On the Subject of Baths

I commented in my last blog (https://megkingston.wordpress.com/2013/05/31/a-long-short-week/) that I was running a bath when a friend phoned. I should mention that this isn’t unusual – I often take a bath during the day and will answer the phone if it rings while I’m in there.

After all, Churchill used to hold meetings while he was in the bath. And if it’s good enough for Winnie, it’s fine by me. At least you can’t see me over the phone!

Baths are not simply a way to get clean – a bath is a refuge from the world, a place where I can relax and enjoy a book in peace. Depending on the weather, it’s a way for me to get warm after being out in the cold or to cool myself down when I’m overheated. It’s a way to scrub myself clean after hospital visits or just soak away everyday dust. It’s the place I wash my waist-length hair and it’s a legitimate excuse to ignore the doorbell.

A shower really isn’t the same. There’s no relaxing in a shower, no time to enjoy a soak – it just doesn’t cut it for me. I know the water-saving Nazis claim a shower uses less water, but I’m not convinced – it takes more than their regulation four minutes to rinse out my hair. And sitting on a chair is no fun in the wet when you can’t stand up to shower. And I share my bath water as Hubby generally follows me in.

Reading in the bath takes a little skill that’s worth practicing. I can hold a book in my left hand and turn a page with the thumb – all one-handed. Nowadays, I might be reading something on the Kindle – in its waterproof cover, of course. Or if my eyes are playing up, I can plug my MP3 player into an egg-shaped gadget that transmits an audio book over the airwaves to a yellow duck-shaped speaker in the bathroom. No mains electricity near my bath!

There are even animals that enjoy a good bath. Anyone who’s watched sparrows splashing in their garden will have noticed they spend far more time abluting than strictly necessary for cleanliness. And a horse crossing a river or walking into the sea. Although macaques in the hot springs of Japan are probably the nearest to human bathophiles.

I do love my bath. And I’ll continue to spend an hour there with a book and to answer the phone if you’re foolish enough to ring when I’m soaking.

Planning a Book Launch

 

Chrystal Heart will be my fifth published book, but the first time I’ve actually had a proper launch. For various reasons, it’s just never happened.

But this will be my first published novel and I’m determined to launch it proper.

So – where to hold a launch? It’s got to be somewhere suitably booky. A bookshop, perhaps? So why not the biggest chain of booksellers in the UK? It’s taken some arranging, but I have reached agreement with the largest branch of Waterstones in Wales – in The Hayes, Cardiff. It’ll be on Wednesday 13th March, starting at 18:30 – after the store has closed. Drinks and nibbles will be provided and I look forward to seeing you all there! Free tickets will be available through Waterstones sometime early in 2013.

Chrystal Heart is about a Victorian lady who’s still alive in the 21st Century due to some enhancements she was given after being attacked in 1851. And she’s got an interesting approach to modern technology, since the archaic aetheric devices she’s been using for more than a century work just as well. Her companion Sam (Samantha) is a modern girl, who always thought Steampunk was a bit of fun. She never used to take it seriously. But now…

And there will be quite a few of us in Steampunk attire on the night. If you’re coming along, feel free to join in.

What is This “Steampunk”?

Steampunk is a rapidly-growing genre which combines science fiction with nostalgia for a past that never was. Set in worlds where history diverged from our own during the Victorian era (the Steam Age), it usually includes some original gadgets and semi-feasible engineering or scientific principles.

Steampunk culture is beginning to invade the mainstream media. As well as books in the genre, clockwork robots spar with Dr Who. Steam engines, airships and Victorian characters appear in films from The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen via The Golden Compass to the Aardman Pirates! extravaganza. Certain classic novels are now regarded as beginning the Steampunk oeuvre, such as Jules Verne’s fantastic tales and H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine – which features an imagined technology based in a 19th Century framework.

If you’re thinking about putting together your first Steampunk outfit, think Victorian meets sci-fi and apply your own interpretation. Engineers, Lords and Ladies may rub shoulders with Explorers, Pirates and Mad Scientists at a Steampunk meet. Ladies of loose morals could strike up a conversation with a Vampire Hunter and a Priest in period costume. Have a look online for inspiration and let your imagination run wild. (Not compulsory, by the way. You can turn up to the launch in jeans and a t-shirt and no-one will mind!)

What Happens at a Book Launch?

Well, it varies. I’m afraid I’ll be doing most of the talking. I’ll be reading an extract from the new book, answering questions and then signing copies of the book. There will be drinks and nibbles for all and hopefully we’ll have lots of fun. There will also be a few little details that I’m not talking about in advance. Though I may drop a few hints on here.  😉

So, if you’re free on March 13th and fancy coming along to Cardiff and sharing an hour with the author of a new Steampunk novel, watch this blog for more info.

 

Greetings, Universe

You can never have enough hats. Or purple.

So, after being a blog-avoider for years, I’ve finally succumbed to the lure of the blogosphere. Did I jump or was I pushed? More about that at a later date…

I’m a creature of simple habits. I read and I write. I create other things too, but the writing is my most important creative avenue.

To date, I have self-published four books – three collections of short stories and the autobiographical The MonSter and the Rainbow: Memoir of a Disability. By a combination of hard work and being in the right places at good times, I have sold enough of the first three to cover my costs – getting close on the fourth, too. I am currently working on my first novel, which I hope to publish early in 2013. Entitled Chrystal Heart, it’s a Steampunk novel about a Victorian lady who’s still alive in the 21st century, due to having a Chrystal heart. More about that later, too.

I have a husband and we are owned by two cats. We all live in Chepstow, South Wales. I am a founder member of CRAG, a local co-operative of writers working on novels and planning to publish within the next six months.

I will be blogging on an irregular basis about reading, writing, other creative pursuits and miscellaneous other bits of my life.  Expect plenty of book reviews and writing-related stories.