Category: Newsletter

Updates on writing, reading, and adventures between. <3

May 2023: The Three Rs – Rest, Recuperation, and Reading

May 2023: The Three Rs – Rest, Recuperation, and Reading

Hello pals!

April was a beautiful whirlwind of travel and events and I’m taking May to recuperate and spend more time with my writing projects and a delicious stack of reading!

I didn’t have much time to write in April and I’ve been so keen to get back to writing my high seas high fantasy – I’m aiming to get the second draft to my agent by the end of June. Going back through it feels like sculpting and I’m so excited with how it’s taking shape – especially as the story turns out to be a duology! It’s been fun to create worldbuilding bibles and start to dream up the sequel.

Before and After the Book Deal by Courtney Maum

This has been on my radar for a while and was incredibly insightful and funny in equal measure. The book is covers the gamut of writing, publishing, promoting, and surviving a book launch packed with anecdotes from publishing experts including authors, agents, and publishers. It’s a balm for an industry that is still lacking in transparency and information and I’d recommend it to every author at any stage of their career.

The Shadow Cabinet (Her Majesty’s Royal Coven #2) by Juno Dawson
I adored the first book in this series – sharply hilarious and a gorgeous love letter to female friendship. An urban fantasy set in an alternate England which has a secret government bureau of witches – Her Majesty’s Royal Coven. There’s politiking, old grudges and bonds, and many a ’90s throwback. If like me you had your jaw on the floor at the end of the first book, you will not be disappointed in Dawson picking up the action and filling out the world and characters’ backstories and relationships even more deeply.

Emily Wilde’s Encyclopedia of Fairies by Heather Fawcett
This book is cosy in places but also dark in others – a historical fantasy with some unexpected surprises and the way this story slowly unfurled and let me sink into it was just divine. Featuring fae, academic rivalries, and really fun experiments in form including epistolary sections through the protagonist’s diary and her field notes as she compiles her encyclopedia of fairy lore.

Song of the Mango and Other New Myths by Vida Cruz-Borja
It’s no secret that I’m a devotee of the short story and I’ve been anticipating this collection from Cruz-Borja for a while! It’s deeply joyful for me to read speculative stories by other Filipino authors and these stories range across gothic, fantasy, and sci-fi showcasing the breadth and depth of the author’s language and imagination. I loved the play with form such as newspaper articles and the author’s concept of a ‘new myth’ mixing folklore and visions of future worlds.

White Cat, Black Dog by Kelly Link
Link is a titan in the short story form and it’s been quite a wait for fans for her new collection. These stories are bizarre and delicious, keeping me on my toes as a reader with the lyrical writing and mixing the macabre, surreal, and the modern. It’s a pleasure to watch a writer in the element of their craft and I continue to be surprised by Link’s work, which is a testament to her pushing the envelope on the form of the short story and what it can be.

Off-Page: Events
I’m so excited to be chairing three digital panels for Cymera Festival and one in-person for Blackwells – they are all in early June so thought I’d give folks a heads up for booking tickets!

Unlikely Friendships with Travis Baldree and Heather Fawcett
Heather Fawcett and Travis Baldree are writers bringing new dimension to the fantasy genre. Cosy vibes, mystery and a cast of charming characters. Friday June 2, 20:00-21:00 GMT online.

New Fairytales with Vida Cruz and Kelly Link
Kelly Link and Vida Cruz talk creating a world in one short story, making new and reviving old myths and connecting ideas from all over the world. Saturday June 3, 14:00-15:00 GMT online.

Catching Up with Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Prepare to the thrilled and chilled as we catch up with the multi-talented author of Mexican Gothic, Gods of Jade and Shadow, and The Daughter of Doctor Moreau. Sunday June 4, 16:15-45 GMT Youtube premiere.

The Shadow Cabinet by Juno Dawson
I can’t wait to chair the Edinburgh launch of Juno Dawson’s second novel in Her Majesty’s Royal Coven series – The Shadow Cabinet. Friday June 9, 19:00-20:00 GMT Augustine United Church, Edinburgh.

Until June, stay soft, light, slow
Kat x

April 2023: Sunbeams and Clear Skies

April 2023: Sunbeams and Clear Skies

Hello pals!

