2007 News

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This copy of the blog doesn't have a comments facility, because it's manually written html. (It's also usually well out of date, because it's a manual mirror of the LiveJournal and nobody ever looks at it anyway.) But the primary copy is on Livejournal with user name julesjones and comments are welcome there: http://julesjones.livejournal.com/. You can also email me at jules.jones@gmail.com

December 2007

31 December: A slightly early Happy New Year

I'm on dial-up, and the phone line will probably be jammed in half an hour or so, so I'll post my Happy New year now. :-) As so often happens, I've got a sore throat, but this year I will make it to midnight...

I was very good and went back to writing today, with a whole 325 words to kick off the third of the trio of Lord and Master novelettes. So I started it in 2007, even if I didn't finish it.

And while I haven't actually sent in my membership upgrade yet, I'm going to Eastercon unless Real Life gets in the way. I'll be sharing a triple room with kalypso_v and predatrix -- *that* bit got organised a week or two back, even if I haven't got my act together on sending money to the con.

31 December: Book log -- The Death of Dalziel

Just finished Reginald Hill's The Death of Dalziel, the latest Dalziel & Pascoe novel. No, it's not a farewell to the partnership, but Dalziel does spend most of the novel unconscious in a hospital bed, courtesy of an opening scene involving a terrorist plot going rather badly wrong. The interesting question is who the terrorists actually are, and as Pascoe soon finds, that's a rather complicated situation. It's a good solid read, though I think better for those who already know the series, even if it's written to be accessible to new readers.

30 December: Release letter, and thoughts on future work

Received the release letter for the cancelled ex-fanfic anthology by email, so that story is now free and clear, other than the minor detail of the author of the story being named as someone else in the release letter...

Need to think about where to submit it next -- 5000 words contemporary m/m about an established couple, and it's already been to UGE and BGE.

It's also fanfic with the serial numbers filed off, although the fanfic version was never published -- it was one of the stories Alex and I wrote in the last year I was still writing fanfic, and it got stuck in zine limbo. By the time I pulled the story a couple of years later, I'd discovered that profic was more rewarding both financially and in reader feedback, so we rewrote it... You can still see faint traces of numbers if you know where to look, which is something I have to consider when marketing it. It's not the only piece of ours out there with those faint marks, so there's the problem of whether it feels too much like something else we've already had published.

Looking through my fanfic story database reminded me that there are several stories on my hard drive that never got finished. Most of them I still think have potential as stories; some weren't finished simply because I was doing a lot of travelling and would sometimes start a new story because I didn't have my files with me, and never got back to the old one, others because I got stalled, and ditto. I'm in two minds what to do about them. Taking what interested me about the story idea and turning it into something that works independently of that universe is going to be hard work, and what I get at the end is likely to be something not suitable for my current markets. Much of it is very dark, with no HEA or HFN, and a couple go into topics that are on the "controversial" list -- and not as titillation. On the other hand, I'm a much better writer now, and I could do better justice to some of those ideas than I might have done eight or nine years ago...

30 December: Book log -- Jennifer Morgue

I've now read Jennifer Morgue, the sequel to The Atrocity Archives. It's just as funny, but the plotting's tighter this time round, as one would expect with a more recent book. This time the primary pastiche is James Bond.

I need to re-read the books in peace and quiet after the holidays before I write a proper review (elderly and deaf relatives turning the tv volume all the way up to 11 are not conducive to a clear train of thought), but the one line version is that these books are enormous fun, provide food for thought, and are well worth a look.

27 December: dialup blues

I'm away from home and on dialup over a metered phone line for the next week or so, so my net access at the moment more or less consists of logging on just long enough to grab email and usenet, open a selection of webpages, and log off again once or twice a day. I am more or less reading LJ and GMail, but am not necessarily replying to anything, because I'm probably offline by the time I read it. I'm not bothering with MySpace, because it takes forever to load. I'll fix the broken links on the website when I've got better access -- thanks for the heads-up.

26 December: Lit-critted again

sarahf has done an analysis of the power dynamics in The Syndicate and tied it into some of the things going on in romance novels in general. Obviously I have a rather large bias here, but I think it's an interesting analysis with some useful things to say, and worth the attention of a few people on my flist: http://teachmetonight.blogspot.com/2007/12/syndicate-and-power-dynamics.html

25 December: Merry Christmas

Have a safe and happy Christmas, or Solstice festival of your choice. A couple of interesting posts from my flist, one from a Christian perspective, one not:
Making Light has some appropriate texts for the day.
Charlie Stross posts his Christmas wish list.

21 December: book log

Just finished reading Charlie Stross's The Atrocity Archives. Apparently I'm quite capable of ploughing through a book in two days once I actually get started, it's just the picking a book up in the first place I'm still having trouble with...

It's very funny, on more than one level, though I'm not sure how well it's going to work for people who don't have a geeky background. Lots of nifty ideas, and some engaging (if occasionally scary) characters caught up in a story with roots in both spy stories and Lovecraftian horror. Must buy the sequel The Jennifer Morgue after Christmas.

19 December: Now *that's* a crossover

Doubtless I'm showing my age by finding the idea of the Beatles doing Stairway to Heaven funny...

Gacked from Scalzi.

18 December: new book -- Yule
Yule cover art

ISBN: 978-1-59632-597-5
Published by Loose Id
Ebook: Approx 9000 words

Author: Jules Jones and Lindsey Mullen
Cover Artist: April Martinez
Price: $2.49

All Julian wants for Yule is his submissive: the gorgeous, blond, sexy Karl. But Karl has just got a new job in his homeland of Sweden. Can Julian arrange a session that's intense enough to touch both Karl's pagan beliefs and his heart and keep him in England?

Re-enacting the sacrifice of Odin upon Yggdrasil as a safe BDSM scenario might be the thing to give Karl inner knowledge; after all, Yule is the feast of Odin, the all-seeing. And submissives do find clarity in surrender…

Excerpt 1

18 December: draft background information page for Lord and Master

I've put up a draft of a background information page for Lord and Master. At the moment there are aren't any internal links to it on the site, as it's a draft, and I need to check with someone about something on the supplementary page. There *is* a supplementary page, with material that is a big fat spoiler for the book. Don't follow the link to the supplementary page if you haven't read the book and might do so in the future. Yes, esmeraldus_neo, this means you.

Any comments or questions about the page?


17 December: And wordage done

First draft of the middle story of the L&M sequel trio done, weighing in at 14 643 words.

I'm going to bed now...

16 December: And while I'm on the subject of writing anniversaries

Just looked it up -- and while I don't remember the exact date, yes, it's ten years ago this month that I first held in my hands a contributor's copy of something with My Story in it. My fandom was still very much a dead tree fandom when I got into it, and most of my stories were published in printzines, including my first one. I learnt a *lot* from being edited on my first couple of published stories by someone who knew what they were doing; lessons that stood me in good stead when I started writing for commercial publication. Thank you, watervole.

16 December: Has it really been five years?

I thought earlier today that it was time I did something about uploading a few more stories to my fanfic site. The last zines I was published in came out over two years ago, so I don't need to worry about whether any of my stories are still under curfew, but I've been too busy to update the website for the last few months. So I pulled out the last couple of stories I wrote (both with predatrix).

The final versions of those files were saved on 16 December 2002. Five years ago today. That's how long it's been since I crossed over completely to original fic. Dear god, where did the time go?

12 December: Read the Rainbow

Cross-posted my review of desperance's The Books of Outremer to the gay books discussion forum Read The Rainbow. I'd post a few more bits of serious discussion, except I don't seem to have done that much reading this year...

12 December: Oh, *sod*


Terry Pratchett has been diagnosed with a very rare form of early onset Alzheimer's.

This isn't just another favourite author of mine; this is someone I *know*, if not well. Science fiction's a small world, as is Usenet, where I know him from -- I knew the day would come when an announcement like this wouldn't be about a stranger whose work I liked, but someone I liked as a person. He atn't dead, not yet, but that letter chilled me.

11 December: Spammage

Just got my first ever comment spam. It was on the thread about promotional condoms, although I don't know whether this was a coincidence or not. The thread's over a year old, so it may have simply been a random post on a thread old enough not to be noticed if I didn't have email notification turned on.

11 December: And his estate cried all the way to the bank...

John Scalzi takes issue with the latest uninformed hatchet job on Heinlein:
The original post is good, the comment thread is even better. esmeraldus_neo, if you've not seen this yet, it's worth your time.

10 December: more links

This time I'm digging up some good discussions at Dear Author about author websites, and marketing:

What every author's website should contain
Marketing dos and don'ts from a reader's point of view

Look through the comment threads, because not everyone agrees with the main post. But it's a useful perspective.

10 December: don't mind me, I'm collecting links for later

Neil Gaiman's blog post with the letter from Teresa Nielsen Hayden listing lots of useful links about the writing business and how not to get scammed:

"Follow the Money" -- TNH's analysis of a new model of vanity press scam exploiting POD technology to conceal the sting: http://www.nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/002692.html

In the middle of a discussion about a vanity press, a quick discussion of how bankruptcy law makes those bankruptcy clauses in publishing contracts effectively worthless if you're relying on them to get your rights back:

Scrivener's Error on the differences between commercial publishing, self-publishing and vanity publishing. The second link has a nice little table that shows you how to classify a publisher.

And that last one is the one I was looking for when I started collecting links to post in various places today if needed. Because if the books belong to the publisher as they come off the press, and the guaranteed capital outflow on publishing date is away from the author, then it's a vanity press. Doesn't matter what the publisher tries to tell you about only passing on fees from the printer, it's still a vanity operation if they own the books as they come off the press.

10 December: New discussion forums

A couple of links that may be of interest:

Elisa Rolle has a new Italian/English dual language romance blog. Author interviews, excerpts, articles about the history of romance and more at Rosa is for Romance, all in both English and Italian. (She's still posting her English-language reviews at elisa_rolle.) If you're interested in the romance genre, there's some good stuff here, and while it's in blog format, discussion is welcome in the comment threads.


Read the Rainbow is a discussion forum for readers of gay-themed books of all genres. From the "about the forum":

I'd like it to be a place where folks from all sorts of other lists and blogs and forums and groups can get together to chat about gay books, gay authors, and gay films; discuss various issues about gay writing; make recommendations; pass on news or new book titles; and generally have fun!

I've found it useful for book recommendations that go into a reasonable amount of depth.

6 December: nekkid morticians

Emily Veinglory has rounded up a collection of links for your amusement and edification over at EREC, including a fascinating entry in the genre of "get your kit off for charity" calendars -- Men of Mortuaries. Yes, it's twelve strapping undertakers with their clothes off for your viewing pleasure, in an effort to raise money for a breast cancer charity.Interesting thing here (aside from the whole idea of undertakers as pinups) is that they have been selected for looks, but it's not just twenty-somethings. The oldest of these guys is fifty, and he's really rather tasty. Take a gander at the bios here:


6 December: wordage

The WIP has just topped 10,000 words. Time to break for lunch...5 December: Gift for the girls

A cheap, sleazy piece of marketing that I'm sure nobody on my flist would want to watch...


4 December: koeksisters

Apparently desperance is in need of new recipes to try, lest he be tempted to do something silly like writing. (And shewhomust is going to *kill* me when she finds out I've been leading him astray.)

( koeksisters recipe at LiveJournal )

And keep the cats out of the kitchen while you're doing this...

3 December: wordage

Progress has been somewhat erratic on the second bit of the Lord and Master sequel, what with one thing and another. But it's up to 7624 as of this evening, which means that with the first part the whole thing is now over 20,000 words, and thus into novella territory. At this rate I can see the trio being over 30,000 together, which is good.

2 December: Magazines going cheap

This might be of interest to a few of the people who read my LJ -- Cecilia Tan's selling off a bunch of magazines and newsletters, divided into lots by genre. One lot of sf stuff, one of erotica, one of gay and lesbian, and one of Anne Rice/vampire. More details in her post here: http://ceciliatan.livejournal.com/24820.html

November 2007

30 November: The SFWA suicide note

I forgot to post this morning's other reason for being bad-tempered.

Usually when I rant about a professional writer's organisation being run by a clique for a clique, the subject is RWA and its attitude to erotic romance, romance that isn't one-man-one-woman, epublishing, and small press in general.

One of the first things I saw on LJ this morning was James Nicoll pointing at Charlie Stross going thermonuclear about the latest SFWA nonsense. The background to this... well, suffice it to say that SFWA's anti-piracy committee, in the person of one Andrew Burt, did A Really Dumb Thing earlier this year in attempting to discourage electronic piracy of SFWA members' books. So dumb that he pissed off both the people who think that piracy isn't a problem, and those who think it is. The committee was shut down. A panel was formed to consider how to improve SFWA's handling of such matters in future. A new copyright committee has been formed, with a new remit and new guidelines on how it is to operate.

Guess who's the chair of this new committee...

Making Light has collected links to the blogstorm for your reading pleasure here: http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/009662.html

You could probably power a small country on the wank this is going to generate.

30 November:

So LJ have decided that they're going to implement "adult content" tagging: http://community.livejournal.com/lj_biz/243697.html

Now, I'm all for offering a facility that allows people to voluntarily tag their own posts as adult content, so that they won't be displayed unless the viewer makes an active choice to look at them. But this goes a step further. It allows other people to tag your posts as adult content -- in other words, it's voluntary except when it's compulsory, and other people get to make the decision for you. As currently implemented, being tagged by someone else won't automatically get your posts put behind the censor wall, but enough people tagging a post will attract the attention of the abuse team.

I have two problems with that. One is that I object to compulsory labelling of this sort unless it's on a website that's clearly designated as a space where such is expected. LJ was not such a site when I signed up to it, and I imagine that many of the people who paid out for permanent membership are not happy with yet another shift in the direction of making us all responsible for conforming to other people's notions of proper behaviour. The other problem is that this is subject to gaming, and it's subject to the whim of the abuse team. I can see this very rapidly turning into auto-approval of any request that someone else's post be pushed behind the censorship wall.

ETA: further experimentation confirms that if you don't give a date of birth at all (as I hadn't up until 30 seconds after making the original post), you're assumed to be under 18. If you claim to have been born on the first of January 1901, you're an adult. Quite what all this is supposed to achieve other than something to point at the next time they're targeted by a one-woman campaign against sex, I don't know.

29 November: Yule excerpt and release date

The cover art, draft blurb and excerpt for Yule are now up on my website.

This story's part of a set of eight called the Festival of Lights -- the series information has gone up on the lower half of the publisher's front page, where you can see the list of titles and authors, plus the short blurb for the first pair. Those two will be released on Dec 4, and as far as I know the stories will be released two per week, so you can work out when Yule will probably be out...

28 November: Paperwork, paperwork...

lindsey_mullen and I went through the info worksheet for Yule today. This stuff usually gets done at a much earlier stage, but since the story's part of a set with a standard cover throughout, there wasn't a need to get the worksheet done before the art was prepared. Draft cover blurb under the cut -- very much subject to change once the relevant people get done with it, but as I've said very little about this story so far, it'll give a few readers a sneak preview of what the story's about in return for wading through my usual navel-gazing posts. :-) An excerpt's been selected, but that needs to go to Ye Ed for approval before being released upon the world.

Very erratic work on the current WIP, but the middle story of the trio is now at 6600 words.

(draft blurb omitted, as the final version's now up.)

26 November: cover art redux

Slight change on the Yule cover art.

26 November: anthology cancellation

At the beginning of this year, I sold a short story to an anthology of slash fanfic with the serial numbers filed off, to be published by a small press that intended to market the anthology to a fanfic audience. It was originally supposed to be printed in time for the press to take it to a major zine con in May. The book launch was delayed, with the promise that it would be ready for the next suitable con. That didn't happen either. Late last month the anthology was cancelled, in a manner that I consider less than professional.

I'm not going to name and shame the publisher in a public post (and I'd ask that those of you who know who the publisher is refrain from naming them in the comments thread). I understand very well the pressures that can lead to a zine editor taking their ball and going home; as some people on my flist can confirm, I have been that editor in the past. But I think there's a difference between cancelling a zine, and cancelling a commercial anthology. In the latter case, you're dealing with fiction that has a monetary value to the author. The manner in which the anthology was repeatedly delayed and then finally cancelled has led me to cross that publisher off my list for future submissions.

I've also removed references to the publisher from my website, because I know that my having submitted to that publisher may lead other authors to think that they must be okay. Let this be a warning -- don't assume that because a multi-published author has something with a publisher that the publisher must be a good one. It could be simply that there were no warning signs and some good ones when the author first submitted. Worse, it could be that the author was put in an awkward position when a friend asked for something to help get her new epub going (not happened to me yet, but I know of it happening to others). As the EREC gang will all tell you, what authors say in public is not necessarily what they'll tell you (even if only by lack of enthusiasm) if you email them privately to ask about a publisher.

26 November: site log weirdness, or, another reason not to hot-link

I see in my website log that someone has hot-linked to the cover art of Lord and Master on his MySpace profile. The profile itself is friends-locked, so I can't see what the context is, but my impression from what little information is on display is that the guy could well be gay. From memory, the IP address likely to be his is one that shows up in my logs every few weeks (yes, it's unusual enough to stand out).

I'm bored and avoiding work, so I had a look at a few of the people who were looking at the hot-linked image. And one of the addresses apparently looking at that friends-locked profile turned out to be a major American religious broadcasting network not known for its gay-friendly policies. Assuming it's not spoofed, this rather suggests that someone was looking at Teh Gay at work, and probably not in a journalism context...

24 November: Line edits ticked off...

Line-edits (all half dozen of them) done on Yule. lindsey_mullen has some further commentary on the cover art here: http://lindsey_mullen.livejournal.com/1623.html

23 November: Cover art and ISBN for Yule

Received the cover art for the new book last night. This is the one that I've been referring to as The Feast of Odin, but it's now reverted to what was originally the working title of Yule. It's a short story, part of a set that will be sold individually, but collectively will be known as The Festival of Lights. It's my first co-authored profic with someone other than predatrix, but lindsey_mullen is another writing friend I've known since way back from when I first got into fanfic. (And indeed could be said to be the person who got me into fanfic, so if you like my writing, you can thank her.) The page for the book went up on the Loose Id catalogue yesterday, but there's not much there but the ISBN at the moment, not even the cover art.

http://loose-id.com/detail.aspx?ID=623 ISBN: 978-1-59632-597-5

The art is by the wonderful April Martinez, who did the cover art for the whole set of Festival of Lights stories -- you can see some of her earlier work for Loose Id at her website.

23 November: RIP Verity Lambert 1935-2007

Verity Lambert, the first producer of Doctor Who, the first female TV producer at the BBC, and one of the great producers of British television, has died at the age of 71. :-(

(Via altariel)

Story in The Stage.

23 November: LibraryThing abuse halted

As I grumbled about yesterday, this week a couple of idiotic authors decided that the LibraryThing friending system was the perfect opportunity to connect with interesting people, as one of them described his behaviour. Or spam themselves and their books to thousands of LibraryThing users, as some of us on the receiving end saw it.

Various people complained about it both by email and in a thread on a LibraryThing talk forum. The result is that Tim has put limits on comments-per-day that will discourage this sort of thing, and give the staff an early warning in any future incidents:

The moral of this story for other writers is that spamming is a bad idea. You could annoy more people into deciding that they'll never buy a book with your name on it than you gain extra sales. As ever when you're contemplating some course of action as a writer, put your reader hat on, and consider how you'd feel as a reader if a writer did this to you. And if you're trying to pimp your work -- how would you feel if all of the thousands of authors out there decided that you should be told about their work in the same way that you're proposing to tell other people about yours?

22 November: it's a thin line between self-promotion and spam...

One of the things that happens on MySpace is that persons with something to sell (writers, bands, etc) will go around and friend anyone who looks like they might have in the remotest interest in something that could be claimed to be related to the thing being sold. For example a science fiction writer would friend anyone who lists science fiction in their interests. Or science. Or reading... The idea here is that people will check out your profile and with any luck friend you back. Even if all they do is check out your profile before going away -- well, that's another pair of eyeballs looking at your ad for whatever you're selling.

Since I was brought up on Usenet, I see this as spamming. Since this sort of advertising to each other appears to be one of the two main reasons for MySpace's existence (the other being the seeking out of someone to have sex with), I don't normally complain about it.

Unfortunately, it seems to be contagious.

This morning, someone friend-requested me on LibraryThing. I didn't recognise the name. When I went to look at it -- yes, it was another writer, who was friending everyone in sight in an attempt to pimp his books to them. Sorry, that's spam as far as I'm concerned. Yes, one can turn off the friending facility, but I happen to like having people I actually know friend me. You know, like happens on LiveJournal. I don't want LT turned into just another giant "look at meeeee!" advertising network. I just don't know how and where to complain about this development. :-(

ETA: there's a thread complaining about this in the Site Talk group:
It's not just friending -- it's long comments on people's profiles, and invites to discussion groups for an author's books. It's clearly got potential to swamp LT with spam, so I've emailed one of the LT staff about it.

ETA2: I *thought* there was something in the rules banning this sort of activity, but couldn't find it with a quick skim through the website. Someone in the discussion thread has pointed at the TOS:
In particular:
"# Do not use LibraryThing as an advertising medium. Egregious commercial solicitation is forbidden. No matter how great your novel, this does apply to authors.
# Do not spam user comments or group invitations. Inviting people in your town to a new group is okay; inviting hundreds of members is not."

19 November: f/f writing community

Tidying up my email, and found something I meant to post a while back -- LJ community for lesbian-centric writing discussion, both profic and fanfic. Only women are allowed to join as members, but the markets postings are unlocked and open to all to view. I know a couple of the f/f writers on my flist already have it friended, but there are more of you who might be interested.

16 November: Touched by His Noodly Appendage

Making Light notes that the Flying Spaghetti Monster has hit the mainstream, with CNN coverage of a panel on the Pastaferians at The American Academy of Religion meeting this weekend.

