Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Phantasmagoria


Yipee! I've had word back from my editor and he's definitely commissioning Phantasmagoria, which is the sequel to A Gentleman's Wager I've been mentioning on and off. No real details yet, but it's likely to be published mid/late 2008, and AGW will probably be reprinted around the same time, my first reprint, so double yipee.

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Recently watched: CSI
Currently listening to: Smash Mouth
Currently reading: Zowie! It's Yaoi! ed by Marilyn Jaye Lewis

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Lust for Blood


Bit of good news to announce today, my vampire erotic horror story 'Lust for Blood' has been accepted and will appear in the upcoming Wicked Words Paranormal Anthology, currently scheduled for release around September time.

It's especially thrilling to be in this collection as it's the last Wicked Words. They're having a indefinite break to make way for a series of paranormal novella collections. Also, I get to share a cover with several of my Lustbites friends including, Mathilde Madden, Portia da Costa, Kristina Lloyd and Janine Ashbless.

Yaoi Splurge!



I've been feeling a bit down lately for various reasons, anyway, I thought I'd cheer myself up by having a little book buying splurge, and as I'm scheduled to write a post on Yaoi and Asian influences in my writing for Lustbites sometime soon, I picked up some research material among my other choices.




So, currently on my bedside table:

Il Gatto Sul G (1&2), Tooko Miyagi
Virtuoso di Furore, Uki Ogasawara
Death Note, Takeshi Obata& Tsugumi Ohba
Zowie it's Yaoi!: Western Girls Write Hot Stories of Boys Love, Ed. Marilyn Jaye Lewis
The Cutting Room, Louise Welsh
and
Howl's Moving Castle, Diana Wynne Jones.

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Recently watched: Young & Dangerous 6: Born to be King (I'm in love with Ekin Cheng's collarbone. I actually made my other half rewind it so I could have a second look. Phew! As if the tattoo across his chest wasn't excitement enough in 4.)
Currently listening to: Dead Can Dance by Dead Can Dance
Currently reading: Il Gatto Sul G 2 by Tooko Miyagi

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Like I didn't know that already...

You Should Learn Japanese

You're cutting edge, and you are ready to delve into wacky Japanese culture.
From Engrish to eating contests, you're born to be a crazy gaijin. Saiko!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Compromising blog silence...


Ah, demon-novella, I love you, but why do you have to make life so hard?

Last few days have been a nightmare of wrong words. I'd reached a point in the story where the lust between the main characters and demonic shapeshifting finally collide, and guess what - could I write it? Like hell. Couldn't skip it either. It's an important scene and a major turning point, so for days I've been skirting around the edges of it, plugging away at it without ever really getting down to the deed.

Last night... enforced breakthrough! Well, I hope. I haven't read it back yet!

I swear sometimes it feels as though I'm running around trying to capture imprints of my characters between the pages of my notebook a la Lady Cottington's squished faeries. It makes for a pretty horrible mess.

Next chapter isn't shaping up to be any better... sigh... back to wrestling words onto the page. Wish me luck...

nb. The image is copyright Brian Froud, click on it to check out his work on his website.
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Recently watched: Alien vs Predator (barmy fun)
Currently listening to: Passage in Time by Dead Can Dance & Whiplash by James
Currently reading: Banana Fish Volume 5 by Akimi Yoshida

Saturday, February 17, 2007

New Website



Phew! It's finally done. It's taken a week, but I've finished and uploaded my new website. I think it's far more interesting and personal now, and it contains all sorts of extras and titbits that the old one didn't, including deleted scenes from my novels, book banners, maps and music. Please go and check it out and let me know what you think.

Right, back to demon novella...
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Recently watched: Nowt
Currently listening to: My Dark Designs radioblogclub playlist.
Currently reading: Asking for Trouble by Kristina Lloyd.

Weekness!


So half-term is nearly over, and what do I have to show for it? Well...erm... I finally have a bath panel on my bath. That's progress, isn't it?

It's been a bad week for writing. I haven't even considered doing anything with demon-novella, since Monday en route to meet the lovely Mathilde Madden for lunch. We had a long, long chat and didn't feel even a teensy need to do any shopping. Why do people assume that just cause you're in a shopping mall you're going to shop? Coffee lady was very perplexed by that one.

