Wednesday 15th November, 2017

Winter may not technically be here but the days are short enough that I’m starting to wonder why I just don’t go hide in bed for the next few months until the nights have drawn out again. I have problems feeling like I’ll never be enough at the best of times (I don’t put enough time into fencing or tai chi or writing or reading, and I don’t put in enough at work, and the dogs don’t get enough walks or fusses, and I don’t do enough to stay in touch with friends and family, and so on) but the restricted hours of daylight tend to make it all seem so much more… on a restricted timetable.

Anyway, in main WIP news, Feintheart continues to limp. With editing an old chapter, it’s now up to 19,000 words. I kind of know what the next new chapter should be like but I haven’t been able to start it. I suppose that constitutes writer’s block but I think it has more to do with brain space and getting other things done, and worrying about all the things i probably don’t need to. (See above about being enough.)

In Under Smoke City news, the teaser for the second passage and the second passage have both been released. You won’t be able to read the full passage unless you’re a backer, but the teaser is available for everyone and is here: [External Link]. If you want to get involved with Under Smoke City, you can help me work out the content or the overall destination of the project by backing me.

And yes, I’m still embroiled in the Esfinges’ 30 Days of HEMA Study event [External Link] – in partnership with my fencing instructor, Mark Hillyard of Academie Glorianna. We’re now on Day 15 of 30, although the #30DaysofHEMA tags on Twitter and my personal Facebook wall have dropped as Mark and I are now on the “re-reading and conferring to be sure we agree what we’re reading” stage, which makes suitable quotes and observations difficult to come by! At some point, there will be a recreating a play stage and there will be video, so there’s that to look forward to.

Wednesday 1st November, 2018

Lots of news for today’s round up – but let’s start with the main work in progress (WIP), Feintheart. I leapt forward just over 3,000 words this week to 15,000 – but that’s mainly due to moving across an existing chapter from the previous incarnation, City of Dreams, that didn’t need much editing. However, I’m half way through a new chapter and should get that sorted tomorrow evening.

Which, strictly speaking, I shouldn’t be doing but I haven’t made it back to tai chi since my holiday (two weeks ago, now) due to tattoo and deliveries and generally having things to organise before I can get out to it.

Anyway, you may have noticed I said “main” WIP up there. That’s because (drum roll, please) I have a Patreon! And it’s specifically to cover the Under Smoke City idea. I put an official reveal of what was briefly a secret project on the website, but this link will take you to my teaser post with the latest versions of the opening paragraphs for you to try: [External Link]

It precipitated a bit of a re-order of my widgets (to the right), so you should now have a sub-group of links called “Other Projects”, which includes Under Smoke City and the no-longer-updated-but-still-extent Otherworld Gazetteer.

The other things to mention site- and writerly-wise are that I’ve booked my tickets for FollyCon (EasterCon 2018) and Satellite 6 (in May 2018), so I may see you there. I’ve put myself forward for panels and more HEMA for Writers, so we’ll find out if I’m up to mischief nearer the time!

And if you follow me on Twitter or are friends with me on Facebook (as oppose to following my Facebook writer-y page [External Link]), you’ll have started seeing the tag #30DaysofHEMA. This relates to a Facebook event [External Link] being run by the Esfinges group to encourage reading the sources we use to recreate the historical martial arts we study. Mark Hillyard of Academie Glorianna and I will be looking at the Saviolo treatise of 1595, specifically book 1. So expect comments, quotes and general snark with that tag! If you’d like to see what I’m reading, you can download your own pdf copy fromhere: [External Link].

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 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.

Wednesday 16th August, 2017

Yes, it really has been that long since we talked.

In the intervening period, I have given reader tickets for the upcoming ChapterCon away, detoured from my WIP by way of two lots of pseudo-mythology based on some basic reading about proto-indo-european mythology (Divine Twins and World Tree), and got to the point where I can admit the fencing club I attend (Academie Glorianna) is organising a women’s HEMA event for next month. By which I mean I am one of the organising team and apparently I’m one of the instructors for the event.

Oh, and the WIP (Aurora) is around 25,000 words long, and ChapterCon is just over a week away.

There are obviously more newsworthy things going on in the world (more specifically, America, I’m looking at you) but that’s all of mine for now.

Swords & Sourcery (done)

The Academie Glorianna [External Link] is hosting the first Swords & Sourcery;
23rd Septmber, 2017;
Scorton, Lancashire, England

A women’s event combining historical european martial arts (HEMA) practice and a brief look at the sources, intended to help women get into HEMA and to gain an understanding of the potential for research.

There’s a Facebook event page here: [External Link]
Please be aware the event has been set to private, so if you’re interested, it’s best to contact me on Facebook / Messenger for an invite: [External Link]

Wednesday 29th March, 2017

Today is not a happy day for me as Brexit rolls on and Article 50 has been triggered. However, the ongoing political headdesk moments aren’t something I like to talk about on the blog so…

Sorry for taking a couple of weeks off. My stress levels didn’t work well with other commitments and my day off work (I currently work 4 days a week, 8 hours each day) had to be shuffled around so while I was around on Wednesdays I wasn’t in any kind of writing mood. However, some of the stress was good stress in that it was taken on as part of a greater (much greater) whole.

As mentioned previously, I attended “By the Sword – The Women’s HEMA weekender” on Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th March. I actually went down to Godalming (where it was held) on the Friday, with a detour into that there London for a visit to the Leon Paul [External Link] shop where I had my smallsword fettled. I also remembered to take Mousie and we have two more postcards: 34 and 35. The weekend itself was awesome although I overloaded and ran out of spoons a few times.

I also went to a handling session (and trip to the library) at the Royal Armouries [External Link] with my HEMA club, Academie Gloriana, on Friday 24th – which was swiftly followed by my birthday weekend. I think we can safely say I’m middle-aged now.

I didn’t get any writing done, as I mentioned, but I’ve started back up this week and I’m within spitting distance of the end of a first draft. It looks like the current Greenwood-y project will come in a bit under 40,000 words. I may then take some time off to meet interesting civilisations and destroy them before launching into the next project or editing an older WIP.

Sunday 17th April, 2016

Right. New house rule: I will remember to post every weekend. Well, maybe not every weekend but as I don’t have as much running around to do, I should be able to summon the energy to tell you I haven’t actually achieved anything more often. Real life, eh?

This weekend I’ve had a more relaxing time with a day off on Friday to join my current HEMA club (Academie Gloriana [External Link]) in a trip to the Royal Armouries at Leeds [External Link]. We got to handle some rather lovely swords and look at some gorgeous manuscripts. And I got to catch up with my sister on Saturday and a friend (and oppressed alpha reader) today.

In possibly related news, my current WIP (to be referred to as “Greenwood” from here on in) appears to be working as intended. Yay! Now to get back to writing it…

Next weekend, Academie Gloriana will be doing some display work at Clitheroe Castle for St George’s weekend [External Link]. (Multicultural saints apparently get more time, especially when their day falls on a weekend!) I will be visiting as a member of the public but please say “Hi!” to Mark Hillyard and the gang if you’re in the area.