Tag Archives: newstory

FantasyCon 2019 & Some Updates

Went to FantasyCon, had a good time, came back. Going involved loud singing and random conversation about time travel (don’t ask). Coming back involved even more singing but no time travel. It did have a traffic queue at Oxford, though.

The con itself was good; quieter than other years, I think partly due to location (which wasn’t great as it was pretty inaccessible from Glasgow city centre) and partly due to people having other commitments. It was really great to catch up with people though, and I’m starting to see more friends – which is a really nice feeling! Had some great conversations and enjoyed chatting to everyone I managed to speak to. The Redcloaks team were amazing as always and the panels that I went to were excellent and interesting, so it was worth the trip. Next year is Sheffield, anyhow, so that will be fun!

(I did have a bit of the “I’m not doing enough” and “I should be talking to everyone” and social anxiety, but it was manageable. I’m now getting kicked in the head by the backlash from that so I’m very glad I booked today off work!)

I may be trundling down to BristolCon this weekend; I admit that I haven’t actually decided yet… it partly depends on my energy levels!

In other updates… BOOOOOOOKS. I got The Ten Thousand Doors of January because I adore Alix Harrow’s writing, The Bard’s Blade was my freebie book (I originally got the excellent The Hanging Artist but I’ve already read that…), Ann Leckie’s The Raven Tower on Womble‘s suggestion, and Wonderland, which I’ve already read and will review shortly! I did also spend about an hour at the Waterstones stall, taking pictures of book covers and spamming our work thread with “THIS IS SO PRETTY” and “Foil. Foil? AND SPOT. WE NEED TO DO THIS” and driving Dee insane trying to pick a book to buy. I almost did the same at Leaf’s stall (The Portal Bookshop, and in entirely related news, I need to go to York again soon…) but unfortunately I’d read a bunch of them already. In related news to that, though, The Library of the Unwritten is great!

And also; I have a story idea! I don’t know how far it will get but David used the words “creepy as fuck” twice when I was explaining it, so I think that’s a good sign…

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…

A snippet: The Gardener

The start of something, or possibly just a snippet…I’m not sure yet!

It started with a doorway; and with a man, kneeling in the small garden, hands cupped around the fragile leaves of a tree just rising through the damp soil.

He glanced up, briefly, at the blocked doorway no-one could have come through, and the person standing there; and then rose to his feet, knees of his trousers damp from the grass and fingers mud-stained from the soil.

“I was expecting someone,” he said with gentle politeness, and gave a short nod.

Her eyes widened; whatever she had expected here, it was not the winter garden around, sleeping trees and evergreen bushes tangling with the too-long grass and unraked leaves. It was not the dilapidated wall and peeling door, the scarred wall and bricked-in doorway behind her. It was not this stocky man with his careful movements, reserved manner, sympathetic gaze.

But she hesitated, one hand on the brickwork, as if waiting to see what this world held before she pushed open the door to another.

“Would you like a cup of tea?” he added.

