It’s Been A While

I am so sorry for being away so long, I know you just can’t survive without my inane ramblings. In my defence, I’ve been to Disneyland 😀

I know, that’s no excuse, but it’s so hard to concentrate when “Under the Sea” gets stuck in your head for two and a half months. Especially embarrassing when you start humming in front of your MD.

 

Actual footage of me dancing in the kitchen.

So, what’s new in the world of RK? Let me go through it…

Writing: I think I have maybe a chapter (or two) left before Age of Magic has its officially completed First Draft. Then I have to go through and fill in all those delicious plot holes that I spot every single damn time I read through it. I have a list, don’t worry. I do love lists.

Reading: Hoo boy. My New Year’s Resolution is to fall in love with reading again. I don’t read as much as I used to, so I’ve downloaded a very helpful app called BookBuddy, which helps you keep track of the books you’ve read, and lets you rate and comment on them.

I’m currently onto my ninth book of the year. I lost a month or so struggling through a particularly abysmal novel (and the Disneyland thing kinda got in the way too), but I’m back on it. My aim is to read 50 books this year. I… don’t think I’ll reach that target. But I’ll make a good attempt at it!

One of the most recent ones that I’ve finished is Wintersong. Oh, my heart… here are my thoughts on it:

“Beautiful, heartbreaking, and utterly wonderful. A few slow pages after the marriage, somewhat repetitive in places, but made up for with the poignancy and beauty of the words. Almost like poetry. Or music. How apt.”

Movies: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was amazing, Beauty and the Beast was lovely (I cried three times but that’s nothing new), and Passengers was awful.

Games: I’m playing Dragon Age: Inquisition for the billionth time. Can’t wait for the next one where we get to visit Tevinter. TEVINTER. Imagine a Dalish Mage wandering around Tevinter. Should be interesting. Also bought two new games, Until Dawn and The Evil Within. Should be an interesting change-up from my usual RPG games.

TV: OMG did you see Emmerdale?! I’m kidding, I don’t watch TV. Well, I watch Grimm. And Supernatural. Quite disappointed in both at the minute, to be honest.

Music: Disney. Yeah, did you expect anything else?

I don’t think I have any more hobbies… I’m off for a whoooooole week now though, yay! ^-^ Happy Easter to me, we have SO MUCH CHOCOLATE 😀

Time to write, almost at the end!

Blessed be,

RK )O(

Newest Poem!

Just wanted to share my newest poem with you. I originally wrote it for the National Poetry Competition, but lacked the courage to submit it. So, it’s just a new poem now. Enjoy!

 

Malice

A fantôme curled a finger
And the flickering heat spread quick
“Fire, Alice! Fire!”

It crumbled, the world
A fond kiss, Alice
Hands red, shaking, dripping
Don’t be afraid, Alice
Gripped the blade, a vorpal bite
Off with her head, Alice!

The lights go out
And that wonderful land spreads far and thick
A toxin in my head
Snicker-snack, snacker-snick!

It’s dark
Too dark
Can’t see
Who’s there waiting for me?

It’s white
I can see
Only white
But cold!
Too cold!

Shaved
Depraved
Makes me well-behaved
A hole in the head
Gives the troubles more space
A tincture
A cure
Makes me more demure
“No more talk of rabbits and dodos, Alice.
It’s time to face what you committed.”

A race! A race!
A pool of tears too deep to trace
Around and around we go
Until our feet are bloodied roots
The fire made you forget your boots

A curious eye winks from the shadows beneath
Made curiouser by a Cat
Who vanishes;
Leaving only a grin
A wicked slash of teeth

Shall we play a game, Alice?

Chess and cards
A castle in the sky
Jam yesterday and jam to-morrow
But never jam to-day
Too big to play,
Alice

Follow the vale of tears
To find the repugnant Lepidoptera
Steaming and piping in the cool night air

You’re late, Alice
Too late
What’s that you’re humming, Alice?

Dum-Dee-Dum-Dee-Dum

The Hatter won’t be pleased, Alice

But the Dormouse
The Dor
The Door
The door!

Enough, Alice!

But I found the Queen, Alice
She has my face
Wearing her heart on her lace
A Suicide King sits beside her
Says his words in reverse

I don’t understand, Alice
What don’t you understand, Alice?
When can I go home?
You can’t go home, Alice.
Why?
You’re mad as a March Hare, Alice
Mad as a Hatter, Alice?
Madder than Hatter, Alice.

