Apr. 22nd, 2017 08:54 am
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So, just about my first Dreamwidth post, I think. Still getting used to it.

We're back from Eastercon, last weekend, which went pretty well - it was great to see everyone and we also caught up with some family members, an added bonus. Since then we've been very busy, with a business expansion and some other work (the expansion is going to necessitate a lot of work here, but likely to be positive in the long run, and we're looking forward to it. Meanwhile spring continues apace: I'm mainly putting photos on Facebook but will explore posting more here.
lizwilliams: (big gothic)
In addition to the short story sub, I'm running a Tarot For A Year subscription: 4 full readings, with the possibility of additional questions, for £20 (£5 per reading) starting in December.


lizwilliams: (big gothic)
Thanks to everyone who has ordered a short story sub so far!

I shall be running the usual series of 12 stories throughout the next year. Some will be SF, and some Fantasy. None of these stories have been, or will be, published elsewhere: they're all written for subscribers only.

THE MIX: I will be writing 8 stories. Four will be new standalones, across a range of universes (some familiar, some not) and the other 4 will be a new series, based on an imaginary 19th C women's secret society dedicated to investigating the Sciences (although their view of what counts as 'science' is a bit, well, broad).

CHEN: and 4 more stories for Chen and friends!

The first 3 are ready to go, so as soon as you order, I'll send them out.

Short Stories

lizwilliams: (big gothic)
It's about 18 months since I ran a short story subscription. My father's death in 2014 and the subsequent disruption (clearing a house, selling a house) has meant that not a lot of writing has been done, and I've not engaged with the publishing industry apart from a few short stories.

However, things are a lot more settled now, and I shall be running the usual series of 12 stories throughout the next year. Some will be SF, and some Fantasy. None of these stories have been, or will be, published elsewhere: they're all written for subscribers only.

THE MIX: I will be writing 8 stories. Four will be new standalones, across a range of universes (some familiar, some not) and the other 4 will be a new series, based on an imaginary 19th C women's secret society dedicated to investigating the Sciences (although their view of what counts as 'science' is a bit, well, broad).

CHEN: and 4 more stories for Chen and friends!

The first 3 are ready to go, so as soon as you order, I'll send them out.

Short Stories

lizwilliams: (big gothic)
We've been up in Lancashire recently, staying at the fabulous Stirk House Hotel and attending the latest Pendle Witch Tour - this was one of a series of tours organised by the hotel itself. We caught up with the tour on Tuesday morning, and were whisked into Pendle Hill country - this is such a beautiful area, and it seems strangely remote still, but in fact it's only 35 miles or so from Manchester and a few miles from the M6. Pendle itself is a huge whaleback of a hill rising above the Ribble Valley, and some of the original witches lived on its slopes. Guide Simon Entwhistle, who really knows his stuff, introduced us to the story of the witches as we travelled around some of the beautiful villages which lie at the foot of Pendle. After that, it was back to the hotel for an excellent lunch and then out to Salmesbury Hall, which I've never been to before but which is a remarkable half timbered Medieval hall: a big establishment with some fine furniture and a fascinating history.

Back at Stirk House, Trevor and I explored the grounds (you can watch badgers and owls from their hide) and admired the views over the Ribble Valley, before spending some time in the hotel's bar (complete with priest hole) and then on to dinner, which was very good. An early night beckoned as we were up early - to a very good breakfast (I had haddock with poached eggs) and then over the Trough of Bowland to Lancaster. This part of the country is entirely new to both of us and we thought the countryside was absolutely stunning - huge sweeps of heather-covered moor and upland, with deep valleys containing farms belonging to the Duchy of Lancaster. Then it was up over the high hills and down into Lancaster itself, complete with castle and the old prison - it stopped being a HMP in 2010, so although its history as an ancient prison is extensive, it contains modern times, too. Simon came with us and added to the already very good tour at the castle itself.

