Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Bristol Book Blog Book Wrap Up

2015 book totals:

125 books read of which 14 were unfinished (up on the 94 read in 2014, evidence also of the fact that novel number two has not finished being written in 2015, whereas novel number one was written in 2014) - I generally know within 50 pages (sometimes less) if I'm going to finish a book. Sometimes they are unfinished because they are bad, but most often it's because it's just not the right book at that time and a few will be added back to the TBR pile to come back round in a year or two.

There were 27 Brilliant rated books (11 of which was the Unwritten series by Mike Carey) these are:

Unwritten Vol. 1: Tommy Taylor and the Bogus…

The Unwritten Series (volume 1-11) - individually perhaps one or two of them wouldn't have made it to the Brilliant list but most are superlative storytelling and overall this is a very satisfying series and one I'd highly recommend to book lovers.

Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art by…

This is a classic, and rightly so. If you are at all interested in comics you should read this.

Discovering Scarfolk

If you'd like to know what the UK would be like eternally stuck in the 1970' then this is for you. Check out the website here

Screenwriting 101 by Film Crit Hulk! by FILM…

In HULK CAPITALS or wimpy Bruce Banner lowercase this is well worth reading if you are at all interested in films and how they should be written. You can check out Hulk's website here & he writes reviews here

The Enchanted: A Novel by Rene Denfeld

Powerful and beautiful writing Highly recommended

Dark Star by Oliver Langmead

This was a review copy and is an epic noir poem riffing off Dante - it didn't sound like it would work. It was brilliant. Unsung Stories are also a very nice little publisher.

The Skeleton Cupboard: Stories of Crisis,…

This was a raw experience and a very interesting reading journey into mental health issues.

American Elsewhere by Robert Jackson Bennett

Boy Robert Jackson Bennett can write, that makes me green with envy...

The Consolations of the Forest: Alone in a…

Another beautifully written poetic prose book

Trout Fishing in America by Richard…

I think you have to be in the right mood for this book, luckily I was

City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett
I did say he could write. Check him out.

Explore Everything: Place-Hacking the City…

Could possibly be a little too pretentious on the philosophy but fascinating nonetheless, and with great photographs

Bete by Adam Roberts

Really interesting examination of what it would be like if animals could not only think, but communicate too

The Toaster Project: Or a Heroic Attempt to…

What is the true cost of building a dirt cheap toaster?

The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and…

This is just brilliant. Read it. That is all.

Imaginary Cities by Darran Anderson

This is a monster of a book. Every page crammed with interesting facts and insights. If you are at all interested in the built environment then you should check this out.

The Devil in Silver: A Novel by Victor…

A man is arrested and consigned to a mental institute as a method for the police to avoid their paperwork. His institutionalisation is the subject of this amazing book.

I read 16 books by women. That's still shockingly low! Must do better than 12% next year - I hope to double that and read 25%

72 paperback
2 hardback
27 Graphic Novels
22 e-books
2 audio books

That's it from Bristol Book Blog for 2015....

Friday, 11 December 2015

That was 2015 - what to expect in 2016

Today I wished a friend goodbye for the final time. David J Rodger was cremated today. It just doesn't seem real.

Usually my end of year wrap up is celebratory and optimistic but today's mood isn't suitable.

But I need to wrap up, and I do find that there are lots of things to be grateful for. There will be a separate "books from 2015" post next week...

I published two books:

North by Southwest: An Anthology by North…

North by Southwest  - the first anthology by North Bristol Writers


Product Details

Former Heroes - the second anthology from Far Horizons Magazine.

Far Horizons is still going strong - and approaching a second birthday & I've been writing a serial for it, which has had some nice feedback - Tales for the Ferryman

I had a story in Fossil Lake 2

Fossil Lake II: The Refossiling by Christine…

I've been reviewing books and interviewing folk for Urban Fantasy Magazine

I performed at the last ever Small Stories (David was on the same bill)

Final chapter of Small Stories Bristol story-telling event featuring incredible talent of Nathan Williams, Pete Sutton and David J Rodger

And performed at Let me tell you a story Jack

I went to the Kitschies awards and Nick Harkaway asked me to introduce him to SFX Dave!

I ran a Horror Wrioting competition and three submissions - Far Horizons Forever Hungry & Fantastically Horny anthologies and Sick City Syndrome - having been busy with reading for them, my reviews kind of tailed off...

I went to Archipelacon and moderated a panel on comics as well as did a talk on "Dark Fiction" - scary and fun!

I got to interview Karin Tidbeck - always nice to meet your literary heroines! (Jagannath is amazing)

I was at Nine Worlds, as a punter for the first time, no panels, no readings, just relaxation (no such thing at a Con) - they need to fix their attendance for next year so it's not so packed!

