All posts by kate

About kate

Kate Coe is an editor, book reviewer and writer of fiction & fantasy. She writes the sparkpunk GreenSky series and blogs at writingandcoe.co.uk. When she's not working, she fills her spare time in between writing with web design, gaming, geeky cross-stitch and DIY (which may or may not involve destroying things). She also reads far fewer books that she would like to, but possibly more than she really has time for.

For Anyone Having That Difficult Conversation About Mental Health: I See You, And I’m Proud Of You

The thing with mental health struggles is that it can be happening to anyone.

And it’s everyone.

 

It could be the man who’s got to middle-age with the mantra of Be Strong and Men Don’t Cry and Man Up and when it’s in your head you just don’t think about that, you know? It’s not something you realise is ingrained until one day you have to accept that maybe you’re not ok, you’re not feeling your best, you’re a bit down or a bit grey or just feeling like you don’t want to go on and not even Think Positive! is helping, and you wonder if everyone feels like this.

And then you make an offhand comment to your friend, your colleague, your neighbour – and you keep thinking. Keep talking. Keep realising that it’s ok to talk about.

I see you. It’s hard to talk about something that’s meant shame and secrecy for most of your life, and it’s hard to realise that actually, you can be not ok and yet still be ok.

It’s hard, and you’re doing it. Take a moment, and just take that in. You can do it. You are doing it. I’m really proud of you.

 

It could be the parent who’s got to retirement and has just kept going, kept soldiering on because that’s what you do, kept ploughing away at all the hard stuff because that’s what life is about and then something happens that just knocks you flat, and makes it so hard to even get out of bed in the mornings. Maybe it’s not something you can just struggle through – or it’s something that keeps reoccurring, keeps coming back, and you think, “I gotta do something.”

And you talk to your children and your partner and your friends, or you read, or you go to your doctor. And you admit that something isn’t quite right, and you need help. The people around you will help – they’ll listen. They’ll do what they can.

I see you. It’s hard to talk to people with different life experiences; children that you knew so well and then had to let go; partners who have been there forever and yet still have things to learn; strangers with knowledge that can help you. It’s hard. And I’m really proud of you for doing it.

 

It could be the person who’s always known that they don’t experience the world in quite the same way that others seem to; known that slights seem sharper, defeats more bitter, emotions more damaging. Known that maybe they get knocked down a bit more easily, and it’s harder to see the path some days. But it’s hard to get people to understand, sometimes, or to get them to see that everything’s linked – maybe it isn’t just the surface problem that needs fixing, or the immediate tears that need drying. But it’s just something they cope with, day after endless day.

And they realise that they can change. That there are ways to cope more easily with the ups and downs, hard as they are to learn. That the way their brain sees the world is as much learned as it is experienced, and that even if we can’t change what happens, we can change our reactions. That there are tiny things that can’t change everything, but can just change enough.

I see you. I see you struggling, and learning, and every single day you are fighting. I am proud of you.

 

It could be the person who’s been there, done that, got the scars. They know. They’ve seen how far their mind can go down a rabbit-hole; they’ve seen what the weasels will do, faced down every bad-case scenario, fought off the worst of the demons…

And then they step up and face another day. Face the same battles under different flags. Win some, lose some, keep fighting the war.

They have to have the conversations that say, “This is me and this is how it works, for all that I wish it didn’t, or wish it would change, or don’t wish a single thing different.”

And they have to have the conversations that say, “I’ve been here. I know. Trust me.”

For everyone who still gets up every morning, despite knowing the battles they might face. For everyone who pulls out the sword again, and whacks the same weasels over the head again. For everyone who knows that it’s not going to get better, and carries on regardless.

I see you. I know you. And I know how hard it is.

I am so proud of you.

 

This is from someone who knows how hard it is, sometimes, to have those conversations; to admit defeat, or weakness, or confusion; to try to explain what’s going on inside your head when you don’t understand it, or the fog or tiredness or clouds have simply got too thick.

I see you. I see you trying to make a difference, and looking out for yourself, and trusting in yourself.

I see you fighting. And I’m so, so proud of you.

To Add To Your TBR: The Unspoken Name

I was lucky enough to get my grubby little hands on an advance copy of A.K. Larkwood’s The Unspoken Name, and if you like epic fantasy, kick-ass protagonists, strange worlds, amazing characters and a story that’s effortlessly readable, add this to your TBR and pre-order it, because it’s fabulous. No further spoilers than that!

(And I’m only slightly biased;  A.K. isn’t one of our authors! I’m not telling you what favours I had to promise to get an ARC, though… (hint: they possibly involved cake.))

Does she owe her life to those planning her death . . .

