Last month I shared a sneak peak of some photo art that will appear in Scar Tissue and Other Stories, which I’ll be releasing when my Patreon reaches $100 a month. (Only $20 a month to go, guys!)
I only have three more stories to write for that collection, too! One will be set in the Kitty and Cadaver universe, another in the Ravenfall universe, and the third will be a take on the Orpheus legend.
These images, however, belong to the flash fiction series Lost and Found, based on photographs of lost/found objects I’ve taken on my wanderings. I won’t give you titles this time, though I encourage you to post your guesses about where the photos come from. 🙂
As with the previous images, these embellished photographs are from pictures I’ve taken myself and then fiddled with in the Enlight program on my iPad.
If you’re considering supporting me on Patreon, I already have SO MUCH there for you to read and enjoy, whatever your support level. Every supporter gets an e-copy of the re-release of Duo Ex Machina Book 1: Fly By Night and in due course, every supporter will get the e-book of Scar Tissue and Other Stories.
Supporters at the $1 ‘Fly By Nighters’ level will see posts on my research (books, Melbourne, locations) as well as poems and lyrics (many of the latter will be used in the third Duo Ex Machina book, Number One Fan.)
Supporters at the $3 ‘Backstage Pass’ level can read all the Fly By Nighter level post, as well as all the chapters of the edited, re-released Duo Ex Machina Book 2: Sacrifice that have been posted to date, sneak peaks of works in progress or stories about to be released (including the recently released ‘The Problem of the Three Journals’ in Baker Street Irregulars: The Game is Afoot) and the upcomiong Holmes♥Watson romance A Dream to Build a Kiss On.
‘Class Act’ supporters ($5 a month) get all of those two tiers plus bi-monthly writing tutorials – two are currently there for the reading, with a third due at the end of May.
And if you’re a ‘Name that Tune’ supporter at $10 a month, you get naming rights within one story a year, and an ebook when it’s available!
So if the mood takes you to support my writing via Patreon, you have a lot of reading to get on with from the start! And of course my eternal thanks! Not to mention other rewards, which are listed for each tier.
It’s my week for writing about writers I love. Today it’s Tansy Rayner Roberts and her Creature Court series. Power and Majesty, The Shattered City and Reign of Beastsare a remarkable, richly realised, unpredictable and deeply satisfying dark fantasy trilogy about ancient battles, strange festivals, and shape shifters who can turn into one big beast or dozens of littler ones – with the bonus of really gorgeous frocks.
So imagine my delight to discover that the trilogy is being re-released, along with a brand new story! And imagine the delight doubled when I learned that the fabulously talented Kathleen Jennings would be providing art for the books!
If you want to know more about the books and the Kickstarter campaign, I asked Tansy Rayner Roberts a few questions.
Why have you decided to re-release the Creature Court series through a Kickstarter?
Kickstarter is still one of the best ways to crowdfund a substantial arts or publishing project if you have costs to be covered up front. After running the successful Mother of Invention campaign for Twelfth Planet Press last year I have confidence in my own ability to handle a more personal campaign. I knew I wanted to bring Creature Court back into print after I got the rights back last year, but doing it through Kickstarter means I can release them all at once, paying for fantastic new art and design.
You’ve mentioned the original three books and a fourth, new book, Cab aret of Monsters. Which books is the Kickstarter supporting?
The Kickstarter is for all four books. I decided to write a prequel novella set in the same world because I knew a lot of people who are close Tansy supporters (especially Australians) already have copies of the Creature Court trilogy on their shelves, and I haven’t revised the text substantially (though I have revised it). This way, there’s something new for people who have been buying my books all along!
You’re re-editing the books for the re-release. What does that entail? Why did you decide to do that?
It’s not so much a decision, to edit before a rerelease… I have been laying out the books myself and I am physically incapable of doing that without making a few changes here and there. Sometimes it’s word choice, or rephrasing. More commonly it’s basic proofing – I was particularly surprised how many errors had got through the final volume of the series as printed!