16 November: Hurry up and wait

A couple of further queries from Ye Editor this morning in reply to our comments on first round edits on The Feast of Odin. Reply from lindsey_mullen and self saying we'll go with her suggestions. So that's the first round of editing out of the way. Now we sit and wait for the copy-editor's comments...

It's still not on the Loose Id website and no release date as yet. But given that it's part of the Festival of Lights set and it's a Yule-themed story, I can make a fairly good guess as to when it'll be out. :-)

I've just realised why there's a faint itch as of "I've forgotten something". I haven't done a cover blurb for the story, because the paperwork went to the primary author, i.e. lindsey_mullen. And obviously somewhere in the depths of my mind there is a tick-list, with an item that feels as if it's been left undone.

16 November: Triskelion bankruptcy -- contracts sold to Siren

Siren Publishing won the bid on the book contracts in the bankruptcy auction of Triskelion's assets. They will be releasing all the contracts, with a generic release letter sent to each author.

Note that the original list of authors and titles supplied to the bankruptcy court was not accurate, and there is still some disentangling to do.

(Picked up via EREC: http://www.erecsite.com/2007/11/it-is-rumored-that-siren-publishing-has.html )

14 November: Edits done

Woke up this morning to find first round edits for The Feast of Odin in my overnight email. lindsey_mullen and I have gone through them and sent them back, so that's one task ticked off. Skype is ever so useful for being able to discuss the edits on the voice link while typing bits into the chat box.

14 November: Food porn -- fudge

Oh yes, fudge...

In the comments in my post linking to an essay on the crystallisation science of fudge, soshoni posted her recipe, and I promised that I'd post mine. And then got distracted...

So, fudge. This is a very simple recipe, taken from an ancient Women's Institute cookbook. It's also from memory, because I've been making it so many years now that I don't look at the recipe, I just do it, and the recipe book isn't in the same country as me at present. I suspect that there are really, really obvious things I will miss out...

recipe at Livejournal

13 November: New small press

Anna Genoese, formerly of Tor, has just announced on her blog that she is opening a non-profit small press (by which she means that the authors will be paid royalties, and they will be applying for grants from relevant bodies).

Blog post with more details
Por Vida Press website
Guidelines in pdf format

11 November: Musings on writing

This little section in one of my books was based on something real:

The short version was that Simon had spent Saturday morning tracking down the provenance of the summerhouse and found that it _was_ a summerhouse, or at least that was what it had last been used as. It was the seaside retreat of an old and almost extinct family, which had been land rich and cash poor for some decades before the last remaining male family member had inherited the estate.

"And he still lives around here, so I went to see him. Interesting old coot. Apparently they lost all the younger men in the Great War, and his dad was the only direct male heir left. Too young to even be a bugle boy. Same pattern in the Second World War, only he was the one left behind."

Simon looked distant for a moment. Martin could sympathise. It was bad enough looking at the little village cenotaphs, with the toll of names that left no family untouched. Actually meeting a representative of one of those families that had lost an entire generation of young men, and not just once, but twice ...

Not quite three years ago, I drove down the A350 to see watervole. It's an old road, one of the narrow twisty ones that goes through every single village, with no bypass for miles. And every one of those tiny villages has a cenotaph, with its sad roster of names. It was a cold, misty day, with nobody about. Just the red wreaths, drooping a little with the damp. Every single one of those cenotaphs had at least one wreath and a scattering of single poppies or crosses. I didn't stop to look at any of them that day, but I knew what would be on them. Some names from the Second World War, but probably a greater number from the Great War. The war to end wars, until they had to come round and put on another plaque for another generation. And all too often, the same name more than once. On both plaques.

A common question asked of writers is "Where do you get your ideas from?" They are, alas, all around us, waiting for someone to see them and pick them up.

11 November: At the going down of the sun...

On the mantlepiece in my parents' house, there sits a brass box. Not so very big a box, just enough to hold a few things to bring some Christmas cheer. A ration of tobacco and cigarettes, perhaps some chocolate or sweets. A Christmas card from HRH Princess Mary.

It's a link with the past, with a man I never met. He survived the trenches, to bring his Christmas box home with him as a souvenir, but he died before I was born. As did another great-grandfather, who carried a souvenir of the war in his scarred lungs until his too-early dying day.

Both of my grandfathers survived the next war. Those men I did have in my life, though others of their generation in my extended family are among those who never came back.

I remember. Had any of those four men met the fate so many did, I would not be here to remember.

11 November: OOP

Looks like my first ever profic sale is out of print again. It's been in two ebook anthologies over the years, the first of which went OOP when the publisher folded a couple of years later. (I'd been paid my 42 pounds on publication, so I didn't lose out.) I haven't been notified by Torquere, but the second anthology has been off their own site for a while, and it now looks as if they've pulled it from Fictionwise. It's the third anniversary of publication, so I expect it's gone OOP.

Must consider what to do with the story -- new publisher, pixel-stained technopeasantry, or trunk. It was good enough to sell twice over (it was my first reprint sale as well as my first sale), and it was the first in a sequence of shorts that one day will be a themed collection, but I would hope my writing's improved in the last six years.8 November: Another book up at Fictionwise

Loose Id has released another batch of books at Fictionwise, including Lord and Master -- with a 15% discount in the first week: http://www.fictionwise.com/eBooks/eBook52418.htm

It's also at All Romance ebooks, though no discount: http://allromanceebooks.com/product-lordandmaster-4881-0.html

8 November: phone browsing

My site logs often offer interesting little snippets of information. Apart from the usual collection of strange search strings, this week's log has the first appearance of the iPhone browser. Yes, someone out there was looking at my website on their iPhone, and not just the front page.

I've also seen the occasional Symbian phone (mostly Nokias). If this turns into a trend, I'm going to have to think about catering to the mobile phone users, even if it's just offering a selection of the free short stories in a format they find easy to use. Any of you smartphone users got an opinion on this? rpdom?

ETA: Don't think I can really slant the website design itself towards phone users (especially as it's already heavily biased towards accessibility for disabled readers), but if there's anything on my site that causes serious problems for phone users, speak up. As an example, the free shorts (beware of the gay smut) index page is here:
and the book reviews, con reports and essays (mostly work-safe) are here:

8 November: Divided by a common language

There is a descriptive word which is gendered in some English dialects and not in others. I tend to use it as gendered, especially when gender is actually relevant to the context. So I'm not quite sure what the following passage is going to look like when my American publisher's editing and proof-reading team get through with it...

Bob smirked unsympathetically. "So you hired a bright young scientist for his technical ability; but you couldn't resist having a bit of fun with the fact that he _looks_ like a male version of the fluffy little blonde hired for her chest measurement and not her typing speed. And then the game turned real on you."

"And fluffy little blonds aren't even my type!"

"I know." Bob gave him an evil grin. "That's what makes it so funny."

ETA: It's a good thing that post and comment thread was a mostly serious discussion of a point of language, because my publisher *answered* it...

7 November: wordage finished

13,264 words, and the first draft of the Lord and Master sequel finished. I'll probably be looking for beta readers at some point, but I think I'll wait until I've done the other two shorts I've got planned in this set, as they'll probably end up being published together as a fix-up rather than individually.

6 November: wordage

End of chapter, end of second sex scene, and it's taken the story to 12100 words total so far. Only 500 words today, but still a good place to stop for a tea break and think about next chapter...

6 November: geek filk

predatrix pointed me at a song on Youtube called "All OSes suck", a sentiment with which I heartily agree. It made me feel old, because I remember a lot of the stuff he talks about. When it had finished playing, YouTube offered me a selection of "if you liked that, you might like these". One of the selections was "The day the routers died". It's going to completely baffle a lot of people, but for those of you who would be amused by a filk about IPv6 to the tune of American Pie...

5 November: behind the sofa

It was allegedly the last day of the Doctor Who exhibition in Manchester, so kalypso_v and I sallied forth this morning to admire the Whovian props. I say 'allegedly', because the flyer we picked up last month said it finished today. When we got there, the posters in the museum said it finishes first week of January. Well, at least it gave me an incentive to get there today...

It's essentially a decent batch of costumes and props from New Who (including one old-time prop in the form of K-9), plus a souvenir shop which as far as we could see could only be accessed by buying a ticket for the exhibition. Whether it's worth the 6.50 admission is debatable; I'm glad I went, but I wouldn't bother going again unless I was a costumer or model-maker who wanted to be able to look at things close up and in detail in order to reproduce them. For someone in that category living in the Manchester area, it might well be worth a season ticket.

We did examine the "be a Dalek" cutaway Dalek closely to get an idea of various features for future reference, and while doing so were instructed by someone else's Small Child on how to operate the voice system. Small Child clearly felt that nobody's visit could be complete without doing a Dalek voice, and I would have thought exactly the same thing at that age. Alas, I am too old and self-conscious now. The Dalek bit of the display was enormously popular with various Small Children, as was obvious even when we went into the shop. Extermination continued apace, and the noise reverberated around the shop, which was right next to the Dalek display.

The shop was disappointingly free of Captain Jack porn material, but on the other hand they did have a stash of the old Target novelisations at 1.50 a pop. One or two may find their way to Redemption's swag stash, if I don't manage to lose them in the meantime.

On the way back, we stopped at the chip shop to buy lunch, and then stood in a doorway and watched the drizzle as we ate our chips out of the paper parcels. A most excellent way to finish off a morning of reliving our youth...

(And a thought occurs to me -- anyone want to filk "Day trip to Bangor"? As in, "And on the way back, I cuddled with Jack"...)

4 November: "Life on Mars" symposium

hafren points out a one day symposium on "Life on Mars" being held at Cardiff later this month.

Of course, the litgeeks I know who might find this of interest and won't have already seen it through hafren are mostly geographically challenged...

October 2007

31 October: Halloween contest

From my monthly newsletter, which doesn't have much else that hasn't already been posted here:

Halloween contest

It's Halloween, so it's time to give away a copy of my vampire short "Promises to Keep". If you'd like a chance to win, send an email to my Gmail address with "Halloween contest" in the subject. I'll draw a winner on Sunday 4 November.

31 October: And the earth moved...

I lived in the San Francisco Bay area for several years, causing a certain amount of commentary from friends about earthquakes. The only one I ever actually felt was the largish one three or four hundred miles away in 2003.

I moved back to the UK a few weeks ago.

This morning, I woke up to wall-to-wall the earth moved on the first page of my flist...

29 October: "Trouble with Lichen" on BBC7

watervole points out that a radio adaptation of John Wyndham's "Trouble with Lichen" starts tonight on BBC7 at 6:30. I imagine it will be available on Listen Again for a a week or so after the initial broadcast. http://watervole.livejournal.com/288300.html

26 October: I think I've got a new sig line

In a conversation on IRC which was getting ever filthier in a literary fashion (as happens on that channel), Jedit to me:

Yes, but you are a perfect purveyor of perpetual perversion perpetration

26 October: paperwork

It's royalty statement day. I didn't notice last month because I didn't look at the total that included the Fictionwise sales, but a second title is now over 1000 copies sold (God knows how many pirate copies there are out there, but that's the number I got actual money for). Another probably will be by the end of the year. Small press numbers, but definitely respectable small press numbers.

Just received the formal renewal offers from Loose Id for First Footer in A Kiss At Midnight, and Spindrift 2: Ship to Shore. The wonders of the modern age are such that these have arrived four days after I posted the new contracts back to the Nevada office. I actually got the renewal offer and a pdf of the current contract by email last week, but to be official it has to be sent by snail mail as well. :-)

When LI first started, the contracts followed EPIC guidelines on renewal, and said that renewal had to be by formal written offer/acceptance by both parties. There's a good reason for that guideline, but once they got two years in and had to actually start dealing with renewals for multiple books per week, I suspect it rapidly became a paper-chasing nightmare. They've now switched to a system where the contract automatically renews on the anniversary date unless one or other party sends formal notice of termination. In the meantime, those of us on the old contract have to send in a new one as the old one expires.

In my case, that's been quite a lot of contracts to check, fill in and sign, especially when we get to the nice complicated ones like The Syndicate, where there are two authors, two of the ebooks published at different times were combined into a single print edition, and there was a completely separate contract for the print rights rather than the combined contract we have now. I'm sure treva2007 winces when she sees an email from me with the header "contract questions"... I haven't got my files to hand at the moment, but I *think* that this is almost the last of them, and Pulling Strings is the only one left on the old contract.

26 October: Food porn

Via pecunium, a blog post on the crystallisation science behind making fudge. The recipe the blogger links to is possibly not of great relevance to the .uk people, as it's American and thus involves corn syrup, but the post itself is well worth a read:


ETA: Oh, and pecunium's recipe for an oxtail galantine, which I will link here so that I don't lose it.


25 October: wordage

Somebody hit me the next time I look as if I might be thinking of agreeing to collaborate in the normal fashion, with taking it in turns to write chapters instead of doing it together on Netmeeting or Skype.

Why yes, it did just take me a week to write some 2500 words for my section of the Yule story lindsey_mullen and I are doing for Loose Id's Festival of Lights. This is in large part because on co-authored things I'm used to discussing the story on a daily basis with predatrix, regardless of which of us is actually setting fingers to keyboard. This didn't happen on this story, for various reasons including lack of phone line at this end, and then lack of voice at the other. So a wodge of story appeared in my in-box, and even though we'd discussed the basic plot and started developing the characters before she started writing the story, I didn't quite know who these people were. It was like getting blood out of a stone to get words down.

Anyway... it's just gone back to her so she can write the last 500 words it needs to give the HEA. After that I will probably get it back to fill and polish in spots, but the skeleton of the story should be there now. So I can go back to the Lord&Master short now, and try to get that finished by the end of next week. It's currently on 10841 and about to get into the second sex scene. However, they're currently having a Meaningful Conversation, which may need to be trimmed.

20 October: shopping

Went into Manchester in pursuit of lawyer-type person yesterday, and decided that now I was there I might as well start getting my bearings in the city. Strangely, I spent a certain amount of time in Waterstones, though I did manage to escape without spending any money. Accumulating a foot-high To Be Read stack in a library sale last week helped a lot there.

I did do the usual quick check for familiar names. Two titles from anghara, and the standard full shelf of autopope -- but no copy of Halting State on the shelf of US imports, damn it. Also two copies of desperance's latest hardback, which did not surprise me, and a copy of the last volume of Ace's paperback edition of The Books of Outremer, which did. Ran out of spoons at that point so didn't check for anyone else.

Also shopping today. Other Half, kalypso_v and self went in search of the accessible-by-bus John Lewis in the next town, and were mostly successful in acquiring Stuff. I have still failed to find a local supplier of the printer I have fallen in lust with, but I may manage to do that on tomorrow's shopping expedition. If not, I will just have to order it from the intertubes without playing with a demo model. Why do UK stores not have the demo printers set up so that you can run a demo print, as Frys most sensibly does? I wish to check the print quality *before* I buy the thing, thank you.

20 October: pseuds, pseuds, luvverly pseuds

I deduce from my website log that someone's been trying to find my fanfic by searching on *this* pseudonym. Not quite sure why, as while I'm up front about having written fanfic, I'm also up front about having written it under a different name.

The particular pattern of hits suggests that if the person concerned thinks about it, they will be able to find it using information on my website. It's just not obvious to anyone who doesn't already know. And bluntly, it's a small enough fandom that if you don't already know, you're probably not familiar with the fandom, and thus will not actually understand the fanfic. Hence it may be a pointless exercise...

17 October: I can has internets naow

At last! Not only a landline (which appeared on Monday, thus at least giving me dialup access, which sucks but doesn't suck as hard as having no access at home), but a DSL router! And it even works!

Of course, I still have a load of stuff to chase down and install and change passwords on, but I have web access. I am no longer cut off from my online research facilities. This *matters* when my home library is sitting in a shipping container in Oakland...

12 October: cat vacuuming with Who slash

I'd done my 300 words for the day, so I looked at LJ. And found communicator's link to a very silly, very funny Doctor Who video by 45eugenia. Spoilers for end of third season.

My boyfriend's back and you're gonna be in trouble.

12 October: kdflnhdf

I am currently suffering from Cat On Keyboard. Yes, desperance, you may laugh. One of the local cats has decided this morning that she desperately needs to be cuddled by me, even though she's not normally a cuddle cat. Me, not predatrix whose cat she is. And I know that if I *wanted* to cuddle her, she'd run away.

And when she's not sitting on my keyboard or waving her tail in my face, she's knocking things off the desk in order to get our attention. Three pens and a small box in the last two minutes...

11 October: Zine awards

No, not fanfic zines... For some reason I'd never actually joined obscene_filkers, even though several of my friends are on there and I was reading it moderately regularly (i.e. whenever one of said friends mentioned having posted a new filk). Thus I've only just discovered that a zine spawned by the community, Clues and Gropes, is eligible for the best fanzine award at Novacon this year, as detailed in this post:
As I'm a co-author on two of the filks included therein, I have a personal interest in this. :-)

And remember, ladies and gentlemen --
Never let your heroes dangle

11 October: Literary polygamy

I have taken up with another writing partner (though not abandoned predatrix). We've worked together on assorted material for many years, but the Yule story for Loose Id's Festival of Lights is the first time we've gone all the way together as co-authors on a fiction piece. She's now on LJ, although hasn't said much as yet:


10 October: Discworld cross-stitch

Someone on afp posted a link to a small cross-stitch kit company that's doing licensed kits of Discworld art -- mostly Paul Kidby, but also some Josh Kirby and Stephen Briggs. They're moderately expensive, as they're licensed, but you do get a nice kit for your money. Since I can think of at least one person on my flist who'll be interested, here's the url to the first page -- there are three pages of Discworld kits in the online catalogue.

9 October: More user profile spam

I'd forgotten that in theory I have a Yahoo 360 profile. At least until five minutes ago, when I got my first "Hi, let's be friends, please look at this url" spam to it. Interestingly, it is for a poker gambling site, rather than the porn spam I get regularly on Myspace.

There is no option to mark it as spam, which suggests that Yahoo hasn't had a problem with such spam yet. That will probably change soon...

8 October: A rail pass is a wonderful thing

Just arrived Chez predatrix, where I have broadband access. Still slightly restricted access, as I'm camping on Mr Predatrix's computer desk and he will want it back when he comes home from work, but at least I can log on without having to take a twenty minute walk first. *And* I have a date for the landline and broadband to be installed at home. My world would be complete had I not started a migraine on the train, and thus been unable to spend a couple of hours of quality time with my laptop in spite of being at a table seat with a power point. At least I noticed what was happening in time to take the codeine.

Time for caffeine now...

6 October: Broadband will happen eventually

Still no landline at new flat, and thus no phone and no net access save by walking to kalypso_v's place. But I do have a date for installation of landline, and broadband with it. Not for another week, but that is because I am going to see predatrix for a few days next week. Writing may be involved.

In the meantime, I have accumulated another 3000 words or so on the L&M sequel...

1 October: New short story available online

My short story And if I offered thee a bargain has just been published on the free webzine Forbidden Fruit:


This is the one which was accidentally dropped from the Distant Horizons anthology. A warning to the romance fans -- this one's from the sf/fantasy side of my output, and while it has a love story, it is *not* genre romance.

September 2007

30 September: short story sale

Sale on proposal of co-authored short story to Loose Id for their themed set of Flings later this year. Now we just have to write it... A new (in profic) co-author for this one.

30 September: normal service will be resumed eventually

I don't have access to the intertubes at home at present. In fact, I don't even have a landline. Fortunately I have a tolerant friend with a wifi router twenty minutes' walk away, but this does mean that I'm not casually ambling around online annoying my friends with quite my usual regularity. Feel free to send email if you think I should have seen something but have not responded -- it is quite possible that I have not seen it, unless it's email.

28 September: New Who slashy goodness

Okay, so now I've seen series 3 of New Who, I can go looking for the porn and other fannish goodness that I've been studiously avoiding for fear of spoilers. kalypso_v provided me with the url of an utterly brilliant macro sequence of That Phone Conversation in The Sound of Drums. Just in case there is anyone left on my flist who has seen the episode but not the macro interpretation:


26 September: Barrowman guh

I love the CPSLK_BARROWMAN community. It provides me with things like this to look at while I'm eating breakfast:


Ever so much better than reading the Times...

(Flicker warning: the illo used in the page header flashes rapidly and is epilepsy and migraine hostile. Scroll down fast to see the pretty pictures underneath.)

25 September: US edition of Mammoth Book of Lesbian Erotica

I got my mitts on my trib copy of Mammoth Book of Lesbian Erotica a couple of days ago, which reassures me that the book really does exist. Interestingly, I've got the US edition (published by Carroll & Graf), not the UK edition, which amongst other things means that I now know the US ISBN. The book *is* available from Amazon US, but they've confused it with an earlier volume under the same name but by a different editor, and assumed that it's just a new edition of that book.

The Mammoth Book of Lesbian Erotica
ISBN-10: 0786720441
ISBN-13: 978-0786720446

22 September: random news

My website is AWOL, as are several other websites dear to the hearts of some of my flist -- the Waveney Webs server blew a gasket last night, and thus we are awaiting the arrival of the Man With The Spare Part before such sites as Orbital and Redemption return to this world. Tomorrow, with any luck...

My net access for the last month can best be described as "erratic". I'm hoping that it will return to something vaguely approximating normal in a couple of days. Which may not be an entirely good thing, as it allows for far too much cat-vacuuming while working on the new stories.

I have been prodded to provide bio and story summary for the sidhe story, from which I deduce that it will be appearing at Forbidden Fruit in the near future.

I appear to have committed myself to co-writing a novelette. Um. So I'd *better* have decent net access next week.

Today I have found and *bookmarked* That Bra on the M&S website. (For the benefit of certain hashafp members...)

22 September: fangirling

Just finished watching the third series of new Who.

