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 about Ludosport. 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 about Ludosport, 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.
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.
That sounds like so much fun! I love games, especially RPG. Haven't played with a group in a few years.…