Archive | January, 2012

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Dragons (Mslexia Guest Post)

My first post is up at the Mslexia blog – w00t! It’s the first of six pieces about writing Fantasy (and the SF/F genre in general). Mslexia is a quarterly magazine aimed at women writers, and it’s my absolute favourite writing-type periodical, so I am very chuffed to be guest blogging for them. Come on over and read my piece, then check out the rest of the site if you haven’t heard of them before.  Excerpt follows.

From the Mslexia Blog

I didn’t mean to write ‘genre’. I hadn’t even considered it – but when I joined my local writing class, every story I told had something supernatural in it. Magic and myth, alternative histories, witches and other worlds. What was happening to me? I hadn’t read anything like that since my teens, so was surprised to find myself writing it now.

I was reading serious novels those days; classics, Booker Prize winners, modern stories about India and child abuse. Somehow I’d changed from the girl who devoured every book in the library’s ‘Science Fiction’ section (where anything vaguely Asimov, McCaffrey or Herbert was shelved), stopped being the girl who stalked Terry Pratchett til he remembered my name*. I’d become a reading snob, and hadn’t even noticed.

Article continues. . .

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Faux Casting of Anathema, by Megg Jensen (Slacker Heroes review)

anathema cover

Slave girls in a mysterious castle? Missing friends, magical tokens, intrigue and ritual – I was excited by this story from the opening chapter.

Anathema is the first title in Megg Jensen’s Cloud Prophet Trilogy, and the entire time I was reading I could ‘see’ it in my head like a film, so I thought it would be fun have a faux casting for an imaginary movie adaptation.

Our heroine, Reychel, is a slave girl in the King’s castle. She is not allowed to see the sky unless her tyrannical master allows it. Sometimes he summons her to his chambers to tell him stories, but the rest of the time she spends with the other slave girls, doing chores in the castle’s dark kitchen.

To show their slave status the girls must always keep their heads shaved, so you’ll understand why my in-brain movie wanted Natalie Portman for this role. However, I decided instead to sub Keira Knightley. At the start, Reychel is naive and trusting, not used to thinking for herself, and I think Keira does dumb better than Natalie, while still having that wide-eyed look that makes scalp-short hair so sexy.

Click here to see who else I chose.

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Happy New Year, again

China festival of lights, dragon

photo by Rene Mensen

There’s already something about 2012. Something good. Admittedly, last year was so full of nasty as to make most years look good beside it, but, still. I’m excited. And as a Dragon girl I get to be doubly turned on by today’s Chinese New Year – here’s to firey lanterns and red money envelopes, good luck and prosperity. Bring it on.

I left some things behind in 2011 – always the girl with a thousand extra-curricular activities, I’ve pared things down to make more time for writing. It’s sad, of course – I’ve got a magpie mind and I love being into everything, always a new thing to try out and play with, but of all my pet projects it’s the writing ones that mean the most to me, the ones I want to finish and grow this year. Maybe when I’m a bad-ass novelist living off handsome royalties (ha!) I’ll have more time to play, but right now it’s the words that will get my free time.

This month I’ve already got more written than I ever usually do, and I’ve even  had time to read some killer novels, so I know I’ve made the right decision. Watch this space for links to my reviews for Slacker Heroes, The British Fantasy Society and my blogs for Mslexia, but please chase me offline if I’m tweeting too much to finish my novel.

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Theodora: Actress, Empress, Whore (Slacker Heroes review)

cover of Theodora cover by Stella Duffy‘New stage, new Theodora mask, same old strength required. Theodora was 19 years old, sick to death of carrying on, and she carried on…”

It’s hard to go wrong with a lead who’s a kickass acrobat-dancer-spy. When her animal-trainer father dies right in front of her, ‘killed by the body-ripping claws of his own bear’, Theo and her sisters are put to work to replace his income. Trained for the stage from the tender age of five, Theodora’s been pushed to the limits of physical and mental endurance and she’s tough enough now to give Nikita a run for her money. She is a different but believable heroine, mouthy and brilliant – a modern girl in the sixth century A.D.

Click here for the rest of the review.

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