# Review The Cutlers of the Howling Hills

August 31, 2014

The shop owner of a marvellous bookshop on the ancient walls of Chester is a writer too. I loved Michael Summers’ story, The Is Shop, in which a store only sells what the previous customer ordered. It’s based on the concept of fractal so there are cusps and bifurcations of intrigue in the story. Perhaps City Walls Books could be subtitled as The Alternative ‘IS Shop’? When you go or email the shop as for a copy. The shop is up on the walls off Northgate. Ask Mr Summers there for a hardback copy of his latest fiction:

cutlers

 

The Cutlers of the Howling Hills by Michael Summers

Hardback edition published 2014

ISBN 978-1-311-32670-6

Reviewed by Geoff Nelder

 

Michael Summers is to conventional fiction as a banana is to a wheelbarrow. These 97 pages are two riveting works of literary gold, if odd. The first is a kind of road trip by Bulkington, a monk on a quest yet it has geographical and plot links to the Epic poem that makes up the final fifth of the tome – The Lay of The Last Wastrel.

 

The setting of a monastery, especially one as austere as St. Collywobbles, obliges the reader to imagine medieval and in this they are both right, and wrong. There is a feel of the ancient mainly because the monastery is 200 miles from the nearest town and people met are wonderfully weird. Bulkington is sent by the Abbott on a mission to secure replacement spoons. He finds an itinerant cutlery vendor, who is a former monk and together they set off on A Quest To Find Magic In The Abstract. You might think odd things happen in the wilderness. They do, but odder things happened at the monastery where toads catalyse the means by which the monks read.

 

There is much in this work that rings of cultural reflection and truism and of contemporary wit. For example The Hollow Hills are so called because their hollowness is the result of Elven Fracking. Along the trail the goodly monk Bulkington and his new BFF soothsayer Indole meet Noctus Satum, an experimental meteorologist who is puzzled why his lightning detector isn’t working. I laughed at this because I too constructed such a device decades ago when I taught about the vagaries of weather science. I often kept my classes inquisitive by displaying odd devices on my desk and offered prizes for the first to correctly determine their purpose. Like Noctus, my device used a screen – an oscilloscope used as a graphical ammeter, come to think of it rather like the ECG displays for my stay in hospital a few weeks ago only with more interesting spikes and T curves. In Cutlers it’s not too much a spoiler to say that the storm detector hits a problem of too many false positives detection. Funnily enough this happened to the Met Office in Huddersfield. I undertook climate research in that Colne Valley region in the 1970s and at the request of a friend in the Met Office I visited an amateur observer in Huddersfield because he consistently recorded a record annual thunderstorm frequency of over 40 when most of the Pennine region had half that. In the man’s garden I inspected his station and it was ideally situated with a well-maintained Stevenson Screen housing PSI-certified instruments. Then we heard a bang. He immediately fetched a ledger and recorded a thunderstorm.

 

“Just a minute,” I said, “that was Standard Fireworks across the valley, testing bangers!”

 

“No, it was a thunderstorm,” he said.

 

Shortly after that the Met Office statistics for that region were adjusted.

 

The writing style in Cutlers is marvellously lyrical, and not just in setting description. Listen to this excerpt from Chapter 11. ‘Round and round it tore, until the howling of the hills rang through the bog. The water sprayed and frothed, and droplets flew up into the night air. A vortex of tearing force touched down, hit the brackish mire and suddenly all was a column of turbulent water, beaten white by the tornado. With a great ribbetting whirl, hundreds of Collywobbler Toads disappeared into the night.

 

In some ways the ‘ashtray-smelling town of Avaciggy’ is a joke too many because in general the wry, dry humour runs through the narrative so well in its surreal way. As in ‘Everything … is built without a slide rule, so the rules slide–no right angles…’ Speaking of which there is a running joke on angular momentum, and by the way, the correct units of angular momentum is kilogram metres squared per second (kgm 2/sec). Unless you are referring to Quantum angular momentum in which case you’re on your own. Hence, I’ve given away the answer to an in-text riddle for you.

 

The reader becomes embroiled in the wilderness road trip with the two travellers right to the end, upon which an epic poem assaults you. And delightful, devious and glorious it is. Such ancient verse components and knowledge is built in with apparent ease for such a young writer. Seemingly disparate topics such polo, a shepherdess lamenting and harassing the town on the nomenclature of her unnamed mountain in the Howling Hills, provide us with linked quests within quests. A quest that kind of ends at its beginning. A quote from the verse that delighted me:

 

‘Where witchery trees turned sunlight to paper.

Many a thriller was cast to the wind;

A religious plemic announce ‘We have sinned.’

Yesterday’s news was blown on the breeze

A hundred best-sellers took flight from the trees.’

 

This novella and poem reflect each other and together deserves to be a best-seller.