I feel as though I've learned a lot about the Pendle witches. I knew the basic story, but not a lot of the detail - it was fascinating, for example, to see Alice Nutter's house and to realise that the witches came from a variety of social classes and positions. Nutter was quite wealthy, and fell foul of a local magistrate because of disputes over land rights - poor lady, she paid a high price for her social status. But many of the witches were peasants and although they probably were involved in some dodgy things, it was sobering to realise how far they were taken, from Pendle to the castle, and how far the authorities went to punish a handful of old ladies.

Stirk House and Simon run other tours, too, of York and Lancashire, and I really do recommend this as a destination of a part of Britain that deserves to be better known.

A big thank you to everyone at Stirk House, particularly Amanda and Katie, and to Simon, for making this such a great experience!




Stirk House 2
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For any new people who are interested in checking out the shop's pagan blog, it is here:


The traffic isn't as heavy as this one, but we do have some interesting discussions.
lizwilliams: (big gothic)
Flying visit to Cambridge at the weekend, to go to one of Magdalene's NRM (non residential members) nights: I have dining rights at the college 3 times a year, and they recently realised that people weren't taking these up because they weren't sure if it was OK to just show up, etc. So now you get a tour of the library, drinks with the Fellows and dinner at High Table as a more formal event. Trevor has not been in the Pepys Library and enjoyed it: Pepys specified in his will that nothing could be detracted or added, so it's much as it was when it was in his house in London. And they had some diagrams of the Great Worme Engine, which he was, IIRC, involved with (it's an early fire engine pump).

Magdalene is not unlike a bit of Hogwarts, since it's full of passages and entrances behind paintings etc, and much of it, including the dining hall, has no electricity and is candlelit (speculation that this is so you can't see what you're eating is unfounded). Partners have to be separated throughout, rightly, so I talked to one of the Fellows, a very interesting woman, and my neighbour, who is the bursar of one of the Oxford schools. Looking down the ranks of undergrads, there is a noticeable change from the rugger buggers of yesterday, to young Asian women. To the surprise of absolutely no-one, allowing women (including me) into the college in 1988 has resulted in a meteoric rise up the academic charts.

We had terrine, salmon and then a choice: years ago, one of the scientific members deliberately poisoned himself with nerve gas (and his department - one of the Fellows remarked, rather wistfully, 'One can't do that these days' - however tempted, no doubt) in order to try to find a treatment for it. I think he may have been partially successful but ruined his digestion, and thus they had to serve bland food: rice pudding is still on the menu in his honour, so I had it.

Then we went upstairs, which was also candlit and had a log fire, for port.

In the morning, Ian Whates turned up with copies of the new short story collection and we did a big signing at Kari's house, before T and I headed into Mill Road to raid the Asian supermarkets for things we can't get in benighted Somerset, and lunch at the Kingston Arms. Great to see everyone, and a big thank you to Ian for producing the book and to Kari for writing the introduction.

We're now back and into the last stage of apple bagging for the local cider farm: I have not been nearly as experimental as some of the f-list in the matter of apples, but we're not doing too badly. We overcooked things socially this month, basically by thinking 'oh, it's November, nothing happens then' so have had racing, Samhain, the cinema, Bonfire Night, Cambridge, more racing, then the town carnival and Frost Fair, then a visit to London, and it turns out that the earliest I can arrange dinner with a friend is December 11th. But it's all good.
lizwilliams: (big gothic)
I mentioned a short story commission in my last post. This is what it relates to: some time ago, Tanith Lee's husband John Kaiine contacted me with regard to writing a story for an upcoming tribute anthology for Tanith: I was honoured to be asked, and duly wrote the story. It's called Waterwitch, and it's a sea story: I always associate Tanith with the sea, partly because so much of her work is based around it, but also because of where she and I lived when we got to know one another, namely the South Coast of England.

I ran the story through Milford this year and they liked it, and it subsequently made it into the anthology.

