books

how to design a front cover for your book – a follow up

I feel like I’m imitating Hollywood (blegh!) and just doing post sequels. What have I become?!

It’s been out for a few months now but let’s properly introduce it. Ah-hem. I’d like you to meet the new front cover of Our Intrepid Heroine:

It’s back! It has a new front cover! It’s been edited! It’s as short as ever! And I didn’t: a) do the editing or b) do the front cover design and yes, I call that an absolute win.

There was an old front cover. There was an old front cover making process. But that’s in the distant past now. I call this a glow up. A follow up post six years later.

SO LONG, OLD COVER!

I wasn’t sure what the heck this book needed but it needed an upgrade. It didn’t need to look like a unicorn genocide had taken place in a post-apocalyptic world. It needed to have colour. It needed to have panache! Style! I didn’t need to be languishing over AHHH THE UNICORN DOESN’T HAVE A HORN or DANG IT! I LEFT THE TELEGRAPH POLES IN THERE!

So I showed Monkey & Whale Designs all my favourite book covers. I drew a very bad sketch of what a new front cover might look like (‘stained glass’ I announced with considerable authority) … and voilà.

Things started happening. and friends, comrades, fellow air-breathers … we have come a long way from:

*incoherent laughter*

These are the facts: Our Intrepid Heroine has a unicorn following her about, she can’t pronounce ‘felicitations’, and she’s on her way to slay a dragon. A dragon that has killed an entire flock of her father’s sheep, three goats and one pig. And a frog.

Our Heroine has a sword named ‘Death’ and a spear called ‘Doom’. She is afflicted by the presence of pesky princesses, mysterious Hooded Persons, and noble knights.

Narrated by a Narrator who is fond of detours and digressions, this is a short novella with tongue-in-cheek humour and Very Important Tips in hunting dragons that will be sure to stir the curiosity of the eager amateur dragon-hunter.

BOOK CREDITS:

*orchestral music plays*

Edited by: Deborah O’Carroll

Designed by: Monkey & Whale Designs

Written by: Me. In 2014. At the Beginning of Everything.

Available: Here

books, ness rambles

this blog has wrinkles / also: a gift

While the general census of the public seems to be time flies, it hasn’t felt like that here. However, to my considerable surprise, I realised quite recently that it’s been eight years. Eight years since I created a wordpress blog and embarked on a long hunt for the perfect blog name. (I still live in hope that I can find it!)

This blog has grown up with me, in a way. I started it in my late teens; as a kid with long, long hair who loved books immensely.

this picture could be like, a metaphor or something. but i prefer to remember it as ‘standing in a goat field with a book from a blogger i followed so a part of her could be in england’ because my gosh that’s a thing i did.

I’ve rambled about my life; about living abroad, things that didn’t happen on my adventures, ear piercings, hair dyeing adventures, how to make the perfect cup of tea, a bookworm’s guide to makeup – but most of all, I’ve rambled about stories; stories I’ve loved, stories I disliked, and stories I’ve written.

i’ve also taken many, many photos of books. because that’s a thing i’ll be proud to tell my grandnieces and nephews about

I think we all need a place for ramblings – this has been mine. Or at least, it’s been one of them. There are places and there are places for different forms of expression.

And man, this particular one has been fun. Some of my favourite blog posts are the ones in which I forced myself to watch an abomination of a movie, read a book about Batman and was disgusted, and recounted my immensely successful attempt at a Robin Hood retelling.

In our world of views and likes, ‘has it been a popular blog’ might be the first question asked upon hearing ‘eight year blogversary’. And the answer is – no. While it would – in theory – be nice to be one of those big blogs with a multitude of likes and so on and so forth, that hasn’t happened. And that’s okay. This blog has been exactly what I’ve needed it to be.

a place to do whatever the heck i’m doing here, for example – did i even write about the book i’m holding? i’ve no idea

I have immensely enjoyed using this space; I’ve written when I’ve remembered to and how I’ve wanted to. I’ve made schedules and abandoned schedules and then – for sheer larks – made more schedules (and abandoned them too!)

It must be said though: I am very grateful for those lovely souls who have read here over the years. I might not have quantity but by golly, I have quality.

