Tuesday 29 May 2018

General Data Protection Regulation Notice

As you may be aware, on 25 May 2018 the EU General Data Protection Regulation EU (2016)/679 (GDPR) comes into force in all EU member states.  

This Act applies to ‘personal data’ meaning any information relating to an identifiable person who can be directly or indirectly identified by reference to an identifier. It requires that personal data be processed lawfully, fairly and in a transparent manner, and that personal data be collected for specified and legitimate purposes.  

I currently do not run an email list and have no plans to do so in the foreseeable future.  

For those who subscribe to email updates for this blog, your personal data may be collected by the third party service. I have no control over the tool.

Blog posts or comments may include personal data such as the names of people who've made comments or similar. These posts are often shared on social media including my Twitter and FaceBook pages. The privacy policies of Twitter and Facebook will apply to information posted on their websites.

If you would like any personal data which is included in my blogposts or comments to be removed or have any questions, please email me through my contact widget.

Generalizations Are False

Taken from All Generalization are False and adapted for fiction by me.

I follow a number of blogs, not all related to either my hobbies or writing science fiction. All Generalizations are False is blog about assessing the news one reads. She admits to a slight left of center position, but to my British sensibilities it looks pretty centrist to me.

Anyway, the point being is that she does a good job of analyzing new sources and looking for bias.

What she does, is pretty much what I was taught many years ago at Trent Polytechnic when I was doing my degree in photography and film studies.

But, it struck me, that  one could also use this as a basis for analyzing fiction.

As you can see above, I've put a yellow circle in to mark where I think I'm writing from. I may be wrong about this, and I'm open to people pointing out my blind spots. Fiction is not fact. Therefore, it's aim is not to present facts, but to tell stories; and in SF this is generally about how changes from technology might impact humanity.

Remember, stories: fictions, which are therefore not facts, rather they are imaginations that develop from "what ifs."

An important distinction. And, contrary to some authors statements, stories are not lies. Fictions are functionally different to lies. One is about imagination, the other about deception.

However, when I looked at the chart, I could easily see myself pining certain authors into areas on this illustration. As I'm sure my readers can too. And, just to be clear, I offer no judgement on the validity on any position, other than is it reasonable and supported by truth.

Not because I want to avoid arguments per se, but because my training was to be non-judgemental, and have unconditional positive regard for other people's opinions, because the bottom line is that other people's opinions are not my concern. Something drummed into me during my training in mental health.

Note: If I had a complaint about the above chart it would be the use of emotionally weighted language e.g.: unfair and nonsense. My thoughts would be to replace these with unreasonable and unsupportable, but there again I may be wrongly interpreting the original authors intent.

Wednesday 23 May 2018

Reviews of Bad Dog

The latest review of Bad Dog up on Amazon from a 20 year Navy veteran has prompted me to post it here. I felt honoured to have had this man take the time and effort to write something about my work. Thank you sir.

Good sci-fi read with one foot planted solidly in the real world

Ok, I'm not a professional book reviewer. If you are looking for a critique on the art of writing, move along. I'm just a reader, and a retired military member and all of my thoughts start from there.

Truthfully, it is a pretty good story. I think it reads a bit like a short story, which I can appreciate. Don't get me wrong, I like a good Lord of the Rings style epic as much as the next guy, but now and again I like something shorter and to the point. This book scratched that itch. I found it pretty compelling from start to finish, and I can't wait for the next book to come out in print (I think it is already out in electronic format, but I like paper). I love a good near-future story where things are just different enough to make your imagination kick into gear, but not so foreign that I'm sitting around thinking "What's a flingledorp and why on Earth is this one attached to the hangwopper of a flogtrud?" Look, I want to follow the story without too much confusion. Pollard succeeded for me. I'm a 20 year veteran of the Navy and I'll say that about 99% of all the jargon, personalities, and events feel dead on which really added to my enjoyment and the believability of the story. For those of you with less military experience, Pollard does include a nice glossary in the back of the book so you don't get lost in all the TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms... military loves them).

