Fantasy has a special place in my heart – I’ve always read it. My first full length book that I read as a child was The Hobbit (or it might have been ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’), but, until recently, my fantasy writing mostly was ‘actual play’ or other stuff like that. Today, I’m kicking off a new free reader magnet. Those of you that have been around me a while might recognise Shula, Adana and Tavar/Taern. If you don’t, I’ll love to introduce you to them, and what better way than a reader magnet?
The Firemaids’ Temple
When Shula and Adana are sent to bring back the newly inducted Inari from the Temple of Fire and Fall, they’re unsure whether Taern and Halvar will be happy with the temple their sister has been inducted into. Whether the Fire or Fall temple, one of the boys will be unhappy – and with that, Inari may become outcast. And as the Isle of Fire and Fall does not welcome mages, familiars or mercenaries, so collecting her might be interesting…
A free introduction to the worlds Shula (A House at War) and Adana (Cry Wolf/One Shot), inhabit, coming soon!
The Firemaids’ Temple happens after the events of House at War, but before Cry Wolf, One Shot and Kingdom of the Phoenix (if these don’t look familiar, join my reader group!) so I’ve got a huge, sprawling fantasy setting coming up. Plus…some cool short stories, which I’ll just tease with covers 😉
I’ve spent the last year trying to think about how to explain the basic changes I’ve gone through in the last two years. And one of the major things that I’ve been thinking about is gratitude, and ‘dancing in the rain’.
What is dancing in the rain?
For me, it’s a core concept to living with what I do. It’s accepting that I’m not always going to be happy, that the skies aren’t always going to be ‘clear’ but even if they aren’t, I can go outside and ‘dance in the rain’.
It’s a gratitute attitude, I guess.
Dancing in the rain is also the name of an essay that I wrote for ‘Miles to go before I sleep…’, which I’m sharing below. If you like it, please hit the link to sign up for an email when the book goes on Pre-order 🙂
Dancing in the rain from ‘Miles to go before I sleep…’
There’s a gratitude attitude, A way to look at the things you face. It’s not a way to ignore or negate pain, but, instead, a way to move forward. I’ve called it dancing between thunder and lighting, or dancing in the rain. Each step I make towards feeling better, each step towards feeling the way I do, and focussing on the best in my life that I can.
It’s also about crying in my own tears, and keeping my head up, my shoulders back, and trying to remain calm, cool and collected. And I do that, a lot.
When I started writing this book, it was long before I started with Ludosport, and it’s something I keep in mind now, a lot, because I’ve discovered that I’m not doing well with some of the things I’m challenged to do at practice. But I’ve learned how to so many things in the last two years, and I’m sure that with the support of my Academy (shameless plug for them!) that I’ll be in a much better place. From making some amazing friends to learning to dance – properly (cause you need to be pretty coordinated to duel with a lightsaber), dancing in the rain is a whole gratitude attitude that I’ve chosen to adopt. And I’m happy that I can feel that way now. I’m not sure I could have two years or more ago.
So, while Dancing in the rain sounds sad, and kinda miserable, it’s not. It’s about making the most of what’s around me and having a lot of fun, even when I am sad. Even when the ‘rain’ is my tears. Even when I’m being drowned in a torrent of sadness.
A- D for the Blogging AtoZ challenge will be up in the next 24 hours or so, and I’ll be hopping around all of the blogs and hopefully meeting some new, neat people. We’ve got family visiting this weekend though, so, I’m prioritising the visit and a belated Mother’s Day celebration 🙂
I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to say in this post about books, because those people that know me also know it’s pretty much all I talk about outside of Ludosport and gaming and my family. I was going to share a cornucopia of ‘coming soon’, but then I got Covid (next post) and that kinda got scrapped. I’ve been struggling really, and it’s not a pleasant feeling.
B for Books also links to N for Nanowrimo
At the core of my writing, whether it’s clear or not, is a project called Nanowrimo. I write a lot during the three months of Nanowrimo, and am…less disciplined the rest of the year, though, to be fair, I do write, every day. Just not always my books. And to be honest? That’s something that kinda bothers me. I’m pretty sure that I’ve said this before, but I’ve always felt I was built for certain things. Writing, being a mother (though, honestly? That came less naturally. I was still different to what people expected, but I found – and still find it – very hard.). Beyond that, I live with some other roles that I am – an advocate, a friend, an artist, a student. I’m constantly, consistently all about words though.
I wanted to announce books today, so I think I shall 😉
Out among the Stars comes first and will be FREE. It’s a short story from an old anthology I was part of. DungeonBashers and Black Monday are part of the same universe. Teine, which is Gaelic for fire, is my latest collection of essays and stories. Get news on them by signing up on my newsletter, and all the free books (Out among the stars, Footnotes to a Lesson, The Firemaids’ Temple, Vivarium, and finally, Funhouse. Want info on all of them? It’s coming really soon!)
And how does it relate to the theme I’m trying to write about? The duality of knowing I need to write books versus finding everything from the motivation to the time, I am often at war with myself.
So I did my retrospective. And I don’t do resolutions, mostly because if I did, I’d get into even more trouble than I’m in already. But, I do sorta, do plans for the year ahead. I’ve split them into personal and professional, then split appropriately from there. That said, I’ll forget something, I always do. And it’s not exhaustive. There’s stuff I cannot post yet, like the planned visits to production and filming, if we do it this year. But here’s what’s on my current lists.
My professional splits down into three areas. Business and service which covers all of my formatting, hosting, coding and other stuff. Passive income and professional writing, which is where I blog for my own blogs, or other companies and make money from it and Books.
