Nov 27, 2014

Am I Thankful?

Honestly, a year ago today I would have said I had no doubt that I'd be thankful right now. Setting aside for a moment its origins, and the awful mess of consumerism surrounding it, I love that there's an entire holiday dedicated to being thankful and surrounding yourself with loved ones. It's like an extra Christmas.

As I look around, it seems that almost everyone I know has had a rough year. Beyond that, I've witnessed hate grow and grow across the world. Whether it's Gamergate, ISIS, or Ferguson, you could be forgiven for thinking we're all sinking into the biggest dystopian fiction mashup ever.

But I have to remind myself what I can be thankful for. As bad as things look, the world will still be here when these events pass. People will still be here when these events pass. And those people, whether they are strangers to us, or our closest friends, need to keep on living. They can't do that if there aren't things to be thankful for, things to hope for.

So I'm thankful that my daughters are happy and healthy. I'm thankful my wife can look after them while I'm at work. I'm thankful I've completed my Occupational First Aid training. I'm thankful I have four novels out and am working on my fifth. I'm thankful for the family, both friends and relatives, who've stood by us and supported us this year.

I remind myself that light will always come after the dark, so long as people are willing to spread it, and I am thankful for that.

Nov 25, 2014

Let Books Be Books

Ladybird Books, one of the biggest publishers of children's books in the world, recently announced that they would be doing away with gendered labels on their titles. So no more will there be particular Ladybird books aimed at girls, and different ones aimed at boys. Instead, all of their books will be marketed as gender-neutral.

Some apparently consider this a bad thing, "pandering" to feminists.

I love the Let Books Be Books campaign, and the great things it's achieving. As an author, reader, and a parent, I want to see as many stories as possible available for all children, and all grown-ups, too. There's absolutely nothing wrong with writing a book with a particular target audience in mind. It's not possible to write a book that appeals to everyone, so you hedge your bets, so to speak, and focus on making the story the best you can. But I wholeheartedly believe that everyone should have the right to make the decision for themselves whether or not they enjoy a particular book, regardless of their gender, race, sexual orientation, etc.

It's hard enough getting kids to keep reading, without outright telling them that there are certain books that aren't meant for them. Reading is universal. It's something anyone can do. It's a joy to get lost in a world and feel characters come alive in your imagination, so I say, let everyone read whatever they want, and not get caught up trying to enforce the same old "this is for girls, that is for boys" attitude.

Who cares what some curmudgeonly old sods think? The cycle has to be broken at some point, and if that starts with a publisher no longer telling boys and girls which stories they should be reading, then so much the better. It makes the job easier for everyone.

Nov 17, 2014

Supernatural - The Genius of Who God Is

This post contains spoilers for Supernatural, at least up to Season 9. You have been warned, and now I'm just going to fill up space so that there's no risk of social media link previews giving anything away. Note that I haven't seen any of Season 10 yet, so no spoilers in the comments!

Nov 6, 2014

Moving Forward

We're coming to the closing weeks of 2014, and I'm not exactly sorry to see the end in sight. It's been a rough year, but instead of looking back on the negatives just now, I'd rather look forward to the things I have planned for the future.

Lady Raven is here, at long last, along with the epic conclusion to the Memory Wars Trilogy. I'm thrilled to say I'm past the 10k mark on Red Skies, the second in the Lady Raven Series, and have plans to, surprise, return to traditional publishing as well.

A little while ago, I was dared to write a YA novel about a mother-daughter team of monster hunters.

As it happened, I was already working on notes for a series called The Long Road, which was to be about a trio of travelling monster-hunters. I've been able to adapt this idea, and I'm excited to get stuck into this book once Red Skies is done. I like the idea of playing with the traditional gender roles in this kind of story. I've got ideas for separated parents, the father being the one to stay home and reject the monster-hunting lifestyle, while the mother is the one who stuck to her duties to keep the people she loves safe. I'll keep everyone posted on that.

I'll be looking at new ways to boost sales on my books, too. So be on the lookout for events, promotions, and ways to lend a hand, if you feel so inclined.

I've got a new website in the works, and those of you who've read Lady Raven will have seen at the end. Currently the website redirects to this blog, but I'm looking forward to the launch of the new site.

Along with a new website and new writing projects, I've been looking at trying my hand at professional editing. I've got my first job and it's going well so far. I'm going to ease myself into this, but if anyone would like to ask about rates, get in touch.

Of course, even pushing sales on my existing books and trying to bring in some extra income with editing might not be enough to quite cover the costs of continuing to self-publish the Lady Raven Series. So, depending on how things go, I may have to look into crowdfunding in the new year.

Time to strap in for the last stretch of 2014.

Nov 4, 2014

Lady Raven Book Launch

Two book launches in the one year? Yes, I'm a glutton for punishment.

To be honest, I could probably have done with a break from organising this kind of event, but I put a lot of work into Lady Raven and I want to celebrate it.

The launch will be held on Sunday, November 23rd, in the amazing Liquor Rooms. Doors open from 5pm, and I'll be reading from the book and doing a Q&A session.

If anyone wants to attend, if you've already got a copy, bring it along and I'll be happy to sign it. Or, you can order directly from me, though the deadline for this would be November 10th, as I can't guarantee the books would arrive in time after that.