I haven’t made any huge changes though I did find an alarming inconsistency in the flashback/backstory timeline which took a little behind the scenes industrial engineering before I was happy with it. They’re still essentially the novels I wrote between 2004-2011.
How did Kathleen Jennings get involved with the project?
I asked her! Kathleen and I have known each other for a long time now, and I love her work so much. It’s been exciting seeing an Australian artist take on such big international projects. We have a similar attachment to historical aesthetics, so I knew I wanted her on board if I possibly could – and I’m so grateful she was able to make time in her schedule for me.
We’ve worked through a lot of ideas already, and I’m excited to see how the books turn out. One of Kathleen’s talents is extremely detailed silhouette art which she creates with cut paper. We also have a great cover designer, Cathy Larsen, who will be producing the typography with vintage fonts to get across the 1920’s feel that infuses the novels.
How is her art going to be used in the re-rereleases and the new, fourth book of the series?
Book covers primarily – four book covers in one year is a major commitment (it helps a lot when you can pay the artist, hence the Kickstarter) but it’s really exciting to have all of them designed at the same time, and allows us to have a real coherence across the covers.
The novella cover will be developed over the next month or so and then the trilogy later in the year. I also commissioned some pieces up front so I could show our backers the visual style that we were aiming for – hence the lovely flapper with sword banner on the main Kickstarter page, and the iconic Art Deco pin design which Kathleen produced.
Several of our rewards including postcards will be based on Kathleen’s art… and I’m really hoping we make our stretch goals so I can offer the beautiful enamel pin in a variety of colours.
If you could turn into an animal (or a whole lot of little ones) – what animal would it be?
My first instinct was to wonder what animal is most industrious. I’ll take ten of those! Though cats have a pretty great life. I could happily live out my years as a sleepy bed full of cats.
The Splendid Chaps team know a lot about sound. They ran the smash hit podcast Splendid Chaps in 2013, and then spun that off into the audio science fiction comedy series Night Terrace, in which Jackie Woodburne (Susan Kennedy, Neighbours) plays a grumpy Doctor-Who-like figure who is annoyed to find her house can travel in time and space.
They know how sound can affect others, but how does it affect them? We asked them to choose their favourite love songs.
Ben McKenzie (producer, writer, “Eddie”)
I love a lot of love songs – most of the Magnetic Fields’ 69 Love Songs for starters – but I think my favourite is one not connected in my mind to a specific romance. It’s also one I would pick – if pressed – as my favourite song of all. Almost Like Being In Love, specifically the version by Nat King Cole. It’s full of joy, excitement and surprise – it captures exactly the feeling of realising that you’re falling in love.
Whenever I feel happy it’s the song that leaps to mind. Like most people I was introduced to it via Groundhog Day but it stands on it’s own thanks to Nat’s voice, which I love, and the lyrics’ embrace of love in general. In the musical Brigadoon, which first popularised the song, it shows how the magical town makes people feel a strange euphoria when visiting. So really it’s a love song for the big loves: love of life, of people, of the world around you. I can’t get enough of it.
Petra Elliott (co-creator, “Sue”)
God, this is a tough one, since I’m not currently experiencing romantic love, and any songs that previously had nice gooey sentiments attached have now been ruined.
Except for this one:
Somersault, sung by the beautiful Sia when she was performing with Zero 7. It’s just so gorgeous, the music is happy, calming, uplifting and the lyrics are passionate and grateful. They detail the type of person I would totally fall in love with: someone who’s there for you (and others) no matter what, who’ll witness your life, share the delicious moments and get you through the not so nice ones.
Lee Zachariah (co-creator, writer)
Love Me Do by The Beatles.
Keep it simple: the key to a great love song. Profession of love. Promise of faithfulness. Polite request for reciprocation. No muss, no fuss. And best use of a harmonica this side of Dylan.
