Category: Cyberfriends

The Origin Tale of Ghosts of the Sea Moon

Normally I don’t write these “how the book came to be” posts, mostly because when people ask me where I get my ideas I never know what to say. Replying, “um, they pop in my head and I write them down”, doesn’t sound very glamorous or interesting, even if it’s true.

But this particular novel is different, it actually has a story behind the book (and hopefully not a boring one).

It started a couple of years ago with a writing contest. The contest was to write a flash fiction story (fiction under 1000 words) based on a beautiful photo of a ship against a large moon background (you can see the photo here on my Pinterest board).

Being from Nova Scotia, Canada, I’ve always loved the sea and had an interest in ghost stories, and that’s exactly what came to mind when I saw the photo. A ghost story, more specifically a ghost ship story. Tales of ghost ships like the Flying Dutchman fascinate me, so I thought, write a dark tale of a ghost ship. Then the stray idea crept in, “why not make it a ship that ferries ghosts instead”, similar to the Greek myth of Charon and his carrying souls across the river Styx. And so I ran with it, throwing in a bit of “mystical moon magic” as well.

Alas, the story didn’t win the contest, but it did stay with me.

Stayed with me enough that I wanted to expand the story, especially the character of the ship’s captain (that’s why I changed the protagonist in the novel from a sailor to my roguish captain). I sat down at my keyboard and began to write a short story based on the flash fiction piece. Soon I had all these gods and sailors, sea monsters and ghosts yapping in my ear, giving me plot lines and character arcs, and the word count began to creep up. Okay, (I said to myself), so it’s a novella now instead of a short story.


The story grew and grew into a full novel. It went from a, just under 400 words, piece to a novel of sea adventure, monsters, and very dysfunctional gods. And didn’t stop there. The narrative now spans across three books, in a series I call the Saga of the Outer Islands. I also have at least two prequel books, two short stories, and a secondary series either planned or in the WIP stage (this is why I nicknamed Ghosts of the Sea Moon the story that wouldn’t die).

I hope you enjoyed the strange and slightly meandering tale of how Ghosts of the Sea Moon came to be written.

Book Info:

Title:Ghosts of the Sea Moon (Saga of the Outer Islands Book 1)

Author: A. F. Stewart

Genre: Epic Fantasy

Publication Date: January 13th, 2018

Paperback Price: $12.99

Digital Price: Pre-order and Release Price $0.99. Will go up to $2.99 on February 14th

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Pinterest Book Series Board:

Book Trailer:

Ghosts of the Sea Moon Blurb

In the Outer Islands, gods and magic rule the ocean.

Under the command of Captain Rafe Morrow, the crew of the Celestial Jewel ferry souls to the After World and defend the seas from monsters. Rafe has dedicated his life to protecting the lost, but the tides have shifted and times have changed.

His sister, the Goddess of the Moon, is on a rampage and her creatures are terrorizing the islands. The survival of the living and dead hinge on the courage and cunning of a beleaguered captain and his motley crew of men and ghosts.

What he doesn’t know is that her threat is part of a larger game. That an ancient, black-winged malevolence is using them all as pawns…

Come set sail with ghosts, gods and sea monsters.

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Author Bio:

A steadfast and proud sci-fi and fantasy geek, A. F. Stewart was born and raised in Nova Scotia, Canada and still calls it home. The youngest in a family of seven children, she always had an overly creative mind and an active imagination. She favours the dark and deadly when writing—her genres of choice being fantasy and horror—but she has been known to venture into the light on occasion. As an indie author she’s published novels, novellas and story collections, with a few side trips into poetry.


Chapter One

The Captain

Captain Rafe Morrow paced the quarterdeck of his ship, Celestial Jewel, the signs of an oncoming squall setting him on edge. Blustering wind rattled the sails and the crew’s nerves, their usual jaunty hubbub reduced to grumbling and snipes. Trouble travelled on that wind. Rafe could smell it woven in the air, and his blood prickled with a sense of worry. The ship trembled as if with warning. He glared at the sky and its darkening clouds painted amber and crimson from the setting sun. A storm sky coming ahead of a full moon meant dark magic and sea monsters would prowl the waves this night.

The Moon Goddess will hold sway tonight.

A trickle of blue energy raced across the back of his hand at the thought.

Damn her…and her beasts.

On the breath of a sigh, he whirled to face his crew. “Storm’s coming, boys. Doesn’t bode well, not with the moonrise tonight.”

“How long, Captain? Will we be in the thick of the weather or just what comes after?” A rough-edged sailor, Pinky Jasper, spoke up, but all ears of the deck crew listened for an answer.

“It’s coming within an hour or two, out from Raven Rock, by my reckoning. After nightfall by certain. We’re heading in, boys, but we’ll likely hit the edge of it.” He heaved a breath, exhaling. “It’ll be a bad one even for this crew so expect trouble.”

A shiver of tension settled over the deck. Some of the crew cast worried glances at the sea and each other. Others shivered, and a few more whispered prayers. Storms brought bad memories and nervous anticipation to the sailors of this ship.

“Which port then, Captain?” The mariner at the ship’s wheel chimed in. “Might make Abersythe if we head north.”

“We might, Anders. But we head east. We’ll race the edge of the tempest, but it’s closer and the ship will find better shelter anchored at Crickwell Island.”

“Aye, sir. Laying in course to Crickwell Island.” One-Eyed Anders turned the wheel and the ship’s bones groaned. Others of the crew adjusted the sails, and the Celestial Jewel leaned into her new bearing headed east.

Instafreebie preview (download the first four chapters):


it’s alright, Christmas can commence – this year’s Christmas Lites anthology has gone live! Here is the rather splendid cover for your delectation:

Regulars will know that every year , with a mixed group of authors I contribute to this anthology in support of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, or NCADV. I love having this opportunity to do something worthwhile with my writing, and hopefully to help people out there who are in dreadful need of support. It has become such an institution that it doesn’t really feel like Christmas till the Lites go up! There are stories of all genres, including some by children, and all the work that has gone into it has been donated free of charge so apart from the charges to cover the cost of production, all proceeds go directly into the NCADV’s bank account. If you’re looking for a varied sampler of some really interesting authors, please consider trying this anthology.

You can find all the various buy-links here:, and for anyone would be interested in leaving a review, send me the link to your review and I will happily give you free copies of whichever of my own books you are interested in.

Second point:

To celebrate her latest release, Lindsay Buroker has put together a list of free and cheap books. Sprig of Holly is on the list, and to take a look at the others, drop on over to her website at

I’ve been a fan of Lindsay’s Emperor’s Edge series for a while now, and am slowly working my way through her prodigious backlist as I have the time, so will be adding this to my TBR.