This is a whirlwind month of wonderful things. I’ve recently come back from a trip to Northern Ireland which was gorgeous. Coming up: a wedding for some dance pals, a weekend getaway for a friend’s birthday, and some quality time with my in-laws who live abroad. I’m also going to be at London Book Fair in my capacity at Creative Scotland. I’m looking forward to catching up with publishing folk and attending author talks – if you’re around at the Fair, do say hello!

Pages: Writing

A few weeks back I had a wonderful time in Wales on a writing retreat working on the second draft of hijinks on the high seas! It was such a pleasure sharing space with other speculative authors, enjoying the delights of the sea, and hunkering down over tea with my manuscript. I had such an invigorating strategy call with my agent and I’m so excited for this novel! I’ve also submitted edits for both ‘Mango Heart’ and ‘Remain Nameless’ their respective anthology editors, with hopefully some more news to share on them soon.

Pages: Reading
Linghun by Ai Jiang
A poignant debut novella about grief, ghosts, and finding home and belonging. I wrote a review for The Skinny on Ai’s book, so you can read my full thoughts here:

Delilah Green Doesn’t Care by Ashley Herring Blake
This was such a delight – queer, funny, and heartwarming. A romantic comedy with all the right tropes and some fantastic characters. Delilah Green left Bright Falls to pursue her dreams of being an artist in NYC and didn’t look back. When Delilah is hired to photograph her step-sister Astrid’s wedding, she has to confront secrets and mishaps in the hometown she thought she’d left behind forever. The audiobook was a dream – honestly, this was so cosy and cute and steamy and I’m so excited there’s spin-offs following other characters in the series. A new favourite!

Ascension by Nicholas Binge
When a mountain mysteriously appears in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, a group of scientists are sent to investigate and discover what lies at the summit. Eminent scientist, explorer, and chronic loner Harry Tunmore is among those asked to join the secret mission. A mountain thriller with a delicious speculative element. There’s a fascinating frame narrative to this epistolary novel which adds to the surreal and disorientating element of the unreliable narration. I’m delighted to be chairing Nick’s Edinburgh laugh on April 27th, so please do join us for an in-depth discussion!

Off-Page: Events
I had a great time chairing a panel for Society of Young Publisher’s Scotland Conference – Skillseekers: Navigating the Rollercoaster World of Publishing. If you’re a ticket holder, you can catch up on the digital panel ‘What About the Fast Pass: Routes Into Publishing and Their Access Barriers‘.

I have the privilege of chairing two author pals this month and it’s honestly one of the loveliest things about the writing community!
The Grief Nurse by Angie Spoto Launch at Portobello Bookshop
April 13th, 7-8pm
Ascension by Nicholas Binge Launch at Blackwells Bookshop
April 27th, 7-8pm
By popular demand, Nick’s event is moving to a larger nearby venue so keep an eye out if you initially missed out on tickets!

Until May, stay soft, light, slow,
Kat x

March 2023: Bloom

March 2023: Bloom

​Hello pals,

Hope you’re all having a nourishing March full of gentle dreams and blooming greenery. I’ve started the month quite under the weather, but bed rest has been a nice opportunity to start watercolour painting again. What a pleasure to become reacquainted with a creative pursuit I haven’t made time for in years.

Pages: Writing
After submitting the first draft of my hijinks on the high seas fantasy novel, I’m so excited to have received notes back from my agent. I’m going on a writing retreat to Wales with some author pals for a week and I can’t wait to dig into revisions, ramble around in the beautiful outdoors, and spend quality time with other writers.

As many of you know, my professional publishing background is in audio. After so much time spent on the other side of the mic, I’m delighted to share my voice acting role as Zarah for Folxlore Season Two. Working on this queer horror audio drama set in Glasgow was such a joy and took me back to my theatre roots – it’s been fun to flex other creative muscles. New episodes drop every Sunday and you can listen here, starting with Episode One: ‘Stuck’:

Pages: Reading 
Lockwood & Co. series by Jonathan Stroud
I’m re-reading this supernatural young adult series alongside watching the cracking TV adaptation. It’s got so many of my favourite things: found family, ragtag crew, witty dialogue, copious amounts of tea, harrowing ghosts and ghouls. The characters are well-drawn and grow, and the books balance the self-contain mysteries with the overarching plot and world-building. I recommended these books frequently as a children’s bookseller and it’s a pleasure to delve into some comfort re-reads. Content note: a wee bit of gore; some dark/psychological themes around death, grief, murder, trauma.

