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(

Age of Magic… Sneak Preview? :O

Let’s talk about something fun! Did everyone have a good Christmas and New Year? As I think I mentioned, I pretty much slept through New Year. The work on Age of Magic is slowly and steadily being done, but… I… also have the DLCs for Dragon Age which I didn’t have before and I’m sort of playing them as well please don’t be mad at me…

I’ve been working diligently, kindly ignore everything in the previous sentence. As proof, have a small, unedited, sneak preview of the first draft:

Rosetta lay prostrate over Oren’s twitching body while blood spurted from a clean slice across his throat. Mab stared down at the dead boy, her eyes wide with fury. She clenched her fist, extinguishing the fire, shaking her head. Who is here?

The crowd fell silent. Lightfoot and half a dozen of her soldiers appeared behind her.

“Your Grace?”

Mab ignored her advisor, and instead raised her eyes to the crowd, seeking that which was unfamiliar–

There!

The glint of a dagger sparkled in the crowd. A shrill squeal – fright or pain? Mab acted without thought.

She thrust her right arm towards the assassin, brandishing her fingers as she would wield a whip. Her seelie screamed and darted aside, as half a dozen writhing tree branches snaked into the crowd. Mab curled her fingers into a beckoning fist, and the branches wrapped around the unfamiliar man and dragged him into a circle of onlookers.

On his knees, he kept his head bowed. Mab flicked a finger, and a branch lifted his head to look up at her.

The white fires around her cast a ghastly pallor over her face. For a moment, she looked monstrous, ancient and furious.

“You dare come here with your wicked intent?” she hissed, her voice a slithering whisper.

The stranger looked up. He was human, she could tell that at least. Yet with a crooking of his lip into a smile, Mab knew he had not come alone.

A blade sang. A strangled cry rang from the crowd. Mab looked up sharply. More seelie fell to hidden blades. Three dead on her left. Two more on her right. Another ahead of her. Guards flocked into the circle, felling the secret assassins before they could take any more seelie lives.

Chaos erupted in the glade, yet Elphame’s soldiers performed their duty marvellously. Soon, each assassin kneeled before Mab, bound and struggling, swords pressed to their throats.

The Queen of the Old Ways looked sharply down at her own captive. He gazed back at her, cocky, an ugly smile on his face.

Mab raised her hard eyes and gave a simple nod. Blades sliced through thin armour, and each assassin fell, dead. Their deaths were only a small reward for the amount of seelie blood they had shed.

“Your reign is ending, Wolf-Queen,” the assassin before her sneered. Soldiers surrounded him at once, but, her eyes blazing, Mab held up a hand to stop them running him through.

“Hold,” she said. Her voice quiet, yet rang through the glade, silencing even the sobbing seelie who mourned their fallen kin. “Take him back to Elphame for questioning.”

Her glare could have incinerated him as the guards dragged him away.

This should not have happened.

This would not happen again.

Spying one last assassin fleeing the glade, she held up her hand and gestured, and at once, his head twisted back, his neck snapping with a hideous sound, and he fell, dead, in the spongy moss.

I will make sure of it.

 

Exciting stuff, huh?

A few more people have now finished The Old Ways, and I now have some utterly beautiful reviews on Amazon, for which I am extremely grateful and happy. I’m looking to do some more signings now that Christmas is out of the way, and I might be doing a giveaway on my Facebook page! :O Exciting stuff! I’ll keep you all posted on how that turns out.

For now, here’s a cute picture of a bunny:

little-rabbit-slipped

Alright now, my darling pixies, it’s Friday night and I intend to sleep a lot.

Blessed Be

RK )O(

Latest Review!

Go read it! Go read it! Go read iiiittt! Right HERE.

Why are you still here? Go read that review! 😀

Okay, read it? Awesome! How lovely is that review? Absolutely gorgeous! I’m so happy, I could cry. I won’t, I’m already severely dehydrated. But I could. You know what my favourite part is, don’t you?

Like Mab, I’m sure I shouldn’t, but I quite enjoyed the character of the Dark Prince. Severe mood swings and abusive behaviours aside, he did show a flash of occasional humility and a sharp, if a little warped, sense of humour. Maybe ‘enjoyed’ is the wrong word, but the tension created from his unpredictability was certainly intriguing.

That made me beam like a bright shining light. Everyone adores Erlik. I’m so pleased I’m making everyone question their morals 🙂

OH AND IT STARTED SNOWING HERE ON SATURDAY!!!

loki snow

So much snow! It snowed from 11:30am until, well, basically, midnight. It absolutely blanketed our little village. It sadly melted away after a day or two, but still. SNOW 😀

Aaaaaand Supernatural mid-season finale! OMIGOSH LUCIFER’S BACK! 😀

Christmas truly is a magical time of year :3 Alright, I’ll stop with the caps and the emoji abuse. I also had an epiphany at my Day Job today about the plot for Age of Magic. It had been fairly weak and poorly planned up until now, but now I’ve got a good strong motive and a fun way of bringing in… a certain person who shall remain unnamed… Oh, now don’t look at me like that. I’m already getting abuse from every reader for killing off a certain character.

