eve themed m/m romance anthology A Kiss At Midnight is now available. Three novellas for $6.99:

First Footer by Jules Jones
They say that how you spend New Year's Day will set the pattern for the rest of your year. Hence the old custom of the First Footing: to bring good luck to the household, the first person across the threshold after midnight should be a tall dark man holding a lump of coal and a bottle of whisky. When Matthew’s First Footer is a First Contact team member with fur, a tail, and a very seductive purr, well, it’s going to be an interesting year for Matthew...

The Burning Man by Ally Blue
Zach is a doctoral level archaeology student working on the excavation of a Creek village in southwest Alabama, and the nearby cave containing signs of a Spanish camp. Jonny is a well respected doctor of archaeology, an expert in ancient religions, called in to investigate a strange statue found in the cave. As they work together to uncover the startling mystery of the statue, their relationship deepens into something more than either of them ever bargained for.

Wildest Dreams by Emily Veinglory
The new year is coming, and with it a new era of peace and cooperation between the many races of the were people. But for Luke, a lone wolf on the run from his past and his predatory nature, the new year may not be joyous. Especially when his new lover, an exiled were deer is kidnapped, and he must rely on new, non-wolf, friends to help him defeat the ‘Big Bad Wolf’ who wants to go back to a time when wolves were wolves and deer were...dinner.

Excerpts from all the stories available at the Loose Id website, and more excerpts from my story First Footer available on my website.

And a most excellent collection it is too, even if I do say so myself. :-)

28 December:

Now staying with Alex for a few days, so I have broadband access again. Not necessarily with my own machine, mind, so there may well be frantic swapping of thumb drive between boxen...

One novella in an ebook anthology and one short story in a webzine have been published while I've been offline - details to follow shortly once I've caught up with assorted email etc.

25 December:

Arrived safely in the UK, but my net access is a bit limited at the moment. So there will not be much communication for the next few days. But a safe and happy Christmas to you all. My one regret about being back in the UK - missing the combined Hannukah/Christmas Day celebration with my friends in California, an opportunity that doesn't come very often. For those who follow other festivals, may they go/have gone well and bring you joy.

19 December:

The trade paperback of The Syndicate: Volumes 1 & 2 is now available. Amazon.com link given, also available from amazon.co.uk, or you can order it from a local bookshop by quoting ISBN: 1596321342.

Amazon.com says that it's still (just) available for Christmas with standard shipping, amazon.co.uk says it isn't. It's available with supersaver shipping in both countries. The cover art and blurb aren't available yet -- apparently they take a few days to show up.

I am a happy author. :-)

18 December:

My novella First Footer will be published in Loose Id's upcoming anthology of New Year's Eve m/m romance, A Kiss At Midnight. I'm giving away a print of the cover art from the book during the December authors' day on the Loose Id community loop: LooseId_community@yahoogroups.com. Readers of my blog can find the details here. Competition closes Monday morning California time.

17 December:

It's the monthly chat day at LooseId_community@yahoogroups.com on Sunday 18th. Chat, prizes, etc. I'm planning to give away a copy of Spindrift, so that I may have an excuse to bounce up and down about it making the EPPIE finals. Advance notice of the questions can be found on my website.

14 December:

I was offline yesterday because we were switching dsl supplier. Logged on this morning to find a notification that my silkie novel is a finalist in its category in the EPPIES, the contest for epublished books. I wasn't going to enter because I thought that no way would they go for an m/m romance, and I only put the book in because I got nagged by a couple of people...


It probably says something that the first place I went to in order to bounce up and down in public was rasfc. :-)

11 December:

My website's down, and has been since yesterday. Since I buy service from a friend I have no compunction about phoning to find out what's going on. :-) Seems that the major hosting company he uses has had a whoopsie affecting a lot of customers. No ETA as yet for return of the server. (Later: It was back up by the 12th.)

3 December:

Sent off submissions to Best American Erotica, and the hardcopy contract for Pulling Strings. I'm still dithering somewhat on what to do next, not helped by now starting to feel the urge to pick up the Knights Templar novel again, when I should really be tackling something novella length or shorter that I can get well started on by the time I push off for Christmas.

Next round on Journey Into Freedom. *That's* what I should be doing next. Yes. It should go out again, even if it does freak me out every single time. And I have no excuse for putting off tackling the British slushpiles. I should get it printed and packaged and ready to take with me, the better to save postage. Yes.

1 December:
A Kiss At Midnight, a New Year's Eve themed ebook anthology of m/m romance, is now in the Loose Id catalogue. This is the one with my novella First Footer. More details plus cover and links to excerpts here.

November 2005

29 November:

Spent yesterday doing edits on First Footer, and today editing the new part and the old part of Pulling Strings together. That went off to my editor this afternoon, and now I am going to take a break and read someone else's book instead of my own because I have *nothing* with a deadline. For the moment...

27 November:

Not only RSI (which was actually a little better this morning), but I woke up with the ricked shoulder thing this morning. Oh joy. So much of the day spent sitting on the sofa with a hot water bottle draped across my shoulder. Back to the ibuprofen/codeine tonight if I'm to get any sleep.

Since the RSI was actually improved, I could type as long as I didn't sit still for too long. So 1300 words more in expanding the last scene in the new section of Pulling Strings. Off to Predatrix to see if it works better now. Also wrote my first ever reviews for Amazon - one for Cobra Trap and one for a Dalziel & Pascoe.

Mostly stayed off email and usenet today, what with stiff shoulder. rasfc has acquired a scarily large number of posts in a single day. Not sure if I'm going to bother catching up, because it usually takes even a mild dose of stiff shoulder a couple of days to recover, and I have editing work that has first claim on my currently limited time in front of the computer.

26 November:

Just finished the rough draft of the new section for Pulling Strings. It clocks in at 20166 words, so the whole thing should be around 35000 words. I've still got to go through and put in real names for people currently called [x], and so on and so forth, and also do a full read through the lot for continuity, but it's basically there now. I'll give it a week after that, go through it again, and then bounce it off my editor to see if she's happy with it. Oh, and it would probably be a good idea to actually sign a contract at some point. :-)

Didn't actually do anything on it for a week or so, because I was doing a lot of promo and there's only so much typing I can handle. I did write a 600 word book review, which has been submitted to a writer's webzine, and tried to come up with something more than a sex scene for another short story for Sacchi, though failed in the latter. Also did some minor revision on First Footer, that being something else that needed doing but wasn't typing intensive. So work on this one resumed on Monday, with 1300 words, then 2180, 2820, and a big drop on Thursday to 320 because the RSI was playing up badly again, 580 last night, and 980 tonight. Not exactly NaNoWriMo output, but I won't officially sign up for that precisely because I have RSI and hence compulsory slow patches.

Don't think I'm going to make it to SF tomorrow, because I doubt I'll be able to drive that distance by then, even if the bad arm is getting better again. Shall have to see if I wake up in time to get the train instead. Disadvantage of being in the US -- gear stick is operated with my right arm, which is the one with the really bad RSI problem. Just pottering around town today hurt, and I can't have driven more than five miles, if that.

Indulged and bought volume 1 of the new From Eroica With Love translation. I blame Lexin for waving zines at me many years ago...

25 November:

I still haven't managed to beat the mailing list software on my server into submission, so I still haven't got an alternative announcements list for those who refuse to be sucked into Yahoo's maw. So I've decided that the easiest way around this is to be a robots- banned page on my website with the contest details, and a link to it from the blog.

This one's for the release of Spindrift 2: Ship to Shore earlier this month.

Questions are here and answers need to be in by Sunday evening California time.

The prize is:
- hand-embroidered bookmark with a Celtic theme
- signed prints of the Spindrift series cover art (winner's choice of size from 6x4", 7x5" and 8x6")
- signed chapbook of one of my short stories. At the moment this is the only way you can get "Black Leather Rose", because the anthology it was published in is out of print.

17 November:

Loose Id is having a publisher day at Coffee Time Romance's erotic loop today. Anyone interested will need to join the Yahoogroup, but you can set your group settings to no-mail and read it via the webpage rather than by email - which is the better way to do it at the moment, given Yahoo's current delivery times for email. Books are being given away. I will be giving books away, when I've woken up enough to remember which ones I said I'd do.

16 November:

Hafren reports that the 2006 Calendario Romano, otherwise known as the pretty priests calendar, is now available. With new pretty priests!

Yum. :-)

ETA: it didn't occur to me to mention this, since it was discussed last year, but some if not all of the "priests" are actually models who have been dressed up in assorted rather old-fashioned but real priests' clothing and photographed in front of pretty bits of Vatican architecture.

14 November:

Volume 2 of The Syndicate is now available from Fictionwise having previously only been available directly from Loose Id. The short blurb:

On the spaceship Mary Sue, Allard's finally found a job he likes, colleagues he likes—and a man he more than likes. Just how far is he prepared to go for the man he loves?

12 November:

I've just seen the Wallace and Gromit film.

It is brilliant.

So is the the accompanying short with the psychotic penguins.

Someone in this household will undoubtedly be getting a DVD at some point. My birthday's first. :-)

11 November:

Support The Poppy Appeal 2005

You talk o' better food for us, an' schools, an' fires, an' all:
We'll wait for extry rations if you treat us rational.
Don't mess about the cook-room slops, but prove it to our face
The Widow's Uniform is not the soldier-man's disgrace.

For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck 'im out, the brute!"
But it's "Saviour of 'is country" when the guns begin to shoot;
An' it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' anything you please;
An' Tommy ain't a bloomin' fool - you bet that Tommy sees!
    --Rudyard Kipling, 1892

9 November:

Hee. Just heard that one of my short stories has been accepted for the next issue of Suspect Thoughts. No, it's not a romance story, and it's not specfic. It's erotica noir about a very creepy form of voyeurism, and if Suspect Thoughts hadn't taken it I'd have probably tried it on one of the erotic horror mags next. However -- it's het. It's the only explicit het story I've ever written.

Apparently I can do het, even if it's creepy, freaky het. :-)

8 November:

No writing over the weekend, but I did 850 words yesterday and 2000 today, so getting somewhere. All on Pulling Strings - I would have liked to do something for Sacchi but so far have drawn a complete blank on suitable ideas. I might have a browse through Folk Tales of the British Isles tomorrow, as there's something niggling at me about shipwrecks and caves and mythological beings. Merrow, I think, although I've already done a merman story. And yes, I know Trapped In A Cave! (TM) is not exactly original.

8400 total on Pulling Strings since the start of the month, so averaging 1000 words per day - not Nanowrimo speed, but still reasonable progress in spite of not having bum in seat every day.

Obsessive checking of Fictionwise has commenced. The Syndicate 1 was at 162 today, while Mindscan had made it to 850 on the strength of the first day's sales. I'll be interested to see how Mindscan does, as Fictionwise no longer puts all the new releases on the front page, and Mindscan is not one of those selected. It's on the New Releases page, but that's much less detailed - no cover art or blurb.

7 November:

And now for another round of obsessive checking of the sales ranking... My novella Mindscan was in this week's new Fictionwise releases, having previously only been available direct from the publisher. It'll have the 15% new book discount until next Monday. This one very definitely falls in the "political sf thinly disguised as romance" category. Explicit but very non-gratuitous D/s sex scenes. Make of that what you will.


