24 October 2011

Genre hopping - choose your destination wisely

One of the best things about Fantasycon was that I found out about a lot of great authors. Thrilled with my new discoveries, I dived in and am just now emerging from a huge reading bender of British urban fantasy, gritty eyed and with a head full of monsters and mayhem. It was wonderful. These are the books I read and I would recommend any of them:

The Sweet Scent of Blood by Suzanne McLeod
The Naming of the Beasts by Mike Carey (I *really* wish I'd read these in order instead of grabbing five before three and four. It would have been even more awesome)
Into the Nightside by Simon R Green (an omnibus of Something from the Nightside and Agents of Light and Darkness)

However, I have learned the hard way not to stay in one genre too long. The corpse of high fantasy lies broken behind me on this path, burned out and lost to me, maybe forever. Can't let that happen again. Time for a change.

I've been meaning to read some of Georgette Heyer's books for a long time, because I've heard so many good things about them. Sarah Rees Brennan has talked about them in glowing terms, and I like her own books so much that I'll read pretty much anything she recommends.

Unfortunately, regency romances: possibly not a good choice of genre coming straight after an urban fantasy marathon. I like me some romance, I really do, but when you've just read books where vampires and demons are threatening everything the world holds dear, it's really hard to get excited about someone risking their position in the echelons of those born rich and entitled just by marrying someone not quite as rich and entitled as they are. None of them seem to work for a living. It's enough to make me come over all Bastille Day.

I don't plan to quit just yet; I'm only a few pages in. However, I might need to pick a different genre first and work my way down to that gentler level of sex and violence, where a bad marriage or being caught with your voluminous knickers down is possibly the worst thing that can happen to you.

19 October 2011

Microfic win

I love microfic. It's a great way to keep writing when you're contemplating whether to print off your manuscript just so that you can set fire to it. To keep my fingers away from the matches I've been playing the Tuesday Tales at Glitter Word for a while and it's really good fun. Weekly 100 word microfic competition based on a photograph and a prompt word.

And this week, I won! Yay! Thanks to Stevie for a gorgeous pic and to Lady Antimony for accepting the bri judging. Go read the other entries too. Lots of awesomeness there.  I think the pic brought out the poet in everybody this week.

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Prompt word: Ensorcell

The girl sits on the opposite bank and watches me through hair that curls like water weed. Her bare skin glistens with the pond water that drips onto the grass.

“Are you a witch?” I ask. “Here to ensorcel me?”

She tilts her head to listen to the sound and smiles at me.

“Will you talk?”

She smiles again, showing needle-sharp teeth made to tear and rend, and slips into the water. I should be running. Instead I lean over to look for her, a pale wraith in the reeds.

Her smile widens as she drags me into her pond.

08 October 2011

On Fantasycon 2011

I was right to look forward to Fantasycon. Well, except in the financial sense, because boy, you don't want to go there if your TBR pile is too big and you don't want to buy another book, ever. Everybody I met, I wanted to go and and buy their books afterwards. I'll never have time to write again.

It's a very strange thing to be in a hotel around people that make you want to squee like a fangirl and realise that they are normal people. Well, on the cool end of normal, actually. SFF writers know how to have a good time.

Brighton was bizarre and wonderful. I can't think of anywhere else you would walk past a group of drunken stormtroopers on the way to the restaurant. Darth Vader was out for the count on the pavement. It is a place where you can expect to see guys heading for clubs wearing pink furry boot covers and stockings. Better than television.

And the best, absolutely the best thing, for me, was that the people I was around were proud to be SFF authors. No genre shame here, no 'I wrote a book, but it's just fantasy, a bit embarrassing really but it pays the bills'. They write amazing, imaginative books with the brakes off. They made me stand a little bit taller just by association. A few days before I was ready to quit, but I came back with renewed motivation to revise my manuscript and start querying. No small part of that was down to Mhairi Simpson, who is one of the nicest people I've met and tolerated my efforts to twist her YA shapeshifter romance into furry erotica (It's all about the CLAWS, baby).

I am so going back next year.