What’s next, then? Good question! I’ve no idea. Who knows what the future holds? The past two years have been … well, they’ve been something. The internet isn’t always the greatest place to be – it can be difficult to navigate its waters, even in little corners like this. But writing about books and about, oh heck – anything and everything – has been a joy.

I can’t say I’ve learned many things over the last eight years – but what I have learned (and then promptly forgotten and then have to relearn) is this: we aren’t promised health, happiness, or even tomorrow. But we can change the way we view things; we can choose hope and we can choose joy and we can choose how to react. We can choose.

And that, my friends, is a God-given miracle.

You might see different posts pop up – on space, on eels, on the books I’ve remembered that I’ve read, and perhaps on ‘bigger’ topics or perhaps not. Either way – as a celebration of the eight years I’ve dwelt here, I’ve placed A Most Irregular Prophecy as completely free for the day. You can grab it – or not! – right here.

If you’ve been reading here a wee while, or are only just stopping by – thank you, and in the words of Guy:

Don’t have a good day. Have a GREAT day.

(happy reading!)

books

space, eels, and a mouse called algernon

My current read is The Gospel of the Eels which differs greatly from The Gospel of Loki which I’ve recently loaned to my uncle. It’s a cosy book and did you know that Aristotle and Freud were both obsessed with eels? These are the facts humanity needs to know. You’re welcome.

But I’ve read other books too.

STAR TREK: AGENTS OF INFLUENCE // dayton ward

Take Star Trek: The Original Series and write a novel about one of their off screen adventures. You’d think that this would be an instant hit in Le Monde de Ness. It was, and then it wasn’t.

I think that the show works best as a TV show – with the charm and charisma and sheer madness of the characters/sets/dialogue. The book bounced around between – I think – three or four points of view which was a little disorientating for me.

It was great to hang out with old friends but I think I’d much prefer the show itself. I haven’t learned my lesson because I’m reading another Star Trek novel right now. It’s got Evil!Spock (?) and Kirk is dead and it happens in the first chapter?!

Also, side note: William Shatner is going into space????

Interesting. I wonder if it will be anything like he imagined when acting as Kirk.

THE PLANETS // andrew cohen & professor brian cox

I loved this book. It filled me with wonder and, indeed, awe. To think that Saturn has lightning, and Jupiter, storms. I learned so much. (And, some would say, retained so little. But some shouldn’t say that. Boo them.)

FLOWERS FOR ALGERNON // daniel keyes

Basically, if you want to see me cry – ask me: have you read Flowers For Algernon? and I will dissolve into a puddle and weep.

I cried. Repeatedly. At the end of the book. Retelling it to my Mum. Attempting to talk about it with someone else.

I haven’t read the short story yet. Emotional devastation isn’t something I’d typically seek out on a Monday. (It seems a more Thursday kind of thing.)

ANCILLARY JUSTICE // ann leckie

Two words: corpse soldier.

No! More words: ex-ship corpse soldier.

I liked it. There. I said it. I liked the side character who tags along. I could picture everything quite clearly.

Will I read the sequel? Maybe but probably not too. (There’s a clear answer for you!) I liked being in the world but the stakes are going to be even higher probably in the next book and my poor nerves won’t take it.

Wait. Waaaait. I should rephrase that: I liked reading about the world but I’d rather not be in it. ‘Zero privacy and Big Brother Is Watching You and oh! I know a new career plan you could be trapped in your own body as a star ship uses it to do ship stuff‘ aren’t on my ‘To Visit’ list. (I don’t have a ‘To Visit’ list just yet but if I had this wouldn’t be in the top fifty-seven destinations. Fifty-eighth at a push but no more.)

(Once again I will state in the annals of this blog: I should totally be a professional book reviewer. Ah-hem. I’m really very good at this gig.)

happy reading!

books

a most irregular prophecy – it’s out

I was therefore forced to draw the only possible conclusion; I was going to be heinously murdered.

A MOST IRREGULAR PROPHECY

It started as a short story and it’s now a full-length book with a dope front cover and words and everything. If you fancy a bit of a barmy read with a Victorian, a reluctant Scribe, Unicorn-type-creatures, Portals, Propaganda, and a touch of romance? It’s here! It’s actually here!

