Friday, 14 December 2012


Hi Everyone - happy Friday!

Yes, yes, I'm back already - here to direct you to the guest post that I wrote for the lovely Lucy Coat's Scribble City Central blog, in which I discuss the mythical Japanese creatures known as Yokai, and go into my inspiration for The Name of the Blade Trilogy.

In addition, Lucy - who cunningly charmed a PDF of the as yet unproofread book out of my publisher - gives The Night Itself its very first review! And says lovely, lovely things about that make me want to do cartwheels.

Check it out now!

Tuesday, 11 December 2012


Hi everyone - happy Tuesday to you all. Today I'm writing a post that I'm pretty sure no one is going to want to read, but I've been wrestling with it for the past couple of weeks goes.

I go through different phases with my blogging. Sometimes I have so much to say that it's a struggle to hold myself back to two posts a week. Sometimes I get a great idea and come up with one really decent post in a week and then find the tank empty - and thank heavens for Retro-Thursday/Tuesday! And sometimes - more rarely - I just struggle to come up with any time or attention for the blog at all. When that happens I know that the blog suffers and feel horribly guilty about it.

I've been going through one of those latter phases for about a fortnight now. It's been a fight to come up with interesting blog topics, but even when people on Twitter helped me out and made suggestions or asked questions, I didn't seem to be able to make anything substantial from them. Right now, just writing this, I'm grumbling and moaning as if I was back in school trying to come up with an answer for a particularly tricky exam question. It's not flowing, and I'm not having fun.

Maybe it's because I'm starting Book #3 of The Name of the Blade and there's a lot of anxiety and stress in my head. Maybe it's because things are going on with my dad at the moment - he's going into hospital for a heart operation this week - and I need to be there for him and my mum. Maybe it's just because everything's dark and cold and some instinctive part of me wants to hibernate.

In the past I've struggled through these dry periods, posting as usual, and trying not to face the fact that the quality of the blog has dropped. But this time I don't want to do that. As I've said above, it makes me feel guilty, and then that takes what little fun is left out of the process. So I've decided to try something different.

A blog hiatus. A proper one. Not a one week break from the blog while I'm on a deadline or on holiday, like I've done before, but a temporary stop in blogging activity which I think is going to carry me through Christmas and up to the New Year.

I'll still pop my head above the parapet and post if something important occurs to me to say. I'll update you if I get any exciting news. But other than that I'll be giving the blog a complete rest, and the regular posting schedule will not be followed.

I'm hoping that if I do this, by the time the 1st of January rolls around, I will have a whole cauldron full of ideas bubbling at the back of my brain, and I'll feel rested and refreshed enough to do those ideas - and my Dear Readers - justice.

So for now, I'll wish you all a very Merry Christmas, and offer my best wishes for the most wonderful New Year. Read you later, guys,

Thursday, 6 December 2012


Hi everyone! Happy Thursday to to all - and thanks for all your good wishes for my poor head on Tuesday. My apologies for the disappointing post. I wish I had something really good for you today to make up for it but to be honest I'm finding myself a bit stumped, so it seems a good time for some writing music recs!

I know I recommend a lot of music, so I thought I'd make this post about the stuff I've been listening and writing to just over the past couple of months. It's a pretty eclectic mix. Hopefully most people will find something that they like in here. Now I did try to embed this stuff in the post, but unfortunately since Blogger overhauled itself it refuses to let me embed more than one YouTube video in a post - I mean, the second I press 'Publish' on a post it literally wipes the embedded HTML off and leaves an empty space (thanks a lot Blogger! I hope you die in a fire!). So instead I've just linked to the relevent YouTube pages. Sorry about that, guys.

Back when I was writing Daughter of the Flames (lo, these many long years ago!) there was a drama series on the BBC which I absolutely loved. The drama was called North and South, and recently I discovered that there was a soundtrack available for it. So here's my favourite piece from that, which is called The Northbound Train.

Check the whole soundtrack out if you can find it. It's generally something you can only get hold of secondhand as a CD, but it's such great writing music that it's worth the messing around to have it in my opinion.

I find one of the best kinds of music to write to is 'trailer music'. This is a lesser known subgenre of movie soundtrack music. Composers create often quite short but incredibly emotive and dramatic pieces of music for film, video game or TV trailers. I love this stuff and I was thrilled to see that Danny Cocke, one of the best composers out there, had recently released a new album. I immediately latched onto this track - for reasons which you will see when you read The Night Itself (mwaa ha haa haaa! Mysterious-hints-no-jutsu!). It's called The Harbinger. 

I came across this next piece on the blog of inspirational fantasy writer N.K. Jemisin. It's called War, and it's by the brilliant cellist Zoe Keating and made the hairs on the back of my next stand to attention. I haven't actually found the piece of writing (the character or theme or scene) that fits this music yet, but as general inspiration it's great. Check it out. 

Now for something completely different. I discovered the band Sleeping At Last due to the inclusion of their song Turning Page in one of the Twilight films - but please don't dismiss them because of that! They're a great indie band who produce achingly beautiful, lyrical music. For some reason this song, Brightly (which I only heard for the first time earlier this week) always makes tears prickle in my eyes, and I know I'll be using it to inspire some moments in the final The Name of the Blade book.

Here's another song that I'll be using at some point for the final Trilogy book - Don't Say a Word by Ellie Goulding. It's got a certain hard edged wistfulness (what am I talking about? I don't know, okay, that's just what I feel) that fits with some character elements in the story, and it's also a rocking tune that gets me chair dancing every time:

And back to trailer music again! This piece, Blood and Glory by Audiomachine, was a random recommendation on iTunes I think - I really like the vocal element and the way it switches tempo. It has a great epic feeling.

I hope some of you find some of these as inspiring as I do :) Read you later, guys!

Tuesday, 4 December 2012


I'm so sorry, my lovelies - but I've woken up today with one of my (thankfully rare) sick headaches.

These are horrible in themselves, but it doesn't take much to turn a headache into a migraine, and those are not only agonisingly painful but basically knock me out for up to 24 hours.

Staring at this screen, even with my laptop on the very lowest brightness setting, is driving metaphorical iron spikes right into my corneas. So I've literally just logged on to apologise for not being able to write you your regularly scheduled post today.

Take care, everyone. Read you on Thursday. xx
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