(Volume 2 of The Syndicate wasn't in this week's batch. It'll probably be in next week's new releases.)

2 November:

Back to work on Pulling Strings, after a long hiatus which included writing a novel and two novellas... 3200 words today, which is most satisfying.

Now looks as if I won't make it to BASCon - we've got friends from the UK arriving at some point during the weekend, which means it would have to be only a day anyway, and the cough is getting sufficiently better that I don't want to risk setting it off again with hotel air-conditioning.

1 November:

It's out. :-) Ship to Shore went on sale at Loose Id this morning. This one's novella length. You'll find the catalogue page here.

Other release news - Mindscan and the second volume of The Syndicate were in the latest batch of books from Loose Id to be uploaded to Fictionwise. It'll be a week or two before they appear in the Fictionwise catalogue, but if you were contemplating getting them from Fictionwise, keep an eye out early on the next two Monday mornings for a chance at their early bird discounts.

October 2005

28 October:

Parcel from Amazon just arrived. With my DVDs of series 2 and 3 of Blake's 7. With the nifty special edition series 3 that has a Corgi model of the Liberator on the front.

I know what *my* tv viewing will be next week. :-)

20 October:

Finished the first draft of First Footer (apart from a full spellcheck and putting names where there are still placeholders in a couple of places). 1200 words on Monday, 500 on Tuesday, 1700 yesterday and 2900 tonight for a grand total of 34,200 words. So it just squeezes into the 20-35 kword range I was supposed to hit. I am tired but satisfied after a serious blitz on finishing it today.

Good timing, because the edits for Ship to Shore turned up in my email when I was a couple of pages from the finish. So I'll be looking at those tomorrow, and then I will take a break and read something written by somebody else before going back to writing Pulling Strings and/or doing something about sending Journey Into Freedom out again. Or possibly looking at rewriting the latter with a view to toning down the sex scenes into something that could be feasibly published by a lit market.

17 October:

I have _got_ to get the New Dr Who DVD boxed set soon. My fanfic LJ's flist is wall-to-wall "Omygod Who spinoff! After the watershed! With bisexual character as lead!" this morning... My chances of avoiding spoilers for the main series have just plummeted, I suspect. And such Who coverage as I have been unable to avoid suggests to me that I'd really quite like the spinoff as well.

In my own "coming soon" news, I've been given a release date for Spindrift 2: Ship to Shore. In the code used by Loose Id, it will be available Soon, but not Very Soon. We can't give actual release dates, in case the date has to be changed. (It's a small press. It is vulnerable to the perversity of the universe.) I've also seen the draft of the cover for the paperback of The Syndicate, and it's quite nice.

900 words on First Footer on Friday. None on Saturday, because we had visitors this weekend, but I managed to get in 1200 words on Sunday when everyone else was out. It's just short of 28,000 words total at the moment. Time to start reminding it that it's supposed to be a novella, because it looks as if I could easily write three times that length. And all that cat-vacuuming on wikipaedia was not in vain. It has occurred to me that there may be yet another reason why a matriarchal culture might choose the UK for its initial negotiations with Earth. Fortunately for my readers, "Pussycat, pussycat, where have you been" is probably still within copyright, and thus can't be quoted.

13 October:

I did 2100 words today. This is partly because I wasn't in a fit state to go anywhere. I'm actually quite well again after the throat infection, it's just that the lingering dry cough has finally caught up with me after several days of being able to keep it under control by drinking lots of fluid and determinedly ignoring the urge to cough. I see pholcodine linctus in my near future...

It could probably have been even more words if I had not wandered into wikipaedia to do some fact-checking, and been sucked into an orgy of cat-vacuuming. (Amongst other delights, someone has actually gone to the trouble of compiling a list of the first thousand people in line to the British throne.) There was an interesting reminder of how American "right-wing" and British "right-wing" politics don't actually equate that well. I was dimly aware that Margaret Thatcher had voted for Bills legalising homosexuality (which is actually not that surprising, in spite of the later Clause 28 rumpus) and abortion. I had not realised that she fought to protect funding for the Open University.

12 October (later):

No writing on First Footer yesterday, but I did tweak a story and send it off to Sacchi for Suspect Thoughts. It's not that close a fit to the call for submissions, but I'm not likely to have time to work on something from scratch, and since I egged her on to take the guest editor stint I feel I should at least *try*. :-)

600 words tonight, so something useful achieved. Even better, did not fall off my bike riding home from Office Depot with today's batch of letter size files for the great office reshuffle. I need to remember to wear my bicycle clips, that I might not get my jeans tangled in the bike chain while braking...

12 October:

I'm catching up on a bit of reading, including reading some of the other entries at Loose Id's Katrina fundraiser. So it's review time. :-)

Ally Blue's "Nicky" is a haunting and bittersweet love story about a love that has lasted in spite of the lovers having chosen different paths in life. It's beautifully constructed, with gorgeous use of language to create mood. This one's hot, but it's hot because it engages the emotions as well as the gonads. Excellent short story, and well worth a read as a story even if your tastes in erotica don't run to m/m.

You'll find the story at http://www.livejournal.com/community/li_katrina_aid/4530.html

10 October:

Added another 300 words after my post on Friday evening, for a total of 1800 that day. Didn't do any writing the next day, in part because I wnet out to buy myself a shiny new monitor. I'd had enough of the grotty little thing that was bundled with the computer, and the price of a reasonable LCD has now dropped to the point where it was stupid to keep going with the old CRT. I now have a lot more space on my desk and a lot more time looking at the screen without getting a headache from eyestrain.

I went up to San Francisco on Sunday for brunch with Mishalak and sundry other local fen. Four of us in the end, although it ended up with just Mishalak and I after a couple of hours. I was an hour early for transport reasons, and the others were a bit late, so I ended up doing the stereotypical sitting at a cafe table with my scribbling device and a cup of hot chocolate (I don't like coffe, and I wasn't going to risk an American cafe's concept of tea). Not a laptop, however -- it was the first real use of my nice new folding keyboard for my Palm. Works very well, though it does use a lot of battery power. I'll need to pack a spare set of batteries if I want to use it on planes. Managed to get my 300 words for the day done while waiting.

Did another 500 words today. It should have been more, really, but there seemed to be a lot of administrivia to do today. And tomorrow sees the continuation of the grand tidy-up...

10 October:

If you're up for a spot of discussion about hot boy-on-boy action with added emotions, there's a shiny new mailing list. Yes, I joined it once I found out about it. :-)

HOMO-PROMO YAHOOGROUP:http://groups.yahoo.com/group/homopromo

Do you love to read about hot handsome men getting it on together? You might call it 'gay romance', 'original slash' or just 'M/M'. Well if that's what you like to read do I have the yahoogroup for you! Homo-promo is a place to swap gossip, post reviews, hear about new releases, contests and promotions, and chat with your favourite writers of that spicy manlove we all love.

M/M writers are also welcome to join our happy band which already includes the following authors: Lena Austin, Ally Blue, Rachel Bo, Kay Derwydd, Kate Douglas, Fiona Glass, Jeigh Lynn, Jet Mykles, Willa Okati, Barbara Sheridan, Silvia Violet, Emily Veinglory & Samantha Winston.

7 October:

So the other man in the WIP is an intelligent felinoid. There are some distinct resemblances to earth cats. Do I really want to get involved with the os penis, the supporting bone found in the penis of most mammal species? It would be accurate, it would be another way of playing up the fact that this guy is an alien -- but do I *really* want to get into the level of detail that would be involved in finding out the practicalities of having missionary position anal intercourse with a species that has an os penis?

And will the readers think that they don't want that level of detail?

Oh, the joys of writing paranormal erotic romance...

Anyway, 1500 words today, and the lads are shagging again. This is good, it helps get the word count on the sex scenes up. This matters when it's supposed ot be an erotic romance, and it took them 16,000 words to get around to shagging the *first* time.

6 October:

Assorted administrivia today, clearing a good number of items from the To Do list. 800 words on First Footer, so starting to pick up the pace on the writing again. I do feel a lot better today, although it's slightly unnerving to be still running a bit of a fever even now, a full fortnight after this infection started.

The To Do list looks a little odd - three biros died yesterday and the first working pen that came to hand when I rummaged in the drawer happened to be the Parker Vector fountain pen with the calligraphy nib, so I have a To Do list half in ball point scrawl and half in what can only be described as calligraphy scrawl. I have several Parker Vectors, but the pens with the standard nibs have obviously all escaped into the depths of the drawer.

5 October:

Still coughing and wheezing, but the sinus congestion has gone down and I feel a lot more with it today. Did some more tweaking on the solar eclipse essay this morning, adding another 200 words to take it to 2000 total, and left it to sit for a few hours. I've just gone through it again to check for stupidities, and emailed it to Storyhouse. So that's one thing crossed off the list of "submissions to deal with when I get home". My brain seems to be functioning well enough to deal with fiction revision now, so I'd better do the promised revision/submission of something for SacchiG next, as that's one with a deadline.

Other stuff from yesterday: Received my royalty cheque from Torquere Press for Myths (or possibly Monsters, I now can't remember which one my story ended up in when the anthology was split in two). It will buy a whole burger at the pub tonight, though it won't buy the Coke to go with it... Went out intending to buy the Samsung LCD monitor which was on special offer at Fry's, and ended up deciding that I liked another model better, so took notes of a couple of model numbers to research before going back to get one at the weekend. So I'm still staring at horrible fuzzy screen that came with the machine. I need to get a new one quickly, before I forget exactly why I sat in front of my computer the day I got back from several weeks of using Real Monitors, and said, "Argh, my eyes!"

4 October:

Finally back to writing, although I'm still not over the bug. 600 words on First Footer. And because my attention span is still somewhat limited, I varied things by digging out my report on the total solar eclipse of 11 August 1999, and revising it with a view to sending it to the coffee people. Added about 300-400 words of introduction and minor edits for clarification, taking it to 1800 words. Slightly shorter than ideal, as they serialise in 1000 word chunks, but I think it would be useful to overlap the two 1000 word segments anyway. Any volunteers to beta-read the revised version?

2 October:

Another of my short stories has just been reprinted in Loose Id's Katrina Fundraiser blog, although this is one that was already available online, unlike the earlier one which had previously only been available in a print anthology.

If you've ever been tempted by the idea of a guy dressed in nothing but black leather boots and half a pint of whipped cream, here's a suitable bit of cheerful porn. Explicit m/m sex, but vanilla rather than kink.

A Trifling Affair

September 2005

29 September:

I'm still jet-lagged and sniffling, but I can think again. If slowly.

The Envelope Of Doom did indeed contain a form rejection from Tor. This is actually a good thing, in that I can now get on with sending it somewhere else, instead of spending several years wondering if it was eaten by the Slushpile Of Doom. At least two people on my flist are currently in this position [waves]. Pinging metaforgirl - the pile of post also contained my CD and royalty check for "Counting the Ways". Signed hard copies of contracts for Ship to Shore and First Footer arrived safely from Loose Id, so I think all the writing-related snail mail that I was expecting has arrived. Massive filing session is now in progress.

