Bond, Jane Bond.

Every so often, a post comes up about how this or that character is a ‘Mary Sue’. I’m sure Rey from Star Wars: The Force Awakens was one of these unfortunate female characters, who certain viewers regard as being too good at things to be believed.

Allow me a moment of rocking in my chair on the porch. I was around when the term Mary Sue was localized to fandom, and in fandom – I think – it had a useful purpose. You see, the thing about fan fiction is that people read it hoping for more of the characters they loved from [whatever the canon is.] If they’re Aragorn fans, they want to see more fic about Aragorn, in which they can revel in how cool he is, feel sorrow for his sorrow and happiness for his joy, etc.

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In a situation like that, I think it’s perfectly valid to resent the introduction of a female character who wasn’t even in the canon stories, who inserts herself into the universe and immediately becomes the focus of the story. Especially when she outshines Aragorn by being better than him at everything, by advising him against the bad choices he makes, being wiser than him about his moments of self doubt, more beloved than him by the good guys and more hated than him by the bad. That wasn’t what you were looking for when you went looking for Aragorn fan fic. It claimed to be Aragorn fanfic, but it was actually Legolas’s-Sister-the-real-heir-of-Lorien fanfic.

As the story misguided you as to who it was actually about, you had every reason to resent it.

However, when you take the female character who is good at everything – who outshines all the other characters, has a cool name and a destiny, who is chosen and favoured and successful – out of fanfic, I think she ceases to be a Mary Sue.

Mary Sue doesn’t just mean ‘a female character who is implausibly good at things.’ Because you know who else can be defined as ‘a character who is implausibly good at things’? The hero. That’s who. The hero, by definition, tends to be that character who always comes through in the end, and often does it by being better than everyone else.

Outside of fanfiction, there are plenty of male characters who are handsome and devastatingly sexy and dangerous and destined for greatness. Or if they’re not destined, they fight their way to greatness anyway.

It’s a classic superhero trope isn’t it? Young man finds himself in some hidden valley/ancient temple/bat-cave and is taught to be a superhero by a secret society who only exist to give him the tools to be great. Then he goes off and fights crime and dazzles high society with his wealth and debonair attitude, while carrying the fate of the world on his shoulders.

No one seems to call James Bond a Mary Sue. We’re just happy to go along with him for a wild ride of a power fantasy in which we vicariously enjoy being awesome.

So, outside fan fiction, I don’t see why you can’t also have a female hero who exists entirely to be badass and better than anyone else. A female character who gets openly admired for that.

In fact, I thought that sounded rather fun. And so Aurora Campos from the Cygnus Five series was born. I wanted her to be the kind of unstoppable force of nature that Hornblower or Jack Aubrey are, but in space. I wanted her to be the kind of person who, when she’s abandoned on a hostile world by her venal bosses, who hope she’ll be murdered and thus be no more embarrassment to them, would go “No. I’m Aurora Campos. You should be afraid of me.” And then take over that world and make it happen.

I suspect she’s a direct descendent of Susan Ivanova from Babylon Five, who initiates a war from the bridge of her battlecruiser with a speech that still makes me want to punch the air. I get to the end of this speech and I have chills even now, so very many years since I saw this first.

“I am Death Incarnate. I am the last living thing you will ever see. God sent me.”

How often do we get to see this? When do we ever get to see women have this kind of crowning moment of awesome? It’s so rare.

And that’s how Aurora came to be. I wanted her to be the kind of character who could pull off a speech like this, because she has the force of will, intelligence and strength to follow through on it.

She’s still not a Mary Sue, for the reasons I’ve given above. She’s a hero. And writing her was such a blast. Such a relief. I hope if you read her, she’ll come as a vicariously enjoyable power fantasy for you too, and that you too will find that something of a breaking of mental chains.

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Interview with Simon Williams, Author of the Aona Series

Hello!  And thanks for agreeing to be interviewed!

Now that I’m an Indie author myself – a very new one who doesn’t know what they’re doing – I’m fascinated to hear from other indie authors who’ve been at this longer than me. So have a variety of questions, and choose the ones you’d like to answer, and I (and I’m sure my readers too) will be fascinated to hear what you have to say 🙂

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  1. Who has been the biggest influence upon your work?

