Tag Archives: personal

5 Happy Things: March 2018

Snow at Salisbury cathedral

Where did February go? * blinks* Well, I’ve been doing ok this month, problem clients and minor anxiety notwithstanding. Things that have made me happy include…

1.The three anthologies that I have been editing – with co-editors, thankfully it’s not just been me! – have a launch date and a launch party planned! I’ll be in Oxford on the 8th June for those, and I’m really looking forward to sharing the stories. Despite having read them multiple times, I still think they’re fantastic, and one keeps making me cry every single frickin’ time I read it. I am evilly wondering how many other people it’s going to have the same effect on…

2.Snow! We got another coating mid-March, and I was lucky enough to get out for a walk early in the morning. The Cathedral was beautiful, and while the daffodils and birds were Not Happy, I quite enjoyed it.

Roman Holiday film poster

3.I’ve been re-watching Roman Holiday with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck, and I’m always astonished by how quiet Rome is. There’s no people! No traffic! I love the film, too – I think I like it better than Breakfast At Tiffany’s, even though there is Slob Cat in that one.

4.A board game called “Honshu“, which I played with the Salisbury gamers. You have to build a city with cards, and it’s quite non-dramatic – but in a fun strategy way! I like the mix of tetris-style thinking and trying to get as many lakes as possible. We also played Seven Wonders this week, which was enjoyable – I like Sid Meier’s Civilisation games, and I liked the variety of ways Seven Wonders uses the resources.

5.Wonderful friends! I got an Easter parcel from a friend in Belgium, a lovely postcard with a sloth on it, a box of fun writer-y bits from the awesome Ellen Crosháin (who, by the way, has a new book up for pre-order – and it’s awesome. You should totally read Cruelty and then order the sequel) and various emails from my lovely aunt about birds, cake and snow. I’m incredibly grateful for the amazing people in my life 🙂

Rebellion and change

Otherwise entitled, “Kate, just freakin’ settle down and pick one job in one city.” Although actually I’ve been doing this job for four years now, so…I’m just adding a company?

So. Uh. I’m moving to Oxford after Easter, and changing my job (sort of) because I’ve been offered a position as an editor at Solaris/Abaddon, an imprint of Rebellion. They publish awesome fantasy and sci-fi, the sort I want to read, and it’s with an awesome team of people in an awesome city, and…

I might be just a little bit excited.


Guys. Guys. It’s a proper paid editing job. (Much as I love Grimbold, we’re a small press. Editors do get paid, but most of what Sammy and I – and the rest of the editorial, production and marketing people – do is unpaid, because it has to be. Money goes to the authors first, and at the indie level that leaves little to nothing for the behind-the-scenes teams. It’s why we all have day jobs!)

And I just…I may have squeaked. And burst into tears. And jumped up and down. I’m very excited, and very nervous, and it feels like validation.

The whole application process was a series of coincidences and I-nearly-didn’t and then I thought I’d messed up both interviews – my brain was doing the whole, “You know that thing you said? SO STUPID. And you gave that answer, they’re going to take it this completely wrong way. You’re such an idiot. You’re a failure. Of course you don’t have the experience they want, and you haven’t read enough books, and you’re waaaay down their shortlist. They’re only bringing you back for a second interview to have someone to compare the best candidate to. Why did you even try for it?”

Thanks, brain.

Well…they want me. Apparently I am well-read (SUCK IT, BRAIN WEASELS!) and my editorial experience is good and I got 100% in the copy-edit test! And I know enough random history facts to have been able to have a conversation with the CEO (trust me, that’s necessary)…

This is a job that I LOVE. I’ve only really been doing it – and even really aware of it as a job that I could do – for the past 3-4 years. Sammy at Grimbold Books took on the GreenSky series, taking a chance on that as the first novella series – and then, when I asked if there was anything I could help with, took a chance on me for proofreading. And then editing. And then website updates. And then formatting. She’s been a rock of support and I am so grateful for the things she’s offered – not that, y’know, it was without self-interest….as obviously it helped to have someone helping with everything!

But I don’t have training – I’m only just doing the official basic proofreading courses for the Sfep, and that’s only because I have to have official training despite having the work hours already. I don’t have a degree. I don’t have a piece of paper that says I can do this. I don’t have anything except multiple books out there that I’ve helped shape, and authors who are levelling up because I’ve supported them. I’ve read and commented and helped and been annoyed and frustrated  and happy and tired, and I’ve worked my ass off in between other proper jobs doing something that I love and someone’s just told me that, yes, that’s worth something. Yes, you can do this.

I can do it.