Get your copy from Smashwords (free ebook at present) or print from the shop at http://citywallsbooksandmusic.webs.com

 

Nelder stuff //

Facebook #banned blunders

August 22, 2014
cover for How to Win Short Story Competitions

How to Win Short Story Competitions

Hilarious rather than annoying, I boosted a facebook post about the ebook on HOW TO WIN SHORT STORY COMPETITIONS Dave Haslett wrote with me. However, the cover art contains a page from Jon Pinnock’s award-winning short story and even though you can’t really read the page clearly, especially in the small advert, facebook has banned it for showing “too much text”. Haha. Clearly a machine scanned the ad rather than a person. I’ve appealed but it’s a wait and see.
Okay, now for another unexpected angle. The cover art has a story too. The medal is knitted. It was photographed with a page from Jonathan Pinnock’s winning tale as the background. Only at the point of publication did Dave notice the word tosser could be read. Not wishing to offend it has been sufficiently airbrushed.
If you are a writer and would either like to win competitions or just improve your style then this is the book for you – cheaper than a burger and much more a superfood.  UK Kindle http://amzn.to/1tm05Lp & for the US http://amzn.to/1yWRdh1

A pdf version is available from Ideas4Writers here.

 

Wirral Easy Rider

August 15, 2014
Linghams Bookshop, Heswall

Linghams Bookshop, Heswall

Now it’s 7 weeks since stents were shoved into my coronary artery and Cardio Rehab told me I am fit enough to do some gentle cycling I thought how marvellous to use that excuse to cycle Chester to Heswall in the Wirral to deliver my books. In particular Linghams Bookshop in Heswall have been supportive of my authorial efforts so they were my destination and the lucky receiver of the final book of the ARIA Trilogy. Sadly, they told me no one has bought books one and two in their shop yet and would I nudge Wirral-located buddies to go along. Umm, I’m not good at this selling lark, however, if you live in the Wirral and know someone who would give you a hug for a medical mystery / science fiction at less than the price of a veggie burger and smoothie then please pop in to Linghams at 248 Telegraph Road, Heswall, Merseyside, CH60 7SG, UK or order online from them – search for Nelder in their search box.

My cycle ride was eventful from the start. Interesting view across the pedestrian bridge over the River Dee at Saltney Ferry.

Saltney Ferry bridge across the Dee

Saltney Ferry bridge across the Dee

Although I stopped at the top because a large pedestrian took up more than 50% of the width, another mad cyclist didn’t and after overtaking me collided with Mr Big. Loud anguished cries and blue language as you’d expect. Reminded me of that tale where large Friar Tuck challenges Robin Hood when crossing a bridge in Sherwood Forest. The cyclist nearly had his bike hurled into the water if I’d not said, “Hey chaps, look at those geese!”

Indeed, hundreds of geese had taken to the air probably around Neston and flew quite low over us. The distraction allowed the two combatants to calm down and carry on their ways.

The cycle path travels northwest alongside the Dee and passes where British Aerospace builds the Airbus 380 wings. On the photo you can see one of the wings loaded onto a specially-constructed barge for shipping, eventually, to France to be assembled, like a giant airfix kit.

Airbus wing on barge

Airbus wing on barge

Most of the cycling is on flat, exposed terrain. A temptation to consider it boring is dispelled by the sight of the river, wild flora and birdlife. From Neston to Heswall are cycle signs for route 56 but be warned it becomes muddy, underwater in places and with stinging nettles adding to the excitement in your legs.

Cyclepath to ConnahsQuayThe round trip from my house is 40 miles, especially after a few sidetracks trying interesting-looking lanes.

I hope someone pops into Linghams and considers buying at least Book 1 which is ARIA: Left Luggage, then the shop will ask me for more.

Other books from Nelder can be found on Amazon author pages

UK Amazon author page http://www.amazon.co.uk/Geoff-Nelder/e/B002BMB2XY

And for US readers http://www.amazon.com/Geoff-Nelder/e/B002BMB2XY

Geoff facebooks at http://www.facebook.com/AriaTrilogy and tweets at @geoffnelder

 

http://nelderaria.wikia.com/wiki/NelderAria_Wiki

 

http://www.sf-encyclopedia.com/entry/nelder_geoff

#New Media #Release ARIA

August 10, 2014

Apparently the ISBN fell over a chair and turned up incorrect in the original release so here is the right one! These things happen with the best and biggest publishers so hey ho. Apologies to all those hundreds I emailed with the wrong ISBN. If you ordered that wrong ISBN I hope you enjoyed your random story!

My favourite tweet lately is this one. Please RT it if you do that kind of thing:

Let me lead you into temptation and to a unique #apocalypse ARIA: a snarky gem. #Kindle http://amzn.to/11rseH3 details http://bit.ly/HNYyq4

 

Other news is that Baen Books have asked for the full manuscript of my urban fantasy Xaghra’s Revenge so all digits crossed!

