Once again, I have just spent another whole day doing some publisher's work - which I am more than happy to do, because I do want to turn Arcane Publishing into a proper, fully-fledged independent publishing company... I really do hope I will never have to go back to an in-house, full-time office job in London, because then it would jeopardise absolutely everything I've been doing over the past nine months or so...
A few exciting things to announce soon... even though it means having to get over my absolute loathing of having my picture taken...
Writing time has shrunk dramatically because of this!
I am still absolutely determined to finish the first draft of The Book of Thoth by the end of August, but before I carry on, I have to resolve a bit of a plot problem I have and as long as I haven't found the solution, I cannot move forward...
Come oooon, inspiration! Show yourself!
So yesterday I had my first interview as an interviewee...
I was waiting for the journalist inside Waterstones in Southend - unfortunately, we do not have any independent bookshop in town and the nearest one is The Book Inn in Leigh-on-Sea - and having a look at their "NEW BOOKS" section, when my eyes fell on a great cover illustration; then I saw the name Robert McFarlane on it, and so I picked it up. It was a book about South Dorset! The evocative lane on the cover reminded me of the "haunted" lane we followed last September, Common Lane near Corscombe (as described in Louise Hodgson's Secret Places of West Dorset.) I will purchase Holloway in the forthcoming weeks, it sounds fantastic - although it is quite pricey!
In July 2005, Robert Macfarlane and Roger Deakin travelled to explore the holloways of South Dorset's sandstone. They found their way into a landscape of shadows, spectres and great strangeness.
The interview itself went ok, although I can still hear the sound of my own voice buzzing in my head. Did I say too much? Not enough? Unfortunately, the journalist hadn't had time to read the book and we didn't delve too deep into it, which I guess would have been quite a challenge for me...
I am not sure how the journalist is going to get something together out of my waffle, but I guess doing that is a specific skill, isn't it? Not everyone can be a journalist, despite what the majority of people thinks. So I talked about art, inspiration, I Am a Muse, self-publishing, the English language, education - not in any particular order.
What I like about writing is that you have time to organise your thoughts. When I speak, everything gushes out and I kind of panic. I guess I will learn with time...
The article should be published on Friday 24th May, and I will post a scan on this website. Not too sure whether I am looking forward to it or dreading it...
A few images from Dorset taken during my recent fortnight there... To get into the mood for my third book, The Right Place, which will be set in that beautiful county.
All photos all taken by the author's father! © M.T.
I have just finished writing the review of The Eden House's second album Half Life.
This review, as well as its French translation, will appear on the French music website La Magicbox in the forthcoming weeks, but I wanted to put up the English version on here.
This album has been the soundtrack to my writing these past few weeks!
*Update: The French and English versions of the review are now online HERE.*
Half Life, The Eden House’s eagerly-awaited second album, arrives four years after their splendid first album Smoke and Mirrors.
Between the two albums, the collective have extensively played live and released The Looking Glass – a two-CD affair split between a lavish live video and an audio CD of covers – and a mini-album, Timeflows.
The revolving doors policy of the project – by which collaborators come and go for each recording and live appearance – ensures a constant freshness and element of surprise.
Once again, founding members Stephen Carey (Adoration, NFD) and Tony Pettitt (Fields of The Nephilim, NFD) have surrounded themselves with an array of talented musicians and singers: Phil Manzarena (Roxy Music), Simon Hinkler (The Mission), Bob Loveday (who has played with Van Morrison, Bob Geldof and Rachid Taha among others), Lee Douglas (Anathema), Monica Richards (Faith and The Muse), Jordan Reyne, Queenie Moy, Phoenix J and Laura Bennett.
Much like on The Eden House’s previous releases, the music flows in your ears like the most magical of potions; there is real chemistry – or should I say alchemy? – at work here between the various female vocals and the multi-layered, intricately woven melodies. And like every good mythical brew, the recipe of The Eden House’s music remains mysterious and elusive: it escapes categorisation, mixes up genres, influences and moods – prog and gothic rock as well as trip-hop have all been mentioned; it shapeshifts at will to create its very own soundscape(s). No song follows a linear path but instead, each of them takes us by the hand – and ears and heart too! – and leads us off the beaten track to wander around a totally wild and enthralling sonic world.