Oh, Alice, don’t you know, dear?
We’re all mad here.

alice

As you can tell, it’s based on Alice: Madness Returns, a fun but twisted game by American McGee. Check out the trailer here.

Blessed be,

RK )O(

It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

christmas-pooh

It’s almost Christmas time once again, and it’s that special time of year that turns everyone into either a Holly Jolly Santa Claus, or a complete douchebag.

This is a very short PSA to remind people to not shout or abuse people in retail or customer services. We’re human, just like you, please don’t take your frustrations out on us.

In other news, Age of Magic is about 4-5 maybe 6 chapters away from completion, and, aside from a teeny-weeny blip in the middle of November wherein I lost all motivation to finish it, it’s going well. Apart from the fact that it’s about 30,000 words too short.

Uhm. Oops? 😦

writer-working

I think once Christmas is out the way, I can really knuckle down and get to that ending I’ve been building up for so long. And it’s a nice segue into the as-of-yet-untitled Book 3.

Ohh, and I need to write the blurb, and the synopsis, and go through all the edits… I forgot about all of this. Crikey…

2017 is going to be great. We lost so many famous names this year, and there are only three weeks left of 2016, so everyone form a protective ring around Tim Curry and Sean Connery, and we can safely see out 2016.

Merry Christmas everyone, and have a Happy New Year!

Blessed be,

RK )O(

On Dragons

red dragon

I once had a dream where I was riding a dragon.

This is fairly normal for me, as you can imagine. But this one time when I was riding my dragon through the night air (escaping something, if I remember correctly), I remember exactly how it felt. And the sensation was beyond magnificent.

The lurching, the swaying, the feeling that the ground was so far away. The sweep of enormous wings underneath my legs like sails. The air rushing past, not warm, not cold. I felt the currents of the wind carrying us through the night. And the roar. Oh… It was glorious. Majesty and might in one earth-shaking thunderous noise.

Was this the most vivid dream I’d ever experienced? Or did I own a pet dragon in another life and this was just a memory? I’m hoping for the latter.

Dragons are probably the best known magical creatures in media. Literature, movies, games, music, dragons have left their claw-marks on the collective hive-mind of fantasy fans. Often the symbol of kings and great heroes, dragons can be beautiful, terrifying, powerful, and dangerous.

One thing we need to address first and foremost:

Dragons have four legs and wings. Wyverns have two legs and two wings.

The dragons of Skyrim, Game of Thrones, and Harry Potter, are wyverns. The dragons of Dragon Age, Dragonheart, and How to Train Your Dragon, are Dragons. (Well, mostly; I’ve noticed a few wyverns sneaking in HTTYD)

dragon gif

I imagine one isn’t really interested in counting legs when one is on FIRE.

King Arthur’s surname means “chief dragon”. Fitting for the Once and Future King. England’s patron saint, St George is famous for slaying a dragon. A popular folk tale where I live tells of the Lambton Worm, a poisonous dragon (or wyrm) so large it wraps itself around a hill and devours livestock.

In France, dragons are used in the stories of Christianity triumphing over Paganism. Dragons symbolise raw, wild, untapped power.

Myths, legends, folklore, even Bible stories are rife with dragons. The Devil himself is often depicted as one in his most powerful form.

giphy (1)

Dragons who don’t speak are animalistic, therefore act as animals do. “I am hungry, therefore I shall eat.” Do we begrudge cats killing mice and birds? It’s their nature. It just so happens “birds and mice” to a dragon are “cows and sheep and the occasional human” to us. They don’t know any better, they’re just hungry animals.

Of course, not all dragons are like this. (Yes, I used the phrase #NotAllDragons.) A famous phrase states “Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and good with ketchup.” But some dragons, like Draco from Dragonheart, strive to be good and help humanity.

4legs-Dragonheart

Dragons are wise. They have to be, they’re long-living beings. They can’t live for hundreds, maybe thousands of years, and not accumulate knowledge just as they accumulate wealth. In Braveheart, dragons are shown to save humans in danger. A stark contrast to, say, Smaug, who can’t help noticing how tasty Bilbo looks.

smaug

Eregon, book and movie, has an interesting spin on dragons. They imprint on a human (their ‘rider’) upon hatching, can hold telepathic conversations, and share sight with each other. Mushu, from Mulan, remains to this day one of my favourite Eddie Murphy roles. Yes, it’s lighthearted and goofy, but he’s a funny dragon. Who can’t love a funny dragon?

dishonour

In conclusion, I’m beyond excited to start work on the as-of-yet untitled book three, because I can finally write about dragons, and describe them in all their awesome majesty, and give them all the respect and honour they’re due.

