Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Portwine Rose

I'm back! 
Yes, it's been awhile...but I wanted to bring good tidings...

My book is on Amazon!!!
A friend self-published with Amazon and has been successful thus far, so I thought I'd have a crack at it, and I've finally got it up and running. And who knows, many books coming in to the bookshop where I work have been published because they became a self-publishing sensation. It's fantastic that authors have this new avenue; although I'm a die-hard advocate of the printed page, and don't own an ereader myself, it allows more creative freedom for authors to make a buck out of their passion. 
It really doesn't - I've read self-published books that I've been blown-away by, and a kind editor's assistant gave me feedback on my work, telling me that the story was great and well-written, but unfortunately because it's no Twilight or Hunger Games or amalgamation of the two, it's not commercially viable in the YA market (though I want to stress that this is also an adult book). When genres collide it confuses the sales and marketing department, and they often refuse to take a chance unless it's going to sell sell sell!!!
I've changed the title from the original The Thicket Dwellers to Portwine Rose, and the story is no longer on Figment (though I hadn't even uploaded the whole story anyway); and it's charity shop book-cheap at £1.53 (random US dollar conversion) so please please please download and give it a read. Give an indie author the support! And...if you're feeling really nice, maybe a li'l review?? 
Positive of course, ahem! ;) 
 I haven't blogged in months because I'm writing another story, an older children's fantasy this time, and it's taken a while to formulate a new idea that I'm happy with. I've spent months scrawling ideas down and collaging in my notebook to keep me inspired, but regret the other creative aspects of my life that I've put on hold, like embroidery and writing in my diary (though I'm currently sewing and embroidering a patchwork quilt, albeit slowly). Though I just don't have the time. Alas.
And reading! I haven't been reading half as much as I would like, and I've got so much research to do...

*sneaky peeks in my notebooks*

^^The fountain pen my mum got me for my 10th birthday! It amazes me I've never lost it, and have never stopped writing with it. My most treasured possession^^

And I'm finally going to start reading Harry Potter for the very first time!!!
I know...I can't believe it either! But no aspiring children's fantasy writer in their right mind would even attempt to write a book as such without reading the greats like the above, plus His Dark Materials and The Narnia Chronicles.
Yes. I'm guilty of reading none of the above. Shame. On. Me.
So I better get cracking...
It's nice to be with you all again and thanks for reading.
And speaking of reading...
Love y'all,
Nina x

ps yes that's sister Katie on the cover of the book! :)

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

The Lilies scented the night

Tonight I stirred the dust
 With tender breaths
Upon the hollow tombstone.
Each kiss of mine was touched to broken bone,
And each of yours; a graze upon my skin,
With teeth still wedged 
And bruising from within.
Our limbs entwine in deaths embrace,
Our grave a cold and lonely place.
My blood is yours,
And you are mine
For we are damned and dying.

-poem inspired by Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles and a dream I once had


After listening incessantly to the new album by Bat For Lashes I have now quite an obsession with lilies, and I was inspired to do another photo-shoot with Chelsea, the red-haired model in the first photo, and included this lovely flower in it. We have done a few other shoots since then, but for now I'll just share this one.

-Katie x

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

I've been away... the Tilly Whim Caves indeed! But I've crept back out again, into the sunlight, guided by the lighthouse...

In truth I've been away due to a li'l 'crisis of creativity' as I'm calling it. After opening the Ectopic Heartbeats etsy shop I felt inexplicably despondent for a long time. I lost all passion for anything I created; felt like it was all a waste of time, and I hated it. I hadn't embroidered anything for a long time, and I didn't want to. I couldn't write - not stories anyway. So I did nothing but read books and write in my scrapbook/journal...and I wrote heaps. And for a while that was the only thing I took joy from. 

And then I had a holiday, so Dan and I went to the Purbecks, and stayed in a gorgeous old Victorian hotel for a night in Swanage, and explored this place that we love. We love it so much we've decided this is where we want to build a nest. 
It's far away enough to achieve the escapism I've desired for a long time, but close enough to Bournemouth to be near my family.