Breathless by Amy McCulloch
I love outdoors mysteries and thrillers and this was such a page-turner. The author has plenty of mountaineering experience and it was well-researched, but the outdoors element remains approachable as the protagonist is a journalist somewhat out of her depths in terms of mountaineering. Some fascinating discussions around conservation, technology, colonialism, gender in outdoors pursuits, and the enduring appeal of the summit. This one kept me gripped from start to finish and never quite knowing which characters I could trust. Content note: murder/death, injury detail, references to racism and abusive behaviour/gaslighting.

Smaller and Smaller Circles by F.H. Batacan
This was incredibly bleak but also a hopeful and fast-paced thriller with a murder mystery at its heart. It follows two Catholic priests as they attempt to solve a string of child murders in Manila’s slums. Batacan has a background in journalism, which feeds into deft plotting and the damning indictment of both the Catholic church and the justice system in terms of complicity and corruption. It’s easy to see why this novel won so many accolades but also why it continues to be such a controversial and vital text. Content note: violence and murder against children; pedophilia; sexual assault; police brutality and corruption; religious institutions.

What We Don’t Talk About When We Talk About Fat by Aubrey Gordon
I’m a devote of Maintenance Phase, a podcast debunking myths about fat, health, nutrition, and well-being, which Gordon co-hosts with Michael Hobbes, journalist and former co-host of You’re Wrong About. Gordon’s book is equally well-researched, hilarious, and heart-breaking and delves into the personal more than the subject matter of Maintenance Phase. This is an essential piece of non-fiction on the systemic biases and harms society perpetuates against fat people and weapons against everyone. Content note: fatphobia; disordered eating; references to racism, queerphobia, ableism and other forms of discrimination.

The Grief Nurse by Angie Spoto
A lyrical gothic novel following Lynx, a grief nurse, who possesses the ability to take others’ grief. She is indentured to the Asters, a wealthy and influential family, to keep them Bright and free from Sorrow, Dread, and Heartache. After the loss of the Asters’ eldest sons, guests gather at their private estate for the wake and contentious will-reading. This is a gorgeous debut and I can’t wait to chair Angie for the launch at Portobello Bookshop next month (7pm on April 13th). Join us by booking your ticket here:
Content note: grief, death, trauma, sexual harassment

Off-page: Events:
I’m taking March off for events but here are some fab photos from my wonderful time at Paisley and Granite Noir Book Festivals last month – thank you to all the enthusiastic readers, authors, and festival team.

Until April stay soft, light, slow,
Kat x
February 2023: Small Shimmers

February 2023: Small Shimmers

Hello pals,

Hope you had a beautiful Imbolc and are welcoming Spring with open arms – I certainly am! Like January, February is full to the brim with bookish celebrations, gorgeous live music, and quality time with friends.

Pages: Writing

I have almost finished the first draft of my queer poly fantasy on the high seas! I’m quite superstitious about titles, so I’ll be keeping it under wraps for now, but it features swords and sorcery, seafaring adventure, magical creatures, a found family ragtag crew, and a bunch of queer joy. The manuscript is going off to my agent soon and I can’t wait to start working on revisions and making it shine. I can’t wait for you to read it!

I’ve also submitted the revisions for ‘Mango Heart’, which is forthcoming in Reclamation: A Climate Change Anthology forthcoming from Outland Entertainment. The crowdfunder will be coming later this year! This is my quiet eco-fiction story about sapphic love and the tangled web of grief, illness, and death.

Off-Page: Events

I’m going to be at Paisley Book Festival on a panel discussing marketing yourself as an author, alongside freelance writer and editor at gal-dem Katie Goh and Canongate senior marketing executive Jamie Norman on Friday February 17th at 2pm. There are several other fabulous industry expert sessions that day which I would highly recommend!

I’m delighted to be returning to Granite Noir, one of my favourite festivals! I’ll be chairing Sarah Armstrong for Literary Lunch at 1pm Thursday February 23rd, panelist for Horror with Haunt at 5pm Thursday February 23rd, and panelist/performer for Nightime Noir with Scottish BPOC Writers Network at 8:30pm Saturday February 25th. Let me know if you’ll be there, always happy to chat in my capacity at Creative Scotland, or as an author/chair.

