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!
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 thought for this year’s AtoZ, I’d take it back to basics and talk a little about me, and if I got posts that were the same letter, I’d share them the next day, and maybe even share some of the posts I’m reading throughout the month.
Today, I thought I’d go for a general update. I’ve spent the last few weeks trying to recover from Covid. I say ‘trying’ because it’s been hard work to even get motivated, let alone write and work. But I’ve been thinking, which I tend to do when I’m sick. And enjoying my beautiful four poster bed, which isn’t quite finished yet, but is nevertheless, one of the most gorgeous things I’ve ever agonised over buying.
We’ve been thinking really hard, as a family, about the best ways for all of us to enact self-care. My partner and I have hobbies, such as Ludosport (I’ll explain more at L for Ludosport, or at least, more fully, cause I’ve talked about it before!), and gaming that we take part in, and we’re very careful to try and maintain a good work-life balance, but one of the nicest things about our new bed is I’m happy to just… read for a little while. We’ve got this gorgeous net canopy that looks like clouds.
Every night, we curl up and I read for a bit, but I feel cozy and safe in there, even though it’s basically a big box frame around me. I’ll be adding flowers and lights eventually, but for now, I just like waking up underneath clouds. It’s weird, I know. I’m trying to address my work/life balance too, by not answering messages or emails before 9am or after 10pm unless it’s an emergency, and ignoring requests for work that aren’t completed on the correct places. Slowly, but surely, things are getting easier, but, it’s meant a lot of work on boundaries, and even more time dealing with the fallout, but, it’s just one of those things. Beyond that, today is the first day of #Kaiatus, and my darling boi (eldest) is coming to visit. Life is good, I’m alive, and I’m grateful for it all.
Oh, and it’s the first day of Camp Nanowrimo 2022 (April) edition, and I’m doing International Poetry month over at [email protected] :). I’m working on some of my novellas for Shula for Nano. 🙂
Hi there guys. Normally, doing these, I do really try to get them up either as we’re travelling home on the21st December, but as everyone saw, I posted something else instead. So, I’ll do the retrospective today, and tomorrow we’ll do the ‘coming in 2022’.
I got nothing done…
I think the first thing to acknowledge is that personal goals wise, I’m not further visibly forward, but I did a lot of…I guess it’s ‘behind the scenes’ work. I did have a quieter, calmer year in some ways. Supporting the kids, supporting my partner, and trying to plan for what comes next. I think that though I did very little, overtly, there were a tonne of really great conversations that eventually led myself and my business partner to something we’re working on now, which we’ve tagged ‘AOK’. Goals wise, too, I didn’t published a dammed thing last year, and only really rebooted this blog about three months ago. I’m still working through how best to handle all of that, if I’m honest, but what I do know is that I’m a lot happier now with most of the things I write, when I write them. I did start a Substack. But, because I got ‘nothing’ done, I spent a lot of time with my family. I have regulated my sleep schedule a lot better, though I do sometimes need to switch to LA time to do some stuff, it’s not frequently expected of me. I’m sure next year may change that, but it’s ok. Mostly I’m just grateful for the space to think and spend time with my partner, son and daughter. We bought a Cricut so my daughter and I are still into doing crafty things, we all go out to get photos of stuff, we got to do the UK Games Expo this year…it’s all been really good and really comforting in many ways. None of us have gotten really sick, nor have we caught CV19, but we’re all fully boosted now, and flu shots to boot. We’ve been *very* lucky.
I did lots for clients….
So, I’ve said ‘I got nothing done’ but equally, it’s been an ok year for getting work done for clients. From tomorrow, I’m developing something that cuts back on the clutter for one client so it ‘just works’ and building sites for two others. It’s all looking really solid. I learned Divi a lot more, I’ve been upskilling both for my business and for my uni stuff and I’ve had a lot of fun along the way. I love coding, but I love solving puzzles more.
I (started to) heal a bit…
I think it’s fair to say this year I got on with the rather hard work of starting to heal. I’ve not had an exactly bad life, but I’ve been through a fair few really bad scrapes and my mental and physical health are kinda dented for it. I do totally think I’m dealing with some form of adrenal issue right now, though I’m also quite worried I’m anaemic again, but most of what I did was read, learn, sleep, and just accept that I can’t do everything, or work on starting to accept that. I laid foundations though for this year too – knowing what to do and when to do it hasn’t been the easiest thing for me, but I’m working in advance with a lot of my stuff now and though I sometimes bounce off deadlines, I’ve met quite a few too. in July, I was discharged from therapy. I’ve done everything I could with them, my therapist was moving on, and instead of getting used to another stranger, given the current pandemic based restrictions, we decided that it was best just to close my file and move on. I can go back if I need to.
And I took up more exercise
Last year, I was just starting Mount Fuji. I completed that and went on to do Giza, Petra, Everest and started The Great Wall of China. In total, I walked about 540km, based on my Fitbit tracking. I started walking outside by myself too. Didn’t last long, but will be coming back. In November, I went for a Ludosport Discovery session, fell in love with the sport and have now completed enough form 1 training that I can duel, and did for our closing session of the year, winning my team three points. I was rather shocked I managed it. I think everyone else was too, as I often refuse to duel, or withdraw when afraid. I am dealing with a lot more panic attacks though, but we know why and we’re working on that too.
