Monthly Archives: October 2013

Shadow Over Avalon live for Halloween

C.N Lesley’s second novel will be live on Halloween! Can’t wait to read this one!


Shadow Over Avalon

Fortune twists in the strongest hands. This is no repeat; this is what happens next.

A man, once a legend who bound his soul to his sword as he lay dying, is now all but a boy nearing the end of his acolyte training. Stifled by life in the undersea city of Avalon, Arthur wants to fight side by side with the air-breathing Terrans, not spend his life as servant to the incorporeal sentient known as the Archive. He is determined to help the surface-dwellers defeat the predators who are determined to ensure their own survival, no matter the cost.

Ashira, War Maid princess of the surface-world, is ready to sacrifice her life to defend her kin, but when she is betrayed and cast out of the life chosen for her, she must choose whether to die with honor or become one of the creatures her kinsmen fear and loathe.

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Author Joanne Hall and the Bristol Con.

The talented and all round lovely Joanne Hall, author of the fantasy epic, Art of Forgetting: Rider, answers some of my questions regarding the Sci-Fi/Fantasy Convention being held on the 26th of October 2013 in Bristol.

  Author and Chair of the Bristol Con, Joanne Hall.

For someone like me, who has never been to a Sci-Fi/Fantasy Convention, what can someone expect going to the Bristol Con?

BristolCon is a fairly compact SF/F convention – we usually have around 250 people, so it’s small enough to be friendly. There are really two sorts of conventions; there are the big media conventions like DragonCon or MCM Expo, where the focus is very much on cosplay and events with TV and film celebrities, and then there are smaller, more intimate conventions like Wiscon, where the focus is more on reading and writing and speculative fiction. BristolCon falls into the second camp. There are panel discussions and individual presentations on subjects of geeky and writerly interest (this year, for example, we have “How to poop on a Fantasy Universe and Other Grubby Goings On”  and “How Humans are Biologically Weird”, to name but two) We also have an art room, a dealer room full of creative people, live music, a very hard quiz, kaffeeklatsches (small meetings of no more than ten people with a famous author, over coffee) etc. It’s a chance to spend the day hanging out with like-minded people talking nerdy and having a few pints!


In what capacity do you work at the Bristol Con? How many years has it been up and running?

I’m the chair, which means I get to boss the rest of the committee about and make sure everything’s running smoothly, and catch any dropped balls along the way. We’ve been doing it for five years now; the first year we ran for an afternoon and had sixty people, so it’s grown a bit since then.


What’s involved in getting the Con ready?

We start organising next years con even before this years has taken place, by approaching the people we’d like to be Guests of Honour next year (I could tell you who they are, but then I’d have to kill you…) Then we spend the next few months encouraging interesting potential panellists to sign up. I should explain that with smaller fan-run conventions everyone except the Guests of Honour pays an entry fee, even the hard-working committee. Then once we have loads of signups, as well as dealers and artists, about three months before the con the committee come together and toss around ideas for panels until we have about twenty-five potential panels. Then Meg, our supreme programme wrangler, sends the panel suggestions out to the people who have expressed an interest in being on panels, and they pick the ones they most want to be on. This ensures that people only end up doing the panels they are really interested in appearing on. Then we take the most popular 14-15 panels and build the programme around them. The programme is almost the last thing we do, only a few weeks before the big day.

There are a million other things to do as well, but BristolCon has a great committee and after five years we’re beginning to get the hang of the small stuff!


Who’s involved in this years’ Con? Can you drop us a few names?

Our Guests of Honour this year are Storm Constantine (Chronicles of the Wreaththu), and Philip Reeve (Mortal Engines), and our artist GOH is Mark Buckingham, who draws Fables and has worked on Sandman.

We always try and involve lots of local writers, such as Gareth L Powell, Emma Newman and Lou Morgan, and this year we have Mary Robinette Kowal flying in from Chicago – it was a nice surprise when she signed up!


Where in Bristol is the Convention being held?