Pages: Reading

There Will Always Be Nights Like This by Cipher Press
I bought this chapbook when it published during lockdown and reading it now feels like being pulled right back to the strange waters of 2020. A collection of essays and poems by a variety of authors with profits going to The Outside Project, the UK’s first LGBTQI+ homeless shelter and crisis center, these pieces get to the nub of touch, the intangible movement of time, and maintaining and creating hope and joy.

Slow Down #4: Still Slow, Still Furious by River Ellen MacAskill
River is an old friend and I’ve enjoyed so much of their work, including their self-published lesbian road trip novel Coasting. Slow Down is a series of zines covering art, gender, community and so much more. Both humorous and raw, it’s like receiving a gloriously rambling voice note from a friend. River includes drawings, photographs, and things they’ve been reading and listening to. You can purchase Slow Down and other publications at River’s Etsy shop.

Cusp: A Collection of Feminist Writing Exploring Bodies, Myth, and Magic by Ache Magazine
This is another treasure I pulled from my shelves: a magazine of speculative fiction, poetry, and essays covering women’s bodies, mythologies, and magic with artwork by Nell Brookfield. I loved so many pieces in this magazine and was also challenged by a lot of the work, especially around ill-health, both physical and mental, and grief. You can order the e-book here and buy a gorgeous limited edition cover poster with donations going to Voices of Children Foundation.

Unmask Alice: LSD, Satanic Panic, and the Imposter Behind the World’s Most Notorious Diaries by Rick Emerson
The stars aligned when my favourite podcast You’re Wrong About, aired a multi-part podcast on Go Ask Alice, with one of my favourite authors Carmen Maria Machado. The podcast is a deep-dive ‘book club’/debunking of the notorious purported ‘diaries’ of teenage tragedies in the 1970s featuring Satanic Panic, the ‘war on drugs’, the Vietnam War, youth counter-culture, and the mess and moral quandaries a la Bad Art Friend, Catperson etc.

Just Like Home by Sarah Gailey
What a bizarre and enthralling novel! The novel follows Vera as she returns to her childhood home and her estranged dying mother. A haunted house full of secrets, difficult parents, an exploration of trauma and grief, and the ethics of true crime. Gailey packs so many things into this book which was an absolute page-turner and the mystery was balanced so beautifully with emotional pull and atmosphere.

Until March, stay soft, light, slow
Kat x

January 2023: Gentle Beginnings

January 2023: Gentle Beginnings

Hi pals,

Hope you all had a joyful festive season. I really enjoyed taking some space to rest, spending time with loved ones, and reflecting on 2022. In terms of writing achievements: I won an Ignyte award for my work at khōréō, published two short stories, went on sub with my short story collection, appeared on event panels, and started drafting my seafaring fantasy novel.

Pages: Writing
I’ve been working on edits for a couple of stories which are forthcoming in anthologies. One is ‘Mango Heart‘, an eco-fantasy publishing in Reclamation: A Climate Change Anthology by Outland Entertainment. The other is ‘Remain Nameless’, a gothic story set in a Catholic girl’s school, with publication details TBA.

I also received my contributor copy of Wizards in Space Issue 8 which features ‘Medicine Woman’. You can order a copy here.

In non-fiction, I had the pleasure of speaking with Kirsty Logan about her new novel Now She Is Witch for The Skinny.
I’ve been hunkered down drafting my high seas fantasy novel. After receiving some constructive advice on Act One and the outline from my agent, I’ve been spending time untangling plot knots and redrawing character arcs. I’m so happy with the new direction and delighted to have passed the halfway mark on the manuscript. Looking forward to seeing what happens next!

Off Page: Events
I’m so excited to be kicking off my 2023 events at What Now? A Marbles Magazine Celebration. I’ll be chatting with Marbles founder Kirstyn Smith and Haunt Publishing founder Rebecca Wojturska about mental health and imagination, covering all shades of speculative fiction. Join us at Lighthouse Books or online on Sat 14th Jan at 7pm.

I’m over the moon to be joining Hannah Kaner launching Godkiller, her amazing fantasy debut. Hannah is an old friend and this is one of my most anticipated reads. It is such a delight – you need this book in your life! Join us at Waterstones Glasgow Sauciehall Street on Thurs 24th Jan at 7pm.

