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91
Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / No Dogs Allowed
« on: August 24, 2015, 09:31:47 PM »
In case anyone hasn't seen it there is an excellent Hugo's debrief by Eric Christensen on the front page. It is very well written and a great example of what journalism should be.

93
Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Look what just arrived
« on: August 08, 2015, 01:28:49 PM »


An uncorrected proof for half a war. A few days too late to get signed at fantasy in the court but a good reason to go to the Gollanz festival. I won this on good reads. They had 40 to give away and only 436 entered the draw.

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Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Fantasy in the Court
« on: August 07, 2015, 11:42:18 PM »


I went along to this really not knowing what to expect having never attended an event by Goldsboro books, who specialise in signed first and limited editions or even heard of http://hodderscape.co.uk/.

This event was ticketed at £5 and there is a stern warning that they are limiting you to two books (per author?) as authors are there to sign books sold by Goldsboro books. Hmm OK, good thing I got my rucksack full of books signed at the grim gathering. You would need a sack truck for the 84 books you theoretically could have taken anyway.

The first thing I forgot was the tube strike and had to make a journey out to Old Windsor and impose myself on my sister to get a train from Datchet to Waterloo and have a fighting chance of being able to get back out of London if not home. So much for forward planning. A short walk across Waterloo bridge and down the strand got me there in plenty of time and I got to stand around ignoring the other lurkers obviously waiting for things to start. Many of these turned out to be authors. At 17:50 the group coalescing outside the front door decided to go for food taking a number of recognisable faces away leaving the court pretty empty again.



I have travelled a long way for a signing and the authors had legged it. So the naturally being outside a bookshop I was soon browsing the stock.



What you see is pretty much what they had. If there was a circle on the cover it was being sold a long way above RRP and was probably a signed, numbered copy. Having heeded the warning above I had intended to buy books there and get them signed. For several authors they had no stock at all and several others only pre-signed stock. So the authors had run away and the bookshop hadn't the books I was looking to get signed. Heart sinking I went back to lurking outside. At 18:30 I broke London rules and made eye contact and spoke to a stranger. Nobody got murdered, screamed or had to flee the scene, in fact we started a conversation and Jeanie turned out to be a veteran of these events and offered sage advice. Bring your books with you and grab the author and get them to sign first chance you get or they get lost in the crowd.
She was waiting on Sue Tingey and Laurell K Hamilton.
They were running a free  bar in the shop from 18:00-21:00 beer, wine or water all gratefully received as it was a warm evening with a lot of standing around.
As more authors had arrived I started book buying and collared a now fed Joe Abercrombie to sign a copy of Half a War for my daughter and one for myself.  I had intended picking up books by Sarah Lotz, Lucy Hounsom, Snorri Kristjanson and Francis knight. So I saved a lot of money. I did consider diving down to Waterstones but figured I would wait for another occasion.



It got a lot busier as people made their way in despite the tube strike and livelier as the wine flowed. I got to meet both Julia Knight and Jennifer Williams from here so that was pretty cool.
The second and third things I forgot were to bring my copies of The copper promise and Iron Ghost to get signed and I am mortified I forgot to wish Jen the luck for her best newcomer nomination in the BFS awards. Usually It's the stupid things things I say which leave me feeling like that not what I omit.
Jen was kind enough to sign the cover reveal and first chapter for The silver Tide due to be released in February16.
Marcus from Gollanz told me about the October events and found Aliette de Bodard for me to sign my copy of her book.



So my haul was light, but overall It was a fun evening. Had I have known what to expect, pretty much a social event with authors, booksellers and alcohol instead of a regimented signing. I would have been better prepared. I will certainly consider next years event as after a slow start It became a very pleasant evening.






95
Upcoming Conventions & Book Releases / Fantasy in the court
« on: July 20, 2015, 09:38:23 PM »
http://fantasyinthecourt.com/index.html

Anyone attending? Seriously thinking about it but I think it could lead to a scary amount of book buying hotel + trains for 3 hours on a Thursday.


96
Writers' Corner / Annoying Reading
« on: June 30, 2015, 07:00:27 PM »
I am sure someone has done this before but what causes the in drawn breath, the clenching of teeth, the sigh, eye rolling or just giving up on the book down and not picking it back up.

I really get wound up by strange noises described by arrows hitting well just about anything, but what really annoys me are descriptions of characters drawing swords from back scabbards. this is unforgivable to my mind unless the sword is actually a large knife it doesn't work. Looks cool in artwork, and a great way of carrying a sword you are not going to use but useless if your life depends on it. Yet it is the stock cliché in every sword and sorcery type fantasy.

 Take a deep breath and think about it before committing to paper the physical impossibility you are describing.
Still don't believe me take a broom handle outside. (Do not try this indoors folks unless you have 4 meter  ceilings) place the finger and thumb of your left hand in a circle around the handle and draw it through them with the right. How far can you get and did you just hit yourself in the ear?

I know this is silly but the sometimes the detail can destroy a good story.

