Tag Archives: howIwrite

All of My Books

Fantasy! Urban fantasy! Sparkpunk! Random stuff! Novellas! Short stories! Free writing! In short: what have I written, and where can you get it?

Hey, I only occasionally do self-promo. If you don’t want to look at pretty book covers, go read something 🙂

The Greensky series

Reasons to read the GreenSky series:

  • Renaissance technology + magic (aka. “Sparkpunk”)
  • Castles + flying machines
  • Character-driven story
  • Has been compared to Studio Ghibli
  • “Delightful”
  • Novellas – short reads ftw!

What’s not to like? (Unless you like grimdark, in which case skip to No Man‘s…)

The first one in the series is Green Sky & Sparks, followed by Grey Stone & Steel and High Flight & Flames as a duo. You can also pick up Salt Winds & Wandering as a stand-alone and then any of the other from there.

The next book is due out shortly…keep an eye on the blog for news on that!

There’s also some short stories…you can read “The Price of a Biscuit” in You Left Your Biscuit Behind direct from Fox Spirits or via Amazon, and read “On The Clockwork Trail in Steampunk Universe. There’s also a bunch of free fiction on Writing&Coe!

No Man’s Series

So this is an urban fantasy series with a sarcastic, transgender protagonist, a lot of snark, a lot of shenanigans, and one of my beta readers wouldn’t talk to me for two days after That Ending. In short, it’s not delightful – but it is great fun!

The main novel series is still in progress; I did finish No Man’s Land, but then feedback suggested it needed a rewrite, so that’s back in progress – as is the second in the series, No Man’s Sky. The third and fourth are…ongoing. That said, if you’d like to read No Man’s Land, then let me know – I’m always looking for beta readers.

(Ps. The supernatural community has been decimated by a poison that causes magic loss, paranoia and madness. After killing those worst infected, the survivors band together and try to pick up the pieces of their shattered world, all the while watching each other for the warning signs of the poison’s spread.

And now something’s coming through the gateway between worlds. Anyone with any ounce of talent has to pool their strength and hold the gate – and then deal with whatever comes through…

The apocalypse has already happened. This is what comes after.)

But hey, there’s some shorts available, which give an excellent introduction to the snark and sarcasm that is Ghost.

The Dresden Files Fanfic Series

I adore my Dresden Files writing…The Envoy‘s a good place to start, or A Theft & A Journey. I’ve just started putting up a longer stand-alone, Rogue Wizard, which frankly is amongst my favourites…although I think Winter + Troll vs Dini still wins that one!

Other People’s Writing Wot I Have Had A Hand In

The frankly – although I do say it myself – fantastic trilogy of SF&F stories, Holding On By Our Fingertips, Infinite Dysmorphia and Terra Nullius, which all feature me as the editor in collaboration with three other amazing editors! They were so much fun – and the final story in Holding On By Our Fingertips will make you cry.

Three anthology covers

 

I am also recommending, because they’re all excellent and I love them…

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!

FantasyCon 2018: I did the thing!

I was at FantasyCon 2018 in Chester over this last weekend, and it was alternately fabulous, tiring, wonderful, weird and overall pretty exhausting!

First, huge props to the organisers (Allen and Karen) and all the redcloaks – they did a hugely fabulous job with panels, organising, events, answering questions, herding cats… and it was marvellous.

I was on two panels. The first was blogging in genre fiction (which Alexandra Peel did a lovely review of)  – it was great fun as I just got to chat to Alasdair and Kit, and then Micah when he arrived! They’re all always interesting so it definitely felt more like a natter than an actual panel. I did manage to dodge out of my panel on punk on Saturday evening, although I went along anyway – and I’m actually very glad that I did, as my views were very different to everyone else’s! I appreciate that it probably would have made for a good panel, but I also would have got flattened by the combined coilsprings of cheerful rage from Ren Warom and Kit Power, so… selfishly, I’m very glad I didn’t have to talk! (I do want to write a blog post on the subject though). And the second panel was fandom on Sunday, which felt like another natter – we got to talk Marvel, shared worlds and Star Wars!