It’s gonna be a tough couple of months settling in, and I’m going to be working out how to balance everything – I will still be doing work for Grimbold and my own writing, but I’ll be stepping back a little while I get sorted. The blog’s definitely one of the things I want to keep up so I’ll still be posting here, but if I’m not around as much elsewhere, please forgive me – or give me a kick!

Myths and Legends, or Where Marvel Gets Its Stories

So I’ve spent some of the past six months randomly texting a former colleague and now friend with things like, “Did you know ‘Cerberus’ means ‘Spot’?” and “Let’s have a story about the time a pretty Roman threw all the chickens overboard!”

It all started because he’s a Marvel fan, and was telling me about this awesome set of films called The Avengers which feature a certain Norse Thunder God and his sneaky, trickster step-brother. And so I told him the story of the time Thor and Loki dressed up as women and then slaughtered everyone. Because that’s the sort of story that I tell at random times when someone mentions how much they love The Avengers.

And I got a look of part horror, part astonishment. “How do you know this stuff?”

(Yes, Ant, I know it wasn’t quite like that. Shush. This is my story, and I’ll tell it how I want.)

“Well, they’re all taken from Norse myths…” at which point it became clear that I read too much, and also that stories of trickery, drinking and fighting always go down well.

I admit I kinda skidded off the Norse mythology at that point because a) I left that job and it’s a bit harder to tell gory stories via text, and b) I couldn’t remember exactly who fucked over (or fucked) who at any given time and needed to look it up. So we got onto Good Solid Roman Tales Of Morality Fit For Children Of All Ages, including dear Claudius Pulcher throwing the chickens overboard and Gaius Popillius Laenas being a badass with a walking stick – which may have included the line, “Now Rome’s a pretty big bully and they could have sent in armies to lay waste, cause gnashing of teeth and wailing of wimmen and all that. They sent one little old man with a walking-stick and a few unarmed pretty-boys for the look of the thing.” What can I say, I like making fun of the Romans. They’re such a stuck-up bunch.

But in the course of my wandering, I remembered a site that I LOVE. It’s Myths Retold, and it’s amazing – and does a whole bunch of different mythology, not just Norse and Roman, and I highly recommend getting lost in it. I did point my friend at it, but I think he enjoys getting his weeks randomly interrupted with bloodshed and multiple Whatsapp messages – so hey, I’m not going to argue. I have now read up on who Freja was fucking at any given time (and for what particular piece of shiny ornamentation), but I think the next one we’re going to do is “How Loki Fucked Up Majorly, Or How He Got The Prettiest Of Pretty Boys Killed And Then Got Himself Drooled On By A Snake Until The End Of The World”, or possibly for something more light-hearted we’ll do  “How Thor Created The Tides By Drinking Too Much”, which is an awesome story.

Gotta love Norse myths.

Brain Weasels

I borrowed the concept of Brain Weasels from Jim C Hines, because they’re just so apt. “They scheme against me, rubbing their tiny clawed fingers together and twirling their whiskers…”

They’ve been in full force for the last few days. I knew that having an overdose of People and Big City over the weekend at Forbidden Planet’s Small Press Expo (which was fabulous, and I’m very glad I went!) and seeing people in London would tire me out, but it really did a number on me.

It hasn’t really been helped by the last few weeks. I’ve had a few minor stresses that have all stacked on top of each other to make a bigger stress, and I’ve started to have problems eating again – I probably should do a separate post about that but I’ve got the fun combination of not really wanting to eat, and then when I do, feeling sick, which just reinforces the not-wanting-to-eat. I’ve trained myself over the years to force myself to have something (usually tea) which stands me in good stead whenever I get this bad, but it’s still not fun, especially when combined with other stress.

I think I’ve started separating the Weasels out more successfully, though – which isn’t entirely nice. It’s like falling over something: I’m coasting along on a “well, ok, things aren’t brilliant but I’m doing all right and I can do this” and suddenly I’ll trip over “everything’s shit and you should just kill yourself already and there’s no future and here’s some ways to do it” and it just feels so abrupt. And then I get ambushed by more Weasels and that ain’t fun either. Plus if I don’t want to eat then the Emergency Stash of Chocolate doesn’t help, so…

Yeah. My brain sucks.

the hill-fort cover

The only thing I can really do when I get bad is push on through it: there isn’t really anything I can do to make it go quicker. I’m coming up again now, thanks in part to my wonderful friends and in part to the Weasels fucking off. If I get bad for longer than about a week, I’ll consider looking at medication again, but for now I’m just keeping on swimming as best I can.

On that note, one thing that does help (while also stressing me out, but in a better way) is work, so I’m going to go dive back into the pile! It’s currently mostly proofreading and things for other people, but there is some of my work on there…

And I’m still doing my Dresden stories on Wattpad twice-weekly, so please do hop over there and have a read if you fancy something new (to you) of mine!