julesjones: (Default)
2017-08-08 02:26 pm
Entry tags:

Worldcon

Planning to arrive in Helsinki late Wednesday afternoon, and leave late Sunday afternoon. I don't have any panels. I'm also not officially signed up for any gophering, but depending on spoon balance I'll probably head over to Access and/or Green Room at some point to see if they need another warm-if-not-very-mobile body.

In theory I have portable net access. In practice this is on a new phone, and I am not sure I have got everything set up yet. Best bet if you're looking for me is probably Twitter, where I am bookfetishist and where I can actually remember my password should I need to go in via the website. My primary mobile phone number hasn't changed and is on a tiny and ancient Nokia from before the dawn of time, so even if the smartphone is stolen or runs out of battery I should be contactable on that.
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2017-07-24 09:54 pm

Out now: Stormy Nights

Release day for my new book. :-) This is a collection of short stories, some reprints and some new to publication. It's available now from all good ebook sellers (and you would not believe how long I spent at the weekend tracking down All The Amazons). Full details including all those buy links are on the page for Stormy Nights on the Storm Duffy site, and you can see the cover below. I don't have an approved-by-publisher excerpt as yet, but will endeavour to provide some snippets over the next few days.

Sex and love, lies and truth, shades in between. Happy endings and might-have-beens. Nine tales of these things between men.

Stormy Nights contemporary gay romance
julesjones: (Default)
2017-07-22 01:47 pm

Book log - Hugo 2017 short stories

I wrote some notes as I went along with the Hugo short story nominees, which I then failed to post soon enough to be of any help to anyone else. Never mind. Here they are anyway...

Given in the order in which I read them. I'd be happy to vote for any of these, and picking an order is going to be difficult.

A Fist of Permutations in Lightning and Wildflowers by Alyssa Wong

Two sisters, both weather workers, both capable of bending time back on itself and trying another timeline. It starts with one burning up in her own flame; it ends with the other still searching for a timeline in which her sister can live. In between we learn much about them and the different paths they have taken. It's raw emotion delivered in skillful prose, and not only supports but demands a second reading to understand the layers. The idea of a fan or network of timelines spreading out and being able to step from one strand to another is not new; but this use of the concept is an emotionally wrenching read.

Published by Tor.com and available free online, or for purchase as a DRM-free ebook. Kobo, Amazon UK, Amazon US


Seasons of Glass and Iron by Amal El-Mohtar

One woman is required to wear out seven pairs of iron shoes. Another sits atop a glass hill too slippery to climb. El-Mohtar considers what might happen when the woman of one fairy tale walks into the other story, and subverts the subtext of both. "Subverts" is rather too weak a word here - it dances on the subtext with hobnailed boots. Possibly too much so, but then there's a lot of subtext in fairy stories that needs to be dragged into the light and examined. This particular happy ending is one that I can believe has a chance at being happy ever after. It's sweet but not saccharine.

There's a lot to like in this story, but I was especially taken with the short scene in which the women run a scientific experiment with the golden apples meant to be a reward for the Hero who manages to climb the mountain. It left me wanting to buy the anthology it was originally published in.

First published in the anthology "The Starlit Wood" . Reprinted in Uncanny Tales (available free online). There's an interesting discussion of it at Short Story Squee and Snark.


Our Talons Can Crush Galaxies by Brooke Bolander

A short tale of a harpy's sweet revenge. Too short to review without giving away too much, but fabulous use of language that brings the narrator to vivid life in a commentary on modern media's portrayal of women.

Published in Uncanny Tales (available free online)


That Game We Played During the War by Carrie Vaughn

"The people of Gaant are telepaths. The people of Enith are not. The two countries have been at war for decades, but now peace has fallen, and Calla of Enith seeks to renew an unlikely friendship with Gaantish officer Valk over an even more unlikely game of chess."

A short story that explores some of the ramifications of full telepathy, and does so through a pair of fascinating characters and their unfolding friendship. The chess game is indeed a metaphor for the war, and gives some idea of how a non-telepathic nation could have held its own against an army of telepaths, but it's the characterisation that makes this story shine. Calla and and Valk have each been a prisoner under the control of the other as fortunes have shifted over the war; Calla working as a nurse in her own side's military hospital treating prisoners of war that include Valk, and then as a trustee prisoner in a Gaantish hospital desperately in need of nursing staff. The chess game starts as a way to pass time, a way to take their minds off the situation they're in, and becomes much more.

