Saturday, 31 January 2015

Fairies and Felicitations Out Now! And a word on Amazon categories.

Fairies and Felicitations, the next Scholars & Sorcery book--or rather, a standalone prequel in the universe-- is now live! 99 cents on Amazon, and available for Kindle Unlimited.

Anne has always thought of herself as middling. Middling looks, middling position in the form, middling magical Gift and just a middling curve to the tip of her ears. 

Her best friend, Lady Emmeline Eversleigh, commonly known as Kitty, is not middling anything. And when Kitty drags Anne into playing a Saint Valentine's Day prank of truly wicked--and magical--proportions on one of the prefects, Anne finds herself in more than a middling muddle of trouble. 

A stand alone novelette of 10,000 words in the Sorcery and Scholars series.

Interestingly enough, one of the categories Amazon filed it under (presumably picking up on some of my keywords) was  Growing Up & Facts of Life > Friendship, Social Skills & School Life > Girls & Women

I had a moment of worrying that I had accidentally categorised it as non-fiction, but on checking, the first book in the category is a Frozen Little Golden Book and it does seem to be a fiction category. When I think about it, it's quite suitable, given Anne's particular dilemma.

Now I have some websites to update!

Friday, 30 January 2015

Fairies and Felicitations in review!

Uploaded Fairies and Felicitations to Amazon just now. <3 Waiting for it to go through review!


Eleanor Beresford is the author of the Scholars and Sorcery series of LGBT YA fantasy novels. Find out more here.

Friday, 23 January 2015

Review: The Seventh Pleiade

Author: Andrew J. Peters
Title: The Seventh Pleiade
Published: Bold Strokes Books, 2013
Genre: YA, Historical Fantasy, Ancient Greece, LGBT (gay)
Relevant Challenges: Reading Through Time, We Read Diverse Books, LGBT Reading Challenge, Dive Into Diversity

This book wins points with me straight away by being YA fantasy set in Atlantis. Greek myth has been a big draw for me ever since I read my Enid Blyton bowdlerised versions, and carried me through Xena (so predicable), Classical Studies at school... right up to an MOOC last year.

What is different, and incredibly engaging, about this particular version is that it deals in detail and a complex manner with sexual and romantic relationships between boys and men in Ancient Greece. For the young hero, Aerander, it's not as simple as falling in love: boy romance is to do with masculinity, and politics, and the commitment to family. The mixture of his strong, real feelings and all the baggage they come with was probably my favourite part of this book. Another of my weaknesses, after all, is politics and power... and romance.

The fantasy elements and world building are fantastic, too. It's difficult to go into too much detail without spoilers, but the dual worlds, above and beyond, the way the central mystery (some disappearing young boys) becomes bound up with the mythology and Aerander's quest, are brilliantly done.

Highly recommended. I would have loved this book if it wasn't LGBT, just as a great fantasy adventure in a setting I love, but the politics of love and sexuality in it made it a unique read and had me absorbed far into the night. I can't wait for another book in this series. ---

Eleanor Beresford is the author of the Scholars and Sorcery series of LGBT YA fantasy novels. FInd out more here.

Monday, 19 January 2015

2015 Reading Challenges

Rather than a Goodreads total, I am going to amuse and challenge myself this year by signing up to a range of reading challenges this year. I've already posted about , but here's a list (and  Pinterest board) of others I'm signing up to:

I am totally allowing myself crossovers between the challenges. Also, that new Scribd subscription is going to come in handy. I am only aiming for 10-12 books in each category, too. But they should add to be variety of my reading. I'm also not entering for any giveaways: this is for my own amusement.

Also, seriously, I did show self control. You should have seen my original list.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Teaser: Fairies and Felicitations

I'm planning to release a stand-alone short for Valentine's Day, giving the Hon. Kitty and her pranks her place in the spotlight--which, after all, is decidedly where she prefers to be. My wife and cover designer finished a beautiful cover for me this morning, and I'm so excited that I have to share it:

I'm so happy with it--it's just so pretty, and with the right vintage feel. The style of the non-Charley stories is separate enough to distinguish them, while keeping the signature font. I'm completely rapt in the Mermaids and Misadventures cover, too, but that needs to wait until I'm closer to completion.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Girl's Own School Stories on Amazon

An American reader of Pegasi and Prefects just asked me for recommendations for school stories. At first I didn't know what to suggest: my own collection has for years existed of books inherited from my mother and aunts and random volumes found at antiquarians and charity shops, always choosing the cheap foxed ones over the valuable editions. I ended up with everything from St Trinian's to evangelical school stories, and a lot of annuals and collections. Some of them had never been read, with pages still uncut: from the inscriptions, unloved birthday presents and Sunday School prizes.