The backbone of the album is of course Tony Pettitt’s distinctive bass, to which are added sonorous and virtuoso guitars, thundering drums, dark electronic gurgles and the sweeping flights of Bob Loveday’s violin.
And then, there are the vocals… The six very different, unique female voices stamp their mark on the tracks – or rather singe the flesh of each song with their branding iron of a voice; if the music is the body, then their voices make up the soul of the songs.
Bad Men, The Tempest and Wasted on Me, with their ever-so-slightly tangible sense of menace, have an out-of-this-world beauty in which the ethereal and the hard-edged intertwine. Indifference features multi-layered vocals and an incredibly infectious chorus, while Butterflies possesses a gripping narrative quality and benefits from the gorgeous, vibrant vocals by NZ musician Jordan Reyne, who, I must admit, is a personal favourite artist of mine.
The Empty Space and City of Goodbyes take things to another atmospheric level; even though the pace has slowed down, we get swept away by the rich, majestic melodies. On hearing the sonorous instrumental section in City of Goodbyes, my feet almost left the ground.
Elsewhere, Queenie Moy’s jazzy and soulful voice dominates The Hunger, an epic, stirring song worthy of the best James Bond theme tunes – and also probably the most ‘commercial’ track on the album.
I like the way Half Life concludes with the brighter First Light, a song peppered with flavours of dub and ska. Towards the end of the track, the sound of the sea and the bird songs communicate an unforeseen sense of inner peace and contentment.
This album is an absolute success and is utterly bewitching.
And now, it is your turn to succumb.
Half Life will be released by Jungle Records on 27th May 2013
Watch below the video for the single Bad Men (On Their Way To Do Bad Things), featuring Monica Richards.
During my recent holiday in Dorset, I went back as usual to the ever wonderful Sanctuary Bookshop in Lyme Regis (see my previous blog about it).
I was showing my parents around, so I didn't spend as much time browsing as I usually do, but managed to get my hands on a few interesting things...
Among them, the lovely children's book The Mousehole Cat by Nicola Bayley and Antonia Barber. It is a truly lovely book inspired by the old Cornish legend of Tom Bawcock. The illustrations are gorgeous, the text charming, in turns funny, poignant and poetic.
A pleasure to read and look at! No wonder it was a winner of the British Book Award (Illustrated Children's Book of the Year).
I was also delighted to get my hands on a Penguin classics edition of J. Meade Falkner's Moonfleet. I've been meaning to read this for quite a while as it is about smugglers in Dorset, and my third book, The Right Place, will also take place in Dorset and will have a "historical" connection to smuggling activity in the area... I cannot wait to start it...
More Dorset in the next blog!
Just to show that still have a lot yet to learn about publishing... I have received today a request from the ALDL (Agency for the Legal Deposit Libraries) for five copies of I Am a Muse. I only knew about sending a copy to The British Library, but didn't know about our books having to be made available to the Bodleian Library Oxford University, The Cambridge University Library, National Library of Scotland and Trinity College Dublin! So if you walk into one of these libraries in the next few months, you'll be able to borrow I Am a Muse! How cool is that?
It feels odd, but incredibly satisfying. Especially when you read the blurb in the legal deposit section of The British Library website:
The legal deposit system also has benefits for authors and publishers:
This is the most painful aspect of promotion: getting your face out there... I wish I could do without it. After all, it's the books that count!
And anyway, what's wrong with my 1920s bobbed flapper logo? :-)
Matt ArtPix and I have been talking about the way getting a small kitten would probably be good for our respective ventures (see number 3)...
If I really have to have one done one day, I'd like it to look like a Cecil Beaton photograph... Black and white, stylish, stylised... Just like the one below:
I think therefore I write.
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