 Here’s the re-release of the media information for

ARIA: Abandoned Luggage

Cover art for ARIA: Abandoned Luggage

Cover art for ARIA: Abandoned Luggage

Book Three of the ARIA Trilogy

By Geoff Nelder

Published by LL-Publications

Print: $14.99 (US) /£9.99 (UK/EU) /eBook: $5.99 (US) £3.99 (UK/EU)

ISBN: 978-0-9905655-0-5 (print)/ 978-0-9905655-3-6 (ebook)

© Geoff Nelder

254 pages / 89,500k words

Release Date: July 1, 2014

Genre(s): science fiction, speculative fiction

 

 

“Geoff Nelder inhabits Science Fiction the way other people inhabit their clothes.”

Jon Courtenay Grimwood

 

“Geoff Nelder’s ARIA has the right stuff. He makes us ask the most important question in science fiction–the one about the true limits of personal responsibility.”

—Brad Linaweaver

 

“ARIA has an intriguing premise, and is written in a very accessible style.”

—Mike Resnick

 

In 2015, a case found in the struts of the International Space Station is brought to Earth. It releases a virus giving people amnesia. They lose their memory at the rate of a year’s worth every week. No one is immune. Infectious amnesia is unheard of. Industry breaks down as people forget where they work and how to perform their duties. People die as they forget their medication, and production ceases along with food, water supply, and energy. A few small groups realise what is happening in time and find isolated refuges. Ryder Nape takes a group to a secluded Welsh valley where safety from the virus is possible. Biologists call the virus ARIA: Alien Retrograde Infectious Amnesia.

 

In this conclusion to the trilogy, Dr. Antonio Menzies arrives on Zadok. The ARIA-3 bomb had reached there two days previously, causing havoc. Surviving Zadokians consider a mass-migration to Earth to escape the effects of ARIA-3. Antonio’s madness grows, and he makes disturbing discoveries in their laboratories.

 

Meanwhile, Ryder’s group is now on a Pacific island. His relationship with Jena is unstable and others have astonishing infatuations in tune with the increasingly desperate situation. When their island becomes unsustainable, and the alien-Earth hybrid weed gets out of control, where should they go?

 

What was the Zadokians’ real purpose with the ARIA viruses, and how does it all end?

 

About the Author

Geoff Nelder lives in Chester with his long-suffering wife and has two grown-up children whose sense and high intelligence persist in being a mystery to him. He would do most things for a laugh but had to pay the mortgage so he taught I.T. and Geography in the local high school for thirty years. A post-war baby boomer, he is a Fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society (FRMet S), and his experiences on geographical expeditions have found themselves into amusing pieces in the Times Educational Supplement. Visit Geoff’s website – www.geoffnelder.com

 

ARIA: Abandoned Luggage is available in print and several ebook formats including Kindle and NOOK and can be found at many online retailers. Visit the ARIA page at LL- Publications:

http://www.ll-publications.com/aria3.html

 

LL-Publications (www.ll-publications.com) is an independent publisher “taking readers down a different path” and specializing in genre and literary titles in print and ebook formats since 2008.

 

For sales/wholesale sales inquiries, contact: editor(at)ll-publications.com

Enjoying a breakdown – Primordial

July 30, 2014

Primordial An Abstraction by D. Harlan Wilson
Anti-Oedipus Press • September 2014
Paperback: 167 pages • 5×8 • $13.95 • ISBN 978-0-9892391-5-8
Goodreads • Amazon • Barnes & Noble

