Monday, 29 July 2013

Interviewed: NSFWG member Nigel Edwards

In order to highlight and showcase the talents of the group members, each of us has completed the same interview.  Hopefully these will be interesting and enlightening and will also include links to websites and books.

Second up is Nigel Edwards.

What made you want to become a writer?

Self-belief.  I’ve been an avid reader for donkeys years.  In general, my favourite genre is Fantasy / SF, but I have fairly eclectic tastes.  I’ve read Asimov, Brunner, Pratchett, Simak, Tolkien, van Vogt, Verne, Wells and so on, but also Christie, Churchill, Defoe, Dickens, Doyle, Fleming, Shakespeare, Swift, Wyss – the list really is endless and all of them truly great writers.  However, I’ve also read books by other authors and wondered, to be quite frank, how on earth they ever managed to get published.  One day I said to myself “I’m positive I can write at least as well as they can” – and that’s what I’ve been trying to do ever since.

What was your first success?

I guess it would have to be my short story called Waif, which I started writing in 2006.  It was picked up by Tim Taylor (who, incidentally, introduced me to the NSFWG) of Greyhart Press in 2010 and published as an e-book in 2011.  It proved surprisingly (to me) very popular, at one point holding the top slot on Amazon for short-story downloads in the genre.  The story itself was an excuse to experiment.  I wanted to see if I could write something without giving any of the characters names and, by and large, I think it worked out okay.

What do you think the group does for you?

When I first started writing (which was only ten or so years ago) I was convinced that what I wrote was of good quality and worthy of print.  I simply didn’t realise all the literary traps into which I’d fallen: too many commas, too few commas, too many ‘its’, word repetitions, misspellings, logic errors, and a ton of other grammatical cock-ups.  What the NSFWG did for me was to open my eyes to what quality writing really should be, and that’s what I’ve been striving for ever since – and I freely admit I have some way yet to go.  I’ve been coming to the NSFWG workshops for around 4 years now and at every monthly meeting I learn something new, whether it’s from the critique of something I’ve written, or a review of someone else’s work.  Either way, I gain.  To be perfectly honest, I think I get more out than I put in.  I often feel very unqualified to comment on the submissions of others; I try, though, and even when my critique is proved wrong by the group, that becomes yet another point on my learning curve.  It’s a bit trite, I suppose, but I want to thank all the members of the group because every one of them has helped me progress.  A special thanks, of course, must go to Ian Watson and Ian Whates, our true giants.  If you are a budding writer, the best move you can make is to grow a thick skin and join a workshop group where you live.

What was your last piece of work?

My last piece reviewed at the workshop was called Last Star, a kind of parable SF/Fantasy short story where the end of the universe is just around the corner and only one young girl has (unbeknown to her) the ability to ensure the survival of everything.  Overall the submission was well-received and has since been accepted as a contender for a forthcoming anthology.  Of course, it may not be included since there are scores of other brilliant pieces vying for the space.

What's coming up from you?

At the moment I have three projects on the go: a full-length follow-up to Waif (but where the characters have names!) with the working title of Shun House, first draft currently three quarters complete; a short SF story called Molasses, about 50% done; and a reworking of the first thing I ever wrote since leaving school, a novel titled Prism.  That one currently stands at around a quarter of a million words, and requires an awful lot of editing. I’ve done about 10% of the work in the past 3 months!  I’ve no idea if any of them will get published, but I hope so.

Nigel's website can be found here

Friday, 26 July 2013

Ian Watson co-writes a cookery book

In case you missed it, NSFWG founder and chairman Ian Watson published a cook book earlier this year.

Says Ian:

In the run-up to Xmas 2012 my first cookbook appeared in Spanish in collaboration with my beloved Cristina Macía.  Called 50 Recetas con nombre, it revolves around 50 meals named after famous people (mostly) such as Oysters Rockefeller and Beef Stroganoff and was produced to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the big Spanish book club Círculo de Lectores.

