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

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