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For the new readers…

Hello everyone! *waves* it’s great to have you reading – and hello again to the long-time readers, nice to see you here. This is just a round-up of everything Kate-related so you know all there is to know before I get back into the reviews, writing and general grumbles…

Salt Winds coverI write the GreenSky series of sparkpunk novellas, described as ‘delightful’. The first one is Green Sky & Sparks – currently 99p on Kindle! – and the latest (which is standalone) is Salt Winds & Wandering. I also write short stories, and you can find You Left Your Biscuit Behind and You Are Here on Amazon.

I also do writing advice at Almond Press and book reviews over at SFF World, along with book reviews on this site of anything I’ve been reading. My current reading is Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, Xan & Ink, and The Science of the Discworld…I mostly read fantasy but do divert into other things occasionally, and I’m also doing the Discoverability Challenge.

My writing bounces between delightful sparkpunk and rather horrible urban fantasy (the No Man’s series), along with Dresden Files fanfiction and other odd pieces. You can catch up with any of my snippets on the My Writing menu tab.

Frankie asleepTo check out my day-to-day stuff or get in contact with me, I’m on Twitter, along with Facebook and Instagram. The short brief is that I’m crafty, live with a lazy cat, and I have depression – plus I’m usually writing or reading.

I’m also an editor, and have finally got my butt into gear with a website – check out Scritto Editing! Beyond that, feel free to contact me here or on Facebook/Twitter if you have a project you’re interested in. I do work for Grimbold Books and freelance, and work in fiction & non-fiction.

That’s it from me – thanks for reading!

Heartsore

My friend Ryan Rogers, @UnlicensedBrony, was killed in an accident on the 5th January in Stonehouse on his way to see us. He was a regular gamer (aka. every week) with my housemate Sam and I, and he’d often stayed with us over the past year – helping with DIY and gardening, learning to cook and drive, watching films, playing board games, talking about writing and occasionally actually doing some writing. He was someone I considered a very close friend, and someone I spoke to nearly every day.

And now he’s not here.

It still hasn’t sunk in.

I still go to text or email him – I think of something he’d find amusing or interesting, or that I want to get his opinion on. I’m waiting for the text to say he’ll be at Stroud station, or the email from him with a new story or plotline idea. I’ve got notes for the next Dresden RPG game, now abandoned; plans and snippets of ideas that would have been so much fun to play. I’m still expecting him to walk in the door and give me a quick hug before getting sat on by the cat and handed the remote so that he can choose the cheesy 80’s film for the evening.

Everything just ends so abruptly.

I’ve lost my alpha reader, my inspiration, my friend.

I’ve lost the man with an infectious smile, bright eyes, unexpected hugs, thoughtful words. I’ve lost the athlete who beat me easily in a race across Coaley Peak in the sunshine and bright frost with the view stretching out ahead of us, the world at our feet. I’ve lost the adorable idiot who let the cat sit on him until 1am and his legs had gone numb, just so that he didn’t wake the furball. I’ve lost the gamer who sighed in relief when he got his character out of danger and then promptly plunged back into it just for the fun of the game. I’ve lost the reader who loved my stories and somehow got into my character’s heads almost as well as I did. I’ve lost the caffeine addict who was always up for another cup of tea but would always offer me one too, despite knowing I don’t have tea for blood like he did. I’ve lost the opponent who regularly matched three potions before I could, and the colleague who drowned in sand with me as we failed at Forbidden Desert. I’ve lost the quiet company during our walks down the canal and our seat on the lock gate, just watching the leaves and not having to talk. I’ve lost the roleplayer who would chime in with an unexpected grin, a sharp retort, a sneaky plot. I’ve lost the insecure, broken soul who was learning how to speak out about the hurt, and say what he needed to be able to heal. I’ve lost the teenager who laughed with excitement at catching a Pokemon and always knew what they were called. I’ve lost the sleepyhead who curled up in my arms on the sofa and nodded off halfway through Poco Rosso. I’ve lost the derp who drilled through a mains water pipe and panicked at the resulting water fountain, and then learned how to solder to fix the mistake. I’ve lost the singer who corrupted me with Taylor Swift and whose unexpected voice brightened the moments when he relaxed enough to bring it out. I’ve lost the child who sprinted across the park to get the kite into the air and the adult who sprinted back, laughing as it flew. I’ve lost the writer who loved my world so much that he wrote his own stories, delved into parts I never could have created and brought so much life and imagination to a fantasy of a city. I’ve lost the student who would have a go at anything, from making lasagne to using an impact driver for the first time to taking a corner at 40mph. I’ve lost the friend who knew exactly what I was talking about when I talked about depression, about inspiration, about feeling lost, about finding your path.

