Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Labyrinth Literary Festival

Posted: August 23, 2014 in Uncategorized

I shall be here too, with readings ready and copies of both Oblivion Storm and Primal Storm! Come along 🙂

Lurking Musings

On September 6th I will be in Stockton on Tees attending a book festival. Click the image below for more details. There will be readings both from Transitions and Lurking Miscellany and the chance to get signed books from a range of UK based authors.

If you are a UK based author and you want in on this festival, there are still spaces. Bring some books, some swag and prepare to do a reading to an appreciative audience.

literary festival

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Back from LonCon 3, and a post on that is coming up soon. Short version: it was ace.

However, as may have been guessed from the title, I have a bit more work following my post on the How I Write tour, originally linked from Andrew Knighton Writes. If you need a recap, my own can be found here.

First on the ‘next up’ from me is Author Ben Ireland, with a cracking post on his writing process. Read, enjoy, and if you wish, join in! 

Keep watching, I shall have more to report in the coming days…

I’m sorry to have misled some of you. This post has absolutely nothing to do with the X-Men. Though I did rather like that film.

Those of you on my Facebook page probably spotted a shorter version of my list of panels for LonCon3 next week. And that I promised to put up a more complete version. So here it is:

Liechester Square: Getting London Wrong

 Thursday 19:00 – 20:00, Capital Suite 9 (ExCeL)

If there’s one thing you can guarantee about the reaction to any piece of SF set in London, it’s that British fans will delight in nit-picking the details: you can’t get there on the Piccadilly Line! So who are the worst offenders? Whose commodified Londons do we forgive for the sake of other virtues in their writing? Do we complain as much about cultural errors as geographic ones, and if not, why not? And given London’s status as a global city, is it even fair to claim ownership of its literary representation?

Developing LARPs – World vs Character

Friday 15:00 – 16:30, Capital Suite 16 (ExCeL)

We’ll be talking about how to make really great characters in LARP, and how to make them fit in with the worlds they live in. Increasingly, LARP in the UK has become a much bigger hobby, with it’s own desires and needs. How do we create and realise our characters within these worlds, and what is most important when we do this? We’ll be talking about some of the differences between big and small systems, and ways in which to constructively overcome some of the recent issues that larp is dealing with on the field.

Urban Fantasy: London

Friday 18:00 – 19:00, Capital Suite 16 (ExCeL)

The early twenty-first century commercial explosion of urban fantasy — first person, coexisting supernatural creatures, often noirish — was, at least initially, driven by the American market and American writers. Increasingly, however, writers such as Kate Griffin, Ben Aaronovitch and Paul Cornell are writing contemporary urban fantasy set in the UK and, in particular, in London. How has crossing the Atlantic changed this subgenre? How is it similar to or different from older forms of British urban fantasy?

Race and British SF

Saturday 13:30 – 15:00, Capital Suite 5 (ExCeL)

Four years ago, Tricia Sullivan threw a spotlight on the gender balance of SF authors published in the UK, leading to a continuing conversation that is — perhaps — finally having an effect. However, although other aspects of representation have been mentioned in the course of this conversation, they have rarely been the focus, and in particular it can be argued that UK fandom and publishing have not talked enough about race. To use the same barometer as Sullivan, only one writer of colour has ever won the Arthur C. Clarke Award, and so far this century only three have been shortlisted. Yet the success of diversity-led events such as Nine Worlds suggests the audience is there. So what else should publishers and fannish institutions in the UK be doing to support writers of colour? Whose work should Loncon attendees rush to buy in the dealer’s room? And whose novels and stories are we eagerly anticipating?

LARP Safe. Building inclusive worlds in LARP

Saturday 20:00 – 21:00, London Suite 3 (ExCeL)

Recently, UK LARP has been extremely pre-occupied with finding ways to create worlds that celebrate diversity, in particular through the actions of players towards each other. It seems that live action role-play has reached a point where a new maturity and even cohesiveness is needed when welcoming players into their worlds. This panel discusses ways in which LARP can develop – through narratives, characters and worldbuilding, in ways that make this possible.

