Thursday, January 31, 2013

Review and Interview: Tim Lebbon's "London Eye"

Both my review of  "London Eye" by Tim Lebbon and his interview are up at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer's Chat!

The Review begins:

London Eye is the first book in the Toxic City series by Tim Lebbon, set in near-future England after London has been cordoned off to contain Evolve, a virus that kills most of its victims and permanently changes its survivors. The government sets up a special forces group called the Choppers to reinforce London’s isolation, but now one of the survivors, Rosemary, has escaped and wants to bring Jack and his friends into the city. Rosemary’s motives are a mystery to Jack, but she has brought a recent photo of Jack’s mother, and the draw of lost family makes up his mind for him – even though Jack must take his younger sister, Emily, along on this insane adventure, because leaving her alone in heavily policed England might be even more dangerous...

The Interview:

TIM LEBBON is a New York Times-bestselling writer from South Wales. He’s had almost thirty novels published to date, as well as dozens of novellas and hundreds of short stories. His most recent releases include Coldbrook from Arrow/Hammer, London Eye (book one of the Toxic City trilogy) from Pyr in the USA, Nothing as it Seems from PS Publishing, and The Heretic Land from Orbit. Future novels include Into the Void: Dawn of the Jedi (Star Wars) from Del Rey/Star Wars Books, and The Silence. He has won four British Fantasy Awards, a Bram Stoker Award, and a Scribe Award, and has been a finalist for International Horror Guild, Shirley Jackson, and World Fantasy Awards. 20th Century Fox acquired film rights to The Secret Journeys of Jack London series, and a TV series of his Toxic City trilogy is in development with ABC Network in the USA. Find out more about Tim at his website

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Review: BCS Jan '13 AND Interview: Allen M. Steele

Beneath Ceaseless Skies has two great stories for their January 2013 issue. Read my review at Tangent Online, here.

Allen M. Steele, author of Apollo's Outcasts (review here), has an interview with me up here at SFFWRTCHT. Thanks, Mr. Steele!

I have another review for a YA novel mostly done that's been sitting on my plate. Stay tuned!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Friday Flash: The Cowardly Firemage

I burned her.

Oh, God. What is wrong with me? All those practice drills and I still char the first girl who kisses me.

The worst part is? I ran. Now I am waiting in a parking lot, wondering how I'm going to explain to Mom that I ruined our lives.

I know what she'll say first. Is she dead? I don't know. I bolted with the afterimage of flame still burning my retina. Abandoned her, just like that, in the deserted school hallway.

I'll say this as I'm getting in the car, and then Mom will jam her foot on the gas pedal, and I'll scream: have you no heart? But it's my fault, too, because I know she doesn't and still I'm standing here in the shadow of the janitor's exit, waiting for her like she's a chariot sent from heaven.

There should be an ambulance by now. She screamed right as we were blinded by the flash. I thought she screamed my name but all I really remember is my own pounding feet. I didn't see the damage, but I can imagine. If she lives, she'll need skin grafts.

I hold my breath to keep the guilt down, to keep my hands shoved in my pockets and my eyes on the road. I hear squealing tires and I see the black Toyota a block down. Hi, Mom. Sorry, Mom. I can't keep still any longer. I guess I have a heart because the foolish thing is pushing open the exit and pushing words out -


Friday, January 11, 2013

Short Story Editing!

You can tell by the title what I'm most proud of this week. Not only did I cut a recent short story down to the bone, but I did it in a solid two hour block. I'd already done several editing passes over a month ago and I find that the "last" edit goes best if I devote a lot of time all at once and feel like I'm dying at the end of it. Seeing the same words so many times makes me feel less attached to them and leaves me able to "kill my darlings". Then I finally send it off to beta readers. I wonder if this strikes a cord with other writers?

A serious editing session like that leaves me feeling overextended and I have to do something else the next night. And that's only a 5k story. It pains me to fathom how novelists do it.

To follow up, I've been researching markets for this story and ran a 3k one through the ringer while I still had the drive. Now I need to switch to review mode again. I've just read a lovely futuristic YA novel, "Earth Girl" by Janet Edwards, although the review likely won't be coming out until February or March. I'll also be reviewing a few scifi/fantasy magazines this month.

