February Highlights

Because I might have gotten stressed and sick, but loads of great things still happened!

1. Long May She Reign was released into the world! It’s been so exciting seeing pictures of people’s copies and hearing people’s thoughts about it. Also…

2. I got my own copies of Long May She Reign in the post, completely unexpectedly, and I was blown away by them. I opened the box expecting paperbacks of Kingdom of Ashes, and when I saw the back of a beautiful glossy hardback, I thought, “Oh, my editor must have sent me another Harper book as a freebie.” Then I turned it over, saw it was my book, and my jaw dropped at how shiny and beautiful it looked. THANK YOU, amazing cover design people! You are amazing!

3. One of my books was translated for the first time! A Wicked Thing is now out in German, and eeee, it’s so exciting!

4. Also in publishing, Bustle featured an article about science in Long May She Reign, and it was the coolest thing ever.

Hermione is the best DM

5. Speaking of Bustle, they also recommended Feminist Fiction in a post on 6 Blogs & Podcasts for Book-Loving Feminists. I feel so honored! Bustle are definitely my new favorite people.

6. I ran my second Dungeons and Dragons session as Dungeon Master and nearly perma-killed my BFF when she decided to insult an ancient white dragon. Life advice: don’t sass dragons when you’re level 5. They’ll do 73 damage with their ice breath and you’ll be super dead.

7. I went outdoor iceskating! Unfortunately, it was a freakishly warm day, and the ice turned to slush in about five minutes… but I didn’t fall over, and that’s the important thing!

8. I finally met my friend’s GORGEOUS old German Shepherd, Taz. LOOK HOW FLUFFY! (I promise he looked more enthusiastic when I met him :P)

9. Pokemon Go GEN 2! Mostly, this has revealed to me that I barely remember anything about the Pokemon beyond the original 151 and Togepi, thanks to the cartoon. Ad breaks of “who’s that Pokemon??” prepped me for recognising the original 151 based on their shadow. Now I’m just like, “oh, there’s a… fish… dog… thing nearby?” Still, Furret is adorable.

10. I’ve been studying Chinese! I’m starting to move beyond “Hi, my name is Rhiannon” to basic grammatical structures. Simple past tense! Using adjectives! Saying something is more X than something else! I’m taking a class at the local university to practice speaking, and I’m doing a lot of my extra study with an app called ChineseSkill, which is kind of Duolingo for Chinese, with a microphone feature that grades your pronunciation. Also, it has a cute panda logo! And for listening practice, I’m watching a Chinese drama on Netflix called Miss in Kiss. It’s a Taiwanese remake of a Japanese drama based on a manga called Itazura na Kiss. It’s not great, but it’s melodramatic in a fun way, and it’s good for getting more familiar with the language.

Ewig: Wenn Liebe Erwacht

I’m so excited! Today is the release day of the German edition of A Wicked ThingEwig Wenn Liebe erwacht. How cool is that? This is the first time one of my books has been translated into another language, and it is SUCH an awesome moment.

I wish I spoke German, so I could appreciate it fully! But still, I’m hyped. And I can’t help thinking that I hope the translator liked the book, since she had to spend so much time with it… 😛

A Few Bits of News

It’s snowing here in York! Just a few powdery flakes, but that’s practically a blizzard for us, and it’s making the world seem a little less terrible than it has done for the past couple of weeks.

I’ve spent the past week recovering from the world’s most melodramatic cold, so I’m a little behind on everything that’s been going on. So, here’s a quick little update of things you might have missed.

First things first, Kingdom of Ashes is having an ebook promotion right now! It’s $1.99 for the next couple of days, so if you haven’t read it yet, now’s a good time to snag it.

YA Books Central were kind enough to make me author of the week this week. I did an interview with them, and there’s also a giveaway for a signed hardback of Long May She Reign.

I was also included in Barnes and Noble’s YA Open Mic series this month, where I talked a little bit about shyness, social anxiety, and how they were impacted by my Big Move from my native UK to the far more gregarious US.

Plus, Long May She Reign comes out in less than two weeks! Which feels insane. You can preorder it from all good bookstores. And eee, the book is gorgeous, if I do say so myself (which I think I can, because it’s not like I designed it). If you take off the dust jacket, there’s even a little gold foil bottle/chemistry flask embossed on the cover, with a tiny castle inside.

Long May She Reign Giveaways

There are currently TWO giveaways running where you can win a copy of Long May She Reign. There’s one on Goodreads, ending February 1st, and one with EpicReads, which ends February 5th. Enter both, and have double the chance to win!

These giveaways are only open to people in the US and Canada, but don’t worry if you’re international. I’ll be giving away signed copies internationally once the book is officially released.

Welcome to 2017!

Happy 2017, everyone!

I’m so excited for the new year, and all the new things that are on the way. New books! New projects! Star Wars Episode VIII!!! And in the meantime, lemme talk about what I’m going to be doing in this online space in 2017 — where you can follow me, what you can expect, and a few new projects coming up!

