Friday 26 July 2019

RIP Rutger Hauer . . .

I heard the news yesterday that Rutger Hauer has died. This is very sad.

My first encounter with Rutger Hauer on the screen remains, to this day, one of my favourites. He's starred in many films and shows throughout his acting career, including 'Blade Runner'. I loved that film growing up, and who could forget that brilliant, iconic speech at the end?

"I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain."

But this wasn't my first encounter. I was born in 1980 and Blade Runner first come out in 1982 so I didn't see it until many years later but my first encounter was seeing him in 'Ladyhawke', a medieval fantasy starring him, Michelle Pfeiffer and Matthew Broderick.

I fell in love with that film back then and it still remains a nostalgic favourite today. Yes, it hasn't dated too well (that synth soundtrack still sounds like some cheesy 80's masterpiece) but the tragic story line of cursed lovers, he a wolf by night and she a hawk by day so they can never meet, stole my young heart. And who couldn't love Navarre! I'm sorry but I still watch him caped in black and sitting upon his impressive steed today, and it still makes me go slightly weak at the knees. 

I was more a film kid than a cartoon kid growing up, and there are a few films I remember falling in love with back then that I attribute to my love of fantasy today (the horror came later), and Ladyhawke sits right there at the top of the list. So I'm deeply saddened by the passing of a childhood hero...

Thursday 18 July 2019

Blood, Gore, Murder, and Jane Austen

I've just finished reading 'The Death Pit' by Tony Strong, published back in 1999. It centres around Terry Williams, an Academic who travels to Scotland to research a victim of the Scottish Witch Trials back in the late 1700's for her thesis, and finds herself thrown into the world of murder, witchcraft, torture and human sacrifices. It was pretty gory in places, which I don't actually mind being a horror fan.

Anyway, at the weekend I had a cull of my book mountain, deciding to get rid of books I've read and really don't need to keep, and books I've acquired and will probably never read. I only made a small dent in my collection but (more importantly, and to the single raised eyebrow from my husband) I've made room for MORE! And whilst doing this, I decided which book I fancied reading next.

My fictional mountain consists of a wide variety of genres. They say 'to better yourself as a writer, you need to read far and wide outside your genre'. My favourite writer is Stephen King. That's no secret, and the entire bookshelf/shrine overflowing with his work can attest to that. I also read fantasy, with the likes of Scott Lynch, Joe Abercrombie and Mark Lawrence, to name a few. Then there's the thrillers, the comedies, adventures, and historical. There's a few.

So, what book is next on my list? One that's a far cry from blood, gore, and murder, that's for sure. Jane Austen's 'Persuasion'. I do confess to being an Austen fan. I own a few of her classics
but this one become hidden behind the masses of fictional horror and intrigue and has never been read. The spine isn't even creased! So, I had to change that.

I started reading it today, beginning with the small biography of Austen at the front, and to my surprise, today, 18th July, is the actual day she died back in 1817! Today! She died in Winchester, UK, and her brother, Henry, oversaw the publications of her last pieces, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion.

I felt a little choked after realising this, and wondered what forces made me pick up this book after owning it for so long and remembering her on the day she died...

So tonight, I'll be raising a glass (or a cup of tea) and sitting back, remembering her, whilst reading one of the last books she ever wrote.

Here's to Jane Austen...

Friday 5 July 2019

Writing Update . . .

It's been a wee while since I last gave an update on my creative endeavours, so I thought today is as good as any to bore you all.

I won't lie. Writing my current piece, Blood for Blood, has been hard, much harder than any of the other books in the series (none of which are published). This dark fantasy follows Reagan, a female assassin, who discovers that her current target has a connection to the murder of her father when she was a child, and seizes the opportunity to investigate rather than kill him, regardless of the wrath that falls upon her from her employees.

Whilst devising this story many many moons ago, it was going to be just as above, a bog standard story about a girl hunting her father's murderers, but it's evolved sooo much since those days. Yes, this is the basic premise for the story, but there is a reason this is 'DARK fantasy', and as horror writing scarily comes naturally to me, the dark element soon found its way in. I didn't have a problem with this at all. I really liked the twist it gave the story. It also gave the back story depth and fit in well with the rest of the series.

But suddenly I felt like I had bitten off more than I could chew. I felt out of my depth and a simple story suddenly turned complicated. I think that's when I started to struggle with it. It wasn't my enthusiasm for the story. That was still there, thick and fast. I think more than anything it was my confidence, and I began to question whether I was good enough to carry something this complicated off.

When that wall hits your confidence, it hits hard.

I even got to the stage where I felt I needed a break from it, and started planning my next WIP. But I inevitably went back, persevered, and finished it about two months ago with a word count of 120k. Not bad, all things considered.

I've now started editing it. It needs a lot of work and you can tell the areas I struggled with, and even though I've convinced myself that yes, I am good enough to pull this off, I can't help but sit back, look at the entire thing and think "ugh...can I really do this?"

The answer is yes. I know I can. There's also a sequal that's banking on this story to be completed. So deep breath and here we go...