So, Glass Block will be out on Friday the 20th, and in the countdown to it, I’ll be sharing some stuff. Tomorrow, I’ll be talking about why it’s even related, in a way to my non-fiction, but front and centre, I wanted to share my dedications. Not everyone that supports me is specifically name-checked here, for various reasons, but I’ve covered, I hope, everyone important.
Dear reader. Most of these names won’t mean a thing to you, unless you’re one of the people listed. You are welcome to skip them, but if you know me, online or off, you might not wanna 😉
First up though. I want to put a special dedication into the book for the Nanowrimo. Without it, the book, the series, the universe would never have been written. So, if you’re at a bit of a loose end in November (or April/July for Camp Nanowrimo), wanna meet some people just as crazy about writing as you or want to support up and coming writers, then head on over to http://nanowrimo.org. A portion of every sale of EVERY book I’ve written or will later publish goes to Nanowrimo.
To my beloved, David – without your unwavering belief, clever ideas, encouragement and comfort when it all went pear-shaped, this book would be gathering digital dust. Without your love, I’d be a completely different person, and I hope every day coming is as good as the last – together. To Katie-Anne – love you, big sis. Thanks for being my unwavering cheerleader – even when I was being an angsty dumbass. I miss you so very much, and wish you were with us still.
To my children – there’s two of you right now, though there may be more in the future. Love you loads. Thanks for putting up with your mom’s crazy need to write everything down and take photos of stupid stuff 😉 You’ve grown into two of the most amazing people ever, and I’m so grateful I got to be your mum, and still get to be. To Keith – People are lucky to have one best friend. I’ve got four, and you’re one of em. Thank you so much for sending the notes and the part I thought I’d lost. Thanks for talking to me about forensics, and not dying laughing when I said the dumb stuff™. Get your book written sunshine ;), you’ve proved you can write other stuff, and kicked ass at it in the process. To Mary Ann – founder of #chartermemberofteamkai, patient, intelligent and funny. I think you, of all people on this list, have been waiting the longest for this book. Tada! To Brianna – I’m really looking forward to all the mischief we’re planning, and I’m hoping you are too! Thanks for being there to chat every day (just about!) To Valerie, Quinn and everyone else that kept me going – Thanks for all you do! To all my other writing community friends and cheerleaders – I’m not sure that to say other than #writingcommunity on Twitter is awesome! The Facebook communities are awesome, from IAG (which I helped co-found), to the others I take part in are awesome too! To my mother – I dunno what to say, other than thanks. Without everything you did for me as a child, I’d never have loved books enough to want to write one, and without your patient tutelage, I wouldn’t have nearly as much fun with learning, nor be so obsessed with continuing as an adult. To my family and my family-in-law – thank you for your unwavering patience, support and funny conversations. And thank you for not looking at me as if I am completely insane when I went hunting for a pen and paper, or said completely random things that made you stop and ask me to repeat myself. I never did without explaining what I’d been thinking, but still, I’m grateful for the kindness, love and support – and occasional books handed over when you realized what I was trying to work out. To all my Nanowrimo participants – thank you for letting me ML and thank you for cheering me on when I hit crazy word-counts. Here’s to many more years of that. And to Nanowrimo HQ itself. Office of Letters and Light will receive 5% of all sales, of all books from now on, as they have. This year has been rough, I know, but I’m hoping that it’ll get easier. To Troy, Simon, Zoe, Jack, the lecturers at Gloucester University and all of my classmates – Thank you. You know what for but thank you. My voice only got louder once I did that degree – best four years of my life! I’ve continued to grow since then, and I’m on my second degree now! And to my newest friends at Ludosport Bristol (And beyond in the Ludosport community)– THANK YOU. You don’t know what you gave me back, and how much I enjoy training, nor how happy I am to be allowed to. What an awesome sport! And if you’re not included above…to all my friends and fans online – Social media is a blast, sure, but it really does get in the way of writing. Thank you for being the distraction I needed to get the story straight in my head ;). Love you loads – thanks for your support, crazy about you all!
So, the first thing I really should say is that Thursday, ten months a year, is training evening, when we all go see our friends and train. I’ll also be talking about Se.Cu.Ri, which is a core principle of Ludosport, and matches a lot of my outlooks in life. Se.Cu.Ri is Servizio, Cura, Rispetto, or, put another way, Service, Care, Respect. Which leads me to the second point I love aboutLudosport. We learn a LOT of it in Italian. That’s not to say you need to speak Italian to join in, but the terms are a solid part of the sport, and quite honestly, I think that adds to the charm.
How I got started
Tempus, my beloved, started telling me aboutLudosport, and I’ll be honest, I was a tiny bit sceptical. But I started looking into it, and the more I looked, the more awesome it looked. I’ve been out of martial training (judo, karate, kickboxing and on), for a while now, so I had only really been walking and, quite honestly, dreading restarting couch to 5k, because I need to do something. I’ve got my Bodyfit plan to try (it’s dancing, which will be interesting) but, I wanted something else. We went for our trial session just before my birthday. I went in a bit …a lot scared, but came away desperate to start. Tempus and I had to wait a few weeks, but bar missing the odd week (COVID, training elsewhere), we’ve also started duelling fortnightly too more locally.
