Em's place

Writing, anxiety-wrangling, tea.

Get involved with the Split Worlds LARP!

By Emma on April 25, 2016

On the 7th of May, 2016, over seventy people will be donning costume and masks for the Split Worlds LARP taking place at the Guildhall in Bath.

I know there are many fans of the books who can’t make it to the ball, so I thought it might be nice to tell everyone a little bit about that evening, and also give you an opportunity to get involved, so you can enjoy it from afar.

The Last Ball of the Season

rsz_between-two-thorns-coverThe full day event involves workshops on etiquette, the Split Worlds universe, dancing and a few other things, a VIP tour of Bath locations featured in the books and also an in character afternoon tea during the day. Then in the evening there is the Last Ball of the Season, which is always a masked ball. If you’ve read Between Two Thorns, the first book in the series, you will have seen the first ball of the season play out on the pages. This LARP is set between books 3 and 4, and the Last Ball of the Season is one of the major highlights of the Aquae Sulis social calendar. It’s traditionally more raucous, more dangerous, and the Fae themselves are known to visit it on occasion. The rules are less strict than at other events, with an emphasis on fun and trying to get away with things more daring than usual. That’s partly the reason why it’s always a masked ball. After all, there will be many months before the next season begins, so memories have a chance to fade…

The players will be characters from the books, the Split Worlds short stories and new ones created especially for the game. They come from over ten different families, with status ranging from Patroon to those with barely any social currency at all. I will be playing the Censor of Aquae Sulis, Cathy’s aunt, and you can watch videos about my costume making process here.

It’s not just a masked ball though…

As part of the masked ball, a large vase is always placed in a prominent position, filled with dozens of folded pieces of paper. Written on each on is a challenge, akin to forfeits in Victorian parlour games. There’s only one rule: you cannot put a forfeit back in the vase: once you have chosen and read the forfeit, you (or someone you can persuade to do it for you) must do what is written on the piece of paper before it can be given to the Censor as proof of your daring.

The Censor herself has placed them in the case and will reward the person who has made her laugh the most with his or her performance of their forfeit. It’s a social dilemma: Some of them might be difficult or embarrassing. Do you dare attract her attention to watch your performance? If you daren’t risk doing what’s on the forfeit and persuade someone else to do it for you, they could steal the opportunity to gain the Censor’s approval from you.

Here’s where you can get involved

I thought it would be fun for the people who can’t come to the event to send in forfeits for the vase. The sender of the one the Censor enjoys the most at the ball will win a prop from the masked ball. I’m not going to reveal the prize now, as it would be a spoiler for the players, but it is something I think fans of the books – in particular fans of Cathy – will be excited about.

Here are some example forfeits to give you an idea of the sort of thing the Censor will be creating herself:

Sing a verse and chorus from a song you love
Recite a poem
Persuade the person nearest to you that you love them using only words, then show them the forfeit
Make a sound like a farmyard animal

To enter, simply put your forfeit in the comments below, making sure you put in the best email address to contact you on (these won’t be published anywhere public). Then you can see what everyone else has suggested so there are no duplicates. (If the comment form doesn’t play nicely with you, try the contact form instead.)

Some gentle rules:

Forfeits must not involve any sort of uninvited physical contact (i.e. grab a person from behind to make them scream)
Forfeits should be the sort of thing you’d be happy for a child to do at a party – i.e. nothing X-rated or involving very adult humour or swearing. (This is to ensure that I am not encouraging the players to do anything they would be very uncomfortable with in the real world.)

There will be lots of photos taken at the ball, and I will make sure that you get to see the vase and forfeits. We might be lucky and get some snaps of people carrying out the forfeits.

So, write your forfeit/s below (or via the contact form) – you can offer as many as you like – and good luck!

P.S. If you are a player, you cannot enter this competition I’m afraid, but please do encourage your friends to join in!

Split Worlds costume making update

By Emma on April 25, 2016

Here’s another video describing the costume making process for my Masked Ball LARP costume. As with all sewing projects, it’s taking about three times longer to make than my brain thinks it should!

In other news, there will be a competition posted later today to give people who can’t play in the Masked Ball LARP a chance to get involved and win a prop from the ball!

Follow along with my costume making!

By Emma on April 22, 2016

In just over 2 weeks time, the Split Worlds Masked Ball LARP will be taking place at the Guildhall in Bath. I’m filming the process of making my costume for the event. I will be playing the Censor of Aquae Sulis (Cathy’s aunt) who is the most powerful woman in the city (and knows everyone and everything that is going on, which is why I am NPCing her as it would be too much for someone else to learn!). Naturally, I am making the most difficult and elaborate dress I have ever made in my life, as that character would accept no other!

Please forgive the terribly unprofessional nature of the videos! I hope they offer some insight into the way I make all of the clothes I wear to conventions too, as I use the same methods for everything I make. Please note that I am self-taught and not aiming to make anything historically accurate!

Also, I am very embarrassed to say I call the design the wrong thing in the video (too much to brain at the same time!). I’m making a Robe a la Francaise, or a ‘Sacque’, not a ‘Robe a la Sacque’ as I say in the video!

Part 1

Then the phone ran out of memory space! So here is Part 2!