It's slashy.

Very, very slashy...

16 September: I've got a rail pass and I'm not afraid to use it

Staying with watervole for the next few days. Was good and did some writing on the train down, as I was on a Voyager most of the way and managed to get a table seat with a power point so I could run my laptop off mains power. Managed to get around a thousand words done on the first of a sequence of shorts about the Lord and Master characters, in spite of feeling somewhat inhibited by the presence of an audience. Not sure how much of it will still be there by the time I've finished the draft and then gone back and edited, but it's wordage after a spell of being too busy with Life to write.

I switched to the urban fantasy when someone actually sat right next to me, but rapidly realised that it wasn't as clean as I'd thought. It's not that there are any sex scenes in it -- it's just clear on a high proportion of pages that there will eventually be a sex scene...

13 September:

Picked up from dsgood's roundup of science headlines:

Public Release: 12-Sep-2007
Bipolar Disorders
Manic phase of bipolar disorder benefits from breast cancer medication
The manic phase of bipolar disorder favors destructive behaviors. Stemming it quickly is important. Tamoxifen's effects were dramatic -- 63 percent of patients responded vs. 13 percent on placebo -- and it kicked in faster than many current medications. Tamoxifen skips some of current drugs' biochemical steps and acts directly on the enzyme protein-kinase C, giving scientists a more direct target at which to aim new medications in their search for faster-acting treatments.
NIH/National Institute of Mental Health

This is an early trial looking into improving the (currently several days) response time for drugs that halt an in-progress manic episode, and it's going to be quite a while before this turns into a general treatment, if it ever does. But a heads-up anyway, given that there's more than one person on my flist with an interest in this.

10 September: If you want to self-publish an ebook...

If you want to self-publish your ebook, don't jump on the first offer that comes along. Do your research into self-publishing, just as you would with conventional publishing, because the packages on offer vary widely in quality and cost, and you could find yourself with a self-publishing outfit that is poor value for money, or an outright scam. If you're paying an upfront fee and/or more than 20% of an ebook's cover price to a storefront site, you could do better.

Several erotic romance epublishers have gone under in the last few months, and you can expect a flurry of new publishers setting up to provide a home for the authors who've suddenly found themselves without a publisher. There have also been the usual suggestions that authors will be much better off if they self-publish, and at least one new self-publishing outfit set up in the wake of the recent bankruptcies and closures. Self-publishing does look tempting for some, but take your time and look into what self-publishing entails and what a reasonable fee is.

I haven't got time this morning to do a full-on article about this, but there's one url you should look at as an absolute bare minimum of research before signing up with a self-publishing outfit, and that's Lulu's terms and conditions for digital media:

Lulu have a track record of five years, so there's a good chance they're going to stay in business. There is no set-up fee. They charge 20% of the cover price for ebooks downloaded from their website, giving you 80% (with a minimum fee of 19c, although they'll waive that if you give away the books for free). If you wish you can also make the book available in print or as an ebook on CD, although those options will cost more because of the physical production costs. There is no set-up charge for the print and CD options. That price includes a storefront hosted on their website, and they handle all the details of collecting payment. They don't take any rights to your material, and there is no minimum contract length.

If the self-publishing outfit you're considering isn't offering you a pricing deal as good as Lulu's, ask yourself what else they're offering to make up for it. If the answer is "making me feel warm and fuzzy and part of a family" -- how much money are you willing to pay for that feeling?

9 September: Well, I suppose it's free publicity...

I was ploughing through my website logs last night and found a particularly odd episode of bandwidth theft by hotlinking. Seems that there is an American sports team of some sort which goes by the nickname "Dolphins", and someone on the fan forum of an enemy team had the bright idea of Googling on "gay dolphin dreams" in order to find something with which to insult them. So now there is a forum post with "the Dolphin dream" and a picture of a trophy, and "the reality", and a familiar-to-me book cover. Except the bugger just hot-linked to the image on my site, instead of doing the polite thing and copying it to somewhere like Flickr first. At least he only linked to the thumbnail and the thread doesn't seem to be popular viewing, so it's not trashing my bandwidth as yet.

I am amusing myself with the thought that American football fans are not as 100% manly heterosexual as some of them like to think, and there may be more interest in the book cover from other forum members than he realises...

9 September: Some background for Dolphin Dreams

I'm planning to put up a background material page on my website for each of the books, although this is going to be a long term project. A lot of the material on these pages will be the sort of thing I talk about during online chats, or in response to questions and comments in fan mail. Since I've had such a piece of fan mail this week, it was a good prompt to start gathering some of the stuff for Dolphin Dreams.


background material for Dolphin Dreams at LiveJournal

7 September: Madeleine L'Engle, 1918-2007

oracne posts sad news to genreneep:

Madeleine L'Engle, 1918-2007.

4 September: Sale at Loose Id

Loose Id is having a sale on all series titles, with 5% off until 1 October. Yes, that includes several of my books -- those in the Buildup, Spindrift and The Syndicate series. There are plenty of other good books in the sale as well.

2 September: New short story out now

I haven't seen my contributor's copy yet and I haven't been into a bookshop this week, so I have no direct evidence that the book physically exists, but Amazon UK says it now has stock of the anthology where you'll find my latest short story.

Alex and I saw a call for submissions for an anthology of funny lesbian erotica, and while we don't normally do f/f, we liked the premise of the anthology so much that it sparked an idea. Unfortunately, while the story was held for further consideration, the anthology never came out -- a victim of the publisher having to rearrange its schedule after Hurricane Katrina. So I submitted it to the Mammoth Book of Lesbian Erotica, and it was accepted. The anthology was released on 30 August, and is available from Amazon UK and other European Amazon sites, if I'm understanding the foreign language pages correctly. It's published by a UK publisher, and at the moment doesn't appear to be available from Amazon US, though doubtless it will turn up there eventually. Here's our blurb for the story:

Love Is Blind
Contemporary erotic romance short story (with Alex Woolgrave), f/f, mild BDSM, 2800 words. It's a hard life being a writer's partner, especially when they want to try out an idea for practicality -- at four in the morning...

August 2007

28 August: Male romance authors

The Smart Bitches have been talking about men who write romance, and the attitude towards them of some readers. There's some interesting commentary over there, including people claiming that they knew that certain authors were really men because of the way that they write. Now, I think it's true that there are noticeable differences, and you really can tell -- for *some* authors. Not all. And the markers aren't as reliable as some seem to think. One of the things someone in the comment thread has cited as a dead giveaway for a male author behind a female pseudonym is doubtless a contributing factor in why so many people assumed me to be male.

They were compiling a list of men who've written romance under a female pseudonym. I know there's at least one such on my flist, but I don't want to out anyone -- the discussion's here should any of you wish to wander over and take part:

(Note this is about commercial publishing and genre romance -- I know that rather a lot of my flist does fanfic without regard to traditional gender boundaries in the genre.)

26 August: meeting up in meatspace

I was aware that a bunch of apfers were planning to have a get together in a field somewhere sometime, but what with being otherwise engaged I hadn't registered exactly where or when. Not until I logged onto irc a couple of days back, and discovered that it was this weekend, in Buxton. And when they discovered that I'm currently not so far away, it was proposed that I should go, at least for the afternoon. Not only that, when I pointed out that I don't actually have a car as yet, da_pol offered me a lift on Saturday afternoon. So da_pol and I had a pleasant afternoon in a field outside Buxton seeing a bunch of people that I hadn't seen in meatspace for years if at all, and then had a pleasant meal in a local restaurant with kalypso_v, followed by much cross-fandom conversation. The meal would have been more pleasant without the exceeedingly noisy party at the next table, but the food was good. :-) I'll get to see more of the local afpers later.

22 August: Anthology available for pre-order

I did have another story in a print anthology this year, and it's finally available on Amazon UK for pre-order. :-) This one's been a bit of a rough path to publication as well. Alex Woolgrave (aka predatrix) and I saw a call for submissions for an anthology of funny lesbian erotica, and while we don't normally do f/f, we liked the premise of the anthology so much that it sparked an idea. Unfortunately, while the story was held for further consideration, the anthology never came out -- a victim of the publisher having to rearrange its schedule after Hurricane Katrina. So I submitted it to the Mammoth Book of Lesbian Erotica, and it was accepted. The anthology is currently scheduled for release on 30 August, and you can pre-order it from Amazon UK now. It's published by a UK publisher, and at the moment doesn't appear to be available from Amazon US, though doubtless it will turn up there eventually.

Love Is Blind
Contemporary erotic romance short story (with Alex Woolgrave), f/f, mild BDSM, 2800 words. It's a hard life being a writer's partner, especially when they want to try out an idea for practicality -- at four in the morning...

The Mammoth Book of Lesbian Erotica

20 August: Dear Author analyses Triskelion bankruptcy filing

More from the romance blog Dear Author about the Triskelion bankruptcy. If you're a Triskelion author, you need to read this. But it's also worth your time simply as a case study if you're involved in small press, especially epublishing. Jane analyses the bankruptcy filing, and digs out some interesting information. The comments are worth reading as well, particularly the description of a publisher behaving badly towards authors who decided that they wanted out.

The Triskelion mess is an excellent example of why you should do your homework before submitting to a publisher. It won't guarantee you don't get caught up in something like this, but it will improve your chances of avoiding a publisher with trouble brewing. December Quinn has an excellent series of blog posts about finding the right publisher:


You also want to check out Emily Veinglory's guest post at Dionne Galace's blog, about the wide range of sales figures within epublishing:

19 August: Short story sale to Forbidden Fruit

Technically, not a sale as such, as

They didn't, but what they did have was A Modern Herbal (Volume 1, A-H) and A Modern Herbal (Volume 2, I-Z and Indexes) in Dover reprint, which seems to be roughly the same sort of thing except three times the size and from 1931 (so thus missing the modern medicine, but including a reasonable bit from what was current at the time). The plates are relatively few and in black and white, but it looked a pretty decent reference book. I resisted temptation because it's not what I actually need for research material right now and I already have a fair bit of herbal material, but I may well get a copy at some point.

And for the benefit of brooksmoses, the book on cooking with wild plants and history of their use is All Good Things Around Us.

8 August: pruf-reeding

A typo in the British Fantasy Awards shortlist in this morning's Ansible provided me with a certain amount of amusement speculating on exactly what desperance had been writing:

Chaz Brenchley, _Bride of Dreams_

(It's supposed to be Bridge, not Bride.)

7 August: I know I said I wasn't buying any more books this month...

brooksmoses and I had lunch in downtown Mountain View today, followed by a trip round Books Inc (the new bookshop) and BookBuyers (the used book emporium next door, which appears to be a branch of L-space).

We admired the entire shelf of Strossian works in Books Inc before deciding that it was definitely going to be short the copy of Toast by the time we left. I bought it, in the end, though if I hadn't brooksmoses would have.

Also pleased to see a couple of copies of desperance's Bridge of Dreams in stock, though we didn't do a serious scan for anyone else we know. Then wandered off to the remainder shelf to look for the signed hardback copy of Simon Winchester's A Crack in the Edge of the World: America and the Great California Earthquake of 1906 I'd been told about -- still there, in spite of it having been a week or two since I was told about it.

Then on to BookBuyers, where I nobly restrained myself from buying more than three books in the mythology section, much to brooksmoses's amusement. Didn't get the specific book I was after (though I can get it from Amazon at a reasonable price at the moment, so merely nuisance factor). But I did find a book about silkies, The People of the Sea, which would have been Jolly Useful about 30 months ago. Bought it anyway -- I do plan to write more in the Spindrift universe some day, and I may want to write a pure fantasy piece at some point.

Oh, and they once again have stock of How Much for Just the Planet? by the late, great and very much missed John M Ford. I've already got a copy, but it's in storage. I'm sure I can find a home for a spare copy.

And bringing up the rear (ooh er, missus), a first print run copy of Killing Time. Yes, the Trek one where it's rather obvious that the author wrote slash fanfic. :-) I already have a copy, but a good home can always be found for a first print run copy of this book -- the one from before it was hastily reissued with the purplest sections edited.

7 August: The joy of research

Writing is intermittent at the moment (because of Stuff that's higher on the priority list for the next few weeks, not because of failure to write). Nevertheless I did 2000 words on Sunday, in the course of which I discovered that Google is not good for everything. I have a fairy who has been abducted by Bad Guys, and it occurred to me that they'd probably use a mix of modern pharmaceuticals and old herbal lore when they stick a syringe full of tranquillizer into him. My memory refused to cough up specifics of herbal lore relating to controlling fairies, and the books I might have skimmed through are mostly in storage. Alas, my Google-fu failed me, and I couldn't think of search terms that didn't result in hundreds of results in the class "twee modern nonsense" and no serious folklore research.

I think I'll have to go and hit the mythology section in BookBuyers this afternoon. And if that fails me, I'll have to do it the old-fashioned way, and go to a library...

4 August: More pen porn

Having just Googled for a supplier of my favourite editing pen, Pentel's R56 rollerball in red, I stumbled into this purveyor of all things pennish:


*Serious* stocking of all those hard to find refills and exotic ink colours, as well as the pens themselves.


4 August: pen porn

Started clearing out the Westercon detritus from my con bag, and found the business card from the person who makes handcrafted pens in woods and fancy plastics. These are utterly gorgeous, and I have enough pen fetishists on my flist that I thought I should get her catalogue URL. Of course, I may not be thanked for providing a new way to spend money on something people don't really *need*, but want. :-)

Index page:

Current catalogue:

2 August: not wordage

Thought I'd better do some long overdue updates on my website -- and discovered that I hadn't updated the blog mirror for three months...

Anyway, have spent the last two days tidying the website rather than writing. And it's not finished yet. However, 722 words on Saturday, 508 on Sunday, 214 on Monday plus a short story submission prepared and sent off. Nowt on Tuesday because I was focusing on job hunt. *Still* haven't managed to upload my CV to the New Scientist jobs website [sigh].

1 August: Minneapolis bridge collapse

I-35 bridge collapse in Minneapolis -- Twin Cities fandom check-in here: http://community.livejournal.com/mnstf/94019.html

(via Making Light)

July 2007

31 July: GLBT horror market

The latest issue of Speculations has just arrived in my email, and among the market listings is one that might be of interest to several people on my flist:

NEW G/L/B antho UNSPEAKABLE HORROR: From the Shadows of the Closet seeks H (1k-7.5k words) that reflects its theme; pays 5 cents/word for FNASR. Subs MUST follow GLs at http://unspeakablehorror.com/submissions/. Query deadline, 10/07. Deadline, 6/08.

(If you want the full market listings, you''l just have to get your own subscription. :-)

29 July: Thread drift

A classic piece of thread drift: a discussion of 's new job has sprouted a sub-thread discussing the sexual orientation of theremins (an electronic musical instrument)...

28 July: book log; book review -- Reiko Momochi: Confidential Confessions

Finished re-reading Modesty Blaise earlier this week. When I went to check some books for the Making Light discussion I noticed that some titles in Souvenir's recent re-issue of the series have gone out of print -- I think I should order the ones I still don't have, while they're still readily available.

Also re-read Shout Out Loud 4 with a view to writing a review.

When I bought some second-hand copies of Fake off eBay, the same seller had a copy of Confidential Confessions 1 for a dollar, so I thought I might as well get it to try. This is a shoujo manga series and thus aimed at teenage girls, but rather than being the stereotypically light and fluffy, this one is fairly dark and tackles some serious issues. The first volume has a long story about bullying at school and teenage suicide; there's also a shorter story about teenage prostitution.

I couldn't get into it at all, but I think mostly because it's not my sort of thing, and as a middle-aged Brit I'm not the target audience anyway. Skimming through it, I can see why it has great reviews on Amazon -- it's neither soap opera nor preachy, but takes a realistic look at problems that a lot of Japanese teens face in real life. That also means that it doesn't have a guaranteed happy ending. This may be depressing for some people; for others it will be helpful, as when you're depressed yourself it can make things worse to be reading fiction that tells you that everyone else gets a happy ending. This manga appears to be aimed at providing fiction that comforts by saying "You're not alone in feeling this way." As it says on the cover, "because real life doesn't always have a happy ending."

This particular volume is also very, very blunt about what attempted suicide actually means, and what goes through the minds of people considering suicide. It's going to be an emotionally tough read, and there is the possibility that it could be a trigger for someone, although I think it's much more likely to help than to harm.

Not my thing, and I suspect that it's not going to be one for most of the people I know, but I'll provide the Amazon links for volume 1 anyway. There seem to be six volumes.

Confidential Confessions, Book 1 at Amazon US
Confidential Confessions at Amazon UK

26 July: Don't ask...


26 July: Ow

I was actually managing to do something constructive with my morning for once, when I was assaulted about twenty minutes ago by something combining some of the more annoying features of both icepick and cluster headaches. Rapid stabbing pain, heavy congestion and tearing up in that eye. It is not actually all that painful, as such things go, but it is incredibly distracting. It's lunchtime anyway, so I've just dumped some pasta into the microwave to cook (when I'm in this state I don't trust myself with anything that doesn't turn itself off automatically), and chopped some tomatoes. And when I've had that to line my stomach with, I'm going to swig a couple of Codis. You may insert here the standard rant about the American attitude to mild opiate painkillers. Fortunately I can bring personal use quantities back with me when I've been visiting family in more enlightened countries.

25 July: Curse you, Amazon

Amazon has noticed that I want to buy the final volume in the "Shout Out Loud" manga series when it's released. This morning I found in my inbox an email with the subject:

Now available: "Shout Out Loud! Volume 5: (Yaoi) (Shout Out Loud!)" by Satosumi Takaguchi on Amazon.com

Now, you'd think that would mean that it's available *now*, that if I hurry over to Amazon and put my order in, it will be in a parcel tonight, wouldn't you? But no, when I open the email, I find that what it actually means is

you might like to know that Shout Out Loud! Volume 5: (Yaoi) (Shout Out Loud!) will be released on August 7, 2007. You can pre-order yours by following the link below.

Bastards, getting my hopes up like that...

24 July: Books redux

I read Light Errant, the sequel to Dead of Light, on Sunday, Yes, in one sitting again. Not quite the same slam in and grab the brain effect as the first book, because it's a "what happened next" and I already knew what the setup was, but still a page-turner. Now I'm somewhat bemused as to how to review it without massive spoilers for the first book. In fact, I'd have liked to discuss the first book in a good deal more detail than I did, but held back because of the spoiler issue.

Also need to review the Fake manga series, having finished that a week or two back.

I bounced into Modesty Blaise yesterday courtesy of a discussion on Making Light, but after that I should tackle some more of the book loot from recent cons, and a couple of beta-reading jobs I've been neglecting for the last month.

And maybe try for 300 words on my *own* book, ditto...
23 July: Nekkid Martians

Please note that agentxpndble has been making good use of blingee.com (as used by cpslk) to highlight some of Mr Simm's more interesting features: http://agentxpndble.livejournal.com/214052.html

I'm sure there were one or two other links I meant to inflict on my flist today, but I can't remember what they were. Doubtless they shall return to me.

23 July: Nekkid Gallifreyans...

Oh dear God...

cpslk_barrowman hath spawned.

First post in cpslck_tennant is a full frontal pic of David Tennant wearing nothing but a policeman's helmet...

(ETA: Beware of the flashing banner currently at the top of the Barrowman comm, it's not very migraine or epilepsy-friendly. I'm not giving a direct link to the Master capslock comm, as that has the rapid flashing as a background to the full screen, and is much, much worse.)

23 July: SF Bay area -- Suspect Thoughts fundraiser readings

Suspect Thoughts Press is having a series of salons in August as an emergency fundraiser after they were told at short notice to find premises elsewhere. There are some seriously heavy-duty names in queer literature doing readings at the salons in San Francisco and Oakland -- more details at the Suspect Thoughts website here: http://www.suspectthoughts.com/salons.htm

('Tis a curious irony that the only thing of mine published by Suspect Thoughts is also my only *straight* smut piece...)

20 July: Dreams

Edmund Hillary is 88 today.

On his 50th birthday, humans set foot on another planet for the first time.

Nowadays we don't bother to keep track of who's stood on Everest -- it's still hard, it's still an incredible achievement for those who do it, but it's become commonplace.

Only twelve of us ever walked on the moon.

Maybe one day we'll change that.

19 July: I *do* need new glasses...

Well, contact lenses.

I was right -- the reason I was having trouble with close vision was as much my base myopia prescription having changed as my presbyopia getting worse. Or translated into English, I'm very short-sighted, but my prescription has drifted slightly again, and the contact lens for my right eye is now too strong because that eye has improved by a quarter of a dioptre or so. The left eye has actually got very slightly worse again, though not enough to need to change prescription. The combination was messing up my focusing.

I've got a pair of trial lenses in right now, and am feeling much more comfortable. I've also got an accurate prescription for reading glasses for both reading distance and computer monitor distance (yes, they're different), so I'll get a pair for reading some time this week. I may feel more like reading now that I've got the prescription sorted out.

18 July: Books

After a month or two of reading being like wading through glue, unable to handle anything but fluffy manga and even that an effort, I felt a sudden urge to read two nights ago. Not just to read, but to read a specific book. I finished "Unnatural Death" this lunchtime, and with the momentum still up, went looking for something else. I grabbed desperance's Dead of Light, which had been sitting around along with everything else I bought at Westercon -- and have just finished it.

Oh wow.

Something more coherent in the way of comment may be forthcoming later.

16 July: spam, spam, lovely spam

Look, I know I go on about LibraryThing quite a lot. But I do so in actual conversations -- I don't send "Join me on LibraryThing" auto-emails to random acquaintances. I don't even do that to friends.

I can only conclude from the sudden arrival today of several auto-emails for a recent clone that some of the romance review sites have decided that it would be a really good thing to invite lots of authors to join them on said clone. :-/ I'm not sure whether this is because the rival actively encourages people to spam their entire address book with invites -- and since I'm not convinced that they aren't, I'm deliberately not giving them the benefit of being named, never mind a link.


