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Re: David Gemmell I don't think you can really go wrong with Gemmell books, though some are definately better than others. Even when he covers the same themes and types of character (the flawed bad guy still with an ember of goodness inside) in a formulaic way it still somehow seems fresh and interesting (formula done well I guess). His worldbuilding never gets in the way of the plot and pace as it does in other writers' novels.

1)I really enjoyed most of Gemmell's novels, though it's been a while since I read them. Some bits really punch you with feels to the guts, and he does those well.

2)Whatever order you like, mostly, as they work as standalones.
Here is a link to the novels in chronological order for their settings rather than by publication date:

I think my highlights were Legend, Knights of Dark Renown and Echoes of the Great Song.

May 20, 2015, 10:03:47 AM
Re: Adventures in Writing Well an agent enjoyed my novel partial (3 chapters) and requested I send in the full manuscript.
*watches email for next few weeks/months* *refreshes* *sighs*

May 29, 2015, 03:04:42 PM
Re: Adventures in Writing I admit I was like, YES! - It's not total crap! :D Ah well, fingers crossed!

In other news, Victoria Schwab (Author of A Darker Shade of Magic, Vicious etc)?posted something interesting, a glimpse at what goes into making a book: https://twitter.com/veschwab/status/605388704895504385

Yes, that is track changes in Word, and this is only a small section of a novel. That's a lot of changes!

June 02, 2015, 10:15:47 AM
Free Fiction Magazines Hello folks,

Thought it would be worth posting a list of online magazines/sites that publish decent fantasy/scifi/horror stories that you might enjoy. Free fiction! It's so good that so many great stories are available for free :D

That said, if you enjoy the free fiction on offer perhaps some of you might find magazines you really enjoy (enough to take out some subscriptions or offer donations). Even if you can't afford to pay, authors and magazines would be very happy indeed if you choose to tweet/blog/post/review about the stories or magazines you enjoy.

This is far from a complete list, and if you find any others offering quality free fiction then let me know and I will add them on.

Abyss and Apex - http://www.abyssapexzine.com/
Apex - http://www.apex-magazine.com/
Beneath Ceaseless Skies - http://www.beneath-ceaseless-skies.com/
Betwixt - http://betwixtmagazine.com/
Buzzymag - http://buzzymag.com
Clarkesworld - http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/
Crossed Genres - http://crossedgenres.com/
Crowded Magazine - http://www.crowdedmagazine.com/
Daily Science Fiction - http://dailysciencefiction.com/
Fantastic Stories of the Imagination - http://www.fantasticstoriesoftheimagination.com/
Fantasy - http://www.fantasy-magazine.com/
Fantasy Scroll - http://fantasyscrollmag.com/
Heroic Fantasy Quarterly - http://www.heroicfantasyquarterly.com/
Holdfast - http://www.holdfastmagazine.com/
Ideomancer - http://www.ideomancer.com/
Lightspeed - http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/
Nightmare - http://www.nightmare-magazine.com/
Pseudopod (horror fiction podcasts) - http://pseudopod.org/
Shimmer - http://www.shimmerzine.com/
Strange Horizons - http://www.strangehorizons.com/
Stupefying Stories Showcase - http://stupefyingstoriesshowcase.com/
Swords and Sorcery Magazine - http://www.swordsandsorcerymagazine.com/
The Colored Lens - http://thecoloredlens.com/
The Dark - http://thedarkmagazine.com/
The Lovecraft eZine - http://lovecraftzine.com
Tor - http://www.tor.com
Three-Lobed Burning Eye - http://www.3lobedmag.com/
Uncanny - http://uncannymagazine.com/

June 03, 2015, 11:16:25 AM
How to Write a Sentence & Paragraph A lot of writing blogs and advice are around character, story, plot or pace but very rarely do I find advice on how to produce actual functional prose, the nuts & bolts of taking a sentence or paragraph apart so that it says exactly what you want, and in a better way.

So I thought I would link you to Hal Duncan's blog posts on writing *warning, contains swearing and that sort of thing*:

How to Write a Sentence - http://notesfromthegeekshow.blogspot.co.uk/2012/02/how-to-write-sentence.html
How to Write a Paragraph - http://notesfromthegeekshow.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/how-to-write-paragraph.html

There is a lot of other good advice in the Learn>Writing 101 menu section.

