Friday, 3 June 2016

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Friday, 17 April 2015

The Wolf Road in the US

A few people have asked me about this and I'm inherently lazy so instead of answering everyone individually, here is a handy blog post about what is happening with that book what I wrote.

HarperCollins, under their Borough Press imprint will be publishing my debut, The Wolf Road, in 2016, in the UK and Commonwealth (ex. Canada). This is A-Mazing, like, dream-come-true levels of amazing, and I couldn't be happier.

After this deal was done, there was still a big chunk of the world waiting to be snapped up, The Mighty North America. Huge market. Huge publishers. Huge deal. Not all books sell in both territories, not all stories travel well across the pond, not all voices translate to the different markets. It was a nail-biting few weeks.

I am incredibly excited to announce that Crown, part of Random House, are going to be publishing The Wolf Road. I mean... wow... Random House... Crown... holy shit, this is amazing. I have used amazing far too many times.

Go learn more about Crown and their epic list! And The Borough Press and their epic list!

All my lovely North American friends will be able to read my story and meet my characters. I hope you like them. 

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Amazing, Wonderful, Exciting Book Deal News

If you've been anywhere near my Twitters in the last few days, you may have seen me going a bit crazy with a certain piece of news.

I have a book deal. A two-book deal. With HarperCollins. On their Borough Press imprint. Holy cow. Here is the announcement in The Bookseller. Anyone who knows me knows I've always wanted to be a writer, so really this is a big giant cliched dream come true. I genuinely couldn't be happier.

Here is a little about the book - The Wolf Road, is set in a remote area of the Pacific Northwest, a land ravaged by an unnamed disaster, where a young girl, Elka, is being brought up by a taciturn animal trapper. When she discovers the dark secret he is hiding, she flees to the frozen north to find her true parents.

I wanted to explain my feelings towards this a little. Except for elation and pride, I'm reveling in a quiet contentment. I did my 'shouting from the rooftops', I ate all the cake in London, but now I'm hushed and can reflect a little better. One of the most common responses to the news was along the line of 'that takes a lot of hard work'. This has always stuck out for me. Writing is something I've always done and always loved and it's never felt like work. I've never found the physical act of writing to be particularly arduous, plots come and go and evolve, characters grow and warp and become real and the words flow. It was keeping the faith in myself that was difficult.

Over the last three years, I've written five novels. Four of them have not been good enough for publication. One has. That's a simple fact and I don't dwell on the failures. THE WOLF ROAD is the best book I've written so far and I know now that is because I followed my instincts. I let the characters wake up and create themselves, I let the journey run its course, I found the voice. Keeping the faith and trusting those instincts was hard over the years, keeping writing despite the odds and dispiriting statistics, that was hard. I just wanted to write a good book. I wanted my writing to sing for its supper and get fed.

I've never seen writing as hard work. I imagine being an Author is hard work, but writing? Not for me. I love it. I have fun doing it. I can't not do it. What do they say? If you love what you do, you'll never work a day in your life. Well, my debut-novelist-naivety is loving its new job.   

Friday, 30 January 2015

Absence Makes the Heart... do something or other

Forgive me bloggers, for I have sinned. It's been about 18 months since my last confession...

Wow, 18 months. I should keep this updated really, especially with all the fun changes that have happened over those last 18 months.

Quick recap - The last post on here talks about me writing an SF story. Bless my heart, that ended badly. As much as I love the genre, I'm not grown-up enough yet to write the kind of SF novel I ultimately want to. After that one mentioned in the last post, I wrote another SF story with the same results. Can't do it. 3rd person isn't my friend. Nope.

Then I started writing another book. One that had tugged at me, haunted me, damn near shouted in my ear at night. The girl in this story, well, she didn't shut up and she didn't let me go. So I wrote her story, drawing on all the things I knew about the location (Pacific Northwest), the skills she had (hunting, trapping) and it all just fell into beautiful, crazy place.

That book landed me an agent. Actually, that book landed me 5 offers of representation within a week.

As soon as the first few thousand words of that weird girl's story were down, I knew my brief foray into SF was just that. I love writing about normal people doing bad, horrible, terrible things, and yet still being sympathetic and likeable. I believe voice helps with that. When I write in first person I can feel, hear, speak, in the voice of my main character. Voice is one of the most important qualities in any book, I think most people will agree with that, and is the deciding factor on parting cash from my wallet. That's what I'm going to concentrate on in all my writing. I suppose I could say that nailing the voice, making it real and compelling is my New Years resolution.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

The Fear

In May I started a new novel. A fun project I thought would just be a bit of a filler in between more serious work. Turns out, I've had more fun writing this SF story than I have had writing anything for a long time. I've had fantastic feedback from Betas and was excited with every word I put on the page. I find it helpful to write out a blurb/pitch when I'm about halfway through a book, it helps me focus and confirms that yes, I can condense 90k into 250 words. Hurrah, keep going.