Pages: Reading
Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher
This was an unexpected favourite! A fantasy adventure following Marra, a princess turned almost-nun, as she tries to save her sister from an abusive prince. It’s got a wonderful ragtag found family of a bone dog, dustwife, reluctant fairy godmother, former knight, and a possessed chicken. This is a beautiful and heartwarming story about sisterhood and power and managed to be both darkly epic and lightly cosy! Kingfisher also writes under Ursula Vernon and I can’t wait to read more of her work.

Now She Is Witch by Kirsty Logan
I’ve been an avid fan of Logan’s writing for years. Her latest novel follows Lux, a young woman whose mother has been sentenced to death for witchcraft, and Else, a mysterious stranger who asks Lux to help her seek revenge against the man who has wronged them both. I was enthralled by this book – the prose is lush and the plot had me hanging on every page. If you want a deep dive, I’d recommend my interview with the author!

Babel by R.F. Kuang
I spoke with Kuang for Cymera 2020 about The Poppy War trilogy and I’ve been so looking forward to seeing what she does next. Babel is an epic bildungsroman following Robin’s journey from Canton through the intoxicating world of Oxford academia. Kuang’s passion and research shine through and the novel is deeply layered in colonial theory, linguistics, and history. It’s been a while since such a lengthy tome held my attention and every chapter was a treat.

Our Missing Hearts by Celeste Ng
I’ve been so keen for Ng’s next novel after pressing Little Fires Everywhere and Everything I Never Told You into everyone’s hands. Our Missing Hearts follows twelve-year-old Bird and his poet-turned-activist mother Margaret as they live in a near-future dystopian America ruled by PACT, the Preservation of American Culture and Traditions Act. The novel is poignant and stirring and many things: a love letter to parenthood and the power of storytelling; a manifesto on how one voice can make a difference; a damning look at race relations in the USA. It will stay with me for a long time.

Until February, stay soft light slow,
Kat x

Winter 2022: Ensconced with Tea

Winter 2022: Ensconced with Tea

Hello pals,

I hope you are all wintering in a way which is cosy and nourishing to you. <3 This is my last missive this year, and in 2023 I’ll be writing to you monthly. It will be a shorter version of this to keep you updated about forthcoming events and workshops.

I spent a lovely trip in Malta in the unfamiliar October Mediterranean heat, climbing with friends and achieving personal goals challenging myself with routes and deep open water snorkeling – including an utterly sublime visit to the Blue Hole. Now I’m mainly ensconced in my bundle of blankets with tea, scribbling away.

Pages: Writing

At Samhain I found myself in the Highlands, wrapped in autumn, taking part in a wonderful Gothic course led by authors C.J. Cooke and Natasha Pulley. I wrote my longest short story there, a dark religious gothic inspired by the landscape and the beauty of friendship. It’s forthcoming in a very exciting anthology and I hope I can share the announcement with you soon!

Medicine Woman is forthcoming in Wizards in Space Issue Eight, which publishes in late November. The cover art is gorgeous and the issue is sliding scale pricing. You can pre-order here. This is one of my most personal stories, a decolonial eco-fantasy about a mother and child which deals with healing, illness, and legacy. I really hope you enjoy it!

Awards Eligibility: I’ve had two short stories published this year – ‘Laguna and the Sirena’ in Unspeakable and Medicine Woman in Wizards in Space Issue Eight (just shy of publication date when this comes out). I’d love for you to read them and if you feel moved to, please consider them for Best Short Story nominations.

Off Page: Events

In November I facilitated a writing workshop ‘All Shades of Horror’ for BIPOC authors with Cymera Festival. This was such a treat and I was so happy with feedback showing a real appetite for more of these sessions. I’m hoping to run something similar, perhaps a multi-week course allowing us to explore further – and/or something for a wider audience within genre. Watch this space!

I was a panelist for Lighthouse’s Radical Book Fair’s queer gothic feminist night (replay linked here), celebrating the launch of the revamped Unspeakable and sister anthology Unthinkable. It was a delight to meet the editor and fellow contributors and RBF is one of my literary calendar highlights. My story ‘Laguna and the Sirena’ is a queer sexual awakening/coming of age tale inspired by Filipino folklore and you can buy Unspeakable here.