That works in Australia and the UK, my two homes, but I wasn't sure if British school stories ever caught on much in the home of Nancy Drew and the Little House.

However, I checked Amazon, and I was in for a wonderful surprise. Since I last checked, there has been... well, let's say I might be broke for a little while. Plenty of free reading too, though!

I already knew that a lot of Angela Brazils were available on Kindle and Project Gutenberg; I have been gradually giving away my hardbacks and replacing them with free digital editions (unless I really, really like the covers.) Brazil is always a good choice. In a lot of ways she is the quintessential school story writer. In practice, her books range from brilliant to phoned in, but she formed the tropes of the slangy, less than perfect schoolgirl, and her heavily flawed heroines are some of my all time favourites.

A Fourth Form Friendship is the very best, and will be reviewed here properly at some point. Other Angela Brazil (free!) recommendations, all stand-alone novels:

The Luckiest Girl in the School
The Girls of St Cyprians
A Popular Schoolgirl
The Youngest Girl in the Fifth

If Brazil formed the tropes, though, Enid Blyton distilled them into some of the purest forms, as was her genius. Malory Towers, St Clare's and the Naughtiest Girl books (younger children, and co-ed, at a progressive child-centred school) are all available as inexpensive ebooks these days. There are also much more recently written tie-in novels, of which I will cautiously say some are very enjoyable, some less so. (I vehemently object to the renumbering of the series to include the tie-ins, though, and I can remember how cheated I felt as a kid when my new Famous Five book turned out not to be by Blyton at all.)

There are also some Chalet School books up as ebooks  from Bettany Press and Girls Gone By but, disappointingly, the ones actually written by Elinor Brent-Dyer aren't up there, just novel length fanfic. If you are a hardcore fan, though, they might be fun, if IMO over priced. The price factor is why I can't recommend any by experience, as it happens. There is also an unrelated book by Brent-Dyer called The School by the Sea, which I haven't read, but seem to have purchased at some point.

What is annoying is that some Chalet School books (and other books by school story authors) are reprinted by specialist publishers, but they don't make them available as ebooks rather than as limited print runs.  Seriously, on the tiny chance that anyone from Girls Gone By etc is reading this, please let me throw my money at you. There's no way on earth that I'm going to spend A$55 on an airmail copy of a Lightning Source reprint, but price them all at $4.99 as ebooks and I will have spent hundreds of dollars with you before I even realise what I've done. Okay, rant over.

Anne Digby's Trebizon series is also up as ebooks. They never really caught my attention, being too late for me (starting in the late 1970s), but they are so inexpensive I may well give them another shot. She also wrote the Naughtiest Girl fill-ins, which admittedly I don't like much.

The best news (for me, at least) I've saved for last: classic school stories by Evelyn Smith, Dorothea Moore, E. M. Channon and Bessie Marchant, put out by a company called Books to Treasure. THIS is why I may be pinching pennies for a bit. Of that list,  Dorothea Moore and Evelyn Smith are two of my favourite, most solid school story writers ever, reliably fun, and E. M. Channon wrote one of the best (and most unusual) school stories I have ever read, The Honour of the House.  (Not on Kindle yet, but I can hope, and I will review at some point!)

Bessie Marchant I am less sure about; she sounds familiar, but I would have to dig around the boxes in my garage to see if I can fit some books to the name.

Anyway, Smith, Channon and Moore are enthusiastically recommended, and I have some reading to do!

If you have any other recommendations of school stories readily available, please let me know. Top of my wish list is for some of Dorita Fairlie Bruce's non-Dimsie books... I live in hope!


