Christmas Message, Magical Version

(Preparatory note: While considering what I was going to write here, I started thinking that it sounded like a ‘this is the end, I’m writing no more’ speech. It isn’t, so put that out of your head and read on with happiness in your heart. Also, I’m cross-posting this to both blogs, because it’s for all of you and I don’t know whether you all read both blogs.)

So… On a whim this afternoon I was clicking through Netflix and I found Stephen Fry’s Planet Word. I hope everyone knows who Stephen Fry is; he’s a British national treasure, but beyond that he’s an eloquent man with a love of language. Planet Word is his tour of how language came about, what it means, who it has changed, how it is written, and the kind of thing he thinks of when it comes to good writing (and there are a few surprises in that list). If it’s available on whatever streaming service you may use, I heartily recommend it.

What it did for me, aside from entertaining me for several hours, was got me thinking. Mr Fry has written books and he tells the story of the arrival of his first ever printed novel and how he felt to see something he had written sitting there, bound into a book. And I know how he felt. The last programme, about literature, made me think of something else; about the pleasure he gets from reading the kinds of works he likes.

Now, I don’t claim to be a Joyce, or an Orwell, or a P.G. Wodehouse, or any of the other authors mentioned in the series. But you lot are out there enjoying my writing. Someone told me recently that one scene in The Other Side of Hell had really cheered her up and I got a little thrill out of that. I don’t care whether you read my stuff because you like strong female characters, or kick-ass heroines, or the sex, or the guns. I assume you like the stories, because you’re here reading this and you keep buying them. Coming up to Christmas, I think it’s a good time to point out that I really appreciate the fact that people out there are enjoying Aneka and Ella, and Ceri and Lily, and all the other characters. Thank you.

PS. I’m not trawling for praise either. If you feel like posting some, save it for the next book and have a damn good Christmas (or whatever form of holiday you may be celebrating).

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Vengeful Edits

So, yes, this weekend is going to be final edit weekend for Vegeance and then it goes off to Kate for proofing on Monday. That means it’s about two weeks until release date and I need to come up with a cover.

I have been toying with a number of books to do once the sixth Aneka book comes out. I’d like to do the sequel to Ugly, but I’m not sure of the plot. What I have needs stripping back a bit and replanning. I’ve been playing with a cyberpunk story which looks promising, but needs more development. Right now I’m coming down on the side of Reality Hack seeing print next, but we’ll see what I think when I’ve wrapped the edits to Vengeance.

Happy Christmas

This has been quite the year. The first three Aneka Jansen books, The Steel Trilogy, have gone to press and been very well received. More people have picked up on the Thaumatology series as a result. I couldn’t be happier. Next year will see three more books about Aneka, a new one about Ceri and Lily, and maybe the result of another little project I’m working on.

So, if you’ve read my books and liked them, thank you, I’m glad you did, and I hope you have a great Christmas. If you’ve bought them and didn’t like them, thank you, sorry, and I hope you have a great Christmas

Merry Christmas, everyone.

Johnny Depp Stole My Brain

Aside

On Monday evening, I watched Dark Shadows, the Depp movie featuring dark humour and a lot of actors I like. I have to say, I’d hoped I would enjoy it more, but it did make me chuckle several times. That, however, is not why I’m posting.

No, ever since then I have been waking up with Karen Carpenter belting out Top of the World going through my head. I want it gone! I’m going to go funny (funnier than usual) if this keep up.

“Out tiny songstress!”

A Note on Pronounciation

I never seem to have time to read, and that’s a bad thing for a writer. I do have time to listen though, so I resubscribed to Audible and I’ve been listening to auiobooks. This works and I’m getting through far more books this way. All well and good.

Now, one book I’ve been stuck on for a while is book 4 on the Rachel Morgan/Hollows series, A Fistfull of Charms. I have a soft spot for Rachel, Ivy, and Jenks; these are the books which got me writing the Thaumaology stories. I read the first couple, and started writing, and then I read the third one over Christmas and was embarrassed to discover that one of the characters was called Ceridwen. Still, it is a great name, and my Ceri spells it with a ‘y’.

