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Ashana Lian's Fantasy Lab

Fantasy and Fantasy Writing from every angle: fantasy and sci-fi novels, films, artwork, superhero cartoons, children's and YA books, manga, anime, video games and comics. Put the microscope on 'Geek Culture'.

Thursday, 31 July 2014

What Makes A YA Book?

In a way, I am extremely surprised to be doing a post on this topic.


Here are some examples of popular fantasy childrens books.
  • Harry Potter
  • Alice In Wonderland
  • The Chronicles Of Narnia
  • Charlie And The Chocolate Factory
  • Percy Jackson And The Lightning Thief

Here are some examples of popular fantasy teenage books.
  • Eragon
  • Skulduggery Pleasant
  • The Hobbit (often placed here, despite that it was intended to be a CHILDREN'S book)
  • The Angel Experiment
  • Northern Lights

Now here are some examples of popular fantasy young adult books.
  • City Of Bones
  • Vampire Academy
  • Beautiful Creatures
  • Fallen
  • Twilight.

What Is YA?

It's become a findable subcategory in pretty much every physical or online bookstore you can think of. The YA boom has spawned a subculture of loyal fans who, judging by many devoted blogs I've come across, read pretty much nothing else. It's filled a gap in the market and become so substantial that allegedly some publishers have created a whole new subsidiary or imprint of their name devoted entirely to these books.

But what IS it?

Well seeing as you're here on my blog, and not on somebody else's, I'm going to give you MY opinion, that is, my perspective as a long time devotee of fantasy, as somebody who visited the library almost every week at secondary school, who now works in a bookshop and studies English Lit at uni, and having already read many teen-turned-YA books and some of the new stuff as well.


Young adult literature is a sub-category of books aimed at vaguely 18 to 25 years of age, dealing with subject matters more or less like teenage books, but allows scope for darker or slightly more explicit material. For example, pretty much all of the seductive and/or vampire books are shelved over on the YA section now; including Twilight, Morganville Vampires, The Vampire Diaries, House Of Night, Vampire Academy and it's spin-off Bloodlines, thus leaving much more room on the teenage shelf for Cathy Cassidy.

YA assumes that whoever you are and whenever you come from, you clearly didn't get the message from teenage books so - here, come and learn it again. Featuring subject matters such as love triangles! (That's a favourite.) Vampires! Shadowhunters! Summer flings! Romance! (it's Girl World on the YA shelf, I should have mentioned that earlier.) Also, finding your identity, sexuality, stepping into grown-up-hood (you thought you stepped before, but you were a dumb teenager then so you were wrong.) and Mary Sue-ism.

Not only do young adult books attempt to capture the complexities of... pretty much everything in life at this age, the problems that you didn't know you thought about - which is perhaps why Malorie Blackman was shifted over there instead of remaining in the teen section - but additionally, it firmly pulls away from ANYTHING which is considered adult. Often YA won't go far into VERY complex issues such as rape, drug abuse, really distressing stuff, but they may touch on it depending on the book. No cryptic shit, no symbolism that you might find in literary fiction, no overly-complex prose, and no small font styles, because YA's guessing that you won't want to buckle down for that serious stuff yet.

YA lit just wants you to ride the wave, man. Ride the wave.

What Is Fantasy YA?

It's no wonder YA had bridged the gap from children's to adult fantasy; it provides a way to navigate the wonderlands without getting too deep into the lives of five hundred characters and their offspring. To the average Joe, it's READABLE fantasy. Twilight is bitesize fantasy. No wonder it's so staggeringly popular - we all want to enjoy the magic, don't we?

For fantasy fans such as you and I, we know that when non-fans and mild appreciators think of fantasy they think; Tolkien. George R.R. Aaand that's it. If pressed for a third we may get Harry Potter - which we laugh at because despite how the series matured with us, they're still children's books. But the point is, they do not want something too long or too challenging to read, because that is offputting.