I don't know if I have any downsides to relay, but I'm pretty easy to please. I'm hoping there is more to come soon.

And here three more reviews...

No gung-ho and serious SF Military reading

This the author first novel and I got totally absorbed from the first page to the end.

This is SF Military but don't expect finding super-uber soldiers or extraterrestrial advanced enemies fighting each other in remote galaxies, no "Starship Troopers" rehearsal at all. On the contrary, set in in the last quarter of the XXI century, the book provides a glimpse of what could be a very realistic progressive evolution of modern tactical warfare and weapons... in a geopolitical context that will also be familiar to the reader, where a reconfigured US (called "Confederated States" but not yet explained in the book what happened) is challenged by an increasingly assertive China in a remote region in Afghanistan.

The book focuses in a Marine recon unit and the pace of the action is truly good.

The atmosphere is very realistic thanks to the extensive and thorough(full) military research undertaken by the author that you can follow in her personal blog.

After I finished reading the novel, I really eager for more. Luckily a second part is very close to publication.

I can strongly recommend the book and if the sequels are as good as the initial work, I can see Ashley Pollard becoming a reference in this writing genre

Excellent book. A fresh view on near future power armor warfare. I felt that I was reading a good story and not the writer's opinions on how they live their own life, which is hard to find these days in any genre.

This book caught me pleasantly by surprise. I had settled into the near-future military action and begun to suspect that powered suits were the extent of the Science Fiction, but then it took off in a totally unexpected direction which I won't spoil for you. I ended up thoroughly gripped and unable to put it down until I knew how it played out. I love SF and it's great to find a new writer with ideas as well as genuinely good writing. I look forward to more.

Monday 21 May 2018

Strike Dog Hard Cover

The layout for the hardcover dustjacket.

As I said before, InDesign is one of those indispensable programs that is a bit of a bear to get to grips with. If I were a cover designer, then daily use would make things go a lot smoother. As it was, just getting my subscription re-enabled was a run-around to find the right link on Adobe's site.

It should be easier to renew than they make it. There again I suspect they don't get many people like me who only subscribe for the minimum period of a month and go without until the next time I need to make a cover.

After all that palaver, then it was down to figuring out all the correct metadata, to make sure that if you find Strike Dog you'll also find Bad Dog. Then converting the image from JPEG to PDF for Ingram Sparks. It all took a lot of time, time I didn't spend writing new words.

Good news is that the covers for Strike Dog were finished, files uploaded to Ingram Spark, and therefore the print versions should now be available.

Writing output has been reduced, in part because I had a steroid injection into my right wrist, which after the anesthetic wore off felt like someone had driven a nail through my hand. Still, I've managed to write 3,061 over the last two weeks.

Thursday 17 May 2018

Panzer Jäger Mark One – PJM1-M1

Work in Progress: four innocent Sheridan and one AMX Takara tank models went into the making of this pile of parts.

I have a plan...

I'm a model-maker. I can't help it, I just like making things. Don't ask me why, I just do. So, given I made models for the combat armour suits in my novels, it stands to reason I will want to make a cybertank.

Ogre, for those who don't know, is a boardgame from Steve Jackson Games that can also be played with miniatures. I have a few models (lots, but let's not go there) and like BattleTech it's one of my go to games.

I tag World of Drei Universe series as #OgreNotOgre for a reason.

But, when I write I want to write in my own universe.

To do so means I need to have in mind a picture of what I'm describing. The picture or in this case model, need not be a precise realization, just good enough to get the idea across to others that my cybertanks are different.

Writing Summary

The last couple of weeks have been chaotic. A combination of real life, weather, and Bank holiday sports, and finally getting the print version of Strike Dog up for sale.

Monday 14 May 2018

Dragon Awards

Bad Dog is eligible for this years Dragon Awards. If you feel like voting that would be great.

