Every month I’ll write a quick roundup of my recent goings-on. This is mainly for my benefit, because I’m forgetful and often need evidence (tentative as that may be) that I’ve achieved something or done something worthwhile for my career/health/relationships etc.
It’s also a way to roundup the best bits featured on the blog this month. Your time is limited, so I wanna help you get to the good stuff and get on with your day 🙂
It’s time for a cuppa and catchup! I recently interviewed internationally-acclaimed author Tim Powers, author of The Anubis Gates (you can read my review here). Tim’s also responsible for the swashbuckling tale ‘On Stranger Tides’ which inspired the Monkey Island games and the fourth installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. He’s also credited as being one of the Fathers of Steampunk!
Rachel:Lovely to have you aboard, Tim! Tell us a bit about yourself and what creative stuff you’re working on at the moment.
Tim: Well, my first novel was published forty-one years ago, and I’ve had fourteen in all so far. That’s fairly slow work, but I use the excuse that they’re generally pretty long, and research and plotting eat up a lot of time.
I’m halfway through another novel now, and I hope to have it finished by summer, roughly. It’s contemporary, set in Los Angeles, and it involves freeways. And of course supernatural stuff.
The problem is that I dwell too much on the end result. I want the end result – a finished, polished story – right now.
All that other gumpf in between – the typing, the self-doubt, the numerous, numerous revisions – makes my teeth itch. Sometimes when I’m in the thick of that stuff, I enjoy it. Right now, I loathe it, which means that I unfortunately loathe a rather sizable part of the writing process.
So many writers I speak to deal with the conundrum of loving writing and hating it at the same time. So what can we do about it?
It’s time for another Cuppa and Catchup! Today we have the lovely Holly Raychelle Hughes on the blog. Holly’s a fiction writer and essayist who has written about the many pitfalls for people trying to get by in the film production and creative industry, as well as her own painful experiences. She wants to see a safer, more respectful Hollywood, where everyone is treated with dignity and can speak freely of their troubles without fear. She’s also my friend and fellow Pitch to Publication comrade. 🙂
Hi there, Holly! Thank you for stopping by the blog 🙂 Tell us a little about yourself and what you’re working on at the moment.
Thanks so much for inviting me to visit, Rachel! I’m a writer juggling querying and revisions on a young adult manuscript called DEAR DEAD DRUNK GIRL.
When I’m not hitting refresh on my inbox, I’m working on character development for my next young adult book. I also I try to write several essays a month, too. And when I’m not writing I’m in my office working as an intuitive healer and medium.
Every now and then I’ll invite an author, artist or other creative type-person onto the blog for a quick chat about their work, their future projects and just general life gubbins. To kick off my ‘Cuppa and Catchup’ series, here’s my lovely friend and Yorkshire-based author and artist Meg Cowley!
Hi there, Meg! Thank you for stopping by the blog 🙂 Tell us a little about yourself and what you’re working on at the moment.
I’m an author and illustrator from Yorkshire, England, and I love all things fantasy, magic and dragons! Fantasy heavily inspires everything I write, and fantasy and nature inspire my art. (What is fantasy anyway, but nature, embellished!)
Right now, I’m drafting the Shattered Crown (Caledan#3) and plotting the first in my next series, which will be an Arthurian retelling with a twist! In terms of illustration, I’m planning a full-colour, romantic, illustrated retelling of the traditional Arthurian tale, which will also be available in black and white/greyscale as a colouring book.
Tim Powers is famed for his historical fantasy novels, specifically his ability to pick a seldom-explored pocket of time and create a rich narrative within it.
One such book is The Anubis Gates, a fast-paced Victorian adventure following Brendan Doyle, a sharp-witted historian who must rely on more than his knowledge of the future if he’s to escape the past alive.
One thing I love about Tim’s writing is how immersive it is, and how organic the settings feel. He has a rare ability to create a vast swell of characters that are fully realised and beautifully fleshed out.
We’re not even a month into 2017, and it’s already established itself as the year of huge, sweeping events. People in their thousands are waging war against the things that wound, disgust and enrage them. They’re speaking out. Their feet are coming down. They’re taking no more.
There’s no denying that history is riddled with echoes. Some may ask why we even try to rise above our innate hostility, especially if we’re destined to fall prey to it every half-century.
On the bus home, I came across another article. One that melted my dejection like dawn upon the frost.
Celeste Ng, author of EVERYTHING I NEVER TOLD YOU, broke my heart with her 20 small acts of resistance list on Teen Vogue. It’s part survival kit, part love letter to anyone who knows we must do better despite history’s insistence that it’s beyond us. It’s for anyone who knows we can rise above the playbook of years past, and work alchemy through our outrage into something that truly transforms lives.
It’s for anyone who knows that all great stories start with a #smallact.
Do you ever daydream about all the productive things you’re going to achieve once you get some free time? That short story you’re definitely going to write? Those query letters you’re going to send off? That pile of books you’re going to blast through? You’re finally sorting your life out, and it’s going to be GLORIOUS.
Saturday morning rolls around, and you’re either still snoring your head off or skulking around the house like a pyjama-clad zombie. The rest of the weekend’s filled with ‘must-do’s’ that get in the way of what you really want to do. We find ourselves feeling like crap, again, because we felt like we’ve made zero progress towards our writing dreams. AGAIN.
First, stop beating yourself up. Life demands a lot from us, even in our spare time. We’re busier than we’ve ever been, and there’s more noise in our ears and eyes and heads than there’s ever been. Every minute is overloaded. How can that not get exhausting?
This world keeps us busy, there’s no doubt about that. However, there’s a big difference between being busy and being productive. The good news is, you could have only five minutes to spare, and you can still get something done that’s worth your time. Here are fifty ideas to get you started…
A grumpy yet loveable man finds his solitary world turned on its head when a boisterous young family moves in next door.
I didn’t expect to like this little Swedish tale at all, let alone love it. A story about a grumpy old curmudgeon who hates cats and thinks most young people are wastes of space? Boy, I thought. Sounds like a right casserole of laughs.
So excited to be taking part in #PitchWars this year. I took part in #Ficfest earlier this year and found it to be an absolute blast!
I’ve been meaning to get involved in #PitchWars for a couple of years now, and it’s been great getting to know all you lovely mentors and mentees. Seems like there’s a big, varied mix of people from all walks of life, which is exciting. I’m seeing friendships taking shape across the #PitchWars feed, so whatever the outcome, it’s nice to know we’ll all reach the end of #Pitchwars in much more agreeable company.
I only learned about the #pimpmybio hashtag late last night. I’m about 5-8 hours ahead of many of you guys thanks to that chuffin’ timezone nonsense. Sincere apologies for how late I am in posting this as a result, but I hope you’ll enjoy reading all the same 🙂