Friday, 30 January 2009

Let's get lyrical

Following not so hot on the heels of Aliya's film dialogue, here are the opening lines from some songs. Stylistically as broad as you like. All pretty popular enough in their time. So go on then, name that tune in...

1. I stand up next to a mountain and I chop it down with the edge of my hand. I pick up all the pieces and make an island... Voodoo Chile, The Jimi Hendrix Experience

2. She's got a smile that it seems to me reminds me of childhood memories Sweet Child o' Mine ,Guns n' Roses

3. What is happening here? Something is going on that's not quite clear. Somebody turn on the light Dancing on the ceiling, Lionel Richi

4. Well I met a pretty girl, as pretty as can be. I thought she was my baby till she introduced to me a great big tall fella, about six foot tall

5. Every finger in the room is pointing at me. I wanna spit in their faces then I get afraid of what that could bring Crucify, Tori Amos

6. The suburbs they are dreaming, they are a twinkle in her eye. She's been feeling frisky since her husband said goodbye. Stereotypes, Blur

7. Well, you wake up in the morning, you hear the work bell ring and they march you to the table, you see the same old thing

8. I'm gonna shoot you right down, right offa your feet, take you home with me, put you in my house. Boom boom, John Lee Hooker

So number eight is a bit of a cheat, but if you know it, you'll know it.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Veggie Books: Nights At The Circus

Fevvers is a nineteenth century aerialiste with real wings. She hatched from an egg, she's gargantuan in stature, and she likes peas with her pie.

' meat pies with a glutinous ladleful of eel gravy on each; a Fujiyama of mashed potatoes; a swamp of dried peas cooked up again and served swimming in greenish liquor... She gorged, she stuffed herself, she spilled gravy on herself, she sucked up peas from the knife; she had a gullet to match her size and table manners of the Elizabethan variety.'

I've only just started reading this, and the descriptions are amazing. But then, what do you expect from Angela Carter? Have been seriously sucked in, just like the peas.

Feed me

If you hadn't noticed, you can now enjoy Veggiebox in the comfort of your own RSS Feed. There are the little RSS icons top right, or, if you're with blogger, you can follow us from the link at the bottom of the page. We've also added a Book Trade feed to the bottom of the page, in case you're bored of us spouting nonsense and would prefer some real content for a change.

Talking of feeding me, what are your cooking specialities? Mine's probably a vegetable and bacon risotto. If you're lucky, maybe I'll post the recipe.

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Special superpowers

I know Aliya can tap a mean shoe, but I'm rather limited in the superhero talent league. Possibly the poorest superpower known to humanity, I never use a bookmark or--shudder--dogear a page but can always flip directly to the last page I was reading, even with month-long or more periods between reading. Amazing, isn't it?

Thursday, 15 January 2009


The new issue of Serendipity is now over at

There's some nice stories, and an interview with Gail Anderson-Dargatz. Try it. You might like it.

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Veggie Books: Live and Let Die

I'm reading the James Bond books and enjoying them very much.

When I write - bear with me, because this might not make a lot of sense - I try to create a square. That is, I want the plot, the characters, the detail and the imagery to all receive about the same amount of attention, to have the same length to them in my mind's eye, to create a rounded effect. A square to make a circle, if you see what I mean.

Ian Fleming creates a weird shape. It's a bit like a rhombus. There's a lot of plot, moving very quickly. There's a tremendous amount of exact detail in some areas. But the character line of the shape is barely there at all. It's all about the physical description - Bond has thick black hair that falls as a comma over his forehead. He has a long scar on his face that gives him a piratical look. But we find out more about the baddies' backgrounds than we do about Bond's. And the weird thing is it really works. The mystery of Bond works because of the glamour of his life. The glamour only works because the detail of his lifestyle - the cars, food, drink, locations - is so precise that we believe it. The lifestyle only works because only the mystery that is James Bond could live that way. It makes a very strange shape, but all the sides do add up.

Here's Bond's breakfast in Jamaica in Live and Let Die:

Paw-paw with a slice of green lime, a dish piled with red bananas, purple star-apples and tangerines, scrambled eggs and bacon. Blue Mountain coffee - the most delicious in the world - Jamaican marmalade, almost black, and guava jelly.


Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Apex lives

If any of you bought from Apex, well done and thanks. The company is safe thanks to the loyalty and support of the reading public.

