Booksmugglers Hugo packet

So I meant to reblog this a while ago, but I’m only just getting around to it. My lovely publishers, the Booksmugglers, are Hugo finalists in the category Best Semiprozine! Hooray, applause, yay! I just want to congratulate them here, wish them lots of luck, and share their Hugo packet. That is all 🙂

As you may have heard, The Book Smugglers are finalists for this year’s Hugo Award for Best Semiprozine. The Hugo Awards, presented annually since 1955, are voted on by members of the World Science Fiction Convention–aka Worldcon–which is also responsible for administering them each year. This year’s award ceremony will be held in Helsinki, Finland,…

via Hugo Voter Packet 2017 — The Book Smugglers

Book Review: Hurricane Heels by Isabel Yap

hurrican heels art by denise yap

A long time ago, in the space between dimensions, two beings were formed from the matter that filled the hearts of every living thing.

So this is one big story, told in five short stories from the points-of-view of five female friends. Who happen to have magical powers and save the world on a semi-regular basis. Yes it’s magical girls! I have to admit to not having watched or read many magical girl stories at all, but this book was brilliant and I still enjoyed it, although I probably missed some of the trope subversions.

One of the great things about this story is that the women have, at this point, been fighting the forces of darkness for ten years. And those forces are actually terrifying: strange grey monsters that appear out of nowhere to wreak havoc. There’s a real, tangible sense of fear. If things go wrong, people will die. As a reader, there’s a definite feeling that even if there is a fairytale ending, it might not be one of the good ones.

The five characters are all really strong, very different from each other with their own internal struggles. I wasn’t very well when I read this book, so a lot of the details were lost in the fog of a SuperMassive Headache (I’ll just have to read it again), but there’s a general impression of “awesome” that remains. I especially liked the fact that all of the women were having normal, growing up and being an adult difficulties as well as saving the world difficulties. One of them, wonderfully, was an anime nerd who loved magical girl stories – it sounds cheesy but it worked really well.

So, here we have a fab book with five main characters – all women – who kick arse and take names and manage to stay friends (and in some cases, girlfriends), with some great illustrations by the author’s sister. It’s touching and honest and heartwarming. I mean, what’s not to like?

Rating: Read this book. Put on your magical earrings and beat up some monsters (we’ll go for drinks after).

Locus poll and survey

Soooooo, here I must admit that I do not usually pay much attention to awards: I have a tendency to quietly live beneath a rock and emerge only briefly for basic necessities or if my friends poke me. I find new books by a) wandering into bookshops or libraries and browsing b) recommendations from friends, or c) mystical messages from the great beyond communicated to me via carrier pigeon, smoke signals or messages in bottles left outside the aforementioned rock…..

HOWEVER, something rather exciting has happened! Which is that The Life and Times of Angel Evans (my debut novelette) is on the Locus Award ballot *insert expressions of disbelieving excitement here* and and and I don’t really know what to do with that information – it has reduced me into a weird mess of nervous excitement because people read my work and liked it!!!!!!!

Ahem. So, I’m off to actually vote in the Locus Award ballot-ma-thing. And if you have read and enjoyed The Life and Times of Angel Evans, please do consider voting for it (it’s in the category Best Novelette). Click here.

If you haven’t read it and you would like to (it’s got magic, a ghost, dead prophets and the end of the world), click on the image to the right of this post and you’ll be redirected.

Thank you to everyone who’s read, reviewed, critiqued and enjoyed – it’s wonderful that Angel Evans has come this far 🙂

I’m now returning to my rock – reviews again next week 🙂

Celebratory Post! Locus annual recommended reading list

The Life and Times of Angel Evans has made its way on to the Locus annual recommended reading list! The entire list is here. This post is basically the equivalent of me having a tiny, one person party. YAY! Thank you very much – I really did not think this would happen.

So anyway, in celebration of how far this story has come, I give you some photos of the very beginnings of it. Behold, the first six pages of The Life and Times of Angel Evans, as written on the note pages from my diary at the time. And also the notebook that I wrote the rest of it in. Thank you for reading it, reviewing it and enjoying it. And many thanks to the BookSmugglers, who love the story and edited and published it 😀

You can read The Life and Times of Angel Evans by following this link. There is an option to buy the ebook at the foot of that page; buying the ebook means you also get an essay and an interview with me 🙂 The Life and Times of Angel Evans is also included in Superheroes Reborn: Five Origin Stories (and all of the stories in there are fantastic!). Follow this link and scroll down.