When most people want to read on the train, or take a book away for a holiday, or have to endure a family get together, it seems they want something self-contained. Unless the person is a fan and already know what's good, they do not want endless series'. They do not want five hundred characters. You can tell that from almost any book chart or Richard and Judy list. Don't look now, though, because Game Of Thrones (A Song Of Ice And Fire Series) is on it. But generally speaking, no fantasy there, unless it's being passed as literary fiction like Among Others, by Jo Walton.


The Disparaging Opinion of Young-Adult Fantasy From Fantasy Fans

... there are many reasons why born and bred fantasy fans dislike this.

The primary issue is that most YA is aimed at girls. Not counting John Green, Michael Grant and Patrick Ness, An overwhelming number of YA books include 'female topics' and almost always have a female protagonist. What this results in is romance based YA fantasy.

Similarly to paranormal fantasy, it's not uncommon for the fantasy element to be used as a device to further the love plot, as opposed to being ingrained into the plot in its own right. The sad part for Fanafans is the feeling that fantasy is being 'watered down' by writers who love their art but nonetheless are not in any way dedicated to or serious about fantasy.

In addition, because the view (misconception, no doubt) is that YA is 'easier' both to read and to write, many YA take the liberty of not meticulously planning the fantasy elements as much as any other part of the book. The product? Predictable or very weak fantasy structures to the seasoned fantasy reader. The following quote is about SF, but it still makes a very good point about novice authors who "Reinvent the Wheel":
Re-Inventing the Wheel:A novice author goes to enormous lengths to create a science-fictional situation already tiresomely familiar to the experienced reader. Reinventing the Wheel was traditionally typical of mainstream writers venturing into SF. It is now often seen in writers who lack experience in genre history because they were attracted to written SF via SF movies, SF television series, SF role-playing games, SF comics or SF computer gaming. [From SFWA. And HERE is a very interesting forum debate about it.]

How YA Became Infamous

1. Vampires
YA definitely filled a gap in the market and there seem to have been several catalysts. When the bookshop where I work finally decided to separate Teen and Young Adult fiction, it was about the time when Catching Fire was going out of cinemas. But what preceded that was Twilight.

The television was running shows like Teen Wolf, The Vampire Diaries, Lost Girl (not quite the same, but you feel me) and there was really a buzz going for this sort of thing. But sadly, for the rest of the world who didn't like vampires or was on that shit so long ago that now they're sick of it (pointing at my friends) - it started to become the thing you said with disdain, with that curl in your lip, and it was YA's primary association.

2. Love triangles, Mary Sues, romances on which hang the fate of the world... you sure this isn't teen chick lit?
Like I said - YA's for girls. Many boys (and men (... and grown women!)) I help in the bookshop look sheepish when they ask where The Hunger Games is, and I take them right back to the kids section, to the shelves where The Selection, Cinder, Geek Girl, The Fault In Our Stars all sit beside each other. And I don't know why, but this makes people look down on the genre too. Like chick lit grew another head.

3. Adults are reading YA... not books for adults
I've heard this debate repeated all over the web and blogosphere. Young adult books suddenly became so popular and niche, film adaptations everywhere, so much choice, so many different styles and themes - but mostly, all easily digestible. Even some readers who'd usually take a long time to read find YA enjoyable and manageable, and, well... many have argued (it wasn't clear whether or not they had something better to do (... I sure do)) that it's discouraging for younger people to see their parents reading their books, or something. Apparently it kind of messes up the 'graduation' of reading.

There are an incredible number of book blogs out there solely dedicated to this genre, but there's also this kind of reader snobbery as many customers I meet apply their own labels - the twilight/hunger games/girls/romance/vampire books - it often happens when trying to explain what this strange new genre creature is.
Girl Dude 1: I'm going over to the YA books.
Girl Dude 2: What's YA?
Girl Dude 1: Young adult. Like teen, but not. It's like, the twilight books and stuff.
Girl Dude 2: (with realisation) Oh. [This girl now has an irrevocable vision of the YA creature. She will never venture to this section of the bookstore again.]

In a way, I get it and I don't. I have no problem with the genre itself - just the fantasy thing, because I have such a high regard for fantasy literature.

I had hoped adult fantasy itself would be much more diverse and have more to offer the noobs, but I suppose time will tell.

What Makes A YA book?