Her Dragons’ Blood series is now free to download at Amazon or here too, and it’s wide so using the latter link you’ll be redirected wherever you prefer to buy. I just did, and am looking forward to a bit of crafty reading time in the next few days!

She has a new release planned for 26th, of which more later…

For now, though, I wish you a merry and relaxed Christmas.

All the best,


Hi all:

Today we have a bit of a treat for you – a guest post and giveaway from Vered Ehsani, original member of the Creative Reviews group and co-participator in the Christmas Lites charity anthologies. Vered writes fascinating, unusual paranormal novels set around African mythology and for a short time only, you can download some for free! Details below….


What happens when Lara Croft meets Jane Austen in colonial Africa? You get the USA Today bestselling “Society for Paranormals”, a delightful cozy mystery series in which a paranormal investigator refuses to let danger, death and unwanted suitors inconvenience her in the small town of Nairobi. Vered explains why she wrote the series:

Having lived in Kenya since mid-2000, I wanted to write about my home. I noticed a distinct lack of books about African mythology and paranormal creatures (apart from Egyptian ones), so I decided to do something about that. Miss Knight, the main character of the “Society for Paranormals” series, seemed the best person to accompany me on that journey. After all, we share a few likes (tea, archery and exploring) and dislikes (wet dogs, giant bugs and naughty monkeys).

When I began researching for the series, I was impressed at the paranormal diversity in Eastern, Southern and Western Africa. Here are a few of my favorites.

Called a ghost, demon or ogre, the Popobawa attacks people at night while they sleep, instilling terror in whole villages along the East African coastline and islands. The name is derived from the Swahili words for “bat” and “wing”, as its wings have a bat-like appearance. The Popobawa shape-shifts into human form during the day. At night, when it attacks, it changes into a man-sized bat with gigantic wings, talons, pointy ears and one eye in the center of its forehead.

The Tokolosh is a brown, hairy three-foot high dwarf. It speaks with a lisp and is usually naked. There are several stories regarding the origin of the Tokolosh, but they all result in a rather disagreeable beast. Some claim it is a dwarf zombie which can be created by following this simple recipe: 1) remove the eyes and tongue from a full-sized corpse; 2) stick a heated iron rod into the skull in order to shrink the corpse; 3) blow a secret powder into its mouth, giving it life and obedience to its creator.

I’d always thought fireflies were romantic, until I heard of the Adze. A vampire in the legends of the Ewe people of West Africa, it moves about as a firefly. In its human form, the Adze will attack and eat your organs. When in its insect form, the Adze will suck your blood while you sleep, and in doing so spread diseases. Its preferred victims are unfortunately young children. And for those victims who survive, they suffer again by becoming a witch possessed by the Adze’s spirit. Unlike European vampires, the Adze has no fear of the sun.

The first book in the series, Ghosts of Tsavo, is free, as is the prequel and a beginner’s guide to African supernatural beings; pick up your copies from

As if that’s not awesome enough, you can pick up 8 books for $2.99! On 29 January, Stones of Nairobi (the seventh book in the series) will be released. Everyone who buys a copy in the first 48 hours of its launch will also get free access to seven more books. For all the details on this time-sensitive deal, go to

Enjoy this excerpt from Stones of Nairobi:

A cool dampness enveloped us as we descended into the tomb but it wasn’t a pleasant relief from the humid heat above. Moist slime soiled the walls. The air clung to my skin with hints of moldering bones and unpleasant secrets. In a few steps, we were entirely swallowed by earth and shadows. The opening above our heads provided us only the dimmest illumination. Still, as the tomb we entered was not so big, it was sufficient for the purpose.

A sarcophagus filled most of the space. Carved out of a single chunk of coral, it had similar engravings on the side as the stone above it. The outline of an unusually tall man protruded out of the lid, the carved features of the face sombre and stern.

“Do we need to launch into poetry again to open this lid?” I inquired. “Or will a song and dance suffice?”

Smirking, Koki replied almost affectionately, “Insolent human.”

Approaching the sarcophagus, she gestured to me to join her. Wordlessly, we both pushed on the lid. Despite its size, it wasn’t as heavy as it appeared. I could only thank the porosity of coral for that one consolation. In preparation for the fumes that would certainly exit around us, I ceased breathing through my nose and, as the lid crashed onto the other side, I held my breath entirely.

Peering down, we came to the same realization at the same instant: Liongo’s body was gone.

“Well, how inconsiderate,” I said as I turned to Koki. “It’s one thing to drag me half way across the country to this desolate, dreary and uncomfortable isle. It’s quite another to do so for no purpose at all.”

Bewilderment was a rare, if impossible, mood for Koki and yet, in that moment, it clouded her countenance thoroughly. “I don’t understand. The body is supposed to be here.”

A glimmer caught my attention. I leaned over the edge of the sarcophagus, its cool stone pressing into my waist, and studied the phenomena through my glasses.

“There’s more writing here,” I said and read the inscription. “Cool water.” Straightening up and removing my glasses, I scoffed, “There’s nothing cool around here.”

“It’s the Maasai name for Nairobi,” Koki said, her smug smile reasserting itself. “Enkare Nairobi. Cool water. His body must have been moved there, to protect him from his enemies.”

Before we could continue discussing the whereabouts of a corpse, a deep, throaty, snarling growl vibrated around me, its volume equivalent to an entire pride of lions growling together. The earth vibrated just as we heard an explosive crashing above our heads. Bits of coral and dust loosened and fell upon our upturned faces. Something large covered the opening to the tomb.

In the resulting darkness, I heard Koki sigh.

“What is that?” I demanded, hefting my walking stick in preparation.

Koki replied in a bored tone, “That, dear Miss Knight, is why the island is deserted.”


Many thanks for that, Vered, and best of luck for the launch tomorrow! 

Go and find your free copies, peeps! Certainly I am about to do so. Next week we’ll be back to the usual ramblings from me; in the meantime have a lovely weekend, and here’s that link to Vered’s website again, so you don’t need to scroll back up for it: (See how I spoil you…!)

Happy reading, and if you have questions or comments for Vered, please comment below. 


As regular readers will know, my Dad passed away at Easter. This is Dad trying his new choir uniform on. He was pleased as punch with it.

 He left a little bit of money to us all, and I spent a long time thinking what to do with it. I didn’t want to just pay some bills off with it. I wanted something a bit more permanent than that to remember him by.  Bless him, he always thought he’d leave us all comfortably off but by the time he died there was not a hell of a lot left, which meant it was a bit of a job to think how to use it in a way that would leave something lasting, something that he would like. We did think of putting it towards a decent bench for the garden, but that just seemed a bit selfish somehow. I wanted to use it for something where lots of people would get the benefit, not just us.

