17 April 2014


Let's celebrate. Revel in the joy that we have life and people in that life. Let's appreciate what we do have, not dwell on the things we cannot get. Let's know our limits and be kind to ourselves. Let's make a story. Our story. The one that always ends up the same way, just with different plots. Let's use the plot twists to our advantage. Let's live that life.

Let's get better.

- C.C.

10 April 2014

Introducing Icy Sedgwick and The Necromancer's Apprentice

Quite excited to see that The Necromancer's Apprentice is finally out. I've admired Icy's almost whimsical British writing style, reminiscent of C.S. Lewis and Charles Dickens, and her new release delivers as expected. 
See my review for The Necromancer's Apprentice here.
 Here's an interview with the lady herself:

Your train is pulling into the station and you have less than 20 seconds to tell someone you've just met what your novella's all about. Go!
It’s a retelling of the Sorcerer’s Apprentice tale, replacing the sorcerer with a necromancer and the brooms with mummies, and with the addition of a fight sequence involving a double-headed axe and a scythe!
Eufame is a deliciously scary character. Tell me more about her.
Eufame’s a strange character because she’s cast as the villain but I’m not entirely sure that she is. I think she came out of my frustration with the way gender is handled in a lot of fiction at the moment; female characters are either shoehorned in to try and woo a demographic, they’re just there to make the numbers up, or they’re nothing but mothers or love interests. My favourite female character of all time is Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty, and she’s this exceptional force of nature, and I wanted Eufame to be a bit like that. She’s the necromancer general, so she holds a really powerful position in the society of the Cities, but she doesn’t like to admit that sometimes she needs an assistant because she can’t be in two places at once.
Why do you think things go so horribly wrong for Jyx?
Part of it isn’t of his own making, but mostly it’s because he doesn’t recognise his limits. He doesn’t come from a magickal family, and he hasn’t been exposed to magickal practitioners before he goes to the Academy, so he doesn’t see the downsides or the risks to using magick. He just sees what he can do, or what he thinks he can do, so he doesn’t stop to think about whether actually doing it is a good idea. He’s not a bad person at all, and he’s not a stupid or deliberately malicious boy, he’s just impatient, and he’s incapable of recognising that just because he can’t do something yet doesn’t mean he won’t be able to ever do it.
Can you tell us more about the mummies?
Death and burial take place in the ‘normal’ way for the ordinary people of the Cities, but people of note, particularly royalty, are interred differently, and the relationship between their bodies and their souls is maintained in case anyone ever needs to consult with them. At the start of the book, the Crown Prince decides he wants to resurrect them all temporarily to form a procession at his coronation. The biggest problem is that if you resurrect them wrong, and don’t provide sustenance for their souls from the Aether, then their bodies are going to seek sustenance elsewhere…
Why do the Wolfkin take such a subservient role? Can you tell us a little more about 
these enigmatic creatures?
The Wolfkin are descended from the dog-headed god of the dead, who is based very heavily on Anubis from Egyptian mythology, and centuries ago they used to live alongside men. Of course, men don’t really like or appreciate anything that’s different, particularly if the thing that is different is more powerful, so gradually men used their superior numbers and ability to legislate to force Wolfkin into more subservient roles as guards. That said, the Wolfkin that work for Eufame don’t strictly work for her, they rather work with her. They have a unique relationship with their souls so it’s only natural that they’d work at the House of the Long Dead. The ones that work for men do so for the time being, but they don’t see that arrangement as being permanent.
What are some of your favourite parts of this story?

 I’m particularly fond of the fight sequence near the end of the book, that was a lot of fun to write. So was the destruction of the lab, which is what prompts Jyx to try resurrecting the mummies to help him to tidy up. I think most of my favourite parts involve Eufame – Jyx might be the main character but Eufame’s an interesting character to spend time with, and she gets some good lines!
Icy Sedgwick was born in the North East of England, and lives and works in Newcastle. She has been writing with a view to doing so professionally for over ten years, and has had several stories included in anthologies, including ShortStack and Bloody Parchment: The Root Cellar & Other Stories.
She spends her non-writing time working on a PhD in Film Studies, considering the use of set design in contemporary horror. Icy had her first book, a pulp Western named The Guns of Retribution, published in 2011, and her horror fantasy, The Necromancer’s Apprentice, was released in March 2014.

