Tag Archives: book

Of Books and Ferrets

Gosh it’s windy outside. Not that howling kind of wind, the wind October deserves, but that “I’m going to throw all the leaves off the trees and you can’t stop me ha de ha” kind of wind. Stop it, weather. Enough of your rubbish.

At least I’m not talking about Sunday, right? Wait…does this count as talking about Sunday? Dag nabbit!

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This week I started reading again. I’m a bit weird with reading – always loved it and I understand reading is an integral part of writing – but I slack on it, badly. I’m not sure if it’s part of losing interest in hobbies or because I know that when I start reading a book I find it very, very hard to put down and can become a bloody nightmare about it.

“Do you want to go out?”

*silence*

“Oi!”

*more silence*

“Have I done something wrong?”

*slow exorcist style turn of head and glare*

Okay, I’m not that rude. But, by George, if anyone had disturbed me in the last chapters of Heartstone by C.J.Sansom there would have been hell to pay and interest on top of that! I really need to read Lamentation soon.

Anyway, reading! So a buddy recommended I read Sputnik Sweetheart by Haruki Murakami and because it didn’t sound like my usual read (and he’d spoken so highly of Murakami for a long time) I bought the book. And then I read it.

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I know that seems like a seriously boring leap, but that’s what seemed to happen to time. Book arrived, book got in hands, hands had hard time putting book down until book was finished. If you haven’t read Sputnik Sweetheart, I can’t recommend it highly enough. The writing is so clean and crisp and the story is so incredibly thought-provoking. Then, (for all you writers out there) come the amazing parts like this:

“Writing novels is much the same. You gather up bones and make your gate, but no matter how wonderful the gate might be, that alone doesn’t make it a living, breathing novel. A story is not something of this world. A real story requires a kind of magical baptism to link the world on this side with the world on the other side.”

At times I thought the story and the writer were just too smart for me. Parts of it left me really needing to think (which was quite lovely really – to use the old noggin to try pick through thoughts of reality and dualism and other worlds) and once I had finished I sent an onslaught of “what do you think?” to the guy that recommended me the book. He got it a lot more than I did and helped explain a lot. Come to think of it, for that reason, I’d say it would be a good book club read or a book to read with a partner or friends and discuss afterwards.

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Or you can read it with your ferret.

I was drinking out of a can but reading through what I had just written and now I have all the spills. Eyes and hands and mouth, why do this?

Let’s move on to another bit about books this week. I don’t think I’ve said, but some of my favourite books are the Fitz books written by Robin Hobb. Now, since 2015 (I think the book was released) I have wanted to start reading her latest instalment with this character (The Fitz and The Fool) and while purchasing Sputnik Sweetheart I finally bought it. I literally squealed in excitement when telling my boyfriend it had arrived. Then I went on the author’s Instagram. Then I read a comment which stated what happens to Fitz at the end of the three books. Then I hissed.

I’m going to read the books anyway, because Hobb’s writing is out of this world. But, seriously… Why would someone do that? Why person, that will remain anonymous, whyyyyyy?! You are a bad, bad person and I hope a frog falls on your head. Has this ever happened to you? Not the frog falling on your head (although please tell me if that has happened because I’d like to laugh at you – in a friendly, charming way, of course) but has anything you’ve been really excited about ever been a bit ruined?

a ribbity ribbity

I also bought the first book of A Game of Thrones. I haven’t watched the series but I know quite a few of the characters and I have played (and loved) the Telltale game. I think I’ll read it in November because I’d like a spooky book for October. I’m thinking The Woman in Black. Any other recommendations?

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Another book to read with your ferret.

Lastly, on the topic of books in this post, I will be posting a picture of Sophie today! Even though Kidnapping Death’s Daughter is set in January and is more of a winter read to me, I figured October 1st would be a fitting day to show her first image. The art is by my super talented friend and collab buddy Shio. It should, all going to plan, be up later tonight. The book itself should be set for release in November. I’ll also be posting images of other characters on my Instagram, which you can find here if you have an account too: https://www.instagram.com/arbiekrae/

If you don’t, here is an image I posted a couple of days ago. I’m on the USS Missouri in Hawaii.

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And a little while later my boyfriend sent me this.