I was at BristolCon again, which was awesome again - so nice that one of the friendliest, best run Cons is right on my doorstep.

Got a story accepted for Sproutlings

 Which has led to more Australian opportunities (news to share next year!)

Bristol Festival of Literature was back - with a great program which included me adapting a Jonathan L Howard story for radio.I also performed one of my published stories in an artist's studio which was a great experience. The North Bristol Writers came second in the inaugral Flash Slam too.

I appeared on Ujima radio

I read a story at BristolCon Fringe (and will be performing again in March next year with Myfanwy Rodman)

I hosted a panel at HorrorCon

I was a guest of Bristol Women's Writers at their Halloween Spinetinglers event.

I performed at Talking Tales (and will do so again this coming Monday)

I performed at Page and Performance, a poetry evening at my local pub - I performed one of the very few poems I've ever written, It got its first outing at Sanctum which was an amazing 24 days, 24 hours a day performance by American artist Theaster Gates that North Bristol Writers were honoured to be part of.

I had some more stories accepted - including one for Speculative Bookshop Anthology & others that news will no doubt be released early next year.

I finished (well until an editor gets their hands on it) my novel Seven Deadly Swords - which is doing the rounds looking for a publisher at the moment.

So - all in all a busy writing/bookish year (I have read 122 books this year so far - possibly will make it a couple more by year's end but my reading wrap up will come before Christmas as usual)

Looking forward? I aim to publish (or at least start the process to crowdfund & self-publish) my short story collection which I have been calling Thunder & Magpies - but which may have a name change to A Tiding of Magpies (vote in the comments as to which you like the best)

And, of course, I'd love for Seven Deadly Swords to be published! I will finish Sick City Syndrome. Forever Hungry & Fantastically Horny will also publish and I wil start to submit my stories (I've been remiss a bit this year)

I'm sure next year will be as busy, if not busier, than this!

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Guest post from Dan Buri

Dan Buri's first collection of short fiction, Pieces Like Pottery, is an exploration of heartbreak and redemption that announces the arrival of a new American author. His writing is uniquely heartfelt and explores the depths of the human struggle and the human search for meaning in life. 
Mr. Buri's non-fiction works have been distributed online and in print, including publications in Pundit Press, Tree, Summit Avenue Review, American Discovery, and TC Huddle. The defunct and very well regarded Buris On The Couch, was a He-Says/She-Says blog musing on the ups and downs of marriage with his wife.
Mr. Buri is an active attorney in the Pacific Northwest and has been recognized by Intellectual Asset Magazine as one of the World's Top 300 Intellectual Property Strategists every year since 2010. He lives in Oregon with his wife and two-year-old daughter.
Pieces Like Pottery Links
Currently at promotional pricing!

BRSBKBLOG asked Dan for "Ten things he learned by writing his book"

Monday, 7 December 2015

Imaginary Cities


And I finished Imaginary cities - wow, what can I say - this is one of the richest books I've read in a long time - it's so incredibly chewy though because every page you think - I don't know about that person, or that building, or that book, film, play, thing and spend half the time when you should be reading getting lost down a rabbithole of references. It took the author 15 years to write the book and I was lucky enough to meet him at the Future Cities festival in Bristol where I got to have a bit of a chat with him. Although I was only about a third of the way through at that point...

Taking Virilio's point - "The invention of the ship, was the invention of the shipwreck." The author posits that every dystopia is someone else's utopia and proceeds through almost 600 pages to explore this fascinating theme through history, architecture and story.

Reading this is a very rich experience and I have no hesitation in giving it 5 stars, even if it did take me about a month to read! (only because you can only read it in little gulps and take time to digest each magnificent morsel)

Guest post - James Roberts - To PC or not to PC that is the question?

James Roberts is a forty-something writer and self-proclaimed fool who currently resides in the remoter outreaches of the Highlands of Scotland. His debut novel, Pardon Me: A Victorian Farce, has been described (by himself) as one of the funniest books ever written in the English language. To see just how wrong he is please visit http://www.jamesroberts.scot

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Neglecting the blog

I should be posting a review of my time at Sanctum - https://vimeo.com/133755713

and the Future Cities festival

and my forthcoming appearance at Talking Tales  - https://www.facebook.com/events/1687673228122347/

and perhaps the reason I'm not would best be because of being "busy"

But truth be told I am lacking motivation at the moment. I feel like hibernating. I have Forever Hungry to edit, a story to write for Refuge (An Australian horror anthology for charity) and my monthly "Tales for the Ferryman" for Far Horizons. As well as a story for the aforementioned Talking Tales.

But I am not.

I am suffering a massive attack of sloth.

Hope to back, fighting fit, soon - I have too much to do to give in to this ennui!

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