D.Harlan Wilson - Primordial

D.Harlan Wilson – Primordial

Reviewed by Geoff Nelder

I was tempted to write this review in the style and sense of the novel’s narrative but I tried that with Zombie Acopalypse! Fightback created by Stephen Jones for which I became the unholy revenant. I wrote it as one of the zombies featured in the anthology, full of bile with a hunger for the blood of its author. My cool review bombed. This one is different.
Primordial is a bizarre campus novel in which a professor has his doctorate revoked and he returns as a student to regain it. Others are in a similar situation. He fights to understand the rationality behind it even though it’s probably a scam. In some ways it is more a stream of nightmarish consciousness than a novel. The plot is almost irrelevant although not the university setting. Characterization is so strong it hurts. The prof is mostly acerbic, especially in his relationships with fellow students and his lecturers but his rollercoastering sanity is a joy to witness.
Putting it in the kind of terms the author uses, the main character is in an existential crisis although if that means one is compelled to make love with one’s eschatological professor – the one with a swell bust – in every bathroom in campus then the crisis could be worse.
In keeping with the subject of his thesis: the violence of rhetoric, much of the narrative shocks in a compelling way. Truisms shock too – eg ‘Most of adult life is spent discovering the mystery of how very little you matter.’ Most of mine is spent in denial of that but I have to bend to its truth. The words the author chooses (very carefully, which makes a refreshing change from most novels thrown my way) deserve revisiting with an eye for another interpretation. It could be that my reaction is wrong but as with all novels once it is published it no longer belongs to the author, but the reader. Hence, take this sentence: ‘The academic ideological apparatus interpellates all of us.’ I have cartographical and mathematical training so my brain initially read that as interpolates all of us. Hah. I like that concept of the bureaucracy taking us not for what we are but as a statistical average, fitting us in between fixed points of reference, like contours being estimated on a map between the few known spot heights. However, Wilson doesn’t actually say that because the rarer word interpellate is about making a point of order in the business of government – or similar. This might be one of those instances where the author has no objection to the reader making up their own interpretation.
As an editor of thousands of short stories and dozens of novels, one aspect of pleonastic writing I am compelled to correct is echoing. Not just a repeated word word by slippage of hand but when a phrase is used twice in a paragraph. It’s an amateur-alert red flag to an editor when used twice in a paragraph. However, it can be a masterstroke when crafted by an expert. Consider when our ex-professor is road-raged on page 90: ‘I hit the truck again with the bat. I hit the truck again with the bat. I hit the truck again with the bat. I hit the truck again with the bat. I hit the truck again with the bat. I hit the truck again with the bat. I hit the truck again with the bat. I hit the truck again with the bat. I hit the truck again with the bat. I hit the truck again with the bat. I hit the truck again with the bat. I hit the truck again with the bat. I hit the truck again with the bat. I hit the truck again with the bat. I hit the truck again with the bat. I hit the truck again with the bat.’ Brilliant.
He is wallowing in the repetition and it reinforces our mental image so much more than saying he hit the truck with the bat 16 times. As the prof says much later in the novel, ‘repetition is just as good as karma.’ We could quote himself back with ‘That’s not altogether true. Nothing ever is.’ There are many such self-referential pieces and another is, ‘Something happens here.’ In fact that is a whole chapter – number 66. I echo – Something happens here. He could have said, ‘Nothing happens here.’ However, that wouldn’t be true unless the page was blank like page 164, but the words 66 for the chapter heading is already on p132 so it cannot be nothing, hence ‘Something happens here.’ Of course it is a link, too from the previous to the next chapter. I love this book.
I’ve read and reviewed other D. Harlan Wilson works, Codename Prague, and They had Goat Heads. All enjoyable, but this I’ve savoured the most. It took longer than any other short novel to read because of that savouring. There are few book extracts I read out loud to my wife, but I did from this book. Not that she listened. This book will remain in my thoughts for ever, or as the unnamed prof says, ‘Once you engage a singularity you are doomed to fondle the ticklish parts of its shadow for eternity.’
This is one of those rare novels you can treat like a poetry book and take off the shelf for a random dip when you need your complacency stirred. Completely recommended for all aficionados of the bizarro genre or if you are willing to have your brain tickled.

Nelder Notes:

I’m utterly proud to announce the release of the final and third book in my ARIA TRILOGY

ARIA is the thrilling, award-winning, scifi medical mystery and apocalyptic drama that everybody should be talking about and would be if they hadn’t forgotten it through the infectious amnesia at its heart.

All formats.

http://www.amazon.com/ARIA-Abandoned-Luggage-Three-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00LMNE9JW/

And for UK readers http://www.amazon.co.uk/ARIA-Abandoned-Luggage-Three-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00LMNE9JW/

So many of you have asked when the final book is out and here it is. Enjoy.

http://www.ll-publications.com/aria3.html

In case you are inspired to read the first book in the trilogy, the price of the ebook has been slashed to less than the price of a coffee as you’ll see on these pages: #kindle now http://amzn.to/1daTUUn UK – http://amzn.to/1gn3iHI

Highlights:

  1. ARIA is the first and so far only book to use the concept of infectious amnesia.
  2. Although character-led, the novel has breakthrough plot threads, making us think of what is the most important and crucial aspects of our lives. Research help and support was emailed from space! Astronaut Leroy Chiao answered my questions about the nature of the struts on the International Space Station, and wished me luck with the book.
  3. All the places on Earth used in the book are real geographical locations, including the ‘hidden’ valley – Anafon – in North Wales.
  4. The cover art is designed by award-winning artist, Andy Bigwood.
  5. The idea of infectious amnesia came while I was riding a bicycle up a steep Welsh hill.

