Monthly Roundup: November 2015

Books Read:

1. Five Go Glamping – Liz Tipping

Glamping Check list

Festival tickets
Double check best Instagram filter
Avoid thinking about work/Connor/five year plan!!

A four day break from her hectic life to relax in the countryside and hang out at a local festival (for free!) is just what Fiona Delaney needs. With her best friends, great tunes and a cool looking hat her Instagram shots are going to look A-Mazing!

Until suddenly glamping starts to feel a lot more like camping and Fiona’s in desperate search of a comfy chair, wi-fi and a chilled glass of wine. But when she finally makes it to the local pub she discovers this trip could be more than just a holiday, it might just change her life forever…

2. Lagoon – Nnedi Okorafor

When a massive object crashes into the ocean off the coast of Lagos, Nigeria’s most populous and legendary city, three people wandering along Bar Beach (Adaora, the marine biologist- Anthony, the rapper famous throughout Africa- Agu, the troubled soldier) find themselves running a race against time to save the country they love and the world itself… from itself. Lagoon expertly juggles multiple points of view and crisscrossing narratives with prose that is at once propulsive and poetic, combining everything from superhero comics to Nigerian mythology to tie together a story about a city consuming itself.

At its heart a story about humanity at the crossroads between the past, present, and future, Lagoon touches on political and philosophical issues in the rich tradition of the very best science fiction, and ultimately asks us to consider the things that bind us together – and the things that make us human.

‘There was no time to flee. No time to turn. No time to shriek. And there was no pain. It was like being thrown into the stars.’

3. Scottish Folk and Fairy Tales – Gordon Jarvie

This is a collection of Scottish fairy tales, folk tales and legends, which have been passed on from generation to generation, and have been brought together in this one volume.

4. Ariah – B.R. Sanders

Ariah’s magical training has been interrupted. Forced to rely on a mentor, Dirva, who is not who he claims to be, and a teacher who is foreign and powerful, Ariah is drawn into a culture wholly different from the elven one that raised him.

As his friendship with Dirva’s brother blossoms into a surprising romance, and he slowly learns how to control the dangerous magic in his blood, life finally appears to be coming together for Ariah—but love and security are cut short by a tyrannical military empire bent on expanding its borders.

War, betrayal, passion, and confusion follow Ariah as his perilous journey leads him beyond the walls of the Empire, and into unfamiliar territory within himself. Along the way, he’ll discover just how much he’s willing to give up to find his place in the world, and he’ll learn what it means to sacrifice himself for freedom—and for love.

5. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear – Elizabeth Gilbert

Readers of all ages and walks of life have drawn inspiration and empowerment from Elizabeth Gilbert’s books for years. Now this beloved author digs deep into her own generative process to share her wisdom and unique perspective about creativity. With profound empathy and radiant generosity, she offers potent insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration. She asks us to embrace our curiosity and let go of needless suffering. She shows us how to tackle what we most love, and how to face down what we most fear. She discusses the attitudes, approaches, and habits we need in order to live our most creative lives. Balancing between soulful spirituality and cheerful pragmatism, Gilbert encourages us to uncover the “strange jewels” that are hidden within each of us. Whether we are looking to write a book, make art, find new ways to address challenges in our work,  embark on a dream long deferred, or simply infuse our everyday lives with more mindfulness and passion, Big Magiccracks open a world of wonder and joy.

6. An Anthology of Scottish Fantasy Literature – Colin Manlove

Presenting traditional fairy tales, dream allegories, travels, other worlds and ghost stories, this collection includes the supernatural works of such writers as Robert Burns, James Macpherson, R.L. Stevenson, James Hogg, J.M. Barrie, Alasdair Gray, George Mackay Brown and Iain Banks.

7. The Vagrant – Peter Newman

The Vagrant is his name. He has no other. Friendless and alone he walks across a desolate, war-torn landscape, carrying nothing but a kit-bag, a legendary sword and a baby. His purpose is to reach the Shining City, last bastion of the human race, and deliver the sword, the only weapon that may make a difference in the ongoing war. But the Shining City is far away and the world is a very dangerous place.

Total: 66

Plus I beta read a short novel for a friend.

Writing:

This month was sort of the anti-NaNoWriMo; I did very little drafting. I integrated two rounds of beta comments and then sent Shattered Minds to my agent, Juliet. While waiting, I did some more research and plotting for Betwixt Book, and fleshed out another thriller idea (guess it still needs a nickname. Memory Book, maybe). Shiny Project progressed from around 20% of the first draft done to 30%. Juliet’s notes came back, and I integrated those comments, plus another couple of beta notes, and sent Shattered Minds off to my editor, Bella! I did it! It was a difficult book to write, but so far people seem to enjoy it, so that’s a relief.

Travel & Life:

At the beginning of the month, I took a day trip to Glasgow to see Dianna Walla, teenage friend and illustrator of the Vestigial Tales covers! She was in town seeing her family and family friends, so we wandered around the city and caught up, and it was just one of those days you wish you could bottle and go back to, it was so nice. Dianna’s currently in Norway doing a Masters in Linguistics, so one of these days I’ll have to pop over to see her.

Near the end of the month, my mom flew out for my Masters graduation! I now have an MLitt in Creative Writing. I didn’t write much about the masters on here; I enjoyed it well enough but I’m not sure if, long-term, it’ll really help my career much. Maybe I should have done an MFA instead. But, hey, another piece of paper!

graduate

After that, my mom and I flew out to Belgium. It was a weird trip because at first we were a bit nervous to go to Brussels because of the lockdown. We even tried to see if we could cancel and just stay in Scotland instead, but we sort of had to go when the airline wouldn’t change. I’m glad we went, in the end, as it was, if anything, probably safer there than anywhere else at the moment. We spent most of our time in Ghent and Brugges, with only a day in Brussels. I’ll do a travel roundup at some point.

Goals for Next Month:

I have some admin to do; catch up on my tax spreadsheet, and it’s long overdue that I rejig my website and make it a little slicker. I’ll also play around with drafting Betwixt Book, Shiny Project, and Memory Book. I’m someone who can split my attention between drafting, and I’m not really sure which one to focus on the most, so I’ll dip my toes into all of them. As I’ve turned in my last book that’s under a deadline, I’m in that strange sort of limbo when I want to work but am aware I can’t approach my publisher for another contract until my first book is out and they have sales figures. Yet I’m also not someone to rest on my laurels–next year will have a lot of promo and a few edits to tackle, so I might as well take advantage of my weeks at home in my wee flat as winter grows stronger outside.

Books Read in August

Don’t have time for my mini reviews I usually do, but here’s what I read this month.

adaption1. Fables Vol 18: Cubs in Toyland – Bill Willingham

2. Adaption – Malinda Lo

breakshield3. Fables Vol 19: Snow White – Bill Willingham

4. The Drowning Pool – Syd Moore

5. Tipping the Velvet – Sarah Waters

6. Breakshield – J.B. Rockwell

Total: 49 books this year.I’m a bit behind my goal if I’m going to make it to 80. Enjoyed all the books I read this month, and quite pleased I managed 6 despite all the travel and conventions.