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Month in Review: January 2018

Wow, January went pretty quick!

I always feel motivated by the New Year. There’s something about an empty diary that holds a lot of promise. So although it’s cold and I’m constantly knackered, as we head into February I look back and realise I’ve actually been quite busy!

One of my resolutions was to read 12 books this year, and I’ve made great progress! This month I finished Godblind by Anna Stephens and The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North.

I had the very great pleasure of meeting Anna Stephens last year at both Fantasycon and Bristolcon, where I picked up a gorgeous hardback of her debut novel. As I get to know more writers, and even hopefully come to call them friends, reading their work becomes very insightful, and Godblind was no exception. Like Anna herself, the book pulls no punches; it’s unapologetically bold with some truly brutal imagery. With almost a dozen point-of-view characters and a literal army of supporting players, it can be difficult to get your bearings, but once you do you’ll be gripped. I can’t remember reading a more claustrophobic climax than Godblind‘s final act.

For my second read of the year, I looked to my local library (which I’d like to make more use of, once I’ve cut my TBR pile down by half). I’d never read Claire North’s work before, under any name, but she won the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel with The Sudden Appearance of Hope in November, and I knew of Harry August by word-of-mouth. I’m so glad I picked it up on the off-chance, as not only was it a great palate cleanser, but both the concept and voice charmed me utterly.

I’m a few chapters into La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman right now, after which I hope to start Witchsign, the latest from Den Patrick who very kindly gave out free copies at Fantasycon!

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On the writing front, I’m amazed that I managed to squeeze out 12,927 new words in January! Which means I completed a draft of my new novelette that I started in November. . .

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It’s a creepy fantasy story about a couple who elope to an old hotel in Yorkshire, 1938. I’ve been wanting to write it for a while, but was always intimidated by the scale. Anyway, I jumped in before Christmas thanks to a lot of encouragement at home and online, and it’s finally written. Yay!

While I wait for feedback on that, I’m editing a short story that I wrote way back in August last year and planning a few more. So while I only have one story forthcoming at the moment (look out for it in the March/April 2018 issue of F&SF!), I am working hard behind the scenes to produce more, better fiction.

That’s all for now! Catch you next time!

 

 

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