Tag Archives: argh

Talking about Publishing, Editing and Me!

Kate making a silly faceWhy do I volunteer myself for this sort of stuff?!

(Answer: It seemed like a good idea at the time…)

I’m in London on the evening of the 16th January, up in Kentish Town, giving a talk to the Chalk Scribblers about…me.

ARGH.

I mean, on paper it sounds excellent. I’m an editor for an indie and a genre press, both with some nice awards under their belts; I’m a freelance formatter and a published fantasy writer; and I’ve bounced around the writing world enough to hopefully have some interesting insights about the whole thing – plus if Rachel is anything to go by, the group’s going to be super interesting and chatty, so that’s going to be great.

But it involves ME talking about ME and trying to make myself sound INTERESTING and ARGH.

(I did have one friend give me a funny look when he found out I was doing it. I had to assure him that I can actually speak pretty well in public, thankyouverymuch, even if I tend to be more reserved in private. Humph.)

So. Yeah. If you’re around, then maybe see if you can come along? (You need to sign up though.) *chews nails nervously* It’s gonna be fine. It’s gonna be really fun. I just need to stop being nervous now!

Out and About in London: The Clarke Awards

So my colleague David and I trundled off to London on Wednesday to go to the Arthur C Clarke Awards – not through any particular professional reason (as no Rebellion books had been nominated this year *already making the pile for next year*) but just to network.

We met Penny from Angry Robot for a drink and dinner first (Chinese at Wong Kei, which was David’s recommendation but I’d heard of, and it was indeed very good!) and then trundled over to Foyles for an interesting (and fairly short) ceremony, followed by a lot of chatter. I’m very grateful that I’ve got social spoons at the moment – I met so many people and already knew a few of them, but I’m hoping that now I’ve met a lot more, I’ll know their faces when we meet again! *crosses fingers* I did have to run away early – well, relatively early – as I was definitely out of the spoons needed for a pub visit, so I left David to his clubbing and trawled home through the railworks.

I have to admit, fairly shamefully, that I hadn’t read any of the shortlist this year; they’ve promptly all gone on my reading pile! The winner, Dreams Before The Start of Time, certainly sounds interesting.

So – fun, if spoon-heavy, but I did meet a lot of interesting people! (And had a half-hour discussion on Columbo. Writers have very random interests!)

For anyone who’s lost a friend to suicide

Trigger warning: suicide and depression (just in case the title didn’t warn you).

There’s been a lot in the news recently about suicide, for fairly obvious reasons, but I’ve been staying off Twitter because I can’t handle it. I know it’s meant kindly and it does help, but the message of “just talk to someone” or “just reach out” just leaves me knotted and angry and crying. I’m always going to be raging against the sheer futility of mental illness and the complete and utter fucking mess that our brains can make of our lives;  but I’m still frustrated and knotted and just…it’s taken time to untangle things.

I want to believe that friends make a difference. I want to believe that humans can change things. I need to keep hoping that someone being there, reaching out, can make the difference. It matters. Listen, and do it. Be there. Connect. It’s the best defence against the sheer hopelessness that depression brings.

But, in the middle of the messages of support and hope and friendship and love, I want to say this:

To anyone who feels like they failed. To anyone who reached out and got knocked back, or pushed away, or didn’t get through. To anyone who did get through, and was there, and lived a brilliant life next to someone who suddenly stepped away from it all-

It’s not your fault.

You might have tried and not been able to give what was needed, and that’s not your fault. You did what you could. You tried. You offered. It’s someone else’s choice if they want to accept or reject, and it’s someone else’s decision. You did what you could.

You might have done everything. You might have provided warmth, love, safety. You might have been a friend who stood there in every battle you knew about, every battle you saw, and you won. Every time, you won.

But it’s not your war to fight.

You might have done what you could or you might have done everything, and it wasn’t enough.

It’s not your fault.

I miss him. Not every day now, but every week. I still call him an idiot. I still wonder what life would have been like if he’d won just one more battle, one more day. But I don’t blame him at all. I’ve been there. I know how fucking hard those battles are to fight, and how endless it all is, and I don’t blame him one bit.

And I’m finally realising that I did everything I could, and while it wasn’t enough – it wasn’t my war.

I’ve been seeing the motto, “Be kind. You don’t know what battles others are fighting.”

