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11 November 2012

It’s been something of a hassle this past few weeks as I tried to get an assortment of artwork for my newest DAZE book through to my publisher. The jpegs range from around 700kb to well over 2000kb and as I’m on dialup, this can take not only forever for the smaller ones, but the larger size tend to be so slow that the connection times out before the one I’m trying to send clears. It finally dawned on me that I could do this another way and I have. So, all 22 interior illustrations plus two versions of the cover have gone safely, (if nothing’s gone wrong) and I can relax. Well, as much as someone who now has the shearing to do, a fence repair to sort out, Xmas cards and letters leaving daily, and a growing number of Xmas events to attend, and that doesn’t even start on my writing list. But at least boredom continues not to be an issue – ever!


Yesterday I thought it was about time to go on-line to the International Cat Writers association and see if they’d posted the AGM announced information on final Award results. That’s when they read out and present to you – if you’re there – the MUSE MEDALLIONS for the current year. I found that the new list had been posted and skimmed down the names. Yes, there was the short story section… and there I was too.

Winner: Lyn McConchie for The Domen-  appeared Penumbra’s May ezine

Judge‘s comment: strong fantasy about a catlike race come to Earth. It has the potential to become a cat fantasy novel.”

Hmmm. That strikes a chord. Not an adult SF novel, but perhaps a continuation of the story in a young adult book. Something to put on my possibles list. Meanwhile I’m really happy that I have Muse Medallion. And this story is one of those that…no, I’ll leave that information for next week, suffice it to say that once again the news will be good.


4 November 2012

published DAW, march 2013. Review is of uncorrected proof copy.

I first ‘met’ Julie when her book, A Thousand Words for Stranger  came out in 1997. I read that in one mighty gulp, and LOVED it. She was a finalist for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer and I voted for her. (Frankly I feel that her work was solidly superior but I guess all voters feel that way.) Since A Thousand Words, I’ve bought all of her books (new, many in hardcover – greater love hath no reader) and there’s never been one I thought less than well-written and great to read, although I love the Trade Pact Universe ones the best. So I was extremely happy to receive a proof copy of A Turn of Light to review. I suffered from trepidation because over the years I’ve seen some authors try to make the transition from Sf to fantasy or vice versa, and sometimes it comes off – and sometimes it doesn’t – but I hoped it would in this case. I can now report that it did. I read the book over two days, and after the first I put aside much of a stack of work I had to do so I could keep reading.

Julie has created a new world with the same meticulous detail that she has always brought to her SF books. There is a subtle poignancy of plot providing a depth and breadth that produces a powerful reality. Her characters are fully rounded, real people with recognizable traits. emotions, and a normal life. Except that in Marrowdell not all is as it seems. I was some pages in, racing along, and almost missed that until a sentence past the item my mind snagged on what had been said and I went back to re-read it. That was the first intimation that Marrowdell had its own character. Slowly, gradually, like the first fragile solo in a symphony, the theme began to clarify and that’s when I put aside my work and settled to read without interruption.

I’m not going to repeat the blurb or give away the plot and ending. You can go to Julie’s site on and see all that for yourself. (Buy her books, see her latest news, and even read some sections of this book.) Suffice it to say that the book has gone onto my shelf to be read – as are her other books – every few years so long as I live or until the book falls to bits and I have to buy a new copy. This book is a triumph, it contains everything that made me love her work in SF, and it’s wonderful to see that she’s carried that over into a fantasy blockbuster. Yes, it’s a big big book. Over 850 pages, and by my calculations some 300,000+ words. But, while I usually don’t like books that large, with this one I didn’t care. Jenn Nalynn’s story couldn’t be told in less because it’s the story of Marrowdell and everyone who lives there including  new arrivals, house-toads, Wainn’s Old Pony, and some unwanted visitors. I heaved a satiated sigh when I finished. Because best of all, A Turn of Light had the right ending. The one that leaves a reader feeling content with the story, the characters, and the plot. I thought wistfully that it would be nice if there was more about them, but … and then I checked, YES! There will be. DAW (wonderful  intelligent publishers that they are) have accepted A Play of Shadow, described as  a “ sequel to Turn.” My only problem now is that Turn has taken Julie several years to write and I don’t want to wait that long for Play. (Oh, and I’d like another in the Trade Pact Universe while you’re about it.) Please write VERY fast. Because I’m out here waiting and so are a lot of others…












yes, I belong to that, and yes, they do a very smart glossy newsletter/magazine. In which, when it arrived this week, I had a short true-life item about the gaggle – Goose Events. Recently someone who had to be escorted down the lawn, since the geese are in laying mode and terminally belligerent, asked why I bother with them? Two reasons. They’re hell on wheels after would-be burglars, and they regularly provide me with amusement and something to write about. What more could I ask?

2 November 2012

It is too, and so that we get the message about summer being on the way, today has decided to give us a foretaste of that with a brilliant cloudless sky, and temperatures forecast to hit 27 degrees by early afternoon. They were already into the 20s when I finished breakfast around 8.30. So, for first time this season, I opened the side door into the cat park and left it that way. Thunder adores having it open so he doesn’t have to use his cat door,  he’s busily coming and going, and out on the lawn the hens are squabbling over who gets most space in their dust bowl as they spread out like untidy feather dusters to enjoy the warmth and fluff dust through their feathers.

The only ones that are going to be unhappy about this will be the sheep. I wanted to have them shorn the last two weekends but one weekend was incredibly windy, and the next was wet – you can’t shear wet sheep. (Why? Because the shearer isn’t keen on manhandling soggy sheep, and also the shears can drag and catch in the wool, cutting the sheep, and producing poor fleeces.) This weekend too is forecast to be wet, so I’m hoping to arrange it for the weekend after and if that one is going to be wet the flock can darn well all come in under cover the previous night. They don’t like having to spend a night in the confined space of the shearing pen but they’ll like even less still having all their wool on as temperatures go up…and up. So, it’s a gorgeous day, the thing about that being, after a string of hot cloudless days, us farmers will be howling for rain…you can’t please all of the people all of the time, and definitely not us farmers.






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