jacey: (Default)

Nimbus by Jacey Bedford - book coverSaveDAW sent me the cover for the next book. Nimbus, due out in October. The cover artist is Stephan Martiniere, who did the covers for both Empire of Dust and Crossways.

This is the last of the Psi-Tech trilogy featuring Cara Carlinni and Reska 'Ben' Benjamin as they continue to fight the corrupt megacorporations. However, something is stirring in the depths of foldspace which might bring a dramatic change to spacefaring humankind.
SaveSaveSaveSave
jacey: (Default)
Dreamwidth has migrated my LiveJournal entries while I've been away having fun at Eastercon. From now on I'll be using Dreamwidth as my main fun-and-friends journal, and also posting my booklogs and movie of the week entries here.

I have a separate journal about my own writing, the craft of writing, and publishing industry-related items over on Wordpress at https://jaceybedford.wordpress.com/I don't seem to be able to quite figure out how to crosspost that to either Dreamwidth or LiveJournal, so I'm afraid you'll have to check out my Wordpress journal for all that. I would, of course, be delighted if you would follow my Wordpress journal by clicking the 'follow by email' link in the top right corner of my page.

Also, if writing floats your boat, you might like to follow the Milford SF Writers' Blog at https://milfordsfwriters.wordpress.com/ and follow that by email, too. Every two weeks (alternate Tuesdays) there's an entry by a published science fiction author on some aspect of writing

Dreamwidth

Apr. 10th, 2017 03:39 pm
jacey: (blue eyes)
It seems as though nearly all my friends are migrating to Dreamwidth, so it looks like I'll have to do it as well because, after all, that's why I keep up with LJ. I do already have a DW account. I'm 'jacey' over there (not birdsedge). Please link to my DW account if you haven't already. I'm not 100% comfortable with DW, so I'll probably run both that account and this in tandem for a while at least.

As I type DW is migrating 154 weeks of LJ posts - yes, that's correct, it's 3 years since I last called in there and migrated posts over
jacey: (blue eyes)
Yay, last night I finished the first draft of 'Nimbus' - which is the third book in the Psi-Tech trilogy. It has taken a lot longer than I expected due to ending up at 163,000 words - and that's just the first draft. I was anticipating finishing the first draft in around 120,000 words and then adding some in the revision. Eeep! (I may still need to add some in the revision, of course, depending on what my editor wants.)

Anyhow, now I can take a couple of days and catch up with book logs and movies of the week, so expect a flurry of reviews. I read these while writing, but have only just managed to log them.
jacey: (blue eyes)
No, I haven't--dropped off the face of the earth, I mean. I've been writing, and I'm just in the throes of finishing 'Nimbus' with the deadline rushing towards me like an oncoming train.. I will catch up with my booklogs and my film logs, just as soon as I've written The End, but in the meantime, these are the books that I need to log:

  1. Julia Quinn: And Offer from a Gentleman (Bridgertons #3)

  2. Lisa Shearin: Wedding Bells, Magic Spells (Raine Benares)

  3. Lisa Shearin: Treasure and Treason (A Raine Benares World novel)

  4. Nnedi Okorafor: Binti

  5. Nnedi Okorafor: Binti - Home

  6. Lisa Shearin: The Grendel Affair

  7. Ben Aaronovitch: Rivers of London (Peter Grant #1)

  8. Ben Aaronovitch: Moon Over Soho (Peter Grant #2)

  9. Ben Aaronovitch: Whispers Underground (Peter Grant #3)

  10. Ben Aaronovitch: Broken Homes (Peter Grant #4)

  11. Ben Aaronovitch: Foxglove Summer (Peter Grant #5)

  12. Ben Aaronovitch: The Hanging Tree (Peter Grant #6)

  13. Diana Gabaldon: I give you My Body

And the movies:


  1. Star Wars Rogue One (again)

  2. The Great Wall

  3. Logan

jacey: (blue eyes)
quill&booksIt's that time of year again. November is NaNoWriMo - National Novel Writing Month. It's really aimed at those who have trouble finishing a novel because the target is to write 50,000 words in a month from 1st to 30th November. You're supposed to start from scratch (maybe having made a plan beforehand, or maybe not) and then just keep ploughing onwards. If you can manage 1,667 words per day, you can reach that target.

There's quite a buzz when everyone competes to finish the wordcount and, for me, some incentive to pace myself alongside all the NaNoWriMo folks. Yes, I know I've proved I can finish a novel. There are three on bookstore shelves already, and one more due out in January 2017, but it's still quite an undertaking, especially when you're writing to a deadline.

I've started November with 20,000 words written on Nimbus, the third novel in my psi-tech space opera series. By the end of the month I hope to have 70,000 words. That will take me roughly to halfway throiugh the first draft. My previous two psi-tech books are 171,000 and 173,000 words each, but if I can finish the first draft in 130,000 to 150,000 words that gives me a little room to add some more once my editor (Hugo-winning Sheila Gilbert from DAW) makes suggestions. So far, Sheila's suggestions have always led to the addition of words, not the subtraction. DAW likes long books.

I'm hoping to have at least 100,000 words by Christmas and a complete first draft by the end of January. After that there's the whole editing processes to go through (content edit/edits, copy edit and preaf rooding). The provisional publication date is October 2017.

So, how's it going so far?

Honestly?