PS. My review for FWOS also came out this week! It's the first in a self-published, Science Fantasy series.

PPS. And somewhere in between all that, I have 10 days left to get an audio recording of a short story out to a podcast! Yay!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Review: “Four Winds, One Storm: "The Bone Brick City” by Aaron Hollingsworth

My review for the YA Report came out today!

If you are interested in self-published fiction, then you have an extra reason to check out FWOS. I actually did not know that it was self-published until after I'd read it and written most of the review:

“Four Winds, One Storm: The Bone Brick City” by Aaron Hollingsworth is the first in an epic Science Fantasy series following an unlikely band of crime fighters. In this first installment, our heroes come up against the Mystic Mafia, a mysterious organization that has blinded and robbed several citizens in a seemingly random pattern. I’m here to convince you that you’ll love the humorous tone, the action-packed plot, and the fascinating setting.

Read the rest of my in depth review here:

Friday, January 4, 2013

Flash Friday: The Moment of Free Will

I followed her gleaming turquoise scales out of the goat pen and into the maze of hay bales. Of course she noticed. I wasn't trying for stealth, as I'm not too keen on being gored.

She came to a stop in the dead center of the field, where we were well hidden from the pens but still had sufficient room for take off. Her tail pressed down to the ground and her shoulders pulled in tight under the high arch of her neck. Her tension reminded me, unfortunately, of a time I saw her human raise a whip against my bonded. I let her get the first words in, hoping that they might convince me to abandon my self-appointed mission. Her voice vibrates with impatience. "Why do I have the feeling that my opinion of you is about to lower?"

"You're probably right. If I had something smart to say, I'd save it for lecture." Jara is always rolling her eyes at what I say in lecture. Now her jaw set in a grim line. I should turn away, but I can't imagine her not being there tomorrow to dominate the discussion with her pith observations. And then to hear the whispers as the others try to guess what has gone wrong down below, because it's too impolite to ask about the humans. I'll know, and I won't be able to keep my mouth shut, and her ghost will hiss at me from beyond the soul shield for my shame. "Down to business, then. Your human lives in sector three. I know because mine does, too, and they've met." She growled and stepped closer, emphasizing her advantage in height. "They're about to get themselves killed, Jana! I came to ask if you had any influence."

Her nostrils flared as she glared down at me. "You mean, will I influence it in your favor? Save your human?"

My breath began to smell of sulfur, but I focused on the warning I had come to give. The truth behind my anguish wouldn't have impressed her proud, isolationist soul. "If your human is Sertry Galath, please warn her that a boy named Chou plans to stab her tonight." It's the words I'd recited that morning, flawless and in their entirety.

I had thought that I would stand to face her questions after that, to make sure that she believed me, and to give it a go for my pride. Instead, I turned back as fast as the small space will allow me. I didn't want to see her reaction. It's my own human I've betrayed, and I risk my own life, bound up in his. I shouldn't have to convince someone else to kill him.

It's not fair that Sertry has beaten Chou's reason out of him. It's not right that she should be so cruel and have such power over him, while Jara is like a sculpture of the ancients, an embodiment of all the ideals we each strive for in vain. Me, I can't be impartial. I've begged him to abandon his plan, but he has brought the knife and now I watch and wait for that final moment of decision.

Perhaps the look on Jara's face was disbelief.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The New Year is kinda Bumpy

I started writing every night again beginning last weekend. Unfortunately I have already hit a night that was a bust (last night). We all still have the crud and our one year old can perform an amazing trick where he stands up in his crib with his eyes closed but still cries when I leave the room. With stubbornness like that, he's going to win at life in the future.

I strive to show the same kind of tenacity. That doesn't necessarily mean by writing every night. Sometimes you have to cash in a night of rest in order to get the productive week that follows. But a stubborn writer might do something crazy like read an ARC in less than 24 hrs as she waits for her voice to return, or brainstorm an epic fantasy series while staring at the stubborn baby until he falls asleep.

30 rough scene summaries so far. That's probably only half of what I'll end up with. Carry on, stubborn baby. Carry on.