97
Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / The Liar's key (No Spoilers)
« on: June 28, 2015, 04:03:54 PM »
I am sad, glum and disinclined to pick up anything else to read having finished the book this morning. I have been here before. A book I have been looking forward to arrives, is read and carries the story backwards and leaves me on tenterhooks. Ah yes it's the middle of the trilogy blues and now I wait a year to find out what happens next. So unsurprisingly it works and left me wanting more.
The book is not perfect there are a couple of changes of direction that grate ever so briefly, but that feeling passes in a page or so.
Due to my muddling the order of Marks books Emperor of Thorns is the last book I read in the Shattered Empire series and the writing is concise and flowing in much the same way as the story is told in that book. The scene is set, the story told and no words are wasted.
The story itself fills in gaps and we learn more about Jalan childhood, and the influences that shaped him, his father, grandmother and great aunt and uncle. It is interesting stuff but not the story I was expecting, which I guess is what a good author does.
I am guessing this is in a lot of peoples TBR piles or has been read by now I doubt you will be disappointed but it may not be what you are expecting.

98
General Discussion / Audio Books
« on: June 16, 2015, 06:09:40 PM »
From Aunt Flavia's post here http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/fantasy-book-discussion/best-selling-female-authors/ I got thinking about audiobooks and what is in the public domain below is a list of sites offering up titles. The ones at the top are free, those further down commercial sites offering newer books. there seem to be a lot out there and some sites are charging for what others give for free. These are not specifically any genre but there will be SFF among them.

http://www.openculture.com/freeaudiobooks

http://www.loyalbooks.com/

http://www.audiobooks.org/

https://librivox.org/

http://www.techsupportalert.com/free-books-audio

http://www.audible.co.uk/

http://www.allyoucanbooks.com/?gclid=CMS4wejWlMYCFYMDaQodiUsAwQ

99
Links, Competitions and 'Stuff' / Writing competitions
« on: June 07, 2015, 11:25:33 AM »
Fell over this list of cometitions I have no idea if its valid or not and would advise that if you choose to submit you do your own checking.

http://www.writersviews.com/writing-contests.php


100
Writers' Corner / 15th Century Cannon (Writers Resource...maybe?)
« on: May 22, 2015, 08:13:58 PM »
 I found some photos of Belle whom I had a hand in Making the barrel of and thought I would share with you.
This is an iron barrelled breech loading heavy field piece from around 1450.
The barrel is made by laying iron rods around a wooden former and then heating and shrink fitting iron rings over the rods. Two layers of rings are placed over the rods and the seams where they butt to the next ring on the first set are the centre point for the next ring to be fitted. The construction is similar to a coopers barrel, hence the name.

Spoiler for Hiden:

Spoiler for Hiden:

Sadly the breech on the second photo is obscured by the wheels. In a muzzle loader everything goes down the end you don't want to be stood in front of when its fired. In a breech loader the barrel is a tube open at both ends and a pot like an oversized tankard is loaded with powder, wadding and shot then inserted into the back of the barrel and secured by a lip on the pot and with a wedge behind it to make it tight to the carriage.

A breech loader is less efficient than a muzzle loader. Shot wont hit as hard or travel as far, but if you have several pots you can shoot it much faster by having all your pots loaded and as one is fired the next is mounted to the gun and the spent pot is swabbed and reloaded. If you have 5 or 6 pots you can keep up a continuous barrage until you run out of powder or the cannon barrel gets too hot to use.

The carriage is made of green oak this will shape and twist with the shock of firing without splitting as seasoned oak would. The wheels and axle are elm with ash spokes and have iron tyres heatshrunk on.

The ammunition used would be iron balls rolled in lead, stone balls or wooden cannisters filled with flint.



101
General Discussion / Amazon Prime
« on: May 14, 2015, 05:53:46 PM »
I took up a years subscription to this service just before Christmas. I don't have a telly (yes one of those strange 5% who can live happily without) and use it to catch up with the likes of Black Sails, Vikings and a lot of films that slip under the radar or I miss on DVD release. If I get round to watching all of Red Dwarf it has paid for itself.
I figure I can justify the cost by not buying a lot of what I would spend on DVD's and simply watching it on Prime. I have noticed my book buying habits are changing as I get free next day shipping or 3-5 days free shipping and 99p off digital music, film or books on Kindle. Everything shipped has been 3-5 days (usually 2) and the credit spent so far on Ebooks, usually ones on offer reduced to 99p or work by new (to me) authors. I am sure Waterstones is suffering as a result, but I am getting more for my money and building up a kindle library to boot.

102
About the book

Taking place nearly a century before the events of A Game of Thrones, A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms compiles the first three official prequel novellas to George R. R. Martin’s ongoing masterwork, A Song of Ice and Fire. These never-before-collected adventures recount an age when the Targaryen line still holds the Iron Throne, and the memory of the last dragon has not yet passed from living consciousness.

Illustrated by the amazing Gary Gianni who is known for his work on PRINCE VALIANT,  the Wandering Star limited editions of SOLOMON KANE and BRAN MAK MORN, and of course for his stunning 2014 ICE & FIRE calendar.

103
No Cover, no blurb yet but 320 pages I am looking forward to reading.

105
General Discussion / Ereaders vs books
« on: April 17, 2015, 01:42:31 PM »
While I am no great fan of reading on tablet I know how useful it can be to have a technical library and the wisdom of the internet at your fingertips. When I read for fun I prefer books. I spend all day in front of a screen and I grew up before computers were so ubiquitous. I love the smell of bookshops and libraries and I like how tactile books are in comparison. I don't know if this is due to my age or what I have grown used to but I just don't enjoy books on a tablet as much. Am I alone in this?

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