It's been a slow start because of conflicting work from the day job, but I'm now at 22,250. My starting point was 19.836, so my total for three days is  2414 words. Day 4 - today - is not over yet.

So off I go to bash out more words on my keyboard. Wish me luck.

Silverwolf final cvr sm

Empire of Dust - final_websize Crossways-cvr-400
jacey: (blue eyes)
Despite only lasting one week Milford seems to slurp up the whole of my September. First I'm getting ready for it, prepping my own submission (up to 15,000 words in one or two pieces), and this year the words would not behave themselves. I send one sub at the right time, but the other was a week late - which makes it difficult for the other participants who are standing by to receive, read and critique the pieces. After launching my own submission into the ether I then had a week to read all the other subs. There are fifteen writers in total so a potential 14 x 15,000 words to critique. That's 210,000 words to not only read, but read analytically and say helpful and sensible things about.

So by the time I climbed in my car and headed off to North Wales, I'd already done a lot of work. Then Milford itself is a mixture of free tme in relaxing surroundings, formal critique sessions, and social evenings with other writers. Hey, it's fun, but it is tiring. By the time I got back I was ready for a little lie down in a darkened room.

Here are some of my pics of the week...
The Nantlle Valley is truly beautiful. That's Mount Snowdon in the distance.
Nantlle Valley

















The view from the main house at Trigonos looking down towards the lake.

Lake 3

















Food is fresh from the gardens at Trigonos (and from local suppliers). Breakfast, elevenses, lunch, cake o'clock (4 p.m.) and dinner at 7.00. You certainly don't go hungry!

lunch 1






























Peaceful mornings. (David Allan hard at work on a manuscript in the Trigonos library)David Allan reading
















Though sometimes the strain begins to show! Jim Anderson awaiting a critique of one of his pieces.
Jim












And finally, the whole Milford group of 2016:
L-R standing: John Moran, Dave Gullen, Terry Jackman, David Allan, Guy T Martland, Jim Anderson, Liz Williams, Jacey Bedford, Glen Mehn, Elizabeth Counihan, Lizzy Priest. Seated L-R: Sue Thomason, Amy Tibbetts, Paulina Morgan, Siobhan McVeigh.
Milford 2016-03
jacey: (blue eyes)

Winterwood front cover-small2nd February 2016

Today is publication day for Winterwood, my third novel and first historical fantasy. It's got pirates, a jealous ghost, a wolf shapechanger and a dark villain who may just have a point. The heroine is a cross-dressing privateer captain and occasional witch, Ross (Rossalinde) Tremayne. After seven years of estrangement she's drawn back to visit her mother's deathbed where she inherits a half-brother she didn't know about and a task she doesn't want. Set in 1800 with Napoleon knocking at the door and Mad King George on the throne, this is the first book in a new sequence called The Rowankind.

I had such fun writing this and at the moment I'm writing the sequel, Silverwolf. (Everything has such a long lead-up time in the publishing industry that Silverwolf not likely to be published until the very end of 2016 or the beginning of 2017.)

If you want to read more about Winterwood, please see this post on my other blog at Wordspress.

I'm going to be doing a blog on the cover soon, at Wordpress, too, so if you want to follow me over there, that would be very nice.

In the meantime. BOOK! TODAY! YAY!
Available in bookstores and electronic editions in Canada and the USA. Available as an import in the UK from that well known firm named after a South American river.

jacey: (blue eyes)
Well, it's not out until 2nd February but a good review in Publishers Weekly is certainly very cheering:

Winterwood front cover-smallWinterwood

Jacey Bedford, Author
Swashbuckling adventure collides with mystical mayhem on land and at sea in this rousing historical fantasy series launch set in a magic-infused England in 1800. Rossalinde Tremayne has done well for herself as a privateer in Mad King George’s service, using her abilities as a witch and the ever-present ghost of her long-dead husband (whose reputation and identity she’s borrowed) to claim other ships for profit and the Crown. Her estranged mother’s dying request is for Rossalinde to take a mysterious box, drawing her into a deadly mystery. In order to harness the power within the box, she has to unravel the secrets of a family she never knew existed, all while eluding those who want her dead. When her quest takes her into the hidden land of the Fae, she’ll be forced to make a choice that could alter the fate of an empire. Bedford (Crossways) adeptly weaves together romance, action, and fantastical elements, all set against a richly realized series of far-flung locations. Conflict both nautical and emotional keeps things exciting. Agent: Amy Boggs, Donald Maass Literary Agency. (Feb.)
jacey: (blue eyes)
I'm behind on my booklogs, not because I haven't been reading, but because I've been snatching odd chapters between bouts of writing and so not reading in quite such a concentrated fashion as I usually do. I'm about five books behind on writing up my book bloggage - for which I am about to make up. As usual in a year with a lot of writing, it's my reading that suffers. I do find it difficult to read fiction when I'm writing a first draft of something. I'm always wary in case ideas bleed over without me realising. In a normal year I might read (and blog) 50 or 60 books, but this year I'll be lucky to manage 35 or 40.

Cinema, too. Frankly for the last few weeks there's been nothing on we've wanted to see.  I was tempted by the new Bond movie, Spectre, but my cinebuddy, H, went to see it with her best beloved. (Like my best beloved, he doen't much care for cinema trips, usually.) H would have been happy to see it again but she said a) it wasn't as good as the last one and b) it was exceedingly LOUD in places. Besides, I've been busy...

