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No, I was not in the city centre last night.
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I'm busy tidying up the notebooks I use to write on the bus, and came across my book log notes for the books I read in September last year. As it happens, two of these are in the sale at Amazon UK and Kobo at the moment. :-)


Agatha Christie -- Murder on the Orient Express

There isn't really a lot I can say that hasn't already been said by hundreds of reviewers on LibraryThing. It's a classic bottle mystery--a murder and a group of people in an isolated venue, in this case the Orient Express trains stranded in a snowdrift. It's great fun watching Poirot piece together all the red herrings to find that some are clues after all.

Kobo

Amazon UK
Amazon US


Agatha Christie -- The Murder on the Links

Poirot novel set in France, with Poirot butting heads with the local police investigator. Poirot is asked to come urgently by a man in fear of his life. The widow's story does not quite hang together, and yet she is genuinely shocked and distraught by her husband's death. Red herrings abound, and as usual Hastings repeatedly gets hold of the wrong end of the stick--or in this case, the length of lead piping. Enjoyable Poirot fare, although nothing outstanding.

Kobo
Amazon UK
Amazon US


Lindsey Davis -- The Silver Pigs

First of the Falco books, a mystery series set in Ancient Rome during the reign of Vesparius. Marcus Didius Falco is a PI. That's public informer, a role remarkably similar to that of the private investigator in the modern era. And as with the classic gumshoe mystery, Falco has an office/flats at the top of a seedy low rent tenement building.

The novel is as historically accurate as Davis could make it, but human nature hasn't changed much over the last 2000 years. Falco rescues a damsel in distress, and finds himself sucked into a case involving theft and corruption in the silver mines of a backwards colony at the fringe of the Empire.

Excellent mystery, with an appealing lead character and careful world building. I loved this, and will be reading more of the series.

Kobo
Amazon UK
Amazon US
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I used to use Multifox, a useful little add-on for Firefox that allowed you to use multiple identity profiles in Firefox. This meant I could allocate tabs to different identities so I didn't have to log out of one and back in again for another on various sites - for example, having a set of tabs open for my wallet identity while also working on my pen names' Twitter accounts. Multifox was pulled by Mozilla from the available add-ons a few months ago (the writer surmised because it wasn't compatible with some new protocols). This made me sad, but a spot of googling last week turned up the information that Mozilla have been working on similar functionality in the form of Containers.

Containers is a new tool still under development, and as such not yet available in the standard release of Firefox. However, you can sign up to FireFox Test Pilot, and install various "under development" things to play with, including Containers. From the Test Pilot description:

Containers let you create profiles in Firefox for all of your online lives. Custom labels and color-coded tabs help keep different activities — like online shopping, travel planning, or checking work email — separate. Because Containers store cookies separately, you can log into the same site with a different account in each Container, and online trackers can’t connect your browsing in one container to another. So you can keep your shopping self separate from your social self from your work self, without worrying about being followed around the Web.

The Test Pilot things are added onto a standard debugged release of Firefox, but for those who really like living dangerously a version of Containers is also available in Firefox Nightly.

I've only been playing with it for a few days and haven't really explored everything I can do with it, but I like it so far. There are several other Test Pilot experiments on the go at the moment - I've also installed Snooze Tabs, although I haven't really done anything with it yet. I think it's one some of my friends would find useful.

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Haven't posted one of these in a while, because I haven't posted much at all. But the latest Amazon UK "buy our ebooks" is a "start a series from 99p" promotion, and I spotted a couple of books that might be of interest. Some are also price-matched on Kobo UK, and possibly other online retailers. Do check the price before you click the buy button, because it can change.

