Sick of the small life imposed on her, sixteen year old Angharad is seeking escape. When she wakes up on the other side of the Gate what she gets instead is a tighter prison than she’s ever known. With no way out and no way to find her mysterious jailer, she finds herself relying on the people trapped with her: Tsuyoshi, an angry Canadian art student, well-meaning Josephine, the secretive Dr Yeoh, and Jin, a child soldier. But in this technological trap beyond anything she’s ever known not everyone is who they seem, and even Angharad is unsure what is true about her own life.
Set on the space ships and space stations of the Union of Allied Planets, Four Bodies in Space follows Commander Solaris, a scientific officer on a small ship that just wants to be left alone to check her experiments in peace. A peace threatened first by the murder of an ambassador and then by the friendly overtures of his emotionally volatile widow. With her ship in danger and her future on the line, Solaris can’t hold back her curiosity about the murder.
Into this mess steps newly promoted Captain Li, eager and a little too friendly, and fascinated by the psychic gift Solaris considers her greatest burden. Solaris would rather cling to everything she holds dear than accept the difficulty of something new and untried even if pushing away Captain Li’s help risks damage to her career and the people she wants to protect, but fleeing from Jennifer Li’s hand in friendship could mean falling into the killer’s hands instead…
Three tales of the awkward conversations you could have if monsters and space aliens were part of your every day life.
A young woman reconnects with her high school boyfriend, no matter how much she tries to avoid it. A concerned friend argues about the wisdom of romancing a vampire. A space pilot watches her boss suffer through talking with a diplomat.
It’s been a while, but I’ve finally released my personal anthology of short fiction:
A young woman looks back on a grandparent and the nature of stories. Robots question the meaning of their existence. An old woman time travels through memory. A young man leaves a party and questions what he wants from life. Thirty-somethings talk about chemistry over brunch.
I switched site themes, to something that I think will work better with the way I’ll be using the website for the next while. Still purple, though, because that’s the best colour.
I’ve also updated other works with links to several new short stories I’ve published on Amazon.
You may have noticed I haven’t posted a lot of reviews here lately – and that’s the way it shall stay until I’ve finished with this year’s classes, at the very least.
You can now get The People Want Dance Pop as an ebook pretty much everywhere online – handy, if you were waiting for the Amazon exclusive period to be over.
That’s a lot more reading done last month than I realised.
Some interesting links:
How a Publisher Markets Your Book by Jessica Faust.
A profile about Leonard Cohen in The New Yorker, looking at his new album, from before he passed on. RIP Cohen, a musical great.
Elena Ferrante, Charlotte Brontë and how anonymity protects against female writing stereotypes by Erin Nyborg at The Conversation.
20 Typography Mistakes Every Beginner Makes – And How You Can Avoid Them by Janie Kliever at Canva Design School.
Remembering Sheri S. Tepper, Eco-Feminist Sci-Fi Firebrand by Genevieve Valentine at npr books. Tepper is a complicated figure to look back on, because she was an outspoken feminist but also in favour of eugenics, and it can be difficult to reconcile those two things.
The prospect before us by Patrick Nielsen Hayden at Making Light about writing SF/F in a world with US Pres-elect Trump.
Why Fiction Matters by Nancy Jane Moore at Book View Cafe.
Death of the hatchet job: Book reviewing used to be a blood sport. How has it become so benign and polite? by D J Taylor at New Statesman. Interesting read. There’s still plenty of amateur reviewers willing to say you’ve written the worst book in the history of humanity on goodreads but I have noticed in certain sectors pro and semi-pro reviewing is somewhat timid. Also even amateur reviewers of romance novels seem more likely to say ‘I didn’t enjoy but it was okay, 4 stars’, which is fascinating. This article OTOH locates trends of reviewing within the history of reviewing.
The Gone Girl With The Dragon Tattoo On The Train – Why are there so many books with “girl” in the title? by Emily St. John Mandel at FiveThirtyEight. I’ve definitely linked other articles of people noticing this phenomenon before.
Who is the Genius Behind Merriam-Webster’s Social Media? In Conversation with a Dictionary by Emily Temple at LitHub.
If you prefer your books on dead tree, to books on screen, the paperback edition of The People Want Dance Pop is now available for sale.
Some interesting links:
Why I review everything I read by Teresa Preston at Book Riot.
SEXtember: What reading romance taught me about sex by Natalie Ng at meld magazine.
An interesting interview with Jill Shalvis at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. It’s fascinating to see how many writers assume it’s only them that write messy drafts while other writers must be writing such clean drafts.