Published by Tor.com and available free online, or for purchase as a DRM-free ebook. Kobo, Amazon UK, Amazon US


The City Born Great by NK Jemesin

Great cities come alive, and in this short story they do so in a most literal fashion. But there are things out there that feed on new life, and a city needs a midwife to guard it as it struggles to birth itself. Our protaganist is a young black man in New York who half believes, half disbelieves a new friend's tales of living cities and his role in New York's story - right up until the monsters try to come for him. Stunning fantasy story deeply rooted in a deftly depicted metropolis.

Published by Tor.com and available free online, or for purchase as a DRM-free ebook. Kobo, Amazon UK, Amazon US

julesjones: (Default)
2017-07-18 09:50 pm

one week to publication day

So the countdown begins to the release of my short story collection. :-) Stormy Nights is now available for pre-order direct from the publisher's website and from all the usual suspects including SmashWords, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, and the many and varied Amazons - UK, US, AU or search on your local 'Zon for the ASIN B073RRNKBD.

Official list price is US$3.99. Looks like local prices are currently £3.09-£3.49 and AU$5.25 for the UK and Oz.

StormyNights-f500

Sex and love, lies and truth, shades in between. Happy endings and might-have-beens. Nine tales of these things between men.
julesjones: (Default)
2017-07-09 12:12 pm

knitting gadgets - row counters

I cashed out a load of about to expire frequent flyer points onto an Amazon gift voucher, so I indulged in a batch of cheap tat from China for my knitting basket. (And then got seduced by the Chinese fountain pens, but those are for another post...)


Estone 4 pcs Plastic Knit Knitting Needles Pride Row Counter 2 Sizes New by HeroNeo


Cheap and cheerful. They're not great quality and the finish is fairly crude, but they do the job, on the pack I received there are no rough bits to snag your wool, and you get a pack of four for under a quid. The description says 2 small and 2 large; you actually get 2 small and 2 medium if you're comparing with the name brands, so you'll need to look elsewhere if you want ones for needles above 7 mm or so. I wouldn't use these as my primary row counters, but I bought them to have some spares to avoid swapping my good ones on and off needles all the time and for the knitting bag at work. These would be fine if you were looking for some cheap row counters to kit out a novice knitter. I bought them on UK Amazon at http://amzn.to/2t20iMC

That product code doesn't exist on Amazon US, but I found a two pack (http://amzn.to/2tAX4Rw ) and a ten pack ( http://amzn.to/2tv2VaC ) under various other names which seems to be the same thing. Weirdly, these are more expensive per counter than the UK pack.


HeroNeo® 1 pc Mini Multi Purpose Knit Knitting Stitch Row Counter Pendant Style New


This looked pretty cheap and nasty when it arrived, not least because the seam where the front and back clip together wasn't properly sealed. It turned out to work perfectly well, and I'm pleased I bought it. The counter clicks solidly, it's easy to adjust the numbers, and it has a lock so you don't accidentally click the counter when it's packed up for the night. I suspect it won't last more than a year or two of use, but good value for the £1.15 or so I paid for it on Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2uW8ZpF

Again, a gazillion different offerings under different brand names on Amazon US at wildly different prices, but this one admits to being the same model: http://amzn.to/2sBdQfd


Liroyal Useful Electronic Row Counter Finger Ring Golf Digit Stitch Marker LCD Tally Counter


This is intended to be worn as a ring. Alas, personally I found it got in the way when I was using it for knitting. It is, however, a nice little electronic tally counter that will be very useful as long as I have somewhere to put it down (or wear it on a cord around my neck). The one I received was well made. It's very light, the count and reset buttons have a good positive response, the reset button is much smaller and needs more force than the count button so you're unlikely to press it by accident, and it has an adjustable flexible plastic strap. The screen blanks to save power when it isn't used for a while, but it retains the last count. The battery is included (and indeed there is no simple way to change it). The main potential drawback that I can see with it is that the only reset option is to zero it, whereas the mechanical row counters can generally be adjusted to a different number.

