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Thursday, 8 May 2008
Tall Tales on the Iron Horse--A Review
Topic: Book Review

Every so often, a book comes along that not only captures your attention, but holds you under its power long after you have turned the final page.  Tall Tales on the Iron Horse, written by Colin P. Davies, is just that sort of book.

In today's world, it is difficult to find new ideas, especially within science fiction.  Mr. Davies' has found the wellspring of new ideas and added his own fresh voice, creating a book that is bound to be read over and over again. 

Words do not get in the way in Tall Tales on the Iron Horse.  Colin Davies does not add any details that are unnecessary and the stories within this book move forward at a quick and smooth pace.  His voice is fresh and energizing.  The closest comparison I can make to these tales is to Rod Serling's Twilight Zone stories.  Even then, Mr. Davies does not copy the master storyteller so much as stand beside him.  I look forward with anticipation to future works from Colin Davies.

Posted by joyceanthony at 4:36 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 8 May 2008 7:58 PM EDT
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Wednesday, 7 May 2008
Talking With Colin Davies
Topic: Blog Tours
Colin Davies the person:

1.What three words do you think describe you as a human being?

Creative, perfectionist. father

2.How do you think others would describe you?

As something of an enigma

3.Please tell us what you are most passionate about outside of writing.

Music. I love rock music of all types, but especially the progressive variety: Spock's Beard, Camel, Transatlantic, Marillion, Porcupine Tree, Flower Kings etc. I used to play guitar, both rock and classical, but now I'm out of the habit. My son, Chris, who is nineteen, plays drums in a local rock band.

4. Do you have any pets? If so, introduce us to them.

Two kittens: Paddy and Sally – brother and sister – though you'd never guess it. Paddy is big, brave, friendly and fluffy, with a squirrel's tail. Sally is small, jittery, short-haired, with half a tail (genetics – not an accident), but she's still lovable.

5. What is your most precious memory?

That's a hard one. There are a lot. Probably watching Chris in suit and bow-tie play Chopin's Raindrop Prelude to win the piano first prize and cup in the Bromborough Music Festival – at the age of about eleven.

6. What is your most embarrassing memory?

That's Chris again. It would be the time we were in a caf? and Chris, aged about six, said to the waitress, "You look very fat!" He was right, but I wanted to hide under the table. Strangely enough, a year later she'd lost weight.

7.If you weren't a writer, what would you be doing with your life?

Pretty much the same thing. By profession, I'm a building surveyor and I have a full time day job. If I wasn't writing, I'd be getting more sleep.

8. In two paragraphs or less write your obituary.

Colin P. Davies will be best remembered as the first author to type an entire novel with his tongue. "A Taste of Plastic" was an international bestseller and Pulitzer prize winner. In 2019 he successfully sued the National Investigator for its claim that the book was in fact ghost-tongued. The following year his autobiography, "Three Thousand Uses for a Bad Review", reached number one in the Vogue Hot Hundred, and he finally achieved his lifetime ambition to bungy jump underwater. He is survived by 35 children, two cats, and a house-robot named Gwendoline.

Colin Davies the writer:

9. Can you describe the time you realized you were indeed a "real" writer?

Attending my first Milford SF Writers Conference was a huge leap for me and an acceptance that I was in this for real and for a long time to come. That first year I met Liz Williams, David Redd, Karen Traviss and other professionals. The week-long workshop experience was enlightening, satisfying and totally new, as I'd been very much a solo writer. I went back two more times before life intervened. I credit Milford with lifting me to the next level of writing.

10. What is going on with your writing these days?

Much of my time has been spend promoting my new collection, "Tall Tales on the Iron Horse". At the same time I'm working on a number of short stories, each in various stages of development. I like to have several stories underway at the same time, but the bulk of my attention will be on one. I find I often stall and it's helpful to be able to shift to another story.

11. What are your future goals for your writing?

I hope to interest a major publisher in my first novel, "The Bookmole", based on the short story "Clifford and the Bookmole", which is included in my collection. It's probably best described as a comic fantasy for young adults and older. I also intend to continue with my short stories, as I still get a buzz from the writing and ideas. My other plan is to develop ideas for a second novel, which will be based on my story "Pestworld"; again a not-entirely-serious story. I then intend to start work on a sequel to "The Bookmole", as the characters and possibilities are too much fun to give up.

I'm also a big fan of radio drama, both classic and new. I'd like to try my hand at adapting some of my stories, or even write an original script.

12. Can you describe a typical writing day for you?

I have writing days and non-writing days. I'm by no means organized and tend to grab writing time when I can, which may either mean an hour at the computer, or an hour with a pad and pen. In the time available I'll do whatever business stuff needs doing as priority, then either do revision to stories (which I find enjoyable and fun, and I know that might seem odd to many writers), or work on first drafts (which I usually find excruciatingly hard). I suspect the reason I prefer revision to first draft is because I'm a perfectionist – I enjoy the challenge of getting the sentence just right, or choosing the exact best word.