I have a couple more events before the end of the year:

I’ll be speaking to Jericho Writers members on ‘Building a Writer’s Reputation’ panel. This chat will be about finding and utilising opportunities such as awards, development programmes, and publications to build your author profile. If you’re a member or fancy joining, I’ll see you November 24th at 7pm!

Winter is truly underway and I’ll be chairing the hybrid launch of The Gingerbread Men by Joanna Corrance, a Highland hotel horror. I’m so excited we’ll be speaking at the hotel which inspired Joanna’s novel, and the in-person audience will be treated to a mocktail/cocktail, and of couse gingerbread biscuits as we chat and tell stories by the fire. Join us on December 1st at 7pm either online (by donation) or in person (£12/£18 inc. book). 

Pages: Reading

What Souls Are Made of: A Wuthering Heights Remix by Tasha Suri
A reimagining of a Gothic classic from a fantasy powerhouse author. This was heartbreakingly beautiful and Suri does a fantastic job of weaving colonial themes which are present in the original novel and bringing them to the fore, as well as creating a depth and nuance to Heathcliff and Cathy which gave even more complexity and pain to their stories. I’ve loved so many other books by Suri and am really enjoying these ‘classics remixed’ series by authors of colour.

Godkiller by Hannah Kaner
I have been anticipating Hannah’s debut for a long time – I’ve had the privilege of reading her work for years and got to read an early draft of Godkiller. We follow Kissen, who kills gods for a living until she finds a god she can’t kill. It’s got adventure, magic, and heart – this is a debut you don’t want to miss! I’ll be speaking with Hannah at her Glasgow launch on January 24! You can book tickets now and I’ll remind you again in the next newsletter.

The Hacienda by Isabel Cañas
A gothic haunted house novel for fans of Mexican Gothic, this debut was incredibly atmospheric and unsettling alongside lush descriptions and a gripping plot. Set in post-Independence War Mexico, Cañas masterfully evokes the specter of colonialism and explores gender roles without being didactic and paying homage to the traditions of the genre. I’ll definitely be looking out for Cañas’ next book!

Dark Matter by Michelle Paver
I’m a huge fan of Paver’s, having read Wakenhyrst and Thin Air and been entranced by their atmosphere and her detailed research. Dark Matter is her first adult novel, an arctic ghost story. It’s both chilling and poignant, told in epistolary format with photographs from the real-life setting which inspired the book. There’s also an interview/Q&A with Paver where she discusses her process and I was struck by her deep empathy as a writer. Perfect for those long winter nights.

Dread Nation by Justina Ireland
I am a fool for not reading this sooner. A YA alternative history horror novel set in the civil war era, Dread Nation follows sharp-tongued and sharp-bladed Jane as she navigates her training to become an attendant (chaperone/bodyguard) for the wealthy white elite. We follow Jane uncover political machinations, wield her weapons in action-packed zombie fights, and forge and remake relationships with her family, friends, and first romances. Honestly, this was a ton of fun and a fresh and exciting take on the genre!

I’m doing a few events early next year and the details will be lighting up your inboxes soon. Until then, hope you have a candle for the dark days and can rest and find joy this winter.

Til 2023, stay soft light slow,
Kat x

Autumn 2022: Golden Leaves and Nights Drawing In

Autumn 2022: Golden Leaves and Nights Drawing In

Hello pals,

Autumn is my favourite season and my thoughts turn to cosy nights curled up by a fire and all things spooky.
Summer was packed with wonderful adventures and I’m so grateful for the time spent in Canada, at a wedding in Dorset, and home to London to catch up with more loved ones and get immersed in art and theatre!

Pages: Writing

I’m delighted to share ‘Medicine Woman’ will be published in Wizards in Space Issue 08. It’s an eco-fantasy mother-child tale of transformation, healing, and our relationship with the land. It’s one of my most personal stories and I can’t wait for you to read it.

Later this month I’ll be spending time at a retreat in Moniack Mhor, Scotland’s creative writing centre up in the Highlands, where I’ll be taking a course on Gothic fiction taught by authors C.J. Cooke, Natasha Pulley, and Andrew Hurley.

I was founding Audio Director for khōréō, a wonderful magazine publishing speculative work by immigrant and migrant creators. We were Finalists for this year’s Ignyte Community and WINNER of Best Fiction Podcast Award – I’m still processing it but I’m so grateful to everyone who voted, the amazing nominees, the whole team, and all our readers, writers, and voice actors!