I also got to see several panels; Writing on a Contract on Friday, which was really interesting; one session of readings from the wonderful Steven Poore, GV Anderson, Allen Stroud and Hal Duncan; a panel on publishing on Saturday afternoon, and one on editing anthologies on Saturday evening; and then a panel on starting out in genre fiction on Sunday morning, followed by underrepresented voices. All the panels were really interesting, and it was great to see so many subjects and voices talking about things they were passionate about – and I learned so much! Plus my reading pile and research list have grown exponentially, as usual… I didn’t haul many books; I picked up Steven Poore’s Heir to the North and Pete Sutton’s Seven Deadly Swords and promptly gave them away to someone who NEEDS TO READ THEM, but I did pick up Margaret Helgadottir’s The Stars Seem So Far Away for myself. I did, however, get a stack of suggestions – as if my reading pile wasn’t bad enough…

In between, I got to talk to people, talk to more people, eat stuff, talk to even more people, get a brief walk around Chester’s wall in the sunshine (absolutely beautiful!) and then keep talking…I spent most of my time with Rebellion’s lovely PR person, Remy, but managed to catch up with a whole bunch of Grimbold Books people, Fox Spirits, some old faces, some people I’d only met so far over t’interwebs, and some new introductions!

I did feel pretty weird throughout the con; I’ve gone from indie author and writer to editor for a mid-list publisher, and I felt I couldn’t win with how I spent my time – I loved seeing everyone I did, but I didn’t feel I spent enough time with anyone! It was very strange meeting so many people as well, having gone from someone who didn’t matter (not in a bad way, just…frankly, I didn’t, two years ago) to someone who might be a good recipient for writing, stories, agent subs, anthology ideas…

So…yeah. I’m still feeling pretty unsettled from that. I was definitely feeling both imposter syndrome and that I was supposed to be filling more of a role that I’m not sure how to work yet; I should have talked to more people, done more deals, found out more about what could be coming our way – but I’m also still the person who was looking at everyone else with wide eyes two years ago, and I still don’t feel I have anything to say. I don’t yet know how to combine those two roles, or how to fill shoes I’ve only been in for six months; I don’t know enough people, don’t know enough about how this world works, don’t know what I can do. I don’t know what my role is meant to be, yet, and every time I stretch I’m wondering when I’m going to hit a boundary or look like someone I’m not.

But. BUT. I’m still the writer, author, editor, the person who loves chatting to anyone and everyone about what they’re writing and hearing about amazing stories. That was my sanity when I was feeling lost, and I think – I hope! – I held on to that well enough to be able to talk coherently to everyone that I did get to speak to! It was amazing to meet so many writers and professionals and enthusiasts; everyone who talked to me was absolutely lovely, and the con has such good energy. Despite feeling unbalanced, I loved meeting everyone.

I’m going to do another post in a sec with some thoughts I had, partly about the above mix of emotions and partly some advice, so keep an eye out for that.

But overall: a fabulous weekend, even if I did manage to miss the karaoke – oh noes! (Apparently it was epic, so I’m half sad to have missed the amusement…but not sad to have missed the chance to demonstrate my awful singing!)

Writing: Snippets and Snatches

A mix of odd bits of writing from the last few months, including a draft of Home and some of the scribbles I’ve been doing for Badger

“You are making that face,” the Knight said with a hint of weariness to the visitor stood in front of his chair. “Why have you brought that face to my Court?”

The visitor in front did not fit the room at all. Tight trousers clung to his calves and thighs; a flowing shirt was open to reveal a loose vest underneath, and his hands were covered in spiralling green tattoos. His light eyes and wide lips were outlined in more lines, which spiralled across his cheeks and forehead and up into his intricately-knotted hair. He had his hands on his hips, displaying the multitude of bangles on his wrists; and he was pouting.

“I am not making any face. You are not doing your duty.” The younger man waved one hand, punctuating the sentence with jangles. “Anyway, I am an envoy. You can’t insult my face.” It was thrown out as an afterthought.

The Knight waved his hand with a sigh that said he didn’t want to get into the argument about what he could and could not insult in his own Court. “Which duty are you accusing me of neglecting?”

“You know what you are doing!” The young man actually stamped his foot. “They’ve been fighting for months. Why are you doing this?”


It was definitely an Evil Castle. There was a black stonework, with cobwebs dripping.  Guttering green torches. Gloomy shadows. Spiders.

“This is going to sound very strange,” a voice said, sounding somewhere between embarrassed, apologetic and annoyed. “But I need your help.”


My reaction obviously isn’t the sympathetic one that is wanted. I listen to the rant until he’s used the same swear words that I usually do and has descended into repeating bluster, and then interrupt. “Yeah, you’re going to find him and give him a piece of your mind, I get it. It’s not going to work. He’s someplace in Winter, and even then, he won’t give a damn.”