A first draft for me is a very involved process and I find I can't just rush through to the end. I very rarely pre-plan and often don't know where the story is going. It's not just What happens next? but also What am I trying to say, or make readers feel? What is really going on in the background, or in characters' minds? Can I make the events surprising and fascinating to the reader? How do I build tension and suspense? How do I make events and behavior logical? Are the characters behaving and speaking like real people? Can I pull off an ending that is surprising, though obvious in retrospect, and/or emotionally satisfying? You can see why I find revision easier.

13. Why do you write?

It's a combination of enjoying the process of writing, the creation of worlds and characters, and the satisfaction of finishing and publishing a story. I've been writing since I was about ten years old, when I compiled slim books of handwritten horror stories, based on the stories kids were telling each other in school. Later, I typed up a book and bound it myself (it was rubbish, but gave me a thrill at the time). I guess I've always had the writing bug. And I write science fiction because my Dad introduced me at an early age to Eric Frank Russell and I followed that up by reading my older brother's "Starship Troopers". Once you're hooked, it's hard to get free. The authors I was reading back then wrote both science fiction and fantasy and, to me, the two genres are inextricably intertwined. I'm comfortable working in either, or blurring the boundaries.

14. What writer most inspires you? Why?

Undoubtedly, Ray Bradbury. There is something in his themes and ideas that I find familiar. I understand where he's coming from. I feel his intense nostalgia for childhood and the sense of wonder (and horror) for the future. And he has the skill with words to really communicate with emotion. To be fair, I would also have to mention Jack Vance, whose stories have entertained and inspired me for decades.

15. How do you define your writing?

I'm proud to write science fiction. I don't feel the need to call it speculative fiction. I also venture occasionally into fantasy and horror and anywhere else that takes my fancy.

16.In one sentence—what do you want people to say about your writing in fifty years?

That the original stories are still superior to all the Hollywood blockbusters and Broadway musicals that were based on them.

Colin Davies the details:

17. Can you tell us where to find more information on you? Website? Blog?

My website is at News is regularly updated. You can also find a short biography at and some new uncollected stories at

18. Is there a place where readers can reach you?

Readers can contact me at

19. Can you list all your book titles so people can look for them?

My short stories are listed in the bibliography on my website. I have only the one book in print at the moment: Tall Tales on the Iron Horse. I've also appeared in The Year's Best SF #22 edited by Gardner Dozois, and The First Bewildering Stories Anthology. Currently I'm in Strange Worlds of Lunacy an anthology of funny stories, poems and artwork, and I'll soon have a story in another anthology, Things Are Not What They Seem.

20. For new readers—what can they expect when they read your book(s)?

Ideas, surprises, emotion, humor, stories with meaning and stories whose meaning is simply fun. Science fiction, fantasy, weird, surrealist, horror and comic stories.

In conclusion:

21. Take as much space as necessary to speak to our readers—what would you like them to know about you and your writing?

I respect my readers and expect them to do some of the work. I won't always spell out exactly what is going on or why. The clues are there and the perceptive reader will find them. It's a difficult balancing act which I perhaps haven't always got right. I like a story to resonate – to leave the reader still partly in the story world, asking questions, or feeling for the characters, or simply chuckling. My writing tends to be concise. It has been said that I don't do description. That's not entirely true; I like to handle description and setting with just a few telling details. My stories can therefore be shorter and tighter than some readers are comfortable with, but equally many readers appreciate this approach.

Posted by joyceanthony at 12:30 PM EDT
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Tuesday, 6 May 2008
Visiting With Colin Davis--Excerts from Tall Tales on the Iron Horse
Topic: Blog Tours

Today I have a special treat for you guys.  I have included excerpts from not one, but three of Coin Davis' stories from Tall Tales on the Iron Horse! Enjoy these excerpts and then visit Colin's site to find out more.  In the meantime, leave him a comment on your thoughts!!!


“Enlighten me, Em,” Mandi said, as she shuffled along the sidewalk in her heavy boots. A backbone of leafless dead elms stretched down the central island of the boulevard. “Why do I give a damn about who sleeps with my father?” She skipped to catch up with the doll, leaping over a small green snake which slithered across her path on its multiple miniature wheels.

“Asking me that question, Miss Mandi, would suggest you’ve forgotten I’m just a toy.” The doll did not break its stride or look back at Mandi.

On a stone gatepost a mechanical robin sang, twitching its head to watch Mandi as she passed.

“Sometimes I can’t believe you’re just a doll, Em.”

“Sometimes I can’t believe you’re just a little girl.”

