Brian Ruckley's News & Views

Sunday, September 30, 2007

A Few Quick Links

Blogger Play is a website that consists entirely of a slideshow of photos people have recently put up on their blogs. Clicking on any photo takes you straight to the relevant blog post. It's completely pointless, but an interesting way of going on a random walk through the world's blogs for a few minutes.

After many delays, including last-minute printing palavers, Black Static magazine has finally made it off the starting blocks. I've not seen the first issue yet, but I confidently predict it'll be worth checking out for those who like their fiction dark and unsettling. It's the successor to what I thought was the most interesting UK short fiction mag of the 1990s, The Third Alternative, so it ought to be good.

There's a bit of a mini-eruption of Winterbirth reviews around the interwebs at the moment, a couple of which have caught my eye for one reason or another.

I particularly like this one, because it says about the battle scenes: 'if Braveheart was put into writing, I think it would be something like this'. I like that partly because I was consciously trying for a vaguely cinematic, vivid feeling in the action scenes, and it's nice to see it working for at least one reader. Secondly, I loved the battles in Braveheart: at the time, I thought they were the most exciting and convincingly vicious imitation of medieval combat I'd ever seen in the cinema. Not sure they've been surpassed even now.

The other review I found particularly interesting is this one. It's brief and very positive, but what surprised me about it is that it's been put out by the Associated Press news agency. I, in my ignorance, hadn't even registered that organisations like AP or Reuters put out reviews like this - I guess I assumed they just did news items. Anyway, will be interested to see if the review turns up anywhere else now it's gone out on the AP 'wire' or whatever it is that happens to such things ...

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Creature Feature 2

The end of August, and there was Shelobesque violence in the undergrowth at Aberlady Bay, just outside Edinburgh.

This spider took all of about 30 seconds to encase the violently struggling moth in silk, and then wandered casually off, no doubt to later return and suck its hapless victim dry. Very cool (but not for the moth, which I imagine found the whole experience thoroughly disheartening).

Just to prove Nature's not all red in tooth and claw, a little way down the path from the spider vs. moth show:

The white flowers are called Grass of Parnassus, which I think is a classy name for a classy flower, that in close up looks like a piece of organic alien technology.
I don't know if they actually grow on Mount Parnassus in Greece, but apparently in ancient mythology that mountain was the home of the Muses who inspired poets, artists, musicians and writers. Perhaps they danced upon carpets of such flowers. I tried not to tread on any as I trudged towards the beach ...

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

One Interview, Two Reviews, Six Free Books

It never occurred to me, when idly dreaming of one day being a writer, that it would entail answering questions about haggis and Edinburgh pubs. Funny how things turn out.

Mister Roy, the very same marketing professional I mentioned in the last post, has been talking about Winterbirth again, only this time it's a plain old review rather than a dissection of the 'to buy or not to buy' decision-making process.

The rather fine Fantasy Book Critic blog also has a review of Winterbirth up. Earth-crumblingly important and fascinating as that is, even I'm prepared to admit that another item on the blog might be of even more interest: an outrageously generous book giveaway where you (so long as you're a North American resident) can win no less than six books from the Orbit US launch line-up.

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Friday, September 07, 2007

Man Buys Book and other links

What happens when a marketing professional buys a copy of Winterbirth? You get an interesting discussion of one man's fantasy fiction purchasing decsions, and the role of marketing, packaging and promotion in said decisions, that's what happens.

Just in case anyone is sitting there thinking 'Well, I might buy a copy of Winterbirth, but what I really need to inform my purchasing decision is a proper extract. That prologue on your website's just not enough. My appetites are bigger; I need something meaty, substantial and filling,' what you're looking for is now available here.

Leaving behind any pretence at relevance for one final link, here's a report on the use of sacrificial goats in aircraft maintenance.

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Monday, September 03, 2007

Bloodheir Publication Dates

Every so often I get an e-mail asking about the publication date for Bloodheir, book two in the Godless World trilogy. We're always eager to please around these parts, so here's the official update, freshly extracted from the horse's (i.e. publisher's) mouth.

The plan is to more or less synchronise Bloodheir publication around the English-speaking world. Winterbirth's appearance in the UK, Aus/NZ and USA has been staggered over about 12 months, but if all goes according to plan (which is never a 100% certainty, of course) Bloodheir will show up just about simultaneously in all those places around June 2008. It may appear a month sooner or later in one place than another, but any differences should be minor.

Barring unforeseen developments, by the way, Book 3 will follow approximately one year later. I guess it will also be coming out everywhere at basically the same time.

And that picture is a detail from the prototype of the Bloodheir cover, just as a bit of a teaser. Cool-looking dude, if you ask me. With a big spear.

Incidentally, although the official publication date of Winterbirth in the US is still a week away, it's in stock at Amazon.com . Buy! Buy! If you feel like it, obviously. No pressure.

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