Tag Archives: Sharon Kae Reamer

The 777 Writing Challenge

I received these instructions from Sharon Kae Reamer. Primary Fault

“Take a current WIP (I think it can also be published, I mean, it’s up to you) and go to the 7th page, and then go down 7 lines, and then post the next 7 lines.

I like these sometimes inane challenges to show our underpants. But you may feel differently.”

As she is so gorgeous, it would be churlish of me not to play along.

This is from “The Crow Palace”, one of a few things I’m working on.

“Your dad was a terrible patient. They told him he should have an operation to clear his arteries but he refused.” Elsa opens one of the kitchen cupboards. “Look.”
I take out some of the boxes, shake them, read the leaflets. There’s twelve months of medication here. Dad never took any of it. Aspirin, statins, nitrates, ace- inhibitors. Wonder drugs to keep his stodgy arteries patent and the blood flowing through them.
I slam the door shut, making Elsa jump. It’s the gesture of a petulant teenager. I can’t help it. Dad’s self neglect is a good excuse to be angry at him for dying.

The Bureau of Them

Next up is lovely Cate Gardner.

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Three things I don’t write about (and three things I do)

I’ve been tagged by the marvellous Carole Johnstone for this blog hop. Carole has been nominated for a British Fantasy Award for her fantastic short story, “Signs of the Times”. TTA have recently published her latest novella, “Cold Turkey”.

So, what don’t I write about?

I know I’m playing fast and loose with the question here but I don’t/can’t write humour (but I wish I did). I love a bit of gallows humour. “Shark! Shark!” by Ray Cluley made me laugh out loud, as did Carole Johstone’s “Cold Turkey”. It’s a skill to be able to grant the reader that relief from the darkness and it acts as a great counterpoint.

There are comic actors that are so good at their craft that they can elevate their part beyond caricature.  They switch from comedy to pathos seamlessly. They’re the whole package and I feel that way about authors that can walk that line.

Again, this may seem like a fudge, but I can’t/don’t write poetry  (but wish that I did). I don’t even understand most poetry but the bits that I do get blow my mind. I envy the ability to write succinctly and distill an image/emotion into a single line. I know authors do this to some extent but to have a real grasp of the rhythm of words and real economy would make me a better writer. In “Zen and the Art of Writing”, Ray Bradbury said that all poetry is compacted metaphor or simile and that every writer should read poetry. Even if they don’t get it, their synapses will. I like that.

Here’s the reason it may seem that I’ve been evasive in my answers. In a world of protocols, guidelines, directives and deadlines, writing is my freedom. I like the idea that eveything is on the table. I don’t have to censor myself. I’m happy to tackle tropes when they can help me express what I need to say- “Sweetpea” (a vampire story about child abuse), “Fishskins” (a mermaid story about marital love) and “The Fox Maiden” (a shape shifter story about the suppressed self). I haven’t got anything against zombies, but I’ve yet to think of an original take on or use for them.

And what do I write about?

This is going to sound banal, but I’ m a simple creature and want to keep this simple. If it doesn’t move me, then I can’t write about it. If it doesn’t press my buttons, if I’m not in love with it or disturbed by it, then it doesn’t work. Writing is free therapy. People who know me well know what bits of my work are real, albeit in a veiled form. I need a bit of my own truth on which to build my fiction. In short, I write about my inner freak. Or at least from my inner freak.

I got to the end of my latest story, “The Rising Tide”, and realised that I’d called my protagonist Cariad. It’s Welsh for darling. Priya is Hindi for darling. And Freud says there are no accidents.

Many of my stories are set firmly in the present, but I’m partial to a bit of historical fantasy/alternative history/mythology. I enjoy researching for a new story and then skewing what I’ve learnt for my own needs. It’s the escapist in me. I can play dress up in my head and go anywhere in my personal time machine.

I hope that relationships are at the heart of everything that I write. Bewildering, messy, difficult relationships. They’re the biggest puzzle of all. Ideas are exciting but without relationships my stories would fall apart. If I’ve failed to convince you of what my characters are feeling (and what I’m feeling) in  my writing, then I’ve failed.


I’ve been greedy about handing on the baton.

Steven J  Dines ‘s numerous stories have appeared in Black Static, Interzone and Crimewave (yes, he’s one of the TTA triathletes). He never fails to impress me, but my personal favourite is “The Sound of Constant Thunder” (Black Static issue 37). I hope to see more of his work all over the place this year.

