Late again – but a better excuse

This blog entry is late but I have a great excuse; I was on holiday in Sicily (see picture of me on Mt Etna).Image


It was great – the weather was fabulous, hot and sunny with enough breeze to keep us from frying, the food was excellent (Taormina is full of great restaurants) and the hotel very comfortable. Shame it was only 6 days.

I read a couple of books while I was there: ‘Before the Fall’ by Frances Knight, the second book of here Rojan Dizon series which is just as good as the first book, and the excellent ‘Throne of the Crescent Moon’. I particularly appreciated the older protagonists of ‘Throne’, old farts can have adventures too!

I had plenty of plotting time by the pool and feel I’m in a good place to kick on with my sequel (still nothing from my agent about book 1). I’m not setting myself any goals but I hope to get some more words down soon.



This blog is late because I was ambushed by the great green catarrh monster at the end of last week and today is the first day I’ve felt half-decent since. Coincided with my mother-in-law visiting, there is no connection.

Didn’t do much writing of my own stuff as I’ve been reading a longtime collaborator’s new novel and trying to figure out how to make it better. Difficult as it is a very nicely told story, but there is still a certain amount to say about it. Whether they’ll use the advice, well that’s their call.

In other news – WE WON THE JACKPOT AT THE PUB QUIZ. yes, finally picked the correct envelope and came away with over £60 each. I love getting paid to go to the pub!


There will be no blog post next week as we’ll be on holiday. Tell you about it when I get back.


The information

Yesterday the T-Party hosted Marcus Gipps, editor at Gollancz who very kindly came and spent the afternoon with us, answered our questions and didn’t once look bored. I’ll try to summarise what he said because while much of it has already be said before it bears repeating. 

Editors are busy people, most of their reading gets done evenings and weekends. Gollancz do take unagented submissions and they do truly read them but it is not a fast process. Even submissions from agents they have bought from can take months to get looked at (I know this for truth as we’ve still had no replies about my novel on submission). Gollancz have bought previously self-published books; if you’ve sold a few thousand copies yourself then they could be interested. The market for epic fantasy is strong and it outsells SF and UF. They will still be buying good epic fantasies. They would love to publish more space opera/big SF adventures but aren’t seeing much coming in. Your social media platform is of little importance, and if you have no presence then it doesn’t matter until after your book is acquired. Then they would strongly encourage you to set up website/Facebook /Twitter etc. Gollancz reserve 4 publishing slots a year for debut authors, but this year and next will publish double that number. They generally look at the writing first before looking at the synopsis and they know how hard it is to write a decent synopsis. Debut authors don’t make much money, don’t give up your day job.


Many thanks to Marcus for a great afternoon

In other news my sequel advanced by a few hundred more words, my quiz team won the Thursday night quiz by a wide margin but picked the wrong envelope and I saw a badger in my garden on Friday night.

Happy birthday

Tomorrow is my mother’s birthday, she will be 92. Today we took her out for lunch with her first cousin who is 8 days younger than her. That’s correct, two of them about to be 92 – good genes or what? It is astonishing to think of the changes they have lived through, from the aftermath of WW1 when horse transport was still common and planes a rarity to today’s world when pictures of our lunch can be viewed on Facebook anywhere in the world within half an hour.  Should I live so long how much change will I see?

I have no more news of the novel on submission. The sequel advanced past 10k words. I ran my pub quiz tonight with only 4 teams – the weather was too nice today for many to be tempted indoors – but it was otherwise good with a tight finish and the usual suspects winning.