March Meet the Maker: Favourite to Make

Welcome back!

If you follow me on Instagram (and if you don’t, go do it now! Yes now! @bluebeaglebaby) you’ll know that I’m taking part in the #MarchMeetTheMaker event. Today’s title is ‘Favourite to Make’.

Hmm, well this is a tricky one. I’m constantly told I need to concentrate on one ‘thing’ but as any creative knows, there’s too many voices in our heads to listen to just one! So, here’s a few of the things I create!

Geri's makes

In many respects my first ‘baby’ is my writing. I remember writing the opening chapter of what would become my first novel ‘Akane: Last of the Orions’ while travelling through Brazil. Given how many other things I’ve written, it’s funny that this sticks in my memory, and I’ve still got the original notes too! It took a further seven years to finish, edit and submit it to publishers before it finally found its home at Fox Spirit Books.

Weird Wild by G Clark HelleryI have assorted other books available, including my collection of short stories ‘Weird Wild’. I’ll also be making short stories available through my website soon so pop back soon.

I’ve always loved different craft activities and since the birth of my daughter I learned how to sew. I’ve been busy designing her some skirts (see the picture above or my Facebook page for more images) but have recently really enjoyed sewing capes. I was commissioned to sew a ‘family’ of capes for a customer and my daughter liked them so much, I had to sew her some in assorted colours. Seeing her and her friends running around wearing them is brilliant. I’m planning to work on a few cosplay pieces soon. If you’d like a cape made for your little person, feel free to contact me for a quote. Capes

I’ve recently started ‘felting’. There’s something very relaxing about stabbing a needle into felt and I’m planning on making some figures. In the meantime, I’ve ‘felted’ a mermaid toy and also a series of cards, including these for Mother’s Day.

Felted cards by G Clark Hellery

March Meet the Maker: Day One

Geri and the pupAnd hello to you!

Instagram is running a #MarchMeetTheMaker so I’ll be posting photos daily, giving you a glimpse of who I am (hello! It’s me! Follow me on @bluebeaglebaby) and what I’m up to (writing, crafting, sewing and being a mum to a toddler and pup).

Heres the first picture. It’s me and the pup, doing what we do best and having a cuddle. She’s my constant companion, snack stealer and a very patient big sister to the toddler.


Make It Monday:Be Super with our capes


Ok, so Edna may have said ‘No capes!’ but who doesn’t feel instantly more super with a cape tied around them? I was commissioned to make a set of ‘Batman’ capes for a friend and my daughter loved being my model for the small one so much, I’ve had to sew her a range of capes to fit with her every mood! If you’d like one for your little superhero (or yourself!) I’ve a selection of colour combinations and prices start at £9.95 plus p&p for toddler (2-4years) size. Message me if interested and wear this seasons must have!

Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram to see more of my creations: @bluebeaglebaby

IMG_0092.JPGIMG_0061.JPGBatman capes.jpg

And the little one said……

Baby & dog asleep.jpeg

There’s were two in the bed
And the furry one said,
‘Can I get in?
Can I get in?’
So the all rolled over & one jumped in

There’s were three in the bed
And the mini human said,
‘Can I get in?
Can I get in?’
So the all rolled over & one jumped in

There were four in the bed


Throw back Thursday: Define Yourself!

I wrote this piece in 2011, discussing how emerging authors should seek to create their own ‘online presence’ and how this would help with book sales and engaging with readers and reviewers by labelling, or pigeon-holing their work. Re-reading it now, I still struggle to define by work – it’s at times horror, comedy, science fiction, fantasy and drama. It’s me!

Let me know what you think in the comments below.

Define Yourself

I’ve been thinking a lot about labels recently. I attended FantasyCon, the conference linked to the British Fantasy Society. As an aspiring writer there were innumerable interesting and relevant panels and discussions, as well as the chance to meet with other writers and discuss our work. However, this was where things got a little tricky. I’m the first to admit that I’ve been a little late coming to the genre and rather naively I thought there was only Fantasy, Science Fiction and Horror, certainly those are the categories in my local bookshop. However, I was in for a shock when I chatted with other writers.

‘So is it a paranormal romance?’

‘I’ve just finished writing a military sci-fi but my passion is steampunk.’

‘I started in hard-core fantasy, but I’m drifting now towards anthropomorphic fantasy.’

I nodded vaguely, feeling like I should have taken a language course before attending the conference, because I was certain these people were not talking English.

I remember at university, learning all these new terms and phrases. One student mentioned to the lecturer that it was like learning a new language and he likened it to religion, once you know the phrases and labels you become one of the initiated, in a club which outsiders have trouble entering or understanding.

But then I got to thinking, what exactly do these labels tell us? For example, I described my first completed novel, ‘Akane: Last of the Orions’ as a fantasy, until someone suggested that it was more sci-fi and probably leaning towards military sci-fi, with invading aliens, space ships and human testing. However, there’s a strong romantic element, first love, betrayal, as well as mythology and religious theory. How can all of that be summed up in one word?

I spoke with one author who had coined the phrase ‘metaphysical fantasy’ for his own books. When I asked him exactly what that meant, he admitted that it didn’t really mean anything, but was a marketing tool. He’d identified a number of authors who he felt met the criteria of ‘metaphysical fantasy’ and linked them under an umbrella of his own creation, thus ensuring that his own work would be identified with more established writers. So now I was really confused. Was all this categorising and labelling nothing more than cynical marketing? Or a way to make yourself feel superior to the uninitiated?