Yes, they do encourage you to invite your entire address book.

[sigh] Welcome to Web 2.0...

14 July: Yes, I am a sad Who fangirl

yourbob was evil and linked to something at geektoys. Naturally, I then made the mistake of looking around at the "if you liked that..." links.

And found a sonic screwdriver. For $15.


I may actually get a couple, as I can think of one or two people on the Christmas present list who would appreciate one.

12 July: RIP Peter Tuddenham 1918 - 2007

Peter Tuddenham died on 9 July, according to a report at the Horizon news page. He was probably best known for playing the computers Zen, Orac and Slave on Blake's 7, but had a wide-ranging career as a voice actor.

I only met him once, at the Blake's 7 twentieth anniversary con in 1998. He was a charming man with a great store of entertaining stories about his time in vaudeville -- a living fragment of our entertainment history. The thing that I particularly remember was that I'd won breakfast with him one morning (breakfast with a guest is a common fund-raising raffle prize at cons), and he was late because he wasn't feeling well -- and he couldn't apologise enough for being late, even though he was a frail man in his late seventies by then, and it was quite understandable that he was finding the con very tiring. It reflects what I've heard about him from other people; that he was unfailingly friendly, courteous and considerate, and appreciative of fans' interest.

He was much loved by fans, with reason. May he rest in peace.

11 July: RWA says that epublishers are vanity presses by definition

Guess what. The hoop's just been raised again. RWA has just put out new definitions for vanity publishing and professional publishing in which epublishers are labelled vanity presses by definition. Here's part of the paragraph listing the criteria which will immediately class a publisher as vanity:

"publishers whose primary means of offering books for sale is through a publisher-generated Web site;"

In other words, any epublisher is a vanity press in RWA's eyes, even if it isn't a vanity press by any sane definition involving "money flows towards the author". Because this is how epublishing works -- the primary means of offering ebooks for sale is through a publisher-generated website, even where the publisher also uses distributors such as Fictionwise.

Obviously there were far too many of us "vanity"-published authors who were managing to make $2000 in royalties from a single title.

I do not have an issue with RWA deciding to demand that a publisher offer a significant advance to every author as one of the qualifications for being considered a pro publisher. It's what SFWA does, after all, and there's a sound rationale behind that (though I really, really doubt that said rationale is the reason for RWA doing it). I wouldn't have a problem with RWA saying that my publisher is a small press -- there are many highly respected small presses in science fiction.

However, I have a serious problem with RWA declaring my publisher to be a vanity press purely on the grounds that it uses the distribution method that is most appropriate to the format the books are published in.

This is a very clear message to epublished authors, no matter how successful they may be -- the RWA not only doesn't want us, it's prepared to tar us as vanity-published to make sure we get the message that we're riff-raff and not welcome.

And in order to deliver that deliberate insult, RWA has quite thoroughly muddied the definition of vanity press. How on earth is that supposed to protect writers who are trying to understand the warning signs to watch out for? When RWA has such a blatantly stupid criterion that labels legitimate small presses as vanity presses, then authors may start wondering if the other "vanity press" criteria they list are really so bad. And some of us already have enough work trying to explain the difference between legitimate small press and vanity press to new people on the writer forums.

8 July: tomato report

Had the first fruit from the Siberia tomato in my lunch today. This is supposed to be a very early variety, but in fact it was 12 days behind the Patio Dwarf, and also behind the mystery tomato. 59g, although the first ripe fruit was one of the smaller ones on the plant and I expect the next couple to be a good deal heavier. A couple of small flaws that had to be cut out during preparation. Raw taste was mild and slightly sweet. Pleasant enough flavour if nothing outstanding, and it wasn't early as promised, but it's a heavy cropper as a patio pot plant, and so far has shown no tendency to get out of control and head for the eaves. On the showing so far, it wouldn't necessarily be my first choice, but I'd certainly grow it again.

Speaking of out of control tomato plants -- the Brandywine was planted under the flowering plum. It has now reached a height of six feet, and is merrily climbing into the tree...

ETA: pictures here: http://jules.jones.googlepages.com/tomatoporn -- click on a thumbnail to get a full-size version.

6 July: Brava romance novella contest

Brava (part of Kensington) is running a novella contest: http://www.bravaauthors.com/novella-contest/

750 word excerpt from a 25-30 kword romance novella, one man one woman but any heat level goes. Entries accepted via the online entry system from 1 August to 30 September. No entry, fee, entries will be judged by Brava-published authors, top twenty get looked at by Ye Editor for potential publication. More details in their forum, linked to from that page.

If you write het romance novellas, this looks like a good one.

5 July: I can has Cuecat

So my Cuecat arrived from LibraryThing today, and naturally I have wasted an enormous amount of time this afternoon playing with it. The verdict is that when it works, it's very good, but it does take some practice to get right and even then it doesn't always work. And of course it's only useful for books with barcodes. On the other hand, when it's working well and you have a stack of books, it's a fast way to get them into LibraryThing.

Unfortunately, because I am a filthy porn writer I'm having a hard time keeping a straight face while using the thing. Because it is astonishingly phallic...


Changing the subject back to food porn rather than book porn, an excellent way to deal with the bacon fat left from one's pasta sauce from dinner the night before is to use it for making an omelette for lunch. The filling naturally included today's tomato harvest, a 31g specimen of Mamma Mia. Also some chedder, and some shredded pieces of the rather nice herbed turkey breast slices from the Milk Pail. Yum.

4 July: more tomato smugness

Harvested the first Mamma Mia plum tomato late last week -- 63g, and they are on the small side compared with plum tomatoes I've grown before. But good solid flesh, and a nice flavour both raw and cooked. A couple more are ripening now. I should stake the plant, as it's getting big enough to need it.

The mystery tomato started ripening some fruit over the weekend, and turned out to be something yellowish-orange. Just picked the first one, and it weighs in at 103g. I think it was slightly underripe as it was reluctant to part from the stem even though it's been a fairly solid ripe colour for three days or so. Not much scent. Very meaty when cut open. Raw flavour is fairly mild, definitely tomato but not that strong, and no acid.

Just picked the second fruit on the Patio Dwarf, and several more are ripening. 60g, Light scent but stronger than the mystery tomato, mild tomato flavour with slight acid.

The Siberia started ripening some fruit yesterday, but has a few days to go before I can pick something.

Also had the first two sunflowers start opening bud yesterday. I think the first corn is ready to eat, but there has been marital disharmony on this topic, so they remain on the plant for now.

The two tomatoes picked before dinner became part of dinner. I cut up some applewood smoked streaky bacon, fried it for a few minutes, then added the diced tomatoes and fried them gently for a few more minutes while the pasta was cooking. The mystery tomato held its shape well, but still picked up flavour from the bacon fat. The Patio Dwarf was a little mushier. Both had a good cooked flavour after frying, and held their colour well. I wish I knew what the mystery tomato was, because I'd like to grow it again next year. I think it's probably going to be a good barbecue tomato.

3 July: Back from Westercon

That's my Westercon done. Didn't go to any panels today other than the Broad Universe Rapidfire Reading -- we did get a room, and even an audience. I won the bidding on two pieces of art -- naturally the two most expensive ones I'd bid on, but they're gorgeous. chrisdolley made it to the end of the reading, so ritaxis and iIwere able to talk to him for a little while longer and say goodbye to him. It's nice to meet up with someone I know from online.

I'm awake but fairly tired, so it's going to take me a while to get through outstanding email and Stuff, including a critique I'm supposed to be doing for someone and some info about the erotic romance market for someone else. Sorry guys.

Got a load of notes from panels, so I'll see whether any of them make sense tomorrow...

2 July: briefly -- third day of westercon

Third day was excellent, have taken lots of notes in good writing panels, have bought too many books, have bid too much on art show, latter two items may be regretted now am home and have seen autopope's comments about Palm TX as replacement for current PDA love of my life, Palm IIIxe, will probably want that money to spend on Palm instead, oh dear.

Brain switched off about five minutes ago and can no longer type cleanly, so will stop working through the day's email. Will reply to some of it later this week.

Should have stopped earlier and spent time deciding on excerpt to read tomorrow at BU Rapdfire Reading while I was still awake enough to think about it...

2 July: Broad Universe Rapidfire Reading at Westercon

We have a time slot for the Broad Universe Rapidfire Reading at Westercon. :-) Five Broads on the reading list so far, so probably ten minute excerpts. Now I have to go and find an excerpt that is clean, about ten minutes long and still makes sense, that hasn't been heard before...

Rapidfire Reading
Tuesday, July 3
1 PM
Synergy Room 2

2 July: briefly" on day 2 of Westercon

Second day of a four day convention yesterday, and I was already exhausted. Amongst other things missed the erotica writing panel because it was on at 10 pm and I was too tired to stay that long. But went to several panels during the day, including two about the editor's job where I took quite a few notes -- will write those up later in the week if I can still remember what they meant by the time I'm awake enough to write a con report.

Back to black -- wore my Redemption 2007 teeshirt yesterday, which is in your typical UK fannish colour theme of Black Goes With Everything. I had culture shock when I first went to a US con -- something felt *wrong* and it took me a while to realise that it was because US fans don't have the black teeshirt uniform. Also did my bit for advertising with some flyers on the flyer table. Probably won't be a lot of interest, but there may be one or two people who would be interested, so it's worth putting a few out.

As usual spent too much money in the art show, assuming that I win any bids. ritaxis thinks my stash of art under the bed in the spare room is hilarious. We ended up sitting and having a nice gossip with the art show staff for half an hour in the afternoon -- good place to chill out.

Someone came to me after one of the editing panels yesterday, and said, "You read at the Broad Universe reading, didn't you? I bought the book, and really liked it." Enjoyed that... Also gave her and someone else info on submitting to Loose Id, so it was worth taking a couple of the LI brochures in my flyer stash.

Got home to fanmail asking if the rest of The Syndicate will be out in print as well as ebook. Second time this week someone's asked. Don't think there are any current plans (and even if there are it should wait until after the honeymoon story is written, which could be a while), but it does give a warm fuzzy glow that people want it in print.

1 July: Westercon

Home after first day of Westercon -- it's only twenty miles or so down the road so ritaxisis staying with me and we're commuting.

Much smaller and quieter than Baycon at the same hotel this time last month, but had a pleasant first day. ritaxis and I had dinner with chrisdolley, who is over from France to do Westercon this weekend and Readercon next weekend. Is after midnight now, so am not doing a report for the day...

June 2007

29 June: This blog is rated G

That blog rating meme that's going around? I didn't bother posting the result when I first tried it (infected by james_nicoll IIRC), because I am reluctant to link to external images that aren't on book porn websites (that's Amazon, B&N and Powells, thank you). Sometimes those external images *change*, you see, and while I'm not overly bothered by goatse myself, I'd rather not inflict it on the unwitting and unwilling.

Nevertheless, it does seem to be a popular meme, so I thought I would boggle you all by pointing out that *my* LiveJournal is rated G, or at least it was the last time I checked.

28 June: Bujold signing in Mountain View

Lois McMaster Bujold is signing at Books Inc in Mountain View at 7:30 pm on Friday evening. Since this is about fifteen minutes walk from my house, I am inclined to go and fangirl. :-) Anyone else interested? Possibly with dinner on Castro Street beforehand?

28 June: Timelash on DVD

Bad wig alert!!!

That great and wonderful Classic Who story, Timelash, is now available for pre-order at Amazon UK, at a great pre-order price of nine quid. For this price you get the Sixth Doctor, *and* a space rebel doing a Richard the Third impersonation! In a bad wig!

Doctor Who - Timelash [1985]

(Explanatory note for the bewildered -- this story is notoriously bad. It also had Paul Darrow, who played Avon in Blake's 7, amongst the guest cast. Thus it is the subject of mockery from both fandoms.)

28 June: belated squee

Oh yes. The Who episode on KTEH last night was the one with the "Ladies, your viewing figures just went up" scene.

Pity it got censored by the Powers That Be, but it was still enjoyable. :-)

Shallow, me?

26 June: tomato smugness

Harvested, and ate, the first tomato of the season yesterday. It was a 115g specimen from the Patio Dwarf, and a good flavour, though nothing outstanding.

We ate it as part of the salad accompanying the cold steak of wild-caught King salmon I'd cooked at the weekend. WholeWallet had the wild-caught on special offer so that it was only moderately more expensive than the farmed Atlantic salmon, and at the moment wild-caught is more environmentally friendly than farmed unless I can find organic farmed, which I can't round here. However, it was worth the extra money in taste as well as guilt factor.

The first Mamma Mia plum tomato has been colouring up since Friday, and will be ready to eat in a day or two. There are a couple more fruit on the Patio Dwarf just starting to colour, so we're definitely getting into tomato season now. I'm not sure about whether the anonymous variety in one of the pots is about to ripen, because I have no idea what it is and therefore am not sure what colour it's supposed to be. It was labelled as a Yellow Pear, but the fruit is salad-sized rather than cherry-sized, and it looks to be a determinate plant, so one thing it definitely isn't is a Yellow Pear.

What is thoroughly annoying is that the Brandywine and the beefsteak are not setting fruit at all. Not a single one. Big healthy plants with lots of blossom, but it doesn't come to anything. Good thing I got more plants than I expected to need for actual amount of fruit consumed, because I wanted to try a lot of varieties. There are still half a dozen plants that *are* earning their keep.

25 June: Money, money, money

Received my cheque for the story that was accidentally dropped from an anthology. Also received my royalty statement from Loose Id, which included a pleasing milestone -- Dolphin Dreams has now earned over $2000 in royalties, in its first nine or ten weeks on sale. Yes, that's still small press level, but it's also the level RWA has set in place as a requirement for individual authors to be considered for professional membership. They've been reworking some of their membership requirements, and PAN membership now requires an author to earn $2000 from a single title within a two year period. Getting that amount in the book's first quarter is rather gratifying.

24 June: Dear Author on Triskelion bankruptcy

Jane at Dear Author goes over the whys and wherefores of the Triskelion contract, and explains why the bankruptcy clause in the contract does not guarantee that the authors get their rights back:

There was a long discussion about various things including this a few years ago at Making Light, after Teresa offered up an example of Very Bad Advice that was being promoted at the message board of a well-known vanity press:
Of particular note are the comments at 4, 44, 46 and 49.

24 June: spoilers

I would like to remind people that not everyone is either in the UK or busy pulling Who episodes off bittorrent. Which means that some of us who have to wait for our Who fix would appreciate it if those of you who have seen the latest episode would put big fat spoilers like who is playing a returning character behind marked cut-tags on LJ, and on the spoilerific-channel on #afp. [glares at various culprits].

23 June: RWA legal advice re Triskelion

Dear Author has put up a copy of RWA's legal advice to the authors caught up in the Triskelion bankruptcy.


22 June: Triskelion folds

It occurs to me that there may be people reading who have an interest and have not yet heard -- the erotic romance epublisher Triskelion is declaring bankruptcy, and officially closes on July 2nd. There is some useful discussion at Dear Author:
and later details at

Jane has said that she will post an article about some of the consequences for the contracts of authors (no, they *won't* necessarily get their rights back) on Sunday.

Note that Triskelion was an RWA-approved publisher. RWA approval means that a publisher meets certain minimum standards, but it is no guarantee that the publisher is long-term viable. It is a good guide and is a factor to take into consideration when looking for a publisher, but you still need to do your homework, as even established publishers can run into trouble. There were clear warning signs a month back, when RWA took action over concerns raised by members, and rumblings before that. Always check out a publisher (or agent) before submitting, ideally in several places. And always think about what's being said -- sometimes aggrieved authors really do kick up a row over nothing simply because they feel slighted, even if that can also be a convenient excuse for a publisher caught behaving badly.

21 June: Happier now

Well, that's cheered me up... I don't discuss most of my reviews, but I think I'll mention that I've just received my first ever Recommended Read from a review site: http://www.joyfullyreviewed.com/reviews/RRs/June07RR/LordAndMaster.JJ.html

Of course, it would be for my first contemporary romance rather than one of the cross-genre books. :^)

21 June: bother

I should have asked "where's my contract?" sooner. It turns out that the editor *did* send the contract for the story I sold to a Haworth anthology -- but to the wrong address. It is alas too late to get the story back in the anthology, but he has apologised profusely and very decently said he will pay me anyway. So I'm not out the money, or technically the credit for the sale; but it would have been nice to have the exposure.

In fact, it would have been nice to have the anthology to wave at people. I wanted to be in this anthology because it was a science fiction market, and I've mostly sold to romance and erotica markets. I have never yet actually seen print in what is, when all's said and done, my home genre. I've *sold* things, yes -- but this isn't the first time I've been paid for something that then doesn't actually appear. I'm starting to feel jinxed.

In other anthology submission news, last month I got my annual "no, but please keep submitting" rejection from Maxim Jakobowski for the Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica. It arrived during Baycon, which is why I forgot to post about it at the time.

Back to http://ralan.com and http://www.erotica-readers.com/ERA/G/Call_For_Submissions.htm -- I have other stories I need to find a home for anyway...

20 June: Promises to Keep at Fictionwise

Loose Id has just added some more of its catalogue to Fictionwise, including my vampire short Promises to Keep. The new books are currently discounted by 15%, so right now it's $1.69, or $1.44 for Club members. The story was released by Loose Id a couple of years back, but if you haven't got it yet and would like to buy it through Fictionwise, you'll find it here: http://fictionwise.com/ebooks/eBook47242.htm

19 June: There is always one more bug

Yesterday I re-read one of my older books, as I've just sent off the renewal on its contract and thought it might be as well to assess whether it has any potential to be sold to a bigger publisher now that some of them are starting to notice the market for original slash and yaoi. It's a good book and it was as well written as I was capable of at the time; but that was two years and a couple of hundred thousand words ago. So time to re-assess it now that I have some emotional distance from it.

I re-read this book's manuscript more than once before I sent it to my editor, doing as much self-editing as I could. My editor read it carefully, and covered it with electronic red ink. It went to a line-editor. Then it went to a proof-reader. Yes, these people are generally good at their jobs.

And none of us spotted that in one place I'd had one of those brain farts where you write a sentence comparing this with that, only what actually appears on the page compares that with that. Nor had any of us spotted the place where I meant to type "peace of mind" but my fingers put down "piece of mind".


18 June: Beverage alert

Gacked from ghastlycomic:

Trailer for the great new gay romance film "Jaws"

12 June: Welcome to the Panopticon

Privacy is being rapidly eroded in this online world of ours. Databases spill their information, satellite photos provide a whole new game for voyeurs. And if you live in Mountain View, Silicon Valley, you may well be part of Google's latest experiment on bringing you all information, all the time. Photos of you and your house as part of Google Maps...

Go to Google Maps here: http://maps.google.com/

and enter "328 Castro Street, Mountain View, CA 94041" as the search string. You'll find that the options offered at the top of the map now include "street view - new!". Click on that, and if you have Flash installed you'll be offered a menu that gives you access to a panoramic view of the address. Swing the view around to the south east side of the street, and you'll see BookBuyers, a most magnificent used book emporium and irresistible gravitational field. You can zoom in and even look inside the front door. Nifty eh? You can check out what the place looks like before leaving home, so you can recognise it when you get there. And I can show my friends what I'm talking about when I say that I only went for a stroll to the post office, but BookBuyers sucked me in.

And you can take a virtual stroll along the street, looking at the shop windows, and the people out doing their shopping. You can see what I see as I take that walk down to the post office. But wait, there's more. For Google's camera team has been busy driving the streets of its hometown, recording it for posterity. Not just the business district, either. They've been all around the houses, taking photos of street corners and everything in between. And they don't blur out the detail -- take a virtual stroll down the streets of Mountain View, and see its citizens in their gardens. And in their houses too, if they don't have lace curtains or a tree in the right spot.

Welcome to the panopticon society, Friend Citizen. And remember to smile for the camera; after all, you're going to be seen by millions.

11 June: Out now: Black Leather Rose

Black Leather Rose cover art

Black Leather Rose
ISBN: 978-1-59632-511-1
Published by Loose Id

Author: Jules Jones
Cover Artist: April Martinez
Price: $3.99

John just wants a little privacy. He finds it in a shared house with flatmates who are friendly without being intrusive; people who don't pry into his personal things or his personal life. And it certainly doesn't hurt that the landlord is an attractive man who doesn't assume that attraction means an automatic invitation.

He's a dom with a bad history of relationships going sour because of his needs, so he's in no hurry to expose his private desires. He'd rather just enjoy the view. Lucky for him, his landlord Charles has a liking for mysterious parcels, and he's got the patience to wait to find the rose behind the thorns.

Excerpt 1

Excerpt 2

11 June: more BLR

a) Just received the finals of Black Leather Rose, and confirmation that it's in this week's releases -- i.e. it'll be live on the Loose Id website late tonight Californian time if all goes well.

b) Just picked up the trial prints of the cover art. As ever, a photographic print of the high resolution jpeg does justice to it in a way that the lower resolution version on the website can't quite manage.

11 June: newsletter contest winner

I've drawn a name from the entries for the Black Leather Rose contest in my May newsletter, and the winner of a copy of the book and signed cover art print is Christy. :-)

7 June: myspace

Having been assimilated by the evil that is MySpace, I suppose I should post an actual url:


No, I'm not planning on moving. As I said over there, there's a critical mass of my friends over here. Even if there is a mass decampment in response to The Great Strikeout, I can't see it being in the direction of MySpace. But I will cruise around every so often and add bi-blog people I know when I spot them.

6 June: Westercon

Westercon this year is at the same hotel that Baycon moved to temporarily, i.e. commuting distance for me. I'm dithering on whether to go -- anyone else?

Must ask Other Half whether he has already made plans for us to be doing something else that week...