Mythic Scribes posted an interesting article recently about whether the days of a book being just one genre is in the past. It's relevant here because with the rise of e-book publishing, where writers have a lot more control, it's as easy to cross genres as it is to blur the age boundaries. For example, go to your favourite search engine and tell me what 'skulduggery pleasant' comes under. What did you find? Was it children's or teens? Fantasy or paranormal? There is no one answer, is there? Or is there? Maybe its everything.

Goodreads classes I Am Number Four as 'Science Fiction > Aliens', and yet every book store I've been to has it under their Teen section, not Science Fiction, where you'll find the likes of Ender's Game, Fahrenheit 451 and Do Androids Dream Of Electric... I'm guessing it's not 'sleep', despite the fact that it's what I always say. Big oops.

What makes a (fantasy) YA book? Here's a couple of reasons that I pinned down.

  • Protagonist is a young adult themselves.
  • Subject matter. (fate of the world romances. I hate those, but the warehouse ships them in all the time).
  • Easy/comfortable language (non-archaic).
  • Will say 'Young Adult' on the book, if you're lucky...
  • ... or on the publisher's website if you're not, and you bothered to search. (I think what the publisher says in important because I'm assuming they've done the market research and already know where a bookseller is going to shelve their book).

This is the hardest of all to answer, as the rules are so fluid and seem to remould itself to whatever YA trend has just kicked off. You can walk into a Waterstones, WH Smith or Foyles and see a book shelved somewhere - then go home and Amazon will have it listed as something else, Amazon dot com as something else, and goodreads again as something ELSE. It's... its a big joke, actually.

Image: Google Images

In Conclusion...

I may not ever 'get' why another category is needed between 18 and adult - in fifty years they'll probably be one for all ages (Elder's Lit!) - but writing this out has really helped me to gain some perspective. I must say though. When I was in secondary school (11-16), I was reading adult books because most teen books made me cringe. A lot of my friends did the same. (But you can read about that in my Bio.)

Ever since I've tried to do my best to go 'up', and I don't necessary see reading young adult as going 'down'. They'll be outstanding and awful books in every genre, but at least trying out a few books in many unfamiliar genres, in hopes of finding the good ones, counts towards being open minded and well-read. That, above all, is what I value.

A Whole Bunch Of Links.
About the very first YA Lit con -
New Trends In YA: The Agents' Perspective -
The only YA book blog I love enough to always go back to -

Do you agree with this article? How far do you think it's accurate?

If I picked five of my most trustworthy book debater friends, and sat down right now to get right the specifics of YA, we'd be debating well into next week. So good luck - I'm more than content to watch the game go on changing from afar. I'm done here. *tips bowled hat, strolls out.*

Ashana Lian .

Sunday, 27 July 2014

And Another One: Fantasy Event In London With George R.R. Martin And Robin Hobb!

1) 19 August

Event: George R.R. Martin And Robin Hobb In Conversation
Details: I find it very interesting that Gollancz is holding a festival with their authors, and now it seems HarperVoyager is also bringing out their stars; George RR Martin and Robin Hobb. This thing - WILL - BE - HUGE.

Nothing has been confirmed except that the venue is in central London, ticket sales start later in the week, and they're throwing in a copy of Fool's Assassin by Robin Hobb, which I was hoping to buy at some point so... sweet. Here is a quote;
"This unique event offers readers the perfect opportunity to spend an evening listening to two of the world’s greatest storytellers, discussing how they build their fictional universes, create their characters and balance fantasy and reality; about their influences and inspirations, their struggles and successes." [HarperVoyager site, 27/07/14]
Time and Place: TBC
Here's the crunch... Tickets: £45 (...these events are killin' me.)

I never would have found this if it wasn't for Thanks FanBooRev.


Freemasons' Hall, Holborn, London 
19 August 2014, 19:30 to 21:00 
Tickets £45.00 (and £1.77 fee, beware. =] )

Image: Preparing to Slay Undead - Pathfinder by Furious-Panda

Why Haven't You Been Posting Book Analyses, Shani?

