Thursday, 26 February 2015

Just add fairies: Scholars and Sorcery inspiration board

I grew up reading school and adventure stories set in places as exotic, to me, as Cornwall and Devon. I didn't, in those pre internet days, have any real idea of how they looked. Beaches, and cliffs, and... gorse? My mind filled  the scenery in with Australian beaches.

Actually walking along cliff paths in Cornwall was one of the most exciting moments of my life.

As I've been enjoying the Pinterest boards for fashion for my upcoming contemporary YA series, I decided to collect some visual images for Scholars and Sorcery, to help me--and any interested readers--visualise the scenery, the buildings, the uniforms.

A lot of it is pictures of Cornwall, still, to me, the most beautiful place on Earth.

The link to the pinterest is here. But I just want to share here a picture that I found of Lanhydrock House that actually echoes really clearly what I had in mind when I describe Fernleigh Manor. I don't know if I was ever there and unconsciously described it, or if it's coincidence, but in any case---

--Just add fairies.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Pinterest and Japanese fashion

While most of my attention is on polishing Elves and Escapades and working on Mermaids and Misadventures, I do find time to fit in some other writing as well. Lately, plot bunnies for a light hearted contemporary romance/friendship YA series have been hopping around in my brain, and I seem to have a structure and a first chapter for Project: Dance Date already.

One of my MCs, Valeria, is a ruthless and manipulative young woman who is very into cute, girly, retro-inspired and Asian influenced clothes which give her a deceptively innocent appearance.In order to visualise her clothes properly, I've started a Pinterest board for her fashion style, strongly influenced by fairy kei and pop kei.

This is so much fun, and so addictive. I think I need boards for all my characters! For now, I couldn't resist sharing some of my favourite pieces for Val.

Monday, 16 February 2015

Review: Into the Wise Dark by Neesha Meminger

Review: Into the Wise Dark by Neesha Meminger, 2012
Genre: Urban fantasy / time travel
Challenges: Dive into Diversity, We Read Diverse Books January challenge (oops)
Published by Ignite Books

I have been terribly remiss at actually posting any review from my various challenges. Here's my first stab at fixing that by actually reviewing a book I read back in January.

Into the Wise Dark is a time travel/urban fantasy, with a British-American Punjabi heroine, Pammi, who fits awkwardly into the Punjabi community due to her mother being divorced and with a boyfriend who sleeps over. Pammi has a history of hellish psychiatric treatment, attempting to cure her of her conviction that she time travels in her dreams.

Thing is, she does. She has a parallel life, leaving her comatose body back in this time, to an ancient utopia called Zanum, where magic is real and she has a really hot boyfriend and an important role to play in saving civilisation from the Big Bad. It reminded me a bit of Inuyasha in the Indus River Valley, with less demons.

Back in the present time, Pammi is persuaded by her mother and her boyfriend to volunteer with some girls "like her" in a mental institution. Unsurprisingly, the girls all have magic mental powers, and need to work together to save Zanum and the future from the Big Bad from the past, who is now in the future and travelling back to cause disaster.

This was the part I really enjoyed. The girls Pammi meet are a diverse lot in every sense: ethnically, magic wise, personality wise, and with a matter of fact presentation of a lesbian couple. I loved all the scenes of Pammi's prickly, uncertain relationship with them and the way it develops, I loved their fairly transgressive use of their powers, and I would happily read a whole series about them.

I also loved the glimpses we got of a future dystopia; they seemed original and they haunted me.

Unfortunately, what I loved less was what I suspect I was supposed to care most about: Zanum, and its perfect Goddess-worshipping, polyamorous, magical civilisation in which women pop babies out in five minutes. Maybe this is why I felt troubled by so much sympathy for the Big Bad, who seemed cynically set up to fail by his society.

Pammi also does something I find incredibly ethically troubling later in the book, although it's impossible to talk about without too many spoilers. I'm hoping there is a sequel, because I want there to be consequences other than positive for the choice she made.

I'm hoping there is a sequel in any case. I really like Pammi, I love her friends, and I want to read more of their superpowered adventures. I don't really read a lot of urban fantasy, but I devoured this one.


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