It’s at the Hilton DoubleTree on Redcliffe Way, next to St Mary Redcliffe which is a beautiful medieval church. It’s only five minutes walk from Temple Meads Station, so it’s easy to get to from London and Birmingham.


Do people dress up? Can people expect to see Orcs, Wizards and Sci-fi heros? Or is it a more formal setting?

People haven’t tended to dress up in the past, but if people want to dress up, we’re not going to discourage them! Some of the committee do like to put on their best frocks – it adds to the sense of occasion. And we’ve had a number of people come in steampunk garb in the past. We certainly don’t discourage people from dressing up, but there’s no maskerade or costume competition like some of the bigger cons have.


What other events can people expect? Are there readings and book signings?

This year we’re launching “Looking Landwards”, an anthology of agricultural SF, and there will be readings between the panels and signings at lunchtime. Because it’s quite an informal con – there’s no green room or anything like that – most authors are happy to sign things during the day, or over a pint in the bar. It’s a really good chance to meet your favourite authors in an informal setting and find out how lovely they are!


Will you be doing a reading? If so, from which book and can you tell us a little bit about it?

I will be doing a five-minute reading after the panel I’m on (The Evolution of Genre), and I’ll be reading something from my heroic fantasy “The Art of Forgetting : Rider” but I’m not sure what yet – it’s hard to find an extract without spoilers!

  follow the link for more info on Joanne and her books.

For those interested, or wanting more info, where can they find it? (and any other relevant links!)

The first place to look would be the BristolCon website : We also have a Facebook page, and you can follow @BristolCon on Twitter – we’re all very friendly and if you say hello we’ll say hello back!

Interview with Robert “Boss” Jennings. Non-compliance: The Transition

This is Malcolm Murdock reporting live from the Non-Compliance Sector. I’ve been granted a rare interview with Robert “Boss” Jennings, the man reportedly responsible for running the lawless sector. He says he wants a chance to tell his side of the story to us citizens.   

Question: Rumour has it there was trouble in the Sector, that the now notorious Danny Rose may have been responsible for the troubles? For readers, would you care to elaborate?

Answer: Yes, Daniel Rose was responsible for some upheaval in the Sector. He was terrorizing many of our residents and making life more difficult than it already was. As added insult to injury he offered flu vaccine to our residents that was from a recalled lot. Fortunately, we discovered this before people were hurt.

Question: What is involved in running a lawless place such as this?

Answer: You may think of us as lawless, but most of the time things run smoothly over here considering our lack of resources. A community such ours couldn’t exist without mutual respect. I feel it is my job to facilitate our residents’ access to goods necessary for living. I also provide protection for the residents. I provide these services for a minimal feel. The residents are free to accept my services or decline them. I do not feel it is my duty to tell our residents how to live their lives. It’s just simple business for me.

Question: Who do you rely on? Who can you trust?

Answer: As you know we have mercs around town that collect dues and take care of small jobs. However, there is a close knit crew that lives here in compound with me. You’ve written numerous salacious stories about my crew: Ms. Claire Ashborne, Mr. Quinn Knightly, Ms. Shea Kelly, Mr. Conner Dunne, Ms. Wynne Myers, Mr. Gordon Timmons, and of course my lovely companion Ms. Nikki Sweet. They are quite talented and I trust them all with my life. Without them the sector could not run as smoothly as it does.

Question: Have there been any more problems in the Sector? If so, would you care to share with us the troubles you face here and what you do to keep a modicum of order?

Answer: Since we’ve taken Danny down our sector has been quiet. However, in the last couple of weeks we’ve seen an increase in activity from a gang called the Orphans. My crew and I are trying to find a root cause to this problem. Once we find a root cause, it will be imperative that we neutralize it immediately. It might sound harsh, but punishment must be swift and harsh to quell any future disturbances.    

Question: (A man in a suit enters and whispers in Boss’s ear then leaves again) Is that one of your henchmen? What is his role in your organisation?