6 June: oestrogen

KTEH was evil last night, and put on a double bill of Doctor Who starting an hour earlier than usual. Thus we missed the first half of the two parter The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances. Apart from the general wrongness of missing an episode, this was Captain Jack's introductory story, so I'm a tad peeved at missing the first episode. Even worse, there was supposed to be a repeat on this afternoon, according to the June programme guide, but it's not there. The incredibly non-subtle metaphor being used throughout The Doctor Dances in no way makes up for this, even if I did thoroughly enjoy it.

However, I feel a little happier after being pointed at a new LJ community -- especially this post: http://community.livejournal.com/cpslk_barrowman/1784.html

I think I'll just go for a little lie down now.

5 June: pwned

All right, I gave in and got a MySpace profile, which by my preference will have nothing in it except a link to here and to my website.

Now, can someone tell me how to stop it displaying my gender, age, horoscope sign, and sundry other details of great interest to identity thieves?

5 June: blurb, excerpts and newsletter with contest

I've put the blurb and excerpts for Black Leather Rose on my website, although I'm still working on adding the links to it on the other pages on the site. You can find it here:
If it comes out on the date I've been told, it will be available very soon, but I still haven't seen an explicit confirmation that the date's now settled.

Also, the May newsletter is now up: http://www.julesjones.com/misc/newsletters/200705
If you read the LJ, you've already seen most of the contents, but there's a contest for a copy of Black Leather Rose.

5 June: in the catalogue...

Black Leather Rose has finally shown up on the "coming soon" page in the Loose Id catalogue, so now I have an ISBN and a page to link to from my own site: http://loose-id.com/detail.aspx?ID=507

I've also had approval from my editor for a draft blurb and excerpts, so I'll do the pages for my own website this morning. There should be excerpts available later today...

3 June: pass the brain bleach

Very bad thought inspired by one of the pictures here: http://community.livejournal.com/ihasatardis/81673.html

I want to see Captain Jack flirt with a Dalek -- and succeed...

(Ideally with Katy Manning-style promo poster.:-)

1 June: It's gay porn without the porn...

Finally got around to watching something from the batch of yaoi anime a certain kind soul lent me before Baycon. My Sexual Harassment (Boku No Sexual Harassment, Boku no SekuHara) was certainly interesting, if only for the way it managed to be hard core gay porn without having any actual *porn* in it. The joys of Japanese censorship mean that you get to see the hero seduced, molested, raped, tied up both consensually and non-consensually, have toys used on him, take part in a menage a trois, used as the company whore, continually whine and whimper about how it hurts even when he's enjoying it -- and not a penis in sight...

I may well buy my own copy anyway. Because it is *perfect* for the MT3K treatment at a slash room party. :-)

May 2007

30 May: Draft con report for Baycon 2007

Draft con report at my LivJournal. I will add more detail from my notes of some of the panels later, but I wanted to get this stuff down while I can still remember it.

30 May: musings on fanfic

There was a bit of a blogstorm last week on the subject of fanfic, with the usual accompanying navel-gazing on how authors feel about their stuff being fanficced. Now, obviously it would be very hypocritical of me to say "keep your filthy keyboards off my characters". :-) In fact, my reaction was more along the lines of "dear god, if only my books were that popular", with the standard rider of "try to make money off my toys, and I'll set my publisher's lawyers on you".

I could go into more detail than that. However, on catching up with my blog reading after the long weekend, I find that Scalzi has already spelled out in detail a fairly useful set of guidelines for the "I don't mind, but don't expect me to look at it" viewpoint: http://www.scalzi.com/whatever/005139.html

It's worth reading, especially if you are a fanfic writer who would like some guidelines on what could cause problems for an author who is in principle fine with the idea of fanfic of their work. As for me, I'd go along with pretty much all of that with regard to my profic (plus what pnh said in the comments), with the obvious exception of hey, I want to see the yaoi art. Maybe one day it will be more than hypothetical for me...

29 May:Bits and pieces

Random bits from the last few days:

I have a likely publication date for Black Leather Rose -- earlier than my editor and I were hoping for, alas. Yes, alas from my perspective, because with two books out within two months, it would have been useful to have my only other release this year come out a bit further towards the end of the year. The proposed date is "soon", for those used to reading between the lines of Loose Id terminology, but is not yet set in stone. I'll be putting together the book's pages for my website later this week, but if you poke around my website you'll find the excerpt from the short story version that was published a couple of years ago.

Google has managed to creep me out, with something that's probably going to get its own post in the next few days.

Someone has nominated Spindrift 2: Ship to Shore for the 2007 Spectrum Awards. No, not me -- I didn't even know about this until I read about it in elisa_rolle's post.

I am obviously getting old, because I didn't do any of the driving, the hotel is smaller and didn't involve several miles of walking per day just to get between panels -- and I am still knackered today.

28 May: Back from Baycon

Baycon was good, con report may happen when I'm awake enough to write one, but won't have detailed notes from the panels about writing. Did a reading from Spindrift at a Broad Universe Rapidfire Reading where we were outnumbered by the audience, and not just because there were only two of us at the reading. Bought only two things in the art show, one of which is a print of a fairy who is female but otherwise dead ringer for the non-POV main character in my current WIP. Got to spend time with several friends from online. [waves]

Am apparently too tired to type without at least one typo in every word, so that's all for now.

25 May: More on the S&S rights grab

If you're at all interested in publishing, you've probably already heard about Simon & Schuster's shameless rights grab. When the Author's Guild exposed them, they came out with a press release full of soothing spin about how it was going to be of benefit to authors to have their reversion rights taken away. The AG response to this pile of foetid dingo's kidneys is here: http://www.authorsguild.org/news/responds_simon_schuster.htm

25 May: Baycon and BU reading

I'm no longer the only Broad reading at Baycon -- Terry Hickman will also be doing a reading. The reading is at 10 am on Saturday morning, in the Boardroom / Synergy 3.

It looks like I'm taking Caltrain to the con on Saturday morning, so I'm not going to be carrying much with me. I've got dead tree copies of The Syndicate (and my other dead tree credit, Ultimate Gay Erotica 2005), but I'm not going to be able to haul more than a couple of copies with me on Saturday. If there's anything else you want me to bring to the reading, speak up now. I should be in a car on Sunday and Monday, so I'll be able to bring more stuff then.

23 May: Baycon and BU reading

If you're in the San Francisco Bay area -- Baycon is this weekend, and I will be doing a reading at the Broad Universe RapidFire Reading at 10 am on Saturday morning. In fact, after the plague of "can't get to the con!" last week, it appears that I *am* the BU Reading. :-( Hence the begging for an audience... Also, any preferences on what I read (keeping in mind that it has to be reasonably clean)?

Word of warning to the habituated -- the San Jose Doubletree doesn't like the con any more, so this year it's moved to one of the SFO airport hotels.

23 May: cover art for Black Leather Rose

Black Leather Rose cover art Just received the cover art files for Black Leather Rose, the novelette that's coming out later this year. It's a Fling, so it has one of the collection of generic covers they use for the shorts, but April has tweaked the generic version slightly. :-)

No, I don't know when it's coming out.

23 May: noodling on the urban fantasy

No wordage for Sunday and Monday, but 915 yesterday plus some reading for research. I picked up a copy of Diane Purkiss' Troublesome Things in Oxfam last year, because it was there and it looked as if it might come in handy as a writing reference, but hadn't started to read it until now. I've only got a couple of chapters in, but it's proving interesting.

I'm still trying to work out what the book is. It started with a very specific image, and I've got that down now in the 10,000 words I'd written by the end of last week. And I've got a rough idea of some of the things that happen later, why this fairy is running around modern London, why someone kidnapped him and how he drew that person's attention, and how the human who helped him when he escaped will be able to make sure he's permanently safe. But it hasn't gelled yet. And worse, I'm not sure that it's going to have enough sex to appeal to the erotic romance market, or that it's going to have enough plot to make 100,000 words so that I can try inflicting it on a fantasy publisher.

And then there's the issue of whether I want to take six months out to have another crack at a mainstream speculative fiction house when I've got an established name in a genre with something of a publish or perish problem. If I had a book in hand at Loose Id I'd be less worried about this, but I don't. I've got a novelette in the schedule and that's it. There's nothing in the pipeline other than that, and I need to get something done this year so that I'll have something for release next year. There's the space opera romance I was working on before I got mugged by this thing, but that looks as if it could be fairly longish and I'm still plot noodling on *that*.

I can see myself being a right pain at Baycon this weekend...

19 May: wordage

663 words on Wednesday, only 150 on Thursday because I was cat-vacuuming *and* slightly stuck on how to work a particular scene, 2580 on Friday (apparently the cat-vacuuming let my hindbrain work out how to do that scene) and 832 today, bringing it to just over 10,000 words so far.

And at some point I'm probably going to need some advice from the pagans on how an Anglican exorcist and his Wiccan friend might work together to unpick a rather nasty spell...

19 May: The past is another country...

Right, you're allowed to talk to me about the last episode of Life on Mars now. :-)

I liked it...

18 May: classic ads

Time-wasting nostalgia for the Brits (and anyone else who'd like to see the Levis launderette ad again) -- 20 classic British ads on show, including the Smash Martians, the PG Tips chimps, the guy washing his Levis, Creature Comforts, Carling Black Label Dambusters spoof, and more...


18 May: falls over laughing

Mrs Giggles has put up a blog drama drinking game: http://www.mrsgiggles.com/books/soapbox/blogdrama_drinking.html

Those of you who are familiar with the romance genre will probably recognise a lot of the specific references. Those of you familiar with the sf genre can probably construct the analogues for the homelife of our own dear Genre... (It had never occurred to me before to equate Changeling and Baen.:-)

15 May: wordage

l_prieto came over for lunch yesterday, bringing with her yaoi anime. In spite of which I was good and did some writing instead of watching Japanese gay-porn-for-girls. Well, I did watch the first ten minutes of My Sexual Harassment, which has the classic line "but I'm not gay!", thus amusing me greatly.

1407 words yesterday and 2427 today on the urban fantasy, which is now up to 5951 total. Another 4000 words will probably see the first act done, after which I will have to figure out what the hell the second and third acts involve. Since it's flowing freely at the moment, I'll stick with this one for now.

15 May: Falwell redux

Thanks to yourbob for the following link: http://www.tmz.com/2007/05/15/jerry-falwell-1933-2007/

Religion outbreak warning

Part of the reason I so loathed Falwell is that he used the Two Great Commandments for toilet paper. I'm an Anglican, if no longer a terribly regular church goer, and back when I was a regular church goer it was in a diocese that was very big on the Two Great Commandments as a central part of the rite of communion. Recite "and a second is like it, you shall love your neighbour as yourself. Upon these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets" on as many Sundays as I have, and it sticks. It's important to me at a very deep level, even if I'm less than perfect in following it.

And so, though I would dearly like to say "Burn in hell for evermore" for the many, many acts of evil he committed, I shouldn't. Not just because it would be committing the same horror of a sin he revelled in. I don't believe in literal hellfire, but in the more subtle concept that hell is the absence of God. If Falwell ever understands, even an aeon from now, what it is he has done and why it is wrong, and truly repents of his evil deeds, there is still redemption.

But this is one of the reasons I so liked tharain's suggestion of St Peter in drag as Tinky Winky. Not just for the amusement, and the honest malicious pleasure it gave me, but for the symbolic value. Because if Falwell finds a giant Tinky Winky waiting to read him his sins, and will not listen to that recital simply because of who is reading, he has not truly repented of his greatest sin -- hate. And he's not going to get through those gates until he does.

15 May: Just one small mote, boss?

Were I a better Christian than I am, I would not have had the response I did to the news that this morning Jerry Falwell will be explaining himself to the boss in person. But I'm still not ashamed of the glee I felt at tharain's suggestion that he will find a giant Tinky Winky guarding the Pearly Gates.

13 May: book log

Quick note of what I've been reading this week, which is mostly Japanese gay-porn-for-girls:

Aioke Yasuko -- From Eroica With Love 3

Third in the long-running Cold War spoof series. Glamorous art thief Eroica and Nato intelligence agent Major Klaus Eberbach both sneak into Iran to steal something. Turns out that the microfilm Klaus is after is hidden in the art treasure that Eroica is after. That's bad enough, but when Klaus gets home, he finds himself on a new mission -- one where he's ordered to hire the best art thief in the world to steal something for Nato. Needless to say, Eroica takes the opportunity to flirt outrageously with the unfortunate Major. Enormous fun.
From Eroica with Love - Volume 3 (From Eroica With Love (Graphic Novels)) at Amazon US
From Eroica with Love: Volume 3 (From Eroica with Love) at Amazon UK

Sanami Matoh -- Fake Vol 3

3rd of a seven part manga about two New York cops. On l_prieto's recommendation I picked up the volumes that were in stock in Bookbuyers, which happened to be 3,5 and 6, so I'm starting part way in. Interesting story so long as you don't demand realism, great semi-UST (semi, because there's some fairly intense kissing). I found it hard to keep track of what was going on at times, although I think that's largely down to coming in part-way through. The art shows them as adult men rather than very feminised or young, which is much more to my own taste than bishie boys. However, there's also a lot of the very stylised stuff, which I personally dislike. When the art's good, it's very good. Oh, and it has some seriously hot guys. Not sure yet if I like this series overall.
Fake Vol. 3 at Amazon US
Fake: Volume 3: v. 3 (Fake) at Amazon UK

Shout Out Loud 4

Fourth of a five volume series about an anime voice actor and his son trying to build a relationship after a long separation -- and both trying to work out how they feel about other men. In this one young Nakaya finally gets somewhere with the hockey coach he has a crush on, but life's never that simple; and Shino realises that he can't face going back to being alone again once Nakaya is old enough to move out, but is still trying to understand his feelings for his colleague Tenryu. As with the earlier volumes, this is much more about story than sex, and it's a sweet and funny story that's a pleasure to read. This volume does finally consummate some of the UST that's been running through the series, but it's extremely discreet and soft focus.
Shout Out Loud! Volume 4: (Yaoi) (Shout Out Loud!) at Amazon US
Shout Out Loud!: Volume 4 (Shout Out Loud!) at Amazon UK

13 May: Survey results

For those who saw my post yesterday on waxing, but thought that the comments thread might prove to be TMI, the results of this totally unscientific survey seem to suggest that

a) suggestion of testicular hair removal would probably be taken seriously, at least in the context given

b) shaving or cream would be preferred to waxing, for reasons of ouchiness

c) thus, suggestion of "have you ever thought of waxing your balls?" to male hair stylist who has suggested waxing to a woman who doesn't wax might well be understood as a suggestion that they had been impertinent, but don't rely on it.

I'll note that my reason for suggesting this as a reply was specifically the tit-for-tat ouchiness factor with waxing, as I've had enough TMI conversations to know about the popularity of shaving. :-)

And at least one other person thought that the original suggestion from hair stylist was basically a plug for a new service.

12 May: A question to the men on my flist...

So guys, straight and gay... would you consider a woman saying, "Have you ever thought about waxing your balls?" to be a serious question, or would you in fact recognise it as a suggestion that perhaps you should not be suggesting that women wax various bits of *their* anatomy?

No, this really is nothing to do with writing, although it will probably end up in there at some point. One of the female members of my flist was asked an impertinent question today, and my immediate thought on an appropriate response was modified by the realisation that some men would probably answer yes...

ETA: the context is hair stylist, male, orientation unspecified.

11 May: wordage

Didn't do any writing on Wednesday, but I did get mugged by the first couple of scenes of an urban fantasy, and started writing it yesterday. 1246 words yesterday, and 668 today. Yes, I know I'm supposed to be writing something else. I'll probably get about 5000 words of this one done (i.e. the bit that's in my head right now), and then let it stew for a while. I think it's going to be relatively low on sex, but alas not low enough to try selling to a mainstream market.

One thing that does worry me slightly is that people are likely to take one look at it and think it's a rip-off of Neverwhere. It's actually inspired by Fritz Leiber if it's inspired by anything at all, but if you have an urban fantasy set in and around the London Underground... And I suspect that the time spent helping watervole clear the weed out of her pond a while back may prove fruitful.

11 May: This is a box, a magical box...

Just watched the short documentary on the Life on Mars DVD set about making the Camberwick Green sequence, and I want those puppets. Wonder if there are going to be licenced figures in time for Christmas?

8 May: wordage

617 words today, and I suspect that most of it will disappear in revisions later. And what I was saying earlier about no nookie in my books until the characters are good and ready? Can't see this pair being ready for a few tens of thousands of words yet. But it's words, after a dry spell of a month...

8 May: food porn -- yes, really

Gacked from yourbob -- as he says, brilliant foodie website, and don't forget to play with the knobs.


desperance, you are not, repeat *not*, allowed to look at this until you've done your word count for the day.

7 May: Food and drink

l_prieto came over for lunch, and told me about the good stuff that happened at the RT convention. Yes, there was good stuff, in spite of the "no manlove here" nonsense. And I'm *still* grinning after she told me that someone mentioned Dolphin Dreams. In a "have you read that scene?" kind of way, admittedly...

We ate in one of the Vietnamese places. No noodle soup, because noodle soup comes with cilantro/coriander leaf, but they also do char-grilled meat on a bed of noodles and salad with No Cilantro. Pretty good, and they had a decent lychee drink with lots-n-lots of lychees. Needed the cold drink, because summer arrived in the Bay area yesterday, and it was ever so slightly warm today.

Speaking of food, we had the remains of the duck confit at the weekend. There was actually a reasonable amount of meat left, but in bits and pieces rather than joints on the bone. So I sliced some onto pizza on Saturday night, and used the rest in a stir fry on Sunday. 'Twas excellent in both.

Not quite at the stage of harvesting food from the garden yet, though I could probably pluck a leaf or two of basil by now. The first fruit started forming on the Patio Dwarf tomato a week ago, and all of the plants now have multiple flowers open, so I'm looking forward to eating my own tomatoes soon.

7 May: Inspie writer

Snagged from the Smart Bitches, in a post that may or may not disappear in the near future, because it relays material posted in a non-public area of the RWA site:

Best Inspirational Romance -

Old Definition: Romantic novels in which one or more characters’ religious or spiritual beliefs (in the context of any religion or spiritual belief system) are a major part of their developing relationship, not merely a minor element or subplot. All inspirational books, set in any place or era, shall be eligible for this category. The word count for these novels is a minimum of 40,000 words.

Judging guidelines: In this category, one or more characters’ religious or spiritual beliefs (in the context of any religion or spiritual belief system) are blended with and form a significant and substantial part of the love story, and the end of the book is emotionally satisfying.

Recommended Changes: “romantic novels in which one or more characters’ religious or spiritual beliefs (in the context of any religion or spiritual belief system) are a major part of their the developing relationship between the hero/heroine. These books may be set in any time period or setting. The level of sexuality is usually non-explicit but may range from sweet to extremely hot.”


Judging Guideline Recommendation: “In this category, one or more characters’ religious or spiritual beliefs (in the context of any religion or spiritual belief system) are integral to the hero/heroine relationship. The end of the book is emotionally satisfying. These novels may or may not contain a high level of sexuality.”

And my interest in this?

Going by those rules, the third volume of The Syndicate is an inspirational romance. Yes, predatrix and I have written an erotic m/m inspirational romance.

2 May: Compare and contrast....

l_prieto has posted the gay romance poster deemed too risque, and examples of some of the het material that *wasn't* removed -- compare and contrast.

You know, when I first saw the Manlove poster, I thought it was a really good promo for reading in general.

1 May: something for slashfen and manlove readers to think about

If anyone's thinking of using a Hyatt for a slash-friendly, m/m romance-friendly or queer-friendly con, they might want to think again. The Manlove group of gay romance authors ran into serious problems at last week's Romantic Times con, initiated by the hotel but aided and abetted by the con organisers, who were very happy to take the group's money for membership but did nothing to stop the hotel customer service manager confiscating all their promo material because he didn't like the gay content. More details here:


[ETA: has posted the poster deemed too risque, and examples of some of the het material that *wasn't* removed -- compare and contrast...]

1 May: Sparrow pingpong

Just had a sparrow do the previously mentioned "fly through room, bounce off window, fly back other way, bounce off window at other end." Fortunately there wasn't the "rinse, lather, repeat" bit of the performance. It's obviously time to start closing the flyscreen -- except that *I* have been known to walk into that without noticing if I don't have my glasses/contacts in place.

It'll teach the silly little sod to look where he's going. And yes, it was a "he", black bib and all; I think it may well be the cock sparrow who chased the squirrel out of the yukka last week for daring to think about taking over one of the prime cat-proof nest sites. Who needs to watch soap opera on tv when there's one going on in the garden?

April 2007

30 April: But they are so pretty

Note to self -- stop looking at the Folio Society listings on ebay UK. You have dumped quite enough of your bought-on-ebay bibliofix on for collection later this year. The Eagle of the Ninth shall be the last for now.

29 April: openings

I missed this last time it came around as an LJ meme. But I'm frantically cat-vacuuming, and Making Light has a new thread on story openings. So here are a few of mine:

It took Allard precisely ten seconds to diagnose why "the screen thingy went all black."

"That's the fifth power-cable out of its socket I've seen today," he snarled gently. Time to go through the job ads. It could be very therapeutic to reassure himself that there was a vast market out there for sysadmins who had got tired of the current bunch of morons they were working with. He tried not to remember that the vast market was largely composed of other bunches of morons who had recently pushed their previous sysadmins beyond the point of tolerance. If nothing else, if he found a job on another planet, at least it would be a change of scenery.
-- The Syndicate

There's a village I live in for part of the year, one of those small villages where everyone knows everyone else and their genealogy, or so it seems. I'm not such a fool as to think that I’ve been accepted by the locals as one of them, but at least I've been classed as a useful resident rather than as a damned nuisance tourist -- or worse, a weekender. I’d rather keep that designation, so I'll not be naming the village in question.
-- Spindrift

"We surrender!"