This Blog

really enjoyed doing Blogmas last month, and part of me wants to keep it up forever. Another part of me knows that’s insane. But I’ll definitely be doing several posts a week, at least, of the “nonsense from Rhiannon’s brain” variety. Book, TV and movie squees. Musing on current events and cute news stories. Excessive navel gazing about technology and mental health and being a better self. All the normal stuff you’d expect from me. 😛

I’ll also be starting three blog series this year, which I’m pretty excited about!

  1. Writing Lessons From… talking about what we can learn about writing and storytelling from various popular series, including movies, TV shows and video games. First post on Friday will be about Rogue One.
  2. Fantasy History (which needs a better name — coming soon, I hope!). I’m a history nerd, and a fantasy nerd, so let’s combine them, and talk about various dramatic, grisly and frankly unbelievable events in British history that work their way into fantasy. There’ll definitely be a couple of Long May She Reign posts, nearer to release, because I really stole a lot from history with that one.
  3. Tropes in YA Fantasy. This is a bit of a Feminist Fiction-esque series, although they won’t all be feminism based. Let’s talk fantasy tropes, and YA fantasy tropes! How are they reinvented by YA? How does YA tackle the BS that traditional fantasy brings with it? Does it tackle it? Does it create problems of its own? I’m not sure, so let’s find out!

As these are all new, I’m currently committing to putting one of these out every FridayWe’ll see what my schedule looks like, and whether I can make the Tropes in YA Fantasy a separate post on Mondays instead. But for now, check back on Fridays for these.

Goodreads

I’ve started using Goodreads, and I’m having fun there! Follow or friend me for my updates on books I’m reading, and my mini reviews when I’m done, and let’s talk books! I just finished The Long Way To A Small Angry Planet and The Princess Diarist, and I’m just starting The Bear and the Nightingale.

My questions are also open there, so if there’s anything you’re wondering about Long May She Reign, feminism or writing in general, please give me a shout!

Feminist Fiction

As always! The website‘s been running five years now, and although I haven’t always posted as regularly as I’d like, I’m feeling super excited about the new year. Posts go up now on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and I talk about feminism in fiction. Obvs. I try to make it as intersectional as I can, considering that all the posts are by me, a British white girl, and I hope it’s a feminism that is thoughtful, challenging, but also kind and accepting of the fact that society forces biases upon all of us, and escaping them is far harder than most of us think. Those are my goals, at least. You can decide how successful I am with that.

Posts coming soon include talk about the video game Never Alone, discussion of Crazy Ex Girlfriend, and the problem with female characters in Rogue One.

Instagram

I still have Instagram! I have a cute cat called Hermione, and lots of stuff coming up with the Long May She Reign release. If you like books, animals, and photos around an old British town that looks like Hogsmeade, come join me there!

Coming Soon

Which you’ll find out about in the next couple of weeks! Can’t reveal anything yet, but it’s going to be really fun.

And then, of course, there are books! Long May She Reign comes out on February 21st (!!!!), and you can preorder it now, if you like. And two days after that, the German edition of A Wicked ThingEwig: Wenn Liebe Erwachtcomes out! It’s going to be an exciting week!

In the meantime, have an awesome start to the year, and I will chat to you all soon! <3

Blogmas #15: Website Update!

Because seriously, I can’t go six months without looking at my website and going, “Yeah, I mean, it’s okay, but….”

Things are still work-in-progress-y, so they might be changing around again in the next couple of days, but for now, it’s a slightly tweaked layout, and a few new pages, including an extras page for A Wicked Thing, along with a detailed playlist. The Kingdom of Ashes playlist will be coming in the next few days, once I’ve persuaded Spotify to cooperate long enough to finish it. And of course, Long May She Reign stuff will be added over the next several weeks as the release date gets closer. Just over two months to go!

November

So, uh, did anyone have a good time this month? I swear, this political chaos seems to have fed into life crises for almost everyone I know. This really was a month for not getting much done, except perhaps worrying. I got a lot of that done.

But here’s my little update summary for the month.

November Writing

 

November Books

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I really wasn’t in the right headspace for reading this month. I didn’t finish a single book until about a week ago. But in the last few days, as I was house-bound with a cold, I got through these three books:

  • A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston. A lush, magically reimagining of Arabian Nights. Amazing.
  • Something in Between by Melissa de la Cruz. Really important exploration of undocumented immigration, but the end was a bit too deus ex-machina for me.
  • Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall. An excellent look at agoraphobia, and probably the best YA book tackling mental illness I’ve ever read.

Read More

October

October Writing

 

October Books

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  • The War on Women by Sue Lloyd Roberts. Really dark, serious reading, but so important and informative.
  • This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills. I LOVED THIS. Friendship and fandom and shippiness and omg love. I have a full review here.
  • The Girl with Seven Names by Hyeonseo Lee.  Such an interesting book about North Korea, from a girl who never actually intended to defect.