“I keep telling you... I’m not a little girl!”

Then Mandi laughed. The doll was winding her up — that was it. She folded her arms tightly. It must have been at least five below. She hated these long winters. “I’d like to meet your designer one day... and poke her in the eye.”

Mandi glanced over to the center of the boulevard. On the grass lay the body of a man, his clothing frosty-white and scruffy. No doubt another doll, drained and lifeless. You could see them everywhere. Nobody bothered with bodies anymore.

A pizza van purred swiftly towards them and in its wake came a horde of yapping puppy-dolls — growth-arrested strays; toys of flesh and blood, as much dolls as any animatronic construct. When they spotted Mandi, the dogs abandoned their attempt to catch the van and bounded towards her. Mandi had to stop, as the animals threatened to trip her up. She recognized these as Labrador pups, and all colors: black, tan, white, green...

They were harmless, but a nuisance. They nuzzled at the doll, panting, sniffing, growling. The noise was so intense, and so funny, that Mandi did not become aware of the whirring of the approaching balloon until it was almost too late.

She recognized the familiar propeller sound of the toy zeppelin at the same moment that a shadow fell upon the brick wall to her right. Years of suspicion and distrust had given her lightning reactions to the unexpected. She fell to the side. Puppies scattered. She bounced on one hip and rolled onto her knees, glancing up as she came to a halt against the wall.

Only meters away the small helium-filled toy hovered. A fine spray was falling through the air below it, precisely where Mandi had been. The puppies began to yelp and snap at the air, turning in rapid, distressing circles. Then they dashed off, tumbling over each other in their panic.

Some type of chemical, maybe acid, Mandi realized — and intended for her.

The motor whine rose in pitch as the airship turned, bringing its camera around to target on Mandi.

“Em! It’s after me!”

The doll had been outside the danger area and now ran towards Mandi.

The airship began to close the distance.

Mandi sprang to her feet, scooped up the doll, and ran. A moment later she reached a gap in the wall and turned down the path to the canal.

“It’s trying to burn me, Em,” Mandi gasped as she ran. She held the doll in front of her face. “It wants to scar me.”

“That would seem unlikely, Miss Mandi. What would be the purpose in disfiguring you?”

Mandi rapped the doll on the head with her knuckles. “The pageant of course! Someone wants to win... really badly.”

The path zig-zagged down the hill towards the canal. The airship, following a straight line, was gaining on her.

Mandi glanced backwards and slipped on the icy surface. She stumbled into a faster run, but kept on her feet. She leapt down a flight of brick steps to the towpath and hurried along the edge of the frozen waterway.

The zeppelin was only a short distance behind. The whirring sound grew louder as they moved between the towering walls of the warehouses. Mandi’s footsteps echoed as her heavy boots slapped against the cobbles. She followed the canal as it swept around a corner. Then she came upon a tall mesh fence. It stretched completely across the canal; the buildings ahead were to be demolished. Mandi could go no further.

She turned, went to run back, halted, hesitated... Her legs were trembling. She could see the gondola clearly now, a gray box hung on wires below the balloon. The box had three propellers and a central eye which must have been the camera. The propellers slowed.

No time to weigh the dangers; the ice seemed her only choice. If she could just outflank the airship, move faster and get behind. Grasping the mesh fence with her one free hand, she placed a foot upon the frozen canal, then transferred her weight. The ice creaked and cracked. Her boot vanished up to the ankle. She yanked it out, sending chunks of ice skidding across the frozen canal. Her grip on the fence held, but her arm was shaking.

She held the doll up. “I’m trapped, Em. I can’t escape.”

The airship was too close. She expected the acid spray to come at any moment. But the remote pilot must have known Mandi was trapped and was not going to waste a hasty shot.

“Spread your weight, Miss Mandi.”

She had no other option. She released the fence and, in a swift, fluid motion, swam forward on the surface of the canal. The ice held. She tried to wriggle away, one hand dragging on the ice, the other still gripping the doll. But the airship turned again to cut her off. She began to cry. She couldn’t believe this was happening. Would they really try to burn her, to destroy her prettiness? If only she was as agile as the doll...

“Em...” Mandi held the doll up.

“Yes, Miss Mandi?”

“Hold on tight!”

Clifford and the Bookmole

“I am,” whispered Clifford, “rather cunning for my age.” As the front door clicked shut behind his parents, he abandoned the homework that he’d told them could not possibly be left till tomorrow. He had the house to himself.

It had been a simple — though brilliant — idea to copy Auntie Flo’s handwriting from his birthday card and write a note to his Mum and Dad. Less easy had been the placing of a twenty pound note in the envelope. He hoped it would be money well spent.