I wrote the histories of the meals, discovering many amazing  interconnecting facts about history such as that Russian Salad wouldn´t exist if the Duc de Richelieu hadn´t kicked the English out of the Spanish island of Menorca, thus liberating mayonnaise.  Cristina wrote the menus, and ace food photographers in Barcelona created the seductive pictures as well as Círculo adding many other gorgeous illustrations.  At the moment the book is only Spanish but, since it was originally written in English, UK and US publishers should pay heed for next Xmas — move over, Jamie Oliver!

Naturally this gastronomic partnership led to Cristina and myself  getting married soon after on January 17th 2013 so that we could consume a Game of Thrones wedding cake together, showing the result of my decapitation, here delightfully remastered thanks to the skills of the great Enrique Corominas.

Once again, the group extends its very best wishes to Ian and Cristina.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

NSFWG member Mark West interviewed...

Over at the website of horror authoress Nicky Peacock, NSFWG member Mark West is interviewed about his start in creative writing, his latest work and his advice for new writers.

Interview linked from here.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

NSFWG member Emma Coleman's novelette "SiGNALS"

NSFWG writer Emma Coleman's psychotic suspense novelette, SiGNALS gets a refreshed cover and eBook interior, courtesy of Greyhart Press.

Writes Tim C Taylor, publisher at Greyhart Press:

Of all the writers I have encountered in recent years, the one with the most unique style is Emma Coleman. Her dark prose is stalked by the psychotic and the surreal. I am privileged to have read several of her unpublished as well as published stories and was delighted when in 2011 she agreed to allow Greyhart Press to publish SiGNALS, one of her more mainstream novelettes.

Northampton stalkerSiGNALS is a tale of obsession. It is a tale of a stalker, and a quintessentially urban English stalker at that. This isn’t the seedy side on show of a big metropolis such as London. SiGNALS could be set in Kettering or the Gaffney Mark West often writes about. Or Northampton. Definitely Northampton.

We’re revising some of our covers. More on that in a later post. SiGNALS has not only had a fresh coat of paint over its exterior, but the eBook interiors have been rebuilt from scratch, so as to take advantage of the latest services, such as Smashwords Direct (for distribution to iTunes, Sony, Kobo and B&N) and the latest Kindlegen book compiler for Amazon.

At 10,500 words of story, SiGNALS is a novelette, a lengthier read than a short story, but short enough to read in one go without suffering sleep deprivation. It’s a length that I enjoy and I’m delighted to see that eBooks are bringing something of a resurgence for the mid-length novelettes and novellas — a form that outsold novels until a century ago.

At a recommended price of 99c or 77, why not try SiGNALS today?  Follow this link for more details.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Interviewed: NSFWG Founder Ian Watson

In order to highlight and showcase the talents of the group members, each of us has completed the same interview.  Hopefully these will be interesting and enlightening and will also include links to websites and books.

First up is a genuine British SF legend and a thoroughly nice bloke to boot, NSFWG founder and chairman, Ian Watson.  The man has a list of credits longer than your arm, from ground-breaking sci-fi novels to working with Stanley Kubrick and all points in between.

So, without further ado, Mr Ian Watson

What made you want to become a writer?

Above all, reading, and deciding that some books were short enough that I might actually manage to write one, in order to pin down my perceptions of the world, a bit like butterflies.  Of course I couldn´t realise, way back then, that I didn't really yet have enough experience of the world, although that didn´t stop some people I read.

What was your first success?

My SF novel, The Embedding, in 1973.  I was rather surprised when it was reviewed very enthusiastically and sold translations and won a couple of awards, because I didn't think the book was all that unusual, but apparently it was, being the first SF novel featuring modern psycholinguistics.

What do you think the group does for you?