Reeve thought for a second, then gave the ceasefire order and stared at the screen.

The prison transport lay before them, not just dropped into normal space, but stalled completely. Reeve chewed on his thumbnail, considering the screen. This was just a little too easy -- prison service ships weren't normally crewed by fight-to-the-last-man types, but they also weren't pushovers. And if any Protectorate prison transport was to be fitted with heavy armaments, it would be the one selected to carry a convicted Union spy to her punishment. He’d been lucky with the brief exchange of fire, the transport's shields going down at the first hit to give him free access to her engines, but still it seemed too lucky.
-- Mindscan

25 April: meh

Just been cleaning out the spam trap for the first time in a couple of months, and found what looked at first glance like a piece of fanmail from two months back, which made me feel guilty. On second glance, I felt less guilty because it's giving me vibes of form letter. *Targeted* form letter, but -- feels to me like he's got a short list of small press authors and has sent the same couple of questions to several people. Now, if I'd actually seen it when it first arrived, I'd have answered it anyway (perfectly sane writer chit-chat type questions), but at this late date I'm debating whether to do so. Potential for rudeness if I've mis-read the situation, but really, if it is a mailshot of sorts, then there's probably little point by now.

24 April: More free stuff

I have been known to participate in the writing of filks. There is now a free-to-download zine, in both A4 and US letter size for convenient printing, which includes two filks I contributed to. The Clues and Gropes zine is a product of the Obscene Filkers LJ community. Consider that your only content warning.


24 April: faints with joy...

Just watched That Scene in broadcast quality for the first time in years. In fact, all of the final scene from the scene break point on the DVD menu. Oh my. Gareth can be very, very scary when he chooses to be...

24 April: Region 2 goodness

(Most of) my latest order from Amazon UK has arrived -- final season of Blake's 7, final season of Life on Mars, and the boxed set of both series of the original Queer As Folk.

Yes, I know that it's a package that's campier than a field full of pink tents, so don't bother making comments to that effect. And we've already got Carry On Up The Khyber, thank you for asking. :-)

23 April: miracles will never cease

We have a through lounge with a large window at the front, and a patio window and door at the back. I leave the door open in summer, which means that every so often a bird attempts to fly right through the room. I usually realise this is happening because there is a whir of wings followed by a loud thump and bewildered squawk next to me as the bird bounces off the front window. Sometimes they persist in trying to fly through the window, sometimes they go back the way they came, and all too often bounce off the window at that end instead of finding the actual opening. I've had several iterations of this happen while I close all doors and curtains in the room aside from over the actual opening at the patio so that the bird can find it.

*This* time, there was a whirring and indignant squawk, but no thump. I looked round and found the bird *hovering*, staring at the window with a definite air of "WTF?", obviously having pulled up just in time. It then turned round and headed back, finding the open side of the patio window. I presume this one actually saw the flyscreen mesh and realised that there was something there, even if it could see through.

23 April: International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day, part the second

Just added my short story from Ultimate Gay Erotica 2005 to my website in honour of International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day. I'm off out now to meet for lunch, so I don't have time right now to update the index page and add links elsewhere (will do this afternoon), but you'll find the story here: http://www.julesjones.com/fiction/naked.html

Note: explicit gay sex, BDSM content. It's also not typical of my work, in that it's the only time I've looked at a story after the editor has been at it with a red pen, and thought that it no longer felt like my voice. But it was something I knew I had the web rights to without having to check through the contract. :-)

23 April: International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day, part the first

I haven't had enough caffeine and calories yet to post something new for International Pixel-stained Technopeasant Day (and even when I do, it will probably be something that has already been up on the net elsewhere, because I was a lazy slob and didn't do any writing at all last week). However, there is already a selection of material available on my website, including the short story whose presence as a free read on a website led directly to me getting an invitation to submit to Loose Id. There are also a couple of chapters from The Syndicate, the fluffy BDSM gay romantic comedy in space written with , both of which can be read as short stories. Index page here: Smut, smut, glorious smut

22 April: duck confit

Had some of the duck confit tonight, so if you never hear from me again it's because I gave myself botulism poisoning... Sliced some potatoes thinly and roasted them in some of the duck fat for twenty minutes or so, then popped the duck on top for twenty minutes to heat it through and crisp it up. Steamed carrots and asparagus as veg, and a rhubarb sauce to cut the richness of the duck. Yummy. Other Half reports that it goes very well with a nice 2005 bordeaux.

I went googling for a rhubarb sauce recipe and found this recipe for baked mackerel and rhubarb sauce. I didn't actually go with this, but used it as something to work from on proportions for booze, liquid and sugar -- what I did was use a couple of sticks of young rhubarb, a tablespoon or so of sherry, and around a quarter of a bottle of Bundaberg ginger beer (the real deal, brewed from ginger and cane sugar, and no filthy corn syrup) for a rhubarb and ginger sauce. Worked very well, at least from my perspective -- and it certainly went with what *I* was drinking, which was the rest of the bottle of ginger beer.

19 April: ladies who lunch

Well, I was going to be good yesterday and write. My plans were disrupted when I checked my email over breakfast and found the edits for Black Leather Rose, the novelette that's the next thing out from Loose Id. That plus filling out the form for the lesbian anthology took most of the day. Only one sheet of paper for the latter, but it involved new bios from self and predatrix, the creating of which took up a surprising amount of time.

Lunched with l_prieto today. Much silly conversation, and a certain amount of admiring the suit-clad eye candy to be seen on the high street at lunchtime. I finally found the paperback of desperance's Bridge Of Dreams in Books Inc, and though they didn't have any of the hardback of the new book, it can be ordered with a delivery of a few days should I want it later. l_prieto got overexcited and bought all of volumes 1-5 of Outremer in BookBuyers, omitting volume 6 only because they didn't actually have any copies. I shall doubtless get the blame from our editor if she's too busy reading to write over the next week or so.

18 April: thanks

Thanks to everyone for the congratulations and mammoth jokes. :-) (And I see beth_bernobich had mammoth jokes as well.)

17 April: Degrees of separation

I haven't commented here on the killings at Virginia Tech yet -- there's shock and grief enough, and I can't say any more than the obvious, that this is a terrible thing. One of the dead lecturers was the son of the sf writer Michael Bishop. The nature of fandom means there's an entire web of people with first and second and third degrees of separation right there. But another of the dead taught one of my friends some years ago. This is the nature of multiple murder at a school -- teachers are people who have touched the lives of many, many other people, and their loss takes something away from more than just their family and friends.

I have no personal reason to grieve tonight, but many of my friends and friends of friends do. My condolences and prayers are all I can offer.

17 April: short story sale

And because I somehow failed to connect to email and usenet this morning, I have only just found my acceptance email from Mammoth Lesbian Erotica. :-)

[ETA, because my flist have warped minds, yes, that is the Mammoth Book of Lesbian Erotica, not a Stephen Baxter anthology.]

17 April: catching up

Quick catchup on various things:

tomato porn
On Sunday we planted out the tomatoes that were going in the bed at the front. All nice sturdy looking plants with healthy root systems, and in fact the Patio and Supersteak had started opening their first flower bud on Friday. They were sprayed with copper fungicide the week before as part of the programme of pest control after the suspected virus infection, but I'll spray them at least once more as we did have two plants attacked by blight last year. Varieties are
Caspian Pink
Granny Smith

One small problem -- Other Half has still not learnt from last year, and is blissfully expecting a flimsy 3' wire support cage that does the dwarf determinates to be perfectly adequate support for all of them. Including the indeterminates with fruit weights listed as 1 pound. He keeps thinking in terms of how tomatoes are cultivated in England, where home garden plants are normally stopped at four or five fruit trusses and the side shoots are pinched out. It doesn't matter what I say about jungle creepers and Mediterranean climates... I suspect that once he finally accepts that yes, they do need something more substantial, I'm going to end up with 6' bamboo cane wigwams to avoid damaging the root systems, which is not particularly cheap when you add up the cost of the canes. I'd really rather just put in a 6' length of 2x2 right now, as he wouldn't put any of them on the wire mesh fence where they could have had some real support. Also repotted the Mamma Mia plum tomato into its intermediate pot rather than binning it, as it appears to be recovering from the virus infection -- in fact, it's started opening its first flower bud today. The Yellow Pear is staying in its intermediate pot for a few more days before being potted on into its final patio pot, as it was always smaller than the others and needs a little more time to bulk up. And I found the first self-sown tomato seedling in the spilled compost around the pots on the patio. The corn and sunflowers also went out into the bed on Sunday, so we'll have a sunflower hedge in a few weeks.

writing ramblings
Still making almost zero progress on the current book, for a number of reasons, and I think the main one is quite simply burnout. *Not* writer's block, though, so I'm not panicking. I think I may simply need to go and *read* some other books in the relevant sff subgenre to get back into the mood (aka, excuse to go down to Bookbuyers and see what they've got on the Andre Norton shelf).

Also spent some time looking through a friend's litcrit thesis proposal, an activity which rubbed my nose in the fact that I cannot grasp hardcore litcrit theory even if I did English to university entrance exam level. A useful experience, as it reminds me that I must not, must not, must not drop excessive geekery of my own subject into my fiction, because it will look like impenetrable technobabble to a lot of people even if it's perfectly legitimate vocabulary in the field.

Got involved in much writing-related gossip online over the weekend re ebooks and piracy and giving away free samples, which amongst other things resulted in me pulling out a reference to that old rasfc thread on m/m for someone, and deciding that the time had come to actually do that handy summary I've been muttering about.

And now onwards to a series review, ditto, and in fact not entirely unconnected to that last item...

Note to self: write up musings on the p word, and the different attitudes to same within slash fandom and pro romance readership.

16 April: Girls who like boys who do boys (preliminary notes)

I've been threatening for some time to do an essay that summarises the "why do girls like boys who do boys?" thread from rasfc in June/July 2003. This is a placeholder, with some notes as I go through the thread. Please feel free to comment and add further suggestions -- I'll work it up into something more coherent later. Possibly much later.

There was also discussion of the difference between graphic and explicit, whether it is possible to tell whether an erotica writer is male or female (often, but not always, yes), definitions of homosexuality through the ages, fanfic, and is there anyone in the known universe who doesn't want to shag Legolas...

[ETA: this was a discussion on a pro sf writers' group and was initially about profic, although we also drew on fanfic as the discussion progressed. I haven't explicitly identified most of the people involved, but as several of them read this LJ, if anyone wants to be credited, speak up. :-)]

full LiveJournal post with discussion thread.

15 April: Monday 23rd April is International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day

The Vice President of SFWA has posted a somewhat intemperate suggestion that any sf writer who gives work away for free is a naughty person, and a Pixel-stained Technopeasant Wretch. This has caused a certain amount of free and frank discussion across the sfian blogosphere in the last couple of days. Now papersky suggests:

In honour of Dr Hendrix, I am declaring Monday 23rd April International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day. On this day, everyone who wants to should give away professional quality work online. It doesn't matter if it's a novel, a story or a poem, it doesn't matter if it's already been published or if it hasn't, the point is it should be disseminated online to celebrate our technopeasanthood.

I'm in, although it may be a case of applying a banner to the work that I already give away for free, Pixel-stained Technopeasant Wretch that I am.

12 April: gossip session

Just got back from San Francisco -- Stephanie Vaughan was in town for the day, so l_prieto and I went up to have lunch with her. Much gossip about the erotic romance business ensued...

11 April: more food porn: hot cross buns

Because I am desperately avoiding trying to work on either my own book or a review of someone else's book, behold -- the recipe for the hot cross buns from Easter Sunday: http://julesjones.livejournal.com/143358.html

10 April: food porn

I did indeed buy duck legs, and start the preparation for confit this afternoon, according to the recipe kindly supplied by desperance here: http://community.livejournal.com/foodanddrink/4293.html

Two slight hiccups, in that the legs in the New Castro Market this week are larger than the last time I experimented with confit, and thus will not fit in the same Pyrex dish as last time, and in that I forgot about the bay leaves. The latter is no real problem, but the former might be, as the quantity of stored duck fat assumed a particular cooking dish. There is a larger Corningware dish available -- we shall see on the morrow whether it matches both the quantity of duck legs and the quantity of duck fat.

Long term food preparation also happened, in that yesterday I planted the Siberia tomato in the pot on one side of the patio door, and today planted the Black From Tulsa tomato in the pot on the other side of the door. Both went in on a layer of banana skins at the bottom of the pot topped by only a thin layer of compost, so that I could bury the lower stems below the final surface of the compost. It will help them develop better root systems, a necessity in this climate where they need all the water-gathering capacity they can get even when well watered. I'm planning to put the Yellow Pear in the other patio pot, with the rest of the plants going in the bed in the front garden. There was a minor virus outbreak last week with yellow-mottled leaves, suspected vector being the Roma plum tomato bought a week or two after the rest, but the infected leaves were removed and all but the Roma are still looking healthy and vigorous. Several of the plants have put forth their first flower trusses in the last few days, although at this point they're still tightly in bud.

The pineapple sage is coming along nicely after winter, with a flush of flowers that's keeping the hummingbirds very happy, and enough fresh leaves for me to use occasionally. The grape vine has thoroughly broken bud, and various other things are poking up from the soil. It'll be a while before there's anything other than rosemary in great abundance, but I forsee lunch components straight from the garden in the near future...

10 April: KTEH -- Doctor Who

A reminder to anyone in the KTEH area that New Who starts at 8...

9 April

more from the Amazon UK sale

17.97 Blake's 7 - Series 4 (the other series are also on sale at 23 quid each)
85.97 Babylon 5 : The Complete Universe
11.99 Pride And Prejudice : 10th Anniversary Edition [1995] with Colin Firth and the wet shirt scene
12.98 Firefly - The Complete Series [2003]
4.98 Serenity [2005]
23.97 The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (Extended Edition Box Set) (yes, that's the set of three extended editions)
17.97 Harry Potter: Years 1-4 (4 Disc Box Set)

9 April: Gay film on sale at Amazon UK

I have no idea whether this is any good, but since Amazon UK saw fit to tell me that it was 7 quid in the sale this week and it looks interesting and is highly rated, I thought I'd provide a link: Coming Out [1989]

There's more stuff on sale that might be of interest to my flist -- when I can work out how to link to it I will do so.

9 April: Talking Italian

So that's what my writing looks like in another language... Only excerpts, and nothing like as exotic a foreign language as some of my friends seem to be managing, but a little bit of Dolphin Dreams has been translated by elisa_rolle at the Italian romance blog "Isn't It Romantic?": http://romancebooks.splinder.com/post/11694251

Elisa's also translated the Italian comments posted so far -- thank you. :-)

8 April: Allelulia

It probably says something about my circle of friends that I didn't make it to church for the Easter Sunday service this morning because I wasn't feeling well, I did get to a cricket-watching brunch where the atheists ate most of the hot cross buns I'd made, and I went to a Passover supper this evening...

7 April: warm fuzzies

Spent yesterday chatting on the Joyfully Reviewed loop with the Planet Manlove group of gay romance authors, and had a good time. Not least because... well, sometimes none of the readers will say anything at all at these chats. But sometimes they make your day with comments about the books. Like this one when I mentioned the planned next book in the Buildup series:

"Yeah! More distopian fun :> Your writing reminds of some of the
darker Miles Vorkosigan books by Bujold. Similar asserbic wit. :>"

And yes, comparisons to Big Name Authors are always going to give the warm fuzzies. But *that* comparison... oh yeah. I'll be grinning for a week over that one. :-)

3 April: That was good...

Read the last Outremer book today. Good, but difficult to describe without massive spoilers... I did guess right about the final plot twist, but it helped that there were hints right in the first volume and I read the lot within the space of a month or so. And I still wasn't *sure* until the final confrontation scene. Gloriously done, and while it's not going to be to everyone's taste, if you like this sort of thing you'll like this one a lot. More detailed review of 6, and maybe one of the series as a whole, later.

3 April: Wheee!!!!

The April programme guide for KTEH, my local PBS station, has arrived. And guess Who's on the front cover!

New Who on Tuesdays, starting with Rose on the 10th. :-)


3 April: newsletter contest winner

Sorry, forgot to cross-post here. I keep forgetting that there are now several people who read the newsletter through the LJ rather than through the mailing list... The winner of the newsletter contest was Joanne, who wins a copy of Dolphin Dreams and a signed cover art print.

2 April: Out now: Dolphin Dreams

Dolphin Dreams cover art

Dolphin Dreams
ISBN: 978-1-59632-383-4
Published by Loose Id

Author: Jules Jones
Cover Artist: Anne Cain
Price: $7.99

Martin's a sexual submissive, but he's nobody's doormat. So when he discovered that his boyfriend was already married, he told him to go. When it still hurt weeks later, a seaside break housesitting for a friend seemed just the thing to help him heal.

When he made friends with two dolphins, he was simply grateful for the pleasant company. He didn't expect to need their help when his small boat was caught in a storm. And he never expected them to ask for payment -- or what shape they'd be in when they did so...

His dolphins turning into two handsome men had to be a hallucination, born of concussion and longing. Not just handsome, but the sort of men he wanted -- dominant without being domineering, men who were secure enough to consider his needs as well as their own. Doms desperate for a sub who was a real partner, not just someone looking for a few days' fling. It couldn't be real, not when it was so much what he wanted.

But it was real. And now Martin has a brand new set of problems to worry about. Two men. Men who aren't quite men, who have problems of their own...


2 April: book!

Just got my finals of Dolphin Dreams. It should be available from the Loose Id website late tonight or early tomorrow morning.

Thanks to all the people who helped me on this one, especially watervole for nitpicking details of the Dorset coast.

2 April: food porn

I am debating whether to make confit of duck leg this week. The debate is merely over timing rather than whether it would be made at all, and the reason for the debate is that duck leg confit involves the use of an astonishing quantity of duck fat. Now, rendered duck fat is perfectly possible to buy around here, but as it's about $7 for a small tub and I can get about the same quantity of fat by roasting a $10 Peking duck from the local Chinese supermarket, I have chosen to take the route that involves roast duck dinners and duck soup along the way. Slower, but far more enjoyable.

So there is, or should be, the rendered fat of about five ducks sitting in the freezer. "Should be", because I am sure there is less in there than I remember putting in. I suspect Other Half may have accidentally thrown away one container, having failed to understand what it was or why it was in the freezer.

Thus, the debate: is there or is there not enough duck fat in the freezer? For the weather is warming up, and salad for lunch is now a much more enticing prospect. A little sliced duck confit tossed with baby spinach and the first of the new season tomatoes would go down a treat...

1 April: meta

Finished the fourth volume of Outremer this morning, and was reminded of something said on rasfc -- "chase your characters up a tree and then throw rocks at them to see what they do." desperance certainly has a large and interesting range of rocks just the right size and weight to throw comfortably...

March 2007

30 March: newsletter

March newsletter is on the website, with contest: http://www.julesjones.com/misc/newsletters/200703.html

29 March: AKICIF

How does one save a video from Youtube to one's hard drive for viewing at one's leisure? I am, of course, thinking purely in terms of being able to watch videos when I am offline, and not in any way thinking of bagging a copy of disco-dancing Sacred Band of Thebes before someone slaps a cease-and-desist notice on a parody musicvid.

29 March: It's raining 300 men

Gacked from the Smart Bitches: musicvid of "300" set to "It's Raining Men"


/me giggles at the camp :-)

28 March: Malinga!

Just got back from watching the cricket. That was *quite* impressive....

On the way home, we had to stop for wildlife crossing the road. Three blocks from the high street, and there were a couple of raccoons strolling across the road. So yes, there are raccoons around here, and that's presumably what was responsible for last year's nocturnal tomato thefts. First time I've ever actually seen one.

28 March: slashy, m/m or gay romance?

The "Slashy Stuff" thread at Mrs Giggles' blog has turned into a long, chewy thread about terminology for gay romance and whether we should be calling it m/m or gay romance, and what it means to gay men to see gay romance being written by straight women and called something else. Some good stuff in there, though read the full thread before commenting.

The Outremer series was name-checked in the course of the thread, and no, I didn't start it. desperance, someone in the thread wanted to know if your latest book has any gay characters.

ETA: if anyone wants to post to that thread but can't get past the "prove you're not a spambot" word verification, post here with a "please cut-n-paste" and I'll copy it over for you. The verification is a bit flaky, and I occasionally need to do it twice but usually get through, other people haven't been able to get it to work at all.

26 March: /me squees

Gacked from ghastlycomic:


(If you don't recognise the name, try Battle of the Planets, Eagle Riders or G-Force.)

26 March: bits and pieces

Finished Outremer 2/6. Must digest before writing a review, but I liked it. I liked it a lot.

The laptop is unwell. Last week it started putting itself into hibernation mode when left unattended, even though it's not supposed to do that unless it's on internal battery power. On Saturday it suddenly decided that it couldn't run at a higher resolution than its own screen can support, even when on the dock and hooked up to an external monitor. Half an hour or so of swearing and rebooting later, I found that it had lost both of the hardware profiles I'd set up for it, and reverted to its as-shipped profile. This afternoon it suddenly decided that it didn't need to be sending any signal information to the display, whether its own or the external one. And I'd just reached the end of a long post for a discussion on the terminology of gay romance, which I had to recreate from memory. I'm not happy, and I'm wondering what it's going to do next.

No actual writing done so far today, of course...

25 March: Search string weirdness...

The things you find in your website logs... It seems that if you Google in the UK for "authors who write in favour of porn", my essay on fanfic is on the first page of results. I do hope it was of help to the person at Salford University...