A number of different authors have been firm favourites of mine over the years but I’m not sure how much they’ve each influenced my work. I haven’t consciously tried to emulate the styles of any existing author- I tend to only think about other authors when I’m reading their books.

  1. How long have you been writing? What made you start?

I’ve been writing to one degree or another since about the age of 5 or 6- as soon as I could physically write, pretty much. I guess I had an overactive imagination and I just used to come up with stories about anything and everything when I was a kid- obviously most of them were nonsense, but I remember being quite proud of them at the time. As time went on and I struggled into the grey miserable world of adulthood, I also discovered that I didn’t really have any particular talent for the world of “proper work” so I guess that made me even more determined to stick with it.

  1. What was your first book and what was it about?

That was so long ago I can’t even remember the title or even what it was about. Most of the stuff I wrote during my teens was awful. I honestly don’t remember 90% of it, and the other 10% I wish I couldn’t remember.

  1. What are you enjoying reading at the moment?

I’ve finally got around to the third book of Tad Williams’ Shadowmarch series, and I intend to read the fourth and final volume immediately afterwards. It’s excellent.

  1. Do you do anything to summon up inspiration – write to music, have a special writing hat etc?

Well, I don’t own any hats, but I do usually write with some sort of music on headphones (for the full surround in-your-head effect). It can be almost any sort of music except that misogynistic, violence-glorifying “gangsta” or “grime” stuff, or cheesy glam rock which I also can’t stand.

  1. What do you do when you’re not writing?

I read, or go for walks in the countryside, or listen to music. Sometimes, if I feel especially interesting I will even try and do all three at the same time.

  1. What works in progress have you got on the go at the moment?

I’m collecting together some short stories for a digital-only release which will be launched on September 29th. Some were written a long time ago and others more recently. This is something I’ve been planning to do for a while, and finally got around to doing.

I’m also working on the sequel to my YA sci-fi / fantasy novel Summer’s Dark Waters, currently titled The Light From Far Below. This is a challenge of a quite different sort for me- it’s become a pre-apocalyptic tale of urban paranoia which makes uneasy reading even for me, so it needs to be shaped appropriately for its intended readership- those poor folks who will have to contend with what remains of this world in the decades ahead.

Thirdly, my book for younger kids, which I’m reluctant to give any details about at this point in case it doesn’t see the light of day. It’s a big leap into the unknown in terms of writing style, and depending on what the beta readers think, it may be shelved. But I’d like to think it has some potential- so I’m aiming to complete it and then we’ll see if it wilts or blooms in the light of scrutiny.

I also have a standalone book in progress- it isn’t really fantasy in any conventional sense (I’m not sure what it is) but I’m pleased with what I’ve written so far.

  1. Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? What do you do then?

I don’t really believe in writer’s block. I just think the brain can only come up with a certain level of creativity at a certain rate- and sometimes you just have to wait for ideas to come along. We can’t operate on the “higher level” all the time. So I just keep at it (on what I call the lower level) and sooner or later the switch gets flicked in my head.

9: Have you ever won any writing awards? If so, what?

I’m pretty sceptical about “writing awards” – there seem to be hundreds if not thousands of them and almost every other author seems to like to describe themselves as “award winning” or “bestselling”. I’m more interested in what readers think of my work. If I can pull someone into my world and if it deeply affects them in a positive way, that’s really a reward in itself.

I’m not really seen as part of any clique or group or association so I very much doubt that I’d get put forward for an award anyway. But that’s ok. I write for readers to enjoy my work. Awards are forgotten over time. Books that profoundly affect the reader can last a lifetime in the memory.

10: What one thing are you the most proud of in your life?

I don’t think I’m actually “proud” of anything as such. I’ve enjoyed writing my works and I feel a certain sense of achievement, but “pride” feels like an odd emotion to me. I could probably be proud of other people depending on what they had done or achieved, but it’s not something I think about in terms of my own life.

11: Who is your favorite author and what is your favorite genre to read?

I don’t have a single one, rather a list, including Alan Garner, Clive Barker, Cecilia Dart-Thornton, Ian Irvine, Tad Williams, C J Cherryh, C S Lewis, Aldous Huxley and a number of others. I tend to read fantasy and fantasy-horror (sci-fi is something I tend to prefer in film), but I do read some character-based contemporary fiction- particularly John Irving, whose works I really enjoy.