Tuesday 8 May 2018

Reading List

It has been a while since I've reviewed the books I've been reading. 

Adiamante by L. E. Modesitt Jr. 1996: I really enjoyed this story. It has a strong anti-war theme, but it doesn't preach, but rather it's anti-war because wars have consequences. The perspective of the main POV character was nicely done, and if you're looking for something to read that comes at things from a different direction, then this book is well worth your time.

Into the Guns (America Rising Book #1) by William C. Dietz, 2016: I picked up this volume after reading his Andromeda Trilogy that I reviewed here; Liked it enough that I bought the second: Seek And Destroy (America Rising Book #2) by William C. Dietz, 2017; Likewise enjoyed this enough to pick up the third: Battle Hym (America Rising Book #3) by William C. Dietz, 2017.

Now having read all three books I have reservations over his research. All F111s were retired in 1998, which for a novel set circa 2018 is a thing. The M1A1 has the 120mm cannon, and not the original 105 mm.  If you can tolerate the gaffs, then it's an enjoyable read.

Altered Starscape (Andromedan Dark Book #1) by Ian Douglas, 2016 & Darkness Falling (Andromedan Dark Book #2) by Ian Douglas, 2017: I enjoyed these a lot. Very much what one has come to expect from Keith, super science, nanotech etc, and the story rollicks along. Can't wait for the next book.

The Human Division by John Scalzi, 2013: It has been a while since I've read anything from Scalzi. This is a series of interlinked short stories come novelettes and a novella as a book that first appeared as a serialization. I enjoyed this well enough, and I'm of a mind to read the final book in the series.

Alliance of Shadows (Dead Six series) by Larry Correia & Mike Kupari, 2016: I'm a big fan of Larry Correia's Monster Hunter series, even though the Dead Six books are action & adventure with no SF content, I was sucked into them because after I met Larry at a book signing at Forbidden Planet. I reviewed Swords of the Exodus here. Mike Kupari's book Her Brother's Keeper I reviewed here.

A satisfying conclusion to the trilogy, which means you really need the other two books first. Go buy them now.

Monster Hunter Siege by Larry Correia, 2017: On a a whim, I bought this story in hardcover. I needed something to read that would cheer me up and this book deliver in spades. It also advances the plot, and if you like books with guns this is the book for you. If you don't enjoy such things, or references to Lovecraft, or books centered around the the idea of killing monsters is fun, then it's probably not for you.

The Two Moons (Compilation of Inherit the Stars 1977 & The Gentle Giants of Ganymede 1978) by James P. Hogan, 2006: Came across a recommendation for this series and found a compilation volume of the first two novels. By the time I had finished it I had gone and found the sequels too. In brief, written by Hogan as a response to seeing 2001: A Space Odyssey and him wanting a story that made a bit more sense.

Tuesday 1 May 2018


Shooting at 80 yards: first time I've gotten all six arrows onto the target while shooting left-handed.

It has been a week of editing.

Did a few new words on Two Moons in the moments in-between grappling with Ghost Dog, but only managed 1,474 new words, averaging 235 words per hour.

Putting that into perspective, I cut 8,511 out of Ghost Dog, which is a thing. The third novel now runs at 89,476 words, which hopefully means it will read faster. And be more fun to read too.

My weekend was spent doing archery. Practice on Saturday, then the Tri-club shoot on Sunday. I managed to shoot ten points over my handicap, which I was very pleased with.

Out loud read of Ghost Dog, then new words. Need to get back into my writing groove.


I currently do not run an email list and have no plans to do so in the foreseeable future.

For those who subscribe to email updates for this blog, your personal data may be collected by the third party service. I have no control over the tool.

Blog posts or comments may include personal data such as the names of people who've made comments or similar. These posts are often shared on social media including my Twitter and FaceBook pages. The privacy policies of Twitter and Facebook will apply to information posted on their websites.

If you would like any personal data which is included in my blogposts or comments to be removed or have any questions, please email me through my contact widget.