Tag Archives: Reviews

On folk music standards and drowning girls

If you know me, you’re probably aware I have a fascination with folk songs, and with the twisted tales they tell. One of my faves crops up in various versions and guises, though my two favourite renditions of it are Bows of London as performed by Martin Carthy and Eliza Carthy:



The other version I love is by Tom Waits’ Two Sisters.



So when reviewer Charlotte Ashley referenced Pentangle’s Cruel Sister, I squealed in glee, and that was before I read her rather lovely and flattering review of my F&SF short The Girls Who Go Below. I can’t wait to see my copy and to read all the things therein. MUCH ASCITE and all that kind of stuff yes. 😀

African SF anthology open to subs and review round-up

Here’s an anthology open to African writers of science fiction.

Sounds like a cool idea. If I wrote SF I’d be all over entering this.


In other news, you can read the first few pages of When the Sea is Rising Red on Amazon, and decide of it’s something you’d like to stick in your basket.


A couple of bookblogger reviews have mushroomed around the internets. I keep meaning to bookmark them and do a big review round up, but I am criminally lazy and this shall be my downfall. Here’s what I’ve dug up so far:


From A to Z says “It is a beautiful and haunting story that will stay with you for a long time.”

One Book at a Time found it meh and says “…was left with very mixed feelings.  It wasn’t what I had hoped it would be.”

Paperbackdolls enjoyed it, but felt it wasn’t for everyone  –  “Hellisen has written a unique story that is a blend of old folklore, mythology, fantasy and  her own personal style and the result is intellectually stimulating”

Findabookmark wasn’t expecting what she got, but liked it anyway.  Plus I kinda want what she wants – “Truthfully though I kind of just wanted Dash and Jannik to just kiss and make up.  God.  Those two.”

Alicemarvels also got a different book from what she expected, and didn’t mind at all. “If you put the writing of Neil Gaiman, H.P. Lovecraft, and Tamora Pierce in a blender, you’d closely approximate the reading experience of When the Sea is Rising Red”

Stackedbooks found the world-building confusing and thinks it should have been written in past tense – “I’d also recommend it to readers looking for a unique fantasy world, as long as they don’t mind not understanding a lot of it. ”

Intothehallofbooks loved the world of Pelimburg – “When The Sea is Rising Red is a beautifully dark and thrilling debut. I pondered it and was puzzled over it a few times, but mostly I spent my time fully immersed in it and I loved it from cover to cover. ”


So there you go…hope that helps you decide if you want to read it or not.




Nano and other writing stuff.

While I’m taking a break on Null & Void to do some more research, I’m going to be nano-ing.

I wasn’t originally, but now I’ve been convinced and I even have a story and the vaguest idea of a plot. I’m also kinda excited by it because it’s not something I’d ever even try writing otherwise.

I’d also never really bother plotting, but if I’m going to keep this baby going for a month under full steam, then a bit of direction is good. 😛

If you’re doing it and you want to be writing buds then I’m Muserkin over on the nano boards.

I’ve been reading a bunch of interesting articles – I quite liked this one about Annie Dillard. But I especially fell in love with this part:

One afternoon, at her direction, we brought in our pages, scissors and tape, and told to bring several drafts of an essay, one that we struggled with over many versions.

Now cut out only the best sentences, she said. And tape them on a blank page. And then when you have that, write in around them, she said. Fill in what’s missing and make it reach for the best of what you’ve written thus far.

I watched as the sentences that didn’t matter fell away.

In book-reading stuff. I read Hannah Moskowitz’s Break the other day, and I really recommend it. It’s fast, it’s brutal, and Hannah has a terrifying amount of talent. She’s writing YA at the moment, but I know she’s stretching into more adult literary work and I have a strong feeling that she’s going to be a name to watch.

I know her in an online capacity, and I’m reading snippets of her current WiP and I am bowled over. Seriously.

Break is I think a particulary good book to try and get boys reading. Esp the readers who are not keen on fantasy. It’s set very much in the real world, and it’s an interesting take on the thought processes behind self-harmers – this is not a book about tragic  emo girls cutting themselves and making sure eveyone notices. It’s far more fight club than preachy what is your teen doing? Also, it focuses on brothers, which is not that common in most current YA that I can think of.