Z is for… Zombies!

In which Latimer really scares herself… right before bedtime!

Latimer: I’ve been thinking about going back and watching The Walking Dead.

I gave up after series one. With only a few series really holding my interest at the moment, I am contemplating returning to Rick Grimes’ grim world!

I have to out-and-out say I’m not a person who has a plan for the zombie attack and they scare the crap out of me!

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in America made a zombie apocalypse post (it was really what to do during disease outbreaks, but with zombies for fun). LINK

The reason I don’t have a plan, is because, I’m convinced I wouldn’t survive. I’d probably be eaten/infected during the initial outbreak, or by some strange chance I’d survive and just waste away (because I’d be too afraid to run). I’d hole up in an apartment somewhere, too scared to move and bemoaning the lack of internet while the zombies gather. And if they are like the World War Z ones… well I’d never have made it to the apartment (FACT).

Zombies seem to be everywhere at the moment.

I’m really looking forward to this Warm Bodies movie…. It has to be the most interesting take on the zombie genre:

I remember watching zombie/outbreak movies when I was very young.

I watched one about a disease that killed everyone in the world, bar a tiny group of people (it had something to do with the Devil I think? Argh, I can’t remember – I must have blocked it out).

At one point they walked into a shop and just started eating all the sweets and junk. And I remember thinking to my young self, ‘God! That’s great! I could eat all the jellys and crisps I want!’

Ha, though in reality, the whole thought scared me so much! Even now, the idea of a disease outbreak – argh, it’s just too scary! And yet… I still wanna watch The Walking Dead! And I still watch scary computer game trailers…

I remember also watching Tremors… okay not zombies, but the same idea (oh god that movie… you know it’s actually a dark comedy? Hard to laugh though, when your like, 6yrs old!); it really, really scared me!

 

I couldn’t walk on the ground for ages. And I would constantly think; ‘if I need to get upstairs, can I do it without walking on the ground?’

And I would actually play this game; ‘get to the other side of the room without touching the ground’ (yep… back then I had a plan for the Tremors monsters, but not anymore… now I’d be like ‘take me! It’s not worth it!’).

The survival plan tends to disappear as the years go on!

I mean, do you ever wonder…? What would you do in the zombie attack? Hopefully they are like the Warm Bodies zombies and not The Walking Dead ones!

And then again, hopefully it NEVER happens!

Too busy for tea? Never!

Rain pounded against the patio window, streaking down the glass to pool on the mossy flagstones outside. Latimer made a face out at it.

With a sigh, she swung away to wander around the kitchen, idly flicking open the cookery books and poking at the potted plant in the sink. She paused when there was a series of loud bangs above her head and someone thundered down the stairs.

“Ridley?” She peered out through the white door into the hall. “You’re being a terrible hostess, you know! I had to make my own tea! Any biscuits?”

There was silence.

Latimer hopped out into hall and down to the living room; steam rose up from her cup obscuring her view. When it cleared, she raised an eyebrow at the mess strewn across the floor. She perched on the edge of an armchair and watched Ridley rush around. The other girl was packing a massive bindle with endless pieces of clothing, creased maps, sunglasses, teabags and thick guide books.

She shrugged into a Burberry-style coat, straightening it over her shoulders and making sure the stiff collar was flicked down. Pinning her M. Latimer-Ridley badge to her chest, she patted it and smiled over.

Latimer sipped her tea. “What’cha doing?”

Ridley slipped on a pair of purple ear muffs. She narrowed her eyes on her friend, her lips thinning.

“You’re not ready…why aren’t you ready?” She started flapping her arms. “We have to leave in the next few hours, there’s no time for tea breaks!”

Latimer scoffed. “There’s always time for tea, ole Bean.”

Glaring, the blonde girl tried to fold her arms, but the ballooning sleeves were too thick, instead she just held them in the air and started to tap her foot. Her fancy heeled boots made loud thumps against the wooden floor as little flecks of dirt dropped off them.

“So,” Latimer took another slow sip of her tea. “Where are we going again?”

Ridley’s mouth dropped open. Her ear muffs slipped down onto her forehead, obscuring her view. Momentarily blinded, she flailed in a panic, then shoved them back up.

“What do you mean where are we going?” She spluttered. “On the internet hike!”