Well, um, the two Saturdays before yesterday, I was abroad. Both yesterday and today, I've had very tiring and confidence-slamming shifts at work. So despite how ecstatic I am to share my analysis of The Name Of The Wind with you - and I truly am because it is exceptional - it was a long book and thus I have a LOT of comments and praise and criticisms and the last thing I want to do when I'm depressed enough to watch the Simpsons as I eat three dinners and Turkish Delight from Cyprus and wash that down with plum wine I bought from Hyper Japan on Friday - is write a report. So, there. There is your reason. *skulks off*

Ashana Lian .

Thursday, 24 July 2014

August 2014 Fantasy Events In London

These upcoming fantasy events are little more than a fortnight away, so get in there and get your tickets! They all look utterly and undeniably a w e s o m e.

1) 12 August

Event: Fantasy In The Court
Details: Goldsboro Books is hosting this event as a celebration of the fantasy and science fiction genres. According to the advertising, a list of attending writers are; Ben Aaronovitch, Joe Abercrombie, Jamie Anderson, James Barclay, Lauren Beukes, Mark Charan Newton, Paul Cornell, Edward Cox, Joanne Harris, M.G.Harris, John Hornor Jacobs, Stephen Hunt, Snorri Kristjansson, Adam Nevill, Sarah Pinborough, Den Patrick, Tom Pollock, Stephanie Saulter, Luke Scull, Samantha Shannon, A.J.Smith, Gavin Smith, James Smyth, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Jon Wallace and Jen Williams.

Time and Place: 6pm at... I forget. (Goldsboro Books, Cecil Court?)
Tickets: £5

2) 13 August [6pm - CLASH v]

Event: The Gollancz Festival 2014
Details: This one seems to have a series of mini-events happening. In 'Room 1' is Patrick Rothfuss (I'm reading his debut novel now, it's outstanding), who is doing a reading, and after that are panels with different authors, it seems. One of the topics is 'whether fantasy, by definition, is consolatory' - sounds AMAZING! And then 'Room 2' had the debut novelists talking about how they got published (gaaaasp I MUST GO.) and... some other things. Here's a quote;
" [...] three bestselling authors will give solo talks, readings and interviews:  Joanne M. Harris will discuss the use of different narratives as a means of exploring stories; Joe Hill might share an insight into having your work become a Hollywood film; and Patrick Rothfuss will give a solo talk and tremendous audience Q&A." [Gollancz website, 24/07/14]
Also there is a goodie bag. Always a winner.
Time and Place: 6pm at Waterstones Piccadilly
Tickets: £6 (£4 for Waterstones Loyalty Card members)
Link: The Gollancz Festival 2014 -

3) 13 August [6.30pm - CLASH]

Event: Fantasy Faction's Grim Gathering
Details: So, Peter V. Brett, Myke Cole, Mark Lawrence & Joe Abercrombie (this guy's gonna be dashing all over London), and as Fantasy faction states;
"The goal with this event is NOT to do just a book signing [...] lets get some of Fantasy-Faction's author friends in a room, lets hold a panel where the Fantasy-Faction team and the audience can ask them questions, then get our books signed and then all hang out together and celebrate the fantasy genre that we all share a love of. The end result should be that the readers leave 'knowing' the authors."
Time and Place: 6.30pm at Waterstones Kensington
Tickets: Free (but the purchase of a book is recommended; this will increase the chances of the shop running the event again)
Link: Fantasy Faction's Grim Gathering -

4) 14-18 August

Event: Loncon 3 (Worldcon 72)
Details: I spoke about this in my Conventions In London For Fantasy Fan post, and also my friend and I met two men promoting Loncon at a stall at LFCC. But I'm not even going to BEGIN to explain, so click the link.
Time and Place: I think from 9am at ExCel London
Tickets: I am still struggling with trying to figure this out.

So naturally, now it's dawned on me that deciding to begin the Fantasy Challenge with standalone books and unfamiliar authors might have been an error. My intention was to experience a wide range of fantasy, not just the really big names, but now those same big names are attending the same event and I'm so far behind. I doubt I can read four/five sets of trilogies/sagas/series' in just over a forI can buy the second in the series while I'm there. I'd like to start off with The Painted Man (Demon Trilogy 1) by Peter V. Brett; Empire In Black And Gold (Shadows of the Apt) by Adrian Tchaikovsky, and Prince of Thorns (Broken Empire 1) by Mark Lawrence.