Anyway, today I picked up the audiobook and I hit one irritating thing instantly. The narrator was pronouncing Ceri like “Seri.” Ceridwen (or Ceridwyn) is a Welsh name (here’s the Wikipedia entry for the “original” Ceridwen: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ceridwen) and the Welsh tend to pronounce their ‘c’ as a ‘k’. It’s usually a hard sound, not a soft one. Ceridwen is Kair-id-wen, Ceri is Kerry. Did the producers of the audiobook just get it wrong? How did Kim Harrison mean it to be pronounced? Is this an American thing and the Brits reading this will be going, “Of course it’s a hard ‘C’!”

Enquiring minds wish to know! (Maybe I should ask Kim Harrison… hmmm.)

You Can’t Stop the Music

I have a drastically eclectic music collection. Seriously, you should see the playlists on my MP3 player. Rihanna, Sting, Beyonce, Evanescence, Within Temptation, the Pussycat Dolls, Disturbed, Tina Turner, Peter Gabriel… I don’t pick music for the genre or because of some dumb peer-pressure urge to feel trendy; if I like the lyrics or the sound it goes in my list.

And some of it influences what I write. Petite popular songbird, Rihanna has resulted in two short stories and gave me the title for a book. (Admittedly Chris Brown wrote it, but Rihanna made it famous.) Russian Roulette produced a short story about one of my City of Heroes characters, and Disturbia continued her story as she rescues someone who has discovered the big city has a dark side. Disturbia remains the theme tune for the dark underside of the Thaumatology universe.

Linkin Park… I’d love to write some more stuff based on their songs. New Divide gave me a three episode short story detailing the mental decline of a superhero. The imagery in the song was perfect for the idea I had had, and the idea had sprung from listening to the song. (Rihanna’s Russian Roulette spawned a story in the same sort of way.)

Book 10, The Other Side of Hell, started out as just “The Other Side,” a name taken straight from the Evanescence song of the same name. Evanescence (and Within Temptation, and Nightwish) produce evocative songs, wonderful inspiration material. With Evanescence I found their second album a bit of a disappointment (there’s about one song I enjoy listening to from it), but their third is really back in the land of the good stuff. You can find the lyrics for The Other Side here: http://www.evanescence.com/audio/theothersidelyrics.html The sentiment behind this is what kicked off the final form of book 10.

Book 9, Dragonfall, has a theme tune too, though I’d got the plot worked out and a lot of the book written before I was watching some old videos on YouTube and came across the Within Temptation video for Stand My Ground. Within Temptation are a Dutch band and maybe not so well heard of in the US, but well worth the listen if you like Goth Rock. (They’re more consistently good than Evanescence.) Stand My Ground is one of their older tracks, but an awesome anthem.

Book 11 has a theme too. Go see if you can find Storytime by Nightwish somewhere.

Character theme tunes; what do I think of when I think of music for my characters? You’d probably be a bit perplexed by that collection. Ceri and Lily share a Beyonce track, kind of the theme of their relationship, Sweet Dreams. Why? Just think back to the way they started and lay that against the chorus:

You could be a sweet dream or a beautiful nightmare

Either way I don’t want to wake up from you.

Faran gets Bad Things, the Jace Everett track which a lot of people will know as the theme music from True Blood. Yes, True Blood is about vampires and Faran is an incubus, but just think about it… Seriously, if you’ve never heard it, look it up n YouTube and tell me that’s not Faran.

I haven’t thought much about the other characters. Anyone have any ideas for themes for the Thaumatology characters? I could do with some recommendations.

It’s My Birthday and I’ll Cry if I Want to

Actually, I won’t, though my eyes are watering a bit since I just got up. I intend to do nothing much today. I’ve had the lost week off work (more of a question of having too much holiday left than it was my birthday today) so I’ve got a lot of writing done on book 10. It’s coming together nicely. I may even have the bulk writing done before I go back to work if I try hard.

My friend, proofreader, and sanity checker, Ellen has written a little birthday meta-fiction over on her blog. Read it here: http://withthatshewrote.wordpress.com/2012/09/08/birthday/

If I’d known about the story, I’d have done a render of Lily in a cheerleader outfit, but I didn’t. I have, however, done a pin-up of Lily in her new pole-dance outfit, which you can see after the cut.

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