“Oh yeah…that…”

That…” Ridley muttered. She pointed at the table where a large poncho style jacket was folded. “I bought you a coat! I hear when the nights roll in, the internet can get quite cold! Something to do with iCloud cover.”

Latimer crossed her legs and sat back. “You do know it’s only the 25th of November? The first of December isn’t for another week, really. We have plenty of time.”

“Oh…” Ridley slumped down into a chair. Her coat puffed up with the movement, she flattened it down with her hands and leaned forward to glare at her mobile on the coffee table. “Stupid phone, with the wrong date. It’s been reprogrammed, how could this have happened!”

“How indeed…” Latimer hid her grin behind her tea cup.

Ridley shot her a suspicious look, she unzipped her coat and shed the extra layering. It fell like a shell to the floor.

“So…the blog tour isn’t for another few days then…” She pulled off her ear muffs, twisting them around in her hands with a sigh.

“Nope, but when it does happen it should be fun!”

“True…” Ridley pouted, she was quiet for a minute. “Did you make me tea?”

“Yeah,” Latimer said, standing up. “Come along, Ridders, you can show me where you’ve hidden the hobnobs.”

Legend Unleashed Artwork

They’re soooo beautiful!! *gasp*

We are so unbelievably happy to share some Legend Unleashed artwork with you! We have been in contact with some fabulous artists. They read our book and we commissioned them to do some artwork for us! The resulting images left us walking on air for days!

Legend Unleashed is part of the Young Adult and Urban fantasy genres, so plenty of romance, adventure and magic (and werewolves :))… these images capture this perfectly and we couldn’t be happier with them!

I’m Alastair Byron (the first meeting, ahhh… squee overload!) by mseregon

This piece was done by the wonderfully talented meseregon (please check out her artwork she is just amazing and she was an absolute pleasure to work with! http://mseregon.deviantart.com/). The soft colouring really captures the wintry atmosphere and Temperance’s expression is priceless! It really catches the moment perfectly!

Character sketches for Temperance and Alastair (Legend Unleashed by MLR). Artwork by palnk

The Legend is Unleashed, tick-tock, tick-tock (artwork by palnk)

These two pieces were done by the amazingly talented palnk (please check out her artwork, her pieces are lovely  http://palnk.deviantart.com/). She was a lovely person to work with also. The first image shows various events in the first few chapters as well as some initial character designs. The main picture shows Temperance and Alastair against the backdrop of Carwick, magic and werewolves! What more could you want? Both of the characters look amazing.

The Witch of Kyteler’s Inn

Ridley: I was in Kyteler’s Inn in Kilkenny at the weekend, it’s one of my favourite places in the city to visit, I always get the breaded chicken with garlic butter for lunch. Yummers! I also always spend my meal chewing and staring around at all the different bits and bobs lining the walls and shelves; rusted trombones, old jars, flags, plates and impressive wrought iron chandeliers. Not to mention the fake witch huddling over a cauldron in the hearth of a massive fire place, over to the side. (She gave me a fright the very first time I saw her!)

The best thing about Kyteler’s Inn, other than the food, is the story behind it. It’s a really old stone house, in the style of an old merchant’s building or a tavern, and its final owner was accused of witchcraft. This accusation was one of the very first in Europe. Lady Alice Kyteler managed to get away, though her servant was caught. She was forced into a fake confession, implicating Alice and then she was burned at the stake.

Another really interesting point, Lady Kyteler is mentioned in the poem, Nineteen Hundred and Nineteen by William Butler Yeats, which makes reference to these accusations.

There were various reasons for these charges. Alice Kyteler was married four times; each of her husbands died, there were rumours all through these marriages that she was poisoning them. 

Spreading and listening to these stories, the children and relatives of her husbands accused her of murder. It was also said she was a very good looking woman, who could ensnare men with her charms and manipulated them into lavishing her with gifts. Unnatural looks and unnatural charms, possibly due to magic spells, everyone whispered.

There was also major resentment within the community from her involvement as a money-lender; she was supposedly quite ruthless.

So we are left wondering whether she had any allies, though she must have done as she managed to escape to England and never stand trial.