Speaking of which, it took me all day to transfer two months' worth of emails from laptop to desktop. Don't ask. I'm going to organise things a bit better next time. Except I said that last time... I'm now working through getting stuff transferred into my accounts book, my submissions database, etc. It really didn't help that for the last month or so my net access has actually been split between two machies, one not belonging to me, so not all my files are where they really ought to be. Hopefully I'll have caught up with all this stuff tomoorow and will be able to get back to the actual writing stuff.

27 September:

Arrived home in one piece, and even without too much earache from the pressure changes...

Today's post includes the "we opened your parcel" postcard *and* the SAE from the submission to Tor. I assume this means I've got my latest rejection on the creepysex novel. I can't be bothered opening it right now, but I doubt a "yes please" would arrive the same day as the confirmation of receipt postcard. Oh well. Off to Kensington next, I suspect. But I'll think about that tomorrow, when I have a functioning brain.

26 September:

Earlier today I looked on Amazon to see what price the Firefly boxed set might be.

It is currently on sale for $29.99, with free shipping.

I should be taking delivery in a week or so. :-)

24 September:

I've got a throat infection, which isn't doing much for my concentration. I don't actually feel that terrible, but the stuffiness and dripping nose kept me awake on Thursday night, and although I got a decent night's sleep last night I suspect that may be the last for a week or so, as the cough started today. So word count on the story has gone down, and my usenet reading is at best intermittent. (I've only just seen the thread on rasf about brittle steel; if someone reminds me after I get home next week I'll dig up some references.)

Still working away on the New Year's Eve story, now up to around 19,000 words. Nothing on Sunday, because I took the chance to get my website updated. 280 words on Mon, 790 Tues, 400 Wed, 900 Thur, 500 last night. I doubt if I'll get anything done tonight -- dragging myself down to Boots to get a bottle of pholcodine linctus pretty much wiped me out for the rest of the day. At least I am currently in a civilised country, and can buy a bottle of pholcodine linctus over the counter, or indeed at all. I suspect that I'd get marked down as a drug abuser if I asked my US GP for a prescription. This is assuming that I'm not already marked down as one for being honest when asked what I've previously found most effective for treating my IBS. (Kaolin and codeine is a standard OTC remedy in the UK, but an Evil And Immoral Drug Of Abuse in the US.)

I want to tweak an existing story before submitting it to sacchig for her Suspect Thoughts guest editor stint, but I suspect that's going to have to wait at least a week. Sorry Sacchi, your chances of getting a brand new story in time are pretty much non-existent at this point, but I did warn you that was likely to be the case. :-)

18 September:

My short story Naked, first published in Ultimate Gay Erotica 2005, has just been reprinted in Loose Id's Hurricane Katrina fundraiser blog.

There's a mix of genres and orientations on the blog, and more will be added. All the stories on the blog are free to read, but if you like them you're asked to consider making a donation to one of the charities.

17 September (later):

2750 words on First Footer today, taking it to a total so far of 16200. And the boys have finally done the deed. I was beginning to wonder if they ever would...

17 September:

My publisher, Loose Id, has set up a Katrina fundraiser LJ. Free erotic romance stories, plus lots of stuff up for auction, including critiques, copies of books, and art and stories created to order. Please take a look: http://www.livejournal.com/community/li_katrina_aid/

16 September:

The sub to Lust for Life was rejected yesterday, so yes, they were managing a fast turnaround on subs, which is good.

Chucked three stories at Sacchi by way of an informal advance sub yesterday, since she was foolish enough to publicly muse on whether or not to accept a guest editor stint somewhere I've been wanting to sub to anyway. :-)

Been keeping up the word count on First Footer, even if it's not that many words per day (I've been a bit sick for the last two or three days, which hasn't helped). 400 words on Sunday, 750 Mon, 1100 Tue, 250 Wed, 1300 Thur, and 650 tonight.

11 September:

Over the last two weeks I have not met my goal of writing minimum 300 words/day on the fiction. It's not just that I had a lot of trouble writing happysex stuff with what was going on in the outside world--I've had other stuff that had to take priority. Fortunately rather more cheerful stuff that was a good distraction from watching a city be wiped off the map. So word count was 650 and 500 words last Saturday and Sunday, 950 on Thursday, and 500 yesterday. Just passed 9000 words, and the guys have finally mentioned to one another that they fancy each other. Maybe they'll get around to having sex some time soon. And then I can write the post-coital purring scene, in which the human discovers one of the advantages of shagging Felis sapiens -- leaving your partner purring in satisfaction is not metaphorical when he's a six foot tall intelligent biped felinoid.

Sent a submission to Lust for Life yesterday. Submissions close on the 15th if anyone else is interested.

I've installed Filezilla on watervole's computer, which means that I should be able to get some updates done on my website now. My laptop refuses to talk to the local LAN, amongst its many and varied forms of crankiness, so if I want broadband access rather than metered dialup I have to use her machine.

Still need to sort out my booking for the flight home, but it's looking as if I'll be in the UK for another two weeks or so. Once I've confirmed that I'll consider plans for going Up North for a few days.

And I should probably mention that it's all watervole's fault that the character names in First Footer look suspiciously like they were culled from my flist. I mutter about needing more names and not having my Big File Of Names on the laptop, and she suggests suitable fannish-sounding names. Which, not entirely by coincidence, match people we know. Though she didn't know that I know a single gay guy in his late twenties by the name of Matthew...

9 September:

I can confirm that zarabee has started sending out rejections for Charm, Beauty, Strangeness, because I received mine this morning. That's about the fourth variation I've received on the theme "I like this story, but..."

Naturally, the person who really, really loves the story is my romance editor. She'd take it in a heartbeat, if not for the minor problem that it's a romantic story and not a romance story. No Happy Ever After. Not even a Happy For Now. Bit of a problem there, when the majority of romance readers demand a happy ending. :-)

Back to the submissions guidelines, looking for sf editors who will consider erotic, romantic non-romance...

6 September:

For those who read my blog, but don't already read Making Light: Uncle Jim decided that we could do with a little light relief before the stress of the hurricane aftermath drives us all nuts. I give you "Folksongs Are Our Friends"...

2 September (later):

A couple of links which may prove useful...

Massive link lists plus long, in-depth discussion with yet more links over at the blog Making Light.

This post specifically for a long list of links all collected in one place: http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/006666.html/p>

and gacked from annafdd, an LJ post detailing which charities are safe to give money to, and which are likely to use the money to promote their specific religious beliefs: http://www.livejournal.com/users/sunfell/561704.html

ETA: Post on Making Light about the SCA relief convoy. Medieval re-enactment groups have certain skills that will be useful (not least experience in building a field kitchen and shelter for several hundred to several thousand people from practically nothing in emergency conditions). Donation link given in the thread. http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/006704.html#92959

2 September:

An essay on fanfic that I wrote for my Livejournal, because I really needed to think about something other than Hurricane Katrina for a while. It'll go on the website eventually, but there was a long discussion thread in the comments section of the Livejournal post.

Sturgeon's Law: "90% of science fiction is crud. But 90% of everything is crud." Though there's anecdotal evidence that he used a somewhat stronger word than "crud"...

It's a well-known saying in sf circles. And it applies equally well to fanfic. 90% of fanfic *is* crud. The difference with fanfic is that the 90% is out there in public. The crud that in profic is only seen by unfortunate slushpile readers is in fanfic available to anyone who cares to go and wade through the relevant web archives. When you read the slush, the 90% of crud, it's easy to forget that the 10% does exist; that there are people writing fanfic who are competent, even brilliant, writers; who choose to write fanfic not because they are incapable of "doing better" but because fanfic offers them the opportunity to write stories that they couldn't write in the profic world.

Some answers to the question 'You're such a good writer, why don't you write for money?'

1 September:

By way of light relief from the hurricane discussion, there's a thread at Making Light with assorted urban legends rewritten for writers... http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/006484.html

They're taking the piss out of a lot of stuff that gets passed around as "fact". It richly deserves having the piss taking out of it.

And yet, and yet... Although the details differ, (like ff.net not being involved), I do actually know at least two people for whom one of those urban legends came true. Two of the writers I know each got their first profic writing gig as a result of someone being familiar with their fanfic (which in both cases is very, very good) and asking them to submit a story to a pro anthology. In one case it was to an unrelated anthology, in the other it was to a pro anthology in the relevant universe. It doesn't happen very often, but it's not completely unknown.

August 2005:

29 August:

Another 1000 words on First Footer today.

28 August (later):

600 words yesterday on First Footer, but 1300 today, so I've definitely broken that block. Predatrix has also made a little progress on the ghost librarian story, although at current rate of progress I don't hold out much hope of it being finished *this* year.

LiveJournal is not forwarding comments by email at the moment, so I don't necessarily know if someone's replied to something I've said. I've seen at least one other person mention this, so it's not just me.

The Mother Of All Storms is heading straight for New Orleans. Long discussion thread on Making Light complete with link to sf-orientated check-in page at sff.net: http://webnews.sff.net/read?cmd=xover&group=sff.discuss.hurricane-katrina-check-in.

28 August:

The section for Spindrift 2: Ship to Shore is now up on my website:
Details, including cover art and short blurb
Erotic excerpt

And I've had some very nice reviews for Spindrift, which have made me a very happy author. *I* thought it was one of the best things I've ever written, so I'm glad other people agree. The only problem now is that I've got to try to keep up the standard for the next book. Erk.

The first review that came in really made my day, because I was at Worldcon at the time, and had been netless for a few days, Grabbed a fifteen minute slot on the public access machines to check my email just before going to the Hugo Ceremony, and found a five star review for Spindrift. Then I went to the ceremony and saw one of my friends win the Hugo for Best Novella. That was a *good* evening. :-)

That review was from Just Erotic Romance Reviews, with 5 stars and heat rating S from Michelle Naumann:

"...a wonderfully rich tapestry of human emotions. Ms. Jones has penned a novel where I empathized with almost every situation... Ms. Jones explores the myth of the selkie, puts her own unique spin on it and has penned another winner in my book."

At the moment it's only available in the subscription newsletter, but the full review will be placed on their general access website in a couple of weeks.

Another review went up yesterday, at Joyfully Reviewed, a new romance review site.

"There is a sensual quality to the writing style that I found especially appealing... Spindrift is my favorite Jules Jones book to date, and I am looking forward to more from this author!"

And for a slightly different perspective, Alex/Predatrix wrote a review on her LJ. Yes, she's biased because she's my writing partner, but that also means she has a fairly good idea of what sort of things I was playing with:
(And it occurs to me that writing it as Alex/Predatrix because different people reading this blog know her by different names leads to all *sorts* of interesting conjectures...)

26 August (later):

600 words on First Footer yesterday, 900 today. Not too bad, considering that I can't type for extended periods as my arm's still a little bit sore. Also applied cattle prod to Predatrix, so there is a bit more of the ghost librarian story than there was yesterday.