12: Do you enjoy TV and movies? If so, what are your favorite shows/films? Do you find they inspire your writing?

I loathe most TV and the celebrity culture that infects it, but there are a few incredible series- off the top of my head I would say Twin Peaks (my vote for the greatest series of all time), Ashes To Ashes, Waking The Dead, League of Gentlemen, X-Files, Game of Thrones, American Horror Story, Carnivale…

I couldn’t possibly list all my favourite films here but again off the top of my head, Blade Runner (best film ever- no, I won’t be watching the pointless “reboot”), Alien, Terminator 2, Jacob’s Ladder, Event Horizon, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Inland Empire, A Field in England, Mulholland Drive, all three Lord of the Rings films (though I didn’t care so much for The Hobbit- too long-drawn out), Predator, Melancholia, Martyrs, Kill List, Wolf Creek, Nymphomaniac, Trainspotting, The Shining, 51st State, Texas Chainsaw Massacre (yes the original), Interstellar, The Box, District 9, Inception, Westworld, Moon, The Machinist, THX 1138, Solaris, Brain Dead (one of very few rom coms I love- maybe because it contains zombies)… many many others.

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13: Where can we find out more about you and your writing?

 Readers can find out more at any of the following links and networks:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Wages of Sin are – more sin? No. That’s not right.

It is autumn. My son has had his first week at university, leaving me in the house on my own. Naturally I had to be busy busy busy in order to justify my right to existence.

Rather than actually tidying the house (I did do some of that, but it never lasts), I have been beavering away on several writing projects at once.

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I narrowed down the whole of history into a focus on 50ad, and the whole of the world into a snapshot of the area of Britain belonging to the Brigante tribe, letting me conclude that the novella I intended to write for my newsletter would involve Queen Cartimandua, notorious backstabber and Roman sympathizer.

I also spent like three days wrestling with the names of my heroes. Do you know if a Brigante man called Tamm whose father was called Cara would be Tamm MacCara or Tamm ap Cara? I didn’t.

Do you have any idea how to work out this Roman naming system, when the Roman in question is not a member of one of the original Roman gens? I really didn’t. I am very very fortunate to have Wulfila to talk me through it. But if I had any confidence going in, I’ve emerged from the experience without it.

And that was without deciding my Roman MC needed a Phoenician personal name because his family were still proud of being Carthaginians first. Apparently the Phoenicians (like other ancient cultures) didn’t believe in writing down vowels. So it took me most of this morning to decide on Kpr as my MC’s Phoenician name and decide it was spelled Kepir. To make it pronounceable for his mates, he would tell them it was Kepirus, or just to call him Africanus and have done with it.

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That was all research. In addition, I have been plotting. *Steeples hands in a sinister fashion*

What have I been plotting? I’ve been plotting another adventure for Charles Latham and Jasper Marin of The Wages of Sin fame. This one is to be called Waters of the Deep.

In which Charles’s Latham family entitlement makes a bad situation worse when he and Jasper are called in to investigate a multiple stabbing in (the cotton mill town of) Paradise. 

This will be another combination of m/m romance, murder mystery and fantasy. No ghosts, this time – other than Lily, Charles and Jasper’s adopted ghostly daughter – but other denizens of Faerie instead.

I haven’t set a firm deadline for getting that finished, other than ‘hopefully before Christmas.’

But!

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as a way of whetting people’s appetites for it, I’ve written a 10,000 word short story in the same universe. Buried With Him is a prequel to The Wages of Sin and tells the story of what happened after Jasper was pilloried that managed to save his faith.

It also manages to keep on with the theme of vaguely sinister Biblical titles, though I worry that this one in particular – though thematically appropriate – is really offputting.

That’s currently being edited, and I’m hoping to release it in mid October. Since, once that’s done, there will be two (soon to be three) volumes in this series, I’ve given the whole thing a series title of Unquiet Spirits. I hope to do at least one more novella in the series afterward, if only to justify calling it a series at all! Watch this space for more definite news on that.

Netflix Nerdery – Shadowhunters

I’m determined to get my money’s worth out of Netflix, despite the fact that even with all those programs to choose from, very often I don’t see anything I really want to watch.