Though I've been selling stories since about 1969, it's never too late to learn, and to spot errors that the author is blind to.  In recent years the group helped improve maybe ten of my short stories before sending them off to market.  Apart from that, there´s friendship, leading -- for instance, to me collaborating with Andy West on a big and rather excellent (in my opinion) novel, The Waters of Destiny, which simply couldn´t have been written without Andy.  Not to mention that Ian Whates, of our group, published three books with my name on them through his outstanding NewCon Press, which (probably) wouldn´t have come into being if the group hadn´t existed; not to further mention that Ian Whates and I collaborated on two big anthologies published by Mammoth which are doing rather well commercially.  I think the important thing about the group is that we aim to produce work that deserves to be, and does get, published, by the method of close analysis of work distributed in advance, two stories (or excerpts) per month.

What was your last piece of work?

I think the last story which the group workshopped was my "Blair's War" which has just appeared in the July 2013 issue of Asimov´s Science Fiction magazine.

What's coming up from you?

I was asked to write a "BDSM romance" for an upcoming Mammoth anthology, something I never did before, but I rose (as it were) to the challenge.  And I´m glad I did.  Challenges are good stimulus.

Ian on the Net leads to the Gollancz Gateway ( which restored  all of my backlist (apart from my four Warhammer 40K novels) as ebooks.

Also, beautiful sells ebook editions of The Waters of Destiny by me and Andy.

Friday, 19 July 2013

NSWFG member Mark West on an early inspiration for his love of horror and the supernatural

An essential part of being a good writer is being a good reader and the earlier that love of books can be instilled, the better.  NSFWG member Mark West has been blogging about his earliest inspirations (comics, books, etc) and the following is his latest website entry.

Reading has played an important part in my life for as long as I can remember and when I was at Junior school, we had a thing called The Bookworm Club.  It must have been a nationwide organisation (I vaguely remember a catalogue, though I can’t find any info about it on the Net) but what happened at Rothwell Juniors was that a stall was set up in the hall and you went in and bought any books that took your fancy (there was also something with collecting vouchers and saving them on a card).  I enjoyed it because it was aimed towards me (bookshops in those days weren’t, particularly, kid friendly), I could pick what I wanted and they had some great titles to choose from.

“The Restless Bones & Other True Mysteries”, edited by Peter Haining, is a slim Armada paperback that has no copyright/publishers information in it at all, though I believe it was published in 1978.  The cover was painted by Alun Hood, whilst the interior illustrations were the work of Ellis Nadler.

(left - "The Restless Bones" are disovered - right - "The Thing From Outer Space")

Peter Haining (1940-2007) was a journalist, author and anthologist from Suffolk, who was Editorial Director at New English Library before becoming a full-time writer in the early 70s.  He edited a large number of anthologies, predominantly of horror and fantasy short stories and wrote non-fiction books on a variety of topics, sometimes using the pen names ‘Ric Alexander’ and ‘Richard Peyton’ for crime anthologies.  He won the British Fantasy Society Karl Edward Wagner Award in 2001.

“The Restless Bones” contains ten stories:
The Restless Bones, The Winged Monster of the Desert, The Terror Of The Dragon, The Mystery of the Loup-Garou, Old Roger’s Vengeance, The Witch’s Familiars, The Call of Darke’s Drum, The Trail of the Devil’s Fooprints, The Thing From Outer Space and The Voice In The Graveyward.  “I have drawn on the large file of material I have collected over the years about events and experiences which are fantastic - but factual” is Haining’s comment on their origins, as he writes in his introduction.

The killer story for me was “The Voice in the Graveyard”, wherein teenaged Richard, in 1964 Wisconsin, accepts a challenge to spend the night in a graveyard, all on his own.  As I write this, on a sunny afternoon in July 2013, far removed from the nine-year-old me reading it over the 1978 summer holidays, I can still remember the frisson of fear that ran through me when Richard hears a whispering voice plead, “…help us…

Well presented, with a good range of mysteries, this kept my attention well and steered me further into the path of horror and the supernatural (the devil's footprints being backed up by Arthur C. Clarke, of course).

