A brisk little story for Halloween - do let me know what you think!
Wednesday, 31 October 2012
Happy Halloween, everyone! May your pumpkins be bounteous and your skeletons ripe with gore. In celebration of the most wonderful time of the year (shh) we have an excellent creepy story from the marvellous Andrew Reid. A bit later I'll pop up a story by me, and then this afternoon I will direct you over to Dark Fiction Magazine, where more Halloween treats await. Enjoy!
(You can also go here for an audio version, read by the author!)
Monday, 22 October 2012
I went to my first ever Bristolcon this weekend, which I’m pleased to report was brilliant. Good times were had, dodgy food was eaten, minds were expanded.
At this stage I’m not a massive con veteran and I’m just starting to find my feet with these things, but what struck me about Bristolcon was how cosy it was - cosy friendly rather than cosy tiny, I mean. There were two conference rooms where the talks took place, spaces for the dealers and artists, and a huge bar, and I very much enjoyed walking back and forth across the hotel because inevitably you would bump into someone you knew almost immediately.
I met up with possibly too many people to name, but I'll chuck a few up here - saw Fran Terminiello for the first time, who shared a bottle of wine with me and undoubtedly has better taste in booze; finally said hello to Lou Morgan, who I have spectacularly failed to meet previously despite attending many of the same events; discussed a Watership Down roleplaying game with the mighty Dave Moore; caught up with Anne Lyle, who saved me from awkwardness when I turned up hideously early (I was very paranoid about missing the train and consequently got up at 4am); admired Emma Newman’s spectacular coat; Mhairi Simpson prompted a vividly memorable conversation about, uh, green dragongs; saw Gareth L. Powell receive a monkey dressed as a fighter pilot... as you can probably guess, I had a lot of fun. And thanks to Guy Haley, who got the same train back for a little while and ensured that at least 20 minutes of my journey was filled with amusing chat (the rest of it was spectacularly hideous. There is nothing quite like 20 boozed up football fans all trying to vomit into the same train toilet).
The panels! Also, the panels were great. I particularly enjoyed the Women in Sensible Armour talk, where the sense of “we’re not putting up with this bullshit anymore” was palpable, and Danie Ware brought up a particular bug bear of mine (namely: strong women having to have massive personality problems or issues). The steampunk panel was great too, headed by the fabulous Philip Reeve – there were lots of opinions on show, all articulated wonderfully. Plus Nimue Brown had an excellent hat.
All in all, I had an excellent experience and felt very welcomed and included. I am a reasonably introverted person, as I may have mentioned before, and a decade or so ago the idea of travelling to a place by myself and actually, you know, talking to people I’ve never met before would have been totally unthinkable; now I’m pleased to say I can do it, with bells on, and that is partly due to the awesome and friendly writing community. Good show, I say, good show!
Friday, 19 October 2012
I got tagged in a blog thing by the marvellous and handy-with-a-sword Fran Terminiello, so witness my rambling answers…
What is the working title of your
The Snake House
Where did the idea come from for the book?
Originally I wanted to write a story about someone who has to make a journey into hell; in the end, Felia doesn’t quite go to hell, but she goes somewhere pretty close. I also had an urge to write a book set in London, something I’d tried before and utterly failed at.
What genre does your book fall under?
Too my own surprise, I suppose it’s Urban Fantasy with strong elements of horror.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I never really picture actors as my characters while writing a book, but if a fabulously wealthy Hollywood producer gave me a fat wad of cash to film The Snake House, these are the people I’d suggest (I will never reveal how long I spent agonizing over this):
Zawe Ashton as Felia Jones
Ellen Thomas as Wilhelmina Sunbow (although she’d have to be aged up rather a lot)
Maggie Smith as Katya Orbison
Miriam Margoyles as Mavis Bickerstaff
Damien Maloney as the adult Stanley Cubb
Robert Sheehan as Hob
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
I’m cheating slightly here, but:
Felia Jones is less than pleased to be moving to a run-down council estate with her mother and half-brother – she is even less interested in the ravings of three old ladies who claim she has the “sight”. But they know a darkness is growing at Cornwall House, a shadow of a past so terrible it has been forcibly forgotten, and if Felia Jones can’t face it down they may all be lost.