Winterwood front cover-smallI decided to pace myself alongside NaNoWriMo to get a whole heap of extra wordage on the work in progress. I'm currently working on the frst draf of Silverwolf, which is the sequel to Winterwood, my magic pirate book, which comes out in February. (And for which I've just had the cover.) My deadline for delivery of Silverwolf is February, but I want to get the first draft done by Christmas if I can, so that I have time to let it settle, let a few beta-readers have their wicked way with it, and then do any redrafting necessary to lick it into shape. There will, of course, be editorial comments from Sheila at DAW, and a further edit (at least one) beyond that. Publication date hasn't been confirmed yet, but depending on my delivery of the first draft it will either be late 2016 or early 2017.

After that I have Nimbus, the third Psi-Tech novel to write. Before I knew DAW's publication order for the next two novels, I'd done the first 10k words on that, so I have some ideas sloshing round in this bucket I sometimes call a brain.

So NaNoWriMo is halfway over and so far I've written almost 22,000 words, taking a couple of days off for a) my daughter and grandson's all-too-rare visit, and b) Novacon in Nottingham. I need to do at least 1,900 words a day now to make up the 50,000 words for November. Right... onwards and upwards...
jacey: (blue eyes)
Recent posts to my other (writing) blog include:
jacey: (blue eyes)
I have a new post up on my Wordpress Blog about editing Winterwood, my upcoming third book. Please swing by and take a look. There's a partial of one of the potential cover images.
jacey: (blue eyes)

CrosswaysIt's BOOK DAY! Crossways, my second novel, is out today.

What starts out as a search for survivors turns into a battle for survival. Space stations, corrupt corporations, telepathy, relationships and something moving in the depths of foldspace.

Not read the first one yet? Empire of Dust is still available, of course. Empire made the Locus Best Seller list in the month it was published. For Crossways to do the same it would be great if those of you who are going to buy it (if you haven't already, do so today or within the next few days. That would be fab. (No pressure, just if...) One small step for readingkind - one giant leap for Jacey!

Where to get it. If you're in the USA/Canada then all good bookstores,  Amazon/ Barnes & Noble etc. It's available as paperback or electronic version (Kindle Nook etc.). If you're in the UK then it's a bit more limited due to it being an American import, but Amazon.co.uk has it.  or Forbidden Planet if you're lucky enough to have a branch in your area.'re lucky enough to have a branch in your area.

If you want some background on the Psi-Tech universe then there's a page on my website here: http://www.jaceybedford.co.uk/psi-tech.htm

And a reminder, not just for my book, but for all books. If you like a book, talk about it, post to facebook, twitter, your blog. Tell your friends. Make recommendations. With fewer and fewer bookshops on the High Street, browsing is limited, so the best way for news to get out about new books is by word of mouth.

Thank you, readers, reviewers, bloggers, retweeters, facebookers. Without you...
jacey: (blue eyes)
Crossways-cvr-400I've had my head down working my way through five hundred and thirty six pages of page proofs for the upcoming novel, Crossways. My good friend and cinebuddy, H, is also reading the page proofs because she's brilliant at finding typos. This afternoon she sent me the corrections for the first 300 pages. I expected we'd have some overlap, but there are hardly any typos that we both spotted, yet we each found a few. (Maybe only five or six per chapter - sometimes fewer.) I'm combining them into one list now.

This leads me to wonder how individual brains work when it comes to spotting typos.

Hell, if I knew that, I probably wouldn't make the typos in the first place.

Have a picture.
jacey: (blue eyes)
I've contributed a blog post to Gill Polack's Women's History Month blog. This is a slightly rejigged and expanded version of the one that appeared on Ruth Booth's blog last year. http://www.gillianpolack.com/jacey-bedford-womens-history-month/ and on LJ http://gillpolack.livejournal.com/1373839.html
jacey: (blue eyes)
Clour me gobsmacked... I've had another short story sale this morning: The Urbane Fox (reprint) to Trysts of Fate for February publication. That's four short story sales so far in the first 12 days of 2015, which has prompted a blog piece on selling short stories over on t'other blog at Wordspress.

These are the stories that have sold, but have not yet been published:
The Urbane Fox (Reprint) to Trysts of Fate, February 2015
Mort’s Laws to Nature’s Futures 2015.
Times Two to Saturday Night Reader (Canada)
2015
Late Breakfast to Every Day Fiction, 2015
Last Train to Grievous Angel, sold 2014 for 2015 publication.
The Loneliness of the Long Distance Panda (Reprint) to Buzzy Mag. Sold 2014 for 2015 publication

Absolution Pass to Andromeda’s Offspring (Anthology – Sold in April 2013, still not out.)
jacey: (blue eyes)
So this 2014's reading suffered greatly from all the writing that I needed to do. i find it almost impossible to read while I'm writing a first draft - unless it's non-fiction. Stories providre a distraction and might, subconsciously also provide influence. In oprevioius years I've read and blogged between fifty and sixty books. This year I didn't even manage twenty, though as an excuse I offer the notion that the two George R R Martins and the Jilly Cooper probably add up to six or seven books between them.

Favourites of 2014 were the Scott Lynch Gentlemen Bastards books, though very honourable mentions go to Pratchett for Dodger, Patricia Briggs for Night Broken, the eighth Mercy Thompson book, and Tom Pollock for The City's Son. I don't buy many books on writing techniques, but the three Donald Maass books are excellent and being non-fiction didn't clash with the writing I was doing in parallel with reading.

