Wednesday, 3 June 2015

The Long Three Months

Dear lovely readers,

It's been a difficult three months of unintentional hiatus; my mental health's been icky and I've been fighting to feel well again, then taking some time out in an attempt to take care of myself.

It's good to be feeling like myself again. It's good to find joy in reading and writing again.

And it's definitely good to be blogging.

I've taken the opportunity to spruce up a bit and give Yours with Caution a fancy new look! I'm getting my lemon and lime on with my new logo, created for me by the wonderful Meg Kissack, who is also the creator of the super cool self-care website That Hummingbird Life. You can follow her on Twitter, too. Meg is offering beautiful watercolour logos at an excellent price for the next few days - you should get one, too!

Here are a few things I've managed to do over the past few months:
  • A review of The Girl With All The Gifts by M.R.Carey, which you can read over at Dirge Magazine;
  • A new Read Along With Katy - the read along of the fantastic fireball that is Flex by Ferrett Steinmetz is complete, but my weekly reviews are still going up at Dirge, and you can read week one, week two, week three and week four right now;
  • A review of the newest Paper and Ink zine, which I'm planning to tighten and post some time this week;
  • Listened to most of the Harry Potter books again, and Prisoner of Azkaban twice - I'm currently finishing Order of the Phoenix and occasionally tweeting using the old hashtag, #KatyDoesPotter
  • Tried and failed CampNaNo;
  • Settled on October 2016 for the release of the first chapter of Life After Death, which should roll out chapter by chapter in an anxious and bloody crescendo of zombie-related festive cheer over the Christmas season.

    Normal service should resume from now on, including monthly round-ups, Frank's adventures, the occassional poem, reviews and more. In the meantime, here's Frank enjoying the last few chapters of Flex at Krispy Kreme, Hull:

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Review: Paper and Ink Literary Zine #4

Lovely news for book, comic and zine lovers! Alongside my usual blog content I’d like to start posting some reviews, particularly the kinds of reviews I love to read but wouldn’t usually get chance to write, so I’m starting off with Paper and Ink Literary Zine, #4!

 Issue #4 of Paper and Ink Literary Zine, titled ‘A Loser, A Sinner’, was released in January this year, so it’s pretty hot off the press. Paper and Ink’s manifesto is to produce high quality literary zines printed with (you guessed it) paper and ink, so you’ll only be able to read this work when you hold it in your hands. That feels particularly right considering the ‘identity’ theme of this issue, like the feel of the book allows the identities shown on the pages to take on weight and texture.

 The zine proudly showcases a great range of earnest and intimate stories, poems and roman á clef from writers around the world, both well-known and up-and-coming. Even though each piece is individual and unique, there is a strong thread of rebellious isolation running through them, a kind of punk loneliness – many of the pieces show a mundane and magnificent slice through queer, working class, and/or forthrightly fucked up lives. It’s a bittersweet jaunt into how we can find small joys in the difficult or boring everyday – by chatting up the nurse taking your blood sample, wearing your trainers to work, or following a rainbow.

 Each story is strong and engaging but stand-outs for me include The Other Martin Appleby, a quietly witty Facebook trawl by the late Martin Thomas Appleby, and The Years Have Taught Me Nothing, a fun look at hospital humour by 41.4 year old, 72 inches tall Jose Arroyo. In terms of poetry I can’t get the images from Somebody’s Daughter by Susan Lelliott or A Photograph of My Nan by Joseph Ridgwell out of my head. And, thanks to Mark Safranko’s poignant The Rainbow Connection, I’ve been singing that damn song to myself for weeks. 

 I feel the artwork, too, deserves a mention. The front and back covers by Erin Veness and Rebecca Snotflower respectively keep up the grassroots inky vibe, and the photography by Alexander Brattell creates a picturesque and creepy urgency as you read.

 You can check out Paper and Ink here, and buy #4 here. I’d really recommend it!


  If there’s anything you think I’d love to review, shoot me an email at!

Friday, 6 February 2015

Spring Forever

 I'm very pleased and honoured to announce that Spring Forever is This Dark Matter's latest Black Friday Fiction! Click HERE to see it for yourself!
 It's a short and horrible take on twisted sisterhood, a black comedy about the things we have to sacrifice to stay alive. I wrote it specifically to see if I could weird myself out - I hope it does the same for you.