I’ve lost someone who meant so much to me. I’m still crying every time I think of him; I’ve got a lump in my chest, a cold fog across my thoughts. I can’t focus for long, can’t concentrate. Every thing I see reminds me, somehow, of the person that I can no longer contact, the friend that I desperately miss.

But. The last time I saw him I got that beaming Ryan smile, and my final words to him were, “You’re awesome too. I’ll see you Wednesday.”

He knew he was loved, and that means that every memory I have makes me smile even as it makes me cry. He knew that he was cherished, valued, accepted – I told my friend that I loved him so many times and he believed me, and that’s everything I could ever want for anyone. I’m so glad that I knew him and that I took the time to listen and relax and just be in his company. He was my friend, and I cherish all the time that he chose to spend with me.

Ryan, you’re an absolute derp, and I miss you like hell. I might even finally get round to watching My Little Pony in your honour.

Edit: update here.

BristolCon 2016 – Kate’s schedule

I’m off to BristolCon tomorrow, armed with cake, books and friends! I’ll be on the Grimbold Books table for some of the day, so if you’re planning on visiting then do drop by the Dealer’s Room to say hi. I’ve also got a few official excursions…

14:00 – 14:45:  Book Launch followed by Mass Signing

Kristell Ink cordially invite you to the launch of Rob Harkess’s steampunk novel Amunet, followed by signings from the convention’s participating authors.

18:00 – 18:45:  (Have Fun) Storming The Castle

The panellists are the staunch defenders of Castle BristolCon, with its ramparts, crenellations, moat-with-spikes and traps for the unwary conventioneer – can the audience come up with an effective plan for taking the castle?

John Baverstock (Mod), Ade Couper, Jacey Bedford, Mhairi Simpson, Dom Dulley (I’m helping with the moderating for this!)

19:00 – 19:45:  The “F” Word

The late Graham Joyce believed in fairies. He wrote about fairies. He lit candles on his lawn for fairies. But he didn’t like to use the F word (not ‘f**k’. He said ‘f**k’ all the time). He said they didn’t like it, and Graham’s fairies were not people you’d want to cross. “…when the shadow steps out, not only is it sometimes not sweet, but sometimes it stays out…” The panel discusses the darkly numinous otherworld where fairytale meets nightmare.

with Jonathan L. Howard (Mod), Will Macmillan Jones, Kate Coe, Lucy Hounsom, Thomas David Parker

And the full programme can be found on the BristolCon website. Hope to see you there!

On October and things…

Pokemon GoFirst thing for October’s news: I’m giving Pokemon Go a try. I’ve got friends who play it but so far, I’d been resisting because:

a) I dislike having the location enabled on my phone because I don’t know who it’s telling
b) I suspect the app drinks battery and data
c) I didn’t play Pokemon as a child and therefore my idea of them is “that one that looks a bit like [insert real animal here] with extra [insert appendage]” rather than names, and I don’t make excited squeaky noises at the thought of catching something that looks like a ping-pong ball and a ferret had mad babies. I just…no.

However, the reason I’m now having a go at it is because I need something to get me out of the house, and if hatching a small blue dragon is what’s going to do that, then, well…ok then!

And on to the Second Thing. I quit my job as a Library Adviser.

I’ve been officially Not Doing Well at it since I re-started after my holiday (hah) in August. I’d spent a month doing web dev as part of that (failed) holiday, which was stressful in its own way, but I loved doing. And then suddenly back into a customer service environment with no answers and little support and a whole load of new things happening…I think the break made me realise how badly I was coping (it wasn’t like I’d been doing great before, I was just managing) and then I had two Really Shit days and just…

Soooo…yeah. I’m not quite panicking about it yet; I’ve been ill for the past week (thanks, stress and immune system!) so that’s been taking a toll and I’ve mostly just been ignoring the whole situation so that I don’t get miserable about it. But overall, I’m not actually too bothered as I’ve realised library work is just a Thing, not a Passion. I’m going to be looking for temp work, but also…

Third thing: I’m starting my own editing business. Or more specifically, I’m going to give the whole editing / proofreading / copyediting / typesetting thing a try. I know I can do it all, considering I’ve been taking on more over the past year, so I figured now is as good a time as any to try to turn something I love into something I get paid to do! I’m also going to be doing more writing and some web dev work with my housemate, who heard I was quitting and promptly gave me three projects to look at. He loves me really.