I'm also proud to say that this 35 year old book still stands on my bookshelf - it looks a little beaten up around the edges, but it's holdings its own.

originally published at Strange Tales, reprinted with permission

Thursday, 18 July 2013

More updates from Ian Whates

More news from NSFWG chairman Ian Whates, a busy man!

He has a 22,500 word novella "The Smallest of Things" which has been serialised in four parts in the 'home of serial fiction' Aethernet, with the final chapter appearing in the July issue.  All details are available on the magazines website - follow this link.

# # #

His story, "Eros for Annabelle", appeared in the science journal Nature in January.

He currently has five stories currently 'sold' awaiting publication, one of which will appear in the next BFS Journal edited by Sarah Newton, one in a future edition of PS Publishing's Postscripts, and the other three in anthologies from various publishers.

# # #

On the NewCon Press front, it's perhaps worth giving The Peacock Cloak a plug.  At one point a month or so ago the collection, from this year's Arthur C Clarke Award winner Chris Beckett, occupied the #1 spot in Amazon UK's 'science fiction short story category for both physical books and kindle simultaneously.  It has also just been selected by the Financial Times as one of their recommended reads of the summer.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Conjure, a novel by Mark West

NSFWG member Mark West's 2009 short novel "Conjure" is being re-published by Greyhart Press, in both print and digital editions.  It was originally published, as a limited edition, by Rainfall Books and later as an ebook - the latter a venture West now disowns and regained the rights from as soon as possible.

West has also designed a new cover for the book.

Newly pregnant, stuck in a job she doesn’t like and mourning the death of her cousin, Beth Hammond’s life isn’t working out the way she thought it would.  So when her boyfriend wins a weekend away, at the east coast seaside resort of Heyton, Beth thinks this could be just what they need - some time to themselves, to get away and relax and make their plans for the future.

But as they begin their weekend, a JCB driver accidentally damages a centuries old memorial at the beach.  He hopes no-one will notice but something has - a presence that was buried beneath the memorial, sealed in a stone tomb, that now wants its revenge on the residents of Heyton.

“Mark West is a talent to watch”
Peter Tennant, Black Static

“Mark West’s writing has a heart and soul that many writers would kill for”
Jim Mcleod, Ginger Nuts Of Horror

“Mark West’s stories have a well-crafted, slowly increasing tension and dread, sometimes with a hint of creepy paranoia”
Gene O’Neill, Bram Stoker Award winning author of “The Burden Of Indigo”

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Ian Watson appears in Asimov's

NSFWG chairman (and genuinely nice man) appears in the July 2013 issuee of Asimov's Science Fiction with his short story "Blair's War" which was workshopped at the group.

The story speculates about an alternate timeline where a well-known rebellion does not receive the same attention that it did in our corner of the multiverse.

Monday, 15 July 2013

The Demi-Monde: Summer is now available in paperback

The Demi-Monde: Summer, third in the Demi-Monde series, by NSFWG member Rod Rees is now available in paperback from Quercus.

Eight thousand years ago the Deluge destroyed the empire of the Lilithi, setting the race of super-warriors known as the Grigori loose in the outside world. They have lain hidden until now when – thanks to the creation of the dystopian virtual reality that is the Demi-Monde – they at last stand ready to achieve mastery of the Real World – and to cull HumanKind in the Final Solution.

Three girls stand between them and victory: Norma Williams, trapped in the nightmare that is the Coven, the viciously misandric Sector of the Demi-Monde; Ella Thomas, enslaved by the spirit of Lilith-come-again; and Trixie Dashwood, consumed by her hatred for Heydrich and his evil ForthRight.