You tube video trailer http://youtu.be/oh0AAXIe8VU

Facebook page for you to ‘like’ if you will http://www.facebook.com/AriaTrilogy

A typical review of book one:

http://www.brewingpassion.com/2014/06/across-beer-bar-withumi-forgot.html

A wikia page about me and the ARIA Trilogy is http://nelderaria.wikia.com/wiki/NelderAria_Wiki

Peepshow tour of authors

July 25, 2014

through_the_key_hole_by_jesidangerouslyWith Catherine Edmunds and Mark Iles but as with theirs this is a kind of peepshow into how I spend my day when I’m not being rushed to hospital or wrestling grandchildren.

The ding of my inbox disrupted a well-deserved snooze. It was that mistress of the arts, Cathy Edmunds, with an invitation, a beseeching, to engage with her in a blog tour. Does she think I have nothing better to do? She’s right. I am a link. I will be strong.
Cathy’s blog is at http://catherineedmunds.blogspot.co.uk/ do visit it, leave comments, buy her books. The next in the link after me is Mark Iles. Like me he writes science fiction but quite unlike my style. Just this week the characters in the first book in my ARIA: Left Luggage were accused of being too funny for such a horrific situation. The reviewer had not heard of graveyard humour or those situations where we use humour to overcome adversity. I don’t believe I overdo the humour. Indeed other reviewers say that infectious amnesia is more terrifying than zombies and vampires. You can’t win them all.
I am reminded of a quote by Isaac Asimov about his reactions to thoughtless reviewers: “From my close observation of writers… they fall into two groups: 1) those who bleed copiously and visibly at any bad review, and 2) those who bleed copiously and secretly at any bad review.”

If you enjoy military science fiction you’ll definitely enjoy Mark Iles work and his blog is at http://markiles.co.uk/the-blog

Cathy Edmunds tells me all I have to do now is be a well-behaved pupil and answer the following four questions
1. What am I working on?
2. How does my work differ from others in its genre?
3. Why do I write what I do?
4. How does my writing process go?

1. What am I working on?
Mostly kid’s stuff. Why? Because my infant grandchildren have heard that I’m an author and have asked to know about my books. Well, you know they have too many naughty bits so I’ve been busy writing new books. Three in the last month, all in the Scoot and Red series where Scoot is a 5-year-old boy and Red is his dog. The Blue Ball, String Theory and Time Travel have been drafted, roughly illustrated and tested on Oliver, my grandson in Manchester. Then I go home and make edits before testing them on my granddaughters in Nottingham. In many ways it is like doing a reading from my novel to a literary gathering. There I was reading Time Travel with Scoot, Red and Penny when I’m rudely interrupted by the cook, who brandishes a pan under my nose and says, “Are these enough spuds for mashing?” My grandson tuts, but then asks me to start again. Yeah.
I’ve also been writing shorts for the Chester Library Fantasy Writing Group. The August topic is to write a fantasy with at least one scene under water. I’ve been waiting to make time to write this story for a few years. A colleague of my wife sailed his catamaran from Anglesey to the Isle of Man one night and hit an object floating just under the surface. It was a large container that had fallen off a cargo ship. Usually they sink but this one hadn’t. My imagination went berserk. Suppose it was full of people being smuggled? Dead or alive? Spooky and ripe for telling. On a holiday, I asked a member of the Manx Coastguard what they’d do if a semi-submerged container was reported to them. “Nowt lad, unless it was reported as still not sank 24 hours later in which case we’d go out and put some holes in it.” How unimaginative. My story is called “Voyage of the Silents” and it’s set in the warmer Mediterranean and is a short sequel to my Hot Air thriller – see blog post.
2. How does my work differ from others in its genre?
There are too many answers to this awful question. a) I don’t know because I don’t read enough of others in the various genre I write in; b) of those I read and admire I slip into, stylewise, and so risk not being different, except in an inferior way – probably. Eg for my thrillers I admire the humour of Tibor Fischer, the bizarreness of D Harlan Wilson and Ira Nayman, and the clever plotting of Michael Dibdin. For my science fiction I am probably more on my own, swimming or sinking in my own style of surviving an apocalyptic event. I admire but am not as black as for instance The Road by Cormac McCarthy.
3. Why Do I Write What I Do?
Who devised these hard questions? The answer for me is historical. As a pupil my teachers danced hysterically when I inserted adverbs and adjectives such as gnarled even though with contemporary fiction we rarely use them. My dad made me laugh and when I repeated his jokes at school, pupils and teachers chuckled. I found I could write jokes and wrote them for school review shows then when I left to go to Sheffield University I became one of the editors of the rag mag. Shamefully, I find many of my awful jokes still in existence. In spite of such shame I can’t help putting humour into even the most dire situations my characters find themselves in. I write science fiction because the world is too restricting for my wayward imagination. I write fantasy to escape reality and to explore alternative therapies to humdrumness.
4. How does my writing process go?
I didn’t think I possessed a pattern to my writing. When I held down a day job (teaching) I would rise early, bash out some words, save them to floppy disk (haha), print them at work and if the opportunity arose I’d edit the pages with the red pen I marked the kid’s work. Sometimes I cycled the long way home via a café, say in Farndon, have a cup of tea while editing. In the evening I’d have little time for writing because of marking and preparing school work until midnight. Once I became too deaf to control a class and was sent packing with an early-pension (yeay) I’d take on paid editing work, but it was easier as my own boss, to write when the mood struck. I don’t have a fixed time any more for writing. No need, because on my bike rides I’m often thinking of new ideas and can shuffle other editing work around. I’m often writing a short story, a novel, a non-fiction piece for a cycling magazine, blogs, and editing other people’s work. I’m also the house-husband and granddad. I don’t know if I work harder now than when I was in fulltime work but it feels like it.

