Friday Fiction: Midnight Escape

As promised (and just about in time!) this month’s Friday Fiction is here and it’s another of the scenelets that lurk around in the recesses of my file store.

This is another piece that ties to the Mirna project, listed on the projects page, but unlike On The Marshes, this represents an idea that’s been cut completely as the project has moved in a different direction from where this would have gone.

Read Midnight Escape

Happy reading!

November Rain

So far, November has been decidedly soggy in these parts, to the extent that several new pot holes have formed on my regular walking route. One of them, I found by the expedient of standing on the edge of it and nearly going absolutely headlong. Ouch! A week later and my back is still complaining…

NaNo is in full swing and I’m happy to report that Hassatar is making progress. I wouldn’t necessarily describe it as good progress, but it’s moving forward. I suspect that rather than hitting the 50k target by the end of the month, it will be more like 30k, but I’m happy with that as a target as that will represent (broadly) somewhere near half way and anything over that will be a bonus.

Making rather less in the way of progress, inevitably, is Ved’ma. At this point, there is no chance of me getting this book finished and published this year (even if I were to break my “No December releases” rule), partly because I’ve realised I need to rethink the last third (again), which means unpicking a lot of what I’ve written. It doesn’t change the ending point (which would be a nightmare, given that Sage and Hassatar both rely on the way Ved’ma changes the status quo), but it does mean I’ve still got a lot of work ahead of me. As a consequence, I’m now shooting for a March release date, which pushes Sage to June. The releases page has been updated accordingly.

On one level, I’m really frustrated that I’m not getting this book done this year, but on another I know the delay does mean it will be a better book, and in the mean time I can give my brain a bit of a break by working on Hassatar. So, it probably balances out. Maybe.

What this will mean for the website is that, instead of doing the Ved’ma Elsehere Soundtrack contributions through December, I’ll be doing a short series of posts about pieces of music that have been incredibly important to me, one way or another, As always, there will be a Spotify playlist to go along with it and the first post in the series will go up on Monday 5th December.

On the Friday Fiction front, the piece I was intending to post this month, as a prelude to Ved’ma, will be held back to March (it’s not hugely spoilery, but it would make more sense to post in conjunction with Ved’ma being available), so at this point, I’m not sure what I’ll be posting as Friday Fiction, this time next week! I have a couple of ideas, though, so something will go up next Friday. I’ve also got December’s Friday Fiction in the works (I’m planning on it being a little more…seasonal…this year!), which would close out the year on a reasonable high note.

And that’s everything for this month. I think. Friday Fiction will go up (as I mentioned) next Friday – hopefully this month, I’ll remember to add the link in BEFORE the post goes live…

Until then; happy reading πŸ™‚

Friday Fiction: The Cliffs of Karkoom

For this month’s short fiction, another of the building blocks for Paradise Falls. This time, it’s Weiland Fell. He’s a member of the Galactic Alliance Peace Keepers and, specifically, a specialist in hostage negotiation and search-and-rescue ops. He’s got a streak of daredevil in him and a willingness to put himself in harm’s way to protect others.

He also happens to come from Malchiar, a non-Alliance world with a bad reputation that Weiland feels he has to try and make up for.

Of course, not all rescues have a happy ending…as Weiland is about to be reminded of.

Read The Cliffs of Karkoom

Happy (or maybe not, this time) reading πŸ™‚

Kingdoms Rise and Kingdoms Fall

It’s the middle of October and things are chaotic, to say the least. Personally speaking, the last four weeks have been one long, continuous tension headache…and then I make the mistake of looking at the news. (Looking at the news is up there with reading the comments at the moment.) Even my usually reliable escape of watching sport has been dominated by controversy (and you definitely don’t read the comments about that one!)

So, yes. Not my most productive few weeks.

So, am I going to be able to get Ved’ma published next month? It’s doubtful, to say the least. But. BUT. I’ve reached the point where I’m basically refusing to give up, so…we’ll see. In the meantime, I’m also still planning on writing book 6 (or, at least, getting a good start on it) for NaNoWriMo. This might (?!) sound mad, but I want to avoid being in a similar situation this time next year. Admittedly, that’s kind of what I said this time last year…

In more positive news, I have a cover in progress for Ved’ma (hi S!) which I’m looking forward to being able to share with you soon – it’s looking really, really awesome and I can’t wait for it to be ready!

Also, in positive news, there will be a Friday Fiction story this month – look out for that at the end of this week. I’ve also got stories ready for next month (pending Ved’ma) and a couple of stories in varying states of readiness for December. I’m also planning to make December a short story writing month, to give myself a bit of a break – though that is contingent on getting Ved’ma done!