Friday, 9 January 2009

Reviewing it all

Serial reviewer David Hebblethwaite has a new, very well organised blog that contains all of his numerous book, film, tv and music reviews. Well worth a regular visit. Find it at

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

If you want to buy some books

Lavie Tidhar points out Apex are struggling at the moment. They have a forthcoming book from Paul Jessup, which I'm sure will be worth a punt, and of course they publish Lavie's excellent Hebrew Punk, which should be on everyone's book shelf. Free shipping if you're in the US and spend over $25 too.

Here's a call-to-aid from publisher Jason Sizemore:

"The economy has taken a huge bite out of Apex Publications. Starting with Bear Stearns dying, you can see an immediate drop in our revenue (September/October/November/December). December has been the worst with a drop of 75% in revenue compared to the August numbers.

The recession hit at the worst time possible. I literally have spent every penny in the coffers doing things like: reimbursing old lifetime subscribers (and yes, there are a couple of you still waiting on money), paying back the Apex Digest printer $12,000 (done, huzzah!), reprinting and reshipping stolen copies of I REMEMBER THE FUTURE (goodbye $600), replacing almost 90 USPS damaged ORGY OF SOULS hardcovers to Horror-Mall (goodbye $2000). I'm not asking for pity. This stuff happens to good people and bad. But stuff happening with the downturn in the economy has the Apex bank account crying for mercy.

What this means is that Apex Publications needs an influx of revenue. Quick.

What this means is that if you've ever thought of buying an Apex book, now would be a damn good time to do so.

The most effective, easiest and most fun way to pump some blood into Apex is to buy a book directly from our store. You get damn fine literature (and free media shipping if your order is $25 or more (applies to US orders only)).

If you're strapped of cash, then blog about our books or authors and try to coerce people into giving us a try.

I figure we need about $2500 in revenue over the next two weeks.

We're taking pre-orders on The Convent of the Pure by Sara M. Harvey, Open Your Eyes by Paul Jessup, and The Monster Within Idea by R. Thomas Riley.

Catacombs and Photographs by Brandy Schwan is now available and all pre-orders have been shipped.

All back issues of Apex Digest are half-priced."

Monday, 5 January 2009

Snow joke

As it snowed this morning, I thought I'd let all you budding published authors into the news that Snowbooks are looking for some very specific book types for their 2010 list. I don't seem to be able to get to a direct post for this on their blog, so I've snagged the whole thing. There's a link at the bottom:

2010. It seems so futuristic. Will we all finally get our jet packs? I for one will be saving scraps of tin foil from now on, with which to fashion a suitable cardigan or such like garment. And don’t forget the colander hat to set it all off, with a coat hanger aerial jauntily poking out the top.

But it’s not so far away, you know. In the dynamic world of Snowbooks (where we plan more than a year ahead. Hmm. A brand new definition of dynamic), 2010 is really quite close, and we are starting to think about our list.

So this is a call out to writers to submit your work for our 2010 slate – one which we hope will be better than ever.

Here is what we’re interested in:
• Fantasy. Alternate realities, strange universes. Think The Affinity Bridge, Book of Shadows
• Horror. Zombies, werewolves, vampires, witches, apocalypse, supernatural frighteners. Think Maneater, Paris Immortal, The Fall
• Sci fi – from space opera to near future dystopias.
• Historical fiction. Think Needle in the Blood.
• We’re also looking to scale up our non-fiction publishing programme. We are interested in all topics – even quite specialist or technical subjects if they are interesting enough and written well - we’d like to publish books that are the best in their field, from super-clear introductory texts to, for example, popular science, current affairs, technology, cookery or gardening. Or, I don’t know, bee-keeping. The important thing is the quality of the writing, not the subject. All our non-fiction will be published in full colour with lots of illustrations and photos.
(I wish ‘non-fiction’ had a less negative name. ‘Informative books’, let’s call them. Oh, no, that’s no good either.)

What we’re not interested in: Children’s, poetry, biography, experimental, edgy literary fiction, derivative fantasy featuring lots of orcs and elves.
What we might also be interested in: Other genre writing including chick lit & crime.

Please follow the instructions at You'll need to send full, not partial or proposed, fiction manuscripts.

Also, Snowbooks author Fiona Robyn has a giveaway available for The Letters, her first release. (Aliya will be reviewing it at some point--there are plenty of vegetables to keep her happy.)Just email to enter. Open until the end of January.

Thursday, 1 January 2009

Skipping Serendipity

General notice for the New Year--the next belated issue of Serendipity will be the last. Will post here when it's live.

And that SF story is up at Farrago's Wainscot now.

Happy New Year.