Oh man. MY NERVES. Why am I so nervous? Is it the prospect of something new, or the thought of last time I put too many events on my plate (nervous breakdown)?

I feel like such a noob and novice e_e

Ashana Lian .

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Fantasy Writing Picture Prompts OR Inspiration For Fantasy Locations

When this scheduled post is published, I will be away on holiday. I hope everybody is enjoyed what they can of summer wherever you are, and that you're staying fantasy-focussed!

I thought I'd do a fantasy settings/worlds post. Below are a series of images are may or may not be familiar, depending on where you live, but I found that each one holds an aspect of the Fantastic that can be drawn out and used when writing fantasy literature.

Of course, everybody is inspired by different things, and perhaps these images do nothing for you. But I'm going to share a little bit of what runs through my mind (it would actually be impossible to capture every tiny thought that runs through my mind because when I'm inspired, it races like a cheetah) and perhaps that will give someone a foot up for an idea or piece or writing, or the foundation of building a fantasy world.

Good luck!

Disclaimer - none of the following images below to me. c:

This image is of Jordan. What immediately caught my attention is the rock-cut architecture and how alluring it is to see a building made completely out of rock and not metal of glass. I see a place of high regard, such as a temple or library of rare tomes. 
Reminds Me Of: Wan Shi Tong's Spirit Library from Avatar: The Legend Of Aang

This is also an image of Jordan. My thoughts are; arena (Roman or Greek in my head), pit, trial, play, death. Gladiators! Death. Crowds. Performers, musicians... death.
Reminds Me Of: what I imagined of Roman-style trials and orations from the book Roman Blood by Steven Saylor.

This is the Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany. I'd recommend Google Images as you can't see it clearly here, but it's actually perched up high at the top of a hill. I imagine a very proud and well-elevated family occupying this castle in a fantasy epic. They would be ruthless and very cunning, with lots and lots of daughters, son and extended relatives all plotting together to monopolize an empire.
Reminds Me Of: Hogwarts.

This image is of Colombo. Look at that incredible bumpy slope! What sort of fantasy creatures can you imagine living in this hideaway, so pure and green?
...don't say unicorns.
Reminds Me Of: The Shire, Lord Of The Rings.

And here we have *sardonic applause* Londooooon, my hometown. I must say, this is one of the better images. The reason it caught my eye and my imagination so intensely is because of all the lights; mainly amber, and I also see glowing reds, blues and greens - all beneath an uneasy purple sky. I don't know why but that feels ominous to me. The opposite should be true, but I feel that all of the lights could conceal a terror right underneath the gaze of a fast-moving city.
...Dementors, perhaps?
Reminds Me Of: the book Dream London, by Tom Ballantyne

I simply couldn't do this post without mentioning the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights. It one of the most incredible events of this world that occurs naturally but looks like it seeped out of a wizards wand and crawled across the sky and fell asleep.
Reminds Me Of: the children's book Northern Lights by Philip Pullman

This is Hatfield Forest Lake. In one of my more recent stories, I wrote about a young woman who witnesses the falling of heaven, instigated by creatures who possess cats, and ill-willed people with wands. In my mind, this is what the breaking of the lower heavens looked like.
Reminds Me Of: my story, The Cats And The Keys.

Taj Mahal. How could I not?
There's nothing to be said.
Reminds Me Of: I have no idea why, but Slumdog Millionaire.

Loch Ness, Scotland. I love this image because of that bizarre branch sticking out of the water. it looks wrong. It looks like something is missing, which makes you wonder - what used to be there, then?
Reminds Me Of: villages built on water - like Laketown in The Lord Of The Rings.

