Author: tesscatiful

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 …

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 …

10 Years, 10 Books: Best of the Decade

Switching it up this year! Instead of posting a yearly round-up (because, to be honest, I haven’t had the most fulfilling reading year in 2019!), let’s talk about my absolute favourite books published in the last ten years. That I have read. Obviously.   The Girl with Ghost Eyes by M. H. Boroson This book was everything I didn’t know I wanted; a proper little gem picked up on a whim just because the literary Gods smiled upon me one evening. I did not expect to get so into it, but when your protagonist is a martial arts expert with astral projection abilities who can see into the depths of the supernatural underworld of 19th century Chinatown in San Francisco … I don’t believe it’s possible to go wrong. Inspiring, thoroughly entertaining, something a bit different and completely unexpected. Plus, it’s always good to support small presses! This book totally makes the list. The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon Another ghost story has made the list, this time taking place in a dystopian futuristic London/Oxford. …