My Author Heroes: Neil Gaiman

This is hopefully the start of a regular series of posts on the writers that I love and look up to. Some of them are well known, some of them independent, but all of them come highly reccomended.

At the end of each post, I will add a link to the author’s blog and any other links that I think you need to know about, so that you can discover their work if you feel like it…

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Neil Gaiman is one of those writers that I look up to. He writes what he wants to write and it is always a good read. It doesn’t fit into any one genre but slips and slides between them,  the rhythm of his word choices carrying you into other places, other times and lacing it all with the unmistakable addiction drug that is a good book.

Sometimes his words are dark, sometimes they’re funny. There’s rarely anything in them that doesn’t bring a new side to the story or the characters. His stories are simple at first glance but the more you read them, the more you see.

He’s a gentleman to his fans. His tumblr blog gets questions galore. He doesn’t answer all of them (he’d never get any writing done if he did), but when he does answer them, his answers are thoughtful and never nasty, no matter what the subject.

Today’s question was a fascinating one:

neil gaimen

I think he handled the question with his usual gentlemanly aplomb, especially as it’s one of those trickier ones.

Mr Gaiman is without doubt one of the world’s best writers and I was introduced to his work the same way that I met the work of Terry Pratchett; I picked up a copy of “Good Omens” out of curiosity. With Terry Pratchett, it didn’t take me long to be hooked, I started with “The Colour of Magic” and devoured every book I could get my hands on.

With Neil Gaiman, I had to reread “Anansi Boys” twice before I decided to look at his other work. As I’ve got older, I’ve come to appreciate his work more and more. Even his children’s books are beautifully worded, my favourite of those being “Blueberry Girl”.

I’m slowly collecting his work. savouring each one. I have both Coraline and Stardust in Movie form and despite the differences from the book form, they are delicious. I hope that you will join me in appreciating his work, but I am realistic enough to know that they aren’t everyone’s cup of tea.

So here are the links for you to discover him through –

The Publisher’s Site: http://www.neilgaiman.com/

The Twitter Link: https://twitter.com/neilhimself

The Tumblr Link: http://neil-gaiman.tumblr.com/

The Young Reader’s Site: http://www.mousecircus.com/

WWWWWWOOOOHHHHHOOOOOOO!!!!!!

It’s here, it’s finally here!

*dances around the room*

TTATE Collection (1)

 

That’s right, THE TOWER AND THE EYE has been let loose upon the world of ebooks!!!

AND….

On Facebook right now, there’s a party going on! Yup, I’m having a launch party!!
*Can you tell I’m excited?*
So if you’re on Facebook why don’t you pop in to the party and see what’s going on…

PARTYYY!!!!

There’s a whole lot more in this edition of the book than there was in the separate ones; Blue Hour Publishing worked hard with me to enhance each book’s potential. There is also some brand new content  only seen by my editor and beta readers, so even if you’ve already bought / read the first four books, this one is worth getting!!!

So let’s take a peek at the new content shall we?

*grins wickedly*

A quick meal and several changes of clothing later, they were ready to go. Aranok kept glancing at Kalytia whose beauty shone even more in the tight fitting fighting harness of the Dark Mistress. Her blue dragonscale armour hugged her figure and the smooth faceless helm hid her own face completely, only her eyes were visible through a slot, making her allure all the more dangerous.

On one hip she carried a long coiled whip and on the other a wicked looking sword, its blade writhing like a snake moving through the grass. Her blue dragonscale tunic hugged her figure and fell over matching leggings which ended in spike heeled boots.

Kaltyia took a moment to check her sword and Aranook shuddered. Those spines on the back edge would make for a very messy wound and you could probably open someone’s throat with just the teeth on the hilt. He thought, trying hard not to cut himself on his own blade as he sharpened it. At least the sharkskin and wire will make for a good grip; you’d need one with the amount of blood using it is going to create.

“Where did you get all that?” the half elf asked.

Kalytia slid the blade into its sheath, the dragon headed hilt sparkling where the light hit the gems in the eye and teeth.

“I described the fighting harness of the women we… Loric encountered in the dungeon in Galivor to Eliethor. She had the leatherworkers make it and then she and a mage of Tyr modified it with some of the details from your report of the dungeon in Valdier and Kraaz’s information from Jinra.” Kalytia ran a self conscious hand over her body. “I’ve only worn it once, but it’s really quite liberating. There’s nothing to get in the way of quick movements and the Dragonscale stretches in a way that normal leather armour doesn’t.”