When you visit the inn now, her story is on the menu, so if you go there, not only can you order the garlic butter covered breaded chicken but you read all about Alice for yourself!

The Mortal Instruments Movie Trailer

Ridley: The new film trailer is out for The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare!! Latimer sent me the link to the trailer, it was breaking news on MTV, news that I didn’t know was being broken, but I’m not too long out of the loop!

I’ve been waiting forever for this film to be announced, ever since there were rumours of rumours of a film being made. And by the by, if you haven’t read these books, you’re definitely missing out! You know what you need to do, buy it, grab some tea, lock yourself up and turn your phone off.

Having seen the trailer, I’m a little disappointed in it…but I’m holding off judgement on the film. I quite like the fight scenes, they seem exciting, but the rest of it doesn’t really mesh with what I thought it would be like. The actors that have been chosen aren’t what I have in my head. Though are they ever? So I’m holding off on my final opinion. Knowing me though, I’ll probably skip out of the cinema with a giant smile and heart shaped eyes, announcing that it was, ‘Brilliant…though of course not near as good as the books!’ (No movie is ever as good as the book, you know I’m right 😛 )

Bon Iver: Be Inspired

Bon Iver (this image is pretty blurry, we were far away and this is zoomed up as far as my sweet baby Mr. Sam Sung could go)

Latimer: I was at the Bon Iver concert in the O2 in Dublin this week. It was absolutely brilliant – they were electric.

As I sat and listened, I thought of what inspires me. There are times when some artists just catch me – absorb me into their songs. Music is an unending source of encouragement and motivation; songs can become the soundtrack for scenes I want to write, or characters Ridley and I have created. Songs can set the mood; just by listening to a certain tune I can get into the mind-set to write a particular moment.

I left Bon Iver feeling inspired, swept up in dreams of characters and moments.

As I walked out of the venue, I heard a girl say;

“That was amazingly deadly!”(deadly meaning ‘fantastic’ in Irish vernacular)

Couldn’t put it much better 🙂

Who, what or where, inspires you?   

Get Animated!

Latimer: We went to an event in the Science Gallery on Friday night (the Science Gallery is located in Trinity college). It was held by the PEGBAR Irish animators network. I was late… and word to the wise, DO NOT try and run on wet cobblestones (of which there are many in Trinity) – it doesn’t end well!

Ridley: While she was slipping and sliding her way to the event, I was already there waiting for her, with a name badge on and surrounded by very friendly strangers. Picture, crowds milling around with glasses of wine at the reception, everyone grinning, laughing and waving towards people who they hadn’t seen in ages, it was like one big reunion. I think the animation world, in Ireland anyway, is a small one. And then there was me, not even a proper hobbyist animator never mind a professional, trying to look like I belonged. I was doing the ‘Im texting lots of people and looking up important things on my phone, not desperate for anyone to talk to me, nope nope‘…in the corner! I was going for busy but still approachable look! It worked in the end, I randomly made a new friend who was also waiting around near me. It turned out he was a freelance animator, so I got to pepper him with questions and see some of his cool artwork. It was really great to get an insight into the job by someone ‘in the biz’ and to hear what he thought of it.

Beware the cobblestones! Beware!

Latimer: I arrived for the talk, which started with a colourist from Marvel comics, Jordie Bellaire (she worked for DC and others, very lucky :)).

Marvelous Marvel 🙂

She was talking about the importance of colours and mood, and this can also be seen in movies. She was so enthusiastic and animated about her work; even when she wasn’t ‘working’, her mind was fixed on colours. She would watch movies and list out the colours in the scenes. It’s always really cool to see someone so inspired by what they do 🙂

Ridley: Really inspiring! She seemed like a really cool person too. Her talk opened my eyes to seeing films and images in a different way! Who knew the use of colour could have so much impact on a scene and on the feelings of the audience, really interesting!

Latimer: Then there was a talk from Nora Twomey, she is a director from the Irish animation studio, Cartoon Saloon. (Ridley: One of my favourite Irish studios! I love their work! I was dying to hear what she had to say!) She was showing some of the short films she had worked on and talking about getting them funded and the compromises you have to make with scenes and moments you have to leave out.

