Category Archives: Blog

KARAOKE

Apparently I’ve been volunteered for karaoke at FantasyCon this year…THIS MEANS I HAVE TO SING.

IN PUBLIC.

WHICH MEANS I HAVE TO FIND A SONG I KNOW AND CAN ACTUALLY SING AND ARGH.

Before anyone starts panicking on my behalf, it is optional – and I’ve said that I’ll see how I’m doing on the night. So I’m not exactly panicking, just…nervous.

Music is one of the things I feel like I’ve failed at over the last few years; I was trying to pick up piano again thanks to a gorgeous grand piano in the University of Gloucester chapel, and having been informed that I can actually sing (thanks, offhand teenage comment that stuck with me and convinced me that I couldn’t for however many years) I started taking lessons, just to get some breathing control techniques. But it was one of the things that fell by the wayside due to depression (as my fingers don’t always do what I want them to when I’m not great, and panic attacks don’t help with breathing control) and then when Ryan died, I didn’t feel like singing. I’d occasionally sing to myself in the car, but I used to wander around the house humming or sing in the kitchen, and after he left I just…couldn’t.

I’m still not really back into it; I just don’t have the heart most of the time. But I think that I’d like to pick a couple of things that I could potentially do for karaoke, and learn those: if I have a goal, I think that will make it easier.

SO.

I’ve got a couple of things I already know and like – U2’s I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, The Eagles’ Desperado, Cranberries’ Zombie, Will Hoge’s version of Even If It Breaks Your Heart. And I know that Son Of A Preacher Man is in my range, so that’s something…I have quite a sweet voice, so I’m going to have to find something that fits that, as well as finding something in my vocal range and something that I actually like.

But if it gets me singing and learning again, then even if I don’t want to sing on the night, I think it’ll be worth it!

I might not go for this, though. Trust me, it doesn’t work.

5 Happy Things: April

It’s April! There’s sunshine! It’s not snowing! Happy days!

1. Oxford canal.

Oxford canal walk

I’ve been walking to work down the canal for the past few days, and it’s been lovely – there was sunshine and ducks and blossom! It wasn’t quite so nice in the rain last week but there you go.

2. I survived my first week at work!

Everyone’s been lovely, I’ve found a board game posse, I got to copy-edit (aka. read) a couple of amazing books…I’m still learning everyone’s names (and will be for a while) but so far, it’s a really nice place to work, and I’m enjoying the job.

3. Food.

I haven’t been doing too well with eating (stress and new situations do tend to bring out the feeling sick/not eating results) but I made banana bread while at my aunt’s this weekend, and I’ve been making sure I buy things that I want to eat – resulting in tempura battered chicken with gucamole and cream cheese in a pitta for last night’s dinner. It’s glorious.

4. BOOKS!

My Solaris/Abaddon stack has gone down a little (har har…it’s promptly had more put on it) and I’ve had confirmation that I’m at least at the right publishers, because I LOVED most of them! (Dredd is the current exception, because he’s a dick).

  • Yoon Ha Lee’s Machineries of Empire series. I tore through this series, despite not usually reading (or really liking) sci-fi – it does confirm some of my biases, in that it’s complex, impenetrable and detailed. For the first few chapters of Ninefox Gambit I felt pretty lost, and I still don’t remotely get how a lot of the tech and politics works. However, the story and the characters, the worldbuilding, the structure…*happy reader* it’s wonderful. I love the details and the politics, and I loved seeing Cheris grow in the first book. The second follows different people (ish) but it’s a continuation of the same political plotline, and the third really rounds the series off nicely (it’s due out shortly – ARCs FTW!) Basically, for someone who doesn’t really do sci-fi, this has been a pleasure to read despite confirming some of my prejudices – and has been good enough to overcome them!
  • The Promise of a Battered Moon – it’s finally out! This one made me cry at the end, so therefore I’m going to recommend it to everyone just to share the misery. Sci-fi, again, with a whole mashup of planets and cultures and race; the story’s about an asteroid that’s going to hit Earth unless they can prevent it, except that Manon Fontaine knows exactly what it is…if she can get access to it…and just argh. Read it. I need other people to be wearing “I <3 The Dionnes” badges with me!
  • Food of the Gods by Cassandra Khaw *maniacal reader laugh* I LOVED this. Sarcastic, snarky, and a complete smorgasbord of mythology from around the globe. My grubby little paws are itching to start on some of the other authors who have done books in the same series…
  • And I got to read an ARC of Quantum Magician. It’s sci-fi, with a similar feel to Yoon Ha Lee’s, with almost impenetrable terminology that somehow makes sense – and it’s an Ocean’s 11-style heist, in space, with entire cultures playing. It’s amazing – one of the perks of the job is definitely advanced copies!
5. And me.