At any rate, having worked my way through Daredevil Series #1, Jessica Jones Series #1, Sense8 series #1, Grimm series #1 and #2, Gotham #1, and iZombie #1 and #2, having tried and failed (again!) to watch Once Upon A Time, I blazed through Shadowhunters #1 in about a week and a half.

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I’m not familar with the books. I have the feeling there’s some kind of plagiarism debate going on about where the series concepts come from, in a similar vein to 50 Shades coming from Twilight which itself came from something else. Although I was in fandom at the time there was something going on with Cassandra Claire, I wasn’t in that part of fandom, and I don’t know what it was. All I really know is that I’ve heard of her and I’ve heard of the books, but not necessarily in flattering terms.

As a result, I really wasn’t expecting to like the series. And in fact the super-hyper-real high fashion glossiness of its visual style was very offputting to me at first. I have more or less got used to the fact that even the characters’ faces are a part of the overall aesthetic, but I still need an occasional double-take over the fact that everyone in this series is beautiful in exactly the same way. (Except for Jace who just thinks he is.)

The dress standards of this universe are way too high for me – even the werewolves manage to be stylish – and it is a world in which you will believe a woman could be born with neon orange hair. But it’s beautiful in its own highly saturated, highly coloured way, and better to have a consistent aesthetic than not, right?

Story-wise, it hits the ground running and accelarates from there – corruption in the heart of the good guys! Sworn brothers put at odds by the appearance of a mysterious lady! Tragic disappearance of our MC’s mother just as she was about to tell her the world-changing secret concealed from her at birth! OMG! My father is the villain! The demons are invading! Accidental near incest! My best friend is a vampire now!

Okay, perhaps the emotional realism is a bit lacking, and the characters tend to explain their emotions to each other rather than acting like they actually have them. But the sheer exhuberant invention of the entire thing is charming, and it manages to unify the appeal of a soap opera – weddings, jiltings at the altar, surprise siblings, cross-species romance, who’s dating who, whose parents are up to some dodgy stuff (all of them!) etc with the appeal of angels, devils, werewolves, vampires, warlocks and fairies.

I mean, there’s something for everyone in here.

I won’t deny that I’m probably hooked because I so rarely get a canon couple to be invested in, and I am terribly terribly happy to have the canon romance between Alec Fairchild and Magnus Bane to cheer on. (If something terrible happens to them later, don’t tell me! Netflix UK only has series 1. Let me enjoy it while I can.) I would definitely be fannish about Magnus Bane if I had time.

Just in terms of representation, it’s got to be rare to have a bisexual POC character who gets to be openly in a m/m relationship while being Magnus’s level of awesome, surely. I hesitate to recommend the series just for that. (I’m braced to hear that they kill him off in series #2.) But it’s up there in my list of ‘top three reasons to watch this show.’ Number 1 of that list is that this series is a real masterclass in how to keep the hooks coming, so there’s never a moment when the viewer doesn’t wonder what the sinister plan is now, and how the characters are going to get out of this one. It’s fast and fun. I like it.

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Roman and Celt it is!

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Thanks to everyone who replied to my newsletter blog post saying what kind of story you would like to see. We had a three way tie between the Roman/Celt idea, the Victorian tattooist idea, and Pacifist Prince meets H. Rider Haggard.

I’ve got to say the idea of H. Rider Haggard or any of his muscular explorers meeting my pacifist prince character is a delight, and I personally would love to write that most of all. But in the spirit of first come, first served, it seems the Romans have it.

Story stage – assembling the ingredients.

As I don’t actually know anything at all about the Celts, and very little about the Romans. I need to take a while to narrow down where this is likely to be set, when, who would be involved and what exactly they would be likely to be doing. Then I need to research the heck out of all of it. So this week will be devoted to looking things up and trying to get enough of a feel of the setting to allow me to vaguely see the shape of what kind of a story it could be.

I will post a newsletter on Friday containing an update of my progress, any interesting research I might have come up with, and the usual selection of news about all my other projects (of which there now seem to be many!)

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I’m going to have to get some form of time planner to keep track of it all. Anyone have software they can recommend for an author trying to keep track of lots of different projects at the same time?

