15Mar

A Delightful Review Of “Nights of Villjamur”

Thanks to the magic of Google Ego Alerts, I spotted a new review of Nights of Villjamur over at Wertzone, a top science fiction and fantasy review blog. Here’s an outline:

what is (relatively) unusual is that the author brings an interesting prose style and a more measured pace to bear on the book. The storyline unfolds deliberately, carefully, and the book’s rich writing draws you into its world, the story and the lives of the characters in an accomplished manner… a work that immerses you in its world and demands you pay attention… this is a polished and accomplished debut novel and is well-recommended.

I’m slowly managing to calm down now, what with all the angst of waiting to see what people think.

11Mar

Patriarchy

Now this “violence against women” poll is fucking depressing reading. The summary on Lenin’s Tomb highlights the mess:

16% of people in England and Wales think it is acceptable for a man to beat his wife or girlfriend if she nags; 13% think it is acceptable for a man to beat his wife or girlfriend if she flirts with other men; 20% think it is acceptable for a man to beat his wife or girlfriend if she dresses in sexy or revealing clothing in public; 11% think it okay to beat if the wife or girlfriend doesn’t treat the man with respect; 8% think it okay to beat if she is caught cheating.

Further, 36% think a woman should be held co-responsible for being raped if she is drunk; 26% if she is wearing revealing or sexy clothing; 43% if she flirts heavily beforehand; 49% if she does not clearly say ‘no’; 42% if she is using drugs; 47% if she is a prostitute; 14% if she is out walking alone at night.

What’s particularly interesting is the balance between the percentages for male and female responses. There’s something seriously wrong here.

7Mar

Nights of Villjamur: The Playlist

A stack of tunes I deemed to be the soundtrack to Nights of Villjamur. Song, then artist/band. Some irony involved. Pretty soon I’ll work out how to get this on iTunes.

Ghouls — We Are Scientists
Long Live the Queen — Frank Turner
Title And Registration — Death Cab for Cutie
Everything In Its Right Place — Radiohead
Casey’s Song — City and Colour
Alina’s Place — Fredrik
Round Here — Counting Crows
32 Flavors — Ani DiFranco
Flamenco Sketches — Miles Davis
Against All Odds — The Postal Service
John Wayne Gacy Jr. — Sufjan Stevens
We Flood Empty Lakes — Yndi Halda
Giving Up The Ghost — DJ Shadow
The Limit To Your Love — Feist
I Love The Rain The Most — Joe Purdy
Archive It Everywhere — Youthmovies
Just Watch The Fireworks — Jimmy Eat World
Silver Stallion — Cat Power
Queremos Paz — Gotan Project
Mojo Pin — Jeff Buckley
Take Five — Dave Brubeck
Mayonaise — Smashing Pumpkins
Pardon Me (Acoustic) — Incubus
This Could Be Anywhere In The World — Alexisonfire
Journey — Nitin Sawhney
Sleeping In — The Postal Service
I Might Be Wrong — Radiohead
Pagan Angel and a Borrowed Car — Iron & Wine
Dusk and Summer — Dashboard Confessional
Can’t Have It All — Jay Brannan
Ballad Of A Thin Man — Bob Dylan
Pink Moon — Nick Drake
How Soon Is Now — The Smiths
We Are All Very Worried About You — Fun Lovin’ Criminals
Over — Portishead
New Born — Muse
Can’t Stand Me Now — The Libertines
Pot Kettle Black — Wilco
Sure Shot — Beastie Boys
Morning Theft — Jeff Buckley
Midnight Lullaby — Tom Waits
Use Somebody — Kings Of Leon
Rock the Casbah — The Clash
Twice — Little Dragon
Hunted By a Freak — Mogwai
Shampoo Suicide — Broken Social Scene
Nantes — Beirut
Watch The World Cave In — The New Amsterdams
Orange Sky — Alexi Murdoch
45 Forever — The All New Adventures Of Us
The Thrill Is Gone — Chet Baker
New York City Serenade — Bruce Springsteen
Open Heart Zoo — Martin Grech
A Certain Romance — Arctic Monkeys
Hold On — Tom Waits
The Girl — City And Colour
Beautiful Day — Donavon Frankenreiter
Since I’ve Been Loving You — Led Zeppelin
I’m Old Fashioned — John Coltrane
Made Up Love Song #43 — Guillemots
Everything You Need — Adem
Scenic World — Beirut
Insomnia — Electric President
On — Bloc Party
Mr. Brightside — The Killers
Icky Thump — White Stripes
Diesel Power — The Prodigy
Hearts Burst Into Fire — Bullet for My Valentine
Konstantine — Something Corporate
Couches In Alleys (feat. Ben Gibbard) — Styrofoam

4Mar

More Updates, An Extract, & A Review

Well, I’ve been looking at the page proofs for Nights of Villjamur, which displays the layout of the book. How it will actually look in the real thing. And I’m getting a fetish for the font they’ve used—yes I am that much of a geek. I don’t know what it is yet, but I’ll find out. It’s pretty. And this raises a point: I don’t know about anyone else, but can a font change your perception of the actual book? I’m convinced it helps alter the mood slightly, and perhaps for some even the overall impression.

And there’s an excerpt of the first chapter over at Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist. It went up a week or so ago.

Finally: how lovely, a great review at Speculative Horizons.

24Feb

The Impossible Art Of Writing For Women

I don’t know what this is becoming so much of a fascination for me at the moment, but there’s an interesting article on the Guardian blog about the impossible art of ‘writing for women’.

Yet surely any notion of “writing for women” – of an innately female form, style or content – is absurd. Woman as monolith simply does not exist: either as one who likes chocolate and shopping, or one who has freed her mind from the shackles of patriarchal oppression and is fighting the good fight against “man [and] the imbecilic capitalist machinery”.

As all feminists (and indeed hopefully all women) would agree, any fixed idea about what women like to read or write about is stupid – even dangerous. It reduces all women to the most limiting sort of stereotype. Of course, stereotypes exist for a reason: newspapers offer endless supplements stuffed with diet, cooking and sex advice because this guarantees a particular female readership. And yes, chick lit has an almost exclusively female audience and sells in its droves – hundreds of times better than worthier “literary” efforts. It has done for centuries and in all its incarnations, from wildly popular 19th-century pulp romances to Mills & Boon and Jilly Cooper, it has mainly been written by women for women…

The idea of “women’s writing” is so limiting that many of the best female writers try to stay as far away from it as possible. AS Byatt has famously refused to allow her novels to be entered for the female-only Orange prize; indeed the prize has been called into question by sensible female writers everywhere.