Also, Chuck Wendig posts a lot of good writing advice on his blog if you want to check it out, and he is hellova funny - http://terribleminds.com/ramble/blog/

June 04, 2015, 10:43:55 AM
Re: -ly and Needless Word: Word Macros. Experience? I agree with Raptori about things like advancing slowly, as it implies a cautious advance. Perfectly useful.

Take this quick example:

Gurt slowly walked over to the desk. "You owe me," he said angrily.
The banker carefully swept  his coin into the drawer, quickly locking it. "I have no idea what you mean," he said shakily.
Gurt hit his fist forcefully off the desk. "Oh yes you do," he said loudly.

See, the way I see it, Gurt's lines are flavourless crap mostly due to overuse of -ly words. The 2nd line works just fine for me though, as carefully and quickly both add connotations to his actions, so it depends how they are used, or not over-used as the case may be.
"He said angrily" is just poor - is he blazing mad, or is he cold and clipped and deathly angry, is he growling threateningly, shouting it, spitting the words into his face... Angrily shows us none of that, just tells us he is angry.

This is much better:

Gurt strode to the desk. "You owe me," he growled. 
The banker carefully swept  his coin into the drawer, quickly locking it. "I have no idea what you mean," he said shakily.
Gurt's fist pounded the desk. "Oh yes you do," he hissed.

(but personally I'd remove 'he growled' and 'he hissed' too)

July 03, 2015, 03:32:35 PM
Re: -ly and Needless Word: Word Macros. Experience?
he advanced slowly, making long circles around his prey

he painstakingly carved it in this hardwood

Both are perfectly decent uses of -ly words. They show you something is done is a very particular way. Slowly implies a cautious advance, and painstakingly implies a long, grueling process of carving it in. Sometimes there are no better, more concise words for what you want to convey. Or it might just sound better.

Things like, "he walked slowly along the trail" may be fine, or more concise words might be preferable. He ambled tells us the character walks slowly but shows us the character is also relaxed and sightseeing almost, and in less words too.
'He moved quickly to grab' - if we replace with 'he leapt for', 'he dived for', 'he darted for' and it shows us HOW he moves quickly, not just tells us he moved quickly.

July 03, 2015, 04:07:40 PM
Re: Adventures in Writing So, the first agent I sent my novel off to got back to me about my novel. It's not a no (not exactly), but not a yes either. They suggested a number of changes to make it a stronger novel and then said they would be happy to take another look at it...
July 16, 2015, 10:55:30 AM
Re: New Series! This looks to offer lots of skulduggery and I'm really looking forward to a series full of that :D
July 17, 2015, 04:13:56 PM
British Fantasy Awards 2015 Nominees These are the shortlists for the British Fantasy Awards 2015. I'm really pleased to see a lot of my personal choices made this list. *cough* Jen Williams @sennydreadful *cough*

Four nominees in each category were decided by the votes of BFS members and the attendees of FantasyCon 2014 and FantasyCon 2015. The exceptions are the collection and non-fiction categories, in which two items drawing for fourth place could not be separated and both were put through to the shortlist.

Up to two further nominees in each category were added by the juries as “egregious omissions” under the rules.

Best anthology
The Alchemy Press Book of Urban Mythic 2, ed. Jan Edwards and Jenny Barber (The Alchemy Press)
Horror Uncut: Tales of Social Insecurity and Economic Unease, ed. by Joel Lane and Tom Johnstone (Gray Friar Press)
Lightspeed: Women Destroy Science Fiction Special Issue, ed. Christie Yant (Lightspeed Magazine)
The Spectral Book of Horror Stories, ed. Mark Morris (Spectral Press)
Terror Tales of Wales, ed. Paul Finch (Gray Friar Press)

Best artist
Ben Baldwin
Vincent Chong
Les Edwards
Sarah Anne Langton
Karla Ortiz
Daniele Serra

Best collection
Black Gods Kiss, Lavie Tidhar (PS Publishing)
The Bright Day Is Done, Carole Johnstone (Gray Friar Press)
Gifts for the One Who Comes After, Helen Marshall (ChiZine Publications)
Nick Nightmare Investigates, Adrian Cole (The Alchemy Press and Airgedlámh Publications)
Scruffians! Stories of Better Sodomites, Hal Duncan (Lethe Press)

