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.
julesjones: (Default)
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
julesjones: (Default)
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.
julesjones: (Default)
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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BookBub alerted me to the fact that Courtney Milan has a 99c/99p deal on the first book in her Turner series, so I wandered over to Amazon to have a look, and found a number of other deals on her books. In particular, the Brothers Sinister series is in an enhanced box set for £6.50. This is the Victorian romance series I was raving about last year, because it features strong women characters, many of whom are scientists, without handwaving away the problems they would have faced. If you understand why I was Kermit-flailing when I read the dedication to Rosalind Franklin in one of the later books, you'll probably enjoy these. It's m/f, but there is an acknowledgement of m/m and f/f (and again, historically realistic about the need for secrecy, rather than pure fantasy), with one of the background romances for a secondary character in a later book being f/f. One of the side-story novellas is an interracial romance between an Irishman and a Black British woman. And alphole heroes are Not Welcome.

Book 1 in the Brothers Sinister series is currently free (it's isn't always, but Milan does regular introductory deals for her series).

Books 1 and 3 in the Turner series are currently 95p at Amazon UK, and the box set is around £4.70. Given how much I enjoyed the Brothers Sinister, I'm just going to go for the boxed set rather than trying the starter first.



Amazon UK:
The Brothers Sinister: The Complete Boxed Set
The Duchess War (The Brothers Sinister Book 1)
Unveiled (A Turner Series Book 1)
The Turner Series (An Enhanced Box Set)
author page

Author page at Amazon US:
Courtney Milan at Amazon US

Amazon Australia (hi, SallyMN :-)
http://www.amazon.com.au/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=courtney+milan


Author page at Kobo:
https://store.kobobooks.com/search?Query=Courtney%20Milan%20&ac=1&acp=courtney%20mil
julesjones: (Default)
Natasha's a ballet student who uses dance as one of her ways of coping with her demons, not always successfully. Darrell's an engineering genius who designs weapon delivery systems as a way of coping with _his_ demons. Darrell's stuck on his latest design, and then finds inspiration in watching a ballerina dance - so much so that he hires Natasha to dance for him privately at his workshop. They fall for one another, but they're very damaged people and the road will be hard, even without someone deliberately trying to break the relationship up before it really gets started. Cue much angst before the happy ending. That happy ending acknowledges that True Love doesn't magically fix everything, and Natasha and Darrell have a long way to go before their demons are vanquished. That the characters recognise this make it much more believable that they really will make it work in the long run.

This wasn't a bad read, but it did need rather a lot of willing suspension of disbelief regarding a lone genius being allowed to work on a a secret defence contract in his garage. It also leans heavily on the Evil Brit trope for the plot's antagonist; which doubtless appeals to many not-British readers, but was merely irritating to me. I'm glad I read it and would happily read the next, but I'm not desperate to rush out and buy it.

Amazon US
Amazon UK
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Prequel fantasy novel which works well as a standalone. The Barrenlands of the title are a magical wasteland that forms an almost impassable border territory between two countries. But where there is a border, there will be crossings, and people who make a living bringing things across that border, whether it is with or without the blessing of the governments concerned. Ehran, head of the King's Guard, will end up tangling with it more than once in his quest first to find the murderers of his beloved king, and then to find and dispose of the family of the king's brother. He's been sent on the latter mission supposedly to prevent the exile trying to seize the throne from the king's young son, a mission he rightly sees as a means of getting him out of the way of an unknown traitor within the court.

Some nice world-building here, with appealing characters and a worthwhile mystery. It's obvious from the first who the villain is, because Ehren's not stupid and already has his suspicions. But means and motive are another matter, and untangling those make for an entertaining story. A short novel offering an enjoyable way to pass a few hours.

http://bookviewcafe.com/bookstore/book/barrenlands/
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon Canada
https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/barrenlands
julesjones: (Default)
A safe and happy Christmas to you all, whether you celebrate this season with Christmas, Newtonmass, Hogswatch, Hanukkah, your own birthday (hi, Feetnotes:-), Yule, or something else entirely.
julesjones: (Default)
And so it came to pass that 34 years ago, many of us were looking forward to the season finale of the fourth season of Blake's 7. It was obviously going to be a cliffhanger, because that's what they always did.

We're still hanging on the edge of that cliff...
julesjones: (Default)
Stuff from the Amazon UK Christmas saleof potential interest. I'm just picking out ones I think likely to be of interest to several of you - there are far more than this. Check the price at the site before purchasing. A lot of the titles are also on sale at Kobo, for those of you who prefer open file formats.

As previously noted:
99p Alan Garner - The Weirdstone of Brisingamen
https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/the-weirdstone-of-brisingamen

###

£1.49 Hercule Poirot's Christmas (Poirot) (Hercule Poirot Series Book 20)
https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/hercule-poirot-s-christmas-poirot

£1.69 The Big Book of Christmas Mysteries: The Most Complete Collection of Yuletide Whodunits Ever Assembled
(Note: this initially looked to me suspiciously like one of those anthologies assembled by collecting a lot of material which fell out of copyright in the US during the period when copyright had to be actively renewed, but it's a UK edition and a lot of the material is later than the "use it or lose it" period or pre-Mouse, so there's a mix of material.)

99p Tad Willams - The Dirty Streets of Heaven: Bobby Dollar 1
https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/the-dirty-streets-of-heaven
(The next 2 books are also 99p each at Amazon and Kobo.)

£1.69 Kim Newman - Anno Dracula

£2.29 Tom's Midnight Garden

£1.99 Pippi Longstocking
£2.29 Do You Know Pippi Longstocking?

£1.49 First Term at Malory Towers (Malory Towers (Pamela Cox) Book 1)
Be warned that the few one star reviews are single stars because this is a "modernised" edition and not the original text.

99p Jen Frederick - Losing Control (Kerr Chronicles Book 1)
99p Jen Frederick - Taking Control (Kerr Chronicles Book 2)
Yes, *that* Jen Frederick, now known to be Jane Litte of Dear Author. I am... conflicted... about this one. I have no regrets about donating to her legal defence fund, and would do so again. But I think her actions relating to the dual identity amounted to catfishing, and were rank hypocrisy given how her DA persona would have treated any other author who did the same thing. Going to think a while longer about buying these.


ETA: katlinel notes in comments "many of Helen MacInnes' thrillers (WW2 and Cold War era) are available for 99p for Kindle at the moment." Bumping up to the post because it sounds like an author/series that if one of my friends likes it, several will.
julesjones: (Default)
Just checked the Amazon monthly Kindle deals, and... Look what's on offer for 99p!


The Weirdstone of Brisingamen

CLICK

(Now to go back and check the rest of the deals for items of potential interest to this parish.)

ETA: also 99p at Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/the-weirdstone-of-brisingamen

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