I’m actually doing ok at the moment, to my great surprise! I’ve been coping. I’ve been cheerful. I’m tired, sure, and I’ve had a few moments where I’ve wobbled – but it’s been a tiny one, a momentary pause and then I’m back on track again. I’ve been chatting to people and trundling along to games and doing freelance bits in the evenings, and doing scary things like going to new shops and going out with new people, and I’ve coped really well with a new environment at work and a new city. I’m cynically waiting for the crash (as this feels…weird) but it’s been nice to actually be able to cope. Is this what it’s like for people who don’t have wonky brain chemistry?! I think I’m still mostly running on adrenaline, honestly – I’m not sleeping brilliantly, so I’m fully expecting to crash sometime. But hey, I’m going to enjoy the smooth ride while I can before my brain decides to go back to normal.

So there’s April! I’m enjoying the spring blossoms, too, while they last. I hope that you’re enjoying the sunshine if you have it!

Ps. Don’t forget that you can pre-order Desert Sands & Silence, and that will make me even happier 🙂 Also, the first in the series – Green Sky & Sparks – is only £0.99 on Kindle at the moment!

Blog Birthday: Charred Begonias

Writing&Coe is 5! Also, this is Post Number 700 🙂 I think I’ve done pretty well for a random blog about writing, scribbles, geek and whatever else I feel like posting about! You guys are all awesome for reading, and I officially declare every one of you fabulous.

For the last few years I’ve done random freebies for my blog birthday: if you need something to read there are Dresden Files stories and Greensky shorts, and if you do feel like being extra lovely then you could always go and buy a Greensky novella

However, this year, I’m going to try something a bit different: I want to ask you a favour.

Dun dun duuuuuun…

(It’s ok! It’s a good favour.)

I’d like you to go to Hoxton Monster Supplies, and buy something. I mean, who doesn’t need a tin of Creeping Dread, right? Their profits go to the Ministry of Stories, which supports school clubs and mentors young writers in East London – so it’s a worthy cause as well as having some nice stuff, and it means that while you’re buying yourself that much-needed bottle of tears of sorrow (perfect to flavour any dish) you can do some good at the same time.

Also, if you don’t have Dragon Treats on hand, don’t come crying to me when you end up with half your back garden lightly charred. If you’re not prepared for random dragons, then you can’t complain about toasted begonias! Honestly. Some people…

So thank you for reading, thank you for being awesome, and thank you for getting Writing&Coe to 5 years old – and please go buy yourself some earwax to celebrate!

Judge Dredd – He Is The Law

Judge Dredd may be The Law, but he’s also a pedantic, irritating dick…which I think is the point.

I’ve got a couple of Judge Dredd novellas on my reading list, and having read through those (which were ok, actually) I figured that I needed some more background. I get the city, sort of, but I know there are depths I’m missing. And working at Rebellion comes with a bonus of all the comics online, so I’m working my way through the stash!

Thankfully, though, not all of them. One of my colleagues has incredibly helpfully put a list online of the ‘useful’ episodes, and so I don’t have to read through however-many 80’s cliches…

Although I am definitely in the 80’s. Wars against robots, mutant dinosaurs and resurrected Presidents ahoy!

And Dredd is a dick. One of my colleagues commented that he’s good when he’s playing off against others – and he is. Mega City One is at its best for the life in it, I think…I do wonder how they didn’t run out of stories for Dredd, as he feels like he could be a very one-shot wonder character. There’s no moral flexibility, no romantic interest; he basically gets to beat up another set of thugs and prove how tough he is each time by Doing The Right Thing.

Soulless jerk.

Not that I like Rico any better, mind, but I think he might have the right idea about life.

However, I love the Judge Anderson stuff! I’ve read a couple of novellas and her major comics, and I really like it. I’m waiting for her to turn up in the main Dredd comics but I suspect it’ll be a while yet, as I’m still in the 80’s and women are still mostly screaming victims. I have no idea how she keeps any sanity in the city (and that’s where I do have to actively suspend disbelief) but so far, I’ve got a lot of respect for the writers – despite what I suspect was a lot of fanboy pressure, she’s actually a bloody good, well-rounded character who can definitely kick ass when needed – and who also understands that it’s not always needed. Unlike a certain helmeted goon.

But I’m slowly approaching the modern era with Dredd, so I’ll see who he ends up fighting next!