Sunday, 27 November 2011

Get a grip.

Get a grip.

Get over it.

For God's sake, just smile!

Cheer up, love, it might never happen.

Heard those words before? Or, God forbid, have you been one of the people who have casually tossed out such careless remarks to someone in the grip of such consuming and black depression that even dragging themselves out of bed in the morning to get up and face a person like you seems almost an insurmountable task?

I've been there. The thought of ever returning to that place again terrifies me, for I know how much disdain is attached to the stigma of mental health problems in our society; the society that today lost a great man in Gary Speed. As a lifelong Newcastle United fan, his smiling example has long been one I've looked up to - he took the time to write a personal response and autograph to an excitable teenage fan when she wrote to him, and I've never forgotten that small kindness.

By all reports, he was a good man in every sense of the word, and to the outside world he seemed blessed with talent, a wonderful family and the perfect wife. Gary, though, was haunted by the darkness that can overwhelm even the strongest of people and it seems that it became too much.

Rest in the peace that you never found in life, Gary - and if any good can come of this tragedy, it'll be that maybe one person might bite back those cutting words before speaking them, or that someone who is suffering will be able to speak up and seek help without the fear of being dismissed.

RIP Gary.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

What kind of writer are you?

Leaving aside the infamous joke about binary that never fails to make me smile, my psychology teacher hammered into me that there are two types of people - reactive and proactive.

After a morning wrestling with a wickedly devious captain in one of my WIPs, it strikes me that the old adage rings true for writers as well. There are those who rigidly set out their plot and stick to it no matter or what - and those who, like me, find themselves utterly and completely at the mercy of the characters they've brought to life within the confines of their words.

Oh, don't get me wrong; I plot away furiously before I sketch out so much as the first chapter. However, as soon as I start writing my characters seem to develop ideas of their own, stubbornly refusing to co-operate with all the grand schemes I've concocted for them; and so it was today that my captain sauntered off to another country entirely with me tagging along, woefully calling after him to come back and return to London as he was supposed to do.

After a futile hour trying to wrestle him back into line, though, I gave in; and do you know what? The detour proved to be great fun and was one of the most fun parts of writing in the entire draft so far. I think perhaps that in future, instead of tearing my hair out in agitation when my little people refuse to behave, I'll just resignedly sit back and see where they run to as they bring as the intricacies of each carefully-constructed plot crashing down around them!

I guess that now makes me another one for Mr. Stanley's 'reactive' camp that he so sneeringly preached against for so long. Sorry, sir - but hey, the captain's much better looking than you. There's only going to be one winner, I'm afraid!

Kate x

PS. Does anyone else feel like a little child exacting mastery over a doll's house when they write, or is that just my twisted imagination? 

Thursday, 17 November 2011

An announcement

Hello, my lovelies!

Allow me to take a moment to emerge from the snug cocoon of steampunk writing that I've been immersed in of late to make a brief but important announcement.

As of today, I've made the decision that I will no longer be associated with Jake Bannerman or the Goat Franchise. It was an amicable parting of the ways and I wish Jake all the best with his future endeavours. Alys  and Chelsea have also left their respective posts in the Goat Franchise, so any queries about Jake or his work will now need to be made directly to him.

Exciting times are definitely ahead and I can't wait to fill you in on all the details, but that's all I'm sharing for now - you surely know by now that I like to tease!

Now, it's time for me to dive back in to Victoriana and airships, for I seem to have left my protagonists dangling on the edge of a literary precipice. Their rescue can be delayed no longer ;)

Kate x

Sunday, 6 November 2011


Oh, November, how I've yearned for you!

To writers the world wide, November can mean only one thing - National Novel Writing Month. The full name is a little misleading now, of course, for it's a concept that's caught fire and hooked the imaginations of aspiring novelists far outside of America. Nonetheless, I've been eagerly awaiting November 1st since the spark of this story first came to me in a hot summer night's dream.

Triumvirate is the first book of a trilogy (books 2 and 3 have the working titles of 'Descent' and 'Redemption'). It's a darkly paranormal romance, winding its way through Eastern European mythology towards the fires of Hell itself, and it's been absolutely consuming me since I started writing it; providing a very welcome relief from all the dramas of real-life.

With my eternal companions of coffee, cigarettes, Tom Waits and Butch Walker, 26,000 words of the required 50,000 are already down on the page - of course, I anticipate Triumvirate will be something in the 75-80k region when it's a complete working draft, but it's gratifying nonetheless to be more than halfway towards the target already.

Indulge me in sharing with you a little teaser from Chapter One...

Fighting the urge to arch her back and revel in his sinfully pleasurable touch as his fingers soothed away the tension in her stiffly held neck, Alex nodded and forced her face to harden. “I still don’t know how you know my names. Clever words mean nothing to me - I want the damned truth.”
“The damned truth? So be it then, Alex. We know your names, as do all those who reside in Hell, because we witnessed your conception and birth. Your father named you at the moment of your birth and your mother’s death; and your name has been sung by the demons of Hell ever since.”
Ignoring the impossible for the moment, for Vazaroth’s talk of Hell could be nothing but that, Alex’s eyes narrowed in disbelief. “Brendan? He didn’t name me - he and Grandfather told me that my mother chose my names.”
“That is a lie that your grandfather propagated; and Alex, your father is not Brendan Byrne -”
“Don’t be ridiculous!”
“Ridiculous?!” A darkening storm of rage descended upon Vazaroth’s face, sending another shiver of ice shards through Alex’s veins. “Alex, I am many things, but I am not ridiculous; you will not speak to me so! As I was saying; your father is as we are, and his name is Deures -”
“Please, stop!” Alex pulled away from him as his fist tightened around her shirt, threatening to rip it open. Afraid of the forceful compulsion that had arisen in her to aid him in his obvious intentions, she choked back a loud sob. “I don’t understand! Who - what are you?!”
Her low, fearful moan seemed to give them pain, for their faces seemed to contort in unison before Rauzel drew a deep breath and spoke. “We are incubi, demons from the realm of Hell - and we have come to claim that which is ours.”

You can find me on the NaNoWriMo site - Kate Monroe - and I'd love to hear from you all either there or here to find out what you're writing and how easily (or not!) the words are flowing.

Kate x

PS. I was ill over Halloween (not an over-indulgence of red wine and chocolates, I swear!) so I shamefully neglected to make any mention of the fact that 'Kiss Of An Angel' is out now to buy on Amazon and Smashwords, nor to thank the awesome Amelia James for hosting me on her blog during the week of release. Go and check them both out! ;p