Category Archives: dark Fantasy

A Year Off to Write. Dyslexia, Jeff Vandemeer and Cornish YA.

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How brilliant is that? A year off to write my Cornish supernatural fantasy, in my own time, at home. I’m pretty lucky. Living in Cornwall is already amazing and being Cornish and having an ancestral history in a folklore saturated land inspires me.

I’m actually hoping the novel writing will be six months, as I’m already halfway through with sixteen chapters down and the last chapter finished, and pieces of chapters to fit into the puzzle. I am now starting to work through the juicy middle bits.

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The last four years I’ve been the ML for the Cornwall NaNoWriMo, (write a novel in a month). Teaching and encouraging writers to just sit and write two thousand words everyday for four weeks. But I’ve decided to forgo my role this year. I have desires to concentrate on finishing this book I’ve been telling everyone about. I’m getting that look now, the ‘when’s this so called book going to be finished?’ But that’s because I’ve been writing this idea for three years. I’ve just finished a Professional Writing MA and it’s taught me the tools to the craft. So I’m re-writing  with a better idea of how to construct all my creative ideas and put the pieces together coherently.

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I’m dyslexic. If I was to put myself on a spectrum? I’m on the ‘it can take me days to see words in the wrong order, spelling, grammar and especially my tense’ bit of spectrumI’ve become a huge re-writer due to having the extra work, and I make no understatement when I say I rake through pages of my writing. I re-adjust words in a sentence like I’m building a stonewall some days. It’s incredibly exciting and I think for every writer, the experience of when it just seems to work first time does actually happen to me too. Don’t be put off by not having that ‘academic background’ as commitment and the creative side can be the essential part of writing something interesting for the reader. Saying that, you have to work on that craft after you’ve got that creative story down. If there is one thing I’ve learnt in the last year as a postgrad student, it’s that a bad sentence stops the reader no matter how good the story. Enjoy and then work on it!

UnknownSo I shall also be hiring an editor. Yay to editors! Get one that suits your writing though. No good having a non-fiction editor for your Sci-Fi book. They might not be into it!

And finally this book, WonderBook by Jeff Vandermeer. Beautifully illustrated by Jeremy Zerfoss. Just thought I’d add it as it’s way to special not too. I use it for planning and avoiding the obvious. This book is so incredible and very inspiring. If you’re a Sci-fi or Fantasy writer, I’d buy this straight away.

The London Book Fair, Naomi Novik, and Chocolate.

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22824_10153000528418355_4182966247499621631_n 2Last week I visited The London Book Fair. My author days are getting ever nearer, and it was time to dip into the atmosphere and get a rough idea of the way the book fair works. As soon as we arrived, my friend Judy went straight in, pitching her vegan book to any stall that had pictures of vegetables. I watched her enthusiasm, which rubbed off on the person she spoke with. Confidence about your book, and you’ll be fine.

I spent the following day giving my card to relevant publishers such as Penguin, Hachette, Little Brown and Bloomsbury etc. Without a finished manuscript I couldn’t yet make an appointment to see an agent, but I still wanted the experience of talking with them. I introduced myself and asked if they would like me to review any of their upcoming titles, I would be pleased to post them on my blog. Working in a book shop I receive many books to review and they were glad to talk about it. Book reviewer’s are undoubtedly the publishers hand sellers.

Sarah-FrontI researched publishers responses to business cards, and the best advice was to always make sure you have the genre of your writing on the card, e.g. Romance writer etc. Otherwise they don’t remember you, most of the cards go in the bin. Some people even put their photograph on theirs and that helps them to remember your conversation.

I love the book industry and really enjoyed the book fair. I got to listen to Sally Green, (one of my favourite new authors) on the fantasy panel and many other incredible useful seminars and publisher stands. Next year when I go with my finished manuscript, it will be familiar and I will get to enjoy the opportunities of meeting the agents.

UnknownNaomi Novik: UPROOTED.

I wanted to add that my recent read and one of the best fantasy books I’ve read for some time. The harmful influence of a wood and its inhabitants. The narrator, a witch, and her mentor/master, theDragon; a local wizard.

There’s a dragon in it! And a witch; it’s got to be good! Read it!