Answer: Mr. Quinn Knightly is my second in command and he more than just a … henchman. He is responsible for representing me in town and is quite possibly one of the best employees I’ve ever had.


Question: Our readers wish to understand the reasons why you chose not to go ahead with the government chip? What makes that idea so unpalatable to you?

Answer: I will not speak for the sector, but I personally believe giving the government and large corporations such as GlobalThink such control of your life could be … troublesome.

Question: If you could change the world, what would you do to make that change?

Answer: Excellent question, Mr. Murdock. I’ve long since stopped trying to change the world. The world got along just fine before I was here, and it will get along just fine after I die. The best I can hope for is to make my community a little bit better than it was the day before.

(Boss stands, looking distracted as he glances at his watch)

Question: And quickly, sir, before you go, what does the future of the Sector look like?

Answer: I, like the other residents, just live day to day. We are not sure of what the future holds. We are quite content to keep to ourselves. But know that if there is interference we will not stay silent.

If you wish to know more about “Boss” Jennings, or the Non-compliance Sector, check out the novels by Paige Daniels. This cyberpunk sci-fi series can be found on Amazon, Smashwords, B&N (all good book stockists!)

Non-Compliance: The Sector Non-Compliance: The Transition







Book Launch Party

Friday 4th October was a very exciting day. The evening heralded the launch party for my book, The Reluctant Prophet (despite the fact its been released a month). To be honest, I was a nervous wreck, with the typical thoughts of, ‘Oh God, no one’s going to turn up’ to ‘No one will buy the book.’ I forgot that I have fabulous family and friends and they quickly reminded me that everything was going to be just fine! The party was held in Cunningham’s Bar, in Kildare in their lovely upstairs room. A big thank you to Rachel and the staff of Cunningham’s for having set the room up so thoughtfully, with the table and stage for the book signings. And a big thank you to family who popped over from Scotland, as well as friends who attended. Especially, Mary, Charlotte and Karen, for the decorations and the wonderful cake!

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1 – The room set up for the launch. 2 – Karen of Love Sew Much (and great friend) sitting with the cake she made.

3 – The amazing cake. One layer chocolate, one lemon and one choc/biscuit cake. Yum Yum!

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1 – Me and the books!  2 – Friend Mary modelling the tote bag! 3 – Friends Charlotte and Peter getting their books signed.



The slow death of Team Theatre

A sad reminder of what the recession in Ireland is doing to the arts.


I feel deeply, passionately and bitterly sad to hear of the death of Team Educational Theatre Company, announced last month by email and on their Facebook page. After a courageous and painful struggle with strangulation by public neglect, and fatal haemorrhaging of its financial base from cuts from the funding bodies, it can no longer survive in this time of market forces, when the arts, like every other ‘business’, now knows the price of everything and the value of nothing. Neither the Arts Council nor the Department of Education, which for years had kicked this company between them like an old football, was willing to champion it. In times of recession, funding for children, and especially theatre for young people, is an easy cut to make. Who cares what children think? Do they have a vote? Are they on any boards? Do they have any money to influence people?


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Interview with Gillian O’Rourke, Author of “The Reluctant Prophet”

The lovely Joanne Hall interviews me about writing and my book. It was a pleasure working with her!

Joanne Hall

Today I’m over the moon to welcome fellow KI author Gillian O’Rourke to the blog. Gillian’s debut novel, “The Reluctant Prophet” was published at the beginning of September, and she kindly agreed to submit to some gentle interrogation…


Could you please tell us a little bit about yourself?

          Gillian  I was born in Scotland, but moved to Australia with my parents and brother when I was two. So I grew up in lovely, sunny Melbourne and worked there as a nurse. In 2007, I moved to Ireland with my husband, where I now work as a Social Care Worker in Intellectual Disabilities. We have three crazy dogs and try to grow some of our own fruit and veg. I’ve been writing on and off since my teens, but a couple of years ago, I thought ‘feck it’ I want to make something of this. I have to say…

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