Blessed Be

RK )O(

I Do Not Wish To Live In A World Without Dragons

"I am the lasht one!"

“I am the lasht one!”

This post has nothing to do with the title, I just adore this line and will be inserting it into Age of Magic as soon as possible 😀 click-bait for dragon nerds like me! I will actually compose a post about dragons shortly, I swear.

So, hello, hello, and hello to all of my darling pixies whom I have been severely neglecting these past few weeks! I am a bad, bad mistress, and as punishment, I will not be eating cookies for a week.

Except this one I have in my hand right now. *nom*

This is a very brief post, and I’m very sorry 😦 I’m going to try and post more, I swear I am. Things have just been extra-hectic at the Day Job because we’re moving to a brand new office next week. Huzzah.

I’ve also been squirrelling away with writing Age of Magic. We’re now officially OVER HALF-WAY COMPLETE 😀 *fistpump*

Still such a dorky move, Snipes...

Still such a dorky move, Snipes…

Speaking of dorky, WHO WATCHED THE GAME OF THRONES SEASON FINALE?! OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG FLAIL PLOT TWIST.

Too tired at present for a full-on fangirl breakdown, but from about 15 minutes in, I had this look plastered on my face:

patrick_OMG

Yep. Wasn’t pretty.

Anyway, I’ll be attending an Author Evening at my local library in September (thanks to the fantastic organisational skills of an old friend of mine, who works for the libraries where we live). It should be fun and interesting, and will hopefully to promote The Old Ways a little 🙂

I’ve got an extremely busy weekend lined up, but I’m going to try and post a little more often. Like I said, I’ll post something good about dragons soon 😀

Blessed be, darling pixies! ❤

RK )O(

What Makes A Good Bad Guy?

Proceed at your own risk.

WARNING:

THE FOLLOWING BLOG POST MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS FOR THE OLD WAYS.

PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK.

 

I was procrastinating performing extensive research for my novel on Pinterest earlier today, when I found this gem:

villain low self esteem

When I first saw it, I laughed. I mean, I laughed hard. Because my immediate thought to myself was, “Of course not, Erlik thinks he’s the best thing ever created!”

Then I went deeper into it. And I realised the whole reason he thinks so, is because he does have low self-esteem. He acts the way he does, because of crippling insecurity. He spends the entire novel hot on Mab’s heels. He swings from one emotion to another in the blink of an eye. He’s often shown drinking heavily (in the morning! What a lush). He’s infamous (in-universe) for his sexual exploits, and has the… *ahem* extensive progeny to prove it.

These can be symptoms of low self-esteem. Addictive, promiscuous, and chaotic personality traits. While he never displays anxiety attacks or a lack of self-confidence, he certainly has something about him that indicates he dislikes himself, and is projecting that dislike upon others to make himself feel better.

Well, mostly not that.

Loki has low self-esteem too. Yes, that’s my excuse for using his picture…

So is that what makes a good bad guy? (Okay, okay, I’ll say good villain from now on. Makes for less confusion) Well, I don’t think it is. Erlik has low self-esteem, yes, but he’s also funny, charming, sinister, manipulative, vindictive, and so deliciously wicked.

I… may be a little biased. #TeamErlik

Anyway. Is that what makes a good villain? ‘Nice’ qualities? Human qualities? Well, I don’t think so. I mean, I think they certainly help, but Sauron was a perfect villain, and he had no human qualities at all.

Good villains can be relateable. They can have something in them that makes regular, less-villainous people go “Oh, that’s like me! Wait, is that good?”

What about those villains who know they’re evil? The ones who relish in their darkness. The ones who torture and torment for fun. Lookin’ at you, Ramsay Bolton.

Ramsay

Couldn’t resist, sorry :3

There are villains who believe they’re the hero of the story. Villains who believe they’re doing what they’re doing for the greater good. I think Heath Ledger’s Joker has a little of that in him. He wants to unleash chaos for the people of Gotham for them to realise their full potential.

A good villain must be a foil. A contrast to the hero. An opposition to everything the hero stands for. Erlik is a Dark Prince, while Thomas (eventually) is a White Knight. Thomas has a strong moral high ground, whereas Erlik is underhand and plays dirty. Everything Thomas is or becomes, Erlik is ultimately the antithesis. In D&D terms, Thomas is Neutral Good, while Erlik is Chaotic Evil.