My Dad always did a lot of writing, and at the time of his death, we had just got his first novel back from the editors. I was planning to put it into a paperback for his birthday to surprise him, but sadly his health went downhill before he could finish the edits. He was very supportive of the anthologies when I told him about them, and I think he would have loved the idea of helping to make it happen so given that he was always one for charity, it just seemed right that we should put it towards getting a really nice cover done for this year’s Christmas Lites anthology. 

Christmas Lites, for those of you who are new to this blog, is an anthology we put together every year to raise funds for the National Coalition for Domestic Violence, the NCADV.  This is an umbrella organisation that arranged funding and training for the various other charities in the States that cover domestic violence. It’s an American charity because most of the original group who put together the first anthology were Americans and though I live in the UK, I figure a punch hurts just as much wherever in the world you are.

All the authors donate stories entirely without reward, and the rather wonderful Amy Huntley leads a band of volunteers who edit, format and arrange the book. There is a mixture of stories by a wide variety of authors of all genres and ages – this year we have SIX young authors, no less, which is very cool, not least as one is my nephew, who is going into print for the first time. It supports a great cause, and will continue to do so pretty much forever, as ebooks don’t go out of print. I think my Dad would be as proud to be associated with it as I am.In previous years we have had various cover artists, but we all loved last year’s cover by the immensely talented Wesley Souza, and so we went back to them this year for another. 

 Certainly Wes has done him proud with the cover he has made for us. Here is it is – isn’t it fabulous? I particularly like the little sparkly bottles… 

Amy, when I suggested this, was also really supportive in true Amy style (she’s so lovely) and very kindly offered to let us dedicate the book to him, so my older sister Gubby wrote a most beautiful dedication for us.

I always look forward to December, as I really love what we do with these anthologies, and I’m proud that I have had a story in all six editions of Christmas Lites – but as you will understand, this year it really is personal. So here is the Amazon link, which should redirect you to the relevant site for your country.

If you don’t wish to buy it, you can still help support us by spreading the word via social media, and I have two free e-copies to give away for review – but only two, as the whole point is to raise funds. Anything you can do to help will be much appreciated, and for what it’s worth, anyone reviewing this can have a free copy of any and all of my ebooks as requested – just send me the link to the review and tell me what you’d like and in which format.

I’d really like to make this one a success, guys. If you can help, please consider doing so.

Take care, all of you, and have a wonderful Christmas.

All the best;


Hi all: 

Once again the weekend beckons, and this week is the last of #NaNoWriMo.This year, I am chuffed to say, I have written my 50k words already, rah! Trying to keep the momentum up till the end of the month but I am getting pretty tired. 

 Fox in the Snare is now at about 50k words and it’s about to all get busy in the Valley again, though I am sad as one of my characters who was supposed to have a happy ending has messed up and now is having a premature one instead. Sadly, it makes a lot more sense to the general narrative arc this way, but there is a certain amount of snivelling into the keyboard happening in his scenes. Damned awkward characters! I liked this one too. But sometimes there is an inexorable pull in a certain direction and if you resist it, it shows, and jolts the reader out of the moment. Besides, usually when there is that tidal movement going on, it’s a kind of balanced evolution towards a goal which will ultimately work better than anything I had in mind. Which is all quite irritating (don’t look at me, I just hold the pen!) (all right, tap the keyboard!). 

So come the end of November I will drop tools on Fox and get on with the Christmas shorts which are in the works. The first is The Locket, which is a short story from the world of On Dark Shores, but set some twenty years before that story, when Nereia was a child living in luxury with her parents. The second is The Holly & the Ivy, which is a standalone sequel to A Sprig of Holly. Hoping to have Wesley Souza do another of his beautiful covers for that one! 

And in the meantime, Christmas Lites 6 is due out any minute, and there will be a cover reveal for that due with the breakdown of how the picture was made again (because I love that bit of the process best). Wesley has done another fabulous job on there, so I can’t wait to show it to you!

So, busy busy, eh?

In the meantime Flight from Shantar is currently pinned under the scalpel of editor #1, fellow novelist and talented playwright Julia Lee Dean. I asked her to tell us a little bit about what she’s up to at the minute (though not too much about all the bacon sarnies she’s had to cut out of the book… again…!)


Julia Lee Dean

writer – editor – teacher

A quick glance at the kitchen clock tells me it is nearly 12:40pm, German time. I am at home, in Bad Godesberg, a suburb of Bonn and, so far it’s been a good day. I was awake at 6am this morning which was useful because it means I did my 15 pages of editing for J.A Clement before I launched into my main task of the day; 20 university exam papers to mark. You see, I am not only a novelist and editor, since my move to Germany in 2014 I have been working as an English teacher in and around Bonn. The trick with exam marking is rather similar to that of proof-editing; don’t try and do it all at once. A little bit at a time guarantees a closer attention to detail and avoids tunnel-vision. I must admit, exam marking isn’t my favourite thing but it does allow me to work from home which means I can sit, as I am now, with curlers in my hair and look forward to a meal that I have not been carrying in my bag since before dawn.

However, while the exams I mark are only mildly annotated, the novel I am editing is bristling with comments; observations about descriptions and characters designed to give the author something to think about with a view to development or amendment rather than direct instructions (I can only suggest, I cannot be not the authority on someone else’s novel). Occasionally I edit the text itself; typos of course and grammar when I think another tense works better. Since setting up shop as an English-language teacher, I seem to have become rather more sensitive to grammar. Again, it’s all using the “this is my opinion, feel free to ignore” approach that J. A. Clement and I agreed when we were at university, editing each other’s poems. Online editing (tracked changes) makes that so much easier! As I write that, I am rather aware that when I had my novel edited, I chose hardcopy and really loved it. I prefer to work from hardcopy but I must admit that online is much more environmentally friendly.

I have just taken up my current novel after rather a long break. Well, not a break exactly, more a prolonged period of not-getting-very-much done. Over the last two years, I have worked very hard to establish myself as an English teacher and make enough money to be able to pay rent without sacrificing my social life. So far so good. However, my own novel writing has suffered quite a bit. It’s just taken off again over the last few weeks – I do find NaNoWriMo a helpful motivator – but it’s still caught in between the need for gainful employment and the rather demanding (three times a week with homework each time!) German course I finally managed to squeeze into my schedule in August this year. Still, I must admit I do consider myself pretty lucky. Nowadays I enter an office only to teach English and, considering how much I used to hate being in an office, this is an incredible boon.

