Monthly Archives: December 2017

New York Literary Magazine: A Series of Unfortunate Events

I know several people who got this ‘nomination’ email. None of them fell for it.

shattersnipe: malcontent & rainbows

It’s not every day that I’m indirectly accused of ruining someone’s business, but 2017 has been a hell of a year.

On Christmas Day, I – along with many other writers in the SFF community – received an email from something called the New York Literary Magazine, informing me that I’d been nominated for their Best Story Award. For a number of reasons, both the email and the site to which it directed me pinged as fishy, not least because nominees were directed to pay a submission fee in order to be eligible for the award itself. In response, I ended up writing this Twitter thread about it. Many other writers chimed in – some of whom had paid the fee, most of whom had not – and the whole thing was quickly reported to Writer Beware as a scam, or at the very least as an operation to be…

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Female-only Idioms; a Steampunk Feminist Perspective

Cogpunk Steamscribe

bionic-unicorn Image of the Bionic Unicorn

There are certain sayings and phrases in English that refer purely to women. The ones I am going to discuss today are “She’s the cat’s mother”, “A woman’s place is in the home”, “A Scarlet Woman”,”A woman’s work is never done”, and “Don’t teach your grandma to suck eggs”. I have picked these because there is no equivalent sayings that refer to men. These are not the only examples, I could have included “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” or “the little woman”, but those I picked cover the most common discourses that entagle women in their daily lives.

She’s the cat’s mother: 

I’ve never heard anyone correct someone using ‘he’ by saying ‘He’s the cat’s father’. For some reason, women are held to a higher standard of grammatical English than men. Women aren’t supposed to swear; our language is meant to be lady-like. This…

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Imperfection – an essay on characterization

Does your protagonist have any imperfections?

I am not a perfect human being. I have a flattened spot at the back of my skull, no nose cartilage, and both my little fingers are a weird shape. If I was to start listing my personality flaws, we’d be here all day. And yet, I’m an attractive woman with a pleasant personality. My flaws just make me … me. There a millions of pleasant, attractive people on the planet, but my imperfections assist in creating my individuality.

The same should apply to your protagonists and antagonists and every other character in your narratives. A truly perfect protagonist lacks realism, and your audience will find it difficult to relate to them. A too perfect protagonist runs the risk of becoming a Mary Sue or a Marty Stu. Or worse, boring.

Don’t fall into the misconception of making their virtues seem like faults, because your audience are too intelligent to fall for that. It’s a bit like being in a job interview, when they ask you ‘What’s your greatest problem’ and you say something like ‘I can get too obsessed with getting everything right.’ Everyone around the table knows that you are not going to admit to having homocidal thoughts about any workmate who interrupts you while you are on lunch. But your readers should know that kind of detail about your characters!

I am currently updating my character profiles for my train book, now that I am nearly half way through the narrative. My characters have evolved and I want to keep their folders relevant. I just noticed that I haven’t really described how my main character looks in the text. Time to polish those flaws.

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Organising a Book Launch

Launch night 03

Most of the authors with Councillor David Morrison of Ipswich (our local member). Missing is Jo Sparrow (who was working) and Susan Ruth (ill health).

Last week, my writing group held a book launch for our anthology. When I was a baby writer, I didn’t really think much about book launches. If I did think about them at all, I thought they were arranged by the publisher as a favour to their writer; sort of a pat on the head and a ‘well done’ occasion. How wrong could one woman be?

The book launch is a celebration, in the sense the book debuts in the real world. You get to show off the culmination of everyone’s efforts. However, it is also the main thrust of the marketing campaign.


Our launch wasn’t as polished as the infographic above. We did post pictures of the cover online and had a cover reveal event. The writing group did have a big say in the final version of the cover, and we did a themed party for the launch (I made comet-decorated muffins).


This the first launch where I was part of the planning committee and not just an attendee. It went very well, from my point of view. Every new experience adds to my learning curve. I am toying with the idea of self publishing a book next year, mainly to add to my experience in the publishing field. You learn best by doing, making mistakes, and having surprising successes.



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Photos from the Launch of ‘Return’

Launch night 03

Most of the authors with Councillor David Morrison of Ipswich (our local member). Missing is Jo Sparrow (who was working) and Susan Ruth (ill health).


A better picture of Jo Seysener without my head in the way.


Reading a paragraph from the anthology from my Steampunk Story. What you can’t see are the pterodactyls dancing in my stomach.

Authors are: Aiki Flintheart (also editor in charge), Megan Badger, Ted Johnson, DA Kelly, Caitlyn McPherson, Jo Seysener, Belinda Messer, Geogia Willis, Melanie Sienkiewicz, Susan Ruth, Jo Sparrow, and yours truly.

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Return as been launched.

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Steampunks in Space — Stitches of Time

We absolutely loved Steampunks in Space last weekend. Not only did I have a great weekend with Ellie and got to spend some time with her work friends at one of their Christmas dos in a lovely restaurant in Worksop where there was far more tapas than 10 people could ever eat, we also saw […]

via Steampunks in Space — Stitches of Time

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Awakening (Monstress, Vol. 1 ) by Marjorie M. Liu, illustrated by Sana Takeda| Book Review — The Awkward Book Blogger

“To quote the poets… we’re f***ed” Title: Awakening Series: Monstress, Vol. 1 Author: Marjorie M. Liu Artist: Sana Takeda Published: July 13, 2016 Genre: adult, graphic novel, horror, fantasy Pages: 202 My Rating: ★★★★☆ Goodreads page There are no spoilers in this review.

via Awakening (Monstress, Vol. 1 ) by Marjorie M. Liu, illustrated by Sana Takeda| Book Review — The Awkward Book Blogger

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Just Steampunk Magazine, Volume Ten | Featuring Beverly Holman Art — Beverly Holman Art

Below are the featured Beverly Holman Art images from Just Steampunk Magazine, Volume Ten. Contact me to inquire about purchases! Art pieces are subject to change, based on availability. You can purchase a copy of this volume here: Just Steampunk

via Just Steampunk Magazine, Volume Ten | Featuring Beverly Holman Art — Beverly Holman Art

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Link to an article about the anthology book launch.

Book Launch


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