Swancon 39 Roundup

Arriving home from Swancon 39 my wife asked me how much Cola and sugar I’d had because of how hyper I was – almost, but not quite, bouncing off the walls hyper. So a week after the con finished I can now look back on it and assess how it worked for me. Particularly as this was the first Swancon that I’d actually been on any panels for.

The Guests

Isobelle-Anne-Sally-Jim, Swancons Guests

L-R: Isobelle Carmody, Anne Bishop, Sally Beasley, and Jim Butcher


Anne Bishop and Jim Butcher were the international guests of honour. Both very nice people, articulate, with very dissimilar writing styles. I hadn’t actually read any of their books, although I had picked up the first in Jim’s ‘Dresden Files’ series when we were in Sydney earlier this year without realising he was the GOH – what can I say, I’m terrible with names. Continue reading

When submitting to a publisher (2): Keep within the genre

This blog is running a little late due to illness, my apologies. And just a warning that there won’t be a blog next week due to my attendance at [p2p type=”slug” value=”swancon-2014-panels”]SwanCon[/p2p].

Keep within the genre

Marketing 101 image

I’m not sure why a writer would submit a manuscript ‘outside of genre’ to a publisher, but they do. This is despite our website saying we publish speculative fiction, with a focus on Science Fiction and Fantasy. Case in point – knowing this, and in fact already having had a manuscript rejected by us, why would someone email us a detective story? Even going so far as to say in their covering email – “I know this isn’t Science Fiction but Detective stories are similar.” Actually they’re not, particularly for readers of either genre.

My advice, check a publishers website, read a couple of their books, or at least read the samples provided, and try and find someone who is going to be interested in your work before they open it for that important first read.

Hague Central

In a nod to Jerry Pournell’s Chaos Manor articles which he used to write monthly for BYTE (starting in 1979 which is when I must have started reading) I’ve decided to try and give a more personal view at the end of each blog on what we’ve been doing during the week. I suspect it may take a couple of weeks before I get into my swing – but here goes…

I’ve finished the penultimate edit on the sequel to Ruth Fox’s sequel to The City of Silver Light. The cover has also been finalised so hopefully we’ll be in a position to announce a release date for Across the Bridges in the near future. It just needs one more quick read through and then its off to Coreynn, who’s our copy editor, to do the final check on grammar, spelling, and consistency. Its been a long haul, but I still like The City of Silver Light and I think readers of the series will like how Ruth has taken the opportunity to develop some of the character is this sequel.

Still waiting on a response from Overdrive as to whether they will distribute us. I’ve just send a second query off to Overdrive as to how their QA on the five eBooks I sent them is proceeding. So far its taken two months without any sort of update.


A post on Facebook will reach 50% less people than it did 6 months ago!


Organic reach graphAccording to an a recent article on EdgeRankChecker.com the reach of a post on Facebook (ie the number of people who actually get to see a post) has halved over the last 6 months. To some extent this can be related to what appears to be a 50% increase in the average number of pages liked by the average Facebook user over the last year techcrunch. What this means is that the average user now likes so many people/pages that they simply don’t have the time  to keep read every post that could (in theory) appear on their timeline.

Of course this isn’t the only factor, the big problem for most businesses is that rather than building the tools to help users manage their own timeline Facebook has decided to impose a news feed sorting algorithm that according to Facebook’s News Feed Director of Product Management Will Cathcart has over 10,000 factors. The most important of those 10,000 are:  Continue reading

Lights Over Emerald Creek has appeared in the April edition of the San Francisco Book Review – 4.5 stars

SFBR April 2014 Cover

I couldn’t help including the full review – it pretty much sums up the book. And if you want to check a sample of the book, its available here.

Lights Over Emerald Creek
By Shelley Davidow
Hague Publishing, $4.49 US, 195 pages,
Format: eBook
4.5 stars

by Gretchen Wagner

Sixteen-year-old Lucy has been struggling with depression ever since the car accident several months ago, which took her mother’s life and left her paraplegic. But one night she sees something to bring her back to living, something inexplicable: strange glowing balls of light hovering over the creek on her remote Australian ranch. Lucy, an accomplished cellist with perfect pitch, finds the strange lights hum in different tones and leave unusual geometric patterns in the sand on the edge of the creek. Internet research connects her with Jonathan, a young music student in Scotland, who is interested in cymatics, the geometric forms created by sound waves moving through semisolid matter. Jonathan tells Lucy about unusual carvings in the Rosslyn Chapel in Scotland which match certain note forms, and about an unexplained hexagonal storm on Saturn’s north pole that baffles scientists but also mimics one of those notes. Lucy’s online relationship with Jonathan develops while she continues her investigations linking these mysteries. But one day her research takes her much farther than she could have imagined, and she disappears. Jonathan, learning of her disappearance, travels to Australia to find her, which he eventually does. Together they learn that Lucy has exceptional powers that she will need to harness to allow the formation of a new world and to protect it from evil forces that want to enslave it before it has a chance to be born. Continue reading