Friday, 17 June 2016

Things and Stuff #24

Things and Stuff is a grab-bag of things that've been on my mind this week. In this edition: tragedy, singings, shadow, Tony, deadline

Thing 1: I just can't.

There's a lot gone on this week. The shooting at Pulse in Orlando, and the huge outpouring of grief and solidarity from LGBTQIA people and straights alike. The death of MP Jo Cox. The enduring arsehattery of Donald Trump. The ridiculous Brexit flotilla and the almost as ridiculous Geldof rebuttal boat. Farage's 'Breaking Point' poster, the one that echoes actual, literal Nazi propaganda.

It is... vexing. I am vexed. That is a dramatic understatement.

I could probably have made a Things and Stuff just about this, but I'm not going to. Because life, when it goes on, continues to go on. 

I will say that I've already posted my vote for the EU Referendum, because I'll be away with choir on Thursday (of which, more below). I've voted Remain, for a variety of reasons, partly having to do with ideological opposition to meaningless nationalism and the demonisation of immigrants, partly because I just don't see what possible practical benefit leaving would have. So there's my political statement for this week.

Thing 2: Many Singings
Communal singing boosts your oxytocin levels, according to some research I heard about once and can't be bothered to google because it sounds legit. I'm glad I'm doing a lot of it at the moment. Tired, but glad.

This is really exciting! Morricone himself will be there conducting, the music is to die for and the setting should be fabulous... even more so if it doesn't pour with rain. 

Fun, bizarre, challenging stuff from composer Lera Auerbach. It is definitely peculiar and hopefully should be as much fun to listen to as to sing. Including the bit with the Donald Trump reference. Yes, really... sort of. 

pretty (c) CEFC/John Bradfield

Singing 3 - Reflections
A mixed concert of lovely stuff in St James' Picadilly. Including Eric Whitacre's Water Night, Stanford's The Blue Bird, and Man In The Mirror. Yes, that one.

Thing 3: shadow cat
This is Midnight. He is a black hole masquerading as a cat. This is the first time he's been seen using the kitty seat for sitting in. It's very exciting. He may actually be learning how to cat.

Media preview
Also pictured, his sister's white back paw and not any of the rest of her because again, black hole cat. (c) me
Thing 4: Tony, Tony
Hamilton won 11 Tony Awards, and the opening number was amazing, and... well, it gave me some not entirely pleasant feelings about the actual achievability of the dream of performing and then some feelings that I probably ought to put those feelings aside and enjoy the **magic of broadway** because it really was very awesome, and then I went away and wrote half a scene from the drag queen book I'm not supposed to be writing because I am the worst. (One of them loves musicals. A LOT. I'm definitely going to need to brush up on my song quote copyright law before I actually write this book.)

Also, this pair of speeches. Good god, Lin-Manuel, you precious angel cupcake, what is your face.

You call Tommy Kail and you say what's next? (c) Tony Awards

Now fill the world with music, love and oh god nope I can't even type this without tearing up (c) Tony Awards

Thing 5: Weekend Warrior
One more dawn. One more day. One deadline more. (For the moment.)

Gif possibly may not be accurate come Sunday night but hopefully (c) Friends

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

New Erin, Who This?

It's here! Publication day for Dead of Night, book two of Survivors: The Gathering Darkness by Erin Hunter - written by yours truly!

This was the cryptic clue for Survivors! It's a golden deer, because there's a golden deer in it... (c)
I finished the book this time last year so this reveal has been a looooooong time coming!

For any readers who might be here from Twitter or Google or the Meet Erin Hunter page (where I am! Look it's me!) here are some FAQs:

Who are you?

I'm a writer and editor professionally, and a singer, gamer and all round general nerd in my spare time. I have three cats, Misty, Midnight and Imp. I live with my girlfriend in a little house on the edge of Cambridge. 

It me! And Imp! (c) me
How did you start writing Survivors?

I've actually worked on the Erin series in some capacity or other for nearly ten years, starting out by helping Vicky out with the Warriors fanmail! I've been an editor on Survivors since the beginning. 

I got involved with writing when we realised that Inbali Iserles wouldn't be able to write for the second series of Survivors (she was super busy with a baby on the way as well as launching her own wonderful fox fantasy series, Foxcraft!). Having helped create the first series with Gillian, Inbali and my fellow editors, I knew the characters and the mythology really well, so HarperCollins decided to give me a chance. 

I am so happy that they did. I absolutely love this series, and it's a thrill being trusted to come on board at a moment of such high drama - I won't spoil it for readers who may not have read A Pack Divided yet, but the darkness is well and truly gathering. 

What's it like working with the other Survivors Erins?

It's awesome. I love Gillian and Inbali's writing - I was Gillian's editor on Mysteries of Ravenstorm Island too, we had a lot of fun on that one - and the whole editorial team are seriously clever people with seriously cool ideas.

Favourite Survivors character?

It has to be Sunshine. I love Storm very much (and Bella, Sweet, Martha, Mickey, Twitch, Arrow and Daisy, to name a small selection of my faves) but Sunshine is the dog who stole my heart. I just love her enthusiasm and the way she's gone from a slightly annoying character and a bit of a burden on the Pack to a dog who not only has a role to play but brings dignity and joy to being the lowest ranked dog in the Pack.

Is that really Whisper on the cover of Dead of Night?
Yep. He plays a pretty major role in the book so we thought, why not? The others are Rake, Twitch and obviously Storm. Whisper is a mongrel but he looks like there's a lot of blue heeler in his background. I think he's gorgeous! Poor Whisper... 

Who's the traitor?!
That's a cheeky question and I like having secrets. (c) ITV
Which Survivors books are you writing?
I'm writing The Gathering Darkness books 2 and 5 and Gillian is doing 1, 3, 4 and 6. 

What other books have you written?
My first novel published under my own name was Skulk - a dark YA urban fantasy about a girl who gets the power to shapeshift into a fox. 

For younger readers, I've also written two middle grade trilogies for fiction packagers, writing under pseudonyms. Secret Ninja Spies (as 'Alex Ko'), is a funny action series about a pair of twins who discover their Japanese grandmother is secretly a ninja, and The Last Apprentice (as 'Imogen Rossi') is a fantasy adventure about a girl who uses magic painting techniques to travel between pictures and solve the mystery of her master's poisoning.

The State of the Rosie

What am I writing? Still working away on the gay Victorian gothic YA. This month, I have mainly been making things painfully awkward for my...