Available from all good bookshops (for bricks and mortar fans) or online at Amazon (UK) and Amazon (USA)

Friday, 12 July 2013

"Hands", by Donna Scott

NSFWG member Donna Bond has a new story "Hands" published in "DAUGHTERS OF ICARUS
New Feminist Science Fiction and Fantasy", from Pink Narcissus Press

What can women tell us about the world? In this new collection of science fiction, a stunning assembly of authors explore the work laid before the daughters of Icarus, left behind after the prideful fall. Whether the worlds they imagine are hopeful of desolate, each sheds new light on the possibilities of feminism. Daughters of Icarus is a bold exploration of the present, past and future.

Featuring 28 stories by Therese Arkenberg, A.A. Balaskovits, Thoraiya Dyer, Joanna Fay, AJ Fitzwater, Caren Gussoff, Zachary Jernigan, Jennifer Linnaea, Douglas Ogurek, E. Catherine Tobler, Donna Scott (Bond) and many more.

Cover design by Rose Mambert. Cover photo by Jordan Tao Mambert.

ISBN: 978-1-939056-00-9

Price: $17.00

Available now at all major online booksellers, US residents may order directly from our website. link link

Thursday, 11 July 2013

New collection from NSFWG chairman Ian Whates

I’m delighted to say that a new collection of my short stories has been published by PS Publishing.  Titled Growing Pains, the book contains all previously uncollected stories including two that are wholly original to this volume.  In addition to the title story, the book includes “The Assistant”, which was shortlisted for the BSFA Award and given honourable mention in Gardner Dozois’ Year’s Best SF.

The book enjoyed launches at Eastercon in Bradford (Friday March 29th) and also at Forbidden Planet in London, on Saturday 6th April.

ToC is:

1. Growing Pains
2. The Assistant                    
3. Walking the Dog              
4. Morphs                            
5. Peeling an Onion              
6. A Question of Timing      
7. Coffee Break                    
8. The Outsider                    
9. Hobbies                            
10. Shop Talk                        
11. Piano Song                      

To give the contents a little more context, here’s a brief summary of each story:

Growing Pains: A single father fruit farmer and his son must suffer the company of his sister and her family for the weekend.  Father and son share an ominous secret, one which causes mounting tension as the weekend progresses.  A first contact story with a difference.

The Assistant: Long after the office workers have gone home, cleaners and maintenance crew arrive at a corporate headquarters for the night shift, but they are far more than they seem, protecting the company from cyber-attack and hi-tech incursions.

Walking the Dog: A man walks his beloved dog through the idyllic English village where he lives.  Along the way he encounters neighbours and other pooches, in a world that, on the surface, seems much like our own, but which has in fact been deeply scarred by pandemic.

Morphs: Set in Glasgow; a youth battles against Morphs: homicidal body-stealing demons – creatures he seems to have become a magnet for.  An American heiress recognises the pattern and tracks him down, but has she come to save him, or to kill him?

Peeling an Onion: An ambitious man joins a cutting-edge genetic research team, one that seems on the brink of discovering a deeply hidden secret of human evolution. But was he recruited by chance or by design?

A Question of Timing: A teenager struggles to cope with the death of his brother, aided by an invisible friend who may be far more real than he seems. (Previously unpublished)

Coffee Break: Bud Walker is an off-duty police officer whose only ambition is to enjoy a simple cup of coffee.  Unfortunately, aliens choose that moment to attack his home town.  Nothing is going to keep Bud from his coffee, and he takes them on.  Think Die Hard with added aliens… and coffee.

The Outsider: An alien entity comes to Earth to usurp the identity of a recently deceased man. To do so, it travels back to the man’s birth and follows his timeline, reliving all the significant emotional events, a process that has unforeseen consequences.

Hobbies: A man loves to pursue his hobby, which involves using a sniper rifle to kill unsuspecting passers-by. The police are baffled, and it seems his killing spree will continue unabated.  Until, that is, he meets a youth with a hobby of his own.  (Previously unpublished)

Shop Talk: In a far-flung future where shops jump from high street to high street (stores going to shoppers instead of the other way round), a spoilt teenage girl discovers a new arrival that captivates her: a boutique stocking clothes unlike any she’s ever seen before.  But the shop is far more than it seems, harbouring a secret that will change her life forever.