I got really confused because the file name read blah-blah-letters-numbers-columbus-monaco-monte-carlo, so I thought dang, is it Columbus, Monaco, or Monte Carlo? SO CONFUSED! What I understand now is, it's referring to the Columbus Monte-Carlo Hotel which is in Monaco, which is in France. Phew.
Look at the fierce orange lights. Doesn't it look like the city is burning of dragon-fire?
Reminds Me Of: that dragon movie I always forget the name of, and natural-disaster movies like 2012 where everything is burning because of earthquakes and eruptions and whatnot.

South Africa. I don't know if somebody had had too much fun with the contrast button, but if not, then I love how the sky is so vividly blue with these small bursts of floating clouds, and look at how dark the water is. I imagine a steampunk-like industrial city, I see airships being built and tested here and being flown up above the bubble clouds and away.
And if I can get away with some dragons up in here, let's do it.
Reminds Me Of: ...nothing in particular, actually.

What places, from either home or abroad, sets your mind to wonder? Do any of the Seven Wonders Of The World stand out to you as particularly awe-inspiring? Share!

Ashana Lian .

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Convention: London Film And Comic Con 2014

Just to say before I start - faces have been blurred out where possible, unless the image was taken with permission. Regardless, anyone who spots themselves in an image is welcome to leave a comment or use the contact form at the bottom to email me, if they don't want the photo left up. Okay? Cool.


I'd never been to LFCC before but I've wanted to go for some time. I think I first heard of it two years ago, when I was actually paying attention to the Game Of Thrones hype. I thought - wow, Khal Drogo (Jason Momoa) is going to be so close to my house!


It must be said - the LFCC website is AWFUL. Finding the information you need is painstaking, sometimes you even need to leave the site and go to the forum to find out VITAL things, like who is where on what day, and that there are FIVE queues which will waste your whole day if you turn up at 8am but join the wrong one.

By my calculation, many people predicted a much, much busier event because of Stan Lee, so I factored in extra time;

  • Doors open at 9am for early entry, so -
  • Need to be there at about 7am, so -
  • Need to leave at about 6, sooo -
  • Need to get UP at about 5am !!

  • Outside the venue between 7am and 8am - queue we're in (right) is Pay On The Door, the queue on the left I think is Gold and Silver tickets.


    I've had this feeling for dread every since a few days ago, when I saw that the convention will have not two but FIVE queues;

    As it so happened, my friend and I got there early, a little before 7am, so the gates weren't even open yet (never experienced that before!), and when they opened, everybody followed each other in queue order to line up outside of the venue. But nobody was posted there to tell you if that was actually the right queue so thankfully, as I was with a friend, I left her to hold our place while I dipped out to check. Thank God - we needed to be in the queue further down. We hastily rushed over - within half an hour of us getting in line, the queue was already stretching around Brompton Hall and out of sight! We waited for two hours and did some catching up - hadn't seen her in a year! - and now and then someone would walk down the queue with tickets they didn't want, asking if anybody else wanted them, which made me think, ‘aww, how kind’. But my friend gave this suspicious look and then said skeptically, “Sounds legit.” which made me laugh so much.

    I was worried about how long it would take once the doors were open but it was actually quite efficient, because getting there that bit earlier put us nearer the front, and we didn't wait too long. Though i wish i'd been organised enough to get the tickets online beforehand! We just walked into the foyer and queued up outside one of these;

    About 6 payment queues.

    - which was cool as lots of people were taking payments at once. The card machines weren't the fastest in the world but hey, NOT complaining, that meant more cash for inside. £8 for standard and £15 for Early Entry, but from past conventions I felt that an Early ticket was required to fully enjoy it. Thankfully my hunch was proved true; my friend was even thanking me at 12 o’clock when it was so jam packed we couldn't move - but I will get to that soon, read on...

    Experience Once Inside

    Well, you tell me. At half past nine, the venue looked like this:

    At half past eleven, the venue looked like THIS.

    Unfortunately, this is to be expected at a popular event; that nobody can move. That is why my friend was thanking me, even though I couldn't prepare her for this! This is exactly what happened at MCM, only I wasn't smart enough to get an Early ticket so that was my experience the whole time. This picture is pointing towards the entrance/exit, where it was the most packed because when we were leaving, people were still queuing to get in! We were sandwiched together at points around LFCC, waiting for a moment where we could dive off in a direction we weren't originally heading in, just to get out of it.