Books read and blogged (in reverse order):
jacey: (blue eyes)
6th November 2014
Chuck Wendig's Terrible Minds blog - Five Things I learned while Writing Empire of Dust
http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2014/11/06/jacey-bedford-five-things-i-learned-writing-empire-of-dust/

6th November 2014
Whatever Makes You Weird, an interview by Nancy Jane Moore at Book View Cafe
http://bookviewcafe.com/blog/2014/11/06/whatever-makes-you-weird-an-interview-with-jacey-bedford/

4th November 2014
Worldbuilding from the Coffee Up on Anne Lyle's Blog

http://annelyle.com/blog/2014/11/04/worldbuilding-from-the-coffee-up-a-guest-post-by-jacey-bedford/

31st October
Guest Post on Gaie Sebold's blog Interview questions answered. http://gaiesebold.com/?p=467

And a couple of reviews
Review on Jaine Fenn's Tales from the Garrett. http://www.jainefenn.com/2014/11/review-empire-dust/
Review at Publishers Weekly Publishers Weekly http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-7564-1016-2
jacey: (blue eyes)
Guest Post on Gaie Sebold's Blog
In which I answer several questions about writing

Deborah Walker's Blog
Trying to stay Cool About the Book

Everyone's a Critic on Ben Jeapes' Blog
(on writers groups in general and Milford in particular)

An interview on the Bristol Books Blog courtesy of Pete Sutton.
Some wide-ranging questions that let me talk about my book and my writing process.

The Parallels Between Singing and Writing on Ruth Booth's Blog.
Ruth is also a singer and a writer, so this seemed like a good excuse to compare the two.

More to come.
jacey: (blue eyes)
In preparation for the publication of Empire of Dust I've been blog-swapping with fellow authors. Three of my guest posts are now up for scrutiny.

Everyone's a Critic on Ben Jeapes' Blog
(on writers groups in general and Milford in particular)

An interview on the Bristol Books Blog courtesy of Pete Sutton.
Some wide-ranging questions that let me talk about my book and my writing process.

The Parallels Between Singing and Writing on Ruth Booth's Blog.
Ruth is also a singer and a writer, so this seemed like a good excuse to compare the two.

More to follow.
jacey: (blue eyes)
I was waiting for the UPS man to come and collect a package I was sending, so no surprise when he rang the doorbell, but he wasn't just collection, he was delivering as well.

And guess what he brought...
Me & my book_squ

Yes! The promo copies of Empire of Dust.

It's not actually out until 4th November, but getting copies in my hot little hands now is wonderful!

And on top of the actual books there was a great review in Publishers Weekly last week. It says:
Bedford mixes romance and intrigue in this promising debut, which opens the Psi-Tech space opera series. Like other psi-techs, long-range telepath Cara Carlinni has a brain implant that enhances her powers. It also leaves her indentured to Alphacorp, the company that paid for the implant. On the run with data that links her ruthless former boss and lover, Ari van Blaiden, to a deadly pirate attack on a colony world, Cara convinces navigator Reska “Ben” Benjamin to add her to his team of psi-tech troubleshooters. They’ve been contracted to help the fundamentalist back-to-basics Ecolibrians establish a colony on the planet Olyanda, but it won’t be easy. Hardcore Ecolibrians hate psi-techs and punish “fraternization” brutally. Worse yet, Ben discovers mineral deposits on Olyanda that make the planet a target for pirates—just like a previous colony-building job whose failure still haunts him. Bedford builds a taut story around the dangers of a new world, the Ecolibrians’ distrust, and treachery from Ari and Ben’s home office. Readers who crave high adventure and tense plots will enjoy this voyage into the future. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/29/2014
Release date: 11/04/2014

That will do for me.

Submitting

Oct. 5th, 2014 04:11 pm
jacey: (blue eyes)
No, not that sort of submitting. I'm talking about submitting what you write to publishers. Despite all my good intentions I realised that while i've been busy with my novels (revising one and writing the next from scratch) I have completely ignored my backlog of short stories.

My daft little story, The Loneliness of the Long Distance Panda was originally published in Nature's Futures. To my delight it was reprinted in the anthology Futures2 this summer without me having to do any hassling for that honour at all. And on Friday I just received another acceptance for the same story which will appear as a reprint in Buzzymag.com in 2015. So yesterday I spent some time sending off some of my backlog of short stories to various markets and I'm smug enough to report that I now have fifty stories submitted (some of them to reprint markets and some of them to foreign language markets).

It's interesting to see that a number of magazines now accept simultaneous submissions (which used to be a big no-no almost everywhere), though it does mean that if you sim-sub you have to keep good records so that you can let the other markets know if one, y'know, actually buys the story. Mostly, unless it's to markets in other languages, I prefer to keep it simple and not sim-sub.

I usually track my submissions, sales (and rejections) via my own database, but the submission tracker at The Submission Grinder is quite comprehensive and effective.

Right, that's enough diversionary tactics, back to writing the novel.
jacey: (blue eyes)
Loncon3, page proofs, Milford1, 4 days at home, Fantasycon (York), 5 days at home, Milford2. That's my August/September schedule. In the middle of all that I have to keep up the essentials of the day job and continue writing the second book.