The Piano Song: Following the death of her mother, Kim inherits the family home, returning there for the first time in many years.  This opens the door to a welter of memories; among them, a long-forgotten melody which provided the soundtrack to her youth; a tune that Kim has never been able to identify or, despite many attempts, play.  Until now.

The book has benefited from some fabulous blurb from Tanith Lee, Paul di Filippo and Adrian Tchaikovsky (thank you, guys!), and features stunning cover art by Tomislav Tikulin

Growing Pains can be ordered from the PS Publishing website:

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Badgers Waddle,a novel by Nigel Edwards

Published by Greyhart Press

Available in paperback from  | 
and in Kindle edition |  
ePUB edition to follow in late summer 2013.
Life in the quaint English hampton of Badger’s Waddle is never quite the same as elsewhere in the country… or any other country for that matter.
The first sign of impending chaos was when giant rabbits breached the defenses all along the indeterminate length of the vegetable garden of Little Twee cottage.
To patch up the defenses took the combined efforts of the resident gastrognome and a Crippin & Hare Indifference Engine operated by Tavarius Truckle, the man with the highest ever score in an apathitude test. But when tourists start exploding at the village fete, bank deposits build up a critical pressure, and the church’s resident saint finds a loophole in his contract of supra-ecclesiastical employment, the whole hampton must unite to restore some semblance of normality (except for Tavarius Truckle, who’s far too apathetic to care). Only Goode Nurture, the nice old lady in the tall, pointy black hat, has been preparing for this moment, shaving her gibbons in readiness for the looming crisis.
This book will be lapped up by followers of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series, and fans of Tom Holt and Douglas Adams. But be warned… underneath the polite gentility of English good manners, this book is very, veryrude!
“A helter-skelter ride through life in rural England as seen through the lens of Alice in Wonderland.  Suffused with surreal charm and populated by perceptively-drawn larger than life characters.”  — Ian Whates, author of ‘City of Dreams & Nightmare’.
A short novel — 55,000 words
Artwork by Dean Harkness (click on the picture below to see his hand-painted artwork in super-sharp detail. All the characters and scenes come from the story.)

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

NSFWG Member Andy West has a new collection out

Engines of Life: Tales of Evolution
by Andy West

Out now!

Paperback pp224 RRP£7.50 | RRP $11.50

Kindle  |  at special launch price of 99c/ 77p

Coming soon in other eBook formats

A collection of novelettes and a novella by Andy West with the connecting theme that underlies almost all of his fiction: evolution.

Includes Empirical Purple, The Curator, Meme, Rescue Stories and several prize-winnners.

Engines of Life:

Tales of Evolution
Six piercing novellas and novelettes of philosophical science fiction, lovingly crafted by a prize-winning author to provoke and arouse.
A sentient anti-meme sends emails to fight its rival in Meme.
A stranded starship crew engineers the development of a primitive alien race in Rescue Stories.
Draw aside the social memeplex veils of man-made climate change in the controversialTruth.
Using hypnosis Professor Merrill probes the ‘proto-Sapiens’ language buried in us all. Yet mining the primitive words unlooses savagery, which kidnaps Merrill into grisly Ritual inMano Mart.
Awaking with amnesia in a sealed, spooky museum, Guy Green seeks identity and escape. He finds a curious alien, a disgusting Curator, and an appalling future.
 Ofermynd meant only to examine the primitive creatures competing fiercely upon 7thcentury Earth, not reveal himself. Hearing God’s word, Emperor Heraclius declares Holy War in Empirical Purple.
“From the lazy notions of trans-humanists, the confirmation bias and strangling of free debate that corrupts climate change science, to the one, deep, language that unites us all, West takes unerring aim at his targets and channels his passion to deliver winning science fiction every time.”
Outstretched figure: image (c) Lonely –; abstract swirl (c) Emelyanov –