Wednesday 11th October, 2017

Not much to report this week – although you may want to keep an eye on the tag #OctoberFrights on both Twitter and Facebook as some of my fellow writers are posting under it as part of a blog hop at the moment. There’s a giveaway involved at some point, too. There’s a good starting point here: [External Link]

In terms of my writing, I’ve doubled the words on the Feintheart WIP to 7,000 – although around 3,000 of those are old words from it’s previous life as the City of Dreams novella.

I may be late or skip next week’s update as I shall be busy, but I shall try to make up for it by coming up with somethign worth posting around it so there’s something worth rounding up when I do get to the diary post!

Wednesday 4th October, 2017

I’m pretty sure we’ve got to the part of the year when I legitimately get to say things like “Where has all the time gone?” and “Doesn’t it go by so fast?” Obviously, it doesn’t go by so fast when I’m doing something boring but one day you look at the date and realise you’re in the tenth month of the year and OH MY DOGS! WHY HAVEN’T I GOT ANYTHING DONE! Or something.

Anyway, I have written and posted a flash fiction piece, Me, you and the dog, too that I won’t spoil for you by talking about it but I will warn you that it seems to have made one or two people cry. As I said to one of them on Facebook, I apparently didn’t get enough love and hugs before going to bed the night I thought of it. If it hits you in the same way, I apologise in advance, but you know I’m also going to be feeling insufferably smug because it means I can actually write.

On a similar note, I am now 3,500 brand spanking new words into the Feintheart WIP – that is 3,500 words that hadn’t been written for the City of Dreams novella I’m ripping apart to make it. So some of the original chapters will go in with varying degrees of editing, new material is going in to adjust the plot(s) to fit the Feintheart framework and some of the old material will be totally discarded as it gets left behind by the new plot(s). Related things that may or may not interest you:

  1. “Feintheart” is a play on “faintheart” (meaning coward) and “feint” (meaning a pretence, used in fencing for a false attack that encourages a particular response), so while a faintheart is a coward, the feintheart I have in mind is basically the kind of person who plays a strategic game of their own through all their interactions. This feintheart is not a point-of-view character and may not appear to be a main character by the end of the book, so it probably won’t remain named after them. Incidentally, “faint” and “feint” come from the same etymology but took on slightly different meanings.
  2. I have spent the last few days trawling the Internet for information about Commedia dell’Arte, specifically the masks and characters. Not that I’ll be using them but the WIP has an equivalent masked comedic performance thing going on and I thought loosely basing it on what we came up with would be easier. Which it was, aside from the getting so obsessed with working out the WIP version that I didn’t go to bed until silly o’clock last night.

I’ll end with the reminder that I’ve moved (most of) my writing related Facebook stuff to its own page (here: [External Link]). I will still be tweeting most things and these will turn up on my personal FB profile as that’s what Twitter is linked to – and my Twitter account is all my interests – but the page should make it easier for people who aren’t FB friends to follow the writing related announcements. I also make sure to repost any book related giveaways by writing friends and things I think may become part of my general reading/writing research. I intend to do some Commedia dell’Arte stuff tomorrow.

Me, you and the dog, too

Download as PDF

I came back and you were in a bad way, which I guess is only to be expected with the news you’d just had. I could barely look at you because the thing I always loved about you was gone. Your smile is rare but you always – well, almost always – have those lines at either side of your mouth that suggest you’re amused by everything. … Continue reading

Wednesday 27th September, 2017

Well, we survived Swords & Sourcery and Academie Glorianna are considering whether we have the wherewithal to do it again next year and how. Feedback so far has been gloriously positive – and thank you to everyone who attended for making it such a positive event.

I’m now in a position to start planning The Next Thing(s), so I’ve put up some event reminders for the upcoming York pub meet and Sledge Lit, which I shall be attending as a punter. I’m also starting to look at my calendar for next year and will probably start putting up some events (both fencing and writing) for that in the next month or so. I won’t be making it to By The Sword 2018. They have sold out tickets in a matter of days. Good for them, not so good for me!

I’m also starting to catch up with the idea of alpha and beta readers for the recently finished Aurora 1st draft and who to approach for reviews of the recently accepted The Knight’s Daughter. I don’t know when review copies will be available and so on but if you’re interested, drop me a line and we’ll make a list of willing sacrifices volunteers.

I haven’t started work on the next WIP, yet – Feintheart, although that’s unlikely to be the finished title – but should do in the next few days. Expect to read my gripes about it in the not-too-distant future.

Final thing to mention: I’ve decided to follow all the cool kids and move my writing related stuff to its own Facebook page (here: [External Link]). I will still be tweeting most things and these will turn up on by personal FB profile but the page should make it easier for people who aren’t actually friends to follow the writing related announcements.

