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 😉
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 🙂
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.
(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.
Quite honestly, I’m not entirely certain how I feel right now. There are so many different things that I’ve been thinking about. How we measure success. What we consider ‘worthy’ work, when we think about our lives, and how we decide to measure what we’re doing. Like water over rocks, we often smooth away the knowledge we don’t like and find a way to let it settle. And time, like water down a hill, never stops.
Judgement – my own worst enemy
Self-judgement that is. And I think that’s true of all of us. We’re ALL our own worst enemies when it comes to deciding if we’re ‘doing what we’re made to do’. Which in itself is a loaded sentence.
I really hate the whole “we’re human beings, not human doings” concept. It distils and negates a lot of the struggle we all have with the needs and responsibilities, the wants and the necessities we all carry and balance. I’m a human being. I am. What I am right now? A little bit stressed, a lot melancholy. Because I’m judging myself against a list of things that I just can’t expect to meet. What I can say though is that I’ve achieved a lot that isn’t ‘obvious’. I was discharged from therapy, and told I’d successfully completed the work they wanted me to which is…awesome. I went into recovery care with the local unit over seven years ago. I moved two years ago, this week, to the unit the county over. I’ve put a commendation about Dr C. and my nurse, M, with my MP, I feel that strongly about their care. The whole NHS should be praised, for the last few years, of course, but the team that cared for me over the last few years especially, since just after my 40th birthday, are people that went above and beyond and made a real change to my life.
The grain silo, Being Human and more…
I’ve talked about these essays but never finished them. Some are actually in ‘And Miles to go before I sleep…’ and expanded upon. So, along with the retrospective coming for the rest of this week, and looking forward over the weekend (the blog is going to be busy), but I’ll be releasing the essays ‘The Grain silo’ and ‘Being Human’, along with the pre-order link for ‘And Miles to go before I sleep…’ over this week. I’ll maybe even get to talk about the major business project we’re launching. On Saturday or Sunday, I’ll release our sort of calendar, and aspirations we have. And they are aspirations. Not deadlines. Not must do’s. The pre-orders are fixed, but.. other than that, we’ll adapt. And the we in this case is my beloved, my family, my friends and I. Being Human isn’t to be alone. And I’m not.