Seriously, everyone who reads it sends me the same message:

“YOU BITCH! What the f**k did you kill [SPOILERS] for?!”

I’m so pleased I’m destroying each and every one of my friends emotionally 🙂 makes me feel really good about myself.

I’m gonna have to go, my laptop mouse keeps freezing for some reason, and my laptop feels like it’s on fire :/ that can’t be good. BACK UP EVERYTHING. SAVE IT NOW, SAVE IT NOW!

Blessed be,

RK )O(

 

Achievement Unlocked: Survived Krampusnacht

Today is 6th December, so if you’re reading this, congratulations on surviving Krampusnacht!

I had complete faith in you!

Krampus

I understand there’s now a Krampus movie? I’m not sure if I want to see it or not. Mostly because 1) I’m a chicken and I get scared easily, and 2) they might have ruined the stories of Krampus with the Hollywood machine and I don’t know if I’m ready for that :/

Ugh now I sound like a hipster and that makes me feel a little bit unwell.

Aaaaaaaaanyway. It’s that time of year again, pixies!

I’m almost finished with my Christmas shopping, I think. I’m so pleased I have so few people to buy for. Even Cat has her own little stocking with her name embroidered on it 🙂

Oh, and yes, I refer to her as “Cat” because I’m now refusing to call her Thissy, the name my mother gave her. Mostly because hearing about “Thissy” doing some fairly disgusting things is really putting me off the character.

Speaking of characters, I feel like bashing my head against my keyboard because one character is not doing what he’s told. He’s always been a stubborn ox. I think you all can guess who I’m talking about.

Must get back to it!

Blessed be

RK )O(

Villains Are Better Than Heroes

As you’ve been reading my blog, or The Old Ways, or anything about or by me really, you may have noticed I have a slight soft spot for the villains of any story.

The Grim Reapers. The masterminds. The mad scientists and the fallen angels, the gods of death, the wicked goblin kings, the voracious dragons, and the evil wizards.

And I know what you’re going to say… “Oh, it’s because Tom Hiddleston plays Loki and you really fancy him. BOR-ING.” Well, no. It’s not that.

Well, mostly not that.

Well, mostly not that.

I think it all began when I was younger, and Disney gave their villains all the best stuff. The best songs, the best lines, everything. I’ve still got a CD of Disney Bad-Guy songs I sing along to. Blame Disney for making their villains so damn cool. The Evil Queen, I mean just look at that glare:

evil queen

Maleficent was so cool, she got her own movie! Yet even when Disney films weren’t at their best, I’m talking about the Disney Dark Age, the villains were incredible. Hades, Yzma, Ratcliffe, all funny and quirky and sassy. Don’t even get me started on Hades’s sass.

hades

Every medium of entertainment must have an element of conflict. Every good book, movie, or game has to have an engaging antagonist to move the story along. Whether they’re funny, dark, sinister, charming, misguided, or just basically on the wrong side, a good villain will always impede the hero from his ultimate goal.

lestat

A good villain is powerful. No one wants to read a story where the hero pokes the villain and he/she gently deflates like a flan in a cupboard. No. A good villain fights for what he/she wants. And fight to the death if necessary. Powerful people don’t like relinquishing their power, so they’ll do anything they can to keep themselves at the top of the food chain. It makes it especially fun if the villain has already fought to put themselves at the top of said food chain.

I always like a villain who has a sympathetic motive. Someone who believes they’re fighting for something good, like love or acceptance. It’s like, they want to be a good person, but they just don’t know how to do it. *cough*Loki*cough*. Sorry. I have a cold.

But yes, sympathetic motives. It casts the hero in an awkward situation. The villain is wanting to do something good, but is going about it the completely wrong way. Does the hero stop them? Kill them, even? Tension gets high, tempers overboil, people make mistakes and other people die.

mab

Heath Ledger’s Joker is an absolutely fantastic example of a sinister and mysterious villain. We know absolutely nothing about him. Who is he? Where did he come from? Are those stories about his abusive father and gambling wife true? What made him into the psychopath we see in The Dark Knight? No one knows. And it’s best that way. The Joker went out with a bang, and Heath Ledger’s performance cemented the image of a twisted, manical, almost gothic Joker into everyone’s mind.

the joker

And before you ask about Harry Potter, yes I prefer Bellatrix and Umbridge as villains over Voldemort. I find Voldemort to be quite… cartoonish. I know that sounds really stupid, but I find Bellatrix and Umbridge to be more believable and therefore more interesting, whereas Voldemort is more inhuman and monstrous. His humanity and empathy is gone, leaving only a beast. I’m not afraid of beasts. I’m afraid of the villains who talk to you, who can think, who are clever. They’re the best villains.

smaug

For more information on why dark is the best side to be on, check out this handy dandy guide to being evil HERE.

vader

So what is this all building up to? Why the title? Why am I obsessing over villains in this post? Because I’ve done it. I’ve succeeded in my original goal. Like any good villain, I planted the seeds of my plan a long time ago, and now I’m watching them blossom.