Autographing 5 – Russell Smith

 Sunday 10:00 – 11:00, Autographing Space (ExCeL)

Representation, Whitewashing, and Internationalism in Fandom

Sunday 12:00 – 13:00

Fandoms can provide positive spaces for engagement with and education about representing people of color, for example the negative impact of “whitewashing” (see In recent years, there’s been a more visible push by fandom for representation that more accurately reflects the community as a whole. But the issue itself is a complex one: How can the SF/F community challenge their perceptions of representation while also taking into account how concepts including “race” and “people of colour” vary in an international context? How can fandom avoid stereotyping and exclusion? What sort of models work in a general sense, but should not be applied to non-Western nations? Join our panelists in a challenging and lively conversation about these issues.

If anyone has any suggestions for anything I should possibly look at for any of these (baring in mind an extremely limited timeframe!) then feel free to get in touch. I’m certainly looking forward to being involved in these, and as for the penultimate mention there, I will have copies of Oblivion Storm and Primal Storm on sale, and would be delighted to think of something witty to scrawl in your copies if you can’t wait and have ordered through the links provided!

In September, I also have plans to attend the Labyrinth Literary Festival up in Stockton. I shall have to think of a choice passage or two to read aloud, so will of course take any suggestions there too! 

Oh, and I’m ready for these guys now. Wigan Comic Con,  December 7. At last I will have my revenge. Oh, and have some books on sale, along with fellow Xchyler Publishing author Joanne Kershaw.


How I Write Blog Tour thingy

Posted: August 7, 2014 in Uncategorized

Hi all,

A brief interlude of blog touring as the month of chaos gets into full swing.

First off, many thanks to Andrew Knighton of Andrew Knighton Writes for the tip-off and the opportunity! At the end of this post, I will have some folks of my own who will be following up soon enough (about this time next week). The blog tour sponsor in this case is I C Publishing (

 Now, the Q&A itself!

1. How do you start your writing project(s)?

At the moment, I’ve got a series ongoing, The Grenshall Manor Chronicles. Having started the first one, I elected to ensure the main three protagonists all took the lead in a story of their own, and decided to work from there. Oblivion Storm, the first, is the tale of Mary and the last chapters in the tales of the noble house of Grenshall. Primal Storm explores Jennifer Winter’s past, present and to some extent, future destiny. And Book Three will follow Kara, the one who has no supernatural power of her own, carrying us through that particular plot arc.

In terms of inspiration, I find it comes from many a source at any given time. Book One came about a combination of an interesting news article I read and my enjoyment of the London Underground. Book Two got heavily inspired by films and short videos of parkour, hence the high pace of the novel. My next takes very different origins, but will again have elements of history within it, alternative or otherwise.

As for research? I can do some, but not all. It’s just not always possible to know the level of detail you’re going to need for a given scene. I can find I get bogged down by history books trying to figure out the name of a bag some days, and on others, you just need to know what was happening in a given country on October25th!

2. How do you continue your writing project?

Once I get going on a project, I try and set aside time daily, as long as I’m not away or anything, to give myself a fighting chance of staying within deadlines.

3. And how do you finish your writing project?

 Finishing is again dictated by deadlines and editors, I don’t generally have time to have a hard time letting go! I am generally satisfied as long as I’ve told the story I set out to.

4. One additional tip that our collective communities could help with or benefit from.

Remember: writing is not the start and end of it. Nor is editing. Network! Go to events, talk to audiences, get out there and do other cool stuff that people may notice. This brings me nicely on to my upcoming presence on several panels at LonCon3! If you would like to know more, stay with me for my post immediately following this one!

Next up:

Joy K Phillips, who is working on a very exciting project, let me tell you! Can be found at:

Scott E. Tarbet, spinner of steampunk tales, is the author of A Midsummer Night’s Steampunk from Xchyler Publishing, Tombstone, in the paranormal anthology Shades & Shadows, and the forthcoming Lakshmi, Dragon Moon, and Nautilus Redux. He writes enthusiastically in several genres, sings opera, was married in full Elizabethan regalia, loves steampunk waltzes, and slow-smokes thousands of pounds of Texas-style barbeque. An avid skier, hiker, golfer, and tandem kayaker, he makes his home in the mountains of Utah. Follow Scott E. Tarbet online at or on Twitter @SETarbet

Ben Ireland, author of Kingdom City.  