Happy nine years to the booksmugglers

My lovely publishers turned nine recently – a very happy birthday to them! The shared post includes quite a few exciting announcements (and I am so looking forward to seeing what they publish this year – it all looks amazing), including an anthology of the Superhero stories! You can now get all five (including my story The Life and Times of Angel Evans) in one awesome anthology for $4.99 as epub and mobi. And for those of you who struggle with screens, I have heard that it will be out in paper edition at some point this year (date to be confirmed). Happy reading one and all!

HAPPY SMUGGLIVUS, EVERYONE! As part of our Smugglivus Celebrations, we took a retrospective look at 2016 yesterday. Today, as we turn 9 (NINE!), we look forward to 2017–and make a few exciting announcements! ALL THE PLANS FOR 2017 Gods and Monsters! 2017 is the year of Gods and Monsters! Like Subversive Fairytales, First Contact and…

via The Book Smugglers Present 2017 — The Book Smugglers

Guest post on the Booksmugglers Smugglivus

I was lucky enough to be invited to join in with Smugglivus – here is my guest post 🙂

Welcome to Smugglivus 2016! Throughout this month, we will have guests – authors and bloggers alike – looking back at their favorite reads of 2016, looking forward to events and upcoming books in 2017, and more. On the last day of Smugglivus, our guest is Meredith Debonnaire, writer and reviewer, author of The Life and…

via Six Things That Made Me Happy in 2016 with Meredith Debonnaire — The Book Smugglers

Halloween Reading

Happy Halloween! Or Samhain (I tend to celebrate a funny mixture of both).

I have been reading some seasonally appropriate books today, and thought I’d just recommend them for anyone who’s interested. Firstly there is:

The Convergence of Fairy Tales by Octavia Cade, art by Kristina Tsenova

The Convergence of Fairytales by Octavia Cade

The Sleeping Beauty woke with a heartbeat between her legs.

I have literally just finished reading this, and it was something of a tour-de-force. A compelling mixture of horror, fairytale, vengeance and beauty, Octavia Cade really gets to grips with some of the oft skimmed over aspects of the fairytale. Such as, for example, the original ending of Sleeping Beauty. Trigger warning, there is rape: it does not happen on the page (as the character is asleep), however most of the story is dealing with the aftermath so if you think that’s something that you’d struggle with, approach with care and look after yourself.

Having said that, I really enjoyed this. Octavia Cade has a skill for description that is both precise and vivid, and her sentences are sharp things. The book is presented as a set of short stories, however read through they all bleed one into the other; this is a style that I am particularly fond of (for other examples of this, see Emma Donoghue’s Kissing the Witch) not least because I get nervous about how I’m meant to read short stories.

The tales balance between horror and fairytale, sometimes tipping from one into the other in the space of a word. In a way, they felt luxuriant. I think that was probably the effect of Octavia Cade’s language skills. They were also full of a deep, pounding rage that splintered and grew and bubbled up in all sorts of weird and wonderful ways. As someone who loves fairytales, but has been reading them with a critical eye since I became old enough to ask why the princesses always needed rescuing, I found that rage familiar. I shall definitely be re-reading this at some point, and I strongly recommend this to fans of horror, gothic tales and anyone who’s ever preferred an evil queen to a princess. Fantastic stuff.

PS there’s a giveaway competition on the publisher’s website, meaning you could get a free copy of this! Click here.

Secondly there is:

The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter

The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter

I remember how, that night, I lay awake in the wagon-lit in a tender, delicious ecstasy of excitement, my burning cheek pressed against the impeccable linen of the pillow and the pounding of my heart mimicking that of the great pistons ceaselessly thrusting the train that bore me through the night, away from Paris, away from girlhood, away from the white, enclosed quietude of my mother’s apartment, into the unguessable country of marriage.

Now this collection I have only just started (and really I’m amazed I’ve come this far in my life without reading it yet). So far, it is simply stunning. I have in all honesty had to read it with a dictionary to hand (deliquescent, voluptuary and missal being some of the new words I’ve come across), but that hardly detracts. Angela Carter is a writer that I already enjoy, although most of my experience of her so far is from her collections of fairytales. I am very much enjoying getting to know the her style when it is not dictated by the simplicity of the stories she has collected.

I’ve only read two of the stories so far, and my head is full of images, of words and feelings and the sea washing away the shore, a woman desperately racing a horse against the tide. Usually, I wouldn’t recommend a book before finishing it, but I think it’s a safe bet that this collection will carry on being wonderful, cutting, funny and awesome. I’m looking forward to curling up with this book and a blanket later tonight, and perhaps never ever sleeping…

And that’s it – have a great evening everyone!

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