But then, at 75k, it struck. The Fear.

So close to the end and paralysed. What if this is actually no good? What if the plot is contrived? What if there is no plot? What if my characters are shallow, shades of people and not the rounded figures I'd come to love? Is my ending totally obvious and anticlimactic? What if it's really boring? JUST GIVE UP NOW.

This, apparently, is a common occurrence among writers and one for which there is no cure but perseverance. When this happens to me, which it has for every novel I've written, I turn to my Betas. I scuttle up to them, sobbing into my sleeve, and say 'will you read my story?' in a pathetic tone, my lower lip trembles, my eyes go puppy-wide and they say 'sure, send it to me, just stop looking at me like that.'

Then comes The Wait. This is worse than The Fear. As any writer knows, waiting for feedback is hand-wringing, stomach-churning, sweat-beading agony. A day goes past. Then a week. Then two. Then your inbox pings and all the pain dissolves into a squirmy puddle and you realise you've been a bit silly. The feedback helps and encourages and I find I am back on track, the Fear gone, in a day.

This novel has been a little different. The Fear has not been as intense or painful as on previous works. Not sure why this is, maybe I believe in this one a bit more. Maybe it's more true to what I really should be writing. Maybe the plot is actually solid and engaging and somewhere deep down I know it. Who cares? I go back to my WIP, read a few lines, edit a little, then the Fear is gone. Totally.

I think at the end of the day, writing is a part of my life. A huge, wonderful, meaningful part of my life and if the new story doesn't find me an agent or a publishing deal, it doesn't matter because I'll always write. I think after 4 novels, this is what I've learnt. It doesn't matter if a book doesn't sell because it was a damn good time to write it. Thankfully, I have a wonderful day job in the industry I love so adding a 'damn good time' on top of that is just a bonus.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013


He hailed the number 53 bus as though he were bidding at an auction. A quick flip of a magazine and the indicator flashed orange. With a nod to the driver, he tucked the magazine beneath his arm and stepped on the bus a victor.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

4 Month Silence

So I haven't blogged much... as you can see. I have been so ridiculously busy recently that something had to give and it was this.

But I thought I'd give an update on where I am and try to kickstart my blogging-brain again.

Gothic project
I started this but it just didn't feel right so it's shelved for now but I'll definitely go back to it.

Lit Fic project
Same as the Gothic. When I started this I had just finished Ex Libris which was pretty hard going. It was a very personal novel and one that will stay in my drawer, not be subbed to agents. I love it though and am very proud of it, but I didn't want to write another 'heavy' story. Shelved for another time.

Sci-Fi project
Halfway through this and loving every word. It's so easy and fun to write and it's a lovely break for my brain while I'm dealing with lots of change in my life. I will probably need a Beta Reader for this.

Silence broken! Now back to the SF, stop distracting me.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Confessions of a Cupcake

Stone Skin Press ran a Kickstarter last year and one of the backer levels was 'Buy Beth a Cupcake'. The kickstarter ended with around 50 cupcakes and the promise of a cupcake-themed short story. So here is it for your sugary enjoyment.

Confessions of a Cupcake

I can feel my frosting start to slide. They don’t notice. All they do is argue. The girl one has her fingers in her ears and seems to be singing. The boy one is pulling on her arms but he is smaller and his strength is not enough. I wish they would notice my frosting. I can feel the melting butter on my top create a layer of liquid between us, it’s starting to soak into me and I feel damp. I’ve been in the warm room for an hour and I long for the cold to firm me back up. I urge the girl one, for she is taller and able to reach, to put me back in the cold place but she does not hear. She has her fingers in her ears.

The boy one pushes her and comes toward me, his hand outstretched. I think he will pick me up, I think he will eat me and enjoy me or else put me back in the cold but the girl one is quick. She pulls the boy one back and he falls over. I can’t see him anymore but I feel the table and my body shake as he hits the cabinets. Then he cries.

The girl one says shut up.

I don’t like the girl one. I don’t think she should have me but she comes forward. She picks me up. I am the last left on the plate. Of my others, the boy one has not yet tasted, the girl one has devoured six.

The boy one is standing up and is saying he will tell father.

The girl one laughs.

The boy one’s face is red and a lump is growing purple from his forehead.

The girl one says the boy one won’t like me, that I am the wrong flavour. She says I am vanilla and the boy one hates vanilla.

I do not feel like vanilla. I feel fresher, sweeter. I do not yet know the word for what I am but I will soon. I am learning fast and the girl one, as she shouts and pushes the boy one, is teaching me.

The girl one says something about my frosting. The buttercream has come to a stop on the edge of my paper case. I sunk a little in the hot place but we all did, me and my others, so I sit lower in my case than I should. Lucky for the frosting.