It made me think of when you’re writing and there are times you want to say more and show another scene, but in the end, the story is better off without it (no matter how in love with the moment you were!). It’s hard to cut them out, but it makes a tighter story in the end. (Ridley: Very true!)

There was this one film she showed; it really stuck with me, it was really atmospheric and drew me in. (Ridley: Creepy too…in a delightful way…is that possible, to be delightfully creepy? haha) 

The studio also did some work for TG4 (that’s TG Ceathair, an all-Irish-speaking TV channel we have here in Ireland). The cartoon studio were asked to do some short animations to Irish songs, the series called Anam an Amhráin (Soul of the Song).

This song is about a young 9 year old girl who is in love with a shoemaker, wants to marry him and runs away from home to be with him! In the actual animation, they felt this was a bit too much, so instead they made her dream of the shoe maker when she slips on the hill! (Ridley: It’s an absolutely gorgeous song. This is Irish at it’s best and most beautiful.)

I got caught up with these and wanted to know what other songs had been animated… this is what I found…

This one is about a woman to wants to be Paddy’s wife and wishes his actual wife ill… her struggles are desperate but pretty funny! (Ridley: Haha, this is good, she even wishes a broken foot and hand on the wife!!)

This next one is about the Irish pirate queen Gráinne Mhaol, or Grace O’Malley… ‘Óró Sé do Bheatha ‘Bhaile’ is an interesting song, it started out originally about Bonnie Prince Charlie and was a Jacobite rebel song.. then later in the 1900s it became a rebel song about Grace O’Malley coming to Ireland with her warriors to free the land from English rule. In the video it seems mostly about Grace’s life.

All and all, pretty interesting, particularly because the event made me look for these videos :)! 

Ridley: It was a great night, I loved seeing all the Irish language work that’s being done! Not to mention, we went for yummy Korean food afterwards, it was so tasty *happy sigh*.

Out Now!

HUZZAH!!

Latimer and Ridley: So we’re done, it’s out!

What’s out you asked? Our book, Legend Unleashed! We’ve pushed the button!

It’s available now, as an e-book, see the links below if you’re interested!

The paperback will follow on soon enough, we’re just waiting on the proof copy to arrive in the post so we can look over it and make sure there are no issues.

It’s been such a steep learning curve, but really worth it! It was fantastic that we had full control over every part of the process. It’s also been hard work though, with long hours put in and full ‘bookwork’ weekends, so don’t let anyone fool you into thinking self-publishing is an easy task! We finished writing the book many many many months ago. In the time since we’d typed ‘the end’, we’ve spent the rest of our days editing, agonising, formatting, fist shaking, commissioning our cover design, smiling, book trailers, grinning and that was just the start!

In the past, we’ve been asked how the two of go about writing a book together (we’re also fascinated by how other writing duos work together, so we love these explanations. Skip down through this part if you don’t care though!!) We always start with a single idea, whether it’s a scene, a ‘what if’ scenario, or a character. We seem to have plenty of these knocking around! More often than not, it’s a character. After this comes the fun part, world building! We love this, picking character names, places and plotting the story.

We let our imaginations run free scribbling it all down on an A4 pad as we sip on endless cups of tea; what would happen if we…? If he did this….? If she went there…? Wouldn’t it be great if…? If you read this part, what would you want him to do…? It’s the ultimate freedom, we just run wild! After this, we tease out any issues, then we divide them into chapter summaries. Each summary has bullet points, information taken from the plot and any extras we think of as we’re going along, with exactly what we need to have happen. Then these summaries get divided out, we get two chapters each at a time and usually one of us starts the book and the other ends it. This gives us the chance to experience at least part of the book as readers, rather than just the authors. We give each other constant feedback after each chapter stint. In this way, we’ve written six books together, Legend Unleashed is our fifth book and the most polished. So we decided to bite the bullet and self-publish it.

So far it’s been a great decision! Has it been the same for others who have followed the same path? We’d love to hear their tales!

We’re staring into the dark void, not knowing what’s to come, but either way we look forward to what the future might bring!

Sample chapters:

Legend Unleashed Prologue-Chapter 4

Author: M. Latimer-Ridley
Publisher: Cranmer Publishing
Available to buy:  
E-book: Amazon US
E-book: Amazon UK
Paperback: Amazon UK
Paperback: CreateSpace Page