This is at least nominally a writing blog… so, here’s some writing.
Stuff you can read for free online:
Surfaced at Inkitt.com (Darkest Place Horror Contest second place winner, 2015)
Cold Grey at Every Day Fiction (2012) (Also available as a podcast!)
Languaging at Every Day Fiction (2012) Continue reading
So, things have been pretty quiet around here for a while. Not because I haven’t been doing any writing, mind you! I’m still plugging away on editing Novel #1, and I’ve recruited some lovely alpha readers, so I’ll be looking forward to hearing what they think. I’ve also started work on a second novel-length…thing… and there are some other bits and bobs in progress.
But! More excitingly, upcoming things that you will (hopefully) be able to read in the not-too-distant future.
First of all, my story “We Speak in Tongues of Flame” is slated to feature in the anthology Resist Fascism, from Crossed Genres! The Kickstarter is in progress as I type (and I’m trying not to go and refresh the page again RIGHT NOW. Nobody told me how nerve-racking this would be!) and If you’re so inclined, you can pre-order your copy (and grab some of CG’s other titles) here! (Please do. Not least because it won’t happen without support, and the other stories in the collection look awesome and I WANNA READ THEM.)
Earlier this year, I was asked by Tracy Fahey to contribute a story to the upcoming Vol. 4 of The Black Room Manuscripts from the Sinister Horror Company. The result was “Mam’s Girl”, which I think is one of the creepiest things I’ve written. All profits from the anthology will go to Refuge, and it will be out on Oct 20th. So, if you fancy treating yourself to a Halloween present — and really, who doesn’t? — you can pre-order it here!
I feel like I’ve had a fairly productive summer, writing-wise, though that’s been scattered over various different projects. In August I went to my third Nine Worlds, which as usual had far more interesting-looking content than I could actually manage to go to, including a standing-room-only folk horror panel, and a great talk on polar horror (Have I mentioned how much I love polar horror, and generally terrifying tales of polar survival/disaster? Because I do. A lot.) by Gavia Baker-Whitelaw and Ally Wilkes. That was followed by a workshop on writing first pages by Nick Hembery and Dan Coxon, which led me to rewrite the opening of Novel #1 quite substantially. I think it’s stronger for it. Time will tell.
Anyway, that’s about it for now. What’s been going on with you?
It’s still just about Monday, right? Just a quick one this week since the weekend was busy, the students are back, and I’m ready to collapse into a heap.
It’s probably obvious that I’ve been going through Uncanny‘s nonfiction archives when I get the chance — but there’s gold in them thar links. Like this: Dean Winchester and Commander Shepard Walk Into a Bar: Why Fanon Matters, by Alasdair Stuart. Your interpretation is valid. It’s always valid. So is everyone else’s. We’re all the magician. We all have something up our sleeves. And the only thing better than landing the trick ourselves, is watching others find different routes to the same destination: joy, and the sound of applause.
On a non-writing note, I also ran across Miri Morgilevsky’s piece, What It Feels Like for a Queer Girl, today. It’s raw and honest, and it hit me hard.
And that’s all I’ve got this week — but if you’re looking for more things to read, why not go and check out Fireside‘s Hurricane Relief Bookstore and help a good cause at the same time?
Currently sitting in the university cafe waiting for my Welsh class to start, having mistakenly convinced myself it was an hour earlier than it actually is (and has been for the last five years…). D’oh.
This is an old post, but resonated with me: Alex Acks asks, “Why are we embarrassed about our fanfiction?”
I know I posted something from Laurie Penny last week, but Requiem for a Scream really is a great piece. If you work in a creative field and you’ve struggled with mental illness, this is for you: It shouldn’t surprise us that artists can struggle with mental health, because those struggles are a very common part of life for everyone. At least one in four human beings, whoever we are, whatever work we do, will experience mental ill health at some point. Mad artists, when the numbers are all crunched, are just as common as mad accountants and mad electricians.
I went to see the new adaptation of IT last weekend, and enjoyed it very much, but this piece by Lindsay King-Miller at The Mary Sue makes a good point: Overcoming what oppresses you is a standard trope of fiction in general and coming-of-age fiction in particular. It’s less common to see the struggle continuing after the moment of victory, although everyone who has dealt with trauma or suffering (so, everyone) knows that it’s part of life. What haunts us is seldom defeated in one bloody showdown; we keep facing it in different forms, again and again.