Wednesday 20th September, 2017

Only three days to Swords & Sourcery and I’m trying not to be too wound up. It’ll all be fine and I’ll enjoy it when it’s here. Although I probably won’t decide I enjoyed it until the day after, because that’s the way I handle stress!

However, in happy feelings land, the lovely Michael (S) Collins of Other Side Books [External Link] has agreed to rehome The Knight’s Daughter, the first of my Greenwood stories. (No, the other two haven’t been rehomed, they’re still in states of disarray / first draft.) Which rolls in nicely to my official announcement that the first draft of Aurora is complete. Once S&S is out of the way, I shall be looking at chasing up the alpha readers and recruiting some beta readers. And the Feintheart story refuses to listen to me deny I have time for it this week and keeps attempting to (re)start with moments like:

It starts in a tavern. Because all adventures start in a tavern, right?

And:

The hero should be a fallen prince, or some noble’s bastard, or a farm-boy desperate to prove himself. Or all three, for preference.

This is not the unreliable narrator / snark knight I was looking for. Especially not when I have other things to think about.

(These are tropes references. If you want to fall into the TV Tropes black hole, you can find out about unreliable narrators here: [External Link] and snark knights here: [External Link])

Wednesday 13th September, 2017

It appears that I was right on the money on my last site update as the first of my Aurora WIP is basically finished. I need to do some nip and tuck while I stitch the chapters together but it will be done this week. In fact, my really wild Friday night will probably involve doing the last few bits and pieces to it.

Which is just as well because the next project / first draft seems to be demanding my time. This one is going with the working title “Feintheart” (stolen from someone else many moons ago in a discussion and skulking around long enough for me to have an ideas playlist on YouTube:

It’s also been mentioned (briefly) on 28th June, 2017 and the novella I intend to cannibalise to produce it, City of Dreams was mentioned as a complete first draft on 26th July, 2009. It’s been mentioned since but the dates are only to demonstrate how long the idea has been bouncing around my head.

10 days to Swords & Sourcery! (If you’re interested in attending, please get in touch asap.)

Wednesday 30th August, 2017

It’s been a fortnight since we talked last but, dear reader, I have had a rather awesome experience or two in between. I hope that I may be forgiven for the generally state of anxiety that stopped me posting last week.

On Saturday 19th August, Academie Glorianna (the HEMA club that allows me to play with them) were doing some display work at Hall i’ th’ Wood Hall. That’s this place: [External Link]. Given the age of the hall, we tailored our talk to Shakespeare’s era and Mark Hillyard and I did some I33, Saviolo and Di Grassi plays to show the kind of fighting that Shakespeare and his contemporaries were probably familiar with. It also led to a conversation amongst ourselves about whether the acting companies (usually patronised by one lord of another) were really a way of hiding trained fighting men who were part of a lord’s entourage seeing as keeping soldiers and affinities were no longer legal after the whole York – Lancaster rivalry got out of hand. This may be an idea I play with at a later point.

smallsword hilt

A smallsword owned by Craven Museum

On the Sunday (20th), we went for a sword handling session at Craven Museum in Skipton (that’s this place [External Link]). It turns out, they have a rather impressive set of swords. This pic is my favourite one, a smallsword, but I have no doubt that other people would prefer some of the beefier blades.

Thursday 24th to Sunday 27th I was in London – specifically at St Mary’s University near Teddington [External Link] – for ChapterCon, where I met some amazing fellow authors. Amazing in the sense of all being lovely, helpful, friendly, supportive, positive people. I had a great time (but took few photos) and I’ve come away with a healthier respect for indie authors in other genres. Oh, didn’t I say? I was totally out of my usual con circuit as the bulk of the writers and bloggers there could be considered to have branched out from romance and (rather disparagingly but unintentionally so) “chick lit” rather than fantasy. There was a lot of overlap but it was like walking into a totally different and beguiling world. Anyway, there will be a ChapterCon 2019, which is shaping up to be more industry / backend focussed than for readers and members of the public but I’m looking forward to attending if I can.

And on Bank Holiday Monday (28th) I watched my niece at a riding lesson. She can canter and everything! (I am a proud auntie, right now.)

Unfortunately, Mousie did not accompany me on any of these trips (she didn’t fit in the case for the London trip), so there are no postcards.

In other news, the Aurora WIP has been snipped by 5000 words and not recovered any. It does, however, look like it might be drawing to a close this week or next. And Swords & Sourcery is creeping up on me. I may be slightly panicky about it seeing as I’m one of the organisers.