26 August:

I don't do LiveJournal memes. But I *can't* do the latest meme, for I am the HTML Hater and refuse to have cute icons on my LiveJournals. I have but two on this blog's mirror, and three on the other account, of which two are the same as on this one. And two of my icons are in fact text-only. And thus the only character icon I have is the rasfc cat-vacuuming icon. So unless you think that the cat and the vacuum cleaner are engaged in an act of sexual congress, you can forget about the idea of me doing the "pair the characters in your icons" meme.

25 August (later):

The cover art and short blurb for Spindrift 2: Ship to Shore are now up in the Coming Soon section of the Loose Id website. I'll be putting up a page on my website, complete with excerpt, as soon as I can get ftp access. (My net access has been somewhat restricted for the last couple of weeks, which is why the LJ has been updated but the website hasn't.) In the meantime, here's the short blurb and link to the cover art.

Human novelist Richard found love with the silkie Niall. When an attack leaves Niall's sister critically injured, the two must work together to save her... and keep the secrets of the silkies.

book's catalogue page with cover art

I do love the cover art I've had at Loose Id. :-)

25 August:

Now staying with my writing partner Alex Woolgrave, aka predatrix. This means that assorted joint projects might have a sudden spurt of life. So to speak.

Have not as yet made any further progress on the the current WIP, because the Supersoaker battle was enormous fun, but I was forced to retire hurt from the field of battle after injuring my trigger finger. (Stop laughing, thank you.) It turned out that I'd managed to annoy the RSI again, and I was for once very sensible and kept away from the keyboard. I'm about to start writing again as soon as I've done this LJ entry, although with a certain amount of care and consideration. For once again I am using A Strange Computer, and thus no ergonomics. The laptop was just too damned heavy to lug through London Underground without very good reason.

I've finally seen some Firefly, and now I know exactly why so many of my friends in Blake's 7 fandom have been drooling over this series. Stunning ensemble cast of heroes in shades of grey. I will be getting the boxed set. I will be joining the chorus of hate over the untimely demise of the series.

Also saw "Master and Commander" earlier this week. Yum. Might add that to the list of DVDs to buy as well.

I have just heard "You're meant to be doing the cat story, I want to read some more of it", so I'd better get on with some fiction writing...

19 August (later):

Back to writing yesterday, although there was more brainstorming and thus only 169 words of actual story. Today the count was up to 1800 and some, so about 1700 words added today, plus finished something vaguely resembling an outline for the new novella First Footer.

I doubt much writing will get done tomorrow. I will be joining the expedition to Winspit Quarry, scene of location shooting for both Dr Who and Blake's 7, for the annual Supersoaker battle between various groups of sf fans. Much running around in caves with water-pistols-on-steroids will be involved. Or more likely lurking in the back recesses of caves shooting at people who haven't yet adapted to the dark, in my case.

Why yes, I am an adult. Why do you ask?

19 August:

Two major figures have vanished from the British political landscape within the last two weeks, both taken from us well before their time. First Robin Cook; now Mo Mowlam.

There'll be tributes aplenty for Mowlam; well-deserved tributes. My feelings about her are not unqualified admiration, but I think the country would have been a great deal the poorer without her contribution, and is the poorer for her loss at such a young age. She was one of my local MPs, although not my constituency MP, and so I saw a good deal of news coverage of her activities. I only met her the once, when she spoke at a seminar for professional women, and I was greatly impressed by her passion and her drive not only to improve the lot of others, but to help them improve their lot themselves. She will be greatly missed.

16 August:

No actual writing took place. However, I am currently staying with watervole, and we had a marathon plot/universe brainstorming session today. Net result is that I have a basic plot idea for a novella suitable for a themed anthology, and she has a fairly large chunk of universe background worked out for a series of short stories that looked as if they had the potential to have a lot more stories set in the same universe. Plus some nifty plot ideas for stories further down the line. I have pointed out that I want second dibs on writing in this universe, it having all sorts of interesting possibilities for my warped mix of sex and political sf. :-)

13 August:

I went to Worldcon. It was good, it was tiring, this time I did not get food posioning (yay), I do seem to have picked up some bug or other which feels like having a very mild dose of flu, and I have not had access to a phone line from Monday until about two hours ago. No, really. Staying in a holiday cottage in Wales with no landline, and mobile phone reception that varies from none to maybe, if you stand in exactly the right spot in the driveway and the weather's just right. So bewteen that and Worldcon I have nearly two weeks' worth of online stuff to catch up on, including my email. Normal service will be resumed eventually...

2 August:

Loose Id is one year old, and is having a sale to celebrate:

"Now, through August 8, every Loose Id e-book is 7% off when purchased from our website. VIP club members receive 17% off! No fuss, no coupons, no bother. Just storewide savings for 7 days."

Obviously I'd like people to run over and buy *my* books, but there are lots of other good books as well. Not just your standard romances, either. Lots of vanilla het in various sub-genres, of course, but there's more than that. Slash fans should take note of the alternative sexualities section in the catalogue, which includes some excellent gay romances, plus a range of menage stories that includes m/m/f as well as m/f/f. And yes, the gay romances will appeal to slash tastes - I'm not the only author listed in that section who writes fanfic as well as profic. :-) There are also some good BDSM and fetish romances, for those who like their BDSM but want it with a relationship. No wham-bam-thank-you-mam here...

July 2005

31 July:

Arrived safely. Pity my laptop appears to be sufficiently sick that a format c: looks easier than trying to sort out its problems one by one... Fortunately I can use the resident computers for the moment.

If you have not yet seen Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, you should do so. It has *not* been sanitised, sweetened, or Disneyfied. It has some backstory added for Wonka which required an in my view unnecessary change in how the ending is played out, but is otherwise the film of the book, complete with Dahl's venom. It is as deliciously malicious as one would expect from Tim Burton, exquisitely filmed, and very, very funny. For those who remember Deep Roy from 1970s BBC sf, he's looking quite well preserved, and makes a marvellous Oompa Loompa.

25 July:

Dentistry continued today. The permanent crown went on, but with a temporary cement just in case it has to come off again for more root canal work. So I have sore but fully functioning teeth again. Yes, they still hurt. No, there is still no obvious reason why. Best guess is low-grade infection somewhere that's causing swelling which is pressing on the nerve. Two weeks of tetracycline, oh joy. It could be worse, he started off asking if I had problems with erythomycin. Well, no problems that would prevent me taking it if I *had* to, it's just that I always get the drug's notorious harmless-but-incapacitating side-effect in full measure. And I'm not dealing with *that* when I'm stuck on a trans-Atlantic flight, thank you, especially when we're not allowed to queue for the bog until after we leave US airspace.

Speaking of which, I'm away to the UK this week, for Worldcon amongst other things. Those who would find it useful to have my UK mobile number should email me at the usual address. CharlieA already has it, if rasfcers are trying to find each other on Thursday at Worldcon.

At least it now looks as if I will probably get away without needing emergency dentistry during Worldcon, although I'm going to be stuffed to the gills with medication intended to keep it that way, plus happy pills. It *will* be nice to go to a con without being in need of root canal surgery [sigh].

20 July:

This morning I booted the computer and smiled at the Google logo for today. They have a nifty little reminder that it's the 36th anniversary of the first time humans walked on the moon.

And now there is a reminder of how very long it is since one of the icons of fictional space exploration first appeared on our tv screens. James Doohan died today, at the age of 85. It's very nearly forty years now, the cast of the original Star Trek are all growing old, and James Doohan is the second to pass through the final frontier that awaits us all. I hope that what he finds on the other side pleases him.

19 July:

It occurs to me that I should mention that I'm running a contest on my mail loop at the moment. (I feel rather odd calling it a loop, since as far as I'm concerned it's a mailing list, but when in Rome...). If anyone who reads *this* communication channel feels the urge to try to win a choice of pocket massager, signed cover art print, or signed chapbook of one of my short stories, the contest's running until Thursday night. If I get my act together and do some pimping on various other lists, there will also be a prize draw for members of the announcement and chat lists this weekend that will include download of one of the ebooks as a prize option.

There's one announcements-only list, and one that is nominally a chat list, although it's been extremely quiet since I set it up, since I actually do most of my yacking to readers on my publisher's chat list. Unfortunately you'll need a yahoogroups account to join either list and to read the chat list, but I think I've managed to set up the announcmeents list so that you don't need to be a member just to read the announcements.


Which reminds me, must remember to pack some cover art prints for Worldcon...

15 July:

Editor emailed overnight to say that she wants to buy Ship to Shore. :-)

This is the one that had me worried because the first draft really didn't bear much resemblance to a standard romance story. It had a happy ending, yes, but it had a different story structure. Once I'd let that draft settle for a couple of weeks, and bounced some ideas back and forth with my editor, I was able to do a revision pass that put more focus on the relationship into the second half of the story. It's still not quite a standard romance structure, but it's no longer likely to cause readers expecting one to bounce off at high velocity.

Editors are good people. They show you how to make your story better.

14 July (later):

The muttering earlier today about making my email address more obvious on my website was prompted by another author passing on a message to me. Someone had asked her if she knew my email address, because he wanted to tell me how much he'd enjoyed Spindrift, and couldn't find my email on my website. Yes, that's right, he. I've known for a long time that some gay men want romance with their erotica--I know several gay sf fans who are quite open about reading slash fanfic because it gives them the emotional content they can't find in commercial gay erotica. Now I've had a letter from a guy who wanted to say how glad he is that some publishers are starting to publish gay romance, and how much he enjoyed my book.

Fan mail is always nice. But this letter was especially nice to get...

Started writing again after the break after finishing Ship to Shore revision. No word count today, because no actual writing got done, but Alex and I did do some outlining on one of the joint projects. We've got the story arc laid out, and some bits of dialogue for it scribbled down as well. It's far too hot on both sides of the Pond at the moment to really concentrate on writing actual manuscript, but we still managed to do something constructive on the accountant story, and are well pleased. Might prod it a bit tomorrow.

14 July:

Apparently it is not entirely obvious on my website what my email address actually is. I don't particularly want to put it on every single page on the site, but if anyone's got suggestions as to how to make my contact details more obvious on the site, feel free...

12 July:

Spindrift just went on sale at Loose Id:

When myth comes to life, love becomes legendary...

Writer Richard Dunn's managed to get himself accepted by the fishermen in the village he lives in for half the year. Just how well accepted he doesn't realize, until the night he stumbles on an argument involving a local man he hasn't met before--and finds himself asked to give a silkie a bed for the night.

Niall is a silkie. A creature of legend—a seal, able to become human by removing his skin and to become seal again by slipping it back on. That's a bit of a problem, since Niall's seal-skin has been stolen by a man in love with Niall's sister. The thief will only give it back in exchange for his sister's, which means he's trapped in human form. Unless he betrays her, or his friends find his skin.

Trapped ashore, with no official identity and no bank accounts, Niall needs a refuge. His human friends think that a wealthy writer with a known ability to respect other people's secrets might be just the ticket. All the better that both of them are gay and single...

But Richard's only too aware of the legends of silkie women abducted and forced to marry land men. It's hard to ignore the old tale, when one of the fishermen has just made a bid to re-enact it. It's not an example Richard wants to follow. He's determined to help Niall get his skin back, even if it costs him the love of a lifetime.

