Saturday, 7 November 2015

The Tea Machine

It's all go here. My blog has sucked in some oxygen and lurched itself upright again.

Right on top of my previous post I have this to tell you - my new book - a Steampunk time travel story - is now available through the Ylva online shop super duper early. Much sooner than Amazon for instance.

What's it about, you ask. Well, imagine The Importance of Being Ernest meets the Kracken and you're half way there.

It is about simple things, like friendship and life and laughter. 
It is the story of a love that never dies…except it does, over and over again.

London 1862, and Millicent Aberly, spinster by choice, has just found her future love—in the future! She meddled with her brother’s time machine and has been catapulted into an alternative world where the Roman Empire has neither declined nor fell. In fact, it has gone on to annex most of the known universe.
Millicent is rescued from Rome’s greatest enemy, the giant space squid, by Sangfroid, a tough and wily centurion who, unfortunately, dies while protecting her. Wracked by guilt and a peculiar fascination for the woman soldier, Millicent is determined to return in time and save Sangfroid from her fatal heroics. Instead, she finds her sexy centurion has stowed away to her own timeline. And Sangfroid is not alone; several other stowaways have come along with her.
Soon Millicent’s mews house is overrun with Roman space warriors and giant squid. It is all very upsetting.
I tip my hat at some old childhood favourites here. H.G. Wells, The Time Machine, obviously. H. Rider Haggard's She, even Moby Dick gets a look in. I loved writing it and I think it shows.
I hope you enjoy reading it, too.

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Editing Tales of the Grimoire1 - and what it really means to me.

Ylva's charity book for the refugees of Lesbos.

Imagine one day you look out your window or stand on a  beautiful sandy beach, and you see a dot on the horizon far out at sea. And as it gets bigger and bigger over the next hour or so, you begin to make out splashes of colour. Oranges and reds and you realise these are the lifejackets of the people in the boat. But so many? Two hundred people packed into a boat manufactured to carry for maybe 30 max. So you go the help them because they don't know the shoreline like you do. They don't know where the rocks are. You don't understand exactly what they're doing but you know they are in trouble.
Lifejackets litter the shore.

And then the next day you see another dot on the horizon, and another, and another. And then it never stops and suddenly you are in the middle of a flood of scared, desperate  people. And you are scared right along with them because you know this is bigger than you, you know there is something weird and almost biblical about this flood of people. You know you are a witness of something extraordinary, of living history and you are afraid you will not cope.
Shelter from the rain in an old drinks cooler.

I'm hoping this book, Tales of the Grimoire 1, is on your kindles, nooks, ipads, whatever you read on. Not because I'm an editor, but because for every sale Ylva makes a donation to a charity called 'The Village of Together'. That is the rough translation, and it gets the message across perfectly. These are local people bound together by compassion to try and deal with a crisis unfolding on their doorstep.
Exhaustion and despair. 
Lesbos is only 7 miles from parts of the Turkish coast. There is a bottleneck of treacherous water with strong currents, and every day and night hundreds of desperate people pack themselves into unsafe inflatable or wooden boats and try to cross this narrow channel of water. The Greek and Turkish coastguard try and stop them, but many get through to the beaches on the Greek side. This is when the people of this island amaze me.
You've all seen the newsreels of the boats being dragged onto the shore and the joyful and frightened refugees alighting to hugs, tears, and triage. But have you witnessed the lines at the camps for registration, for food, for water, for warm clothing? Those tents they sleep in, their bedding, the blankets, the sleeping bags, shoes, socks, coats, toothbrushes, painkillers, sanitary pads, baby milk, much, much more, all this comes from you. And one of the ways you can continue to help is to please buy this book.
Volunteer helps child.
 Give it as a gift, read it for yourself, and by doing so you can give some more, because I am on an island surrounded by people who never stop giving in any way they can. Some get together and cook huge pots of food that is then driven across the island to the camps, some drag boats up the beach, some go out to sea and tow in floundering, powerless craft, some pick up litter on the coastline, some bury the dead, some do hospital runs with the injured, some wash all the sea-soaked clothes so they can be reused, some make hundreds of sandwiches, some do CPR, everyone prays that the governments of Europe will wake up and take responsibility.
This is where they go from the beach. The camps. Terrible places.

I can't thank Astrid, and everyone at Ylva enough for selecting The Village of Together to be our charity this year and I want to make the most of it. So please, this is the easiest way to help these people fleeing from war and catastrophe. They've lost so much, have so little, and are already so defeated and frightened. Your donation will buy everything from lentils to insulin, and I promise it will be spent wisely and on the people who need it most, the refugees. Thank you.