I kinda feel like I’m watching a flashing cursor sometimes right now. As I said in my last post though, Tempus is talking about giving me space to do something to make me happy. And honestly? it’s been a bit of a shock. And a bit of a weird thing to start organizing.
And it’s a LOT like starting at a blinking cursor. A blank document. But it’s full of hope, if I’m honest. Blank is scary, but blank also means endless – or nearly endless – possibilities.
First tentative steps
I’m not stepping away completely from my business – after all, I’ve run a hosting company and written before. I’m also not stopping formatting books, as it makes no sense to. But I am stopping the plans I had for coaching and teaching. I’ll be running a 30 day writing challenge from the 30th September, and I’m looking at what I can do to write and set myself up.
It’s not easy choices, if I’m honest – so this week really is about consolidating and working out what to do. Pivoting back to writing isn’t as easy as going ‘yus, writing time!’. I’ve still got commitments to clients, but I don’t think I’ll be taking on new ones for a while. I want to take this opportunity – it would be entirely ungrateful to do otherwise.
I do very much feel like I’m rebooting my computer inside my head though. And maybe even doing a little bit of a clean install – removing some of the stuff I don’t need right now. It isn’t the easiest of things, if I’m honest, but, I am really lucky. I’ve got this opportunity, and I don’t want to waste it. I am, thinking hard, in short.
So…what do you guys think? What should I do? I’m looking at books and trying to decide what to write, but for now, I’ll be working on my backlist and thinking.
Firstly, I’ve redesigned my blog. I’d love to hear what people think of it, and if you’d like to see anything. I’ll be connecting up more of my blogs as time goes on, but for the time being, and I’d love it if you sign up to my newsletter.
I’m also delighted to announce that on Friday, I’ll be relaunching Glass Block!
When Big Brother fell out of popularity in the early part of the 21st century it was replaced with ever more ‘realistic’ reality TV shows, till the need for this was replaced with a need for fantasy. In an attempt to resurrect the old format some die-hard fans filmed themselves locked in with a recently released murderer. The person to get out got the money from the stream sales at the end. Needless to say, they were slaughtered.
Word of this spread on the internet and a ‘sanctioned’ version by the UCPS (United Coalition of Prison Services) was established. Brought in from Darkness, one of the cities providing most of the prisoners, most of which he’d been responsible for collaring, Elliot Peters is forced into a nightmare world where the walls are made of glass and people vote as to whether you survive.
Glass Block is the start of a series of sci-fi books. Check back on Friday and I’ll share the link!
And coming up next….
There’s more on the horizon for me, but for now, I’m really happy with my site and my book! How’s everyone else doing?
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 😉
Last Monday, I posted about how myself and my youngest tested positive for CV19. Monday/Tuesday, I started getting really sick. Monday, I’d been quite cheerful – after all, Artenapan, my daughter, had had three days of a cough and little else. That’s not how it played out for me (spoiler, it’s REALLY not how it played out for me). The net result of last week was a week spent either in bed, sleeping, in a cool bath, or generally feeling like I was being slowly boiling alive. I mean it’s been great for story ideas (that make zero sense now that I’m thinking through them, but they worked when I was awake at three in the morning, staring at the roof), but it’s also been less than brilliant looking at what I’ve wanted to do over the last few months.
And heading towards #Kaiatus too…
The plan was that by this time now, we’d have several books out, I’d be tending towards various more announcements, but the truth is, I’ve struggled, a lot. I don’t have excuses, it’s just how it’s been the last few…it’s just how it is. I’m planning on changing that as we move forward, but I’ve decided to go with the flow. We were going to offer a bundle for the rest of the year with various books, but I’ve got to be honest, I’m not sure I want to promise that. I’d like to say we’re doing something to move forward, but…I can’t say what we’re doing till we do it. I’m working on my pages, I’m working on projects, I’m working on my happiness. I’m working on my writing. I’m working on myself mostly. But I’ll be moving forward as I can. We’ve got so much back end work to do but it’ll be ok once we get there. But I can’t say when it’ll be. I’m just pulling myself up for now and hoping that we’ll eventually just make everything click. 🙂 And then there’s Camp Nanowrimo too!
On the 1st, I’ll be starting the A to Z, and I’m hoping that I keep improving, but I’ve been so tired and sore and it’s just…. hard to think about what I’m doing moving forward, until I’m moving. But the thing is, I am moving. So, we’ll see. I’m hoping too, to unveil a new look here, but that’s been delayed because I was sick.
Anyone else taking part in the A to Z? What are you doing?
I’m not sure if people have much of an idea of my history with Nanowrimo, but I’ve been writing every November since 2003. Every November, I write 50,000 or more words. The only time, to date, that this wasn’t the case was 2004.
It started in 2002 actually…
In 2002, while I was writing after breaking off ties with someone I’d been working with, and working on some pretty difficult stuff, someone told me about Nanowrimo. At the time, my ex and I were still together, and though everyone thought we were ok – I mean, my daughter was a year old, we had a three year old son. But he was pretty convinced that I shouldn’t be allowed to write, that if I was going to manage it, I’d have written that bestseller. Already. He wasn’t a bad man – we have two amazing children, but neither he nor I were not good for one another. Between 2002 and 2003, we seperated.
