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Showing posts from May, 2016

The Spy Racket (Tender Spies Book 5)

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BUY EBOOK About The Spy Racket Anything that can go wrong with Stephen Zammit’s missions usually does. This outing seems straightforward enough—ride herd on a notorious racketeer who has offered to help the agency close down crime networks that could support terrorists or foreign spies. If only the racketeer wasn’t the vicious, estranged father of Stephen’s partner Andrew. And if only they hadn’t been forced to abandon Stephen’s ex, Joanne, just when she needs them the most. The racketeer has an agenda of his own, and in no time at all the mission spins out of control, stranding Stephen and Andrew far outside their comfort zones. The mission is particularly difficult for Andrew, throwing him back into a world of casual violence that he thought he had escaped forever. Joanne manages to find some peace of mind, but is dragged back into the covert world when the agency itself comes under threat. Do Stephen, Andrew and Joanne have what it takes to survive and win through to what

When does the future begin?

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How near is the future? Tomorrow? Next week? Next year? In political terms it’s decades away. Sitting in the driver’s seat knowing that other car is about to hit you, the future is right now. Isaac Asimov wrote a story about this (in 1956) called The Dead Past. A bereaved parent wants to travel back in time to see his loved one once again. He discovers that all time travel has been suppressed, and exerts himself to circumvent this. His success begins a new era of mass surveillance—he hadn’t thought it through. Time travel into the past is indistinguishable from real-time surveillance of everyone everywhere, since the past begins anew every second. And so does the future. My short stories are set in the near future; they could happen this afternoon, or next week. They are rooted in the present, but make assumptions about how the present might develop. The stories: Dronejack What if a drone achieves sentience by accident? (I know, not a very original idea, but sti

Terrible typos

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As a writer, I try to read widely. I often buy ebooks outside my usual interests to expand my perspective, some indie publications and some from large traditional publishers. Unfortunately, some of these are poorly edited and full of errors. Some of the errors I hate most: Loose canons ( cannons , guns not priests) Discreet items (NO! Discrete !) Hoards of attackers ( hordes please) And my favourite of all time, seen yesterday for the first time ever (and the last, I hope): His sir name … Yep, that’s surname to the rest of us. I know I make mistakes. Everyone does. The more words I pound out on the keyboard the more egregious errors I produce. Tricky  issues of spelling and grammar that I mastered years ago can still trip me up sometimes. But really, these are truly terrible. Any halfway competent proofreader should have caught them, so I can only assume no such individual was allowed near the draft. Not playing fair, guys. Lift your game.

Old fairy tales never die

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Trolls under the bridge   is a flash fiction story in which I tried to capture the fear of crossing over a bridge where anything might be lurking, unseen, below. Read my story  here  and let me know what you think. Why did I write this story? Updating or expanding old fairy tales or children's stories is commonplace. Think films like Shrek . Or Australian writer Christopher Ruz’s story, Pan , (available in  Andromeda Spaceways #62) . The original Peter Pan was disturbing enough, but this is chilling. One of my favourite fairy tales has always been The Three Billy Goats Gruff, and not just because my brother is called Billy. I love the idea of something nasty lurking in an apparently benign landscape. Why do trolls live under the bridge and wait for goats to cross over? Are goats really all that tasty? And what are trolls anyway? Terry Pratchett included trolls in many of his wonderful stories. Terry’s trolls have names like Detritus, and can only think clearly when it’s

Book review: Six Degrees by Mark Lynas

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Six Degrees is an interesting read about the mechanisms and impacts on our planet of increasing global temperature in increments up to 6º Celsius. The book was published in 2008, eight years ago now, and most of the changes described for temperature increases up to 2º have already happened, quite a bit sooner than expected. Lynas describes mechanisms of warming, such as glacier ice melt, ocean current and water acidification changes, ice cap reductions, and the release of methane from peat bogs and the ocean floor. He also cites historical evidence from tree rings, ice core samples and geology.  This material can be a little overwhelming and would have been improved by the inclusion of some pictures and diagrams. It’s one thing to describe a shrinking glacier but much easier to grasp comparative images. Mitigating events that may slow or reverse cooling are also discussed but not in much detail. Even sketchier are the discussions of the impact on humans as rainfall belt