19 February 2014

Valentine's Day came late

Luke knows me. He really, really knows me. So, he's been working on this for some time and tonight, it was finished. Getting art from him makes me all gushy and girly, so here was my custom valentine, complete with cephalopod, anatomical heart, and of course his sweet whisper of nothing emblazoned across.

Along with that, I received a black diamond. A. Black. Diamond. And flowers. [eyeballs husband]
I've been accused of being more girly, complete with girly needs, not in a bad way.

But! Octopus valentine! Eeeee!

Okay, I'll bite.


10 January 2014

The Liar #Fridayflash

That sure as hell wasn't five minutes. What do you mean? No. I won't accept that answer. You're out of your fucking mind. Yeah, I heard you and no, I don't care. I won't. I can't. Please? Pretty please? I'd donate vital organs at this point if you would. No, really. I would. I swear!

You're breaking my heart here. See? It's pouring out on the floor in some kind of gelatinous mutiny. There are pirates in those sticky red waters. Stop it.

Why though? Why?

It's impossible. You jumped through a time portal in order to arrive five minutes later. It's not that to me. Will you quit? Just stop?

I'm begging you. Stretch out time. If you chewed it for awhile, it'd get soft. Like reworked bubble gum snatched from under a school desk. God no. I haven't done that. That'd be gross!

Fine! Now fuck off! I mean it. I'll find something heavy to hit you with. Does it look like I'm kidding?

Alright. Alright! Enough already. You've ruined my entire day with your screeching. I'll get up.

Even though you're a goddamned liar.

09 January 2014

Price yourself - The value of your work

I've seen a few articles and comments around the internet lately about "worth" of writing. Some articles deal with pricing and potential financial gain (this link may disappear), while others are simply the equivalent of sitting in a corner and whining because shit isn't working out the way a person assumed it would. I won't point the latter out, simply because it's okay to feel down about something not turning out quite how one expected.

But what does this mean for us as writers? There are so many examples of overnight success stories, yet there are millions of books that haven't been widely read, and I'd like to imagine that the authors of those stories love their work and want to share with the world. Sure, you can quit. If the publishing/self-publishing racket isn't your bag, go ahead. But what's to gain from quitting?

I'm sure many of you remember the famous story between the tortoise and the hare. At times in my life, I've felt like either of the characters. Zip through life, take time to relax and bam! Life has run me over. More so lately, I feel like the tortoise, and the finish line isn't getting any closer. But what is it exactly that I'm after here?

I have no fucking idea.

If I could make a wishlist of what I'd like to achieve, it'd be a lot more than just writing books. I'd love to learn guitar, see the world, go back to school. Some things I will be able to do, eventually, provided I am patient and bide my time. Other goals cannot be achieved without a deal of severe sacrifice, such as writing full-time. Unless something fell out of the sky to change that fact, from this vantage point, I would have to stop working the real job in order to provide enough time to pursue my dreams. That's not going to happen, but what I can do is not quit. Do my best to not complain about how I'm not getting what I feel I deserve from the world. The world doesn't owe me a goddamned thing. Unless it's in a contract, then that shit is due when agreed. See? Simple.

The point of this ridiculous blabber is to simply say, hey. I see you there. Trying. Working. Writing. Things can be easy, or they can be tough. Things change. The industry is changing. On all fronts. Media in general, whether it be newspaper, radio, music recording, writing, etc. The experts have no fucking idea where we are going in all of this. Technology has progressed at lightning speed, making it easier and easier to get what we want, when we want it.

Maybe that's why it's so damned frustrating when it doesn't rain paychecks. I don't know how old you might be, reader, but I'm old enough to remember the time when, if I wanted something, I had to work for it. Even if it just meant driving to pick it up physically, in person, and hold it in my IRL hands. I try to remember that part of the reward is the challenge itself. And that comparing myself to people who have worked their asses off, without working my own ass off, is juvenile.

Let this be a note to myself and maybe you. Be your own challenge, and no matter what happens, if what you are doing is what you must...then do it for yourself, above all. Before the champagne and limousine dreams. Write because it brings you peace.


08 January 2014

Losing my head - Watching an ebook go off-market

I'd mentioned in the previous post that Crooked Fang would be disappearing from the electronic vendors' virtual bookshelves and that has happened. The vanishing occurred within twenty-four hours of said-notice, in fact. I've decided to take the ebook back to Katarr Kanticles so the ebook and print book can be under one roof and make many happy Crooked Fang parties together. Also, it's easier to keep track of what went where.

