Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Hitting Pause

You've probably noticed that I haven't been blogging here all month.

For that, I apologise. I have no real excuse except to say that I have had too much going on to keep this blog or Freshly Ground up and running in November, and the trend will probably continue until the new year.

As well as life catching up with me, I am also working furiously to polish up a manuscript for submission before Christmas. I can't even blame NaNoWriMo, because I wasn't playing that crazy game (but well done to all of you who pulled it off).

However, in brief, here are some of the great podcasts that I started into in November:

Hall of Mirrors, by Mike Bennett. Spooky, well-written and brilliantly delivered tales of the unknown. Chilling stuff, and worth a listen both for the stories and to be entertained by the devilishly talented Bennett.

V & A Shipping, by J.R. Murdock. Lightweight and at times hilarious science fiction, easy on the ears and safe for the family (if you want something to play in your mini-van, as Seth Harwood would say). Very entertaining indeed.

I know I'm behind the ball on this, but I just started into Nathan Lowell's Quarter Share, the first instalment of his Golden Age of the Solar Clipper series. Refreshingly simple, Quarter Share takes a tale of the high seas and the grand old days of tall trading ships, transposes the storyline into deep space, and lubricates the whole thing with lovely mugs full of hot coffee. It's not what we expect from science fiction; there are no deep space battles or alien invasions, but it is unexpectedly entertaining. Lowell's voice is a pleasure to listen to, and his main character and settings are so real that you really feel like you're on board a deep space trader, braving the void. Great stuff.

I'm a big fan of Philippa Ballantine, not just because she's a local Wellingtonian, and I was very excited to hear a sneaky preview of Books and Braun, a steampunk adventure written in collaboration with Tee Morris. If this little teaser is anything to go by, this will be a fantastic book or podcast, however it might end up reaching us. Go check it out - you will be impressed and left wanting more.

Ballantine has also just launched the sequel to her award-winning podcast novel Chasing the Bard, Digital Magic. I haven't started into this yet, but if CTB and Weather Child are anything to go by, Digital Magic is going to be amazing.

So have no fear - I'm still listening to podcasts and I'll still be popping up reviews and recommendations as I have time. Right now, however, I have to focus on getting my own writing up to a level of polish that would make me feel worthy of joining these esteemed writers, and the many others I've hailed here over the past few months, and that means keeping my head down and the keyboard rattling.

Catch you all in 2010!