The full promo page is at http://amzn.to/2rCe3xN. Items particularly likely to be of  interest to you lot:

"The Silver Pigs", the first in the Falco series from Lindsey Davis about a private eye in Imperial Rome. I tried this on the recommendation of other sf fans and loved it - it's a good chance to try the series to see if you like it. £1.99 at Kobo and Amazon

"The Ides of April", first book in the Falco: The New Generation series. Just added that one to my own collection. :-) 99p at Kobo and Amazon

Agatha Christie's "The Murder at the Vicarage", the first of the Miss Marple novels. £1.49 at Kobo and Amazon. I'm in the middle of re-reading this right now, because it was there on my Kobo when I wanted some cheerful murder.

"The Long Earth" by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter - £1.99 at Kobo and Amazon.

"The Atrocity Archives: Book 1 in The Laundry Files" by Charles Stross. If you're an sf&f fan and haven't read this - buy this book. And not just because Charlie's a mate of mine from sf writing circles. It's the start of a series in which the eldritch horrors of Lovecraft are all too real, and one of the UK three letter agencies is devoted to putting off the forthcoming invasion for as long as possible. Charlie lovingly pastiches various spy, mystery and thriller series along the way. (There was much squeeing amongst the crit group for a later novel when we realised that we were reading a chapter starring avatars of Modesty Blaise and Willie Garvin.) £1.49 at Kobo and Amazon.

"The Vesuvius Club" by Mark Gatiss. Yes, *that* Mark Gatiss, written before he became much more famous for his scripts than his novels. Edwardian derring-do, with more than a little tongue in cheek, in multiple senses. 99p at Amazon only.

That's just a sampling - I could quite easily buy another dozen interesting-looking books off that list were I not horribly aware that there are four dozen still queued up on my Kobo...
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In light of the recent changes in the LiveJournal Terms of Service, and the manner in which they were implemented, I'm moving to Dreamwidth. For now I will continue to cross-post, but I intend to turn off comments on the LiveJournal copy. I've already changed most of the existing posts on LJ to friends-only. I will probably intermittently friends-lock the LJ mirror of posts going forward, not least because I see no reason why I should provide content now LJ shows advertising on my posts to readers who arent logged in even though I have a paid account.

I have a paid LJ account with a year of credit and I don't intend to delete it entirely for some months, in part because it allows me to do maintenance work on communities and RSS feeds for myself and others. (For example, I was the last mod standing for the LiveJournal copy of Bearing Witness, so I've done the necessary working on transferring it to Dreamwidth and shutting down the LJ mirror.) You should, however, assume that this LiveJournal account may not be here for much longer. If you're staying on LiveJournal only, or using it as your primary feed, please follow the RSS feed for my Dreamwidth account.

Lots of my friends have moved, but I haven't tracked down everyone on Dreamwidth yet - please comment if you want to let me know where/who you are, including if you're staying on LJ so I can make sure I have your feed on my DW following page.

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Posting via teeny tiny screen on phone, so more later. Working Green Room much of weekend so DM or tweet me at twitter @bookfetishist or email me for meet up. If you have my mobile, it hasn't changed.
julesjones: "You are in a maze of twisty..." (VT340)
I'm julesjones on both LJ and DW. I've been reading primarily via LJ friends view for years because that's where most of my friends are. There appears to be a critical mass moving to DW as their primary interface now, so I'm changing over as well. I don't normally lock down comments, so LJ users can comment anonymously on DW even if they don't have OpenID set up.
julesjones: (7 bit ASCII)
Apparently LJ is blocking cross posting from DreamWidth, so my post yesterday didnt make it over. We are at Redemption and will be here until Monday morning. Posting to LJ & DW from phone not fun so broadcasting of whereabouts is happening on Twitter.
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Apparently my previous post... Didnt. Anyway, now posting from my phone at con. Phone keyboard sucks. More later.
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Since much of my social circle on LiveJournal is running around wanting to know where everyone is on DreamWidth - I'm julesjones on both sites, and if I know you on one I'm happy to add you on the other. I'm also *busy* at the moment, so I'll probably miss people's announcements of who they are on DW. Comments on this post are screened on DW; I make no promises as to what happens once it's crossposted to LJ. I normally post on DW and auto-cross-post to LJ, but read from LJ. If we're all decamping I'll have to change that (mutter, grumble).
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My alter ego's new short is released today. It's the first of a series of short stories, but can be read as a standalone. More details below:
book details )
julesjones: (Default)
The year's almost done, and many of us will not be sorry to see it go. We've lost too many this year; the friends, the famous, the icons of our youth. For me that includes someone who fell under all three headings. I have tried for months to write this entry. I am supposed to be a writer, and yet the words slip through my fingers as I try to type.