Where I am now
Where I am now is December, to now, I’ve learned a tonne. We’ve learned the first set of moves, and we’re into the second set, and to connect them up. I understand, but personally don’t enjoy the competitive side of it as much, but that’s because of issues I have with my own mental health. It’s important to be clear that a lot of that is about my mental health, and I’ll be touching on that later in the month, when I officially announce Run Girl, Run. But where I am now is completely adoring what we do. We’ve been out to meet and greet and promote to the public at the Bristol Light Festival, and I’m currently with the Bristol Academy, so if you’d like to like and follow them, please do. I’ll pop up on there occasionally no doubt, but it really is all about some seriously amazing athletes who are so caring, engaged and giving.
It’s not just about exercise for me (though, seriously, anything that stops me from needing to go do Couch to 5k when I’m scared to leave the house again is a winner for me, even if it challenges my mental health too), it also engages my brain. Thinking about both the dual languages that we work in, and tactics and everything else – it’s exercise for my body and brain. And I’ve got to be honest, I think that’s why I love it. I have to work at it on so many levels, engage on so many levels, challenge myself on so many levels.
I’m linking to a video I was part of …six weeks into training for an interview. For someone that works with production companies, I’m stupidly nervous on camera, but I don’t think you can really tell…much.
As is probably clear, I’m quite the geek. I’ll be talking about how more hobbies cross into geekery in the real world, but I’m a HUGE gaming fan. I’ve spent all of my life, since I was a young child, enjoying fantasy novels and I’ve gamed since I was about 9. From Heroquest, to D&D, I was a huge gamer until I had my children. After I left their father, I joined another gaming club and as I’ve talked about, a bit in ‘A Nanowrimo love story‘, I’m marrying a gamer and we met at a convention.
I thought for this post though, I’d share some of my favourite games, and aa few secrets about stories I’m writing right now. I’ll also share where I’m visiting today on the list for AtoZ (because I published this a bit later than I meant to. (G&H are shared for the visits, so I’ll do five on each, but from here on in, I’ll be doing around ten a day with luck. I hope to visit everyone though!). I’m also going to talk about why gaming seems to be considered a bit of a ‘duality’ even now for those of us that play.
My favourite games…
I gotta be honest, I love all games. I’ve already talked computer for Elden Ring, though I also play others. I’ve got a few games on my phone too, including Hearthstone, and we’re all currently playing our way through Elden Ring bar Artenapan. I’ve got a soft spot for simulation and worldbuilding games too, so I play a lot of things like Kingdoms and Castles, Suviving Mars, Terraforming Mars and the Tropico series, to name a few.
Boardgames and tabletop games feature heavily in my favorite things to do and play too though. Pre-pandemic (which is now over two years ago) we’d started playing Gloomhaven, and we’re hoping to pick that up again soon, but we’ve also got plans to join other people’s games and we’ve spent the last couple of date nights playing Terraforming Mars (the boardgame as well as the computer game), and Wingspan (ditto) and we’re looking forward to having a good explore at the UK Games Expo, later in the year.
And the secret?
I guess the biggest ‘secret’ is one of my main story series’ comes from a character and background I wrote for a game. We stopped less than six months into her story arc, it seemed like a waste, so Shula got set lose on the world. Or, will be. I mentioned her in B for books, but we’re in the process of setting everything up so we can run preorders and more. And on Monday, mine and other indie books (up to 60, the thread was really popular!) should feature in I for Indies 🙂 But Shula and some other characters are either people I’ve played in games or my partner (who is my self-confessed “bad idea bear” ala Avenue Q) has given me. Which is always fun. What I do know is Gaming is another storytelling outlet that I really miss, and I’ll be glad to get back to it fully 🙂
And now for something complete different (so far)… and yes, this one really is about duality and how things are different.
Firstly, can I say, Elden Ring has to be one of the most frustrating games I’ve ever played. EVER. I died 20 times (not including the grave spider at the beginning) in the tutorial alone. I like playing the game, it’s ok. I’ll probably keep slogging away at it, but the best bit about it? Watching the boys play.
My boys – Tempus and the boi
Until just before lockdown ended, there were four adults living in our house. My son and daughter (that’d be the Boi, and Artenapan), and Tempus. The Boi has recently moved up to a new job, so we had him down this weekend, and we spent a lot of time watching both him and Tempus taking on creatures, getting knocked on their butts, and laughing away.
Elden Round table?
Between the feelings of Hieronymus Bosch style artwork, and the very… round table feel to it all (literally in one place), so it’s really brilliant to watch and play. It’s so enjoyable to watch.
And with screenshots like this…
can you blame me?
I’ll complete it in my own time, but for now I’m just enjoying laughing at dying in game, and the boys is funny. Even if I feel terrible because I can’t play well.
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.