I am, however, very excited about my new novel. It is the sequel to my first novel, And I Shall Be Healed. That book followed the experiences of a young Army Chaplain on the Western Front during the First World War. The sequel, Lost & Won picks up the story five years later and takes Leo and his wife through the 1920s and 1930s, an era of incredible – and sometimes harrowing – change. Up until a few weeks ago, my writing was sporadic to say the least. However, joining NaNoWriMo gave me the impetus to finally type up the novel so far (I write longhand in the first instance) and, since then, the new material has been flowing fairly steadily from my pen. I must admit I do find the research task ahead a little daunting but right now I’m just enjoying feeling my way around my characters. Some already familiar but growing older and adapting to experience, and others quite new. I do not consider myself to suffer from writers’ block. When the words won’t come I go and do something else, grateful for what I know will be a temporary release. So far this year I have taken three exams in music theory, set up The Bonn Writers’ Club to give myself and others pure, unadulterated time to write (we meet in a café once – two times a month and just work on whatever we’re working on) and I even managed to acquire a certificate in Foundation Journalism from the NCTJ so, hopefully, I will be able to ease off some of the teaching in favour of more editing and writing work.

If the writing goes on at the current rate, I shall have a good bit done by Christmas. For those who are looking for an editor, I am taking bookings from January 2017. An average novel (c 86k words) should take a month at most. Articles and academic stuff is usually a lot quicker. If you’re interested and want more information, have a look at my website. On the “Novelist” you’ll be able to have a look at the reviews my novel attracted and, if there’s anything else you want to know, just contact me through the site or at

For now, keep writing. If the writing’s not happening, read something!


Thanks for that, Julia.

Having read her first book I Shall Be Healed, I gave copies to my Mum, Dad and mother-in-law, all of whom loved it (and in my Dad’s case you have to bear in mind that he didn’t read much). It is a quietly melancholic book, very understated and consequently very effective – if you like the slow development of characters, I can heartily recommend it.

She has edited all of my stories (I think all?) and I can tell you she’s pretty easy to work with. If you’re after a thoughtful and perceptive editor who suggests rather than demands, look no further! Moreover, she has a great grasp of characters and plot holes – certainly she’s saved me from a couple of howlers (and we’re even still on speaking terms…) Heheheheh.

So that’s it for me this week, peeps. Hoping to bring you a cover reveal next week, so watch this space. If you’re still working on Wrimo, keep at it! You’re on the home stretch now. If you need harassment of an encouraging nature, add me and I will cheer you on from the sidelines… 

In the meantime, don’t forget there’s still time to get your freebie copies of The Last Dragon and The Scarred Artisan from Instafreebie – and watch this space as there may be an amusing Christmas short going up there too, under the name of Trial by Christmas Pudding, no less. A comic historical cowboy romance? Don’t mind if I do….

Have a good weekend, all, and catch you on the upside.

Take care:



Oh! Hello.

Let me just shift these tumbleweeds out of the way, I’m sure there used to be a blog here somewhere.

Aha! Here we go… Lord, it’s a bit dusty isn’t it? Pass me that duster will you?

There, that’s better.

Give me a moment and I’ll crank up the generator… See the lights flicker – orange, yellow, white and we’re on! 
Wow. It’s been a while, hasn’t it? We’ve been in the Great Blog Void and fingers crossed, we may be just getting across to the other side. Let’s see, when was the last time I put something up on here…? About a year back I think. Rude!

But it’s been a hell of a year.

So. I won’t go through the list of joys and woes which have made the last 12 months what they have been but the main points (in chronological order) include: adopting an elderly lurcher in October 2015, who has been a constant source of joy, irritation and laughter, and whose arrival was accompanied by that of a small colony of (empty!) poo bags which have invaded the pockets of every garment I possess. Said lurcher is very beautiful and has his own fanclub in the village, so we are now known as the dog’s owners in much the same way as members of a star’s entourage; basically, we just hold the lead. Bless him. He’s thirteen in April, which is quite old for a lurcher, but thinks he is a puppy still. Given how beautiful he is now, I suspect he was unbearably cute as a pup. My lovely dog….

On a much less happy note, cancer. There was already a family member undergoing treatment (with a good outcome, fortunately) when my Dad who had Parkinsons was diagnosed with terminal cancer. That was at Christmas; it took him very suddenly at Easter. So that called a stop to pretty much everything for a while, and it really wasn’t kind that two weeks after he died, my mum lost her little cat, which slept on her bed every night, or that shortly after my sister’s much beloved dog had to be put down, both due to malign growths. (I don’t know why there is so much cancer about this year; other friends have also been lost to cancer, including the lovely Katy Sozaeva, whose encouragement right at the beginning of my writing career kept me going in a time of doubt.)

But, by necessity, once the funeral was over we had to get going again, as our wedding was at the end of July, which kept my mum and the rest of us busy just at that weird point where everything’s done and the madness is over and all that is left is the empty chair and the quiet.

The wedding had been designed with the idea of not stressing my Dad out, so it was just the two immediate families in a pub on the moors, followed by roast beef sarnies in a yurt outside the house, and live music by a very talented friend (as well as my sister, a kazoo, the lurcher who apparently knows how to bark in time, etc). I came in to “Bring me Sunshine” by Morecambe and Wise, wearing black jeans, a black and silver corset and a purple coat my mum made from a pattern called “Pirate Queen”, which will tickle anyone who knows about my lifelong penchant for pirates (and I may use that phrase as a title at some point now I’ve invented it). She even put pockets in it. My wedding dress had pockets!! I was very pleased about that. I hate not having pockets.

My mum also made some tremendous glimmering blue brocade waistcoats for the blokes, and my new husband looked splendid; channelling his inner pirate, clearly, though that was just incidental. In a surprise move, my mum even made a waistcoat for the dog who, when we put it on for a photo, seemed completely content and wandered off to steal (another) beef sarnie without waiting for us to take it off him again. My sister did the flowers, which were some of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. 

The bridesmaids, who had chosen their own dresses, all chose white in different styles, and all looked very stylish and very much themselves. The yurt was magical! We loved the yurt. The weather was mizzlish, but this is Yorkshire, and it does mizzle with style – besides which a dull sky actually suits the photos better – it makes all the people look really vivid and there are so many smiles that each photo is pretty sunny in any case.  I don’t tend to put up pics of friends or family for reasons of privacy but here’s one of me having been persuaded to channel my inner Mary Poppins. Spit spot!

 (The photographer was Richard Edwards who is extremely good, btw)

Apart from the missing family members, it was two shades better than I had hoped in pretty much every aspect you could think of. We sang “The Wild Rover” for my Dad, laughed and cried, often at the same time, had splendid local food and drink (ok, mostly, the wine was from Hampshire and the bubbly came from Cornwall), sang and chattered. All the olds got caught up in a vicious competition to see who could blow the biggest bubble (there were bubbles instead of confetti) and in most of the photos, someone appears to be laughing their head off. In any case, I enjoyed every moment of it. It was *such* fun – and about perfect.