I had the immense pleasure of being part of Haunt Publishing’s 2019 anthology Haunted Voices: An Anthology of Gothic Storytelling from Scotland and I’m delighted to be working with them and Nyx Publishing again on the new edition of Unspeakable: A Gothic Horror Anthology. It publishes later this month on Oct 27th and my story ‘Laguna and the Sirena’ is an iteration of a piece in my Filipino folklore-inspired collection.
Pre-order your copy here:
I’ll also be appearing at a hybrid event in November, details TBA!

If you missed the in-person offering at Cymera Festival in June, I’m so excited to be running a digital edition of ‘All Shades of Horror’ on November 5th at 2:30pm GMT, £10/8. This is a writing workshop for BIPOC authors of horror, gothic, and dark fiction of all levels and backgrounds. We’ll be working on interactive creative exercises together and I hope to cultivate a freeing and safe space where we can explore working in these genres as authors of colour.
Sign up here:

I’m so excited to be part of ‘Building a Reputation’ with Jericho Writers on November 24th at 7pm (link to come!) I’ll cover building my track record through literary magazines and anthologies such as Extra Teeth and Haunted Voices, as well as my experiences across award programmes such as Penguin Write Now (Longlisted 2020) and Ladies of Horror Fiction (Writers Grant 2021). The session will empower authors to find and utilise opportunities, and begin building a profile prior to signing with an agent.

I have a couple of other exciting secret announcements which I hope to be able to share soon!

Pages: Reading

Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers
This was my first experience of reading Becky Chambers and what a lovely way to start! This book is the start of a series and a complete reprieve, following the meandering adventures of a tea monk and a robot. Filled with warmth and laughter, this novella examines big ideas of speculative fiction in a very grounded way.

The Lighthouse Witches by C.J. Cooke
What a thrill ride this was! Cooke is a master at creating atmosphere and deftly juggles multiple POVs and timelines. It’s difficult to talk about this book without spoilers but it features an eerie lighthouse on a remote Scottish island, secrets and splintered trust, and above all family – particularly mother-daughter and sister relationships.

Homicide and Halo-Halo by Mia P. Manansala
The second in Tita Rosie’s Kitchen Mysteries series, this is another cosy crime-romance crossover follows Lila in another mystery, this time focused on the drama of a teen beauty pageant. Packed with even more delicious Filipino food and the hilarious characters of Shady Palms we’ve come to know and love.

Entangled Life by Merlin Sheldrake
Autumn is a glorious time for fungi enthusiasts and this book was a fascinating and an approachable look into the mycelial world from both the scientific and historical and cultural impact. The author reads the audiobook himself and it’s the perfect accompaniment to long rambling walks in the woods.

Into Every Generation a Slayer is Born: How Buffy Staked Our Hearts by Evan Ross Katz
Content note: abuse/gaslighting as well as themes covered by BTVS show
This is the ultimate book exploring the writing behind Buffy the Vampire Slayer season by season, insightful interviews with principal cast members and a candid discussion of the allegations against Joss Whedon. A
breakdown of the joys and pains of the production and reflection on the show’s cultural impact. Made me desperate for a rewatch stat!

I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy
Content note: psychological abuse, disordered eating, sexual abuse and assault
I listened to this audiobook in one day and it’s read by the author herself documenting her career as a child actor and the behind the scenes trauma inflicted on her by her mother. My heart goes out to McCurdy and I have a new found respect for both her talent and resilience, which are immense.

Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner
Content note: death, cancer, terminal illness
This is a beautiful memoir which resonated with me, from musician Zauner following the diagnosis and death of her mother. It also explores her complicated relationship with her Korean heritage, her musical career, and the shared language of food which is distilled in the comfort and pain of visiting H Mart (an American Asian superstore chain).

I hope you have some nourishing autumnal plans.

Til winter, stay soft light slow,
Kat x

Summer 2022: Salt Air and Green Mountains

Summer 2022: Salt Air and Green Mountains

Hello pals,

Welcome to the inaugural edition of Soft Light Slow! Featuring updates on my writing projects, what I’ve loved reading, and any noteworthy adventures. The newsletter will wing its way to you quarterly and I hope you like it.