Hello from wet, windy, and thoroughly autumnal Wales. Here’s what I’ve been reading this week:
Cecilia Tan’s wonderful essay on “show, don’t tell” at Uncanny magazine: The power to “show, not tell” stemmed from the writing for an audience that shared so many assumptions with them that the audience would feel that those settings and stories were “universal.” (It’s the same hubris that led the white Western establishment to assume its medicine, science, and values superior to all other cultures.)
Laurie Penny in The Baffler on the Age of Anxiety: “What would Hunter Thompson do in this situation?” I wondered aloud when we finally made it back to the room. “Probably eat a cocktail of Valium and LSD and go on a bender down Sunset Boulevard to see how many cops he could antagonize before he got arrested.”
“That sounds awful,” said my friend, from her strategically recumbent position underneath a fuzzy blanket. “Let’s not do that.”
And finally, Magen Cubed’s brilliant post on Art, Community, and Reciprocity: Art is a dialogue between people throughout time and space, describing ideas, emotions, events, and themes. I’m allergic to the idea of art as the product of genius, because I think genius is an empty word. It’s also a gatekeeping term, meant to dictate who can and should make art, elevating some while erasing most others.
Summer’s over, and already it’s cold enough I’ve had the fire on most of the day. Here’s what’s been keeping me entertained, if not warm, this weekend:
I’m sure we’re all sick of Joss Whedon by now, so I apologise for bringing him up again, but this piece by Matthew Pateman is an eminently sensible reminder that the author is dead, and the auteur never existed. The shows Whedon has helmed certainly have their own issues; but dismissing them as an extension of the man himself elides the work of whole armies of other contributors: Celebrity Culture, Brand Whedon, and the Post-Romantic Fallacy.
I’ve been thinking a lot about writing villains lately, and Sheffield Gothic have just put up a post on one of my favourites in their Buffy series: Claire Healey on Faith, Identity and Choice.
And finally, here’s a fascinating piece by Madeleine LeDespenser on the Satanic Feminists of Bohemian Paris. Begs for somebody to write a novel about it, doesn’t it?
I got a little derailed by the bank holiday this week, and that was lucky, because two of these only popped up today:
Here’s Magen Cubed on X-Men and queer community. X-Men was never about powers or superheroes. X-Men was always about the makeshift families of oppressed people, those cast into the margins of society and band together out of shared struggle. To me, growing up a queer kid in the biggest, reddest state in America, X-Men was about the promise of community in a world that hates and fears you.
How America Lost Its Mind over at The Atlantic makes some obvious-when-you-think-about-it connections between American individualism and the post-truth society.
And finally, here’s the ever-awesome Chuck Wendig on why Star Wars matters more than ever right now. I think about how white guys (like, well, me) are no longer finding pop culture to be as perfect a mirror for them as it used to be. How they are not reflected as constantly — their narcissism, long fed so achingly on the food of that reflection.
I’m thinking of doing a weekly post, linking to a couple of things I’ve been reading online. Mostly for myself (not that I don’t love and cherish all four of my readers) but if you’ve read any of the below and you have thoughts you’d like to share, by all means chime in in the comments. Same goes for recs: drop ’em if you’ve got ’em.
Writing Women Characters into Epic Fantasy without Quotas by Kate Elliott over at Tor.com. This is from last year and I’m probably very late to the party, but it’s a fascinating and useful piece that bulldozes any excuse you might think of for leaving women out of historical fantasy. Plus, there’s a tempting forest of references and links that you could probably spend a few years researching further.
Like many a geek feminist of a certain vintage, I’m disappointed by not really surprised by today’s revelations about Joss Whedon. Gavia Baker-Whitelaw at the Daily Dot points out that we don’t have to exculpate the man himself because of what we take from his work.
Finally, here’s Dimitri Fimi in the TLS on Alan Garner’s classic YA chiller The Owl Service, which turns 50 this year, and remains as taut and terrifying as it ever was.