Anyway, writing... nothing since the few paragraphs about the gorgeous purple carpet on the train. My excuse, if I need one, is that I've been totally revamping my website. It's been bugging me for a while. I like it the way it is, but it's not really me. This new version is definitely me, and I hope it's more friendly. I'll be doing the switch over soon, once I've finished tweaking. Just don't expect anything amazing, okay, this is me designing it.

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Recently watched: Initial D (Enjoyable, especially worth it for seeing Anthony Wong getting dropped down the stairs) & Silent Hill (Who on earth puts Sean Bean in a film as an afterthought?).
Currently listening to: Other half hooked on Animamundi (or Animal Monday, as it's now been branded by my son), which I've now finished.
Currently reading: Asking for Trouble by Kristina Lloyd.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day


















Just a quick post to say get yourselves over to Lustbites and enter our fabulous Valentine's competition. There are four delicious piles of books to win, each containing a copy of Sex in Public and three other titles. All you have to do is leave a comment to enter, although there is a little quiz thing to try too if you want.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Animamundi Review

Animamundi: The Dark Alchemist (Originally reviewed for ERWA).


Before I start this review, I thought it would be useful to explain something about the genre from which Animamundi has emerged. Extremely popular in Japan, dating sims are primarily an excuse for hentai with a touch of emotional depth, if you’re lucky. Generally, you control one character and make key decisions in a simple narrative to charm, cajole, and canoodle your way into the beds of the supporting cast. This concept is still at the heart of Animamundi, but Hirameki, have taken the concept to a whole new level with their Animaplay range of CD-ROM games.

Animamundi is part interactive visual novel, part strategy game, part collectable treasure hunt. It’s perhaps best described as a ‘read-your-own adventure’ novel for adults, with multiple endings. It is definitely not just a videogame, a role-playing adventure or a linear narrative.

Anima Mundi is a Latin term, which describes the alchemical soul of the world. Appropriate, since alchemy is one of the specific themes of this game.

You are Count Georik Zaberisk, an improvished nobleman and former royal physician. Georik was forced to resign his post to care for his fragile younger sister Lillith. When Lillith is accused of witchcraft and beheaded by a mob of angry villagers, she somehow survives, and Georik is determined to restore her through the outlawed and forbidden art of alchemy. He is aided and abetted by a supporting cast that includes his friends Count St Germant and Viscount Mikhail Ramphet, Captain of the Royal Guards.

The story takes you on a journey through a cosmopolitan renaissance version of Europe, ruled by a crumbling monarchy, to the very shores of heaven and the darkest pits of hell. The imagery is beautiful and heavily influenced by both the manga and anime genres, although it is two-dimensional, and views like a slideshow rather than smooth animation. There is also a strong yaoi flavour to the game, but it can be played from a purely heterosexual angle.

Personally I’m a sucker for pretty men with long flowing hair, but what actually hooked me about Animamundi was the seriously immersive and twisty storylines. Alchemy aside, you are also confronted with politics, serial killers, angels, demons, and erm… the Hellfire club. The scenario is also charged with eroticism. Unlike other games in the genre, it lacks actual graphic depictions of sex, but this increases the impact of the tense clinches and half-unwilling kisses when they do occur. The game isn’t nearly as unflinching when it comes to violence, however. Many of the images and themes are exceedingly dark and disturbing, or even genuinely horrific. But this is not gore for gore’s sake, and shocking and as some of the images and concepts presented are, they also add emotional depth to the story. This is a world where morality is measured in shades of grey.

It’s worth noting at this point that the musical score and Japanese voice acting add both impact and depth to the story. I think it was a wise move to keep the character’s original voices and translate the prose only into English.

As stated, there are several possible endings. Some are good, some are bad, and some.. well, that depends on what you define as closure, really. It’s hard to summarize my feelings at the end of each journey because in reality they cover a whole range of emotions from anger, to tears, to genuine delight. My first trip through Animamundi ended in tragedy and the teeth grinding frustration of a ‘bad’ end, but successive attempts were increasingly rewarding. It does help that you can fast-forward through the parts you’ve seen before. Even once I’d got an ending I loved, I still kept playing, because each variant only gives you part of the story, leaving other threads loose until you chase certain characters along their individual destinies… and yes, I wanted to see who I could get into bed with each other. I won’t say which one was my favourite pairing because it’d give far too much away.


