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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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First of the Grantchester Mysteries series, about a Church of England vicar who solves mysteries in collaboration with one of the local police detectives. The first book is a set of six short stories, each a standalone about an individual case, but with an overall arc running through them. I bought it because I'd seen and enjoyed a couple of episodes of the tv adaptation. This doesn't always mean I'll like a book, but in this case I'm very glad I bought it. It's an excellent period cosy mystery, written by someone who knows the minutiae of Anglican clerical life. The ebook for this one is often low price as a hook for the series, and well worth getting.

Amazon UK
Amazon US
Kobo
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Sweetly funny milf erotic romance novel - but be warned that the characters spend an awful lot of the book being interrupted before they can actually do something about their attraction. Successful romance writer Jillian divorced her no-good husband a while back for cheating on her, and hasn't had much luck in the dating game since then. So when her son comes home from unversity for vacation and brings his friend Brian with him, Jillian can't help but notice that Brian's very nicely put together. He's also her son's friend, which puts him off limits.

Brian thinks Jillian's pretty hot, even if she's old enough to be his friend's mother. In fact, she *is* his friend's mother, which puts her off limits...

While some of the situations they end up in are frankly implausible, the lead and supporting characters are well-written, and Jillian and Brian's ever more frantic efforts to first hide and then give in to their attraction are entertaining. This isn't going to be to everyone's taste; but if it appeals to your sense of humour, it's a lot of fun.

This is the first of a series, but there's closure at the end of the book. The ebook is free as a hook for the series, and I think worth downloading to try it out.

Amazon UK
Amazon US
Kobo
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Mystery novel which I can remember very little about save that I enjoyed it and would happily read more of the series. It's not the book's fault I can't remember the details, as I was somewhat jet-lagged at the time of reading.

Amazon UK
Amazon US
Kobo
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All Romance eBooks are having a 50% rebate day for Memorial Day. You have to pay full price, but you get the rebate back in the form of store credit to spend on your next purchase. Yes, that includes all of my titles available on the site. :-)
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Er... It's been a while since I posted, hasn't it? I've had a bad case of Real Life, with a number of issues set in a tasteful background of Roadworks Gridlock. I've read a lot of blogs of late, thanks to my smartphone and free bus wifi. Writing on the bus is another matter - a tweet is about the most I can manage on a smartphone's virtual keyboard, so any writing is on dead trees, and it's not getting transferred onto the intarwebs at any great rate. Some of the bits of the novel WIP I transferred to the Word Pro file yesterday were from January... With any luck I'll catch up on all my unanswered email, and there'll be something more than "hi, I'm alive" later here today.

Eastercon

Mar. 22nd, 2016 10:33 pm
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This year it's Mancunicon, so I have no travel plans more specific than "get on a tram every day". :-) I've booked Thursday and Tuesday off work, although I can't guarantee to get there on Thursday as I have Stuff happening on Thursday morning that may leave me feeling too wiped out to go in and volunteer to stuff member packets (ooh, err, missus). I might drop in on Wednesday evening on my way home from work if there's a likelihood of any friends being there, but can't guarantee it.

I'm not on any panels, but I will probably drop into Green Room to volunteer for a few hours, unless my pain level forbids. Failing that, I will go and camp in panels where friends are appearing.
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A brief report that I have successfully opened Lotus Word Pro, Approach and 123 files. I have not done anything in/with them, but I can report that they do open. I hope to report further at the weekend. Jacey, I didn't have to do any fiddling for this upgrade, it opened without any trouble; but I did originally have to do some fiddling to get it onto this machine as a clean install under Windows 8.1 - I've forgotten what Windows you're currently running. More about the original install under Win 8.1 here: http://julesjones.livejournal.com/601493.html
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Hello from Windows 10. It has been an *interesting* experience, but that is mostly the fault of my new WD backup drive and its flaky software. I see a purchase of real backup software in my future.

I isntalled over the old Win 8.1 install, which may or may not have been a mistake - it took a couple of boot cycles before the machine condescended to work at a sane speed (although still a little slow even now). Thunderbird and Firefox seem to be okay, but the expedition to Planet Lotus will have to wait until tomorrow. I hold high hopes, as it has at least loaded the Smartsuite toolbar.
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Poking through my fiction files tonight, making sure I've saved my Lotus Word Pro files to .txt format before upgrading to Windows 10, just in case I can't get SmartSuite up and running afterwards. And found this in the notes for my urban fairy work-not-in-progress:

Like Pterry's comment about awesome -- they inspire awe.

As I said in my post the day after he died - I owe him so much.

#GNUTerryPratchett #speakhisname
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"Do you not know that a man is not dead while his name is still spoken?"

He took Death's arm a year ago today, but his work lives on. His work, and the memories he made for us, and the friendships that came about through him. Terry Pratchett's name will be spoken by many, for many years to come.
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13) Sarah Pinborough -- The Death House

This is my nominee for the 2015 novel Hugo.

Yes, I liked it that much. I bought this YA speculative fiction novel when I saw Gollancz tweet an opening day offer, because I'd greatly enjoyed one of Pinborough's tie-in novels and wanted to read more by her. I started reading it that day, and was bowled over. It is a stunning portrayal of life, love and growing up under the shadow of death; a bittersweet coming-of-age novel about children and teenagers who know they will never do so.