To read an excerpt, visit: http://www.loose-id.com/JJSex.aspx

11 July:

Dentistry happened this afternoon. Lower right jaw is *still* aching after the root canal saga, but it's definitely getting less painful, if much more slowly than it should be. The upshot is that the crown preparation went ahead this afternoon, and the crown will be put on using a temporary cement in case it has to come off for further exploratory work. I am hoping that the net result of this is that I will not be doped to the gills on codeine during Worldcon this year. Needless to say, I will be packing the codeine and penicillin just in case. Worldcon last year was definitely made interesting by being doped to the gills for the previous root canal episode, but would have been even more interesting without the drugs.

Once the anaesthetic wore off I could feel a sharp edge catching on my tongue. Fortunately they're open until 7 pm, so were able to fit in me in about half an hour after I phoned for a quick polish to get rid of the sharp edge. And the teeth don't seem to have any more than the normal post-prodding soreness, so with any luck the nerve hasn't been further irritated by today's work.

9 July:

Travel and accommodation booked for Worldcon. I've still got to get a membership, but failure to do that before arrival will merely result in my paying more, rather than not being able to go. Barring unforseen circumstances (of which there have been enough in the last year to ensure I say that), I will be at Worldcon.

I'm likely to be around the Redemption table in fan alley some of the time. I am refusing to be put on the table rota because I may not be up to it - amongst other things, I'm still having trouble after the root canal filling, and it's conceivable that something could go wrong when they try to fit the crown next week, at which point I will be fit to travel but far too grumpy/dazed from pain to be trusted in a public- facing role. So no timetable, I'm afraid.

7 July:

(I won't mirror most of the posts on my LiveJournal from 7 and 8 July, as they were to do with the terrorist attack in London and do a lot of referencing to other LiveJournals.)

The ghost story has been accepted by Extraverse. I feel somewhat ambivalent about hearing about this today, given the subject matter of the story. I don't think I'll submit this story as a reprint anywhere else after this. I'm not superstitious but there are limits to the amount of perversity I will put up with from the universe.

Edits are finished on Spindrift, so I'll select a nice juicy excerpt tomorrow for posting as a teaser once my editor's approved it.

6 July:

Writerly tasks over the long weekend included going through the second round edits on Spindrift, and then revising Ship to Shore so that it bears slightly more resemblance to a conventional romance story arc. I'm quite pleased with the result on the revision--having had a couple of weeks' break from the story, I could see how to tweak the second half of the story to put more emphasis on the relationship between Richard and Niall without distracting from the specfic side of the plot. I was also able to see how to work in something I'd had in mind when writing the first draft, but which ended up being left out because the scene developed in a way that didn't really allow for it. A useful side effect was a further 2000 words added, taking it to a total length of around 18,000 words. With the extra material added to Spindrift during editing, the pair together now come to 75,000 words, or within the sensible length range for print publication.

The revised version has been sent off to my editor at Loose Id to see what she makes of it. It may still require further revision, and I can see one spot where I could easily add another scene, but at least it's now in a shape where I'm reasonably happy with it.

I've booked my accommodation for Worldcon, although I haven't actually sorted out the travel arrangements yet. :-) This morning I phoned a friend to tell her I was going, she said she's decided on going and would I like to share a room because the hotels are very expensive, and I told her about the cheap rooms in the university halls. The building is shown on the hotel booking webpage as essentially full, but there were still a few rooms left for the nights we're going to be there, so we decided to bag one while they were there to be had. Self-catering and shared bathrooms, but for 30 quid between us per night for a twin room, we're not complaining. The rooms all have handbasins, which takes care of the contact lens problem.

Other useful things achieved today: sent a short story submission off to Fishnet Magazine. Trawled guidelines looking for places to send various other stories.

4 July:

The issue of the Just Erotic Romance Reviews newsletter with my interview is now available.


I've still got to confirm travel plans, but it now looks extremely likely that I'll be going to Worldcon. :-)

I'm going over to the UK for other reasons, but it happens to be at the right time to make it possible to go to Worldcon. I'll probably be around for 5-6 weeks total. I'll miss the possible rasfc meet in London immediately after Worldcon, but will be staying with a fannish friend in the Bournemouth area mid-August. Ipswich, Manchester and Lancaster are other likely ports of call, and conceivably Edinburgh.

3 July:

It is now looking possible that I may be in the UK for August, for values of "possible" sufficiently high that I am looking at whether it's feasible to get to Worldcon. Updates when I have a better idea of whether this is going to happen.

1 July:

Gacked from Making Light: Derek, eater of babies, has posted "A Warning to my Yankee friends" in response to a recent bit of legislation passed in Canada...


June 2005

29 June (later):

My Just Erotic Romance Reviews interview will be in the 3rd July issue of their online newsletter. You'll need to join the yahoogroup that hosts the newsletter to be able to read it, but I can say that they've never spammed me in the several months I've been subscribed.


29 June:

I finished The Secrets of Jin-shei yesterday, and felt like a wet rag afterwards. The novel is an incredibly rich tapestry, following the lives of eight young women without ever dropping one of the threads, and pulling off the trick of being intensely emotional without being sentimental. The deft handling of a large ensemble cast, plus the hopeful but very bittersweet ending, should appeal to a fair number of my friends in Blake's 7 fandom. (You know who you are...) I was sufficiently bowled over that I feel the urge to write a proper review and bug review editors with it. :-)

I decided to indulge and buy the hardcover rather the trade paperback, and I'm very glad I did. I think this one is going to get a fair bit of re-reading over the years.

28 June:


I've finally got through all the stuff with imminent deadlines (I hope), so I can now get down to some recreational reading for the first time in... too long, really. I've started reading Alma Alexander's The Secrets of Jin-shei. I'm only about half way through, so no detailed comments yet. However, even this far in I would like to echo Mary Gentle's reaction of "fucking brilliant!" And I'm not just saying that because Alma happens to be a friend. :-) Alma, this is an astonishing piece of work. I'm not surprised you've been collecting translations. What's the count up to now? Nine, isn't it?

Pleasant form rejection letter from Best Gay Erotica 2006 yesterday, saying I'd be sent the guidelines for next year's anthology. Richard Labonte mentioned that he'd had several hundred submissions, and the number keeps going up each year. It seems to be a trend, as Maxim Jakubowski mentioned having received nearly four hundred submissions, and other anthology editors I've submitted to in the last couple of years have had a similar experience. I'm not sure how many authors that amounts to -- I typically send two submissions in different styles where the editor is willing to receive multiple submissions. I can see editors who currently take multiple submissions having to go to only one submission per author other than by invitation in future, just to keep the numbers at a manageable level.

Received a very nice piece of fan mail yesterday from someone saying how much she enjoyed Black Leather Rose in the Counting the Ways anthology. Egoboo is always good, but it's particularly nice to have someone go into detail about *why* they liked the story.

I was interviewed by Just Erotic Romance Reviews last week. The interview will be appearing in their newsletter in the near future, although I don't have a date yet.

I've got the release date for Spindrift, although as ever I'm not allowed to tell people what it actually is.

My editor's read Ship to Shore and likes it, although now she understands why I was worried about whether it would really fit in a romance catalogue. :-) We bounced some ideas back and forth for tweaking the second half a little so that it looks a bit more like a romance novella, so that's this week's writing work.

25 June:

Now this is the sort of rejection I like to get...

This morning's email included a personalized rejection from Maxim Jakubowski, saying that my story had just missed the final cut for Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica 5, and encouraging me to submit to next year's edition. The form letter section included an explanation and apology for the delay in responding to submissions.

Obviously I'd rather have had an acceptance, but this definitely rated high on the "how good a rejection was it?" scale. beth_bernobich, I can see why you like this editor.

23 June:

Just finished writing an extra couple of chapters for Spindrift, and sent the new chunk off to my editor at Loose Id. About 5,300 words written over the last three days, which is not bad going as I've had tonsillitis and thus a very short attention span. The new section isn't necessary to the plot, but fills out some of the development of the relationship.

One of the things I was doing by way of cat-vacuuming today was the MIT weblog survey which has spread all over my flist. I sent a note to the contact address afterwards to say that my online interaction with other people is largely via usenet and irc, which hadn't been covered in the survey. Got a note back thanking me and wondering why nobody in the pilot stage had mentioned that he'd forgotten to put the usenet section in. It may be just that a smaller and smaller fraction of the online population do usenet nowadays, so you could quite easily pick a fair number of net users at random and not strike a usenaut.

Take the MIT Weblog Survey

16 June:

The latest book by Charles Stross, Accelerando, is now available as a free ebook. A *legal* free ebook, with the blessing of Charlie and his publishers. Though naturally they'd quite like it if you rushed out and bought the paperback. You can get more details here:


15 June:

The draft con report for Writer's Weekend 2005 is now up in Ramblings.

14 June:

Thanks to everyone for the congratulations on the print edition of Syndicate, and the commiserations on the dental woes. It's still hurting on that side of my jaw, but I do feel a lot better now.

Con report for Writer's Weekend coming Real Soon Now. I've actually been writing it since yesterday, so there's some vague chance that for once it will get done before I've forgotten everything.

12 June:

Okay, I'm allowed to tell you now. :-) The first two volumes of The Syndicate are going to be released in an omnibus paperback edition. It should be out sometime in late summer if things go according to plan. It'll be in the same sort of format as the paperback books that have already been released by Loose Id - I got my mitts on those at Writer's Weekend this weekend, and they're very nicely produced books.

8 June (later):

The root canal work has been done. Three and a half hours, in part because it was an emergency rather than a scheduled appointment and they had to fit me in around other patients. It was just starting to form the abscess, so I am very, very glad I had it done today instead of waiting until after the weekend. I'm tired and I have the post-surgery aches and pains, but that part of my jaw no longer feels as if something funny is going on.

8 June:

I am going to the Writer's Weekend workshop in Seattle this weekend. It's a four day effort, so I'm getting on a plane early tomorrow.

I have had ongoing mild dental pain for the last two months or so. Sufficiently mild that it was not at first possible for my dentist to diagnosis it accurately. Even when it started hurting enough a couple of weeks ago to confirm that it was indeed a dying nerve, it wasn't quite certain which tooth it was. I had the choice of have a root canal filling done before I went, when it wasn't quite certain she'd be tackling the right tooth, or leaving it until it got worse, and risk it doing this while I was away. I decided to gamble on leaving it.

It is worse this morning. It is sufficiently worse that I went into the dentist's office as per my instructions of a couple of weeks ago, and she wanted to do something about it this afternoon, even if she can't do the complete job. It is better to open the tooth up now and relieve the pressure than wait until next week and do the whole thing at once. So I'm going to be wandering around for the next week with a half-done root canal filling and a temporary filling. Oh joy... I do hope the food at the con is easy to chew.

6 June:

One of the interesting things about getting the Fictionwise "new books" newsletter is scanning down the list and seeing a friend's name. I haven't read this one yet, but I know Una's work, and she gives good politics...

TITLE: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Hollow Men by Una McCormack
PRICE: $5.99 CATEGORY: Science Fiction
EPUBLISHER: Star Trek/Star Trek
DESCRIPTION: At the turning point of the Dominion War, Captain
Benjamin Sisko of Starbase Deep Space 9, facing certain defeat by the relentless forces of the...

