All posts by kate

Review: Under the Pendulum Sun

Under The Pendulum Sun by Jeannette Ng

Catherine Helstone’s brother, Laon, has disappeared in Arcadia, legendary land of the magical fae. Desperate for news of him, she makes the perilous journey, but once there, she finds herself alone and isolated in the sinister house of Gethsemane. At last there comes news: her beloved brother is riding to be reunited with her soon, but the Queen of the Fae and her maniacal court are hard on his heels.

An unusually gripping Victorian-tinged fantasy set in a richly imagined High Gothic world.

Weird, eerie and definitely gripping – a mix of horror, mystery, fantasy and Victorian gothic come together to make an unsettling and evocative read.

Catherine Helstone’s brother, Leon, is a missionary to the incredible land of Arcadia – the land of the Fae, discovered only by getting lost. Leon has been sent out to replace the previous missionary and bring Christianity to the strange land, but his letters have been sporadic and strange. Cathy has been offered the chance to travel out to see him – and see the land of the Fae.

But when she reaches Gethsemane, a strange house in the middle of foggy moors, she finds Leon missing, their manservant full of strange questions and fierce faith, and a house riddled with questions – all under a swinging, pendulum sun and a angler-fish moon that roves the sky. She dreams of Leon in the arms of a Fae woman and struggles to decipher the diaries of the previous missionary, as well as exploring the grounds and uncovering the mysteries of the half-Fae, half-human Changeling who is her companion at the house…

And then Leon returns, and brings with him the Pale Queen, her Court, and her flurry of mysteries…

I loved the developing tension and relationship between Leon and Cathy; so familiar and yet so alien, and the unsettling twists in the second half of the book are woven expertly from the threads played at the start. The mysteries all overlap with brilliant horror, and the strangeness of the Fae overlaps with the unknowns of their surroundings in Arcadia; the theological puzzles mix with the mysteries of the previous missionary and his diaries; and the Pale Queen’s manipulations and games wind around Leon and Catherine’s own relationships, both with each other and with the others around them.

If you’re into eerie fantasy mixed with horror, this is definitely worth a read.

Levelling up on editing

So over the last few months, I’ve been taking on more freelance editing, and I’ve started being asked for an editorial letter with each submission.

I mean, I usually do a letter anyway, sort of summing up and putting big thoughts in and giving some pointers, but…

It’s An Editorial Letter. Of all the Deep Editorial Thoughts.

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Thankfully I had a chat to a wonderful colleague, who gave me some pointers, made some templates for me to look at and generally made me feel a lot better about doing it! I am extremely grateful for amazing people in the writing world who help at moments like that when I’m feeling completely lost (and I’m going to make him cake to say thank you!)

So I’ve never been very good at English Literature or Language. The problems with language started from not actually learning the basics in school – I can just about tell you what a verb and a noun are, but the rest? Not really…and that screwed me not just for learning other languages, but for analysing English, too. And with literature, I found that I can tell you what an author does, what to change to give it a different feeling, what to tweak to get a different effect…but I can’t ever really pinpoint exactly how they do it (or why having blue curtains makes a difference to anything). I’m coming at literary analysis from the reading side of “that just doesn’t seem right” and “try more X” rather than the writing side.

But I gotta analyse plots. Characters. THEMES.

*breathes*

Once my colleague had calmed me down and I’d had a look at his templates, I did start to feel a bit better (and he pointed out I’d have to adjust them to suit my editing styles, so they’re just what works for him). I look at characters anyway. I’ll analyse plot. It’s just that I need to start pulling some of that work out of the manuscript comments and into a wider letter, and bringing it all into one outline document. I’ll need to have a think about things that are fine (and comment on them) and things that could be improved in a wider sense. I do it all anyway, I just need to adapt my format.

So…I gotta get my ass in gear, and learn how to do all of this properly! Editing’s easy, they said. It’ll be over by Christmas, they said…

(It’s still an awesome job, and I love it!)

 

5 Happy Things: May 2018

*happy Groot dance*

Things wot are making me happy this month?

  1. My Dresden Files writing – I’m finally getting onto some of the longer stories! I admittedly love the shorter ones (Winter + Troll vs Dini is possibly my favourite Dini-solution to a problem) but the one I’m currently putting up, and one of the later ones in, ooh, about three stories’ time, are both contenders for my favourite longer one.

2. Bento boxes! I now have a cute stacking bear one and a tropical one made of bamboo (which, incidentally, feels lovely – almost slightly rough, and a nice weight!) I’m looking forward to being able to take a random assortment of stuff for lunches.

3. My job is still making me happy 😀 I’ve just been in London for an InDesign course which was pretty good (I learned a lot of new shortcuts, as well as confirming that what I taught myself is correct). I’ve also been moving heaps of stuff (technical term, honestly), reading awesome books, chatting to people who know so much random stuff….I’ve now been there a month, and it definitely doesn’t feel like it!

4. The seaside – and, actually, being on my own. I’m down in Lymington for a few days’ holiday and it’s lovely: I don’t have to worry about anyone else! I’ve seen some of my family which has been grand, but mostly I’m just enjoying the solitude. It’s not always good for me and does depend on my brain-mood, but at the moment, I’m definitely adapting well to doing my own thing.

5. Guardians of the Galaxy – I have finally seen all the way through and really want to see the next one now! I haven’t dared try Infinity War yet (I’m still very behind on most of the rest of that canon) but I’ve decided I’m going to start watching more films that I want to see. Guardians of the Galaxy 2 is first on that list!

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