It’s ready in paperback and ebook. (I’m particularly proud of the back cover. It has pamphlets and a hot air balloon.) Ahem. Anyway. This is a book. A book I wrote.

My feelings are the below – from this post:

But oh – if it’s a tiny bit beautiful, if it’s a little funny, if it’s moving, if it’s a wondrous adventure, if it makes you see a glimmer of something you can’t quite name, or startles you into a laugh; if it’s something that I can be pleased with then, I would like to share it with you.

this book falls into ‘startles you into a laugh’ i think. whether that be good or bad, i’m not sure

If it’s not your cup of tea – that’s perfectly fine. If you read it and have a strong opinion (positive or negative! either is alright!) do scribble a review. Or don’t. This is a free country.

Either way, please join me in being excessively gleeful that – after six years of silence – a full-length book has finally been completed. I’m so very glad to share this one with you.

books

a most irregular prophecy – front cover reveal also, unicorn poop

I’d like to announce the fact that I had an idea about unicorn manure and I ran with it. And by that I mean, I wrote a book about it. An entire book.

Behold! Here it is in all of its glory:

isn’t it DIGNIFIED?

It went like this:

MY LOGIC:

  • I like Portal fiction
  • What if the person abducted had a very mediocre destiny? That would be funny, right? Right?
  • What if … they were abducted to shovel unicorn manure? What if it’s toxic to everyone but Humans?
  • *gasp* Why, Mr Spock – I think we’re onto something

I wrote a short story about the idea (‘one moment I was washing my car, the next I was neck-deep in manure‘ reads a highly attractive line), chuckled to myself, and then put it to the side, confident that I was quite hilarious and a genius. (These are dubious facts.)

Then, a few years later, I read the short story again, chuckled to myself and thought I was quite hilarious and definitely a genius. (Again, the facts are dubious.) But I went one step further – I decided that I’d write a book on that single premise.

And so I did.

That ‘and so I did’ sounds so … simple and laid back. It was not that simple. It was not that laid back. I had to seriously consider the implications of unicorn manure. I dedicated so much time to it. (Put that epitaph on my gravestone thank you very much. Follow it up with ‘a life well lived’.)

The heroine transformed from a 21st century girl with pop culture references and poop puns into a determined Victorian woman with flame-red hair and no poop puns.

And then, of course, in the lead romantic role is Mr Sorrow who isn’t the coolest dude to ever dude … but … I like him. He’s dope. He’s cool. He’s also an alien.

It also has:

  • toxic unicorn waste (… you’re welcome, humanity)
  • a slow burn romance
  • unicorns but also not quite unicorns
  • furniture flying around (it’s ONE scene but … you know, it’s freakin’ Pulitzer winning. Ah-hem. The way I describe a table in flight? Well it could never be accused of being poetry but, well. It could never be accused of being poetry.)
  • everything going wrong
  • a Victorian heroine caught up in the middle of everything, determined to set everything to rights and then have a cup of tea like a boss.

It’s called A Most Irregular Prophecy. It’s not just about unicorn poop anymore. (Wow. What a tagline.)

“I didn’t have anything left to do except to die. I would do it nobly. With dignity. Preferably after a moving speech.”

A monstrous Natterdash is waking, the dread Wizard Tig is stalking Planet Ora, and a new Prophecy regarding their destruction has been announced. In the central role? A Human abducted from 21st century England and cast as The Foretold One.

Long time captive and full time Suffragist, Victorian Primula ‘Vi’ Ravensbourne is dragged into the mix to act as translator and Thrawk keeper. With unseen enemies, reluctant Foretold Ones, and a gift that is Most Unexpected, she’ll soon find that all is not as it seems.

Vi may want the populace to have a Voice, but one must be alive in order to speak. Can Vi help fulfil a Prophecy that is rapidly running off track, and off script?

It’s coming your way the 30th of July. That’s this year. 2021. Just so you know. (I once stayed up for a book release only to find that I’d got the wrong year.)

You can pre-order it on Kindle here and add it to your Goodreads to read list here.