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Showing posts from November, 2013

Catching Fire - a review

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Ever since I downloaded the free sample chapters on my Kindle, I’ve been a fan of the Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. The sample grabbed me by the throat, so even though I am about 35 years older than the target readership I ordered all three paperbacks and read them back to back. I saw the first Hunger Games film last year shortly after reading the book, and while I enjoyed it, I remember a bit of a flat feeling afterwards because the book (of course) is better than the film almost every time... or maybe I just remembered the plot too well so there were no surprises?
Now, a year later, I’ve just seen the second film Catching Fire – and I'm happy to say yes, it delivers! Obviously having a year between reading the book and watching the film helps, because although I had a vague memory of the plot, it was not enough to mean I spent my two and a half hours in the cinema comparing the screen version with the book. Also, I think the second story is more powerful.
Katniss Everdeen, t…

MUSE MONDAY - Ann Turnbull's bird-on-the-head

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Today the unicorn welcomes author Ann Turnbull to tell you about her wonderful muse!


Who (or what) is your muse?

Ann: My muse is a small ceramic figure of a woman with a bird on her head. She was made in Cornwall by Shelagh Spear. As soon as I saw this figure I knew she was a goddess and would be my muse. You can see her in the photo, surrounded by the clutter on my desk (she doesn’t really have quite such a short lower body – that’s the camera angle). Unfortunately she is rather easily knocked over and her bird has lost its beak. I hope this doesn’t affect her powers.


When did you first meet?
Ann: A few years ago. My sister gave her to me as a birthday present.

Does your muse appear in any of your books and/or artwork?
Ann: I think she may be one of the many goddesses and nymphs who appear in my Greek Myths. And she could well have a role in a new YA novel I’m thinking about at the moment – but that’s a secret!

If you won the lottery and had complete artistic freedom, what woul…

World Fantasy Convention 2013

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Normally at Halloween I turn off the lights, hide behind the sofa, and keep a bowl of exploding chocolate eyeballs beside the front door in case my house gets mobbed by gangs of trick-or-treaters. But this year, I got to party myself... in Brighton with several other fantasy/horror genre authors, all of us attending the World Fantasy Convention (the first time it has graced British shores in 16 years, so how could an author with a unicorn muse possibly miss such a great event?).

The weekend kicked off on Thursday night with a children's fringe event at the Book Nook in Hove, organised by my publisher Templar, where three of us who write for younger readers dressed up ready for a spooky evening in the shop. Here I am at my 'magical station' ready to show prospective young knights of the Round Table how to decorate their shields with heraldic symbols:

CJ Busby hosted some spell making, which obviously had an effect on the weather, since it was a wild and stormy night with r…

Dragon Riding and Singing in Spanish

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My author spirited me away for the Halloween weekend, partying in Brighton at the World Fantasy Convention - a great place for a unicorn, as you can imagine (although there were rather a lot of dragons to avoid, too). Here are some of the goodies I carried home for her in my unicorn panniers...


She's ordered me to write a couple of blog posts about the convention and what we got up to at Halloween, but first I should explain the title... it seems the moment I turn my back on my computer, a whole rash of guest posts go up which Katherine had conveniently forgotten to tell me about.

Singing in Spanish
First of all, at Halloween while we were busy partying with witches at the Book Nook in Hove, Katherine's virtual self visited Authors Electric to do some Singing in Spanish. This post tells how she came to publish a dual language ebook version (English /Spanish) of the short story that became the seed of her Branford Boase Award winning novel "Song Quest", demonstrating …

MUSE MONDAY - Savita Kalhan and her trees.

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This week the unicorn welcomes Savita Kalhan, who would like to introduce you to a muse that changes with the seasons.



Who or what is your muse?

Savita: My muse is that most ancient of beings: the mighty tree.

When did you first meet?

Savita: I don’t recall when we first met, possibly in India when my grandfather used to carry me in his arms in the mango tree orchard – the only way to quell my crying. My first readings of The Faraway Tree and the other books in The Enchanted Forest series I remember so clearly. I literally lived in the children’s library, surrounded by the most amazing stories and worlds, but myths and folklore were a favourite and devoured very quickly. The humble tree figured in many.

Does your muse appear in any of your books and/or artwork?

Savita: My book, The Long Weekend, is set in a mansion surrounded by woods, with much of the action taking place in the woods. The woods provided both a sanctuary and a hiding place. The tree that was Sam’s hiding place in the book,…