His father had found the note half-hidden under a cushion, and Auntie Flo’s suggestion that this surprise gift should be spent at the pizzeria down the road had been too much to resist — as Clifford had known it would be. His only disappointment was that there was no one here to admire his ingenuity.

That was about to change.

He dashed upstairs to his room.

The sun was setting in a flaming sky and orange light fell across his Vallejo posters. It was the sort of Hell-colored evening which could make him believe he’d made a deal with the Devil rather than with an eccentric sorcerer named Godfrey. A fine evening for magic.

“First take one bookmole,” he said, attempting a cackle which came out more like a car with starting troubles. “One properly prepared, hungry bookmole.” Though the creature was asleep, he kept his fingers clear of its mouth as he lifted it onto the bed.

“Add a sprinkling of freshly-published third volume of a trilogy.” The book was on his bedside cabinet. Clifford flicked through the pages. “Unread, virginal,” he added with regret. Hesitating only a moment, he tossed the book in front of the creature.

“And stand well clear.”

The bookmole snapped its teeth upon the book. Even though he’d been prepared, Clifford jumped back. The gnawing and rustling of paper and Clifford’s harsh breathing were the only sounds in the room. Now for the words. Once again he gave the command, this time without hesitation. Then he sat on the edge of the bed and waited.

A shadow crossed the sun, laying flickering patterns upon the walls. But the shadow was inside the room. Clifford stiffened. The bedsheets were clenched in his fists. In front of the window the air thickened, grew dark, took the shape of a woman.

Clifford forgot to breathe.

Zondra Amazon stared at him. Her expression was not entirely one of pleasure.

As Clifford’s brain was currently feeding no words to his mouth, he lifted a hand and wiggled his fingers in a feeble wave.

“Who brought me here?” she asked. She glanced about the bedroom. Her hand was clasped upon the hilt of her sword, knuckles white with the promise of violence. “Let him give good reason, for I am sorely vexed.” Her voice was feminine, but resonated with restrained power. It thrilled Clifford right down to his adolescent toes.

He gasped and sucked in air. “Er... Clifford... it was me... I did it.” He felt a blush burn across his cheeks.

She fixed those beautiful blue-green eyes — one blue, one green — upon him. “Are you a sorcerer?”

“Yes, that’s it. A sorcerer.” Now his mouth was working without the aid of his brain. He made a mental note to kick himself later.

“Then you are indeed a mighty one.” She bowed slightly; a restrained gesture of respect. But her hand remained upon her sword. “For my ring protects me from all but the greatest.”

“Yes, I am a mighty sorcerer. Yes, indeed. Wise. Powerful. Yes, mighty is the word.” Clifford tried to maintain the grand timbre in his voice, despite the conviction that at present he sounded like an absolute idiot.

Zondra pouted with those ruby lips, those sensual, ample beauties which lately had teased and trembled through many of Clifford’s dreams and, in one particularly terrifying nightmare, had threatened to suck him to death.

He examined this woman of his dreams. Her soft yellow hair stroked across her forehead as she looked about in confusion. Tall and muscular, she was garbed in a short white linen blouse, even shorter brown leather skirt, and knee-high laced leather boots. Such style, thought Clifford, feeling slightly ashamed in his faded sweatshirt and saggy jeans.

“Tell me then, sorcerer. Why did you bring me here? You must have a purpose. All sorcerers have a purpose, even if only to antagonize a hard-working warrior. Why did you summon me?”

Ah... Now this could be difficult to explain without employing words like love or sex or others which could bring Clifford out in a rash. He stood up from the bed. “I like you.”

She nodded, as if that simple statement had explained everything, and began to loosen the laces on her blouse.

“I... No! I don’t mean like that.” Clifford waved his hand madly. “Well... yes I do.” He held his head in his hands. “I don’t know what I do... I mean think.”

Zondra stopped.

Clifford tried to keep his voice steady and his legs from shaking. “I just mean I like you. You know... like.”

Zondra twisted strands of her yellow hair in her fingers. “Are you seeking marriage?” she asked.

That threw Clifford. “Marriage could be difficult.”

“But you have powers...”

“My Mum’s powers are greater.”

“You have other plans for me then?” Her hand was again on her sword.

“Can we go back to where you unfastened your blouse?”

“You are no doubt a mighty sorcerer,” she said. “But you are also most strange.” She slipped her blouse off one shoulder.

His decision made, Clifford felt much better. For a moment then, he’d almost ruined the evening. Things were looking up. He dashed to the door and jammed the chair under the handle. His parents might be out, but he was taking no chances.

When he turned back, Zondra had gone.

The Girl with the Four-Dimensional Head

The aircar returned one hour after midnight.

Lansdown was in a foul mood after his scoop turned out to be no more than an imaginative doctor and a one year old with an accomplished line in gibberish.

