Meanwhile back in the Citadel…

The Dragonette ’57 convertible steamwagon was not facing any competition:

Keen Steamliner - cool!
Keen Steamliner – cool!

“I collected my wagon early the next day. It’s a racing-green Dragonette ’57 convertible; the last model with the little wings and the air-trimmed front end. Daddy’s pride and joy, with marble interior finish and leather ragtop. It did my heart good just to touch her. Sceech the grease goblin had done a good job on the shoes, and I took off in a reasonable frame of mind. I had slept pretty well and though I didn’t feel like a million crowns, well at least I didn’t look like buried treasure.”

Continue reading Meanwhile back in the Citadel…

Did I blink and miss them?

One thing I didn’t quite get about ‘The Shanara Chronicles’ – as clearly stated in the opening credits:

Shanara opening creditsA distinct lack of ‘Dwarf’ . That’s the sort of thing that annoys a certain dwarf Master Detective. Are the elves to blame?

Continue reading Did I blink and miss them?

Mad March Madness!

Yes, Mad March err Madness! Lucky USA! ‘Detective Strongoak and the Case of the Dead Elf’ (former Kindle Epic Fantasy #1) is on esale for $1.99 until March 14th and this time B&N too and some more sellers … I think.Detective Strongoak book cover with banner

Continue reading Mad March Madness!

On the Small Things in Life:

I have always been interested in the minutiae of life – as ex-Talking Head David Byrne once memorably said: in the magical in the mundane and the magical in the mundane. That is why I once wrote a play that featured superheroes having a night off and eating pizza.

fabmanfront

I mean, ‘What do you do on the Night After You’ve Saved the Universe’ after all. On stage we had a fab invisible C-Thru Girl, and a fab Fabman who could cool the beer with his freeze-breath. Speedo brought the pizza all the way from Italy and Minuscule Man who was so small you’d think he wasn’t there, ate a whole 24th of a slice and Lady Luck paid for it all with a lottery ticket.

They sat round and chewed the fat like you do after a hard day’s work.

And with fantasy, I love the tales of heroism naturally, but I always did wonder what happened after the Big Bad Guy went down the drain. I mean you can’t commit genocide – so all those goblins need to be integrated into society, and what would happen when somebody started the first ‘Save The Dragon’ campaign and what if somebody introduced democracy?

Shake well and leave a couple of thousand years and you might just end up with a place like Widergard, which is where Master Detective Nicely Strongoak hangs out.

Continue reading On the Small Things in Life:

Confessions of a FantasyCon Virgin (Nicely’s going home, he’s going home)

Nicely at Fantasycon2015

Detective Nicely Strongoak has just returned to his spiritual home, as an excited me went back to the University of Nottingham for Fantasycon 2015. Yes, it was here on the Nottingham campus where, after work as an ultrastructural morphologist, I first put down my ideas for the dwarf detective in a modern(ish) fantasy world, on a Apple computer so old it was actually a Pip. And I was now here talking about him.

Officially I was there discussing comedy and fantasy on an excellent panel, with top writers Donna Scott, Frances Hardinge, Steve Jordan, Heather Lindsley and Craig Saunders, and doing a little bit of reading from A DEAD ELF. Unofficially I was getting my first introduction into the current state of fantasy writing in the UK, and very healthy it appears to be.

Continue reading Confessions of a FantasyCon Virgin (Nicely’s going home, he’s going home)

World-building, word building and mac’n’cheese

The second time it happened I was in the bath. The first time I had happily been watching TV. Then up pops some commercial (it was Channel 4, not ITV, I should clarify) for Sainsbury’s and they mentioned a recipe for mac’n’cheese.

WTF?

I was informed it was an Americanism for macaroni cheese, a dish that we have a perfectly good name for, recognisable by generations of UK school children, so they’d immediately know to avoid it on school dinner menus.

Then this morning, in the bath, I was reading the otherwise excellent Jay Rayner restaurant review in the Observer and there it was again: mac’n’cheese! Mac’n’fn’cheese!

mac and cheese
The only Mac and cheese I’ll ever need!

We don’t need your mac’n’cheese, thank you. It’s unnecessary and irritating and just smacks of desperate ‘trendy’ promotion.

I should add at this point that I do not have a general problem with Americanisms. In fact, truth be told, this was part of the joy of first discovering the writing of Raymond Chandler. I loved his 1950s American world full of Chesterfields and Davenports, sharpies and shamuses (shami?), ‘dropping my nickel’ and ‘clam juice’ and if I didn’t know what the hell he was talking about, it didn’t matter! It was all part of the joy, the magic of his world, the poetry of the street. And you could work out what was going on even if the exact provenance of a word or expression wasn’t immediately clear.

It was almost inevitable that when I started writing I shouldn’t just get into world building but word building too. The Citadel is a different kind of place and my dwarf detective Nicely Strongoak, does things differently too. So it’s not surprising, with a different history too, that they have different words and expressions too. It’s all part of creating a wonderful space for other people to come visit and it’s great fun too.

So, here are a few choice terms from my work in progress that I’m particularly pleased about: ‘filth-fellowship’, pop-the-pea’, ‘going bite-size’, ‘ground-hugger’, ‘thumb font’ and ‘bleach’. If you don’t understand them now, you’ll soon pick them up, and I hope you’ll enjoy them too, as much as I did the Chesterfields and Davenports and sharpies. Continue reading World-building, word building and mac’n’cheese