5 Years a Novelist: A Retrospective on the Writing Life by Kameron Hurley.
An interview at The Design Files with Penguin book designer Allison Colpoys.
Working with Time I Actually Have, Not the Time I’d Like To Have by Peter M. Ball.
On the horror genre: Guest Post: “New Voices” by Mark Morris at Civilian Reader; The Hidden Horrors of Craig Davidson by Tobias Carroll at Electric Lit; and Interview with Victor LaValle by Maurice Broaddus at Nightmare Magazine.
Margaret Atwood: ‘All dystopias are telling you is to make sure you’ve got a lot of canned goods and a gun’ by Charlotte Higgins at The Guardian.
On editing: An intimate relationship: editors and writers at the Radio National archives of The Book Show (it’s from 2008 but it’s still interesting) and What is structural editing (from 2007); Teaching Stuff: Vast and Cool and Unsympathetic by Richard Chwedyk at the SFWA blog.
Why I Don’t Want to Be a Queer Book Detective Anymore by Casey the Canadian Lesbrarian.
Not a great or interesting month for me and books, I have to admit.
The People Want Dance Pop on Amazon. It’s the second in my series about a bunch of musician bros, but if you’re just interested in the romance, you can skip this one as it’s coming of age angst + binge drinking.
Some interesting links:
The kinds of questions we ask ourselves by owlectomy – Riffing off an older post about the kishoutenketsu structure in traditional Chinese and Japanese narratives, and the differences between ‘Western’ and ‘Eastern’ storytelling.
Simplicity or style: what makes a sentence a masterpiece? by Jenny Davidson at aeon.
5 Writing Rules Destroyed by the Dictionary at Merriam Webster.
Identity & Narrative: A Response to Lionel Shriver by Foz Meadows. (A quick web search of Shriver + Brisbane Writers Festival can bring up the mess that Meadows is responding to. As Shriver is a privileged out of touch white person beloved by the literary establishment, some of the responses towards her speech may be fawning. Tread carefully.)
Writing Strong Women by M R Carey at Civilian Reader.
At Smart Bitches, Trashy Books: 211. Writing Emotional and Erotic Tension: An Interview With Molly O’Keefe.
The Best Female Characters Come From Books by Meg Miller at The Atlantic. Largely about film.
Let’s Talk Numbers: How Long Should Your Series Be by Travis Bach at Pretentious Title (Rachel Aaron’s blog).
Let’s Talk About Stets by K J Charles. I learned all these editing notation marks at secretarial college, which at least means (despite how hilarious people find that) it was worthwhile.
By Cyriaque Lamar at io9, a post from a few year’s ago I was just reminded of: The 22 rules of storytelling according to Pixar.
Tips for Writing Romance from A Passionate Defender of the Genre by linkeepsitreal @ Tumblr.
On the Invisibility of Middle Aged Women by Dorthe Nors at Lithub. Don’t read the comments.
On romance novels
For the ‘Oscars of Romance’, Representation Matters by by Sonali Dev at NPR Books.
Two different perspectives on gender and Mills and Boon at The Guardian – Mills & Boon romances are actually feminist texts, academic says by Mark Brown, and Mills & Boon: zero shades of feminism by Julie Bindel.
A primer on the romance genre at Tumblr. I’ve linked a reblog because it seems the original poster has deleted.
Romance Novels Brought Me Closer To My Mom, Even After She Was Gone by Adam Minter at Bustle.
On research fails in a ballerina romance by Sonya Heaney.
On writing as a career
Writing Dreams and Harsh Realities by Tim Waggoner.
On Being a Pro Writer (Hint: It ain’t all tour buses…) by Delilah S. Dawson, storifyed at whimsydark.
Does having an ethnic name affect book sales by Dilvin Yasa at SBS.
When to quit your day job by Kameron Hurley at Locus Online.
On Not Reading by Amy Hungerford at Chronicle.
Grading: The Method to Our Madness at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, explaining how the reviewers came up with grades in each book review.
Why It’s Difficult For Your Library to Lend Books by Adam Vaccaro at boston.com.
Nick Offerman on middle-aged sex and what people get wrong about Ron Swanson by Marah Eakin at A V Club. It’s AV Club so you probably should read the comments, no matter how irrelevant they are to the article.
The 24 most fashion-forward characters of the ‘90s, from Alex Mack to Shelby Woo by Victoria McNally at Revelist. I dressed most like Clarissa and Sabrina in the 90s. I probably dress most like Elaine Benes and Prue Halliwell now.