Animamundi is every bit as engrossing as a really good book and infinitely more addictive. As a writer my time is invariably precious, and it did take a fair slice out of my life, but yes, it was worth it, and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys exploring the darker side of the human psyche and the concepts of sexual ambiguity, alchemy, morality and spirituality. If you’re looking for light, fluffy, and wholesome, stay well clear.

Animamundi is published by Karin Entertainment, part of the Hirameki International Group Inc and available from J-list and Amazon . You can view the trailer here.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Snow excuse

It snowed yesterday, so like virtually everyone else, I took the day off. I love snow... It makes everything so pretty, and it brings back lovely memories of LRP at midnight in the snow, making people crawl through tunnels full of sugar puffs (the breakfast cereal, not anything else) and scaring the wits out of people. Hoo hoo! Cue manic evil grin.

We've begun plotting the next LRP event. I'm pretending otherwise, though, because I know if I let myself, I'll get sucked in wholesale and start devising fiendish puzzles and elaborate costumes, and really, I need to finish at least demon-novella first.

On which subject, I haven't posted recently because I've been working. Really. Not that you'd think it to look at my word count. Not that word count is everything! The thing is, I'm such a perfectionist, I have to go back and edit as I go along, which means I can work all day tweaking and actually have a word count lower than it was at the start of the day...sigh.

Other stuff:
Over at Lustbites today, the lovely Wendy (aka Portia da Costa) is talking about the famous inspirations for her books Continuum and Gothic Blue. Anyway, I thought I'd join in the fun and post my inspiration for Demon-novella lead.

Yeah, yeah, no guesses as to who it is, but here's the exact image. I love this song... this video...



Oh, and for anyone who wants to know what he's singing about click here
I didn't post this version, as I find you're paying so much attention to the subs you don't actually see the images.

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Recently watched: The Fast & the Furious: Tokyo Drift (Cheese, but fun cheese. Some nice background touches re: mountain witch make-up & the ending, but really, was it absolutely necessary to have the rap soundtrack and the black American sidekick! Why couldn't it have a J-rock soundtrack and a Japanese side-kick?)
Currently listening to: Snow falling.
Currently reading: Just finished Mistral's Kiss by Laurell K Hamilton, just started, Asking for Trouble, by Kristina Lloyd.

Friday, February 02, 2007

So, not cracked up to write erotic romance...



I’m doomed. Doomed, I tell you. Why? Well, because the market at the moment is for “erotic romance”, and I can’t do it. I just don't fit the bill. For starters, as Tilly pointed out the other day, my heroes aren’t heroes, they’re anti-heroes. Secondly, I don’t do HEA (Happily Ever After). I do ambiguous, bitter-sweet, maybes, which frequently prompt one crit partner to call me a nasty lady. But I can’t be the only person who thinks saccharine-coated HEA are over rated, can I?

All this is causing serious problems with regard to demon-novella, which is to be marketed as paranormal erotic romance, as currently it features an anti-hero, an ambiguous ending, and the hottest scene so far is … erm… grimace… bad me… a dubious non-consensual m/m scene… Dammit, how did that sneak in there? It’ll have to go, of course, but I’ve no idea how I’m going to deliver the plot twist without it. Assuming it is actually a plot twist and not just a load of cobblers. I am making this up as I go along, you know.

What do you all think? Do I have to toe the line, or can I get away with it?

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Look what arrived in the post...


... a copy of the Norwegian translation of Passion of Isis. I love the change of title and almost wish I'd called the book Lotus blossoms. I wonder if that title would have made it past the editor/marketing? There was a lot of debate over the title of this book before we settled on Passion of Isis. My original title was Khamseen. The editor at the time wanted to call it Delta of Isis. Passion was a compromise, though one I'm happy with. Adie the main protagonist does spend the whole book looking for Osiris' severed cock!

It is strange, though, flicking through something you wrote and being unable to read it. Though I can make more sense of this than I could of the German translation of A Gentleman's Wager. Wonder why they decided to call her Adina throughout? Does Adie mean something in Norwegian? Anyone know?

In other news, I have a story up in the ERWA galleries. Follow the link below to read, Carn Euny.