Then, after that, newlywed life kicked in which as far as I can tell is very much like normal life but when absolutely nothing has got done in the house for about five months. The washing was tremendous and the garden had gone mad. The bathroom doorhandle fell off, the kitchen light stopped working and the downpipe for the rainbarrel was hanging in place apparently only because of the spiderwebs around it, though the same spiders had seen fit to make a massive web of the entire inside of the lean-to where I keep flowerpots and gardening gloves, so I had to fight my way in in with a crystal containing the light of Earendil in order to retrieve the trowel, which Shelob had taken a fancy to.  I went back to work and discovered my inbox, which usually holds about 85 items, had hit 1600 in my absence, and started to wonder whether I shouldn’t go back and have another chat with Shelob about that there gardening fork…! And then we ran out of teabags at a critical point (nooooooo!). 

So, a bit of elbow grease and we’re coming up to date on all of the above… but in the meantime, what of the damn books, which is why we’re here?

Weeelllllllll. Now it gets complex.

Last time you looked I was writing Mother, right? Well, my editor said it would be better if I cut the backstory. So I did, but it was about 15k words I was cutting, so I figured I’d release it as a short. So I rounded it off, but that meant doing a few explanatory bits. So when it hit 45k words I sent it back to the editor in question, who came back and said “How does Suze come in?” 

Damndamndamn. That little 5 word question would then require about a 45k word answer. So in it went, but then the chronology was all wrong, so I changed it, but then it was all wrong the other way, and this isn’t even the right damned book!! But it made sense to get the prequel right before going onto the sequel in case something significant went in that would cause repercussions later. I kid you not, that damn book (now called Flight from Shantar) has been over a year in the editing, and it got to the point where I couldn’t even see it any more. The one bright spot was when I got a bit click-happy with spellcheck and changed every instance of the word “Shantar” in the novel Flight from Shantar to “SHATNER”!!!… Thank goodness for the Undo button! (Though I still haven’t given up entirely on Flight from SHATNER!! – you *know* it would sell and sell…..!) 

Anyhow, it was all a bit irrelevant in any case, as I was too burnt out for anything in the first half of the year, and too busy sorting out Dad’s paperwork for my Mum. Once I’d got a bit of mojo back after that I went on a reading binge instead, which is always salutary… and then, come the beginning of July, just as the wedding stuff was really hotting up, I dreamed this great character, and it was a bit compulsive. I couldn’t get him and his heroine out of my head and there was stuff to be done, so I figured it was time to make some notes and just download the bugger. 

BUT these characters are arsey and not inclined to play nicely. 

Some notes! Yeah right, in the same sense as a map with a scale of 1:1. 

So by the end of August, these “notes” had taken the form of a 110k word book. At the time of writing, I’m 120k into book 2 and books 3 & 4 are all mapped out. As soon as I get to a sensible stopping place, I’m putting Flight back together and sending it to the editors (with the hope that fresh eyes will be able to sort out the chronology more easily than I can), so with a bit of luck that won’t need too much in the way of rewrites and might be out in early 2017. The new Christmas Lites anthology is due in December. I have a short story (currently 10k) in editing which is a sequel to Sprig of Holly, and when all that is put to bed, Mother of the Shantar is already 85k done, (Shatner, heheheheh) and ready to start culling characters!

Man, if I didn’t already have a fulltime job I would be adequately provided with writing hours just from this lot!!

So yes, as far as you lot are concerned, I’ve been off the radar for a rather long time with little enough to show on the actual publications page but a short story in last year’s Christmas Lites anthology (though I did help design the cover, which I totally love). But I haven’t let the writing drop – ohhhh nooooo – and I’m hoping the next 18 months or so should bring you the occasional release to remind you who I am.

We’ll see, eh?

Anyhow, there may be a couple of cover reveals and other interesting news brewing in the meantime, but that all very much tbc…

The new lot though, the new lot is looking interesting and this time I’m playing with the somewhat random idea of writing the entire thing before I release any of it, so that in theory you’ll be able to read the entire story arc from start to finish with only a couple of weeks’ wait from one book to the next. If anyone has any thoughts about that, I’d be really interested to hear them. Might be a good plan, might be stupid – no idea at the moment.

Just wait till you meet the Wolf and Lyse, though!!

I think you’re going to like them…. 

Till later:


So. Anyone who’s been paying attention to this blog (& is still here) will know I went to Loncon in August, and haven’t had much to say since. Some of the time since then has been spent in the writing cave, but mostly I concentrated on sorting out the real-world stuff for a while. However, I’ve been writing this blog about LonCon ever since.

As it goes on forever, here is the TL:DR


….So fantastic you will get higher than a kid on ALL the Haribo. You meet fascinating fans, authors, artists, publishers, translators, cosplay specialists, all sorts of people. It’s like a massive hub of goodwill and creativity all spiralling into critical mass of AWESOME!

And then it all ends. It’s back to real life, like Dorothy leaving Oz and going back into black and white. Concrash attacks with vicious teeth, and it takes a while to get back to normal. Then in the harsh glare of daylight you sit down and work out what you gained and what it cost you –  and of course, when you can next reasonably justify going again.

So there you go. If you feel inclined, jump to the learning points at the end and add anything I missed – or, if you want a bit more detail (er, a lot more detail!) read on…


Recently I have come to the conclusion that there is one major downside to spending your entire childhood up a tree reading (well, two if you’re including splinters) and this is that there were a whole load of excellent things going on in the real world that I missed out on. Namely, conventions… Whole conventions, full of people who liked the same books as I did! I vaguely knew they had that sort of thing for Star Trek in America but everything always happens in America and I was never going to be able to afford to go there, so I didn’t look any further. Yup.

< facepalm >

It wasn’t until  June that I came across the notion that not only were there conventions in the UK, but the WorldCon was actually going to be in London in the August! Well, that pretty much blew my excuses out of the water. Expense or not, if the WorldCon comes to you, as a fantasy author it seems a bit of a lost opportunity not to go and have a look at least.

So, World Sci-Fi & Fantasy Convention came to the UK, and being the third time it has been in London, it was called Loncon 3.

Loncon. 'Nuff said.

Loncon. ‘Nuff said..

There’s loads on the Loncon website about Loncon, so there’s not much point me repeating it, but it’s well worth a look when you’ve finished here, especially for the programme which was amazing.