Joran grinned at her.

“If I weren’t in love with Julissa, you’d just have become a target for my affections.”

Want to read more? Well I’ll be posting excerpts in the launch party today or you can go pick up a copy – it’s on sale for the introductory price of £1.99!!

“The Tower and the Eye” should be available on all of Amazon’s sites…. please enjoy!!!!!!

Wool, Grapefruit and the World…

You do strange things when you’re pregnant.

I just spent three quarters of an hour trying to section a red grapefruit because I was fed up of having to dig the sections out and leaving so much fruit behind… I guess I thought that sectioning it would be easier; peel the fruit, cut out the sections and eat.

Hah!

Anyway, it occurred to me while I was sat eating my hard won grapefruit segments that the actual fruit is made up of all this little bubbles of juice that burst when you bite through them. They’re sweet with a sour after-taste and oddly compelling.

 

Writing is like that. Well actually, Reading is like that, not writing exactly.

I read “Wool” by Hugh Howey yesterday and it is the first SF book that I’ve read that has made me think in terms of the words I was reading. Each word was like a bubble of grapefruit juice, soft and elongated on my tongue and each time I read and understood what he was saying, the taste of grapefruit juice built up; sweet, sour and oddly compelling.

I had “Wait” by Take That playing while I was eating and the song seemed to fit with both what I had observed in the grapefruit and through reading “Wool”.

The lyrics that really stuck were:

 

Free your soul to me,

Words can set us free.

 

It’s true. Words can set us free; we just have to have the courage to say the right ones. They are the ones that hurt, the ones that highlight the problems in our world in such a way that we have to deal with them.

 

Reading “Wool” was a sweet / sour experience. On one hand the story was incredibly compelling and interesting. You wanted to see what happened to the characters next and it was difficult to think about mundane things (like washing up) while you read each chapter.

But about half way through the book something happened. I realise that whether he had intended it or not, Hugh Howey was commenting on what was happening in the world now. And that his vision of what the future could hold was a real possibility.

That’s scary.

Why?

Well think of it this way. It’s 2013. I’ve got two children (one 12, the other 8) and a third one on the way. If I think about what is happening in the world now, there is a very real possibility that their future, the one that I may never see, will be an ugly, regimented world where food and energy are rationed down to what you can afford to buy.
There will be a need to limit the population; whether that’s because of the food shortage, space shortage or whatever, so the joy of being a parent will be limited to those who either can win / buy the right or those who are considered so essential to the running of the world that they have to continue their line.

It will be a world of sacrifices with most people just trying to live in it the best they can with the hope that their children (if they have them) will have a better world in the future.

And that scares me.

It doesn’t matter what the energy companies say, fossil fuels (even shale gas) are finite. They will run out. The population of the world is expanding and instead of helping the Africans to improve their land and grow crops to feed themselves and maybe others, we are helping them to fight each other through the Arms Business.

It’s all so backwards.

 

I don’t care about money. Actually, that’s not quite true… I do care about it, but not in a materialistic way.

I’m forced through circumstance (lack of full time teaching jobs in my area, being unable to drive and a son who needs more than usual maternal attention due to being Aspergers) to remain a stay at home mum. So I write books, publish them myself (as best I can) and volunteer in the community as a Guider.

My partner, having been thrown out of one industry for being Dyslexic and undiagnosed Aspergers, is changing career to one that suits him as a person and looking for work. Unfortunately, it’s one of those careers that (like writing) is very difficult to get into without a lot of experience. Which he doesn’t have, despite being talented at his chosen career.

I care about money because we need it to live; you can’t buy food or energy without it and the prices are getting higher every week as the more materialistic of the human race try to pull as much of the world’s money into their personal accounts.

My writing makes a little bit of money. The rest (because of the aforementioned circumstances) we have to get through the benefits system. Which people higher up the money chain are trying to pull out from under us because they think that we don’t deserve it or that we are taking too much from the country and not giving back at all.

It’s a grapefruit juice bubble existence.

Sooner or later (the latter please!) it is going to be bitten into and who knows what comes next?

 

I’m not sure that I am making any sense at the moment – blame it on Sprog, he/she seems to enjoy making me write oddly – so I will leave you with this:

 

Read “Wool” by Hugh Howey.

Enjoy the words as they burst on your mind, revel in the wonderful story, then think about what he is telling us about our world.

 

And when the next chance comes for you to vote in an election of some sort, consider what the party you are going to vote for would do with the country you live in.

Would they make it better for everyone or just for themselves?