 This is really cool for me for a number of reasons!
 Firstly, even though I've had a fair amount of poetry and non-fiction published over the years, this is my first ever published short story. I really love short stories, so it means a lot to me to see one of mine out there!
 Secondly, this marks the start of me using photographs that show my face in connection with my writing. I've been trying my best to keep my life as a mental health worker separate from my life as a writer, for a number of reasons, but every so often it kind of feels like I'm hiding myself away. My face is too damn good to hide forever, so I'm trying out the photo thing this time, which means if you want to see my awesome face you need to get on over to This Dark Matter! The photo has a bit of a story, which I'm sure I'll tell you later.
 Last but not least, This Dark Matter is a really cool website, so it's wonderful to see my gross little story resting there with many other glorious, terrible things.

 Anyway, I hope you enjoy it. Let me know what you think.

This Dark Matter

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

January Roundup

Word Count for January 2015

Life After Death - 794 words (Another disappointing word count, but progress is being made behind the curtain. I'm really aiming to finish at least a dirty first draft by the end of February.)

Spring Forever - 50 words (You can now read Spring Forever for yourself at This Dark Matter!)

Poems Written

Tulip/Cherry Blossom

Reading Roundup

Joyland, by Stephen King- I had really mixed feelings about Joyland. I enjoyed reading it, and I found the carnival setting very absorbing, but it kind of felt like the focus was just off, or like it's heart wasn't quite in the story or the characters. Joyland kind of felt like a less scary dry-run for Revival (which I'll be talking more about later). This is a great one for King fans, and I enjoyed the ride, but I don't think I'll be reading this one again.

The Girl With All the Gifts, by M.R.Carey - Review coming soon!

Paper and Ink literary Zine #4 - You can read my review above!

P.S. Did you guys see my review of Authority by Jeff VanderMeer? It's a great book, and I'm really proud of the review. Check it out and let me know what you think!
To round off my Area X collection I managed to get my grubby little mitts on a signed copy of Acceptance, the last novel in the trilogy. Oh man. I can't wait to rip into that (figuratively speaking) and review it, you have no idea.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

December Roundup

Word Count for December 2014

Life After Death - 767 words (What a sucky word-count! I was supposed to finish a workable draft of this in December, but I moved from the East Midlands to East Yorkshire this month. I thought I'd have all the time in the world when the move was completed, but it turns out I really intelligently packed my laptop charger somewhere in storage. My friend has one that I borrow when I can, but it means writing time has been pretty reduced as I only have a few hours battery to work with at a time. My new charger is coming next week, which is also when my new job starts. I'm still hoping to finish a first draft of it really soon. Fingers crossed!)

Spring Forever - 317 words (This is nearly done, I think!)

 Reading Roundup

Authority, by Jeff VanderMeer - My review of Authority is with Jinx, the lovely editor at Dirge Magazine! In the meantime, check out what I had to say about the first book in the series, Annihilation.

The Underwater Welder, by Jeff Lemire - Since reading Trillium I wanted to read more of Lemire's work. I liked the Underwater Welder - the story and the style were pretty great - but I didn't think it was quite as imaginative Trillium. It's still worth a read.

Saga #23 - 24, by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples – Remember last month I said I wasn't sure if I was going to keep reading? I caved, as we all assumed we would, and I was so wrong. This was so great. Among my favourite issues so far. Goddamn. I can't wait until #25 comes out later this year.

FYI - while I've been living in Derby I've been buying most of the comic books I've been raving about here at Cape & Cowl Comics in Derby. I'd really recommend shopping there if you're around the East Midlands - the shop has a great selection and a library full of classics.

Katy Does Potter

I managed to listen to the rest of the books while I was packing for the move. They were really comforting. Thanks so much for sticking with me through seven books, terrible fanfiction and feminist zines - it's been great to explore the Potterverse with all of you. I guess that's the end of my Potterthon, but I doubt it'll be the end of #KatyDoesPotter

Books Listened To So Far:
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, by J.K. Rowling – I admit I never really liked this book on my first read-through. I thought it was slow, I didn't like the interactions between Dumbledore and Harry (abusive much?), and I hated the focus on Snape. This was my third time around with Half-Blood Prince and it still made me mad in a lot of places, particularly around the weird treatment around abuse, but there were great bits that it was easy to forget about. I'd forgotten how horribly awesome Slughorn is as a character, for one thing. Pretty much all of the characters are extra sassy, which is always a plus for me. Plus, this book is a shipping dream.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, by J.K. Rowling - I thought it would take me forever to listen to this book, but it was over before I knew it. Even the camping parts seemed to fly by. There are moments of complete genius in this book, particuarly when the gang arrive back at Hogwarts. There's a lot of stuff that I used to think was the worst that I can forgive from an adult perspective - Lupin's behaviour, for example. There's still a lot I can't forgive, though - the narratives around Snape, Dumbledore and Tonks still make me want to throw things. Still, it's a brilliant end to the series. I felt pretty emotional while I was listening to it and I'm still kind of dealing with the Potter hangover!