I volunteered to take part – when I did a bit of reading up, it said that was quite a good way to meet people, but the site said that they were pretty much covered so I was expecting to end up giving out leaflets or something. I was quite pleased to be asked to do the two panels, and frankly a bit baffled to be asked to do a signing. I figured there would be a dark little backroom to hide the dirty self-pubbers in but then I looked it up and discovered that the other people in the room at the same time were: Peter V Brett, Christopher Priest, and John Norman (yes, he of the Gor books) and then Jenn R Johannson of FSG Macmillan, Mike Shevdon of Angry Robot and …er… me. So of course it all became clear. The space was limited, the fans for the big names would be numerous – what they needed from me was someone who could take up a table but not crowd the room any more. Sorted! That I could do, and I figured, it could be that I could give some free stuff to all the fans as they came past. Bonus!

Because it was all a bit last minute, most of my prep ended up happening at 2am on worknights in the fortnight before the Con. Did this lead to some dubious decisions? Er… some. But mostly it came out okay. I designed business cards and a vinyl banner I’m pretty pleased with, bought a posh dress, watched both the Hunger Games films for the adaptations panel, read books by some of the people I was on panels with, and ordered jellybeans in tiny bags for the signing. Then I printed out little labels on with QR codes which I love and virtually no-one else seems to  use (Why? Why? So convenient!) for the ebook and vouchercodes I was going to give away, and spent a happy evening watching Galaxy Quest (again) and stickering my jellybeans ( not a euphemism).

Now, I commute into London quite regularly and was hoping not to spend too much, so I hadn’t booked a hotel. In retrospect this was a silly idea as I spent about 5 hours of each day on the train, was horrifically short of sleep all week and missed anything that happened later than about 9pm. This includes ALL the parties! Duh!

So first learning point: don’t try to commute.

On the Wednesday night after work I ventured over to Excel, sussed the place out and picked up my badge. Went via the boat and the cablecar, which I hadn’t previously been on. The journey was not the quickest and was a bit pricey, but what a way to see London! You should definitely do it. It was really quick and easy to pick the pass up and the following morning I knew I’d made the correct decision when I saw the Twitter feed which was full of the queues…40 mins earlier on, and later it was longer. Then home for the remainder of my last-minute prep. Business cards! Bookmarks! Banner! A whole bag full of paraphernalia, and I was prepared for all circumstances.
Thurs –

On Thursday I accidentally missed the opening ceremony, so went for a wander to get an idea of where things were before the main crowd turned up. After a general circuit and fact finding, it all seemed a bit empty, but I knew there was loads of interesting panels on so went to find a coffee and looked through the booklet with a pen to hightlight the ones I wanted to see. Sadly this turned out to be most of them and in any case, lots that were all on at the same time. Damn! SO much good stuff, all on at once!

I had just missed the start of one, so went back into the exhibit hall to kill an hour before the next. Stalls were being assembled there: I did a circuit, and by the time I got back to the beginning, there were a few more stalls up that had not been there before, so I went round again. And then more meant another circuit… I went round about sixteen times in the end! Sadly, I had missed the next couple of panels due to being distracted by shiny things (links in previous post) so went to chat to some strangers, saw some more shiny things and basically missed a whole load more. Damn.

I didn’t want to stop there too late that first day, but lurked around on Twitter a bit. This  turned out to be a great way to enhance the experience, as lots of the panels I didn’t get to were live-Tweeted, andall sorts of  people put up photos and subsequently blogs. Great stuff!

Came across a tweet from an editor who wanted to chat to authors and agreed to meet up with Abigail (Bothersome Words) to discuss role of editor in publishing from a self-published perspective (spoiler: for me, VITAL! I have two). Meandered home earlyish, ready to prep for signing and panel tomorrow.

Fri –

 Signing, Panel – Fake Science.

Signing in Exhibition hall was with: Jenn R Johansson, Mike Shevdon, Adam Christopher, Maurizio Manzieri, Christopher Guest (he of The Illusionist fame), John Norman (miscellanea Of Gor) and… Peter V Brett. Well that was only ever going to go one way. Three established famous authors, a famous artist, three up and coming trad-pubbers… and me, with a grand total of 2 self-published books. Bless.  I got my books on display and a hundred packs of labelled jellybeans and arranged the table nicely.

As expected, three queues formed, none for me. But on Thurs I had seen a load of authors sat in a queue-free environment looking cross and unapproachable, so I figured best thing to do was have a talk and laugh with the other authors around me; on one side it was Jenn Johansson, who had some really cool badges to give out, and on the other Mike Shevdon whose book The Sixty-One Nails I was reading (& enjoying) at the time. Anyhow, it was good to chat with them and pretty much what I expected, so at least I wasn’t too dismayed by that. At the end I went and put the leftover freebies on the table and ten minutes later they were gone! Clearly, with it being away from the main stalls and cordoned off, it was a bit daunting for random passers-by, and in truth I signed more copies at my own table later than I did during the signing session.

Went for a wander later – managed to miss meeting with Abigail again but caught a great panel on pseudonyms with Robin Hobb and  Seanan Maguire  and some others. Bella Pagan was entertaining and quite establishment, Seanan Maguire came across as no-nonsense and anarchic, Robin Hobb was softly-spoken and thoughtful. All agreed you can write different things under different names and you generally know which pseudonym goes with what you are writing. There was differences of opinion over whether subjects are still gendered, and a really interesting discussion about how you come up with a pseudonym and the fact that the name defines the character just as much for the auithor-name as for the character-name.

My panel was at 3pm, and was the Fake Science one with Paul Cornell, Dr Victoria Herridge and Andy Sawyer which was great fun. I had been boning up on  hoaxes and fakes, and had a few ready to discuss, and Victoria Herridge had a wealth of  conversation as she works in the Natural History Museum, while Paul Cornell was there with his Fortean hat on and Andy Sawyer kept us all playing nicely.

Victoria Herridge was in the panel about Dwarf Mammoths immediately before ours (another clash, regrettably, as it sounds to have beem a bit of a high point); in fact a lot of her audience came across to Fake Science. Add that to the popularity of Paul Cornell at several of his panels and the room was full, which was a nice way to start.

Conversation ranged from pranks and hoaxes to the really serious fakes, their consequences and the possible motivations behind them – joke, pressure, deception, malicious spite. There was so much to say that we didn’t cover the half of it, but it was a good rollicking conversation with a fairly engaged audience.  Topics discussed included: the Fiji mermaid, Roswell, crop circles, sad side of Piltdown man, responsibility of science, monetary  issues, Lary Niven’s Ringworld and Engineers of Ringworld being motivated by a group of high-school kids, duckbilled platypus, sightings of the Wright brothers plane as fakes, rhinogrades, dropbears and jackelopes. We discussed whether the role of science as a god-replacement in a non-religious world means that fake results = sin, and whether the pressure to find new discoveries leads to less flashy but equally valid results being overlooked or not developed.  Paul pointed out that science wants replicability and won’t look at individual sets of results as non-representative. Forteans argue extraordinary claims should not need extraordinary proof, just ordinary levels of proof, but science disagrees.