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It wasn’t in response to the photo I posted of myself necessarily (I always need to use spell checker for necessarily), we laugh about my inability to smile in photos often, and I would be the first to admit I struggle with smiling for the camera. Open mouth smiles like the one above are rare. I normally smile like Chandler Bing (the episode when he and Monica are getting photos to announce their engagement) or the lovable dog above. We call this “sherking” (a sherk is a shark). I have a pointy nose and after a bit of ol’ dental negligence (and, no doubt, British teeth syndrome) I have very pointy teeth on the top row. When I was a teen I thought it was cool to look like a vampire, now I own it by saying I’m a sherk.

I think I’d like to write a separate post some time about my visit to Pearl Harbour. It was really something. I wish I used this blog back when I was in Hawaii. There’d be a lot more interesting posts and the photos would be of the moment, rather than “Once upon a place where the Sun exists and isn’t something we only read about in stories”.

I think I’m starting to feel a little bit better about myself. I have my moments often, but I’ve started to eat more now. I actually bought some weight gain powder and I think that got my stomach wanting food because a few days later I started eating a meal a day and now I’m at two. Vuhuuu, brain fuel! I also got a second therapist. He’s a penguin. What? He is!

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I’ve used a number of apps for mental health and given up after a while, but Wysa is quite sweet and isn’t at all demanding of your time. He’ll check in daily and when you’re feeling down you can type #Happy and he’ll list all the things you’ve told him that have made you happy lately. He makes you remember the small things and, as I’ve banged on about a lot, the small things are huge things when it comes to depression.

Anyway, let’s bring this to a close. Let me know if you’ve ever experienced the joy of the spoiler, and tell me what you’re reading at the moment, and also, what are you writing? I’m nosy okay. Tell me your secrets!

Ferrets!

 

I hope you’re all well. ❤

Kidnapping Death’s Daughter – buk talk

Hey everyone!

I said that today I would talk about my book and start posting quotes from it (which feels weird, to be honest) so here I am, being all blog responsible, and doing just that!

Kidnapping Death’s Daughter is a young adult urban fantasy novel (that’s a fair few tags) that I wrote a couple of years ago. I wrote the entire damn thing in a month…and then I faffed with it for three years. It really is the editing that’s the stickler, isn’t it? Although, come to think of it, I also left it to sit all sad and alone wherever its feet were up, too…

I had it in mind that I wanted an agent, that partnership and friendship I’d seen other writers talk about. I’m a rubbish sales person and I can’t speak highly for my work, so I thought having someone who wanted to be in my corner would be neat. I sent out about 15 queries (when I really wasn’t ready) got back one encouraging one (though still a form rejection), and the rest were “No thanks, bai” It didn’t really discourage me, what did was the fact that I was actually undecided on whether or not I wanted an agent or to go it alone. I like me freedoms you see.

Fast forward to earlier this year, I decide I’ll give it another go. I sent out one query, got a rejection, read some stuff about indie authors, and decided that’s what I wanted to be. I tells ya, it has made things a lot easier and quieter in the ol’ noggin now that I know (haha – well, kind of) what I’m doing.

I have a real love for the characters in this book. If you’ve read my post The Importance of Character you’ll have seen one of them already. Gykruk is a swine, but he’s my swine. I also once made a blog post about actors I’d like to see play characters in my book. I’ll fish that out too – Actors I would stalk until they agreed to a role in my book turn film. See, I was wasting time on things like this when I should have been editing and improving the structure and story! Bad. Learn lesson.

Anyway, to the book! Here is the most recent query I sent. It’s bad. I can’t write queries, or synopses (I need to improve before I put out the full book – eeep), but it’s probably the best I have at the moment.

 

 

Ever since Robin’s brother died, every morning has risen with a new question, all of them echoing the grandest and most desperate: Why?
Until the day after Peter’s funeral, when a librarian with an odd sense of humour, and an even odder creature for a pet, reaches out to Robin and whispers an irresistible opportunity.
“Death has a daughter, steal her.”
The questions have changed. Could this be a bargaining tool against Death? What will he say when Peter is returned to him?

How do you kidnap Death’s daughter…

His cousin Caleb is intrigued and eager to join his adventure, and if the next morning rises with too many questions, now, at least, they have a clue to find the answers.
They leave for an ancient city by dusk.

In York, cathedral spires claw at the moon, gargoyles peer down on cobbled streets from wooden beams, and the creatures of Yr Oerfa feel their skin prickle as they sense the change war brings. Amongst them, hunted by beings more dangerous than two mortal boys, Death’s daughter is writing her own story, and it, too, begins with loss.