And she smiled. “I’d like that very much.”

~~~

The inside of the house was as shabby and run-down as the outside, and almost empty; a bed, a table and two mismatched chairs, some scattered kitchen utensils, and a desk with a closed laptop on it. The walls were faded white, and the floor clean but aged. She sat down on one of the chairs and looked at the man, in his jeans and old buttoned shirt, hair pulled back into a knot.

“Progress hasn’t been good, I’m afraid,” he said, carefully filling the kettle.

“Oh?”

“This site is slower than I’d like.” She was silent, as if waiting, and he weighed how to explain his failure. He didn’t want to turn and see what judgement was in her eyes. “It’s been hard to encourage anything.”

“Look, I – wait, I don’t know your name.” Whatever she’d been going to say, it was derailed with a smile and an easy laugh.

“I go by Fydor, here.”

“Ok. Well. I’m…apparently not what you think I am.” He carefully set down the mugs and tilted his head a little, waiting on her next words. “I don’t really understand what you mean by the site, or encourage. Do you normally have regular visitors?”

“They haven’t been for a few years, but yes. I had assumed that you were another, here to check on my progress.”

“And they’re…they come through the same door?” She suddenly relaxed. “That’s why you didn’t freak out. You’re used to it.”

“You arrived by distinctly unusual means, as they do.” His smile twitched the corner of his mouth and creased the corners of his eyes. “What were you expecting, then?”

“I didn’t really know,” she admitted, smiling again. “That’s…it was a bit of an…unusual doorway.”

She was looking at him, studying. He let the silence hang, filling both mugs and then finding a spoon to stir them.

“I followed the light,” she said eventually. “It opens to where I need to be, even if…I’m not sure why.”

“I understand that.”

“What do you mean?”

“I move a lot.” He looked down to the mugs, and then picked them both up to bring over to the table. “I…get drawn to places. That I need to help, to heal. So I’m never in one place very long. A year, two at the most.”

She was still watching him as he set one mug down in front of her. “But you said here hadn’t been making as much progress with the site. What do you do?”

And suddenly, the smile lit his face. It was like watching an unfolding leaf, a growing bud; it was a blossoming. “I make things grow.”

Tresha, Relief, and Writing

 “Tresha. It was the thankful, humble, vulnerable feeling that came after someone saw a truth in you, something they had discovered just by watching, something that you did not admit often to yourself.” – Becky ChambersThe Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet

I have tresha, but also what feels like the reverse; someone doing something that lets you release a long-held breath, helps you let out something that’s been held inside; unlocks something that I’d known would come back, but I didn’t know when. And it’s from someone doing something completely unsuspecting; as a friend said to me, just by being you.

For the first time in over a year, I’d picked up a piece of Dresden writing again – I had to travel to Lymington this weekend, and just started thinking about plot as I drove. What if I jammed two unfinished stories together? What if the solution to one problem was killing someone (well, this is me: I’m not nice to characters) and seeing where it goes? It meant throwing out some writing – but that happens – and it meant thinking about motives again…

So I was poking it on Saturday evening, got a bit written, and briefly mentioned it to a friend who then asked about the world and the factions. I explained – and they upped and ran with it! We were up until 2am talking about a spin-off idea, looking for mood images, discussing motives and character traits and how the world and politics and factions might work…

Tangled Secrets by Kate CoeAnd it felt like letting out a breath.

If you’ve seen the rest of the site or read this blog for a while, you’ll know how much I loved the Dresden world; I loved the game, the characters, the intricacy, the factions. The fact that I have about 100k of fanfic words on Wattpad (either published or not yet) and more in a folder tells you how much I loved writing it. And it got locked away when Ryan left, because I couldn’t face it on my own. I’d lost my friend and my partner for that world, and I couldn’t tell those stories any more. It’s sort of been coming back, slowly; putting the words out there has helped, even though I haven’t really been able to write anything new.

And while this isn’t that world and partnership, and never will be – it was letting out the same breath. It was loosening the bands that held it all in. It was being able to talk about something I loved, and be back in that sort of world with someone who gets it.

I cried, and I laughed, and I don’t have the words to be able to say how grateful I am even for that small loosening of the tightness. For the small relief in the knowledge that says yes, this will come back. This can happen again. This feeling isn’t gone, and isn’t it wonderful?

And then I got hit in the chest with a bagful of emotions in return.

As you may know, I tend to be enthusiastic about encouraging people to write, and don’t tend to have much sympathy for excuses – in a nice way! I just don’t hold that you need to be good enough, or have An Idea, or be writing The Right Thing, or wait for whatever it is you’re hoping will make you write…I will always have sympathy for writer’s block, though, because just not having the words does suck (as I know!) But anyway, said friend had mentioned that they used to write, and now don’t, and they wanted to start again but

Well, that got short shrift from me when they mentioned it a few months ago: short enough that I actually started a document, filled in the first line and sent it to them – and they wrote something! WIN! But what I hadn’t realised until they told me was that it wasn’t me gently prodding (ok, not-so-gently prodding) that made them write. It was me.

It was the fact that I’ve been through depression and anxiety and still live with both. It was everything I’ve done in the face of that. It was the published books and short stories and words and blog and ideas.

It was the lack of excuses that I give myself.

I have to remind myself, when I’m not doing well, that the fact I’m alive is a huge thing. The fact I’ve made it another day is everything. And anything I can do, when I’m feeling like a failure for not doing enough, is all I need to do. I hate the idea of being inspiration because I feel like a failure, and I hate someone not being able to see that I’m a mix of both. But I need to acknowledge that I have done more than I could have, and maybe more than I should have. I keep going, even if it’s one step at a time through fog. I do this. I can do this. I have done it.

Kintsugi

Having someone else tell me that, outside of my own head, took my breath away.

Tresha.

And – and – I’m writing! Despite being a sounding-board, it’s not going to be my story to write (we can have the argument about that later, Badger, because I know you’ve just grumbled at the screen) but I have images and scenery and snapshots, and I scribbled a short piece as soon as I woke up on Sunday morning to send over. I’m used to rpg writing and so the idea of pieces being used, changed, discarded; that’s not a problem for me. But being able to put the flashes of scene onto paper, being able to scribble down a conversation, being able to write a chunk of description – even if it never gets used, it’s wonderful. It’s there. It is coming back.

It’s another infill of gold; and it’s a breath, held for too long, suddenly let out.

The words are coming back.

A Snippet of a New Story

A random snippet from the new No Man’s series story…

“I am the Emissary of the Elven Kingdom of the Golden Sycamore.” The sylph turns her head back to Luk. “We wish you to deny Stromberg the lives. When previously informed of this situation, the Merlin was accepting of the urgency and problematic nature of this.”

“Which Merlin was this?” Elise asks, in her sweetest and most confused elderly-lady manner.

The sylph shrugs. “Human names are not memorable to me.”

“Nevertheless,” Luk puts in. “Stromberg is going to, at some uncertain point in the future, try to…what? Kill a bunch of humans? And that somehow powers their Castle?”

“Steal,” the sylph corrects. “We do not know what they do with them, only that they are taken into the Castle and Stromberg’s power is renewed. We do not want this to happen.”

“Yes, I got that. So, the million-dollar question: why should I care?”

Rachel’s sigh is strong enough to blow biscuit crumbs off the plate. Elise reaches out and carefully brushes them up, before standing to deposit them in the sink.

“The previous Merlin considered this-”

“Yes, I’m sure,” Luk says. “But I don’t care. Stromberg can’t have been kidnapping ridiculous numbers of humans, otherwise the rest of Faerie and most of the human world would have taken steps, so I don’t see why you’re trying to get me involved in something that’s obviously a power play between two Courts.”

“If they’re kidnapping people, Luk…” Rachel starts.

“People die every day. The Fae kidnapping humans is nothing new. I’ve got enough to do without getting my ass put on the line by a power that’s perfectly able to deal with it themselves if they wanted to.”

“Do young humans going missing not bother you?”

“Children?” Rachel says, giving Luk a glare. “They’re kidnapping children to somehow power their Castle?”

Luk rolls his eyes. “Go join a charity commission if you’re going to be that much of a preacher! If they’re still powerful it’s obviously not the first time they’ve done it, so there’s still no reason why I should care.”

“If you do this,” the sylph says, “then the Elven Kingdom will consider one of your debts to us paid.”

Luk pauses, and then says, “Well, that’s just fucking bollocks. I don’t think I-”

“Fickin bullcks?” a small toddler’s voice says from the doorway.