Evidently modern authors need to create and maintain an ‘online presence’ to allow their fans to interact with them (as well as to keep their publishers happy!) and certainly there are some success stories about authors who initially published their work online, building up a loyal following and almost cult status before being connected to a publishers. It seems as if all aspiring authors need a web-page as any potential agent/publisher/editor/other interested person is likely to google you. Therefore I’ve been thinking about my own brand. There’s a plethora of information about branding and having sat in on the panel at FantasyCon 2011 about ‘How to Maintain Your Online Presence’ as well as reading the recent article on the BBC about ‘Should We Do Away With Privacy?’ it would appear that I should live my life out in the open, log time on the internet, but not express my political or other opinions for fear of alienating potential fans or publishers. I should define myself and my work in one word which sums me up completely, again in an apolitical, non-confrontational manner.

And how do these labels really help us? What do they really tell you about the person or in this case, the book? These labels have been created by society and people external to me. As humans we have an innate need to classify and group things. I’m sure we have all seen, and even been, a child who organises their lego based upon its colour. We segregate people by colour, religion, belief, interests, even sex. Humans have a need to organise, to quantify, but really to what end? I think the need to label and categorise says more about the society than it does about the person. As social beings we have an innate need to fit in and I suppose by labelling ourselves we allow ourselves to become part of a group with which we identify. It seems even in the fantasy genre, where we let our imaginations run free, we feel the need to constrain ourselves and establish sets of rules.

However, labels can blinker our thinking and it is this notion which has be concerned. I asked a friend to read my book. Initially she was very excited but as soon as I mentioned it was a fantasy novel, her eyes glazed over. ‘Oh, I don’t read fantasy books,’ she replied. A bottle of wine later and she was convinced. Later that evening I received a message from my friend, ‘I love your book.’

This obviously boosted my ego somewhat, but then the worry set in. By labelling my book as fantasy, I had isolated a large section of potential readership. It’s more a book about nature with elements of crime, horror, fantasy, alternative history and more thrown in. Like me, does it fit one label? And in doing so, does this mitigate the world of possibility it might become? As an aspiring author looking to one day market my book, what impact could this have on potential sales and readership? As I said above, are we at risk of labelling ourselves to such an extent that we risk limiting or isolating readers?

Words have power. They can build you up, or destroy you and like a snapping dog, they need to be treated with respect. In my life I have had the following labels: schoolgirl, uni student, traveller, office worker, teacher, friend, bitch, daughter, writer, girlfriend, wife, heterosexual, home owner, renter, borrower, lender, clown, adventurer,  vegetarian, volunteer, carnivore. Do any of these labels actually tell you more about me? Do they define me? I hope to one day add published author to this list, but what do any of these words actually tell you about me? And more importantly, would any of them make you more or less likely to buy my work?

As soon as you label something, someone, a book, genre, a group, you stop it becoming something more. It can never evolve or grow, it will forever be whatever it has been labeled. Don’t you think that’s sad? For example, think of Woody of ‘Toy Story’ fame. How would he be labelled? Probably as a child’s toy, but he was so much more: loyal friend, cowboy, leader, lover (what happened to Bo Peep anyway?). Now, not one of these labels fully describes Woody and to use any one alone would be a great disservice to him and that is the point I am trying to make.

So I would like to propose a shift in our thinking. I’m not suggesting a total removal of all labelling, but a more careful usage. Many readers say their job from reading comes from the ability to have their minds opened, so why are we so desperate to immediately limit their thinking by labelling books? I’m currently working on a horror novel, but it might (and probably will) grow to encompass other genres, including archaeological, history and fantasy. It’s therefore a novel of about nature with a supernatural, fantastical and historical twist. I’m very open to suggestions for it’s label….

And as for me? What one word label would best describe me? I’m still evolving, I’m learning something new about myself and this amazing world in which we live every day. There’s only one label that I feel fully fits.


Writer Wednesday: Fox Pockets ‘Reflections’

I’m terrible at promoting my different books (naughty author!). Anyhoo, here’s my latest short story, in the last of the ‘Fox Pockets’. I’m a HUGE fan of the ‘Pockets’ – they’re inexpensive, easily portable (the fit in your pocket so perfect for mums on the run who need a few minutes diversion, commuters who don’t want to overstuff their pockets or students who need a break from text books. I always joke that I keep mine by the loo as the stories are the perfect length to pee to!) and packed with New and established genre authors. There’s sci-fi, horror, fantasy and more so get your copy from Fox Spirit or Amazon. Check out the reviews on Amazon – my short story ‘Fun At The Fayre’ gets a mention in both!

Happy reading.

Movie review: Oculus (2013)


Synopsis: Tim has been accused of murdering his father. His sister Kaylie takes him back to the family home, where they both suffered at the hands of their abusive father. Kaylie blames an ancient mirror that hung in their home for Tim’s breakdown and her fathers actions. She works to prove that the supernatural actions and exonerate her family. Will they be successful?

Director: Mike Flanagan

Starring: Karen Gillan. Brenton Thwaites

Review: I have to be honest, I’m not the biggest Gillan fan. I loved her in her first series of Dr Who, but felt she morphed into a generic, whiny side-kick and I’ve not seen enough of her other work to change this opinion. Having said that, I did enjoy ‘Oculus’, one of her first films post ‘Who’. Admittedly, Gillan’s and Australian Thwaites’ American accents don’t always hold up but they are so committed to their characters you can forgive them. The blending of past and present doesn’t jar you out of the story as often happens, and the sense of foreboding and suspense builds slowly. The breakdown of the father was well-handled and you felt his wife and children’s fear. The use of technology in trying to reveal the supernatural entity in the mirror seems to take a lot of explanation, especially as you’d assume Tim would know about cameras etc. but he’s our foil, to help explain things and also act as our voice at some of Kaylie’s more questionable choices. However, despite these minor issues, Oculus is an engaging, creepy, dark and spooky horror, well worth an evenings viewing.