Nelder links:
Links to buy ARIA and other of my books are on my Amazon author page
Geoff’s UK Amazon author page http://www.amazon.co.uk/Geoff-Nelder/e/B002BMB2XY
And for US readers http://www.amazon.com/Geoff-Nelder/e/B002BMB2XY
Geoff ARIA facebook is at http://www.facebook.com/AriaTrilogy and he tweets at @geoffnelder

ARIA on wikia is at http://nelderaria.wikia.com/wiki/NelderAria_Wiki

Is it #Hot enough for you?

July 23, 2014

It looks like my Hot Air thriller has won another award – this time by Noveltunity and its fancypants badge. winner-award-june14 (3)

There you are enjoying a birthday treat in a hot air balloon. You drift across rooftops that are the quintessence of Regency Bath in rural England. Why would someone want to shoot you down? How is a hot air balloon shot down?

This unusual beginning leads to a lethal hide-and-seek adventure in the Mediterranean. Underlying the scary events is a criminal family whose specialism grew from money laundering to people laundering. Seeing suspicious men behind every olive tree and distrusting the police, feisty Erica uses the methodology of the villains against them in order to survive and seek justice.

HotAir1UK Kindle http://www.amazon.co.uk/Hot-Air-Geoff-Nelder-ebook/dp/B0084OZL9E/
And US

Hot Air

Hot Air

Buy from Amazon

Hot Air Trailer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-5fEJ3mvBQ

How Not to Lose Friends

July 16, 2014

Or how to not lose all the friends on your email contacts list.friends

Once the final full stop in the ARIA Trilogy was hammered home, I knew there was work to do. Yes, the critique group, the publisher’s editor, who removed many commas, and their proofreader who put most of them and more back in again, but I’m referring to promo. Many writers refuse to become involved in the marketing of their art. Others become over-anxious and ill doing so. Mine is more the laid-back variety where I spend maybe an hour a day on forums, blogs, network media while attending conventions a little, and book readings and signing a bit.

Apart from the odd appeal for votes for the P&E Readers’ poll, and in encouraging writers to submit shorts to the now-departed Escape Velocity magazine, I’ve not tried a mass email plea to all my pals and acquaintances in my email contacts. For one thing over the last 12 years or so and with the way yahoo adds to contact lists, I now have over 1300 individual email addresses. To help sort them out I was able to export them as a csv file to Excel spreadsheet. I probably should have put them directly into a word processor but hey ho. Then I found I could delete hundreds – for example all those publishers starting with the word submission, editor, competition, and no-reply! I found many emails were from companies I’ve either bought from or argued with and again I could delete all those starting with support and all those from national and local government departments. I was down to 900 – yeay. I found many of my genuine friends were listed several times mainly because they keep changing their email addresses. Why would Karen need a yahoo, hotmail, gmail, googlemail, btinternet and msn.com email addresses? It must be a nightmare for her! Then how do I know which she doesn’t use anymore? Down to 850 addresses so that’s the list of unfortunate pals who are to receive news from me about ARIA. Yes, some already knew about the first book Left Luggage but I’ve left it until the trilogy is complete before bothering everyone.

ARIA Trilogy Box Set

ARIA Trilogy Box Set

I took inspiration from Sam Smith’s approach. He’s a marvellous poet, author and BeWrite editor who has on occasion to inform his contacts of his poetry and other publications. His posts are a delight to read. Instead of hammering a ‘you must buy’ in the first line, he apologises for taking up your time and computer electrons and invites you to delete even before reading the rest. I like his style and told him I was doing something similar. My first foray into writing was making up jokes and skits for stage comedians – not real ones, just other pupils at school. One of my jokes was told to a Christmas play audience including a Bishop of Gloucester. He must have used it to his colleagues because I heard it on Thought for the Day on Radio 4 a few years ago. I nearly fell of the toilet! So I use the gist of that joke in my mass email to my friends in the hope they don’t immediately put my post in their spam folder. Here it is:

