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30 May 2015

Thursday I went off to our nearest town to give a talk (followed by questions) on my writing. I enjoy such events and had a very pleasant time. I don’t charge for this if the talk is local (within 20k or so) as I feel that it’s not only fun for me, it’s good PR for my writing. Many groups are quite small and couldn’t afford to pay me large amounts anyhow. So if asked, I say that my ‘fee’ is door to door transport, and if they want to give me a ‘thank-you’ gift, home baking is always acceptable.
So I had a great talk/question session, and returned home with a lovely bunch of flowers – which promptly went into a vase on the kitchen windowsill where they are flourishing – and some three 2L ice-cream containers filled with (yum) jelly-top slices, almond biscuits, shortcake, and other delectables. Money is nice, but in this case the home baking by very good bakers is my preference!

This will be out from Lethe very shortly, however in the meantime it can be pre-ordered (at $3 off cover price, from
This applies to American readers only however, those wanting to buy and overseas from the US should email the publisher at
I do encourage those who want copies to pre-order. You get the book cheaper and faster, what’s not to like in that.

As I may have said before, I have a simple system with these. Something sparks a thought, I write the article and it goes to the newspaper where it’s held until they have a suitable space. Sometimes I can have an article in each Saturday for several weeks, and then there may be a gap. It doesn’t matter, the editor usually has 10-12 to choose from and sooner or later inspiration will strike and they’ll get 2-3 more to replace those used. Latest lot appearing have been –
USES FOR PLASTIC BREAD TAGS appeared Dannevirke News, Saturday March 7th 2015.
RAINY DAYS AND BORING WEEKENDS appeared Dannevirke News, Saturday March 14th 2015
BRUSH IT (A host of other uses for old toothbrushes.) appeared Dvke News, Saturday March 21st 2015.
CITRUS PEEL TOO USEFUL TO THROW AWAY, appeared Dvke News Saturday 9th May 2015.
OTHER THINGS TO DO WITH NAIL POLISH, appeared Dvke News Saturday 16th May 2015.
And yes, currently they have another dozen in the slush pile. Writing these is fun.

20 May 2015

I was a little worried when I finally obtained a copy of this one. A Turn of Light had been so great I wasn’t certain that the author could do it again but she has! Jenn Nalynn is back, together with Wisp the dragon, Scourge the kaur, her father and sister, and Bannan, along with the entire village of Marrowdell with all its magic. But Jenn is changing, becoming something else, and Bannan’s nephews have arrived, sent to him because his sister has gone to find her husband, their father, and two small boys will be a lot safer with Bannan. Or will they? And we find at once that no, they won’t be. That Jenn’s changes are profound, will she even be human once they’re done? And what of Bannan’s sister whom her son ‘sees’ locked in a stone cell? Bannan and Jenn set out to find his sister and brother-in-law who are missing in a far country, but not before some suspicious and deadly events in Marrowdell lead them to believe that all is not as it seems.
A Play of Shadows is a terrific successor to A Turn of Light. Not every author that wants to write both SF and fantasy is good at both but Czerneda succeeds magnificently. Her magic aspects are entrancing, the author managing to create magic that is a brilliant variation on the standard tropes. Jenn’s changes and her distress over them rings true, and her growing romance with Bannan and her doubts and fears over that only render her more human. Wisp the dragon is far from standard and Scourge the kaur manages to be both partially equine and a real grumpy dangerous personality in his own right. I look forward immensely to the next book with these characters and on that I do have one complaint. Waiting two years for this book was painful , a year would be better, so write faster, Julie, there’s a lot of us out there waiting.
And one more thing that I bet a lot of readers will be asking, I loved the house toads in both books, but still more I love the one depicted with Julie in her husband’s gorgeous photo inside back cover. Where can I get one and how much do they cost because that one is terminally cute, beautifully made, has the look of something wise and alive, and I’d love one of my own.

18 May 2015

Having got my latest book off for the publisher of that series to consider, I have ‘only’ to write three new articles, my blog posts, a special review, get my annual flu vaccination, and move the sheep. Nothing at all really when you consider that I have two weeks in which to do that before I start a novella I want to have done for submission before the end of June.
The weather has continued moderately wet, with 48mls for the month so far, and almost all of the hens have gone off the lay as it’s also turned colder. (Either that or a number of them have established new nests I haven’t found.) I’ve been lighting the fire each day but letting it go out at night, something that – if the forecasters are right – is about to change, since we’re being promised a freezing Tuesday night, and if they look to be right I’ll stoke and bank the fire for that night. My damaged leg doesn’t like real chill and I’d prefer not to be limping about for several hours until a newly started fire warms the house. Ah yes, the first real sign of winter, an overnight fire.

some months ago I had the idea for three stories, all set on a remote planet and involving the terran ambassador to that world, along with his PA, and an small blue fluffy six-legged alien creature that was a projective empath. The stories were UNDIPLOMATIC, DIPLOMATIC FRIENDS, and APPEARANCES, and I am very happy to say that they have recently found a home with Whortleberry Press’s STRANGE MYSTERIES 6.