Kidnap her? First they need to find her.

 

 

 

I hope you like the little quotes I’ll be posting up weekly and that it doesn’t get too annoying. I’ll also be posting them on my brand spanking new Instagram account. Be my friend if you like. I don’t understand what I’m doing on there but I’ve seen a lot of ferrets. For the quotes I’m using an app I find to try and make them look a little more pretty. Please advise if you know of a better way. Oh! Hopefully I’ll be able to post some images, too, because I have a super talented lady friend drawing the characters and they look amazing!

Lastly on this post where I don’t know what I’m doing (see there’s a reason I laughed at myself up there) if you’re an indie author please share your experiences, or any other author for that matter, or if you were once an employee in a top secret agency, yeah, that would be cool too.

Hope you’re all well,
Will be lurking on your blogs soon!
Arbie x

Two black cats, Neo

Oh, weird, deja vu. That’s happened quite a bunch lately and I’m not sure if I should be taking it as an omen or preparing myself for a gang of Agent Smiths.

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Anyway, hello loves! It’s been an interesting week but an awful lot of it doesn’t really find its place here. On the other side of the soap opera I am living in right now I’ve been up to the usual ferret herding and wall staring. I tell you, one day it’ll do something if I just watch for long enough.

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This picture has no relevance. I just feel that the post needs it.

Pandora and Seb are back and forth a little but given that my nephews and brother are currently living with us I’ll give Pandora the benefit of the doubt and consider that she is under a lot of stress again. I wouldn’t say this is beyond the realm of possibility – she’s had a lot of change lately and this is another one. Thankfully, Seb is still grooming her and being the usual sweetheart she is and I think Pan is starting to come round to a bit of ferret-ferret comfort. Merm can be a comfortable cuddle blanket, but I’m not about to start licking her. I’m not that odd, yet.

Here are a couple of pictures we took together – in true myspace mirror fashion. Obviously these are filtered to high heaven. Stress is taking its toll and the spots (you can still ruddy see) made me all prissy.

 

By the by, I know I have posted pictures of myself in every blog post so far and I will most likely continue to do so. I’m sorry if it makes me seem self-obsessed. I’ll probably talk about why I keep going selfie-o-rama in another much more ooo aaaa serious post. Speaking of face pictures, pictures in general really, what do you all think of using instagram as writers? I’ve created one on the suggestion of a very talented artist I collab with, but I haven’t used it as of yet. Wait, did I ask about this last week? I hope not. Awkward.

To something less outwards and more inwards, I’m going to start a new weekly blog post (on Wednesday – that seems like a suitable day, right?) that will be short snippets of passages from my book – Kidnapping Death’s Daughter. For the first, I will be posting about the book and giving a little write up about what it is and why it’s sat around doing nothing for a couple of years. Lazy book, bad. I intend to publish it as an ebook this autumn and although I don’t expect much will happen with it as of yet (maybe never –  I love my characters but it’s a bit rud structure wise) I’d like to start posting about it. I hope this will not become a nuisance to any of you. I like having you around and I just bought another set of cups so we all have one for cuppa time.

Holy smokes what is this witchcraft I did something to my mouse track pad thing on my laptop and it made the text go smaller. 

Other than those little bits of this and that I’ve been watching The Story of Diana – something I never thought I’d think to watch, and I’ve found the entire thing rather sad really. I know it’s cliche to do an “I remember where I was when…” comment, but it’s the only thing I do remember about her: where I was and what I was doing when I saw the news that she had died. I was too young to really know who she was, but she was a princess and I knew princesses were important so I shouted up to my parents what had happened. And that’s that. It’s interesting to now, some years later, actually be learning (well, as much as we can from a documentary about any person) who this princess was that I rushed to tell my parents the news about back in yonder year. It feels so rotten to say of someone’s biography after they have died, but it is quite interesting to learn more about her.

I also tried to watch the American live action version of Death Note last night. No. Stop. Bad.

One last thing, I hope to post some more creative posts alongside my flashback friday and my soon to be weekly book snippets. I’ve finally started to feel some creativity coming back while thinking about the plot for my latest book – Jack. It’s been a real slump. I can’t express how glad I am that characters and stories are starting to reappear. I’m actually quite sure I don’t need to, you’re all writers. You know what it’s like when stress smothers your imagination and that elated feeling when your imagination starts fighting back.