Finally, in really positive news, book 6 officially (and finally!) has a title: Hassatar. This shouldn’t change now and to reflect that, Hassatar has been added to the releases page. It doesn’t have its final synopsis, but it does have a teaser!

Lastly, I’ve been and done a bit of springcleaning on my projects page to add another couple of potential projects and to add some guidance in as to whether projects are stand-alone books or potential series. I’m going to be busy!

Until Friday, happy reading πŸ™‚

Friday Fiction: What Happens In Delphi…

For this month’s (main!) Friday Fiction piece, a spot of historical fantasy. Set in Greece, during the Peloponnesian war, it’s both a chance to dust off parts of my degree (roughly a sixth of my degree was about this period!) and an opportunity to fill in a little of the history in the Elsehere universe.

In my original plan for Sekhmet, some of the flashbacks/dreams were intended to feature Greece in this period. However, as Sekhmet took shape, they ceased to make sense in the context of a story very much more rooted in Egyptian history, but just because they didn’t make it into the book, it doesn’t mean I forgot about the idea and that’s led both to this short story and to something that will be happening in Sage. (Note: no spoilers in here for Sage!)

You don’t have to have read any of the Elsehere books to understand this. You also don’t have to have studied Greek history – I have tried to keep the history references to a minimum, but there are a few. Ultimately, this is a story of a seer who knows she’s living in interesting times but who’s about to learn just how interesting.

Read What Happens in Delphi

And, in case you missed it in last week’s update, this month’s other Friday Fiction is a 100 word drabble entitled the Book of Bob.

Read The Book of Bob

Okay; that’s it for this month. Happy reading πŸ™‚

Stormy Weather

After a delightfully quiet August, it is fair to say that September has exploded in all sorts of directions, some expected, some not so much; some very public and some very personal. All of which is to say: what in the heck has just happened this week?!

So, was August as productive as I hoped? Well, yes and no. On the yes front, I’ve got not one but two pieces of Friday Fiction ready for this month (more on that in a moment). On the no front, I’m still drafting Ved’ma and I miiiiiiiiiiiiiiight be starting to think I’m not going to make my intended publication date. At this point, I have the first third of the book ready to go off for editing, but the other two thirds still need good chunks of work, so I have two weeks to get my head down and crack this before I definitely say publication moves. If it does move, it will be into January of 2023 (as I think I’ve said before, I’m not doing another December release!).

As a knock on to all of this, Sage is definitely moving back from next January to next April. The January date was always predicated on me getting Ved’ma finished in a more timely fashion. If I do move Ved’ma to January then Sage may get moved again, but that will very much depend on how Ved’ma is actually going. So watch this space…

What does this mean for book 6? Well, I’m still planning on drafting book 6 in November and I would like to get book 6 out into the world to complete the Elsehere series (for now!) towards the end of next year, but that is definitely going to depend on getting Ved’ma and Sage finished and out, as intended (can’t publish book 6 if book 5 isn’t out…!) and equally it depends on getting a nearly-complete first draft in November. And, uh, also finding a final title, too. That’s quite important! On that front, I have had a few thoughts over the summer, but nothing ready to announce yet, so it’s another watch this space item. Sorry!

Finally, on the long-form stuff, I will be working with my cover artist (my inner 13yo is quietly squealling with joy that I can say that!) later on this month to sort out the cover for Ved’ma so that will be something that gets revealled regardless of the publication date.

On the short-form side of things, as I’ve already mentioned, I have this month’s Friday Fiction written. In fact, I have two pieces for this month. The main piece will go up next week, but today I’ve posted The Book of Bob – it’s a 100 word drabble that accurately reflects an issue I’ve been having lately…which may play at least a small role in what’s taking me so long with Ved’ma!

Music Monday is now back on hiatus after the summer series. It will either start back up when Ved’ma is published, or in December for another special series. (Note: I’ll only be doing one series of Music Monday posts at a time, so if Ved’ma’s out as planned, the special series will be kept back – as much as I enjoy writing Music Monday posts, I don’t want to be writing two lots at the same time…and I don’t want to run the risk of boring people, either!)

And finally, only a year late (!), I now have author-related social media set up:

Neither is exactly overburdened with content just at the moment, but I am working on that and you will find that my blog posts (like this one!) will show up on both. There will also be regular Trivia Tuesday posts (on both – cross-posting for the win!) – over the last three years, I’ve reseached some weird and wonderful stuff, so my trivia banks are primed and ready for that one, starting from next Tuesday! Twitter will also be a place where I pass on book recs. So take a look and give me a follow!

And that’s it for now. Next Friday will be the main Friday Fiction of the month and then the Friday after will be decision day on Ved’ma.