PidgeeThe boys have both been really supportive (if a little confused about the whole Pokemon Go thing, as they didn’t play it either) and Frankie has been happy that he’ll have a choice of human cushions to sleep on from November. I’ve got a bit of work to set up the business but I do have some things already in place, so…watch this space, I guess!

The most exciting part of the whole thing for me has been the possibility of setting up my own little office down in the snug. I need to sort my desk out, find a suitable chair…I’ve got my windowsill anyway (which is where I’m currently writing) but I figure having a Working Place is a good idea! Yay for re-organisation!

Ps. My Pokemon collection so far mostly involved Pidgees. I’m slowly working my way up the levels in the hope of getting more exciting things…

The New Year, part 2: Looking forward

In November 2015, I decided to do a Year of 100,000 Words! I wanted to finish my GreenSky novella series and plot the three novels, and basically get myself organised. So, looking forward into 2016, I’m continuing on with that; it’s replaced my Writing Resolutions, mostly because it includes them.

Plan for 2016I’m months ahead of my original plan: I’ve finished Books 6, 8 and 9! Desert Sands & Silence was finished just before Christmas and has now gone to my alpha reader; in addition, Empty Skies (book 5) has gone to two additional betas for comment. It’s the weakest book of the series and I’m not entirely happy with it, so I’m looking forward to their comments.

I’m waiting for my betas to read 5 and 6 before I can give them 7, 8 and 9…I know Golden Trust (Book 8) needs some additions but I’m happy with Book 9. And Book 10, Bright Spark & Sunrise, is in progress! I put a snippet in an earlier post on plotting. So, the GreenSky novellas are waaaay ahead of target. The novels are still in the planning stages, but I’m happy for those to just sit. I’m still getting ideas from everyone and everything, so they’ll change over the next few months. This is the inspiration stage!

My Dresden Files writing (ok, fanfiction, of a sort) is winding down. I’ve written over 100,000 words there over the last two years, but as the campaign’s finishing it’s getting archived. I’m still playing another game, but thankfully that doesn’t involve as much writing – but does involve more plotting. In terms of other writing…I wanted to do some work on my Shadow Series, but that hasn’t happened. I’ll leave that for the time being, I think. The Madcap Library has also been temporarily shelved, which is fine.

In better news, I’m getting a story published in the Fox Spirits Biscuits anthology…my first short story, but hopefully the first of many! I’ve found it incredibly difficult to write short stories with nothing to base them on; I need a line, a word, a starter! I’m also finding it far easier to write in the GreenSky world, as both of my submitted stories (one accepted, one no word yet) were based in that world and from a specific prompt. It makes it harder for me to find things to submit to, but means I write better stories when I do find something.

So, writing targets for the next nine months (so by NaNoWriMo 2016):

  • Finish Book 10, Golden Trust & Treasure.
  • Get the GreenSky novellas finished and ready to go, which is a ‘by Easter’ target.
  • Get the three novels plotted by November at the latest.
  • Submit at least six short stories to anthologies or competitions.
  • Spread my influence and wings. Market, talk, interact. Find reviewers and readers. I find marketing really hard, but I just need to do it.

In terms of personal targets, I have a few;

  • Continue at Swindon FreeWriters – we’ve had new interest due to NaNo, so it’s lovely to have new faces! We’ve got plans to expand too, so keep an eye on the SFW website if you’re interested.
  • Do Jo Hall’s Increasing Discoverability Reading Challenge; I want to read 12 new (to me) women writers this year. Considering that’s one a month, I’m hoping that’s definitely achievable. I’ve got a few in my TBR pile already so I’ll do a post on that later in January.
  • Walk! My awesome husband bought me a Fitbit for Christmas, mostly because I want to see how many steps I do round the Library a day. Considering I do a four-mile commute anyway, it’s going to be fun to be able to track it. I’ll amend my goals throughout the year, so this is just an ongoing thing.

So, there we go! Happy New Year, everyone, and I wish you luck and success in all your enterprises this year! (Heavens knows I’ll need it!)