1 June:

I've finished the first revision pass on Ship to Shore with another 2300 words added today for a final length of 15600 words. Feeling well pleased with that. :-) With that out of the way, I shall tackle some other tasks tomorrow, not least of which will be assorted overdue beta-reading. I might actually be able to make sense of other stories now that I've finished the core dump of the Spindrift universe.

May 2005

30 May:

Baycon is over, and I am knackered and going to bed shortly. I did indeed win far more bids in the art auction than I expected, I may have to consider selling some of the existing stock to make room... Amongst other delights, I bought a copy of Ruth Thompson's "Raphael", the copy being labelled AP/1000. For $30. :-)

29 May:

Baycon is fun, I managed to meet up with a couple of online friends, I appear to have won on far too many bids at the art auction (yes, I know, if I didn't want them I shouldn't bid, but I *did* want them and am somewhat taken aback that I managed to get the top bid on as many items as I think I have, let alone at the prices I think I have, $15-18 each for three framed prints amongst other delights...), and the lovely, lovely gentlemen at Cargo Cult and Other Change of Hobbit between them managed to dig up a copy of the final Modesty Blaise book Cobra Trap, which I have been lusting after lo these many years.

You may get a fuller report tomorrow, should I have any energy left.

26 May:

Started the first revision pass on Ship to Shore, in part with the intention of adding more wordage if I could do so without actual padding, as it's a bit shorter than I'd really like. I was hopeful of getting several hundred more words in without falling foul of obvious padding because it did actually need more detail in places. I know there's a long chunk near the end that's mostly dialogue, and could do with a bit more sense of where the characters are. In fact, I've achieved an increase of 700 words just from the "filling in detail", and I'm only a third of the way through the manuscript. I may well manage to take it over my target of at least 15,000 words total just by adding a little more depth to what's already there. I also now have names for several minor characters previously called things like [x]. :-)

I'll be at Baycon, the San Francisco Bay area science fiction and fantasy convention, this weekend. If anyone else happens to be going and would like to meet up, please email me. :-)


23 May:

Ploughed on to the end of the Spindrift sequel, which is why I am still up at this daft hour of the morning. 3000 words tonight on Ship to Shore for a total length of 12,400 words on the first draft. It's gone to Alex for beta-reading now.

In other news, dental problem is pinned down, if not yet treated, so I will be going to Writer's Weekend in Seattle 9-12 June.

Blech. I'm tired. I hope the draft looks sane when I look at it tomorrow.

22 May:

Another 3100 words today. At this rate I'll have it finished today or tomorrow (it looks like novelette length). What I'm going to do with it I don't know; it's definitely headed off into what Alex calls "your blood on the floor stories" territory. There's some rather nasty wish-fulfillment going on there, and I'm not sure I *want* that out in public. Mostly because it's extremely blunt and obvious wish-fulfillment, and I'd rather be a bit more subtle in my writing... At least it will only have taken a week or so of writing time, and it will be out of *my* head and giving someone else nightmares instead.

21 May:

Is _that_ the time? And is that how many words I did this evening? Urble. Off to bed...

It might have been more, but I spent a large chunk of the day doing things to the website. Even so, I've managed 2100 words on the Spindrift sequel. And it's getting darker...

20 May:

I started a sequel to Spindrift on Sunday, but only got about 150 words done, and then wasn't quite sure where to go next. I had a very clear picture of the later part of the story, but not how it started. I didn't even try to do anything on it for a few days for various reasons, but something obviously unjammed last night, because I've done another 4000 words today.

What good this will actually do me in the long run, I don't know, because I'm not sure it's really going to quite fit in my publisher's catalogue. They're fairly broad-minded on what makes an acceptable HEA, but this one may be pushing it even if a relationship has moved to a better point by the end of the story. But even if I can't sell it, it wants to be written, and I have learnt that things that want to be written have a way of getting what they want. And it's not as if I haven't got used to plots taking my brain hostage...

And since at least two people reading this are interested - yes, my teeth still hurt and it's getting worse, no, it's *still* not clear which one and why. And it hurts badly enough that I wouldn't really enjoy being several hours travel from my dentist, so I still haven't made a final decision on going to the writer's weekend in Seattle next month.

19 May (later):

All right, for the benefit of those readers who do not hang out in rec.arts.sf.composition, or other places that use this bit of terminology, I repeat the explanation from the first time someone asked me this. :-)


From the rasfc FAQ:
Cat-vacuuming: An activity that pretends to be useful, but is actually being done so that you can avoid writing.

The derivation is that when you're trying to avoid writing, all sorts of normally unwanted tasks suddenly become very appealing. It becomes vitally important to finish the housework that you normally cheerfully ignore. So you tidy the lounge, and then you vacuum it, and you think that the furniture is ever so covered in cat hairs, so you'd better vacuum that, and hey, we could save a step here and vacuum the cat itself, and get rid of all that loose fur that's come loose but hasn't been shed yet. And this will save time in the long run, because it means you won't need to vacuum *that* cat hair off the carpet and furniture tomorrow, because you've already vacuumed it off the cat. So it's *useful* work, because it means you'll have more time to write tomorrow...


We have an icon nowadays. You will see it on various LJs, including mine. You will also see it on lapel pins at cons, if you look closely, for lo, we are Sad Bastards (TM), and decided that it would be a most excellent recognition signal for that small social problem of recognising those you know well without having the faintest idea of their physical appearance.

19 May:

That's odd. Until this morning, The Syndicate 1 had one reader rating of good, and one of ok. Now it's got two of ok. What happened there? Can people withdraw or change a rating after making it? I suppose I could log in to my new account there and prod. No. Must resist urge to cat-vacuum...

18 May (later):

Spindrift is now listed on the Coming Soon page at Loose Id. You can see the cover art at the book's page in the catalogue, or on my website.

Short blurb:

Richard finds the truth in legend, when he finds a silkie bereft of his skin and in need of a home. He'll help Niall find his skin, without taking advantage--no matter how much it hurts to let him go...

18 May:

So I sent Journey Into Freedom to Tor on Monday. I know it's got at least as far as the Flatiron building, because I paid the extra 45c for delivery confirmation, well worth it for the peace of mind it gives. :-) We now hurry up and wait. And wait. And wait... I should probably decide on the next venue and do the query letter, since it seems to be easier to tackle that bit when the thing's actually sitting in a slushpile somewhere, rather than when I'm trying to wind myself up to send it out again.

I finally gave in and bought a scanner. I've never had one at home, because they do take up a lot of room and I didn't really have enough use for one to justify the space, when I can usually hand whatever-it-is to Other Half with instructions to scan it at work. But there's starting to be enough call for it now that it's inconvenient to not have one in the home office. I did a little research on the one I had in mind, and discovered that nobody cares about the OCR side of things any more. Since one of the major uses I have in mind for it is OCR, this was a bit of a pain. At least I eventually managed to find out that it does have OCR software included. Things have obviously changed since the last time I had occasion to read scanner reviews... It does have a nice easy button on the front to scan and send straight to the printer, pity this invariably results in the printer spitting out a blank page. I'll have to get this sorted out, because one of the secondary reasons for getting the scanner was increasing need of photocopying.

The Syndicate 1 peaked at #8 on Fictionwise's erotica list this week, although it's dropped back down to 11 today. It's also picked up a couple of reader ratings.

14 May:

No writing today - I'm taking a break for a day or two after finishing the Spindrift draft. It was rather odd not doing any writing after the last couple of weeks of fairly intense writing, and I had the same "my brain's empty" feeling I had after finishing Journey Into Freedom a couple of years ago. It's quite disconcerting to have been holding a novel-length story in my head for several months, and then not needing to any more.

I never did do the submission package I was going to work on as soon as I'd recovered from the jetlag... Once I'd started work on Spindrift again, I couldn't switch out of it into another universe, not well enough to work on a synopsis. I'll try prodding it tomorrow, but I don't want to drop out of the Spindrift universe altogether, because I have an idea for a short story following up what happens to two of the secondary characters.

I've just seen the proof of the proposed cover for Spindrift, and it's gorgeous. I'll put up a pointer to it once it goes up on the Loose Id website.

What I did today instead of writing... For the second time in two weeks, went to Ikea and escaped without having bought anything that wasn't already on a shopping list. Today's haul included two bookcases, on the grounds that the "to be read" piles have been breeding, and have also been joined by the "I've read them but the bookcases are so stuffed *and* disorganised that I can't get these ones back in" piles. I know how long some of those piles have been sitting there, because it included the relevant piles of books bought on last year's Worldcon trip. Only now have I finally managed to sort out the newly acquired Heyers, which were bought in two different bookshops on the principle of "They're 50c each and usually impossible to find, I don't *care* if I can't remember which ones I already have." Which is why I am now the proud owner of three copies of Cousin Kate. :-)

I have also applied copper tape to assorted plant pots, because I am tired of slimy little bastards regarding my new plants as dinner. I picked twenty of them out of a single pot the other night...

13 May:

Just finished the first draft of Spindrift. :-) 51,000 words in the end, which is officially novel length by SFWA rules, although a fairly short novel by current publishing standards.

I will now leave it for an hour or two and then go through with the spellchecker and do a quick skim of the most recent bit for other typing errors before sending it to Alex for beta-reading. Then I'll think about whether to bounce the complete manuscript off another beta-reader before sending it to my editor, who has been muttering for the last two months about how she so much wants to see this story. :-)

12 May:

Hmm. Apparently the email I sent to Alex last night with the latest chunk for beta-reading was titled "Sindrift" rather than "Spindrift". That's a very Freudian typo...

Not much work done yesterday, because I spent the morning having my teeth prodded, with running commentary along the lines of, "Does this one hurt more than that one when I hit it?" (Don't ask, you wouldn't like the answer. Several people on #afp didn't. :-) I may or may not require major dental surgery, final diagnosis requires waiting to see if it gets better or worse when left alone for a week or two. This is a good incentive to get the first draft of Spindrift finished soon, before I disappear into a codeine haze for a couple of days.

Made up for it with 3600 words today, and I'm on the last section. Looks as if it'll finish somewhere around 50-60,000 words.

10 May:

3000 words on Spindrift yesterday, and 1000 today, so progressing well.

And The Syndicate 1 reached #9 on the Fictionwise erotica list today. :-)

9 May (third comment):

Just checked The Syndicate 1 over at Fictionwise. It wasn't on the second page anymore, somewhat worrying me. It turned out to be not on the second page... because it was on the first page, at #12.

I am Pleased.

(And for the RASFC crowd - Alma's at #10 on the fantasy list today.)

9 May (second comment):

Only 600 words on Saturday, but 1800 words on Sunday even with the interruption to go to the chat session at Romance Junkies yesterday evening. Another 800 already this morning, taking me over the 40,000 word mark for Spindrift. It is now officially novel length by SFWA definitions. I was hoping to have hit this mark a bit sooner, but progress is good at the moment, and I'm on target to get the first draft finished by the end of the month.

[update re paragraph below: ritaxis points out that it's not fair to provide a link to a site without warning that it comes from the "how many epileptic fits can we induce?" school of web design. Sorry. She phrased it more politely than that, but even the bits of it that I see with my non-Flash browser are somewhat eye-searing, and apparently if you have Flash you get even more blinking, in fluorescent colours, plus much shouting as well.]