Thursday, 4 December 2014

November Roundup

Word Count for November 2014

Life After Death: - 34,895 words (This was my NaNoWriMo attempt and, as such, should have been 50,000 words. It’s difficult to feel as though I have lost anything, though, as I still have nearly 35,000 (admittedly terrible) more words for this story than I did at this time last month. It actually feels like a mind-boggling triumph, especially considering my carefully planned timetable at the beginning of the month went to pot almost immediately due to a change of circumstances – but more on that in a later post. I’ll be finishing Life After Death in December when I have a few weeks off, and probably sending a second draft out to my lovely beta readers in the new year, if not before. I have a preliminary timetable for when things need to happen and when you should be seeing Life After Death in its entirety – keep your eyes peeled for updates.)

 Reading Roundup

Revival, by Stephen King – I tweeted this live at #DirgeRAWK and my review/read-along of the first chapter went up on Dirge today! I’ve had some great feedback on it and it’s been a riot to review Revival chapter by chapter. Check it out here. If you’re reading too – or wish you were – get involved in the conversation! Much of my swearing and wisdom seems to have dissipated from the hashtag (thanks a bunch, Twitter) so we shall have to make some more together.

Saga #22 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples – I’m in a bit of a tangle about this issue, and it is difficult to explain why without giving any spoilers. The plot is still amazing, the characters are still fantastic – but I’m struggling with a current storyline for personal reasons. It just cuts very close to the bone. In this way the story should be gloriously relatable, but it just gets a little too close for comfort. It’s maybe too painful to continue on. I still definitely recommend this series, and if you’re a comic book fan you’ve just got to pick it up, but for me, I think I’m bowing out for a while. Maybe when this arc is resolved I’ll pick up again, or when the bruise feels less tender. Of course, I might give in immediately and be back with some more to say next month.

Katy Does Potter

Order of the Phoenix is done and dusted, and I’m currently nearing the end of Half-Blood Prince, which I’m definitely having mixed feelings about, over at #KatyDoesPotter. To everyone who’s joined in on the conversation, whether to laugh about shipping or to allow me to rant angrily about child abuse and oppression in the Wizarding world, thank you so much. You’ve all really made this special for me. Without people like you, the Potterverse just wouldn’t be magical.

Books Listened To So Far:
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, by J.K. Rowling – This is one of the stand-out books in the series, in my opinion. It has everything – Marauders marauding, an adult sense of doom and eeriness, Harry being extra sassy and the wickedness that is Dolores Jane Umbridge. I love Umbridge. I mean, I really love Umbridge. It is one of my dearest ambitions in life to become Umbridge, except without the torture and the generally being evil, but with more swearing and, if possible, even more fuzzy cardigans. Someone else I love is Sirius Black, who I have really complicated feelings about in this book – I think he’s awesome, and he makes me feel sad, at the same time as he makes me angry. Still, it’s that kind of reaction to him as a person that makes him a great character – it’s a sure sign his character is unique and complex. The old angers at the series remain and strengthen in this book, but I’ll get on to that particular rant during my little write up of Half-Blood Prince, I think, when my angst about it all really starts to flow.

Sonorus #2, edited by Kirsty Rowles, Emily Harper and Cath Elms – This whole zine is so great and beautifully designed. Every article in here is gold, even mine ;-) My particular favourites were the two beautiful articles about women in Quidditch, and it was also really nice to see the Bones family get some appreciation!

Monday, 17 November 2014

Sonorus #2 and the Trouble with Tonks

 Sonorus #2 is out now and available to buy here, all for the low price of eleven sickles and twenty seven knuts!
 Sonorus is a series of zines looking into feminist perspectives on Harry Potter, and I can definitely recommend #1 - it's a great read. I wrote a piece for Sonorus #2 about how I see Tonks' characterisation and how I think this reflects on lady-type-characters as a whole in the Harry Potter series. Preliminary readers gave such sparkling praise as 'amazing', 'insightful' and 'makes me really angry', so I consider it a great success so far!
 The other submissions sound wonderful, too, and I can't wait to check them out.
 Let me know if you've bought a copy of Sonorus and what you thought of my submission - I'm so excited to share it with you!