Percival had driven us to the field just outside the tent. He wished us success and departed, his haste associated with the dinner-jacket he wore. In the pressurized auto, the cologne overkill had been oppressive.

Lansdown sat at the aircar controls. He grunted a welcome, then paid more attention as Madelaine slid into her seat. She fidgeted with her undersized environment suit. The tan material was stretched taut — her body appeared in a continual state of compression.

“How long till we get there?” I asked. My seat buckled me in.

Lansdown kept his gaze on Madelaine, but his words were directed at me: “We’re going to be together for three hours, so let’s be nice to each other. I won’t talk about today, and you won’t trespass in here.” He tapped his forehead with a fingertip. He didn’t look at me once. I guessed I made him nervous.

Through the front screen the stars were piercing white and close enough to touch. The aircar lifted its nose and took to the air. There was a brief pressure of acceleration, then we were high and cruising.

I turned to talk to Madelaine, but she’d put on a pair of headphones and was lost in music that I’m sure would not have been to my taste.

I gazed at the back of Lansdown’s head. His hair was grayer than last time I’d seen him. “How long have you been working for Oddities?” I said.

“Longer than you.” He didn’t look around.

I smiled. “Tell me about the Camel.”

* * *

The journey would take three hours.

I settled back and tried to exhale the tensions of the last few days. I thought about what Lansdown had told me.

Artifacts were nothing new. Barely a year went by without another being discovered beneath the arcane sands. But all had added up to zero. False alarms and hoaxes — nothing to prove Mars had ever supported more than simple mosses and bacteria. And we were heading towards the greatest artifact of all, the huge glass tunnel of forty degrees north, which present consensus had declared to be the result of an unknown geological mechanism.

The Camel was different.

The Camel was a man.

He had wandered out of the desert, impossibly naked, with no environment suit to protect him from the sun, the cold, the near-vacuum, with no air supply, and no voice. They were holding him now in a secure facility at the United Prospecting Industries base at the tunnel. The hastily-arranged plan was that Madelaine would attempt to learn about his past and present. I was there to record her emotions and to back up her story, whatever that might be — and because, when it came to pulling strings, Oddities was a master puppeteer.

I slept for a time, then awoke with my stomach attempting to displace my lungs as the aircar dropped down for landing. I’d swear there was a smirk on Lansdown’s lips.

Madelaine glanced over at me, then turned her attention to the front screen. There was puzzlement in that glance, I was certain, and later, as we took coffee with the Chief of Security in his cabin, Lansdown whispered to me that I’d been talking in my sleep. I’d been calling out one word, one name — Madelaine.

* * *

We left Lansdown playing poker with the Chief.

I followed Madelaine down the corridor and out into the darkened observation bubble to gaze into the vastness of the glass-like structure. The diameter of the tunnel was just over a kilometer and the observation bubble perched unnervingly on a makeshift balcony halfway up the side wall. The sun would not rise to illuminate the walls for two hours. For now, the tunnel’s shape could be discerned only from the ghostly green latticework of ricocheting survey-lasers.

“It’s the most stunning building I’ve ever seen,” she said.

“It’s not a building,” I reminded her. I found myself less in awe of the alien structure and more captivated by Madelaine’s profile, silhouetted against the pearl light of a bioglobe hung outside the bubble wall.

She was still for some time. Her eyes scanned the tunnel again and again.

Then she turned to look at me. “Can you hear the voices... the whispering of ghosts?”

“Cute... but sorry. No voices for me. Although I know what you mean.”

“Where does this tunnel go? Has anyone followed it?”

“No more than five kilometers. And it goes deep. It gives me the creeps just to think about it.”

“I would have thought you were familiar with distressing situations.”

“That’s people. I can deal with people.”

Her gaze had returned to the tunnel.

Nothing moved out there. The workers were in bed — a good, sensible place to be, I considered, as I hadn’t seen a bed for thirty-six hours.

“I love silence,” she said. “When I started school, I was already two heads taller than any of the other girls — and they didn’t let me forget it.”

I wasn’t sure why she wanted to share this with me, but I was glad we seemed to be over our initial difficulties. “I used to cry a lot in school,” I said. “I think I was picking up even then. I don’t think they were always my emotions.”

“They called me all sorts of names,” she said. “I used to press my hands to my ears. I preferred to hear nothing than to hear those names. I learned to treasure silence.”

“Kids can be cruel.”

“I used to hide in the greenhouse in the vegetable garden.”

“And that’s how you grew even taller.”

She smiled. “I felt safer behind glass. Me this side... them, everyone, on the other.”

“You’re not behind glass now.”

She pressed a fingertip into the observation bubble. The flexible wall funneled around her finger. “No...” She laughed gently. “It’s plastic.”