 

Newsletter musing

I hear having a newsletter is pretty much vital for an Indie author, but I have to admit that’s something I’m failing on. I have got one, but so far it’s been going out only when there was news. IE once every six months or so.
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Naturally it’s not lively.

Those of you who know me, know that I have a tendency to read too many self-help books, and recently I finished a cool book on self publishing called Write, Publish, Repeat. Among many pieces of advice that seemed to make sense to me, they suggested weekly newsletters, with bonus content.

By ‘bonus content’ I here mean ‘a weekly episode of a story written specifically for the newsletter.’ They suggest 500 words a week as a doable goal alongside writing new books, and that seems like something I could manage, particularly if I plotted out the whole thing before I started, and aimed for a total length of about 30,000 words before starting either on a sequel or a different one.

Then I thought, well, perhaps before I do that, I should offer the chance to any readers of this blog to be involved. I’m going to put these choices to you and see whether anyone would like to read a 30,000 word novella on one of these prompts, told in episodes of 500 words each.

Historical Romance choices

Victorian gentleman falls for a tattoo artist.

Celtic chieftain & Roman captive.

Fantasy choices

Arranged marriage between a warrior king and a pacifist prince.

Steampunk meets Lovecraft.

Steampunk meets Rider Haggard.

Alternative Option:

Pick a historical period

http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ancient/

Pick three words from this list

http://towriteprompts.tumblr.com/onewordprompts

combine, and I will write a story around that.

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My Cunning Plan

If I get a request, I’ll plot out the story and let you all know when the plot plan is done and the episodes are about to start. If I don’t get a single request, I’ll assume nobody wants this and try to think of something else to do. It’s up to you 🙂

Before that point I’m going to have to come up with a better way of subscribing to the newsletter than this – Subscribe to newsletter
I mean it looks okay, but then it sends you an email and you have to hit ‘reply’ and send an email back, and then it asks you if you’re sure you want to subscribe. And who’s got time for all that?

Re-enactment Fair or Foul?

Prithee, Mistress, what art thou about, fixed to that glowing square as though ’twas a broadsheet? Art though mazed by its unearthly glow? Nay, surely it will bewitch thee, and thou shouldst smash it. Smash it now afore thy soul be sucked from thy very bones!

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Gytha and Wulfwaru at Kim’s feast, informally dressed – it was very hot!

Funny, right? Me talking in bad mimicry of the little I remember of Shakespeare, and pretending not to know what a computer screen is. It’s funny because we both know it’s a game, and in fact I am well aware of the internet and I’m also well aware that you know about computers too. If we stopped pretending, then we could have a conversation about what a Tudor person might make of the internet in the relaxed and informal atmosphere of knowing that we are two people of equal standing, with a similar grounding in the concepts that we’re using.

If one of us knew of research or evidence that proved the Tudors would have thought the computer wasn’t a danger to your soul, they could share it, easy as saying “There’s an article in History Today that suggests the Tudors were already blase about the printing press – I think they’d have seen this as a parallel technology rather than a spiritual threat. I’ll send you a link.”

But imagine trying to have that conversation while the first person is determined not to break character – not to say anything that could not have been said or thought by a Tudor person. Suddenly you have a communication gap. Suddenly you have to explain the internet to someone who already knows what it is, because they refuse to stop pretending that they don’t. If you want to talk about research, you must invent some period-appropriate method of getting it into the conversation. Woe betide you if it’s archaeology, and you then have to explain why 21st Century archaeologists think it’s okay to dig up graves.

If you’re anything like me you’ll give up in frustration within the first few sentences.

I imagine there is a way to interact with re-enactors who are determined to pretend they’re actual inhabitants of a different time period. Perhaps I should have come up with a backstory for myself involving time travel, allowing me to also pretend I was in the past.

The trouble is that if I was in the past, I wouldn’t have walked round in a modern sundress and shorts taking photos. I’d have known that was inappropriate. I’d have found a way to get some Tudor clothes and prepared a story about being a Finnish princess whose strange behaviour could have been treated as foreign eccentricity.

In other words, to enjoy the pretence, I would also have had to pretend. I would have had to pretend in some way that put me on a footing where I could converse with the reenactors as an equal, rather than allowing myself to be a prop to whom they could impart their wisdom.

