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 28th June, 2017

Hi all,

Radio silence is now broken so that I can officially announce I finished draft the first of novella the third in my Greenwood theme. Strictly speaking, I finished it on Friday (23rd) and have since been pretending to enjoy some downtime. By which i mean that somewhat empty period between projects when I’m not sure whether to start something totally new (as I have a few things on the list I can’t decide between), hassle readers for feedback so I can work on second / third / nth redrafts, or pick up one of those old things gathering electronic dust and see if I can finally make it work. Which, of course, means procrastination and playing games usually fills the void while I pretend to think.

For those who care, my queue of things I’m deciding between looks like:

  1. A new science fiction thing involving social media, game quests and algorithms (a word I never spell right first time) with the working title “Aurora”.
  2. A new dark fantasy / horror thing in the Fur-Skins world but with a different bunch of heroes, currently labelled “25 10 Ways Not To Kill A Vampire”.
  3. Reading through and potentially resurrecting “The Three Guineveres” (in short form, “The Gens”, and I even have a tag for that for previous mentions), which was a sort of science fictional take on Guinevere. Because the world needs more Arthuriana, right?
  4. Reading through and potentially redrafting a fantasy called “In The Shadow of The Wall” that was a blatant parallel (but not factual) of the Romans leaving Hadrian’s Wall with a locked room mystery thrown in for good measure. Because there’s no such thing as too much, right?
  5. A fantasy thing called “City of Dreams” that needs a rewrite and therefore may end up being something I’ve got notes for as “Feintheart”.

Any preferences?

Wednesday 7th June, 2017

Good news! The current greenwood WIP continues to clip along at a decent speed, for me, and I’m now 75% of the way through. As I’m aiming for 40,000 words, that means I’ve managed 30,000 – which sounds marginally less impressive.

Anyway, having not mentioned it for a while, you may remember I like shape-shifters. My pet monsters are werewolves (I suggest starting on the Fur-Skins page if you want to have a wander) but there’s always the possibility of other animals. So, if you want a story about a shape-shifter that isn’t connected to my fur-skins world, there’s one in the Fox Spirit free fiction section: [External Link] The title you’re looking for is “A Granted Wish”. Enjoy!

Wednesday 31st May, 2017

Today is your last chance to pre-order my books if you want signed copies for ChapterCon in August. The mess o’links from includes the link to the form for my books (which includes Monster and Fox Pocket anthologies, but only if you buy in advance!) and some other authors who will be running theirs longer. I only intend to carry a limited number of copies to sell, otherwise, as trees are heavy. Actual closure of the form will happen sometime tomorrow afternoon / evening when I get back in from work.

Somewhat belatedly (sorry, I skipped a week again) you can listen again to my visit to Hannah’s Bookshelf here: [External Link] Hannah Kate has, of course, had another show since then and she’s got that, as well as three years-ish of previous shows, all available on mixcloud. Specialist subjects have included Manchester, werewolves, medieval literature and poetry.

And in writing news, I am now halfway-to-sixty-percent through the first draft of the latest Greenwood WIP. Here’s hoping it’s the last for a while because I’m starting to have thoughts about social media stories and werewolves. Not necessarily together.

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.