Author: tesscatiful

5 Books I Panic-Bought during the Pandemic

This is your daily reminder to stay home, wash your hands, and don’t vote Conservative. Oh, and if you’re going to panic-buy, don’t hoard the loo roll – there are far superior tree-based products up for grabs. If there was ever a Perfect Time™ to support authors, it’s during a pandemic, a time when their primary income may have dried up. Oh, and bonus – books can be enjoyed for hours upon hour in an indoor setting! So, if you can afford it, treat yourself to a book or two you’ve been meaning to read. You’ve been so brave. You deserve this. Buy the books. So, what did I buy? Sea of Rust by C. Robert Cargill Was it, in hindsight, a great idea in the current climate to purchase a post-apocalyptic novel where humans are extinct and the robot race who destroyed them are following in the footsteps? Yes. Yes, it was. Sea of Rust packed a punch – with a likeable, ballsy robot protag and a very unique setting. I was drawn in …

It’s okay to covet external validation

Every day, my brain tells me that my stories are rubbish. Every damn day, my brain tells me that everyone thinks my work is awful, but no one has the nerve to tell me to my face. And every day, my brain tells me I am so utterly stupid that I can’t even see how talentless I am.I don’t know why my brain does this. Something to do with vulnerability and the brain not quite fancying putting itself out there for judgement in the literary world. Maybe? I don’t know. But I do know that I’m not alone. I’d be hard pressed to find a fellow writer, or indeed any creative, who doesn’t have similar feelings on the regular. Some days are easier. Some days are harder. Unpredictable. The only constant is the cycle you’re stuck in. And no, it doesn’t help that the industry is riddled with rejection! Of course it’s going to breed these feelings – how can we not internalise that? But bless us, we try to keep out chins up and …

Review: The Binding by Bridget Collins

If you enjoyed that 2001 blockbuster Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind … then maybe consider watching that again, it’s ever so good. What’s not good, however, is this book. Its plot is literally exactly the same (*ahem* spoiler alert), except, somehow, shittier. Way shittier. And also includes a very brutal dog murder on page 286. And that’s not even the half of it. Welcome to: This Book Was Not For Me and Now You Have to Hear About It! Emmett Farmer is … a farmer. Yes, that just about sums up the amount of creativity this author put into the character, for Emmett Farmer the farmer is duller than a lump of mud. He’s the type of guy who, as a friend of mine brilliantly quipped, is utterly flummoxed by the world he lives in, every day of his life. He didn’t start off well in my eyes, having fainted twice in the same chapter. And as the story progressed, so did his tendency to do a really fun thing where half of his …

Dissecting the trash fire that was my first query letter

17th December 2015: the fateful day I decided to begin my querying journey. Why did I chose to start in December, the month all agents are closed? Well, that’s not the subject of this blog post. No, what we’re talking about today is: all of my other mistakes. Come on down! We are taking a horrifically painful look at my very first query letter, the one I wrote with the trusty help of The Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook 2015 edition and nothing else. This letter may have failed to secure me an agent (obviously, look at it, it’s awful), but it will live on in glory as a lesson to future querying writers: here’s what not to do. All right campers, let’s take a look: Look closely: the greeting is perfection. Formal address, comma at the end. No “Dear Agent” around here, no ma’am. Couldn’t have crafted a more amazing greeting. 10 points to Ravenclaw. The opener is where this letter starts to derail, though. It is not (currently) best practice to begin your query …

Review: The Call by Peadar Ó Guilín

Marketed as “genre-changing blend of fantasy, horror, and folkore” (and no that typo is not mine, it’s from the blurb), The Call 100% grabbed my attention from the concept alone. In this version of semi-dystopian Ireland, the Sidhe are targeting teenagers; “calling” them to their world for three minutes before sending them back. Almost none return home alive. And protagonist Nessa may be disabled, but she is determined to train, determined to win, and to be one of the few to survive The Call.I was simultaneously impressed and disappointed by this novel. What I loved was the concept; the idea of The Call felt very Hunger Games, very Maze Runner-ish. And it was exciting: who’s going to be called? When are they going to disappear from their world and appear stark naked in the Grey Land, the grotesque world of the Sidhe and have to run/fight/hide for their life?? And the world-building was incredible; such an imaginative world to place us in, inhabited by fantastic villains who genuinely frightened me a little bit! It was …