Art vomit and wet dreams of the Sleeping god

So, it’s been a while.

For anyone whose been paying attention I’ve been doing more tweeting recently – not something I’d necessarily planned, but it seems to be a good way of sharing stuff, such as my artwork. I’ve been suffering a bit from art vomit recently (anyone seen Mean Girls? You can own up, this is a safe space) and tweeting the results is a good way for me to pass them about as they end up not only on the twitter tape here (lower down the side bar) but also get ported across to my FB page as well by the social media demons.

There’s been a few new developments over the last couple of weeks though, so I thought it was high time I did a proper post.

First off, after a great deal of hassle with the formatting (page numbers just would not play on Open Office) the physical edition of His Staying Hand has finally made it into the light of day. You can find it here on Amazon, or just click on the cover image to the left and then follow Amazon’s own link on the kindle edition page to its paperback format.

This volume includes Ikari and Timo’s Journey to the Dragon’s Graveyard (yes, that is a cartoon reference – prize for anyone who has spotted the other one? Post in the comments section below).

A word on the boy’s jaunt, as I’ve had a few people asking about it: this story falls in between the closing action of book two and the opening of book three. It’s a part of the story that needs telling before we sit down for the closing night of the show (volume three), and is important for the light it sheds on the nature of the Garden, and the Nym’s back story.

The other bit of news to share concerns one of my side projects; I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned Filthy Gore on here before or not.

Basically, after finishing Orphans and making it out of the self publishing mire in one piece I felt the (quite understandable, I feel) need for a break. To do something fun, light hearted, and all importantly unconnected with the Journals as a whole and Hand in particular.

Two short stories were the result.

Tom of Faerie started life as a bit of smut and a couple of sketches in my journal, on the train ride home from work one evening.

Fulcrum I *think grew out of a hangover, though I couldn’t swear to it. Some of the imagery I’ve been carrying around for a while, waiting for a home that fit. Other thoughts and ideas came fresh once I started writing.

Both are an attempt to write something honest and upfront, where I could be myself without any need to elide (as I have done in Orphans and Hand. Ask my husband how many sex scenes were cut from the first book).

The idea with the Filthy Gore ‘imprint’ (if you will) is that I might produce more as and when, without the pressures of them being an actual ‘series’ in the classical sense. The link here is one of tone and theme-of-content more than anything else. I might continue to pursue the paranormal (I’ve a few ideas along those lines), but then I might end up producing something completely different.

Time will tell.

For the time being please do enjoy/raise an eyebrow at these initial offerings.

Tom is available here.

Fulcrum can be found here.

That’s it for now. Keep an eye out on GladeFaun for the continuing art deluge and I’ll catch you next time.



A Dichotomy of Swans

Howdy all. Hope everyone’s enjoying their year so far?

Mine began with fire and magic lanterns, but has rather quickly descended into mundanity once more. C’est la vie, n’es pa?

So, to the matter at hand.

Towards the end of last year one of the things I did was finally sit down and watch Black Swan. It’s a film I’ve been wanting to see pretty much since its release at the cinema, but circumstances at the time precluded that and I’ve not had the opportunity since. So when I spotted it coming up on Channel 4 it seemed the ideal opportunity. Darren Aronofsky is one of my favourite directors, ever since first seeing The Fountain. In that, I love the use of imagery to tell the interweaving stories, and I was hoping for something similarly surreal.

I wasn’t disappointed.

I did a fair bit of performance throughout my academic career, as a musician, and one of the most powerful things that struck me with Black Swan was the way it placed you within the mental space of someone striving to achieve within that field. The almost, but not quite, first person camera angles, combined with the visual hints that slowly build throughout the film really put you in Nina’s mind space.

Natalie Portman, and Mila Cunis both, I found compelling. I’m going to use the word ‘visceral’ here, and hope that nobody mocks me for it.

As is often the case with me, and other people I’m sure after experiencing a powerful work of art, my inspiration and desire to create was fired up. I am, however, willing to bet that there aren’t many other people out there for whom the reaction to the above film would be ‘I want to design some swan power armour’.

Bear with me whilst I plot for you the slightly convoluted path that led to this point.

When I was writing my first novel, one of the main characters I created for it was Lyana, a swan may. Basing her and her brothers and sisters loosely on the legend that tells of a maiden who may transform into a swan with the aid of a cloak of feathers, I took further inspiration from the Matthew Bourne production of Swan Lake and the Final Fantasy film The Spirit Within. I wanted to present them as primal, warrior figures, rather than the virginal maidens they more traditionally are. I therefore gave them the ability to manifest power armour as part of their glamour.

So, swan faerie shapeshifters with tank-like robotic suits.

Hence, the below was born.

I wanted to give each suit its own feel, in an attempt to represent the traditional aspects of the black and white swans from Tchaikovsky’s ballet. The black therefore being quite brash, overt and obviously militant, whilst the white is much more pure of form.

See what you think:

Black Swan Power Armour

White Swan Power Armour - Interceptor Mode

The pilots are included to give an idea of scale, and also affiliation/leaning. It’s difficult to convey sass at that scale, but that’s what I was going for with the first, whilst the second’s dreadlocks probably aren’t as clear as they should be. I was quite pleased with the sleek lines though, pretty much exactly what I wanted. As my husband put it: “very Richard Branson”.

Enough for now. Many thanks for reading.

Musical cue

I was at work on Saturday, doing my thing, when the following thought train came through my station:

‘Music provides an auditory cue, in instances where a group of strangers find themselves sharing space, as to how you should feel. It allows such a group to be comfortable together in such a communal space, without the need to look to each other for emotional cues.’

I feel like I should elucidate a little.

While I was at University I did some work on looking at the role music plays in our lives. It, unlike any other art form, speaks directly to your emotions. There is a long and complicated bit here that I ought to go in to regards musical language, and what that language has come to mean to use, within western society, that affects the way we interpret the sounds we hear. I’m not going to do that, largely as I don’t currently have access to the relevant resources to back up said information (my dissertation lurks on a floppy disk as we speak, along with – I hope – the later part of my second attempt at novel writing, from way back in the noughties).

For those of you experiencing skepticism, I direct you to the reaction (most) people have to film music. It being the most obvious, and culturally pandemic instance of what I’m talking about.

I was thinking in terms of shop music here, obviously, given I work in one. But music in any such ‘public’ situation would function the same. Think of that old cliche, elevator music. What’s it there for, if not to stop everyone in that confined space from feeling uncomfortable? It gives you all something to focus on that isn’t the proximity of so many strangers, even if that focus could be roughly summed up as ‘what is this awful racket?!?’ (A sentiment I hear repeated often where I work – it’s a surprisingly effective ice breaker).

To sum up, the point I’m making here is that the suggestion of how you ‘should feel’ mentioned above is not a personal one. That would be brain washing, and unless I’m missing a trick we’ve not come that far yet. This is not Doll House, or The Happiness Patrol. No, the cue is more of an atmospheric one, intended to suggest an overall mood for the room, discreet from your own state of mind, and (more importantly) buffering it from everybody else’s.

Think of it like an emotional entourage. They keep the riff-raff off, and give you space to do as you please. But you can still engage if you choose to, with a nod to your head of security.

Handy stuff.