One of the things about science fiction fandom is that there are friends you only ever see at cons, who you may not even communicate with outside cons, who are yet good and dear friends you fall upon with cries of joy and take up the conversation with as if it had not been months since you last spoke. For me Gareth Thomas was not just one of these friends, but the one I'd known longest. Nearly twenty-one years ago I decided that it was time to go to one of these cons I'd been hearing about in books and magazines over the years, and when I checked the con listings in the small ads in one of those magazines, I found there would be one only an hour's drive away, with one of my favourite actors from one of my favourite shows on the guest list.
continued under cut )
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Last night/today All Romance eBooks sent out emails to authors and readers notifying them that the site is closing on 31 December. Readers have until then to back up their library. Authors and publishers are being offered 10c on the dollar for the Quarter 4 royalties up until 27 December. *No* royalties will be paid on any sales after then. Some readers with credit are reporting that their credit has been wiped. Readers who pre-ordered had to pay up front on order - that money will not be returned and they won't get the books.

DO NOT BUY MY BOOKS FROM ARE. I will not see the money. Neither will my publisher, who paid for the editing and cover art on my books. Don't buy anyone else's books either. You may not even get the books you've paid for.

Authors - get on there *now* and get your books off, because ARe has continued to sell books at full price, after announcing they're not going to pay the authors what they're owed.

Kudos to those publishers who've already said they'll honour pre-orders directly for people affected by the pre-order thing.
julesjones: (Default)
Some news on the writing front - I've sold a short story series to NineStar Press, and the opening story is now available for pre-order before release day on 2 January 2017. :-) Details below, along with selected links (I haven't had a chance to chase them all down yet, but am assured by my Shadowy Mistresses that it will be available in all the usual places).

Yes, that is a new pen name on the cover. This is because I decided a while back to have a separate pen name for material that's erotica rather than erotic romance. The primary reason is simply so that readers who were expecting a HEA or HFN aren't disappointed. It so happens that my long term plan for this series will involve a HFN, but this specific bit of it is basically two guys in an office thinking "I would not kick that out of bed on a cold night".

A Collision with Reality


by Storm Duffy


acollisionwreality-f500-400x600

Flynn’s new boss is so hot he can’t wait to get home to tell the chatroom how much he wants Dom’s cock down his throat. By Friday, he’s shared quite a few thoughts on what he’d like his boss to do to him. But he’s not as anonymous as he thinks, and Dom’s intent on disciplining him for breaching company policy on social networking. Dom gives him a choice of put up or shut up: he can play out the fantasy in real life, or he can walk out of the office without a word to HR as long as he never talks that way about Dom again. Flynn chooses “put up”—but he’s forgotten about one of the things he said he wouldn’t mind doing.

NineStar Press (where you can find an excerpt)

All Romance eBooks (where you can find an excerpt)

Amazon US

Amazon UK

SmashWords
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I'm working my way through my treeware notebook, and have found some notes from my Hugo reading stint which it appears I never posted at the time. Here, have some belated Hugo thoughts. :-)

Naomi Kritzer -- Cat pictures please

Gentle, funny short about what happens when a search engine wakes up and wants to be helpful. It has more sense than to expose its existence, so it tries to do good deeds by stealth. I was smiling on every page. Lovely if slightly creepy little story about the potential benefits of AI.

