Slinging spells and flinging cards

I read Spellslinger this week in about three gulps and have been inspired by its greatness - to learn about cards, and to hurt my own characters, a lot. Honestly Sebastien de Castell heaps bad luck and trouble on his main character, Kellen, to such a degree that you fear it might be one of those YA... Continue Reading →

Ferocious Fae, Thorny Roses, Little Libraries

I go to my local library every week and pick up all kinds of books. They have a handy sticker-system on the books' spines to identify the genre, and lately I've been going for the Unicorn (!) sticker signifying fantasy.  I had success with The Thousand Names, and my most recent read has been Between... Continue Reading →

Flintlock fantasy fun

This week I read The Thousand Names by Django Wexler. I picked it up as part of an armful of fantasy novels I collected from the library. It’s part of my 2018 campaign to read new authors and find fantasy that is my kind of thing. This includes a large element of show us your... Continue Reading →

Editing: KonMari your writing and declutter your prose

Tidying the house is exhausting. It's physically tiring because of all the running up and down stairs with items which need relocating from room to room. But more than that, it's mentally exhausting because of all the small KonMari decisions you need to make as you tidy. Keep or toss? Put it with similar items or... Continue Reading →

Book Blog: The Voyage of the Dolphin – truth and lies in memoir

Life writing can take many forms - but how much truth, and how much fiction, do you put into a novel inspired by real events? What details do you put in, and what can you leave out? How do you handle dialogue and other parts you cannot know? Even if you are working from a pile... Continue Reading →

Book blog – contrasting fantasy worlds

I'm currently reading two quite different fantasy novels - Gideon Smith and the Brass Dragon, by David Barnett, and the newly-released Half-Shell Prophecies, by Ruthanne Reid. Barnett's book, the second in the series, continues the adventures of Gideon Smith, a former fisherman and now official Hero, in a steampunk Victorian world where men can be... Continue Reading →

Lessons from imitation – writing like others

I first read Jeeves and the Wedding Bells by Sebastian Faulks a couple of years ago, when it was published amid a slew of well-known authors venturing into fanfiction. There was this by the award-winning Faulks, but also Emma by Alexander McCall Smith, (not to mention the rest of Austen's titles reimagined as part of a... Continue Reading →

Book Blog – The Petticoat Men by Barbara Ewing

The Petticoat Men tells the story of the owners of a boarding house where two men rented rooms - two men later arrested for the charge of dressing in women's clothing. It's set in 1870 and is based on the true story of the Lord Arthur Clinton scandal, involving the Prime Minister, Gladstone, and members... Continue Reading →

Nanowrimo Blog Day 2 – stop marketing and just write

Today I was reminded of something important, especially during Nanowrimo: don't read a ton of stuff about marketing a book you have not finished yet. I don't mean you should plough ahead and actually share your book with the world without learning the best way to promote that book. I mean, don't think about selling a... Continue Reading →

Twist and steal – grasping inspiration from other books

I'm reading Longbourn, which re-tells Pride and Prejudice from the servants' point of view. It is not a new idea to imagine a classic as told by a minor character (see Wide Sargasso Sea, Mists of Avalon ...) but it made me wonder about more ways to create new stories, using the steal and twist method. For example: I could rewrite The... Continue Reading →

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