Once More Unto the Breach


ROW80Even I contemplated a reasonable Camp NaNo win, my mind was on the many unfinished projects clogging up my hard drive, not least the ever-problematic GENESIS DUSK.

I want this novel done. I need this novel done. I’ve managed to come up with a solution that I believe solves one of my major plot holes – namely how to get Ella and Corin from the planet to the space station – but this does involve a massive cut of scenes. My outline now has large Xs over whole paragraphs, and I feel like I’m bleeding words. I’ve not added them up. I think I’d be too disheartened if I did that.

And yet, I now feel I’m starting to win the battle. I am bloodied and bruised, but turning the tide. Hence the post title and the picture of Henry V. Any murmurs that it was merely an excuse to slap up a photo of Tom Hiddleston should be ignored as gossip. Absolutely. ;)

However, the war against the novel is not over yet. I’m signing up to A Round Of Words in the hope that some support will see me through. The rounds are for 80 days each. It’s 44 days until my birthday. My lofty aim is to have a single, workable draft by 11th September.

So my ROW80 goals are very simple:

  • to finish the scene on Parcae
  • to write the scenes where Corin takes command, and
  • to go through the outline and fill out the half-finished scenes

Encouragement would be greatly appreciated. :)

Three Years On

Ironhaven-200x300Three years ago today, my novella IRONHAVEN was released into the wild. As my contract was for three years, it should start disappearing from sites soon. I have mixed feelings about this.

It was my first release, the first story I finished that wasn’t fanfic. Its release took me from aspiring author to a published one. And yes, the learning curve that occurred over the following days was damned steep, but I hardened up and took on board some of the criticisms it got. I also reveled in the good reviews.

IRONHAVEN was not a perfect book. Now its rights have returned to me, I’m going to rewrite it, get a developmental editor to check it, and make it better. Then I’m going to write the other two books in the series. They aren’t sequels in the usual fashion, but rather related stories set in the same ‘verse.

My plan is to have all three done and edited, then to self-publish them about six months apart. I’ve no idea when that will be, since the other two aren’t written and I’m still working on Draft Bazillion of GENESIS DUSK, but they’ll happen eventually.

Just don’t hold your breath. ;)


Chicken Summer Salsa

With Great Britain in the middle of a heatwave (according to the news channels – to be honest, I think it’s just summer), I’ve not felt like slaving over a hot oven. Going out to the supermarket with no plan, I had to dream up a dinner that suited the weather. What I ended up with, I’ve named “Chicken Summer Salsa”.

Ingredients (mine served 7)

  • 1kg fresh chicken breasts
  • 500g coconut yoghurt
  • Korma paste
  • 1 tin of sliced mangos
  • 3 tomatoes
  • Half a cucumber
  • Three Citrus Dressing (lemon, lime and orange juice with a dash of black pepper if you can’t find this)
  • Feta cheese
  • Mint


  1. Mix a tablespoon (or more) of Korma paste and the coconut yogurt in a bowl.
  2. Dice chicken into a oven-proof dish, cover with roughly a third of the mix.
  3. Leave chicken to marinade (mine was in the fridge for about two hours).
  4. Cook chicken for 10-15 minutes at 200ºC.
  5. Chop tomatoes, cucumber and mango into small pieces, and place in any large bowl. Place the mango syrup into the yogurt mix.
  6. Add two tablespoons of the citrus and one of the mix to the salsa and stir. I also diced a little red onion at this point and added that.
  7. When the chicken is cooked through, remove from the oven and allow to cool.
  8. Stir in the salsa and chill until ready to serve.
  9. Just before serving, chop in mint to taste and stir.
  10. Serve over rice. Add feta to taste and then pour a small amount of the remaining yogurt mixture.

Sadly, I was too hungry to snap a photograph. Next time!

The Deepest Ocean by Marian Perera

DeepestOceanLove as strong as the tide. Betrayal as cruel as an undertow.

Moments before he sets sail into pirate waters to rescue prisoners, Captain Darok Juell receives additional orders—to take a mysterious woman on board who will help him in his mission.

When she arrives, she is unlike any woman he has ever seen. A cold, controlled operative of Seawatch, Yerena Fin Caller wields an iron hand over her emotions, and an almost magical control over a great white shark.

On the surface, her orders are simple: use her shark to guide Darok through dangerous waters, attack any pirates who interfere. Her emotions must remain under lock and key, lest they travel along her delicate connection with the finned killing machine below.

As she and Darok navigate the Strait of Mists into the Iron Ocean—and evade a killer-whale-controlling traitor—Darok’s generosity and warmth coax Yerena to give in to desire. But they have no future together. Especially if Darok’s legendary recklessness forces her to obey a secret order to send his ship to the bottom of the sea…

Product warning : Contains naval battles, a shark that enjoys winning races, a woman who can control the shark—sometimes, the captain who wants her in his bunk, and hot sex on the high seas.

Available from Samhain Publishing

Advice on Writing Advice

People have opinions on three things: politics, religion, and how to write. And usually, they’re very… ah, generous, with offering those opinions, whether you want to hear them or not.

Yesterday I followed a link to an article of writing advice. It warned of the dangers of disembodied body parts. Now, “Her eyes followed him about the room” is a clumsy sentence, but does anyone actually read that and think her eyes have jumped out of her head and are following the guy like a puppy? I very much doubt it.

The advice recommended making sure parts are attached at all times. I disagree with this. Not only would writing out such sentences be wordy, it would make that writing stilted. Worse, it assumes the reader is stupid enough to require everything being spelled out for them.

Of course, there are better ways of writing that sentence. Ways of showing what’s caught the character’s attention, what she’s feeling, and deepening the prose to pull the reader in. I’m not going to provide an example. My only advice on it is to remember that you have five senses. Evoke them.

Really there is no writing advice that makes you a better writer. The only way that happens is by writing and being edited. If I were to quote any writing advice, it would be this: