Monday, 14 January 2019

Red Hot News!

I've just signed the contract for CHAOS SONGS, book five in the Blood Canticles series! This feels like it's been a long time coming. I didn't have any books in the series out last year, know... the whole move-to-Amsterdam affair. I got pretty distracted, and then pretty worried the book was terrible, and then I wrote a completely different book.

Anyway! I'm thrilled to be able to finally say that Tristesse and Lola's next adventure is coming soon - hopefully April. Stay tuned for more news! In the meantime, here's the (unedited blurb) for your edification.

Chaos magic makes anything possible. Even the unthinkable.

Lola and Tristesse have defeated one enemy, but Gehenna isn’t finished with them yet. A way home seems impossible. And while Lola struggles with the magical bond she forged with the mysterious patrons, the Shrouded Guard are still hunting them down.

Forced into strange alliances with rebel demons and an underground cult, Lola and Tristesse must decide what they’re willing to do - and to sacrifice - to escape. And if they don’t decide fast, the choice may be taken from them.

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

The Year of the Bennu

Happy 2019, folks! I hope you had a great 2018, and that if you didn't, this year is better. In fact, I hope this year is better regardless, because that's how life should work in my opinion.

As is tradition for me now, I am naming 2019 after a mythical creature. This is to give me an idea of the shape of my year, to help me remember my goals, and to remind me that we make our own magic.

Shel Silverstein

2018 was The Year of the Kappa, a creature I associate with emotional balance (and also drowning people, but nobody's perfect). I was coming off the back of a battle with depression and seeking to regain balance in my life in lots of areas. What I didn't know at the start of the year was that I'd be leaving the UK and starting over in the Netherlands mid-year, which was a massive challenge to that balancing act! But I achieved it, goddammit, and even though my creativity fluctuated as a result of the move, I still feel proud of what I accomplished last year. We worked through the huge upheaval of relocating. I quit my job of seven years, leaving behind some amazing people, and found a new job that has a ton of potential. I finished Chaos Songs, released a few titles as Amber Morgan, and pitched to Choice of Games. Chaos Songs is now on submission, and I'm almost halfway through my next Amber Morgan book already, thanks to some good writing habits I put in place for myself in late 2018.

All in all, it was a hell of a strange, exciting, and ultimately wonderful year. And now it's gone, and it's time to name a new year.

Honestly, I wasn't sure I'd do it this year. No obvious animal was leaping out at me, until this morning (literally just thirty minutes ago), when my sleep-addled brain yelled BIRDS at me. See, there are a lot of herons round our new neighbourhood, and I've become slightly obsessed with them since we moved. When I was job hunting over August and early September, I saw the same heron every day, patiently standing at the water's edge, always unruffled, always calm. Come rain or shine, he was there, doing what he needed to do.

And it felt to me like Friend Heron was a reminder to me that I needed to take the same approach to finding a new job. Stay calm, stay focused, do the work. And that has been good advice in so many areas of my life in the latter half of this year. So of course, what better animal to take into 2019 with me than a mythical heron?

The bennu is an Ancient Egyptian deity linked with the sun, creation, and rebirth, said to be the inspiration for the phoenix. He is a self-created being who played a role in the creation of the world, known as "He Who Came Into Being By Himself." I love that! My goals for 2019 are, as always, largely focused on creativity, so who better to guide me through that than a creator god with links to  a bird I love?

My plans are, in no particular order, to finish writing the Blood Canticles series, to finish my Ravenstone Vampires series, to re-open my perfume shop in a stripped-back form, and to write at least one other book. If I can keep up the productivity I managed in December, that's all pretty doable. I'm also focusing on learning to at least read Dutch to a good level, and as usual, there's some personal health and fitness aims, but mostly on that front I'll just be happy if I can stop myself eating so many waffles.

So! Welcome to the Year of the Bennu. He's creative, steadfast, and bright, and let's hope 2019 is too.