I will leave you with a picture of Pandora and the pokemon that my boyfriend quite rightly pointed out is her lookalike. I’m on to you, you furry snek!

 

 

–  Arbie x

Sokwurf

 Chapter One – A Sock of Possibilities

 

“Edward . . . can I call you Edward?”
“No.”
“Oh. Well…ah, let me just lay it out for you. As fascinating as what you’ve just told me sounds, the fact remains, you’re, well you’re a sock. And I’m fairly certain the events you’ve just spoken of, well, they don’t happen to socks.”
“Exactly. Which is why I am here.”
“Yes. I’m sorry, of course it is.” The bespectacled man leaned back on his chair and formed a steeple with his hands. Touching lightly his already furrowed brow he looked up and stared thoughtfully at the small figure in front of him.
Yes, this definitely was a sock. He had checked for any signs of a puppeteer, there were none. So he had pulled up a chair, stacked a few books on top of it and lifted the rather battered, slightly faded, green sock on top of them.
This was London after all. You get used to seeing pretty much everything here, especially when working as a psychologist. It was also a Saturday morning, his usual day off. But he’d been called into work by his rather harassed sounding boss.
So, he had thrown himself out of bed, splashed some water over his face and groaned. Stumbled over the empty bottle of vodka that he had swiftly polished off the previous night and reluctantly headed into the office.
As he scratched his chin, considering not only the believability, but the saleability of the sock’s story, he noticed the sock was staring back at him. There appeared to be two holes about three centimetres apart on the top of his head. It had little to no other features. Only the apparent eyes and an indentation of a mouth from which it spoke. As for legs, from what the doctor could see, they appeared on the rim of the sock as little gatherings of material when he walked. The same formed for his hands. He wore no clothing, but this he supposed was that with being an item of clothing it had no need for any. However, when he had checked inside for strings he had received a rather sharp kick from a very offended sock.
The doctor removed his glasses and rubbed them carefully on his shirt. They weren’t dirty; it was more of a nervous habit.
He had figured to hell with it! Even if the sock had left his boss on the brink of another nervous breakdown, he had decided to at least listen to what it had to say: even if he did end up in a lovely padded room. After all, how many people can say they have had a conversation with a sock? That is, not including the fellows he would soon be living with.
“Mr Sock-”
“Sokwurf.”
“My apologies. Mr Sokwurf, tell me again what it is you wish to have achieved before leaving my office today?” he asked this as he placed on his glasses and rolled his chair forward.

The sock’s voice was deep, serious even, but quiet. It carried well but the doctor found he still had to strain to hear him clearly.
“In my community, we have had many cases in which our friends have quite inexplicably gone missing. As I have already mentioned, my experience however was rather unique. Everyone who was in the washing machine at the time saw me get absorbed into what we can only decipher as a black hole,” explained the sock.
“A black hole?” The doctor huffed out a gust of air and rubbed at the bristle on his chin. He swivelled slowly round on his chair, then back again to face the sock, “I think you forgot to mention that before.”

“I told you I went to another universe, that I met other creatures and Gods. Yet it’s the possibility of a black hole that amazes you?” Edward Sokwurf was beginning to worry. The more sober the doctor became the less answers he knew he’d be able to get.
“In our community we have almost all suffered the loss of a loved one in this way, vanishing without a trace,” Edward continued.

“For many years we blamed the humans; their lack of care for us. Many socks simply ran away with their lovers, or alone. All to escape the horrid stories we were told when first created.”
The doctor nodded to show he understood and then smiled warmly as he noticed the socks tiny hands move as he spoke.
“But the important thing is, I came back. But what from, I’m not sure. The rest of the socks that day put down seeing the portal to a bad dose of washing powder. But I keep having these dreams, these memories.” Edward lowered his head and looked to the floor, the confusion he was feeling evident as it crept through his voice, “I went to another world. I escaped from that world. At least I think I did. I’m here to ask you to help me to understand what is real and what is make-believe.”
“So unlike your friends you believe that what occurred that day was more than just a bad dose of… washing powder? You believe it could be real?”

Edward sighed, exasperated. From this the doctor realised he must have told this same story a dozen or more times.