Well, I just got home from Fantasycon in York, which was a small but very friendly convention (highly recommended) with a high proportion of writers. I met a number of new people, attended some interesting panels and caught up with friends. I also came home with an overdose of freebie books, which... well... no...  there's no such thing as too many books, so let me revise that. I also came home with a stack of exciting new books to read, learn and inwardly digest. Many thanks to Gollancz and all the publishers who contributed. The freebie books almost made up for the cost of the hotel. Comfortable as The Royal York was, the price was appallingly expensive for anyone without a room-share, at £129 per night (single occupancy. It would only have cost £139 for two people to share. Basically a single person pays for two - minus the cost of  one breakfast. Next year's Fantasycon is in Nottingham, so hopefully at a more modestly priced hotel, because I really would like to attend again and if I attend a con I don't want to be in an outlier hotel. I want to be able to retreat to my room as and when I need to.

So... I've successfully survived, Loncon3, Fantasycon, one Milford (and all the reading for it) and the trial of having to do page proofs for my upcoming book in three days flat. So now all I have to do is all the reading prep for the second of this year's two Milfords and the Milford week itself, which (due to intensity of schedule and cost) I'm departing from early - catching a train back to Huddersfield on Thursday evening after the last crit session.

Oh, yes, and I have to finish the second book by October.
<ahem>
Better get writing, then.
jacey: (blue eyes)
If I've been quiet on LJ lately it's because I'm now 70,000 words into the first draft of Crossways, the sequel to Empire of Dust (which comes out in November from DAW) and another Psi-tech novel. My three book deal is for two psi-tech novels and a completely unrelated historical fantasy, but the deeper I get into Crossways the more I'm thinking that this will not be the end of the Psi-Tech universe.

The hook line for Crossways is: 'What begins as a search for survivors becomes a battle for survival.'

I can't explain too much of the plot without spoilers for Empire, but things barely alluded to in Empire come to the fore in Crossways, including the nature of 'jumpgate travel' and what lies in wait for the unwary in foldspace. My characters have undergone a radical change in their lives and now must become independent of the corporate empire which spawned them. As always happens in any amorphous bunch of people, some go their own way and others rise to the surface. Some take a bit of a break in this book, but are already crying out for a book of their own. Some character seeds sown in Empire are starting to flower Crossways and (to continue the gardening theme) others are almost ready for pruning.

My delivery date is August, so I need to achieve about 10,000 words a week to complete my first draft by the end of July and give myself a little time for basic revision before i send it off to my editor. That's do-able.

I'm having fun.
jacey: (blue eyes)

Looks like I’m going to have a busy morning on Saturday at Loncon3 in August. I get to spout guff about Doctor Whoish goodness and Red Wedding gore. And then sit on a panel with: an agent who rejected me, and an agent who made me an offer but whom I turned down (with much heart-searching) in favour of my present agent Amy Boggs of Donald Maass. Should be fun.

2014 Hugos: Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form

Saturday 11:00 – 12:00

The nominees for this year’s Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation: Short Form, are:


  • An Adventure in Space and Time written by Mark Gatiss, directed by Terry McDonough (BBC Television)

  • Doctor Who: “The Day of the Doctor” written by Steven Moffat, directed by Nick Hurran (BBC Television)

  • Doctor Who: “The Name of the Doctor” written by Steven Moffat, directed by Saul Metzstein (BBC Televison)

  • The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot written & directed by Peter Davison (BBC Television)

  • Game of Thrones: “The Rains of Castamere” written by David Benioff & D.B. Weiss, directed by David Nutter (HBO Entertainment in association with Bighead, Littlehead; Television 360; Startling Television and Generator Productions)

  • Orphan Black: “Variations under Domestication” written by Will Pascoe, directed by John Fawcett (Temple Street Productions; Space / BBC America)

But which should win? Our panel will discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the nominees, try to second-guess the voters, and tell you what else should have been on the ballot.

With: Ashley Pollard Ms. (M) , Iain Clark , Jacey Bedford, Abigail Brady, Saxon Bullock.

Finding an Agent

Saturday 12:00 – 13:30

A great query letter is all you need! Write a great manuscript and the rest doesn’t matter! Network at conventions and you’re in good shape! These nuggets of advice and dozens like them float around the writersphere as gospel. How many of these have a ring of truth? What is the secret to finding an agent? And what does an agent do once you have one? Our agents will decrypt the process.

With: Betsy Mitchell (M), Jacey Bedford, Joshua Bilmes, Ian Drury, John Jarrold

jacey: (blue eyes)
Please welcome the lovely and talented Gaie Sebold as my second guest blogger.

Shanghai Sparrow 200 pxHow (Not) To Write A Steampunk Novel

To start with, I didn’t actually really intend to write what ended up as a fantasy Victorian spy adventure, with a trickster heroine, set partly in 19th century Shanghai.  It just sort of happened.

I had one of those conversations, you know the way you do, about this idea that might be quite fun, which I hadn’t really thought through in any way at all, and then someone said how about you send us a proposal?

At which point I made that gulping noise, the one cartoon characters make where a big comedy bump sproings up and down their throat, and said, OK sure no problem.  Then I ran away to find a large glass of wine and hide in it.

Because I’d never done a proposal before.  And the writing sort is probably not quite as scary as getting down on one knee before the love of your life with intent to wed, or at least find out if they wouldn’t throw their arms up in horror at the very idea, but from my point of view it was pretty damn close.  I wasn’t committing myself to a life of togetherness but I was committing myself to trying to write down all the ideas that make up an entire novel.  In a few pages and fewer weeks.