    This was the queue to buy main stage and autograph tickets inside the venue.

    These are three of my books I decided to bring; unfortunately, I didn't get to meet Darren Shan, and Sally Green is at LFCC on the Sunday. So my shoulders ache for nothing?! >:-(

    Highlights!! Signings!!
    --> Joe Abercrombie

    While we were queuing I kept sternly reminding my friend that we had to catch Joe Abercrombie and ten o’clock. Ten o’clock, I said. When we checked the time as we browsed the stalls, it was 9.25am. The next time we checked, 9.55.

    Panicking, we asked a crew member how to get to stage B.

    Now, LFCC did this really shitty thing of having a schedule showing when the talks were, saying Stage A, Stage B, Stage C, etc. But the map only said Stage A and C. The crew member, poor guy, not realising, sent us to the 'small stage', which was actually C. It was a long while before we realised that stage B was also called the Books Stage, and by the time we finally found it, Joe Abercrombie had just finished reading an extract of Half A King. I was absolutely gutted. I mean, I've already read it but that is ABSOLUTELY not the point.

    Still, I got up and I asked two questions! Shitting myelf, yeah, but as Brian Tracy says, 'Do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain.' And it’s true! I kind of had to... not think. At all. Or I would’ve lost my nerve. So I asked about Shadikshirram (LOVE HER!) and also about the whole Mother War, Father Peace thing I mentioned in this week's Fantasy Food For Thought. Somebody asked this really great question about challenges writing for young adults instead of adults, which I thought was great becasue I am STILL working out why or if there is a difference at all. Anyhoo, got it signed, job done, will keep my copy for ever, lol. I need my own library.

    They're already up on my wall - and beyond gorgeous.

    --> Destiny Blue

    GREAT NEWS! I had no idea she would be here (although I had a feeling it was her I spotted while queuing up) but I finally got to buy a print from the lovely and talented artist Destiny Blue. I wrote about this on my other blog, so I’ll cut a long story short. I’d not taken the chance at MCM, being packed as it was, and I'd missed her at Hyper Japan on the Friday, so I was just over the moon to get two signed prints; Imprint and Smokey Eyes. It wa great because I got to say hi and she was very friendly c:

    I wanted to get my hands on the one I keep calling Labyrinth but is actually called Lose Yourself In Me, but she didn't have it this time! Aw. Im sure there will be other opportunities. I’m glad I took advantage of this one!

    Incredible Cosplayers!

    I was smart this time and asked more people for pictures! My favourites, of course.

    Link. Love this one.


    Slender Man?!

    Why do I ALWAYS forget the name of this thing? My friend kept reminding me (then it was her turn to be stern) but man, I just don't know.

    Stuff To Do

    In Earl’s Court 2...
    • comics
    • figurines
    • posters
    • t-shirts
    • badges
    • BOOKS =]
    • sweets
    • art prints
    • authentic katanas O_O
    • DVDS
    • talks
    • kawaii stationary
    • AAAAAAAAND more comics.

    There were lots of stands doing photoshoots and signings at desks, and these required a separate ticket.

    At the Ya Lit Con stage - the first ever UK YA Lit Convention -  my friend wanted to see Malorie Blackman so badly, but it turned out you had to get a ticket for that. I suddenly wondered if you’d needed a ticket for Joe Abercrombie too and thought ‘whoops.’ Although, i hadn't seen any signs anywhere about it... I hope I didn't just cut in!

    And of course, there was STAN LEE! But he was in Earls Court 1 and we didn't go there because we decided it wasn't worth it. It seems like ticketed events were happening in there and we;'d spent our money anyhow.


    So, GOODIES! the best bit! ;3

    The first thing I bought, when I’d been in the venue for five minutes, was a Hylian (I keep saying Hyrulian. For shame.) shield keyring from The Legend Of Zelda, £5. I saw it, I wanted it - and that was where the story ended, because it was soo cute and a perfect addition to my life and who doesn't need more useless memorabilia?

