Twas a dark and stormy night…

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Did you like Iris Wildthyme and the Celestial Omnibus? Did you, hmm? Good transition between the stories, hmm? Entertaining range of styles, yes? Wide variety of authorial voices, wasn’t it? And new writers, they are sooo exciting, aren’t they?

Sorry, I’m channeling Stewie winding up Brian.

The point is, the next publication from Obverse Books is now available for pre-order should you want more Iris themed fun. The Panda Book of Horror contains a story by my husband. (He’s also edited a new collection of Benny short stories, Secret Histories, for fans who prefer a gin-laced archaeologist to a gin-sodden nosey-parker.)

You can also still buy the Celestial Omnibus. So you could make any literary Who fans a lovely wintery gift set by tying them together with a big bow.

Owlmen (with spoilers)

Saturday, 13 June 2009

I keep meaning to finish all my annotations to my novels, but never do. Instead, here are some notes on Sovereign (available now in Iris Wildthyme & the Celestial Omnibus). This story started with a classic one line pitch and ended with me bundled into layers trying to write during the coldest winter I’ve experienced since moving back south from Yorkshire. The writing history is here. Some of the background notes – spoiler alert! – are below.

Step aboard the magic bus…

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Confirmation today from the publisher that copies of Iris Wildthyme and the Celestial Omnibus start shipping by the end of this very week.

For anyone who has missed previous posts about it, it contains my story Sovereign. I honestly think it’s the sort of story that, when I first started writing, I imagined would flow freely and easily. After two decades of discovering how naïve that was, I did at last write the sort of story I wanted to write. The whole experience was a lot harder – and a lot colder – than I expected but is logged in all its pettiness here. Could it be better? Of course. Every writer looks at a piece once it’s been frozen in print and comes up with a hundred tiny tweaks that they would have made if only they’d seen them earlier.

You can order the collection via the publisher’s website, and it contains many other fabulous stories such as Iris Wildthyme y Señor Cientocinco contra Los Monstruos del Fiesta. ¡Ay, Carmela! Hopefully at some point over the summer I’ll detail the references in Sovereign – every name has a meaning in it.


Sunday, 22 February 2009

Sovereign is my latest short story. It’ll be available in the collection Iris Wildthyme and the Celestial Omnibus, published by Obverse Books in the spring.

I am unusually happy with this story. It went from a casual pitch (“Iris goes on holiday to an artists’ commune in 1950s Cornwall, where they are being menaced by a giant owlman”) into something rather stronger. The artists’ commune is now a remote house, as I had to cull extraneous characters, but the themes almost drew themselves out of the idea.

When people ask what the point of twitter is, I make the usual replies most twitterers do. But here’s another. My twitter – like those of many other artists and writers – gives a curious insight into the world of writing. It’s not the same as blogging, which is a more considered process and where each post has a purpose (buy my story!!). I did blog briefly about the story earlier this year though. Here, for anyone wondering, is the inner workings of writing:

10:13 Dec 28 has started writing. Is miracle.

1:15pm Dec 29 is making the drawers on new spare bed, fiddling with new camera and planning to write 1k+ today (yes, @stuartamdouglas, am on it)

9:24pm Dec 29 is gorging on chocolate…and trying to get on with writing

10:12pm Dec 29 has FAIL on writing – will work on train tomorrow.

7:06pm Dec 30 is meant to be typing up notes but is looking at Ollie & Nic sale prior to spree shop there tomorrow.

4:28pm Dec 31 @KittyJimjams strangely, I *always* manage to write several pages when in Foyles cafe, even now Ray’s Jazz has been moved to the 3rd floor.

7:40pm Jan 2 has written up writing from train & is too cold to carry on writing in the attic. Going downstairs for takeaway and warm writing cranny.

10:32am Jan 3 is back in attic, with 600+ words written in bed last night to transfer. Frost so heavy that the road’s gutters were solid ice 1st thing.

12:12pm Jan 3 the 600+ turned into 743 words. Yay!

11:31pm Jan 3 is going to bed early and writing her wintery story there as the temp is due to drop to -4C tonight:

1:03AM Jan 4 has around 1.5k words to type up tomorrow. This writing in bed lark really working.

1:47pm Jan 4 suspects the story works just as well without 1K of what she wrote yesterday. Arses. This is mainly as she’s worked out a key change.

11:54 Jan 5 had forgotten how knackering working a full day and then writing for an evening is.

9:39pm Jan 7 is conducting experiment. Is having your road dug up more likely to distract you from work than the internet?

9:48pm Jan 8 is trying to write epic fantastical end of story but is mostly wishing she had some cake in the house.

11:43pm Jan 8 hates duplex printing at home: always seem to bugger it up

10:36pm Jan 11 has edited her story but still needs to write a missing scene. But wants to watch ER instead.

10:19 Jan 12 is reworking story. And resisting urge to look at vids on you tube.

10:22pm Jan 12 is peeved she can’t use ‘Morgan’ as surname as will look like wicked fangirl.

10:47pm Jan 12 is wishing she’d nicked The Darjeeling Ltd back off the chap. And wondering where her copy of ‘Wild Wood’ by Weller is

12:37am Jan 13 is done! Hurrah! gin!

    As you can tell from that, I was writing the story during the very cold snap in the first weeks of January. What you can’t tell is that it was so cold in my attic that I was sitting here with three or four layers of clothing on, and a rug over my legs. I’ve also deliberately excluded a couple of tweets where I asked if anyone could remember something I’d forgotten, as those give away elements of both the plot and theme and the answer led to the story’s eventual title.

    If you are interested in seeing the minutae that crosses the minds of writers/artists on twitter, you can try following: Dave Gorman, Jon Ronson, Charlie Brooker, Jamie Smart, Jamie McKelvie, Graham Linehan, James Moran, Stephen Fry, Paul Cornell etc etc.

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