Prices vary wildly on Amazon depending on seller and brand name, and as far as I can see they're all the same actual item. I paid 67p for mine, the same item has gone up to 82p a month later, and there are entries under other product codes at ten times that price. Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2t0Bu4q Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2u5BZiA There are also multi-pack offerings which would be useful if kitting out a class.
julesjones: (Default)
2017-07-01 12:25 pm

grumblespammersgrumble

Having another one of my bouts of blocking writers who follow me on Twitter purely by coincidence as they're pushing their latest books. One of the reasons I *don't* follow the marketing advice pushed at writers to follow everyone on every social network under the sun is that I know how I react to it as a reader... I suppose I shouldn't block people just because they've followed 10k accounts and have only 1k following them, because it gets *my* follower count up and makes me look less like a spammer myself when I follow someone because they're interesting. I just have the occasional bout of Being Annoyed by this nonsense, particularly when there's a bout of the spam. I swear there are Kindle self-pub groups out there reinforcing each other with daft promo ideas one of them's picked up somewhere.
julesjones: (Default)
2017-06-24 08:57 pm

Forthcoming release: Stormy Nights

I have a short story collection, Stormy Nights, being published by NineStar Press on 24 July 2017. :-) For $3.99 you get 9 stories totalling some 45,000 words from both my pen names. The stories are a mix of reprints and new material, and cover a range of genres. You can find more information and pre-order it now at NineStar's own website. It will also be available later from the usual third party retailers.

StormyNights-f500

Sex and love, lies and truth, shades in between. Happy endings and might-have-beens. Nine tales of these things between men.
julesjones: (Default)
2017-06-22 07:31 am
Entry tags:

Loose Id sale

A quick note to say that Loose Id have temporarily dropped the prices on many "first of series" books, including mine. This is currently guaranteed to apply only to books purchased directly through Loose Id, although they were working on getting the reductions onto the big third party sites like Amazon. You can also get two of my short stories for free from the Loose Id site. My catalogue page is here: http://www.loose-id.com/authors/erotic-romance-authors-g-k.html?cat=76
julesjones: (Default)
2017-06-18 07:56 am
Entry tags:

ebooks piled high and cheap

Right, have some suggestions from Amazon UK's latest ebook deal newsletter. These are all under £2 at Amazon; most are also on offer at Kobo. Penguin Modern Classics seem to be having a sales binge so it's worth trawling through the rest of the deals list if you like their catalogue. As always, check the price before clicking the buy button.

I know some of you do find these posts useful for flagging up stuff to have a closer look at. I put in the covers this time because there were a couple I specifically wanted to show. Is it useful to see the covers, or does this make the post too unwieldy on people's flist?

John Wyndham - The Day of the Triffids - in a Penguin Modern Classics edition, with the newest cover art by Brian Cronin. The art's a good match in tone/period feel for the book, but I still think of Harry Willock's reverse colour line drawing cover art of the 1970s as the ur-cover art for Wyndham, just as Tom Baker is My Doctor.
https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/the-day-of-the-triffids
http://amzn.to/2rGLcrO




Master and Commander (Aubrey/Maturin Series, Book 1) (Aubrey & Maturin series) by Patrick O'Brian
I have provided the title exactly as given on the Amazon and Kobo pages. Yes, I am easily amused.
https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/master-and-commander-aubrey-maturin-series-book-1
http://amzn.to/2sc2Ebp



Val McDermid - Forensics: The Anatomy of Crime
Non-fiction from one of the greatest crime writers of today. One for the writers, but also of general geeky interest.
http://amzn.to/2sDQEk9



CS Lewis - Mere Christianity
Lewis's collection of radio broadcasts setting out the case for Christianity.
https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/mere-christianity-2
http://amzn.to/2rC8xQk


Tony Robinson - No Cunning Plan
Another acting memoir. Haven't looked at the sample yet, but if Robinson's any good at writing prose, this is probably going to be interesting.
http://amzn.to/2rBXjeT