Eventually we ran out of time, but it was a highly enjoyable, rollicking discussion with some good points from the audience, and everyone seemed to have a good time. Having finished the panel and a few post-panel chats with audience members, I gravitated naturally back to the exhibit hall, where I did a few more circuits of the stalls and then paused at the Banned Underground banner to chatting with Will MacMillan, author of the same (Tolkien meets Spinal Tap, apparently – and yes they are on the TBR list now), along with sci-fi author Jim Webster, and then finally met up with Abigail for a good old gossip about the role of editors, writers’ expectations from publishing, expected vs actual differences between trad and indie publishing, and then onto all sorts of goss.

Lastly, although I was starting to flag a little, I went to the Newbies’ meet in the evening, which I had read was the one thing you should go to. In fact I would add a proviso: it’s the one thing you should go to if you don’t naturally feel like chatting to strangers and do need introducing. Given that I had been doing little else than talking to strangers all day, I didn’t necessarily feel the need for help of that kind! However, there were other people there who were less confident (less gobby, if you’re not feeling charitable!) so I chatted to as many of them as I could reach,  introduced a load of people to each other and sidled out at 10, shattered. Got the  11.35 train, getting home around 1am to have dinnger and sort out paraphernalia. Late night…



On Saturday my long-time cyberfriend MTMaguire, author of the K’Barthan trilogy came out to play. This was particularly pleasing as I’ve never met her in the flesh before. She knows Jim and Will well, so much banter was flying back and forth. I was delayed on the trains as the Jubilee line went into meltdown, so by the time I got there, MTM had set up shop on corner of Gollancz stall with bookmarks and freebies; I joined her there and it was SUCH fun! The stall on the other side of us was a small press by the name of  Inspired Quills,  along with several of their authors. They are a friendly lot and there was much banter between us all – and much petting of MTM’s tribble. Turns out, quite a lot of people will stop if you let them pet your tribble (er… this is not a euphemism either…!).

Patrick Rothfuss spent a couple of hours at the next stall along, and was very goodnatured and highly delighted to get his picture taken with fans  dressed as characters from his book. More books to add to the TBR list…

Sadly, MTM had to leave while the night was yet young.  I continued on the stall for a bit. I have to say, I totally loved manning the stall. There were so many interesting people there to watch and to chat to. I really enjoyed the panel… but I did get rather addicted to having the stall. At six the Exhibition Hall shut, and we left.  A swift coffee and something of a snackish variety, and I headed home to sort out my things for Sunday.


Sun   Panel – Adaptations

Sunday was a bit strenuous, but still good fun. I made a really early start from home in order to get in on time, along with a draggy bag of books, banner and all the relevant paraphernalia. I set up on the stall and basically spent the day hailing passersby- notable characters included Pam, Daniel and Adora; Stephenie from Netherlands, Stephen and Barbara from Italy, a pirate from UK who said he wouldn’t have a freebie as he only bought from small presses and only pirated big publishers.

Sara from Inspired Quills suggested marketing my latest book “Song  of the Ice Lord” for the LTBG community – I had not thought of that. We had a really interesting discussion about books involving alternative sexualities, as she pointed out that if ever a book features someone who is homosexual, asexual, demisexual, transgender or any of the other variants, that as a general rule the alternative sexuality becomes the point of the story. In “Song” there is a subplot about a man who falls for another man, but that is mostly incidental to the main story (the war they are fighting).

I also met Gingerlily and Caspian who I had chatted to on email in a previous incarnation, and who was  now launching his book. Cool stuff!

Panel on adaptations with Paul Saxon Bullock, Jonjo, Carrie Vaughan, who, it turned out, is good friends with someone I went to University with, who was also there doing a maths talk.  I’d say this was random, but Professor Nick would quite possibly be able to disprove this and calculate the exact probability so may be best to leave that joke alone….

The panel covered such points as the fact that different media have different strengths and do different things well. We agreed that abridged versions are bad, and that getting an adaptation slightly wrong is worse than totally changing it beyond all recognition (though obviously ‘slightly wrong’ is always going to be quite subjective). In any case it does cause us outrage when a character in an adaptation does things the character in the original work wouldn’t have done. We asked the audience for their best or worst examples of this, and had a highly enjoyable fifteen mins back-and-forth on the following:

Hunger Games – a mixed bag though reminiscent of Battle Royale. The books become increasingly cynical and downbeat. In the films the use of colour and design is fabulous to look at and really emphasised the differentness of Capital vs districts. Will they fix the ending? Most of us hoped so!

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: Hamma Kavula was not a popular addition though most admitted the character was well-played. There was some grumbling about how they’d changed the story but it was pointed out that the book is an adaptation of the radio play by Douglas Adams in the first place, so is not necessarily the source material. All agreed that when they announce an adaptation of your favourite story, the first reaction of excitement is closely followed by gloom at the possibility of disaster…!

Tolkien films –Lord of the Rings was fairly faithfully done and the changes seemed true to the spirit of the story but Hobbit was much more ambivalently viewed because of all the added backstory – is it still cheating if you’re adding from Tolkien’s own mythology? No conclusion was reached.


On Monday I had nothing much planned so turned up early and chatted with passersby all day. No Will and Jim sadly! Pam, Daniel and Adora came past and Pam blagged a bag from Gollancz, which made me laugh. I had a wonderful day chatting to anyone who stopped. I also had the enormous good fortune to meet the lovely Robin Hobb.

A few years ago I introduced my mother to the Assassin trilogy and she’s been a big fan ever since. As it was coming up to her 75th birthday, I told her I would get the latest Hobb for her – but did not necessarily mention that if I possibly could, I’d get it signed. I couldn’t get to the signing session but bought my copy and had it ready to hand just on the off-chance – and I was lucky enough to catch Ms Hobb as she passed the table. She very kindly stopped to sign the book and wrote a lovely inscription which made my mum squee like a fangirl later, so that was really nice of her.

After lunch, however, everything started to go quiet. A lot of the stalls did not attend on the Monday anyhow, and many of the others started to shut down around 2 or 3pm. I shut down the stall early-ish with the intention of attending the closing ceremony  but foolishly stopped to sit down for ten minutes. Of course, I suddenly realised how tired I was and that if I went into the closing ceremony I’d only sleep through it anyway. Plan B, then: I grabbed some food  in the fan village and staggered off home to fall in a heap and consider the prospect of work tomorrow and the 0455 alarm call….

