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Summer stories: fantasy and science fiction podcasts

girl on a hazy sunny day needs a fantasy or science fiction podcast to listen to

It’s never too hot to read.

But it *is* hellmouth hot here in the UK right now. What’s a slightly sweaty, story-starved girl to do?

Sure, you could lug a book to the park. Will there be room in your bag, though, once you’ve packed your your sun hat, water & Chocolate Salted Caramel Booja Booja ice-cream?

(My hardback of Strange The Dreamer by Laini Taylor is making sad-eyes at me right now. “Why won’t you read me? I’m so pretty! And you can bet I’m full of beautiful words!” Because you’re too big, my darling, and I am too lazy to carry you around when my slim kindle has lots of tiny books in it (plus I know you’ll slay me with your perfect sentences and some brand new flavour of heartache, damn you Taylor).)

Sure, you could take your kindle/ipad to the beach. Get ready to knock the screen up to full brightness, though, & watch out for seagulls who’ll think it’s a yummy snack to swoop on.

OR: just lie back on your picnic blanket, in your sunglasses and high SPF, & let someone tell you stories instead? Keep your hands free for making daisy-chains & holding elegant parasols.

Here are 3 podcasts** to listen to from your lawn, and a bonus playlist of songs I associate with being hot. I wish it was a cool relaxing beach-chill mix you could impress your smooth friends with while eating sophisticated gelato, sorry, but blasting noisy 90s alt guitar bands while dunking chips in mayonnaise is more authentically me.

Happy summering!

My three top fantasy and science fiction short story podcasts

  1. Lightspeed I’ve probably mentioned this one before, right? Four new fantasy or science fiction short stories every month. Always fabulously narrated. You can listen to all the stories from year one as an audiobook, too.
  2. Starship Sofa Short SF stories, genre chat & the finest example of a Geordie accent you’ll ever hear. Tony’s enthusiasm always cheers me up, and the stories are top notch.
  3. Far-fetched Fables A fantasy slanted sister show to Starship Sofa. Both shows are part of the District of Wonders stable, who have a patreon set up to fund paying their writers & narrators, aka paying people for the new worlds, characters and stories we love. Definitely something to support!

My noisy summery playlist

*I’m averaging at least two tubs a week right now. What? Vegan means good for you, right? 😉

** I use the free Overcast app to listen to podcasts, because it links to Twitter and tells you what your friends there are listening to. It’s got ‘smart speed’ and ‘voice boost’ settings which improve how shows sound, too. iphone/ipad only, though).

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Reading update: Spring into Contemporary YA

ya-fiction-contemporaryNearly halfway through the year – how’s your reading going?
Here’s my reading so far:

2017 Reading Challenge

2017 Reading Challenge
Rhian has
read 26 books toward
her goal of
50 books.
hide

UPDATE – ugh, there’s supposed to be a fancy grid of book covers here but I can’t get the coding to work. Apparently Goodreads doesn’t play nicely with WordPress. 🙁

So, instead I need you to imagine a pretty grid of book covers here, and head over to my Goodreads if you’d like to check the titles out. Visualise some graphic novels (one with a cute-but-sad robot on it), a couple of Fancy Literature covers (looking all serious), and a glut of YA Contemporary.

Yup, you read that right: Contemporary. I read a few books in a row that had NO magic in them: and I liked it! (They would have been even better with magic in, though. Just sayin’…)

My favourite? It’s hard to choose – The Sun is Also A Star was gorgeous, but the Holly Bourne books & Beautiful Broken Things were more relatable because they mirrored my own teen experiences with food, friendships & feminism. They are funny, & sensitive, & I wish I could have read them when I was still in school. Also, Holly’s Spinster Club idea is AWESOME, so, with stiff competion, Am I Normal Yet wins. Go forth & read it!

Right now I’m reading Lady Midnight (back to the magic & demons for me!). Not my favourite Cassie Clare so far, partly because I don’t need all the Shadowhunter background info-dumps, having read them all loads of times, but the more I read the more interesting it becomes.

Emma reminds me of a female Jace, and I love poor, tortured Mark. Will there be anyone I love as much as Tess, Clary, Will or Simon, though? Maybe not – but here’s hoping.

Which read has lit you up this year? Let me know & I’ll add it to my TBR list!

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Buffy the sedentary lifestyle slayer

Two things happened yesterday: I woke up gleeful, cos it was a writing day so I could spend hours snuggled under a blanket with just my notebook, dictaphone & pens for company; and then I saw another infographic on how a sedentary lifestyle is the worst thing everrr.

Ouch. Don’t my disintegrating hip-flexors know that sitting down, alone, indoors is one of the best things about being a writer? Grr.

I already own a laptop riser for standing while I type, but my writing process these days is as offline as possible: I write scene sketches in my notebook, then dictate them, no keyboard interaction at all. Dragon Naturally Speaking transcribes the audio to text files, & I’ll batch-edit them later.

This process stops me fiddling with newly written words & keeps focus on scene/word production instead. And I love how tactile writing by hand is. But it’s dangerously easy to do from my bed or sofa.

Since I want to live longer & write more, while still writing by hand, I needed to get creative. Without wasting hours of writing time on ‘research’ (aka Amazon/writer forums), which would only end with either a lot of money spent or an aspirational new Pinterest board on Dream Office Setup.

Ten minutes later, my exercise step, a spare bookshelf (never know when you might need one) and sturdy box-sets of two fantastic tv-shows turned into a makeshift standing desk.

And the writing? It went great! Turns out working while standing-up is very conducive to a shimmy, so I got some dancing done along with my wordcount. Fingers crossed I can make this a habit…

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Top 3 genre picks in the Kindle sale

genre amazon kindle titles

A quickie to point out three gems in the Kindle Spring Sale (ends April 24th):

  1. Welcome to Night Vale: Everything to do with Night Vale is 10/10. So just buy it. I have nothing more to add.
  2. The Rook: I raced through this a few weeks ago, it is SO. MUCH. FUN. A woman wakes up surrounded by bodies, with a note in her pocket saying ‘The body you are wearing used to be mine.’ The ‘Who was she, and why are people trying to kill her?’ mystery makes this an addictive page-turner. It’s silly and gripping and I have no hesitation in recommending it to everyone.
  3. The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer: Disclaimer, this isn’t very good. Or rather, I didn’t rate it much back in ’92 & haven’t bothered to reread it since.But, the Twin Peaks reboot is a dream come true (assuming it’s not rubbish. The signs so far suggest Good Things), and any device to feed that excitement – like reading a slightly shoddy tie-in novel – is justifiable right now. It’s only 99p…
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