Category Articles and Opinions

Writing vs. Writing

April 18, 2013 Articles and Opinions

If you are wondering why I have not been writing for a while, it's because I have been writing. One of the odd ironies of writing is that the more time I spend writing books, then less time I have to write the blog or website pieces.Write the books to sell, or write the marketing to sell's a tough choice.I'm also now trying dictation software again on my PC. It's not very good, and normally I type faster and  more accurately, but I've burned my hand so unless I want to try and do everything with my off hand for a few weeks, it's a choice I need to make.New books coming out, will therefore depend on getting the software trained and useable. Sorry.

Read More

Behind Reviews: Part 2 Spoilers

March 6, 2013 Articles and Opinions

No SpoilersThis was going to be the third part of the review series but I'm moving it up to second.  Spoilers are a hot button issue among reviewers and authors. In case anyone is not familiar with spoilers, spoilers are reviews that give away the ending - e.g. revealing the murderer, how the cast get out of their fix, or vital plot twists - effectively spoiling the story for the reader. While some readers don't mind these, there are certain genres e.g. mystery, where they can damage a book's sales badly. The effect that spoilers can have on a book's sales can be shown by reviews where the reviewer states that they are deliberately giving spoilers to make sure no one buys the book. However a review with a spoiler in it does not need to be negative, for example an enthusiastic fan of an earthquake

Read More

Blog Integration

February 28, 2013 Articles and OpinionsNews

After finding a theme I liked, I have finally managed to get blogs and books onto one site, which should make it a lot simpler to maintain, and hopefully leave more time for writing. Everything is now going to be under the root domain.When I first switched to Wordpress I did not know what I was doing, which left me with two seperate installs (not even a multi-site) and managing two sets of logins, plugins comments, was a little overwhelming. Now? I am a lot happier with it, and I've found a theme that looks good and handles blogs and book pages well. You can see the new site now. All the blogs have been transitioned across, and now the last step is updating the feed to all the sites that have my blog syndicated.

Hope you like the new site, because I definitely

Read More

Time Travel Stories and Paradox

February 25, 2013 Articles and Opinions

Ever since HG Wells, there have been stories of time travel. Each of them handle issues of paradox and continuity differently. Some just don't bother, while others work it in as an essential part of the story.
What I am covering here are some of my favourite stories where the element of time travel, continuity and paradox are handled in a science based and logical manner. These are all hard sci-fi, not fantasy.

1. Empire Star by Samuel R. Delany
What is there to say about this book, other than Read It! Multiple overlapping time streams, multiple characters developing at multiple periods, and the books that gave us the simplex, complex and multiplex view of the world. A book that tells its story off-screen and is no less gripping for

Read More

How to migrate from Blogger to WordPress

February 21, 2013 Articles and OpinionsOff-topicUncategorized

Migrating content, particularly in this day of search engines and old links, can be tricky if you don't want to lose a lot of ground. However, I found the new Google interface difficult to use and awkward, which is why I started the new blog in the first place, and trying to handle comments was difficult. Ideally I wanted to get all my content in one place without breaking any third party links and losing visitors. Making any links to posts redirect to the new posts without having to manually recode them, or add the annoying "This blog has moved page" was the main target - and if I could get the search engines to redirect that would be even better.

It turns out there is actually a way to do this.

The process I used was based on this article from Digital Inspirations with a few

Read More

Behind Reviews: Part 1 Ethical Issues

January 25, 2013 Articles and Opinions

I decided to start another multi-part post on the new blog, this one about the mechanics and structure of book reviews. This is the first, about the sources of reviews and ethical issues. The second, coming soon, will be about indies and reviews. Part III - on spoilers - might be where my blood boils. There's a news story that's set Kindleboards ablaze a while back:  Book reviews for purchase.

It's an old story, so why am I posting about it now? Well, with a few more recent stories, this is now back in the news.  Fake or commercially placed reviews are a hot topic at the moment. Forbes Magazine did a piece back in July. There are calls for reviews to require a guaranteed purchase, or vetting, or preventing authors reviewing other authors books, but unfortunately these are likely

Read More

Market Fragments?

February 4, 2012 Articles and Opinionse-book

There have been a few interesting developments in the ebook market this week.New markets often have competing formats. As technology develops many different ways are found of doing the same thing, which eventually standardise to two or three, and as the market matures and new technologies emerge, before one standard emerges.With videos the VHS/Betamax rivalry eventually came to a head and resulted in the triumph of VHS. With Blu-ray vs. HD-DVD, Blu Ray eventually came out on top.

Is the same thing now happening to e-readers? Initially there were hosts of formats, many of which are now falling by the wayside, but the first signs of the industry really polarising happened around Christmas 2011. Amazon offered readers a chance to go into bookstores, scan books and then buy on Amazon at

Read More


February 1, 2012 Articles and Opinions

"DC plans Prequels to Watchmen Series"I'm serious: check the New York Times.

That wasn't a headline I expected in my newsfeed this morning, but it also isn't a surprise. In summary DC Comics are getting new writers to write prequels to the classic comic Watchmen. Alan Moore, the original writer and character creator isn't involved. As the original comics tells two stories, many years apart it would be easy for prequels to spoil it for new readers, but rather than focus on that, I found the Alan Moore Quote at the bottom of the article interesting.Moore states it is a blow to comics as a serious artform: “As far as I know,” he said, “there weren’t that many prequels or sequels to ‘Moby-Dick.’ ” NYTimes, 1st Feb 2012,This I disagree with. I inherited a collection of books from a

Read More

Thoughts on an Open Letter and its Responses

November 23, 2011 Articles and OpinionsPublishing

A few days ago an open letter from a writer to their publisher set Twitter on fire. Author Sebastian Marshall wrote to Carolyn Reidy the CEO of Simon and Schuster, his publisher, about what he thought was wrong with publishing.While I am not touching the actual argument between the author and their publisher, some of it highlights legitimate issues about the whole traditional publishing industry, or at least the mainstream big-business part of it.

Liar old and new covers:

Cover art? It is very rare for an author to get a say in their cover art. This is why we get issues of white-washing, like the furor over Liar or Magic Under Glass, both of whose authors were overriden until reader backlash caused a change of cover. In the Liar example, Justine Larbalestier, who is an established

Read More

Pen names

August 2, 2011 Articles and Opinions

One of the most common questions that comes up is about the use of pennames. Recently, the arguments over the use of real names on Google+ and Facebook which include several authors losing profiles because they are listed under their pennames, have really brought attention to this.Several people assume that aliases or pennames must be used to be evasive or commit fraud, and yet this is not the case at all. This is a brief summary of some of the reasons why authors may use a penname, and a few known examples.Ghost writing or work for hire, I am leaving off this: in those cases the author has taken the decision to write work that will be released under someone else's name, where they often surrender most or all rights and may not receive royalties. This is not the same as a conscious choice

Read More
1 2