Monday, 30 October 2017

Book Launch News


Well, the book launch of Medieval Gower Stories on Saturday went even better than I hoped. I normally hold my book launches in the Oxfam Bookshop, which means you have to attract your own audience, and can be hit and miss. Saturday was the Local History Book Fair at Swansea Museum, and by holding it there I had a captive audience. The organiser had only set out about 20 chairs and they had to find some more, which was great.

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Science Fiction Themes in the 1990s

Over the last few weeks in the history of science fiction, we have been looking at different aspects of science fiction in the 1990s. By now cyberpunk ceased to be a ghetto and became more integrated into the mainstream. Emerging themes included environmental issues, the implications of the global Internet and the expanding information universe and questions about biotechnology and nanotechnology. Neal Stephenson's novel The Diamond Age (1995) is typical of this. It won both the Hugo and Locus awards in 1996.


Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Book Launch

Did you know King John starved the Lady of Gower and her son to death in Windsor Castle?

Did you know Edward II’s treasure was lost at Swansea Castle?

Stories cover with border

Ten fascinating stories from medieval Gower: battles, brutality, adultery, daring escapes, fairies and an ogre!

If you like scandal, intrigue and true stories from history, then you’ll love Ann Marie Thomas’ book.

Regular price: £4.99

Special price at Book Launch: £4


Saturday 28th October 11.30am

Local History Book Fair, Swansea Museum

Come and hear Ann Marie Thomas tell the story of the writing of the book and the fascinating stories she uncovered

Refreshments available and you can browse the Book Fair from 10am

Ann Marie Thomas head shot (80x90) (300dpi) Web GravatarAnn Marie Thomas is the author of three medieval history books, a surprisingly cheerful poetry collection about her 2010 stroke, and the science fiction series Flight of the Kestrel. Book one, Intruders, is out now. Follow her at

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Time Travel Science Fiction Films (1990s)

During this period of cyberpunk and anime, time travel continued to be a popular theme.

Back to the Future

Back to the Future (1985) was born from a man reading his father's yearbook and wondering, if he could go back to then, would they have been friends? The film examines the problem of time travel – the grandfather paradox. If you go back and kill your grandfather, you would not have been born, so how can you have gone back to kill your grandfather? Dr Michio Kaku, theoretical physicist, said, “If you change the past, the present becomes a logical impossibility.”

Marty McFly, a typical American teenager of the Eighties, is accidentally sent back to 1955 in a plutonium-powered DeLorean "time machine" invented by a slightly mad scientist. During his often hysterical, always amazing trip back in time, Marty must make certain his teenage parents-to-be meet and fall in love - so he can get back to the future. It was followed by two sequels, and there is also a dedicated website.

Monday, 16 October 2017

Escape from the Tower of London

Just to ramp up the anticipation for Medieval Gower Stories, here is another story from the collection. If you want to see any more, you’ll have to buy the book! The ebook is available now on pre-order from Amazon and is half price for the first week. You can get the print book from me.

9 Escape Tower of London pixabay 300dpi

This story links to Gower in two places. William de Braose sold the inheritance of the Lordship of Gower to Baron Roger Mortimer to raise money in 1320. William's daughter Alina and her husband John de Mowbray were supposed to inherit Gower and had even made a contract with William that guaranteed their succession. William actually sold the inheritance of Gower three times over, he was so desperate for money.

Friday, 13 October 2017

SciFi Disaster Films (1990s)

In the middle of the popularity of cyberpunk, disaster films were still popular, with films like Armageddon (1998) and Deep Impact (1998), and a fascination with genetics, in Jurassic Park (1993) and Gattaca (1997). Throughout the 1980s and 90s a science fiction or fantasy film came out virtually every year, as the film industry catered to the public appetite for escapism and excitement, while still playing on their fears.

Armageddon (1998)


Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Medieval Gower Stories Book Launch Planned

I have been writing about this, my new history book, for a few weeks now, so if you have seen the progress news you can go back and read it. Having successfully loaded to ebook version to Amazon KDP and had the print version printed, the next thing is to launch it. I plan to publicise it online of course, and drop the price of the ebook for the first few days (watch for notification) but because it is a physical book too, I want to have an actual, real world book launch.