He grumpily turns on me. “Oh? You sleep with him enough to know-”

I laugh. “Yeah, actually. I’m his other half.”

His eyes widen. “He cheated on-”

“No.” I drop the word in with a steady, amused tone. “I’m literally his other half. He’s Winter. I’m Summer. Polar opposites.” And then I grin. “Believe me, if you want to punch him, then there’s a very long line…and I’m right at the front.”


Leave a fragment of yourself in every place you make a bed, and pick one up every place you stop for a breath; every heart a patchwork of shards that all say ‘home’.


“Oh, by the way, are you seeing Miss Goody-Two-Shoes ‘Saviour Of The World’ soon?”

“What’s it to you?” I asked with a raised eyebrow.

“Can you deliver something to her?” He snapped his fingers, and a servant hurried over with a basket.

I looked at it. “A kitten? Aren’t you supposed to be Mister Evil?”

He grinned at me. “It’s been taught to pounce on big red buttons.”


Three scars on her arm. Had they known she was left-handed, or was it always on the left? She couldn’t see any scars on the man’s red jumper, although there were three neatly-stitched lines on his shoulder.

But he was moving again now, stepping closer to her; and she wondered if this was it. If the red-tipped knife in his hand would score across her throat, and she’d die in the golden forests, left amongst the splendour of the smooth trunks, sightless eyes staring up at the ever-falling leaves.

But he instead met her eyes, his expression unchanging; did it ever change, she wondered? Was there ever a flicker of amusement in the nut-brown, leaf-brown eyes?


And, finally, a teaser from the start of the new No Man’s Land

The really satisfying days start with a punch to the face.

Not usually my face – although there have been exceptions – but there is something very satisfying about kicking someone else’s butt. Sometimes literally.

Nat twirls with an easy grace and hurls a knife, then follows it up with a swift butt-kick that turns the monster attacking us head-over-heels into the nearest tree-trunk. It’s quick, effectively, and she looks exceptionally hot while doing it. I have to take a moment to admire her in her practical work trousers and t-shirt riding up at the hip; I’m ridiculously lucky. We’re two gorgeous girls who unfortunately prefer each other, as Luk said sourly when he found out we were dating. He’s always had a soft spot for Nat, ever since she pinned him to a wall with a knife at his throat.

And of course I’m his soft spot, or more likely his weak point, much as he likes to pretend otherwise.

But I can’t spend too much time admiring my girlfriend or thinking about my ex. I’ve got faces to punch.

Rewrite, rewrite, rewrite: No Man’s Land

Nothing to writing - sit down and bleed. Hemingway

I had some really good feedback recently for No Man’s Land that basically boiled down to, “love the characters and the setting, but the action starts too late. Integrate the two plotlines better.”

Thirty seconds of internal wailing later because my book is perfect and they just don’t get iiiiiit and you know, ok. They’re right.

And when I started thinking about it, ideas started bubbling. Start with Ghost and Nat. Start with them fighting something. Bring the vampires in. Keep the outline of the story, but integrate more. It would be a full rewrite but would leave the core of the story intact, I’d be able to re-use most of what I currently have, and I could do it for NaNoWriMo!

And then reality sunk in.

It’s going to really hurt.

No Man’s Land isn’t an easy story to carry. It came out of Dresden, and carries a large piece of my heart anyway; the characters came from somewhere tangled, and seem to have so much woven into them that it’s going to be hard (and emotional) to pick them up again. In terms of actually writing, I’m kind of screwed as well: my original circle of support for the book got trashed as one of my beta readers isn’t particularly in favour of me, the second is dead, and the third’s about to have a baby. The person I wrote a lot of the stories for isn’t here; I shelved Ghost and No Man’s for a year because I couldn’t face the world without Ryan to read them, and even now I’m feeling pretty shaky about diving head-first back into it all. It’s not an ideal situation for ripping something to pieces and putting it back together, and on top of that, re-writing a 70k novel that’s already fairly decent and needs to be made better isn’t exactly a piece of cake.

It’s all pretty scary.

And this is the point when I either shelve it permanently, or I fight back.

via GIPHY

Fuck it. I’m fighting.

(And with any luck, that’s going to feed into Ghost. If anyone needs to be spiky and sarcastic, it’s my beloved spirit-talker; and I’m going to put every bit of fight into her.)

Ps. In-progress 4am messy scribbles for the new start!

Notebook with scribbled writing