Tag Archives: writing

An Experiment in Reading Out Loud

Otter hadn’t read Soul Music, likes other Pratchett books, and is into music enough that I reckoned they’d get most of the jokes. I wanted to practise reading out loud; I occasionally get asked to do it as an author, and frankly it’s something I do need to spend more time doing. Otter agreed on their part, too, and therefore, a plan was born: we were going to read Soul Music out loud.

(As an aside: one of the reasons I adore Soul Music (and Pratchett generally) is all those little in-jokes; you read a scene or a line and it’s pretty funny, but then you see something classic or read something and suddenly OH WOW THAT’S WHAT HE’S RIFFING OFF! Which I love. However, it doesn’t necessarily help with not getting the giggles when reading.

Death doesn’t help that either, or the Death of Rats.

SQUEAK.)

Anyhow! It was something in the nature of an experiment, as I hated being read to as a child (being able to see the page when you’re a fast reader is a recipe for frustration) and don’t really get on with audiobooks. Otter felt they were thoroughly out of practice reading as well… but we gave it a go.

Conclusion: we’re ok at Welsh, and sort-of-Jamaican (which is what we settled on for Lias) but couldn’t work out a voice for Glod. Otter does a mean Death – definitely better than me – but I do a better Susan. And we both had to keep stopping to giggle at the jokes.

Secondary conclusion: “How the fuck can you remember lines of the book?!” (An odd Kate skill: I memorise a lot of them as I read, and it’s partly why I get faster when I’ve read a book more than twice – I’m not even really reading, just skimming something I already know. Otter gave me a side-eye for that.)

Overall – a lot of fun! We’re going to keep going, I think – if nothing else it definitely is giving me practise in reading out loud, even if I do get the giggles more often than I want… (how do audiobook narrators not laugh at the funny bits?!)

Writing: Wizards & Work – Part 2

So I was having fun using my workplace as character inspiration – and I did some more silly character studies! These are definitely not intended to be any comment on the character of the original person, even if you do recognise someone as the inspiration – I have absolutely taken liberties 😀

 

The first thing visitors saw on entering the building were the corpses; gigantic monuments frozen into stillness in their last battle, a testament to the ferocity and conquest that we built our history on.

The second thing was the sword, hanging behind the curved wooden desk, its blade as sharp and gleaming as the day it was first drawn.

The third thing was the smiling face of the organiser as she prepared to assist, direct or otherwise help the unwary guest.

The entrance would likely be far quieter if more visitors took it upon themselves to wonder what role that smiling face had in the history of the other two items.

 

He was a mischievous sprite, sold into indenture by a previous master and given no way to buy out his contract – but the work suited him, and so he contented himself with tiny pranks on those around. A spell pinned to the back of a cloak that would make the wearer say what they truly thought for the day; a team of imps that rearranged the papers out of order every time they were shuffled; a wandering spell on items to make them amble and hide when least expected. And then, when the prank was discovered, his tiny giggle would ring out, brightening the office for that brief moment of joy.

 

Ze did not like direct sunlight, but that was not particularly unusual for a place that attracted many of the shadow folk; no one had dared ask zir opinions on garlic, and it would have been rude to comment on zir preference for working through the hours of darkness over the day. Ze occasionally spoke of zir homeland, or zir other name, or zir mother tongue: occasionally wistfully referred to somewhere ze had left behind. We never found out why ze had left, or what event had made zir come to us; but ze was a knowledgeable and esteemed worker, and if zir smile occasionally appeared a little too pointy, well – it would have been impolite to mention.

 

He had been granted two wishes; immortality, and speed. Immortality was plain, for he did not age in those long years that he worked within the building – but the speed, that had its price. He was often to be seen zipping around the office, a cheery smile and a welter of chatter heralding his unexpected appearance; but then he would retreat to his cave, and we would find him curled amid the wrappers and packets of his fuel, slumbering until his next mad dash.

 

It was rumoured that he was a shapeshifter; and that he’d accidentally shifted to a human and now couldn’t move back: or that he had somehow split himself in two, sundering his soul into two vessels that he was now searching for ways to combine. Certainly he was frequently in the company of another shifter, an imperious cat, and certainly he disdained humanity – any conversation was brief and annoyed, and he spent most of his days buried in intricate spellwork. But I found that he would answer any direct question, although whether that was spell-driven or not I was never sure; and he did so with something of a smile, as if grateful that someone had discovered the trick.

 

The gentleman was effortlessly polite and charming; always with a bow, a smile or a compliment. His bushy hair was kept trimmed, his dress was always immaculate, and his manner light-hearted; he was never serious, but never dwelled on weighty subjects long enough for that to be noticed. It was not until I chanced across him one day, crouched in the darkest forests far from the beaten path, that I understood what he kept at bay with his careful walls: the visage of the bear snarled at my hasty retreat, even as the human in his eyes begged for forgiveness.

An Interview with Grimbold Books

A very late post today (I blame work and my lingering cough!) but Sammy and I did an interview with the amazing Damien Seaman. There’s advice for wanting to work at or with a small press, what gives us the edge over the Big 5, how Sammy is secretly a superwoman, what makes a good book cover and what authors we’d recommend…

Check it out! He’s also done some very interesting interviews with other authors and publishers, so it’s definitely worth keeping an eye on the site.

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…