Stories front cover

The place where I have had all my previous launches said they were sure they could fit me in, but when I gave them an actual week, to coincide with the ebook publication, they were fully booked. My heart sank. What to do?

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Cyberpunk Films (1990s)

In this history of science fiction series, we are currently looking at cyberpunk, and have already looked at key books by authors such as Neal Stephenson and Bruce Sterling. Last week we looked at Japanese manga and anime. Cyberpunk influenced film too. The Ghost in the Shell manga was the inspiration for the hugely successful The Matrix (1999) series. The film Johnny Mnemonic (1995) was based on a short story of the same name by William Gibson. Other films were Total Recall (1990), The Lawnmower Man (1992) and Virtuosity (1995). The growing market in video games also picked up the themes, with the critically acclaimed Deus Ex (2000) and the Metal Gear (1981) series.

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Introduction to Promotion for Authors

Have you ever been accosted by someone in the street trying to sell you something? Did you buy? Why not? The main reasons are: 1. Not interested in the product or service. 2. Not trusting this stranger.


What about junk mail through the letterbox? Have you ever bought anything? Same reasons.

This type of advertising is scattershot – throwing it at everyone and hoping to find the one person who will buy. It’s time-consuming, expensive and not very effective.

I belong to a writers group. How would we feel if a visitor turned up at the group meeting one month and immediately started trying to sell their books? That’s a bit more targeted – authors are usually readers. But the same reasons apply as above. We don’t know who they are, how good a writer they are, we don’t know what the book is about or if it’s any good. And jumping in with a sales pitch is rude.

Monday, 2 October 2017

Medieval Gower Stories Publication!

Stories front cover

Well, the new book is on the way. The manuscript has been formatted for print, a quote agreed with the printer, and the file and the cover sent off. I should have actual printed copies in my hands this week. I decided not to go with Create Space online as it’s too expensive for short books.

The ebook version has been formatted and submitted to Kindle, with the cover and the categories and everything else you need to fill in. I’m waiting for an email from Kindle to say it has been successfully converted, or that there are issues that need fixing. When I tried converting it with a free online converter, all the images came out in the wrong place and some of my paragraphs were split in half. I just hope Amazon does a better job.

I plucked up courage and asked lots of people to read it and leave honest reviews on Amazon on release day, and was delighted with the response. I just hope they like it and do actually leave reviews. They say you should three times as many people as you want reviews.

I’m hoping to have a ‘real world’ book launch the last week in October. I will be finalising the date with the venue this week. Then it will be spreading the word everywhere I can. The advance readers who live locally I hope will spread the word, and my church, the Writers Circle and the Poetry evening I go to.

In the mean time, I have the online work to prepare and work out what promotions to run. It will probably be free or 99p/99c for the first few days after it comes out. I’m aiming for 23 October, so wish me well.

Ann Marie Thomas head shot (80x90) (300dpi) Web GravatarAnn Marie Thomas is the author of three (soon to be four) medieval history books, a surprisingly cheerful poetry collection about her 2010 stroke, and the science fiction series Flight of the Kestrel. Book one, Intruders, is out now. Follow her at

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Manga and Anime (History of Science Fiction)

During the 1980s, a large number of cyberpunk manga and anime works were produced in Japan and gradually caught on in the western world.

Manga are comics created in Japan or by creators in the Japanese language, conforming to a style developed in Japan in the late 19th century. The term manga in Japan is a word used to refer to both comics and cartooning. Manga as a term used outside Japan refers to comics originally published in Japan. In Japan, people of all ages read manga. The medium includes works in a broad range of genres: action-adventure, business and commerce, comedy, detective, historical drama, horror, mystery, romance, science fiction and fantasy, sexuality, sports and games, and suspense, among others. Many manga are translated into other languages. Since the 1950s, manga has steadily become a major part of the Japanese publishing industry.

Anime is a Japanese term for hand-drawn or computer animation. The word is the abbreviated pronunciation of "animation" in Japanese, where this term references all animation. Outside Japan, anime is used to refer specifically to animation from Japan or as a Japanese-disseminated animation style often characterized by colorful graphics, vibrant characters and fantastical themes.