I’ve sold slightly more .epubs and slightly fewer .mobis since Kindle Unlimited came in. Given the numbers involved I suspect this is just noise, but it’ll be interesting to see whether the trend continues.

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Today’s context-free snippet from the WIP

Spring-Heeled Jack image from Wikimedia Commons

Spring-Heeled Jack image from Wikimedia Commons

“Spring-Heeled Jack is not your spirit animal.”

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Writing time has been kind of bitty lately, due to a combination of moving house twice in six months and recovering from FINALLY getting Heavy Ice out there. However, we’re now somewhat unpacked and I have a room to write in that feels like a room rather than a corner of a storage crate, so things are progressing. I still have several projects jostling for attention, which is at least better than having no ideas at all.


A couple of weeks ago I went to the second Frome Steampunk Extravaganza and had a wonderful time. Everyone was very friendly, steampunks and Frome locals alike. The bands put on a great show and the market was packed. The organisers did an awesome job. More photos of what I wore are at my alleged style blog.

And now I need to move books around in the sitting room in preparation for the great migration of books down out of the loft. See you around!

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Today’s comparison that a character came up with with no mediation from me: “It smells like a re-enactor’s attic.”

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I Get Spam


Dear providers of ‘content’ with some vague relation to writing that you think I might want to reblog from you: I’m a writer. I make my own content. What you are doing is a bit like coming to the door of my amazing friend Sarah who makes her own chili sauce and offering her a packet of tomato sauce you found on the floor of a fast food restaurant. Except that her chili sauce is superior to my books in that it doesn’t come with too many adjectives in the sex scenes.

Dear person claiming to be a female Lieutenant General looking for a kind, sincere man; I am not a kind, sincere man. Sorry. I am also sorry to hear that your ‘health is regressing by the minute’, as that must be very painful for you. Nevertheless I can be of no help to you getting the money out of Afghanistan. I suggest you use it to buy the attentions of a very expensive gigolo.

Dear sellers of facebook likes: I don’t do facebook. I kind of appreciate your efforts to subvert its evil with your own evil, in the same way that I’d be entertained by seeing a giant octopus fight it out with a dinosaur-headed shark, but frankly I can get giant octopus versus dinosaur-headed shark fights any day of the week on the Syfy Channel and therefore have no need of your substitute.

Dear people who claim to be the United Nations and say that you are willing to give me £3.7 million to eradicate poverty with: I do not think that you are the real United Nations, because the United Nations does not operate out of a P.O. Box in Benin.

Dear SEO company named after an endangered mammal, may your business reproduce as inefficiently as your namesake.

Kisses, Ankaret.

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That Awkward Friend Of A Friend

Did you ever have a group of friends who you liked to hang out with, some of whom also liked to hang out with someone you weren’t all that keen on? Someone you met at parties and might say hi to, but probably wouldn’t invite to any parties of your own?

The friend didn’t have to be a bad person. Just someone that you wouldn’t choose for your friend. Maybe they were louder or more huggy than you could cope with, or they spent all their time huddled in corners and answered you in monosyllables when you tried to talk to them. Maybe you didn’t get their sense of humour or they didn’t get yours. Maybe they just pinged that precise area of your inner radar that said ‘Trouble’ or ‘Too much work’ or ‘Not in any way my problem’.

Or maybe they were pretty popular in general, and your friends seemed to have a great time with them, and you could see – or at least, you hoped – that they meant well, but every now and again they’d do or say something that made you cover your eyes with your hands. And your thoughts would be a curious mixture of ‘Thank God this isn’t my problem’ and ‘Actually, everyone’s seen me hanging out at parties with this person, I probably ought to have an opinion about this’?

This is me and traditional, con-going SF fandom.

I have friends who go to cons, volunteer at cons, love cons. I’ve been to steampunk conventions and enjoyed the heck out of those. I love SF and read it by choice. But there’s a lot of stuff associated with that particular way of doing SF fandom that makes it That Friend Of A Friend for me.

A huge amount of it, probably the largest percentage, is because I get overwhelmed very quickly by noise, crowds and talking to people. No one’s fault, just a mismatch in styles.

But some of it is down to the constant stream of gaffes and PR disasters that have come down the pike over the last few years. Many, many cons have gone off without a hitch in that time and not made the news. They’ve had great disabled access, they’ve listened to their members about what panels people really want, they’ve had clear safety policies that make it clear that if you’re harassed, the con has your back. Good for them. But there’s always that extra few that make it feel like ‘con’ is short for ‘controversy’. The latest one is Loncon’s choice of a celebrity to present the Hugos and the bizarre scolding Tweet with which they doubled down on their decision. And then there’s the constant and embarrassing growing pains SFWA keeps going through in the glare of the public eye.

It feels like there’s a certain segment of SF lovers who assume that their fandom, the fandom that’s been going on since the early years of last century, is how people show their enjoyment of science fiction, and they’re a little baffled and hurt that people can love books but be critical of cons. They’re even more baffled and hurt that people are expressing criticism but not volunteering to help make it any better. I have a lot of sympathy for both sides of this one. Organising events on that scale is hard work, time is limited, and people whose contribution to the discussion is ‘Why don’t we try doing this a different way?’ often sound like they’re saying ‘But have you considered reinventing the wheel?’

On the other hand, getting onto committees with people whose personalities and working methods you’re already at odds with is not most people’s idea of a fun hobby. People are entitled to go off and invent their own wheel if they want to rather than signing an indenture to work as an apprentice in your wheel workshop. Maybe one of you comes up with a trike and the other with a unicycle, but as long as they’re both roadworthy, no one’s hurt by the coexistence.

So that end of fandom is going to carry on being That Friend Of A Friend for me, I’m afraid. I really don’t think it’ll feel the lack of me, and I hope we can both continue to enjoy reading SF books and saying an awkward hi at parties.

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A repost from Valentines Day 2011:


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