Because what happened on the third floor left a scar that won’t heal, and the Snake House is hungry again.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I would love for it to be published in a way that means I don’t have to make the cover…
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I wrote the first draft in two months, thanks to the slightly unhinged process of Nanowrimo.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
The Rivers of London series by Ben Aaronovitch has a similar feel (London, magic, weirdness) as well as Kate Griffin’s Matthew Swift sequence.
Who or What inspired you to write this book?
I really wanted to write a horror novel, or, in a way I felt it was expected of me; I’ve written lots of short horror stories, but all my books are fantasy. Let’s see, I thought, if I can maintain the creepiness. I’d also done a lot of reading on serial killers (cheery stuff) and I really wanted to explore the nature of evil and what lies behind a monster.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
There are three brilliant old ladies in this. And there’s a sequence that genuinely still freaks me out big time, despite having written it myself and having read it several times now. Oh, and the last couple of chapters make me cry.
What stage is your book at now?
It’s been read by my lovely beta team, and it’s been redrafted twice, so now it is winging its way out into the wider world, hopefully to find a home somewhere.
Here we go! Tag, you’re it:
Tuesday, 16 October 2012
I'm pleased to report that my short story London Stone has made an appearance in the latest collection from that delightfully ghoulish penny dreadful, One Eye Grey. Details below!
Tuesday, 9 October 2012
Yes, it’s that time of the year again.
And I do appear to have signed up, partly because I can’t bear not to, and partly because I do have a new book project waiting and raring to go. It’s exciting to browse the forums again, reading about everyone prepping for the long month of madcap novel writing to come. It may not work out this year – things are a touch up in the air for me, in several ways – but I think I’m going to be there at the start line at least, fingerless gloves and cheap Halloween sweets in hand.
I’ve participated in Nano for the last four years. In my first (2008, I think) I wrote a short children’s book called Bird and Tower. Next up came Ink for Thieves, a book I still love and hope to find a home for, followed by Dead Zoo Shuffle, a book I’m not that massively keen on these days but isn’t entirely hopeless. Last year I did the Beta month of Camp Nanowrimo, and followed that up by doing the official month too, managing to write the entirety of The Snake House in two months, which was something of a record for me.
And as everyone starts to get excited, there’s usually a wave of cynicism about Nano too, and I’ve seen the first trickles of this. All those amateurs, moan the weary cynics, thinking they can write. 50,000 words isn’t even really a book, and they’ve never even heard of editing…
Sod that, I say. Yes, a lot of young people take part in Nanowrimo, and yes, lots of them might be writing some rather familiar re-hashes of boy wizards, angsty vampires, and demon-hunting hotties, but so what? It’s very easy to sneer at these things (and at fanfiction, although perhaps that is unwise – fanfic led to the biggest publishing hoo-ha of this year, after all) but I’d much rather see people (particularly young people) getting excited and making things, than, say, the umpteenth wannabe farting Wannabe by the Spice Girls on Britain’s Got Talent. Or maybe that’s just me.
Besides which, Nano teaches you all sorts of important stuff if writing is where your soul rests. So the first book you harass into life via Nano might not be that great – it might even suck the big one – 50,000 words will still show you all sorts of wonders you’d never even have guessed at on November the 1st. Plus, Nano shows you (albeit in a slightly extreme way) that it is entirely possible to fit writing into your life, and that is often a wonderful and life changing thing to learn. It certainly changed mine.
So come, mighty Nano Vikings, with your cups of coffee and writing mascots, let’s go kick November up the plot bunny!(and while you're here, tell me how you prepare for Nano)