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Live Blogging From Milford #2

Back at Milford! Hurrah!

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Sunday 15th September – p.m.

Jacey Bedford
Jacey-new hairThe first full day of critiquing went well. Four stories were up for crit. Mine first, then stories from Tiffani Angus, Powder Thompson, and Sam Tovey. No one ran away screaming, ‘But you don’t understand my genius!’ No one burst into tears, and everyone kept to time. That’s a win!

We got some good out-of-context quotes, too:

“This story is Brothers Grimm meets Deliverance.” – Jacey Bedford

“There are possibilities for government snooping. Boris would bloody love this.” – Russell Smith

“I think you’re going to call a penis a tallywhacker and just get on with it.” – Powder Thompson

“A strong man is useful for moving furniture, but you wouldn’t want one to run the country.” – Kari Sperring

Liz Williams
Today has, I think, gone well: we try to start off the first day with 2 critiques for people who know…

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Milford Writers’ Retreat 2020 Booking Now

I’ve attended the Milford Conference a few times over the years and it is SO worth it. Not got to the writing retreat yet, as it’s in term time, which is difficult for me. But I am sorely tempted… it would be wonderful to have a week of uninterrupted writing time in such lovely surroundings and with a bunch of writers too.

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Places are booking now for the next Milford Writers’ Retreat. This is limited to 12 writers accommodated in single ensuite rooms.

Trigonos view 03 View from the main house at Trigonos across Llyn Nantlle to the Nantlle Ridge. Photo by Jacey Bedford

The date will be Saturday 6th to Saturday 13th June 2020, which is a delightful time to spend a week at Trigonos, in the glorious Welsh countryside, being looked after and given time to write, write write. There’s no element of critique in this week, and therefore there’s no bar as to who can attend. You don’t have to have sold a story as long as you are serious about writing and want to spend a week without distractions, though most of our attendees will be published/professional SF writers.

Retreat 2019 Writer shot 01 View from Room 5. Photo by Jacey Bedford

Come and work on your next book, or your magnum opus.

Details are here:…

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Inspiration, by Nancy Jane Moore

Now there’s a Master Class! I wish I could have gone too. All great advice and a timely reminder for me.

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Kim_Stanley_Robinson_by_Gage_Skidmore_2 Kim Stanley Robinson

Last fall, I saw that Locus was hosting a one-day master writing workshop in Oakland, California (where I live), with Kim Stanley Robinson and said to myself, “Hmm. Maybe I should do that.” And then didn’t do anything about it, as one does.

A few days later, Linda Nagata, who is a fellow member of the author’s co-op Book View Café, mentioned the workshop on Twitter, saying she wished it were practical for her to go, which it wasn’t since she lives a couple of thousand miles via ocean from Oakland. I responded to her tweet by saying I was thinking about it, and she replied, “You should go.”

I took her advice, and I’m so glad I did. Stan’s presentation was exactly what I needed. I came home with a real sense of what I wanted to do with the pieces I’m working on…

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The Pros and Cons of Writing a Trilogy by Jacey Bedford

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I never intended to commit trilogy, I sort of fell into it, and here I am, two published trilogies later. I wish I’d known at the outset what I learned while doing it.

A little background:
Having made the rookie mistake of trying to write a trilogy before I’d sold a book I realised that you can waste a lot of time writing Book Two (in my case, two years) but it will never see the light of day if Book One doesn’t sell. Having learned my lesson I decided to write standalones with potential for sequels. By the time I got my first book deal from DAW, I had seven completed novels, some (not all) with potential to turn into trilogies. DAW bought Empire of Dust (SF), ordered a sequel on a one-page synopsis, and bought Winterwood (F). Later I got the go-ahead to complete both trilogies.

Trilogies take…

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Eastercon Roundup 2019

milfordsfwriters

cofHere are comments and observations by a variety of writers in the Milford family. We had a Milford stand this year to promote upcoming events and the bursary for SF writers of colour.

Sue Oke says:
This year’s Eastercon, Ytterbium, was held at the Park Inn. A familiar venue from previous years and while the panel/workshops rooms were more than adequate, the hotel seemed totally unprepared for the number of people requiring lunch/drinks etc. (almost as if they didn’t know how many people were coming). Conversations at the bar revealed that quite a few people had to wait until the evening before their room was ready—come on guys, you’ve hosted a convention before, it’s not exactly unexpected for most of the convention guests to arrive around about the same sort of time.