That’s right.

#TeamErlik is now a thing.

People who have read The Old Ways or are currently reading The Old Ways are all sympathising with Erlik. I’ve had people say to me “I understand why he’s doing what he’s doing” or “I feel really bad for him”, and even one instance of “I want to hug him”. Someone even referred to him as a “poor guy”!

I’m so happy you’re all falling under his spell. He’s disgustingly charming and you’ll all become Erlik fangirls before this series is over. Whoops. Did I just say “series”? …

bellatrix

Better get busy, I’m being pestered for the sequel after that devilishly tempting cliffhanger at the end of The Old Ways. But do tell me all about your favourite villain in the comments below! I’d love to know I’m not alone in my strange love of evil 🙂

Blessed be

RK )O(

rumple

Morgana

ursula

lucifer

tywin

 

EDIT: RK apologises for the prolific use of Gifs in this post. She has no willpower.

Catch-Up Time!

-vigorously waves- I’m here! I’m sorry, I’ve been neglecting my blog, my website, my Facebook page… I’m a bad, bad, bad panda. I’m sorry 😦

In my defence, like every single one of my shows started again in Autumn. Once Upon a Time, Sleepy Hollow, Supernatural, Grimm… even Doctor Who has had at least one good episode this season. I’m starting to notice a pattern in the shows I watch… I know, it’s no excuse. I’ve been doing other things too!

Celtic Woman concert on Wednesday was absolutely fantastic. Their 10th Anniversary concert, and it was breathtaking. Perfect atmosphere for an evening of Celtic and folk music. And it was my first visit to the Sage in Gateshead too. I’d never been. OH and Steeleye Span are playing there in December, too! 😀 Don’t think I’d be able to get tickets this late, though. 😦

New bed arrived. It’s comfy-cosy and bouncy. Only problem is that there’s enough space underneath for at maybe two monsters to hide, so getting up in the middle of the night is going to be problematic if my fear of the dark gets the better of me. No more scary movies for me!

Speaking of, I’ve finally seen Crimson Peak! 😀 😀 😀

Shameless Hiddles gif!

Shameless Hiddleston gif!

It’s purely amazing. Such a gothically (is that a word? It is now. Up yours, My Immortal fanfic) romantic story. It had aspects of Du Maurier in there, specifically my favourite novel of hers, Rebecca. You know the story; a mysterious, rich, Byronesque anti-hero whisks away a naive, young, swooning heroine to a dark and crumbling mansion, where an old and haunting secret still bleeds from the walls. That sort of thing.

In other news… pussy cat is coming out of her shell a lot more. She’s on the mend from having Cat-Flu. And/Or conjunctivitis. Cat bogies eeeeverywhere. She still cries a little bit for us, but it’s not as pathetically heart-wrenching any more. Now it’s more of a “Hey, why did you close this door, Hooman? My tall climby thing is in there” type of miaow.

OOH and one of my friends is struggling with her morals because her favourite character in The Old Ways (so far, anyway) is Erlik. Little did she realise that was my goal all along! -evil laughter-

Well, she knows now, as I told her she’s sort of meant to like him, even just a little bit.

So… who’s started on their Christmas shopping? :/

I’ve bought…. four things. Yaaaay, progress… I really need to go shopping. I can’t just present someone with a mug on Christmas morning. Merry Christmas, here’s a receptacle for your hot beverages.

Like I said… bad panda 😦

Oh, and I replayed and finished Alice: Madness Returns… it’s been a while, and I felt like revisiting the most disturbing imagining of Wonderland I’ve ever seen. It’s an exquisitely psychotic game, I highly recommend it. If you’ve never played it, check out the trailer here.

Alright, enough rambling. I need to work on my dragon chapters. Whoops! Spoilers! ^-^

Blessed be,

RK )O(

October-we’en

 

And I haven’t carved a pumpkin! This is intolerable! How will I keep the demons away now?!

Oh yeah, with rock salt.

Thanks, Supernatural ^-^

Thanks, Supernatural ^-^

Sooooo, we’re onto our second delivery of books now. Steadily going through them, selling to those who couldn’t make it to the first signing. Also taking a trip to Ponteland this weekend to speak to an old manager about doing a signing there 🙂

Make up test for my Hallowe’en costume was successful. I’ll post pictures with the complete outfit when it’s actually Hallowe’en. No spoilers 🙂

ALSO I’m being interviewed by EJ Runyon of Bridge to Story, also known as one of my fabulous editors for The Old Ways 🙂 It’s in three parts, go check out her website, it’s a great resource for writers!

Oh, and I had my first panic attack in three years at work today… that wasn’t fun 😦 I’m still a bit shaken over it. I never get panic attacks, so it’s really thrown me off my game. I’ll struggle through, though. I don’t have any choice, I have to. No one else to do the work, so I’ve got to just get on with it, I guess.

Okay, this is getting maudlin. Better go play with some dragon cubs to cheer myself up.

Blessed be,

RK )O(