Some bios to follow, but thought I’d just get us out there and take it from there. Any questions, you know where I am! Thanks for reading 🙂


I shall be posting myself very soon, however check this out! An interview and some questions answered 🙂

The Things That Catch My Eye

Today we are fortunate to have with us R.A.Smith who writes in the urban fantasy and paranormal genres. Though we want to hear of his historical work in the Regency.


1) What moved you to become an author?I’ve just always enjoyed writing really. But my time at university poked me in that general direction, and spates of unemployment just proved to be a final push.

2) Tell us about your current novel.

Primal StormPastedGraphic-2014-06-6-06-00.png is the second tale in the Grenshall Manor Chronicles, the follow-up to Oblivion StormPastedGraphic1-2014-06-6-06-00.png which came out in late 2012. It’s what I like to call an urban fantasy action adventure, an adrenaline-fueled action adventure with plenty of supernatural edge.

The story starts with one of the characters who came off worst in the first part, Jennifer Winter, just trying to get back on her feet. But being the restless type, she doesn’t start slowly…

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My latest day out, reading and listening to many great writers. And adding an Agatha Christie to the collection 🙂

Lurking Musings

Myself and Ed Fortune sat in front of a TARDIS. Picture taken by Frances Hardinge Myself and Ed Fortune sat in front of a TARDIS. Picture taken by Frances Hardinge

World Book Night happens annually on the same day as Shakespeare’s Death, the 23rd April. On this day, volunteers give out free books in order to encourage reading in those who do not read much. Being a World Book Night giver I was of course giving out books on that night…

Except I wasn’t. Because I was giving them away on the 24th April. A day late… Damned temporal distortions again.

That was the base concept behind the Fashionably Late World Book Night party at the Fab Café in the city centre of Manchester. To be fashionably late in giving away our books. So, I turned up at a Geek themed basement bar with a bag full of books and author Frances Hardinge in tow for a night of poetry, prose and free books.

And there…

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My Author Spotlight

Linked from the Xchyler Publishing website, an interview I did with them. Have a read, see how you get on 🙂



Hi, my name’s Russell and I’m a live (action) roleplayer. This hobby of mine sees me dress in a bunch of costumes, battle friends of mine (who often become better friends for it), figure/blunder my way through a serious of socially precarious situations, make decisions which affect many, many people and sometimes save the world—or break it.

I also write books under the name R.A. Smith, as most of you reading this will likely already know. My involvement with L(A)RP puts me in a number of situations which help me think/reason/bludgeon my way through, often inspiring creative writing, the planning of worlds, designing heroes and villains and coming up with increasingly outlandish plots in which to save or break the world.

I gave a talk over the weekend at the LARP Awareness Party in Leicester. In its own way, it was about just that. LARP awareness. I thought it might be nice for them to know what some of the people who walked amongst them on a treacherous Saturday afternoon battlefield did for a day job.

It wasn’t all about the namedropping either. Initially, I wanted to say something to counter some high-profile and unfounded negative publicity around my pastime. But when I did a little research, I ran a Google search under ‘famous LARPers’. I’m not going to lie to you, some of the results returned weren’t very nice. Read for yourself if you feel the need, but I’m sure as hell not linking them up here.

So I took a step back after that and looked at what it was I was actually trying to find. It raised one big question with me:  how exactly am I defining ‘famous’ here? What *is* fame within the context of this query? And once I’d done that, I found myself well on the way to an answer.

Let me tell you, there is a wealth of talent in this pool. Here’s one for you that I didn’t know until the organiser of the LARP Awareness Party, Ian Knope, told me about: Bertie Carvel. Check him out and his IMDB entry. That’s right—Star Wars: The Old Republic. The most recent Les Misérables film release. Primeval. Dr Who. And he’s LARPed too. He said himself:

“It was clear I would make a committed actor when I took the Tube and train to Chislehurst and back dressed, bearded and armoured as a dwarf, aged 14. “

There are some other people you might know who have at the very least dabbled, such as Paul Ross, Ben Elton and Dara O’Briain, who fellow LARPers may well know did a wonderful stand-up comedy routine, quite tailor made, a while ago. If you haven’t seen it, you really should.

