Nattering and book recommendations!

Apologies for the radio silence–I’ve been hard at work at getting the current draft of the werewolves into shape. I’m aiming to have it all ready to send to readers by the 1st of December (my own version of NaNoWriMo). This draft has taught me a lot about pacing and how to tackle the ‘soggy middle’ and tightening it up so it’s less… soggy. I’m treating this deadline as an official one, so I’ve been getting in writing whenever I can. It frequently involves getting up disgustingly early in the morning to hammer out words before work. As a result, I haven’t had such a regular sleep schedule in years.

I’m also going to mention some books that I read recently and loved!

Ash by Malinda Lo.

I can’t remember where I found out about this book, but once I heard about it, I was so excited. Fairies, fairy tale retellings, and lesbians–what more could you want? This is a beautiful little book, the US cover is stunning (it isn’t out in the UK until March, but that cover also looks lovely, though it’s very different), and once I started reading I couldn’t put it down. While it’s being marketed as a Cinderella retelling with a lesbian twist, there’s much more to it than that. Relationships are at the heart of this: the relationships Ash has with her mother and father; the colder and harder ones she has with her stepmother and stepsisters; and the romantic ones with Sidhean and Kaisa. The book is also about growing up and learning to move on from grief and loss, and learning to love oneself again. The lack of homophobia in Ash’s world is also interesting and a change from many of the YA LGBT books, though this also hasn’t been without its share of controversy.

The lesbian relationship is handled carefully and subtly, though Ash’s relationship with Sidhean is also fascinating, not to mention unsettling and kind of creepy. One of the things I loved most about this book is Malinda Lo’s fairies–they’re very much not human, dark, and sometimes so alien that you can’t help but fear for Ash in her dealings with them. This is a wonderful book, highly recommended, and I can’t wait for Malinda Lo’s next one.

Magic Burns by Ilona Andrews.

This continues to be my favourite urban fantasy series in years. The world-building is incredible–I love how much of the mythology from our time period has been changed and altered in Kate’s. Best of all, there’s Celtic mythology in this book and it hasn’t been messed up to such a point that I’m ripping my hair out! Ilona Andrews also continues to subvert my vampire and shapeshifter expectations, and Kate continues to be a fascinating character while remaining firmly tight-lipped about her past. Another aspect of this series that I love is that decisions have consequences and sometimes the ‘good guys’ don’t succeed without casualties. I can’t wait to read the next in the series, Magic Strikes, but I’m putting off so I won’t have as long to wait for the fourth book. If you like urban fantasy, I highly recommended this series.


Liar by Justine Larbalestier

I’m actually not going to say that much about this book because I think it’s one that people should go into knowing as little as possible. So: Micah is a liar. She’s a really good one. This book is fabulous. By the time I reached the end, I wasn’t sure of anything. It must have been a complete headache to write and keep everything straight while doing so. This is definitely one that you should pick up: highly, highly recommended.

And now, I return to plowing through my draft!

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Summer weather?

Eek, once again I sort of disappeared from here for several months! Unintentional, I assure you. Right now I am deep in the second draft of TWFF with a deadline for the end of June. This is a deadline I have to stick to as one of my readers is heading to Thailand for seven weeks at the end of next month, and she’s hoping to either read the draft before she goes or to take it with her.

I recently returned from a trip to New York; my first cross-Atlantic trip, in fact. I may have ransacked the YA sections of many bookstores while I was there. I came back with twenty-six books, but, as I was underweight, I could have bought more. I’m starting to make my way through them, but taking my time of course.

So far we seem to be getting an actual summer, if only for a little while. I think it’s time to start contemplating writing outside in the garden with a cool drink. It’s still bright on my home from work after evening shifts, warm enough that I don’t need a coat–perfect thinking time. While I’m not a fan of summer, preferring pleasant spring days, I love summer evenings and how they make me relaxed and contemplative.

I’m hoping to start querying TWFF possibly in late summer or early autumn, but we’ll see. I think there’s still a draft or two to go; there’s no point in overthinking it until I get some reader feedback.

Those Who Favour Fire

I’ve been meaning to mention this for a while–I’ve been working on a YA fantasy concerning female werewolves for a while (working title: THOSE WHO FAVOUR FIRE). It’s going well, and it’s nice to have something completely different to work on when the fantasy novel is driving me up the wall. I’m hoping to eventually query it as well, when the time comes (fingers crossed). I’m enjoying it a lot, and it’s more than nice to have something where not as many expectations, so to speak, are placed upon it.