Available free at http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/kritzer_01_15/

Brooke Bolander -- And You Shall Know Her By The Trail Of Dead

Take one part pulp, one part cyberpunk, add a shot of very cheap bourbon, and shake well. Watch the resulting foul mouthed guttersnipe of a synthetic person take on a security AI at its own game; or maybe the reverse. Bolander sketches in some fascinating world building with a few brief sentences, but the focus is on the rescue mission Rhye’s been press-ganged into. It’s a fast moving tale with a satisfying conclusion, and deserves a spot on the Hugo ballot.

Available free at http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/shall-know-trail-dead/

Chuck Tingle -- Space Raptor Butt Invasion

Okay. There’s back story on what this is doing on the Hugo ballot. It is not your typical nominee. Onwards…

Our hero is one of two men (definitely men) manning a remote observation station somewhere on a remote planet. The story opens as his teammate leaves at the end of his assignment, with no replacement arriving. Budget cuts mean the station will be solo manned from now on, and our hero will be the only living thing on the planet. So what is that mysterious space suited figure he thinks he’s seen?

So far, it’s a pitch perfect pastiche of Golden Age pulp. I have read the stories. I could make a guess at what happens next.

What happens next is that it segues into a pastiche of pulp gay porn, only with two guys stuck with solo duty on their respective nation’s planetary observation base. One of whom is a dinosaur...

Dr Tingle had far too much fun ramming every possible porn cliché into his tight virgin word processor. This is really not my taste in porn, not least because it pastiches bad pulp punctuation, but it’s very funny. My verdict as a Hugo voter is that this story gets No Awarded, but I am nominating the good Doctor’s performance art in response to its nomination for next year’s Best Related Work category.
Amazon UK
Amazon US
julesjones: (Default)
I've sold an erotica short to NineStar Press, now through editing and expected release date early January. More details later, but just thought I'd get that out there. :-)
julesjones: (Default)
Quick note from the Amazon 99p bargains - I read the first book from Angela Roquet's Reapers series a while back. That's usually free as a series hook, but right now the boxset of the first three books is 99p on Amazon UK. I liked the first one well enough that I'd recommend going along to your online bookstore of choice and checking out the blurb.


Amazon UK
Amazon US
or A$1.99 on Amazon Australia.

Alas, it seems to have already gone back up to full price on Smashwords since I bought it, but it's still very reasonably priced for those who prefer epub.
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Today is, of course, the anniversary of the first human landing on the Moon. My parents tell me they put me in front of the tv to watch it, although I have no memory of this. The first spacecraft landing I can remember was on the same day seven years later. Viking 1 touched down on the surface of Mars forty years ago today. I can still remember very clearly my excitement watching a popular science show on tv explaining beforehand how the various instruments and experiments would work, and my sense of wonder at seeing the first images.

Forty years on I'm following the current Mars lander's twitter account. Curiosity's a chatty little robot, or at least the humans behind the account are. Time and technology march on. But still I remember the awe with which I watched that slow scan build up into a panorama of the Martian landscape.
julesjones: remembrance poppy (remembrance)
Today is the centenary of the start of the Battle of the Somme; a wound that still gapes raw in the psyche of the United Kingdom and across the Commonwealth, even though it is a hundred years and the last survivor has gone. There have been commemorations across the country and beyond.

I went to watch the lunchtime parade from the Cenotaph to Manchester Cathedral. The crowd was relatively thin where I was, so I was right at the front leaning on the fencing. A regimental brass band is *very* loud when it's passing three feet in front of you... The parade included descendents, veterans of later wars, and a group of Chelsea Pensioners in ceremonial uniform.

And then on the way home after work I had two encounters with the #WeAreHere ghost soldiers. A group of them were singing on the steps outside Marks and Spencers as I walked up St Mary's Gate towards the bus station. I stopped and watched until they finished, shouldered arms, and marched away down New Cathedral Street. I went on my way, and as I walked up Market Street towards the bus station another section marched past. Ghosts of the past, brought to life for this one day. By then people knew about them, but it was still an eerie and deeply moving experience, and I'm not surprised that my colleagues who encountered them at the railway stations early this morning found it very emotional.

Lest we forget.

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