We even went to view a flat above the estate agents we were peering at! The flat was perfect - two double bedrooms with views of Swanage bay and the steam train station on the other side through the cool li'l kitchen with retro appliances...I wanted it so bad!
Alas, there's no way we can afford it now. But I've decided to move back home temporarily to save a bundle, so that in a few years we can afford to buy a flat similar in the town, ideally above a shop with sea views. It means putting on hold the wedding plans for a bit longer, but the change in my destiny has given me so much hope that I am chirpier, more creative and less stressed. 
I am a happy bunny ;)

And Swanage has the best craft shop! Way smaller than Hobbycraft, but I love their fat quarters. And a cute little health food shop that oddly seems to fit all the foods I love plus fresh veg and organic eggs. 
Open country, small indie shops including a string of charity shops that could rival Boscombe, a few pubs with real ale, and the sea. All within a few miles.
Yes, I adore this place.

Maybe I breathe better now because I know where my home is...

Best of all I'm crafting again! But for now I'm doing things for myself and loved ones only. I'll leave the shop where it is, but I'm not concentrating on it. I've started making that quilt I've been wanting to do for an age, though I haven't got much further than cutting fabric and sewing a few squares together.

It's inspired by the Grimm Fairytales that I've been reading a lot lately. See, I've discovered a pattern to most of these stories...children or vulnerable girls are thrown out by wicked relatives or conspiring witches and are forced to seek shelter and nourishment from the forest! So I wrote this verse that I'm going to embroider onto the quilt as I sew it all together...

I was cast out and 
I turned to the forest
where I slept in 
a hollow tree.
I made this quilt
from fallen hair
and autumn leaves
and poetry.

Myself and Katie and our lovely friend Clair Bear went to see two amazing bands during my week off: Sylver Tongue and Bat For Lashes. They were both outstanding...

Charlotte Hadley wore this animal pelt capelet that was stunning and made her look like a tribal huntress (though I'm naively hoping it was faux and friendly...) and whose music in my mind drew parallels with Goldfrapp and Amanda Palmer esp Creatures, my favourite...

...and Natasha Khan...



She is just Divinity Incarnate! 
Bat For Lashes is mesmerising to watch. She commands the stage and dances with charm and ritualistic fervour, and then her ambient songs bring tears to our eyes, which are so pure and tangible after her music that they turn to pearls on our cheeks, and we keep them in our pockets and remember how she pounded upon the drum machine during Lilies and the beat went straight through our hearts and near ruptured mine.

x Nina x

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Deep the in woods..

I have a friend who's a fairy- her name's Chelsea, and I bribed her with cookies to let me take photo's of her in the forest... 

-Katie x

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Craft Fair

We had quite an experience taking Ectopic Heartbeats and Katie's Owl Sanctuary to Kinson Community Centre! Not quite our target audience, but it was fun :)

I'm making a few things for friends at the mo, plus I'm really getting into crochet and gonna be picking up my knitting needles again, so will be busy with these things for a while. Also writing again...more ideas...

Nina x

Friday, 21 September 2012

Girls with wings and tender things


Have been sewing and sketching like crazy these last few months for an upcoming stall where me and Nina will be selling our crafty stuff, and soon we'll be able to relax and eat chocolate all day without having anything else to finish- phew!

The illustration above is inspired by a character called Frida in one of Nina's story ideas that I love. The one below is a pen and watercolour illustration I've finished just recently, but started last year! Sometimes I'm lazy..

Shy Violet

Here's a poem that I embroidered on a doily, inspired by moths and listening to lots of Bat For Lashes (who me Nina and Clair our friend will be seeing soon, can't wait!)...

...A butterfly embroidered on canvas and cut up bed sheets (bad habit of mine)...

...And here's the first owl I've made with a doily belly! There will definitely be more as I have a whole collection of doilies that I've been picking up as I go along, and I didn't really have any use for them until now. This one I've named Rosie, because the material is floral, though you can't really see it in the photo.

And here's another one with a love heart belly and bush-baby-button-eyes...

...And a lil' embroidered love note on the wing :). But before you get the Whitney Houston song stuck in your head, the idea for it came from Lovesong by The Cure <3

Here's another embroidery I did a while ago after a rummage in Hobby Craft where I bought this blue material. At first I was only going to embroider the writing, but while listening to Mazzy Star with Nina she told me I should appliqué on a Mazzy Star-like swan, and even though it was tricky, and took up a lot of my patience, it worked out in the end. Thanks Nina! 

And lastly, a few framed prints of my photography with frames I found in charity shops hehe :)

speaking of photography... there'll be another blog post soon about a photo shoot I did with my friend yesterday, but that's all I'm saying for now. The rest is a surprise <3

-Katie xx