Dear friends,
You might know my joke about a priest who on his first jittery sermon said that last night he took solace in the arms of a beautiful woman but that … he couldn’t remember who she was!
This note is rather like that. Many have told me to keep them informed when the final full stop of my infectious amnesia trilogy, ARIA has been punched. Ingratiating apologies if you are not interested. Just delete this post now, hopefully not with the spam button although worse has happened to me in the cardio suite in a Liverpool hospital last month so I’ll live, again.
If you are interested then all three books of the ARIA trilogy are now published as ebooks and paperbooks. Directly from the publisher or from Amazon and other online bookshops. Links are below.
Publisher’s site with purchase options http://www.ll-publications.com/aria3.html
Geoff’s UK Amazon author page http://www.amazon.co.uk/Geoff-Nelder/e/B002BMB2XY
And for US readers http://www.amazon.com/Geoff-Nelder/e/B002BMB2XY

BOX SET ebook of The ARIA Trilogy for UK readers http://www.amazon.co.uk/ARIA-Trilogy-Box-set-ebook/dp/B00LQACNZS/ £7.20
for US readers http://www.amazon.com/ARIA-Trilogy-Box-set-ebook/dp/B00LQACNZS/ $12.35
If you occasionally stumble into facebook please consider viewing and liking http://www.facebook.com/AriaTrilogy
Coffee & doughnuts,
Geoff
* the beautiful woman was, of course, his mother.

Well, what do you think? No matter because they’ve gone now. I remembered that when I sent masses of emails inviting people to submit stories to Escape Velocity mag yahoo mail often hiccupped with blocks because they don’t like us sending lots of posts at once. They might be spam! Really. No one knows how many you can send at once. Yahoo won’t say. Some forum users reckon as little as 15 at a time and no more frequently than every 30 minutes. I found no trouble in sending to 22 addresses every 20 minutes or so. It took a whole day. Not doing it again! I’ve only received two complaints – one was asking if we’d met. Well, in fact we’d met at FantasyCon and swapped business cards so she was all right but in future not to send her unsolicited posts again please. Fair enough. Another was from a publisher who didn’t like people trying to sell him books he didn’t publish – haha.
Luckily, I’ve received a bunch of warming emails from people on the list who say they’ve often wondered how I’ve been getting on – what’s all that about your cardio, and then tell me all their new. Wonderful.
If you know of a better way of not losing your friends please let me know but all in all it worked pretty well.

Note: Sam Smith’s web page, well worth a visit is here.

Rising #sciencefiction star – Mark Iles

July 10, 2014
The Cull of Lions by Mark Iles

The Cull of Lions by Mark Iles

It is my pleasure to make space on my blog for a rising star in the firmament of science fiction writers. I’ve known Mark Iles for years as a fellow critiquer in the Orbiters section of the British Science Fiction Association. His books such as THE CULL OF LIONS are a must read for any fan of military SF with elements of mystery, thriller and strong characterisation. In his own words:

My good friend Geoff’s advice and critiques over the years I’ve known him have always proved invaluable. It’s this guidance that’s helped to form The Darkening Stars series, so I’d like to say a very big thank you to him here, and wish Geoff all the best for the continuing success of his superb Aria series

Mark Iles

Mark Iles

Author Bio
Mark works for Southampton University, and also as a freelance writer in many fields including copywriting. His short stories have been published in Back Brain Recluse, Dream, New Moon, Auguries, Haunts, Kalkion, Screaming Dreams, and the anthologies Right To Fight, Escape Velocity, Auguries and Monk Punk. With an 8th Degree Black Belt in Taekwondo he’s also written non-fiction for Combat, Taekwondo & Korean Martial Arts, Fighters, Junk, Martial Arts Illustrated, profwritingacademy.com and calmzone.net.
His first full length work was Kwak’s Competition Taekwondo, and he also has a short story collection available entitled Distant Shores. His debut novel A Pride of Lions was published by Solstice in September 2013, followed shortly afterwards by 4 novellas: A Connoisseur of the Bizarre, Sally Jane, Nightshade and Santa Claws is Coming. The Cull of Lions is Book II in The Darkening Stars series.

Blurb:
Selena Dillon and her team return to Loreen after their attack on Mantis, only to find the myriad worlds of Mankind once again plunged into war. As the Penal Regiments are betrayed by the Federation of Man, and fighting spills throughout the galaxy, the dreaded Manta raise their heads once again.
Selena soon finds herself trying to track down her friends’ daughter, Hope, from the rabbit holes of Loreen and then fights to free her home planet from alien invaders.
While a general amnesty means previous sins are forgiven, the Queen has not forgotten Selena’s attempt on her life. Selena soon finds herself torn between obeying orders to protect the monarch, and her ravening thirst for revenge. But strange forces are stirring amidst the stars and Mankind finds itself with surprising new allies, while a terrifying enemy that’s manipulated events from behind the scenes finally reveals itself for the very first time.