24 March: It came from Planet Manlove

The Manlove authors are staging an invasion at the eBookLove yahoogroup today. We don't have cookies, but we do have free books. Chitchat about m/m romance here:


23 March: wordage!

predatrix finally remembered to phone me back on Skype, after a week of failing to do this, and words happened on the current joint project -- a contemporary m/m set in Ipswich. 1200 words, including the following, which may have to be revised if someone on my flist doesn't wish to be namechecked. Because the real world leaks into the writing process...

He was reading something with a purple swirly cover, so probably fantasy. Some of the publishers nowadays practically colour-code their stuff: purple for fantasy, silver for SF or dark red for horror.

I was reading a [censored for spoiler reasons] fantasy series which I was hoping would turn out to be as homoerotic as some of the reviews on Amazon seemed to suggest. The first twenty pages certainly had hopeful signs that something might develop, but if it was there it wasn't being allowed to get in the way of the story.

22 March: writing and tomatoes

Still failing to even open the WIP file to look at it...

On the other hand, I did achieve two useful things yesterday. I finished the worksheet for Black Leather Rose and sent it back to my publisher, and I re-potted the tomato plants I bought on Sunday. I'm convinced that at least one of the plants has grown an inch today. Nine plants so far, each a different variety. The list may grow, as there were a couple of varieties I wanted but couldn't find (Cherokee Purple for one, as the one I had last year was superb), and there was only one Brandywine and I want another, because something stole half the fruit from last year's crop. Scored a Yellow Pear after thinking I wasn't going to get one -- someone had dumped one on a trolley inside the shop. In two months I will be back to a lunchtime routine of put pasta on to boil, walk out into garden to pick tomato and basil. :-)

Dithered and dithered over the word count on the f/f story being too low, but in the end sent it in to Mammoth Lesbian Erotica this afternoon. Getting it into an rtf file that looked good in Open Office (as a substitute for the Spawn of Redmond) was an interesting experience.

Failed miserably to do any other writing work today. I think it's partly trying to work out where the story's going, rather than writer's block as such. I'd do some work on it this evening, but the tv is firmly tuned to classical music this evening, my computer is in the same room, and I can't write when there's music in the background. Think I'll go and spend half an hour in Outremer instead.

22 March: Gay men and m/m romance

Mrs Giggles has raised the issue of how gay men feel about m/m romance written by women:


Now, I know there are some gay men who are not only fine with it, but actively seek it out because it has an emotional dimension they have trouble finding in mainstream gay erotica, but if I comment I can only repeat what I've heard from friends and in fan mail. Any of you lot out there care to go over and comment?

(Of course, if you read sf&f, there's some good slashy stuff buried in the genre. I seem to have an example in the reading pile right now...)

20 March: mutter grumble

Have I mentioned how much I hate writing cover copy for my books?

[Goes back to paperwork for Black Leather Rose]

19 March: I heard it through the grapevine...

For fans of the 501 ad...


16 March: mumblings

Why did I put my website address on a comment in a SFWA snark post at Whatever? I should have known better, after what happened the time I did so at Electrolite. Instant trashing of bandwidth... I'll just crawl back under my rock and hide now.

Not just contract forms for Black Leather Rose. The contract renewal for Mindscan arrived in the post today, complete with necessity to sign pieces of paper to prove that it had been delivered. Much reading of contracts for any changes followed, but both sets are now safely in the post.

Nothing much else seems to have got done today. Not sure why, but it seemed to be a day for failing to focus on anything, hence several hours spent on rereading contracts, filling them out, and chasing up additional pieces of paper (needed to find the release letter from when an earlier, shorter version of Black Leather Rose was briefly in print in a Plain Brown Wrapper anthology a couple of years ago).

Another review for Lord and Master, this time in the latest JERR newsletter. Score of 4.5 and heat rating Orgasmic. Not bad. :-)

16 March: another sale

Note from my editor at Loose Id in the overnight email, formally accepting my novelette Black Leather Rose. So this morning is probably going to be largely occupied with paperwork. Less paperwork than usual, because it's a Fling and thus I won't need to do the cover art worksheet, but even so...

Shall probably spend what's left of the morning composing a review of the first volume of the US edition of desperance's Outremer trilogy/hexology, as I finally finished reading it yesterday evening. Short version -- oh wow.

15 March: crossed eyes, dotted teas

Okay, line edits on Dolphin Dreams gone through, comments and revisions sent back to my editor. I should get back to either the short story revisions or the WIP, but right now I think I need to have a cup of tea, then get away from the computer and get some exercise. It's a nice day and it's only a ten minute walk to the booksh... er, I meant supermarket, didn't I? [looks guiltily at TBR stack]

14 March: edits

In fact, what I ended up doing this afternoon was looking through line-edits on Dolphin Dreams (which is still scheduled for April, before anyone asks). There is the occasional checking of whether something is a typo, or British English. Quote: what do you people have against articles, anyway? [G]

14 March: Chewing the cud

This afternoon I'll probably tackle the revisions on the short story in light of the crit comments. This morning I should do some work on the current novel, but I need to think about where it's going...

When I first got this idea about a year ago, the POV character was going to be a homeless refugee from a war. What actually appeared on the page when I started writing it a couple of weeks back was someone who'd been trapped on the wrong side of a war, but who had skills and a job -- indeed, his problem was that he was from a neutral planet, and had basically been press-ganged along with a lot of other neutrals with useful skills by the simple expedient of denying exit visas to anyone in a protected occupation.

This doesn't change the basic plot hugely, but is going to change a lot of the details. Now I have to work out whether this is my subconscious trying to tell me something, or whether it's just force of habit because I *always* write scientists and engineers. And I need to sort it out right now in chapter two, because one of the biggest changes it makes is in how and why he hooks up with the other hero -- who happens to be a member of a telepathic species whose mind has ended up in a local predator known for good reason as a hellhound.

Someone who's a refugee sleeping in alleyways has a very good reason to hook up with a large animal with a very nasty reputation. Someone who was only sleeping in an alleyway for one night because he's arrived early in a strange town and the local xenophobes won't give him a room for the night has rather less reason, or at least less of a reason that's understandable to the locals. Mutter, grumble...

13 March: problems with Open Office comments/notes

There's a conversation in a locked post about using Open Office instead of MS Word. I'm putting some of the information in an unlocked post, as it may be useful to other people.

I use Lotus Word Pro as my word processor, because I do not get on with Word, for values of "do not get on" that involve literally screaming at the computer within ten minutes or so. However, there are editors and publishers out there who insist on using Word documents for dealing with edits (and that's Word format documents, not rtf format). Word Pro can import and export Word files, but I've got an old version that doesn't know about the most recent Word formats.

I installed Open Office because it's supposed to be fully compatible with Microsoft's office suite, and in theory should be a way to read Word files. In fact, Open Office's word processor falls down on a very important function -- comments/notes, those useful little Post-It analogues which allow people to put comments into the document without inserting them into the actual text. it has a comments/notes facility of its own, but it does not display comments/notes from imported Word files. There is no warning of this anywhere, so the first I knew about it was when I sent off my response to "track changes" edits, and got a plaintive "what about the comments?" email back from my editor.

At least one of my friends has had a similar problem, so after the discussion in my LJ this morning, I wandered over to the OO website and had a poke in the bug tracker. It turns out that this is a known issue, and while this one is relatively recent, various other problems with the comments/notes have gone unfixed for five years, often with rather snotty "nobody actually uses notes so this isn't a priority" replies from the development team. It is simply not seen as an important facility by the development team.

Apparently the problem with the display is that the comments are imported as hidden text. You can "easily" work around the non-display of imported comments by using the Navigator or by turning on display of non-printing characters (in the View menu in the version I'm using), so it's not seen as an issue that needs to be fixed any time soon. More details here:
I've just tried the Navigator and "non-printing characters" workarounds and they do seem to work in 2.0.4, but it's a major pain. I gather from the annoyed commentary in the bug tracker that earlier versions of OO did display imported comments, even if not particularly well. I've just downloaded the latest version, 2.1, so once that's installed I'll see if that has an updated help file.

I have to say that dismissing this as a trivial issue, and not even bothering to put the problem and workaround in the help file, does not lead me to think any better of Open Office than of the Spawn of Redmond. I'd downloaded OO primarily as a backup word processor, but I was also evaluating it for a primary WP should I finally bite the bullet and move away from Windows as an OS. This issue means that I *cannot* use it as a primary. My WP need to be fully compatible with Word, and the comment facility is the main reason it needs to be fully compatible. Right now a 1999 edition of Word Pro has better compatibility than a late 2006 edition of OO Writer.

10 March: anthology submission season

Decided I'd better Do Something about anthology submissions, seeing as I'd already missed the deadline for Best American Erotica. There are several anthologies with closing dates in March or April. Turns out that I seem to have missed the deadline for Ultimate Gay Erotica as well, or at least the guidelines aren't online any more. :-(

Anyway, sent off last year's two published shorts to the Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica this afternoon.

Mammoth Book of Lesbian Erotica as well this year. I have a story which would be utterly perfect for it, except for the minor issue of the story being only 2600 words and the editor saying she wants stories around 5000 words. I dither, I do. It's too damned short, but... I'll think about it overnight.

Must work out what I'm sending to Best Gay Erotica this year. *Before* they close.

Also of interest -- sacchig's Time Well Bent: Queer Alternate History. I have nothing suitable, even at concept stage, but must file away and see if anything pops out of the story generator in the next couple of weeks. Deadline's end June, so there might be time.

And Harlequin/Mills&Boon is looking for Teh Pr0n. Or at least is looking for 5000-15000 word erotic romance shorts for its new e-only Spice Briefs imprint. Pity I don't write het, but this is a good incentive to try.

And two gay romance anthologies, one from Alyson and one from Cleis. I have ideas in mind for each, but the Alyson one closes on the 15th, and I doubt I could get it done and edited in time.

Erotic Tales 2 will take reprints. Hmmm....

Bunch of other markets at ERA, for those of you looking for erotica markets:

8 March: draft booklist webpage

Okay, I've put up a draft of a printable list of my books. This is a draft, and subject to re-arrangement. (In particular, I need to go through and tidy up the html for the tables as generated by OpenOffice.) Is this the sort of thing people would find useful? Suggestions?


The nav bar stays -- it's needed for people who are using accessibility software. But I've shrunk it to the absolute minimum.

I can split off the table of short stories into a separate page, and will probably do so if it grows.

At the moment it doesn't include anything that has only been published in a free access webzine -- there is already a page listing anything that's currently available as a free download.

I'm not listing anything that was download only and is now out of print. If I end up with anything that's out of print but was on physical media you might find in a second-hand shop, it will appear in this list, but I don't have anything in that category at the moment.

7 March: comments wanted

I need to do some updates on the website, and while I'm at it I might as well do some tweaking. One of the things I have in mind is to add a printable list of my titles to go with the more detailed bibliography page. I'm planning to add bits of background information (not least being a collection of "for further information" urls relating to a plot element in Lord and Master). Any other suggestions for things people would like to see on the site?

6 March: Smut, smut, glorious smut...

I was browsing through LJ's list of the top 1000 external RSS feeds, looking for more feeds to add to my new LJ wildfancies, when I found "Gay Porn For Girls". I'm not adding it to my flist, because I'd rather not inflict hard core gay porn on anyone clicking on my flist page, but I'm sure there are people out there who would appreciate the url. :-)

*Not* work-safe, oh dear me no...


And the LJ feed: http://syndicated.livejournal.com/gaypornforgirls/

Those of you who like threeways that include a pair of brothers should scroll down to November...

5 March: I'm probably going to regret kicking this beehive...

Today's post at Romancing the Blog, "The Proflicacy Problem", discusses the high output of some romance writers, and questions whether they can keep up the quality of their work when putting out finished work at the sort of speed being displayed by some. Now, I wouldn't completely disagree with the sentiment expressed, but something struck me as I read the article and the comment thread. Most of the people involved seemed to be measuring output purely in terms of titles per year. To which I went, "Huh?"

I think of output at least as much in terms of word count as in number of titles. That's partly a reflection of my being a writer, and therefore having a very strong interest in word counts, and how well the word count in my manuscript matches up to the word count in the submission guidelines. But it's also something I did even when my interest in books was purely as a reader. You can do a lot of fiddling with the words per page, but even so, it's pretty obvious that (picking a couple of examples from the bookcase next to me) Tanith Lee's Kill the Dead and Mary Gentle's 1610: A Sundial in a Grave have somewhat different word counts. And both are the length they need to be for the story contained therein.

I could start a long and entertaining flame war by enquiring whether length is of itself an indicator of quality, with reference to Extruded Fantasy Product; the death of the novella; and what happens when a market decides at two minutes' notice that it wants sleek 100 kword novels instead of doorstops, and that includes anything turned in but not actually in the printing press at this very moment. However, I know someone with far more experience of kicking beehives, and I'll leave that one to him. I'm more interested in this one:

If four writers each produce 200,000 words of finished book product per year, who has the highest production rate -- the one turning out one EFP doorstop, the one turning out two of "standard length for first sf novel", the one turning out three category romances, or the one turning out several novellas?

Now, I have a personal interest in this, because I'm actually named in that comment thread as an example of a fast but good writer. Which boggled me slightly, because while I'm pleased enough with the compliment and the free publicity, I am not what I think of as a fast writer. I'm actually a pretty slow writer compared with some of my friends.

But I'm also a natural novella writer, and I've managed to get two to three titles a year out by dint of writing things that are only 25-50 kwords long. And since I'm epublished, it's a lot less obvious that the books are quite short. That's a large part of why I'm epublished, in fact -- as far as sf genre markets are concerned, my natural length is too long for the print magazine market and too short for the print novel market. So presumably people are seeing the title count, and not realising that much of the time the combined length is about the same as or even less than a single title from one of the people whose natural length is doorstop.

So is an emphasis on word count vs title count a difference between the sf and romance genres, or is it a difference between writers and readers? Or perhaps it's both, because as has been discussed repeatedly and noisily of late, it's not easy to draw a solid line between pro and fan in the sf genre.

Any thoughts?

5 March: wordage

Somehow over the weekend I ended up doing no writing during the day, and then a burst after what should have been my bedtime. I tried for some self-discipline this morning and actually got in the daily minimum before lunchtime. 1441 words on Saturday, 997 on Sunday, and exactly 500 before lunch today. Where do people get the idea I'm a fast writer? (And thank you for the namecheck, sarahf :-) Anyway, today's post at Romancing the Blog is leading to thoughts on differences between genre cultures, and perceptions of output, which I may elaborate on after I've had a cup of tea. I've done the minimum on the paying word count, so I can play a bit this afternoon. And read.

2 March: Soon (TM)

Right, Dolphin Dreams is pretty much on the cusp of "Coming in Spring" and "Coming Soon(TM)".

For those not familiar with this -- Loose Id prefers that authors do not give the exact publication dates for books until they're actually on the website and available, because sometimes they don't come out on the scheduled date. Thus the use of "soon!", which allows it to be suggested that a book will come out in the next month or so without pinning it down to an actual date. This has turned into a running joke on some of the romance mailing lists.

Dolphin Dreams is an example of why, as it was originally scheduled to be out by now but was rescheduled to allow for proper editing of the Valentine-themed novel I was attacked by shortly after turning in the first draft of DD. Which means that it's been out there with blurb and promo excerpts for long enough now that I am getting nagged about when it's coming out. And my website log is showing a lot of people looking for it. So this is a not particularly subtle hint as to the currently scheduled release date.

1 March: Wordage and good news

So no words on Tuesday because I had the attention span of a stunned goldfish courtesy of a throat infection. Yesterday 378 new words. Today none, because this morning the promised edits for Dolphin Dreams arrived, and I was working my way through three chapters at a time between breaks, that being the length of my attention span today. This turned out to be a good plan because it is also the length of my editor's attention span today, she also being ill...

The good news is that my publisher, Loose Id, was notified this afternoon that they are now an RWA-recognised publisher. This means that I am now officially published by RWA standards, and can enter their contests for published authors, and if I join the RWA (which is an organisation for both published and unpublished romance writers) I can have access to their perks for published members.

That means Dolphin Dreams will be my first Officially Published book in the eyes of the RWA. The first book of mine which qualifies to be entered in the RITAs is an m/m/m menage BDSM erotic romance. With a couple of taboos thrown in for good measure. I couldn't have been more provocative if I'd been trying. And no, I did not do this on purpose.

And in the light of yesterday's conversation at Salon james_nicoll, I should point out that this is a shapeshifter romance, and thus will qualify for the Pearl Awards.

1 March: Gayest music video ever

Gacked from the Smart Bitches: What what (in the butt)
Lyrics mildly not worksafe, video no naughtier than typical music video. Less naughty than many, in fact.


February 2007

27 February: The dark secret of publishing...

This is the fate of a mass market paperback in the US:


The LJ post is worth reading, but some of the comments are even funnier. And educational, if you've ever wondered why you couldn't find the nifty looking book when you went back to buy it a week later.

26 February: wordage

Not very well today, in spite of which I still managed to get 314 words done on the new New Book this evening. So at the moment it looks like switching project was a good idea.

Did a lot of tidying up of accounts and email today. And tried to look at what tax paperwork is necessary for UK resident receiving royalty income from US (for someone else, because even if we ever move back I'll be under US resident rules for some time afterwards). However, my brain wasn't up to that. mishalak I may bug you about this tomorrow...

Read lots of con reports. Wish I could have been there. Miss you guys. Glad most of you seem to have mostly had a good time, even if there was a minor problem with the obnoxiously unbadged. Happy anniversary, Londo and LoneMagpie. May there be many more.

26 February: a less good review...

Mrs Giggles didn't like Lord and Master. On the other hand, she did give it a 68, and said that someone looking for a low-conflict romance might enjoy it, in a way that I don't think was pure snark.

This is the sort of thing I was talking about in my post last year on review writing. A good reviewer recognises that other people have different tastes, and says enough about why they liked or disliked a book for other readers to calibrate to their own taste. Yes, I'd much rather she loved the book, but this is still a helpful review, even if it stings.

25 February: sex and taxes

Well, it's better than death and taxes, isn't it? Anyway, started on the taxes this morning. Was interrupted by arrival of February's royalty statement plus W9 form to fill in and send back. Lord and Master sold 396 copies in its first week. Now, I know some of my friends sell far more than this number just in the pre-orders on Amazon, but that's pretty good by ebook standards, and the best first month I've had to date. I suspect I can thank Teach Me Tonight for a few of those, but it's also a reflection of growing sales numbers in general at my publisher. Two more reviews for the book:

I'm still blocked on the third Buildup book, and at this point I'm giving in; tomorrow I'm switching to the other project I had in mind for this year, the not-a-werewolf story that is the result of a childhood spent reading Andre Norton. I'm not entirely sure yet how that one ends, but at least I know how it starts, and the Buildup book is the other way around. :-(

I've actually been doing some reading this week. I read the third volume of Shout Out Loud, the yaoi manga series I've been reviewing. Then I started on 's Outremer trilogy, in spite of 's attempts to distract me by waving Austen scholarship under my nose. I haven't got far enough into the first book to comment on the plot yet, but dear god you could get drunk just reading the prose. Amazing use of language, and how did I manage to miss this when it first came out?

Note back from editor saying she hasn't had time to look all the way through Black Leather Rose but likes what she's read so far, and that I can expect the edits on Dolphin Dreams in a few days. So there'll be something to do even if I'm blocked on the other story as well.

24 February: Thank you, Dylan

My flist is quiet this weekend. This is because half of it is at Redemption, a British con which started out as a Blake's 7/Babylon 5 con but which these days is much more of a general sf con. Yes, sf con, not media con, because Redemption is run by sf fans whose tastes happen to include tv. There's a reason why I get snarky (all right, snarkier than usual) with litfen who get snobby about Filthy Media Fen Bringing The Apocalypse...

There are a good many reasons why I regret not being there this weekend, but the prime one has to be that I am missing the cabaret performance of Under Torchwood, which has probably just finished. I do, do hope there was someone with a cam and a Youtube account in the audience.

23 February: First review for Lord and Master

Well, somebody liked it, because it got 5/5 at Literary Nymphs. :-)

22 February: deconstructing the genre

While I'm in poking-at-the-underlying-mechanism mood...

sarahf has the chair at Romancing the Blog today:

She's discussing the application of litcrit to romance, and addressing the problem (also common in sf) that a lot of genre fans quite reasonably don't like litcrit because so much of it to date has started from the assumption that genre is by definition inferior. Both the post and the comments so far are well worth reading.

There's an interesting diversion into the problem of not being able to turn *off* the internal critiquer even when reading for pleasure. I only did English literature to university entrance exam level and don't speak fluent litcrit, but even so I had a problem with this for a couple of years afterwards, when I could not help but consciously analyse stuff even when I was reading it purely for fun. Eventually it dropped to subconscious level, where it enhances my enjoyment of the book rather than all too often getting in the way. There's a similar problem with critting/editing material as part of the process of getting it ready for publication -- do a lot of it, and you find yourself consciously analysing everything you read.

21 February: call for litcrit papers

[fx: pokes relevant bits of flist]

  aka Dr. Sarah S. G. Frantz at uncfsu.edu has posted a call for papers on "The Mind of Love: New Approaches to Popular Romance", and I can think of at least two of you academic types who might have something interesting to say on the subject [*cough* fanfic, Austen]. More details here:

(There is more in there in earlier posts that makes me think I should be blog-checking tomorrow...)

20 February: Speaking of Gender...

Making Light has discovered the Gender Genie, and is doing the usual fluorosphere thing with it:

20 February: IAFA con: Gender and Sexuality in the Fantastic

Since some of us were whining at the weekend about it's too difficult to get to WisCon, I thought I'd remind people of another interesting one: IAFA, The International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts, which this year is focusing on

Representing Self and Other:
Gender and Sexuality in the Fantastic

Fort Lauderdale, March 14-18, 2007, more details at http://www.iafa.org/

It looks like a very interesting con, and I'm not just saying that because Someone was threatening to write a paper on me for it. Looking at the draft programme, there's a lot there that would interest the people who go to WisCon. And fanficcers, and paranormal romance fans, and...