She brushed strands of hair from her eyes. She was gazing down at my face. I’d never seen her look so comfortable. Maybe she was getting used to me.

I had a sudden urge to touch her, and my hand reached out for hers.

She snapped her hand out of my grip, but that moment’s touch triggered dormant memories. As a teenager, I’d dreamed of Madelaine, the mystery woman of my adolescent imagination, my dreams — the result of her time-skip across my life.

“You’ve done things to me,” I said. “In my head. Your intrusion...”

“ a fact you’re going to have to deal with.” She moved to leave the bubble. I shifted to block her exit.

I stared up at her. She glared back without flinching.

“You really messed me up,” I said. “You planted a seed of intimacy just sufficient to play havoc with a teenage boy’s emotions.” Relationships had never worked out. I was always dissatisfied, no doubt because no-one could measure up to Madelaine. “Ridiculous as it may seem, I feel closer to you than I’ve ever been to anyone. I think you understand what I’m saying.”

“I understand nothing. Now I’d like to leave.”

“You’re running again... still behind that glass, still hiding from the rest of us.”

I had a vision of her then, a solitary Goddess encased in a crystal column, secure as a statue, hands clamped to her ears to shut out the roar of the world.

“You’re not the only one who doesn’t like people much,” she said.

She was even more messed up than me.


Copyright © 2008 by Colin P. Davies

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Monday, 5 May 2008
Visiting With Colin Davis
Topic: Blog Tours

For the next few days, we will be visiting with author Colin Davis and exploring his book of short stories, Tall Tales on the Iron Horse. Please stop by and read an excerpt, enjoy my interview and drop Mr. Davis a comment.  His website is

Colin P. Davies is a Building Surveyor from Liverpool, England, and has been writing fiction since the mid '80s. Most recently his stories have appeared in Bewildering Stories, Spectrum SF, 3SF, Paradox, Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine and Asimov's.


His stories have met with a good response, making the Locus Recommended Reading List and the British Science Fiction Association Award nominations, as well as gaining two Honorable Mentions in The Year's Best SF. His story "The Defenders" was in The Year's Best SF #22, edited by Gardner Dozois.


Colin has now completed his first novel, The Bookmole, a comic fantasy for Young Adults based upon his short story "Clifford and the Bookmole," and is currently working on his second novel, Pestworld.



Tall Tales on the Iron Horse... Take a ride on the rails of fantasy as you journey to Titan inside the bowels of the Iron Horse. Witness a terrifying and deadly new game and meet a monster who will love you to death. Spend a little time with alien tourists, visit a real cardboard character, and dine in a restaurant where the food is expensive, but life is cheap.


Inventive and original, heartfelt and just plain funny, you will find nineteen fresh and surprising stories (including three new, never-before published) awaiting you in the first collection of short fiction from Colin P. Davies.

Posted by joyceanthony at 4:12 AM EDT
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Sunday, 4 May 2008
Inner Trappings ( The Book Trailer)
Topic: Book Trailers

The following book trailer, created by Surreal Storm Creations, depicts the book Inner Trappings.  This book was written by Barbara Williamson-Woods, writer and poetess (This woman even talks in poetry!).  This is not a book of poetry, however, it is a suspense novel that will hold you mesmerized from start to finish. 

You can find more information on Inner Trappings at:

Posted by joyceanthony at 12:48 AM EDT
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Saturday, 3 May 2008
Promotion Duo That Can't Be Surpassed
Topic: Book Review

I mentioned the other day that I'd give you some more information on The pair of books I will be awarding to one lucky winner, Promo-Paks by Janet Elaine Smith and The Frugal Book Promoter by Carolyn Howard-Johson.

I did a review of Janet's Promo-Paks that can be found here: and more information on Carolyn's The Frugal Book Promoter can be found here:

These two women offer incredibly easy, yet very effective ways to promote your book.  The ideas can be modified to promote just about any product or service.  I truly believe that, by putting into action the tips they share, you will be in a position that eliminates the need for any other book on promotion.  Check out both books and then stop by the individual websites of these women.  You won't be disappointed!

Janet Elaine Smith's site:

Carolyn Howard-Johnson's site:


Posted by joyceanthony at 2:33 AM EDT
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Friday, 2 May 2008
Please Voice Your Opinion--Love Poll
Topic: Writing Ramblings

I am trying to gather some information for an article I'm writing and would really appreciate your help.  I have created a poll that will take less than five minutes to complete and would appreciate your input.  The poll can be found here:


Thank you!!

Posted by joyceanthony at 5:56 AM EDT
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Thursday, 1 May 2008
Writing Contest
Topic: Miscellaneous

Here it is folks, the first ever Rainbow Writing Contest!!!! 