Putting the (let’s face it, the usual) gripes aside—I thoroughly enjoyed my day at the convention. I was…

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David Langford interviews Terry Pratchett: 1999 – A Langford Retrospective.

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Terry Pratchett: 1999 A new Discworld novel from Terry
Pratchett is always a major publishing event. The series shows no sign of
faltering as its 24th novel, The Fifth Elephant, heads for the bookshops and – as
always – the bestseller lists. This time Samuel Vimes of the Ankh-Morpork City
Watch visits sinister Uberwald (Discworld’s version of Transylvania) on a
diplomatic mission among scheming vampires, murderous werewolves, and
hot-headed dwarfs whose most sacred relic, the Scone of Stone, has just been
stolen…. For Amazon.co.uk, Terry Pratchett talked to David Langford about his
latest book – and others in the pipeline.

• Which aspect of The Fifth Elephant are you most pleased with?

Terry Pratchett: There’s always an element of surprise for
the author when a complex character moves through the plot. I liked the way
Vimes reacted to Uberwald and the way he’s desperate to work within the
framework of…

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Higher Ground – A novice writer’s journey by David Allan

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coverStep 1
Be a voracious reader. Easy! During the school holidays I paid two visits a week to the local library. Once I had exhausted the possibilities of the children’s section I was able to borrow more using my father’s tickets. With them I was able to read H Rider Haggard, Arthur Conan Doyle, Jules Verne, H G Wells and others ‘too advanced for children’.

Step 2
Discover SF. Also easy. Among the authors I borrowed were Bradbury, Asimov, Heinlein and Wyndham. They, and many others, captured my imagination as no other genre did. I haunted the three bookshops in Edinburgh that had American imports and the yellow spines of DAW books began to dominate my collection. I even used my pocket money to subscribe to Astounding/Analog. Sadly the collection hasn’t survived

Step 3
Start thinking ‘What happened then?’ Not difficult. I often found myself dissatisfied with the ending of…

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Release: Out of this World Alphas!

Lurking Musings

So, despite being in a sort of hiatus in terms of writing, mostly because I have been working with my writing group to develop some ideas more thoroughly, I have managed to submit to an anthology… and it came out recently. The details are below. I submitted a story about Rachel Drake getting very irritated at not being told the whole plan in a game of international diplomacy…

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Authors: Brynn Burke, CJ Hartnett, D. A. Lascelles, Rose Satin, N.L. Hoffmann, Orchid Raine, Iris Sweetwater, Maggie Lowe & Mila Raphael 

Blurb:
In this collection we have brought you tales from nine incredibly talented authors. All with one objective, to bring you alphas that are out of this world. Whether you’re looking for an angel in despair, creature in the dark, or a controversial hybrid. We’ve got something for everyone. Take a dive into the…

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Writing Tip: Using Wordle to highlight overused words

Jacey Bedford

Wordle used to be a web-based utility, a web toy that allowed you to paste in a piece of writing to make a word cloud. The more frequently a word appeared in your text, the bigger it appeared in the word cloud. Yes, it’s a pretty utility, but also massively useful for a writer. We all tend to have words that we overuse, but we don’t always recognise them. Cut and paste your text into Wordle and your overused words stand out like a rhinoceros in a flock of sheep. Frequently used common words like ‘the’, ‘and’, or ‘but’ don’t show up, of course.

Wordle is a Java applet. Because web design and technology moves on, the online Wordle web toy no longer works for most people, so the Wordle folks have offered a desktop version for both Windows and Mac. You can download it here http://www.wordle.net/. I’m running…

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Riding (and Writing) the Frontier by Laura Anne Gilman

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Research – good, solid, grounding research -is essential for any book, but doubly so for a historical fantasy – and thrice that when you’re using extant and still in-use locations for your setting!

Silver-comp-1j-264x400The Devil’s West books are set in the American West, the land that in our timeline was the Louisiana Purchase.  I’d taken a major on American social and political history in college, so the bones of What If were already set: what if our exploration into the West had gone differently?  What if, instead of a Gold Rush and a Land Rush, instead of Manifest Destiny, we’d been forced to slow down, to consider the territory west of the Mississippi a sovereign land, to be wooed and negotiated with rather than colonized?  What if magic resisted “civilization?”

But writing about the Territory brought up a significant problem:  North America is vast.  The continental US alone is nearly…

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