Well, another Swancon has come and gone. As always, there were excellent speakers and interesting panel topics. 

I was on four panels. The first was the most exciting for me as I was up there on the podium with a trio of well-known authors: Anne Bishop (The Black Jewels Trilogy) Jim Butcher (The Dresden Files series) and Dave Luckett (The Tenebran Trilogy - and writing as LS Lawrence, several YA historicals, including The Eagle of the East and Escape by Sea). We discussed worldbuilding and what pitfalls and problems can trip up the unwary writer. We had an excellent moderator in Doug Burbridge.


Swancon 2014's guests-of-honour: Isobelle Carmody, Sally Beasley, Jim Butcher and Anne Bishop. They are all excellent speakers and Jim Butcher is a very funny guy. He had the audience in stitches most of the time! (Photo: Sandra Chung)

On Saturday, I sat with Stephen Dedman, Sarah McFarlane, Ian Nichols and moderator Andy Hahn on a panel about remakes of Shakespeare. Seeing as there have been over 400 films and TV shows created from Shakespeare's life and works, I concentrated on ballets and operas. There was lively discussion from the floor and we all came away knowing a bit more about the greatest writer in English - and maybe in any other language, too.

Sunday's effort was 'How to Piss off a Publisher' with Andrew Harvey, Dave Luckett and Cat Sparks. As one who supplements her pension by mentoring and critiquing new writers, I had a lot to contribute to this one. The biggie, of course is 'READ THE F-ING GUIDELINES  FOR HEAVEN"S SAKE! and the second biggest is 'DON'T JUST READ THE GUIDELINES - DO AS THEY COMMAND!'

It's amazing how many beginning writers not only don't follow the publisher's guidelines but haven't haven't even bothered to learn basic English grammar, spelling, punctuation and syntax. These are the tools of the writer's trade, and without them you'll do about as well as a plumber trying to clear a blocked toilet with a screwdiver. There were some very long faces in the audience by the time we'd explained that it's a buyer's market and less than 1% of submissions to traditional publishers ever see the light of day.

Because of being on that panel I missed Glenda Larke's launch of her new trilogy, The Forsaken Lands. Book one, The Lascar's Dagger, is a great read. I haven't finished it yet but I'm deeply impressed by Glenda's poetic descriptions that subtly set the scene and her pacy narrative that is nonetheless full of juicy prose. How about 'He pushed himself up, blinded, utterly vulnerable, dripping blood and sneezing, blowing out clouds of gold-coloured powder'. I feel really sorry for Saker, while nonetheless laughing my head off as I imagine the scene.

On Monday, my fellow-panellists were Susanne Akerman, Stephen Dedman and Gina Goddard. We discussed what libraries meant to us: how they both informed and catered to our tastes in books and fulfilled our yearning for knowledge. Once again, there were animated contributions from the audience, all of whom, understandably, appeared to be well-read bibliophiles!

But the most exciting part of Swancon for me was the launch of my first novel, The Dagger of Dresnia, book one of The Talismans Trilogy. It was such a giddy-making event that I'm going to be really self-indulgent and give it its own post!

Books Posts

Sep 30, 2015

Waiting On Wednesday: City of Blades by Robert Jackson Bennett

By Beauty in Ruins

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. City of Blades by Robert Jackson Bennett...

Sep 14, 2015

Fantasy Review: The Aeronaut's Windlass by Jim Butcher

By Beauty in Ruins

I thoroughly enjoyed The Aeronaut's Windlass, no doubt about it. It was a fast-paced, action-packed, imaginative bit of fiction with a lot of elements that appealed to me. Where Jim...

Sep 14, 2015

The Martian Reviewed, Godzilla and King Kong, America’s Got Talent, Iron Maiden and Muse Album Reviews, and Ninja News!

By Alex J. Cavanaugh

Entertainment News The upcoming film, The Martian, was just reviewed at the Toronto International Film Festival. According to JoBlo’s site - As such, The Martian really is terrific family entertainment....

Sep 09, 2015

Waiting On Wednesday: Servants Of Hell by Paul Kane

By Beauty in Ruins

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. Servants Of Hell by Paul Kane Expected...

Sep 04, 2015

Horror Review: The Crimson Corset by Alistair Cross

By Beauty in Ruins

Falling somewhere between paranormal romance and vintage horror, The Crimson Corset is a tale of small towns, family ties, and vampires. Alistair Cross puts just enough of a spin on...

Aug 26, 2015

Waiting On Wednesday: The Last Mortal Bond by Brian Staveley

By Beauty in Ruins

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. The Last Mortal Bond by Brian Staveley...

Aug 24, 2015

RiffTrax Live! Plus Movie Reviews, Trivia, and News; Dragon and Cassa News, Battle of the Banned, and Ninja News

By Alex J. Cavanaugh

Back from vacation! I’m starting to really enjoy those… RiffTrax Live! Two more shows remain in this year’s RiffTrax Live line-up – Miami Connection and Santa and the Ice Cream...

Aug 17, 2015

Urban Fantasy Review: Daring by Elliott James

By Escape Reality, Read Fiction!

My Review: Although I read Daring before Fearless (review here), I’m posting it after. I’ll be packing for WorldCon in Spokane when this posts, and frankly, I needed to have...

Aug 14, 2015

SF Review: Doctor Who: The Drosten’s Curse by A.L. Kennedy

By Escape Reality, Read Fiction!

My Review: Tomorrow, Saturday August 15, has been declared Doctor Who Comics Day by Titan Comics, who, of course, publish Doctor Who Comics. While I didn’t have a Doctor Who...

Aug 13, 2015

SF Review: The End of All Things by John Scalzi

By Escape Reality, Read Fiction!

My Review: If Doctor Who is the story of a “madman with a box” then The End of All Things is at least partially the story of a brain in...