Recommended: read it whilst eating Chocolate.

 

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Dark, Urban, Supernatural Fantasy Urges.

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About seven years ago I embraced reading like  I was a woman obsessed. At the time, life was testing me. My career had changed direction, and I had a baby and a teenage son. I was single and at home…a lot.

The ‘catch up on the classics’ lightning bolt hit me. Why? I have no idea, just this deep urge to read the books that I had somehow avoided in my wild teenage days.

So Jane Austin’s library was devoured, Wilkie Collins, The Woman in White, Thomas Hardy, Far from the Maddening Crowd, Tess. Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde. Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray, and so on. My favourite? Dorian Grey. Yes, horror, the supernatural.  I remembered,  as a child I wrote horror stories. A deep sense of grounding overcame me, I needed more. More!

One night, as I watched TV, baby in bed, teenage son in his room ( where he now resided full time and survived on food passed through a gap in the door ) a programme came on. True Blood. Memorised, I fell in love. I went straight to the bookshop the next day, bought all of Charlaine Harris, the Sookie Stackhouse, True Blood novels and ate them up. That led to ‘others’. I remember the staff in the bookshop avoided eye contact, a slight distaste on their lips when I bought more and more Dark fantasy. I got the feeling they wanted to put them in brown paper bags and slide them across the counter. But I didn’t care! Ha ha ha ha ha.

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Reading Dark and Urban Fantasy books did more than entertain me, I became happy. I rediscovered a subject I loved. It wasn’t the sex, vampires that lured me, ( only sometimes )  but the stories of the supernatural. The story telling. Folklore, forests, woods, witches and myths. Over time I knew I had to start writing again, I was thirteen when I last wrote like a mad thing, when my new english teacher told me I was rubbish! Don’t ever listen to Mr Sandercock, he’s not up to much!

Well, I’ve learnt something, that it doesn’t matter, it’s all debatable, always someone who isn’t going to like it. So who cares right? The only person that really cares is me and I love it!

It’s never too late to read, to have books in your life. You just have to find a foundation of genre you love. I now read Non-fiction , Science, Bestiaries. YA, anything that interests and inspires me.

But…I will always, deeply be in love with my dark side.

 

My recent purchases.

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Welcome to my Fantasy and Sci-Fi Book Cafe. Here I will be reviewing upcoming and present book releases and I will include many books that I just had to buy. Which is quite a lot. Here are the first four delights.

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The lovely Neil Gaiman has just released two re-imagined fairy tale books. The first is “The Sleeper and the Spindle”, the magical combination of Mr Gaiman with Chris Riddell’s wonderful Illustrations – enhanced with metallic ink: this is a spectacular and magical gift. It’s a real mix of the Sleeping Beauty- Snow White kind of tale.

The next is “Hansel and Gretel”, a visually stunning re-imagining of the classic fairy tale, beautifully illustrated by the award-winning Lorenzo Mattotti. Who better to retell the Brothers Grimm’s greatest, and perhaps darkest, fairy tale? Coupled with breathtakingly haunting illustrations, both books weave a more evocative, dark, captivating story, funny and clever. Gorgeous.

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I have to mention I am a huge Neil Gaiman fan and I can rely on any book he writes to deliver the goodies. These books do not disappoint me: I could almost just hold them and be happy. Actually I do, so I am quite happy.

Archangel’s shadows“, Nalini Singh.

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From the author of The Psy Changeling series, comes the latest novel in her Guild Hunter series. If you love dark Fantasy books like me then you must read these. I devour her stories, and I can see this one looking at me, waiting for me to read it. Going to be savoured.

The next “Saga” Volume four came into the shop today, and I had to buy it. A fantastic Graphic Novel from Brian Vaughan and Fiona Staples.

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Brian Vaughan has had a fantastic career and has written for a number of publishers, Vertigo’s “Y: The Last Man” and also wrote for the TV series “Lost”. Fiona Staples is a wonderful, talented artist, I absolutely love her style, and together they have produced one of my favourite Graphic novels.

“Saga” is exceptionally dark and twisted and a dark sense of humour, but a comic that doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s very funny but very ‘adult’, so beware! Enjoy.

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