So, that was LonCon. It was  SUCH Fun.   I absolutely loved it and for the space of two days I was Googling every other Convention I might reasonably get to: but then came post-con-crash, and it wasn’t pretty. Also, it ate all my writing mojo for an unfeasibly large amount of time, and I can’t really afford that.

I have now come to the conclusion that I probably shouldn’t go to any more cons for a couple of years.  I just haven’t got enough books on the shelf to justify that sort of expenditure (in money, time and energy).   I’m not far enough along the path for it to make sense.  On the other hand, when I have half a dozen books out, I’ll ease back into it by taking a table in the dealer’s room for a day at one of the other more local events. I suspect fitting thatlevel of involvement in with real life will be much more sensible.

I don’t regret going though, not a minute of it, and if I could kick over the day job tomorrow I’d be at every convention I could reach. I had such fun, met some amazing people, and learned a whole load of things. What things? Well, in no particular order:

I should read Lovecraft if I don’t want to be eaten, apparently.

I should have gone in costume on one of my non-authorial days.

I love having the stall and chatting to people!

SF&F is under-represented in Dutch, Israel, New Zealand and Italy, most home-grown authors writing in English in order to have a market. Looking into translations for some of these markets.

Good coffee is hard to find in the Excel centre.

Clean toilets with no queues make a surprising difference to the experience. The Excel staff were lovely and kept the place excruciatingly clean.

I love meeting cyber-friends.

I love publishing and talking about publishing.

I need to write more books!!

Robin Hobb is lovely, very gracious.

Patrick Rothfuss was really good with his fans.

George RR Martin has a LOT of lookalikes in the fan communities.

I SO SHOULD HAVE TAKEN PHOTOS!! Having a camera on the phone and one in my bag with extra batteries is of no help whatsoever if you DON’T TAKE THE DAMN PHOTOS.

There are lots of cool people at cons (also,  a surprisingly high occurrence of kilts).

I can do a whole day on an outsized bowl of porridge and a lot of coffee.

Next time, will get a hotel so I can go to some parties. Or write, either is good.

I love panels. Next time I should go to more panels.

I love having a dealer table. Next time I will get help to cover the table so I can go to more panels.

Fans! Didn’t meet any of mine, obv (there’s time yet) but fans are very cool.

Notes / blogs. Make notes at the end of each day. I’ve forgotten loads of cool stuff.

Twitter is splendidly useful for cons. Got loads more info from Twitter.

Con app was very good – lots of info and updates.

I did collect cards and mail people after, which was cool as managed to meet up post-con with a friend I didn’t even know was there, who it turns out was meeting another cyber-friend I didn’t know she knew. Random!

Comfy shoes a must, and assorted ones. My trainers gave me blisters so I changed to horrifically ugly but comfy ones which were very good indeed. Heels for the signing, then took them off immediately after. This is something to consider when constructing costumes.

Pre-panel green room chats – a good opportunity to chat through and plan but also to meet people and put faces to names.

I WANT TO DO MORE CONS! I can’t afford to do any more cons yet but soon as I have the books and can afford the time and energy, I’ll be right back.

Reading books by people on your panel – a great way to find other cool books. Still working through the LonCon section of my TBR list. Have read three Patrick Rothfuss books now, and loved them. Bought a copy of the first one for my mum for Christmas. Word of mouth is powerful, and cons are good for spreading it.

All told, I did love Worldcon and am looking forward to checking out some of the smaller UK ones; but to justify the cost in time, money and energy, I think I need to put it on hold until I have a few more books out.

Which said, I guess I’d better go write a few more, eh?

Though obviously if any of you have a favourite convention, or good convention tips or just want to gossip about Conventions I Have Known, hit the comments. I’m open to persuasion, gossip and further learning points!

Catch you later, peeps:


Hi all:

Just starting the sorting and tidying of the post-Loncon detritus, and while I’m working up to the full report, I thought I’d give you a quick list of links to be going on with. The dealer’s hall was an Aladdin’s cave of cool stuff, and on the Thursday I ended up walking round it about sixteen times, as every time I finished a circuit they’d put some more stalls up when I got there again!

I wanted to buy  SO much stuff: virtuously didn’t, and in all honesty the only thing I really regret is not buying the fab pic of the ferrets pulling the Celtic knots to pieces from Sophie Klesen(?) which I shall link to later, but then it was more money than I really could afford so probably for the best.

Anyhow. Take a look at these, and appreciate the splendidness!

Art – the most beautiful, luminous art. I wanted to buy all of it but sadly it’s a bit out of my pocket! Go and admire though – they are fab. – this is where you can find all the various links for the Sophie Klesen whose fabulous mediaeval stuff is really gorgeous. In real life it’s dripping with gold leaf, and so unusual! If you check out her FB page, the one with the ferrets is the one I was hankering after. Isn’t it cool?! I did ask if they had it in postcard form, but they didn’t so I got the “Not available” one instead because it made me laugh. – evocative, almost photographic paintings. Lovely stuff. They sold almost before I got to them!

Books – the historical thesaurus of English. Synonyms going right back historically; very pleasing. – the excellent people at Inspired Quill who kept us amused in our bookselling endeavours. Buy their stuff! I have done.

And the cyberfriends from the Amazon forums who I finally met in the flesh, authors all:

and my good mate and shameless tribble-petter MTMaguire:

Tshirts and other stuff – a fresh kind of madness. Slightly steampunk, very random. I particularly like the sleeve badges pertaining to tea, but sadly they didn’t have just straight black tea or I would have bought it on the spot. There were several other cool ones I meant to go back for, but when I did it was shut – another close call for the credit card! – pretty things! I did in fact cave annd buy a really pretty necklace from here. I wandered past every day for the entire con and still wanted it at the end so, y’know, it might have accidentally hijacked my credit card. – Well, there were these Tshirts and I really wanted them and they were funny, so I virtuously bought some for pressies, you know, and accidentally maybe one for me and then it turns out they had a green one with weasels on and my press is called Weasel Green Press so it would have been kind of rude not to….

Anyhow, there are some links for you to be looking at while I’m writing up the rest of it.

Loncon was a most tremendous experience and I met some tremendous people, had some very interesting conversations and learnt A LOT. Part of what I learnt was that I really, really love meeting people and chatting to readers. Sadly I am a bit rubbish at selling my stuff, but you never know – maybe people will go and see what I’m rambling on about if I feed them enough jellybeans… but more of that anon.

Sadly being quite STUPID I took no photos at all of my first ever con.

< F A C E P A L M >

Still, I’ll find some Twitter peeps and get them to link in the comments if I can so you’ll have a bit more of an idea of what was going on.

Yet again – watch this space…also, if I find more of my links I may update it later on so do come back and check – and if you know something I’ve missed out, that’s what the comments are for!

More anon: