The Infinite Today, Doctor Who Short Trips

As per my news last week, I’m delighted Big Finish Productions announded my short audio story performed by Katy Manning featuring the eleventh Doctor and companion Jo Grant (Jones) which will release in January 2020.

When Alfie Shaw approached me with the concept of the Doctor and Jo having more air time together how could I refuse. In fact, they wanted a story where these two might be stuck together for some time to come, and gone, and come, and gone…

Jo Jones is travelling. Setting out from London Gatwick to Mexico, she lands back at Gatwick.

Jo Jones is travelling once again. Setting out from London Gatwick to Mexico, she lands back at Gatwick with the exact same crew and passengers.

Jo Jones is travelling once again. Setting out from London Gatwick to Mexico, she lands back at Gatwick with precisely the same crew and passengers, again.

Jo Jones is travelling once again…

Available for preorder from Big Finish.

Available for preorder at £2.99. Big Finish also offer the 12 episode series bundle (TBA) at £30.

Update July 2019

The long awaited exciting writing news (for me anyway) is coming at the end of this glance at the month’s news but I want to address a few other things.

OUT AND ABOUT:
Despite travelling being difficult I persevered and spent a week in the Brecon Beacons. One of my favourite towns in the area remains Hay on Wye but as it’s a town of mostly book shops how could it not. Had a noteworthy lunch at Talgarth Meal (seriously cannot recommend it enough), but only a passable dinner at The Dragon Inn, Crickhowell after waiting an hour (not recommended and I hate saying that about anywhere). The area deserves a mention for the amazing scenery and clean air — perhaps the freshest I’ve yet to come across in the U.K.

Talgarth Mill Sharing Platter (cheese option).

FILM:
I had high hopes for Possum directed by Matthew Holness and starring Sean Harris and Alun Armstrong, in which a disgraced children’s puppeteer returns to his childhood home, forcing him to face secrets that have tortured his entire life. Sadly, I feel this spiralled away into a missed opportunity. I watched this out of curiosity because it’s decidedly dark fiction, and the twisted plot contained touches of Iain Banks in style. The dark ‘Silent Hill; look of the protagonist’s old house held promise as did the posters, but this played too much on many people’s innate aversion to spiders.

This film is eerie rather than scary, though that might not have been a bad thing if played right. The initial sight of the puppet’s legs are definitely worth a shudder, and the head worth a yike, but, once fully revealed, the puppet quickly loses any hold over a large percentage of the audience, eventually looking laughable. Though surreal, we’re aware from the blurb that what Philip sees may be delusional and while we, therefore, cannot easily separate reality from fantasy, this tones down the scare factor still more. The one good thing about this for me is the questionable ending, though I cannot say why without a spoiler. Still, although the film is short at approximately 1 hour 20 minutes, the plot plods along at a slow build to reach an abrupt and somewhat predictable climax. I worked out the story of the parents, had ideas regarding Uncle Morris, and I suspected what was in the room Philip is reluctant to enter. Still, Holness achieves his wish and preference for films that ‘linger’, and nudge the viewer to contemplate later, plus there is no faulting the performances of the two lead actors. Reviews on this film are mixed. For me, this didn’t quite work, mainly because I expected something ‘more’ but it remains an interesting if surreal exercise. The thing I found most disturbing is the central poetic story behind the puppet’s creation.

READING:
Cross Stitch (AKA Outlander), Diana Gabaldon
Read this mainly because I’d heard good reports and because I considered watching the series based on this book. I detest giving negative views; unfortunately, I can’t give this more than a passing nod despite wishing I could. I found the writing excellent, and the history I imagine/hope well-researched though full of accuracies/inaccuracies as suited the story with sufficient plot to carry the content well. I can even get a handle on this is historical and women were treated differently (as was everyone in those times, but especially women at least when comparing with most of the western world today). Indeed, their treatment was likely far worse than portrayed in this book.

The reason this story fails for me is Claire, the protagonist herself. She lacks emotion in that she doesn’t suffer the right level of angst and heartache. The sense of her worry over her true husband missing her is less than if he were a brother or father who might discover her gone, and she hardly seems to miss him at all. While I could accept her going into another relationship through necessity (I won’t say more to avoid less than obvious spoilers), and even attraction making the reality less odious, still there’s no heartrending for this ‘lass’. Jamie is right approximately halfway through the book that she’s not taking her predicament seriously enough, although, of course, he doesn’t comprehend the true nature of her plight.

Claire seems to shake off dangerous situations like a dog rids its coat of water (oddly paraphrasing a line in the book I didn’t know existed when I started writing this review), in a way any person would be hard disposed to do, and with little physical, emotional, or psychological damage. Even a woman of the 21st century would feel terror let alone a woman, who should, by historical fact, have led a more cosseted existence. The idea she has nursed men injured by war seems used to inure her against the threat of rape, torture, and death itself even when it’s her own and hideous. And one moment I surmise they intended to be powerful (though many women will find off-putting as sexual violence) had me rolling with laughter and ready to cast the book aside. This book would have worked far better and might have had a chance of being a real love story had the man left behind in the future been a relative or dear friend (maybe even an adopted brother to avoid nasty associations with other characters in the book) instead of a husband. There would be no infidelity questions for one thing, which almost everyone in the romance market votes as the biggest turnoff.

The character of Claire is sometimes far too shallow and unbearably naïve, yawning in boredom even when her life is in jeopardy, making her appear plain foolish. Even when she’s at her most courageous, she spoils it by doing something reckless or stupid so dashed any hope moments later in disbelief. She has some redeeming factors, namely unwavering determination, but it’s not enough to present a strong well-rounded heroine. There’s a little too much deus ex machina, which in a novel of this length stretches even suspended belief to breaking point and there’s little regard whether her actions alter the course of history. In addition, some degrees of suffering best left to the imagination gets dredged out as though for perverse entertainment leaving me to question why. To show strength of character? By that point we already know the levels of pain endured, and how strong these people are. This left me feeling constantly flipped around and turned on my head as the book is neither one thing nor the other. The historical machinations were the only parts of interest to me and the repeated references to various forms of rape repellant. I don’t believe in prettying things up when writing, but this screamed of excess.

Yet…the book is epic and inspires emotional investment, even tugs at the heartstrings, and I was on the edge of my seat at one point hoping for a happy ending by which time realising there was no other (emotionally happy) future for Claire. It’s good but because of Claire’s impulsive and heedless nature I didn’t find it one to keep. I doubt I’ll read more, but I may check out the series.

Good Omens, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
A reread of a classic (because I’m awaiting the DVD release so I can see Amazon’s adaptation starring David Tennant and Michael Sheen) by two outstanding authors who are also my favourite writers. This story displays both their talents, creating a meld of the sublime and ridiculous in all the right ways. Any fan of Douglas Adams would do well to pick up this story. The world would be a poorer place without this collaboration. Pure magic.

WRITING:
As to the big news… I’ve spent months unable to reveal the contract I signed with Big Finish for a story in their audio Short Trips range. My story, THE INFINITE TODAY, features Matt’s Smith eleventh Doctor and companion, Jo Grant, read by Jo herself ‘Katy Manning’. They invited me to the recording earlier this year but alas owing to health I could not attend. I need not say how I felt about a missed opportunity that may never occur again. Katy has apparently done a wonderful job bringing the story to life and I await hearing it. The story releases in January 2020.

The Infinite Today by Sharon Bidwell, January 2020

Celebratory Gift for Flowers for the Gardener

THIS POST AND ENTRIES ARE NOW CLOSED. AS YOU CAN SEE (BELOW) MY WINNER WAS CHAD. THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO STOPPED BY. THANKS FOR PERUSING THE SITE.

Take part in a Draw for a chance to receive this Gift as custom made by Enchanted Elegance to celebrate the release of my latest book. Entries to be made between the 21-30th April 2018 GMT.

