Well, today, I am a very happy bunny indeed. It's not very often that I get any feedback on my books, but when It comes, it is very welcome. And the below review of my second novel, The Book of Thoth, was written by Mr Simon Satori (formerly of Rome Burns, now working on a new project, Hi-Reciprocity) - poet, singer, performer, writer, and all around culture vulture.
Therefore, it is an honour to be able to post his lovely words about my novel here.
I am very, very proud of The Book of Thoth, because with this book, I had set myself a challenge, and I have enjoyed working on it immensely. Not that I didn't find working on I Am a Muse satisfactory, but my mindset whilst working on my first book was completely different.
In addition, with The Book of Thoth, I worked very closely with typesetter and designer Matt ArtPix to make the book look interesting. We loved researching the Egyptian symbols for each section; I was thrilled to see my little map, initially drawn in pencil and colour pens, become a "proper" illustration and make it into the book. And Matt got what I wanted to do with the cover straight away: get as far away from the usual Tim Burtonesque "Gothic" cover, add a touch of minimalism and Art Deco and express the contents of the book in a more subtle way...
You can find the original post HERE, and I am thrilled to say that Simon had been talking about the superb actress Eva Green just before he moved on to my book...
[... ]And when not watching creepy supernatural tales (and nice middle-class people baking cakes in a tent!) I’ve been reading Carya Gish's ‘The Book of Thoth’.
This blog is about two weeks late. No rush, then.
Trust me, I have some good reasons to be late: the Arcane/ArtPix team is once again trying to move to Dorset. Things have happened, but we can't say anything, because the whole thing could collapse any day until contracts have been signed and exchanged.
So in the meantime, we are going to try and forget about the soul-destroying process of selling and buying houses and immerse ourselves in culture...
So on Saturday 10th September, we were invited to have a stall (and help a bit) at the fab festival organised by the band Autorotation and events producer Oil54 (our co-organiser for the Winter Tales event back in February). Autorotation are now experts at writing Arts Council applications which comes in handy when you wish to put together ambitious events!
This year, the festival had moved from south London (see my little report of last year's event HERE) to Shoreditch, and what a brilliant idea it was to have chosen the splendid St Leonard's Church! Full of character and history, the building is a welcome oasis of calm and greenery in the middle of pulsating, trend-setting, hipster-dwelling Shoreditch - whose turn it is to fall victim to gentrification... It is also the actors' church, and many Elizabethan actors are buried in the crypt.
St Leonard's definitely had a homely feel which made it hard to leave behind after a whole day. I found its faded yet sturdy beauty rather poignant, somehow. Maybe it is because more and more historical buildings in London are disappearing without a trace, swallowed up by the relentless advance of the property developers...
During the day, we put up the banners outside the gates under the critical eye of the church's very own resident cat and pest-control chief, Schrodinger, who apparently is a bit of a celebrity. HERE's a lovely article about him (and his friend, Robin Hatton-Gore, who was really helpful on the day of the festival) .
Matt ArtPix and I set up our stall in the catering hall, next to the pop-up cafe ran by super-efficient catering team Jason, Zoe and Jean, who had transformed the little hall into a restful heaven away from the main action.
It really was a wonderful day full of beautiful music and talented people - although because we spent quite some time setting up and manning the stall, we didn't see a lot of the entertainment!
Musician, writer, poet and performer Simon Satori has written a witty review of the day, and I recommend you read it!
Simon actually opened the event with something he has called his "spoken word waffle" - click on the link to read it, it is definitely entertaining and illuminating!
The Green Army Choir, founded by members of Autorotation, played an essential part in the event and acted like a link between the performers: they sang with every single one of them, and I can only imagine the hard work which had gone into learning the songs and rehearsing them to take them to an altogether different level especially for that special day.
So I missed some of the performances: Winterlight and Adjoa Akoma; I caught the final moment of an amazing track by Petrels which filled the church with an enormous sound - I can swear the stone pillars shook... and I managed to take a few pictures of the festival creators, Autorotation, whom thankfully I had seen perform several times before!
I managed to catch a few tracks by the terrific composer and singer Kirsten Morrison whose incredible operatic voice and occult music gave me goose bumps.
But the highlight of the day was, for me, the "Special Guest" - I managed to sneak away from the stall for the whole set: Tony Wakeford of Sol Invictus and some of his regular collaborators/friends: Renee Rosen, Jo Quail, Eilish McCracken and, on backing vocals, Simon Satori. Their work with The Green Army Choir, conducted by Robyn from Autorotation, was absolutely magical and had me transfixed!
Watch "Necropolis" below.
Below is a series of pictures taken on the day.
If you wish to see some beautiful pictures taken during the day (rehearsals/setting up) and at the event, go to SteveK Photography's website HERE. You will find pictures of all the performers, the audience, etc.
The festival's Facebook page is HERE, you will find video interviews with the performers.
On the day, I swapped novels with Simon Satori: he gave me a copy of his novel "Assumptions and Carnations" for a copy of "The Book of Thoth". Just my kind of deal!
It's next on my list of books to read, once I've finished "The Taxidermist's Daughter" by Kate Mosse.
Oh, and I got home with some more goodies (I was only told about the bag once we got home, thank you Mr Wakeford!)
And thank you again to Autorotation (Aurora, Robyn and Igor) and Alan Pride for inviting us!
I have now posted a new extract of my work-in-progress, The Right Place, on the page dedicated to the novel HERE.
This excerpt is entitled "A Prayer to St Catherine" and describes what goes through the mind of young Kat on one of her numerous visits to St Catherine's chapel in Abbotsbury, Dorset, where she has just moved.
Please note that this is a draft and therefore is probably not the final text!
On this note, I am now off to Dorset for a flash visit (house-hunting!).
I think therefore I write.
All Art Books Cinema Culture Events Idea Ideas Inspiration Inspirations Literature Music People Places Promo Publishing Reading Reviews Self Publishing Self Publishing Self-publishing Society Theatre Thoughts Working Work In Progress Work In Progress Writing Writings