I didn’t like being cast as the clueless modern who knows absolutely nothing about the past. I am a re-enactor myself and I know how to churn butter. I know perfectly well what you’re doing with that spinning wheel, mistress, I don’t need you to explain it to me. I know, Mr. “Coppice Worker,” that this clearing you’re sitting in with your pole-lathes hasn’t been coppiced since it was planted. How about you stop trying to tell me things I already know and allow us to have a conversation where you treat me like a person instead of your stereotype of a clueless member of the public?

Perhaps I should explain. It was our family summer holiday recently, and naturally we used the opportunity to immerse ourselves in the things we like. Which turns out to be history and eating large meals. We managed to encounter two different species of re-enactment in the same week. One day we went out to Kentwell Hall, for one of their Tudor days, and the next we went to Wychurst, the feast hall of Regia Anglorum, to celebrate the life of Kim Siddorn, its founder, and erect a cross in his memory.

Gytha adds a handful of soil to the base of Kim's cross. Everyone present added theirs before it was filled in.

Gytha adds a handful of soil to the base of Kim’s cross. Everyone present added theirs before it was filled in.

I should declare a bias – I am a member of Regia Anglorum, and although I don’t take part in many of their events any more, I am still proud of Regia’s simultaneous commitment to authenticity and cheerful willingness to discuss anything with anyone.

Regia takes the view that if we were to pretend to be Anglo-Saxons or Vikings, we would be speaking a different language to the public. We would be mutually incomprehensible – and what would be the point of that?

So if you come onto a Regia site, you will see nothing that you would not have seen in the 9th Century. You will see people carving wood and stone, cooking on a fire-pit, making cheese, spinning, weaving, telling stories, playing music etc as closely as we can get it to how they would have done it in the 9th Century.

But if you come up to someone and say “I thought the draw-knife didn’t come in till the Normans? I thought everything was done with an axe before then?” A Regia re-enactor will look up and smile, recognising a fellow enthusiast, and either say “Oh blimey, I don’t know. Let me get Ketil, he’s the woodworking expert,” or “Well, there’s a marginal drawing in the Gesta Anglorum that shows something that looks like a draw-knife, and the cut pattern of the timbers on the Oseberg ship suggests something more controllable than an axe, so we’ve ruled it as a possible. You’re into woodwork yourself, or…?”

And then you can have a conversation in which you both learn from each other. This is not to say that Regia doesn’t also meet clueless members of the public(tm). I remember one who asked me “Did they have wood in those days?” and about my daughter – sleeping in a rush basket by my feet – said “Is that a real baby?” But (a) we don’t go into any conversation assuming the person knows nothing, and (b) we had a good chat about both of those things anyway, because we could do it without making them feel stupid or talked down to.

Everyone has moments of saying awkward things when they’re doing something stressful, like talking to weirdos in strange costumes. It still doesn’t mean you’re always going to be teaching them. Quite possibly, if you chatted like equals, you would find out that they were experts at knitting and they could help you work out that naalbinding stitch you can’t figure out for the life of you.

Is there a point to this rant?

Mostly, I admit, it is to help me to figure out why the experience of being talked to by the Kentwell Hall re-enactors freaks me out so much. What are the underlying principles behind my feeling that it’s such a horrible experience I don’t want to go again?

I think it is this – history is more fun if you don’t forget that your audience are modern people just like you. History is more fun if you assume your viewers/your readers know as much as you do, and talk to them with the mindset that you are talking to an equal. They might well know more than you about certain things, but even if they don’t, they are still someone who has valuable insights of their own. History is hard enough to get to grips with if you don’t introduce a deliberate culture chasm by interposing several new layers of pretending and falsehood.

We can’t talk to the Tudors, and there’s something very fake about pretending that we can.

To be frank the whole experience drove me up the wall, like that ‘game’ cruel children used to play at school where instead of responding to what you said they’d just repeat it until you had to accept that language was broken, the social order was destroyed, and you could only protect yourself by running away and refusing to speak around them ever again. It was, for me, an experience of an utter failure to communicate, and you can call me a killjoy all you like, but I found it almost scary.

This is without the whole sexual harassment thing, of course. That’s another story.

Lioness of Cygnus Five is free today

In a move that seems to go against any kind of good economic sense, I’ve made Lioness of Cygnus Five free from today to the 5th of September. I’m only allowed to do this for five days under KDP’s policies, so grab a copy now if you would like one.

