Wednesday 22nd November, 2017

Someone set off the event klaxon: Sledge Lit is this weekend so expect a certain amount of quietness on the social media on Saturday – and the days either side for associated travel!

Which will at least be a decent excuse for why I only manage a couple of thousand words a week on the main WIP, Feintheart. Which means, for those of you who keep track of these things, that I’m now at 21,000 words. About half of which are new. The next chapter is an old one from the novella I’m ripping apart to make Feintheart but I’ll have to kill about 1,000 words of said chapter and fill the hole in with something better as we’re getting to the point where the plot(s) have more obviously diverged.

And, speaking of diverging from originals, I’ve changed the Patreon backing tiers for the Under Smoke City project. Basically, I’ve decided to make the passages themselves free to read as I’d rather people were reading it than not and, as it’s an unusual thing to be doing, expecting backers to pay when they had no idea what they were getting was a bit off. There’s an official announcement here: [External Link].

I’m still doing the Esfinges’ 30 Days of HEMA Study event [External Link] – we’re now on Day 22 of 30 – but the #30DaysofHEMA tags on Twitter and my personal Facebook wall have disappeared altogether. I’ve been spending more time with a rapier in hand muttering “If I do this, then he does that, and then I do this, then…” than I care to admit.

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 8th November, 2017

Feintheart has limped up to 17,000 – all new words, I’m proud to say – but has decided it needs to marinate for a while. I’m supposed to be editing an old chapter but, having read it through, I don’t think it really works any more. I just haven’t worked out why. I probably ought to read it again as I’ve been getting distracted with other things.

Not that Under Smoke City has actually been one of those distractions. It has been most well behaved and side-project-ish so that I’ve managed to do a little bit here and there. In fact, I have a teaser due out on Saturday and the second passage due out on Monday. Which all means the schedule I set myself of posting a passage every fortnight looks to be on course. I have a couple of passages in hand so I even have some space if I have a week or two where I can’t put any work in at all. But if you want to know any more about that, you need to go and have a look at my Patreon [External Link].

The main distraction is probably doing the fifteen to thirty minutes reading every evening for the Esfinges’ 30 Days of HEMA Study event [External Link]. Not that it’s hard work but the shift of mental gears from work to creating words to Saviolo is a bit more than I can cope with most week nights. As a result, there has been a little less creating. (To be fair, only slightly less.). However, we’re on Day 8 now and only 22 to go, so you can still expect some more #30DaysofHEMA tags on Twitter and my personal Facebook wall.

I also got side tracked by a flash fiction idea sparked by a post I made on my writerly Facebook page ([External Link]) and wrote a few hundred words called Black Dogs. Let me know what you think.

And, good news, I’ve started back at tai chi today, so maybe I’ll remember to breath occasionally!

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 25th October, 2017

Well, I skipped last week due to being on holiday / away from the desktop computer. As something of an apology, I posted something else that occurred to me while away: a steampunk riff on the opening of Under Milk Wood. Strictly speaking, the idea occurred some time ago but didn’t really surface as something I wanted to have a play with until I was away.

I’ve not progressed much on the WIP, Feintheart, since the last weigh-in. We’re only at 12,000 words and I need put in a few hundred more before I add an edited older chapter as I’m currently alternating between old and new chapters. We haven’t quite got to the stage where the old chapters need ripping up and putting back together again to account for changes but it’s only a matter of time.

Final bit of writerly news: I have started asking questions about sekrit projekts, which can only mean one thing. I haz one! Aside from being something that all the cool kids seem to be sneaking about doing, I have a side project that seems like it may benefit from me doing it in a totally different way from my normal if I’m going to do it. There may be a reveal in the next week or so.

And not writerly news, I have a second distinguishing feature:

A tattoo of a mouse with the motto "if it were not an art, the strong would always win"

Designed by Reece Suleman, Inspired by Mouse Guard and HEMA

The quote in the picture is “If it were not an art, the strong would always win”, which comes from a translation of the (probably) 15th Century Nuremberg Hausbuch (MS 3227a), often called the Döbringer MS as it has his name in a margin and has been attributed to him several times. This is probably erroneous but no-one knows who put it together, only that the fencing material in it (which is the bit the quote comes from) is based on Johannes Liechtenauer’s art of longsword fencing. Either way, it’s an awesome quote, now paired up with a historically inaccurate mouseketeer armed with a cup-hilt rapier, because awesome stuff I like.

(Yes, this also means that I failed the journeymouse tattoo / thousand books challenge because I couldn’t wait.)

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 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.

Monday 10th August, 2015

I have been to Nine Worlds [External Link] and it was good. I wasn’t quite so impressed with the service at the hosting hotel, but the event itself was great. Big, noisy and challenging but it was overall an enjoyable experience. I would like to think that Sarah, Kit and I also helped make it so for others with our HEMA for Writers: Swashbucklers and Bravoes presentation – although, to be fair, we spent a lot of time having our own mini-HEMA event within the con. And thereby hangs a thread of an idea that we might put some work into for next year…

There was a bit of running around and meeting people – for example the talented Sally Jane Thompson [External Link] was my roomy for the weekend, Miltos Yerolemou [External Link] came and watched some of our (non-panel) sword-y fun, Joanne Harris [External Link] was kind enough to speak to me as if my randomly striking up a conversation wasn’t creepy at all – but the event was so big and busy that I’m pretty sure I ended up effectively ignoring an awfully large number of people I should have or could have talked to.

I even remembered to take Mousie with me and she bagged five postcards, some of them without my help at all:

The next convention stop will be FantasyCon in Nottingham but there will be a slight diversion around the Rugby Union World Cup before then.

And, yet again, a reminder that I have a couple of my own books out: 25 Ways To Kill A Werewolf and A Pack of Lies. If you’ve read them, feedback and/or reviews would be gratefully received, thank you. You can find some background information to the world on this site (titles, genre, location, characters), along with the opening prologue and first chapter of 25 Ways if you want to get a feel for what they’re all about.

Sunday 5th July, 2015

This week is a week of reminders:

A Pack of Lies has been released into the wild. That link will take you through to my usual link soup but there’s a Goodreads page if you click on the small cover image to the right of the screen that will (eventually) take you to your local version of Amazon in order to buy it. If you so wish.

If you want a feel for what A Pack of Lies and its predecessor, 25 Ways To Kill A Werewolf, are like I have the opening prologue and first chapter of 25 Ways on this site.

I’m also at Edge Lit, where there will be a Fox Spirit / Boo Books launch during the lunch time slot. If things go according to plan, I shall be reading from A Pack of Lies and copies of both books should be available (from the publisher) at the event – so please do come along and listen.

Having past another first Wednesday of the month, I have a new post up at The Finishing School. This month, I’m talking about the assumption that anyone who carries on a martial art, particularly HEMA, long enough will become a teacher or instructor of said art – and whether this is an unavoidable fate. You can find the post here: [External Link]

Finally, this week’s updates at the Otherworld Gazetteer [External Link] were about second sight and The Great Explorer, both mentioned in the original Hunting Unicorns story.

Edge Lit #4 (done)

The Derby QUAD [External Link] is hosting Edge Lit #4;
11th July, 2015;
Derby, England

There’s a Facebook event page here: [External Link]
Tickets are available here: [External Link]

Fran Terminiello and I are hoping to continue our Edge Lit success of last year and should be presenting a little something about historical fencing for writers if all goes to plan don’t fit on this year’s programme but I’ll definitely be hanging around.