Sean Demory  The first piece of work that I ever read by Sean Demory was “The Ballad of the Wayfaring Stranger and the Dead Man’s Whore”. It got an honorable mention in Ellen Datlow’s Best Horror of the Year Volume 5.  I think he’s a superb stylist of the weird. He’s the sort of writer that makes me wonder what he’ll produce next.

Steve Toase is an archeologist and author. Steve’s story, “Call Out” is  quite rightly getting rave reviews following its appearance in Ellen Datlow’s Best Horror of the Year Volume 6.

Sharon Kae Reamer is a seismologist and author who is currently working on a mammoth five book epic that mixes science with magic. The first three volumes of Schattenreich series are now available.

Neil Murton  is truly economical- he produces little gems of flash fiction. I particularly like his reinvention of King Arthur as Arfa, a scrawny young girl. A collection of his work will soon be out in paperback, but you can suscribe to his site and get regular stories in your inbox.











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The Next Big Thing

I’ve been tagged in the Next Big Thing by the super talented Ray Cluley whose work has been published just about everywhere. My fave thing by him this year is “Shark! Shark!” which appeared in Black Static 29 and is on the HWA’s Stoker Reading List for 2012.

Ray’s other writers are V. H. Leslie , Michael Kelly (writer and editor of Shadows & Tall Trees) and James Cooper.

Here are my answers:

1) What is the working title of your project? It’s a short story called “Rag and Bone” that I’ve recently finished and sent off for judgement.

2) Where did the idea come from for the story? I remember rag and bone men from my childhood, although they’re now making a bit of a comeback, albeit in vans rather than with horses and carts. And I’m a child of the 1970s, so have fond memories of “Steptoe and Son”. The name, rag and bone man, always sounded sinister to me.

3) What genre does your book fall under? Alternative history.

4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition? This is going to sound cryptic but I can’t tell you who’d play the main character. You’ll see why if it ever gets published. What I would say is that it would be filmed in Liverpool (see below).

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? A rag and bone man risks revealing his secret when he gets involved with an industrialist’s search for body parts, set against the backdrop of a pseudo-Victorian Liverpool.

6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? It’s currently with someone awaiting a decision, so I’ve got everything crossed.

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript? All my first drafts take weeks as I write stories piecemeal and then patch them together. It’s not a terribly efficient way of working but the joy is that a complete story often emerges from what I think are a pile of scraps.

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? That’s a tough question- if I’m lucky enough to get this published and anyone reads it, let me know if you draw any comparisons.

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book? Liverpool, where I was a student. I now live across the Mersey, on the Wirral. Liverpool is beautiful- it has the highest number of listed buildings in the UK outside London. It wears its history on its sleeve- shipping, the docks, trade unionism, the ugliness of its involvement in the slave trade, its mansions, terraces, art galleries, museums, universities, stadiums, hospitals and pubs.

There are plans to redevelop the waterfront, which are contentious as they may result in the city losing its World Heritage Site status but will create jobs. It set me thinking about an alternative Liverpool still rooted in its industrial past, where its people live in squalor and the merchant princes are all powerful and have access to modern technology. Once I put this together with what I had planned for the rag and bone man, I started to imagine him walking around the city and that’s when he came alive for me.

10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
It’s a story about identity and what people have to do to survive.

I’m handing the baton on to four other authors, whose answers to the above questions on their latest project will be available on Wed 28th November 2012.

Ilan Lerman . Ilan is a wonderful writer and has a new story out in Black Static soon called “Love as Deep as Bones”.

Jo Hall, author and Chair of Bristol Con has had some very exciting news about her writing. New UK based publishers Kristell Ink, the fantasy and SF imprint of Holland House, have accepted her fantasy novel, “Art of Forgetting” and are planning to publish it over two volumes.

Sharon Reamer is an author and geophysicist whose first novel, “Primary Fault“, came out this year and the next part of the trilogy is soon to follow.

I’m a big fan of Georgina Bruce. After reading her stories,  “Touch,Typing” in Dark Tales magazine and “Crow Voodoo” in Clockwork Phoenix Volume 4, I immediately emailed a friend saying, You’ve got to read this woman’s work, she’s the real deal.

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Primary Fault by Sharon Kae Reamer

I’m a bit behind on my reading at the moment but one thing that I’m looking forward to settling down with is “Primary Fault” by Sharon Kae Reamer.

Sharon is a geophysicist living in Germany and her novel is a fusion of science and magic amidst a backdrop of a Celto-Germanic Otherworld.

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