    The Sentinel Mage blurb

    Uprising blurb

    We stopped at the 2000 AD stand, mainly because the two assistants there were so pleasant and chirpy to talk to. Aside from, the comics, which I’ve decided to lay low on right now, there were books - that is, fantasy books - so naturally I just HAD to go and buy two, didn’t I? *sigh*

    I'm hugely looking forward to them though; one was already in my Amazon Wishlist, The Sentinel Mage. Also they had this deal on where everything was rounded down to the nearest multiple of five, so 9.99 to £5, 12.99 to £10, £18.99 hardbacks to £15, which was a great deal.

    Synopsis is inside!

    Then we stopped by the stall of the author Harry G. Sherwin promoting his book – The Seven Kingdoms; The Darkling Lands, which looks great – by the way, I've decided to post blurb pictures this one time so check ‘em out, check ‘em ouuut.

    My free book!

    Then we drifted past the stand for Loncon 3 which I mentioned before, and they had a stand that declared FREE BOOKS! So even though I’m carrying four on holiday, and I’d already bought three today, I just had to go over. That’s when I picked up Cold Steel.

    COOKIES!! Awesome, awesome cookies! These were by the Gibbons Girls Bakery, 3 for £5, which I suppose is pricey but they were so cute, and they tasted great. I had to take a picture of them quick because I had a feeling they wouldn’t last long – or if they did, they wouldn't look good.

    Pen from the Something Kawaii shop.

    Isn’t this the most ADORABLE thing you’ve ever seen? I LOVE it! It makes my cat emoticon come to life!


    The fact that this £2 pen is so slim make my finger look so fat in this picture XD

    From Badge Leopard, I think. And I had fun with the Picture In A Picture function on my camera!

    Badges, badges badges, £1 each, irresistible. I don’t know why I buy badges, I don’t really know what to do with them. But they were Legend of Zelda, so “choice” and “free will” wasn’t really an option.

    And finally, the Destiny Blue art prints I mentioned above, one for £10 or two for £16, so naturally I bought two – and that, my friends, was when my money ran out. I kind of said it with a laugh and a sigh until I realised that meant I’d spent fifty pounds and paled. Ha, joking – but if I wasn't black and could've paled, I probably would’ve.

    After that was when I saw this amazing-looking comic that I think was called Siege, about earth supplying aliens with human bodies to make cyborgs and they in return supply humans with alien technology like guns and the like. As someone who sees fairly little of my culture portrayed as the protagonist of comics, I as interest to see what it could offer. My friend offer to buy if for me, but I was already alarmed at having spent 50 quid so I'll probably read hers instead and hopefully have a new obsession! (It’s still Lord Of The Rings right now. And I asked almost every stall we went to if they had Lord Of The Rings memorabilia! Still love it! Cannot wait for the final Hobbit movie.)

    Inside the foyer of Earls Court two at 12 noon.


    Like I said, we left at 12 noon with people still queuing outside.

    Queue outside Earls Court 1/Brompton Hall at 12.

    Queue outside Earls Court 1/Brompton Hall at 12 noon.


    To be honest, when I came back I had to do THIS. This post has taken HOURS to get together, taking the pictures, blurring them, tagging them, uploading them all (I should really lower the quality to make the file smaller but... high quality looks so mint!) and then writing all of this, just for YOU, loyal reader, for YOU. *waits expectantly for groveling thank yous* And then? Well, then I have to PACK.

    Tomorrow, I have to get up at the crack of dawn again to take a train and then a coach and then  to fly out to my Cyprus holiday! Much needed and (I hope!) well-earned!! I can’t wait to sit and write my book and do jack-all. It's grey outside my window but 36 degrees in North Cyprus!

    So as you may have guessed, there will be no posts for a week and none on the Saturday I come back, when I usually do the fantasy book for that week. There is one scheduled for Thursday but I won’t say what it is. It is a little different from what I usually do so... yeah, enjoy.


    What's Next?

    (25-27 July)

    Click to read specifically about London Super Comic Con
    Click to read about my past MCM experience

    If you went to LFCC, what did you love or hate about it? If planning to go, what are you looking forward to? And if you’re not planning to go, WHY THE HELL NOT?!


    Ashana Lian .

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