 I thought it would be fun to have a contest for you guys, since you have been so great at sticking with me!!  Here's how it will work:

I will give you a brief scenario that must be included somewhere in your story.  Stories can run anywhere between 250 and 2000 words, so you have lots of room to play with.  In addition, any genre that would fit into G, PG or PG-13 is acceptable.  That pretty much opens up most genres. 

Additional rules can be found here:

Of course there will be prizes--you didn't think I'd forget them, did you??:-)

First Prize will be either a book trailer or a trailer covering author's career and services--this will be author's choice--plus submission of said trailer to 25 video sharing sites. Video will be created by Surreal Storm Creations.

Second Prize will be copies of both Janet Elaine Smith's Promo Paks and Carolyn Howard Johnson's The Frugal Book Promoter.  (More information on each of these coming later this week).

Third Prize will be a surprise "rainbow package" with many rainbow-themed prizes included.

There will also be several Honorable Mention prizes.

Every semi-finalist will also be given a Rainbow Award of Writing Excellence to post on their website or blog.

The judging will take place in two parts.  First, a panel of six judges will read and rate each entry and he highest-scoring 25 entries will move into the semi-finals.  Here is where it gets fun.  These entries will be posted on my website for two weeks and viewers will vote on their favorites. 

Now for the scene that must be included:

It is almost night and there are several police cars with their lights flashing at a scene surrounded surrounded by yellow police tape.  Off to the side of this scene, a shadow of someone watching can be seen on the grass.

Okay....the rest is up to you!!!  

Again, please check out the rest of the rules at:

and get your entries in by May 31, 2008.

Have fun!!!

Posted by joyceanthony at 5:36 AM EDT
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Monday, 28 April 2008
Upcoming Events -- Blog Tours and a Writing Contest
Topic: Miscellaneous

I thought I'd take a moment today to let everyone know what is coming up for the month of May.  Besides the usual book reviews--I will be posting at least five within the next few weeks, there are several book trailers I want to share with everyone.  These were created by the up and coming Surreal Storm Creations.

 May will have four very exciting blog tours.  May 5-8, we will be visiting with Colin Davis, author of Tall Tales of the Iron Horse.  Christie Kremer, author of If Only, willl be paying us a visit from May 13-16.  Dyan Garris, who recently spent time here discussing her book will be back from May 17 thru May 20--and this time we get to explore all her wonderful works, from music to books and angel cards.  She will honor us with a live chat on chakras at 8PM EST on May 20.  May 21-May 24, our visitor will be Peter Knight with his interesting title 33 Worst Mistakes Writers Make With Firearms.

As if all this wasn't plenty, may will see my First Annual (I hope it will become annual!) Writing contest.  I'll be giving the details of this contest tomorrow, so don't forget to come back and check it out!!!


Posted by joyceanthony at 1:18 AM EDT
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Friday, 25 April 2008
Getting to Know Margaret Norton
Topic: Author Interview
Margaret Norton the person:

1. What three words do you think describe you as a human being?
How do you think others would describe you?

Compassionate, Serious, Hard Worker

2.  Please tell us what you are most passionate about outside of writing.

My children and grandchildren

3.  Do you have any pets?  If so, introduce us to them.

One cat I adopted from a shelter. His name is Falcon

4.   What is your most precious memory?

Any memories involving my father and sister. Both are deceased.

5.   What is your most embarrassing memory?

A piano recital when I was 12 years old. I forgot the music.

6.  If you weren't a writer, what would you be doing with your life?

I have been working in the mortgage industry since 1994. The last few years the work has been unsteady and I've been trying to transition out of that to become a full time Personal Life Coach and Writer. If I had not decided to do this I would probably still be trying to stick it out in that field.

7.  In two paragraphs or less write your obituary.

Margaret, sometimes called The Cat Lady, was a person who gave her best to everyone and everything she was involved in. Some people viewed her as quiet and serious which she was. But that was because she was a deep thinker and very analytical. She believed she learned more by listening than by talking. She was honest, dependable and loyal. She liked people but was very content spending time alone.

Those who knew Margaret well describe her as a survivor and fighter.

She overcame several abusive relationships and endured mistreatment from her family. As a Christian it was her faith in God that helped her forgive and learn to love those who had hurt her deeply. After that she became a passionate fighter against all forms of abuse. In her book, When Ties Break/Thriving After Loss, she used her own life to show how easy it is to make mistakes. But she did not view these as failures but rather as opportunities to keep trying. She  became know for the statement she coined "Life gives you many chances to start over again, life a cat with nine lives."

Margaret Norton the writer:

8.      Can you describe the time you realized you were indeed a "real" writer?

In March, 2008 one of my articles was published, along with my picture, in a local newspaper.  I've had several articles published other places but there was something about being in the paper that made me feel like I was a real writer.

