*more rainbows shooting out of my head and other places* — New commissions

I am seriously hyped to type that I have been commissioned to write TWO NEW PLAYS AND EIGHT NEW SHORT STORIES.

This, and knowing that my new novel is coming out this month, is making me properly giddy. I apologise in advance if you find rainbow vomit on your shoes. My bad.

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What I’m Reading: The Kick-Ass Writer

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TITLE | The Kick-Ass Writer: 1001 Ways to Write Great Fiction, Get Published, and Earn Your Audience

AUTHOR | Chuck Wendig at terribleminds.com

STAR RATING | 4

ABOUT | Excellent writing advice delivered in an easily accessible, totally hilarious way.

WHAT I LOVED ABOUT IT | Funny! Oh, so funny. I was ROFLing all over the place. Also: great, up-to-the-minute practical advice.

WHAT I DIDN’T LOVE ABOUT IT | There were a couple of typos. A minor thing that if nothing else made him come across as more human and less like a velociraptor writerbot from the future that has come to eat us up like the happy skinbags of soylent green that we are.

WHO I’D RECOMMEND IT TO | Every single one of my writer friends. (Except those who don’t like naughty words. Wait … I don’t have any friends that don’t like naughty words).

FAVOURITE QUOTE | ‘Self publishing is a viable path. It is not, however, the easy path. […] You don’t just do a ballerina twirl and a book falls out of your vagina.’

Also: ‘So plan the plot, for Chrissakes. This isn’t an improvisational dance. Take some goddamn notes.’

What I’m Reading: Magic for Beginners

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TITLE | Magic For Beginners

AUTHOR | Kelly Link

STAR RATING | 5

ABOUT | In the publisher’s words: ‘An exquisite, dreamlike dispatch from a virtuoso storyteller’; In my words: Surreal short stories that are blackly funny, and that keep surprising you. Inventive and compelling.

WHAT I LOVED ABOUT IT | Everything. This is what Tom Spanbauer calls ‘dangerous writing.’ Also: the illustrations by Shelley Jackson.

WHAT I DIDN’T LOVE ABOUT IT | That it ended.

WHO I’D RECOMMEND IT TO | Anyone who enjoys their fiction a little left of centre.

FAVOURITE QUOTE | [From the story THE CANNON]  “I once fornicated with a married woman inside the Sweet Mouth. She was agoraphobic. I said I was agnostic. I said, “Yes, like that […]” and she said, “How do you like this?” and “Watch your head,” and while we were fucking, her husband came up and lit a match, and then we were flying. We sailed out like a grappling shot. I held onto her hips and the tails of her hair and fucked her as we passed over the countryside, and she wrapped her legs around my waist and she fucked me back. When we were finished, we flew along side by side, and she remarked that she was grateful to me and the cannon and her husband. The affair had cured her of her agoraphobia. We fucked some more, to celebrate […]” (p.69)

What I’m Reading: Stein on Writing

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TITLE | Stein on Writing

AUTHOR | Sol Stein

STAR RATING | 3.5

ABOUT | Renowned editor advises you how to fix your writing using ‘immediately useful’ tips.

WHAT I LOVED ABOUT IT | Very practical advice.

WHAT I DIDN’T LOVE ABOUT IT | Some of his examples were corny.

WHO I’D RECOMMEND IT TO | Any writer who enjoys reading about the craft.

FAVOURITE QUOTE | “The secret of creating conflict in the scenes you write is to give your characters different scripts.” (p.92)