***
a Rafflecopter giveaway

***

So…what do YOU have to do? Simple. Pop over to my page on JMS Books to find the answer to the question of how many titles I have on sale there (Note: count print and ebooks versions as two). Then pop the answer into Rafflecopter from the 21-30th (not in the comments). And, though not mandatory, do stop by to say hi. Let me know if you’ve read ‘any’ titles of mine you liked, and/or, if not, what genres you like to read.

***

When I signed a contract for Flowers for the Gardener (available for pre-order now) I immediately knew I wanted to offer a celebratory Gift. The only question was what. I popped along to Enchanted Elegance and got lost in the many pretty things. Hearts and flowers were an obvious choice but when I contacted the owner who offered to create a custom-made item, I did not envision something quite so lovely. But then I’m a writer, not a jewellery designer. On this occasion, I required someone else’s imagination to make what I wanted reality.

Though I cannot imagine Ethan giving Richard a bunch of flowers or vice versa (not with straight faces, anyway), I can picture the beautiful garden Ethan is capable of designing for them both to enjoy…if they get their act together and overcome the conflicts and vendettas they’ve clung to for far too long.

My sincere apologies. Because this item has been made in the United States and can only be posted within said country, the draw is open only to US entrants.

***

Warmhearted rich man’s son, Richard Gardener, needs to overcome three obstacles. To find a way the family business can run without him, help his mother cope with grief, and stop butting heads and other parts of his anatomy with the gardener.

Ethan Fields has worked for the family for many years. He’s struggling with debt, the desire to leave, and has loved Richard far longer than the man would believe. Ethan can cope with most things, but his anger with Richard’s mother won’t fade. Until that and his feelings over Richard are resolved, he feels trapped and, alas, the idea sex will get Richard out of his system isn’t working.

To make the situation worse, both assume too much, aren’t saying the right words, and Ethan’s offer of ‘just sex’ grows more complicated by the day. How can Richard and Ethan stop getting their wires crossed before their paths diverge?

1. Eligibility: This giveaway is open only to those who respond as requested at The Author’s website and only open to legal residents of United States of America, and is void where prohibited by law. Immediate family members of The Author are not eligible to participate.
2. Agreement to Rules: By participating, the Contestant (“You”) agree to be fully unconditionally bound by these Rules, and You represent and warrant that You meet the eligibility requirements. In addition, You agree to accept the decisions of the Draw as will take place on Rafflecopter as final and binding as it relates to the content of this Gift.
3. Period: Entries will be accepted online starting on 21 April 2018 GMT and ending close of day 30 April 2018 GMT. All online entries must be received by end of 30 April 2018 GMT. Rafflecopter will not accept entries outside of this time.
4. How to Enter: The giveaway must be entered by submitting an entry using the online form provided at The Author’s website. The entry must fulfill all requirements, as specified, to be eligible to win the gift. Entries that are incomplete or do not adhere to the rules or specifications may be disqualified at the sole discretion of The Author. You may enter only once. You must provide the information requested. You may not enter more times than indicated by using multiple email addresses, identities, or devices in an attempt to circumvent the rules. If You use fraudulent methods or otherwise attempt to circumvent the rules, your submission may be removed from eligibility at the sole discretion of The Author.
5. Giveaway: The selected participant (the “Winner”) will receive the necklace and earrings pictured, as created by, and supplied directly from Enchanted Elegance. The Gift is supplied by this 3rd party and should there be any unexpected and/or exceptional delay The Author reserves the right to substitute the Gift with a substitute of equal or greater value eg: book vouchers or credit from The Author’s publisher; this will only come into effect if the original Gift cannot be supplied owing to extenuating circumstances beyond The Author’s control. No cash or other prize substitution shall be permitted except at The Author’s discretion. The prize is nontransferable. Any and all prize-related expenses, including without limitation any and all federal, state, and/or local taxes, shall be the sole responsibility of Winner. No substitution of Gift or transfer/assignment of Gift to others or request for the cash equivalent by Winner is permitted. Acceptance of Gift constitutes permission for the author to use Winner’s name (or some form of identification eg: a nickname) for purposes of announcing the end of the Draw.
6. Odds: The odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries received.
7. Winner Selection and Notification: Winner will be selected by a random drawing. Winner will be notified by email within five (5) days (but likely sooner) following selection of Winner. The author shall have no liability for Winner’s failure to receive notices due to spam, junk e-mail or other security settings or for Winner’s provision of incorrect or otherwise non-functioning contact information. If Winner cannot be contacted, is ineligible, fails to claim the prize within five (5) days from the time gift notification was sent, the prize may be forfeited and an alternate Winner selected.
8. By entering this content, You represent and warrant that your entry is an original work of authorship, and does not violate any third party’s proprietary or intellectual property rights. If your entry infringes upon the intellectual property right of another, You will be disqualified at the sole discretion of The Author. If the content of your entry is claimed to constitute infringement of any proprietary or intellectual proprietary rights of any third party, You shall, at your sole expense, defend or settle against such claims. You shall indemnify, defend, and hold harmless The Author from and against any suit, proceeding, claims, liability, loss, damage, costs or expense, which The Author may incur, suffer, or be required to pay arising out of such infringement or suspected infringement of any third party’s right.
9. Terms & Conditions: The Author reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend the Draw should virus, bug, non-authorized human intervention, fraud, or other cause beyond The Author’s control corrupt or affect the administration, security, fairness, or proper conduct of the Draw. In such case, a Draw may be made from all eligible entries received prior to and/or after (if appropriate) the action taken by The Author. The Author reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to disqualify any individual who tampers or attempts to tamper with the entry process or website or violates these Terms & Conditions. The Author has the right, in its sole discretion, to maintain the integrity of the Draw, to void votes for any reason, including, but not limited to: multiple entries from the same user.
10. Limitation of Liability: By entering, You agree to release and hold harmless The Author and its subsidiaries, affiliates, advertising and promotion agencies.