Csorwe was raised by a death cult steeped in old magic. And on her fourteenth birthday, she’ll be sacrificed to their god. But as she waits for the end, she’s offered a chance to escape her fate. A sorcerer wants her as his assistant, sword-hand and assassin. As this involves her not dying that day, she accepts.

Csorwe spends years living on a knife-edge, helping her master hunt an artefact which could change many worlds. Then comes the day she’s been dreading. They encounter Csorwe’s old cult – seeking the same magical object – and Csorwe is forced to reckon with her past. She also meets Shuthmili, the war-mage who’ll change her future.

If she’s to survive, Csorwe must evade her enemies, claim the artefact and stop the death cult once and for all. As she plunges from one danger to the next, the hunt is on . . .

It’s All About The Editors

“A good editor – in my opinion – is both a safety net and a coach. We are an enthusiastic partner in your project, sharing your creative delight and helping you hone your manuscript… We are there to make you shine as brightly as possible.”

A fantastic interview with the lovely Dion Winton-Polak over on Wordsmith Wizard today, giving the editorial profession some love!

He also touches on one of the hard parts of editing – “To the public, we are silent, invisible, but that doesn’t mean we lack value.”

It’s something I’ve been musing over: how do you prove you’re a good editor? I’d never encourage a writer to share their “before” drafts, so all that anyone ever sees is the polished version – and you can’t see the work that’s done to edit, to tweak, to rewrite, to polish. How do I prove that I have added value to something when I don’t want to put my writers down – because it’s definitely not fair to anyone to say “well, this was terrible”!

It’s also one of those things I keep pondering when I see an excellent manuscript come in from an already-professional writer; what could I even do to this as an editor? How do I up my game to make writers better when they’re already very good?

Anyhow. It’s an excellent interview and worth a read if you’re wondering about editing as a profession, hiring an editor, or just wondering what the heck Dion does!

A September 2019 Update

I’m an editor! I was previously a Junior Editor, and my boss has agreed that I have now learned enough to be allowed to advance to editor. It doesn’t absolve me of the responsibility of tempering the Commissioning Editors’ wild flights of fancy, though – usually involving dinosaurs, Romans or pirates… so if you see a theme in the next couple of years, you know what happened! I still feel pretty weird about it (imposter syndrome mixed with “I don’t deserve this” mixed with “I’m not doing well enough”) but… I’ll get used to it, I guess.

DIY! We built a shed and a garden picnic table cat seat, and put up shelves/more shelves/hanging rails/a mirror/different shelves, and put a whole bunch of stuff away… and I’m officially moved in with my partner now, as all my stuff* is over in another house! Still working on it feeling like my place, though. I think that’ll come with more time.**

Cats sitting on a picnic table

I’ve been challenged to step up my editorial game. It’s always a bit nerve-wracking when someone says “how can I improve?” and I have to find the answer, but this is improving on something that’s already good. So that’s going to be hard work, and tough because there’s no definite way to improve your editing game, but I want to do it.

I’m still feeling a bit grey, but doing better than I was. As my colleague put it, “you’ve got a bit more light in your eyes.” Plus I can pick stuff up (I get very tired when I’m not feeling well) and get out of bed, eat without feeling sick and actually feel again, so it’s still in that strange “wait, I have emotions?! And I can ENJOY food?” period. Hopefully I’ll carry on up for a bit.

On a cooking note, I made soup (I know, I know… but SOUP) and so it’s officially Autumn. It was some weird squash soup too, but it worked. (Butter. That’s the key.)

And something I’ve been listening to:

*books

** And books.

My TBR pile: September 2019

Why do I even bother picking up print books?! (I mean, I know why I bother picking them up. They’re pretttttty. But I never get round to reading them…)

I still have Moon’s Artifice, Jonathan Strange, The Prince Thief, Truthwitch, Dreamwalker, Stranger Tempest and Autodrome on there, but I have added The Bone Season and I’m a chapter into The Book Thief. Plus I did get a rather snazzy proof copy of Jessie Burton’s The Confession, which I plan to read… sometime…

On Kindle, I’ve mostly got a stack of submissions; however, I did get a copy of Distaff (a science fiction anthology that came highly recommended),  A Big Ship At The Edge of the Universe, and Any Way The Wind Blows, a short from Seanan McGuire (which actually I have read, so shouldn’t really be on the list; it’s short and cute.) I’m part-way through The Winter Queen by Boris Akunin, three chapters into The Poppy War by RF Kuang, 30% through Everless by Sara Holland (not getting on with it, so that may be a “not for me” one) and still attempting Sorcerer To The Crown and The Tethered Mage. I’ve still got Ben Galley’s The Written, Lucy Hounsom’s Starborn, The Ninth Rain, The Unwrapped Sky and Shattermoon that I haven’t yet started…

I need to finish some books!*

 

*Actually, I need to finish some home-reading books. In terms of work, I’m slowly getting through them!