Long time no post

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I’m really bad at updating this blog aren’t I? I had such plans for it as well…

Though getting pregnant with triplets and moving country will tend to take over your life so I’m not beating myself up about it too much. This month marks me being over 20 weeks pregnant and just under four weeks since we moved Sweden, where me and Nem moved to live with our partner Linn. The stress of the move and having awful morning sickness left my creative energy incredibly depleted BUT I’m starting to feel like a human again so I’ve been slowly getting back into editing Cake Brothel.

At the moment I’m half way through the second draft so once that’s done I’m sending it to Nem (my long suffering editor) to check through before it goes onto my beta readers. Our babies are hopefully arriving into the world at the end of October so fingers crossed that will all be done by then.

In other news after much thought I’ve decided to query Lovelorn again, reverting back to its original title and making it a stand alone. Time has passed since the last round of querying and though I’m still learning as I go, perhaps I have a better shot this time. Lovelorn deserves a second chance from me, if only in acknowledgment of all the blood and tears that went into writing and editing it.

And lastly my novella Beneath A Bethel is getting published! Which is equal parts exciting and terrifying to think people will be able to read my writing after so long. It’s being published byΒ Gurt Dog Press which has been set up by Nem himself! It will focus on LGBTQI+ dark speculative fiction and horror which is something close to both our hearts. I’m thrilled to be one of the first books published under his new business.

So that’s all for this update but I hope to finish up and post the blog posts I had planned in the beginning of the year soon now I’m feeling better.

 

Reading Journal for 2019

Last year, rather than track my reading on Goodreads like I’ve done the years before, I decided to start a reading journal. It worked pretty well, only the one I chose was already set out and I ran out of room to write down books much faster than I thought I would! With that in mind I decided to try my hand at bullet journaling and set up my own journal. I thought I’d post a few photos of my set up here and perhaps do another update at the end of the year with how my finished spreads look.

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These are some of my favourites pages so far, especially the genre tracker above as I just love those colours together. I like to keep track of all the details like age bracket and how I read the book so I can see the changes in my reading year to year. The shelf of books is ones I’m most excited to read, I even left a little room to add more books as I imagine I will come across exciting new releases as the year goes on. Nem helped me by drawing the library cards below and we printed them out on card so they would look like real ones. I’m really happy with how these all turned out.

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Despite making a few mistakes and having a sharp learning curve I really enjoyed the process of setting everything up. Just last weekend I set up my calender and pages read for February and it was so relaxing to sit and draw while watching a documentary.

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Do any of you keep a reading journal, however fancy or simple? I have a feeling that I’ll be doing this again next year already as I’ve found it so relaxing.

Favourite books of the year part 02

Here are my favourite books of the second half of the year. I fell into a reading slump the end of the year which was frustrating but life was very busy so it cant be helped. That probably explains why this list is shorter than the first!

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Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers

Chambers’ is the only sci-fi author that makes me want to live in space and this book is no exception. Not because her galaxy is a utopia but because it’s realistic, as if it could really be a possible future. Like the two previous books in this series, the plot moves at a slow pace, taking time to show the intricacies of the fleet, introducing a cast of characters that aren’t tied together until the very end. I adored the glimpse into their lives, especially Tessa’s as her interactions with her children were so amusing and sweet! Chambers’ books are always so thoughtful and at times bittersweet and this one was no different, each character struggling with questions that are so common, the location of space making no difference. It’s a comforting thought to know that even people in space struggle with the same day to day problems.

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

I’ve heard a lot of praise for Shirley Jackson’s work but it was this year that I finally read three of her books, including this one and I adored it so much that I read it twice! She’s quickly becoming a favourite author of mine. Haunting of Hill House is often toted as one of the defining haunted house stories of its genre but it is so much more than just a ghost story. It’s a glimpse into a spiralling mind due to a repressed life and wasted years. Eleanor’s daydreams of escaping and her slow loss of her grip of reality was heartbreaking, Jackson perfectly capturing what it feels like to long for something more. Despite being a short book, the tension builds wonderfully as the plot twists the paranormal and reality until its hard to untangle what is a true haunting and a fabrication. Much like My Cousin Rachel which I read earlier in the year, the ending was amazing, completely shifting my perception of the whole story.

Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor

This was such a wonderful finish to the duology, full of twists and revelations not only for Lazlo’s journey but also for her other series Daughter of Smoke and Bone. The theme of trauma follows on from Strange The Dreamer, becoming even darker then its predecessor before rising into hope. The line between good and bad is blurred ever further also and Taylor brilliantly shows how there are often no sides, just broken people. I imagine that some people might dislike the happy ending of this book but I found for a series founded in so much pain, the message of healing and moving froward was needed and uplifting. I’m really excited to see what she writes next as I have no doubt it will be wonderful.

Anticipated reads for next year

Here’s are some of the books I’m excited to read next year. Some of them have already come out but I haven’t managed to get to them yet and some are upcoming releases.

Amnesty by Lara Elena Donnelly

This is the last in a series and I adored the previous two. It features compelling flawed characters fighting against a corrupt political system while drinking too much and making a mess of their private lives. The first book in particular ripped my heart out with it’s ending and I’m desperately hoping for a happy ending in this book even if it has to be somewhat bittersweet.

In an absent Dream by Seanan McGuire

I imagine everyone has heard of this series by now and I’m not different to all the others raving about it. McGuire has created such an interesting world with so many possibilities and I cant wait to see where she takes it in this instalment!

Bitter Orange by Claire Fuller

A Gothic thriller only set just before the 70’s! At a dilapidated English country mansion a woman watches a couple through the hole in her floorboards. It sounds so tense and I cant wait to discover the twists as their lives unfold before her.