If you had time to spare, an honest review would be very appreciated. (It doesn’t have to be a good review. I’d just like to know what you thought.) And if you liked it, and you’d like to tell other people about it, that would be awesome!

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Aurora Campos’s days of heroism are behind her. Deemed a shameful failure, she now captains Froward, a prison transport filled with criminals sent out to colonise new worlds for the Kingdom.

Bryant Jones, technocrat and falsely accused ‘murderer’, is not going to let his future be taken away by this low-tech luddite of a woman and her backward society. He’s staging a break out from Aurora’s brig when the Froward is shot down around them.

Cygnus Five is a failing colony. Starving convicts have taken over and found themselves a spaceship wrecker among the ruins of an abandoned alien city. The only way off-world is the Governor’s launch, sealed in its silo beneath the convicts’ headquarters. But as they team up to capture it, Aurora and Bryant discover love, institutional betrayal and the lurking remnants of a self-destructive alien civilization. Soon they have bigger problems on their hands than their own survival.

When they arrived, Aurora thought she had only her crew to rescue. As it turns out, she has to save the whole world.

Get it here for free!

Out today – Lioness of Cygnus Five!

Well, I said I would release it in August, and I have just scraped in.

Bar a bit of formatting and making sure the links worked, it was ready last week, but I had forgotten that I was going on my summer holidays, and I didn’t want to release it while I was away in case something went wrong which I needed to fix. So, here I am back, the links are all tested. Amazon reports zero spelling mistakes, and I think we’re as ready to go as we ever will be.

LionessFinalLarge

You can buy it here

via an extremely cool link that takes you to whatever is the correct Amazon for your country 🙂

Blurb

Aurora Campos’s days of heroism are behind her. Deemed a shameful failure, she now captains Froward, a prison transport filled with criminals sent out to colonise new worlds for the Kingdom.

Bryant Jones, technocrat and falsely accused ‘murderer’, is not going to let his future be taken away by this low-tech luddite of a woman and her backward society. He’s staging a break out from Aurora’s brig when the Froward is shot down around them.

Cygnus Five is a failing colony. Starving convicts have taken over and found themselves a spaceship wrecker among the ruins of an abandoned alien city. The only way off-world is the Governor’s launch, sealed in its silo beneath the convicts’ headquarters. But as they team up to capture it, Aurora and Bryant discover love, institutional betrayal and the lurking remnants of a self-destructive alien civilization. Soon they have bigger problems on their hands than their own survival.

When they arrived, Aurora thought she had only her crew to rescue. As it turns out, she has to save the whole world.

Lioness of Cygnus Five – an excerpt

I’ve made this book a Kindle exclusive, so I can run a giveaway for its launch. If you get it any time during the period 1st-5th of September, it will be free. So if you’re curious about trying my SF/Space Opera, but you’re not sure if you’ll like it, you’ll be able to get it in that period, risk and expense free.

(I’ll remind you again on the 1st when the giveaway actually starts.)

Please, if you do try it and enjoy it, consider leaving me a review on Amazon. I don’t have the backing of a publisher for this one, so I need help getting the word out there about it. Thank you!

Get it here!

Lioness of Cygnus Five – blurb?

EcrivainAuxChats

By Morburre – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

This is probably oversharing or something, but what do people think of this as a blurb?

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Busted to command of prison ship Froward, taking criminals out to colonise new worlds for the Kingdom of Peace, Aurora Campos’s days of heroism are behind her. No more conquering the fleets of the Source Worlds’ soul-less technocrats. She’s a fallen woman, a failure.

Bryant Jones, technocrat and ‘murderer’, is not going to let his future be taken away by some dark ages Neanderthal. He’s staging a break out from Aurora’s brig when the Froward is shot down around them.

The convicts have taken over the penal planet. Shipwrecked on a hostile world, where the only escape route is a single spaceship buried in a guarded silo beneath the convicts’ main building, Aurora and Bryant must work together to survive.

Aurora wants the ship so she can rescue her crew. Bryant just wants off world as soon as possible. Neither of them are expecting the aliens.

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Interesting? Cliche? Would you want to read it? What would you do differently?

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