It's set in a near future very much like our present, save for one thing - there is an illness so terrible that all children are tested for the signs that they are carriers. If they test positive, they are taken to the Death House. There they will be cared for and given as normal a life as possible, right up until the time the sickness activates. It may be a few months, it may be years, but one thing is certain - they will die. And they will never be allowed to leave, or have contact with anyone other than each other and the staff assigned to care for them.

Toby has been in the House for long enough to have found ways to cope with the separation from his family and the knowledge of what awaits him, but the arrival of a new girl disrupts both the interactions between the Death House inmates, and Toby's coping mechanisms. Through his eyes we see the different ways the children deal with what their lives have become; all the emotions of a lifetime compressed into a few short years, with the teenagers like Toby finding themselves being surrogate parent figures for the younger children. There's a mystery plot as well; and the whole is a slow-burning build to a resolution where the older children decide exactly what is worth fighting for with their foreshortened lives.

Moving and beautifully written, this was one of the best things I read all year.

Amazon UK
Amazon US
Kobo
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Woke up this morning to the news that Samhain Publishing is closing its doors. Neatly and tidily, and will be open for some time to come - but anything not ready to go will be released back to the author, and as contracts expire they will not be renewed. If you would like to buy any of their books, it would be a good idea to make it sooner rather than later. But not today, because I've seen something on Twitter this morning about a 40% off sale on Monday for purchases direct from their website.

I never submitted to them, in large part because I was reluctant to submit to a start-up with a 7 year contract term until they'd demonstrated they could stick around long enough to justify that contract length, and by the time they'd done that I wasn't writing because my health had dropped off a cliff. They've had a couple of wobbles over the years (the metadata copyright thing comes to mind), but in general have treated their authors and staff well, and I had some material in the pipeline I wanted to submit to them. I'm not surprised they're doing the classy thing, and planning to wind down the company in a way that maximises everyone's income, and the chances of the authors getting their rights back intact.

I've already seen some comments from the "self-pub rules, trad-pub sucks" corner of the internet about how evil Samhain is for not just letting the authors go immediately and going into bankruptcy, so that the authors can self-pub. That's not the way US bankruptcy law works, kids. The bankruptcy court can go after any assets deemed to have been transferred prior to the bankruptcy to avoid being seized as part of the assets, and that includes the book contracts - they are, after all, the primary asset of a publisher. It doesn't matter if you have a parachute clause stating all the rights revert back to you on bankruptcy - those aren't worth the electrons they're written on. The court can and does quash asset transfers going back months before the actual bankruptcy.

Oh, and as KJ Charles noted in Twitter this morning, any publisher gloating over Samhain's demise is a publisher you do not want to touch with a bargepole. They're demonstrating how they'll treat *you*.

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One Size Fits All cover artI put my short story One Size Fits All on Smashwords and Amazon with a placeholder cover I made myself just to get the thing off a webpage and into modern ebook file formats. That was... two years ago. I've finally done something about improving the cover, and while I was at it I reformatted the text and added some backmatter. Which means that it's coupon time. :-)

I would much appreciate it if people would go along to SmashWords and download a copy in the file format of your choice, and report back any weirdnesses in the file (I've already seen one, I have no idea how to fix it, and I'm wondering if it will bother people). The book is priced at 99p, but coupon code NR46R gives a 100% discount, making it free at checkout. The coupon's valid for the next week.

While I'm at it - thoughts on the new cover? It's a cheap-n-cheerful job from a Fiverr artist, and looks it; but I hope it indicates that There Be Smut In These Here Parts.

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All Romance eBooks are having a 50% rebate day in honour of Valentine's Day. You have to pay full price, but you get the rebate back in the form of store credit to spend on your next purchase. Yes, that includes all of my titles available on the site. :-)
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Heads-up: I'm not renewing the Loose Id contract for Buildup: Mindscan, so their edition will be removed from the Loose Id catalogue and third party resellers over the next month or two. I'll republish in a new edition at some point, but that won't be for several months at minimum. If you'd like to read my BDSM romance set in a dystopian future anytime soon and you don't already have a copy, go and get one now, direct from Loose Id, or from Amazon US, Amazon UK, All Romance eBooks, Google Play, iTunes, Kobo etc.

Note that today only there's a Valentine's Day 50% rebate at ARe for this and other books - it works in the form of a credit against future purchases.


meme

Jan. 13th, 2016 08:18 am
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Going round my friends at the moment:

Rules: go to page 7 of your WIP, skip to the 7th line, share 7 sentences, and tag 7 more writers to continue the challenge.

Nick, on the other hand, was now consciously aware of where that stray thought in the toilet had come from.

_Don't go there, Browne._

He was being entirely practical in his next question. "Are you living in?" Nothing to do with wondering which bedroom Ben might be using.

"Yes. It was by far the most practical option, as commuting certainly _wasn't_ a practical option."


You're supposed to tag another 7 writers. I don't do that part of memesheepage, being averse to that sort of chain letter emotional blackmail.
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Slightly later than most of my flist, since I was otherwise engaged with phone calls at midnight. :-) A safe and happy new year to you all, and my thoughts and love are with those of you who have not had a good week.

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