Which meant I had to have them first.  And since what I had at the time of the gulp-making conversation was more a sort of tra-la-la airy sketch, not so much an embryo novel as a single lonely spermatozoa swimming around, looking lost, this was a bit of a challenge.  

I did eventually come up with something that might look like a proper professional proposal through the wrong end of a telescope, if you squinted a lot.  Amazingly, my publishers went for it.

(I haven’t dared look at it since; I have no idea how much the finished novel ended up resembling that trembling and tear-stained mess – and yes I know emails can’t actually be tear-stained, but its very pixels were, I swear, imbued with trauma).

I read a lot about C19th Shanghai and China and the Opium Wars and re-read Mayhew’s London Labour and the London Poor and got quite depressed, because there was a lot of thoroughly ghastly behaviour going on and many people were having a very, very bad time.  And the idea of trying to write about this and turn it into anything other than a wail of nihilistic despair – which I was fairly sure wasn’t what the publisher was hoping for - was a teensy bit daunting. 

But gradually Eveline Duchen, my heroine, started to come into focus among all the grimness.  A bolshie, determined, spiky young woman who’d survived by the skin of her teeth and developed a snarky sense of humour along the way.  Other interesting characters turned up.  I got to spend a lot of time looking up various outrageous Victorian phraseology and weird inventions and make up a few of my own, and things happened and there was stuff and somewhere in there among the rampant panic and utter conviction that I had no idea what I was doing I started having fun .

And somehow, eventually, I had a book.

And then I fell over for a few days, and then the editing notes came back, and then there was a cover, and there was a launch, and I was signing copies of a steampunk spy adventure story that I seemed to have written, still not entirely sure how all this had happened.
But it’s there, and it has a beautiful cover that I adore so much I’d marry it if it would have me.  And so far people mostly seem to like it, which is nice.

What I’m trying to say, I guess, is that it’s a funny business, this writing lark, and if you can find a way of doing it that involves less panic and slightly more certainty about what you’re doing, then you probably should, but sometimes things work out all right even when you are in a total flap about it all.

Besides, since then I’ve just about learned how to write a proper proposal.  Sort of.  Well, I had to, since they appear to be a necessary part of being a real grown-up author.   Which I suppose I am, now.  And I’m still not entirely sure how that happened, either…

Shanghai Sparrow

Eveline Duchen is a thief and con-artist, surviving day by day on the streets of London, where the glittering spires of progress rise on the straining backs of the poor and disenfranchised. Where the Folk, the otherworldly children of fairy tales and legends, have all but withdrawn from the smoke of the furnaces and the clamour of iron.

Caught in an act of deception by the implacable Mr Holmforth, Evvie is offered a stark choice: transportation to the colonies, or an education – and utter commitment to Her Majesty’s Service – at Miss Cairngrim’s harsh school for female spies.

But on the decadent streets of Shanghai, where the corruption of the Empire is laid bare, Holmforth is about to make a devil’s bargain, and Eveline’s choices could change the future of two worlds...

GaieSebold200pxAbout Gaie Sebold
Gaie Sebold’s debut novel introduced brothel-owning ex-avatar of sex and war, Babylon Steel (Solaris, 2012); the sequel, Dangerous Gifts, came out in 2013. Shanghai Sparrow, a steampunk fantasy, came out from Solaris in May 2014. She has published short stories and poetry, and had jobs involving archaeology, actors, astronomers, architecture, and art: most of them have also involved proofreading. She now writes, runs writing workshops, grows vegetables, procrastinates to professional standard and occasionally runs around in woods hitting people with latex weapons.
Find out more at http://gaiesebold.com/ 

Follow the latest scandal and tidbits from the world of Babylon Steel at http://scalentine.gaiesebold.com/
jacey: (blue eyes)
JB at Novacon42-2012I’ve been nominated to take part in this ongoing initiative by Neil Williamson, following on from Liz Williams, and before her Claire Weaver. Do go and read their excellent posts too. The rules are that you answeer the four questions below and then tag three more writers. Nominated next on the blog tour: Sherwood Smith, Jaine Fenn and Kari Sperring. Check their blogs over the next weeks.


1. What am I working on?
Crossways, a sequel to Empire of Dust which is due out from DAW on 4th November 2014. Both are science fiction / space operas set in my Psi Tech Universe in which mega corporations are more powerful than any one planetary government, even that of Earth. They race each other to gobble up resources across the galaxy, seeding and controlling colonies, using as their agents the implant-enhanced psi-techs they have created.

The psi-techs are bound to the mega-corps, that is, if they want to retain their sanity.

The first book introduces Cara Carlinni and Reska 'Ben' Benjamin and puts them through a fair amount of torment, setting them at odds with their former bosses and aligning them with Crossways, a huge free-trade space habitat governed by an uneasy alliance of career criminals and fugitives.

The second book is a direct sequel in which a hunt for survivors turns into a battle for survival.

2. How does my work differ from others in my genre?
I think it would be massively pompous of me to suggest that I'm writing something new and different. I'm pretty sure everything has been done before is some way, by someone, but take any one idea and give it to ten different writers and you'll have ten different stories. Mine is character-driven space opera. I'm sure there's a lot of it about, but hopefully my characters and their predicaments will engage you. I write action and adventure set on new worlds, in space, or in a version of the past that never existed. I don't shy away from relationships. My three book deal with DAW starts off with two linked science fiction novels and then diversifies because my third book is a historical fantasy set in 1800 with magic and includes a cross-dressing pirate captain, a jealous ghost, a wolf shapechanger and a two hundred year old problem that has to be solved to right a wrong.

