Thursday 18th May, 2017

Let’s start with the deadline. If you’re attending ChapterCon in London at the end of August, you can pre-order some of the writers’ books through various Google forms. I have linked them on my ChapterCon mess o’links. This includes being able to pre-order a number of my books: 25 Ways To Kill A Werewolf, A Pack Of Lies, Fool If You Think It’s Over, all the Fox Spirit Monster anthologies to date and all of the Fox Pockets. At a slight discount.

I am making a big deal out of this because a) the deadline for ordering is the end of this month (i.e. Wednesday 31st May) and b) I’m going to be a bit of a miser about lugging books around England, so I’ll otherwise have limited numbers of the Elkie books with me and only my own copies of the others so that I can show off some signatures and persuade those of you who missed out to order them on-line.

Somewhat closer on the horizon, I shall be on (local) radio on Saturday, North Manchester FM between 2pm and 4pm to be precise. The lovely Hannah Kate has invited me to talk on Hannah’s Book Shelf and there’s a post with all the details here [External Link]. I may be mildly nervous. OK, a lot. Mainly because I’m terrible at remembering names and titles so you can expect me to tail off at least once in the two hours while I struggle to remember who or what I’m supposed to be mentioning. It might even be often enough to make it into a drinking game. But not while I’m actually there, obviously.

Finally, here’s your reward for being patient people. I remembered to put up the opening paragraphs of my current Greenwood WIP set (as promised). They’re at various stages of draft, so what I’ve put up may not be exactly what they read like by the time they’re published – if they’re published. Feedback, as always, welcome!

Into The Greenwood

As promised, here’s the opening paragraphs of my three current works in progress that are based on the idea of the Greenwood – to my mind, that fictional woodland in constant early summer where all the fairy tales happen. The three stories are given their working titles, i.e. they may change by the time they’re published if they’re published, and in the order I started working on them:

Thursday 4th May, 2017

As is now traditional for this date: May the fourth be with you.

I’ve realised I haven’t done a catch-up post for a while, so here’s the latest since my last diary post.

My visit to Humber SFF #3 seemed to go well – aside from my usual Hull car parking adventures that meant I was slightly late getting to the library. I think I was forgiven and I certainly enjoyed myself.

But that was over three weeks ago and I’ve been kind of quiet on the web-site since. Excepting that May 1st was Blogging Against Disablism Day 2017 (#BADD2017) [External Link] and, having skipped a post last year, I managed to put together a post on time management (oh the irony) called ‘Becoming a girl who CAN say “no”‘. I recommend going through to the proper BADD2017 page and catching up with all the blog posts.

The on-site ChapterCon event page has gone through a bit more of a tweak. As well as my own pre-order form, I’ve put links to a few other authors who are attempting to be efficient with luggage space on their travels. I’ve also posted links to their home pages, so please go and find out more about some awesome authors.

Having completed the first draft of a second Greenwood-y project, and run through the basic redrafting the first Greenwood-y project, it turns out the next / current WP first draft is going to be… you guessed it, another Greenwood-y novella. So my faux-medieval fantasy jag continues. If I remember, I think I’ll do a post with the “first page” of each of them so you can see what I mean about attempting to create folk tales that feel like they have been around for hundreds of years. I’ve previously posted opening draft paragraphs on Facebook, so I guess it’s only fair that the rest of you get to see the current state – although still not necessarily the final version if they make it into print. I shall have to work out how to include my footnotes…

Wednesday 12th April, 2017

Good news!

Draft the first of my current / second Greenwood-y project is complete. It weighs in at 39,000 words but will probably see some changes before it’s declared ready to rehome. The next intended project, which I’ll be starting tomorrow or Good Friday, will actually be to start going through a redraft of the previous / first Greenwood-y project to make it ready for rehoming. The two aren’t really connected outside of my own head beyond a few themes and a little bit of pretentious author conceit. However, they’re both intentionally faux-medieval fantasy in that they’re attempts to make fairy tales that feel like they have been around for hundreds of years. I don’t mean fairy tales in the sense of a novel with fairy tale tropes, I mean fairy tales as you find them in old collections.

In other news, you can now pre-order my books (and some not but in the same series, as I’m a co-editor of the first two Fox Spirit Monster books and have a short story in one of the Fox Pockets) if you’re intending to come to ChapterCon. I have updated my event details accordingly.

On Saturday, I shall be reading from 25 Ways To Kill A Werewolf, and possibly one of the short stories from this website, time allowing, in Hull as part of Humber SFF #3. See you there if you’re coming!

Also, there are chocolate eggs – whether you associate them with pagan festivals, Christian celebrations or just plain love of chocolate – and this makes me happy. And full.

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.

Wednesday 8th March, 2017

And this week it’s International Women’s Day, so yay for the women! Whether you’re cis or trans*, this is your day 🙂

For those of you feeling left out, there’s an International Men’s Day. Please remember to make as much noise on my Twitter and FB feeds about how men need support too as you’re doing now on November 19th.

And for today’s round up:

The Amazon.com giveaway of 25 Ways To Kill A Werewolf has finished and the five copies have started winging their way to the winners. And Amazon handled all of that, so I may have to do this sort of thing again!

I do have another giveaway to organise in the not too distant future, but it will have to be on another platform that Amazon. I will be attending ChapterCon, a new convention that has an interesting way of doing things. We authors and others in the industry get a work conference in the week and then the Saturday (26th August) will be open to the public – provided you buy a reader’s ticket to cover the morning or afternoon session. And I have three reader tickets available to give away.