19 February: paranoia sets in

I always get slightly nervous when someone hits my website from Googling on my real name -- and then has a good look around...

Other than that... predatrix and I did some work on the contemporary novella that is the current joint project. Not much actual word count, but some reasonable poking at the structure and planning the next chapter or two. Oh, and 52 words on the solo project [sigh].

16 February: Good author, bad author

The bad author bit is that this week I have written 195 words of new material.

The good author bit is that I did manage to finish reading one book and read half of another. erastes, the half book was UGE05, and it was the half that included yours. *Very* nice.

I also had the new book out this week. One person who rated it at LibraryThing was decidedly underwhelmed, but a couple of people said nice things on the loops, and I got two pieces of completely unsolicited personal fanmail, which made me feel much happier. In a fit of extreme masochism I followed up by asking Mrs Giggles if she'd like a review copy of something, and she asked for Lord and Master. That... should be interesting...

l_prieto came over today for Region 2 goodness. Two episodes of Blake's 7 -- Shadow and Weapon. Travis is now having to compete with Carnell for her affections... Followed up with the first episode of Life On Mars, which she enjoyed. She also beta-read the latest iteration of Black Leather Rose and pronounced it good. So at least I've got one story in hand that should be publishable this year, even if I seem to be stuck on the new Buildup novella.

16 February: more mansnoggage

There is supposed to be a part 2 of the vid I linked to earlier, but I don't have a link and haven't gone looking for it yet.

And while I'm at it, just in case anyone *hasn't* seen the Torchwood Captain Jack kiss yet, some kind soul posted a very good clip at Youtube. Major spoilers for the final double episode:


(l_prieto, this is the clip I showed you last week.)

16 February: Mansnoggage

Gacked from erastes -- seriously hot music vid with mansnoggage clips:


That vid demonstrates very well that you don't need hardcore porn for it to be *hot*.

12 February: Out now from Loose Id: Lord and Master

Lord and Master cover art - gay romance novella

Lord and Master
Available now from Loose Id

When Mark's PhD supervisor sent him for a job interview with an old university friend, he didn't mention that the friend was devastatingly handsome. He also neglected to mention to either that the other is gay.

Steven was just looking for a young scientist to train as a PA to help him run his technology company. No extra services required. But watching other people react to a young, pretty man playing secretary to an openly gay CEO amused them both. Watching people wonder if they were having an affair was an entertaining game.

But when the game became real and caught them both up, Mark was left wondering... how real? Because he's the one PA in the building who can't marry the boss.

Erotic excerpt

12 February: Happy author

Within the space of half an hour, I received my copies of the various ebook formats of Lord and Master (it'll be on sale tomorrow), and my parcel from CafePress with some cover art merchandise I'd ordered. I am a happy author. :-)

I wanted a new tote bag for cons anyway, as the old Blake's 7 one is getting a bit tatty after several years of sterling service. That and the L&M teeshirt predatrix wanted came to $22, and Cafepress had sent me a "spend over $25, get $10 off" voucher that was only valid for four days, so I thought I might as well spend it on getting a ten pack of fridge magnets just to see what they were like.

The art on the direct-printed tote bag looks quite dark, but is nice and clear and the colours aren't posterised in the way I bitched about with the Mindscan black teeshirt last year. The direct-printed white value teeshirt is similar. How they'll hold up to washing I don't know, but brand new they look pretty good.

The rectangular fridge magnets are a very good reproduction of the artwork. They're plastic-coated rigid metal with a magnet sheet glued to the back. Relatively light, rigid, and fairly robust-looking. They're pretty nice; now I just have to figure out what to do with them. Birthday presents for such of my friends as may like them, maybe.

9 February: litcritted

This should amuse at least two of you -- I have been cited in an academic blog that litcrits romance:


In the comments they're discussing slash, including the question of why bisexual and lesbian women read m/m. I know some of you lot are better qualified to answer this than I am, so if anyone feels like wandering over there and giving them one of the many possible answers, or at least pointers to one of the meta groups that will talk to outsiders...

7 February: January book log

I tidied my desk yesterday, and one of the things I found under the pile of printouts waiting to be filed was the stack of books read in January, also waiting to be filed. All two of them [sigh]. What makes it even worse is that I only read those because I was sitting on a long-haul flight with nothing to distract me. I've got to do something about this. It is not good for a writer to not read.

Anyway, the books, with comments. Both Iain-without-the-M-Banks, one an old friend, the other new to me.

Iain Banks -- The Crow Road

Prentice McHoan is a young Scotsman trying to work out who he is, how he came to be that way, and what he wants to be. And how to relate to the variously eccentric members of his extended and extensive family. Being a young man, sex and death seems to be involved with all of the above. The novel moves back and forth, showing the past that led to the present, and previous generations of McHoans dealing with the same questions. The family has its secrets, and one of them begins to absorb all of Prentice's attention.

It's nominally a coming of age novel, but it's also a mystery, and several other things besides. It's also very, very funny, and full of language and imagery that will take your breath away. The switching between characters and times takes some getting used to, but the various plotlines do all go somewhere, weaving together as the book builds to the final climax. Along the way there are some fascinating characters and situations. This is the one I'd recommend to someone wanting to try Banks for the first time -- it's dark and subtle, but without the truly nightmarish imagery of some of his other work.

The 1996 BBC adaptation is available on DVD, currently seven quid, and I'm tempted to get it...

The Crow Road at Amazon US
The Crow Road at Amazon UK

The Crow Road at Amazon UK

Iain Banks -- Canal Dreams

It seems to be a love it or hate it, and having read it I now see why. I liked it a lot, but I'm not sure that I'll re-read it.

The surface story is simple enough -- a famous cellist goes on a world tour by ship, because she is so phobic about flying she can't bear to step on a plane. Her ship is caught up in a civil war as it passes through the Panama Canal. Initially there is nothing but tedium, as three stranded ships huddle together for safety -- tedium, and for Hisako the chance of a love affair with an officer from one of the other ships. But then the boats are seized by a group intent on using them in an escalation of the war that has until now not directly touched them. There follows a slow study of the psychology of a hostage situation where the hostages are initially well-treated, and then the explosion into violence when the hostages' usefulness comes to an end.

But more than that, it is a study of how someone who suffers from a severe phobia need not be a coward in other things. Hisako remains passive while there are other lives at stake; but the hostage takers fatally underestimate a woman who has more than music in her troubled past.

It's short, dark, and a quite frank revenge fantasy. It's not the best of Banks' work, but if you like his books it's worth trying.

Canal Dreams at Amazon US
Canal Dreams at Amazon UK

5 February: wordage

After doing nothing much at all for several days, 800 words yesterday on the rewrite of Black Leather Rose, and 1800 today to finish it off. First draft of the longer version stands at 10,258 words. I need to let it sit for a week and then do a revision pass, but have nevertheless sent it off to my editor in case she wants to look at it first.

If she takes it, it will be a useful item to keep my name in front of the readers during the year, because for the second year running I am going to have two books coming out within a couple of months of each other, and then nothing in view for the rest of the year. Must get cracking on the next novel...

(For those who saw it on its very first outing -- it's pretty much doubled in length, with the coda removed and a large chunk of backstory/setup added.)

3 February:

For the benefit of those who might be interested but don't want to go anywhere near Yahoogroups, the department of shameless commerce and pimping has a newsletter with contest, which has been copied to my website: http://www.julesjones.com/misc/newsletters/200701.html

Also copied from Yahoogroups, the other contest:

I have a new book coming out Soon(TM), so I've got a download and a signed print of the cover art to give away to someone.:-)

You can blame... ahem... *thank* some of my friends for this question -- I was whining on irc this afternoon that I had to think up some new questions to make sure people read the excerpts and knew what sort of book they'd be getting, and was offered suggestions. Some of them were even both sane and clean, but I'll go with one that's just sane.

What do you think Mark's reply to Steven is at the end of the erotic excerpt from Lord and Master?

You can find the excerpts at my website here: http://www.julesjones.com/fiction/details/lordandmaster.html Answers to be emailed to me -- jules.jones@gmail.com -- by the morning of Saturday 10th February. I'll draw a winner that weekend, and send the copy of the book as soon as I have the finals.

I have a separate contest in my newsletter, closing on Wednesday -- subscribers to my loops are welcome to enter both contests.

3 February: Babylon 5 going for a song

Arghhh!!! I have already spent my DVD budget for the month! Amazon UK have the complete B5 for 64 quid...

Babylon 5 : The Complete Universe
2 February: Life on Mars trailer
Just in case there is anyone on my flist who will understand this but has not seen it yet -- there is a Life on Mars trailer, in the style of Camberwick Green. Some kind soul has uploaded it to youtube (thanks to glitterboy1 for the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lzVCsKr4uXo&eurl=

Translation for the Americans -- Camberwick Green is a BBC children's series that will be familiar to the target age group for Life On Mars (i.e. those of us old enough to remember 70s cop shows from the first time round, if possibly not very old at the time). That trailer is a perfect pastiche of the opening credits. You may insert various sounds of squeeing approval here.

January 2007

31 January: Lord and Master cover art!

Lord and Master cover art - gay romance novella

Lord and Master
Forthcoming from Loose Id

When Mark's PhD supervisor sent him for a job interview with an old university friend, he didn't mention that the friend was devastatingly handsome. He also didn't mention to either of them that the other one was gay.

Steven was just looking for a young scientist to train as a PA to help him run his technology company. No extra services required. But watching other people react to a young, pretty man playing secretary to an openly gay CEO amused them both. Subverting the stereotype, watching people wonder if they were having an affair, was an entertaining game. Then the game became real as the fantasy caught them both up, and Mark was left wondering... how real? Because he's the one PA in the building who can't marry the boss...


30 January: wurk

In the end I spent Sunday doing paperwork -- reading the renewal contract for Mindscan and reading and signing the contract for the short in Slash and Burn, plus getting my accounts up to date after the month away over Christmas/New Year.

Got stuck into the rewrite of Black Leather Rose yesterday, and added 2400 words. Alas, alack, the migraine descended in the evening, and although I spotted the signs in time to hit it with codeine, I only got 1200 words done today because I couldn't stay in front of the monitor for too long at a time. I think there's a good chance I'll finish it by the end of the week, though.

28 January: Incoming...

Ah. It appears that what I am doing this morning is dealing with contract renewals for Buildup: Mindscan and The Syndicate: Four Leaf Clover. :-)

28 January: blah

This should be a back to work post. I turned in my response to the Lord and Master edits on Friday, and last night I had an email from my editor asking what I was going to work on next. And the answer right now appears to be, "I have to work on something?" Nothing appeals, even though I have several projects on the To Do list that three months ago I thought were enticing. I suspect it's a mild dose of burnout after writing some 175,000 words in the last eight months. I think what I may do today is write a short essay on Why Editors Are Good For You (an expanded version of the last post), and then hack out an outline for a novel-length version of Lucky Dip (a short story that got away from me and turned into a novelette; a novelette that looks like the first 10,000 words of a novel). And if that doesn't shake something loose, I'll see if I can turn 4000 words of Black Leather Rose into 10,000.

26 January: this is what editors are for...

I'm going through the edits on the next book. There is a string of edits which boil down to "why is this guy putting up with this behaviour from one of his own employees?" The answer is because the dickhead is not one of his employees, but a fairly senior guy from a completely different company.

I thought I'd made that clear. Apparently I haven't. If my editor missed it, then so will readers...

25 January: that was fast service...

My parcel from Amazon UK has arrived -- not bad going considering I only ordered it on Saturday night and it shipped on Monday evening. :-)

Life On Mars: Series 1 [2006] The Legend Of Robin Hood [1975]

ritaxis, l_prieto, I think you'd both like these. Must organise a viewing party at some point.

24 January: short story acceptance

Just had a note from [redacted] accepting Trouser Trap (by predatrix and self) for their slash-with-serial-numbers-filed-off anthology. As the submission guidelines said, the royalties could be as much as tens of dollars. :-) But it'll be nice to have another print credit.

24 January: down and safe
Back in California, feeling jet-lagged. The floor is just starting to sway gently, so a bowl of soup and then bed, methinks.

22 January:

The colour proof for the L&M cover just turned up in my inbox, and it's seriously pretty. :-) With any luck I'll have the finals to put up when I get home.

22 January: reliving my youth

Amazon UK informs me that my order has shipped, so in a week or so I should have my own copy of Life On Mars series 1, and the 1975 BBC version of Robin Hood (the one with Paul Darrow as the Sheriff of Nottingham and David Dixon as Prince John, though this is not the reason I'm buying it, not even the slashy bathtub scene). Both Region 2, alas, so a couple of people who might like to take a look will need to come round to watch it rather than borrowing it.

21 January: who's a pretty boy then

Just seen the first pencil rough of the cover art for Lord and Master. It's going to be yaoi-style, and it's rather nice. I'm looking forward to seeing the finished version. :-)

20 January: Life On Mars series 2
Look what I just found on Amazon -- pre-order for series 2 in a boxed set by itself, or in a boxed set with series 1, for delivery April 9:

Life on Mars: Series 2 Life on Mars: Series 1 & 2 Complete Boxset
19 January: Life on Mars squee

I watched the final episode of series one today.

I will be ordering it from Amazon as soon as I'm awake enough to put together an Amazon order without having to enter the credit card number three times before getting it right.

18 January:

watervole has spent too much time on the keyboard today and can't type any more, but says thanks for the help, which has already got her thinking. :-)

18 January: Research question

watervole has a question, and probably has a better chance of getting an answer from my flist (no commentary as to why my flist is a more likely prospect, thank you:-).

I had an idea for a gay porn story, but I need to check out a few points first.

How common among gay men is the kind of fantasy that enjoys humiliation, maid service, etc?

Among het men, the pattern seems to be that it's the ones who are strong/powerful in real life who enjoy being able to relax by being a sub - I presume the same is true for gay men?

What is the 'cultural' reaction? Would it be realistic for a character who's a big tough bear to have a secret fantasy of being forced to cross-dress/be humiliated/told he's a slut and ordered to perform personal services?

If that's possible, is it also likely that he would want to keep it a secret from most of his gay friends?

I rather fancy a story with a queen ordering a bear around - there seems to be crochet in the background as well...

ETA: would a queen acting as a dom expect to be addressed as Master or Mistress?

18 January: SF Bay witers

tharain is asking if anyone's interested in doing a weekend writer's retreat in the SF Bay area sometime in the next year. Thread here: http://tharain.livejournal.com/210593.html

16 January: It's all about ME

Today I have discovered a brand new way to indulge in authorial "me, me, look at me!" behaviour. Never mind Amazon rankings, how many of you have checked to see if your book is on any Amazon wish lists? I stumbled into this purely by accident, I swear, although I'll admit I *was* ego-surfing on Google at the time. It seems there are several people out there who have added The Syndicate to their wish lists...

Speaking of Amazon rankings, it reached the giddy heights of 22,000 or thereabouts on the US site yesterday. And a copy or two sold on the UK site as well. Maybe the pimping session on a mailing list last week did some good, or maybe it's coincidence. Nevertheless, I continue to follow the general advice of rasfc -- the best promotional tool is Writing The Next Book.

Other signs it's slowly getting out there -- not only is there someone not personally known to me who is listing it in their LibraryThing catalogue, there are people putting it on their swaps wanted lists on at least one of the bookswap websites. And speaking of LibraryThing, I got a nice warm fuzzy glow when I checked my author profile page and found that someone had added one of my books that isn't even out yet, complete with "want" tag.

16 January: Make Money Fast

I have just received a genuine, honest-to-god, in-the-wild, Make Money Fast spam at my gmail address. It's years since I last saw one of those. They've been updated -- this one is using Paypal to receive the money. What's the betting that the spammer owns all five of the Yahoo email addresses on the "send money to the name at the top, cross it off, and add your name to the bottom" list?

16 January:

watervole and I have been LJ-deprived, because it was not accessible from Chez Waveney and it took a while to realise that it was an internal LAN issue rather than Yet Another LJ Outage. waveney has rebooted the DSL, and we can see LJ again...

Turned in the second draft of Dolphin Dreams to my editor on Sunday night, so I am temporarily free of deadlines. Only temporarily, because she said in her reply that she'll have her edits on Lord and Master to me this week. This is the tycoon/secretary contemporary romance that grew out of the short story published by Clean Sheets last year. It's going to be released first, as it's got a specific theme release date so takes priority in the editing. Unfortunately it doesn't have either cover art or an entry in the Loose Id catalogue yet, which is causing a certain amount of confusion to readers when I mention it. I should probably take this as a sign to Do Something about my own website, starting with putting up a draft page for the book.

I sent a last minute submission to [redacted]'s slash with the serial numbers filed off" anthology on Sunday night. I would have mentioned it at the time in case anyone else was interested in submitting, but this was how I discovered that LJ was invisible to this LAN...

14 January: Sex and Shopping

There have been no word count reports, because I have been revising rather than composing. I finished the revision work on Dolphin Dreams and sent it off to my editor this afternoon. It will doubtless need still more work done on it, but the next bit of writing work is likely to be looking at her edits on Lord and Master. It's either that or I start work on the next book in the Buildup series.

I have not been working on books all the time. Far from it...

dougs came over on Friday and took watervole, predatrix and self into Bournemouth for a day's shopping and gossip. As noted in dougs's LJ, we started by frightening the mundanes in the Waterstones cafe, and the conversation went downhill from there.

Much shopping happened, both window and otherwise. Bookshops featured... Interesting to see that Borders had a massive sf/fantasy section, with a lot of import books (including the Tor paperbacks of 1 and 2 of The Family Trade). Oddly, they had the Coldfire trilogy in both the new Orbit trade paperback edition, and in the Daw import edition. I promptly pimped it at watervole.

Clothes shopping also happened. I amused at least two sales clerks with my habit of visiting certain shops regularly every Christmas trip home to the UK to pick up the sort of clothes they stock. (Marks & Spencer, and Uptown Girl, just in case anyone was thinking along more exotic lines.)

And then we went to the sex shops. Both of them, although Clone Zone is the one that gets a name check in Dolphin Dreams, and is thus the one that provides me with an excuse to claim the outing as research. It is such fun to be able to put down visiting a sex shop as a tax-deductible expense, and do so quite honestly. :->

We must have been almost shopped out, because on Saturday watervole and I went into Poole to put predatrix on the train home, and only did an hour or so's shopping afterwards -- and that was mostly planned shopping that hadn't happened the day before owing to lack of time. A related bra thread may appear on afp in due course. We got home by lunchtime, and were good and worked on writing for much of the afternoon. Deadlines are wonderful for concentrating the mind...

10 January: Life on Mars and migraine whine

Saw the first episode of Life On Mars, and enjoyed it greatly in spite of the way that a) the bouncy camera work in one scene, b) the interference patterns on watervole's tv were confirming that those *were* incipient migraine symptoms and I was quite right to take the codeine this afternoon.

Think I'll go and take some more now. And make a note to buy a pack of Syndol to take back to the US with me, because it's clear that I can now add migraine to the list of chronic reasons to be unenamoured of US policy on opiates. I wanna move back to a civilised country...

9 January: Dorset

predatrix and I are at watervole's for the next few days.

desperance, the book parcel arrived safely, thanks. :-) And yes, the clingfilm does seem to have stopped the corners

8 January: Torchwood squee

So we watched "Out Of Time", and then "Captain Jack Harkness", and then couldn't stop and did "End of Days" as well.

My reaction to "Captain Jack Harkness" can be summarised as follows:


[fx: runs round Dibley]


8 January: Still more Torchwood

Have now watched Cyberwoman, Small Worlds, and They Keep Killing Suzie -- unfortunately predatrix's Toppy ate the last minute or so of Suzie, so I saw the resolution of the main plot but I missed the slashy bit at the end that everyone's been banging on about. I saw Random Shoes before Christmas, so on to Out of Time this evening. predatrix has been muttering about skipping that and watching 12 and 13, which she still hasn't seen, but I gather that Out of Time is one that ideally should be watched in order.

watervole, have you still got 12 and 13 on the Tivo?

And yes, I will be buying the DVD when the boxed set comes out. I like this series, and not _just_ because I am shallow and it has pretty boys kissing.

7 January: More Torchwood

So I skipped episode 2, and watched episode 3 at lunch, which is The One With Gareth In. Quite apart from my usual drooling fangirl "it's got Gareth in, of course it's good" tendencies, I liked it. In fact, I'd have liked it even without the ever-so-subtle fanservice scene in the shooting gallery. It's got my favourite actor, and it's got pretty boys, and it's even got an entertaining story (I'll do without "plausible" so long as it's entertaining). All in one episode. If there are a few decent episodes I can live with the occasional rubbish one. As Chris Boucher said at a panel some years back, with the time pressure on making a series you'll always get one or two dud episodes each season.

5 January: Torchwood

predatrix has the entire run of Torchwood on her digital recorder, just for me. Finally watched the opening episode. So now I know why there were all those wet knickers across LJ when Captain Jack appeared...

4 January:

autopope might like to note that amazon.com has just chosen to pimp Missile Gap at me in its latest "based on what you say you've read, we think you'd like to know about..." email.

2 January: Pretty pictures

predatrix and I went to London today to go to the Velaquez exhibition at the National gallery: http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/exhibitions/velazquez/default.htm

It was very, very good, but I'm exhausted (and didn't drink enough liquid, so am getting a mild dehydration headache). Not even a case of having to get up early for the train, because we didn't -- just too big a crowd in the exhibition rooms, and not enough water during the day. However, I was not too exhausted to enjoy the eye candy in the Underground. It seems that one of the side-effects of writing that contemporary romance is a temporary fetish for good-looking men in business suits...

1 January: Happy New Year!!!

*Spectacular* fireworks in Ipswich...

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