In this excerpt Selena and her team have returned to Loreen, and are being debriefed by Admiral Van Pluy.

Excerpt
“We’ve kept our word. These colonists need us and we need them. We bring in supplies, employ them, buy their goods and so far everyone’s a winner. You did damn well here, Commander, when you got them to work with us, all of you did. I believe you’re aware that the aliens survived the destruction of Mantis and their system; a colony ship of some kind got away. They’ve set up a base somewhere, although God knows where, and they’ve begun rebuilding their own forces too. But the worst news, as you know, is they’ve landed on Capulet.”
“Yeah, we heard. I expect you know that’s my home world. What’s the situation there?”
Van Pluy picked up his cigar, stared at it for a moment before mashing it into the ashtray and selected another one from a wooden box on his desk. Then he returned to his chair, leant back and sucked on the cigar. It self-lit and as he puffed away and the aromatic smoke rose around him in purple clouds, which were instantly whipped away by the tiny air conditioner on his desk. He watched Selena carefully from behind hooded eyes. “Capulet’s not lost…yet. Ironically both ourselves and the Federation have sent in reinforcements. Rather than us fighting each other we have a temporary truce while we try to save the planet. Luckily the Manta are nowhere near as powerful as they once were, thanks to you guys.
“So far we’ve managed to keep their ships away from the planet. We’re bombing the hell out of their bases, not that we’re getting through their shields, and are landing more troops all the time but there’s been a high attrition rate. Thankfully we’ve abandoned the ‘poisoned earth policy’. Personally I believe that saving the planet is do-able. I know where we stand with the Manta. It’s the Federation I don’t trust.”
“I’d like to return to Capulet, Sir,” Selena said, “to fight for it. Trouble is that’s where I committed my crime and the rules state that I can’t return there.”
“Yes, I’m sure that you do want to go back, Commander. For your information those old rules don’t apply anymore. The limited pardon means you can return to any allied world, even where you committed your crimes. But before you return home we need to find Hope, that’s your priority at this moment in time. As the Colonist leaders here on Loreen, Franks and Amanda’s support are vitally important to us and we need to keep them on board. Now, they’ve personally asked for your assistance and I’m not going to let them down. Once all this is resolved, then you can go to Capulet.”

Buy Links:

The Cull of Lions (Darkening Stars Book 2)

The Cull of Lions (Darkening Stars Book 2)

Buy from Amazon

http://solsticepublishing.com/the-cull-of-lions/

Social Media Links:
Amazon author’s page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Mark-Iles/e/B004YZBP3I
Website: http://www.markiles.co.uk
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/welcometoearth
Facebook author’s page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mark-Iles/279162705557698
Linkedin: http://uk.linkedin.com/pub/mark-iles/33/67a/822
Blog: http://markiles.co.uk/the-blog

End of infectious amnesia

July 3, 2014
Aria3-cover

Cover art by Andy Bigwood

Hey peeps, I’m utterly proud to announce the release of the final and third book in my ARIA TRILOGY
ARIA is the thrilling, award-winning, scifi medical mystery and apocalyptic drama that everybody should be talking about and would be if they hadn’t forgotten it through the infectious amnesia at its heart.

ARIA stands for Alien Retrograde Infectious Amnesia.

This is the publisher’s information and sales page. All formats. I’ll post Amazon links too in a while. So many of you have asked when the final book is out and here it is. Enjoy.

http://www.ll-publications.com/aria3.html

In case you are inspired to read the first book in the trilogy, the price of the ebook has been slashed to less than the price of a coffee as you’ll see on these pages: #kindle now http://amzn.to/1daTUUn UK – http://amzn.to/1gn3iHI

Highlights:
1. ARIA is the first and so far only book to use the concept of infectious amnesia.
2. Although character-led, the novel has breakthrough plot threads, making us think of what is the most important and crucial aspects of our lives. Research help and support was emailed from space! Astronaut Leroy Chiao answered my questions about the nature of the struts on the International Space Station, and wished me luck with the book.
3. All the places on Earth used in the book are real geographical locations, including the ‘hidden’ valley – Anafon – in North Wales.
4. The cover art is designed by award-winning artist, Andy Bigwood.
5. The idea of infectious amnesia came while I was riding a bicycle up a steep Welsh hill.
You tube video trailer http://youtu.be/oh0AAXIe8VU
Facebook page for you to ‘like’ if you will http://www.facebook.com/AriaTrilogy

A typical review of book one:

http://www.brewingpassion.com/2014/06/across-beer-bar-withumi-forgot.html

A wikia page about me and the ARIA Trilogy is http://nelderaria.wikia.com/wiki/NelderAria_Wiki

News on buying a box set of the ARIA Trilogy is coming soon.
Anyone wanting signed copies of any of the books please send me a message here in a comment or email geoffnelderATyahooDOTcom or message me on facebook.


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