Eleanor Beresford is the author of the Scholars and Sorcery series of LGBT YA fantasy novels. Find out more here.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Joining the LGBT challenge 2015, and pledging to read 10+ QUILTBAG books this year, and review them on my blog.  I'm choosing Omnivorous Bookglutton rather than YA Devourer as my pledge, because I don't want to split hairs over what books are "properly" YA.

I also pledge to release 5+  QUILTBAG works this year, from novels to shorts to AMVs. We'll see how that goes. ;)

Sign up here to join in the fun. There will be monthly challenges and themes.


Eleanor Beresford is the author of the Scholars and Sorcery series of LGBT YA fantasy novels. Find out more here.

Monday, 12 January 2015

Putting aside Mermaids and Misadventures and my side project for a short while to work on two Valentine's Day themed shorts in the Scholars and Sorcery universe. One, currently untitled, is the first male gay story in the universe.

The other is tentatively titled Fairies and Frivolities:
I’ve always thought of myself as middling. Middling looks, middling position in the form, middling magical Gift, a solid but not spectacular athlete, background of the cook and two maids type,  and even a middling kind of curve to the tip of my ears. 
However, at some point in my forgotten past , I must have done something of more than middling wickedness to deserve a friend like Lady Emmeline Eversleigh, commonly known as Kitty. 
Kitty Eversleigh is not middling anything. Kitty is, I suspect, an imp changeling in human form.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Scholars and Sorcery Book 1, Pegasi and Prefects, is released!

Pegasi and Prefects is finally out! I am excited, and thrilled to my core. This story has been with me a very long, time, as has the desire to write a Girl's Own book with a romance between girls at its core, and it's finally being released to the world. It's only the start of the story, of course. Elves and Escapades is out in March, and Mermaids and Misadventures is to follow.

Here's where to buy (or sample) on different platforms:

Amazon Googleplay Nook/B&N Kobo Inketera/Page Foundry Smashwords. . . and iBooks. I have yet to figure out how to link to iBooks.

And now, as it is bedtime here in Australia, good night!

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Review: Good for Gracie (school story, 1938)

Good for Gracie--Dorothy Vicary, 1938, Blackie & Son

“Good for Gracie” is one of the school stories I feel intensely conflicted about. On the one hand, it has some of the most vivid characters I can remember in any school story. (More on them later.) On the other, it is set around a trope I particularly dislike: a girl doesn’t fit in, in other words shows too much individuality, and “has her corners rubbed off”. Not only do I find that trope uncomfortable at the best of times, “Good for Gracie” takes it to extremes rarely seen in the genre.

First, the good. Talking about tropes that are relevant to my interests, “Good for Gracie” has one of my very favourite pairs of characters, the gallant tomboy with a masculine nickname (in this case, Billie) and her more feminine inseparable friend (deliciously known as Bubbles, and what a fey creature she is.) They are a delight, especially how handsome Billie is in male clothing at a fancy dress party.

Unfortunately, the bad is very bad indeed. (Break to link to blog)The plot centres around, not Billie or Bubbles nor the protagonist (who is so very dull I forget her name, and can’t be bothered fetching my copy it look it up), but the Gracie of the title. Gracie is a big fish in a small pond at her first school, accustomed to hanging around the Seniors and being treated as a pet. Then, when she and the protagonist transfer to a bigger school, she takes her “special” status with her and fails to show proper humility as a new girl. All hell breaks loose, and I’m not kidding.

The book revolves around Gracie being snubbed, humiliated and actually physically bullied into submission, by everyone from the Head Girl to the otherwise charming Billie. Sure, Gracie breaks cardinal rules of school stories, like giving unsolicited advice to the Games Captain and reporting younger members of her class to the form mistress, or refusing to play for the school, but the sheer brutality of the response seems out of all proportion. You don’t usually get descriptions of the new girl’s bloodied wrists and complete mental breakdown. Well, unless this is supposed to be misery porn, which I really don’t think this is.

Still, in this trope, it’s all for for own good, and supposedly we are meant to cheer the sadism on. In the end, Gracie gives in entirely, submits to the girls who have treated her so cruelly, and is allowed to be friends with Billie & Co. “Good for Gracie”!

It’s hard to hate this entirely, given Billie and Bubbles, but even they show a nasty, sadistic edge. Read this one for the shippiness and one of my favourite tomboys, only.