Dog days

It’s been a while. Longer than I realised, to be perfectly honest. Where does the time go?

I haven’t been doing nothing, although the frenzy of writing, editing, cover design perfecting, book blurb fretting, wrangling with new stuff such as ordering ISBNs, setting up my first ever KDP account for publishing on Amazon and all that jazz has passed.

Now is the season of dog days. As I wait for my ARC readers to read. As every now and again I receive a comment or question from one or two of them. As I think ‘hell, reviews will be happening soon’ and ‘I really hope I haven’t oversold and under-delivered on Instagram’… you know, the usual doubts that creatives indulge in when there’s nothing else to distract them.

But – here we are. The last day of July. Only a few weeks until I publish. I’m not convinced past me ever thought I would get to this point. Actually, I’m convinced that past me thought I wouldn’t get to this point. It’s been a long old road, with life throwing a fair few spanners in the works. You know how life is, right?

I was going to redesign my blog into more of a website today, but having thought about it and taken a look at a few other authors’ websites. I’ve decided to wait until Anti-Virus is published. More for the sake of efficiency than anything else. I don’t want to revamp it now and then have to revamp it again once my novel is out. That seems like a waste of time to me. And time is precious.

Anyhoo… I am now set up on Goodreads as a Goodreads Author and Anti-Virus is on there, marked as ‘to be published’ – do look me up, Freya McMillan is the name! That’s exciting, because my ARC readers can post reviews on there before publication, which is great from a marketing point of view! Goodreads also kindly linked me to Jessica, for which I was one of the contributing authors back in 2014. I hadn’t forgotten about that, but it hadn’t occurred to me I would be linked to it on Goodreads, so that was a lovely surprise. I am still proud of the piece I wrote for Jessica, called The Magpie’s Tongue. It’s dark. There’s death. And destruction. No surprises there.

It’s time for me to have some lunch. I’ll sign off now and leave you with the cover of Anti-Virus, created with the design skills of the fabulous Platform House Publishing – thank you James!

Adaptation, and a blast from the past

Last week was my week back at work (ie, the work that pays the bills) after a week off. Boy, was it a shock to the system. Monday evening writing time went out of the window as I was mentally exhausted, the same for Tuesday, although I did write but it was pretty ugly stuff. Wednesday I knew I couldn’t write and that’s when the guilt set in, the guilt I discussed last week. I decided I had to approach things in a different way. I had to adapt.

Given that I’m strict with myself because of my aforementioned work addiction, adaptation is… a little tough. I have a routine, I have to keep to it (is that an addiction too? oh good grief…).

Uh, no Freya, you don’t.

What did I do? I got out my favourite biro and some paper and brainstormed, all the while telling myself that this was as good as, if not better than, writing. I wasn’t at my desk, I wasn’t staring at the computer screen, I was in a different environment and they do say, whoever ‘they’ are, that a change is as good as a rest.

It was. I unpicked a convoluted plot point that was looming at me like the poor old Groke and had the resolution all set out, in black and white, ready for when I could devote the less harried version of myself to actually editing my novel (early Saturday morning, in case you are interested in those details). I also adopted the same approach on Thursday evening and gave myself Friday evening off. (I know, go me!).

Adaptation. Is. A. Good. Thing.

Next topic, ie, ‘The Past’. One of my writer friends on Instagram asked for dark book recommendations and I was reminded of my participation in ‘Jessica’ (Helena Hann-Basquiat’s creation) along with authors from around the world. I decided to re-read my contribution, just for old time’s sake. It was quite the revelation. A dark, creepy, quite horrifying revelation. I’d forgotten how dark my imagination could be.

That might sound odd, given that I’m editing my dystopian novel, but this short story was a very different animal, leaning more towards horror, and set in a post-apocalyptic world. No zombies, no vampires, no dark magic, just people doing pretty horrifying things because of the world they inhabit.

It has inspired me to get back on the flash fiction/short story train, to get my horror on. I think I’ve been living in the world of Anti-Virus so much (of course), that I need to revisit worlds outside of that particular imagined reality. I expect it will add some more blackness to my second edit of the novel (I’m nearly at the end of my first full edit!). In my opinion, more blackness can only be good.

For anyone interested in Jessica (and really, you should be), here’s an unashamed link.