Best comic/graphic novel
Cemetery Girl, Charlaine Harris, Christopher Golden and Don Kramer (Jo Fletcher Books)
Grandville Noël, Bryan Talbot (Jonathan Cape)
Saga, Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (Image Comics)
Seconds, Bryan Lee O’Malley (SelfMadeHero)
Through the Woods, Emily Carroll (Margaret K. McElderry Books)
The Wicked + The Divine, Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie (Image Comics)

Best fantasy novel (the Robert Holdstock Award)
Breed, KT Davies (Fox Spirit Books)
City of Stairs, Robert Jackson Bennett (Jo Fletcher Books)
Cuckoo Song, Frances Hardinge (Macmillan Children’s Books)
A Man Lies Dreaming, Lavie Tidhar (Hodder & Stoughton)
The Moon King, Neil Williamson (NewCon Press)
The Relic Guild, Edward Cox (Gollancz)

Best film/television episode
Birdman: Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), Alejandro González Iñárritu (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
Black Mirror: White Christmas, Charlie Brooker (Channel 4)
Guardians of the Galaxy, James Gunn and Nicole Perlman (Marvel Studios)
Interstellar, Christopher Nolan and Jonathan Nolan (Paramount Pictures)
Under the Skin, Walter Campbell and Jonathan Glazer (Film4 et al)

Best horror novel (the August Derleth Award)
The End, Gary McMahon (NewCon Press)
The Girl With All the Gifts, M.R. Carey (Orbit)
The Last Plague, Rich Hawkins (Crowded Quarantine Publications)
No One Gets Out Alive, Adam Nevill (Macmillan)
Station Eleven, Emily St John Mandel (Knopf)
The Unquiet House, Alison Littlewood (Jo Fletcher Books)

Best independent press
The Alchemy Press (Peter Coleborn)
Fox Spirit Books (Adele Wearing)
NewCon Press (Ian Whates)
Spectral Press (Simon Marshall-Jones)

Best magazine/periodical
Black Static, ed. Andy Cox (TTA Press)
Holdfast Magazine, ed. Laurel Sills and Lucy Smee (Laurel Sills and Lucy Smee)
Interzone, ed. by Andy Cox (TTA Press)
Lightspeed, ed. John Joseph Adams (Lightspeed Magazine)
Sein und Werden, ed. Rachel Kendall (ISMs Press)

Best newcomer (the Sydney J. Bounds Award)
Edward Cox, for The Relic Guild (Gollancz)
Sarah Lotz, for The Three (Hodder & Stoughton)
Laura Mauro, for Ptichka (Horror Uncut: Tales of Social Insecurity and Economic Unease)
Den Patrick, for The Boy with the Porcelain Blade (Gollancz)
Jen Williams, for The Copper Promise (Headline)

Best non-fiction
D.F. Lewis Dreamcatcher Real-Time Reviews, D.F. Lewis (D.F. Lewis)
Ginger Nuts of Horror, ed. Jim McLeod (Jim McLeod)
Letters to Arkham: The Letters of Ramsey Campbell and August Derleth, 1961–1971, ed. S.T. Joshi (PS Publishing)
Rhapsody: Notes on Strange Fictions, Hal Duncan (Lethe Press)
Sibilant Fricative: Essays & Reviews, Adam Roberts (Steel Quill Books )
Touchstones: Essays on the Fantastic, John Howard (The Alchemy Press)
You Are the Hero: A History of Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks, Jonathan Green (Snowbooks)

Best novella
Cold Turkey, Carole Johnstone (TTA Press)
Drive, Mark West (Pendragon Press)
Newspaper Heart, Stephen Volk (The Spectral Book of Horror Stories)
Water For Drowning, Ray Cluley (This Is Horror)

Best short story
A Change of Heart, Gaie Sebold (Wicked Women)
The Girl on the Suicide Bridge, J.A. Mains (Beside the Seaside)
Ptichka, Laura Mauro (Horror Uncut: Tales of Social Insecurity and Economic Unease)
A Woman’s Place, Emma Newman (Two Hundred and Twenty-One Baker Streets)

The winners of these awards will now be decided by the previously announced juries, while the British Fantasy Society committee has the task of deciding the winner of the special award (the Karl Edward Wagner Award). The winners will be announced at the awards ceremony on Sunday, 25 October 2015, at FantasyCon 2015 in Nottingham

July 21, 2015, 09:34:06 AM