Thursday 31 December 2015

Wishing you all a wonderful, happy, and beautiful new year!

I hope 2016 is eventful, productive, surprising and satisfying xxx

Monday 14 December 2015

Half-way through December already?

I've been busy. I've been meaning to blog for ages - my last post (that wasn't a book release guest post) was on 2 November, when I announced my intention to take part alongside NaNoWriMo.

Two days later, I was offered the opportunity to include extra short stories in my collection with Vine Leaves Press next year. So I got busy with that - writing and rewriting - and didn't actually get anywhere near the 500 pages I was hoping to. I do, however, now have four new stories and another couple in very early-idea stage.

I've got a couple of other exciting things in the pipeline, but they're not relevant at the moment. I'll be sharing some time in the New Year, though.

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There has been much excitement in the Crawford household over the new Star Wars film. Yesterday, we spent the day watching all the previous films apart from Episode I. We followed what's known as the Machete Order, where you watch IV, V, II, III, VI - missing out the first one entirely because it's pointless.

I first heard about this order in an episode of The Big Bang Theory, but apparently - with acknowledgement to my librarian friend who has to research everything! - it dates from a blog post written in 2011. If you're curious, the blog post is an interesting read, and explains things much better than I can (mostly because it's 4600 words long!)

We will be watching Episode VII on Saturday. We've had our tickets for ages!

Thursday 3 December 2015

Rena Rocford talks Unicorns

It's my absolute pleasure to have Rena Rocford on my blog today, celebrating the launch of her new book. I've known Rena for a long time through our blogs, and I'm delighted she's finally achieved her ambition to get her first book published. May there be many more!

Thanks for hosting a stop along my book release blog tour, Annalisa!

Unicorns aren't always nice.

People always want to know where an idea for a book comes from, but the truth is, they come from many different places, and my book was no different. When I built the world around my story, I started with one little idea: 

We've stereotyped mythical creatures. People talk about how dogs have lots of personality, or cats are so different from each other (though, all cats are convinced my keyboard is the holy grail of nap locations!) but no one ever talks like that about dragons. If you look up dragons, there's a pretty good set of cranky, dangerous, cantankerous, do not approach do not approach types. Literature is littered with these great reptiles, their greed a tangible thing that burns inside them as they brood over their gold.

Which made me think about what it would be like if dragons were more like a roaming people, drifters, and less sit-in-one-place-and-have-gems-and-coins-fuse-into-your-scales kind of people. But almost as soon as I thought about dragons as being their polar opposite, it hit me: What about all the other mythical creatures?

What would happen if unicorns were lawyers and doctors? What if all of the gryphons had tight knit family groups? And then, as I always do, I started building a world around these ideas. What if Centaurs were really like cowboys, and what if all the different kinds of creatures were as suspicious of each other as different religious groups are? One idea led to another, and eventually, the plot bunnies showed up to take over.

And now, the manuscript that started out by wondering what it would be like if unicorns were lawyers is a book! Check it out, here!

Allyson fights acne, not trolls. As an inhaler-carrying member of the asthma society, she just wants to meet the father who turned her mother into a paranoid, move-across-the-nation freak. Now she’s trying to fit in at yet another school, but for the first time in her life, she has a best friend, Beth. When Allyson accidentally spits fire at kidnappers in the mall, she realizes why her father isn’t in the picture: she’s half dragon. Her acne? Emerging scales. Her asthma? The side effects of her dragon’s fire breath. Instead of freaking out, unflappable Beth reveals her own troll heritage and explains how things work with the supernatural creatures hiding within the modern world of smartphones and skyscrapers.

When trolls kidnap a unicorn, Beth gets blamed. Allyson is determined to prove Beth’s innocence and keep her friend off the unicorn chopping block. When they start looking for the kidnappers, they get a call from the last person they expect: Allyson’s father. He tries to warn them off, but he’s been put under a spell by the kidnappers to keep the victims from escaping. Nothing short of death can stop him. Now Allyson must choose between killing the father she’s always dreamed of, or letting her best friend die for a crime she didn’t commit. 

Like most mad scientists, Rena Rocford’s early works were largely met with scorn and mockery, but she bided her time. After all, what did her fellow kindergarteners know about literature? From that day forward, Rena kept her writing on the mythical back burner as she pursued more logical goals. Today, crayons. Tomorrow, the world. She moved on to essays and egg drops, then experiments in shady laboratories. 

Living as a muggle brought Rena some levels of success, procuring a master’s degree from a well vetted university, but always the stories returned, calling her to the keyboard in the dark of night. Now, having built armies from words, Rena has set her sights on world domination, one book at a time.

From her secret base in the wine country, Rena has enlisted the help of her cats, her loyal dogs, and her family―who can be relied upon to hide the launch codes at a moment’s notice. You can find Rena at her blog, follow her on Twitter, or find her on Facebook. Her debut novel, Acne, Asthma, And Other Signs You Might Be Half Dragon just released with Curiosity Quills. You can find it here on Goodreads, or buy it here!