I did not hear what the girl one said but now the boy one is at the table with his hands clamped on the edge. He looks at the girl one who says go on and he does. He quickly, like Baker forgetting the oven gloves, shoots out his hand and I feel it. His finger is in my frosting. His finger is curling. His finger is scooping. His finger is pulling away. I have a hole in me the shape of his finger and he has taken it. His finger is in his mouth and his eyes close. His mouth makes a half circle shape.

He does not see the girl one pick up something long and shiny. I think it is a knife. She is behind the boy one and he does not turn. His neck moves and he has swallowed that taste.

The boy one says my icing is lemon. He says lemon is his favourite. The boy one reaches out for me a second time and had I a mouth I would make the half circle shape.

A flash of shiny metal comes from beside him. A hard slap on his exposed wrist. A bright band of red skin and a scream. The boy one snatches his hand to his chest and the girl one laughs again and throws the flat palette knife in the washing place.

She tells him to stop being weak but she says it in mean words. The boy one’s eyes are shining like the knife and I want him to be allowed to eat me.

The boy one says he is telling mother. I think this is the Baker as I remember being taken from the hot place by a big one. She looked like the girl one in the nose and eyes but had the same colour frosting on top as the boy one.

The Baker will know what to do. She will know to stop the girl one.

The boy one shouts a name in a long whine.

He gets a sharp response but I do not see anybody else.

The girl one grabs the boy one and puts her hand over his mouth. She answers for the boy one. She says they are playing and sharing but she is lying. She is not playing fair. I feel hot in my case but it is not from the room or the hot place. I do not have many feelings but I know this one is strange. I want to help the boy one. I want him to win and to enjoy me. I want the girl one to suffer and to hurt like she has made the boy one.

The girl one knocks over a box on the side and a waterfall of tiny brown rings flows out. I cannot see where they go but they keep falling until I think there can be no more left.

The boy one asks what does she think she is doing.

The girl one tells the boy one clean up the mess or she is telling Baker.

The boy one tries to argue. I start to feel hotter.

The girl one pushes him and punches him in the arm and tells him again to clean up his mess.

I feel what must be called angry. The girl one said before to stop making her angry. To do the mean things she did, she must have felt as I do. The angry does not taste good. I know I am lemon but I do not feel fresh and zingy, I feel mouldy and crawly.

The boy one starts to gather the spilt rings and refill the box.

The girl one says father will beat him if he doesn’t get all the rings in the box. There must have been thousands in that waterfall and I do not know if he will ever find them all.

The girl one comes over to the table and looks at me. I look back at her with all my angry and I hope she can see it.

The girl one says she knows exactly how much of my frosting is gone and if the boy one eats anymore there will be trouble.

The girl one leaves the room and the boy one stands up. The boy one leans over me and takes in a deep breath. I wonder if he can smell the angry. I hope not. I hope he can smell the lemon.

The boy one says he hates his sister.

I say to the boy one, though he cannot hear me, that I hate her too. I say she doesn’t deserve me and you do.

The boy one hears a noise and darts away, back to the rings. The girl one shouts at him and runs to me. She picks me up and I feel the angry change into something else. I feel dark and rancid, not lemon and sugar any more but rot and rubbish. The girl one shouts that she told the boy one not to touch.

The boy one says he hasn’t. He is not lying.

The girl one says she does not care and she is bored. She peels back my case and I would that I had teeth to bite her.

The girl one mocks the boy one and holds him back as he tries to reach for me.

The crawly feeling becomes real. Maggots and worms and beetles are all inside me, swarming in dirt.

The girl one opens her mouth wide.

I am old meat and dung.

The girl one takes a big bite and takes a quarter of me.

I am fetid filth.

The girl one chews once and looks at me.

I am angry.

Her face changes to horror and disgust and her mouth opens again. I see myself mushed and crushed.

I am falling. I do not fall far. I hit the table and I am on my side. My frosting is sliding again.

The girl one screams and bits of me fill the air. She turns away and makes an ugly sound, a gurgle sound then she spits me out. A glob of me, yellow and wet, hits the floor. I can see the floor now.

The boy one’s mouth is open but I see the half circle at the edges.

The glob of me is not alone for long. The girl one’s back heaves and her hands are on her stomach. A great stream of something shoots from her mouth, like the waterfall but all colours and shapes. It splatters on the floor in all directions. She heaves again and the floor is no longer white but shades of brown and yellow. My six others have rejoined that glob of me.

The girl one starts to cry.

The boy one starts to laugh.

I start to laugh as well. The angry has gone.

The girl one runs away, calling for Baker. The boy one picks me up and sniffs me. I smell of lemon. Fresh and zingy. The boy one takes me outside, away from the smell and spattered floor and eats me up.