here, there and everywhere

This week’s post is a lazy one, just a heads up to a couple of other things I’ve written in the last few weeks. (I’m on my holidays this week, in Devon with the family).

Firstly, my monthly newsletter has got some ramblings about where I am with work and dachshunds, plus a link to some free LGBTQ+ books on Bookfunnel and new releases by Elizabeth Noble and Julie Bozza. You don’t have to sign up to look at it, because I am a positively amazing technical wizard and have worked out how to link to the web version from here. (If you want to though, that would be lovely! There’s a sign-up form here).

And secondly, I’ve committed to writing a few posts for Scott over at Queeromance Ink and this month I’ve introduced myself and talked about being semi-closeted in rural England. I’m taking suggestions for future topics, so please do let me know if you have any ideas or questions. I love QRI – it’s one of the places I go to find new LGBTQ+ reads and they are a lovely bunch of people. Also, Queer Sci-Fi. What’s not to like?

That’s it! I told you I was being lazy.

(I’ve experimented with iFrames to embed those posts here and if it’s rubbish for whatever device you’re reading on, please let me know and I will find another way if I do it again)

works in progress: progressing, and that’s about all

I’ve done a load over the last month, but not much of it actual writing.

Because of the shenanigans with MailChimp pricing levels, I’ve ported my newsletter over to MailerLite, which I think will be a good thing long term, but was a pain in the neck to do at the time. And I’ve done the same for Mr AL, who has a much more complex set-up than I do, so it took ages. That done, I’ve also set myself up a proper Ko-fi page that will act as a sort of combination of things I blog here and exclusive content that first goes out to newsletter subscribers.

I’ve also committed to doing some posts for the Queeromance Ink Blog, about author-life in general rather than more bookish things. This involves me sitting down and actually writing them, but they’re coming together in my head.

Which brings me to actual writing! Inheritance of Shadows has another three thousand words, which went out yesterday – newsletter usually goes out on the first Tuesday of the month, barring disaster. If you’d like to get the monthly installments of Matty and Rob’s adventures, just hop on here. You will also be able to follow on Ko-fi as a supporter if you’d rather do it that way. I’m reading Secret Warriors: key scientists, code-breakers and propagandists of the great war by Taylor Downing as background, because Rob needs to know some stuff and I need to know the stuff before he can know the stuff. It’s fascinating.

Flowers of Time has had another few thousand words, but I’m still sidetracked by Katie Hickman’s She-Merchants, Buccaneers and Gentlewomen and feel like I need to get that under my belt before I write any more. I’m writing completely outside both my historical period and my geographical area and I don’t want to mess either up.

This month promises to be more of the same, hopefully with less opportunities for prevarication. Watch this space!

 

 

reading roundup: May

A quick round-up of some of my reads this month, in no particular order. These have mostly gone up on Instagram over the course of the month… you can find me there as CogentHippo.

Under the Radar by Lillian Francis

A slow burn love affair between submariners in WW2. Fantastic historical detail that helps give the the characters depth and breadth. Funny, touching and heart-wrenching with spy-stuff tension, set against the backdrop of life in a cramped submarine. I loved it.


Ashore by Isabelle Adler (Staying Afloat #2)

Poor Matt is so oblivious to his own feelings and those of his lover, Ryce. And there’s no time to discuss anything because Val has been kidnapped and the baddies are threatening to cut off bits of him to motivate everyone else. This is a well-paced space-romp with a background love story that is tender and believable. I’m looking forward to book three.


Finders by Melissa Scott

I love the normative queerness of all Melissa Scott’s writing and this is no exception. It features a three-way poly relationship between salvage operators scrounging the ruins of an inexplicable civilization for the bits and bobs that will keep their remnant tech working. The crew find that there is more going on than they know about and the suspense is set against the low-key renegotiating of their relationship. I really enjoyed it.


Ribbons Among the Rajahs by Patrick Wheeler

This one was a disappointment. I’m researching pre-Raj British women in India and the surrounds for my work in progress and I had high hopes that this would give me some decent background. However, although there’s lots of good detail and well researched, accurate history in there, it’s a) often from the point of view of the men that the women ‘belonged to’ and b) bloody hell, there’s some racist and sexist crap in there. Cosmic fail, have not finished.


She-Merchants, Buccaneers & Gentlewomen by Katie Hickman

Again, research for my WIP about British women in pre-Raj India. This one is much better written. Hickman’s usual meticulous research and women-centered narrative made this a much easier read for me. I also loved her Daughters of Britannia.


Deadline by Stephanie Ahn

Loved this. Lesbian, masochistic witch in New York, trying to sort her life out after a minor misjudgment (cough) that ruined her career and nearly killed her. Also with cute alligator-moles, demons and a sadistic succubus.


More to come next month!

York: Roman, Medieval, Viking. And geese.

I lived in York for three years during college. It’s a beautiful city, small and full of history. My degree was a joint effort in history and archaeology and it was a privilege to just be able to wander round and soak up all the different eras.

I kept a narrow focus on medieval Britain in my studies and retrospectively I wish I’d been more open to learning about other parts of the world. There seemed so much to learn about my own country though – and I wanted to know it all.

I have very little interest in Kings-and-Queen type history, or even political history. It’s the day to day minutiae that interests me. What did people eat for breakfast? How did they repair their shoes? How did you keep warm in winter? How long did it take to walk from one place to another? York is chock-full of museums, you can’t chuck a rock without hitting one. And they’re all fascinating. But the things that fascinate me most are the little things. The faces on the gargoyles and grotesques in the Minster – are they carved in anyone’s likeness? How long did each one take to make? Or taking a walk along the walls or down The Shambles and thinking about all the people over the last couple of thousand years who have done the same. What were they thinking? Where were they going?

Pondering these questions in part has led me to where I am writing today. I like writing about people, rather than situations. Yes, my stories have situations in them, because doh, that’s life. But it’s how my characters work things out, how they deal with the day to day minutiae of living that drives me forward.

Despite all its grandeur and all its opportunity for historical and archaeological research, my main memory of York is of the waterfowl on the university campus grounds.

That’s social history for you. Forget the cathedral. It’s too big to carry with me. Let me take away my pictures of the geese.

Inheritance of Shadows: a public project

People who read my newsletter will already know that I have a new project in the works.

I am starting an episodic sequel to my short story The Gate that I’m going to make available as a serial for newsletter subscribers. It’s got a working title of Inheritance of Shadows and I’m going to share a piece monthly. The idea is that I share what I write and then when it’s done it will be published as a novel. It feels a bit exposed – I discovery write and half the time I don’t know what my characters are going to do before they do it. It’s a chance for readers to watch a work-in-progress develop as well as getting the next installment every month.

It will be edited as I go along and will hopefully produce a relatively clean draft that I can revise in to a polished novel at the end of the project.

The Gate was only ever intended as a short story introducing my universe and my historical-romance-paranormal-time-travel-suspense Lost in Time series. Although it’s complete in itself I have always had a niggling need to find out what happens next to Matty and Rob, and a very unscientific poll of newsletter readers backed that up.

This is a huge thing for me – I’m very pressed for time generally speaking and actually having a deadline every month-ish is a scary concept on top of all my other commitments. It may not work, but I’m keen to find out if I can manage it.

If you’re interested in following the project, sign up for my newsletter, download your free copy of The Gate and you’re off!