Read More

September

To everyone wondering about my absence this past month: yes! I am still alive! Yay for still being alive. Just been sorting out some Life Stuff. And drinking a lot of pumpkin spice lattes. Both very important and time-consuming things. 😛

 

September Writing

  • I didn’t write much in September, to be honest. At least, not where anyone could see! I did share the first few chapters of my post-Long May She Reign project with another human being, to get confirmation that it’s, you know, written in recognizable English and didn’t make her want to gouge her own eyes out so she wouldn’t have to keep reading. And she didn’t! So that was a success, at least!
  • On Feminist Fiction, I wrote about Robin Hobb’s Liveship Trader series, and why you should DEFINITELY 100% read it, right now.
  • On this blog, I wrote about some of my favorite finds while volunteering in a charity bookshop. My favorite thing since I wrote that? “Knit your own royal wedding.” I mean, what more could anyone want in a book?

 

September Books

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  • The Mad Ship by Robin Hobb. My new favourite fantasy series. You need to read it.
  • Ship of Destiny  by Robin Hobb. No, seriously. It’s amazing. Althea Vestrit is my queen.
  • Empire of Storms by Sarah J Maas. Not as good as Queen of Shadows, but still addictive fantasy reading.

Read More

August

August News

  • I might regret this, buuuut… I’ve started using my Youtube channel, RhiWrites. I’m still learning, but I hope you’ll join me there! It’s a talky channel (I believe that’s the technical term), just chatting about books and life and being a writer. Come hang out with me!

 

August Writing

 

August Books

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  • Emotional Agility by Susan David. Really insightful book about finding emotional authenticity.
  • A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess. Super readable Victorian fantasy, full of magic, boarding schools, and plot twists.
  • The Best Possible Answer by E. Katherine Kottaras. Anxiety-ridden overachiever faces her fears in the summer before applying to college.

Read More

July

July Writing

 

July Books

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  • Ummm, I barely read ANYTHING this month. I actually don’t know what happened, looking back. But I reread Chamber of Secrets and Prisoner of Azkaban, and am loving listening to the audio books read by Stephen Fry again.

Read More

June

June News

  • EpicReads revealed the cover for Long May She Reign! You can find out more about the book here.
  • Long May She Reign is now also available for preorder! It’ll be released on February 21st 2017.
  • I was interviewed by Kayla Dean for her Millennial Writers series. We talked about fairy tales, feminism and finding an agent, and what it means to be a “millennial writer.”

 

June Writing

  • I’ve been reviewing this year’s Hugo Nominees for Best Novel: Seveneves by Neal Stephenson; The Fifth Season by NK Jemisin; Uprooted by Naomi Novak. The final two are coming next month!
  • My newfound Hamilton obsession found me exploring how the musical deals with Eliza, and her absence from the historical narrative.
  • After watching a Let’s Play of Undertale, I talked about the game’s metaness and how it plays with our expectations.
  • After watching the new season of Orange is the New Black, I talked about the show’s moral complexity, and whether that does a disservice to the victims of violence and abuse.

 

June Books

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  • The Fifth Season by NK Jemisin. Fantasy with a really great worldbuilding and an inventive structure. Sometimes a bit slow, but a good read.
  • The Way To Game The Walk of Shame by Jenn P Nguyen. YA contemporary with a protagonist who wants to make sure we know she’s not like other girls.
  • Seveneves by Neal Stephenson. A beast of a book that definitely wants to put the science in science fiction.

Read More

Long May She Reign Cover Reveal — And Now Available for Preorder!

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After sitting on this for far too long, I’m finally able to share more info about Long May She Reign. Specifically, the cover! And the blurb!

First, a little more detail about what Long May She Reign is about…

Freya was never meant to be queen. Twenty third in line to the throne, she never dreamed of a life in the palace, and would much rather research in her laboratory than participate in the intrigues of court. However, when an extravagant banquet turns deadly, and the king and his courtiers are poisoned, Freya suddenly finds herself on the throne.

Freya may have survived the massacre, but she is far from safe. The nobles don’t respect her, her councillors want to control her, and with the mystery of who killed the king still unsolved, Freya knows that a single mistake could cost her the kingdom – and her life.

Freya is determined to survive, and that means uncovering the murderers herself. Until then, she can’t trust anyone. Not her advisors. Not the king’s dashing and enigmatic illegitimate son. Not even her own father, who always wanted the best for her, but also wanted more power for himself.

As Freya’s enemies close in and her loyalties are tested, she must decide if she is ready to rule… and, if so, how far she is willing to go to keep the crown.

And then, the cover…

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Long May She Reign Cover Reveal

Guy, guys, guys.

The final cover for my next book, Long May She Reign, just arrived in my inbox.

I am in love. It’s gorgeous.

The cover will appear both on the blog here and on EpicReads on June 27th, but if you’d like to get a peek at the cover and a sneaky little excerpt of the book before then, be sure to sign up to my newsletter. I’ll be mailing them out to subscribers only on Friday June 24th.

Can’t wait to share it with you all!