Sunday, 10 February 2013

What's Happening in February?

Hello February!

Hello everyone! Like the picture? You can make one too, using the PULP-O-MIZER- just select what backgrounds, colours and characters you'd like, change the text and you'll have your own vintage-style science-fiction magazine cover!  They're great fun to play with, and I thought this would make a nifty and eye-catching header/introduction to my blog! Think I'll start the important ones like this from now on!

I also really love this style of artwork- its beautiful aesthetic, and I've really been into it ever since Bioshock (although they take a darker twist on that look!).

Isn't February usually the most depressing of months?  I've often found it to to be the worst month of the year for me...the weather is miserable, money isn't usually good, and you can't seem to get around like you normally would.  Anyone who's read my End-of-2012 blog entries will know last February was an awful time of the year for me, and I wasn't really expecting anything different for this year.  However, I am pleased to say that this month isn't really going too badly right now!  There seems to be a lot of really good things going on at the moment, which I will share with you momentarily. I'm also working on some new projects, and there just seems to be a really positive energy about that I usually don't see this time of the year

Upcoming Publications
I have mentioned these before, but I have some upcoming publications just around the corner.  Coming soon from Siren's Call Publications is the Bellows of the Bone Box anthology- an eerie collection of Steampunk-Horror.  My contribution is a short story called "Clockwork Doll", which was a real joy to write, and I also hope will be a joy to read- but I should warn you, its creepy!

Coming this month, Siren's Call Publication's bi-monthly eZine celebrates Women in Horror month (don't worry, the men get their turn next time!), and my poem "Fey Shaper" will be featured.  If you were the sort of child who stubbornly watched creepy movies and read scary books in spite of the nightmares they were giving you, you'll certainly get what this poem is about.

Also upcoming, Hic Dragones will be releasing their Impossible Spaces Anthology, which features many short stories from a range of dark genres.  My short story "Skin" was accepted into this anthology, much to my delight, as I really fell in love with the characters as I was writing this- this was a short story that I became very emotionally invested in, so I am so pleased by its acceptance.  "Skin" is a tragic romance within a dystopian science-fiction setting- but its no Romeo and Juliet, think more a twisted take on the Gift of the Magi.  More details to follow, as I recieve them!

New Projects
I am currently working on two more short stories, with the intention of submitting them by the end of March.  One might be influenced by the horror genre, but both are definitely fantasy.  For one, I am currently doing a lot of research into mythology (a subject I feel I have a decent amount of knowledge in already, but its a great subject, and one you can't learn too much about, I feel!), but the other one is still at the trickier part of planning.  With the acceptance of Skin into Impossible Spaces, I am also determined to revisit the story and expand upon it; there were a lot of possibilities left to explore but as it was a short story with a word count limit, I had to put that aside.  I am excited at the prospect of returning to this story in a more indepth manner at some point soon.

I am also working on some artwork projects at the moment, including tattoo artwork, and also some illustrations for novels I want to work on.

Speaking of novels...

Secrets Revealed...?
I am a very secretive writer by nature, for various reasons ranging from sheer paranoia to a lack of confidence, but for the most part, I dislike divulging information about works in progress.  However, during my last post for the Insecure Writer's Support Group, I decided to take a little step and announced the name of what will be my first novel.

The novel will be called "Night Gods", and I have been working on it for some time- a long time in fact.  I'm not entirely sure when I began writing it, but I think I may have been writing it for about four years or so, which has prompted a running joke between my brother and I (anyone who has seen the ongoing banter between Stewie and Brian Griffin in Family Guy, regarding how slow Brian is in writing his own novel, will probably be able to guess how it pans out!).  Its been a tricky one, as it has a huge amount of personal content, and has been frequently plagued by the Dreaded Writer's Block.  It started as a dream I had some years ago, a very vivid one that I can still remember clearly to this day.  However, as a story emerged from the dream, it took on a lot of emotion and sometimes has been a struggle to continue.  There have been several long periods where I have been unable to touch it at all, which then abruptly end with a flurry of pages almost writing themselves.  I have learned to let myself have breaks from Night Gods, or to let it have a break from me, and only push it in the right places- its been a very organic writing processed, influenced very strongly on my feelings at the time. 