That’s what makes a good villain. Next time you’re writing, talk to your villain. Ask him/her/it what they’re fighting for. Ask them what they want. Does that goal conflict with what the hero wants? Do they believe they’re the hero of your story? Talk to them, and find out. Then you’re on the right path.

Now, go, writer! Write! Write like you’ve never written before!

Blessed be,

RK )O(

My First Ever Fan Art!

With permission from the artist, here is the first fan art I’ve ever received 😀

IMG_2394

And of course it’s Erlik, who else did you expect? Go #TeamErlik!

I adore it 😀 I keep it pride of place on my bookshelf (since my walls are too thin to put nails in them so I can’t hang it).

Here is now an opportunity to publicly thank James Purvis (the artist) for such a beautiful gift, and for coming out of artistry retirement to draw this exquisite portrait of my favourite character. And I hereby promise to not make your hot chocolate lumpy any more ^-^

Blessed be,

RK )O(

Confession Time!

I, er… *nervous laugh* I lost my password to access WordPress…

But I’ve found it again! And look, I’m here! Here’s a dancing Winchester as an apology for not posting in over a month:

Dean Dancing

I don’t have much of an update other than YAY for progress on the Age of Magic. Oh, and I have my very first piece of fan-art! ^-^ And my first ever troll! As in, an internet-troll, not an under-the-bridge-troll. I already have two of those. They’re called Frank and Gary.

Once I figure out how to connect my iPhone to my computer (read: I do know how to do it, I’m just intensely lazy), I’ll share the fan-art. Once I have permission from the artist, of course!

So. Age of Magic. Yes, darlings, it’s in progress. Slow-going, for some reason… I couldn’t get characters to act the way they’re meant to. But things are looking up! I technically already have the first *ahem* few drafts, I just need to… well… let’s just say there’s a reason for the following (cropped) screenshot:

drafts

And it’s cropped because I don’t want you to see how many folders I had to get through in order to get to this one… I like folders. I’m hyper-organised when it comes to my writing.

Alright, pixies, enough chin-wagging! Better get some work done. These chapters (unfortunately) don’t write themselves!

Blessed be,

RK )O(

I’m Still Standing!

I liiiiiiiive

So pleased I got to use that gif again 🙂

On the other hand, having to use that gif again means I’ve been neglecting my poor darling pixies!

I should probably explain what’s been happening and why I haven’t been posting as much as I should be. Well, while it’s no excuse and I’m not using it as one, I shall explain:

Hospitals! Yay!

Due to personal health reasons, I have to go back under the knife. It’s a very small operation and I’ve had it before, but let’s just say the discovery of a certain lumpy bit where one doesn’t want to find a lumpy bit had me (and my family) quite on edge for a few days. Thankfully, the hospital is quite confident it isn’t anything serious, and I’m getting the results of my biopsy on Tuesday.

I would like to take this opportunity, because of what’s happened to me, and recently a lot more friends than I’d like to say have been receiving the worst kind of news, I want to encourage everyone who reads this to CHECK YOUR BITS. Girls: check your upstairs. Boys: check your downstairs. It only takes a few minutes, but those few minutes could save a lifetime.

I know, it’s embarrassing, and it can sometimes be scary if you find something you don’t want to find. But catching it soon means you can treat it soon. It can be, like in my case, nothing to worry about. But it’s always good to check.

Seriously, I can’t state this enough. CHECK. YOUR. BITS.

In fact, I’m going to wait. Go check them now. Go on. Go do it now. Right now.

Here's a Bun to calm us all down.

   Here’s a bunny to watch while you’re checking.

Sorted? Okay, good. See? Was that so hard? Like I said, only a few minutes.

I know this post doesn’t have anything to do with writing, but it could very well save a life. I may have a high expectation of how many people read my site, but laws of probability might be on my side today.

Please, please, please, carry out regular checks. If you find anything out of the ordinary, talk to your doctor. I can’t state it enough. Too many people suffer because of this horrible, evil disease. I don’t want any of you beautiful pixies falling victim to it as well.

Now, get out there and shine like the supernova that you are!

Blessed be,

RK )O(

 

Donate to Cancer Research UK

How to carry out a proper check – Girls

How to carry out a proper check – Boys

The Kindness of Strangers and Good Company

Where I come from, people are very friendly. Strangers will chat to each other in the street. We’ll help each other out. Not just because it’s a close-knit place, but because Northerners are generally quite friendly people. Compare my trip to London, where waiters were rude and people stared at us like we had several eyes because we dared to speak on the Tube.