George Orwell - The Road to Wigan Pier
Orwell's non-fiction is as important, and as topical, as his fiction.
https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/the-road-to-wigan-pier-4
http://amzn.to/2rGIB1g



Anthony Burgess - A Clockwork Orange
Haven't read this in at least thirty years, but I suspect I would still find it equal parts horrifying, terrifying and laugh-out-loud funny. It's only just occurred to me that this book pressed some of the same buttons for me that Iain (M) Banks would some years later.
https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/a-clockwork-orange
http://amzn.to/2sAGyzI



And while I was looking for Amazon US links for these books, I stumbled across this:

There. Are. No. Words.
julesjones: (Default)
2017-06-17 03:29 pm

Update on the Knit Pro Symfonie knitting needles

Having bought some of those circular knitting needles with mix-n-match cables and pins last week, I got them home to find that a) the cable key was too big to fit in the hole, b) the internal thread on one of the pins was knackered. I had some time off work during the week, so I made my way back to the shop to explain the situation. This is a small independent shop, so what happened next was the owner trying the bits to see what I was talking about, saying "oh dear" and similar, and trying various other packets until he found enough bits that worked to make up a full set for me. As I left he was muttering about how the rest of his afternoon was obviously going to involve going through every packet on the stand and checking them individually to find the ones going back to the manufacturer...

The other comment I've got on the Symfonie modular needles is that the 7mm pins are significantly longer than on the fixed pin Pony and Prym circular needles I have in the same size, so although the Pony and Prym versions work perfectly well in the 40cm length, these do not. There's a bit too much of the length that is rigid. Having had a look online, it seems there is a special short version of the pins to use with the 40cm cable, which is obviously Not What I Have Got. Given that I have a specific use for the 7mm 40cm circular needle (twiddlemuffs), this is a bit of a nuisance. They do, however, have a nice feel to them. I'll need to try them for a bit, but I'll probably end up getting more of these needles once I want longer length circulars. I'll be checking each individual packet for Assorted Problems, though.
julesjones: (Default)
2017-06-10 11:57 am
Entry tags:

knitting in public

I've been wanting to get some stuff from the wool shop anyway, and the email announcing some interesting specials this weekend for Knitting In Public Day was a good incentive to drag myself out of bed and into the rain first thing this morning. I was so early the shop was still opening up as I arrived. Alas, I spent a little too long nattering to the woman in the shop, and missed the bus home by about 1 minute. It was early enough in the morning that the next bus wasn't for another forty minutes. Because I'd got to the bus stop less than half a minute late and hadn't seen the bus anywhere further up the road, I had to wait ten minutes or so to be certain I really had missed the bus and that it wasn't just running late. I'd left my Kobo at home to save weight in the backpack. My phone battery turned out to be dead.

And thus I have become that old lady who knits at the bus stop...
julesjones: (Default)
2017-06-06 10:00 pm
Entry tags:

early news of the new collection

I have a collection of short stories wending its way through the production process at NineStar Press at the moment. I don't have a release date yet, but I do have a fully edited/proofed manuscript and cover art that went off to final production at the weekend. It includes stories from both pen names, covering a variety of genres - which made for fun times on the cover art and design, let me tell you... More news as soon as I have any to share.
julesjones: (Default)
2017-06-06 08:15 am
Entry tags:

prizes!

Both pennames have a book up for grabs this week in the summer party at The Romance Reviews. On Tuesday (US east coast time) Storm Duffy's short story "A Collision with Reality" is one of the daily prizes, and on Wednesday Jules Jones's Spindrift is one of the daily prizes. There are lots of other prizes over the course of June, so anyone looking for a free romance read should head over there.
julesjones: (Default)
2017-05-23 07:34 am

Manchester bomb

No, I was not in the city centre last night.
julesjones: (Default)
2017-05-22 08:12 pm

Book log September 2016

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
julesjones: (Default)
2017-05-20 04:40 pm
Entry tags:

replacement for Multifox

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.

julesjones: (Default)
2017-05-20 08:30 am

Return of the Amazon/Kobo offers post

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...
julesjones: (Default)
2017-05-14 10:03 am

Moving to Dreamwidth

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.

julesjones: (Default)
2017-04-14 03:04 pm

At Eastercon

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.