3. Why do I write what I do?
Stories just demand to be written. And once I've started, characters won't let me stop until I've resolved their problems and let them off the hook. (or maybe until they've let me off the hook.) I write both science fiction and fantasy, anything with an element of 'made-up-stuff', whether far future, distant past or alternate worlds. I'm not a reader of 'mundane' fiction so I'd never write it. I've always been attracted to read speculative or (sometimes) historical fiction. I live in the present day, I don't have to read or write about it.

4. How does my writing process work?

I tend to get an idea for a scene on my head – an opening, maybe, though it doesn't always end up at the beginning of the book – and then I just write and let words fall out of my fingers and on to the screen. At that stage I'm writing to see what happens, who my character is and to discover the key problem that needs to be resolved. As I write things tend to coalesce in my brain and usually by the end of the first chapter, maybe five thousand words, I've started to form an idea about where the story is heading. The idea for the resolution usually follows on fairly quickly from the discovery of the initial problem, but the middle bit is usually very flexible at that stage.

Once ideas have started to fall into some kind of logical order I will start to make notes and plan though there can often be sections that are glossed over. My initial plan might not me much more than: 1) It begins; 2) Stuff happens; 3) It ends. Once I have the skeleton in place I'll start to flesh out characters, work out their backgrounds and start to explore my world. That's the point at which I can get sidetracked into endless research if I'm not careful.

Yes, even though I make stuff up it still needs to feel real, and therefore I need to hang it on facts. Even if it's not real, it has to feel as though it could be. Whether set in the past or the future I'm really looking for those details that will give me verisimilitude. For instance, my privateer ship in the historical fantasy book is based on a real ship and even though I've invented an island country in the middle of the North Atlantic, it's still 1800, Mad King George is on the throne, the Americans have fought the British for independence and Napoleon is still hammering at the gates of Europe.

Research aside, eventually I have to sit down and write. I work from home. I'm a booking agent for folk bands and performers touring the UK from all over the world http://www.jacey-bedford.com so I'm at my desk for more hours a day than is strictly healthy. I intersperse the day job work with the writing. I wish I could say I have a strict system, but I don't. Sometimes there's a lot of day job work that has an impending deadline which takes precedent. Other times I might get two solid days writing. Quite often my writing happens late at night after the world has gone quiet and the phone has stopped ringing and no one wants a piece of me. I have been known to write ten thousand words in a day, though I can't keep that up for long. I have achieved fifty thousand words in three weeks, though it was a Herculean effort and I needed a few days lie down in a darkened room afterwards. I do try to write something every day, though, even if it's only 500 words.

The first draft is only the beginning, of course. After that follows extensive revision – usually after a cooling off period. I enjoy the revision process and often rewrite scenes, add in extras, move things round and remove superfluous characters and scenes. Thanks to Scrivener http://www.literatureandlatte.com/scrivener.php it's easy to work through on a scene by scene basis and then recompile it into one single doc file afterwards.

I like writing to find out what's going to happen but I also love revision. Reshaping the rough draft into something approaching usable. I find it hard to put the brush down and to know when it's finished, of course, but luckily my lovely editor at DAW now has the final say on that.

Also blogged at: http://jaceybedford.wordpress.com/2014/05/08/writers-blog-tour/
Replies to either.
jacey: (blue eyes)
So excited to get my cover from DAW. The cover illustration is by the wonderful Stephan Martiniere. The book is due out on 4th November 2014
Empire_of_Dust-websize
jacey: (blue eyes)
There's one of those neat little graphics going round facebook that says: Main Characters: You do everything you can to raise them right, and as soon as they hit the page they do any damn thing they please. Well, that's right and it's wrong at the same time. See my blog post here: http://jaceybedford.wordpress.com/2014/03/30/character-self-determination/

Book News

Feb. 6th, 2014 02:52 am
jacey: (blue eyes)
The working title of my book has now become the official title - with the addition of a strap-line. The publication date has been confirmed and I can now tell you that: Empire of Dust - A Psi-tech Novel (by Jacey Bedford) will be published by DAW on 4th November 2014. The cover illustration will be done by Stephan Martiniere.

4th November is a good date. It would have been my favourite grandma's eleventy-fourth birthday had she still been around to see it.
jacey: (blue eyes)
I've got a publication date for the first novel from DAW - November 2014!
:-)
There's a new post and more exciting news about the cover artist on my writing blog at http://jaceybedford.wordpress.com/2014/02/03/thinking-about-images/
jacey: (blue eyes)
I nearly screwed up royally with my timeline of the work-in-progress (the book formerly known as Empire of Dust) so there's a post about timelines on my Wordpress writing blog: Tales from the Typeface.

OK, back to slogging through writing out my timeline.
jacey: (blue eyes)
This is my first book contract, so I'm trying to pace myself. I gave my editor a deadline date of December for the rewrite on Book One, which is just about finished now, though I need to let it settle for a few days before compiling it in Scrivener and rereading it all in one lump to see if it hangs together. I'm hopeful I'll be able to deliver it by 10th. (Then, of course, there may be more rewrites, and still more.)