Roleplaying, whether pencil and paper on a tabletop or donning a suit of plate, involves a certain amount of ‘getting into character’. Certainly a relation of acting then, in which you may have more of a script, but very much have that same challenge to face. I like, then, to think of it as a ‘gateway’ hobby. A computer gamer may find their RPG leads to dabbling in tabletop gaming, wargaming and/or LARPing, with the reverse also true.

There are plenty of people out there who know much more about cosplay than me, but if you’re anywhere near the Internet at all, even if not a participant, you’ll be aware of its popularity. There’s a clear connection with LARP in that character and attire bear importance, though the costume onus is to provide an interpretation (not necessarily a replica), of a known character from another medium, such as a film or animation.

Now this brings me back to that question on how to define fame. Constant interest from the media likely confers a person a degree of fame in the more traditional sense. But surely the rise and rise of social media confers fame in very much the same way? I mentioned Jenna Marbles as a good example of social media celebrity power. Within the hobby, we have Tabitha Lyons. As well as creating some magnificent props, armour and armaments with Artyfakes, Tabitha is a cosplayer of some renown, being not far off a quarter of a million likes on her Facebook page at the time of writing. All that, and she can occasionally be found in a faction or nation somewhere amongst us.


If you’ve ever read my bio, you may have seen that I’ve had a few stints as a Tudor. Pay a visit to certain places of interest and you will find historical interpreters quite literally bringing history to life. Playing the roles of either well-known figures from the past, or lesser-known characters from a specific era, they will take you there with their performances, providing a balanced blend of entertainment and education. Dan Osbaldeston has played many parts, including a number of King Henrys and other famous and infamous figures at the Tower of London, Dover Castle and Sherwood Forest, amongst others. Be sure to catch History’s Maid as well. Kate, the director, has been working hard with the BBC of late during the Great War centenary activities planned for this year.

And last but not least, writers. There is of course, Jim Butcher, of the Dresden Files amongst others. It’s in his bios and everything. Another is Adrian Tchaikovsky, of the Shadows of the Apt fantasy series, a number of shorts and about to take the sci-fi world by storm. There’s Craig Hallam, a Steampunk Market veteran like myself and author of Greaveburn, and K.T. Davies, author of The Red Knight (which you should read if you haven’t already), who  I have had the honour of fighting alongside in the past. And I believe Steven Erikson belongs on this list too, at the least because of a tabletop RPG campaign or two certainly helping with the writing.

[EDIT:] You see how a bit of sleep helps? I’m going to let you into a not so secret secret organisation who readers of my novels may have noticed popping up in the credits: the ‘Tea Society’. Amongst them, Ninfa Hayes and D.A. Lascelles. Now, I’ve had a strong enough response to put up a second part – more authors, occupations and the like that I already have names for! Drop me a message if you think I’ve missed anyone.

So there you have it. That’s quite some list, eh? I don’t think that even scratches the surface of who we have amongst our ranks, and I’m sure some of you will be able to mention even more people worthy of honourable mentions. A hobby to be proud of, for sure.



It’s been another long, hard scrap, but the world can now get its hands on the second installment of the Grenshall Manor Chronicles! Primal Storm is now on sale, in paperback and e-book formats as linked below.

Even if you haven’t read Oblivion Storm, you should be able to hop on to the new story. It’s a different journey, for sure, but expect some familiar faces and a bunch of new ones. If you want to know a little more about the background behind it, I wrote a guest post for my publisher’s blog page just a few days ago.

I’ll be back with a lengthier post some time when I’m fully recovered from all the last minute work, but for now, I’m just sitting around, excited to see how you all get on. Until then, take care, and stay tuned! This is going to be a busy year. 

See some reviews of Oblivion Storm for yourself!

Primal Storm on sale now!

Come find me on Goodreads if you haven’t already 🙂


2013 in review

Posted: December 31, 2013 in Uncategorized

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 700 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 12 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.