23 December 2010

Anarya's Secret: An Earthdawn Novel - Now Available On The Kindle

My 2007 novel Anarya's Secret: An Earthdawn Novel is now available on the Kindle from Amazon US and Amazon UK.

It's the third of my books to become available on the Kindle. My short story collection Transported and the NZ science fiction poetry anthology Voyagers, which I co-edited with Mark Pirie, are also available.

You can find out more about Anarya's Secret in this introduction to it [note: some of the links are now out of date] and read the first part of the Prologue, which gives the context, derived from the Earthdawn universe, in which the novel takes place.

Anarya's Secret is also available as a hardback, paperback, or e-book (via RPGNow or DriveThru).

Anarya's Secret was the first in RedBrick's line of Earthdawn novels, which includes both originals and reprints, and you can see the full line of novels (and other Earthdawn products) on their site.

21 December 2010

Tuesday Poem Secret Santa

As things turned out, I didn't wind up with a Secret Santa partner for the Tuesday Poem - but no matter! Check out all the pairs of poets and poems, plus the hub poem by James Brown chosen by Sarah Jane Barnett, on the Tuesday Poem blog.

It's been great to be part of the Tuesday Poem this year - so, big thanks to Mary McCallum for organising it. I'll be back into it next year, until I completely run out of poems...

15 December 2010

Things To Make And Do

In no particular order, and with varying degrees of seriousness:

Turbine 2010 is now online: an impressive selection!

Wu Ming on translating Stephen King - into Italian

Aimee L Salter's competition for bad poetry - the worse, the better! (Closes Christmas Eve)

The Government may be ignoring Parliament's report into the imminence and consequences of Peak Oil, but at least Dunedin City Council is paying attention to the issue.

The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment lays out why digging up and burning Southland lignite is a very bad idea.

South Pacific Book Chat (aka #spbkchat) has its own blog.

There is no Zuul. There is only Lovelace & Babbage.

For drawing my attention to various of these, thanks to @modernletters, @wwborders, @AimeeLSalter, @ttnz, the whole #spbkchat team, and @sydneypadua

14 December 2010

Tuesday Poem: Accountant


He went up the Murrumbidgee for the GST
helping drovers, helping contractors
learn to welcome change.

North of Wagga Wagga
there was a woman. Her brothers,
big men all, found out

and ran him out of town.
Lost for words, he drifted west by north
until the desert took him in.

Six months later, caked in dust,
he hitched a ride from Hawker Gate.
He downed a beer

to wash the silence from his throat.
"Mate!" he said, and "Thanks."
They dropped him off in Narromine

where drought drove farmers from the land.
He helped them straighten their affairs
then went to ground in Sydney

where he checks the weather daily,
watching the western horizon
for the tongues of fire and sand.

Tim says: "Accountant" was first published in Bravado Issue 7 (2006). Anyone who's read "Rat Up A Drainpipe" in my short story collection "Transported" will recognise the basic storyline - this is how I treated it as poetry.

When Goods and Services Tax, referred to as "GST" in New Zealand and "the GST" in Australia, was introduced in Australia in 2000, it was reported that a number of New Zealand accountants, already familiar with its operation, crossed the Tasman to help Australian companies come to terms with it.

You can read all the Tuesday Poems on the Tuesday Poem blog.

10 December 2010

How To Buy Books By Tim Jones: Transported, Voyagers, Anarya's Secret And More

Welcome! Since I'm between blog posts at the moment, here are details about how to buy some of my books. You'll find my recent posts listed on the left-hand side of this blog.

  • My short story collection Transported, which was longlisted for the 2008 Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award, has recently become available for the Kindle.
  • Voyagers: Science Fiction Poetry from New Zealand, an anthology I co-edited with Mark Pirie, won the 2010 Sir Julius Vogel Award for Best Collected Work. You can buy Voyagers from Amazon.com as a paperback or Kindle e-book, or buy it directly from the publisher at the Voyagers mini-site.
  • My fantasy novel Anarya's Secret is available in hardback, paperback or ebook format.

You'll also find my work in these recent anthologies:

06 December 2010

Tuesday Poem: Immigrant Song, by Sugu Pillay

Immigrant Song

no, I will not hijack your life
though I climb every mountain
ford every river
cherish every taonga
this land holds sacred

no, I will not plant a bomb
on the banks of the Avon
though willows weep over waters
too shallow to drown

no, I will not bring Avian flu
to this fair far-flung land
though I flavour my food
with spices from Asia

no, I will not steal your thunder
though you rain on my parade
play political games
impale my tongue

no, I will not say
Canterbury, take my bones
no, not till I’ve seen
the fabled nor’west arch
streak across the sky
a new covenant
for this other Eden

Tim says: Sugu Pillay is a poet, playwright and short story writer. She's currently focusing on writing plays, and I enjoyed her play "Serendipity", which I saw at BATS last year.

"Immigrant Song" is one of three poems by Sugu that I included in JAAM 26, which I guest-edited. I too was an immigrant to Christchurch, although, as an immigrant with white skin (and, to be fair, a 2-year-old), my experience was somewhat different.

You can read all the Tuesday Poems at the Tuesday Poem blog.

02 December 2010

Writing Speculative Fiction Is Hard Work

My novel manuscript is with those who've kindly agreed to be its first readers. A potential publisher is taking a look at my poetry collection manuscript. So, for the first time in a long while, I have gone back to my first, and perhaps best, love: writing short stories.

It won't be news to anyone who has followed this blog that I like to have a couple of projects on the go at once, but I don't usually work on a couple of short stories at the same time. At the moment, though, I'm alternating between writing two stories. One's long(ish), one's short(ish). One's light-hearted, one's more severe. One's science fiction, one's literary/mainstream fiction.

And I'm here to tell you that the science fiction story is a lot harder to write than the mainstream story. This doesn't mean that the science fiction story is better, or worse, or more valid, that the mainstream story. Both might be good - or both might be dreadful. But it's certainly harder work to write.

Why? It's because so much more has to be packed into the SF story - which is, admittedly, the shorter one - to make it work. A story set in the world with which most of its readership is familiar doesn't have to spend a lot of time in scene-setting, in finding ways to make the world in which it is set clear to the reader without overburdening that self-same reader with exposition.

There are only so many words to go around in a short story, and the more that are spent cuing the reader in to what distinguishes the world of the story from the world they are familiar with, the less there are to delineate character and advance the action.

This won't be news to speculative fiction writers, of course, but it may be to writers and readers of literary fiction. One of the criticisms often advanced of SF is that it suffers from poor characterisation. To the extent to which that is true, it may simply be because only the very finest writers of SF - the Ursula Le Guins, the Gene Wolfes - can show the reader a new or changed world, keep the story moving, and create memorable characters at the same time.