I want to begin by explaining I’ve at this point had my fair share of human crappiness in the past two days. First I was given my first ever parking fine because the wind blew the ticket I’d bought out of my car when I closed the door, and I hadn’t realised. Oh, and the parking attendant stuck it right in the middle of my windscreen, so there was a big glob of ugly sticky glue right in the middle of my line of sight.

Oh, and I’d also left my glasses at work, so there was an extra dosage of “I CAN’T SEE WHERE I’M GOING!” on my journey home on Friday evening.

Sadness

Safe to say, I was fairly upset, so I paid the fine online (halved, because I paid within 14 days), curled up under my blankie, and watched Bedknobs and Broomsticks on Netflix.

So, Saturday rolled around, and my friend Laura sent me a message asking if I wanted to go somewhere. Wanting to cheer myself up with good food and good company, I said yes. We journeyed into town and we had a little wander around. Durham is such a beautiful old city.

At this point, I decided to venture towards Waterstones. I admit I had an ulterior motive. I’d emailed the shop a few weeks back enquiring about a book signing, since I’d had no reply from the Newcastle or Gateshead branches. I figured, you know, Durham is rooted in history and myth, it would be a good base.

Went in, spoke to a young lady behind the desk, who was very nice, and she called the manager over. And over trotted this grumpy-looking gent. I gave him my information, I had a copy of the book so he could look up the ISBN. I also pointed out it was available on the Waterstones website. Also, bear in mind, at this point, I was rather cold, hungry, and still a little shaken about the previous day’s event.

After a few minutes (read: about thirty seconds) of deliberation, my precious book was thrust back at my face with the words “Actually, you know what? I think we’ll pass.”

Wow. Okay. Thank you. No “we’ll take your contact details for future reference”, no “thank you for your enquiry but no thank you”. Just a straight up, resounding, NO.

So, understandably, I was confused and a little upset.

We wandered out of the shop and ventured further into town. We went for lunch (Chinese food, of course. It was my cheat-on-the-diet-day), and discussed various bloody punishments we’d like to enact upon those who’d wronged us.

It was getting late, so we headed out to do a last little bit of shopping. Now, whenever I go to Durham, I’d always go to a cute little vintage shop that’s tucked in a little alleyway, a hidden gem, burrowed in a corner that people tend to forget about. It’s been there for years. The smell of the place always lingers with me for days.

I like it there because it is chock-full of beautiful, old, antique jewellery. And, like any good faery magpie, I’m attracted to sparkly and shiny objects.

We perused the necklace stand for a while, and I found some I liked – mostly amulet-style – and a couple of rings caught my eye too. Purchased them, and we ended up chatting to the ladies who owned the shop. Two of the most delightful ladies I’d spoken to in a long time. After telling them about the rotten time I’d had recently, they gave me a beautiful fern-leaf brooch for free. It’s very pretty, and I didn’t realise, but it has the letters NZ for New Zealand on it.

And of course I plugged my book to them. The young lad in the shop (son, nephew or grandson, perhaps? I’m unsure) ventured over and had a little read of the blurb.

One of the two ladies seemed to feel very strongly about me visiting New Zealand, possibly because of the brooch. I felt as though she’d seen into my future, she was so emphatic about me visiting New Zealand.

After the two encounters of humankind being generally quite awful, I felt lifted after that small amount of kindness. My friend paid for the necklace she’d spotted, and we came home. After a nice cup of tea, we parted, and I felt a lot lighter for having spent a nice day with a good person. It also helps that she was completely on my side about the Waterstones manager, and she’s a Karate master. (Mistress?)

Always good to have powerful friends 🙂

So today, feeling drained but a lot happier, I’ve managed to write up 3+ chapters of Age of Magic. Victory!

 

Joy

Oh, and yesterday, we also discussed various ways of promoting The Old Ways on Laura’s YouTube! I have a list of pop quiz questions, and entertaining forfeits. So, this should be fun! -wicked smile-

She also had a fantastic idea of creating a Sims family of my characters, letting them do their own thing, while we narrate over the top and I talk about the book. I thought that was an excellent idea, so I’m extremely excited for that! Because if there’s anything I love doing, it’s talking about my book.

Better get back to my writing, darlings.

Blessed be,

RK )O(