Five Days of Fog by Anne Freeman

This is set in 1952 at the beginning of the Great Smog of London and concerns a tough female gang, one of whom wishes to escapes their criminal life style. I’ve been dying to read this since I heard about it, It just sounds so compelling and different from anything else on my TBR!

The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins

Speaking of very different, this book is a mystery with a former slave and servant at its heart. Something that although a large and important part of history you don’t often see in these types of books. Accused of murdering her mistress, it unravels what is the truth behind the claims.

Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

The start to a new fantasy trilogy heavily inspired by the authors Malaysian upbringing. It features a lesbian romance, a royal brothel and a demon king which just ticks all the boxes for me! It’s also been compared to Laini Taylor’s books and though normally I don’t pay attention to comparisons I have to admit this one has got me very excited.

House of Glass by Susan Fletcher

Another Gothic mystery about a mansion, what can I say? I like what I like. A young lady is taxed with filling the green houses with planets but something about the house isn’t as it seems, something in lurking within. Doesn’t that just sound delicious.

The BindingΒ  by Bridget Collins

A story about a young man that becomes a book binder against his will in a world where books hold more than words, they hold people’s unwanted memories! When I first heard of this upcoming release I thought it sounded like one of the most ‘me’ books I’ve ever stumbled upon and I cant wait to read it!

The True Queen by Zen Cho

I adored Sorcerer to the Crown and have been waiting for this companion novel for a long time. For what I gather it follows a completely different set of characters, exploring a new part of her regency inspired fantasy world which just sounds brilliant.

When I Arrived at the Castle by Emily Carroll

Probably the book I am most excited for on this list! I fell in love with Carroll’s art when I read her graphic novel Through the Woods a couple of years ago and I’ve been longing for her to release more horror stories since. Finally next year my dreams will be answered! This sounds like it will be a sexually charge Gothic tale which just sounds like heaven.

What books are you looking forward to reading next year?

Finished first draft and goals

I finished the first draft of Cake Brothel!!! I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to do it before the new year due to life being so stressful and hectic but I did, with two weeks to spare. Of course it is far from being done and I’ve already started looking through my editing notes and making changes but the hardest part is done. From past experience with Lovelorn I know that each draft after this will only add to the story, making it richer each time. Of course I’m also aware that it will mean much more work for me, many stressful edits and more than a few books needing to be read for research on top of it all.

With that in mind I’ve decided not to set goals for this year or to do a recap as though I’m hoping 2019 wont be full of the heartache I’ve battled through this year it will be very busy! My calender is already filling up!

My only goal is to get Cake Brothel ready to be submitted to agents by the end of next year. That and to slow down between the impending busy periods and drafts. Log off more often, focus on reading books I’m excited for and try to teach myself how to de-stress. I have a feeling those moments are going to be very much needed as next year gets in full swing so I better start managing my time better now.

Maybe this time I wont need to have ten drafts like with Lovelorn? Fingers crossed!

Becky Chambers book signing

While in Edinburgh we took a train to Glasgow so I could attend a talk and book signing by Becky Chambers. Getting there was a bit more stress than we first though, firstly with the trains confusing us and then by getting lost once there. I had intended to do a little book shopping, for us to find a park to sit in and eat our dinner but as it turned out we arrived with barely ten minutes to spare before it started! We ended up wandering around the town for at least an hour and a half and Nem resorted to eating his dinner while we walked. We were both very tired by this point but it soon got better once we had a drink and were seated waiting for the event to start.

As we were seeing her on the actual release day of Record of a Spaceborn Few I sent my pre-ordered copy to the shop so I wouldn’t miss out on getting it signed. I also brought A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet and the ARC of Spaceborn Few that I won a month or so ago. I’m so glad I brought the ARC as when packing I was debating between that or Closed and Common Orbit. I couldn’t fit both in my hand luggage and have space to bring back my pre-order! In the end I made the right choice as the ARC is the first I’ve ever had and now it’s even more special because its dedicated and signed.

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Before the signing there was a talk which was really interesting, especially hearing about her love of science and how she tries to stick to reality concerning it as much as possible. She also explained how many of the alien species began by her picking traits she loves in nature and building a social structure around them. Nem was impressed by how much non-fiction she reads as he also tends to gravitate to that genre as opposed to fiction. Space is not something I know very much about so I really enjoyed listening to her talk about it, her love of all things to do with it really shone through. Many of the best questions came from the crowd though I was too shy to ask her about her newly announced Tor novellas.

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As there were so many of us, they staggered the signing but it didn’t take long until it was our turn. by that point I had found my voice and I prattled on about how soothing and comforting I find her books. I likened them to literary blankets which she really loved. As with most signings it was over quickly but still amazing. She was so sweet and pardon the pun, down to earth.

Afterwards Nem found a quicker route to the train station and luckily one was heading back to Edinburgh not long after we arrived. Once on it I could finally eat my dinner! Pasta is not great to be consumed while walking so it had been in my bag the whole event! Needless to say I was starving by this point but it was a nice end to the day at least, munching and staring out the train window.

The Wild: Edinburgh writing holiday

Me and Nem are recently back from our first writing holiday! It was a great success as we wrote 20,393 words of our story The Wild and explored nine cemeteries and graveyards combined for inspiration along with much of the city. Although The Wild isn’t set in Edinburgh it is heavily inspired by the city and it was wonderful to be able to add in elements of it’s history and streets while being there. I’ll write more about The Wild once the first draft is finished but for now have some photos from our trip.

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