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Robert Batten

Sci-Fi and Fantasy Author


Caroline Gordon Quote on Books

"A book — a well-composed book — is a magic carpet on which we are wafted to a world that we cannot enter in any other way. Yet, in another sense, all true works of fiction have their scenes laid in the same country, and the events take place in the same climate: that country, that climate which we all long for and in our several ways strive to reach — the region where truth is eternal and man immortal and flowers never fade."

Caroline Gordon, How to Read a Novel (1957), p. 234

But wait, there's more

If you enjoyed this quote, you may want to check out the others I've shared

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No season of Doctor Who in 2019

The BBC has announced there won't be a 2019 season of Doctor Who, but we will get a New Year's special on 1 Jan (instead of the more traditional Christmas Special) and the series will return in 2020.

This news, while disappointing, isn't a surprise. There had been talk the new writing team didn't feel they could do the show justice while still churning out a full season each year, and even rumors they (and Jodie Whittaker, could depart).

I think this year's season has been excellent; episode one was a little shaky for me, but since then it seems to have gone from strength to strength, and I love Whittaker in the role of Doctor. It's going to be a long wait, but I'm confident the 2020 season will be worth it.

Update: we’ve also been gifted with a trailer for the New Year’s special. 

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Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Genres: Science-Fiction | Dystopia.

"I live for the dream that my children will be born free," she says. "That they will be what they like. That they will own the land their father gave them."

"I live for you," I say sadly.

Eo kisses my cheek. "Then you must live for more."

I’ve been getting hassled about reading this series for a while, so finally sat down and read the first installment — Red Rising. It was fantastic.

Red Rising is set on Mars in a distant future. It follows Darrow, a red, who believe themselves the first colonists on the planet, mining the resources necessary to terraform the surface and make the planet safe for full colonization.

Only, that’s not really true.

A series of events reveals to Darrow just how badly they’ve all been lied to. Left with nothing but a hunger for revenge, he agrees to become the enemy in order to bring them down.

“See. That’s what I don’t get. If I am a good man, then why do I want to do bad things?” Darrow.

What follows is a brutal adventure and Darrow’s first steps on his mission. Darrow is a great character who grows significantly throughout the book and Brown does an amazing job building a believable world. I became completely caught up in the narrative and cheered out loud on several occasions as Darrow successfully pulled off something particularly outrageous. He is wild, audacious, and driven, and I can’t wait to dive into the rest of the series.

Where to find it

If you're interested in Red Rising, you can learn more on Goodreads here, or buy a copy from Amazon here.

While you're here

If you enjoyed this recommendation, why not have a look at my other recommendations as well?

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Ray Bradbury on writing

You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.

Ray Bradbury, Zen in the Art of Writing.

Want more quotes?

If you enjoyed this quote, why not check out the others I've shared here?

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Keeping your newsletter out of the spam folder

One of the most important marketing tools in an author's toolbox is their mailing list; it's old-school, but it works. However, with the enormous quantity of malicious spam flying around the internet, mail companies are constantly building new layers of defense which authors must successfully navigate lest they fall foul of spam filters. Like I have.

UPDATE at the end — it's working!

If you're a subscriber of my newsletter, please check your spam folder. It would be a huge help if you marked any of my emails there as "not spam". You can also add my newsletter email address to your contacts to white-list it.

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Win an Gift Card for providing feedback

Over the last year I've grown the number of subscribers to my author newsletter significantly and I think it's time to test it's content. What do you want to see in my newsletter? Answer the survey below to go in the draw to win one of two Gift Cards (USD$20).  Details of rules and information on the prizes are at the end of this post.


The survey has now closed — thank you everyone for your feedback. I've selected the two winners — congratulations Mahmoud and Diane! They have been sent their Amazon vouchers.

I've included some of the results of the survey below.

Information on my writing

Other information to include

Suggestion box

I also included an option to provide more freeform suggestions. Below I've summarized the key suggestions that cropped up:

  • Other writers would love to hear about your road to publication. The hard times, the good times. What worked for you. An advice column might be nice.
  • Try including freebies from other authors.
  • I suggest making a youtube channel.
  • Book summaries.

People also left some lovely feedback in this section, which I haven't included here as it feels a little self-congratulatory to post it, but rest assured if you left on of those comments it made me feel great. Thank you

Next steps

Based on this, I'll be focussing on publishing announcements, editing updates, and some background lore and science for my own writing. I'll include snippets and concept art as well, but this will be less frequent. For other information to include, I'll:

  • Keep up the book recommendations and experiment with presentation, etc. 
  • Include more regular giveaways. I have some plans for this, from larger newsletter builder giveaways to smaller giveaways focussed on specific books from my recommendations.
  • Sci-fi and fantasy news from around the web. I'll start to include more of this, but will work on doing so in a brief format with links to more detailed information so I avoid sending out war and peace.


For reference, I have left the rules here for the giveaway I ran as part of the survey.

  1. The draw is open to any individual person.
  2. The winner must provide their name and email address as part of the survey. These contact details will only be used to contact you if you win. You are not signing up to my newsletter by filling out this survey (but if you are not subscribed, you can do so here).
  3. The survey will be open until Friday, 14 December 2018. I may extend this by several days at my discretion (read, if I'm too busy on Friday to close out the form).
  4. Once the survey is closed, I will use a random number generator to select two entries from the survey responses that include a name and email. I will contact those people by email to confirm delivery arrangements for the gift cards. If they do not respond within three days, I will select a new winner.  This process will continue until two chosen winners respond and confirm delivery instructions.


There are two prizes which will each be awarded to a different winner. They are both eGift Cards to the value of USD$20. The winner must be able to claim eGift Cards from the (US) marketplace. The winner must be able to provide a valid email address where the gift card code can be sent.


The contact details section of this survey is optional. You may complete the survey without providing your name or email address and I will receive your feedback. However, if you do not provide your email address, you will not be eligible for the prize. Any names or email addresses submitted via this survey will ONLY be used to contact the winners. By filling out this survey, you are not subscribing to my email newsletter (but you can do so here).

I have a detailed Privacy Policy available here if you would like more information about how I handle personal information.

Note: the survey has been designed using Google Forms. When you fill out the survey, you are submitting the data to the Google Forms site, not my own. The data is captured in my personal Google Forms account and should not be available to any other user. Once the prizes have been awarded, I will delete all contact information submitted from the survey data and only keep the anonymous feedback results.

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