Until then, happy reading πŸ™‚

Music Monday: Boys of Summer

Well, we’ve come to the end of the series, and the end of the summer and what could be more appropriate than this Don Henley classic? Unless it’s the DJ Sammy take on it. Or the version done by The Ataris.

This is one of those rare songs (for me, at least) where I genuinely like every version of it I’ve ever heard. The lyrics are a haunting discussion about the passage of time and lost youth. Don Henley’s version is resigned. The Ataris’ are angry about it. DJ Sammy, though, has a hopeful tone – that yes, time passes, but what comes next can be just as good. Or maybe even better.

So that’s where I’ll end it, with the hope that what follows summer fun is just as good, or even better!

The summer fun playlist can be found on Spotify here.

Music Monday now goes on another little break and will restart in November (hopefully!) with the music that’s helped to inspire Ved’ma.

That’s all for now. Happy reading and listening!

Music Monday: I’d Do Anything For Love…

We’ve done instrumental funk. We’ve done Franco-Brasilian-Bolivian dance. We’ve done what ever the heck Army of Lovers is. We’ve done German punk. Time for a bit of good old fashioned operatic rock, I think!

Meat Loaf is another artist I can thank MTV Europe for getting into. While my father owned the original Bat Out of Hell album, I don’t recall ever hearing him play it, so the bombast and blast of I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That) was a thrill when it was unleashed in the summer of 1993 and it was love-at-first-listen. I’ve said before that I love a really good, layered bit of production and this is a song that has that in absolute spades. I think Jim Steinman never met a piece of music that he couldn’t add an extra layer to and Meat Loaf’s vocals were awe inspiring and the whole combination was off the charts.

And then there was the music video, which was another level again. A full-on mini movie that’s almost as OTT as Army of Lovers’ video in some senses, but it goes with the larger-than-life character that is Meat Loaf.

And as one final, added, bonus: boy is it ever fun to just belt it out as loud and dramatically as you can – though maybe don’t do it while you’re stuck in a traffic jam with the car windows rolled down…

The summer fun playlist can be found on Spotify here.

That’s all for now. Happy reading and listening!

Music Monday: Kauf Mich

This is another of the good-kind-of-weird I got from MTV Europe

On one level, it’s a fun pop-punk song from a band with a ridiculous name (Die Toten Hosen – literally, the Dead Trousers!). Given grunge was all the rage when it was released, it was perhaps a bit of a throwback, or perhaps it was a bit ahead of its time, prefiguring the bands like Blink 182 at the end of the 90s. Either way, if you don’t speak German, it’s a fun bit of music and not much more than that.

If you do speak German, however, there’s a second layer, which is a bit of biting satire on consumerism. Politics? In my punk music? It’s more likely than you think, even in German! The title literally means Buy Me and the whole song is about the constant pressure to buy stuff that you probably don’t need but if you buy it you’ll be in the ‘in crew’. It’s smart, it’s sharp, it’s memorable and it’s just the tip of a very sharply observed album that also features several punts at right-wing extremism (amongst other things).

It’s a song that made me giggle first, then it made me think. And almost thirty years later, it’s still making me think.

The summer fun playlist can be found on Spotify here.

That’s all for now. Happy reading and listening!

Music Monday: Crucified

In my teens, I was in music heaven. I’d discovered MTV Europe and it had opened my eyes (and ears) to a lot of new experiences. It introduced me (or reintroduced me) to a lot of bands and singers whose music I’d enjoyed as a youngster without necessarily knowing who’d done it and it introduced me to a lot more than just the UK Top 40. Often, this wasn’t actually a good thing (I was, regretably, aware of the Macarena before it hit big in the UK), but sometimes I got the really good kind of weird.

And you don’t get much weirder than this track. It’s by a Sweedish group called Army of Lovers (the group’s name is a reference to a German gay rights documentary) and, musically, it is as pure a snapshot of early 1990s Euro Dance music as you’re going to get…

…and then you get to the lyrics and the music video and things start to get weird.

The lyrics are cod-profound (“I’ve seen the deepest darkness/And wrestled with gods/Ride the noble harness/Raining cats and dogs”) with the verses done as a sort of rap/sort of talking blues while the chorus is a full-on gospel-esque.

The music video, though, takes it aaaaaaaaaaaall to eleven. Actually, it probably takes it to eleventy billion and one because it is pure, fabulous, OTT, risquΓ© bonkers. I mean, I’m talking playing the violin with a sheathed sword levels of bonkers.

It is a slice of utterly glorious camp and by the time you realise it is as mad as you think it is, the music (which is as catchy and hooky as only early 90s Euro dance could be) has earwormed you and you’re humming it for days.

I love it.

Should you want to see the video, you can find that here

The summer fun playlist can be found on Spotify here.

That’s all for now. Happy reading and listening!