Pages: Writing

I’ve been having such fun working on my ‘heist hijinks on the high seas’ fantasy novel involving a queer polycule of Asian pirates featuring swashbuckling, kissing, monsters, and magic. It features so many of my favourite tropes and I can’t wait for you to meet this chaotic cast of characters soon. Here’s an aesthetic I created to give you a flavour of what’s to come.
I’m so overjoyed to share this beautiful artwork for my interwoven short story collection inspired by Filipino folklore. The book is currently on submission being read by editors, and to celebrate I commissioned the immensely talented Filipino artist Pandesai to create this couple portrait of Corazon, an engineer, and Felicidad, a fisherfolk. They were the first characters to exist in my head and they make recurring appearances across several stories. I’ve also included the aesthetic I gave Pandesai as one of the references – they were an absolute dream to work with and I’d thoroughly recommend them!
I’m also absolutely delighted to share the news that my story ‘Mango Heart’ will feature in forthcoming eco-horror anthology Reclamation, publishing with Outland Entertainment in 2023. This is a poignant and hopeful piece about our bodies and the land, and follows a lesbian couple by the sea with the weight of unspeakable love and grief between them. I’m a visual writer, so I love pulling together aesthetics for all projects, big and small.
I was also delighted to be featured as part of the Edinburgh Women’s Mural celebrating 100 prominent figures past and present. The mural was on display in Edinburgh’s Central Library and it was so surreal and lovely to go and see it in person.

Pages: Reading

Here’s a small selection of books I’ve recently loved and hope you will too.
Tiny Moons by Nina Mingya Powles
Jam-packed with lush descriptions of travelling and eating over a year in Shanghai. The sort of book you swallow in one gulp and leaves you full for days afterwards. I fell in love with Powles’ writing after working on her debut memoir-nature writing book Small Bodies of Water.Legends and Lattes by Travis Baldree
A cosy slice-of-life ‘low stakes’ fantasy sprinkled with romance, following a retired orc who seeks a new type of adventure and opens a cafe. The novel equivalent of a comforting cup of tea. I truly would love to spend time living in this world!

Our Wives Under the Sea by Julia Armfield
A strange unnerving and beautiful novel about married lesbian Leah and Miri couple dealing with the fall-out of Leah returning from the deep ocean…changed. I’ve been a devotee of Armfield’s writing since salt slow and this was utterly beguiling.

Time on Rock: A Climber’s Route into the Mountains by Anna Fleming
Interweaving her own story with social, geographic, and literary histories of mountain regions across the UK – a fascinating mix of memoir, nature, and travel writing. I had the pleasure of chairing Anna at a festival and re-invigorating my love for climbing!

Tell Me I’m Worthless by Alison Rumfitt
A haunted house novel like you’ve never seen before. A dark experimental jewel of horror featuring deliciously complicated queer and trans characters and holding up a mirror to ugliness in our culture and history. Pushing this into the hands of everyone I know.

The Modern Craft: Powerful voices on witchcraft ethics edited by Claire Askew and Alice Tarbuck

A gender-inclusive collection of essays on contemporary witchcraft and the ethics of magic. The editors run wonderful witchcraft workshops under ‘Toil and Trouble’ which I’ve loved, and such joy to sit with a beautifully contemplative book.

Out There by Kate Folk
I adore short story collections and absorbed the multi-narrator audiobook of this literary-speculative cross-over work. Folk’s concepts are glorious and strange and her prose in turns hilarious, heartfelt, and dazzling. Certainly an author I’ll be watching.

Summerwater by Sarah Moss
A compact tense novel set in a holiday park on the edge of a loch, told through intimate character studies and a breathless hurtle towards the climax. I found Sarah Moss through Ghost Wall, and this novel is another masterful look at the spectrum of human experience.

I’ve loved chairing panels and running writing workshops at various festivals such as Granite Noir, Aye Write, and Cymera over the past few months. I’ll have an exciting opportunity to announce in the Autumn, so writers of all things spooky and folklore take note! 

I’m taking the summer away from events and workshops, travelling back to Canada for the first time in several years. I look forward to seeing old friends and loved ones, swimming in the Pacific, and basking in the Rockies. Hope you have some gorgeous summer plans.

Til autumn, stay soft light slow,
Kat x