Fast forward to 2003
Single, unhappy and lonely, I decided that I would take my mum up on her offer, and I vollunteered to run as an ML…for the whole of Scotland as it happened then. We all met in a very loud pub, I made lots of friends, and discovered a gaming club called GEAS. 2003’s Nano was also Glass Block. And Elliot Peters firmly entrenched himself in my life. Elliot is Glass Block. Eventually, when the library of posts comes back online, that’ll make more sense, but he’s one of my backlist books. Tomorrow, he goes to an editor for update before we re-release him, thanks to my beloved’s help. In 2003 though, I hadn’t even met him. Instead, I had Elliot, waking me up at 4am and telling me stories. Y’see, Elliot thinks of me as a confessor of sorts. And Internal Affairs as he’s a cop. As I live with psychosis of several kinds, this is completely normal to me, but I know some people find it uncomfortable that my characters are *really* real. Others aren’t. It’s ok. I was seven months from my other ‘leading man’, Farran. Five or so from Tempus. And I quite honestly had a ball during Nano. Honorable mentions at this point to John, James, Gregor, and everyone else I met during those months of writing. You all made my Nanowrimo so much fun, and in fact, that was true for the whole time I helped out and ran Scotland as the ML.
I did promise you a love story, didn’t I?
Well, the truth of the matter is, and it’s a story I’ve told several times, without Nano, I wouldn’t have gone to GEAS, and in all likleyhood, Tempus and I wouldn’t have met. I can’t actually say that for sure, because I might have taken it into my head to look into D&D again, but… I’d given in on that having my kids. Tempus and I have been together 17 and a half years. We origonally just decided we wanted to hang out and have a bit of fun, but…a year in, when it came down to actually thinking about the future, neither of us could actually picture a time without one another. By 2006, we’d moved to where we are based now for his work, as he’d graduated in 2005. 2007-2011, Uni for me. It’s not all happily ever after. My mental health is a challenge we meet with varying success, but he and I share many interests (newest one, solving our arguments with lightsabers, aka we’re both going to train and learn Ludosport.). It’s no secret we’re both gamers, and we’re both super geeky, but we do have enough divergent interests that we can be together or apart. But, I truly believe I was lucky, and that Nanowrimo plays a huge part in that for me.
Our love story isn’t over. I don’t believe it ever will be while either of us are here, but it’d be nice to think that we’ll have a child together and live long, happy lives together. I really do love him, and without Nanowrimo, who knows if I’d have had this chance.
You’ll note, I don’t refer to him other than ‘Tempus’. It’s because he’s not keen on talking about himself online. There are a very few pictures of us together, and I’ve added on to the bottom of this post, but I do know one thing. My life is a very good one, and I love that it’s with him.
This is me and him, 2018, in the Dominican Republic. The full length shot of me with a boogie board was taken about an hour before, for those that know it.
He’s my bad idea bear, my beloved, my companion, my gaming and sparring partner. We talk books, games, movies. We tell each other jokes and pass on research from cyber security and infosec, and have a date night every Saturday. We go exploring good places to eat, we giggle at one another playing Fallout 76. We have our friends over for Gloomhaven. We’ve raised two wonderful young adults together since the 20 year old (@artenapan) was about 2 1/2, and her older brother too (he’s just as private as Tempus in many ways, so you’ll see him referred to as ‘Wonderboy’, or Titanboi. He’s in his 20’s too, and a wonderful man, and all of us are gamers of one sort or another. But Tempus… He’s the best person in the world, and I’m so blessed.
And, one final, bonus fact. He’s the reason I have most of my pen name. He encouraged me to stay as Kai when I explained why I’d changed my name, and I did. In late 2004, after we’d been together for a few months, I asked him if I could use his last name so that when we get married, I didn’t need to rebrand. He didn’t even blink. Like I said, he’s an awesome guy. And that’s my Nanowrimo Love Story 🙂
So, I was a bit quiet about it, but I went on holiday for two weeks in the middle of August. I spent the last two weeks battering around a pile of theme parks – Disney, Universal, Blizzard Beach (One of Disney’s waterparks), plus Nasa, Gatorland, the Florida Mall, Denny’s, IHOP… we did so much that I’m spending so much time just exploring my experiences and filing them away carefully. My memory being what it is, I’ve also got about a gazillion photos that we all took – me, David, his mom, his sister, the kids.
I’ll talk about that more in another post (because this blog is getting picked up again as my ‘personal’ place to talk stuff, aren’t y’all lucky), but I need to touch on something I realised while I was away. I am doing far too much. FAR too much. There’s no room for me to learn and explore my world, and there’s no room for writing, none at all.
So, you might say ‘but you knew this already Kai, this isn’t a surprise’. And you’re right. But between barely holding it together to grief, and to sleep deprivation (I sleep six hours a night, on my best night. Normal nights are closer to five hours clawed back, with melatonin and other meds), so my little brain needs to be taught the hard way.
And the hard way was basically taking me offline for most of two weeks. My phone doesn’t do roaming and I decided, early on, that I wouldn’t use the wi-fi, so I basically read, spent a lot of time hanging out with my kids (my son and I played pool a lot) and just enjoying *being*.
Now, my being is books and writing, so I spent a lot of time trying to work out what I should do with myself. I don’t read or write nearly enough, and just behind that, I’m not doing a day of learning that I promised myself. So there’s all that. Behind that, and not far behind that either, I have a business to run – hosting and apps as it happens, and a diary I designed to help with all of this stuff. I know it works because I hit the ground running when I came back.
I know it sounds like I’m happy with all of this, but I’m not. It’s one of the most important things in my world- the ability to get to the point where I am comfortable and happy and can work with what I’d like to do, and I’ve lost that.
I’ll get there, but I’m sure it’s going to be bumpy for the next few weeks. I’m happy to get with it, but there are things that are important to me, lost in the shuffle. And all it took was a two-week holiday to spot it.
My mental health is still deteriorating, but I think I know how to sort that out too – I just need a bit of space to do it. Space isn’t easy to come by though, so while I do, I need to make sure I’m holding up my end of other stuff too.
But there is a ray of hope. Writing and my books. While this is a personal blog, the pro stuff will appear here too. One thing I did learn while I was away was that while my heart is full helping others, my soul sings for words. And I have so many stories to tell. And I want to tell them.