Today, Storm Constantine has let everyone know that "Immanion Press is in the final stages of producing 'Night's Nieces' a collection of short stories by female writers who were friends of Tanith Lee and greatly inspired by her. The lineup includes Cecilia Dart-Thornton, Vera Nazarian, Sarah Singleton, Kari Sperring, Sam Stone, Freda Warrington, Liz Williams and me. I also edited it.
Tanith's husband John Kaiine has done a wonderful cover illustration for us, and I'll preview this as soon as I've put the text on it.
The book is due out in early December - so a perfect Christmas present for your fantasy fan friends - and there will be a simultaneous eBook edition. There will probably also be some offers and promotions involved!"
lizwilliams: (big gothic)
My latest short story collection has just come from the printer: it's called THE LIGHT WARDEN and it's published by New Con Press as part of their Imaginings series. Many thanks to Ian Whates for making this happen, and to Michael Marshall Smith for the cover.

I also have a short story in a tribute anthology coming out soon (more on this when it happens). Currently, I'm working on a commissioned short story for an anthology next year, and a commissioned novella (again, more on these when formal announcements are made).

Meanwhile, here's a photo: 10245307_10153889393008072_9052239536432121372_n


Aug. 5th, 2015 01:34 pm
lizwilliams: (big gothic)
Busy days. I started a new day job in April and in the aftermath of my father’s death we’re now in the final stages of a family house sale, so all of this has been taking up some time. Lots of property stuff happening: we're having part of the roof re-done. I’ve also been teaching a creative writing summer school, which is always a pleasure, and keeping up with the Skype classes.

However, I’ve been putting together a new short story collection (some published material, some new) for a publisher, which will be out either later this year or in 2016 and working on some anthology commissions and subscription stories. Once everything settles down, which won’t be long now, I’ll be putting together some non fiction material as well. There is an on-going novel project, but I need to get out into the county and do some research: old churches, mainly. It'll all get done in due course.

Otherwise, we’ve had a wet week, but summer is well and truly entrenched: runner beans and marrows in the garden, beautiful hanging baskets in town, and the landscape is taking on that tranquil post midsummer aspect with all the hay bagged and the fields golden in the distance.
lizwilliams: (big gothic)
Rochita Loenen-Ruiz has an excellent post up at Strange Horizons on toxicity here:


citing an equally good article on call-out culture by Asam Ahmad.


My own novel is proceeding at a stately pace, which some might term glacial, but at least it is proceeding. I'm about to send off some material for a new collection, and otherwise we are gearing up for spring, which is well and truly sprung here in the south west of England - hyacinths and daffodils out everywhere, bird cherry filling the hedges, and orchards to be mown. Guess what I've been doing...

In Glastonbury, we've had a great weekend with the Faery Ball, and seeing old friends. Artist Anne Sudworth has been down for a few days and we've really enjoyed catching up. Good to see Brian Froud in town, too. Although I think everyone is saddened by the death of Terry Pratchett, who lived not too far away from here. A huge loss to the genre.


Mar. 8th, 2015 11:29 am
lizwilliams: (big gothic)
In like lamb and lion. Many thanks for your birthday wishes, and to everyone who messaged me about the heads-up on Radio 3.

Last month was mainly about furniture removal and work; this month will be mainly about....well, the same. My parents' house is now clear, and we're incorporating my mother's furniture into her flat. I'm supposed to be painting the shop, but rain has stopped play, so I'm sitting in a cafe instead, planning lessons.
lizwilliams: (big gothic)
It’s now been some time since Laura Mixon’s initial report on Requires Hate. I didn’t comment independently a great deal on the first report, as anything of relevance that I had to say was contained within it, so these are my own follow-up comments; my colleagues are also posting their thoughts.

I have, as stated, reported Requires Hate and her UK cohort to the police here in the UK: not under harassment charges in regard to myself, but with relationship to her threats against UK/US military personnel and to Western tourists in Thailand. After the murder of soldier Lee Rigby, and the post-IS climate in the UK, threats of beheading and mutilation are taken seriously, and the relevant authorities here now have full information: a paper trail and history.

