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VELOCITIES BY KATHE KOJA BLOG TOUR


Hello everyone, it’s been a while and what a time we’re living in.

If, like me, you’re looking for distractions from our current situation, then I have a recommendation for you 🙂

I was so pleased to be selected to be part of the blog tour for Velocities by Kathe Koja. I love sci-fi but I feel that for me, the writing that I enjoy crosses those roads of sci-fi, horror, fantasy and speculative fiction. It’s all interconnected to me and that’s certainly the type of fiction that I write myself.

“Velocities” is an awesome collection of stories, some of them are like a steel trap, drawing you in until you realise that you’ve been reading something quite different from what you thought you were. Here we have tales of a man seeking healing, an artist haunted by a house, a future where everyone is under surveillance and many more. Those are poor descriptions of those stories really because I don’t want to spoil them. And then there’s my current fave – “Baby”. This is the type of story that slips into your brain and keeps you awake at night. That’s what happened to me anyway. It was so creepy. It’s now one of those tales that I can’t stop thinking about, I’m just fascinated with it.

Here’s an extract:

From BABY by Kathe Koja

“It’s hot in here, and the air smells sweet, all sweet and burned, like incense. I love incense, but I can never have any; my allergies, right? Allergic to incense, to cigarette smoke, to weed smoke, to smoke in general, the smoke from the grill at Rob’s Ribs, too, so goodbye to that, and no loss either, I hate this job. The butcher’s aprons are like circus tents, like 3X, and those pointy paper hats we have to wear—“Smokin’ Specialist,” god. They look like big white dunce caps, even Rico looks stupid wearing one and Rico is hot. I’ve never seen anyone as hot as he is.

The only good thing about working here—besides Rico—is hanging out after shift, up on the rooftop while Rob and whoever swabs out the patio, and everyone jokes and flirts, and, if Rob isn’t paying too much attention, me and Rico shotgun a couple of cans of Tecate or something. Then I lean as far over the railing as I can, my hands gripping tight, the metal pressing cold through my shirt; sometimes I let my feet leave the patio, just a few inches, just balancing there on the railing, in thin air . . . Andy always flips when I do it, he’s all like Oh Jani don’t do that Jani you could really hurt yourself! You could fall!

Oh Andy, I always say; Andy’s like a mom or something. Calm down, it’s only gravity, only six floors up but still, if you fell, you’d be a plate of Rob’s Tuesday night special, all bones and red sauce; smush, gross, right? But I love doing it. You can feel the wind rush up between the buildings like invisible water, stealing your breath, filling you right up to the top. It’s so weird, and so choice . . . Like the feeling I always got from you, Baby.

It’s kind of funny that I never called you anything else, just Baby; funny that I even found you, up there in Grammy’s storage space, or crawl space, or whatever it’s called when it’s not really an attic, but it’s just big enough to stand up in. Boxes were piled up everywhere, but mostly all I’d found were old china cup-and-saucer sets, and a bunch of games with missing pieces—Stratego, and Monopoly, and Clue; I already had Clue at home; I used to totally love Clue, even though I cheated when I played, sometimes. Well, all the time. I wanted to win. There were boxes and boxes of Grampy’s old books, doctor books; one was called Surgical Procedures and Facial Deformities and believe me, you did not want to look at that. I flipped it open on one picture where this guy’s mouth was all grown sideways, and his eyes—his eye— Anyway. After that I stayed away from the boxes of books.

And then I found you, Baby, stuffed down in a big box of clothes, chiffon scarves and unraveling lace, the cut-down skirts of fancy dresses, and old shirts like Army uniforms, with steel buttons and appliquĂ©s. At the bottom of the box were all kinds of shoes, spike heels, and a couple of satin evening bags with broken clasps. At first I thought you were a kind of purse, too, or a bag, all small and yellow and leathery. But then I turned you over, and I saw that you had a face.”

This is a brilliant collection and if you’re a fan of weird fiction you really should add it to your reading list. And Jeff Vandermeer’s blurb is on the cover! Need I say more?!

This is the prefect time to treat yourself to some strange tales.

Meerkat Press supplied me with a digital arc of the book in return for an honest review.

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Nano No No

I really wanted to take part in NaNoWriMo this year. For those who’ve never heard of it, it stands for National Novel Writing Month and involves writing 50k of fiction in a month.It’s not quite a novel, more a novella size.

Now, I’ve written fiction for years and always have lots of ideas for stories but I’ve never really ever written more than a few pages of anything. I usually just lose interest or become highly critical of my work. As a result, nothing gets done. So Nano which is more about quantity than quality is the ultimate in losing your creative writing inhibitions.

When I interviewed Rachel Herron for KnitCast in March this year we spoke extensively about Nano and I said that I’d meant to do it one year and I think I even committed to doing it this year.

So, why aren’t I doing it? Well, writing 50k of words over 30 days even if you’re not getting caught up in editing them is a big commitment when you have other things that you also need to get done. I’ve been organising my house since last month, sorting things and getting rid of stuff that I don’t want or need anymore. Since I moved some years ago from a three storey house to a smaller one I’ve simply had too much stuff and I’ve not been able to enjoy my house or have people ’round because it’s been too full of stuff.

My craft room was finished this month and it’s been an amazing feeling just to go in there without  having to clamber over loads of junk. My walk-in-wardrobe aka the box room is now nearly done – about 8 bin bags full of stuff for charity from that room alone – then it’s onto the bedroom and then the rest of the house. So I want/need to keep that momentum going so that it’ll be done before Christmas and so that I can actually enjoy my home instead of being annoyed at not being able to find things/get into rooms/not have friends over/not be able to relax because of the mess etc.

So this month I will take part in Nanoroomo whereby I commit to finishing tidying my house by the end of November. This will be quite a challenge since one of the rooms, my study, is quite bad indeed. It’s not got boxes up to the ceiling as my craft room did but it’s still quite full. I think you’ll understand that I can’t do that and take part in Nanowrimo as well. It still doesn’t stop me wishing that I could do it this year especially since my friend Shalene in London is doing it as well.

So, November will be busy and I’m afraid that there’s no KnitCast for the month either. I went to the dentist with toothache last week and it turns out that the root of my teeth is infected and needs to be removed. I’ve been dosed up on antibiotics and painkillers and couldn’t combine that with editing the podcast. I need to be in full health for that since it’s a lot of work. But the tooth should be removed sometime this week and then I can get back to working on the house and everything else. And then next year I will be doing NaNoWriMo! 🙂