4Jul

Things on the Internet

What with it being paperback release week, I’ve a few things out and about online. The first is a guest post at SFX Magazine, where I talk about The Fantasy Of Ancient History:

Imagine the Prime Minister, David Cameron. Imagine he’s going to write down what life is like for the British people. (If you’re reading this in America, try this with Mitt Romney instead of Dave.) Imagine Dave is trying to paint a vivid picture of British life, and also that he was going to write down what ‘great things’ he’d done for the country. Now imagine that, in a thousand years, historians were going to read Dave’s great writings, along with Michael Gove, Iain Duncan Smith and other wealthy members of the Cabinet, and these writings were going to inform the people / robots of the future that this is what life was really like for people in 2014.

There’s an interview with me at A Fantastical Librarian:

Investigators are a great way of exploring a secondary world without info-dumping on the reader. A detective will get to meet a wide array of character classes, and get a first-hand look at the underbelly of any world you create. I love creating worlds and I’ve found that investigators are, for me, the best way of painting a great picture for the reader. I also like the ‘engine’ of a crime novel, more so than, say, a quest (not to say it’s bad, this is merely my preference). With a mystery there’s an inherent narrative drive to keep the reader turning the pages. No matter what kind of writer you are, you still want readers to follow to the end.

And on UpComing4Me I talk about the story behind Drakenfeld:

I’m most passionate about writing when I’m annoyed with something. For Drakenfeld, I had become a bit annoyed with various discussions of fantasy books. I had noticed a trend, in very broad and casual terms, that people were beginning to associate the level of violence and ‘grit’ in a fantasy novel with how good a book it was. That dialogue in certain quarters, subconsciously or otherwise, was being dismissive of fiction that did not have much in the way of visceral action. ‘Grimdark’ characters could rape, murder, and revel in it – and that was being deemed as mature fiction. As grown up.

Which is plainly crap.

29Jun

Allotment Updates

Allot1
Toms
Cauli
I realise it’s actually been a while since I’ve posted allotment photographs, so here we go. Things are in full swing. The potatoes are roaring away in the centre. Cauliflower, peas and brussels sprouts are under some fairly robust netting. The tomatoes are in the greenhouse – I think we’ve about 20 plants in all, or something stupid like that (I expect a good crop). We’ve actually got a good system where we’ve opened the greenhouse window and the door, but draped netting over it, to allow good airflow.

The only bad news is the onset of allium leaf miner. Not many books even cover this pest, as it’s relatively new to the UK, but suffice to say it has wiped out every onion on the entire allotment site. Some of the chaps are convinced it’s eelworm, as the symptoms are similar, but it isn’t – not if you crack open the onions and see the signs. What it means, though, is that from every year now we’re going to have to grow onions under horticultural fleece, which isn’t the most attractive thing.

26Jun

Recent Whisky Reviews

Yamazaki
Another month, another few drams. This time they’ve all been rather good. First up was the Bruichladdich Cuvee 640, a pricey but philosophical whisky from one of my favourite distilleries. The bargain of the year, for me, was the Suntory Yamazaki Distiller’s Reserve – £40 for a tasty Japanese single malt is rare indeed. I received a couple of samples from Abbey Whisky (yes, I got sent free whisky – and both samples were tremendous). Finally, The Dalmore 18 Year Old – a distillery that’s one of my guilty pleasures…