Business and services
This one is a bit complex, cause anything I commit to has to also go through my business partner, but she and I are planning:
Hosting for writers and PhoneixFormatting online and running a booking calendar. HFW runs hosting and code design, wordpress management and more, while PF is where we format pretty books. 😉 Like, really pretty, you could fall in love with them, books. Which is great, cause that’s what every author wants.
AOK and IT up and running. These are keyworded projects, because we’re still sorting them out. They should feature lots of indie stuff.
Stuff for writers and my marketing/tutorials site back online and feeding to various places, in both my professional commitments and my own sites.
Having a solid plan for everything we’re doing going forward that’s reasonable and meetable. Both of us have health challenges, so it’s one of those…. “gotta do it, but HOW” conversations.
Teach at least six classes and have two masterclasses running happily by year end
Passive income/pro writing
Again, this is a bit of a hard one. I’m managing editor on one site, so I’m responsible for rounding up the writers. 😉
All commitments to story prompts and other stuff met and optimised. No deadlines missed. Currently that’s just Ladies Of Horror, but I want to add more to my list
Set up and run Indie Author Group (I’m managing editor there, so it’s really set up new guidelines, write up content and import what isn’t exclusive) and start my new column for Horror Tree. I’d really like to have 100 exclusively written articles not on my own sites by the end of the year, which is basically one every three and a half days or so, or two a week. I can do that.
Set up a few blogs for help with specific topics and long tail the crap out of it all.
12 submissions a month from Duotrope. Poetry, prose and articles beyond what I’m committed to.
Substack and Medium up and running and perfect.
classes – taught for a cost.
Totally not complex this one, but always seems to be the biggest set of problems. From people messing with my account to delays of my own making I guess this one is the one that worries me, professionally at least, the most. But is also the most important to me. I love being an author.
My WHOLE backlist reissued. My current count seems to be 31, with about another 12 books cancelled from last year, and probably another few that I could set up from books I’ve scrapped and need reworked. I’m calling it 30, cause some are giveaways too. So, 30 backlist. There’s also a set of … 15 I think short stories that I was doing over Nanowrimo that are ready to go, I just need to format them.
12 short stories OR novellas issued. There’s a group for this project, or should be.
3 series continued, one of which has to be Darkness and Elliot.
6 n/f books written and published or close to published by year’s end, OR with a contract.
Signed with my agent.
My personal goals are a lot more ephemeral and don’t really break down into anything approaching organised.
More Ludosport – I don’t know how long a form takes to graduate from, but I’d like to be all the way to finishing form 1, and getting into Form 2. I want to be less afraid there too.
Body FX training too strengthen my core and have a bit of fun doing it
Enjoy more movies and games, and complete a few of them.
Read (or listen to, cause we use Audible too, but I only count it if I actually listen to the book and am awake for it as it also runs at night so we’ve got some form of white noise going on) 150 books (Goodreads challenge)
20th year Nanowrimo, both Camp Nanowrimos and 2 million words total in writing (that is sorta a professional goal too).
Declutter and organise the house better
Set up the office the way I want it to be set up
Say yes to good things more often rather than think ‘I can’t’ because I’m exhausted, so rest up and get ready for some fun!
Again there are others. We’d like to travel again, but only if it’s safe. I’d love to do Steelcon again, and I’d love to go to a Games Day too. I’d also love to have a baby with my beloved but they’re pretty much aspirational and up in the air based on how the world continues to behave over the coming year. Covid and it’s vaccines aside, I do have to wonder if the radical changes people don’t like are as bad as they believe. I’m struggling with some of them, sure, but if it’s to keep others safe, cool.
And that’s my final one. Keep myself, my communities, my family and friends and others safe, keep paying it forward, and keep swimming and lifting others where I can. And continue working on my therapy, as it’s gotten me a long way last year and I’m sure that’ll continue.
Next post, in a few days, will be about the actual places I’m working/writing and announcing everything. Calendars need set up and discussions with my amazing business partner, Brianna Hawthorne, need to take place before then, but we’ve got a lot planned. We just need to work out what we’re doing and how, and finish planning.
(Don’t Google that, if you plan to watch Loki, the TV series, as the titular character sings it).
I’ve been equal parts restless, equal parts full of wanting to get on with changing things, but not having the energy to do any of it. So, as is my usual tactic, I’m actually travelling today. I’m going home. Tomorrow morning, I’ll be heading to my temple, called Goddess Falls. It’s known as another name in Edinburgh, but I’ll be taking my lightsaber with me in the morning.
Travelling, thinking, going home
We’re hoping that we get to go (so, either this’ll be going out as I’m on the road – in fact, I should be just getting to our end destination), and my tradition is to think and write and make notes, and hope that nothing goes wrong while I’m out of touch. Maybe do a bit of crochet, which I’m teaching myself.
Mostly though, today is a holiday. So Joyous Yule, may the wheel bless you as it turns, if you celebrate. And Merry Christmas/Happy holidays too!
Every week, I talk about putting out books, about editing, but I’ve been slow. Really slow, so I’ll keep trying but honestly? Pressure has never been my friend, but I’ve got to start moving on with my books. So, I’ll be thinking about that too while travelling. We’ve got little TV trays for our knees, so I’ll be travelling with one of them, my diaries, and my surface. Just in case.
Going home though… it is in my bones. I’m a Gaelic gal to the core, to the point that I feel home in my very soul. I bring a little bit of it back every year for my shrine. Today also marks the 25th year of being a standing High Priestess. Solitary, but still… it means this year I think I’ll be talking about my beliefs, my dreams, and what I’m doing it with my books to honour that stuff. But…regardless. I hope your Christmas period is good. I hope you see those you love. I hope you get to spend time with your family. I’ll be taking time out with mine.