 

Flowers for someone…

When I signed a contract for Flowers for the Gardener I immediately knew I wanted to offer a celebratory giveaway for one lucky person. The only question was what. I popped along to Enchanted Elegance and got lost in the many pretty things. Hearts and flowers were an obvious choice but when I contacted the owner who offered to create a custom-made item, I did not envision something quite so lovely. But then I’m a writer, not a jewellery designer. On this occasion, I required someone else’s imagination to make what I wanted reality.

Though I cannot imagine Ethan giving Richard a bunch of flowers or vice versa (not with straight faces, anyway), I can picture the beautiful garden Ethan is capable of designing for them both to enjoy…if they get their act together and overcome the conflicts and vendettas they’ve clung to for far too long.

Coming end of April 2018. Check back next month on how to win!

(Note: this will be open to US entrants only as the item is in the US. My apologies.)

Warmhearted rich man’s son, Richard Gardener, needs to overcome three obstacles. To find a way the family business can run without him, help his mother cope with grief, and stop butting heads and other parts of his anatomy with the gardener.

Ethan Fields has worked for the family for many years. He’s struggling with debt, the desire to leave, and has loved Richard far longer than the man would believe. Ethan can cope with most things, but his anger with Richard’s mother won’t fade. Until that and his feelings over Richard are resolved, he feels trapped and, alas, the idea sex will get Richard out of his system isn’t working.

To make the situation worse, both assume too much, aren’t saying the right words, and Ethan’s offer of ‘just sex’ grows more complicated by the day. How can Richard and Ethan stop getting their wires crossed before their paths diverge?

A Very Private Haunting

Shipping soon, what Candy Jar call my ‘spooky opener’ for series five. Yeah, I guess it is. Even when a foray into the world of Lethbridge-Stewart I couldn’t help that dark side peaking out.

Get your orders in for this limited edition (with extended short story) before it sells out!

A Very Private Haunting sees Arthur Penrose finally take ownership of a Scottish manor house that’s been in his family for generations. There are many secrets in the house, but what connects them to the mysterious shadow creatures that Lethbridge-Stewart and his men are investigating?


For a reduced price you can receive the following three books before general release in 2018:

A Very Private Haunting by Sharon Bidwell
The New Unusual by Adrian Sherlock & Andy Frankham-Allen
The Man from Yesterday by Nick Walters