So what can I tell you about Night Gods?  Well, firstly, I can tell you that when I imagine scenes from the story, or even when I'm physically writing it, I have to be listening to the music of my favourite band, The Birthday Massacre, which makes up the majority of its secret "soundtrack".  I can also tell you that Night Gods is written entirely by hand; Night Gods began at a time when I was convinced I had "forgotten" how to write and was profoundly unhappy with anything I produced.  However, I found that writing it out by hand gives it a raw, emotional feeling that I couldn't seem to achieve by typing alone, and it has stuck that way (this of course has contributed to delay in finishing it- I have typed up everything that I've written on paper, editing and embellishing on the way, and of course, I suffer from tendonitis which can make writing by hand for long periods painful).  Also, I like to consider the story as influenced by a weird combination of Neil Gaiman's Sandman, the Labyrinth, and the creepy video game series, Silent Hill

I can also tell you that Night Gods will be finished this year.  It was my first New Years resolution in years, but, encouraged by getting published for the first time ever in the autumn, I realised that really, I can do this! I am now in the final part of the novel, moving very steadily towards the climax of the tale, and so I hope that by the summer I will have also moved onto the editing and revising process.  This is a little daunting for me, as last summer I had no idea how to edit, but I have picked up some good habits and knowledge already since then.  Writing short stories has taught me some helpful things that I'm sure will be very useful when editing a novel. 

I am also starting a little work on another novel (I wish they would they would just be patient and wait their turn, but ideas can be sooo demanding!), as its starting to nudge me with good ideas.

More Secrets and Things?
I doubt it'll be a surprise to anyone who's been reading this blog since it started last autumn, but I am not very adept with social networking, blogging and online publicity in general- not very good for an author and an online-magazine writer!  But that isn't for a lack of trying, and Blogspot and Twitter are slowly becoming less alien to me as I attempt to keep everyone updated.

This hasn't been a fruitless endeavour, but I would like to try and draw a larger audience, and I've decided one thing I might like to do is try giving any readers of this blog a snippet of some of my fiction writing that they don't need to buy or download (wow, I'm being brave, divulging information about my novel and sharing writing?! *gasp*).  I have a short story I wrote last summer that I'm going to be revisiting at a later date, but for the time being, it is just collecting figurative dust.  I believe people may find it enjoyable to read, even in its current form, however, and I think it might be worth sharing with people.

Its called "Moriko", and if you are a fan of Japanese mythology and folktales, this maybe right up your alley.  So if you would like to read some snippets from Moriko, please leave a comment and let me know!

Stuff and Oddments
You know, its funny how February is such a naff month, yet also has a lot going on in it.  We've had Imbolc and Setsubun already, then its Chinese New Year (that's today, Year of the Snake, doncha know?), then the beginning of Lent, Mardi Gras, Carnivale, Valentine's Day...despite it being the most miserable month of the calendar, there are a lot of events and dates going on!  Regardless of what nation or culture those celebrations might originate from, I like to acknowledge them all in my own way; I just like to take advantage of all that positive energy.  This time of the year, there is no harm in a little self-indulgence to help you get through the soggy, gloomy days.  This is something that I've been doing, even little things like treating myself to little cosmetic products while shopping or buying a nice hot chocolate from Costa when its cold.  So everyone, don't feel bad about treating yourself, and just hang on in there- spring is on the way! (Although it would be lovely if she could hurry up!)

So as you can see, I have finally gotten around to proudly posing with my copy of FEAR Anthology Volume 2, in which my short story "Candlelight" appears.  This book will always have a special place in my heart (and on my bookshelf!) as it is the first time my work has ever been published in a printed book!  I just can't believe that it won't be long before I appear in two more!  Candlelight is based on a nightmare I had about my younger brother being haunted by ghostly orphans- perfect for a stormy night.
If you are interested in any of my other fiction works, click the following links:

-"Alone in the Dark", Siren's Call Publications eZine issue #4, August issue, Dark and Edgy Horror

-"Candlelight", Crooked Cat Publishing, FEAR Anthology Volume 2 (proceeds go to charity)

-"Oiran" Siren's Call Publications eZine, issue #6, December issue, Frozen

And of course, I still write articles on Gothic and Alternative lifestyle and culture for EGL Magazine under my pen name, "Blackavar".

Thanks everyone for reading; please leave a comment if you want to read excerpt of Moriko.  Have a lovely February and lets hope spring makes it here soon!

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