I won’t be asking for an apology from Requires Hate: not even her most ardent supporters gave the last one any credence, although I fully support those who would like one, plus an assertion that they will not be persecuted further. With regard to her work, I continue to hold to the view that writing should be considered separately from the personality of the writer: however, it would exceedingly naïve to deny that actions do count and editors, agents and other writers are also at liberty not to deal with people who are guilty of gross professional misconduct. Attempting to destroy other people’s careers, blackmail, and intimidation fall well within that description: for example, RH’s long career of spite, and Alex MacFarlane’s well-documented online bullying of women of colour and attempted blacklisting of rivals.

Moreover, editors tend not to be impeccable automata programmed with unshatterable rules – most of them in genre are overworked, underpaid, deluged with material and looking for any excuse, however minor, to reject work. If presented with a piece that comes with an unpleasant personal track record and no history of bestselling, they may want to court controversy, in which case, this kind of strategy works in the author’s favour. Or, and this is more usually the case, they may simply think ‘Oh, that asshole,’ and toss it in the bin.

It perhaps needs to be pointed out that neither I, nor any other writer, are under an obligation to read other people’s work, unless paid for it, or are on an awards jury. In this instance, I quite like RH’s prose and worldbuilding, but that’s at the expense of other crucial elements and the work as a whole is too derivative (as even her main editorial proponent has admitted) for me to bother seeking it out – if I’m going to spend my very limited time on other writers’ material, it’s likely to be spent looking at the work of many excellent writers whom RH targeted. As a member of the Clarke and WFC juries, I have obviously had to read work by the thankfully few people whom I personally dislike: a primarily subjective endeavour which needs to be approached as objectively as possible, which includes not over compensating (“A story from the foul X! I must find something to like in it at once!”). And I’ve supported fiction by people whom I do not like.

Going forward, I would prefer to support Laura and her team’s endeavours in making SFF a more genuinely diverse genre – Rachel has a great list here (http://rachelmanija.livejournal.com/1176322.html?nc=2) of good writers to read - and the eradication of a climate in which professional misconduct is regarded as something to which to aspire, and something which will be rewarded: in general, it won’t.

Comments are closed. I’ll be joining in the book discussion over at Rachel’s, and Athena's here: http://www.starshipreckless.com/blog/.


Jan. 14th, 2015 01:36 pm
lizwilliams: (big gothic)
Back to awful computer problems, which resulted in the loss of 5000 words. Nothing to do but rewrite them, so I did. This is a new book, called Butterfly Winter, and is a kind of Somerset magical realism - some of Milford have seen it. I am, now, beginning to move forwards. My father's illness and death, and my mother moving in with us, took up most of last year and the process is still ongoing, as we have to clear and then sell their house. This in itself is an experience: it initially seemed a huge and daunting task, then became increasingly broken down into stages, and then slowly and now suddenly we are in the final stage, organising furniture vans and valuations. This was the house in which I grew up, happily, and it is hard to let it go, but also exciting to know that the house itself will be moving into its next incarnation with another family. It's an ordinary house, but not far off a hundred years old now (it being, alarmingly, not far off a hundred years from the 1930s) and its history is ongoing. My mother, who will be 87 on Friday, has adapted astonishingly well to moving, again slowly then suddenly, out of the house which has been the whole of her married life for 50+ years.

I don't have a publisher for Butterfly Winter, though I will be looking once it's done. I'm enjoying writing out of deadline, and taking my time with it. I'm at a point where writing it is the important thing, rather than what becomes of it; my mother stopped being published by Robert Hale in the early 80s, but is still writing. You reach a point where the internal process, and the compulsion of the world building, is more important than its external reception. Perhaps this is making the best of a bad job, but I don't think so in this instance. Maybe it's paralleling the house? One's narrative changes.


Jan. 3rd, 2015 11:08 am
lizwilliams: (big gothic)
A happy New Year to all.

