I Said I’d Chill Out This Year…

…and I have. Kind of. My focus for 2017 was meant to be working hard in my new day job, enjoying London, spending time in nature, and finding an agent for my recently finished YA novel ‘The Arcade’.

I’ve been doing all those things. But I’ve also taken on two small writing projects on the side, because I can’t help it! Here’s what I’ve been up to:

Blogging about magic
Back when I lived in Vancouver in 2011-2013, I worked at a shop on Granville Island called ‘Dragonspace‘. It was, and still is, a dragon shop. That is, it sells dragons and other mythological, esoteric, Celtic and fantasy-related items. I love that place. I still think about it all the time, and it will always be a second home for me. So when my old friends there contacted me and asked if I’d want to write the blog for the recently launched Dragonspace website, I had to say yes! Writing these kinds of features does not feel like work at all, and I can’t wait to do more. You can read what I’ve done so far, and check out our beautiful inventory, here.

Road-tripping, in fiction and real life
I’ve written a ‘social story’ for LongShorts, a digital platform featuring stories told through a social feed by fictional characters (as if you were reading the characters’ Twitter feeds). My story is aptly called ‘Road Tripping’ and is about three unlikely road companions traveling through Western Canada and the troubles they’ve left behind. You can read a preview here, and the whole story via the app. I’m in the process of writing Part II at the moment.

I also went on a real road trip last weekend to the Jurassic Coast and Cornwall. We went fossil hunting along Charmouth Beach, drank until 2am in a campsite bar with Cornish locals, spent Easter Sunday at the famous Roskillys Farm eating as much clotted cream ice-cream as we could fit, admired the turquoise waters of St Ives, visited the breath-taking Tintagel Castle of Arthurian legend, and had lunch at Rick Stein’s bistro in Padstow and then saw Rick Stein himself in the deli! I think when you’re an ex-pat in London, you always feel pressured to see as much of continental Europe as possible, but England has so many treasures itself and I love discovering them. They might not be as exotic, but they’re delightful.

Agent Hunting
I’m still seeking an agent/publisher for ‘The Arcade’. It’s the first book in an intended YA trilogy, and is a low-fantasy story with environmental threads. It’s set amongst a network of utopian islands (modelled off the Canadian Gulf Islands) that come under threat from a sinister outside force. More info readily available to anyone who might be interested!

Meeting New People
Tomorrow, I’m hosting my first attempt at a London Meetup group, focused on Walking + Storytelling, at Hampstead Heath (my favourite place in London) – details here. 

Reading
And finally, I’ve obviously been reading a lot. Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels truly transformed me, and taught me how honest and jagged good writing can be. Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven Cycle had me obsessed and reading in coffee shop lines for weeks. Ruth Ozeki’s ‘A Tale for the Time Being‘ and Eden Robinson’s ‘Monkey Beach‘ taught me so much about atmosphere and location as character. And Patti Smith’s ‘Just Kids‘, Joy Harjo’s ‘Crazy Brave‘ and Bill Bryson’s ‘The Life & Times of the Thunderbolt Kid‘ – all starkly different memoirs – had me absorbed in varying experiences of youth, privilege, and art, and gave me an unsettling realisation of how times have changed, and how they’ve stayed the same.

All in all, I feel at peace, frequently creatively inspired, and more comfortable in London week by week. More to come soon.

Kahli xoxo

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I’m Still Here

I may have fallen off the blogging wagon since moving to London, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been active! Since arriving here back in March, I’ve been trying to take advantage of this crazy creative kingdom, and its equally intriguing neighbours across the sea.

I spent the last five months working for an events company that brings together executives from the broadcasting and digital entertainment industries all across the globe. It was an enlightening work experience for many reasons, but I particularly enjoyed learning about the rising importance of social influencer marketing, broadcasting from space and digital imaging via NASA (!!), and the future of technology in cinematic storytelling. I’m understanding more and more how “creativity-technology-business” is an interwoven triquetra. I used to only focus on the creative side, but that’s changing.

I’m also volunteering for the Book Bus, a literacy charity that I’ve loved and followed for years (I even blogged about it back here!). I met some of the team at the London Book Fair back in March, and that led to me helping out with their communications. I’m currently writing stories for the monthly newsletter and blog. I love hearing the tales from Zambia, Malawi and Ecuador about books and storytelling bringing communities together and inspiring change.

Writing-wise, I’ve been writing web copy for a few London-based start-up companies. I was not prepared for how huge the start-up community is here, as we don’t really have one in Brisbane. But it’s a fun community to be a part of, and as a writer, I get to help develop the tone and style for a growing web presence, which is exciting.

I’m also getting close to finishing the first draft of a novel. It involves utopian islands and an environmental evil, and that’s all I’ll say for now.

Over the last seven months, I’ve managed a bit of traveling. We road-tripped from London to Stonehenge-Bristol-Bath-Forest of Dean-Brecon Beacons National Park (in Wales). I loved Wales so much that I went back to Cardiff for a long weekend and cycled the amazing Taff Trail, which took me to THREE CASTLES, through forests and countryside, and essentially into another world. I’ve also hopped over to France a few times – around Normandy, Alsace, and Savoie, plus Paris and Bordeaux. Worked in Amsterdam, and played tourist in Copenhagen and Barcelona. This is why we Aussies flock to London, right?

I’ve been inspired to blog again as this is the first week of my life that I’ve been able to dedicate full-time to writing and editing. I’m not sure what the future holds, but I really hope it’s this! I’m always looking to chat about opportunities – writing, editing, events – so drop a line if you’re interested in collaborating.

Until next time (which hopefully won’t be another seven months away…oops…),

Kahli x