I don’t remember to put up events pages for the Yorkshire area SFF socials as often as I should but I’m going to be at the Humber SF&F social in Hull on Easter Saturday (April 15th) so I’ve done a links page here. I’ll be there in the capacity as author as well as the more usual heckling member of the audience who talks too much.

There’s another event, that won’t make it to an event page, the weekend after next called “By the Sword – The Women’s HEMA weekender” (also occasionally referred to as “SHEMA”). I shall be attending and doing a bit of smallsword instruction. So I shall be otherwise engaged for St Patrick’s Day and the Six Nation’s Super Saturday. Greater love hath no HEMAiste, etc.

Other than that, the writing creeps on and I may be looking at the outline of another 40,000 word novella with Greenwood-y themes. I think I may have read too many fairy tales and similar as a child.

Wednesday 1st February, 2017

Today’s update is basically an Elkie run down but, before we get into that, just to let you know that the current Greenwood WIP continues to crawl along – well, aside from this week’s crawl was 4,000 words so that’s practically a sprint by my standards.

Anyway. Here’s your Elkie round-up.

Fool If You Think It’s Over is officially published and has been available as a paperback from Amazon since Sunday. We’re still waiting for the Kindle version but it’s usually a week or so after the paperback.

If you would like to know what this Elkie thing I keep mentioning is all about, I have an outline of the Fur-Skins world. However, the basic run-down is that Fool If You Think It’s Over is the third in a trilogy / series of three books about a young girl growing up in rural Wales fighting werewolves and doing her best to escape toxic relationships. You can see the covers, along with blurbs and some basic links for the whole series here.

There is some more in-depth background material released with the first book, 25 Ways To Kill A Werewolf, along with the opening prologue and chapter, so here are their links:

For those of you who’ve read the books, you may like this short story, Second Date, which features a significantly younger Conn.

And, to finish off, if you have any question’s about Elkie’s world, let me know and I’ll do my best to answer in a way that makes sense to someone other than me!

Wednesday 25th January, 2017

Sorry for the silence, at least on the web-site.

However, you’ll be happy to know I’ve been attempting to get my writing groove back. I had to abandon my fairies for their lack of good behaviour in mid-December last year. I managed to get about 22,000 words out of them before they went on strike, so I may come back to them when they’re feeling a bit more talkative.

My current (1st draft) WIP is thematically if not actually linked to the “long” work before the fairies that I mentioned as Greenwood in the tags and The Knight’s Daughter as a working title. The current working title is The Wolf of Ravensholme and I’ve broken 10,000 words today – which means I’m still limping along at about 1,500-2,000 words a week but any progress is progress. And more greenwood-themed story ideas have been noted so, if they’re the stories that get the words flowing, expect to see many more greenwood tags over the next year or so as I grawl through them.

That said, there will always be room for my Fur-Skins and Elkie Bernstein, particularly as Elkie’s third outing (Foll If You Think It’s Over) should be landing this weekend at Amazon. I’ll be putting out my published announcement as soon as she’s spotted but, to tide you over, here’s a reminder of the whole trilogy: The Collected Covers (with blurbs and links).

Monday 25th July, 2016

Welp, what have I got to say this week?

I have started shipping The Knight’s Daughter (my Greenwood project) to beta readers, whether they want it or not. I haven’t decided what my next first draft project will be but I have plenty of other things to worry about, anyway.

Amongst them, British Fantasy Society (BFS) [External Link] award jury duty. I have now read the five novellas. All I’m going to tell you about that is every one of the novellas was worth the read and I understand why they were nominated. Anything else I could say is down to personal opinion and doesn’t reflect the jury as a whole. I hope to get through the five shortlisted graphic novel and comic nominees this week. If you’re curious as to what those are, you can find the shortlists here: [External Link].

See you later!

Monday 18th July, 2016

Hi, guys! It’s official. The UK is now having a three day heatwave – with today being the first day. So I shall be walking the dogs last thing tonight and getting up early tomorrow to get their exercise in before it gets too hot for them.

(Actually being okay with doing this may also be the first sign of finding a new level slightly above the “down” I’ve been experiencing recently.)

In writing and reading news:

  1. The first draft of my Greenwood project – actually the title emerged as “The Knight’s Daughter” about half way through – is finished. It made 40,000 words. It’ll probably be next weekend before I start organising the file with everything in it and beta readers, though.
  2. I intend to start redrafting my “Fistful of Feathers” novel having got my notes back from my beta readers. But I shall be pecking at it because,
  3. I have the British Fantasy Society (BFS) [External Link] award jury duty to attend to. I have to start doing the reading for the Novella and the Graphic Novel / Comic awards. This week will be the novellas.
  4. I also have some reading to do for some writing acquaintances so that will also come before Feathers.
  5. I’ve decided to stop work on the Otherworld Gazetteer [External Link] at just over a year and 89 posts. (For those of you who don’t know, the Otherworld was the world I used in the story “Hunting Unicorns”.) I came to the end of my notes some time ago and started filling in the logical holes, and then chased a few other ideas. This is not to say that the world is complete and I may come up with other posts – particularly if people ask questions about things they feel are missing – but I won’t be doing the scheduled updates.

All done. See you next week!