We had a quiet Christmas. The NY is already being plagued with computer problems - I'm on a borrowed laptop as mine is all too clearly starting to circle the drain (I can't get on FB from here, though, if you usually see me there). The new teaching year has already started - I mainly work on Skype and much of the English-learning world doesn't follow Christmas. And this month has to be when we get to grips with selling my mother's house: we went up on NYD and brought back what's almost, but not quite, a final load of stuff. Then it's the furniture and cleaning...and that's it.

We're mainly taking turns in the shop. I'm catching up with beating the Xmas leftovers into submission....curry, stew, pea and ham soup.

I will be writing this year, but am not going to say too much about that for the moment. May those of you with ongoing projects see them to a satisfactory conclusion in 2015.
lizwilliams: (big gothic)
Many thanks to all of you for your support for these novels over the years. All the Chen backlist is now available, both as print and e-copies, with Open Road Media in New York (you can find them here: http://www.openroadmedia.com/snake-agent).

The time has now come to return to the final (for now) Chen novel, to finish the story threads that have been building over the previous books: the tension between Heaven and Hell with Earth in the middle; some mysteries about the badger teakettle; Jhai and Zhu Irzh's marriage, and Chen and Inari's baby.


The last set of stories have gone out for 2013-14 (email me if you'd like to order these - they are still available), and I have floated a new sub for 2014/15 - don't sign up if you've signed up already for this year!

THE MIX: I will be writing 8 stories.

CHEN: and 4 more stories for Chen and friends!

The first set of these have gone out - I'm in the process of writing the next set now.

Short Stories

lizwilliams: (big gothic)
As most of you who are on Facebook will know, this has been a gruelling autumn, mainly spent on hospital and nursing home visits, consultations with doctors and social services etc. My father survived his 92nd birthday in September, but died in early November. We held a small family funeral here in Somerset and are now adjusting to his absence: we will greatly miss him. My mother will continue to live with us; a lot of time has been spent on house clearance, therefore, but we are getting there. I’ve been going back and forth to Gloucester, reconnecting with the Severn Valley, and we should be done by the end of January.

Shortly after my father’s death, my teaching load increased substantially, we had a massive computer crash (the PC and 3 laptops stopped working properly) and thus the writing has had to take a backseat. I must apologise to those of you waiting for stories: I am working again, though slowly, and two out of the three stories for this quarter are almost done.

If you need to contact me, here, email or facebook are the best way to do it. I have had a mobile phone for the duration of my father’s illness, but will not be continuing with its use: I find having one is too stressful these days, and am limiting my online time to sites which are not one long argument. I don’t care what the arguments is, or how justified; my limited time and energy needs to go elsewhere (tweeting me is pointless: I never check it). However, there are some good personal developments coming up in my writing work next year, and also some positive and much wider initiatives in SFF, aimed at supporting newer writers, in which I will be playing a part. More on those as they happen.
lizwilliams: (big gothic)
I've sent the novel out this morning. If you subscribed to it and have not received it, let me know asap and I'll email it to you!
lizwilliams: (big gothic)
Where are we with the final-for-now Chen novel? Well, we're nearly there. I have finished the book, but I am still in the process of final revisions. It's been a hectic month, with my father now settled in a nursing home; he was in an end-of-life unit but surprised everyone by pulling through. With a teaching schedule and the shop, it's meant a lot of disruption - but the book is now done and it will be with you soon.
lizwilliams: (big gothic)
So, it's almost September, which was when I promised the new Chen novel to all of you who were kind enough to pre-order it. Due to family problems (my father has been very ill and is now in a hospice) I'm more behind with projects than I would like. However, the novel has been going quite well - we're about 3/4 done, and the ending is mapped out, so if all is well, I should finish it reasonably soon. It's still likely to be towards the end of the month, possibly a little into October, as I would like to leave it to 'sit' for a bit before revision. But then that's it! It will be with you.

And remember, you can find the backlist of all the Chen novels with NYC publishers Open Road.


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