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

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