Friday, 28 February 2014

Richard Dawkins would not approve

This is my current crop of research books dragged off my shelves.
I own a lot of books I don't believe in, you understand. A lot of them. They still have research potential.
Maybe I should file them under Fiction tho... ;-)

Monday, 24 February 2014

My Writing Process blog-hop

There's no Eyecandy Monday today! That's because last week I was tagged by Kristina Lloyd for a literary blog-hop and I have to give my answers. So today - What I'm working on, How and Why:

 1) What am I working on?

I'm writing the first 30K novella of four in a series I'm calling The Wheel of the Year. I've got a hard deadline for submission by the end of March, which is going to be ... testing.
The main plot-arc is about a young woman who reluctantly goes off to live with her Great Aunt Moira in a really weird old house in the middle of the country. It's just like those fantasy adventures I used to read as a kid, isn't it?
Of course, the house is not just a house, Moira is not simply - or really - a batty old relative, and there's going to be a ton-load of sex in my heroine's future as she finds herself plunged into legend that will not die, myth that is live and kicking, and a destiny that will change the world.

This is going to be supernatural erotica with a slow build, but not romance, and the idea is to take my heroine on a sexual journey from vanilla to kink as her sexual horizons expand and her self-knowledge grows. It's very pagan. I've been reading up on astrology and tree-magic and Robert Graves and I've been tearing bloody chunks out of all of them as I mold them to my evil will.

Oh, and The Wheel of the Year has turned out to be linked to Wildwood too. It's almost a prequel. This may be a lifelong plot-arc spread over many publishers!

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Most hardcore erotica writers don't do fantasy - they leave that to the romanticists.
Most paranormal fantasy writers write urban, American and kickass - I've lost track of the number of gun-toting bounty hunters with vampire buddies there are out there in Seattle/Boston/Baton Rouge/NYC/wherethefeckeverUSA - but my worlds and characters are more rural, British and smartass.

So I'm niche, you might say. I'm the nichiest niche writer ever. Watch me not give a crap. Write what you love! You have a hankering for blisteringly dirty troll-sex? Well, read Named and Shamed. You want a freaky trip into deep woodsy legend, Green Men and Camelot and the rites of nature? Hold on for The Wheel of the Year.

3) Why do I write what I do?

Oops, I've already answered that, I think. I write my folklore-fantasy-porn because practically no one else is doing it, and that's what I want to read. I write about sex because I think it's one of the primary motivators in human existence and the most incredible joys in life. I write to make the world look more magical.

4) How does my writing process work?

My successful routine (on a good day), is to grab a cup of tea when I wake up and go straight back to bed to write, until noon and hungry dogs drive me out. I get showered, which is when creative insight will creep up me - snippets of conversation, small details that need to inserted into what's already written, and of course the vital next scene. That gives me enough material to write for a few hours again in the afternoon or evening.
I use a lot of hot water.
I don't plan ahead: I start with mental pictures (I'm very visual), and let the plot evolve on the subconscious level to weave those critical moments together.
I used to read back every day over what I'd written, but I've found that slows me down too much - so unless I have a particular detail I need to change I'm now leaving the tweaking until the first draft is done.

So that's why my blogging is likely to be pretty terse for the next month!

Friday, 21 February 2014

Red white and blue

This is the costume I wore to a LARP social last weekend - a low-key one this time, no body-paint or anything.
It turned out sort of "Britannia".

Regardless of what proper costume-types say, I'm a BIG fan of crushed velvet, because it drapes and shadows so beautifully.Yes, I know that's heresy in LARP circles! (And with anyone with taste.)

There's a much less flattering pic of me looking like I'm about to eat the entire Death Star ... but you're NOT seeing that!

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

When trainspotters go green

Snowdrops in my local churchyard

This year, I won't be able to just hide indoors and write! I've got to get outdoors and keep my eyes open. I'm writing a new book (more details next week) and, like Wildwood, it is very much rooted in the countryside. More than that, it's particularly concerned with the changes that take place in nature throughout the year.