Regarding Tea and Jeopardy being included on a certain list

By Emma on March 22, 2016

The following is a statement regarding the Sad Puppies and the Hugo Awards. If you have no idea what I am talking about, please breathe a sigh of relief and go on with your day.

It’s been brought to my attention that Tea and Jeopardy has been put on the Sad Puppies 4 Hugo Recommendations list.

It’s not a slate this year, apparently, but as the fact that people within and without the Puppies have argued about whether the efforts of previous years have also been slates or not, I don’t have a lot of faith in the language being used here.

All I know is that I would like Tea and Jeopardy to be removed from this latest list. I don’t want something that Pete and I spend a hell of a lot of time and energy creating to be associated with anything like this. Our podcast has made it to the nominations shortlist two years in a row on its own merit and if we are lucky enough to be shortlisted for a third time, I want it to be because people listen to the show and are moved to nominate it. Nothing more.

Sadly, it seems that requests to be removed for the Sad Puppies 4 list are being ignored. Whilst part of me agrees that people can put whatever they like into a list on their own website, the part that values courtesy disagrees with the refusal to respect a creator’s requests to remove something from it. I’m sorry if this hurts the feelings of the people involved, but no matter what the intentions are this year, no matter the reasons why our podcast made it onto that list, I personally do not want my work to be associated with it.

In short, all I can really hope for is that if you are able to nominate works for the Hugos, that you do so out of love and respect for what has been created, not for any other reason. If you read Planetfall and want to nominate it for Best Novel, thank you. If you listen to Tea and Jeopardy and want to nominate it for Best Fancast, thank you. But if you want to use my work in any sort of agenda – even one that is supposedly to prove that what was done in the past is not happening again – I politely and most wholeheartedly ask you to respect my wishes, and remove any mention of my work.

If you read this and are angered by my desire to have Tea and Jeopardy removed from this list, please go and make a cup of tea and then do something kind for another person. If you read this and felt sad and angry that I am wasting my time on this instead of writing a book or making Tea and Jeopardy, I suggest you make a cup of tea and then do something kind for another person. Ultimately, this is exhausting and ridiculous and we could all be doing something much more positive and delightful with our time. For this reason I will not be participating in any further discussion on the subject as I feel this statement covers all anyone needs to know about my feelings on the matter.

Now I am going to make a cup of tea, do something kind for another person and then write my next book. Life is too damn short for anything else.

Bookish joy and other news

By Emma on March 3, 2016

Happy World Book Day!

I’d like to say that I planned to write this very bookish post on today of all days as part of a carefully considered calendar of events but no, this is simply the first day in far too long that I’ve had a chance to blog! I’m going to fling some news and links at you like confetti and then run away again as life is VERY FULL at the moment and blimey, I need a cup of tea.

Split Worlds joy!

The first three books in the Split Worlds series are now available again in ebook format – YAY! They have beautiful new covers (thanks Diversion Books!) and the first in the series, Between Two Thorns, is currently free on iBooks and Kindle. You can find all the links you need to grab it and the others on the Split Worlds website.

There’s lots of work being done on the Split Worlds Masked Ball behind the scenes. Katie (awesome co-GM) and I are in the process of allocating characters to players (we have over 70 players so this is quite a large task) and I am very excited about it.

Don’t forget that, even though the full RPG tickets have sold out, there is a waiting list (simply send me a note through the Split Worlds site contact page saying you want to go on the waiting list) and there are still lots of the non-RPG tickets left. The non-RPG tickets are perfect for anyone who wants the fun and spectacle of going to a masked ball set in the Split Worlds, without the pressure of needing to do any acting or roleplaying. You can be assigned a character name and family if you wish, so you can be involved in a very light, non-intimidating way. That ticket type costs £30 for an evening of dancing in the beautiful Bath Guildhall ballroom, soft drinks, canapes and lots of SPLIT WORLDS DRAMA happening around you. (I am so excited about what we have planned!) It’s on May 7th, 2016 by the way. All the details are on the Split Worlds LARP pages.

Tales From the Split Worlds

rsz_itunes_tftswI’ve started a new podcast called Tales From the Split Worlds which features a short story a week set in the Split Worlds. These were previously available elsewhere but as several people were having problems accessing them, I decided to release them as a podcast to make it easier for people to download them. It also means that I have the chance to give each story a bit of context about how it fits into the Split Worlds universe. It’s part of the wonderful Geek Planet Online network and you can find it here.

The Unkindest Cut

I’m delighted to say that I have a new novelette out in the Monstrous Little Voices anthology curated by Abaddon Books, containing 5 interlinked stories that play with the world and characters created by William Shakespeare. My novelette features Prospero from the Tempest and is called The Unkindest Cut. I’m pleased as punch to say that it was mentioned very favourably in the latest SFX Magazine review that award the anthology 4.5 stars! The Unkindest Cut is described as “deliciously horrible fun” which made me smile.

You can buy the Unkindest Cut as a standalone here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Unkindest-Monstrous-Little-Voices-Book-ebook/dp/B018KL5U0K/

or the entire collection here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Monstrous-Little-Voices-Shakespeares-Fantasy/dp/1781083940

Right, I think that’s all for now. I’ll be quiet again for a while as I am back in the recording studio narrating a crime novel and working on edits, my next book, the Split Worlds LARP… *fades out*