9.    What is going on with your writing these days?

As I mentioned above I have been transitioning from my old career to writing. I'm still learning and exploring different types of writing. I'm taking a creative writing class with Long Ridge Writing Academy with the hopes of having some of my articles published in major magazines. Two months ago I discovered the avenues of writing available on the internet and started to pursue jobs as a freelance writer. I've completed four paying jobs and I'm working on four more.

10.  What are your future goals for your writing?

My biggest goal at the moment is praying that my agent will find the right publisher for my book. Once the book is published I hope it opens doors for me to be more involved in programs aimed at stopping abuse. I would like to eventually write a second book. One of my goals is to make enough money as a writer (combined with Personal Life coaching clients) to support myself.

11.   Can you describe a typical writing day for you?

Because I have still been working mortgage jobs none of my days are typical. An ideal day for me would be: Sleep until I wake up. Have my morning coffee & a light breakfast. Daily devotion, meditation & prayer. Go for a short walk. Then spend some time writing. Finish up in the early afternoon leaving most of my evenings free. I'm not there yet but that's what I'm working toward. Now I'm doing so many things because I'm still learning how to write, promoting my freelance business, taking classes, entering contests, submitting articles, etc.

12.  Why do you write?

I started writing in 2005 after 8 people connected to me died. It was therapy and I was searching for answers. When I shared my work with several people they encouraged me to think about writing more. It was then that I turned my journals into a book. I discovered that I enjoyed writing. But more importantly I feel that I have a message to convey.

13.  What writer most inspires you?  Why?

There are many writers who have inspired me through the years. It would be difficult to name  just one. A writer who makes me think, challenges me to change and forces me to view things differently inspires me. I have a fondness for self-help books. I am always inspired by the Bible.

14.  How do you define your writing?

That's difficult because my style is still developing. I'm leaning toward nonfiction, especially creative writing where I share my experiences to help others. I struggle with that because I worry that people will become bored hearing about me and it is sometimes difficult to talk about myself. But I do have many stories to tell.

15.  In one sentence-what do you want people to say about your writing in fifty years?

Margaret's writing helped me to better understand abuse and motivated me to make changes in my own life.

Margaret Norton the details:

16.  Can you tell us where to find more information on you? Website?  Blog?

17.  Is there a place where readers can reach you?

My email address is

There's a contact form on my web sites and a sign up for my monthly newsletter.

18.  Can you list all your book titles so people can look for them?

 Short Story published in A Light Along the Way

 Short Story published in Story Circle Network Quarterly Journal

Blog for &

Articles published with Ezine, Xomba, AC and How to do Things (on line magazines)

These are not book titles but as a new writer this is a good start.

As soon as my agent finds a publisher I will have more details on   my upcoming book. I have titled it, When Ties Break/Thriving After Loss, but the publisher may want to change that.  

19.  For new readers-what can they expect when they read your book(s)?

To know everything about my life. A story about beating the odds,       surviving difficulties, never giving up. A happy ending. Should encourage and uplift many people. It has a little of everything:

coming of age story, sibling abuse, raised by a farmer/marine/minister father and mother who spend time at insane hospitals, dealing with speech problems & chronic illness,

bad choices - bad men - bad marriages, spouse abuse, adultery, abortion, betrayal, divorce, single mother, remarriage, step families, children who were abused & struggled with ADD & ADHD, drug addition, homosexuality, bankruptcy, failed business, death of my sister, father and brother, angry at God & struggle to understand my life, and low self-esteem.

All of this would be more than enough but none of these were the defining moment in my life. To learn what happened to me that shattered my whole world and hurt me so deeply that it took years to recover ... you will have to read my book. 

In conclusion:

20.  Take as much space as necessary to speak to our readers-what would you like them to know about you and your writing?

As open and honest as I've been in the above comments there's not   much more to say.   Sometimes people ask me very cautiously what I think is so special about my life that I would want to write a book about it. I am quick to comment that I don't feel my life is special at all. I've had more than my share of problems for which I am grateful. This made me who I am today. Everyone has a story to tell but not everyone can tell their story. I have changed the names of the people in my book but it is a true story - not a James Frey situation - I had so much stuff I did not need to exaggerate or add details. People who know me and my family will recognize the characters in the book. Most people are not willing to put the dirty details of their life and their family under public scrutiny.   I did not plan to write a book. But rather I felt compelled to share my story with the world. Not enough people speak out when they are mistreated. Not speaking out is almost a passive form of acceptance. But there are many who can not speak out, for one reason or another. I am speaking on their behalf. I think others can learn from my mistakes. I think I can make a difference in the world by telling my story. It wasn't that I wanted to talk about myself but rather this was something I felt I must do. A calling or ministry of sorts.


Posted by joyceanthony at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 25 April 2008 2:22 AM EDT
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