I read… A LOT
Because I didn’t get to do very much in the way of travelling, I’ve mostly adventured through my books. Which, if I’m honest, has mostly involved serial killers, thrillers and murder mysteries. My Goodreads year in review isn’t *everything* I read (cause I’ve got books I read through Netgalley that haven’t or won’t log yet) but it’s close. If you want to see my year, it’s here, but seriously, a lot of it is basically true crime. 😉 Some of it was also audiobooks, which I count. I think the two books that stayed with me this year though were The Book of Accidents by Chuck Wendig and we’re currently finishing off Leviathan Falls, which is the final book of the Expanse. And finishing the show too.
I completed both Camp Nanowrimos and Nanowrimo proper this year, and in the end, it turned out that though it felt like I was pulling teeth, I wrote close to half a million in 4thewords, and another 750k in my various files. Not bad going but next year is going to be a bigger challenge. I didn’t publish anything that wasn’t someone else’s to take from me and put out there though.
And yeah, then there was the ‘also watched’
We watched so many good things this year but I watched less in some ways than my family. And more in others. I had more true rime on in the background during the day, but I’ve watched far fewer programs, and have promised I’ll watch a few of the pertinent ones when we’re back at our usual spaces next week. Outstanding for me though had to be Loki, Scrubs (which we binged to the last season then pretended that one didn’t exist), Elementary, which we’re catching up on, The Expanse…you get the picture. We’ve started watching Titans season 3, The Witcher Season 2, and The Expanse season 6, and we’re looking forward to The book of Boba Fett, Obi Wan and more.
Gaming this year has mostly been about my Switch and our PS5. We’re both having a blast, no pun intended, playing through Fallout 76, though each of us can’t play with each other as it’s not cross-platform. Been playing games on the Switch too, but there’s nothing of note that I’ve played, really. I enjoy Surviving Mars, but a lot of what I do is just play through stuff for a little bit, get listless, put it down. So a lot of my time has just been spent mindlessly shooting things, which I’m kinda good at.
Meditating, self care, religion, oh my
I always leave this bit to last, so if people want to skip, they can. I meditated almost as much as I walked this year. I’ve found Headspace to be an excellent way of dealing with my sleep issues and the sleepscapes and I have become best buddies during the Pandemic. But we already knew that from listening to the stories Calm put out last year. I decided to stick with Headspace, not Calm in the end, simply because I got on better with Headspace.
I’ve been home to my temple twice this year (which means I’ve been home to family twice this year) and moved my ‘I have to go do something, let’s go to my quiet spot) to a place nearer our current home. It’s not perfect, but it meets most of the needs of what my rules are. I’ve also enacted some pretty radical self-care, but that, and some other stuff will be in the books, in the new Year.
I’m sure I’ve missed tonnes, but I’ll be honest, I’m still not sure this year was actually a full year if that makes sense. Time isn’t right still, not since the interminable but necessary lockdowns, and we’ve been working through as much of being present and grateful as we can, but I’ll also be real about this, a bit of me is still sobbing away in the corner that something so horrible is ongoing. I may write on that later, but I’m healthy, I’m here, I’ve picked up some new skills and hobbies and though I lost my gran, as a family, we’ve been far more blessed than we could have expected, so really, I can’t complain.
What was that whoosh? Oh, it was November. Wow, ok. So, here’s the roundup, I guess.
So, normally, the big news in November would be my birthday, or Nanowrimo. But, actually, this year, the big excitement is Ludosport! My beloved and I (yeah, that’d be the guy in ‘a Nanowrimo love story‘) started learning Ludosport, aka Lightsaber duelling. Already though, I know it’s more than that. It’s a whole culture of support, care and honesty, and a really good workout. But it’s accessible too. I’m managing almost as well as the rest of the people training, and that’s even with my numb leg and nerve damage on the left side, it’s been great! I did a trial event in October, and we started in November, just after my birthday. My uniform and lightsaber blade is here, which I shared on my Instagram.
I’m sure I’ll be talking about this a lot more in the next few months, but I’m pretty certain that it’ll mostly be on a new blog, called Run Girl, Run. It’s not *quite* live yet, but I’m going to be talking mental health, recovery, and growing physically and mentally as a person. It’ll be about how I find my feet, how I find my way back into the world, and we may even get to talk about extending our family, though, right now, it’s about making *me* whole. Holistically, I think that’s important, but I also think that it’s equally important to talk about it, and share what I can. Mostly because though we feel like we’re alone, we’re really not.
I completed my 19th Nanowrimo, just shy of 85k. We ran the online only project again this year, at the request of HQ, and my region stepped up. They were awesome. Next year, for my 20th year, I’m looking forward to doing something special.
I’ve got Glass Block and several of my short stories back, so I’ll be working on them, and I’ve got copy and client work coming up, so I’m excited. Plus we’re getting ready for Yule, keeping an eye on the various variants in the UK, and hoping we’re getting to go home.