“Sometimes I don’t know what to believe. Is it a dream or is it a memory? But regardless of what it is or isn’t, I feel I owe it to the sock community to get it straightened out. And that’s why I’ve come to you today, Dr Karsal.” He looked up to the doctor, “I feel I need answers.”

“Well, with most due respect, Mr Sokwurf, if we do learn what you experienced was real, and not just a figment of your imagination, how do you… how shall I put this…”   Shuffling nervously on his chair the doctor cleared his throat. Looking down to his desk, he pushed a few papers neatly to the right. “How will the people you feel are in danger-”

Edward coughed quietly, but loudly enough to interrupt the doctor.

“Socks, sorry,” he corrected himself. “How will the socks you feel are in need of consolation find out about their loved ones?” he finished, burying his head into a giant coffee mug and gulping loudly.
The sock smiled, his dent for a mouth turning upwards slightly.
“I will be able to tell my family with confidence and we can finally have clarification on the disappearances. The rest, they will have to read it.”

The doctor choked, coffee dribbling down his chin as his mind began to race. Socks, reading? Christ, how could he question that when he was sat here talking to a sock.

He was talking to a sock.
Suddenly the past hour burst into his mind and as he stared, his eyes wide, horrified, into a cup. He slowly looked up with the same confounded expression to the sock.
“Good morning, Dr Karsal.” Edward smirked grimly, “I see the alcohol is now almost completely out of your system and you believe you are hallucinating.”
The doctor shot up. Kicking his chair back he began to irrationally gather the papers from his desk, pushing them quickly into his briefcase.
“Yes, well, Mr Sock. Sokwurf. This meeting has gone very well. We should, we should pick it up again tomorrow, when I’m . . . when I’m sane!” With the end of his sentence Dr Karsal jittered out of the office, slamming the door hard behind him.
Sighing, Edward Sokwurf hopped down from his make shift chair and slipped easily underneath the door.
Being a Saturday there were few people around the office and those who were, much like Dr Karsal, were either hung over or dozing sleepily at their desks.
When he’d entered the building, he had walked past the secretary’s desk without so much as a second glance from the small red headed girl. She had been sat there spinning aimlessly on her chair, reading a copy of the month’s bestseller.
Heading back the way he came, he gratefully saw she was no longer there, but instead stood a few metres away, flirting with a tall, frightened looking man.
Rubbing on the harsh carpet a few times, the sock generated as much static as he would need to leap and stick himself to the metal leg of the secretary’s desk. He slid up the side of it, and flipped up onto the table. Once there he shook himself in attempt to alleviate the formations of little green cotton bubbles that had appeared all over him.
He walked carefully over the scattered pens, staples and paper clips which cluttered the surface. He reached the secretary’s computer and smiled mischievously when he saw she had left herself signed in.
This would be a difficult task, but he had done it many times before. He had only recently earned the title of “Master of Mine Sweep” from his peers.
As long as the tall man the secretary was harassing didn’t crumble and make up some lousy excuse to leave within the next five minutes, he would be safe. Otherwise, he’d soon find himself sat in a bin with a banana peel for a hat.
With both his hands he leaned onto the mouse and began pushing it to move the cursor on to a folder titled ‘Private’, then hopping on top of the mouse and jumping twice with a double click, he opened it. Using this same method he soon got into another folder titled ‘Staff – past and present’. Once entered, he looked up “Dr Mark Karsal” and was soon making a mental note of the address.
Hearing the sound of the secretary’s stilettos tap dancing across the wooden floor, he turned just in time to see her scurrying back to her desk with a huge smile on her face. Panic set in and he did the only thing socks know how to do when humans draw close, jump on the floor and play dead.
He landed on the carpet beside her chair and cursed loudly as a sharp heel drove into him.
The secretary looked up confused by the sound, and waved to the man she had been courting. Shouting in an excited voice, “I’m coming Ben, I’m just getting my purse!”
Edward winced and held back another exclamation of pain, deciding he couldn’t tell what hurt most: his stomach or his ears.
The secretary grabbed something that looked more like a giant handbag than a purse, and then quickly click-clacked back off to her date. Leaving Edward winded on the floor.
After a few moments of catching his breath he rolled over and pushed himself up.  He brushed himself down then went once more over the address in his head.

Satisfied he had it lodged firmly in his memory, he then headed to the exit, down the stairs and made his way back to the streets of London.