Then I've given myself four months to slog through the first draft of the second book. My deadline for this is August, so I'd like to have a workable first draft by April in order to let it rest for a while and redraft by the beginning of August. With Worldcon and Milford I'm pretty sure I'm not going to get any much writing done in August itself, so I'm aiming to deliver at the beginning of the month.

Does this sound hopelessly optimistic?

Wordcount

Nov. 29th, 2013 07:43 pm
jacey: (blue eyes)
I have a post about wordcount over on my other (writing) blog at Wordpress, Tales from the Typeface (Writing and Other Vices).

Wordle

Nov. 25th, 2013 10:36 pm
jacey: (blue eyes)
Over on my writing blog you'll find a post about Wordle and how it can be used to highlight the overuse of certain words.
http://jaceybedford.wordpress.com/2013/11/25/wordle/
jacey: (blue eyes)
A post about revisions on my Wordpress writing blog:
http://jaceybedford.wordpress.com/2013/11/19/revision-first-pass/

If you're on Wordpress, please add my blog to your reading page. Thanks.
:-)
And let me know your page details sop I can reciprocate..
jacey: (blue eyes)
Some insights. A post over at my writing blog on wordpress: http://jaceybedford.wordpress.com/2013/11/09/that-difficult-second-novel/
Comments here or there are welcome.
jacey: (blue eyes)
Exciting. Publisher's contracts arrived from DAW this morning via my agent, Amy Boggs. Another first.
jacey: (blue eyes)
Book deal announced on Publishers Marketplace. I so want to frame this.
:-)
JaceyPubMarket
jacey: (blue eyes)
It's official and I can now announce it. I've got a three book deal with DAW in the USA (part of the Penguin group). Two novels wiill be SF and the third is my magic pirate fantasy. Two of them have been written already and one is for delivery by August 2014. I am thrilled! DAW is my dream publisher. Thank you to Sheila Gilbert, my new editor, and Amy Boggs of Donald Maass, my agent.

And thanks for Kari Sperring for the intro to DAW and to Kari (again), Charlie Allery, Tina Anghelatos and Jaine Fenn for holding my hand (or rather listening to me burble) through the getting an agent process.

I love overnight success. It's only taken me 15 years to achieve!
:-)
jacey: (blue eyes)
It's early days and I'm feeling a bit lonely on the Wordpress blog, so if you can visit, follow or leave a response, I'd love to hear from you.

New entry on the current short story in progress: http://jaceybedford.wordpress.com/2013/08/13/seven-short-men-and-a-waif/
jacey: (blue eyes)
I've set up a new writing blog over at Wordpress: Tales From the Typeface: Writing and Other Vices. http://jaceybedford.wordpress.com/
JB-header-wordpress
This may mean I'll hang on for a bit before changing the name on my LJ blog.
jacey: (blue eyes)
After a whirlwind week and six offers of agency representation from both sides of the Atlantic I've signed with Amy Boggs of the Donald Maass Literary Agency.

I'll let you know about the book deal once it's on paper, but I have a verbal confirmation with my dream publisher.
:-)

I'm so happy!
jacey: (blue eyes)
My guest post about Milford past and present (with photos) is now up on the Tor.co.uk blog
http://torbooks.co.uk/2013/07/02/the-milford-writers-conference-past-and-future/
Please visit.
jacey: (blue eyes)
Just managed to read about 150 friend posts on LJ to catch up. Apologies for lack of comments and lack of varios birthday wishes

I've been up to my ears researching literary agents for the last ten days and working my way through the Cora novel as I add it to Scrivener. The more I use it, the more I like Scrivener, thiough I suspect I'm not using all - or even most - of the features yet.
jacey: (blue eyes)
Please - everyone - boost the signal by posting this on your blogs or social media outlets. Thank you.

Milford SF Writers' Conference Weeks, 2014

You are cordially invited...
Milford is the UK-based event, founded by James Blish and now in its 41st year. It's for published SF writers to workshop their works-in-progress (short stories or novels) with other writers in the tranquil surroundings of beautiful Snowdonia, North Wales. It's a peer-to-peer event with no leaders or teachers enabling a creative exchange of information and ideas.

MILFORD 2013, Saturday 14th to Saturday 21st September 2013 is now fully booked, however it booked up so early and so fast that you can already book for 2014. (Early booking advised.)

Because Worldcon is in London in 2014 we are running an additional Milford week (subject to take-up of a minimum of nine bookings).
So you have a choice of dates:
Week 1 - 23rd to 30th August 2014
Week 2 - 13th to 20th September 2014
The venue for both is the lovely: Trigonos Centre, in Snowdonia
Joe's print
We are reserving half the places on the August 2014 week for overseas attendees until August 2013 or until fully subscribed, whichever is first. We hope that writers attending Worldcon (14th - 18th August http://www.loncon3.org/) from outside the UK will take the opportunity to attend Milford on the same plane ticket.

The total price for 2014 is £605 inclusive of full board for seven nights. A deposit of £115 is required to secure your booking and the balance of £490 is payable to Trigonos upon attending (by cash or cheque - no cards). Apart from a small Milford admin fee of £10, this sum represents your booking with Trigonos for accommodation.

Go to the Milford website to download and print the booking form for the 2014 weeks as a Word document; as a text file or as a pdf. You can state your date preference on the form.

Questions? Email the secretary. Liz Williams <mevennen@hotmail.com>
Or Jacey Bedford <jacey@jaceybedford.co.uk>

June 2017

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