Going from Lyrical Press to a different publisher has proven to have some drawbacks, not all which I anticipated. I will admit that it's been a bit of a process to look back through a book previously gone through approximately 12 MILLION TIMES and catch anything left that can be addressed, without alienating the print copy owners. One thing is for certain: print and ebook versions are linked. If one is changed, the other should be as well. This produces [drumroll] Da-dada-DAH, a version 2.

A second round, a second version of one, which should not be all that different. This is the trick to not pissing off the readers. Fortunately, I have the print manuscript, so correcting the digital version, book...this is getting confusing here...should be a breeze. But what were my other implications?

Loss of Reviews

I'd like to take the opportunity here to say thank goodness for Goodreads. This particular situation has more than highlighted the residual worth of the giant review and share book-centric website.
Amazon, however...SHAME ON YOU.
Crooked Fang (Kindle version) had roughly around 44 ratings and 14 reviews, if memory serves correctly. Since the publishers for each version type of book were different, the two stories weren't merged in the Amazonian mega-system, leaving the future edition version of Crooked Fang practically naked. Granted, the thought of Mr. Crooked Fang naked is appealing, however naked ebook listings are not.

These are the things that produce the "ut-oh's" in the writing life. Werd.

Loss of Cover Art

I didn't have this problem, but more than a few of the rights-takebackers (yes, I made that up) did. When rights are returned, they usually do not include the cover art. And this is why we see different covers for the same book throughout the years, true? Possibly.
Getting more cover art is no problemo whatsoever as long as you have 1.) an artist, and 2.) payment. Have only one or neither, and there could be an issue.

Identity withheld to protect the innocent
General Public Confusion

But wait, one might say. Isn't it just like a transfer over, leaving the ebook posting intact and perfect
with all of its trappings? Ah, but in the future, young Jedi. Each posting is in fact, a storefront for a specific book file (started to write "bile") so when that store decides to drop the strawberry-scented shampoo you've always loved, they aren't going to leave a place-marker on the shelf, no, NO! It will be replaced by coconut, coconut, COCONUT! Like strawberry never existed. 

Which brings me to:

How I Will Survive the Crooked Fang eBook Holocaust

Even before my ex-publisher ever crafted a cover, I'd already demanded determined that I wanted to keep the print rights, which (according to contract) could not be the same cover as the ebook. This led to an alternative version variety fuck it, version of the Crooked Fang cover. The very same that graces my print version book to this day.
Since I had to essentially go off on my own blaze of glory direction, editing was thrown in at the checkout stand also. Which left me with a lovely document just begging for release. That came out so wrong.
Annnnd! I'd commissioned a website already out of pride foresight for marketing, so I still have that same storefront (which is a front for other stores) website url and the whole blue thing going on.

So, as you can see, I'll be fine. A little extra crap I did back in the pre-publishing days paid off. A fortunate turn of events. Hell, I was just lucky.

In case of a fire (sale) are you prepared?


03 January 2014

Crooked Fang ebook is moving - News

Beloved readers of Crooked Fang:

The new ebook cover of Crooked Fang
Soon, the ebook links for my flagship novel, Crooked Fang, will be removed from vendor sites. Lyrical Press has undergone a business change and I decided that was not the right direction for my series. I'm in the process of changing the ebook back to the way it was written, accent marks and all. I've a goal to get the book back up on the vendor sites as soon as possible.

These changes only temporarily affect the ebook version of Crooked Fang. No other title will be changed from the current form.

If you are a current ebook holder:
To my knowledge, this will not affect your copy. I will be extending an offer out of courtesy in the near future to all Crooked Fang ebook owners to get a free updated version. The updates will be both cosmetic (both versions will now have the dark blue "print" cover pictured to the right) along with extremely minor edits in the text. Main changes will be the re-introduction of native speakers' accent marks as appropriate (and respectful) back into the story.

To get your free updated copy (when it becomes available) you will need to email a proof of purchase.

For all new purchases of the Crooked Fang ebook:
You will get the new version of the ebook (all vendor sites). 

Watch this space for updates. Or this one. (Crooked Fang book website)

Again, thanks for reading and continued support of the Crooked Fang series.

Carrie Clevenger

PS: Further inquiries can be directed to the "Email Me" form on this blog's sidebar.