2018 – a year of didn’ts

I hoped to have two books out in 2018.

Didn’t happen.

The Beauty of our Weapons, the fourth in the Anna and Zenni series, is still due to be published by ProSe Press, but has been delayed. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing; StarChild, the third in the series, came out in the final days of 2017 and I think its sales suffered because it slipped under the radar. Beauty should be out soon, I hope.

Warbird has also been delayed. Various household expenses meant that I couldn’t buy the ISBNs I need to self-publish print titles, but I hope to get them soon. Once I have them I’ll probably also bring out the e-books, No Earthly Shore and The Dragon, Fly in print.

Not having any books out in 2018 means that I don’t have anything that can be nominated for any awards. Ah, who am I kidding? I don’t write the kind of stuff that wins awards. I’ll never be a well-known or bestselling author. I have a few dedicated fans and I’m very glad of them, but I ain’t gonna be famous any time soon.

I went to two cons this year – Follycon, the SF Eastercon in Harrogate and Novacon in Nottingham. Both were enjoyable, but I didn’t do any panels or readings, or take a dealers table. I also did a signing event, The Darker Side of Fiction in Peterborough, which was a limited success. Nothing planned this year so far.

I didn’t write much in 2018. The news is so depressing that I’ve had to stop reading it – the world is in such a terrible state. It’s hard to maintain any level of creativity in the face of that, but I’ve started to dabble in prose again. There are several things I need to finish, notably Anna and Zenni volume five.

I’m sorry that this has been such a negative post. I did make one cheerful New Year’s resolution this year, that I’d go out for tea and a cake at least once a month, just to try and lift my spirits. Mmm, cake – think I might be able to keep that one.

Happy New Year to all of you.

Made in Peterborough

I shall be taking part in Made in Peterborough, an event promoting local writers. It’s on February 7th in the Central Library, and I’ll be there for the morning session, 10-12 a.m. I’ll have some books to sell, and will answer questions about my work and writing. If anyone’s in town that Saturday morning, please pop in for a chat!

World Fantasy Con 2013

I’ll be in Brighton this weekend, pretending to be a writer. I’m doing my first public reading on Saturday and I’m getting really twitchy about it. Still, it can’t be as scary as having a major op and not expecting to survive the anaesthetic, right? I got through that, so I expect I’ll manage a reading, even if I’m not very good. I’ll be reading a short extract from my story from the SF vampire anthology, Blood Type, along with two other contributors, William F Nolan and Jason V Brock.

Bit concerned about this convention. The progress reports have been somewhat unfriendly and high-handed, so I’m not expecting the event to be as much fun as the last two Fantasycons. And as for the all-woman fantasy panel, Broads with Swords – seriously? I really thought they’d re-name that one. They say that to test if something is insulting, substitute different words, so let’s try that. Pricks with Sticks? Berks with Dirks? Huns with Guns? Yep, I think we have a result, and it ain’t polite. I won’t be going to that one, not because I don’t approve of or want to support having more women on panels, but because the title is so insulting.

So, have a happy Hallowe’en, and enjoy the various firework events that will probably happen over this weekend. Catch you later.

Edited to add that Blood Type is now available as a Kindle edition from Amazon US and UK.

Blood Type: Vampire SF

I’m delighted to pass on the news that I’ve had a story accepted for Blood Type, an anthology of Vampire SF. Described as “an anthology of dark vampire science fiction”, it’s edited by Robert S Wilson and will benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Trust. It will appear later this summer.

I don’t usually write horror, and I’ve never done a vampire story before. This one emerged from the hindbrain very rapidly; I got the first scene while driving home from my Dad’s, beat the thing into submission over a fortnight and sneaked in just before the deadline. It’s called “Mountains of Ice”, and I’m very pleased that Robert liked it. To be in an anthology with Mike Resnick, William F Nolan and Peter Watts is amazing! I’ve only recently discovered Peter Watts’ Rifters books and read all four surprisingly quickly. They’re full of weird biochemistry and strange bacteria – I think he must have written them just for me, as my microbiological background helped me grasp all the out-there concepts they contained. I loved them.

Could do with mountains of ice at the moment, as summer’s finally arrived. I’m struggling with the high temperatures – yes, I know that 29C is fairly puny to some of you out there, but this is England and we don’t do hot!

Author Interview

I met Phillip Spencer briefly at Fantasycon in Brighton last year and was delighted that he’d read some of my stuff and liked it. I meant to buy him a drink, but our paths didn’t cross again for the rest of the weekend – sometimes conventions are like that. We’re both going to the World Fantasy Con this year, and I think I definitely owe him a double for running this interview with me on his Nightspore blog. Thanks, Phillip!

And the photo? It’s quite old, but it’s really me. Isn’t it amazing what you can do with make-up, good lighting and a professional photographer?

Good News

Some of my books have been accepted by Pro Se Press, an independent publisher of Pulp fiction.

They will be bringing out a new e-book and a print version of “To Die A Stranger” later this year. I don’t have a firm date yet, but I’ll post the info as I get it on this blog. The plan is to follow that with further titles in the Anna & Zenni series. I’ll be taking the self-published version down from Amazon Kindle tomorrow, March 31st. If you’ve bought it, don’t worry – it won’t vanish from your Kindle, but if you delete it from there, it won’t be in your list of books on Amazon. You can save it to your computer to keep – it doesn’t have DRM copy protection.

Pro Se Press will also be publishing a new Afton & Jerome novella. Again, I’m not sure of the date. I haven’t finished writing it yet, so it’ll be a few months. They’ve also accepted two of my short stories for their magazine, Pro Se Presents, which also appears as an e-book and in print. The first one, “The Third Worst Thing That Can Happen On Mars” should be in the next issue, coming in June.

“No Earthly Shore” and “The Dragon, Fly” will still be available on Amazon Kindle.

I’m very excited about this. Pro Se Press are a forward-looking and exciting publisher, and have recently won awards for their books. They’re also very nice people to work with and I hope my books do well for them.

Bev Allen: Author

One of my oldest friends has just created a new website – find it here. She writes SF too and her book, Jabin, is wonderful.

Plasma Frequency Magazine

The first issue of a brand new SF magazine, Plasma Frequency, is just out and available as a print edition and a free download. Nine original stories – I’m working my way through them slowly – three lovely bits of artwork and a book review of To Die A Stranger by yours truly. It’s a great review. Thanks to the editor, Richard Flores IV, and I’m very glad you liked my novel. There will be more about Anna and Zenni – there’s a story arc of around ten books, which need some polishing and re-writes before they get published.

My Kindle Books

All of my Kindle books are available at Amazon in France, Italy, Spain and Germany, as well as in the UK and the US.

I’m trying to add some tags to my books on the various Amazon sites, but I have to admit that I’m not good at languages. I learned French at school, which means that I understand a bit more than I can speak and I can usually get the gist if I read it. I know a little German, and thanks to the BBC’s Russian Language and People and the series, Shogun, a smattering of Russian and Japanese. If I’ve made some hideous errors tagging my books, I hope that someone will be kind enough to tell me!