The chat was fun, although a bit wearing on the typing tendons. Romance Junkies has a chat room where readers can go along to chat to authors, and my publisher Loose Id has a regular monthly chat there. Last night I was one of the three sacrifical victims, facing questions like "is it more inspirational writing clothed or naked?"... I'll swear the readers are having a competition to see who can come up with the weirdest questions. "Do you do *personal* research?" isn't that daft a question, considering what I write, but I suspect the answer of "no, I read a lot and ask friends" was somewhat disappointing. This in a chat room supposedly rated PG13.

9 May (first comment):

I don't usually go in for memes, especially more or less randomly generated "quizzes", but it was difficult to resist this morning's which science fiction writer are you?. Especially after pnh pointed out that one of the questions was "how big of an asshole are you?", clearly indicating that the quiz compiler knows our tribe only too well... Anyway, it seems that I am

Hal Clement (Harry C. Stubbs)

A quiet and underrated master of "hard science" fiction who, among other things, foresaw integrated circuits back in the 1940s.

which was not unwelcome, but a bit of a surprise, given what's typically hard in *my* sf. Though not as much of a surprise as it was to autopope when he discovered that he is secretly Robert Heinlein. :-)

6 May:

I've been distracted by the British election, so word count has gone down - only 800 yesterday, and not enough so far today.

OTOH, The Syndicate: Volume 1 is at #26 on Fictionwise's erotica list today. :-)

4 May (later):

Just over 2000 words for the day, so now up to 35,000 running total for Spindrift. At the cost of not doing submissions, but it was flowing sufficiently well that I didn't want to break the spell.

4 May:

1500 words so far today, so time for a break...

Random bits:

The Syndicate 1 is #62 on Fictionwise's erotica list today, which is not spectacular but is not bad either, so am feeling chuffed. It's clear that people are buying it via FW, though I won't know the actual numbers for some time yet.

Mucho thanks to lexin for digging up some information for me in the Ministry of Magic. Some of it's stuff I *could* have found myself eventually, but this has saved me a good deal of time at the point when having the info this week means not having to choose between getting distracted by Google for several days, or pratting about with the Spindrift universe story arc at some later date. It does look as if the most likely possibilities for a potential sequel are feasible, so I can go ahead and set that up in the current novel without worrying about whether it will actually work.

I don't *do* memes, technosage.:-) Especially not when they're an excellent way of spending an hour or three cat-vacuuming, as that one appears to be...

Oh all right, just the one book. Wonder if anyone else would take "Augustus Carp, Esq., by Himself" to a desert island? And it's far too long since I read it, and this is why it's a temptation unto cat-vacuuming...

3 May:

I'm very pleased to be able to say that The Syndicate: Volume 1 is now also available from Fictionwise. Note that this means you get the swings and roundabouts of buying through Fictionwise--they have a micropay facility, the bookshelf system is good and you get a bigger choice of formats, but you also get printing disabled in all formats and read-aloud disabled in most of them. As a new addition to Fictionwise, it's on sale with their usual 15% discount for new books for the next week.

Answering the obvious next question--no, at the moment I don't know if or when any more of my books will be available from Fictionwise. Keep an eye on the Fictionwise index page for Loose Id, and there seems to be a facility on Fictionwise's author page for me for requesting email alerts when another title by me is added.

If anyone does buy it through Fictionwise, I'd appreciate it if you added a rating. It looks a bit forlorn at the moment, with no reader ratings yet. :-)

April 2005

30 April:

Thursday's Spindrift wordcount ended up at 2600 words, which is good. Not so good is that yesterday's was 650 and today's was 1000 - I'd hoped to get more than that done this weekend, but there was a certain amount of wrestling with the characters going on. Mostly because they weren't getting around to wrestling with each other, apparently preferring to discuss the Euro instead. I should not have told them that I was tired of watching them put the kettle on... Anyway, they seem to have remembered that Sex Is Good, and perhaps tomorrow the word count will do better.

Submitted two stories to Best Gay Erotica, one new and one reprint. Deadline's tomorrow, but the editor takes email subs, should anyone else be interested in submitting to the anthology. If I can get 1000 words on Spindrift out of the way by a reasonable hour tomorrow, I'll do a bit of a listings trawl and try and get some more submissions sorted out. Yes, Hafren and sundry other people, that includes *The* Submission. It would have been done today, only being disciplined about the book that's actually under contract takes priority.

28 April:

I've been thrashing away at Spindrift for most of the day. Just stopped for afternoon tea, and checked the word count. It's just passed 30,000 words total, and 2000 words for the day so far. Some of that's probably going to be chopped during the second pass, but at least words are happening now. It says something about how hard it was to get going on Spindrift that I have had to repress the urge to work on the current submission package for The Trashy Porn Novel That Grew, an activity that is normally the cause rather than the means of cat-vacuuming.

27 April (later):

It's stopped raining, so I nipped round to the camera shop. The cover art for Mindscan is seriously, seriously yummy as a 6x4 photographic print. This is done from a much higher resolution file than the one used on the website, so I can probably get away with doing it at a larger scale as well.

I didn't have hi-res files for the covers for Promises To Keep and The Syndicate: Four Leaf Clover, and the PTK cover prints at as barely passable at 6x4, while TS:4LC really isn't good enough. So I'll have to scratch those from the cover prints offered as reader prizes, although PTK should be all right for a dealer's table display.

I'd also fiddled with the series montage for The Syndicate - if you look at the first three covers, you'll see that they make up a single picture, and there's a version of that picture used for some of the Loose Id merchandise. In particular, there is a rather nifty mug and a bumper sticker in the CafePress store. I wanted a decent print of this to use for the dealer's table at Redemption, but it turned out that the website print shop crops rather than shrinking to fit. So I had to add white space to make it fit exactly into an 8x6 print. I've now got an 8x4"print with a one inch blue border top and bottom, and am debating whether to crop it or use it as is.

And I've started working on Spindrift again, although 850 words yesterday and 550 words so far today is not exactly rapid progress given that I have this story plotted out fairly thoroughly. I'm still slightly fuzzy, which isn't helping my concentration.

27 April:

My plans for this afternoon included uploading the cover art for Mindscan to Wolfcamera's online print shop, and then walking around to the local bricks-n-mortar in an hour or so to pick up the prints and get A Current Official Identity Photo that I need for some unconnected paperwork due on Friday morning. Then I was going to cycle up to the local craft shop and peruse the cross-stitch bookmark kits, as I've realised that I can indulge my addiction^Whobby without guilt if I use the results as giveaways to entice victims to my announcements list. This programme would achieve many useful things, not least of which is getting some exercise.

Just as I was making my lunch, it started chucking it down with rain. It looks as if it has set in for the afternoon. Bah humbug.

26 April:

Bibliophiles with an interest in the war poets Sassoon and Owen should proceed to shimgray's description of his pleasant afternoon handling a very special collection of material. Prepare to drool.

22 April:

I have books and signed cover art prints as prizes in the Cupid's Library scavenger hunt for St George's Day. You'll need to join their Yahoogroup to enter, but there are lots of prizes from various authors to be won. The contest closes at the end of Saturday.

Another good review for Buildup: Mindscan, this time 4 cups from Candy at Coffee Time Romance. There's a copy of the review in the Bragbook.

20 April:

Wall to wall Pope Rat on my LJ Friends page today. I am particularly taken with a couple of the comments in a non-LJ blog entry, at Making Light.

Benedict, hell. Look at the guy--he's Palpatine I.

[violently suppresses image of Pope Rat leaning over an altar boy and calling him "my young apprentice" -- no, no!]

15 April:

Oh dear.

I've just seen my first review of the Hitchhiker film, courtesy of a link on zarabee's LJ. Now, I don't always agree with Simo's opinions, but I do have some respect for them. If he says that the film is shockingly bad, then it almost certainly is. I think I'll wait for a few more comments on it from those who've seen it before spending money on it myself. This is... disappointing... news.

13 April:

The first reviews are in for Buildup: Mindscan, and I'm rather relieved that they were very enthusiastic. This is not your standard romance novel, and I was a bit worried about reader reaction. But a 5/H and a 4/O from the Just Erotic Romance Reviews reviewers has made me happy. Copies of the full reviews are in the Brag Book.

I posted the signed hardcopy of the contract for Spindrift to Loose Id last week, so the contract is now up and running. This is the first time I've signed a contract without having at least a completed draft in hand. Selling on synopsis is pleasing but slightly unnerving, and I'm glad I have about half the manuscript completed already.

The website server was down last week. It should be fixed now. I hope.

March 2005

31 March:

So I've decided to join the world of personal announcement and chat mailing lists...

There's an announcements-only yahoogroup at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/JulesJonesAnnouncements which is intended to be a low traffic list I can use to tell people about new releases, cons I'm going to, etc. You can subscribe from the webpage for the list, or by sending an email to JulesJonesAnnouncements-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

I hate Yahell with a fine and mighty passion (even more so since the changes at the weekend), but this is probably the best system for a lot of my readers. I may set up an ad-free mirror list from my own website for the Yahoo-haters, when I have a chance to poke at the stuff available from the server I use.

I've also set up a yahoogroup for general conversation at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/JulesJonesChat (or send an email to JulesJonesChat-subscribe@yahoogroups.com ). This is mine, but I might be able to kick Alex into participating occasionally. (I hate the Yahoo interface, but not nearly as much as Alex does.)

Now, I should really have a little contest to celebrate, and indeed I found some very interesting items in a local shop last week that will do nicely as prizes. Unfortunately, I'm on the wrong continent again, so the housewarming party will have to wait until I get home. This has the advantage that I'll then be able to add some nice prints of that gorgeous cover art that Scott did for Mindscan. :-)

23 March:

My new novella Mindscan has been released by Loose Id. This is the first book in a planned new series. More details and an excerpt from the book available on the Loose Id website, blurb below.

When Union Captain Reeve rescues renegade Protectorate scientist Marc Frampton, it’s his job to convince Frampton to give his loyalty to the Union. Reeve doesn’t mind the assignment. He admires Frampton’s courage in resisting interrogation under torture and his obvious intelligence. And he has the patience to wait ‘til Frampton is ready to give up his knowledge…and his body.

Frampton doesn’t do loyalty. Little wonder, after all he’s been through. He does, however, recognize a debt to the Union, and finds them a hell of a lot more congenial than his last employers -- the ones who arranged his tour of hell. He also likes Reeve. A lot more than he’s prepared to admit, because the secrets he’s keeping aren’t just scientific.

Reeve stumbles on Frampton’s kink quite by accident. The scientist’s D/s bent, and his need for multiple partners, doesn’t bother Reeve, but convincing Frampton may be the hardest mission Reeve’s ever undertaken.

How far are you willing to go to satisfy your lover?