January brings the snow,
makes our feet and fingers glow.
February brings the rain,
Thaws the frozen lake again.
March brings breezes loud and shrill,
stirs the dancing daffodil.
 April brings the primrose sweet,
Scatters daises at our feet.
May brings flocks of pretty lambs,
Skipping by their fleecy dams.

(from The Months, by Sara Coleridge)

Did you know there's a special name for that as a scientific study? Phenology is the discipline of recording periodic natural events (the first cuckoo-call, the last leaf-drop, the day the hawthorn blooms) over many years. The Japanese have been doing it from the 8th Century out of a fascination with cherry-blossom. In the West its invention is attributed to Robert Marsham, who kept records of the "Indications of Spring" on his Norfolk estate in the C18th for 62 years. It's a nerd thing, obviously.

Obviously, phenomena vary from place to place - up here in the North of the Land of Mud, we're at least a couple of weeks behind the balmy (if sodden) South for spring flowers of every type. But the more observations you can record, and the larger the area they are recorded over, the broader and better a picture you build up of the natural cycles. This is particularly important when it comes to Climate Change, because we can look back over decades and centuries and see the shifts.

As a writer, what I'm interested in is the detail. so I've started to keep an unscientific little database of my own, recording what I see this year.
Yesterday, for example, was the first day that I swear it felt like Spring :-)

Okay, so I love snowdrops.

Monday, 17 February 2014

Eyecandy Monday

Coupley male eyecandy today, in honour of Kristina Lloyd, who yawns in the face of girl-boobies.

Kristina has tagged me for a blog-hop, so double-back over to her place to see what she's working on!
My answers next week....

Friday, 14 February 2014

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

COVER REVEAL! - Fierce Enchantments

This is it! The official cover for the third published collection of my erotic short stories, due out in Autumn from Sweetmeats Press!

I love it - dark, sexy, fantastical, and uncompromising. Perfect for the contents!

Here's Sweetmeats' "coming in 2014" catalogue :-) I keep going back and smiling at this page. I've got a story included in their forthcoming Drenched anthology too, by the way.

As to the title ... I wanted, of course, a reference to my previous two collections, Cruel Enchantment and Dark Enchantment. It's my signature dish, as it were. We went temporarily up to These Fierce Enchantments because we thought it'd be less confusing for prospective purchasers - but Sweetmeats' new American distributor (we have a US distributor! Yay!) asked for it to go back down to the simpler version. Publishing is a complex business, with many people having their say... and now you know.

I am so excited about this!

Monday, 10 February 2014

Eyecandy Monday

Second coupley Eyecandy of the Valentine's month.
Still no genitals...
Just you wait. We're getting there.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Zero Gravity

It's the music from a bloody car advert ... but
Turn the bass up!

Friday, 7 February 2014

Ms Hyde

Theatrical hair  is supplied in coils. It's supposed to attach with spirit gum, but I'm trying out liquid latex.

This is a practice run - complete with Marmite. Which adds to the horrific effect, I feel.

What am I up to? Well, I'll show you eventually. But first I need to study this:

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Saving Time

Do you hoard stuff because "It Might Be Really Useful Later"?

I was given this A3 lunar/tree/pagan calendar in 1992 (possibly 1991, thinking about it). It was a terrific if extremely unorthodox calendar, beautifully produced by a very small community. When it was finished with, I put it aside thinking, "It's full of research reference stuff I might want to call on some day."

This was before I was even a writer, you understand.

I kept it for TWENTY-ONE YEARS. We even moved house, and I still kept it!
And this week, having started on a new novella project that draws on a lot of pagan folklore, I thought "I'll dig that old calendar out. I know exactly where it is."

I did too.

It's still a fabulous piece of research material. I'm glad I've got it. Of course, I could have found every separate item of information on t'Internet. That's a bit galling.

The question is ... will I be able to throw it out when I've finished writing the book?

Monday, 3 February 2014

Eyecandy Monday

It's February, which means Valentine's Day is coming up, so I'm going to do coupley photos this month just to see how it goes. 
I'm already contemplating an All-Genitals March ;-)