And that extends to yourself. Be kind to yourself. You can’t fight someone else’s battles for them. Stand with them, hand them friendship and love, support them; be the best friend and the best human you can be. But you can’t win for them.

The Problems of Covers…

I am having fun with covers for my No Man’s Land series….and when I say fun, I mean a mix of “wow this is awesome” and “why on earth did I think trying to make covers for books was a good idea?!”

I had been recommended Canva, so I had a play with it. It’s a fantastic tool; it lets you either pick a template or you can make your own, and from that, you can pick from a bunch of free images and fonts, move text around, add images and borders, change colours…it’s obviously not up to Photoshop or similar standards, but for a free tool, it’s pretty damn neat.

I had a go with it for No Man’s Land (the title keeps changing as I’m playing with a few) and I did a whole series like the starscape here – and I adore them. They’re absolutely beautiful and they work and…sigh. I really, really like them. Seriously. The entire series together is just gorgeous.

BUT.

Beautiful as they are, they don’t say “gritty urban fantasy”. They say “cute love story, possibly magic”. And that isn’t what I want – it’s not the market I’m going for.

Karin Lanven sketchbook work
https://www.lanvenart.com/sketchbook

So, back to the drawing board!

Or not. My next efforts were, frankly, shit. My main problem is that the urban fantasy genre is very human-figure-focused. Have a look at Amazon’s bestseller list, and you’ve usually got some sort of pouting, muscular female, probably some flame floating around, maybe a creature or two. It screams magic.

And I can’t find, or make, those sorts of images on a freebie cover creator that’s intended for literary & light reads or possibly, at a push, romance genres. It’s great and all, but it doesn’t do what I want for these books. (I think it would have similar limitations for children’s fiction, and most fantasy.)

So, I’ve put my hands up (in glee!) and asked a friend about a commission. The incredibly talented Karin Lanven is having a look at my notes  and rough ideas, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what she comes up with!

(On a side note: two people I’ve now spoken to about the covers have said, “Oh, then you need to write the books for those covers!” ARGH. Ok, they’re on the list…)

Dresden Files fanfic – gettin’ it out there!

Ok. So. Having had several lovely comments on a Dresden-Files-ish short story (Winter’s Loan), a kick from both PandaFries and Thalamas, and a good day, I took my courage in both hands and jumped.

While I have previously posted some of my Dresden Files fanfic around the RPG I played up until last year, I’ve never had the courage to post more than snippets. But, since this weekend, the first few complete parts of my Dresden Files fanfic is up on Wattpad, and I’m going to be trying to post another bit each week – probably Saturdays.

And holy f*** does this take more courage than I thought I had. It’s ridiculously exciting – I was on top of the world on Saturday and didn’t shut up thanks to overflowing happy energy (sorry, Swindon FreeWriters) but it’s also terrifying.

I loved these characters. I lived them for over two years. I had them in my head and in my life. I wrote so many words of game write-up or extra story…this is a bit of my heart and my soul, and I’m terrified of putting it out there because I feel so small, and so completely and absolutely judged. I’m scared of what people reading are going to think of me. I’m scared of what it says about me (apart from the fact I have a knack for putting my characters in mean situations). I’m scared of what anyone who reads is going to think. It was fiction, yes, but it was choices that I made for my characters – and having almost lived the situations, I can’t stay as removed from it as I can with my other writing. I was there, having those arguments, laughing at the antics. With the game, at least, it’s not just in my head – and while most of these pieces are just character extrapolations from that (certainly the romance and sex scenes would be a bit of a different roleplay style from the one we played, and probably require less clothing) it’s still got that heart-string tug.

But…I love it. Re-reading, I can’t stop smiling. I love it. And I want to share it.

It will only be the Dresden Files Swindon game that will get shared, and I’m still taking that one story at a time, so there may end up being pieces I don’t put up. I won’t ever be sharing any of the wolfpack games; while I wish with all my heart that I could share Ryan’s writing with you, I can’t get his permission, and I don’t think he’d want it shared. I absolutely adore it – but it’s his, not mine. And so that will stay locked.

But as for everything else… *deep breath* I can do this. I can. So, keep an eye out on Wattpad for new stories, and absolutely please, honestly, tell me what you think!