The other bit of news is that my work-in-progress novel (yes, it's up to novel length now) Spindrift has been accepted in principle by Loose Id from the synopsis. Which means that I'd better get it finished. :-)

19 March:

Yes, I'm bandwidth-challenged again. This is annoying. There is an ebook just out that I should be promoting. There is another ebook shortly to be out that I should be promoting soon. There is interesting conversation going on in various places. I'm missing out on almost all of this, and thank God for Usenet, which reminds me, I need to give UniBerlin some money so that I may continue to enjoy the benefits of news.individual.net. Bah humbug. This situation will continue for another month or so, so be aware that I may be slow in responding to emails etc.

13 March:

Submitted Ghost Train to Extraverse.

I've added a page to my website for Four Leaf Clover, and updated various other pages in connection with its release last week. The website wasn't updated for a few days because I couldn't get into the server, so the LJ and the website copy of the blog were out of synch for a while.

10 March:

I've been more or less offline for a week, so here's the news...

The latest episode of The Syndicate was released on Tuesday. You can now buy The Syndicate: Four Leaf Clover from those nice people at Loose Id. This one's a novelette-length Fling, and was the result of someone at Loose Id thinking that it would be nice if we did a St Patrick's Day story. Those already familiar with Allard's interesting personality can probably imagine what his reaction was on being presented with green beer... You can read a short extract on the Loose Id website.

Raven Electrick rejected Ghost Train.

Two stories submitted to Alyson's Ultimate Gay Erotica 2006. I asked about the print run for last year's anthology, and it appears that I have disqualified myself for the Writers of the Future competition (assuming that any genre counts, which was what I understood the rules to mean).

In the end I didn't send the submission package to Tor before I left. I'd had some very useful suggestions from feetnotes, which resulted in some rewriting that I wanted to let settle. I've got what I think is a workable synopsis, printed out and stuffed in an envelope with a cover letter, all ready to go once I get home and re-read just to check, so there need not be another bout of running around in circles before sending it. Further comments will be welcome, though. :-)

3 March:

I've finished the latest iteration of the synopsis for Journey Into Freedom. Any volunteers for beta-readers to see if it makes sense?

And now I have to go out and buy a new toner cartridge for the printer, because my sweet, my darling, my pet of a Samsung has chosen this week of all weeks to run low on toner, and until I get it a new cartridge it won't be printing anything better than draft quality. And I'm getting on a plane on Sunday, and do not wish to wait until I get back in a month or so before sending out the submission package.

1 March:

And a happy St David's Day to those out there in the blogosphere who care about such things. I've even posted it while it is still (just) St David's Day in the place that actually cares about this, and I knew it was St David's Day even before seeing the posts saying such on my RSS feed.

Granted, I mostly knew it was St David's Day because I'd checked the date a few weeks ago while we were writing the newest Syndicate story, which is allegedly about St Patrick's Day but is mostly about Vaughan ranting about why St Patrick's and not St David's as the excuse for people several generations away from the country concerned to get all sentimental about the old country. The bit in Volume 3 about Welsh Methodists was partly taken from Real Life, and Real Life very few generations away from me indeed, but knowing that it is in fact St David's Day that should be celebrated is about as far as I go in the cultural highlights. Actually knowing the date without prompting is something I haven't achieved for years...

February 2005

28 February (later):

Submitted Ghost Train to Raven Electrick, timestamped one hour before close of subs. :-)

Not holding out much hope here. This is the one that may be impossible to place, because I wrote it in Feb 2001, couldn't do anything with it for a few months because I was of no fixed abode at the time, and then spiked it for a couple of years because Real Life caught up with it in a most unpleasant way... Which is annoying, because it's one of very few completely and utterly clean stories I've written.

28 February:

We received the contract paperwork for The Syndicate: Four Leaf Clover over the weekend, so it's been officially accepted for publication. We also have a publication date, but as usual we are not allowed to say what it is, because there's always the possibility of glitches leading to it failing to appear on the due date. However, edits are going back and forth very fast...

Other work done over the weekend--I've done another batch of edits for Mindscan, and did another 5700 words or so on Spindrift, taking the total word count to 23,300 words to date.

25 February:

Syndicate update: it appears that something went horribly, horribly wrong in the transmission of file to editor, and she received only half of the story. Nevertheless, she was making noises suggestive of her liking what she's seen so far, so we assume that it's likely to be accepted. A fresh copy of the file has been sent, and we now await the verdict.

24 February:

james_nicoll has posted to say Andre Norton's illness has worsened and she's unlikely to recover.

It's been a possibility for a long time. I still can't find the words for this. She was one of the first authors I can remember reading as a child, never mind her being one of the authors who turned me on to specfic; her work has given me so much pleasure over the years.

23 February:

So the main news for the past week is that Alex and I finished the first draft of the new Syndicate story yesterday, and have turned it in to our editor at Loose Id. This doesn't mean it's actually been accepted yet, so no guarantees that it will be out soon. This one's a Fling (i.e. longish short story) written because someone suggested to us that a Fling with a particular theme might be nice. Four Leaf Clover is 9,000 words or so of Vaughan having an epic-grade sulk about Why Does Everyone Want To Shag The Irish, and Allard convincing him that some people appreciate the Welsh. Micturation was extracted in the making of this story.

I spent the weekend doing my tax return. I know it's fun to bash the IRS, but I'd just like to say that I'm grateful for their sterling efforts at explaining the idiocies wished upon them by politicians trying to buy the votes of special interest groups. There's a vast quantity of information at the IRS website, with a decent catalogue and search engine. I would also like to say thank you to the nice folk in rasfc who gave me some good writer-specific advice last year, which meant I had a sporting chance at knowing where to start. It's not fun coping with an alien tax system.

15 February:

My short story Black Leather Rose was published yesterday in the Counting the Ways anthology from Plain Brown Wrapper. :-)

Did you know that you can get a migraine without the headache? It's much, much less nasty without the headache, but the nausea, photophobia etc is still not a lot of fun. So if any of my emails in the last 24 hours have seemed mildly incoherent, now you know why...

12 February:

Still in the UK for the moment. Watervole and I went into Bournemouth this afternoon, and amongst other places visited the sex shop that has a bigger range of actual literature-type books than it does skin mags and videos. So today was the first day that I got to stand in a bookshop and see My Book on the shelf. An anthology I was in, in this case, so I didn't actually get to see My Name on the shelf, but it's still a lovely thrill. :-)

Alex and I started a short story in the Syndicate universe earlier this week. Up to about 2900 words so far. Also still working on Spindrift, which was up to 17,500 words as of last night, so yes it's a novella rather than a novelette. Always assuming that it doesn't just keep on going to novel length.

Another pile of reviews added to the Brag Book.

1 February:

The cover art for my new novella Mindscan (currently in editing, probable release in Spring) is now up on the Loose Id website, although there's no blurb yet.

The page layout for the site is changing. There were a lot of internal page navigation links and section labels that were normally hidden in a CSS browser but displayed in a text-only browser, something which allowed me to provide useful extra navigation options for people using certain accessibility browsers without cluttering up the display for the majority of browsers that didn't need those links and labels. Google is now penalising sites that use invisible text, which probably explains why my site now appears at the bottom rather than the top of certain search results. So I'm taking those links and labels out. Able-bodied text browser users will probably thank me for a better-looking page. My apologies to anyone who actually found them useful. They'll be gradually disappearing as I update pages.

January 2005

31 January:

The silkie story is now up to 14,000 words, and has acquired a working title: Spindrift.

The finished novella, on the other hand, has an unchanged word count but has acquired a new title. It started with the title I used for the short story it grew out of, but Mindscan is probably a rather more sane choice for a title that's going on a book cover rather than on an anthology contents page. For a start, the potential reader doesn't have to stop and work out how to pronounce it.

And in a break with my usual practice, I came up with a title for the planned sequel before doing anything other than scribbling some notes for said sequel. I will not jinx it by saying in public what it is. I already have quite enough of a tendency towards stories heading in a completely different direction to that planned, and I don't want to encourage my subconscious by giving it a title to make irrelevant.

Google hates me

Yes, I admit it, I ego-surf. I go looking for mention of my books via Google, in the hope of finding nice reviews, and with only minor tantrums when I find reviews that are not 100% praise. I don't ego-surf that often, though, so it took me a while to realise that Google now hates me.

Once upon a time my personal website came top of any search on certain terms. Now it comes bottom. I suppose I should be grateful that it appears at all. It appears that I have fallen foul of the most recent round of changes in PageRanking intended to stop scammers from boosting their ranking on Google by manipulating the unseen page content. It is somewhat ironic that my best guess at what Google doesn't like about my site involves a couple of features that were intended to make the site more useful to yer actual human readers of the site. In particular, I use a CSS stylesheet that includes invisible text, as a rough-and-ready hack to provide extra info useful to disabled readers using text-only browsers. It's mostly extra internal page navigation links that allow people using things like JAWS to skip irrelevant menus, a tip I got from someone who designs accessible websites for a living. I've been thinking for a while that I really ought to think a bit harder about how to do those links so that they're visible in CSS browsers without cluttering up the page (which is why they're currently invisible in CSS browsers). I'd better move it up my priority list.

(The tantrums about less than ecstatic reviews really are minor, honest guv. If only because I know how suspicious I get when I see someone else's small press book with nothing but 5 star reviews, and am capable of applying that at home...)

23 January:

The silkie story is now up to 10,204 words, and still going. It does not have a title as yet, and when I do think of one, I will try to ensure that I do not drive my editor and/or cover artist up the wall with it. I will not, for example, use an eight-syllable word that nobody has heard of...

21 January:

The cover art for Polyiterophilia is now up on the Loose Id website. No blurb as yet, but at least everyone else can now drool over the art.

18 January (later):
Black Leather Rose for their Valentine's Day anthology.

18 January:

What with one thing and another, I forgot to mention that earlier this month I sent a submission to Plain Brown Wrapper for their upcoming Valentine's Day anthology.

I spent last week staying with Alex, and for the first few days another of our writerly friends was also in residence. Much fun was had, although I regret to report that little was done on starting the next book in The Syndicate series, largely because I had a nasty post-cold dry cough which resulted in major coughing fits every time I tried to talk for more than a minute at a time. This does put a bit of a dampener on plot discussion sessions.

On the other hand, I started writing up the idea for the selkie story which has been sitting in my story ideas file for a fair while now. I was originally thinking of this as a short story, but it's over 7000 words already, it's clearly going to be at least a novelette, and it appears to be making a bid for novella status. Normally this would result in a bout of angst about why-oh-why can't I write to a length that's easy to place, but in this case the longer it gets the happier the editor who'll see it first will be.

I received the initial proof of the cover art for my next book from Loose Id yesterday. It's... nice. Very nice. Scarily nice. There are minor differences in the details, but it feels as if the artist looked inside my head to get his visualisation of one of the characters and what he's doing in one scene. It's not up on the Loose Id website yet, as it's still being worked on, but there will be a pointer from here as soon as I know it's gone up. And I think I'll be getting myself a large scale print to frame.

14 January:

The astute will have noticed a change in the title of my LiveJournal earlier today. You can blame the Displaced Advice, and other sorts thread on Teresa Nielsen Hayden's blog Making Light.

11 January:

Alex and I will be hosting an author day at Loose Id's mailing list for readers on Wednesday 12 Jan. Chat, contests, and excerpts, including one or two from my new novella Polyiterophilia due out from Loose Id in spring.

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