David Ashton (writer, sound designer)
She’s An Angel by They Might Be Giants
Like most They Might Be Giants songs, this one is dense with oddly phrased and oddly specific imagery, but nevertheless this is a song that really captures the giddy rush of falling in love. In the halting rhythm of the verses there’s a sense of disbelief – can this really be happening to me? (“I don’t think anyone’s noticed so I’ll try to act nonchalant”). In the chorus this gives way to slippery-slide guitar and the sheer joy of doing crazy stuff with someone you love.
John Richards (producer, writer)
I was originally going to say the Madness version of It Must Be Love (which I was shocked to discover today was a cover! I had no idea!). But instead I’ll go for one of my other all-time favourite pop songs, and pick Bury Me Deep In Love by The Triffids. Whereas It Must Be Love is about the traditional boy-meets-girl version of love, The Triffids celebrate the version that happens when a rock climber falls off a cliff and dies. No, stay with me.
It’s a song about looking after each other, about the responsibility we share to others – even strangers – through our common humanity. It pleads for us to take care of each other, and hopes we will be taken care of in return. It’s simply beautiful, complete with glorious reverb-drenched late-80s over-production. The band never sounded this slick again (or indeed looked this slick – check out Jill Birt’s hat in the video). But the pleading core of the song is to love each other, and that’s something we can all work harder to do.
Night Terrace is currently crowd-funding a second season. You can find out more – and hear the entire first episode for free – at Kickstarter: Night Terrace
In March, I am writing about some Cranky Ladies of History across my Kitty and Cadaver (Euphemia Allen), Mortal Words (Lola Montez) and Adventurous Hearts blogs, in honour and support of the Cranky Ladies of History anthology Pozible campaign. The contents of the book haven’t been finalised, but the anthology has submissions from amazing writers like Karen Healey, Jane Yolen, Rob Shearman, Foz Meadows, Kirstyn McDermott, Garth Nix and Deborah Biancotti!
In the 17th Century, all ladies were demure and well behaved and knew their societal place.
How about OH HELL NO as your answer?
No doubt there’s a long list of fabulous women who bucked that particular trend, but my favourite is Julie d’Aubigny – opera singer, lover and oh yes, very definitely a fighter.
Too much woman to restrict herself to only half the population for the purposes of good lovin’, d’Aubigny – also known as La Maupin – took both men and women as lovers. She dressed as a bloke. She fought duels – and killed a few men as well, which isn’t precisely admirable, but let’s face it, as a person who refused to be confined by gender stereotypes, she refused with gusto.
Among her famous exploits, she’s said to have learned fencing from one of her lovers, a fellow named Serannes. When they had to flee Paris due to a little contretemps over having killed someone in a duel, she and loverboy ran low on funds, so she kept a roof over their heads by giving fencing displays and singing opera.
She apparently left Serannes for a young woman, whose family tried to hide her in a monastery. Folks, you cannot hide a woman from another woman by putting her in a walled building filled with women. Not when one of those women is La Maupin, at any rate. It’s said that d’Aubigny, ever the improviser with flair, entered the nunnery as a novice, then found a dead nun to put into her lover’s bed, grabbed said lover by the hand and took off into the night. Not forgetting to set fire to the nunnery first, to cover their tracks. It didn’t last, alas, but I’ll bet they had a good time while it did.
Still dressing as a man at times, La Maupin sang and fought duels. Infamously, she stabbed one fellow in the shoulder, discovered he was the son of a Duke, and promptly popped around to seduce him while he was recovering – successfully.
She even persuaded a later lover to get the King to grant her a pardon for the crimes of kidnapping, bodysnatching and arson that were hanging over from the ol’ nunnery escapade. (Ironically, after this wild and deliciously wicked life, she retired from the opera into a convent. She died in around 1707. Presumably not from some new madcap genderqueer singing swashbuckler setting her convent on fire.)